Thursday, May 31, 2012

HSV Garden Challenge ~ May Progress Report

We were finally able to get our vegetable garden planted at the first of May. We have had some progress and things are looking good! To see what's growing, head over to Taulman Times.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

FREE eCookbook "50 Favorite American Recipes by State"

Well here's a little gem! You can get a FREE eCookbook called "50 Favorite American Recipes by State" from Recipe Lion today!


When doing a States study with my children, I always like to get in the kitchen and cook up something for which that state is known. Now it's easy!!! This will be VERY useful to us this year!

Go grab yours, too! I don't know how long the "free" will last. So, don't delay!

Thanks, Sherri!

N is for "Nature"





The past week has been an incredibly difficult one for me in my personal life. I have been depressed, anxious, testy, withdrawn, physically ailed, and on an organization mission (to work off emotions). But what I have found myself doing several times a day, is stepping outside to water plants, pull weeds, observe my garden, nurture our new trees, look at the new mama in her nest, watch for hummingbirds, smile at the butterflies, and sometimes just wander around. And it SOOTHES me! And I feel a small amount of strength to continue on.

Recently, Nature has become a hot topic for me. It's important! It's necessary! It's being lost in this world of uber-electronics.

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had come across the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv and that I was considering doing a book study. Well, it's a go. And it will start this Friday, June 1st.


I have read the first couple of chapters and I am drawn into it's truth. It is inspiring me to do something different with my children, not only in their schooling but in their everyday living.

If you would like to join me, grab the book and read the first four chapters by NEXT Friday, June 8th. This Friday I will pop in and present some thoughts and some questions for you to consider while reading.

Instead of a Linky, I would just appreciate your comments and links to any blog posts you may be writing about the book. I just want to keep it simple. I hope that you will join me in this journey.



I am linking up with Marcy at Ben and Me.



Monday, May 28, 2012

Bitstrips for Schools (Comic Creator) for Homeschoolers

Well I am really excited about a resource I have come across. It's called Bitstrips for Schools. It is a comic strip creator based on various lessons.


As we will be studying Current Events and U.S. Government this next year, I was wanting to find something interesting for Dawson to do to use his creative and artistic abilities. He loves to tell stories. At first I thought I might have him write a political cartoon every week based on something we had learned. But, that might require a lot of brain power to come up with something and be too difficult and time-consuming. I want what he does to be fun, not stressful.


Bitstrips has lessons for many different Civics topics. For instance, there is one called "Vote for my Party" that asks the student to research one of the political parties in an upcoming election and try to convince classmates why their party is the best choice. There are three different levels of difficulty: Primary, Intermediate, Secondary.


There are also several different class topics with tons of lessons: English, Science, Math, History, Social Studies, Arts, Civics, Values Education, Business Law, Health & Phys Ed, ESL/ELL, Other.


There are various subscriptions available. For homeschoolers, it only costs $2.95 per month (for up to 5 students) and you can save 25% by paying for a full year. That would only be $26.55 for the year.

The only negative I find is that it is a Candadian based company, so many of the lessons are based on Canadian topics. However, each one can be easily adapted to American events and topics.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Flags of our Fathers

Dawson and I completed our study of American History by studying the 1920's. This next year we will be studying Current Events and U.S. Government. And then for his junior year we plan to study American History in the major wars: World War I, World War II, Persian Gulf War.

Last night Rick and I watched the movie Flags of our Fathers directed by Clint Eastwood.


It is the story of the photograph taken of the raising of the American Flag at Iwo Jima.


Do you know the story? Do you know that the photograph was taken of six men putting up a replacement flag because a politician wanted the original flag for his personal collection? The photograph was not even of the men who placed the original flag. And, one of the men stated to be in the photograph wasn't even in the photograph. It was a big, fat mess, and a travesty to the men who fought in that incredibly bloody and devastating battle, and their families. What an incredible story that we all need to be told. The movie is based on the book written by one of the men's sons. It's a great movie and I highly recommend that you add it to your lessons of World War II.

