December 10, 2011

Scholarships available for homeschool families.

Found this on Facebook earlier today - check it out, especially if you could use some $$ to keep or start homeschooling.

The Single Homeschool Mom: Scholarships: I am pleased to offer financial assistance to current and prospective home schoolers in the form of a scholarship. Four (4) scholarships...  click the above link to learn more...

December 6, 2011

Into the groove

So, we are finally into a schedule that is working for us this year.  We are enjoying the classes that we are taking out and about, and we're loving the learning that is happening at home. 

We signed up for cable TV a few weeks ago.  It has been a bit of a distraction, but we're getting better about turning the TV off and turning our brains on.  That said, I love cable TV!  There are so many great shows to view.  Who knew? 

I'll share some of our favorite "new-to-us" shows soon.  In the meantime, if there's a show you want to recommend to me, feel free - we're totally tuned-in!

Enjoy your journey!

November 9, 2011


Why in life are comparisons so important?  J asked if he could study history and science (which we already do daily, but without labeling them as such).  The reason he asked is because he was comparing school notes with a fellow homeschooled friend, and the friend is working on high school level work.  Why do we have to compare?  Why do we have to do what the other child is doing?  Part of me feels frustrated, but part of me is happy that this will make J work on something different (other than Legos.)

I have a Sonlight World History core that I've been holding on to (okay, hoarding!) in case one of the children becomes interested in history, and voila, it looks like now is the time to pull it out.  I'm actually pretty excited, because I wish my parents had taught me with Sonlight - it's the exact type of program I would have LOVED in school - lots of reading.  Umm, which reminds me, I'll need to add some hands-on projects for J.  He's an auditory and kinesthetic learner, which makes for hands-on and lots of reading aloud by me.  Wish us luck!

I'll let you know how it goes.  :)

Owl mini-study

J and I have been really into owls lately.  We started our interest in owls by reading some of the Guardians of Ga'hoole book series.  We watched the movie (disappointing - it didn't really follow the books at all).  We attended a Raptor, Inc. presentation with live owls - they even had a barn owl, he was beautiful.  We learned that there are only maybe 50 pairs of barn owls in all of Ohio. 

We studied a few books about owls and owl breeds.  Overall, we definitely expanded our interests to include owls.  J is even thinking about volunteering with Raptor, Inc. when he is old enough.  Fun times.

October 4, 2011

Our Halloween Dance is coming up!

What:  Family Halloween Dance
When: Friday, October 21, 2011 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

Admission:  1 canned good (to be donated to a local food pantry following the dance) or $1 per person

Snacks:  Light snacks(chips, pretzels, popcorn) 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,sports, green cleaning (2), cooking, get "schooled", movie basket) 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!

GLO BRACELETS for sale the night of the dance!

Need more info?  Leave a comment here on the blog and we will get back to you!

September 27, 2011

Monday Co-op & Hands-on science class

Yesterday was our first day at our new-to-us Monday co-op.  The kids truly enjoyed all of their classes.  J even asked if we could have Monday group everyday (LOL).

I'm facilitating the hands-on science class.  Yesterday we played with lemons and lemon juice.  We performed three experiments:  shiny pennies, lemon wet cell battery, and fizzy lemonade.  Shiny pennies was simple - lemon juice in a cup on top of dirty pennies.  The kids were amazed by the shined up pennies.  The wet cell batteries were a mixture of successes and failures.   Some of the kids loved the fizzy lemonade, and some did not!

Enjoy your week!

September 23, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: September 23


I think we are finally getting into a groove with our week, it feels good!

On Monday, we have our new co-op, we joined this group over the summer and have really enjoyed getting to know some "other" homeschooling families.  It's definitely a relaxed homeschool group, so we are fitting right in.  Our classes start next Monday.  The kids are taking drama, hand building clay, hands-on science, photography and more.  It should be a fun time.  We're pretty excited.

Tuesday we enjoyed at home - I caught up on some housework.  S worked on some math and writing, two things she really wanted to do.  A volunteered at a golf outing, it was a great experience for her.

On Wednesday, we finally had our egg drop for Invention Convention club.  Each family brought miscellaneous materials from home, and then each child made an egg container designed to keep an egg safe in a fall.  Then, we dropped the eggs.  Most of the designs were successful.  It was a great experiment.  My kids have still been talking about how they would change their design, so we might go drop another set of eggs.

Thursday was at the park with our new group of Unschooler friends.  It was great to connect with friends - I had fun, the kids had a blast.  The park was awesome - playground and skate park, two of our favorite things.

Today we had Leaves of Learning.  The kids are loving their classes, and making some new friends.  All in all a great addition to our week.

Tonight, A had her second social dance lesson with a group of local homeschooled teens.  It looks so much fun, I want to join in. The teens seem very nice and friendly.   Tonight they worked on spins - A said she was very dizzy.  She also said it was very fun.

