Inside the Mommyvan

Homeschooling & Life Inside the Mommyvan - an old dog learning new tricks


Well, <h1> (in html) used to strike me. But i do html with ease <h1> is heading (h) 1! I started with javascript, went to python, then to html, then css. 4 languages fast I enjoy this. You should too, or at least try to!

If you learn other languages like java, python, or css first. But it’s very wise to start with python. And how did I learn it? You will say “of course” but, i used python for kids! Its not just for kids. Adults find it fun! They find it most fun doing it with their kids! (the kids think it is very very very fun with parents too!)

I hope you find yourself telling everyone else this:

(you don’t need to read all this, its the same thing up there! 🔝🔝🔝)

“Well, <h1> (in html) used to strike me. But i do html with ease <h1> is heading (h) 1! I started with javascript, went to python, then to html, then css. 4 languages fast i enjoy this. You should too, or at least try to! If you learn other languages like java, python, or css first. But its very wise to start with python. And how did i learn it? You will say “of corse” but, I used python for kids its for adults to! Trust me! Do it with your kids and both of you find this activity fun!”

We all made lots of music on Christmas Eve!

Amidst all of the adorable back to school pictures our friends posted on various social media, these were ours:

11953314_10153545551544727_8293208923135990811_oYep, THIRD graders! (Who haven’t seen the inside of a classroom since preschool)
These are the days I need to remember when the going gets tough!

This year’s summer musical camp at our church was twenty (soon-to-be) 3rd through 6th graders performing a 45-minute musical with a great message. They had some time before the camp week to rehearse their lines and the songs, and in 5 mornings they learned all of the choreography, polished the show, and performed it that Friday evening.

Each child had at least a couple of lines plus a solo in one of the songs. A couple of the older kids had bigger parts, and we had one of our youth volunteers playing the “coach” – he did a terrific job!

We are truly blessed to have so many wonderful music experiences at our church, with a music director who loves kids and is so versatile in her talents.

We had an exciting performance experience just sa our summer is wrapping up. The crew is signed up for a week of summer musical camp at our church. A couple of weeks before that began our music director send around a message asking if we could get a group of children together to sing our National Anthem at a baseball game… the following Sunday!

We did, the kids rehearsed hard, and they had a marvelous experience (as did I, videographer & assistant kid-wrangler) going “backstage” at the stadium and then out onto the field to sing in front of a sellout crowd. Take a look!

The latest addition to our point system is a new set of prizes, and they’ve been a huge hit!

In the clearance bin at a local craft store, I found some packages of reward cards made for this purpose, with a blank to write in the prize and scratch-off stickers to place on top. The hidden rewards include choosing dinner, staying up 30 minutes late, picking a show to watch on the big TV in the living room, and baking something with Mom.


You can find tutorials online, like this one at The Dainty Squid, to make your own; you’ll need acrylic paint, liquid dish soap, and clear packing tape. I’ve heard of people using a heavy coat of crayon over the tape as well.

Simpler is to buy online: has a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. I am using a couple of different 2″ x 1″ rectangular stickers (links below) and, although they are smaller than the ones in the kits, they are easier to scratch off and come off much more cleanly.


With some index cards (or cardstock) and my own fun stickers, I now have a nearly endless supply of surprise prizes. The kids are as excited about the mystery as the reward itself!

Today is the first day of school for most of the kids in our county; for us it’s party time!


Always fun to do a little socializing with our “unsocialized homeschooler” friends!


Before we headed out, we did spend a little time getting our school supplies organized and talking about what we’ll be doing this year — 2nd grade!


They made their own! (Sorry, the post title popped into my head and I couldn’t help myself)


We have a basket of fabric remnants, ribbons, pipe cleaners, and other embellishments that the kids can use for crafts or whatever else they want. The girls love to create their own costumes; sometimes they even put on a show using what they’ve made.

This is an activity I don’t ever suggest, they pull it out when they are feeling inspired. The fabric all goes back into the basket afterwards, so they do all of this knowing that their creations are temporary (I do try to get a photo or two of the finished product, though).

