November 30, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Christmas Movies

Top Ten {Tuesday}

We are working on getting into the Christmas spirit.  Not so much working, as watching movies, Christmas and holiday movies.  Here are my top ten picks for Christmas movies:

1.  Elf - this movie cracks me up.  I love Will Ferrell, and he is the perfect human Elf.  Too cute.  (Available from Netflix.)

2.  The Year without a Santa Claus   Oldie, but goodie - it reminds me of my childhood.

3.  A Charlie Brown Christmas Can't you just hear the Peanuts gang singing Christmas carols?  This is a movie that has to be watched (at least once a year, sometimes many more than once at our house.)  Anything with Charlie Brown in the title has to be good!

4.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Isn't Rudolph great?  Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose...  Great movie, and you have to sing-along, right??  We do!

5.  The Santa Clause - I love Tim Allen.  He makes me happy.  He's the perfect Santa Claus.

6.  The Polar Express -  Another great Christmas movie that we can't miss.  I think I'm ready to add this one to our DVD library this year.  It's such a great movie.

7.  Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas - this is the classic original one without Jim Carrey.  I like Jim Carrey, but I like this version of the Grinch better - maybe it reminds me of my childhood?  Who knows??

8.  The Santa Clause 2 - Still love Tim Allen :)  My kids said that all the Santa Clause movies have to be on our list.

9.  The Santa Clause 3

10.  Miracle on 34th Street - Classic Christmas movie, right?  "I believe... I believe... It's silly, but I believe. " Oldie and a goodie!

What are your favorite holiday movies?  Is there something else I should add to this list?  Don't be shy, let me know.  We don't want to miss out!

Be sure to check out other Top Ten Tuesday lists at Oh Amanda

November 19, 2010

Five Question Friday - November 19th

1. What Christmas song do you loathe?
 I can't think of any Christmas songs that I loathe.  Maybe the Chipmunks one - only because those Chipmunk voices are a bit annoying...

2. Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?
No cuddling here - not that I don't love him.  I just like to have my space at night.  Plus there are the two cats and one kitten that tend to sleep between us, especially in the winter. 

3. Have you ever had surgery?
Yes, oral surgery and LASIK surgery.  That's it though.

4. When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?
I like to have it completed by December 1st or so, it helps me to relax and actually enjoy the holidays.

5. If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?
I'd probably buy a Cadillac Escalade, it would be great to drive around in large comfort.   Maybe a beautiful diamond necklace would be nice too - just for me! 

Look at what other people have to say at Five Question Friday - it's fun!

October 29, 2010

Great Book Offer from the Jeub Family

I love reading blogs.  Here's a new-to-me one that I found today.  And they are giving away a FREE book.  Please go check it out for yourself.

Jeub Family Free Family Business Book

October 28, 2010

WinterPromise Sea & Sky

We started our new program (WinterPromise Sea & Sky) last week.  Overall, I love WinterPromise.  I love the book selections.  I really love the hands-on projects (which is why I decided to give WinterPromise a try). 

But, I've come to a realization, I'm just not a follow-the-curriculum type of girl.  I hate having a daily reading/activity schedule.  I feel like if I haven't completed it all, then we've failed for the day.  So, I'm doing my own thing - I'm following the basic program, but adding a lot of my own touches.  We're following a schedule that works for us.  In fact, we've jumped into the pirate portion, and then we'll go back to the previous ship history that we bypassed.  The kids were just so excited about learning about pirates, that I felt like we needed to fast forward to the golden age of pirates.  We are learning a lot, and having a bunch of fun with pirate crafts.  I'll share some pictures soon.

October 25, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Ten Blogs I have to read daily

Top Ten {Tuesday} 
I am hopelessly addicted to blogging.   Seriously.  Oh I know you are looking at my blog and thinking, not so much, Kim - look at the gaps in those posts.  I mean I am hopelessly addicted to reading blogs.  I have over 100 blogs subscribed in my reader, hopelessly addicted.  I am cranky if I don't read certain blogs daily - and oh my gosh, if they don't post on a daily basis, I have to go directly to their blog and look at previous posts (I know, I know - hopelessly addicted).

In no particular order, here are the ten blogs I love to read daily.

