Saturday, August 30, 2014

Habitat Science Saturday


I am going to try and post what we did for our science theme unit for Kindergarten/4th grade mix on Saturdays.  Realistically I may not get to it, but I am going to give it a try.

This past week Tyler has been learning all about Habitats.  We will be diving into specific habitats starting next week.

We started off this week by watching Hops Home on The Magic School Bus series.  We also read a picture book about different environments and discussed what we think would live there.  Then we created these habitat posters.


The next day we drew a picture of a habitat of our choice.  We discussed different types of habitats even more.

Another day we did a habitat matching game.  They had to cut out the habitat names and match them to the habitat pictures.  (Obviously, I need to work on cutting skills with Tyler). PB183363

We also created our Wild Self and watched some habitat videos on YouTube.

We couldn’t find very many habitat books at our library that weren’t for a specific type of habitat that we will be learning about more in depth in the coming weeks, so this week was mostly discussion.

It was also a stressful week around here, so I am glad we got done what we did.

All of the resources we used and more can be found on my Pinterest Board.




Friday, August 29, 2014

Let’s wrap this week up ~ Week 2


Blog Challenge pictures-003

In my life this week:

This week started off with bad attitudes all around.

Monday was a stereotypical Monday.  I had an archery training class to go to in the morning.  I am signing up to have an archery team with NASP. Even though they are generally a public school program I am putting a team together under a charter school. When I got home the kids had done nothing but make a mess.  Then everyone had grumpy attitudes when I made them get up and clean up after themselves and made them get to work on school work.


Tuesday was another day of fighting and disrespect.  Grumpy kids, grumpy mom.  I woke up late, the kids woke up late and we just got off to a bad start.

Wednesday was better.  The girls and I went to their Handmaidens of Virtue class at the library, they did a service project for The Ronald McDonald House.


It began to rain while we were there and 30 minutes later when we left the town was flooding.  (We have had major flooding for the past 2 weeks.) 



I also got my blood results back this day.  (A few weeks ago we did a family blood draw for research since my daughter was born with a cleft lip, they sent me my CBC).  After studying up on what everything meant I realized how anemic I really am.  Every doctor has told me I am, and sometimes I have tried to do things to “fix it” like iron supplements and cooking in cast iron pans.  I have now decided to try a desiccated calf liver pill.  I have taken it 3 times every day since Wednesday and I already feel a difference.  I am still tired often, but notice a difference of how much better I feel.


Thursday was actually a good day.  Everyone got along and there was no disrespect. (One of my kids tries to disrespect often, and it doesn’t fly around here, but it makes for some fights and struggles)  That is why I am reading some of the books in my reading list. If you have any you recommend for this kind of behavior.  Please let me know.  I also took the boys for haircuts.


Friday I actually woke up on time and woke the kids up.  We started school on time.  We even got everything done before noon so we were able to pack a picnic and spend a relaxing day at the park.


Books I have read this week for me are:

I finished Have a New Kid by Friday and The Millionaire Next Door.  I am in the middle of reading Teaching Self Government.  I checked out Raising Ephraim’s Child and I am planning on starting that over the weekend.

In my homeschool this week:

As a family we have began to watch CNN Student News, I like that we can stream it right through YouTube on my TV.  We have done 4 lessons in Promises of the Constitution.  So far we are enjoying both of these things.  We are having a family meeting weekly now, on Mondays.  (Well for the past 2 weeks anyways).  We created some glowing screen rules and chore sticks. (Hopefully a future post)

My 10th grader painted some abstract art on the cover of his planner, PB163347which I created from many resources.  (hopefully a future post).

IMG_5465[1]Tommy and Emily are lab partners for science and they have to do the labs together.  Here they are working on a concentration experiment.

Tommy has also completed:

  • Week 3 of Lightning Literature in which he had a read- a- thon with snacks and drinks to read 12 chapters of Treasure Island in one day.  It only took him about 2 hours. 
  • He is still working his way through Bridgeway Grammar. He finished Pak 5. (Which is a Unit)
  • He finished and tested in module 1 of Apologia’s Exploring Creation with Physical Science.
  • He finished up Unit 2 part B in Video Text Algebra
  • He completed Lesson 8 in Moving Beyond the Page WWI & II.

Emily, my 8th grader, got a knack to make some No Bake Cookies.  IMG_5448[1]She made a batch and was so proud of herself.  She tasted one and spit it out.  She quickly realized she forgot to put sugar in them.   She tried to re-melt them and add the sugar.  That did not work, so she threw them out and made a new batch carefully following the directions and they were great!


She also decided to become creative and decorate the front and back covers of her planner.  (It is one I made with resources from a few places but it is working great.  I hope to post about it soon.) She dipped her hands and feet in paint and pressed them on.  PB183360All of my kids have been playing daily with Smart Mass.   It is a magnetic putty.  They have been getting very creative with it. This is something Emily made with Smart Mass.