So, crazy, full week, but it was good.  Next week I start teaching hands-on science - I'm a little nervous.  We're focusing on lemons for our first class, I'll share the experiments we're going to try in my next post.

To see what other homeschoolers are up to, stop by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-Up.

September 21, 2011


You might have noticed that I haven't posted to my blog for a while (a month, if you're counting).  I blame it all on Facebook!  That place is addictive.  Instant gratification - post a comment, someone replies or "likes" it.  Instant feedback.  Fun, right?  And there are games - oh my gosh, don't get me started on the games!  I absolutely love Farmville - like to the point of serious addiction to farming.  Who knew?

So, anyway, I have made a commitment to myself to start blogging again, about our days, about homeschooling/unschooling in Cincinnati, and about how we're doing what we do.

I also will have a giveaway coming up in the next day or two - so please stay tuned.

Hoping to spend less time on Facebook and more time blogging and writing and crafting and spending time with my children.  Wish me luck.

August 20, 2011

Enjoying the days of summer

I haven't blogged for a while, sorry about that.  We've been enjoying a lot of outdoor time - at parks, at local lakes, at the pool, in the neighborhood.   Just soaking up the rays, I guess.

It's that time of year when my kids start thinking that they might want to go back to school - I don't blame them, it is exciting with all the back to school hype.  I sort of want to go back too. :)

That said, we are gearing up for another year of homeschooling.  I find as time progresses, we are more and more relaxed, so it should be an interesting year of growth for us.  I posted our curriculum choices a month or two ago, our plan is still to follow that loosely, but leave room for other interests as they occur. 

July 16, 2011

Our Garden

So, this year we planted tomatoes (lots), cucumbers, jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers, cilantro and marigolds (supposed to deter pests from the tomatoes).   I don't think the marigolds are working though.

Last week, we had whiteflies all over the tomatoes.

This week we had lots (way too many) of these big guys.  Tomato hornworm (yuck).

 The white rice-like thingies are wasp eggs.  The wasp babies will eat the hornworm, and then the "grown-up" wasps will attach other hornworms.  I did leave one or two hornworms that had the white eggs.  The rest were removed and dunked into a bucket of water.  They are very squishy and large.  Yuck-o!

The kids tried to help but were all grossed out by the squish factor.

Enjoy your garden and may it be pest-free.

July 12, 2011

Quote that I'm loving today

"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,
it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." by Albert Einstein

July 10, 2011

I'm curious!

As the summer moves ahead, I'm talking to many families who are planning on sending their homeschooled children to high school within the next year or two.  And always my first thought is - are you crazy??  Since we already went the school route, and realized that it wasn't actually working out so well, I don't actually see traditional public high school as an option for us (although I can't say never, since who knows what the future holds.)

So, I'm curious - I'm putting up a poll to see what you think about the possibility of high school?  Please take a minute to vote.  Thanks!

July 7, 2011


Summer is flying by in our neck of the woods.  We've been spending our time swimming, playing with friends, seeing free movies (love that program) and just enjoying the relaxation of summer time.

I'm still reading tons of books:
The Unschooling Manual by Mary Griffith (great read - I need to post some of the resource recommendations)
The Explosive Child by Ross Greene (this one was recommended on a list I'm on, not sure I agree with all of his views, but it does have some helpful advice)
Hamlet (trying to expand my horizons)
The Big Book of Children's Reading Lists:  100 Great, Ready-to-Use Book Lists (oh my gosh, this book is AWESOME, I totally want it, but am waiting until I find a great deal.)
Book Crush by Nancy Pearl (apparently I'm a little obsessed with finding interesting books for my kiddos to read - this is another great book, I picked it up at a library sale - bargain!  Great ideas for books based on interests.)

The kids and I have all been reading a ton - we're trying to win Nook e-Colors in our local library summer reading program.  Great prize, right?

Until next time!

June 16, 2011

Book Review: The Relaxed Home School

Over the summer, I try to read as much as I can - fun books, educational books, self-help books, biographies, miscellaneous non-fiction.  If it's a book, I'll read it!  One book I just picked up at the library was The Relaxed Home School:  A Family Production by Mary Hood. 

I really enjoyed this book.  It was a really quick and easy read (always a plus for busy moms, right?)  It was also full of great practical tips for not stressing over homeschooling.  It definitely has an unschooling tilt, but with useful tips for any homeschooler, in my opinion.  My favorite section was the chapter on homeschooling for high school, and ways to keep a simple log that can help significantly with future high school transcripts. 

What books do you recommend for homeschooling or homeschooling high school?  I'd love to hear from you.

June 9, 2011

Assessment Complete!