1. Almost Unschoolers - I love, love, love how she homeschools / unschools.  This is where I want to be one day - it's how I hope our homeschool evolves.  Once I relax and take it easier.
2.  Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers - I always, always love what Kris has to say.  I relate to what she says on her blog, and how it can relate to me.
3.  To Be Busy at Home - another homeschooling blog, are you noticing a trend here?  I do have other blogs that I read that aren't just homeschooling, I just really love to read about homeschooling.  I especially love Samantha's blog, because she tells it like it is.  She's inspiring to me.
4.  Money Saving Mom - I like to save money!
5.  Lynn's Kitchen Adventures - Food, yummy!
6.  Life As Mom - great tips, great recipes, great blog.
7.  Smockity Frocks  
8.  Ramblings of an Unschooling Family - this is the blog of one of my local friends - I love reading her stories!
9.  Our Busy Homeschool - Again, I love, love this blog - I feel like I know Tristan, and I love reading about her homeschooling days.
10.  The Crafty Crow - I love crafts.  I adore crafts.  Cutest crafts available here.

So, do you have a blog I should add to my top ten list?  Leave me a comment and I'll check it out, it may just make my reader, I am addicted to reading blogs.

Be sure to check out what other great top ten lists are in the blogosphere this week over at Oh Amanda - Top Ten Tuesday.

See you there!

October 22, 2010

Time4Learning Review - Coming Soon

I've been invited to try Time4Learning for one month in exchange for a candid review. My opinion will be entirely my own, so be sure to come back and read about my experience. Time4Learning can be used as an online homeschooling curriculum, a web based afterschool tutorial or an online summer program. Find out how to write your own curriculum review for Time4Learning.

October 19, 2010

Happy Birthday J-Guy!

I can't believe it, but my little boy is 11 years old today.  Does that mean I can't call him my little boy anymore??

It seems like it was just yesterday that he was born.

Happy Birthday, J!!

Love,  Mom.

Tuesday Top Ten - Favorite TV Shows we love at my house

Top Ten {Tuesday}
Okay, we probably watch too much TV, we don't even have cable, or we'd probably watch even more.  I'm a visual person, so I just love watching TV - in my defense, I do usually have something crafty in my hands at the same time.  Without further ado, here are shows that my family & I enjoy.

1.  Glee - I absolutely love this show.    My kids watch it, too - although sometimes I have to send the younger ones out of the room for a few minutes.  Love it, love it, love it.  I can't wait for next week with the tribute to the Rocky Horror Picture Show - I've already been practicing the Time Warp with my kiddos.  Airs on Tuesday nights on Fox.

2.  Raising Hope - This is another Tuesday night show.  It follows Glee.  Not necessarily appropriate for little children, but hubby and I find it to be very funny.  The characters are great, I highly recommend it.  Need a good laugh?  Definitely check it out.

3.  Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids - We have Netflix, so this show is in our instant queue.  It brings back Saturday morning cartoon memories for me, and my kids are really enjoying it.  Bill Cosby was so young!

4.  Criminal Minds - Wednesday evening television.  I have loved this show since it premiered in 2005.  Not appropriate for children (lots of scary criminals), but I enjoy watching it.

5.  Hannah Montana, Forever - The final season of Hannah Montana.  We enjoy watching this as a family.  Sometimes Hannah annoys me, but overall, it's a great family-friendly show.

6.  Wizards of Waverly Place - Okay, I have to admit,  I love Alex Russo - she is the way I wish I had been in high school.  I just love everything about her, her attitude, her style, her joie de vivre.  She's great.  My kids really love her, too.  Great Disney show (available on Netflix instant queue).

7.  The Amazing Race - we haven't been watching this one as much this season, but overall, this would definitely rank as one of our top ten shows to enjoy.  I love that we can tie in some geography and culture with a television show, easily.  We have pulled out the globe on several occasions, while watching.  Fun and educational, sweet!

8.  Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman - This is a PBS show that we really love.  It has challenges, science, math, reading, learning, problem-solving.  Great show for kids, and I enjoy it, too.  Ruff is a big animated dog who's the host of a game show, with six contestants who compete for points.  It's cute and educational.

