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Category: Blogging about Blogging

The sortable literature list was down for a few months, it is now working again.

Also, my web hosting company had a technical failure on the server that hosted this blog, so Satori Smiles was down or very slow/unresponsive for the past few weeks. They finally moved my sites to a new server and it seems to be working fast once again. Now, to ask for a month or two credit for it being down so long!

I will slowly start blogging once again. Satori also has a new blog she started this spring for her stories, I will share that URL soon. In the meantime, we are in the process of building her a new computer. Daddy took her old one into his office, but it will be nice to have her computer be right next to mine in the Learning Loft once again.

Someone suggested to put my curriculum addiction to good use and become a homeschooling consultant. While I am not prepared to take that big step, I will try to continue writing curriculum reviews and photo-document our experiences. It’s something I love to do, and love to see on other blogs as well.

Probably not coincidentally, I’m being bombarded with requests to post about some of the curriculum we’ve been using or are just starting. I happen to be in a blogging mood which will hopefully carry throughout the week, so as soon as we finish up our lessons today, I will start blogging our experiences with the following new programs we’re using:

  • MCT Island (specifically Grammar Island for now, as we’ve just started)
  • Getty-Dubay Italics Handwriting – Book B (B is 1st grade, may show sneak peek of book C)
  • Reading for the Gifted Student (reading comprehension workbook we just started and really like)
  • EPGY Math and LAW
  • First Language Lessons 3 (just started, so may take a week to get this one up)
  • Evan Moor Daily Geography Practice – Grade 2
  • Evan Moor Word a Day

Also I plan to give some updates on programs that are not quite so new to us:

  • Singapore Primary Math 1B
  • Wordly Wise 3000 Grade 2
  • Elementary Spanish
  • Song School Latin
  • Evan Moor
  • Explode the Code 8 (our last post, as we’re finishing this up)
  • All About Spelling
  • Math Mammoth
  • Growing with Grammar
  • SOTW
  • RSO

Later this month, I’ll post our experience with new curriculum that we are starting asap:

  • Winning with Writing – Grade 3 (brand new writing program from the creators of Growing with Grammar)
  • Singapore Science My Pals Are Here (just got the last books today, we’ll start tomorrow)

If there’s something you want to see more, feel free to comment on this post or email me. My PMs on forums fill up fast, so you can always contact me through this blog via the Contact Form or leaving a comment.

I received an email last week asking how I do it all.  I often get these emails and forum private messages along these lines. Well, here I’m admitting I most assuredly cannot do it all. I took a week break from blogging just to try to get more balance in other things in my life.

First of all, although my goal this year is to homeschool 2-3 hours a day (Tuesday through Friday), the reality is that it is more like 1-2 hours a day. That is enough time to get everything done that I need to do… IF I wasn’t addicted to blogging itself, perusing homeschooling forums, and reading about homeschooling. If it wasn’t for those addictions, things would be much easier.

I’m a night owl, and thus do not get up very early. I’m happy if I can get up before 9am. I haven’t even had breakfast yet and it’s almost 11am. Satori’s already had her breakfast and she’ll be drinking a carrot juice with me in the next 20 minutes. Then we’ll tackle about one hour of homeschooling.

After that I’ll encourage her to play while I do my own stuff. We will probably take a few hours today to go to Boulder to get groceries. We’ll hang out at a nice park enjoying the beautiful weather. Then, I’ll hope we’ll get to a second hour or two of homeschooling in the late afternoon.

That’s it. I have no strict schedule. I have a very relaxed and casual approach. Some days we might not even get to homeschooling at all! Some weekend days we’ll put in an hour. We homeschool year-round, so I don’t worry about sticking to a schedule.

I slack. I am currently slacking on history, art, writing, and music. I can go for months without doing some subjects.

We eat simply. I buy a lot of books and am obsessed with homeschool planning so I don’t have a lot of money or time to cook gourmet meals. Well, who am I kidding, I’ve never been much of a cook.

We don’t hire cleaning help. So it’s not unusual for me to take an entire day or two of from homeschooling to clean the house. You may only see pictures of neat rooms in this blog, but rest assured that they were tidied up before taken. 🙂 I can’t concentrate in the middle of messes, so I try to keep the main areas clean and tidy, but sometimes that’s not possible. Currently our bedroom, playroom, office, and garage are a whirlwind mess.

If I’m in one of my homeschool obsession moods (you’ll know when I blog a lot), then I may not have time to take care of myself the way I should. I think I’ve gained 5 pounds or more since last fall. I hate that, and who wouldn’t. So this past week that I’ve been not blogging, but have been exercising and eating healthy. We’ve been enjoying the nice spring weather outside. Getting to know our local ducks in Boulder Creek…

I seem to have quite a bright daughter and I worry that I don’t challenge her enough. (This could be a separate blog post.)

I also am aware that it seems that I spend a lot of money on homeschooling books and such. I guess I do, but that’s just where I put my priority. We don’t buy often clothes, shoes, purses, fancy house stuff, expensive dinners… Here’s my signature tag I use on the homeschooling forums, and the truth for me is even worse, lol.

“If I have a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus

I follow links coming into my blog sometimes and I see what some people think of me.