My guest post over at Tales of an Unlikely Mother:

If you spend much time around homeschoolers, you’ll probably hear them talk about their “co-op” days. I was recently asked for an explanation of these mysterious organizations by someone who’d heard they they were “like school, but without qualified teachers.”

I suppose that description may fit some co-ops, but I’m fortunate to live in an area where that couldn’t be farther from the truth, at any of the half-dozen co-ops in my general vicinity (and those are just the ones I’ve heard of).

First off, what is a homeschool co-op? Details vary, but in general it’s when a group of homeschoolers get together–usually once a week–for a day of more-or-less classes. These are often, but not always, taught by the co-op parents, and the subject matter can range from belly dancing to advanced biology. There is usually a fee for classes, which generally goes to the individual teachers to pay for their time and supplies. Some large co-ops have a paid administrative staff, but most are truly co-operative, relying on parent volunteers for everything from scheduling classes to cleaning up the lunch room. The best organizations double as a support and social group for both parents and students. Some have the interpersonal drama you might expect from any organized group of individuals, but no more than you’d find in a PTA or neighborhood organization.

As for the teachers’ qualifications, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, many former professional teachers homeschool their own kids; two, co-ops often attract outside (non-homeschooling) teachers and experts; and three, truly unqualified teachers are easy to avoid. As word gets around, and it does, about their lack of teaching skills or subject-matter knowledge, they’re not invited back to the co-op or people just don’t enroll in their classes. How many traditional-school parents have (or wish they had) that option? The reality is that public school teachers are often placed in classrooms far outside their areas of expertise (take a look at your state’s minimum requirements for a teaching certificate sometime), and much of their class time is spent on high-stakes standardized test prepararation. Worst-case at co-op: we’ve spent an hour a week for one semester in a worthless class. At a tradtitional school, that class with the “bad” teacher may be the student’s entire day, every day (for lower grades) or their only opportunity to take an advanced class in the upper grades.

Some co-ops add on many of the extra-curriculars found at traditional schools: field trips, yearbooks, science fairs, student council, art shows, even prom and graduation ceremonies. Others focus on rigorous academic subjects, with highly qualified teachers and loads of homework. Still others are relaxed, with an eclectic mix of classes where age or grade levels are mere suggestions and parents, often with babes-in-arms, can be found sitting in on class sessions.

Whichever type you choose, co-ops can be a valuable addition to a homeschooler’s toolbox for academics, extra-curriculars, and social time. My kids are currently taking a science & nature class from a long-time professional educator (who brings in all sorts of critters for the kids to see and touch) and a class on playing games (fall semester focused on old-school games and good sportsmanship, this spring is games from around the world complete with geography and culture lessons). In the past they have taken arts & crafts classes (with themes from a storybook reading), Lego construction (including simple machines), ballet, tap, and hip-hop dance, exploring water (from physical/chemical properties, art, and nature perspectives), local plants & wildlife (great day-long field trip that semester), and Waldorf-inspired art.

We also spend hours on the playground and at the park each week, just hanging out and playing with friends. This may be the best part of our co-op experience, as kids of all ages play together and look out for each other; cliques and bullying are practically non-existent.

So yes, it is sort of like school… but the difference isn’t in the teachers, it’s in the parents and students.

Happy Halloween & some great costumes from my bloggy friends!

Alex Nguyen and her sons “the Stein brothers.” (Frankenstein and Einstein).



Teaching Ain’t for Heroes’ Peter Pan and Tinkerbell.

TotallyNursed — the Captain, and his friend, as Superman and Batman.


Pollychromatic’s adorable Wonderwoman and Captain America.


Jill Redding’s Doc McStuffin’s.

Fine and Fair’s Ladybug and Banana (she’s the monkey).


Elizabeth Hawksworth, tin-foil-hatting it.

Putting the twin in Parentwin, tbh. got a great stash!


It was A Day Well Spent, over here.


A Place That Does not Exist produced a raver this Halloween!


The Answer Is Garlic, or is it Yoda?



And Inside the Mommy Van gets outside!