Category Archives: Homeschool

Sparks are a Flyin’

Back in August, for Caitlyn’s birthday, we got her a snap circuit kit.  It has parts and pieces for making almost 200 electricity projects.  She ignored it, for the most part, when we first got it.  I was kind of bummed.  I had heard from so many homeschoolers how great they were and how much their kids loved them.  And it was a dud with my daughter.

This week I learned that wasn’t exactly the truth.  Apparently, she had lost a key piece to the kit and was stuck.  Well, that problem has been solved.  Sue or Patrice lost our TV remote this week.  It is still missing, but while looking in one of the bedrooms, Patrice found Caitlyn’s missing piece.  Ever since, Caitlyn has been churning out project after project.

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Unfortunately, the kit, while it has the pieces and instructions to make 150+ projects, it does not have enough pieces to make the projects and keep them set up.  Each project can be made one at a time.

I have enjoyed watching her put together the various projects and my favorite part was when she looked at me today and said, “thank you for getting this for me!”

A little electric current of joy to mama’s heart!!

Science Outside

We are having a crazy, wonderful fall.  It is quite unheard of to be outside in shirt sleeves on November 14 and yet, here we are…outside in shirt sleeves!

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Sue has been begging me to explode something.  I normally brush her off, but today, I said, “let’s make a plan and do it.

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I went to the best website in the universe, Pinterest and found this “recipe.”

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And started getting all the materials around to explode some sandwich bags.

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One half cup vinegar.

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A couple drops of food coloring.

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Finally, add one Tablespoon of baking soda wrapped in a little bit of toilet paper, seal it in the bag.

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Back up, watch it grow and pop pop!!

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(Hubby says to try dry ice next…)

Politics Here

Let’s just start off by saying I have no idea how I am going to vote in the upcoming Presidential election.  What I do know, is I cannot wait for the political ads and posts on Facebook to be gone.

I may still be struggling about whether or not I am going to vote at all, but that does not mean we have ignored politics in our homeschooling.  We have read several biographies, we have done a unit study, we have had many, many conversations about the positives and negatives of the Republican and Democratic candidates, and talked about what an Independent Party/candidate is.

In the unit study Caitlyn and Sue created a newspaper that included articles about the overall election process  and who the Presidential Candidates were, a letter to the editor concerning a local issue on the ballot, an overview of the requirements for voting in our state and what the voting process entails, how the candidates differ and how they are similar, an explanation of our two major parties, and an overview of women’s suffrage.

But our elections education has not been purely academic.

The girls’ have each explained, based on their understanding, who they would vote for.  I am standing here wracking my brain trying to remember what each of them said about their choice.  I know Patrice said she would vote for Hillary Clinton because “she is a girl.”  Patrice has also very sweetly asked me to vote for Hillary–“for me, please mommy?”  Caitlyn has had several thoughts on the issue, but the one that sticks out to me is she would vote for Hillary Clinton because Donald Trump “is a sore loser” (she has watched portions of each of the debates).  Sue said she would vote for Hillary Clinton “because she is a girl and because I don’t think she should be in jail, she was only trying to protect her e-mail and the country.”

I may still be trying to decide what to do when I am standing in front of the ballot Tuesday, but my girls have made up their minds!

Caitlyn has even flexed some of her democratic muscles.  The other day, every time someone disagreed with what she was doing or wearing, she declared, “It’s a free country!”

And then tonight the girls capped off their understanding of the election process by spontaneously presenting their own presidential debate.  Caitlyn was the moderator, Sue was the Republican Candidate, and Patrice was the Democratic Candidate.  They covered issues including homelessness, housing, schools, and what they would do to make America greater.  Patrice, on the topic of homelessness, said anybody that “wanted a house can come ask me, and I will put them in a hotel and build them a house.”  Sue, concerning schools said, “I will get better teachers and better food because nobody can learn on an empty stomach!”  Concerning making America greater Sue said she would stop terrorist attacks while Patrice said she would give money to the homeless.

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Our debate even had some “digs” in it as Sue told Patrice her answer was “a great comedy act.”  The girls, as you can see, dressed up for the debate–shoes optional, and they had suckers from their Halloween candy.