We had our annual assessment on Tuesday.   In Ohio, we can use standardized testing, a portfolio review or a written narrative signed by a certified teacher.  We go to a local certified teacher who homeschooled / unschooled her children all the way through.  She now teaches special ed in a local school (she unschools them, lucky kids!)  It's always inspiring to hear the other moms talk about what is working, what is not, what their kids are interested in, etc.  It's also great to hear from the assessor on what worked for her - and her kids (all in college studying various science-related careers.)  It gives this mom a little relief that yes, homeschooling works, and yes, you can go to college, even if you homeschool.  Always a fun time - very informative.

We also attended a park day this week with our homeschool enrichment group.  It was good to get the kids out and reconnected with their Leaves of Learning buddies.  I felt a little out of place because most of the attendees were full-time Leaves attendees (so they want it to be more school-like, there was even talk of a PTA - oh my), and we are happy very part-time attendees (who don't want it to be school-like, it's not school!).   Just more things to keep an eye on down the road.

We also hit the Lego store after our park day, and picked up the first Master Builder kit.  My kids LOVE Legos, so I'm hoping by learning the "more advanced" techniques, maybe they'll feel more confident building their own designs.  I'm sure I will.  :)

June 3, 2011

Curriculum Plan for 2011-2012

As of today, here is the plan for our next school year (which will start probably in early August - we're really enjoying the leisurely days of summer).  I have A-Doll who will be in 8th grade, J-Guy in 6th grade and S-Doll in 2nd grade.

Literature Unit Study (should last around 7 months):
Further Up and Further In by Diane Pendergraft - an in-depth study / reading of the complete Narnia series.  We will also be completing lapbooks from In the Hands of a Child to go with a few of the Narnia books.  This will cover many subjects - although we plan to supplement with some in-depth science and history unit studies, to be determined soon (based on the interests of my kiddos).

A-Doll wants to study Geometry.  We'll be using Math U See Geometry, Patty Paper Geometry and Janice Van Cleave's Geometry for Every Kid.  I figure S-Doll and J-Guy can play around with some Geometry, too.

J-Guy will be working on fractions, decimals and percents via living math books - and some fun games.  Probably also Life of Fred.

S-Doll loves Math U See - so she'll be focusing on Beta this year.  I also intend to start practicing times tables with her (did I mention, she loves math?)

Grammar / Writing:

Grammar Town by Michael Clay Thompson, working through this and then Practice Town.  We also have Paragraph Town, but I'm thinking about going with Institute for Excellence in Writing, we need some serious writing structure, here.  I also picked up a copy of Jensen's Format Writing which I think I'll incorporate, too.


Spelling Power for A-Doll
Sequential Spelling for S-Doll and J-Guy (together)

Hands-on Science:

Astronomy, Birds and Magnetism kit from Homeschool Science.

A-Doll will finish up Botany, and then we will choose another higher-level science for her.  I'm thinking Biology, but it's up in the air.

I'm sure I'll be adding more to our curriculum as I find time - I'd like to add some art/poetry/composer studies, too and an emphasis on nature studies. 

Here's to a good start!

This post is linked up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrapup   Check out more postings there!

June 2, 2011

Quiet these days

Well, we've technically wrapped up another year of school.  We have our annual assessment next week, and then we'll be moving right along.

We don't take the whole summer off - we tend to school year round, although informally. 

We've spent time swimming this week and a day at the park.  Also, the girls have been continuing with Tae Kwon Do.  My plan is to start Tae Kwon Do in the fall or late summer.

I'm working out the exact plans for curriculum, etc. for next year.  I'll share our plan soon, once I have a chance to finalize what I think is best.

Enjoy the quiet days of summer!

May 23, 2011

Brazee Street Studios Fused Glass

Today was A's last Girl Scout meeting for the school year.  The leader took a vote on a special outing to end the year with a bang...  the vote ended up with Brazee Street Studios in Oakley (part of Cincinnati).

Each girl scout (and a couple of moms, me!) made a fused glass bowl.   The process was so fun.  We each had two circles of clear glass (the base of the bowl).  Then, we each picked different types of glass to add to our clear glass - there were stringers, rod caps, confetti glass, glass tiles, to name just a few.  There was also a variety of colors and hues.  After planning the layout, we used glue to fasten the extras to the clear glass.  They will be fired in the kiln two times. Once to melt all the embellishments / extras into/upon the clear glass, then the second time they will be placed into bowl molds, and re-fired.  We pick up our bowls on Wednesday, I can't wait! 

This was definitely a cool outing - I'm already making plans to take S and J soon - they'd love it, too.  Luckily, Brazee Street Studios offers summer glass designing open houses (at a quite affordable cost).  If you live in Cincinnati area or will be visiting on a Saturday over the summer, I highly recommend checking it out.  I wrote an article about it over at, too - if you'd like to check out more about Brazee Street Studios and their summer open houses.

