Saturday, January 29, 2011

Story of the World Links

Our current history curriculum is Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World. We love Susan’s books. Her short, but informative stories teach us much about the past. We use the main text along with the accompanying activity guide. We enjoy the provided activities but sometimes we feel that as great as the main curriculum is, it’s still lacking in some areas.

In my search to expand on Story of the World, I have been blessed to find many amazing sites. In this blog post, I will dive into each of them and share why we love them so much. Hopefully, our readers will also be able to find something useful to use as a supplement for SOTW’s history program.

My favorite site would have to be’s Mosiac curriculum outline. This program provides a wonderful guide for SOTW1 and SOTW2 which expands to cover great Literature, as well as history. This is actually the spine for our own daily lessons. I was able to locate many of the suggested books on or  This particular curriculum plan incorparates many great children's books and poems, an introduction to timelines, and much, much more.

Another favorite comes from Run of the Mill Family on The title of the blog is The Chronicle of the Earth and it covers both Story of the World 1 and Story of the World 2. Run of the Mill Mom provides excellent resources to use for both books. She has a full list of movies that can be used to supplement the stories and eras the books cover, as well as a full printable lapbook, printable card game, a SOTW jeopardy game and much more! This website is an amazing resource to use with this curriculum.
Yet another favorite website comes from This Mom knows her stuff and took a lot of precious time to create a great set of guidelines to use with SOTW. She provides a detailed list of supplemental books for you to use. Then further breaks the book down into each chapter and section, building upon it with more supplements and activities. She suggests related books, dvds, crafts, and even internet related sites. She shares a wealth of information to be used along with the book. This website is a wonderful resource for anyone using the Story of the World curriculum.
The next website is, which provides a downloadable eBook with workbook pages for SOTW1, which includes a two-day a week schedule. The pages rely on both the text and the guidebook for SOTW1.

The next website is called Our “Story of the World” Journey. This Mom has created a wonderful little website covering SOTW1 from the first chapter through chapter 15. She lists ideas, links and activities to go along with SOTW1. Some of the links go to short videos of the stories used in the book, and also some interactive sites to build on the stories and eras covered throughout the book.

Shannon’s Sharings is the next suggested website. Shannon shares TONS of ideas to use with the SOTW1 curriculum. Not all of the links on this site work but there is still a ton of useful and fun activities to do.

The last website comes from Jennefer at Smooth Stones Academy. Jennefer provides a guideline for using SOTW1 along with History Scribe, providing copy work and activities. She also provides a booklist created to be used along with SOTW2 and also SOTW4.

All of these websites provide something unique that can be utilized with the Story of the World curriculum. We truly hope you enjoy them and are able to find something that you can use on your own SOTW journey.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Migraine Day and Special Needs Effects {Epilepsy Awareness}

I woke up with a mild migraine this morning and knew I would have to return to the bed.  I hate days like this.  Migraines are the unfortunate side effect of having had Epilepsy as a child (for me and for my oldest daughter).  It's often hard to tell if a migraine, for me, is caused because of an imbalance (brain) or because of my sinuses, since both both me at times.  I believe this one was from an imbalance due to stress.

The last month as been an extremely busy one, filled with ups and downs, going here and there, and barely any time for rest.  This weekend was the last busy one for a month and didn't allow for a lot of rest, though there was a tremendous amount of fun for all involved.  I'm thrilled to have been a part of it and I'm just as thrilled for it to be over with. 

Dealing with a migraine is never fun.  Waking with one this morning, I knew I would spend most of my day in bed and I certainly have.  After napping to rid myself of the main effects of this major headache, then checking on my sweet children, I have gotten caught up with my world online.  There wasn't much else to do while waiting for my head to completely ease off.

I find that taking my allergy meds, which I do daily, taking an Aleve, drinking a Pepsi and eating a Hershey's chocolate bar, my headache will sometimes disappear, especially if I do all of this early in the process.  Today it's certainly worked for me, though I know from previous experience that it can return at any time.  A good nights sleep is what's needed to really keep this mild migraine from returning and turning into a Super-Sized-Sick-All-Around Migraine.

