Know The Homeschool Law

As it comes close to the end of July, there are homeschoolers across Pennsylvania that already have homeschool days in for the year.  The Pennsylvania homeschool year can begin on July first, as long as you have your affidavit and other paperwork handed into the school district.

Note above, that I said ‘handed in’ and NOT ‘approved’.  The school district superintendent does not need to approve your plan.  You may begin counting days as soon as you have handed in your required paperwork.  I do always, however, recommend obtaining a receipt that you did hand that paperwork in.  This was the first year that my school district superintendents secretary didn’t shake her head when I handed her my own receipt for her to sign.  I always make sure that I have specifically listed each and every document that I have handed in and have a signature to show evidence of doing that should anything turn up missing later.

As you begin the new homeschool year, I urge you to review the law.  KNOW the law yourself.  Do not depend on others to know it for you.  One would hope that you have good resources around you – other homeschool moms/dads, homeschool co-op members, and your evaluator – but do NOT depend on these people to know everything there is to know.  Sometimes they have it wrong.  Sometimes an entire community has it wrong.  So read it yourself and find a truly reliable source that really will know that law inside and out so you aren’t overlooking a necessary component to following the law AND so that you aren’t doing something totally unnecessary.

As a case in point:  When I moved to a new community 6 years ago, I was surprised that everyone around me seemed to be studying Pennsylvania history each and every year.  This confused me and I double checked.  No, Pennsylvania history is not a requirement every year.  It simply needs to be covered at some point during the elementary years and again, at some point, during the secondary years.  This is true of all of the subjects.  None of them NEED to be covered each and every year except for the regular and continuous instruction in the dangers and prevention of fires. Nor do you have to do school subjects on days you have field trips because, no, you do not have to work on all of your subjects every day.  However, somehow a lot of people in this community had been given a different impression.  Even some evaluators were under that impression…so… please be sure to double check everything you are told for yourself.

For further information regarding the law, please see my previous posts:  Pennsylvania Homeschool Law , Pennsylvania Homeschool Law #2, Homeschooling in Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania Homeschool Graduation Requirements.

So while your homeschool parent friends, co-op leaders and evaluators are usually wonderful sources for curriculum information, sharing ideas, emotional support and yes, even knowledge of the law, double check that information – especially about the law.  Do not ASSUME what they say to be true really is.

When I double check the law, the people I always go to as my number one source are the Pennsylvania representatives of HSLDA.  HSLDA representatives have always been able to answer my questions, big and small, within a 48 hour time period- usually much quicker.  While I understand the cost of being a member can be expensive for some families, I see it as a very worthwhile insurance policy if you are able to afford it.  Their website itself offers a ton of information that I can always be sure of the legal accuracy of the information.

What is your favorite source to KNOW THE LAW?

If you have questions about the Pennsylvania homeschool law – or other questions about homeschooling in general, let me know.  I’m always looking for subjects to write about!



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Twenty Two Years Ago.


                         We invited others to share in our joy and our commitment.


I married my best friend.


He is still the one I laugh with, live for, dream with and love.


Hand in hand, we will venture forth – sharing in the sacrament God led us to and leads us in every day.

I love you Theodore Federoff.  YOU are my one and only.  Forever.

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Great Cabbage – Paleo Skillet Dish

I’ve been making some really good cabbage.  Both in terms of the slang word for money and the Brassica family.  :)

I’ve been selling lots of things on a local Facebook page for online garage sales.  So far I have decluttered my home of videos, unused wii games, baby toys, games, a keyboard, various books, and a few kitchen items and cookbooks and I’ve been saving that cabbage to go towards purchases for the new house.  (Closing Date Coming Soon!)

In other parts of my kitchen, I’ve been making cabbage that is good enough to eat (even by my son who used to turn up his nose at the stuff).  I used to make fried cabbage about once or twice a summer simply because my husband and I loved it.  Secondly, because cabbage is really cheap for a meal (thus saving the other kind of cabbage).  But my kids complained and I hate complaining and just avoided making it at other times – except my cabbage casserole because- well- that’s really good.

Now I found a way to make fried cabbage so I have one less complainer.  I thank Sarah Fragoso for this one as I found the base recipe in her Everyday Paleo Cookbook.  It’s a great cookbook and well worth every piece of cabbage I spent on it.  :)  Here’s my version which is very close to Sarah’s.

recipe title=”Great Fried Cabbage” servings=”5-6″  time=”45 minutes”  difficulty=”easy”]

  • 1 package nitrate/nitrite free uncured bacon, preferably organic
  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded in food processor or chopped by hand
  • 1 medium to large onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup homemade chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:   Cut bacon with kitchen shears into pieces about 2 inches long.  Brown bacon with onion s in large skillet.  Remove bacon and onions from pan (NOT the yummy bacon grease!) and set aside.  Add the chopped cabbage to the hot skillet and stir it around the grease for about 4 minutes, allowing the cabbage to wilt slightly.  Add vinegar, chicken broth, mustard, salt and pepper.  Mix Well.  Allow to simmer on medium heat for ten minutes.  Add the bacon and onion mixture. Allow to simmer for another ten minutes.

