Civitas and World Governments

Civitas

My kids could not wait for Civitas to reach the warehouse at Bright Ideas Press! (Coupon at end of this post)

They have been playing beta versions for the last year and they were ready for the final version to arrive. They have been playing everyday since they unwrapped their box.

What is Civitas?

  • A card game to learn about different government forms.
  • Deck of 225 playing cards and 12 leadership cards
  • 8 Different kinds of government cards
    • Democracy
    • Monarchy
    • Communism
    • Theocracy
    • Pluracracy
    • Military
    • Anarchy
    • Republic
  • Geared toward the 10 and up age group

My kids love props for playing games so they chosen different hats to represent the different governments. The leader of the current government in play now wears the chosen hat for that form of government.

Hats for Civitas:

  • Democracy: First Citizen wears a laurel leaf hat.
  • Monarchy: The king or queen wears a crown.
  • Communism: The Chairman has a fur hat with ear flaps.
  • Theocracy: The Chief Cleric has a papal tiara or mitre.
  • Plutocracy: The CEO has a money hat or a hat with money stuck to it.
  • Military: Military General wears a camouflage hat or  general hat.
  • Anarchy: The Anarchist refuses to wear any hat.
  • Republic: The president has a top hat.

Your students can research which hats or props they would use after playing a few rounds of Civitas.

Civitas: Create Your Own Government

Yes blank cards are included in the deck. Currently my youngest is working on developing his own government based on what he has learned playing Civitas.

Using the cards from the deck as an example he is designing law cards, event cards and leadership cards.

I can not wait to see what he comes up with!

If you think your kids would enjoy learning I have a coupon code for you to use.

This code gives you 25% off the regular price: staceyplayscivitas

Expires 2017-05-31 

staceyplayscivitas coupon code for 25% off

staceyplayscivitas coupon code for 25% off

School choice, Oh the agony

 

I have no desire to have a homeschool vs. public vs. private school choice debate. Especially since I haven’t had the energy to blog since it was a rough year caring for my husband and more time has gone toward work to handle the extra medical expenses.

When You Want to Quit

But my heart is searching for which option is best for my son this coming school year. Can you relate? Are you trying to make decisions on school choices?

I really wish the pendulum would stop swinging between all the options. My depleted emotions can’t take much more.

I see friends who are quitting homeschooling..and I want to ask them why…but I don’t want them to feel like they have to defend their school choice.

Right now the grass looks so greener…I am struggling with burnout, while guilt and wearness clouds my mind. I don’t trust my mind to rationally analyze if quitting homeschooling is the right choice.

Having them in a school setting engaged from 8 am to 3 pm each day…seems like a dream of amazing hours of uninterrupted time.

But I have to remind myself that I will have to drive them there, we won’t have the freedom in our schedule, and they won’t have a choice in their school topics.

All the while I have friends looking to begin their homeschool journey frustrated by other school systems. They want me to share my 16 years of homeschooling wisdom. They think my grass looks greener.

Right now it doesn’t matter which side of the fence you find yourself…what matters is finding a way to have peace about your school choice.

If you are walking in circles trying to make the school choice…I wish I could give you an easy button…but since mine is broken…here are a few steps I am trying for myself.

My School Choice Steps:

  1. Rest. However it needs to happen…find the time. Don’t make the choice under exhaustion in the hopes of finding it. Recently I read a definition of rest that has altered my thinking.
    1. Rest: to stop using (something) so that it can be strong again. (Hello…can my mind get some strength back)
  2. Talk with another person. Don’t just seek out those who are doing your desired school choice. Maybe sitting down and listening to why a friend is still doing her school choice might remind you of a few things.
  3. Don’t second guess yourself. Honestly…once the choice is made…enjoy the journey. Remember: No rule says you can’t change your mind again in 6 months.

So who wants to meet for coffee and discuss my school choice? I finally slept two nights in a row.

Yes I did a search on quitting homeschooling…which reminded me…that often moms question their choices. I am not alone in that.

Dear Homeschool Mom Who Wants to Quit.

So You Really Want to Quit Homeschooling

Homeschooling Inspiration for When You Feel Like Quitting 

 

 

Giving and Receiving Help

A Few Thoughts on Giving and Receiving Help 

I haven’t blogged in awhile…you may not have noticed. That’s ok. Most readers find me by doing a search.

If you have stopped by before…maybe you remember my blog post about The Unexpected Side of Homeschooling.  Those eerie times when our read-alouds added an extra layer of schooling to our lessons.

Giving and Receiving Help

Well the beginning of this month my ladies bible study started the book, Just Show Up.

I actually already owned the book. I had bought it several months ago. See at the time I knew I was awkward and uncomfortable with saying the right or wrong thing when people are hurting.

