My new look

It’s been well over 5 years since my blog has seen an update… so I thought it was time for a new look.  You like?

I’ve also posted a page of my homeschooling resources at the top of the page.  I’d love to hear about your favorite sites for homeschooling!

I’m working on the side bar… I’ll clean that up when the kids are occupied with things other than me :-)

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!

Word Games

Kaia has just started getting into reading.  She’s really not had much of an interest until I started introducing fun games and stories.  I found this game through Pink and Green Mama (the original game is at The Snail’s Trail).  It has everything my daughter loves… rainbows, paint chips, secret peak through windows, funny make up words….  So, I ran out to the local paint store to snatch up some chips.  I felt so devious!  Kaia loves it.  She shows it to everyone who comes over.

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Sometimes, I’ll hold all of the cards and say “Pick a card, any card!” and she loves it.  It’s like a magic trick.

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Leif really enjoys the game too!

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Sorry it’s so blurry…

I love seeing these word cards spread out all over the floor!

What a fantastic gift this would make for a new reader!

Meteors, Comets, and Craters. Oh My!

Kaia and I took a little detour from our scheduled homeschooling (detours are fun!) to study a little about comets and meteors.  The Leonid Meteor Shower is at it’s peak Tuesday and Wed. (I wrote a little about it at Homemakers Who Work), and we plan to set up a cozy spot outside tonight (well, more like early, early tomorrow morning) to watch the show!

Talking about comets and meteors brought up that “what if…” question that seems to pass through every kids head when they are learning about this stuff… “What if a meteor gets through the earth’s atmosphere and hits us???!!!”

We found some great pictures of craters online…

Here is a nice picture of a crater made by a meteor that struck the earth.

And there are some great pictures of the moon’s craters on This site.

And we also did a little experiment to make our own craters….

Comet Kaia zoomed past our bowl filled with flour and cocoa powder (Planet Yum).

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On her way past the planet, she dropped a little meteor rocks (marbles) into the planet’s atmosphere.  Down went the meteor rocks!

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It landed with a nice puff of ‘planet dust’ (it actually puffed out all over the floor).  And craters were created.

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Next time, I want to get a bunch of flour and put it outside so we can really throw rocks into the pile and make big craters and large puffs of earth!  (Am I showing my destructive side?)

You can’t have too much magic!

Kaia absolutely loves to color!  I think she spent most of her kindergarten year drawing rainbows!  So, when I’m planning out our day, I try to make sure that she has time for coloring, and it’s even better if some of her actual ‘work’ (math, language…) has drawing required!  Then she’s really happy.

Frequently, though, she just wants me to print out fairies or mermaids for her.  So, you know I was ecstatic when I found this site.  Phee McFaddell has page after page of amazing line drawings of magical creatures, puppets to create, stories, and other craft projects!!!

Her skin isn't yellow!  It's GOLDEN!!

Her skin isn't yellow! It's GOLDEN!!

I’ve found so many wonderful resources for homeschooling on the internet!  I have a huge file of bookmarked pages… Give me a little time and I’ll make a page for you all to access with all the resources.  (There.  I’ve said it… now I have to do it!!)

Stamp making

Tracing the image with a charcoal pencil

Tracing the image with a charcoal pencil

Pressing the image onto the rubber block

Pressing the image onto the rubber block

retracing the image with ink, in case the charcoal smears

retracing the image with ink, in case the charcoal smears

Cutting out the image

Cutting out the image

The final stamp.... isn't she cute!

The final stamp.... isn't she cute!

Some of our other creations

Some of our other creations

I have great memories of my elementary school art class.  The room was dark and and crowded, but our teacher always had the greatest projects for us.  One of my favorites was linoleum print making.  You trace a picture onto a linoleum block, carve it out, roll paint onto it and press it onto paper, or a t-shirt…. I loved the detailed process and the “cooooool” moment when you get to see the final picture.

Stamp making is almost the exact same process.  I’d not done it in a long, long time, but I was inspired when I visited winemakerssister’s fantastic  etsy store and fell in love with her stamps!!  I totally stole some of her ideas!  But, I’m going to have to go back for this mug!  (Hahah!!  All you knitters out there get it!)

Kaia loves stamp making, too.  Today she carved me an adorable flower!

