Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Most Homschooling Queens Look For

Some of the things that I do to get by as a homeschooling queen seem somewhat mundane, but in reality, there are certain activities that I know to be of interest to other queens, whether homeschooling or not. Let me start off by answering a few questions about my activities.

1. Yes, I try to feed my family healthful meals. This is not because I am a health nut, but because we have a variety of health concerns represented in my home, and nearly all of them can and have been improved with dietary changes. Does that mean that my children are never allowed to eat candy or fast food? Of course not. It just means that we try to be mindful about what we ingest as much as we can, and we talk about it often. This is one ongoing health class for which they will receive credit. The Three Princess already have a clear understanding of proper nutrition for general good health, adolescence, babies, and even gestational diabetic queens.

2. Like many homeschooling queens, I have a lot of work to do, and have less money to do it all with than I would have if I had continued working outside the home. Therefore, I do make my own cleaning supplies, including laundry detergent. In fact, we are at a point in our lives where making our own is not as necessary as it used to be, but it just makes sense to keep cutting corners where we can so that we can have more money to spend in other areas that need attention.

3. I don't qualify as a coupon queen, yet, but I'm fast getting there. There really is a trick to all of this, and if you want to know about it, leave me a comment.

4. I used to bake constantly so that we could have fresh baked goods all the time, without the expense. Now that I am on a carb controlled plan, I have traded my baking hobby for things like sausage, mayonnaise and salad dressing making. It's been good for the whole family to get away from even more of the store bought poisons on which most of us have been raised.

5. Homeschooling queens are supposed to be highly organized. I am always on a path to refine the organization of my household and homeschool. My dream is actually to go paperless, but the children do have to demonstrate that they can write on paper every so often. My greatest tool has been what I like to call The Mom Manual. It is merely a notebook with pocket folders, dividers, a pencil pouch and other little goodies that help me keep the inner workings of my household at my fingertips. Every queen should have one of these.

6. There are a few activities that I do for generating income in between homeschooling and household organization. I am a ChaCha guide, crochet items to sell, and mystery shop.

7. Stay tuned, because there is more to come!

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Monday, February 21, 2011

Homeschool Field Trips

Last Friday, the Three Princesses went to the I-20 Wildlife Preserve in Midland, Texas. It felt good to get them out of the house and out into nature after having been cooped up in the house for below freezing temperatures just a week or so before.

Unfortunately, there was not a lot of wildlife for us to see, but the tour guide showed the children a wood rat den that was made in the middle of a prickly pear cactus, a porcupine burrow, and an area that used to be covered in water, but is now full of millions of tiny seashells. He allowed everyone to go to that area to pick up seashells while he talked about them and about the various varieties of plants that grow in that area. There was also a pond with a duck swimming around all by himself.





Saturday, February 12, 2011

Free Groceries

I just signed up for this program, and it is amazing. I really feel empowered by the things that I am learning from RefundCents, and I know that you will, too. For just about all of my married life, I have read about, and have even known of a few moms that could buy hundreds of dollars worth of groceries and supplies for just a few dollars, but have never been successful. I've clipped coupons, watched the sales, etc. etc., but have never gotten home with much better than 50 percent off of my total bill. When I subscribed to RefundCents, I found out that there is a lot more to this than what I had been doing.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Cheerleader Abbey

This is Princess Abbey's second year to participate in Upward cheerleading through our local church. Today, due to illness, family emergencies, and other obligations, she only had herself and her best friend with which to perform. They both put on their bravest princess faces, and shook their pom poms to the beat of this:

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Homeschool Curriculum: Economics

I am signed up for a daily email fromClickschooling Every day, you will receive an email with a free lesson that can be found online. It might be a lesson plan, game, unit study, webcast or video. I enjoy this, because the links are often for fun things that we can do along with our regular lessons.

In my email for today, there were a few links to games for economics. We didn't have time to play all of the games today, but we did try and like Show Me the Future

"Show Me the Future" is a fun simulation game that lets your child make certain life decisions such as the type of job she will have, house, car, day care, food, clothing, etc.  Then, it randomly selects life events that add to or take away form her income.  The child wins if she can get to the end with some money left over in her checking out.  It was fun watching Princess Melody and Princess Abbey decide together, because one princess is more frugal then the other.  One princess disagreed with daycare, and wanted to cram her three children in a compact car, while the other wanted the best of everything and ended up broke.  Princess Melody pointed out when Princess Abbey wanted to give up and start over, that we don't get a reset button if we make bad decisions in real life. 

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Monday, February 7, 2011

Random Facts About the Queen and her Royal Family

The Queen seems to be suffering from writer's block, so she will tickle your blog reading pleasure with a few random facts about herself.

1. I am a public high school graduate.

2. I studied music in college, but became an insurance agent.

3. After a brief few years selling insurance, I became a work at home mom, which led me to start writing unit studies for the homeschool.

4. I decided to homeschool the Princesses during Princess Melody's rein in kindergarten. Incidentally, she is the only one of the Three Princesses that has ever been to school.