9.  Desperate Housewives - This one is just for me, it's my guilty pleasure.  I must say though, this season has not been as good as previous ones, IMHO.  I still watch it, but it's not as must-see as previous seasons.  It might be dropping off my top-ten soon.

10.   The Good Wife - This is another one of those shows that I enjoy.  My kids are always in bed by ten (not necessarily asleep), but in bed.  So, this one I watch alone - sometimes hubby watches it too, but he doesn't find it that exciting.  I love the storyline.  Alicia is great and what a strong woman.  I love Will, too.

Well that's it - my list of ten shows that grace our television on a weekly basis.  Have any favorites to share?  Feel free to post in my comments.  I'd love to hear from you!

Make sure to check out other top ten lists at Top Ten Tuesday at OhAmanda.

October 15, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - the crazy busy week

Certain weeks around here are busy -- very, very busy.  This was one of those weeks.  We had a great time with it though.

We started out on Monday with our Around the World Cooking Club.  This month our focus was France, we made strawberry crepes, chocolate cream puffs, chocolate mousse and ham and cheese en croute.  The food was yummy and the kids had a blast.

The rest of Monday was a blur, we had a couple kids stay after cooking club to play, and then we took them home, had dinner, and chilled out for the night.

On Tuesday, we had our first lessons from WinterPromise Sea & Sky.  The kids really enjoyed it - and I enjoyed it too.  Sometimes I like having a laid-out plan to follow (even loosely).  I think overall we'll be very pleased with it.  I have a tendency to revamp things after a bit, so I'm sure we'll add / change as time goes on.  Unfortunately this was the only day that we were able to fit in this study for this week.  Next week maybe.?

On Wednesday, my kids went to their classes at Leaves of Learning - they love that place and so do I.  It's a great environment, great teachers and great time to socialize with some other kids.

Yesterday, we had review club - it was fun, we usually meet at a park, so after the reviews are finished, everyone gets a chance to play and eat lunch.  Casual and fun, and I get to socialize, too.

Today we went to the Newport Aquarium (Newport, KY) for homeschool days.  It was fun, we had been before, but not for a while.  The kids mentioned maybe getting a pass here, I'm not sure if we'll do that - but it was definitely fun for the day.  We also had Biography Fair this afternoon.  A-Doll was the only one in our family who presented, she did her report on Albert Einstein.  Some of the other presentations were Dr. Seuss, Pee Wee Reese, Joe Montana, Walt Disney, the 33 miners, Hachico and Stan Lee.  I learned quite a bit, and I think the kids did too.  The other two decided that they would participate fully, next time.  I'm going to make sure they do. :)

I need to get a good camera, so I can start adding pictures here.   Stay tuned!

Be sure to check out  Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more Weekly WrapUps.

Five Question Friday

1. What is your favorite Halloween candy?
I have to go with candy corn, first - yummy.  My second choice would have to be Reese's Peanut Butter cups.  

2. Do you fold your socks?
Are you kidding?  No, I don't fold my socks.  I do fold my husband's socks, though.  His day can't start right if his socks aren't folded.

3. What is something that you wish you had been warned about?

Homeschooling is not as easy as it seems!  There are days when I want to sell my kids, or at least ship them back to school.  Ugh.

4. What is the most significant difference between you and your significant other?

He's outgoing, I'm super shy - but getting better.  I still feel awkward in some situations, though.

5. What are three words you would use to describe yourself? (And, just for fun...if your significant other is around, ask him/her what 3 words they would use to describe you!!)
Shy, happy, kind
Hubby is not home - and I'd be afraid to ask him anyway  LOL.
Want to join in?  I'd love to read your answers, too.  Join up at Five Question Friday at My Little Life.  It's pretty fun!

October 12, 2010

Giveaway at Flip Out Mama

Are you like me?  Do you love, drool over, adore art supplies?  And for free is always sooooo much better.  If so, then you must go check out the sweet giveaway that flip out mama is sponsoring over at her blog.

Flip Out Mama - Faber Castell giveaway

Or, on second thought - don't go LOL - I want to win it too. 

Just teasing, hope you win.  Maybe.  If it's not me.

Tuesday Train Blog Hop - Join in!