It also brings home the true meaning of Memorial Day. It's not about boat riding, barbecuing and drinking copious amounts of beer. It's about the men and women and their families who have fought for our freedom, lost their lives doing it, and their families who have been left behind.


Thank you to all of you from our past, present, and those who will make the sacrifice in the future.

If you want to watch Flag of our Fathers this weekend, there is still time! It will be playing Monday night at 7:00 p.m. Central Time on American Movie Classics (AMCHD). That is Channel 254 on DirectTV.

I did not see it on Netflix, but our local library has it for check-out.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Big Bash

On Eli's last day of school, his school threw a Big Bash. In the morning the kids were treated to a couple of hours of inflatable fun. This is always a really great way to end a hard-working year of school. Brynne and I went to the school and spent the time with Eli, and she even got to hang out with some of her public school friends.

Eli LOVED his teacher Mrs. Ball, and SOBBED all the way home on the last day of school because he is going to miss her. Now THAT is a sign of a great teacher! (I don't recall Dawson and Brynne crying on our last day of school.)







And this was a Big way for Eli to Bash out of public school.

FREE Printable Homeschool Calendar

 
This calendar is being offered as a FREE download from Joy at Five J's. This will be perfect for me, especially because Dawson will be on a different school schedule than Eli and Brynne. I can use a highlighter for their days of scheduled school and an "x" for his days of scheduled school. It will be an easy way to keep track of our 180 days.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up with The Homeschool Mother's Journal


In my life this week ... Big changes from structured school days to summer. It's been a week that I hope is not the norm. There has been way too much time running around and dealing with situations that have been unnecessary and are a waste of time, gas, and money.

In our homeschool this week ... With Dawson getting a new part-time job, school ended a tad bit early. We did go to take Dawson's driver's test, and waited two hours only to be turned away at the end of the day because the only instructor had to leave for a doctor's appointment. What a huge waste of time. I have some filing to do of Dawson's assignments and notebooking pages, and came across a couple of things that Dawson did not get done that I thought he got done. That was frustrating. I guess he'll have to put in a half-day or so when he gets back from his trip to Missouri where he is working with his grandpa.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share ... Don't get so behind on your filing and gradebook inputting. Yuck. I have some work to do.

I am inspired by ... community events that can be turned into unit studies. I have spoken about this before, but it has happened again! I received an e-mail that the community theatre will be doing the play "Jack and the Magic Beans" in the fall. Soooo, we will be doing a literature unit study on the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. I have researched themes, corresponding books, activities, and field trips (the play). It always amazes me how much fun I have planning this kind of unit!

Places we're going and people we're seeing ... Well, we saw Dawson's new employer and the car wash, a public school day for the last time (Eli's last day of school, and our last day of public school), Brynne's school friends at Big Bash at Eli's school, the DMV (for far too long), our church friends for a bowling Cast Party for their children's musical from last week, Kyndal (briefly), good friends Connor and Jaden who came over to play yesterday ... and that should be it for the week.

My favorite thing this week was ... since it's been a tough week on many accounts, I think right now where I am sitting in bed having a cup of coffee before everybody gets up.

What's working/not working for us ... Eli and Brynne started sharing a room almost two years ago. Brynne still has her own room, but she sleeps in Eli's room. Because of that, his room seems to be the one where all the toys end up. It is so cluttered and messy and it is NOT WORKING for me! It stresses me out every time I go in there. They are toy hounds, and there are buckets of toys EVERYWHERE! Rick and I are looking for a good shelving/cubbie unit to put in there. But until then, I've got to get in there and do some work! That's my goal for this afternoon. (Yesterday I tackled Dawson's room, closet, dresser, and the Nerd Cave. That made me feel much better.)

Questions/thoughts I have ... How can I better organize my homeschooling STUFF (books, supplies, upcoming units/subjects, past subjects/notebooks, etc.)?

Things I'm working on ... A schedule of what I would like to get accomplished this summer.

