Teaching Driver's Education

Whether your child is in public school, private school, or homeschooled, most schools no longer offer driver's education, so parent-taught driver's education is the new normal.  We began using Aceable in August 2018 prior to our middle daughter's 15th birthday and really liked the program.  She has done really well driving.

We began again in December for our youngest daughter.  Not only does it teach the material students need to learn to pass the test and be prepared for driving, it has a phone app to help parents know what should be taught in what order as students begin their actual driving practice.

The items include:
  • After passing Lesson 1 and the test, she received a certificate showing she was ready for her learner's permit.
  • All the items we needed to take with us for her to receive her learner's permit were clearly listed so we had everything ready in a folder to take with us.
  • Reading the owner's manual and knowing where all the indicators are and what the various knobs and buttons do.
  • Knowing how to check the car for safety and road worthiness before driving
  • Stages of driving, like parking in a parking lot, driving down the street, etc.
If your 15-year-old (or almost 15-year-old) is ready to start driver's education, click this link for 25% off of Aceable.  (This is an affiliate link, so I will receive a little something for referring you if you sign up, but it won't cost you anything extra - actually, you get 25% off their price of any product. 😊 )

One added item:  When I began driving, we lived in a small town and even when we got on the highways, the maximum speed limit was 55 miles per hour.  Now, it is not uncommon to see speed limit signs of 65 to 85 miles per hour in Texas.  When there is no option to get where we are going other than to be on a state highway with posted speeds of 65-75 mph, it can get really scary when people are impatient with drivers who are driving the speed their reaction time allows.  We bought this set of car magnets for our middle daughter and will be putting them on the car today after getting our youngest daughter's driver's permit.  This is not an affiliate link, we just really liked them - and the price, only $7.99 + tax and free shipping for Amazon Prime members.


Preparing for College

Even as Early as Middle School


Did you know you can start thinking about college for your homeschool student as early as middle school.  We did.  Here are some tips:

1. Start enquiring about college requirements in middle school - and have your student make the calls and ask the questions with you on the phone.  (This works well with home phones with extensions.)
Do your research first by going on their website.

Do they offer the degree(s) your student is potentially interested in?

Where is the school located?  If it is far away, do you have family or friends reasonably nearby in the event of an emergency? 

 What is the mission of the school?  What is their focus?  If the website shows them to be all about sports and your student is more focused on arts and academics, that may not be the best school for your child, and vice versa.

Do they offer advanced degrees in your student's field of interest?

Do they offer ROTC, if your student is interested in going into the military reserves after college?  If so, which branch of the military sponsors the ROTC on that campus.

Look at their affiliations. Are they a state school, a religious school (and if so, which relgion / denomination), etc.?

 Find out what accreditations they have.  Some universities will only accept credits from schools with certain accreditations.  If you don't see that on their list, ask when you call.

 Look at their approved organizations.  This can tell you a great deal about the makeup of the college or university.

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Trim Healthy Mama Oat Tortillas


THM Oat Fiber Wraps - With FLAVOR


    We live in Texas.  As such, we LOVE our Tex-Mex, and not just on "Taco Tuesdays."

    If you saw the January Menu Planners, this week was my older daughter's week to do meal planning for Home Ec.  She had planned to have enchiladas for lunch.  I found a THM Oat Fiber Wrap recipe last night on he Trim Healthy Mama recipe website and had all he ingredients to make them, so I figured I would.

    While I have masa to make homemade corn tortillas - and even have some store bought corn tortillas around, to lose weight, my husband and I need a low-carb tortilla.  These fit the bill perfectly because they have no net carbs and are non-fat, too.  With my modification, they may have 1 net carb per tortilla.

    Today, we had breakfast burritos that had my husband saying things like, "These are AWESOME!"  "I can't wait for you to make them again!"  "You should sell these!"  My daughters each had 2 1/2 breakfast burritos.

    For supper, we had chicken enchiladas using these tortillas.  After supper, my husband exclaimed, "These are the best tortillas I've ever had!"

Top: Breakfast burritos with bacon.  Bottom: chicken enchiladas and Caesar salad.

Critical Data Hack - Were You Exposed?

According to MSN's Money web site, over 770 million email accounts have been breached along with passwords.  I personally have followed the link to find that some of my information, was among some of the largest leaks and one was critical.

I am taking action and changing account information on those that have been compromised immediately.

I highly recommend using the insights they provided to find if your data was leaked and from where so you can also take corrective measures right away.  To find out if your email address and/or password were hacked, go to: https://haveibeenpwned.com/.  This page lets you check your email address first.  Next, you can select the tab "Passwords" to find out if your passwords were compromised.

If you find that your data was leaked, you can scroll down a bit and discover from where it was leaked and what level of information was included in the leak.  It could be simply an email address or worse, an email address with a password, or other more serious information like address, family information, and so forth.

To give you an idea of if you might been part of a leak, if you had any of the following types of accounts: Bitly, Disqus, Forbes, LinkedIn, and more.  However, the leak referred to in this instance with the 770 million plus accounts exposed is called Collection #1.  This leak is an compilation of over 2000 previous leaks.

What action can you take:
  • If your passwords were compromised, change them to very strong passwords immediately and don't reuse the compromised passwords for anything.  
  • If your email address was compromised, find a new one and treat it like you would if you had to change your phone number: Contact those people who need to contact you and give them your new information and omit the others.
  • Write your passwords for your accounts in a book that you keep in a safe or safe deposit box. This way you know what they are.  Paper in your home safe or in a bank's safe deposit box cannot be hacked.  (If someone did break in to either to steal information, you would also know right away unlike with hacked data.) Doing this is also important should anything happen and you were to die so that your family can get all your accounts squared away that need to be.
I cannot recommend the password managers recommended on this site as I do not have enough information about them.  Furthermore, Any online that can store your password can ultimately be hacked - and those that are known to store crucial information of that sort are the ones most likely to be targeted by hackers.