What I do have is passion. Whatever I decide to embark upon I put 110% of myself into it. That reflects in the way this blog is organized and our homeschooling aspects are detailed so thoroughly. I can’t help but make lists… lists of books we read, lists of curriculum we use, lists of homeschool area photos, etc… But it also probably doesn’t show the real me. In real life I’m not so organized.

That’s brutal honesty. I can’t do it all and I’m not as on top of things as some people believe. There are some things I cannot change about myself, but some that I can. I’ll try to take the things I can improve upon and work on those.

Although I love blogging everyday, and love hanging out on homeschooling forums, I need to have a healthy balance. (I think I blog about this at least once a year.) I am going to try to blog just a few times a week, rather than everyday. I am going to limit my time on forums. I’ll be making sure I get my healthy “me” time. I’ll be trying to hit up the neglected subjects, while at the same time, keeping my relaxed attitude so we can take advantage of the beautiful spring weather and just being happy as a family.

Let’s see how it goes.




I updated my WordPress blog to the latest and greatest version a few weeks ago, but unfortunately, all of a sudden my categories were not working correctly. None of the dropdowns on the main menu worked, and many links were broken. Only today did I sit down to figure out why and aim to fix it.

The culprit was a certain feature I was using, so I deactivated it and now it all works! Many apologies for the broken blog. This week I’ll be working on going through all two years of my posts and making sure it is all organized and tagged intuitively. Broken links will be fixed. Feedback is appreciated if you have on how organization can be improved.

Also, I am getting ready to post a series of blog posts showing examples of every single curriculum program we are using. People who are already using the program, or already use a different program may not be so interested, so apologies ahead of time. One of the main reasons I keep this blog is to help people decide whether a certain program are for them. Keep in mind that what may work for our family may not work for yours. I tend to get very excited about what we use sometimes, but think of your child’s and your learning and teaching styles before you get tempted into something that may not work out.

Programs first up will be our first days with Singapore Math 1B and our year with Growing With Grammar.

Not much to blog about today, as it’s Satori’s school day which takes up our day from 6am to 5pm, so we’re exhausted.

We did a random number based on the number of entries and the winners have all been contacted. As I hear back from them, I’ll post their first names here. One surprising thing, is I had THREE books to giveaway! I found four copies of the art book, I guess I had stocked up for a multilple-winner giveaway. One copy we’ll keep of course, the others will be shipping to their new homes.

Thanks everyone for participating!

First off, I apologize for the site expiring and going down for a few hours yesterday. Oops! It marked the day of the SatoriSmiles blog Two Year Anniversary! Exactly two years ago, I decided to homeschool and used one of the available domains I had. So this isn’t the most “homeschooly” domain name, but it sure is full of Satori’s smiles. That’s because we love homeschooling! At the time, I didn’t tell anyone in our family I started homeschooling Satori, but pointed them to this blog as documentation on how Satori could learn at home. Everyone was amazed with her progress.  Two months later, we all knew that homeschooling was a tremendous success! From not being able to write her name at daycare at age 4, to writing storybooks at age 5, it truly has been an amazing experience for us.

To celebrate, I am doing a doing a Giveaway of the book Lives of the Great Artists by Charlie Ayres. I have two copies to giveaway to two random commenters on this post. Monday, February 21, the two winners will be announced and these books will be going to them.

NOTE: This is a children’s book on the great artists, but there are a few images that may not be for sensitive children (artistic nudity, violence). I am not worried for Satori, but for those of you who this might be a concern, read Dawn’s (nestof3) Amazon review for a head’s up on the images you may want to cover up. If you are a winner, and wish to not receive this book (or already have it), I have another book for a giveaway – Andy and the Lion. This is one of the FIAR program’s books, suitable for ages 4-8.

I decided to give away the Art books above, because this year we started really learning about art, and our family’s lives feel so much more enriched. We started using Meet the Masters program (through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op) and so far we’ve learned about Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassat, Piet Mondrian, and Picasso. A few other artists we’ll be learning about this spring include Monet, O’Keefe, Degas, Frida Kahlo and Matisse. Satori has been to people’s houses and she can point out their artwork and tell everybody who did it. I love Meet the Masters!

Here’s a few pictures we have up on our wall from our various art programs, including school (she attends on Mondays).

This is from our general art program, Artistic Pursuits. This lesson was “Artists Communicate”. Here Satori communicated using body and facial expressions what fun it was to meet her best friend Sophia at school. She even used perspective to draw in a smaller (further away) person behind the pair.

Thanks to all those who have commented and encouraged me to get my act together again in regards to this blog! My computer that I have Photoshop (what I use to edit photos) on started dying back in December and so it’s been over two months since I’ve picked up my camera or opened up Photoshop. Slowly, I saved up enough money to build my own ultimate computer and today I re-installed Photoshop and everything I need to start blogging again. That’s not my only excuse why I haven’t been blogging, but it’s probably the most important one. I always seem to get thrown off after we go on a long vacation though.

Here’s a few photos from our cruise trip. Here’s our ship, the Norwegian Epic, only four months since it first set to sea!

Our little inside stateroom, which was actually not as cramped as we were expecting. Not shown are the bathroom and shower area. Everything was very efficiently situated in the room.

Satori went on the water slides every single day.

Satori with a fresh flower given to her by a little Mexican girl on one of our stops.