I think I will make this a regular thing because I love putting on music from my childhood and dancing around the living room while T.B.M. look on in sheer horror. Yes I became that parent and I don’t care. I know you all know the lyrics so grab your hairbrushes, crank up the volume on your computers, and embarrass your children right along with me! *If we are lucky they may just join in with us!*

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

We have entered our third week of schooling and things are chugging along fairly well. Last week was rather rough with some resistance. Our first week went well, but our second week there was the longing for non-productive days spent playing video games and watching movies. After a few discussions on why we do our schooling, the importance of doing our best, and the rewards that come from completing our work *for instance getting to enjoy video games and movies*, T.B.M agreed to try their best every day.

So on Tuesday we started in on our work, catching up on the assignments we fell behind on while they were on “strike” last week. While they were hard at work General Disarray stated that he would just do his work when it was assigned instead of complaining, because one page of work is far more enjoyable than three, since he would still have to finish his work at some point in time.

I think it was a great lesson for them to learn, that we can either tackle our work when we need to or we can put it off increasing our work load and decreasing the fun. It was also a great reminder for myself, there are plenty of times I put things off until the following day, when I could easily conquer those things in the moment.

Aside from our little epiphany I have also decided to add more literature to our curriculum. My goal is to have General Disarray read at least one chapter book a week and Professor Chaos to “read” at least five books during the school week. We will start using the program Book Adventure which is similar to the Accelerated Reader program offered in many public schools. I wanted General Disarray and eventually Professor Chaos to answer questions about their readings to build up their comprehension skills, but I honestly didn’t want to have to sit down with every single book they will read and write these up myself.

The program is free and features a rather extensive book list, which will give the boys plenty of reading choices and ensure they can always find something they might enjoy reading.

Along with the Book Adventure program I’m also adding additional reading to our science studies. We still have our core materials, but I found a book series called Giants of Science at our local library and figured they would be a great addition to our science program.

Also to our history curriculum I’ve decided to add The Story of the World audiobook as a supplement. I found it at the library as well and figured it would be a nice little addition. We’ll play it during our hands-on activities since we use the workbook for this series anyways; I figured listening to it while we do the work wouldn’t hurt. If I don’t like it I can always take it right back to the library, libraries are wonderful! We also read The Magic Tree House series and use the research guides as well when a book ties into our history lessons.

We have loads in store this school year and so far, despite a few hiccups, I think we are doing fairly well. Homeschooling isn’t just a learning experience for the boys, it’s a learning experience for me as well.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

They asked us to blow this up for them…after spending a while jumping they grabbed their Tag reading books and sat down to listen to stories. They stayed like that until dinner time.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

A vast number of parents with preschoolers are familiar with; it’s a wonderful free site that helps teach the all-important skill of reading. General Disarray loved using the site, and will still check it out every now and then even though he has mastered reading; it’s just that much fun. Professor Chaos has started to enjoy using it more lately. At first he wasn’t really sure about it, mostly from a navigation/mouse clicking standpoint. Now that he has all of that worked out he is always begging to log-on.

This morning while he was using it he clicked on the section. It only allows a limited selection of items if you don’t have a membership, but he greatly enjoyed what he was able to do, so I looked into the cost. It is 30$ a year, not a bad price I figured when you factor in all it allows you to do. features interactive number lessons, similar to the alphabet section on the free portion of their site, as well as fun math songs. Once a child has mastered their numbers they can then click on the addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division buttons and do lessons in those areas.

Aside from the math activities this portion of the site also features more reading/phonics activities, songs and rhyming, as well as a talking library! Which I think may be my favorite part of the site. The portion of also works hand in hand with the Starfall Kindergarten Curriculum too. I had considered buying that curriculum this year but decided to make a custom curriculum for Professor Chaos like I did with General Disarray. It looks like a great program though, if you are looking for an interactive kindergarten curriculum check it out! is not compensating me for sharing their product information; I just like to plug the things we use to help other families find useful materials and programs to use with their kiddos!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

We are chugging along on our vegan journey, I’m more gung-ho about the process than The Spouse is, but he is a meat and potatoes kind of guy so his resistance was to be expected. I have decided though that the best way to win them over to a much healthier way of eating is to cook delicious foods. So yesterday afternoon I decided to throw a bunch of things together and see what I ended up with.

First I took some Age Tofu also known as Fried Tofu, and chopped it into slices. I then placed the slices in a mixture of whole-wheat flour and cinnamon, and coated all sides of the tofu pieces. From the flour-cinnamon mixture they went into a skillet of hot Safflower oil. I fried them on each side for about 2-3 minutes. Once they were done I moved them to a paper towel lined plate for them to drain. I patted the top a bit to help get off the excess oil, then moved them to another plate and sprinkled on some powdered sugar. We used pure Canadian maple syrup for dipping.

They call it The Yummiest Mommy French Toast:

Professor Chaos didn’t want to share, which was shocking *and very refreshing* given his general attitude towards food.
Happy syrup covered fingers.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

*The following was all a result of an initial question, which was “How did people get here?”*

General Disarray: “Mom how do babies get out of a woman’s belly?”