5. Proverbs 31 is my favorite passage in the Bible.

6. I have spent a year planning an organization that I would like to start in the near future.

7. Every time that I sell even one unit study or calendar, I am the happiest Queen that you will ever see.

8. Contrary to the belief of my fellow Queens, PAJAMAS ARE NOT CLOTHES! Ha Ha!

9. My favorite reality show is Wife Swap.

10. My favorite hobby is crochet.

11. My ringtone is "Jesus is Just All Right With Me" by the Doobie Brothers.

12. I am slightly color blind, which leaves the door open for the Three Princesses to poke fun at me.

13. My favorite food is Chinese.

14. I hate milk.

15. Sometimes I would like to be a "crunchy mama" but it just doesn't work out at my house.

16. I am in the process of trying to lose a phenomenal amount of weight.

Thanks for reading!
Laurel Santiago

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweet 16 Princess

My oldest, Princess Melody, will be 16 years old in May.

We have been planning her Sweet 16 birthday party for over a year.

This party will be patterned somewhat after the traditional quinceanera (15th birthday), except that we decided that 16 would be the best time to have this "coming of age" celebration. After all that Princess Melody has endured and accomplished as a member of the Santiago Kingdom, we felt that she should have her special, Queen for a Day celebration.

Without further ado, here are some facts about Princess Melody:

*She is one of only two girls in her hometown to have earned the highest honor that junior Girl Scout can receive.

*She was a Girl Scout for 7 years.

*She has been baton twirling in a parade corps for 5 years.

*She volunteered for our local nursing home for 4 years.

*She volunteered with a Methodist children's group called "Christ's Kids" for 2 years.

*She was an active member of our local homeschool group for two years.

*She is a Super Sitter.

*She is an avid reader, and loves things like opera, classical music, and art.

*Her favorite subject is history.

*She wants to study entrepreneurship in college.

*Her primary goals include starting her own business, and purchasing her first car and house while remaining debt free.

*By her 16th birthday, she will have completed all of the necessary requirements for high school.

*She only has two tests that will determine if she graduates now or later. One test is being imposed by me, as the criteria for ending her homeschooling. The other is one that will be required of the college that she has already selected for her first two years of entrepreneurship.

It has been a true blessing to be the mother of this special young lady.

Giving God All the Glory,
Laurel Santiago

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Duties of a Homeschooling Queen

You now know how the Three Princesses spend the greatest part of their days, but what do the queen's responsibilities entail?

I get out of bed before the rest of the family, and start on my household chores. To get a glimpse of what I do every day, please visit flylady

As soon as I get the house somewhat to my liking, I do my diabetic rituals of blood sugar testing, meds, and breakfast.

While I'm making breakfast, the Three Princess are getting dressed, and then I give my instructions for their school day while they eat.

If there are any errands to be run outside of the home, they have to be done before the king leaves for work. This can happen either before or after breakfast, and a princess often goes with me. Errands include grocery shopping, library, paying bills, etc.

While the Three Princesses do their lessons, I clean the kitchen. The computer is in the kitchen, and the kitchen tends to be my biggest job, so this allows me to clean and supervise at the same time. Then, of course, we fix lunch, and do a final clean up after that.

The Three Princess take a break, and I update my blog, respond to emails, etc.

After our break, we do the portion of the lessons that I have to do such as reading our living books out loud, and discussing them.

There is a small amount of time between these last lessons, and our after school activities, so I work for at that time.

Dinner is served after everyone gets home from activities, and then I get back on for my WHAM pleasure. This continues off and on between evening chores until bedtime.

Because the king's job requires him to work until after midnight, my bedtime is several hours after the Three Princesses have fallen asleep. That gives me time to work or write unit studies before the king arrives home for his supper. My day often ends very early the next morning.

After I settle into bed, I spend a short amount of time reading my own library books, or working on homework from my Bible study group. Although it is a short time, it is my quiet time, before turning in for my early morning nap.

Have a Great Day!
Laurel Santiago

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Day in the Life of The Three Princesses

Homeschool days tend to confuse people, because they picture homeschooling as being identical to public schooling, without the public school. Here is a glimpse of what most of our days are like.

The girls get out of bed a little later than many of their friends, primarily because we stay up later than those that have to attend school at certain hours.

I expect them to get dressed as soon as they get out of bed. No lounging around is allowed, because we have so much to do.

We get started on breakfast, and one princess works on her math lessons online, while the other princess straightens up their bedroom. When the first princess finishes math, they switch roles.

We have lunch.

After both princesses are finished with math, we read whatever living books we have chosen to read out loud. Currently, we are reading 90 Minutes in Heaven, and Beyond the Orphan Train.

After our readings, Princess Melody starts working on her ACT test preparation material, and Princess Abbey either reads her library book, or works on a project. Currently, she is working on a giant book of posters, each depicting a president and a few important facts.

If we are not in a hurry to get ready for an after school activity, the girls can work on their Youth Heritage Project, which is a very in depth study of certain aspects of American history.

Throughout the day, they are given credit on the Presidential Active Lifestyle Challenge, for housekeeping and exercise.

If you will notice, we are lacking some subjects, because early in the year, both girls completed their science, typing, economics, and several other courses that they began during the Summer months.

By the time all of the lessons are complete, and everyone is finished with her respective after school activities such as cheerleading, choir, or youth group, we have supper, and the girls spend the rest of their evening either visiting with friends, playing games, reading, or watching movies.