Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Co-op Playgroup ~ Barrettes!!

At our Co-op playgroup today, the little girlies just played and played. They had out kitchen stuff and dress-up outfits and babies and the moms (the real moms, that is) had lots of time to chat.

When we did get them corralled, we made ribbon braided barrettes. We had the girls do their best to practice braiding, and then the moms wielded the hot glue gun to roll up the braids and attach them to alligator clips.

They turned out sooooo cute!!!



Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Build a Homeschool U.S. History Curriculum from "America: The Story of Us"

FINAL UPDATE (JUNE 2012): We completed our entire U.S. History course last month using the America: The Story of Us video series and the resources I had planned. We officially covered Episodes 1-9 which got us through the 1920's. We plan to use the remaining three videos when we study the World Wars in a couple of years. I just want to go on record as saying that I believe whole-heartedly that the use of this series with my resources would more than qualify your child for a full credit of U.S. History. And, it was exciting and enriching. Feel free to follow all of my lesson plans. You can see them all at this link:

http://journey2excellence.blogspot.com/search/label/America%3A%20The%20Story%20of%20Us
Update: America: The Story of Us is now available as an InstaStream through Netflix! We also had it available at our local library. If you didn't receive a complimentary copy, you won't have to pay the $30 for it!


Many of us received a complimentary copy of "America: The Story of Us" from The History Channel. What a treasure! As soon as I received my copy I knew that I wanted to do a full year of American History with Dawson, who will be in the 9th grade next year. Since Brynne is pretty advanced in her abilities, I decided that I would go ahead and do an American History unit with her, as well, toned down to her level. She will be in the 2nd grade.

I wanted this to be a full-functioning curriculum, with loads to read, see and do. Notebooking seems to be the way to go for us, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it into our regular work. Dawson also needs some work with his structural and creative writing, so somehow a writing program needed to be included, as well.

So, here are the materials and resources I am using:
These resources will complete the Social Studies, Writing and Literature components of Dawson's school year. The materials have cost me a total of $90 plus printing supplies. I will warn you, though, it has cost me lots of physical time! I usually put in about 4-5 hours on each 3-week unit. I figure I'll have about 50-60 hours in this project before I am done. But I have never had so much fun in my life! American History is so fun!

Why 3-week units?  There are 12 dvd episodes. We have 36 weeks of school. That gives us three weeks to do each unit. (The Westward unit was so expansive, however, that I decided to make it a 6-week unit and skip the last unit which is the Millenium.) This also gives us three weeks to read a Living Book from that era .. a good, substantial, interesting novel.

Here is how I plan a unit, specifically:
  1. I watch the "America: The Story of Us" episode for that unit. Each video is 45 minutes. While I am watching it, I jot down notes: events, people, dates, etc. I start to formulate in my mind the things we definitely want to cover in more detail. This also helps me when searching for the Living Book we will read.
  2. I then decide what topics we will cover each week and divide those into Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.
  3. I go to the Episode Guide for that video and print the vocabulary words, discussion questions and any other pertinent activities for that episode.
  4. I pull out my Hold that Thought! cd and print any relevant notebooking pages: events, people, places, etc.
  5. I look through the America's Heritage cd and print any activities we will do with this unit.
  6. I choose a Living Book, and any supplemental dvds we might want to watch, and create a List through our library website, with the title of the unit (i.e. Dawson Westward 1) and dump all books and dvds onto that List. Then two weeks before each unit starts, I can pull up my list and request everything on it for use when we get to that unit.
  7. I finally go through the IEW U.S. History-Based Writing Lessons workbook and assign the writing lessons that correspond with that unit.
  8. Then I put everything in order, hole-punch it and place it in the U.S. History binder behind a tab for that particular unit. (When school starts in August, all I will have to do is pull out the unit we are on and write the specific daily assignments on our planner.)
  9. For Brynne, I basically do the same thing, although the majority of her assignments are reading Living Books at her level, watching dvds, doing copywork, notebook pages and supplemental fun activities (like cooking assignments, era paper dolls, craft projects, etc.) But she will be working on the same unit as Dawson, and I am hoping she will pick up some information from what he is doing, as well.
Here are some pictures of what I do. I do not like technology. I like things hand-written. My husband has offered to set me up some databases to use to create calendars, lists, daily plans, etc., but I have declined. I work best with a piece of paper and pencil. So, if it looks like a mess, and that it's unorganized, it's not (at least in my mind). I am sure there are pretty ways to compile all of this information. If you have the time for that, please feel free to do it. You could probably find a way to make a good income by selling what you have created. Me, I just hope that you find this information useful. If you want my hand-written notes, I would be thrilled to photocopy them and send them to you.








