Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Homeschool: STEM/Engineering activity-Building an F.M. Radio

I wanted to share my son's newest project [building an F.M. radio] that was completed after just a few hours, with very minimal help from his dad. He earned an "A" for this project. Not only did he show great dedication to completing it start to finish (he barely stopped to eat lunch), he also did a great job soldering and checking for errors. Very proud of him. He is very anxious to start the A.M. radio....but I told he needs to pace himself. Esp. since that is our last kit, and I won't be able to order any other sets for some time. Here is our Show and Tell video. Hope you enjoy it!


Friday, September 25, 2015

Tech/Electronics Activity (STEM): Soldering Practice-European Siren

Since our son is technically in ninth grade this year, I wanted to get him going on some fun activities to start his Technology [auto/etc.] and Electronics course.  One thing my husband wanted him to be able to do well, was to solder [pronounced like sawder].  I was watching a bunch of YouTubers who mentioned the STEM activities they do, and one brand kept being shown/mentioned.  So I checked Amazon, and sure enough-there they were.  I ordered three kits to start.  I first chose one that included the soldering gun (very important), the necessary parts/tools, and had a fairly simple task to complete (in this case, the European siren) but there are other to choose from.  My son also wanted to build both the AM and the FM radios-so I bought those as well.  I will order a few more kits for him, if he wants to continue doing projects like this. I also have my eye on a few other similar type activities, so we will see.  I want to keep his attention, while he learns valuable skills, and not brake the bank. These three kits were very modestly priced, so that is why I chose them to start.

**I have linked these to my Amazon Associates account. At the bottom of the blog is the whole disclaimer statement-just wanted to point that out.

We will be stretching the course out for at least two to three years, so we can lean this out for as long as we deem fit. All of these kits prep our boy for being able to fix electrical things about the home and/or vehicles, etc. Plus, he has to follow schematics, troubleshoot (and they did alright-a few times) and push through when it gets difficult.  All great skills to have under one's belt.
So for those wondering how to or where to put this (for transcript purposes), you can file it under a few different areas. Be creative.  Maybe it will only be a snippet activity you can put under a science course.  Maybe your student will be doing lots of activities like this, so you can create a whole class around them. Just have a main goal in mind-whatever you decide that will be.  For those following the STEM plan/idea, this would fit under the technology and engineering part of it. Or this could be filed under your student's overall VoTech or Auto or Electrical Engineering 101 class. I haven't named our course yet, but it will definitely be listed as something auto/motor/engine related. The general idea is that there be some fun activities (the kits) mixed with book lessons, along with the majority of it being totally hands-on experience.

By the way-this is all my hubby's territory so I may not be speaking proper technical terms here. That's OK tho, that is why he is teaching it and I just smile, order the goodies and mark down the progress/grades. I won't even pretend to know most of what this is all about.  My time and brain is so stuffed with all other sorts of things, that I am not in the least bit ashamed to hand this off to my husband to teach. It's his passion and hobby anyway. Plus, this is one area my husband and son can be all manly manish together. Not to mention the great memories they will have to share-and the extra fix-it man I have readily available when his dad is out of town!  LOL  Hey, don't blame me for seeing all the possibilities here.

Here is the final project, sans the battery which is now being used in the FM radio.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Thoughts on Blogging Part 2

Well, it's been some time since I first wrote the concerns/doubts and such I had about continuing blogging.  I decided though, that I should continue a bit longer and see how things went.  I also decided to try some new avenues for sharing.

So far, I have also joined the YouTube crowd, hopped on the Instagram wagon, and slipped back into the Twitter mode.  The YouTube has been more fulfilling, the Instagram is taking time to build followers and the Twitter has been kinda twitless.  I lost all my followers and those I followed when I closed my account for Twitter some time ago-so that has been a challenge.  I don't know if I will work too hard to build that.  I dunno if it's worth the work.  But the other two seem more viable.

