Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Australian Art Project: Aboriginal Painting

To wrap up our study of Australia-we decided to do an Aboriginal painting using the dot technique.
This can easily be done on paper too, but I had a canvas frame sitting on the shelf and decided to use it.  I also bought marker paint pens thinking it would be easy and create a nice look. After seeing the inconsistency of it-I would have my student use a Q-tip or pencil end to create the dots instead.  It worked OK but I think the other tools would have helped him retain a more unilateral look. I helped with the painting of the non-dot areas (per his request) by simply putting some of the paint from the pen into a tray then applied it with a paint brush.

Regardless of the different ways to achieve it, he had fun and that was the overall goal.

Aboriginal Art Project: 

 Items Used:
*Canvas (purchased at Michaels using coupon)
*Marker Paint Pens (purchased at Wal-Mart)
*Pencil for tracing image
*Paint brush/tray (not pictured) 
*Picture (from Bisbane Kids site)

Basically, he chose what image he wanted. I traced the outline in pencil on the back side of the picture, then flipped it over and re-traced the image onto the canvas.  It worked enough so that I was able to see the basic layout. I took the black paint and outlined it for him.  I almost used a Sharpie but he wanted the paint which was a bit sloppy but it worked.  The goal here was to have fun-not create a masterpiece. He painted some areas, then set it aside to dry overnight (between applications) to keep it from smearing.  I painted the sections he wanted a solid color. We are allowing it to fully dry before we proudly display it in our classroom.  

Again-this could be done on paper as well.  There are a few videos online you can watch for technique and guidance too.  Don't forget to search Pintrest for ideas and different art projects using the Aboriginal dot paint style...there are lots of them!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Continent Box: Antarctica

At first, some may think that there are not enough things available to create an Antarctica box. Don't let the seemingly sparse items deter you.  Actually there are some unique and fun goodies you could add to your box.

Now granted there are no countries there, but many have staked claims to parts of it. That opens up a great opportunity to learn about those research posts. Maybe having printed cards with pictures of various sites can be added.  Also, you can find a lot about those brave explorers who went there. Maybe you could find stamps with pics of them, or put a small flip book/lapbook in the box highlighting them.

The wildlife is mostly centered around the oceanic critters, but it is also where many of the world's penguin species are found.  Think of all those movies [March of the Penguins comes to mind] that could accompany this study!  So one can add pictures and miniature toy animals to the box. I looked through my Safari Toobs and see there are a few seals and sea lions and even a walrus.  Sadly, not one of those species are found in Antarctica, and I do not want to buy the penguin one (which has a lot of them found there), so I won't have as many critters as I would like. That said, I do want to mention that I have noticed a few folks who have innocently placed polar bears in the Antarctica box. But please do not put them in as they are not found there.  They live in the arctic polar regions of the north and should go in the N. America box, and yes-even in the Europe and Asia ones.  I have seen way too many people add animals when they do not belong there.  OK. There, I feel better.

Contents for the Antarctica Box

*Stamps (Ebay) -I looked for countries that have or have had stations there.  

*Postcards (Ebay) 

*Fire/Rescue patch (Ebay) -I let my son pick which one he wanted.  

*Animal Cards (Target dollar bin area) -see the Australia post for a pic of the card box. I also just laminated a picture from an encyclopedia on the animals found there.

*Antarctica Territories Cards (made myself using Word images and Wikipedia then laminated them and put each area on color coordinating paper to match the control card).

*Landmark cards-just found a couple different ones online, printed and laminated them.

*Animals (Safari Toobs:  Baby Sea Life and Oceans. Purchased at JoAnns using 40-50% off coupons)

*Large Killer Whale-that is an old tub toy we had still.  He has been sitting by the Ocean Box we are working on for his science.  He doesn't go in the box, he just wanted to be included-LOL.

*Antarctica Game (free download from Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop)  This is too big for the box so it goes in the basket on the top shelf.

**I don't have the Antarctica map printed/laminated yet.  That is for his reference for various mapping activities and such. That will go into the basket on the top shelf.

