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Showing posts from June, 2012

Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ Summer Week 6

Have we just completed the 6th week of summer? That means we have less three weeks until we start our next school year and, um, I'm not ready ... not even close.

In my life this week ... We got back from vacation on Sunday night, and Brynne woke up first thing Monday morning with strep and a staph infection. After a trip to Urgent Care, a long nap, and some good antibiotics, she was back to her normal self on Tuesday. Dawson worked Tuesday and made $140 in 8 hours at his job at the car wash! It was 105* that day, so it was hard work! We logged a school day on Wednesday, and then had Keeper's Club and piano lessons yesterday. I have also been getting us unpacked and repacked so we can take off to Kansas City when we get the call from my sister that she is in labor. We have to be ready!

In our homeschool this week ... We did lots of reading on Tuesday. On Wednesday we learned about foods, food life, kitchens, family traditions, and restaurants of past versus present with a trip t…

Last Child in the Woods ~ Chapter 9, 10, and 11

We now embark on Part III of the book titled "The Best of Intentions: Why Johnnie and Jeannie Don't Play Outside Anymore".

Chapter 9. Time and Fear. I can honestly say that at times I feel selfish and lazy. I value my free time so much that I don't look for ways to schedule my kids' activities because I don't want to be scheduled. But in my heart I know that it's more than that. It angers me to see parents so hell-bent on their kids being sports stars or honor students or nationally-ranked band prodigies, or in other words, perfect at something. I often believe that it's the parents wanting themselves to look good and get attention at the expense of their kids. I have shocked parents when I say that I don't care if my kids go to college. I want my kids to do what they are passionate about and what makes them happy so that they won't dread getting out of bed in the mornings. If they can accomplish that without a college education, so be it. Ins…

Key Ingredients

Yesterday we officially logged Day 2 of 180 for the 2012/2013 school year. I recently posted about our plans to make a day of learning about food and kitchens of past versus present in conjunction with the Smithsonian traveling exhibit Key Ingredients: America by Food. We took the day yesterday to go to the exhibit and do all of our activities.


Our first stop was at a local ice cream and coffee shop for a treat. While there we talked about the ingredients of ice cream and what it would take for the early settlers to make their own ice cream. We talked about where they would get the ingredients: from their cows, from sugar cane or maple sap, from cocoa beans or fruit for flavoring, and how long it would take to make it.


We used a provided Scavenger Hunt to help guide us through the exhibit at the library. The kids learned about what types of foods were famous in which states, restaurants then versus now, kitchens then versus now, the evolution of frozen foods, marketing, the family fa…

R is for "Recycling"

I don't know why we started Recycling, except that it was Brynne's idea. She was really excited about it, so I bought three rope-handled tubs to put in our garage for paper, plastic, and aluminum cans.


Our method is to put anything recyclable on our counter by the stove, and then a few times a day we take it out and put it in it's proper tub. Once the tubs are full (or overflowing, as is usually the case), we load them up in the back of the Suburban and take them to our Recycling Center in town. It's near the library, so we usually combine it with one of our many weekly library trips.


There, we distribute the items in their proper places.


It astounds me how much we recycle! This photo shows how much recycling we had in about a two-week time. (The aluminum cans had been being collected in Dawson's Nerd Cave for a few months. He recycles there, too. We don't have this many cans in a couple week period.)


The kids are able to help with distributing the recyclable …

Q is for "Quarters"

And I'm not talking about that infamous college party game. I am talking about the one where you stack as many quarters on your elbow as you can, throw your hand forward and down, and try to catch the quarters. We used to play that game with pennies with my dad when I was a kid. I was pretty good at it.


The kids have been practicing catching quarters. It's difficult for children because it requires lots of hand-eye-coordination.



It gets me thinking about all of the children's games of days-gone-by, and how much I think kids are missing out on fun times, because they are usually playing video games indoors.

I am doing my best to encourage the kids to do outside activities whenever possible, including swinging on the swingset, riding their bikes or scooters and playing hopscotch. And I have been trying to bring out some of my favorite childhood games, like catching quarters, hand clap rhymes, and playing "cat in a cradle" with string. My mom was always so good at …

Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers ~ Review

A couple of months ago I was contacted by Susan Kilbride, the author of Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers about writing a review for the book.


She had read my blog post on our The Secret Garden unit where I used her free Plant unit study downloaded from Funtastic Unit Studies.

I told her that I would be thrilled to review the entire book that the plants unit came from, because we enjoyed it so much!

Although we have not done any other full unit studies from the book yet, I have reviewed it extensively. I have even pulled out some relevant activities to do regarding delight-directed learning opportunities on which we had embarked. (Like our spontaneous Water Cycle unit. I just grabbed the book to see if there might be some activities on the Water Cycle, and voila! I found some great things in a snap!) I do, however, plan to use this book for many years to come.

That's what's great about the book! It has designated activities for Ages 4-7, and then Ages 8-13.…

Last Child in the Woods ~ Chapter 8

Hi everybody! Sorry for the late post on this week's reading. We were on vacation this past week, got home last night, and woke up this morning to a sick husband and even sicker little one. But I really want to get the points up about Chapter 8, because it's a good one!

Chapter 8. Nature-Deficit Disorder and the Restorative Environment.

This chapter starts out discussing something that is near and dear to my heart, since I just pulled my last child out of public school. I have been disturbed for years about the programs that are pulled from the public school day in an attempt to make our kids "smarter" and to meet the requirements of the ridiculous "No Child Left Behind" act. Page 100 wonders if it could possibly be a coincidence that at the same time schools were taking PE out of the public school day that a drastic increase in childhood obesity started to occur. I think we all know the answer to that. But I didn't know that there are schools that act…

Homeschool Mother's Journal ~ Summer Week 5

In my life this week ... Last weekend Rick and I celebrated our anniversary in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. And this week we are on a family vacation to St. Louis, Missouri. We took Kyndal and Dawson when they were 9 and 7 and Dawson wanted for us to come back so Brynne and Eli could experience all the fun, too. We also brought along Dawson's best friend, Antonio, and our dog, Crusoe.


In our homeschool this week ... Nothing in the form of school happened this week. We were determined to make our vacation one of FUN! (However, you can't go to the St. Louis Arch, Grant's Farm, the zoo, and other places without learning. Shhhh ... don't tell the kids.)



Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share ... When you won't have the time or energy to enjoy a learning opportunity, put it off until another day, if possible.

I am inspired by ... things in the oddest places. On Monday I was in Dollar Tree looking for small gifts for the "vacation fairy" to leave the kids in t…