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Showing posts from May, 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.

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 I have been depressed, anxious, testy, withdrawn, physically ailed, and on an organization mission (to work off emotions).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 ins

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. Th

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 movi

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.

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

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 6:3

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 o


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 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 lik

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 fo

WriteShop Primary ~ TOS Review

  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 independentl

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

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