I'm reading ... Almost Amish by Nancy Sleeth and Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv

I'm cooking ... Tonight I think it'll be hot dogs and brats on the grill with french fries. We are going to take it easy this weekend, with lots of grilling. We don't really "do" holiday celebrations, so it will just be Rick and myself, Eli and Brynne. Dawson is gone for the weekend.

I'm grateful for ... Rick. I say that a lot, but it's the truth. I have been "presented" with a situation that is going to be very costly. Of course, I am a stay-at-home(schooling) mom, and have no income. So, who is going to have to foot the bill? My husband. But he loves me and my children and supports me and told me that I have "the full backing of the president". He has told me that everything I am doing is because it's the right thing to do, and he will support me (both emotionally and financially) in carrying it out.

I'm praying for ... myself and my family in a difficult situation we are in that includes a lot of emotions and finances.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share ... "Now, my tree-climbing days long behind me, I often think about the lasting value of those early, deliciously idle days. I have come to appreciate the long view afforded by those treetops. The woods were my Ritalin. Nature calmed me, focused me, and yet excited my senses." ~ Last Child in the Woods (Richard Louv talking about the lost art of children of playing outside.)



I will still be linking up each week to Weekly Wrap-up at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, just more in this relaxed fashion.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

M is for "Mom's Summer Plans"




Blogging through the Alphabet with Marcy at Ben and Me continues, even though it is now technically summer break for us.


Of course the kids have lots of plans this summer. Eli will have Boys Club. Brynne will have Girls Club. Our little Co-op small group will meet twice a month to do activities and earn badges from Keepers at Home. Eli and Brynne will have Amazing Athletes camp. They will bowl, go to the library, swim, go to the water park, go to the zoo, play video games, and just have fun. Dawson will switch to the night shift, where he stays up late with his friends playing video games and sleeps half the day. It's great to be a teenage boy. But wait ... now he has a summer job, so his summer of luxury won't be quite as luxurious as he had planned! (btw ... he made $16.50 an HOUR with tips yesterday working at the carwash ... whoa whoa whoa ..)

I hope today isn't a preview of how our summer will go. On this FIRST DAY OF SUMMER BREAK, Brynne was up at 6:30 a.m. and Eli was up at 7:30 a.m. Aren't kids supposed to be excited about sleeping in?

But what is mom going to be doing? I actually have a very busy summer planned.

First, I plan to read absolutely as much as I can get away with! I am participating in an online Bible study called "Love Like Him". And, I will be leading a book study here starting in June on the book Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv.

Second, I will be doing LOTS of lesson planning! We will have all three kids home next year, so I have lots to get prepared. This is especially true since we are adding Eli to the mix. My girlfriend and I have planned a "planning day" in July. Dawson is going to keep all of our kids here at our house and the two of us are going to grab a couple of bottles of wine and retreat at her house to work on our plans. I have great plans for the plans I will plan.

Third, I am planning to do some decluttering and purging. With each room's cabinets and closets I clean out, I will "earn" a $20 garage sale trip on Friday mornings. Let's see if I can get motivated to clean out some junk and bring in more! I am starting with the master bath and my closet this week.

Last, I will be doing some traveling!!
  • In early June I get to spend the weekend with my sister in Kansas City getting my new niece's nursery ready for her arrival in July. 
  • The next weekend my husband and I are going to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, for our anniversary. He's planning to play golf and I'm planning to sleep in and get a massage. Yeah, we plan to spend some time together, too. 
  • We will be home for two days and then we are packing up the kids and heading to St. Louis, Missouri, for a family vacation. It's one of our favorite places to go with so much to do. 
  • And then in July I am flying out to Portland, Oregon, with my mom to help my brother paint his house so they can get everything prepared for the arrival of their first baby who will be born in October. While there, I plan to take the bus down to famous Powell's Books for some bargains! I get back two days before our first day of school. Whew!