So here is an example of what we will be doing for a 3-week unit:

Unit 3 ~ Westward 1
Living Book Daily Read-aloud: The Captain's Dog

Week 1
  • Day 1: Watch Episode 3, do vocabulary and video quiz
  • Day 2: Read Daniel Boone by Janet Riehecky, do Daniel Boone notebooking page
  • Day 3: Read The Lewis and Clark Expedition by Christin Ditchfield, cook something from Cooking on the Lewis and Clark Expedition
  • Day 4: Watch "Lewis and Clark: The Journey of the Corp of Discovery", do Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea notebooking pages
  • Day 5: Do PBS Lewis and Clark Lesson 1, Section 2 (this I took from the PBS site, another great resource)
Week 2
  • Day 1: Do PBS Lewis and Clark Lesson 1, Section 3 and 4
  • Day 2: Complete Lewis and Clark's Expedition Map notebooking page
  • Day 3: IEW Lessons 27 and 28
  • Day 4: IEW Lessons 27 and 28
  • Day 5: IEW Lessons 27 and 28
Week 3
  • Day 1: Rewatch the Donner Party clip from "America: The Story of Us", read "The Diary of Patrick Breen", do the Donner Party notebooking page
  • Day 2: Do US Flag group activity and Flag Code, IEW Lesson 22
  • Day 3: Put dates on Flag worksheet, IEW Lesson 23
  • Day 4: The Star Spangled Banner vocabulary, Francis Scott Key notebooking page, IEW Lesson 23
  • Day 5: The Star Spangled Banner discussion questions, IEW Lesson 26
Everything above is either from one of the resources listed above, or from an internet search (like the PBS site and the Donner Party additional resources). I do look for other possible lessons by doing Google searches.

As you can see, I don't put dates on anything. There is a great likelihood that we will not be able to keep up with the IEW lessons as they are planned right now. I have Dawson doing the lessons that go with the subject matter we are covering. But it is a lot! If we need to slow down, we will.

I realize this looks like I am reinventing the wheel. I am certain there are great US History curriculum out there for purchase. But I am just one of those weirdos who likes to plan lessons. We used A World of Adventure last year, and although it was great on many levels, I found myself supplementing a lot anyway. I don't want to purchase a curriculum and then see holes that I feel need to be filled. This way I know we are covering everything that we want to cover. And this is also the only subject I am planning this year, other than Brynne's little science units. Everything else will be a purchased curriculum, and most of it will be independently completed by Dawson and Brynne.

I just like spending time with my kids, and this gives us a great way to do it. We all learn together and have a great time doing it.

The hard work is worth it.

Update: I realized I didn't post what Brynne (2nd grade) will be doing for this same unit. Here are the topics we will cover and the activities associated with each:

Brynne Unit 3 - Westward 1

Daniel Boone
Read: The Legend of Daniel Boone
Notebooking: Daniel Boone

James and Dolley Madison
Read: A Picture Book of Dolley and James Madison
Dolley Madison story - (from What Your Second Grader Needs to Know, Core Knowledge Foundation)
Notebooking: James Madison
Do: Three Branches of Government "Tree" craft/visual

Star Spangled Banner and The American Flag
Watch: "US Flag" on dvd
Read: Red, White and Blue: the story of the American Flag
Do: Make paper and star flag (as a review) and Make American Flag cake, do copywork of "The Star Spangled Banner", do "The Star Spangled Banner" puzzle
Notebooking: Francis Scott Key coloring page

Lewis and Clark
Read: Lewis and Clark, A Picture Book of Lewis and Clark, and A Picture Book of Sacagawea
Notebooking: Lewis and Clark coloring page, Sacagawea coloring page, Lewis and Clark map

Westward Pioneers
Read: Don't Know Much About the Pioneers
Watch: "Westward Expansion in the US" dvd

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Teacher Being The Student

I am a teacher. There is no doubt. I hardly ever engage in any activity with my children without seeing the educational side of it.