Of course, after the debate I had to explain to Patrice what a Republican was and what a Democrat was…she’s a 6-year-old work in progress.

I am really pleased with our overall study of Americas’ election process and what the girls have learned.  They’ve worked hard to understand the world around them and we’ve had some fun along the way; what more could I ask for?

 

 

Today was Hands On

Our first year of homeschooling I found so many incredible ideas for hands-on projects and activities.  It was fun, if I do say so myself.  My second year that dwindled, and last year was dismal.  We made it through our daily lessons of bookwork, but there just wasn’t any fun.  Last year was survival mode as I battled the bipolar disorder…But this year, this year, offered hope.

Hope, that we could have fun again.  That Patrice could enjoy some fo the hands-on activities similar to what we had done in the first year, when she was oblivious.

And I think, we have had more fun.  We are getting through material, going on field trips, and enjoying projects.  Today, we did two fun projects in art and science.

During art, we made cards for a friend in the hospital.

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This afternoon we did a science project learning how plant seeds might travel to other places in the world.  We “made” seeds and sent them flying.

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The best part was seeing Patrice not only get involved in the activity, but watching the video beforehand, and being able to explain what it was saying, and argue her point, successfully I might add, with her sisters.

Every day has it’s adventures, but today included some intentional fun!

 

All That Falls

I found a project on Pinterest and we actually did it!!!

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We painted q-tip fall trees 🙂

 

Laughing and Learning

It is beautiful outside right now.  The weather is beautiful, the laughs and giggles are beautiful.  And the learning is beautiful.

Patrice is having some trouble learning sight words so I am trying to incorporate some new methods…one involves a beach ball with some of her words written on it–when you catch the ball you have to read whatever word your right hand is closest too.
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“Look”

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I also sported some handmade bling for the sight word of the day, which you might have guessed is THE.  Patrice also wrote the word of the day on the whiteboard.  We’ve been having some trouble with the word the because Patrice finds it boring and she doesn’t like to read boring words–so I decided to jazz things up around here!!

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Homeschooling Light

So one of my quirks, is to not take up doctor and eye appointments right before school starts.  I know there are a ton of people who need to get their kids in those appointments before school starts, while we, on the other hand, have the flexibility to do those appointments while other kids are in school…so, this week was eye doctor appointment week for Sue.  I thought it would be a quick 30 minute deal, but I was mistaken.  Her appointment on Monday was over an hour and they decided they needed a follow up today to check some other things and they have already told us this appointment will be an hour plus.

So, this week became homeschool light!

Tuesday, the weather was beautiful so we did some of our work outside.  Grammar, art, and reading.

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Yesterday we went on a field trip to a local nature center and learned about migration.

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Today, I have reading, phonics, and grammar packed for the non-eye-patients to work on while we wait.  We have already done our history read-aloud for the day.  Now, the get some eyes checked!!

This is how we homeschool–light!

A Broken Record

As I have mentioned a million times, I love running.  I had to give it up for a while due to foot issues, but that didn’t change my love.  I am done with physical therapy and was given the go ahead to start running again…slowly.  I told the therapist, “at 41 the only running I do is slow” but I knew what she meant and actually got scared about starting and hurting my feet again.

Then, a fellow homeschooler found a cross country team for homeschooled kids starting at Caitlyn and Sue’s ages.  I could not wait to get home and sign them up.  I know other parents say they don’t want to push their kids, but I will fully admit, I am being pushy when it comes to running.

I had no athletic abilities whatsoever growing up.  T-Ball was a bust, ping pong and volleyball were a disaster.  I had nothing.  And it it was hard.  I watched other kids get acceptance and acclaim from sports, but it never happened for me.  Ever.  As much as we say brains are more important, or at least as important, they aren’t, not when it comes to approval.

I never found anything I could do until my 30s when I started running with Wii Fit and then decided to try running for real outside, and I could do it!!  Now, I don’t set any records, but each running goal I have set for myself I have reached, except the half marathon, I am still reaching for that.  And the runners high–I fell in love with it early on.