I try to blog when I can-but honestly, it has been a challenge.  I don't know if I have anything to say that relates to most homeschoolers anymore.  I think I moved into that zone where folks don't even search for blogs talking mostly about older students.  I am not sure if too many dare to tread into that territory.  Or maybe those in the middle school to high school trenches have a pretty good grasp on it that they don't bother searching out other's stories.  I honestly don't know.  I am wondering too-maybe the majority of homeschoolers are in that pre-K to upper elementary stage and I definitely do not fit that mold anymore.  It's hard to know my audience and that is the true conundrum here.

Another issue is that my time is winding down for being a homeschooling mama as well.  Four years. That is it.  That is what I have left.  So I feel I need to start branching out into other territories if I want to retain and attract followers.  That is not so easy to do.

So there I am-still not sure.  I will keep trying to get posts up on what we are doing, perhaps a recipe or two and letting you know when I have new videos.  But it may not be super regular. Frankly, I am still struggling to get back into a "normal" life. It's only been 9 months since my brother passed, and there is still much to do concerning that. Maybe I will pen a post on that-maybe not.  Either way, life has been something else I gotta tell ya.

So dear pals..there you have it.  Still on the fence.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Curriculum Tour 2015-16. Part 1 and 2 video tour!

OK, here are the video tours of the curriculum we will use this year. 
It's not all of it but the main stuff. I plan on making one for the 
artist study with more details.  Anyhoo-enjoy!
And please be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. That way
you will get notifications on any new videos! Thanks!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Orange Pop Jell-O recipe

So here is a once in a while treat I will make for the fam. Before I go much further-I want to put a disclaimer out there. This is not a 'healthy' treat. OK. I said it. That is why I will only make it 2-3 times PER YEAR.  Usually, just around the holidays. But it has been scorching hot here lately, and well-it just sounded good. I am also trying to use up our current food stash.

ALSO:  If you are skiddish about Jell-O don't go any further.  If you won't let a dribble of soda pop enter your home-stop reading now.  Yes-this uses processed ingredients.  I get that.  I get that and I am totally trying to do more 'real' food and less processed-BUT once in a while-one can endure a wee treat...and this recipe counts as just that.

Now that I have that out of the way-here are some very helpful tips.  I have been making this for over 20+ years-so I have found this out the hard way and now know how to avoid plastering my kitchen and myself with sticky orange spray.

**Use a high-sided bowl for mixing this up-otherwise people, you will be wearing it and cleaning it up for a long time. You can transfer to a prettier bowl when done.

**Use a piece of plastic wrap or a towel to half cover the bowl-see reason why above.

**Use a hand mixer if you can-that way you can control it better

**Set cream cheese out for a bit to soften or if you are like me-just pop it into the microwave for about 15-18 seconds on defrost.  Remove it from the wrapper and place on a piece of wax paper first.

**You need to stir it at least 2-3 times to distribute the goodies. It's OK if you forget but do your best not to.  I let it sit about 20 mins after placing it in the fridge. Then give it a stir.  Then again in another 15-20 mins and poss. third time after that.  It just tastes better when it is mixed more thoroughly.

**Leave a spoon in it to remind you to stir it-cover lightly with wax or parchment paper to keep it from getting contaminated.  No one wants that.

**MAKE THE DAY PRIOR to when you want it.  It takes time to set nicely.  I usually make it late in the evening, the day before I want it.  Then it is all done and ready to go for the next day's dinner/event.

There ya go-my tips to help you make a nicer Jell-O. I got this from my mother-in-law way back when.  I do not know where she found it.  So I haven't a clue who gets credit for creating this.

Orange Pop Jell-O

1 large package of Orange Jell-O   +   1 cup of boiling water

Mix this together and let sit about a min.
add in:

8oz package of cream cheese-softened

Using hand mixer, beat the cream cheese in until 
incorporated but not too lumpy.  Don't over beat it tho.
You want some mini-chunks of the cheese.

add in:

1 can of Mandarin Oranges-drained
 (15 oz can)
2 1/2 cups of Orange Pop
(20 oz bottle)**

**you can also try a natural orange pop
found in your organic/natural section
of your supermarket

Cover, place in fridge.
(keep spoon in until done stirring) stir at least 2-3 times. 