Additional Ideas for your box:

I have done a lot of Pinteresting and have seen many a posts on continent boxes.  I see some ladies have mentioned a few of the following sites listed below.  I  really don't need these but many of you may.  Keep your eyes open for other neat add ins.  I would love to find a mini-replica of Shackleton's ship or even a model of a scientific center [you know that doesn't cost a fortune and actually exists] to add to our box. Anyway, check out these resources too.

Who's Eating Who? book download (free)  There is also a bunch of other activities/info on that site (which we will visit a lot during our study) **Just keep in mind the cost of either printing this at home or thru an office supply place. It is very colorful!

Montessori Print Shop-Antarctica materials

Antarctica Transportation download

You can purchase Antarctica bank notes (Ebay) too-I believe it is issued by different countries

And there you have our Antarctica box.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Geography unit study: Mapping the World by Heart, atlases and misc.

Since our main focus this year is the World Geo study-I have dusted off my (very old but quite useful) Mapping the World by Heart program. This is the backbone we'll work from to cover the unit.

We started with Australia, since it coincides with the Sonlight 5 (Eastern Cultures) history program we are implementing this year.  I also have notebook pages he is filling in on various countries as move along. This is a part of the Homeschooling in the Woods Olde World maps download.  I will not have him do every single one (simply too intensive and time consuming) but we'll definitely cover the better known countries.  I have a nice binder with page protectors to place these in, that will create a nice notebook/reference tool when it is completed.
(I will add a pic of that after he gets a few done)

I put together a folder to hold the current map and worksheets with listed items to locate.  The map pictured above was not completed yet. The clay island was made using modeling clay. I like Crayola's best because it is soft and pliable.  Some are so greasy or difficult to to use because they are like steel and take forever to soften before you can do the project. That was a part of the mapping layers/levels activity. You can kinda see the worksheets that covered that in the left pocket of the folder.  He had fun making it and thought it was neat how the clay made a ring of 'water' around it.  We called it Fool's Paradise because I love that old lady on the Swiffer commercial who says she had been living there all that time believing her house was clean. Kinda funny.

I found some country flag stickers (not sure where we will use those, if at all) with another page of iconic pics from various places around the world at the Dollar Tree. He added the Sydney Opera House, a kangaroo and Koala sticker so he didn't have to draw those. It's not required to add things like that but it definitely makes it a bit more sparkly.

This is basically how the set up will work for the various continents.  He will have a worksheet noting what he is to list on the map and then once done, he can add some stickers to it.  Now to get him to be a bit more neat and serious with his handwriting.  Ugh.

The atlas' are our two main ones we refer to but I have a few others about.  One is from DK and the other is a Rand McNally atlas. These can be found at most book stores (in person/online) or through many homeschool suppliers. The Mapping the World by Heart is available thru most larger homeschool book companies.  I actually bought mine used on the many years ago. It is the first edition but it works.  The extra map sets I purchased from Rainbow Resource.  (ouch!  I think I bought those a few years ago for less than $10. Good thing I did.  But for 17 maps that are needed for the program-I guess $16 is reasonable.)**

**I am not an affiliate for any of these companies.  I simply provided links to the mentioned products to help you find out more about them.

What's on the Geography Shelf: IKEA Puzzle Box

As promised, I will be posting about what we have on our geography shelf.  Obviously, there are many things one could incorporate into their supplies-this is just a sampling to give you ideas of what you can do.

I will be adding stuff as we move along but for now this is what I have.  The IKEA storage box is great for holding puzzles because of its size.  I am able to stuff the Nat. Geo 2 side World puzzle and a few others in it.  The Animal Jigsaw puzzle book (by Garry Fleming) was given to me by a friend a few years ago, and I am excited we can integrate it into this unit.  It is below his skill level but hey-while I am reading him something about that particular continent-he can be putting it together.  He does well when his hands are busy whilst I read so it is a win-win situation for us.  I also see there are few other puzzle books in this series and I am seriously thinking of getting the continent book.  Again-not difficult by any means but it is way cheaper than getting the Geo Puzzles I want.  Again, being that he is our last student, I hate to drop too much $$ to pull this World Geography unit together.  If I had more coming up behind him, it'd be a different story.

The only issue I have with the puzzle book is that Antarctica is only a picture!  They really should have figured a way to get it to be a puzzle too.  It's a shame. Otherwise, the graphics/pics are very nice.  I see you can pick one up via Amazon for pretty darn cheap too.

