End-of-the-Year Writing Review with WriteShop

End-of-the-Year Writing Review

with WriteShop

We have worked hard in finishing our WriteShop Book E this year! I am excited over the progress my son is making with his writing.

I created this End-of-the-Year Writing Review to allow my son a chance to evaluate his own work. I wanted to give him the chance to share his thoughts on his writing assignments.

I decided to have our review with snacks in the afternoon. I knew if I included snacks it would create a more willing attitude in my son. Writing is not his favorite subject so extra incentives help.

End-of-the-Year Writing Review Snack

We followed the directions for School Book Sandwiches I found on Pinterest. I had my son select names of books he had read or titles from some of his writing. I found the food markers at our local craft store.

After chatting about things over sandwiches and root beer, we opened his briefcase. His briefcase is where he stores all of his writing assignments. I then gave him the awards I created and had him select which of his writing assignments he felt deserved the awards. I even let him create an award for one of his assignments and this is where we edit adolescent boy humor 🙂

You can download for free from my Teachers Pay Teacher store, Writing Assessment. 

Writing Review

He was really proud of his book report. I think in part that had to do with writing about his favorite book. He gave the book report his Best Assignment Award.

Our End-of-the-Year-Review became a great chance for him to notice how much hard work he accomplished throughout this school year.

I handed him the writing award from the WriteShop program and he colored in his trophy. I think he was happy to not be assigned a writing assignment and I was happy to end our year with smiles.

Good news! WriteShop is having a sale this month! 



Winter Blessings to Battle Winter Blues

Winter Blessings to Battle Winter Blues

A friend once told me to write about situations I have already experienced because your perspective is different from when you are currently dealing with situations. I guess it is the basis for that hindsight is 20/20 scenario.

Yet I am writing this post huddled under my electric blanket while temps are below zero outside. With my thyroid acting up resulting in what I refer to as my thermostat is broken; my feet may never warm up until Spring. I have zero desire for them to touch the cold floor and actually set about accomplishing today’s activities.

How can I offer great ideas to battle winter blues when my toes are the same shade? So I have scratched any thoughts of writing some top 10 list of things to do to battle the winter blues.

What I can offer is a rowdy chant of “you are not alone in the struggle.” 

Now I am going to hope one of my children will bring my a nice big cup of coffee and by the time I get to the bottom of the cup I may have found the desire to get on with the day.

You my friends have the chance to enter to win some items that can help you battle the winter blues!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms: No purchase necessary. Open only to legal residents of the United States, who are 18 years of age or older as of date of entry. Void in Puerto Rico and all other U.S. territories and wherever prohibited by law. Subject to all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. Decisions of ParadisePraises.com are final on all matters pertaining to Giveaway. By participating, entrants agree to be bound by these Official Rules and decisions of ParadisePraises.com. Winning a prize is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements set forth herein.
Participation in the giveaway is consent to receive email from sponsors. This is how winners will be notified and announced and digital prizes delivered. Prizes cannot be transferred or returned for cash value.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or in association with, Rafflecopter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media network.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or in association with, Rafflecopter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media network.
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or in association with, Rafflecopter, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or any other social media network
Chances of winning vary based on the final number of entrants. Giveaway ends Jan 17, 2018 at 11:59 PM EST. Winners will be chosen randomly and notified by email on Jan 20, 2017. Each winner has 48 hours to respond or they may forfeit prize. Respective Sponsors will be responsible for prize fulfillment. If you have any questions, please contact katie {at} paradisepraises {dot} com. FelizPreneur LLC, Po Box 416, Andrews, NC 28901.


Laughter is my Word for 2018!

My word for 2018 is laughter!

And she laughs without fear of the future.  Proverbs 31:25

I have come to enjoy this ritual of selecting a word each year. If you select a word let me know in the comments.

In 2017 I chose Thank You instead of saying I am sorry.

In 2016 I chose Clean Slate, Clean Slate…fresh start…even if the last 20 years of writing goals has ended in failures…I can still try again.