This dish is great by itself (just use an extra big cabbage) or is also really good served with pork chops and/or sweet potatoes.






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Too Many Blogs, Too Little Time

As I go around my house in attempts to declutter and minimize in preparation for the big move coming in August,  I’m also trying to declutter my email.

It is ridiculously overwhelming at how many emails I get in both my personal email and the one I reserve to ‘writing’ only.  On Mondays, it’s tenfold.  That’s the day I get all the blogs I follow that I have selected weekly emails only. So……  as much as it kills me to have to hit that unsubscribe button, I have been doing it a bit more.  I know there is NO WAY I’m going to be able to read all these emails.  I usually end up hitting delete anyway after a week or two of it sitting there still unread.

So for the past two Mondays, instead of using my morning time (30-60 minutes that I get by forcing myself to get up early) to work on my writing, I sit and read blog posts and determine –  “Is this blog really benefitting me?  Do I really get something out of this person’s writing?  Is it someone I enjoy interacting with or do they give me information that will truly contribute to my days/time?” If not, well – I’m sorry.

It really does make a difference though.  It’s so much easier to glance at my email in the morning and determine if there is something truly important there that I need to attend to – like seeing the response to that query letter right away – WHICH I DID!!!  And a request was there!!!  Now I need to keep it decluttered waiting for a response to an actual submission!

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The Purpose of Man

“God created us in His own likeness and image.  He gave us intelligence, free will and an immortal soul, so that knowing God and becoming like Him, we would all become better, perfect ourselves, and inherit eternal blessed life with God.  Therefore the existence of man on earth has deep meaning, great purpose and a high goal.”  ~ Archpriest Seraphim Slobodskoy in The Law of God

It seems to be a constant debate.  What is the purpose of life?  What is man’s purpose?  What is MY purpose?

For people without faith, I imagine that life does seem incomprehensible.  For even in my days of challenge….those days where I allow the sin of this world to pull me down and away from turning to God for my needs – on those days life does seem accidental and without true meaning and , well, sort of hopeless.  So if I, a Christian, can be pulled away from Him even momentarily and lose my sense of balance in this world – so must it be a whirlwind of doubt and wonder at the cause and reason of it all to an unbeliever.

But the true purpose of man is to know the true God.  With this comes having true faith and believing in Him and living one’s life according to that faith – loving God, our neighbor and doing works of kindness and goodness.  It is indeed necessary to have a life in keeping with our faith to obtain salvation. What greater purpose could there be?

The purpose of Man is not to obtain degrees.  It is not to have great earthly riches or a great retirement account.  It is not to become world-famous.  It is not to complete each task on a bucket list.  The purpose of man is to know God.

Scholars have confirmed that people/cultures in all times have believed in some sort of deity, always having some sort of religion.  This is because the soul thirsts for God.  Having originated in God, the soul by its own will turn to God seeking Him.  The atheistic populations are actually exceptions to the norm – and even they are looking for something (though most don’t usually readily admit it).

So in this hustle and bustle world we live in – when you find yourself feeling something is lacking….feeling like there must be something more that you are missing – ask yourself:  “Am I making God my purpose or am I seeking comforts of earthly matters? ”  If you are not consciously making God your purpose (as was designed to be), then that is what is missing.  It is He that you need.  Turn to Him.  Find your purpose.

“As the deer longs for the springs of waters,

So my soul longs for You, O God.

My soul thirsts for the living God:

When shall I come and appear before the face of God?” ~ Psalm 42: 1-3


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Potter County – God’s Country

Today’s post is a photographic display of one of my favorite places to be – a place I have been going to almost every summer for as long as I can remember.  I hope you enjoy :)

2010-07-21 15.10.08    2010-07-20 13.58.10


2010-07-18 09.24.102010-07-18 09.50.10

2010-07-22 08.12.39-1   DSCF1932

Everyone needs a place of escape.  This is one of mine.  What’s yours?



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Stress Management and Relaxation: The Challenge

Since I posted about challenging myself regarding stress management back on July 4th (Independence Day from stress!), I decided that I should give some updates here and there about what I have learned and what I’m doing to teach myself some stress management and relaxation techniques and how I’m fairing in actually putting them to use.