The puzzle holding box is on the second shelf, right-hand side.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Continent Box: Australia

I was so excited to stumble across the Continent Box idea a whilst back.  Sadly, I didn't think of them. Nor had I heard of it prior to just this past year-so my older kids totally missed out.  But alas-I have one student who can benefit from it.

I will be doing a whole geography series (of posts) as we move through the various continents, but for now-here is what we have in our box.  For more (and awesome) ideas, just search Pinterest for Continent Boxes and Geography Boxes.  A ton of pins will pop up.

Our boxes go on our Geography shelf.  The current continent (box) to be studied sits right next to the Montessori sorting box on the second shelf. Extra things go in the basket on the top (in this case, the boomerang) that do not fit inside the Ikea box.

Contents for Australia/Oceania Box:

*Boomerang (purchased on Ebay)
*Australia and New Zealand coins (Ebay)
*Australian postcard (received via postcard exchange)
*New Zealand Kiwi keepsake (Ebay)
*Safari Toob: The Land Down Under (JoAnns-used 50% off coupon)
*Little koala bear (I believe that was from a McDonald's      Happy Meal promo from way back when. I just bought that toy not the meal)
*Pez Tasmanian Devil (grocery store)
*Map (Homeschooling in the Woods Olde World Style Maps and I also have the Bright Ideas Press WonderMaps I can use when need be)
*General Info on Australia/landmarks of Australia [free] (Montessori Print Shop)
*Australian Food (purchased from Montessori Print Shop)
*Australian/Papua New Guinea and New Zealand Stamps (Ebay)
*Australian animal and Landmark cards (Target: dollar bin area. Pictures of them to the right.  Look during the back to school time or hopefully, you can find these or something similar)

We also checked out a ton of books from the library on Australia, New Zealand, Fuji, Tasmania, the Aboriginal peoples and the Maori peoples.  I also grabbed some arts and crafts books so that we can do some activities that relate to the area.  

If I had more kids coming up behind him, I would have purchased more stamps to sort but what I have is sufficient for him. I probably would have bought the Montessori musical instruments, people and animals cards as well, but since my student is now 13-it just wasn't necessary. I only used/laminated the cards that have all the info (not the 2 part matching ones) on it. 

I do not have any flags in the box because the Homeschooling in the Woods map set has notebook sheets [to fill in various nuggets of info for the region/countries] with an area for a flag. The only thing I won't print are the flags, in order to save on ink since it can be spency. I am purchasing some stickers that he can place there instead. These notebook pages will go into a Countries of  the World binder we will build over time.

BTW:  I could have labeled this the Oceania box but since our kids were taught that Australia is one of the 7 continents, not Oceania, I didn't want to change it. Obviously, you can label it as such. I really don't like how they keep changing things, like the Antarctica Ocean to the Southern Ocean and Pluto being nixed as a planet. I mean leave it alone already.  Sheesh.  LOL.   

Friday, August 29, 2014

Not Back to School Blog Hop: Week 4-Day in the Life


Here is where I am stumped. I don't know our schedule, how to describe our day in our life or even what time it is (well I guess I can look in the corner of the 'puter to see that) and I really cannot say why.  For some reason, things have been nutty and so we have been 'schooling' in the 'winging it' mode.  That is ok though.  Somehow we managed to get just about everything I wanted him to cover handled.  I think one big factor is that we are only schooling one kid now so being super organized is not quite as necessary as when I had 2-4 kids underfoot.

Now that the boy is in Jr High, I do have to start reining it in a bit.  Since we will be going thru Sonlight 5 (Eastern Cultures) I already have a pre-made schedule via the teacher's guide.  So the history, Bible, some geography (I say that because I am covering world geo with him this year as an entire course to go along with this) and lots of reading are covered. Math is a no-brainer.  We just work thru each lesson and if he needs to speed it up or slow it down then we do just that.  I will need to devise a general layout for the world geo, artist study and his language studies.  Since we just finished school in early July and are back into the baseball season-I simply haven't thought much past that.

Heck, I haven't even ordered the stuff I need for the year.  It's just been that way lately.  But what I can share is that we don't do every subject every day. Instead we break it up to a few times per week and let it be.