In 2015 I chose Stones, so I could focus on God and not the giant attacks.

In 2014 my word was Squirrel, because I needed to focus and stop chasing unnecessary things.


Generally I love a good laugh and watching my friends laugh, this kind of laugh goes much deeper.

Instead of the panic that grips my heart when hard times strike, I want to laugh with the knowledge that my Jesus will not forsake me.

I want to take a deep exhale when troubles come, resting in that laugh.

Countless times my family has witnessed the amazing grace of being sustained through trials. I even keep pictures of when God provides in a concrete way, so that we can remember!

Often when I am overwhelmed by multiple trials that come all at once, I want to throw myself on the ground like a 2 year old screaming “why me”. Life shouldn’t be this difficult and I am positive we have been through enough.

Yet taking a step back and allowing a perspective change I feel I can focus on laughing without fear of the future.

So right now on every month in my planner I am going to write the word laughter. I want to be reminded to schedule some fun things with my friends and family. I want to make sure I take time to laugh. I pray this practice will help remind me.

Then when, not if, trouble finds me; I will be prepared for laughter. 

Happy New Year! 

Planning Moved Me From Surviving to Thriving

Planning Moved Me From

Surviving to Thriving!

Somewhere on this journey of being a homeschooling employed momma; I became in love with planners! Seriously about two years ago I fell in love with a Color Crush planner that allowed me to plan with stickers.

I am a functional sticker planner. Most of my stickers are for events I need to remember. Occasionally I throw a pretty sticker in the corner. Thank you Etsy for connecting with planning stickers!

Every Sunday night I pull out my box of stickers and plan my week. When will I squeeze in work, what will we have for dinner and who needs to be where.

It fills my creative need. It allows me time to see the big picture of my week and helps me catch those moments when I am double booked!

Then this year I bought a planner for the blog. Now I am busy attempting to plan things to keep me from posting on a whim.

When I was not looking a friend gave me Michael Hyatt’s planner to help me stay on top of my goals for work. Yes, that makes 3 planners in my life.

But bouncing around from work…to blog…to homeschool…to life…is a lot to keep track of.

While you might think I have lost my mind in planner world, I generally only use the last two planners once a month. But now I have a place to help me remember where I left off at in my thoughts.

New Year Planning Giveaway

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All I Want for Christmas is a Friend

My teenaged son has taken up songwriting this year. I shared a few lines in the Special Needs Homeschooling Facebook group, since I knew they would understand. The struggle of any mom wanting their kids to have friends is very real. You are not alone moms in wanting this for your kids.

Sharing in the group provided an eye opening chance for my son to realize that there are many other kids out there struggling to find a friend. This is an expression of that desire to have a friend, my son hates math but it worked for the song. He is currently putting music to these lyrics.

All I Want For Christmas is a Friend

Dear Santa this year I want something different, not a Mac I already have two of them. No, this year I want something different.


All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend.
All I want for Christmas is a friend, Oh Santa can’t you help me find a friend.

Verse 1

I wish I had a friend instead everybody calls me weird and I feel like I have disappeared.
My Mom is my only follower and I have 0 likes with many dislikes.
Nobody ever texts me and asks me to hang out.
Instead I’m always left-out.


All I want for Christmas is a friend, I’m super lonely and lowly my only friends are pretend.
All I want for Christmas is a friend oh Santa please help me find a friend.

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Field Trip Ideas for The Mystery of History Volume I

Field Trip Ideas for

The Mystery of History Volume I

The lovely ladies in The Mystery of History Volume I Facebook Group started a field trip ideas thread.

I thought it was a great idea to find easy inspiration for planning field trips. I have categorized by state. I have researched more places to visit. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

These include a wide variety of ages and topics. The topics might help you with keywords to do your own research on your surrounding area.

If you have a great field trip comment or send me a link!

Field Trip Ideas:









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Give-Away #1 for December

Give-Away #1!

There is joy in giving! I am blessed this year to be able to give back which after the past few years of needing help; really warms my heart.