I just knew that silence when you are hurting can’t be understood, it is faceless, void of meaning. I didn’t want to be that friend who said nothing in my fear of saying the wrong thing.

Even though I had never followed Kara’s story I wanted to read the book in the hopes of being a better giver of help. I like helping…I am comfortable with dropping off meals, cleaning up houses and taking care of extra kids.

But this week…this week I realized I am going to have to be the receiver of help. That brings many tears to my eyes.

I could sprew a line of medical terms…COPD, growths, benign, cancer, vascular…that equate to my husband’s health. This time when he goes on medical leave…we lose all his benefits. He had just returned to work from being out from shoulder surgery for 4 months…so we enter this battle in a deficit.

People ask and offer…what do you need…how can I help…Friends my mind is blank…actually my mind is hurting from life. It takes a lot of mental strength to care for my husband.

Let’s talk about the other side of recieving help…you see…I have to be brave to let you in…because when you Just Show Up…it’s going to expose you to other sides of my life. Often I am not feeling brave.

You might offer to bring a meal…and I will have to police your knowledge of food allergies…so I can keep my family safe. Then I will have to explain my youngest doesn’t eat wet meat…I don’t really even know what that means myself…but I am going to need to explain it. By this point you might be thinking you are way over your head in bringing that meal.

If you show up and do my laundry…you are going to notice a lot of things…mainly I really need to find some time to shop for new underthings.

Seriously this Just Show Up thing…it is messy. Often you can not fix it…you can’t fix the hard stuff in life.

My life is just not about caring for my husband…it is being a special needs momma, it is being a work in and out of the home wife…and a homeschooling family. Often these things have kept me from participating with community.

Sometimes I think it would be easier to live life on an island…but we know that is a lie.

So I am going to work on receiving help…because I know I can’t not walk this path alone.

In the book, they talk about this being a dance…and I am pretty sure we are going to step on each other toes…but you know…you can only step on each other toes by just showing up.

Which one are you better with…giving or receiving help? 

 

Debt Free Living for Five Years

Five Years of Debt Free Living!

Wow…has it been 5 years since we yelled “debt free”…yes that included the house! We had achieved debt free living on one average income while raising 4 kids.
Well according to my TimeHop on Facebook…it allowed me to share my photo with Dave Ramsey taken February of 2011.
Debt Free Living
I can tell you that all those skipped meals out, no cable TV, budgeting groceries, and crazy financial sacrifices that we did to become debt free…pales in comparison to the peace I have today.

Let me take a moment and fill in some details of the last 5 years…and then you can grasp how amazing that peace becomes in the midst of trials.Five years ago my husband was the main breadwinner for our family, we had chosen to live off one income so I could be home with our children. I did occasionally pick up small part time jobs to supplement the kids schooling and activities.

Then a year later my husband spent 2 weeks out of work for pneumonia. After his recovering, he noticed his lungs would hurt, like breathing a huge breath of campfire smoke. After a few months when that didn’t clear up we scheduled a visit with a pulmonologist.

After a few tests he was diagnosed with COPD. He was prescribed inhalers to help slow down the progression. With the increase in medical I began working more steadily.

His health continued to decline in the form of a tired body and often sick with respiratory issues. Eventually he went for a sleep study and because his oxygen was low at night he was put on a C-PAP machine.

Things continued to decline but now the symptoms looked more like dementia. Someday I will write about when my husband went to church and told our pastor I was divorcing him…not because things were tense but because he knew something was wrong and how could I love him if he lost his mind.

It seems the lack of oxygen mimics mild dementia. I fought for a doctor to help because at first I thought maybe it was dementia…but 3 months ago we discovered his oxygen levels were in the 70s when he slept. Now he is on oxygen and things have become stable for his health.

Let me fill in a few details of the last 5 months. My husband needed rotator cuff surgery and spent the last 4 months out of work, while he was recovering he was placed on oxygen, and our septic system failed…and I found myself with a decreased income, rising medical, and needing a new septic system.

I know these few 100 words can’t begin to express the depth of my anguish…but I remembered telling a dear friend…I feel like each of these situations is like cuts on my body and I fear I am going to bleed to death.

But in the midst of this…I didn’t have to worry about a mortgage, car payment or credit card debt….can you feel the importance of that peace?

I know it’s hard in the current moments to give up comfort things, especially when you feel you deserve them after a long week of working hard…but I am so thankful we did.

While we don’t have fancy vacation memories, better cars, or bigger investment portfolio…I have more energy to care for my husband without the stress of paying off debt.

 

Mice in the House

If the title “Mice in the House” hasn’t scared you away…read on.