Usually we stick to this basic set-up :  

T and Thurs.: math, science, geography and art/music, handwriting
W and F:  math, history and reading skills/LLATL and any scraggler type of activities
Every other Thurs. is my shopping day so I simply delete things or give him only 'you can do this without me' activities because I am gone all day.

I have been using Mondays as an office day-to figure out what I have going on, to do my grocery couponing/planning and errands. I may have to change that or beef up a couple days since we're doing a more rigorous geography study and Sonlight (which is a beefy program) but honestly-I hate to lose that day.  If I do, then I lose a weekend day and I am not going back down that road.  I was getting too burned out because I wasn't stepping away from the teacher mode. I will adapt. We always do and I find a way to preserve my office day and still get all the schooling in.

And there is our anti-schedule type of life. No planner books, no pledge, no timed seat work, no exact order or particular way to do each day-we take it as we feel it'll work that week and somehow we get along nicely.  For now.  But we'll see.....

Friday, August 22, 2014

Not Back to School Blog Hop 2014: Week 3-Student Photos


I am down to one student, 
have been for a couple years now-
our youngest and class comedian....  
The Boy

Now on occasion a mewy irritant, our perpetual student will arrive on the scene.  This student apparently just flunks out to stay around here and receive attention.  Not sure if there are any time limitations on how long a student can repeat/attend; but I think Cleo has long surpassed any rules on that.  She has been attending our homeschool for 15 yrs now and counting. Oy Vey!  [And yep, she is a Manx with only a button tail and she walks/hops like a bunny. :)]

Monday, August 11, 2014

2014 Not Back to School Blog Hop: Week 2-Classroom

For the second week of the Not-Back-To-School blog hop we are to showcase our schoolroom/education room.  I am working on a video tour and hope to have that posted before the next century. What should seemingly take but a few hours has now turned into a few days and many, many takes.  Plus I have to edit the multitude of sections I recorded, then load it to You-Tube. Once I have that complete I will get the link up for you.  For now, here are some pics of the room we use.  Of course we also utilize many areas of the house including the couch/family room and/or the kitchen but here is where we keep the bulk of our supplies and such.

I created an area to showcase our world geography that we will be focusing on for the year.  I removed the rain-gutter shelves that were on the wall and bought a whole 'lotta IKEA storage boxes to create this.

I recently made some big changes to the room by removing several things we have already used, or won't be needing for some time in order to make it less cluttered and soothing.  I also rearranged the room to freshen it up/make it feel bigger.

The new workbox area.  I removed a large shelf, re-purposed the other one for the geography area and after about a thousand different possible layouts attempts, I think I came up with something that should work.  There you have it in a nutshell-our classroom area.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 4, 2014

2014 Not-Back-To-School Blog Hop: Curriculum

Don't forget to participate!  
I'd love to see what you have
chosen for your family!

Wow! It's already time to join the Not Back to School Blog Hop for this year! Frankly, we had a late ending to last year (uh-literally just finished the second week of July) so gearing back up at this point is almost too painful to contemplate! But hey, thanks for stopping by! If you are new to my blog I wanted to give you the 411 on us. We have been homeschooling for over 20 years and have graduated our first three [yep, we homeschooled high school too] and are currently winding down our adventures with our fourth child, who is at the 6/7th grade level.

We follow mostly a Charlotte Mason//Literature (with a tad of Montessori in there) method so our choices reflect those styles but we are also eclectic, so there are plenty of other little things thrown in for variety.

**I linked to where you can find out more about each product, but unless it is an Amazon link-I have no affiliation with the companies.  I just really like their stuff and thought I would share the best place I have found to get them. My best advice for anyone (especially newbies) is to buy used first, reserving new purchases for materials you cannot find that way.  Workbooks and any test booklets, etc. usually fall into that second category. Two great places for used books are Homeschool Classifieds and the Vegsource Homeschool site.   

2014 Curriculum Choices:

*TBD  (I simply haven't had time to figure out who we will cover, but it will reflect those in the time range of our history studies)  Usually try to do 2 per year.

