WELCOME!

Welcome! I am using this blog to share our family's homeschooling thoughts and experiences.

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2016-2017): We will be using a variety of different curriculum this year, with Notgrass' Uncle Sam and You as our main History, Bible and Literature focus. Our oldest, EL, is in 12th grade this year, but has special learning needs due to autism. JJ is our youngest, an active boy with Tourette Syndrome. He is in the 8th grade.

Please feel free to follow along....

Friday, August 31, 2012

First Week of RTR: Rome, Cells, & Scrambled Eggs for Lunch

Last Tuesday (8-21-12), as I previously mentioned, was our first day of school. The day went well. Then, Coyote came down with a fever again on Tuesday evening and was "down for the count" until Friday afternoon when his fever finally left and stayed away for good. So, this past Monday (the 27th), we started back to school again and decided to jump right in with our first week of "Rome to the Reformation." It wasn't the best day for us, because we were all tired and a little grumpy. But, we made it through without too much fuss. The rest of the week went really well. Here are a few things we did...

For History, we learned about Rome and how it began, and had an introduction to Augustus Ceasar.

For Science, we are learning about the human body, and this week's focus was on cells.


For a visual on cells, our Science book had us put lemon gelatin in a baggie and let it harden to represent the cytoplasm, then add a green grape for the nucleus. I didn't have any grapes on hand, so I improvised and used a cherry instead.


On another day, we also did a quick experiment to show how small particles are able to push through a cell membrane, but larger particles cannot. We used a mixture of dried beans and salt. Then, sifted them through a collander.



Of course, the salt sifted through the collander, and the beans remained. It was another hands-on visual to help the kids remember what they have learned.

This week (today, actually), we also began going through a weekly lesson on responsibilities. The book I am using is Lessons in Responsibility for Boys (Level 1) from the Pearables. Many of the lessons are good for both boys AND girls, so I will be reading it to both of our children whenever appropriate. The same goes for Home Economics for Homeschoolers, also by the Pearables. While originally intended for young ladies, the book can be used to help teach boys how to function in a kitchen as well.

In today's "Home Ec" Class, Road Runner learned how to make buttered toast...


And, Coyote learned how to scramble eggs...


Both kids have an allergy to eggs, so guess who had a nice lunch of scrambled eggs and toast? ME! Then, the kids also made their own lunches while I ate mine.

Over all, we had a good week and are looking forward to learning more new things next week! So, stay tuned...


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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Today's First Day of School (2012-13) Went Well!

Yesterday was supposed to have been our first day back to school, but our youngest came down with a fever and headache on Sunday night and ended up spending all day on the couch on Monday.


Thankfully, it was a short-lived virus. So, we were able to have our first day TODAY!


This past week, I had kept reminding the kids that we would be starting school again soon, and our routine was going to become a lot more structured than it was during the Summer months. I believe this helped to prepare them for what was to come. I also let them know about a few fun things we would be doing on our first day. It ended up going VERY well.

We started our day out with the traditional pancake breakfast we have at the start of each year.


Then, I read a chapter from book 3 of The Scripture Sleuth series that a friend let us borrow. There are 5 books in the series and we have already read books 1 and 2. The kids (or, at least Coyote) were looking forward to beginning book 3, so I told them we would start it on the first day of school.

After that, I went through our new schedule/routine, including the kids' new chore charts, and showed them what to expect this year. Then, they each did a lesson in their Explode the Code books, their Math books, and did some silent reading from a new book of interest. I figured that was enough for the first day. We will add more as the days go by, and should be ready to start our main curriculum from My Father's World on Monday.

One last thing I did to help bring some excitement was make a "fidget box" this year. It is filled with miscellaneous sensory-type of toys that the kids can choose from as they listen to me during lesson times.


Most of the items came from the kids' own toybox, but I also added a few new things to make it more interesting. We have things like magnetic sculptures, squishy balls/stress balls, Thinking putty (sort of like Silly Putty), and various other little toys to keep fidgetty hands busy and little minds more open and able to pay attention.

Today went so much better than I ever expected, and I am so happy for the way the Lord continues to provide wisdom for me, as well as some much-needed encouragement. 

If you are a mom and/or a teacher, I hope your school year is off to a great start as well. What things have YOU done to help get your kids excited about starting school?


Friday, August 17, 2012

Decorated Birthday Cake with Sixlets

Our "Road Runner" had a birthday this week!
She said she wanted hot dogs for supper, so we had a cook-out with some friends and were finally able to use the picnic tables I sanded and painted earlier this Summer. The weather was absolutely perfect for being outside!
Road Runner really likes Sixlets candies, so I came up with a way to decorate her cake with them.  Very easy to do, and she loved it. Here is a close-up of the cake:

Items needed to make this cake:
  • Baking pan
  • Boxed cake mix
  • White frosting
  • Green squeeze frosting with decorator tips
  • Sixlets candies
Bake cake as directed on package. Let cool and frost with white frosting. Use green frosting to frame the cake, make grass, and flower stems. Use Sixlets to make flowers and sun. (Note: I had the white Sixlets left over from a wedding my sister-in-law attended, and I used those for the clouds. Not sure where to get those. Maybe a bulk candy store).
Here is a second cake I made, for those who like chocolate.
Now that her birthday is over, its time to begin our new school year. This will be our last week of Summer Break, and we will hopefully begin our 2012-2013 school year on Monday. We will start out slow and try to get back into a routine before beginning our main curriculum. I'm sort of looking forward to it but, at the same time, I'm also a bit nervous. Last year was very difficult for all of us, so I guess I'm just a bit leary about how things will go this year. But, I know the Lord will continue to give my husband and I the strength and wisdom needed. We will press on towards the goal by taking one day at a time.