I also plan to stay diligent with my summer wellness plan. This includes both physical and spiritual wellness. My days will still start early (although not quite as early as they have during school). I will have my quiet and devotion time, do my Bible reading and journaling, and then hit the road for a good walk/jog with Crusoe. When I get home I plan to get ready for the day, do some blogging, work in my garden, and have all of this done (or mostly done) before the whirlwind of the kids wakes up.

This summer is going to go by SO fast! What do you have planned for YOU, moms?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What a Day!

Yesterday we had planned to finish some things up for school. But then Dawson got a call about an application for a job that he had put in a couple of months ago. We went to do a face-to-face interview, and before we left Dawson was scheduled to come back to work that afternoon. He will be working at a local car wash. It's a great job for boys, super hard work with great pay. He was there about 2 1/2 hours today and ended up making about $10 an hour with tips. His boss told him that it's not unheard of to earn $100 in tips a day.


Before he went in to work (weird to say that!), he had to go take the required reading proficiency exam for the driver's test. Since he's homeschooled, he didn't take it in 8th grade as public school students do. The test is supposed to take about 1 1/2 hours. It took him 28 minutes. And the report said, "You are eligible to enroll in any college-level course requiring college-level reading." Well ... I think he's doing okay as a homeschooled student. What do you think?

To top it off, we went to lunch with Rick and I bought him a new Xbox 360 game he has been wanting.

He's pretty happy right about now. Great day for a great kid!

Monday, May 21, 2012

WINNER!



The winner of The Secret Garden prize pack from my 5 Days of Literature Unit Studies is ..... DONNA from Homeschooling in Sunny Florida & My Midlife "Green" Crisis!

Congratulations, Donna! E-mail me at taulmans@netzero.net for your shipping information.

Wait ... that's not Charlotte!

We have been reading Charlotte's Web, and doing a study on spiders (and pigs and farms). And we got a REAL education in spiders last week!

As we were leaving the house to go to church, Dawson glanced over at our headwall at the top of our driveway and said, "Oh my gosh ... look at that Black Widow!" I told him I did not think it was a Black Widow .. surely not. What I do know is that it was a big black spider clinging to two HUGE egg sacks. Icky! It was not one of those pretty Orb spiders with a magnificent web. No, it was not Charlotte.


While I was getting gas in town, Dawson looked up the Black Widow on his iPhone. Sure enough, it looked to be a Black Widow.

We came home and researched the best way to kill it, without it killing us first. The prescribed solution involved wasp spray, a stick, and a shield. No, wait, it didn't call for a shield, but Dawson thought it would be a good idea. I thought it would be a good idea to stand 30 feet away and squeal like a little girl. Oh, and take pictures.


He sprayed it with the wasp spray, to stun it. Once it was properly stunned, he knocked it to the ground with the stick and then squished it. Ooze came out, that he thought was venom.


Then he knocked down the egg sacks and squished them. They were empty. And Daddy Black Widow was attached to one of the sacks, wound up in the web. He had done his part and she was done with him.

After all was properly squished and disposed of, Dawson went back inside to do some further research. He learned that the clear liquid was actually semen and the white stringy substance was her webbing. It appears that she had just, *ahem*, spent some time with the male, killed him, wrapped him up, and was in the process of fertilizing the eggs.


Oh gross. Yeah, oh yucky. Fascinating, however.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

America: The Story of Us ~ Episodes 8 "Boom" and 9 "Bust" Lesson Plans


Only two more units to go, and I will wrap them both up in this post. (Well there are actually five left, but I only completed lesson plans through the next two.) This was as far as we were able to get in the series this year. We were at the end of our school year and Dawson was ready to move on to his unit-of-choice: knights.

The next two units in the America: The Story of Us series were Episode 8: Boom and Episode 9: Bust, or better known as The Roaring 20's and The Great Depression. We spent three weeks combined on these two units.


Our book for both units was The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I had never read this book before and I thought it was an excellent portrayal of the good and bad of the 20's. The symbolism was astonishing and meaty, and I recommend having your student do an essay on the symbolism in the piece. I wish I would have done that with Dawson.