God’s Great Covenant, New Testament Book One | Main photo (Cover)Who Am I? (And What Am I Doing Here?) Volume 2 | Main photo (Cover)
images from
I will either restart the God's Great Covenant Series: Book 1 NT I bought last year or get the second book in the Apologia series: Who Am I?  I dunno yet.  I am still trying to figure out this subject.  Again-I barely finished last year, so I haven't had time to contemplate it all and I had to put the God's Great Covenant series aside as it was just too much for him last year. This is on my "to figure out" list.


5th Grade Homeschool CurriculumSonlight Eastern Hemisphere:  This is listed for about 5th grade.  I have done this 3x already and find many of the books to be above that level so this is a good fit for most 5-8th graders.  I usually try to fit this in between 6-7th grade.  I have a much older version but it works just fine. I will be covering just the history and some of the scheduled Bible from it.

Image from

Our boy is dyslexic so he's a bit behind in the language/reading skills, so that is why some of this seems a bit lower than it should be for his age.  But that is the beauty of homeschooling-you tailor the education to the child not the other way around.
Learning Language Arts Through Literature Tan Student Book | Main photo (Cover)Phonics Road to Spelling & Reading Level 2 Curriculum Set | Main photo (Cover)

Learning Language Arts Through Literature Tan Book for the main backbone. A few times per week we do the Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading Level 2 that we started early last spring. I got this used at half price through homeschoolclassifieds. We are also reviewing the All About Spelling materials I have just as an added boost.  The LLATL has some spelling but dyslexics struggle with that so I try a bunch of different things to work through this subject with him.  I will have to do a separate post on that.

Winston Grammar | Main photo (Cover)Italic Handwriting Book G 4th Edition | Main photo (Cover)

Winston Grammar: level 1.  I ran out of time to do this last year with him, so this year we'll get moving on this.
Literature books for history, those assigned from LLATL and misc. stories cover his reading. I have this from previous students, so I only need the workbook.  I also have the second level so if he flies thru this, we'll do that as well.

Handwriting is easy-he's just finishing his last Italic HW book he started in the late spring.

images from


Geography Study Guide rev | Main photo (Cover)
Mapping the World By Heart Curriculum w/ Maps | Main photo (Cover)We are covering world geography this year.  I have a whole area set up in our classroom just for this. We will do this more Montessori style using Continent Boxes (search Pinterest for ideas) and will add in Mapping the World by Heart (I have a very old guide but again-it'll do).  I may throw in a couple other books to guide us through this but haven't determined what ones I want.  I will write a post just on our geography once I get that all worked out.  But you can see the few posts I have on our Geography box and our Geography Board for more info.  We also need to do the last book, Minn of the Mississippi in the Beautiful Feet Books Geography series. We'll tackle that alongside the world geography about once or twice a week until done.

image from


Saxon Math 7/6 4ED Homeschool KIT | Main photo (Cover)Saxon 76.  I am looking at some of the Fred books (we have the Algebra one) like the fractions and such to add in for fun and for a good review.  I will try to borrow those tho, not buy them.  Otherwise, it's all Saxon.
image from


This is a new study for us and we're pretty excited about it.

Archaeology Book, Geology Book, and Intro to Archaeology & Geology Parent Lesson Planner Set | Main photo (Cover)Archaeology and Geology Pack

I am going to throw in a bunch of various hands-on stuff to really make this a fun study.  I have been picking up a few things from the dollar store, gathering goodies I already have about the home and will probably buy a kit or two like these: Dig! Discovery Kit: Maya Temple and Dig! Discover Kit: Easter Island

          Dig! Discover Maya TemplesDig! Discover Easter Island
archaeology/geology image from rainbowresource; kits images from


Spanish for Children Primer A | Main photo (Cover)Latina Christiana Student Book I | Main photo (Cover)OK, every year I try to cover Latin and every year it gets waylaid.  Maybe this year.  I will do my best to work this in.  I want to get him going on Spanish too but with his reading/spelling issues-I simply have not been able to add those to our schedule.  So for now I will just say-if we do get to it I will dust off our Latina Christiana Series.  This looks for for Spanish-I do have an old version of Powerglide for it and we could use that but this looks more engaging....Spanish for Children Primer.  I will have to go thru the Blog Hop to see what other folks are using.  So this is another TBD subject. LOL.
images from