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Saturday, August 11, 2012

SUMMER PROJECT: Making Puppets

Recently, I saw a post on SIDETRACKED SARAH about how to make easy puppets out of construction paper. After checking out the instructions, the kids and I figured out how to fold and cut the paper into just the right shape.

The kids "took off" from there, and ended up making a black lab, a dalmation, a pig, and a frog.


A couple days later, I found several more puppets made:  a tiger, a cheetah, a baby pig and a baby frog.

This was such a neat project that encouraged creativity, and less time watching the TV.



Friday, August 10, 2012

SUMMER PROJECT: Garage Sale and Lemonade Stand

One Saturday this July, when it wasn't scorching hot outside, we took on the big task of having a garage sale. Wow, they are so much work. Now I remember why I don't have a garage sale very often! But, this year, I wanted the kids to help me with this project. It was a good way to spend time together, while combining math skills, entrepeneur skills, saving, tithing, working for something you want, and lessons in decluttering. 

We were set up outside until it started to sprinkle
We didn't have an abundance of customers, partly due to the fact that we did not really advertise. And, partly due to the cloudy weather.


Waiting for customers
However, the few customers we did have walked away with an armload of stuff, and the lemonade stand was a big hit.

Coyote's Lemonade Stand
The big success of the garage sale was that Coyote earned enough money to buy a special toy he had been saving up for. We went to Walmart that evening and he was able to buy it with the money he earned. He was very excited about that. Road Runner also earned a bit, and saved it away to put towards a toy she wanted as well.


Thursday, August 9, 2012

SUMMER PROJECT: Cleaning the Vehicles

The insides AND outsides of both of our vehicles have been needing a GOOD cleaning for quite awhile! In the van, there were piles of garbage and other junk on the floor of the back seat where the kids just threw wrappers because we didn't have a garbage can. The rest of the vehicle wasn't much better. So, my husband took on this big job this Summer of cleaning up the vehicles.

The van looks SO good now! Hopefully, we'll be able to keep it that way, at least for awhile.


One thing I added was an empty ice cream bucket lined with a plastic grocery sack. This will be kept under the seat and used as a temporary garbage can for all those wrappers that tend to find their way onto the floor. (The bucket can also be used for unexpected tummy aches, if you know what I mean.)


After the insides were cleaned out, my husband got our 9-year-old son involved with cleaning the outsides. Coyote had fun helping Daddy with this.

Coyote and Daddy washing the car
It was a big job, and much needed, and I'm very grateful to my boys for accomplishing this task.


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

SUMMER PROJECT: Cooking Class

It is a goal of mine to be more consistent in teaching the kids how to cook and clean up in the kitchen. I haven't made a specific plan yet, but here is one lesson I had with Road Runner over the Summer, giving her some one-on-one time to teach her how to make an easy, healthy, and delicious Crusty Tilapia recipe.

The first thing we did was look at the recipe to see what we would need.

CRUSTY TILAPIA
4-5 frozen Tilapia filets, thawed
1/4 cup buttermilk (or Fat Free Half & Half)
1 cup Panko Japanese Style bread crumbs
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried ground mustard
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1 TB grated Parmesan cheese

Spray the bottom of a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Pour buttermilk into shallow dish. In another dish, combine breadcrumbs and other ingredients. Dip fish into milk, then into breadcrumbs. Place in prepared baking dish. Spray tops of fish generously with cooking spray. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Next, we laid out all the items we would need to make the dish:  measuring spoons, measuring cup, thawed Tilapia, spices, bread crumbs, milk, and two containers.


We opened the individual pieces of Tilapia.


We dipped the fish into the milk, then into the bread crumb mixture. (Note: It is sometimes necessary to actually pick up the breadcrumb mixture with your fingers and press it onto the fish, so the fish is nicely coated with it.)


We placed the fish into a greased baking dish, and sprayed the tops of the fish with cooking spray.


Baked at 450 degrees F. for 25-30 minutes and served warm with our side dishes. (I don't remember what our sides were, but it is usually something like buttered noodles, baked potatoes, french fries, or macaroni and cheese. Then, we also add a vegetable like green beans.)


Road Runner did a great job helping to prepare this dish, and the meal was delicious!



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

SUMMER PROJECT: Wallpaper Removal

Back in June, I did a book review over at HE  HOLDS MY RIGHT HAND of Kay Wills Wyma's newest book, "Cleaning House:  A Mom's 12-month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement."  After reading this book, I realized the kids can do more than we really think. They just need to be taught how. So, I began to implement some of the author's ideas and came up with some Summer projects for the kids and I to accomplish. In the next few posts, I'm going to share with you a few of the projects we did. It has been a good way to keep us busy over the Summer, to spend time together getting some things done around the house, to teach the kids some new skills, and to have some fun while doing it all.

First of all, as I mentioned in the REVIEW, a couple projects we started with were: (1) hanging a tomato planter and (2) sanding and staining our two picnic tables. Since those projects were already mentioned, I won't do it again here.

The next project was to remove old wallpaper from our kitchen wall, then prime and paint it. Coyote had fun scoring the wallpaper, wetting it with warm vinegar water, and tearing it off the wall. Road Runner didn't do any tearing, but was a big helper cleaning up what was dropped onto the floor.

Before the wallpaper removal

Coyote Removing wallpaper

Road Runner helping with clean-up

After the removal
Unfortunately, the day after we finished removing the wallpaper, the temperature outside drastically increased, and we had to close up the house and put the air conditioner on. To this day, we have STILL not been able to prime and paint the wall.  As soon as things cool down, we will be finishing this project and I will hopefully be able to post a final picture.

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