Me: “Through her vagina” *I’m a stickler for facts and honesty with T.B.M. even at 7am*

General Disarray insists that things make perfect sense…this answer did not.
Instead of accepting my answer he looks down at my pants, then back up at me and remarks: “Well that just doesn’t make any sense! Your vagina is too small for a baby to fit through!” Even at 7am the humor of that observation still shined through.

After I composed myself I guided him through the process of childbirth in a manner fitting his age and my own personal comfort level; because honestly I don’t want to talk about vaginas, birth canals, and the fact that us moms push something roughly the size of a watermelon through a hole roughly the size of a softball at 7 in the morning.

Once I had finished ensuring he knew more about the reproductive process then the next crop of “16 and Pregnant” hopefuls, he stated that two kids were enough for our family because and I quote “I don’t want you to have to go through that again mom”. I high-fived him and then proceed to lie back down on the couch.

As much as I would like to institute a “No Complex Questions Before 9am” rule in our home, I have to smile because, General Disarray was able to learn something he genuinely wanted to know and I got to ensure he won’t make me a grandmother before I’m 45…possibly 50.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

It’s time for another installment of Bound Goodness! You would think with my book addiction *yes it is an addiction, four bookshelves and one storage cabinet (which is about the size of a coat closet in the states) full of books provides the proof*, I would post Bound Goodness more often. I’ll blame the insanity of the past couple of months on my lack of book collecting. With things finally settling down, our new school year approaching, and the summer heat keeping us inside I’m pretty sure I’ll have many more books to share.

So what’s on the agenda this post? Judaism, Atheism, and Veganism, Oh My!

*(denotes book is currently on its way to my mailbox)


The Jewish Bible: Tanakh The Holy Scriptures

*The Torah for Children: Sefer Bereishis, Volume 1: Bereishis, Noach, Lech Lecha, Vayera

*The Illustrated Torah


Atheist Manifesto

The Atheist’s Way: Living Well Without Gods


*The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet

*Supermarket Vegan: 225 Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Recipes for People in the Real World

*The Vegan Table: 200 Unforgettable Recipes for Entertaining Every Guest at Every Occasion

*Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook

*The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating for Kids

*The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free and Low-Fat Vegan Recipes

So what bound goodness has found its way to your bookshelves?

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

One of the many draws to homeschooling for us is that it will allow T.B.M. to chase their dreams, no matter how big or small. The best way to encourage them to chase their dreams is to of course chase our own. We have many dreams, The Spouse and I, some will take until we are near retirement to reach and others will only take one well-planned family vacation. One of my personal dreams was to start a magazine for non-theist parents. I’ve toyed with the idea for the past couple of years, after I learned that one particular magazine, that has been in my home since before General Disarray was born, refused to review Parenting Beyond Belief.

I was disgusted that they would gladly take our heathen money, but wouldn’t mention a book that has been immensely helpful to our family. This book has been creased, highlighted, and toted everywhere. I love that book more than words could ever express and I figured any magazine that wouldn’t share it with the world didn’t deserve one red cent from me anymore. While I still flip through it when it arrives every month, my subscription hasn’t run out yet, I have found it and many other parenting magazines don’t meet our needs. Yes, the general advice on development is helpful, but I have taken courses on child development and still have the textbooks, so it isn’t that helpful. Most of the articles are written by believers whose view of the world and how to get through its tough spots are not the same as our secular family’s view.

After flipping through yet another article filled with advice that wouldn’t work in a free-thought home, I finally had, had enough. I sat down at my computer and began brainstorming, searching, and came to the conclusion that now was the time to make the idea bouncing around in my head for the past two years a reality. In that moment Bright Parenting Magazine was born. It is still an infant, requiring a lot of TLC, but considering how even The Spouse is on board and interested I think this can take off. I want secular parents to have a publication that actually speaks to us, a publication that addresses our fears, frustrations, and offers sound secular advice.
Ambitious? Yes. But to quote John Lennon “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality”. So, if you are interested in dreaming with our dysfunctional family, check out Bright Parenting Magazine (HERE) and (HERE).
Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

Well ladies and gentlemen our new school year is just around the corner! We are all very excited over here about it. We take the year-round approach because it fits our family best. It allows for breaks to be planned around The Spouse’s schedule and doesn’t produce large gaps in our schooling. I’ve found these large gaps make returning to our regular schedule very difficult. Our longest break is a month; which is when we plan family vacations. Since we school year-round with our start date in the summer, our family vacations can take place during the off-season, which saves us money and keeps us from encountering massive crowds.

In order to help us transition into our new school year this year I decided to start having homeschool powwow right before the start of each new school year. It will give us a chance to go over what materials we will be using, our goals for that school year, and to discuss any changes that have been made either organizational or schedule wise. This should help with the frequent questions I have been encountering from T.B.M. ranging from “Will I be in Kindergarten this year?” to “Am I going to be doing division?!”

On tap for this year’s powwow will be a run through of our 2011-2012 Curriculum for General Disarray and Professor Chaos; as well as a run through of our school schedule for this upcoming year, and our planned breaks. I’m looking forward to sitting down with them and allowing them to finally flip through the various textbooks and materials I’ve been gathering over the past six months. Hopefully it will further stoke the flames of excitement they have burning for our 2011-2012 school year!

So how do you transition into a new school year?

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes