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

THIS SCHOOL YEAR (2018-2019): Our oldest child, EL, finished her formal education in May 2017. She remains at home due to her special needs, and continues to learn with us when she is able. JJ is in 10th grade this year. We intend to homeschool him through High School, and are using a variety of different curriculum choices to complete this goal.

Please feel free to follow along....

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Picnic Snack - An Introduction to My New Book Project

Here's a sneak peak at the new book project I've been working on.  I'm excited to say its almost ready for publication, but still needs a couple finishing touches. I am hoping to have it available to the public by the 1st of November (maybe sooner!) In the meantime, you are probably wondering what this book is about.

The new book is geared towards the younger crowd - children in the 3-8 developmental age range, but older children may enjoy it also. It is called, "A Picnic Snack," and is based on a fun experience I had when I was a little girl living in the small town of Manito, IL. My neighborhood friends and I often played outside together, and I can remember more than one occasion when we all brought snacks from home to share with everyone else.

The two main ideas of the book are "sharing with friends" and "thanking God for our food." My niece, Carolyn, drew the illustrations, and she did a great job for her debut in the publishing world. I enjoyed working with her on this.

I am using the same company I used for my first book, and will be sure to let you know when it is available to the public.

Stay tuned!  

Friday, October 17, 2014

FIELD TRIPS: Orchard, Nature Center, and Llama Farm

On September 24th, we went to an ORCHARD and learned about apples and pumpkins. We also went through a corn maze...

JJ picking apples

Walking in the pumpkin patch
EL coming out of the corn maze

On October 15th, we went to a NATURE CENTER to learn about deciduous trees (leaf trees, or trees that lose their leaves in the Fall)...

Identifying leaves

Taking a nature hike.

A tree frog

JJ made a new friend.
(But, we did let him go!)

On October 16th, we went to a LLAMA FARM...

JJ is getting ready to walk a llama through an obstacle course.

EL did not want to take a llama for a walk,
but she enjoyed visiting with this one.

Mama and baby.
The gestation period for a baby llama is 11 1/2 months!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

What We've Been Reading

When you are choosing books to read out loud with your children, try not to choose a book based on popularity alone, but consider the content. Is the book full of nonsense? Is it dry with just a bunch of facts? Or, is it considered to be a LIVING BOOK, which basically means it is well-written, interesting, pulls you into the subject and helps you to "see" what the author is writing about.

During a part of our afternoons, I try to read a-loud to my two kids. Sometimes, we will sit and read several picture books. Yes, my kids still like those (and so do I), and they can be great conversation starters (or just plain fun). Other times, we read part of a chapter book that goes along with a time in History we have been, or are currently, studying. Some are based on true stories, others are fiction but contain events in History that actually did happen. They are entertaining books, and help the kids to put the facts of the times into a better understanding of what people actually went through. They help bring History alive.

So far this school year, we have read through two chapter books and are now working on a third...
Bound for Oregon
By:  Jean Van Leeuwen
A story about a family's journey Westward.

The Secret Valley
By:  Clyde Robert Bulla
A story about a family who took part in the California Gold Rush.
On the Banks of Plum Creek
By:  Laura Ingalls Wilder
Based on the true stories of a young Pioneer girl and her family.


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SCIENCE: Making Solutions & Separating Mixtures

SOLUTE (the item being dissolved) = Table salt.
SOLVENT (the item doing the dissolving) = Water.
Mix the two together to get a SOLUTION (salt water).
An egg is denser (heavier) than water, so it will sink. But, if you add 5 tsp. of salt to the water, the solution becomes denser and the egg will float.

Fill a jar half full of heavy whipping cream.
Then, shake it for about 15 minutes.

The globs of fat in the cream will bind together, causing the cream to become very thick. Keep shaking it until the cream separates into a glob of butter floating in buttermilk.

Drain the buttermilk and add salt to the butter if desired.
Then, spread on some crackers to taste.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

SCIENCE: Owl Pellets, Atoms, Chain Reactions & Surface Tension

Here are some pictures of some of the Science experiments we have been doing this year...
We dissected an owl pellet at the library with other homeschoolers. Owls cannot digest the fur and bones of a rodent, so they cough it up into a pellet. JJ thought it was really cool to dig through a pellet and find the little rodent bones. I helped EL get through it, but she was not thrilled.
Owl pellet

EL and I finding rodent bones

JJ and a friend finding bones and matching them up


Getting ready to whisk egg whites to make meringue cookies

Whisking the egg whites whips air bubbles into the albumin,
producing a chain reaction.

The albumin traps the bubbles, making a foam.
When you bake it, the foam hardens into meringues.
Pepper flakes sprinkled onto water float on the top
because of surface tension.

A drop of detergent breaks the surface tension
and pushes the pepper flakes away.

More Science photos to come....

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs

This past Summer, JJ was listening to a Maynard the Moose CD we borrowed from the library and he thought the crazy, mixed up fairy tale of Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs was hilarious. He decided to draw illustrations for the story and we made a video of it.  Check it out here...

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Learning the States and Capitals

We have been tremendously busy this school year with school work (obviously), therapies (originally 3 days per week, but now it has gone down to 2), drum lessons, Boy Scouts, AWANA, field trips, play dates, doctor/dentist appointments, soccer, basketball, chores, and just living life. So, I haven't had much time to sit down and share our schooling adventures with you. But, since things seem to be slowing down a bit (at least for now), and we are in a much better place with our routine, I want to take a little time to share what we are using to learn the States and Capitals this year...

We started our year by learning about our Illinois State history. We used this book, Writing A State Report, to help us with that. This was actually scheduled at the end of last school year, but we didn't get around to doing it and started this year off with it instead. This, along with some "About Me" pages, were a good way to start out the year in a light, fun way. 

For memorizing the states and their capitals, this CD from Audio Memory Publishing has been very helpful. The songs can be a little annoying, but they really do help the kids to memorize.

JJ thought the singers on the CD sounded weird and didn't want to listen to them at first. They do sound a little high-pitched, sort of like chipmunks. But, then, EL colored and cut out some pictures of dolphins from a coloring book and wanted to make popsicle stick puppets out of them. To her, the songs sounded like dolphins singing. So, ever since our 2nd day of playing the songs, she and JJ have been making the dolphins dance and sing along as they "swim" through the states. It was a blessing that EL came up with this idea. She really saved the day. (They have also used fish and birds to sing the songs.)  

We are also using this workbook to help us learn more about the states, U.S. Geography, develop map skills, and for some critical thinking and reading comprehension.

This is one of the pages inside the Twin Sisters States and Capitals Wipe Clean Workbook. Here, the kids are using dry-erase markers to match up the states and capitals we have already learned. In the background, you will also see a matching game that was included with our curriculum from My Father's World.

We also have game called The Scrambled States of America that we haven't started using yet, but will be doing that soon.