Well that about covers it!  Thanks for stopping by and I hope I helped you find some neat things to use for your homeschool curriculum!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Working on getting the Continent Boxes filled and finished Montessori Geography Box top

I am moving really slow this summer, but alas-I did [FINALLY] get the top of the geography box completed-which only took a year to do, LOL.  I have been hunting for some type of paper that had all/most of the world on it to decoupage on to it.  I was elated to find a sheet of scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby this past week.  So today-I finally finished the thing!  I am pleased with the results.  All I have left to do is buy some Velcro dots to adhere the maps to (on the inside top) and print/laminate the maps.

I have also rearranged our classroom area, pared down lots of supplies and books and added a whole area for world geography.  I still have to take down the rain gutter shelves, patch the holes. I will then repaint the area so I can put up a nice world map and a smaller shelf from IKEA to hold the current continent books.  With all the activities around here, it has been hard to get time to truly devote to wrapping this up.  My hope is to not only have it done in time for the Not-Back-To-School blog hop but to also get it done soon so I can do a video tour of our room. I truly enjoyed watching a few videos of other homeschool rooms, so I hope to do one too.

I also have lots of busy work to do for the different Continent Boxes and since we'll be starting with Australia, I am searching and purchasing various things to add to it. I also have to buy, download, print and laminate a bunch of stuff for it as well.  Once I have a better handle on things I will be sure to post.  Until then, thought I would just catch you up on my summer projects.  

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Yikes-been a while since I have posted

We have been busy! Sadly, due to constant life/baseball demands, my blog has been rather neglected.  So thought I would pen an update for ya.

For the last few months we have been up to our eyeballs in baseball related activities. Again, my son was a part of the local Little League organization-with a new team, new coaching staff and (thankfully, esp. since his mom and I get along great) one buddy from last season's team.  Sadly tho, this team just wasn't very good. We finished the season dead last-ouch.  But our boys did their best and that is all we can ask of them.  During the playoffs, we played one of the top teams first, which immediately cut us out of the running for even a fourth place.  That team went on to win the championship-so obviously they were very good which helped soothe the sting of losing since we really made them work for that win. We were happy for them b/cuz my son's favorite pal from last season's team was on the winning team this year.  I guess at the very least, my son became rather well practiced in losing gracefully. And that is always a great life-long skill many are sadly lacking.

This season certainly had it's ups and down!  Several of our games and practices were played in cold, rainy and sleety weather. That was tough-especially for the boys who had to bear thru it with frozen hands and sopping wet cleats. But the worst day was when I got the call...the call that my son took a fly ball to the nose/cheek.  NOT ever a call a parent wants to get.  It was at practice, the one in which I had just dropped him off at, and had just driven by the field thinking to myself, "Hmm, things look OK so I will just dash to the CVS to get a couple things..." .  My son was in the outfield when a fly ball was heading toward him and it just clipped his glove and landed smack into his nose and cheek.  I guess he gushed blood for a long time and they had trouble getting it to stop. Once I arrived I found my blood-soaked, face-packed with gauze injured son. I quickly dashed our boy to the Urgent care to get X-rays to see if he had fractured or broken his nose. Praise the Lord, he had not.  If that was upsetting enough, the doctor said they were more worried about a concussion.  So we had to watch him for several days to be sure he didn't have one.  From what my mom radar picked up-I think he did have a slight one. So of course I was freaking out about him getting back on the field when he was cleared to do so but he totally wasn't bothered by it at all. Proud of my boy, but inside I was nervous the rest of the season. Apparently, receiving a secondary concussion is much more dangerous so I was always thinking of that every time he got up to bat (and I had good reason to, as some of the boys were dangerous pitchers, throwing very fast balls because they knew my son can really hit the ball out into the outfield. They were not well aimed and a few times they came way tooooo close to his face again!).  I cannot tell you how many prayers I sent up at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of each game for his safety and well-being.  It was kind of exhausting.  These contact sports are nerve wreckers for us dear moms!

[I will not post a pic of the bloody face, 
but I did take a couple for scrapbooking purposes.
Hey, once a scrapper always a scrapper 
and such events are scrap-worthy.]