It's time for another Tuesday Train Blog hop - will you join in the fun?

We've been busy with school, cooking club, life.

We had a great weekend.  We had a mini-family reunion combined with a baby shower for my sister-in-law.  It was nice to catch up with everyone, and my sister-in-law was so cute with her pregnant belly.  We can't wait for the baby to arrive (sometime in late November/early December).

October 4, 2010

Tuesday Blog Hop


It's Tuesday Train blog hop time.  This is my first time participating, but it looks pretty fun.  Will you join me?

October 2, 2010

Field Trip Thursday - Renaissance Festival

We went on the best field trip this week.  We went to the Ohio Renaissance Festival for Student Day.  We've never been to a Renaissance festival before.  Wow, it was very fun!  It was a lot different that I expected.  It was sort of a craft show, carnival and amusement park rolled into one.

My kids really loved the shops (of course).  S-Doll wanted to "drench a wench", dunking tank Medieval-style.  You could throw vegetables at a Jester.  There was real-live jousting (mom's favorite activity from the day).  Shakespeare spoke to the attendees.  There were classes in sword-fighting.  Pirates and more. It was great.

There were lots of students from schools, home schools and more.   It was definitely a fun outing, we're already making plans to attend next year.

Not So Homemade Blog Design Giveaway

Courtney at Not So Homemade is having a giveaway - a blog design.  Stop on by and check it out.  I hope I win (or maybe you win).

September 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday - Favorite Children Books

Top Ten {Tuesday}

I've seen this Top Ten Tuesday come through my Google reader for a few weeks now, and decided today was the day to join in.  Now, what to blog about...

Top Ten Favorite Children's Books:

1.  The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown - this was one of my absolutely favorite books from my childhood, Wink and Blink mix colors and cause a bit of trouble.  My kids aren't quite as thrilled with it as I was, but they let me read it to them, anyway.  I have a few copies around here.

2.  Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  Have you read this book?  I cry every single time, it's such a true story of a parents love for their children throughout their whole lives.  If you haven't read it, it's time - go find a copy!

3.  Count with Me by Shirley Barber.  I love the artwork in this book, and there are lots of colorful items to count. 

4.  Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.  This one is a classic, don't you agree?  I really enjoy this book, the rhyming is great.  I love it, I do Sam-I-Am.

5.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  What a great book!  This was one of my favorites as a child, and it still ranks as a favorite in my mind.  I have re-read the whole series and it is awesome.

6.  Charlotte's Web by E.B. White.  I still cry during this story, and I know what's going to happen.  I love Charlotte, I love Wilbur, I love this book.

7.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff.   All three of my children love this whole series of If you Give a ... books.  They are a great to read, and flow well - I love the cause/effect.

8.  Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary.  One of the first chapter books I remember reading and LOVING.  My kids are really enjoying Ramona books too.  It's fun to see them read these books that I enjoyed so much years ago.  And, Ramona is still a pest!

9. The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald.  This is a book that I just recently encountered but it's a great book for kids.  My son (reluctant reader) has really been involved in reading this whole series of books.  It's set in Utah in the 1890's so it also has some history. 

and last, but not least
10.  Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt.  I love this touchy, feely book - it has simple text, great textures and my kids all enjoyed it.  In fact, it's a book I love to give as a gift for new babies or baby showers.

It was hard to settle on just ten books!  What books would you add?

Be sure to stop by the Top Ten Tuesday, and see what other people are writing about this week.

September 27, 2010

I wish

I wish we were unschoolers.  I've read the books.  I've done the research.  I have friends who unschool.
It looks so great, and organic and wonderful.  Some days, I want their life.

But, when left to their own devices, my kids only want to watch TV, all day long.  No, not educational TV, programs like Full House, Rugrats, Hannah Montana - over and over and over again.  I follow their interests, leaving fun and cool items strewn around, still the TV will call to them. 

Panic sets in - and I hunt for some curriculum, some interest to inspire them, something.

We are not unschoolers, and I'm okay with that.  We balance our days with some curriculum, some fun and games, some unit studies (somedays) and some child-delight-directed items and yes, some TV, too.  Okay, so we are eclectic, and I'm okay with that, too.