But I also love to learn. And lately I find myself soaking in every tidbit I can to be a better woman, wife, mother and teacher. I don't feel pressure to learn, just a desire. I am not feeling inadequate or that I'm not doing enough, I am just enjoying finding new and inspirational ways to do things.


The other day I stumbled across a book study on The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller going on at Thinking of Teaching. And I don't know why, but I jumped on board. I love to read and since I have started homeschooling, reading has become one of my greatest passions. And I want my children to have a passion for it as well. There is never any reason to be bored when you have a book to read. It takes you anywhere you want to go.

So I'll be posting my discussion questions from the book study here, since this is my homeschooling blog. The book is directed toward traditional school educators, but I hope to glean some insight into ways I can help my children develop a love for reading in our homeschool.

"I am convinced that if we show students how to embrace reading as a lifelong pursuit and not just a collection of skills for school performance, we will be doing what I believe we have been charged to do: create readers." ~ Donalyn Miller, Introduction pg. 4.

As a home educator who still has two public school students and who has two former public school students at home with her, I can see this at work!

Kyndal will be a junior in high school this year, and she hates to read! Hates it! Getting her to meet her Accelerated Reading (AR) goal each quarter was the most miserable experience of each year! And she would wait until, literally, the night before to do it! And it was only to get her grade. This coming year will be the first year that there is not a required AR Goal. And I don't know if she will ever pick up a book again.

Dawson will be a freshman in high school this year and is homeschooled. When he was little, he read every single Magic Treehouse Book and loved them! Once he got of an age where he had AR Goals, his love for reading decreased because it became something he had to do. He now loves to read what he loves to read, but doesn't want to read anything else. He chose and read two novels this year, and didn't have to be reminded to read. If I had something for him to read for school, it was like pulling teeth to get it done.

Eli will be in the 2nd grade at our public school this year. With his speech delays, reading has been a struggle. He gets overwhelmed if a book (or page) seems too long and is so distracted that he can't read. His nightly reading/phonics homework was a nightmare every night! This summer I decided to work with him intensively on reading. Most days he doesn't want to read. Some days he'll read independently. Some days he won't. He usually asks how many pages he has to read. He read one 60 page book that took him over a week. And then today something happened. He brought me a 64 page book, Morris Goes to School, that he started last week. He was smiling and said he wanted to read it. And he sat down and read the whole thing. Why? He was enjoying what he was reading.

And then there is Brynne who is almost 6 and will be homeschooled as a 2nd grader this next year. She loves to read and will read anything. She'll read what I want her to read. She'll read for pleasure. But, she started at home and reading has been the cornerstone of all we have done in her schooling.

We tend to favor the Charlotte Mason method of educating. We incorporate Living Books into our studies every single day. We learn primarily by reading about it. We are even doing it this summer in the form of unit studies. But there is one thing that Ms. Mason says that I don't agree with ... she is pretty adamant about children not being allowed to read "twaddle", described sometimes as "talking down to children", beneath their knowledge level, silly.

I want my kids to read. I want my kids to enjoy reading. If that means they read something silly for a while to spark their interest into reading something with more substance, then so be it. We'll read meaty stuff when necessary. And when we are not, we'll read some twaddle if we want.

I like romance novels, Christian books, historical fiction, biographies, classics, encouragements, diaries, memoirs, how-to's, magazines, blogs, whatever. I like to read. Sometimes I'm serious and sometimes I read junk. And I think that's okay.

So, I say all of that to say this ... I don't want to teach my children to read for educational purposes only. There is a time and place for that. But there is also a time and place for just picking up a book, flipping upside down on the couch barefoot and reading while you giggle, sniffle and/or shudder.

I can't wait to see what I learn from this book!

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

It's gonna be a hot one here in Oklahoma this week! The temps are going to be right at or above 100 degrees everyday. What does that mean? That means we are going to keep it indoors as much as possible. That's good anyway because we were out of the house for the past four days in a row and we need some down time. The house is a mess and we are leaving for a long 4th weekend on Saturday so I want to get us prepared to be gone.