May 19, 2011

Grab & Go Thursday - MCT Grammar Town

I love curriculum that is easy to use, and that doesn't require a lot (or any) preparation before we jump in.

We just recently found a curriculum that fits the bill nicely of Grab & Go - it's Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Town.  It reads like a story about grammar - very quick, very easy and well, easy to incorporate.  We read a few pages a day, and soon our grasp of grammar will be better.  Then we will work on writing next...

Stop by Grab & Go Thursday to see what other things are making life easy for homeschoolers and others.

May 18, 2011

Curriculum for sale

I have some curriculum that I'm trying to sell - no pressure, but I thought someone might be interested...

Here are the items:

In the Hands of a Child Project Pack - The Magician's Nephew  Gr. 4-8 -- Brand New.   $18 ppd.

Moving Beyond the Page age 6-8, Concept 3, Culture   Gr. 1-2   Brand New  $90 ppd. Complete - purchased Sept. 2010 Includes parent manual, student activity book and all accompanying picture books.

Prices are negotiable - contact me if you're interested, please.

May 13, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up - more field trips

This has been quite a busy week for us.  All fun, but busy.

On Monday, we wrapped up our Around the World Cooking Club for the year.  We ended up having an Around the World smorgasbord (which was really handmade pizzas & chicken wontons).  It was yummy, and I think the kids had a great time.  We used Marco's crust for our pizzas, and it was delicious!

On Tuesday, we had a Lego Robotics field trip to iSpace - a local non-profit offering STEM training and opportunities.  A & J had a Lego Robotics class, experimenting with NXT 2.0 and driving robots.  S took a WeDo Robotics class and she made an alligator that moved, and a spinning top.  She didn't want to go but then had a blast (thank goodness!)   We're thinking about First Lego League and Jr. First Lego League for next year, we'll see if that works out.  All three loved playing with the Lego robotics - it's on our wish list for the near future.

On Wednesday, all three kids had Leaves of Learning in the morning, then we rushed to a local park for a hands-on creek water testing.  It was really fun and interesting.  I learned a lot.  I also realized that I am deathly afraid of snakes.  I was wandering back to the car with our coolers and wondered why there was a black rope on the driveway.  As I walked closer, I realized the "rope" was moving, and it was not a rope, but a long, long black snake.  I backed away very slowly, muttering "giant snake ... road ... just wait".  For those of you who are not afraid of snakes the translation is, " OMG, there's a huge snake in the road, so I don't want to be in the road."   I survived, and so did the snake - it was really not too interested in me.

Still on Wednesday - J had his Shakespeare performance of The Tempest - the group did a great job.  It was a great show. I love Shakespeare.

On Thursday, we spent the day at Quaker Knoll Village for a hands-on frontier Ohio history day.  It was awesome, we rotated through six stations:  militia, cooper, child work, history of Quakers in USA, town meeting and the favorite by far, oxen.  The re-enactors were so believable and great.  A few children were able to actually drive the oxen, by far a highlight of the day.  Oxen are so very sweet, one kept trying to get close to S, she was a little worried about the spit coming out of it's mouth.  The oxen know that children will pet them, so they want to be close.

Today, we hung out at home, we needed a break.  I'm preparing for a garage sale, and culling out curriculum that we don't need anymore.  Still more to do.  Ugh.

Be sure to check out other weekly wrap-ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.   Enjoy!

May 3, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Cool clubs for kids

Top Ten {Tuesday} 
This year we have spent a lot of time participating in clubs, overall they've been a great addition to our home school routine.   Over the past month or so, I've heard of a few more clubs that I think might be a great fit for one or more of my children, so here's our list of 10 Cool Clubs for Kids (homeschooled or not).

1.  4-H - we really enjoy the social aspect of our 4-H Club - we also get the chance to go on fun tours, participate in science experiments, and participate with projects in the county fair.  I also like that I can tie our projects into our learning objectives for the year - win/win.

2. Invention Club - this is a club that a fellow home schooling mom put together for our home school network - and it has been so fun.  We meet once a month and have a science challenge, that we build on-site.  We've built catapults, marble mazes, bridges, and soon will make cardboard boats.  (I'm really looking forward to that one!)

3.  Around the World Cooking Club - this is a club that I created to encourage healthy eating, fun cooking and a bit of geography as well as world cuisine.  Although, it's been fun, I'm not sure if we'll continue this next year.  Still pending.

4.  First Lego League / Jr. First Lego League - this is one we are considering adding to our life next school year.  We're trying an introductory Robotics course in a week and we'll see what we think after that.  It sounds and looks awesome, but definitely a little more expensive than other clubs we've participated in.

5.  Review Club - this was a club we participated in this year aimed toward older kids/teens.  Each child reviews something - a book, a movie, a video game, food, etc - and then shares their review with the group.  It's been fun, and all the kids have improved over time.  We meet once a month.