I want my children to work hard, love each other, follow God and have a lot of opportunities available to them.  Now and later in life.  My motto is work hard, keep those doors (opportunities) open, now, while we still are able to.  If they choose not to go through a certain door in the future, I'm perfectly fine with that, but wouldn't it be nice to have many options?  KWIM?

I wish we were unschoolers, but by being an eclectic home school family, we are able to pull from whatever philosophy fills our needs right now, today.   It's great being a homeschooler.

September 24, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up - September 24, 2010

Our week was fairly uneventful this week.   We actually got into a groove with our schoolwork (math, LA, writing, reading).  I feel like we're making some progress, here, finally.  I'm still waiting on books and materials for WinterPromise Sea & Sky - it looks like we probably won't start this until sometime in October.

We are really loving the game Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?  It is really fun to play and it helps develop our reading skills and US geography skills.

I spent a chunk of time this week organizing and re-organizing.  We have WAY too much stuff (homeschool and otherwise) - I need to really focus on decluttering an area each week.  Easier said than done, but maybe if I write it in my blog it will come true.  :)

We started reading The Great Brain Is Back by John D. Fitzgerald this week, just for fun (and for our current family read-aloud.)  My son (the reluctant reader) is really enjoying this book.  We ended up checking some of the related books on CD out of the library, and he is listening to them at bedtime, too.

The kids had their Recycled Runway art class again on Thursday.  This week they worked on their tops to go with their fashion design using repurposed items.  One girl in the class made a very cool dress, using black & white fabric and Monopoly money glued on - it was neat.  A-Doll made a great sailor-style top.  J-Guy is still working on his, he will be using playing cards for his vest.  I love the creativity all the kids display.

Be sure to check out  Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers for more Weekly WrapUps.

September 17, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - September 17


Our week was great this week. Here are some highlights.

Monday:  We held our very first Around the World Cooking Club meeting at our house.  The kids cooked Mexican cuisine and it was yummy.  Everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves, and the food was quite good.  We are definitely excited about this club over the year.  Our next cooking experience will be from France - we might go heavy on desserts.  S-Doll had a friend stay after cooking club, so we had a leisurely afternoon.  We spent a good chunk of time at the Cincinnati Nature Center, taking a hike, feeding the fish, checking out tadpoles in the stream.  All in all a great day.

Tuesday:  We were back to working on our measurement unit study.  We focused on probability and statistics and played with Skittles.  Our favorite part was buying the big bag of Skittles, then we each randomly drew 20 skittles from the bag.  We tallied what colors were pulled.  Both girls (and mom) pulled the most purple Skittles.  J-Guy pulled the most red Skittles.  We hypothesized that purple must be the most prevalent in a package of Skittles.  Nope, not in our bag - red actually outnumbered the other colors by 10 skittles.  We were very surprised.   This exercise was also good for counting by 5's and 10's practice.

Wednesday:  First morning back at our favorite homeschool enrichment school, Leaves of Learning.  J-Guy is taking Simple Machines, S-Doll is taking Art and A-Doll is taking Arts & Crafts from the Time Machine and Sign Language.  Great place - fun morning!

Thursday:  Regular school and art class for A & J.  They are taking a cool art class - it's called Recycled Runway.  They are taking regular items and re-purposing them into outfits/costumes for a "green" fashion show.  I wish I could take it, awesome class.

And today, we have our first meeting of Review club, followed by a park day.  Then, I'm headed to Half-Price books to search for some of the books for WinterPromise Sea & Sky.  We're excited to get started with that program.

Have a great weekend!  Make sure you head over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for additional Weekly Wrap-Ups.

Family Friendly Halloween Dance

What:  4H Family Halloween Dance
When: Friday, October 22, 2010 7 PM to 10 PM
Where:  Clermont County Fairgrounds 4-H Hall 1000 Locust St. Owensville, OH 45160
Who:  You, your family, your friends
Hosted by:  ALIVE 4H Club

Tickets: Preorder:  $2 per person or $8 per family.  At the door: $3 per person or $10 per family.  Preordered tickets can be paid for the night of the dance but must be reserved by 10-21 by contacting our dance coordinator,  Amy Monaco at or (513) 544-8459

Snacks:  Light snacks and beverages will be provided by ALIVE 4-H club.