In my life this week ... This week will be all about organization, getting slightly ahead and making sure the house is nice and clean. Kyndal will be at church camp all week so I will have an opportunity to get in her room and do some recon. I like the house to be organized and clean when we go away for a few days, so that will be my main goal.

In our homeschool this week… I thought I would build on our trip to the Blue Bell Creamery tour we went on this week by making our own ice cream in a baggie. We will have a science experiment and math lesson out of it. Eli will be finishing up his Summer Reading Program. Brynne will continue to work toward her personal goal of reading 60 books this summer.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… During the week I only plan on us going to the library and recycling center and going to our Co-op Playgroup on Wednesday. Then on Saturday we will be leaving for a long weekend trip to Missouri to see my parents for the 4th holiday. We will also be saying good-bye to their house because they have sold it and purchased a smaller one. It will be a bittersweet weekend because of all of the memories in that house.

My favorite thing this week was… having my WHOLE family together for a day when we went to the ice cream factory. We hardly ever get it worked out where we all go to the same place at the same time. Someone always seems to be missing.

What’s working/not working for us… The no-schedule schedule is working great this summer. We have general things we want to accomplish every week, but I have been so good about not being a stickler for a schedule to make it happen! I haven't been nearly as concerned about us getting out of the house at a certain time, to a place at a certain time or home at a certain time.

Questions/thoughts I have… I am needing a good mommy/daughter devotional that would be a good fit for a 6 year old. After reading a chapter in Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson, I decided to have a "Titus 2sday" standing date with my 16 year old daughter on the first Tuesday evening of the month and a regular devotional time with Brynne at 7:00 on Tuesday evenings. Kyndal and I will have much to talk about, but I would like a devotional or something that would give Brynne and I good topics to discuss. Any suggestions?

Things I’m working on… those U.S. History binders, ice cream math and science lessons for this week, and a China unit (we still haven't seemed to get to this.)

Books I’m reading… Blue Like Play Dough by Tricia Goyer, Seasons of a Mother's Heart, by Sally Clarkson (reading with the moms in our Co-op Playgroup), More Faith in My Day by Emilie Barnes (my daily devotional).

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… I want to take Your Word and shine it all around, but first help me to just live it, Lord. And when I'm doing well, help me to never seek a crown. For my reward is giving glory to You. ~ "Oh Lord, You're Beautiful" by Keith Green.


School takes on many forms in the summer months. Hop on over to The Homeschool Chick to see what it looks like in other homes.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Nothin' to be Blue About!!!

I love laid-back summer learning. We just take something we come upon that interests us and go with it! It's been so great! I've also enjoyed taking Eli along for the ride with us!

At the same time I am working diligently on the U.S. History curriculum for both Dawson (9th grade) and Brynne (2nd grade) for next year. I feel like I am taking a super-fun trip through history right now and I am enjoying preparing for it more than they will probably enjoy learning about it! I am hoping my enthusiasm rubs off on them! So far I have completed three, 3-week units and am most of the way through the fourth. That has us at 12 weeks of lessons. I am feeling much-accomplished!

I will be doing a post soon about exactly how I am creating this curriculum using America: The Story of Us from The History Channel.


I received this dvd set for free last year and it is the cornerstone of our curriculum! It is awesome! I also just saw that it is available through our local library, so maybe you can get it through yours, too. And even Walmart.com has it for about $16.99.

So, what learning adventures did we go on this week:

Monday ~ Just our regular reading schedule. Eli and Brynne have been working hard towards completing the Summer Reading Program at our library. (Stay tuned for what happened on Thursday!) Monday is house-cleaning day for me, so we usually stay home.

Tuesday ~ It was the official First Day of Summer. We did a notebooking page that day and spent the afternoon at our local water park. You can read all about that here.

Wednesday ~ We spent the afternoon at our friend's pool. They are on vacation and offered it to us while they were gone. It was just me, Eli, Brynne and Kyndal and it was very relaxing and enjoyable! It also gave Kyndal and I some time to spend together while the littles played. Now that she is a busy teenager, with a job, car and friends, I hardly ever see her!

Thursday ~ Brynne and I picked blueberries at a local berry farm. We picked 6 pounds and brought them home to freeze them and use in a recipe. I just like them on my cereal, and there's plenty of them for that! We had a great time together! We worked hard and were so happy we did it!