So far I’ve done the following:

  •  I’ve continued my chiropractor sessions for my back spasms.  Whether it’s the chiropractor or me consciously trying to be mindful of my stress and making myself take more time to relax, the spasms have lessened in intensity and frequency. Now if I could just take that hour it takes me to drive to the appointment and back 2-3 times a week and do something for myself even when I don’t HAVE an appointment…now that would be progress my friends and I’m sure it would lead to less stress induced symptoms. But…..
  • I’ve started reading both books that I purchased….I know…I keep adding books onto my reading list and sometimes I wonder if I’m actually causing myself MORE stress by doing that but….that’s me.  And reading is supposed to LESSEN stress so that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  Thus far I’ve only read the introductions and breezed through to see what’s there. I think I’ll benefit from both.  Anyone looking for ways to reduce stress or add relaxation to their lives needs to be willing to try various approaches. There really is not a single technique that’s going to produce great results for every single person, so one must be willing to try several to see what’s best.
  • Promised myself to start exercising again….yeah, I know…I’ve said this before.  But this time I’m trying to be realistic.  I simply can not do 20-30 minute workouts.  I’m aiming for ten minutes – and that INCLUDES time on the bike, jumping rope, or walking AND weight-bearing exercises with very small weights (nothing more until I’m sure the muscle spasm thing is gone).  Exercise, they say, can really alleviate the damage of stress on the body.
  • I’ve made more of an effort to start my days out right.  I set my alarm earlier to make sure I get up and can follow my routine of prayer time and devotion (about a half hour of various things) as well as get in a minimum of 30 minutes on my writing before my littlest man wakes up – er, uh, well, at least before he’s allowed to demand breakfast.  It does make my day seem more productive and fruitful to me.  Doing it first thing in the morning helps me feel more at peace and more control in the day.  This means getting up by 5:30 in the morning when my body just begs to crawl back under the sheet but….it’s worth it – it really is.  Yes, TIME MANAGEMENT is a good way to handle stress!

What have you done recently to reduce or manage your stress load?



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HELP! A Story of Friendship

Title:  Help!  A Story of Friendship

Author:  Holly Keller

Genre:  Fiction, Picture Book

Pages: 40

Ages: 4-8

Publisher: Greenwillow Books (An imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)

Why Did I Choose It?  It was displayed prominently on the library shelf on our last visit.  The illustration on the front cover, also done by the author, caught my eye.  Reading the synopsis on the inside cover intrigued me.  I was not disappointed.

A Bit From The Inside Cover: Mouse, Hedgehog, Rabbit, Squirrel, and Snake are friends. But one day Mouse hears from Skunk (who heard it from Fox) that snakes are dangerous, especially to mice.  Oh Dear!

Review:  I found this to be a charming story.  Mouse becomes afraid based on what someone has told him about a friend (hearsay) and allows fear to override  his own experiences (friendship).  He learns, in a difficult situation, that not everyone behaves in the way others believe they will and to trust his own judgment with friends.  While we do need to teach our children to be wary of certain things in this world (the obvious dangers of snakes to mice or the dangers of strangers to children) , we must also strongly caution our children to not make harsh judgments on anyone based on assumptions. This story is a wonderful fun way of approaching this topic.

Let me know what YOU think of it!

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Peaceful Reflections

Peaceful Reflections…..for those times you just need some quiet time to sit, read a short bit and reflect.

Could the leaves exist without the tree, and could the tree exist without the earth, air, water and warmth?  Likewise no soul can exist without God, without His Son, without the Holy Spirit.  God is my being, my breath, my light, my strength, my drink, my food.  He carries me as a mother carries her infant in her arms.  More than this.  Carrying me, my soul and body, He dwells in me, and is united to me.  ~  St. John of Kronstadt

“If you want cure your soul, you need four things. The first is to forgive your enemies. The second is to confess thoroughly. The third is to blame yourself. The fourth is to resolve to sin no more. If we wish to be saved, we must always blame ourselves and not attribute our wrong acts to others. And God, Who is most compassionate, will forgive us…There is no better teacher than death. Have death before your minds: the time when you will leave this unreal world and will go to the other one, which is eternal.”
(Saint Cosmas of Aitolos, 18th Century Greek evangelist)

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold    ~  Psalm 18:2


Lord,  Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.




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Writing Exercise #7 Point of View

POINT OF VIEW                               

I think since I wrote about changing the POV or Point of View in my own manuscript since getting a professional critique and reading chapter 3 of Ann Whitford Paul’s Writing Picture Books (read about that here) that the next writing exercise I post for all the writers out there ( homeschool, adult and otherwise) should be this one.

Take a  writing piece that you have created OR take your favorite childhood picture book and REWRITE IT.  If it’s told in the first person, retell it in the third person POV.  If it’s in the third person, write it in first person POV.  You coud be even more adventurous and write it in second person. You could even have the main character write a letter to tell his point of view to another character.

Try these on for size….

Rather than the tale of the Golden Egg as told by Aesop…what if you wrote the story from the goose’s point of view?  (this is an example given by Ann)

Perhaps instead of the traditional tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, tell the tale from the wicked queen’s point of view.  Or from Snow White’s.

” I bit into the apple and immediately felt a pain in my stomach.  Oh dear… does that woman look familiar? Could it be???  Oh….”

Have the third little pig write a letter home to his mother.  “Dearest Mother,  It greatly grieves me to have to tell you…”

If picture books don’t grab you (I can’t imagine but…) try a novel.  Just choose a page and change the point of view.  It’s quite a different experience, isn’t it?

Go on.  Give it a try.   Let me know what you come up with!  :)


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