Raffle Tickets:  $1 each or 6/$5 or 15/$10.  Raffle items include but are not limited to theme baskets (pets, dog, sports, family games, cookies, automotive, natural baby, rubber stamping/card making, bats, Christmas, Pamper Me) and items from and gift certificate to local businesses . We will also be drawing door prizes throughout the night.

Pumpkin Carving Contest: Bring a carved pumpkin with you and you could be named “Pumpkin Carver Supreme” and win a prize! FREE!

Costume Contest: Open to EVERYONE! We will award prizes for the cutest, scariest, most creative and best costume overall! FREE! Please keep costumes tasteful!

Silly Bands for sale: Join the craze! Collect Silly Bands throughout the evening and you could end up being the king or queen of the dance. You can send bands to your friends throughout the night for $.25/2 bands.

Need more info or to pre-order tickets: contact Amy Monaco at or (513) 544-8459

Any questions, please let me know!
Kim & Amy

September 16, 2010

September 13, 2010

Great Curriculum Giveaway

Looking for curriculum?  You have to check out what Laura is doing over at Heavenly Homemakers today.  Awesome beyond belief.  Go. Check. Now.

I am even giving away a couple items.  And, yes, I've asked for more than a couple items, too.  Hope I'm chosen.

September 11, 2010

Weekly Wrap Up - September 10

Our week went well, we did take Monday off since hubby was home.

Here are some of the highlights of the week.

Tuesday:  Continued work on our measurement unit.   We worked on measuring and a little bit about the history of standard measurement.  We all went outside and measured fifteen of "our feet" vs. fifteen feet on a standard ruler.  It was an eye-opener for my kiddos, and me too.  Good thing we use a standard measure :).  It would be quite difficult to give directions otherwise.

Wednesday:  Spent a beautiful day at a local State Park lake.  My kids swam and socialized with some fellow homeschool friends.  I visited with some homeschool mom friends.  It was great fun.

Thursday:  More measurement.  We also had centers today (my first grader LOVES centers).  We pulled out our TOPS science lentil kit - everyone ended up playing with it, so it was able to stay out until Friday.

Friday:  Cleaned the house - we are hosting an Around the World Cooking Club and Monday is our first day.
We're excited.  Next month, maybe I'll clean the house a little more regularly, so it's not a marathon clean.

We might be switching to WinterPromise Adventures in Sea & Sky.  As much as I love putting together our own unit studies, the idea of having a plan is making me VERY happy, and less stressed.  I did buy the program guide, I still need to see if I can pick up books at Half-Price books... there were also some available at my local library.  On paper it looks like the perfect program for my family.

Next week will still be measurement (with a focus on graphing), but after that, we might be making the big switch.

Be sure to check out what other families did this week.

September 5, 2010

Free books (sort of)

Just in case you haven't heard of Paperback Swap yet, you need to check it out.  It is a homeschooler's best friend for obtaining free books.

If you haven't checked it out - stop on by now, I highly recommend it.

(I might get a credit if you sign up and list ten books onto your bookshelf - but hey, you get a credit too!)


Measurement Unit Study

I wanted to share the basics of our Measurement unit study, feel free to use any of our ideas.  Some of our learning objectives are:  learning / reviewing place value, large number values (million +),  standard vs. non-standard measurement, and a healthy dose of probability/statistics.

First of all, here are the books that we are using:

And some of the fun things we are going to do:

Estimate how many pennies fill up a 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup.
Estimate how many m&ms fill up a 1/3 c, 1/2 c and 1 c measure.  (then eat m&m's, yummy)
Play with place value with manipulative blocks and craft supplies.
Measure our feet to see why the foot became the "standard" measure.

Measure, measure, measure -everything and anything.
Enjoy math centers that teach addition, subtraction and fraction practice.
Do a blind-draw of skittles, then tally a bag of skittles to see if our blind draw was an accurate sampling.  Create a variety of graphs related to our Skittles tallies.  (then eat Skittles, yum)
Make a math game that helps us remember our measurement conversions.

I'll share more soon - I need to go measure something.