Before we headed home we ran by the library so Brynne could get her prizes for finishing the Summer Reading Program! So far she has read 22 books, independently, some in excess of 60 pages, and has a goal to read 60 books by the end of the summer! Way to go Brynne! (Eli is only 5 books away from finishing and he will be done by Monday. Brynne is so sweet. She told Eli that she would share her prizes with him until he got his. I have great kids!)


We also brought home a little surprise from the berry farm (probably shouldn't have done it, but we couldn't resist.)


We are hoping we didn't shake it up too much traveling home. It is "living" in our mini-greenhouse on our back porch and we are hoping for a beautiful butterfly soon!

Today ~ Eli, Brynne and I read Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey.


Then we made Blueberry Biscuit Yummies (Eli's name for Blueberry Drop Biscuits). It is a super easy recipe and I made a photo flip card recipe for them to use so they could make them "by themselves". Yummmmmmm!!!!!! The house smelled amazing while they were baking! And we got in a great lesson in measurements, patience, taking turns, etc.






Join Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what other families are doing this summer!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The First Day of Summer

As we all know, this is the official first day of summer. Of course the temps here have been near 100 for close to a month now and our grass is already about dead. But, we'll go with it anyway from an astronomy perspective.

I printed off the First Day of Summer notebooking page from Barb at Handbook of Nature Study and had Brynne and Eli work on it this morning.


Here are their finished notebook pages. Brynne has been used to doing some of this, but I have been especially impressed with how much fun Eli has with them. He has never been one to sit and write or draw, but he has shown an increased interest in doing it this summer. (Man I can't wait until he is a bit older so we can bring him home for school. If you don't know our history, there are specific learning reasons why he is still in public school.)


How did we spend our First Day of Summer?? We went to the water park, of course! It was the perfect day for it! The temps were actually a little more mild today so it was actually enjoyable.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

Are you ENJOYING your summer? You know, these summers don't last near long enough! We need to enjoy every second of them! This morning my husband said, "I'm not going to tell you what to do. But, I want you to enjoy yourself each day. Do what you want to do." Don't worry, honey, I really am enjoying each and every day.


In my life this week ... This is what I like to call one of those "ordinary" weeks. And I love them! I have no plans in the evenings. Today I was able to get my housework done. Tomorrow we will go to the library and the recycling center. And we might make a trip to the water park. Wednesday we have no plans during the day and I will enjoy a "Wine Wednesday" date with my husband in the evening and then watch my favorite summer pleasure So You Think You Can Dance. On Thursday we are going to attempt, again, to go pick blueberries. (I hope the weather cooperates!) On Friday we have Co-op gymnastics and an opportunity to swim in the afternoon. Saturday I might take the kids to the Blue Bell Ice Cream Factory Open House ... FREE ICE CREAM!! Then on Sunday we will go to church and then relax at home in the afternoon. Perfect week.

In our homeschool this week… Again, an ordinary week. Other than the activities listed above, each day will just consist of the daily morning chores list, our reading assignments and lots of free play.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… We'll see our Co-Op friends and church friends this week.

My favorite thing this week was… all of the celebrations we participated in ~ Rick's birthday, our 10 year anniversary, Father's Day and a friend's 5th birthday.

What’s working/not working for us… Allowing each person in our family to enjoy summer in his/her own way is working. It feels like such a relaxing atmosphere and everybody is full of joy.

Questions/thoughts I have… The debate between making your kids get up at an early time and work around the home all summer according to your schedule and allowing your kids to stay up later and sleep as late as they want (as long as they are getting their responsibilities done when asked) because summer only lasts for a season and then the hard work of school starts again. Obviously I have my own opinion, but it's something I have pondered (for a nanosecond).

Things I’m working on… a picture recipe for Blueberry Biscuit Yummies so that when we get back from the blueberry farm, the kids can make them "themselves". I am also still continually working on Dawson and Brynne's U.S. History binders. I'm still a week behind, but working to get caught up this week. Then I'll have 12 weeks of unit study complete!

Books I’m reading… Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand, Seasons of a Mother's Heart, by Sally Clarkson (reading with the moms in our Co-op Playgroup), More Faith in My Day by Emilie Barnes (my daily devotional), What Your Second Grader Needs to Know by The Core Knowledge Foundation.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
I love to see this!