We watched both Episodes 8 and 9, did the discussion questions/video quiz for the episode and vocabulary words. These can be printed by going here. The Episode Guides are down the left hand column on the site.

All "notebooking pages" are printed from Advanced World History Vol. 2 from Hold that Thought!

All "America's Heritage" references are materials printed from America's Heritage: An Adventure in Liberty by The American Heritage Education Foundation, Inc.

Dawson also does Internet research to help him obtain information for his note booking pages. He is required to write 8-9 sentences since he is in the 9th grade.


We did the following activities:

* Read the 18th Amendment and discussed Prohibition
* "Booze, or Get on the Water Wagon" from the Episode Guide
* Prohibition notebooking page
* Carry A. Nation notebooking page
* Al Capone notebooking page
* Photo Analysis of the Model T
* Henry Ford notebooking page
* Roaring 20's Timeline project: Ohio Department of Education
* "The Migrant Mother" photo analysis
* Hoover Dam virtual tour 
* Mount Rushmore editing assignment
* Hoover Dam notebooking page
* Mount Rushmore notebooking page


Books Read (maybe not the whole book, but reading through it for notebooking pages and general information):

* The 1920's Decade in Photos: The Roaring 20's, by Jim Corrigan
* The Life and Times of Al Capone, by Tom Stockdale
* Migrant Mother: How a photograph defined the Great Depression, by Don Nardo
* The Dust Bowl: An Interactive History Adventure, by Allison Lassieur


Videos Watched:

* Scarface (1932)



* The Great Gatsby (1974)



** FYI: a new The Great Gatsby is being released in December 2012 starring Leonardo DeCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, and Isla Fisher.



I hope that you have enjoyed these lesson plans and have found them useful. As stated previously, there are a total of 12 videos/units in the America: The Story of Us series. We completed formal lessons through the 9th video and then just watched the 10th, 11th and 12th without doing any lessons with them.

I truly believe that following the lesson plans I have provided for America: The Story of Us would MORE than qualify for a full credit in American History. In fact, I know that the materials we covered greatly exceeded the PASS objectives for the State of Oklahoma.

This series was rich and meaty and moving. Dawson and I learned so much about our nation's history, more than I have ever learned in my 40+ years. I highly encourage you to use the video series and my recommended lesson plans for your student. You and your student will be so glad that you did.

May God bless you, and may God bless America.

** These lesson plans were based on planning for an American History course for a 9th grade boy. I allow some activities to be under his grade level and some to be above in order to give him a fun, exciting, and well-rounded understanding of the materials.




Previous Lesson Plans Posted:
Lesson 1 ~ (Episode 1) Rebels
Lesson 2 ~ (Episode 2) Revolution
Lesson 3 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 1
Lesson 4 ~ (Episode 3) Westward 2
Lesson 5 ~ (Episode 4) Division
Lesson 6 ~ (Episode 5) Civil War 
Lesson 7 ~ (Episode 6) Heartland 
Lesson 8 ~ (Episode 7) Cities

WriteShop Primary ~ TOS Review


Photobucket 

Teaching writing techniques is something I had not yet started with Brynne, who is 6 years old and in the 2nd grade. She does lots of writing, especially copywork, but no formal instruction. I have just been kind of letting her write when she wants to write. So when an opportunity came up to review a formal writing program called WriteShop Primary, I jumped at the chance.

"Developed for students in grades K-3, WriteShop Primary is designed for parents to work closely with their young children. As you interact with your child, you help him explore the world of words through a variety of colorful and meaningful activities."

I wasn't sure which level to request. Brynne is only 6, but she is advanced so does all 2nd grade work. But because she had not had any formal writing experience or instruction, I decided to start with Book A ... the very beginning. Here is what the publisher has to say about that:

"Each WriteShop Primary book can be used independently, but the incremental nature of the program encourages you to take your child through all three levels ... Although the parent of a more advanced child may decide to skip Book A and jump right into Book B or C, most find value in starting at the beginning."

And that is how I felt.