September 1, 2010

Our day

We'll mark today as somewhat successful for baby-stepping back into the school groove.  We did practice some math facts (yeah!)  S-Doll did her math assignment with a smile.  A-Doll rocked on her math challenge work.  J-Guy actually asked to do math - and worked diligently for about 2 minutes before he was bored.  We switched to a "game" format for him, more entertaining, I suppose.

We enjoyed our poem of the week - something new I'm attempting to incorporate into our week this year.  This week's poem is Good Company by Leonard Clark.  I found it in our copy of Classic Poems to Read Aloud (Classic Collections) .  My plan with this is to work through one poem a week just to introduce the different styles of poetry, and to introduce the names of some poets.  Perhaps in the spring, we'll even incorporate some poetry writing - we'll see.

We also played a homemade math game that A-Doll created this morning.  It was fun until S-Doll had enough - then she pulled the pieces, the dice and some of the playing cards.  We decided to put it up until tonight.

The worst part of our day was during our unit study work, I had selected a perfectly cute book How Big Is A Million? (Picture Books) (cute book, right???) to read to discuss the size of a million, and S-Doll and J-Guy immediately starting complaining.  It ended with me looking up the phone number to register them into public school.  After I took a few deep breaths, and pulled myself together, we had a little family meeting about polite behavior vs. impolite behavior.  We'll see how the rest of the week goes, hopefully better than my afternoon.

On a great note, J-Guy has been working on his Lego Book for about an hour now - this is a project he decided to pursue, and it's wonderful to see how carefully he works on it.  I'm proud of him and his effort.

August 31, 2010

Cool Finds

We had a leisurely lunch out today at LaRosa's, and a chance to have a homeschool meeting about what each of us wants to learn in our home school this year.  After a yummy lunch, we decided to head to our local St. Vincent de Paul thrift store (love that place!)

We found a whole set of Baby-Sitter Club books - A-Doll found some that she didn't own yet -- so we picked up about eleven books.  We also found two great games (at thrift store prices) - The 20 Questions for Kids board game and Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego? (Board Game).  I walked out having only spent $9.32 - sweet deal.

What bargains have you found lately?

August 28, 2010

Not Back to School Picnic

Our annual Homeschool Network Not-Back-To-School Picnic happened yesterday at a local park.  It was really fun.  We had a picnic with fried chicken provided by the homeschool network, and every family brought side dishes to share - yummy!   I truly enjoy getting together with other homeschooling families to share a meal and share plans for the year.

My children had a blast, too.   My son hunted for snakes with a couple of his buddies.  They found three - he asked to bring them home, I said NO.  They were returned to their homes.  My oldest daughter had some girl talk with a couple of her friends.  Young S-Doll had some cool playtime with pals on the playground. 

Also, as a fun addition to the evening, we had a white elephant exchange.  Basically anyone who wants to participate brings something from home that they don't want anymore.  For each item you bring, you may select an item that someone else brought.    We took 3 books, 2 coloring books, 2 stuffed animals and  a CD game.  We brought home a Volcano Kit, a Thin Ice game, and 3 books.  Oh well, so much for clearing out.

August 27, 2010

Back to school... eventually

So, this week was supposed to be our first week of school - it hasn't gone exactly according to plan.  We did have lessons on Wednesday - other than that we've been distracted, busy, lazy, I don't know.

I think part of the problem is that our school room is our living room and now it's busting at the seams.  My plan for the weekend is to revamp a bit and start up slowly next week - our goal is to be in school mode by the day after Labor Day. 

The other problem is that the schools around us aren't starting school until Sept. 7th, so it's tempting to play when other kiddos are still on the street.  It's okay -we'll work around that.

Here's to starting school soon...

August 26, 2010

Back to Unit Studies

Our homeschool journey veered far off course last year - we ended the year with a lot of downtime, maybe we burned out - I'm not really sure.  We followed My Father's World Exploring Countries & Cultures, and although I loved having everything laid out for me.  I loved the selection of books.  I loved traveling the world in our living room.  We were bored.  I'm not sure what the reason was - it just wasn't working for our family.