School takes on many forms in the summer months. Hop on over to The Homeschool Chick to see what it looks like in other homes.






Friday, June 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ Electric!

Summer is going so great! I am loving it! It does help that I have a driver this summer, so I'm not having to run her around all day every day. She is our social butterfly, never at home! If I don't have something specifically planned, the rest of us don't even leave the house. And that's sometimes for days in a row. ** smile **

What did we do this week?

Monday ~ We went swimming at a friend's. It was great fun! My kids LOVE to swim!

Tuesday ~ We did our weekly trip to town to go to the library and to drop off our recycling. We also ran some errands because it was daddy's birthday and we had a few extra gifts to pick up. Dawson also had some money burning in his wallet (that he had earned the previous week) and needed to get some new video games.

Wednesday ~ We had our Co-op Playgroup. Great fellowship!

Thursday ~ We did a fun science experiment about electric circuits using aluminum foil, batteries and flashlight lightbulbs.

Friday ~ It's currently 2:00 p.m. and the kids are still in their pj's. We are getting ready to get dressed and do our daily reading assignments.

Speaking of our daily reading assignments, they are going excellent!


Brynne has currently independently read 16 books, a couple of which were over 60 pages! She just zips right through them.

Eli has currently independently read 11 books. He has moved up from Super Easy Readers to some longer books, with several sentences on a page and 40-60 pages. It takes him several days to finish one of those books. But, he is always able to narrate back to me what he read on previous days.

Eli has started to show a real interest in science, so I was able to register the two of them for a two-day Mad Science camp in July. They are very excited!

Brynne also loves to watch So You Think You Can Dance with me, and has expressed an interest in dance. So, I am trying to get her into a three-day dance camp based on Angelina Ballerina. If she gets in, I see a ballerina unit in her future!

I spent a good part of yesterday afternoon and this morning working on the second 3-week unit for Dawson's U.S. History curriculum next year. I am loving what I am learning! It's going to be a tough course for him, but at the end of the year I guarantee that kid will be a U.S. History expert!!

Join Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for other updates!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When Plans are Foiled

We were planning to go pick blueberries this morning, and I was really looking forward to it because I love blueberries! It was also going to be the conclusion of our little Farm unit.

Last night Eli got up to get a glass of water. Rick was watching something on television and Eli wanted to know what he was watching. Rick told him it was a show about science. Eli gave a thumbs up and said, "I love science!" (And he does. It was his favorite thing he did at school this year.)

Then he told me that he wanted to do science today. And when he gets in his mind that he wants to do something, then he really wants to do it!

I was trying to figure out how to squeeze it in today with blueberry picking and then Rick and my anniversary.

And then I woke up to rain, thunder and lightening. And blueberry picking was obviously going to need to be pushed off until next week.

And a space for science opened up.

I found a simple experiment to demonstrate how aluminimum foil can act as a circuit to distribute electricity from one end of a battery to the other end and light up a flashlight bulb.

First Brynne and Eli folded their aluminum foil. Then they observed the folded foil, battery and lightbulb and then answered the following questions (and drew pictures) on their observation worksheets:
  • What is the question I'm trying to answer:
  • What I think will happen:
  • What I learned:








 It was great fun and they were very into it!

He informed me that he would like to do some "planets science". I'll have to find a way to fit that in this summer somehow, even though Brynne will be doing a whole solar system unit in school next year.

Co-op Playgroup

We had our Playgroup this week. This has been such a wonderful group, not only for the kids but for the moms as well! The kids play. The mom talk. We talk about babies and teenagers, gardening, cooking, field trips and so many other things. We are reading the book Seasons of a Mother's Heart by Sally Clarkson, to discuss in our time together. But this week we didn't even get the books pulled out. The conversation was just too good.

The kids made bookmarks. They had free reign to decorate them however they wanted. Brynne even made one for Eli. He didn't want to go this time and hang out with all the girls.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wicky Wacky

THANK YOU to the Anonymous Commenter who told me that my font was so squished up that it was barely readable! I had no idea! On my Mac, it didn't look like that! So, I got on my husband's laptop and made the appropriate changes. I HOPE THIS HELPS!