At first when we were doing the daily activities of Lesson 1, which focuses on Getting Started, I wished that I would have gone ahead and skipped to Book B. However, what I found was that Brynne did just a little more than the lessons required (on her own) and she gained CONFIDENCE in her writing! In fact, she found that by writing three independent sentences, that she had made a paragraph. She did this for 8 days in a row and each day would read all of the "chapters" she had written. She absolutely LOVED it and was SO PROUD of her work!

For an assessment to determine what level you should purchase you can go HERE.

I looked ahead to the rest of the lessons in Book A and was excited to see that she will be learning the following techniques:
  • Personal Writing
  • Thinking of Ideas to Write About
  • Selecting a Title
  • Constructing a Beginning, Middle and End
  • Using a Period at the End of a Sentence
  • Using Word Families to Write Stories with Rhyming Words
  • Using a Story Web to Organize Ideas
  • Introducing the Personal Narrative Story
  • Writing About Events in the Order They Happen
Here is a sample of one of the lessons:

Photobucket

Other positive aspects of the curriculum:
  •  You can do each of the lesson sets in either one week, two weeks, or three weeks
  • There are "Smaller Steps" prompts if you are wanting to use the lessons with a younger child than recommended for the book and "Flying Higher" prompts if you want to use the lessons with an older child. 
  • Each lesson set has an Activity Set Worksheet for concept reinforcement.
  • There are fun projects at the end of each lesson set, including: making a story kite, making a paper plate face, making a story clothesline, and more.
  • All supplies needed for the lesson sets are clearly set out at the beginning of each set.
One thing I really liked about WriteShop Primary was that we just sat side-by-side on the couch and did this together. It involved a lot of discussion and brainstorming. 

The only negative I found with the curriculum was that I felt that the Teacher's Guide was a little overwhelming at first. It took me some time to figure out how to schedule our lessons, and what we should be doing. But once I put in the time required in the beginning (which really just amounted to about a half hour of concentrated time), then we were ready to go.

I am actually planning to use this curriculum next year as part of our regular studies. If all goes well, we can move onto Book B for second semester.

WriteShop has writing programs for all ages, including elementary and junior high levels. You can view all of the materials at their website. The Primary Book A Teacher's Guide (that we used) is $26.95, and as an e-book is $24.95. The corresponding Activity Set Worksheet Pack for Book A is $4.95, and as an e-book is $4.50.

And here's some great news! WriteShop is offering 15% off any WriteShop Primary and Junior products in the WriteShop store (including e-books). All you have to do is use coupon code CREW15 at checkout. This offer is good through June 15, 2012.

You can also read what other TOS Crew members have to say about the Primary and Junior products by going HERE.

{Disclaimer: As a member of The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was provided this product free in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.}

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekly Wrap-up ~ Accomplishments


This was our last REAL week of school. And the way we handled it was just to spend each day completing a subject.

Dawson accomplished the following:
  • Completed Life of Fred: Beginning Algebra
  • Completed Critical Thinking
  • Completed up to the first review of GrammarKey Parts of Speech
  • Completed his Knights notebooking pages
  • Completed his unit on dissections by dissecting a starfish and a snake
  • Completed studying for his Driver's Ed written exam so he can test for his driving permit
  • Killed a Black Widow spider (not on the lesson plans, but necessary none-the-less)



Next week, on Monday and Tuesday, we have a couple of things left to do:
  • Finish reading The Templar
  • Finish watching Full Metal Jousting
  • Finish constructing the Assassin's Creed Altair Dagger
  • Work on Pearson's Homeschool Algebra II for upcoming review
  • Take 8th grade reading proficiency exam (for Driver's test requirement)
  • Take written test for Driver's permit

Brynne accomplished the following:
  • Performed at her Co-op Spring Choir program
  • Completed her Farm/Spider/Pig notebook
  • Completed her goal of reading 100 books!
  • Helped me complete a review of WriteShop
  • Helped me complete a review of RainbowSentences
  • Helped me complete a review of IXL



Next week, on Monday and Tuesday, we will do some of the following:
  • Work on more IXL
  • Finish listening to Charlotte's Web
  • Watch Charlotte's Web
  • Finish reading Pugsley from The Puppy Place series

Eli had a great week, too! He has two more days of school. Today I went to his Awards Assembly at school and he was awarded the Superintendent's Award for all A's all 4 quarters.