So, I'm back to designing my own unit studies for our family, based on their interests (and a dose of "we really should learn this" - from me).  So, here is our tentative plan and order of unit studies for the year:

Measurement (heavy on math, but also some history of measurement terms)
Ancient Greece / Greek Myths
Ancient Rome
Chemistry overview (lots of experiments and intro to terminology)
Literature around the world (plans to create our own story)
People around the world - a study of different cultures

That gives us a game plan, right?

For my unit studies, I plan an outline which we loosely follow (so as to allow for rabbit trails).  I try to incorporate the following items in each study (as appropriate):

  • Books (love my library)
  • Videos (if applicable)
  • Field Trip
  • Internet resources
  • Hands-on projects (necessary in our house - I have three hands-on learners)
  • Tie-in to fine arts, if possible
  • A writing menu (especially geared for my 7th grader who HATES to write) - for more info about implementing a writing menu, see The Writing Menu: Ensuring Success for Every Student at Amazon.  I highly recommend this book, it's changed my daughter's attitude toward writing, because she has the ability to pick what writing she wants to complete.  It's reduced some arguments at our house.

Stay tuned - I'll let you know how it's going very soon.

May 14, 2010

I'm back!

Well, I started out in January really wanting to blog - and you can see from the date that it is now mid-May (what, how did that happen!)

We've been wrapping up our school year - and shopping for a bit of curriculum (did I mention, I love books?)  I did pick up a few things for us to use over the summer and into next year - mainly with a focus on science. 

We will be using NOEO Chemistry I over the summer while doing a ton of experiments to compliment our studies.  I also picked up a used copy of Sonlight Science 4 (older version) which came with some great books.  I'm not sure that we'll follow the instructor's guide, my thought is that we will just read parts of books we are interested in and then create some experiments to complement what we've read.  We'll see how that works.

We had our homeschool assessment this week - the kids are doing great, they are learning, thriving and happy!  It's great to see how homeschooling has changed their attitudes about school.  Oh don't get me wrong - they still fight and bicker, but overall I see them becoming closer.

  Homeschooling rocks!

February 23, 2010

Snowy Days

Our snow is just now melting (oh, sad).  We've really had a blast with sledding, snowboarding and basic snow fun.  We've also been spending some time enjoying the Olympics.  My kids really loved watching the snowboarding.   It was awesome.

This may be the end of snow for this season, but who knows.  My son is still hoping for one more big snow so he can try out a sled that he found and rescued.  We'll keep our fingers crossed.

One fun thing we tried in the snow was making letters, shapes, states and more with food-color tinted water in spray bottles.  We even made a hopscotch board, that was entertaining.

Until next time!

January 26, 2010

Burn Out 2010!

Wow - what a year it has been.  Private school -- homeschool -- Konos curriculum (fun, but a lot of work for this new-to-homeschooling mom) -- My Fathers World Exploring Countries and Cultures (love the layout and the ease, my kids are bored with it now) -- to who knows what!  So, I find that we are a bit burned out.  Looking back, perhaps we should have spent more time deschooling.  We didn't get real schooly right away, but we didn't take a long break from schoolwork either. 

So, we're starting over - we've been deschooling for the past month.  School at home work is non-existent currently.  We've been watching some classic movies, doing a lot of crafts, working on personal projects.  It seems to be helping with the homeschool burnout...  I don't know exactly how or when we'll get back to school, but for now what we are doing seems to be working (or at least not hurting).

Until next time!

January 7, 2010

Happy One Year Homeschooling Anniversary!

Welcome to a new year in our adventure of homeschooling. What a journey it has been!

Exactly one year ago, I pulled my two oldest children out of a local private parochial school. I was so frustrated with so many issues at the school, that it was ultimately an easy decision to pull them out and start homeschooling. My oldest child was in 5th grade and my middle child was in 3rd grade. I also had one in preschool, who I left in preschool. (Now that was a wonderful school program!)

I often get asked... what were the issues? Why would I pull my kids out of school in the middle of the year? Two main problems pushed me to move my children quickly, rather than wait until the end of the school year... bullying (and a lack of administrative support to combat the problem) and large class size. If I had to do it over again, I'd do exactly the same thing (or actually I probably would have pulled them out earlier in the school year.)

Well, that's the beginning of our story... and now it's been a year of homeschooling. Stay tuned for more about our journey.