The best moment was one super great game where our boy earned the game ball.  He cracked a triple with 2 RBIs and made a great play in the outfield (caught the second out in the inning) and since he never received a game ball last season-this was a huge deal for him!  We were so proud.

After the final playoffs fervor wore off, we contemplated joining the fall league.  I frankly was/am tired of the constant running and having most the weekends gone to BBall related stuff-but I also know how much my son loves the game so.....we left it up to him.  Guess what he he chose to do-oh yeah...join.  So looks like August thru October we'll be back at weekend games and such. Thankfully, this league is a more laid back and not so regimented.  But it also is where the serious players go to keep their skills sharp for the next season.  That means our boy will be with the die hard dudes, so schedule wise it may be less intense but I am thinking the players themselves will be ramping it up!  Since we have not yet done this league-it will be interesting to compare the two.  I guess betwixt now and the start of it I will rest as much as I can and try to get the majority of my "to do" list done.

Frankly, I don't see much of the rest of the year slacking off in activity either.  So far we have had two graduates in our family (a niece and nephew) to celebrate; and we will also be attending two weddings within 4 weeks of each other this fall (our oldest niece, and the best friend of our [oldest] son. Our boy is going to be his Best Man so we definitely want to see that), SO Whoa!  Busy for sure!

Let's see, what else? I am also heading up north with my pal, Michelle to do a 3 day scrapping weekend at the end of July, the kids and I plan to tag-along with dad on one of his work trips this summer, I still need to plan for and order the new school year's books/materials and oh yeah-finish organizing the classroom. Mind you-I literally started that prior to the BBall season. I have most of it done, yet have to label my storage boxes, finish the decluttering of the room and organizing the stuff I shoved in said boxes. I won't even get into the upstairs spare room that now houses the books/materials I didn't want in the classroom but didn't want to sell/get rid of.  That is a whole 'nother project for another time. Oh and yes-finish the Montessori Geography box I started last summer. Good gracious!

So posts here will probably be slim due to the high volume of activity but thought I would catch you up on our goings on.  I am quite sure my readers can attest to being busy with similar activities, so I am sure you would understand when I say..I just need a week or two of non-kid activity, non-school, non-house/organizing or the usual 'to do' related activities to just veg, read a good book or just sit and stare off into space so I can recharge these batteries that are draining rather quickly. Yeah-well I can dream.  I will keep you posted on how that goes.

And since the Not-Back-to-School Blog hop will be coming up in August so I better get that room finished. I truly want to share the new look and organizing I have been working on.  Maybe a deadline will encourage me to push thru the pain and wrap it up.  LOL

So until next time-have a great summer!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Swimming Creatures Ocean Box

So as promised, I have a few pics here of the start of our ocean box.  I used about 1/3-1/2 of a [Dollar Tree] blue tablecloth, instead of paper.  It looks wavy and watery and it'll do.  I snagged a box from the local grocery store (they were more than happy to unload it on me) to create the main frame of this ocean box project. And there was no out of pocket expense. Yeah.

The bottom of the ocean was suppose to be made from various kid-made stuff but hey, we had real sand, coral and all sorts of ocean things to use-so we went for the real look.  I just took clear packing tape, stuck two pieces together and then taped it on the sides and bottom of the box. This created a lip to keep the sand from spilling out and all over.

I guess as we move through each unit of study we will add various creatures to this.  Sounds like fun and I will post as we go.  Oh and don't you know, as soon as this was all set up-we had our first residence arrive (who will not stay) to await the addition of new creatures.

LOL....oh Sponge Bob...this isn't Bikini Bottom.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Apologia Science: Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day ideas

We are excited to start working through the Apologia Swimming Creatures* study.  I put our sea critter decorations up, that I found [at the local Dollar Tree Store] last summer, and have patiently waited to use.  They are obviously out of proportion but they do add some whimsical-ness to our classroom.

Product DetailsWe are using the spiral bound notebook journal* that compliments the study, just like we did with the Flying Creatures.  I decided to also add an ocean depths worksheet from the Deceptively Educational Blog, which is a fun activity to do.  You just need to grab a paint chip sheet with varying shades of blue (5 blocks) for the student to glue to the page.  I found one in my mass collection of paint chips that I picked up a few years ago before we painted the boys' room, so I am not sure exactly where I got it.  Just look in the paint section of the home improvement stores for some.