Ok…I am going out on a ledge here…risking my dignity and your opinions of me. But I am thinking you need a laugh…and I have a story for you.

Maybe I should make you promise that you won’t think anything crazy about me after reading this post.

Mice in the House

Mice in the House

Yes that says “mice” and not “mouse.” We live in the country and are quite used to The Better Mousetrap. Mostly they are active in the fall when the farmer plows the field. Then there is the occasional winter trapping.

But it is February…and we hadn’t seen any mouse activity in a few weeks…until last night.

I awoke to the note in the kitchen from my husband…Red Alert…I saw a mouse by the stove and set a trap. Great…after 20 years of marriage my husband knows…Nothing Says Love More to Me Like Well Maintained Mousetraps! 

The kids and I went about our day not seeing any signs of this current invader. I went to bible study for the evening and got home around 9:30pm. My husband informed that he had just emptied the mousetrap.

Then he goes on to note that it was a black mouse…now we are used to the gray field mouse and the occasional crazy brown mouse. In our neck of the woods the brown mice are notorious for running in the middle of rooms and not along the walls. I drive my husband crazy when he has to set a line of traps to catch them.

I have seen black and white mice in pet stores but never in the wild. I wished they had taken a picture of it before removing the dead carcass…because I am skeptic at heart and wanted proof.

My husband and daughter head to bed while I head to the kitchen. I had soaked cashews earlier in the day and needed to finish making the cheese for our mac and cheese meal the next day.

I assembled all my ingredients and put the cashews in the blender to start the process. After about a minute of pulsing and running the blender…I hear the squeal and flapping of a mouse caught in the trap behind me…over the noise of the blender!

Of course I scream and run to the living room and jump on the ottoman…something about taking to higher ground calms me in a mouse scare. Seriously I know those buggers can climb…so this is solely for me to feel calmer.

My daughter comes running…she has visions that I have sprayed cashews all over the ceiling from the blender.

I keep yelling for my husband…I fear maybe we have only captured part of the mouse…which if you know…leads to them dragging mouse traps around. [Read more…]

The Mystery of History High School Years

A glimpse at how The Mystery of History high school years worked at my house and questions to ask yourself as you plan your high school history credits.

The Mystery of History High School Years

Homeschool High School

*Please note that different states have different requirements for establishing high school credits. Please check with your state requirements when planning. If your student is college bound then check requirements from colleges they are interested in attending.

The Mystery of History is a world history curriculum. Some states require 2 or 3 credits of world history, and 1 or 2 credits of American history. The big question becomes how do you take a 4 volume series add in the need for an American history credit and create a high school transcript. Combine that with the vastly different ways to document history credits and that leaves homeschool moms wondering the best way to construct their students’ transcripts.

I have another post on how I keep track of assignments for The Mystery of History High School.

Mystery of History High School

Linda Hobar has a scope and sequence PDF for possibilities of order of high school credits.

I firmly believe that high school transcripts should reflect the strengths and interests of the students. I don’t think there is a one size fits all to planning high school history credits. You will notice that I also do not believe that every student needs an AP level course load for every subject.

For this blog post I have 4 students, who might happen to reflect my 4 children. I will describe their interests and goals and how they completed or will complete their history credits. I should also note that each child by the time they entered highschool was on their second rotation with MOH.

The Mystery of History High School Years: Student A

  • Student A is a science guy. He likes history but his goal is to graduate college and become a meteorologist. Since his course load requires classes like pre-calculus and physics, his time is limited for other classes.
  • Yes some families do MOH vol 1 and vol 2 in one year spending a semester on each volume. This works since the lessons are shorter. The Mystery of History vol 4 was not published while he was in high school but could be completed in the Senior year. In our state the requirements are 2 World History and 1 American history credit. Since his senior year was heavy in science he did not take another history credit.

The Mystery of History High School Years: Student B

[Read more…]

Early Childhood Education for High School

Early Childhood Education

Since my daughter has taken Human Development from a Christian Worldview; I was excited to add Early Childhood Education to her last semester of highschool.

I am always on the lookout for highschool classes that allow my kids to explore career opportunities. I have even put my own together based on my kids interests.

Early Childhood Education: Extras

I created a notebook page for her to record her answers to the questions from each chapter.

Early Childhood Education

I am using these timeline pages to document the people mentioned in each chapter.

My daughter has the bonus of babysitting each week where she can observe and use the lesson plans she creates for this class. I often keep a lookout on social media for fun preschool crafts. We share a Pinterest board for ideas.

The e-book does include blank page for writing lesson plans but I wanted to include a few more examples. Lesson plans can be very personal and I know my daughter knows her best style. [Read more…]

North Star Geography Online

North Star Geography Online

Have you been curious about North Star Geography online?