I see some stamped holiday cards in the near future!!

Action shots

We’ve been having so much fun homeschooling.  Yes, there are those moments where I want to shut her in her room and turn the music up real loud to drown out the drama.  But, I guarantee we would be having those moments if she were in school full time too.  In just a few weeks, Kaia and I seem to have changed our relationship somehow.  She is being more respectful, she is helping out around the house… I’m sure it is partly due to the fact that I am spending more time with her, focused on her.

Kaia wanted to have a ritual to start our school day.  She likes the idea of lighting a candle, singing a song, and ringing a bell.  So, Kaia gathered some fall leaves, got out the mod podge and made an adorable fall candle (a la 5 orange potatoes).  She wants to make a new candle for each season.  I like that idea!

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It’s not the best picture, but the leaves on the bottom are red maple and there is golden ginkgo on the top!  We melted our own wax and colored it red, another reason why it’s not so easy to see the leaves.

And what could be better than working in pile of blankets, in pajamas, at 9 pm at night, because you want to!?!

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Leif likes to join us and tends to keep himself occupied very well.  One of his favorite things to do is to hold onto a cloth and move it up and down in front of his face as fast as he can.  He wears himself out completely and makes himself laugh!  What could be better?

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Worms.. ugh!

Despite all of the garlic and pumpkin seeds that I’ve been feeding the chickens, it seems they have worms.  Maybe that explains why I’ve been getting 2-3 eggs a day from 24 hens!!!  I thought they were just taking a long time recovering from their molt.  So, after dusting the whole hen house, laying boxes, roosts, etc. with Diotomacious Earth (to kill any external mites, parasites, and sundry mean little buggers), I put on my witchy cap and stirred up a brew to knock the worms right out of them.  I got the basic recipe from Valerie at DoubleGRanch.

Mix one cup of Diotomacious Earth (food grade) with 2 cups of Flax Seeds in a food processor.  Add Olive Oil until you have a nice chunky, dry-ish consistency.  I also added ~1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1 head of garlic, and 1/4 molasses.  Spread this out in their food trough and watch them go crazy!

I’ll be giving them this mix for a week or so…. hopefully this will bring them back to health!

Here’s the basic plan…

We’ve been talking for the past few evenings and Toby and I have decided that we are definitely going to homeschool Kaia next Jan.  I did a general outline of topics today and it got Toby really excited too.

From Jan. through May (at least) I would like to touch on (formally or informally):
-Continue with Singapore math (along with manipulatives and other math games/logic puzzles)
-Continue with Sonlight Language Arts and Explode the Code, adding in as many word games and reading as possible (she’s not a fan of copy work and some of the readers that go along with this curriculum.  We may add in some Starfall since she likes playing the games.) And Handwriting Without Tears.
-All the holidays that fall in those months and discuss the religions and customs of those holidays (This also includes days like Martin Luther King day, president’s day, etc…)
-Science – the scientific method and observation, how magnets work, cardinal points, states of matter, reading (and creating) a map, weather, seasons, air/water, fire/temperature, plant and animal habitat, waves/currents/ocean habitats (this will necessitate a trip to the Charleston aquarium!), sun/moon/stars/planets (and a field trip to the Morehead Planitarium), basic machines (pulleys, levers)
-History-  Pre-history (the formation of the earth, first life, first mammals, first peoples, dinosaurs (and the creatures before the dinos)… maybe this will necessitate a trip to the Smithsonian Museums???!!)  We may get the “cartoon History of the Universe” series to read through with this, too.
-Arts and music – I’ve asked Kaia to chose an instrument that she would like to learn and she may start lessons.  We will also incorporate art into daily activities since she loves to color and draw.
-Foreign language- I plan to sign her up for a Mandarin Chinese class that is supposed to be happening in Jan.  (She LOVES anything China)
-I hope she will participate in all my garden planning and planting along with learning how plants grow, what they need to survive, and the plant parts
-Then there’s always cooking, knitting, daily/weekly chores, strawberry picking, play dates, park days…..

And as far as socializing, there are home school co-ops, home school sports leagues, library groups, LEGO clubs, Odyssey of the Mind Clubs, and so much more for her to interact with other peers.

I’m sure things will change as we flow through this, but at least we have a place to start and we’ll see how things go from there.  I’m excited!!