Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Minions Discussion Guide

My daughter and I were fortunate enough to attend a screening for the movie "The Minions." If you'd like to read my review, head over to iFamilyKC (link will be posted ASAP). My daughter and I left feeling like we couldn't stop at just writing a review. We usually discuss movies after watching them and this time we wanted to share some questions with your family as well.

  • What were the minion looking for? 

  • What happened when the minions were in the cave? What 

  • What is a leader? What qualities make someone a good leader?

  • What made Kevin a good leader? Would you have gone with him?

  • What did the Nelson family do right? What did they do wrong? 

  • Why did Stuart give the crown to Scarlet? What would you have done?

  • After the queen gave the gifts to the minions, do you think they were satisfied?

  • Why did the minions follow Gru?

  • Did the minions learn anything from what happened with Scarlet?

What other questions would you add to this list?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Is Today Your June 8th?

June 8th was a normal day until 2010. Five long years ago that sometimes feels like only a few days ago. A few of our family and friends prayed around my grandma’s hospital bed. As I told her that I loved her, she squeezed my hand. This would be her last communication with anyone. A few hours later she slipped peacefully into the arms of her Lord after a brief battle with cancer. She was the woman I wanted to be when I grew up and I still look to her example. Strong, patient, kind and everything good. The glue that held our family together. Always willing to fill a need, even when that meant helping to raise her granddaughter. Even now, there are days when I pick up the phone to share exciting news or ask her advice, forgetting that she won’t answer.
Little did I know that  June 8th would strike again just as hard. This time, it was my dad. The dad I never really knew. We met several years ago but the relationship didn’t last long.  Birthday text messages and Christmas cards continued through the years, but nothing more. Through that brief relationship I was blessed with several siblings and a large extended family who embraced me like I always belonged to them. Ironically, I was with one of those cousins and her family when I got the news that my dad had passed, also of cancer. That was the day he became the dad I would never really know.
Such different pains but both hurt so deeply. One longing for a relationship that I was able to fully experience and therefore know what I would be missing and the other sadness for a relationship I never really had and now never would experience. Two completely different people who had nothing in common until June 8th.

So today, as tears roll down my face and knots fill my stomach, I hope that people will give me a little extra grace if I snap at them or stare off into space. My head is full before my day even begins. I think back to a lady that our family cared for and her hatred for April 27th (my birthday). To her, it was the worst day of the year because her husband died on that day. And now I understand. I probably have a little more compassion for the cashier who may be grumpy or the waitress who may seem distracted because the day I encounter them may be their June 8th.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Using the Library to Homeschool

If you've been to one of my talks about getting started homeschooling, here are the resources I referred to:

Cathy Duffy's Reviews - reviews of many homeschool curriculums
Tapestry of Grace - classical integrated unit study curriculum (please use referral code aprilnourse)
Khan Academy - online learning site
Homeschool Legal Defense  - homeschool resources and legal information
Families For Home Education - Missouri homeschool organization
Midwest Parent Educators - Kansas City area homeschool organization
Mardel - homeschool store and online resources
Beautiful Feet - history & literature curriculum
Rainbow Resource - curriculum vendor
Write Shop - composition
Christian Light Education - homeschool materials
Timberdoodle - hands on homeschooling
Home Science Tools - science materials
KONOS - homeschool curriculum
Simply Grammar - grammar curriculum

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Prepping for a Homeschooling Convention

I was so naive when I went to my first homeschool convention. I thought that I could just show up, listen to some speakers, peruse the vendor hall and leave with everything I needed for the next school year. I was so wrong. Will you please let me help you not make the same painful mistake? From the moment you decide to attend, preparation must begin.

If reasonable, get a babysittter and book a hotel near the convention. These aren't necessary but will help you focus on the task at hand. I know moms who go as a group and leave the dads home with the kids and I have friends who use this as a couples getaway. Our kids are old enough that I want their input so we bring them and all of us stay near the convention.

At the minimum, make a list of the subjects you'd like to cover and your budget. If you have some specific thoughts on providers, jot them down too. Be warned that you may change your mind, but have a plan. As soon as you can get a list of vendors and speakers, mark the ones you want to visit and keep that with your list.

If you have some time, visit websites and stores (we love Mardel) to check out curriculum. This will help you get to know your options and the prices. Homeschooling friends are also great resources and will often let you look through their materials. Cathy Duffy offers helpful reviews on most of the top resources. 

On the day of the convention, wear good shoes and be prepared to take notes for later. I know many people who browse on day one, review the materials that evening and buy on day two. Even if you have only one day at your event, I tell people to pack a lunch so that you can take a few minutes to leave the building, sit outside in the sunshine and regain your thoughts after a morning of information overload.

Lastly, know that if you leave without buying everything you needed, that's ok. Unless I really know that it's something I will use and/or the discount at the convention is significant, I'm ok with paying a little more later. I'd rather be certain that have unused curriculum at the end of the year because of an impulse buy.