As I think about all my girls will go through with their Epilepsy and it's atrocious after-effects, I feel sad and a little guilty that I have passed this on to them.  It breaks a Momma's heart to know her children have something like this hidden illness that causes them to not be completely perfect health wise.  It breaks my heart to know all of the pain they have endured and will endure because of this disorder throughout their lifetime.  One never knows the effects Epilepsy will have on their life.  Until you become a parent with a child who has a disorder like this one, it's hard to understand HOW much it truly does effect a child's and a parent's life. 

Growing up, I knew the effects of Epilepsy as a person living with it.  I, thankfully, don't remember my convulsive seizures but I do remember the tests, the weirdness I sometimes felt when I had an Epileptic episode that was non-convulsive, and the sadness I felt when a teacher would yell at me because I wasn't "listening".  (No I wasn't listening because I was seizing and you didn't know it.)  The impact of this disorder on my own life caused me to relearn everything I could for my children when it became their turn to suffer through this.  It also impacted my decision to homeschool my children so that they wouldn't have to deal with an imperfected educational system set up for millions of children who are considered normal. 

I'm thankful that the effects of our busy season, the Holidays and Birthdays, has had mild effects on all my children.   I'm thankful that it's me sitting here with this mild migraine instead of the girls.  I'm thankful to know what they go through and know how to handle it, for the knowledge God himself has bestowed upon me. 

Recently, I had a friend tell me I home school because I'm afraid to let go of my children, that I do it for myself.  Maybe, partially, I do.  I know how easy it is for God to take a child home to Him.  I want to enjoy every selfish and selfless moment I have been given with these three beautiful children by Him.  I am afraid to lose my girls to this disorder, to let them go into an imperfect institution that is not prepared to handle their seizing IF it was to happen.  I cannot live with that maybe, that IF.  I would never forgive myself if something were to happen that could have been easily prevented at home, under guidance of someone who knew how to handle the effects of their disorder.

It's easy for anyone to look at my children and say "oh they look normal", or "there's nothing wrong with them".  Looks can be so deceiving and yes my children's respective disorders could be much worse than they are.  I'm thankful everyday that they aren't, that I am able by God's hands to be able to deal with each of their individual special needs.  The life of a Mom with special needs children is exhausting and it never ends.  There will be no end for my girls with this disorder, even if it goes into remission.  Like Cancer, Epilepsy can always return, unexpectedly at any time.  Until the day I die, I will be on my knees praying it goes away and does not return but even this is not a promise it won't.  However, when it comes up, when they have bad days, and good ones, I'll be there beside them battling away the demons and receiving the love and hugs and happy smiles that come.

For those wondering, my son does not have Epilepsy but he does have ADHD, as does my step-son, which is a disorder very similar to Epilepsy but instead of resulting in seizures that shut their bodies down, as Epilepsy does, ADHD results in hyperactivity and impulsiveness that is caused by over activity in the imbalances of the brain.  My son is not medicated for his disorder but my step-son is.  My son does not attend Public School because of his disorder and also his sisters disorders, while my step-son does attend, by his families choice. 

Both these disorders, Epilepsy and ADHD, treatments are very similar and can sometimes (not always) be controlled without medication by adjusting your child's schedule, sleep patterns, and home environment as my son and oldest daughters are controlled.  My youngest requires all of the above and also medication to control her seizures at this time but as time goes on I hope to be able to remove the medication and control her episodes through the same balance and structure provided for her older siblings.  Only time can tell what will happen with this.

When my oldest was going through the days and months of her first seizure, my brother told me the wisest piece of advice I know.  He said, "We dealt with this with you and made it through and we will deal with it and make it through hers too".  Funny that as time has gone on, due to his own life, we are no longer close, meaning he is no longer dealing with it (or my sister either for that matter, both because of their own choices in life) but his words have always stuck with me and they are definitely true.  I have made it this far, they have made it this far and I will keep fighting with and for them for all the things they each need to over-come their each of their special needs.

They have changed my life for the best and I would never have it any other way.  I'm thankful for the gifts they are in my life.  And if you've made it this far, thanks for reading my blah blah blah blog.

Have a blessed day!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January Update 2011

The past few weeks have been super busy for us.  We've had tons of company, Christmas, birthday, New Years, more company and now this weekend a sleep-over birthday party for the boys.  It's kept us going for a while now. 