I have taken a few phone calls at the office on the topic and thought I should better explain what exactly the online course is all about.

North Star Geography Online: What is included?

  • Digital Copy of the book.
  • Audio files for each lesson
  • Online test grading, a passing of 70% is required to continue.
  • Communication with the author, Tyler Hogan

It does not include:

  • Videos to watch
  • Since this is self-paced and self-directed it does not include deadlines for completion.

Once you have purchased North Star Geography Online:

You will need to Login to your account. I have found the easiest way is to return to the product description and click the Login tab.

North Star Geography Online 3

The Welcome Page gives details on downloading, things you will need all year, and general ideas of how the program works. In the welcome lesson you can download and/or read files you will need all year. My son has a 3 ring binder that stores all of his completed pages. You can read my other blog posts linked at the bottom on how we have completed North Star Geography.

North Star Geography Online 1

Each lesson will have all the necessary links needed for that lesson. You can download the lesson, note taking page, map work, and activity directions.  If your teen is computer savvy they can probably put the lesson on a Kindle or iPad.

North Star Geography Online 4

Flexibility of North Star Geography Online:

[Read more…]

Vision Boards for Dreaming, Goals, and Planning

Since I am a highly visual person…Vision Boards sparked my interest this year. Except I kind of skipped the feelings part of looking at things that make you happy. I needed visuals to keep me focused.

PicMonkey Collage

Honestly I have struggled with writing goals, making plans…having dreams. I have spent many years letting the circumstances of life direct my planning. Which is not a bad thing but does not provide any thoughts to doing anything beside surviving.

I am not even sure I have grasped the full understanding….but here is what I have done this year at my house.

Vision Boards for 2016

Most of the directions I read had you gathering magazines to cut out pictures that inspired you. Since I don’t have magazines and honestly didn’t expect to find what visuals I wanted, I switched to a plan B.

I gave my boys a sheet of paper divided into sections labeled:

  • learn
  • money
  • school
  • fun
  • spiritual
  • books

I had them think of 2 to 4 things for each section. I felt like I was combining goals and dreams on one board. I tried to help them keep some items measurable like save $200 and exercise 2 hours a week. When they write their school plans each week they can remember to add the time for their goals. [Read more…]

Clean Slate for 2016!

For all the people who choose words for their years.

Well the title of the blog post…

Clean Slate Happy New Year

“Clean Slate” for 2016

really gives away the punch line for the word(s) I have choosen for 2016. I know you probably do not remember that 2015 my word was “stones” and 2014 my word was “squirrel.” It seems I do not like those flowery abstract words like grace, faith, or courageous.

I need a visual reminder…I need to see what my goal is for choosing the word. My pile of stones still decorates my shelf in my living room. I failed often in 2015 with getting those most important items at the top of my list. I almost think my stones were tied to a pendulum and I swung between extremes. Might be why I have not blogged lately.

Why I choose Clean Slate:

  1. Holy cow…it has been a struggle to keep past fears and failures from affecting my decisions. I spent way too much time in 2015 beating myself up for not being a better homeschool mom, or not getting enough hours in at the office, forgetting to read my devotions or ever getting my clothes put away.  I want to start my mornings with a clean slate…not allow yesterday’s issues to overshadow today. 
  2. My husband’s health has really rocked my world this year. I never know if my day will include a husband who can not breath and needs extra rest, a husband who is confused and not thinking clearly or a husband who you would never know had any health issues. I want each morning with him to start with a clean slate, and not expectations. I want to write on my slate for him that no matter how sick he gets he is worthy to be loved…his identity is in Christ.
  3. I really want to be the parent who offers a clean slate to her children. I want them to see that even if they break something, have a meltdown, or fail…that it does not have to follow them around forever. A certain child at my house has a reputation of being irresponsible…my other children have taken to being really strict with things…I have to remind them that opportunities still need to be offered for the child to learn responsibility…this is not 3 strikes at you are out. Cover that slate with grace! 
  4. Enter the hallelujah chorus…Jesus paid it all…all my sins are forgiven. My clean slate is washed white as snow…or wait…then it would be a white board. No worries…I bought a doubled sided slate. Now to focus on renewing my mind every morning…visualizing my clean slate.

Clean Slate

Clean Slate…fresh start…even if the last 20 years of writing goals has ended in failures…I can still try again. There has always been lessons learned in the journey.

The biggest lesson I learned this past year…that the trials have a way of pushing me off track but taking a moment to talk with friends about the situations helps me to refocus my thoughts. Because sometimes I feel like I can not see the track but I just need to turn my eyes slightly to see it.

Happy New Year…Clean Slate Here I Come!