6.  Girl Scouts - Great organization for girls.  Do I need to say more?  I was a girl scout for a few years, and now both of my girls are.  Overall, we love girl scouts.

7.  Boy Scouts - My son is in his first few months with Boy Scouts although he was a Cub Scout since 1st grade.  He absolutely loves Boy Scouts - I still feel a little overwhelmed with all the information.  It's a great organization for boys and young men.

8.  Destination Imagination - Creative problem-solving, teamwork and fun.  This is another club we are thinking about adding for next school year.  All three kids could be on the same team, and we'd be improving our communication skills and teamwork skills.  We'll see what happens.  It's on my wishlist though (now I just have to get the kiddos on-board.)

9.  American Girl Club - this is a club idea I'm rolling with.  I found a few books at the library with American Girl cooking, crafts and more.  I think it would be really fun for my youngest.  Not sure if I'll be able to fit it in, but I think it would be a fun idea for all girls aged 7 - 12, or so.

10.  Lego Club - play with Legos with other Lego fans.  Fun and easy to organize.  My son has been to a few small group Lego clubs over the past year, he loves it.  It's fun to see what Legos other people own.

So, there you have it, ten cool clubs for kids.  Have any other ones to recommend?  Feel free, we're always looking for more.

For additional Top Ten Tuesday lists, stop over at Oh, Amanda - have fun.


May 2, 2011

Curriculum Clean-Out winner

There were 165 entries in my giveaway for the Handwriting without Tears student printing book.  I used to determine a winner, it was comment number 134 made by Sela.  Congratulations! 

April 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: The One with the Apple Field Trip

Another busy week at our house.  We spent Monday and Tuesday at home (with lots of rainy and windy weather, I was glad to be home.) 

Our focus of the week was Knights & Castles and Kings & Queens.  I found a great book at our library that we've been working our way through.
If you're looking for a hands-on way to experience Knights, Castles and the Middle Ages, I highly recommend it.

We spent a lot of time playing with fractions this week using our Fraction Pizza game.  It's an oldie but a goodie from Discovery Toys.  J-Guy really has a strong grasp of fractions, I was pretty impressed, since we hadn't spent a lot of time on that yet.

The highlight of the week was our Field Trip to the Apple store, the kids got to play with iMovie on the Macs.  They each made some cool and fun quick movies.  MacBooks rock (wish I had one.)  Apple Field Trips are only offered for a few weeks a year.  It's great fun, if you have a store near you, go check it out.

Today we had our annual "after" Easter egg hunt at a local park.  The weather was somewhat cooperative (no rain), but not warm.  Some people were wearing winter coats - I wish I had mine.  It was really windy and cold.  Oh well, the warm weather is right around the corner, we're happy.

I participated in the Curriculum Clean-out hosted at Homeschool Creations - if you haven't checked it out, be sure you do - there are a lot of great items available.

To see what other homeschoolers did this week - please stop by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

April 26, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Cool Lego Sets we want!

Top Ten {Tuesday}

We've become a little obsessed over Legos over the past year or so, especially my son, but we all have Legos that we'd love to add to our collection.

In no particular order, here are 10 Lego sets that are on our wish list:

LEGO Queen Anne's Revenge 41951.  Pirates of the Caribbean Queen Anne's Revenge - doesn't it look cool? This is one I hope to pick up soon!

2.  Lego Architecture White House - this one would be great for when we study the presidents.LEGO Architecture White House (21006)

3.  Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle - this is the one J-Guy most wants, we've been shopping around for the best deal.
LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Castle (4842)

4.  Harry Potter Diagon Alley - this is another hot pick for J-Guy.  Really any Harry Potter would make his day.LEGO Harry Potter Diagon Alley 10217

5.  Lego Ninjago Garmadon Dark Fortress.  I really like the Ninjago series - fun and playful.  I want this one.LEGO Ninjago Garmadon's Dark Fortress 2505

6.  Lego Creator Shuttle Adventure - this would be a great one to go with a space unit study - or just for fun.
Lego Creator Shuttle Adventure (10213)

7.  Lego Eiffel Tower - alright this one is no longer available (although you can find it on Amazon for a pretty hefty penny.)  Still it is one we'd love to own, when we win the lottery or something.  LEGO Make & Create Eiffel Tower 1:300

8.  Lego Spongebob Squarepants Rocket Ride - what can I say, my kids LOVE Spongebob, and they really want this set. I've been watching it on ebay, no luck yet.LEGO SpongeBob SquarePants Rocket Ride

9.  Portal of Atlantis - although we're not totally into Atlantis, if someone gave us $$ to spend on Legos, this would be on our list. It looks very cool.LEGO® Portal of Atlantis 8078

10.  Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 - we're thinking about joining a First Lego League team for next year, and this would help us practice at home.  Not to mention, the cool factor of Legos and robots.  Sweet!

LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 (8547)

Do you have any Legos you'd recommend?  Maybe a set you own, and love.  Leave a comment, we'd love to add more to our wish list.

April 25, 2011

Giveaway #1 - Handwriting without Tears Student Book


I'm excited to be participating in this spring's Curriculum Cleanout.  I have up for grabs a practically new Kindergarten Level Handwriting without Tears (the first two pages are filled out in colored pencil - all other pages are brand new).

To enter to win, please leave a comment saying that you'd like to win (simple, right?)

For an additional entry, follow my blog, and let me know that you are following me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Shipping to the Continental U.S.  only.  

I'll be drawing a winner on May 1st.  Stay tuned, there will be more giveaways.

April 19, 2011

Win a Panera or Starbucks gift card

A blog that I follow (Ohio Homeschool) is hosting a great giveaway in honor of moms everywhere.  Stop by and check it out - maybe you'll win - or maybe I will.  :)  Either way, some one will be enjoying a yummy drink or snack.  Act quickly, the drawing will be next Wednesday, April 27th around noon.

April 4, 2011

Midwest Homeschool Convention was awesome!

I so enjoyed my time at the Homeschool Convention this past weekend.  My mom went with me (that way we could get twice as much information) - and we heard a lot of great speakers, found lots of great curriculum (that I haven't bought yet - being good with the budget) and just had an overall great time.

I'll post soon about who I heard and what I learned.

Curriculum Clean-out Coming!

I love this time of year, the birds are chirping, the plants are growing, it's raining (a lot).   And, in the homes of  homeschoolers, we are clearing old curriculum and getting ready for new curriculum.  Ah, spring.

Homeschool Creations will be hosting a Curriculum Clean-out from April 25th - May 1st.


Mark it now, so you don't forget.  I will hopefully have some items to clean-out, too!  Fingers crossed.

March 30, 2011

It's almost time...

has anyone else been as addicted as we are to this bald eagle viewing?  She laid three eggs back in February, and we are anxiously waiting for them to hatch.  The "approximate" date is April 1st, right around the corner.  My kids and I can not wait to see the babies.  Check it out, if you want, but don't blame me if it forces you to spend more time on the computer.


March 26, 2011

Midwest Homeschool Convention

I'm so excited that in less than a week, I'll be attending classes at the Midwest Homeschool Convention here in Cincinnati!  I love, love, love convention.  I've been every year since we started homeschooling, and I find it to be a great way to get re-energized about homeschooling. 

This year there are some fantastic speakers that I haven't heard speak before - but have read about extensively online - Ed Zaccaro (math) and Michael Clay Thompson (language arts).  I have several talks marked that those two are presenting (individually, of course).

I also would love to go hear someone talk about high school credits, etc.  There are so many choices, it's hard to narrow it down.  My mom attends with me, so we can divide and conquer - and hear two speakers live at the same time.  Yeah! 

The other part that I love about convention is the vendor hall - I want to touch, feel, page-through items before I buy, and at convention - I can do just that.  I have a few things that I'm interested in looking at for next year (mainly writing curriculums - and maybe some other math items - although I still am loving Math-U-See for my younger kids).

Are you attending a local convention?  Will you be in Cincinnati?  If so, let me know, maybe we can meet!

March 23, 2011

Field Trip - Adams Co. Recycling facility

Our 4-H group went on a great field trip on Monday.  We went to the Adams Brown Co. Recycling Center in Georgetown, Ohio.  We toured the recycling sort facility.  It's amazing how they sort the recyclables, then they drop them into balers, and squish them into compact blocks of recycled materials.  J-Guy asked a LOT of questions, he was very interested in the whole process. 

We also toured the Glass ReFactory where they recycle old glass bottles into really awesome sun catchers.  I love watching people work with glass - I think I missed my calling!  It's very cool, because they break the bottles,  melt them down to molten glass in their kilns, gather the glass and then press with a variety of graphite-presses that the staff has created, then the glass is cooled in the annealer.  They offer their suncatchers for sale - my kids want to go pick some up for possible Christmas presents this year.  They are very cool !

You may check out their website at 

We'd give this field trip 5 stars - it was excellent!

March 21, 2011


We've been busy decluttering, and organizing, and more decluttering.  My sister-in-law sent over a computer desk / armoire that she was replacing - it's awesome!  It's so nice to be able to close up the computer (and associated desk mess) with a door.  It's the simple things in life that make us happy, right?

She also sent over a huge bookshelf, that I quickly moved to the school room / living  room/ dining room - it's perfect.  I moved a bunch (really, truly a bunch) of books, pottery and miscellaneous items right into the bookshelf - it's making me actually love that room again.  Thank goodness!  So nice to see the floor and not piles of stuff. 

We still have more to declutter - and pass along, but for this week, I think we've made great progress.  I even listed a few curriculum items that I know I won't use.  Feels good to let them go.  Big relief.