They accidentally gave him the wrong certificate, so they called him and one other boy up separately at the end to announce that they REALLY got the All A's award, not the A-B award. He was SO excited! He said, "that makes me feel so much better?"

He also erupted a volcano at school this week and made this salt dough map of the United States.


I am SOOO glad we are almost done with school. I need a brain break, and I know the kids do too.

We will continue to do some unit studies as they present themselves this summer, and we will participate in the Summer Reading Program at the library. But, other than that, we are on break until July 23rd. Yippppeeeee!!!!

We are linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


5 Day of Literature Unit Studies ~ Field Trips




The piece of literature ... The themes ... The corresponding books ... The activities ...

We almost have everything we need for a great unit study. But something is missing. In fact, it's that "something" that oftentimes starts me down the path for a particular unit study in the first place.

It's time for the field trip.

I mentioned in the first post of this series to always be on the lookout for inspiration. Be watching library billboards, community newspapers, blog posts, etc., for something that might spark a particular interest in your kids (or in you .... sometimes just your enthusiasm is all your child needs to get enthusiastic, as well.)

The Secret Garden unit study all started with me seeing a notice on our community blog for auditions for the upcoming community theatre production of the book. The actual play was to take place several months later, so it gave me time to plan the unit, read the book, and do all activities before the production.

I organized a field trip for our Co-op to a fully sustainable nursery in Tulsa, called Grogg's Green Barn. While there, the owner gave us a tour, showed us how they water their plants, talked about composting and "good" bugs, and then let the kids each make a "green" Easter basket.

To conclude our study, my friend (who was doing the study with her girls) and I took our three girls to have lunch at a local tea house. While there I purchased Brynne her very own tea pot, tea cup, saucer, and the loose leaf tea of her choice.

Then we took the girls to see the play. (We had previously watched the movie, so Brynne was really excited to see the story live.) It was a wonderful conclusion to our unit.

For Charlotte's Web, a trip to a farm is a perfect field trip. We have a wonderful farm in a nearby town that is owned by a Christian family. They do tons of educational classes, teach weaving, knitting, have a pumpkin patch, and a Nativity scene. It's beautiful! They allow children to come in and see their barn. It is exactly what I would imagine Fern's uncle's farm looked like in the book.

For Ice Age 4, we will be going on a field trip to the Tulsa Geoscience Center for geological lessons on earthquakes and plate tectonics. We have been there before for a unit on fossils. It holds a wealth of information and the volunteers are always willing to provide us with some great lessons.

Sometimes we just go to the movies to conclude a unit, like we did with The Lorax to conclude our unit on the book and Earth Day.

I hope you have enjoyed this series, have found it helpful, and have been inspired to plan your own units. Using this system has enriched our homeschool experience in ways I can hardly describe. We have learned SO MUCH, it is incredible! I absolutely cannot wait to see what is in store for us this next school year, and even this summer if something pops up.

If you have not commented on each of the posts in this series, you still have time to do that. Each comment will provide you with an entry into my giveaway for my copy of the Classic Starts version of The Secret Garden, which includes the book on cd. I will also mail you my (very well used) copies of the resources I used for our unit study. I will accept comments up until Monday morning when I will draw a name (the old fashioned way) for the winner.

Here are all of the other posts from the unit:

Day 1 ~ Choosing a Piece of Literature
Day 2 ~ Choosing the Themes to Study
Day 3 ~ Choosing Corresponding Books from the Library
Day 4 ~ Choosing Corrsponding Activities

And you really should take some time this weekend to visit some of the other 65 bloggers from The Homeschool Crew who had their own 5 Days series.

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Thanks for joining us!