Anonymous, let me know if this is better for you! I'd hate to lose a Follower because of a Wicky Wacky font.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

We had a great summer week here at our house! We had a visit from my sister and niece, a trip to the water park and a fun time at the zoo.


In my life this week ... This is a big week at our house for a certain hunky husband and fabulous father! Rick's birthday is tomorrow, our 10 year anniversary is Thursday and Father's Day is Sunday. We will be doing all we can do to make it a great week for him!

In our homeschool this week… This week we will focus on our reading schedule, making sure we get our assignments done all five days before we head out for fun activities. We will also be finishing up our Farm unit by going to the blueberry farm to pick blueberries on Thursday and then making Blueberry Biscuit Yummies.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… We are swimming at a friend's house this afternoon, having our Co-op Playgroup on Wednesday afternoon, going blueberry picking with some Co-op friends on Thursday, and to a birthday party on Saturday. Other than that we will be showering daddy with lots of love!

My favorite thing this week was… going to FarmFest at the zoo and seeing the kids enjoying themselves, and then going on an impromptu dinner date with Rick after we got home!

What’s working/not working for us… Having Dawson gone all week definitely did not work for us! We all missed him and we are ready for him to come back this afternoon! Homeschooling has definitely made me so much closer to my kids. Our day-to-day relationships mean the world to me and when I see that being stepped on, I kinda lose it.

Questions/thoughts I have… God must be speaking to me about this one, because I have read it a couple of times in different sources in the past two days: Don't sacrifice doing what is best by being active in so many things that are good. As women, especially if you have my personality, you can get involved in so many good things that the best things God has in store for you are squeezed out. Balance. Priority.

Things I’m working on… a picture recipe for Blueberry Biscuit Yummies so that when we get back from the blueberry farm, the kids can make them "themselves". I am also still continually working on Dawson and Brynne's U.S. History binders. I'm already a week behind ... gotta kick it in gear!

Books I’m reading… Barefoot by Elin Hilderbrand, Seasons of a Mother's Heart, by Sally Clarkson (reading with the moms in our Co-op Playgroup), More Faith in My Day by Emilie Barnes (my daily devotional), What Your Second Grader Needs to Know by The Core Knowledge Foundation.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

Look at these little sweeties we saved on Sunday morning. Unfortunately one other one didn't make it.




School takes on many forms in the summer months. Hope on over to The Homeschool Chick to see what it looks like in other homes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up ~ On the Farm

I heard that our local zoo was going to have a FarmFest event this past weekend, so we decided to make a unit of it!

I prepared a lapbook/notebook for Eli and Brynne to complete.


The barn door opened to reveal their farm animals.


Inside the notebook were several farm-related activities to complete. (I like how Brynne added a squigly piggy tail to her dot-to-dot.)


We read lots of books from the library about farm life: jobs on the farm, animals, equipment and foods.


Then today we enjoyed a field trip to FarmFest.

The structure of the event catered to Eli's best way of learning and staying focused: They gave each of the kids a passport to use to get a stamp at each station they visited. When it was complete they got a prize.


We watched wood carving, weaving and chain saw carving demonstrations.




We watched Lexie the cow being milked.


Eli and Brynne called me to dinner a snack with iron-worked triangles.


We stopped for a bit to create a mosaic piece.



And, of course, we stopped by to see the prairie dogs and penguins, a couple of our favorites.



Brynne took a few minutes to brush Rebel the goat. He is a miniature and won't get any bigger than this.


It was a hot day! Even the goats had a special ice cream treat to enjoy.


We took the train back to the entrance and called it a day. It was such a fun time! Eli (my homebody) was really not wanting to go. But, he was all smiles and said he had a great time!!

It was not only a very fun day, but it was educational as well. The docents were on hand with lots of demonstrations about various things. We learned about how to be a responsible pet owner and about the Nature Exchange (where the kids can exchange items they find in nature for prizes).

We will be ending our study of the farm this next week by taking a trip to the blueberry farm to pick blueberries. Then we are going to use them in a recipe that Eli has named "Blueberry Biscuit Yummies." I'm going to make a picture recipe and let them make these themselves. It should be fun!

This week we also visited the library and got our second sticker of the four that are required for the "big prize". Eli and Brynne have each independently read over 10 books this summer so far.

See what summer school is looking like for others at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.