What are you up to this week - any organizing or spring cleaning projects?  Please share!

March 11, 2011

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Yesterday we took the morning to try something new -- we attended a student matinee of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  We did read the story ahead of time so that we all had a background idea of what to expect.  A Midsummer's Night Dream is about four mortals (who are in a love rectangle, of sorts), and some wood fairies who place spells on said mortals and fellow fairies.  There is also a play-inside-the-play, which was absolutely hysterical.  Even J-Guy loved that part.  His favorite line of the whole play was, "Tatania loves an ass" (the donkey type) - what 11-year-old boy wouldn't find that funny, right? Oh, yes - and also the phrase "asshead" was used a few times, to describe the donkey-headed clown.

The actors and actresses were wonderful.  I was worried that the poetry would be a little difficult for S-Doll to follow, but she seemed to grasp it very well. 

It was one of the best plays we have ever seen.  The kids loved it, I loved it.  Definitely will add some additional Shakespeare student matinees to our schedule next year.

J-Guy is actually taking a Shakespeare course at Leaves, so I thought it would be good for him to see another Shakespeare production.  He enjoyed it, although it did get a little long for him...

Overall, we'd give the show 5 stars (on a scale of 5) - if you have a chance, go see it.

Another nice thing that the actors / actressed offered was a 10-minute question & answer session at the close of the show.  It was great for the kids to show how each actor got into acting (all had college degrees in something related to the theater).  Very interesting.

March 10, 2011

It's cookie time!

Part of our schooling this week has been focused on Girl Scout Cookies - organizing them, selling them at booths, calculating our profit, practicing marketing skills, making bank deposits, counting money, recounting money, reconciling money to cookies sold - wow!  Lots of fun, practical, real-life learning going on.  My kids especially liked the "old" $10 bills we received from a few customers - it seems so crazy that the money I'm used to (i.e. grew up with) looks so different from the money my children are used to. 

We will also be practicing construction skills after our cookie sale is complete - we've been saving the cookie case boxes to build a large-scale fort in the basement.  Each child has a different plan, but teamwork will need to be part of the process - there's only so many cases available!  Joseph is thinking about an igloo shape - or at least a hexagon or octagon type base.  We'll see what happens.

Until next time!

Mardi Gras King

Our 4-H group had a Mardi Gras party on Monday complete with games, crafts, friends, food and of course, a Mardi Gras King & Queen.  Joseph was voted into the King position.  Isn't he royal-looking? 

He was also supposed to dance with the queen (Emily) - that lasted about 5 seconds (maybe), and then he left the room!  Poor baby, a couple more years, and he'll be into dancing with the ladies.

Until next time!

March 3, 2011

Illness - yuck and lots of reading

I think we're finally all on the mend.  We've battled strep, some infection that wasn't named, stomach bugs and more - and I think we're all finally getting well.  Yeah!  Being ill made our schoolwork go to the wayside, but maybe today we can get back to some work.

One thing I really need to work on with my two youngest is reading.  I've noticed that fluency has decreased significantly from where we were a few months ago.  I hadn't been requiring out-loud reading, but I have since realized that at least for a season we need to...  The one I'm most concerned about is my son - we went through some reading tutoring last year, and I can see it in his future again.  We're going to put reading as our top focus everyday during March, and see where we are at the end of the month.  Hopefully by focusing on reading, his skills will improve.  Any advice for me?  Feel free to share!

March 2, 2011

Curriculum Hoarding

Does it count as hoarding, if what you are hoarding is curriculum?  I hope not!  I realized after our big basement flood last week (sump pump failure - no fun), that I have a LOT of curriculum, most of which I'm not using.  I have a really, really bad tendency to flit from item to item, and be sure that this is the perfect curriculum item for us.   Not realistic, I know.  But anyway, my point is I have way too much curriculum.

Free Clipart Picture of a Stack of Books. Click Here to Get Free Images at School Clipart
So, that brings the question of what to do with all those books?  I asked a friend of mine - she said, "Sell it all, if you miss something buy it used down the road."  Good advice, but I do know that I don't want to sell everything!  Ack...  So, I guess it's time to analyze what I have, what I realistically think we will use, and get rid of the rest.  Talk about pressure!

I guess it's time for a big clean-out - keep your fingers crossed that I make it through.

I'd love to hear from you - are you a curriculum hoarder?  How do you manage it all?

February 25, 2011

She's Gold!

In my book of proud parenting, Amy is already gold.  At Tae Kwon Do testing last night, she really got the gold!  Gold belt, that is.

She kicked, she aced the terminology, her forms were terrific, she survived the hapkido (her least favorite part), and she broke a board with her hand!  She was nervous, but she did it!  Woohoo.

Yeah.  Now onto Orange - oh my, then she has to kick the board to break it.  Well, at least, there's two to three months to prepare.