We haven't started the ocean box (yet) that is part of the hands-on part of the study-but once we get that going I will add pictures for you.  Objective number one is to procure a box from the local grocery store then the blue paper (but me thinks a blue table cloth from the dollar store will work even better) first.  Hopefully, I can get that done this week.

Anyhoo-that is where we are in our science now.

*Disclaimer: the * denotes the products that I have linked to my Amazon Associates.  The book picture is from

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Montessori Geography/Continent Box -so excited to share our homemade version

So back in September I posted that I wanted to make a Montessori Geography box (I had seen an awesome example on Pinterest).  I found an old, smelly and 'in great need of care' silverware box [the type that many a bride received for her wedding which was quite popular in the 1950s-70s] that would be perfect for the project.  It was marked $2 or $3 but I talked it down to a whopping dollar bill! My goal for this project was to spend as little as possible and I actually managed to do just that as the total overall cost was under $10!

SO I had the box and I knew what I wanted to do with it-but it took many steps to accomplish. That was September remember?  Due to some health issues, then the holidays then tucking it aside to then finding it and saying, "OH yeah-need to finish this!"-it took longer to get done than it should have.  So to start, I had to allow for at least a month of 'freshening' to get rid of the musty smells. That meant ripping out the gross felt and little doodads that were meant to hold the silverware. That helped eliminate some stench-but then I had to scrap off (as best as possible) the ugly glue, then rub the wood down with bleach water, then place the box in the sun to further the process. At night I placed a bowl of water with bleach in it inside the box, closed the lid and let it continue working on degrossifying it. I learned that trick from Martha Stewart many years ago.
Yes, it was that gross!

When it was finally ready for the box compartments, I sent the hubby and son on a search and find mission.  Thankfully we live in a sub that still has construction going on and since my hubby has spoken to several of the building crews before about scrap wood, it was not a problem finding some luan wood for this. Frankly, with the layering of that wood I can say it was a pain to work with. So if you decide to do something similar-look for a piece of wood that is one solid sheet and not layered together due to it's inherent need to split.  Anyway, I decided how I wanted the boxes to be and ordered my cut pieces from my handyman hubby.  Due to the glue issue (that was under the felt) I had two pieces of luan cut to lay down over them to give me a fresh look. Then he cut a few strips to build the boxes.  That was the hard part. We do not have a mini-Norm Abram workshop about the homestead.  But we made due and I am quite pleased with the results.

After the liquid nails (glue used to adhere it) dried we were ready for paint (I did sand down the wood to avoid splinters) and after several coats it is complete.

I found scrapbook paper I liked (at Hobby Lobby) and just cut it to fit.  
I took slightly watered down white glue (poor man's Mod Podge) to adhere 
it to the top, then coated the entire top/outside with a thick layer to protect it.  

Furthermore, I also have to print and laminate the maps I want to go on the interior lid of the box. I will put little Velcro dots on it to allow for easy map changes, which means all maps will have the dots as well so they will adhere to the main lid area.  This is key to multi-use flexibility.  If I just slapped a pre-school/K level map onto it, I could not use it for a variety of things I have in mind. Especially since I am using this with an older elementary student (right now) but want to be able to use it for future younger students as well.  Oh, and we need to put a hinge on the backside of the lid. Since the original hinges are small, are at least 40+ years old and with the additional weight from the the luan, it needs that additional hinge support.  I highly recommend doing that as well if you make your own.

I did paint the box sections to match the Montessori color code for learning the continents.  I also included a box for Antarctica!  This is important because several countries have territorial claims to it.  I therefore made 8 sections. One for each continent and one for what I am calling the control box. That is where the collection of items to be sorted go.  I will do a separate post on different things that I hope to do with our box as soon as I get all that done.  One step at a time-LOL.

Example using stamp cards for different continents.  Antarctica is not shown b/cuz I have not received the stamps yet but you get the general idea.  The map that would be used would be the general color-coded continent map for Montessori.  I will link all the sources in the post about how to use the box once I have that completed.