September, 2011

Back to School

September 20, 2011
posted by Tia in Learning

“Don’t you just love New York in the fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies.”

Tom Hanks (in You’ve Got Mail) is on to something here. I’ve never seen New York during autumn, or any other season, but I just take this as proof that there is a universal “something in the air” this time of the year. Just breeeeeathe in that air, will ya? That says school time.

I was homeschooled. I am the oldest of quite a few children, and my mother has homeschooled every one of us—rain or shine, sleet or hail. (Luckily, we rarely had to venture out in any unpleasant weather as we did the majority of our homeschooling at home. Go figure. :-)) Schooling, for us, was a way of life rather than a seasonal necessity, so we didn’t really take the summer off. Perhaps we eased up a bit on the tougher subjects, and did more Science and P.E. in the great outdoors. But for the most part the regular flow of life carried on.

Summer afforded us just enough of a break, though, that by the time the local schools were airing out and preparing for a new year, we were ready to jump back in with both feet and recommit to all those things we were excited to learn. I’ve heard of lots of fun things that homeschooling families do to celebrate “back to school” like a special breakfast, field trip, etc., but we never really did anything like that. We did, however, always take advantage of the Back to School sales.

As a youth I had somewhat of an obsession with school supplies. I loved them. I would spend babysitting money on new pencils, pens, notebooks, and folders. Give me a new binder with tabs and paper and I was in heaven. I loved to write, and doodle, and write, and plan, and make lists. I finished a handful of stories that I wrote while I was young and started dozens that never survived past the first page (sometimes they didn’t even make it past the title).

The funny thing is that I had no idea until I was much older that “Back to School shopping” for most kids had more to do with clothing than with school supplies. Tehehee. Boy, was I socially backwards. How silly of me to think that a notebook was more relevant to school than Nike. 🙂

Be that as it may, I’m happy to say that I seem to have passed on my special brand of “Back to Homeschool” supply giddiness. We took the kids on a shopping trip two or three weeks ago, and when we got them each new art books and notebooks, they couldn’t have been happier. Even the two-year-old was dancing down the aisles with his specially picked notebook covered in green (his favorite color).

There is definitely something in the air in late August, and early September. Is it really the shifting of the seasons we sense, the drop in temperature? Is it just feeling a readiness for cooler days ahead because we’re tired of summer’s pace? Who knows. But almost every year there’s a morning that I wake up, and there it is. Something in me thrills to the new season and I know this is it. I’m excited, I’m ready, and I announce at breakfast: “Okay kids, today we’re starting school again!”

Eat What You Can

September 11, 2011
posted by Tia in Living

Here I am to share a neat lesson passed down from my Great-Grandmother, as well as give you a peek at what has kept me too busy to do much of anything on the computer all week.

My Grandpa recently shared with me something that his mother used to say. This grandma, incidentally, was a remarkable woman that I may have to write more of in the future. We even named Sunshine for her. Here is some wisdom from her:

“Eat what you can. What you can’t, can.”

I love this. Love it. It will become a tradition around our house as well, I believe.

I didn’t do all that much canning this week. The kids and I did lots of things together during the day, and then I let the canning cut into my free evenings (and hence into my computer time). One evening, though, I did some peach jam early enough that Captain volunteered to come and help me (for a little while).

Yep, we ate what we could out of two large boxes of peaches, and then I made a couple batches of jam with some of it and froze what was left. You’ve got to love the irony in a canning day with kids though, right? It tends to go something like this around here:

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

“Well, sweetie, I can’t really fix you anything right now, because I’m busy canning healthy, organic, sugar-free, juice-sweetened homemade peach jam so that I can feed our family well in the off-season. Hmm, how would you like to snack on this cracker which is loaded with refined sugars, flours, and addicting flavor enhancements?”

“Sure, Mom! You’re the best!”

Okay, maybe it’s not always that bad. 🙂 Depends on what I’m canning. Sometimes I can just offer them one of the fresh peaches I’m cutting up, if they’re not already too sick of eating what they can of it.

Here we are making jam. Captain has gotten pretty good at using a butter-knife while he waits impatiently until he’s old enough to use a “real” one.  And yes, that is my two-year-old doing dishes in the background!

Wonderful work for a kid to help with! I’m planning to post soon on our “teaching kids to work” endeavors, as well as adventures with letting kids help out in the kitchen….

Thankfully my husband stepped in after a while and suggested I use one of our food processor gadgets to chop the peaches. What a good idea. That sped things up a lot.

I’m almost caught up on the canning for now, I just need to do one more batch of tomatoes. Until I get more food we can’t eat all of, anyway. 🙂

So just remember: Eat what you can. What you can’t, can.  ….And then, you can eat what you can!!

Do you can? What kind of things? I’m still learning!


I am a Mormon

September 5, 2011
posted by Tia in Loving

Hi, I’m a Mormon! That is, I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Before I launched HomeMade Learning, I debated for a while about whether to keep the blog non-denominational or not. There are so many wonderful Christian blogs that I love whose authors never specify which church they belong to. And I certainly didn’t want to scare away readers because I was open about my religion and they were worried that I would get preachy.

I soon realized, however, that it would never do to try and hide it. Perhaps if I was blogging about crafts, or cooking, or gardening, it might work. But my goal here is to share my ponderings; my personal ongoing education that is centered in the gospel; my home school where I am teaching my children the things that are closest to my heart. No, it would never do. The gospel of Jesus Christ is too much a part of who I am to hide it for long. So instead of beating around the bush, here, I’ll whack it: I’m a Mormon, everybody!! 🙂

That said, you are so welcome here! I don’t care what church you belong to—if you even belong to one at all. I hope that this will be a place where readers can find truth, ideas, and inspiration, whether you agree with all of my specific beliefs or not. Always, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Yes, Mormons are Christians! Christ’s name is right in the name of our church. If you are Christian, we will definitely have a lot in common. I will be very open about my beliefs, and you may have noticed that I quote LDS (Latter-Day Saint) scripture and general authorities frequently. But I don’t plan to be preachy. I’m just sharing with you bits of my heart, and these things are in my heart.

If you ever have any questions, religious or otherwise, please ask!! Leave a comment, or you can contact me. If you are curious about the Mormons, this site is there to help satisfy your curiosity. And this site is the main website for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

During the last two weeks I’ve done more back-end work on the blog, been flat on my back ill, and then up on my feet helping my house to recover from the resultant neglect. But I’m back! Welcome, if you are new! I hope you stick around, and share your thoughts with me as I share mine.


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