Fun stuff.

January 21, 2011

Weekly Wrap-up - January 21, 2011


Wow - what a week!

Monday was pretty calm - a little schoolwork in the morning (we started a new Ancient Greece unit).  Brownies for S-Doll in the afternoon (her first meeting with a new group - she loved it!).  A-Doll spent two hours at Tae Kwon Do - she was exhausted.  She just started Tae Kwon Do last week - and absolutely loves it.

Tuesday - I wanted a day at home, so we just chilled around here.  It was nice!  We all practiced reading and writing in the Greek alphabet.  The girls loved it, especially.

Wednesday - enrichment classes in the morning - my kids still love their enrichment classes, definitely a great place to go.  If you happen to be in the greater Cincinnati area, be sure to check out Leaves of Learning.  Great place, awesome teachers, nice kids.

Thursday - SNOW day!  We were expecting 4 - 6 inches of snow, I'm going to say we had more than that - it snowed all day.  Very pretty.  School was fun & games - math bingo, Wii Just Dance 2 and library-imagination play (S-Doll's favorite thing to do, maybe she'll be a librarian one day.)

Friday - we were supposed to have a Crafty Kids Club - we were snowed out.  We spent more time on Ancient Greece, especially reading myths.

Hope you had a good week.  Be sure to check out other weekly wrap-ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

January 20, 2011

Ancient Greece

We've started a unit on Ancient Greece, it's been pretty low-key which I think we needed.

As you may remember, we started using WinterPromise Sea & Sky a couple months ago - it didn't actually work out so well for us.  So, we are back to following our interests using unit studies (I love unit studies!)

We scoured the local library for books to help us study Ancient Greece.  One of our very favorite books that we found was Spend the Day in Ancient Greece: Projects and Activities that Bring the Past to Life (Spend The Day Series).  Great book, lots of hands-on projects. 

We spent this week (so far) on geography of Ancient Greece, the Greek alphabet (writing and reading - fun), and of course, lots of Greek myths.

I'll add more soon - I have a bunch of books that are really great for bringing Ancient Greece to life.

January 4, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday - Great Freebies to enhance Homeschooling

Top Ten {Tuesday}
Let me start by saying - I love freebies, so only publishing ten is just a mere tip of the iceberg.  I've found many, many more freebies for homeschooling than that.  But without further ado, here are ten great freebies that we use to enhance our homeschooling.

1.  Paperback Swap - list books you are through with, request books in the system - we picked up a lot of great books this way.  Also, they have a great wish list system, that keeps track of the books you want, and notifies you when they are available - sweet!

2.  Homeschool Share - great place to find free unit studies and lapbooks.  You can find almost everything here to tie into studies.

3.  Easy Fun School - more free unit studies - can you tell that we love unit studies at our house?  We do, they are fun!

4.  Ambleside Online - the very first site I discovered when looking into home schooling, still love it for ideas of books and curriculum to follow.

5. Clickschooling - great site with web-based curriculum ideas.  We don't use this one as much, but the links are awesome!

6.  Freely Educate - lots of free stuff, you can search by age, subject, grade level - however you like.  Some of our best freebies came via this blog!

Postcards Exchange
  Post Crossing - great way to experience real-life geography, by sending and receiving postcards worldwide.  Also, works on language arts skills -writing postcards.

8. - Just what it sounds like, free printables including calendars, worksheets, lesson plans and more.

9.  Learning Page - More free printables, mainly worksheets, my youngest loves worksheets!

10. File Folder Fun games - I love file folder games, and so do my kids!  We love this site for all the fun theme-friendly, age specific games.  Sweet!

For more Top Ten Tuesday, make sure you drop by Oh Amanda!

Have a great week!

Happy New Year!

2010 is over, and 2011 is here!  Hard to believe.  I don't know about you, but last year flew by for us.

So, a new year with new challenges, new fun and just new!

I've been organizing and re-organizing and organizing some more, especially working on our homeschooling areas.  When I originally started homeschooling (just two years ago -wow!), my plan was just to fit the home school into my existing formal living room and dining room.  What I've found (finally!) is that that plan was not working out for me, too much visual stimulation, too much stuff in too little of a space.  So, I'm on a mission.  The mission is, deformalize the room, make it more kid friendly.  Reorganize the stuff (how can one home school family have SO MUCH stuff??)  Simplify.  Make it more accessible.  Purge, pack, something.

Any great organizers out there?  I need help! 

Here are my issues:  

1.  I love much of our curriculum, craft kits, puzzles, manipulatives - and have children from age 7 to 13.  That's a wide range of interest and ability, right?  How do I simplify?
2.  Limited space - lots of stuff.  Need more storage, especially cheap and nice-looking. :)

Let me know what you'd do, and if you live near Cincinnati - wanna come help me??