Why We Homeschool – A Reminder of Our Purpose and Calling

There are days when we, as homeschoolers, wonder if we are doing the right thing.  We each have a time when we re-evaluate this choice for any number of reasons.  Sometimes it’s just a hard day.  Sometimes it is a hard season in life.  I want to encourage you in this journey.

We do this because we love our children more than anyone else does and even though they push us, that “pushing” results in growth in us.  We grow in patience, kindness, meekness (strength under control – God’s control), mercy, forgiveness, and the ability to confess our failures and shortcomings as examples to our children when we do not exhibit these fruits.
Our children are God’s instruments to help us grow in knowledge, understanding and love for Him.  This is just what we do for our children.  Just as we "push" (challenge) them to try new things, not give up on hard things, be diligent, thorough, work on communication skills, learn life skills, do jobs completely rather than half-way, integrity, honesty, compassion - so much more than reading, 'riting, and 'rithmetic.
We are creating people who will be kingdom people even as we strive for that goal ourselves each day. We fail, we confess, God picks us up, dusts us off - and sometimes dusts our pants because we need it, and loves us - and through watching us, our children learn these things.
It's not how many times they fail, or we fail, it's how many times we reach out to God for help and knowing we have a faithful, loving, Heavenly Father to help guide them and us to be the people he has in mind for us to be.
I'm sharing this as a print-out that you can put on your refrigerator, above your desk, or wherever you need this  to remind you - and for me to remind myself - of our higher purpose and calling in this adventure.  God bless you today and always! - Tammy

Are You Set for Emergencies?

In the past week, the Southeast has endured a hurricane - some people experiencing additional flooding while having not recovered from the previous hurricane.  Here in Central Texas, we are getting water logged with flooding and suddenly cold temperatures - from the mid-90's to mid-40's, while the northwestern part of Texas is already getting near-freezing temperatures for the highs.

We had a tornado near us on Tuesday of last week (10/9/18).  Unfortunately, the local emergency management system didn't work right that day.  Even though I have a land-line phone which should automatically receive a phone call for such an emergency, the call did not come through that day.  No cell phones that were signed up for EMS alerts received them.  An email was sent out - but most of us got it 2 hours after the fact.  (Thankfully, we were okay, but it is frightening to think that we had no way of getting an alert that day.  Living in the country, we can't hear tornado sirens.)

Nonetheless, we took inventory of bug-out-bags.  The girls have grown and the temperatures have dropped, so it was time to make sure we had clothes that fit for the right season,  We also checked key emergency supplies and verified that the snacks are still in good shape.

We did know more rain and much colder temperatures were coming before they hit Monday.  Hopefully everyone took note and got their firewood in.  The flooding was not quite expected, however.  We are on alert for roads and bridges to flood.  Many areas have low-water crossings that flood easily.  Even so, one of the main rivers through the county may crest at 30' today - which will close some major roads, limiting access to communities.

It is a good time to remember to have plenty of food on hand to last a couple of weeks or more for everyone - especially things that can be prepared without electricity should the power go out.  Also, check to make sure that everyone has enough medicine on hand should roads but cut off due to flooding or snow.

Some people also experienced phone and Internet outages with AT&T's outage on Monday.  If you are not currently signed up to get emergency alerts, do check with your local emergency management service to make sure you can receive alerts on your phone and emails.

Check your supplies and be safe.

Succeeding At Homeschooling

A couple of my friends shared this post today: https://bethanyishee.com/homeschool-gaps/

I wanted to applaud the author, Bethany Ishee, and add a couple of my own thoughts to hers:

One of the things I love most about homeschooling is re-learning the science or history I learned incorrectly in school. I knew in fifth grade that not everything they taught in school or that my teacher said was always the truth after Mt. St. Helens blew and there were several aspects of that eruption that did not match with what was taught. For example, that it took millions of years to petrify trees, and some other misinformation regarding mountain formation.

There were things I went to research to tell the girls for history that I had been taught - only to find those things totally untrue. If we are willing to learn, we continue to learn and grow, and sometimes have to unlearn. For example, not only did Marie Antoinette not say, "Let them eat cake," she was not referring to the first, burned loaf of bread from the oven, and she did not say, "Let them eat brioche." The phrase was one penned by Rousseau in Confessions when Marie Antoinnette was only nine and published later when she was twenty-six, eleven years before her demise.

There are things I teach my girls at young ages telling them, "I don't expect you to remember this exactly, but just to plant a seed so that when you are exposed to this later, you'll have some recollection of it so it is easier to grasp when you are older rather than it being a totally new concept." They appreciate that they get to learn some new things that they don't have to memorize or be tested on at the time, but that they get to experience and experiment with at a younger age for fun.

Some people struggle with spelling. I struggle with dates - especially battles in wars. As an adult, I had new books I could read that I didn't know about in school, new media available to help present the history in a new way, etc. These things gave me a fuller picture of history than I had in school. Textbooks can only teach so much, it takes experience and practice and immersion to learn many things. What things are most important depend on what one's goals are.

This cemetery in Georgia was important in the Civil War. I didn't know anything about it until my husband's uncle was interred there.

If we succeed in generating a love of learning, the learning won't end with us. If we succeed in teaching diligence and discipline, their continued ability to apply themselves to learn those things they need for their career or just for a hobby and enjoyment will propel their success. If we succeed in giving them a can-do attitude - or at least a willingness to try new things attitude - they will grow and have new experiences that add to their quality of life and to the depth of the person they are.