The next few weeks should bring us a much needed break before yet another birthday party comes.  I am thankful since I'm pretty exhausted from this extreme busy-ness of life.  The social aspect weighs in heavily, on both good and bad sides.  The kids enjoy being around others but after a while they grow tired and ready to return to our normal slow and comfortable life without all the hoopla and excitement this time of year brings, until Summer comes around and the active fun starts up again. 

This week the kids have an appointment with a local doctor's office.  They haven't been in quite some time, mostly because they just weren't sick and it's hard to find a good office these days.  In fact, I've pretty much been the only one who's been terribly sick in the past few months but I'm happy to say that my never-ending cold seems to have finally gone away.  Anyways, the kids are doing great but I felt it was time for a permanent doctor and not an ER one.  I have some things to discuss about Laycie's speech, Emma's bedwetting and Winston's sudden onset of ADHD symptoms, which are probably contributed to hormone changes now that he's turned 10.  I'm sure these will be relatively easy things to cover at our visit this week and I will be happy to know the answers to these plus a couple of other questions I have. 

I recently downloaded a free program that I hope is the key to improve Winston's reading skills.  I haven't had a chance to try it out yet because of our busy weekend but I'm excited to get him started.  It involves a lot of listening and interaction that I think he will find simple enough to grasp but enjoyable to get him where he needs to be in Reading. I also plan to use it with Emma to increase her reading skills but she does pretty well with reading already.

I've started bedtime prayers with the kids again.  I don't know when I got away from them but somewhere along the way they have been pushed aside.  I bought a devotional to do with them and we do it in the girls' room everynight.  They really seem to enjoy it.  I know I do too.

I have a lot on my mind tonight.  My original intention was to come here to blog about family or something else I can't get out of my head right now but I hear the Lord telling me to wait, to listen, to be patient and faithful and full of Grace, to let go and move on and let Him (the Lord) handle this.  My heart weighs heavy, yet happily inside of me.  God will make this better, as He always does.

I'm excited my kids have had a wonderful weekend, that life is looking up for us and that I see happiness in their faces most days.  I know they are Home here.  They grow in Love here, though it's not always perfect.  ButI know God is proud of me, of us and for that I am most thankful.  Till the next time...

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dishes, Dishes

I used to absolutely HATE washing the dishes.  I remember when I was a kid, it was one of my chores to wash the dishes, dry the dishes, put away the dishes.  There were so many other things I'd rather be doing.  In fact, the only GOOD thing (to me) about doing the dishes was being able to sing my heart out with the radio while doing them. 

As a young adult, I still dreaded dish time.  I loved to cook, hated cleaning up the mess that came afterwards.  The hours (at least it seemed like hours) of standing at the sink, washing the dishes, rinsing the dishes, sticking the dishes into the dishrack.  Seemed that the process never ended.

For whatever reason, today I find that I actually LIKE to wash my dishes.  While it still isn't my FAVORITE chore (folding towels or straightening out a corner would probably be my favorite), it's not as bad as I used to think it was.  I enjoy eating from sparkling clean dishes.  I enjoy feeling not a crumb left behind on a plate or fork.  I like to see the nice clean, neat stacks filling up my cabinets and the clear space left on my countertop. 

I know by washing the dishes, drying the dishes and putting them away, I am doing a GREAT service to my children and my family.  I'm instilling in my children the importance of clean dishes and a clean, organized kitchen.  I'm blessing my family and thereby blessing God by keeping our eating and cooking area clean.  There is no better feeling than knowing I have made my Heavenly Father proud of me by doing something as simple as washing my dishes. 

Simple blessings are the BEST!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Ringing in the New Year

2011 is finally here! 

So far it's a lot like last year.  Nothing spectacular!

I'm bringing in this New Year with a cold.  Stuffy head, watery eyes, cough.  All the joyfulness of a winter bug!  Knock on wood, thus far, none of the kids really have it.  Laycie does have a bit of a cough but I'm hoping it goes away on it's own.  Winston and Emmalee are healthy as ever right now.  I'm very thankful that they have such strong health.

I'm currently debating starting school back tomorrow or waiting another couple of days until I feel better.  I don't know if I even have the energy for it all right now.  I suppose all I can do is wait until the morning to decide.

So for now, this short update is all I have.  I sincerely hope everyone else is having a wonderful beginning to 2011!


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