She also finished up

  • Chapter 5 in Teaching Textbooks 7
  • Week 2 in Lighting Lit 8th Grade
  • Lessons 6 & 7 in Moving Beyond the Page WWI & II.
  • Module 1 and test in Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science.
  • Lesson 01 Images in The Art of Poetry from Classical Academic Press.

The book she is reading is Hunger by Michael Grant (the 2nd book in the Gone Series)

Katey, my 4th grader, has been using the My Student Logbook planner.  (Review coming soon).  So far this has been perfect for both of us!   PB143321

She has been working great in Math U See Gamma. PB183366 Really she should have done this book last year, but I decided to give her a year of relaxed math.  She is working at a quick pace through it.  We did work on it a few times during the summer. 


Her and Tyler have been doing science together and learning about Habitats this week. (Hopefully a future post).

PB183348She has also worked through lesson 19 on All About Spelling Level 1.   We worked on this in the summer also.  She ahs been moving quickly though this and will start level 2 soon.

She has been reading quite a bit this week.  She finished 3 books in the Billie B. Brown series.  These books are perfect with her interests and her reading ability.  They are not too challenging for her.  I am really working with her on a love of reading.

My Kindergartener learned a lot about habitats and he worked in his daily book.  He has our address and phone number mostly memorized.  He has been building a lot with Lego and wooden blocks.

IMG_5530[1]He made a rocket going to a water planet that looked like a fish, and it turns into a submarine when it gets there.  Very creative if you ask me.


He also made Blueberry Muffins all by himself. (with major supervision).  He did very well and they were good. PB143325

When Emily got out the paint to create her planner covers Tyler decided he wanted to paint as well.  He used vegetables from our garden as his paintbrush.


He had to do a habitat matching game and I thought he could handle the scissor skills. and……. that is something we will be working on. 


This post got way longer than I expected, thanks for sticking around.

Resources we used:

Video Text Math

Teaching Textbooks

Math U See

All About Spelling

Lightning Lit

This post is linked up to Weekly Wrap Up, The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and My Week In Review.

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. There are also freebies. There are also just links to products without affiliate links. I'm trying to show what we did and where you can find it, not to sell you a product...although if you decide to buy one of them, please feel free to use the links and support a fellow homeschooler.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Homeschooling when life happens.

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Let’s face it, life doesn’t stop just so we can homeschool. 

Some actually use that as their excuse not to. 

But why not make life school? 

This past year we have faced quite a few challenges.  My kids (and I) have learned and grown from it.  The biggest thing I can say is that you are not alone. 

Life Happens.  Your kids are going to get an education whether you like it or not.  They will learn what they have the opportunity to learn.

I take opportunities in life and turn them into teaching moments.  It is not always easy.  Sometimes it’s easier to send your kids to the other room and handle life. 

Some personal examples of this:

I made my daughter at 10 stand in line (with me) at the customer service counter to return an item.  I made her do all the talking.  Sure it would have been just as easy for me to do it myself, but she got first hand experience.

When we have a family vacation the kids are completely involved in the budget, the miles we have to drive, how much gas costs, what activities we have planned, how much accommodations are, and all that.  Sure, it would be easy for my husband and I to just take charge and take the kids along for the ride, but then the first time they would get actual vacation planning experience would be when they are on their own.

At 8, we do laundry training and my children begin taking charge of their own laundry.

When my children turn 9, they begin cooking a meal once a week for the family.  They do have supervision and I am willing to help them if they ask me. Each child above 9 is required to plan and prepare a meal. They have to provide me with an ingredient list for their meal by a deadline. (currently Tuesday mornings)

When my oldest was 14, he started filling out and figuring my husbands expense reports for us.  Paul always looks them over before turning them in. Tommy has been doing great.

Regular household chores are also a part of what we include in our children’s education.

Life is full of seasons and soon enough this one will be over, and your kids will be out on their own.  I think that learning how to live and function in life is more important the any history or math fact.   Enjoy life.  Enjoy your family.

See what other’s wrote about this topic by visiting HERE!!


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Back to school {Week 1 wrap up}

Weekly Wrap-Up


We started back full on this week. 

A few weeks ago Katey had caught a caterpillar and we decided to raise it to see what it would transform into.  PB083267It still hasn’t came out of its shell.  I think it may have died in there but I haven’t had the heart to tell Katey just yet.


One day we had great weather and since there aren’t many neighbor kids out since they are all in PS.  Emily chose to do some science reading outside.  She was asking me for help and was mad I was taking a picture of her right then.

Tommy and Emily are both working in Apologia Exploring Creation with Physical Science.  They are allowed to work at their own pace in the book.  We are using the schedule from Donna Young.  They do have to do labs together though.



It’s hunting season here and Tommy has spent many early mornings hunting.  He has also read quite a few archery and deer hunting books and magazine articles this week.

Along with regular school studies like math and literature.

Both Tommy and Emily have also been learning about WWII using the Moving Beyond the Page unit. 