Did you catch my last post on Beginning the Homeschooling Journey?

I am giving away 2 copies of How to Homeschool with Stunning Confidence, Contagious Joy, and Amazing Focus. 

For U.S residents only! Sorry I can not afford international shipping.

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Beginning the Homeschool Journey

Beginning the Homeschool Journey

I was talking with some veteran homeschool moms about the early days of our homeschooling journey. Since we began the homeschool journey before the internet and Pinterest my biggest struggle was how to actually homeschool.

Looking back, I remember talking with a friend who had been homeschooling for the past several years and begging her to just tell me what to buy to teach my kid. She was wise to not answer but did offer some vague guidance on how to make it work at my house. She knew then what I did not, that every homeschool looks different and every kid has different needs.

In my early days I was a solid oak tree. We had a schedule that we followed. Even to this day my kids stop at 3:00pm for a snack.

We had curriculum that we followed every word. It did not matter if my kids had mastered or needed more practice; we followed the pace of the curriculum because surely they knew better with how much work should be accomplished each day.

My mighty oak days did not offer much grace, my mighty oak days did not allow for flexibility. My mighty oak days fed my need to be in control of everything. My mighty oak days required much of my strength to keep things under control.

Then life brought me 4 children, 2 with health and learning issues, a sick husband, and the normal challenges of life and the time had come for me to either bend like a willow tree or break under the pressure.

Overtime I learned to bend, I let go of my expectations and I allowed grace to enter.

Beginning the homeschool journey I had no idea of how much it would change and challenge me. I thought it was all about providing my kids with an excellent education.

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The Why of Attending School

The Why of Attending School

Have you ever asked your kids why they are in school? My oldest two children can clearly articulate why they are attending school. They desire to learn the knowledge they need to enter into the job market to become a meteorologist and a pastry chef.

They have known since middle school what they wanted to study in high school and college. Next month my oldest graduates college with his degree in Geography with emphasis on GIS and Atmospheric Science! (Insert grad photo)

But just two months into this school year I realized my third child felt that school was an unnecessary event for his life. He did not have a why other then it was what his siblings had done.

Around the water cooler at the office we discussed the why. For some school was a place to be able to compare yourself to others and know how smart you were or weren’t. For others it was a place to just conquer test taking. Most of us enjoyed the social hangout.

I began having discussions with my son on how subjects and situations could provide opportunities to practice skills he would need in adulthood. That he had the safety net of still living at home while practicing these skills. This was his time to try new things and explore his gifts.

I assigned him the writing assignment of What is Your Why for attending School. Now this assignment came a few days after discovering he had been skipping his online classes and was ready to quit school.

Maybe discovering this why will renew in my son his comminement to finishing school. Maybe it will give him the courage to find his gifts and stop comparing himself to his older siblings.

Why my son was wrestling with his why for finishing high school my youngest found himself questioning his why for starting high school. Yes he said he goes to school because I make him.

Discussion of Why of Attending School

Tonight at the dinner table ask your kids why do they attend school. Depending on the ages of your kids you might get some really creative answers. You might also discover that it becomes an opportunity to explain the bigger picture of attending school.

Hopefully you don’t get caught in the how adults never use Algebra after high school but maybe you can talk thought that even if they hate math that does not mean everything about high school stinks.

Maybe you can open the lines of communication on what your kids find important to learn from their perspective. I know I failed a little with hearing what my son was struggling with and what he needed to succeed in high school.

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Black Friday Specials From My Favorites

Bright Ideas Press

This is a great time to start a folderbook or get a jump start on planning the next school year! 

This four day event begins 12:01 a.m. on Black Friday, November 24, 2017 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Cyber Monday, November 27, 2017. (All times are EST.)

No coupon code will be needed for this sale, and other coupons can not be used in conjunction with this sale at Bright Ideas Press.

15% of all sales at Bright Ideas Press and The Academy from Black Friday through Cyber Monday 2017 will be donated to Compassion International.

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