Call me selfish, I want running for my girls.  Jr. High, er Middle School and High School would have been so much more bearable if I had running.  I want that for them, I do.  Yes, I understand, they may find another sport that suits them better, but for now, I want to give them a place to start, something they can enjoy, something they can excel at no matter what.

I want that for them.

I Just Need

I just need to write.  I can’t promise it will be articulate or something you want to read, but I need to write.

Yesterday was hard.  Oh so hard.  It started out okay.  I went to church and fell asleep–thanks medication, I came home and ate my lunch as if it was a prisoners last meal in preparation for starting weight watchers tonight.

And the bottom fell out from under me.  I needed to run, I needed to disappear like I haven’t in a long time.  So I went to the treadmill hoping to work some of it out.  I walked and literally cried out to God begging for help.  Begging.  It didn’t come.  So I decided to run away.  I grabbed my purse, coat, and keys.  But hubby refused to let me take the car in my mental state.  So I walked.  I walked until my feel literally could not take it any more.  I needed to run, to escape, but where to go and how to get there.  I didn’t know.  All I knew is I needed to be gone.

What to do?

I decided to reach out to a friend who might know how I feel.

She did.

We talked until my meds finally kicked in and I fell asleep.

Today is better but I still feel very, very raw and quite frankly scared.  Really, really scared.  So what did I do?  I put one foot in front of the other today.  It wasn’t exactly pretty but the girls and I worked on math, reading, Bible, and elections.  The girls checked out microscope slides on their own.

I guess we got a lot done, including getting soup in the crock pot and making zucchini bread, but it did not go in the smooth fashion I had dreamed of.  2016-01-04 12.08.56

I imagined being more hands on and having them more engaged and just walking away from today feeling like a super hero.  Instead, I feel like I limped through today.  I spent the day nursing a headache and feeling scattered in a million directions.

I feel like I depend on the girls to do too much.  Sue did most of the prep for the soup and she and Patrice are doing most of the bread.  I am here overseeing it, but is it too much?

Today was not what I dreamed of.

As usual.  Is there a day that will go as a planned?  Are my dreams realistic?  Can I be the mother and homeschooler I dream of?  Ever?

Getting My Kids Ready

There is a lot of beauty in homeschooling.  Sleeping in when we need to.  Choosing to spend extra time on topics of interest.  Adjusting curriculum.  That is my favorite.

People often ask me about how I know what curriculum to choose for the girls, or where I get the material I use for teaching.  Well, trust me, there is no shortage of options.  The longer we homeschool, the more I am learning what works for each of the girls and myself.  How do they learn best and how do I teach best and where is the happy medium?  As I learn that, it makes the selection process easier, but in the meantime, I consult other homeschoolers in a variety of states with a wide range of experience in home educating.  I also talk to local schoolers I know and my hubby.  I also read reviews from a variety of sources.  I take all that information and make my selection.  Sometimes it works perfectly, other times I realize we need to adjust.

That’s what happened with history and geography this year.  I chose a book, an atlas, and a wall map.  I was so excited.

Until I had to admit that we all hated it.  Thankfully, it has lessons for all levels of school so I think it will be a fantastic option in a couple years, but for now, it is not a good fit.  So I went back to the drawing board…

My goal in the beginning was to have the girls learn about our state, learn the states of America, and about our presidential/governmental system.

That is still my goal.  But I was puzzling over how to put it all together.  We have done a study on our state, but made little progress on all the states, and very little on the presidents.

But I think I have our new plan.  The girls are enjoying a new iPad game about presidents and we have another one about the states we are going to check out.  There are also some YouTube songs I think we’ll incorporate.  We got a great puzzle of the states from one of our grandmas yesterday and a shower curtain with the USA on it with all the states labeled.  Today I found the final piece of our new plan.  I got a great study on the election process that we are going to work on daily.  It includes books to read, websites to check out, on-line videos, and places for journaling.  It really is a multimedia study.

I am so excited!  I’ll let you know what the girls think after our holiday break!!2015-12-25 08.12.08