Emily has been doing great practicing the piano and guitar.  She is really becoming quite the musician.  Even while taking a few months off from lessons to travel.  She is reading the book Hunger by Michael Grant. This is the second book in The Gone Series.  We had read the book The Giver (on audio) over the summer, we actually didn’t even know a movie was being made based on the book.  On Thursday I took Emily and Katey with me to see the movie.   We had a discussion about common core and my feelings on it.  Along with math and literature she has also been studying poetry using The Art of Poetry by Classical Academic Press.

Emily and Katey also had Handmaidens of Virtue co-op class where they learned about virtues and vices. IMG_5424[1]Many of my Facebook friends were posting first day pictures of their kids since it was the first day of public school around here.  So I took some of our own back to school pictures when we were headed out the door to their class.

Katey has been moving right through All About Spelling Level 1 and Math U See Gamma. She has been doing science units with Tyler.  She has also gotten into journaling using the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Do It Yourself Book.   She hasn’t been doing as much daily reading as I would like.

This is Tyler’s first year of actually having school time and a schedule that we are following. I got him a pencil box and filled it with his own crayons, pencil, scissors, and glue.  He loves it. He has loved getting it out of his tote every morning. IMG_5309[1] He has a daily notebook that I created using printables from around the web.  He does that every day.  PB123299He also has a science unit each week. Check out our first week, Ants Galore here!  IMG_5310[1]


This hasn’t stopped him from wanting to do things from his activity basket.  Which is a basket that I keep some busy bag, preschool activity type toys in. This is his favorite one.  It is a fireman’s challenge.  It is a number recognition and counting game.



One thing we did during family school is make dream boards.  We did this over 2 days.  PB123300Some of us (me) took this project more seriously and some of us turned it into an art project collage (Katey).

IMG_5417[1]We also drew our self portraits, this is our back to school tradition.  We always go through our art portfolios and draw new self portraits.  It is neat to look at the progression of self portraits over the years.

IMG_5314[1]Our town participates in a program called We Play Unplugged.  We have collected brag tags over the summer and it was the prize party on Monday night.  We went to it and Katey won a prize.  She chose to get Tyler a soccer net and ball.  That was very thoughtful of her.

This post is also linked up to The Homeschool Mother’s Journal and My Week In Review.

Ants Galore

Kindergarten is so fun! 

I have chosen to do units based upon the Magic School Bus series.  I have also decided that for at least the first 5 weeks of school to include Katey (9) in the science studies with us. 
I used this free resource as the basis of my plans.

We started Tyler’s 5K year off with an Ant Unit. 
We read tons of Ant Books.

We read some fiction and some non fiction.  Hey Little Ant is a book we read about decisions.  We also did a persuasive writing assignment with this.  I wrote what Tyler dictated to me and Katey wrote her own. 

We did an ant labeling page and Ant Can- Have- Are. Both of these were from Erica Bohrer’s Blog. She also has the Hey Little Ant writing page.

We decided to make our own ant farm.  I took a quart canning jar and put a pint canning jar with a lid on it inside the quart jar. I filled the edges with sand from my yard.  We then baited ants using some chips in our yard.  Then we picked up the chip and put it into the jar. We covered it with a coffee filter. Then we made a cover out of dark paper and covered the ant farm.  PB113285
We waited until the next day to take the paper off. It was really neat to see all the tunnels and trails that the ants had made. PB113290
We read more ant books from our ant book pile and then we baked an ant cake.  We just used a box yellow cake mix and put chocolate sprinkles right into the cake batter. Then we baked it and frosted it.  PB113293I actually had Katey read and follow the directions with my supervision. It worked out really well. PB113295
Here is what it looked like after we had cut into it.  It was so fun, and who doesn’t love cake.

Every day we read more and more books.  One morning we woke up and looked at the ant farm and their were ants everywhere!  PB123299
They had chewed right through the coffee filter.  We are considering it a memory. You know, “Remember the time the ants escaped the ant farm and were all over the bookshelf they were on.”  So after that if I ever do an ant farm again, I will order one.
So of course then we made some ants on a log snacks. No one liked them.  We will not be making them again. 
We did an experiment called dancing ants.  We took some raisins and put some in a glass with just water and some in a glass with sparkling water.  The sparkling water ones moved around in the glass.  Then we tried adding sparkling water to the tap water to see how much it would take to make those raisins start dancing.  We figured it needs to be more than 1/2 sparkling or carbonated water.
We also did an ant buffet.  We chose a variety of foods from around our house and put them in a circle on a plate. We all voted on which one we thought they would prefer.  We then baited some more ants (this time with our ant cake).  We then put the ants in the center of the plate and waited. We came back about 15 minutes later and the ants had all left the plate.  They climbed right off.  They didn’t take any of the food.  They just left.

We watched a youtube video on an ant hill excavation.

This first science unit went amazingly well. 

Many of the ideas can be found on my ant Pinterest Board.
Things we used in this ant unit.



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