Monday, August 17, 2015

Homeschool Room Tour 2015: Part 4 ALL VIDEOS now uploaded

Here are the last and final sections of our classroom tour!  Hope you enjoy them and be sure to subscribe!

PLUS!  I have uploaded a new video of the "whatever" and art cabinet, which is now reorganized.

Friday, August 14, 2015

School Supply Haul 2015-16 Part 1 and 2

HI!  I now have both videos uploaded on my YouTube channel. I also have it posted here for you as well.  Be sure to watch part 1 and 2!  Nothing earth shattering as far as supplies go-but maybe you can glean a few helpful hints on how to save money by using coupons stacked with sales, and by being alert to current sale prices! It's always good to save money!

Also-if you don't already, be sure to subscribe.  I would love to see my channel grow.  I have lots of ideas for videos and want to share them, so keep checking for those!

Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Not Back to School Blog Hop: Classroom

This is always my favorite part of the blog hop.  I love seeing how others set up, and use their space to educate their kids.  I have lots of pics/posts on ours all over my blog.  I am excited to share that I have a YouTube channel where I am (albeit slowly) adding videos of our room for you to actually take a tour.  I have the main wall to finish.  I have a part of it done but YouTube was being annoying so I will re-shoot that and get the others done soon.  It's been a very busy summer. We just returned from a week long trip and have been running ever since.  Please head over to my channel and take a look at what is there and be sure to subscribe so you will get the updates.  I now have ALL VIDEOS (this is the post with the videos shown) of the classroom uploaded!  Yeah!!!!  SO be sure to check those out!

My classroom has not changed at all from last year.  I will only pull out books/stuff that we finished and reload it with new goodies.  I may rearrange how I have the desks but that is yet to be determined.  Head here to last year's post to see the pics.  Otherwise-click here to see the YouTube tour.  


2105 Not Back to School Blog Hop : Curriculum

OK, so they started the Not Back to School Blog Hop early this year!  Of course, I didn't think to look when it actually started-but because we were gone for vacation for most of it-it wouldn't have mattered.  So, here I am a bit behind and so I do not have all of our curriculum ordered yet.  I usually wait til mid-August.  I try to find stuff used first, so I wait until folks are selling before I go the new route.  I have a few items pictured BUT it is by no means all of it. Look for a YouTube video (hopefully soon) where I will show what I have.  I may wait tho until I get the rest of my ordering done. Anyhoo-

I have one student.  He is 7/8/9 th -ish.  I hate to put a grade on it because each subject is different for him. This is my "hope to get to this coming year" plan but as with this past one-nothing is in stone. We have learned to go with the flow (last year was a hurricane)-this is what I hope to cover:


Continue studying great artists-Monet, Seurat, Chagall and Tiffany.  Using a variety of materials to do this.  Including See the Light Art Projects DVDs, calendars, stickers, various books from library and my collection. Notebooking is a part of this as well.


Confirmation class.  Finishing God's Great Covenant.  After that-??? I haven't decided yet. Also, memory verses.


Car/Motorcycle and small engine repair:  various books from library, notebooking and a ton of hands on training from his teacher, Mr. Dad.  


Continue with the study Around the World from last year. We have completed Australia, Antarctica and most of Asia.  There about 15 countries left to do, then we will move on to the others. Variety of materials.  Includes: Mapping the World by Heart, maps/atlases, Continent Boxes (see all my posts on those), notebooking, various books from the library on each country/continent, Around the World in 180 days curriculum and Uncle Josh's maps.  


Basically, not planned this year. He will finish the couple of books from the SL 5 series we haven't finished-then we will take a break from the regular history.  Actually, the Beautiful Feet Books History of Science is history but I am categorizing that under the science section.

Literature Arts: 
(writing, reading, spelling, handwriting, etc.)

LLATL: green and tan levels.  He is finishing up the green then we will move on when done.  
HW:  Getty-Dubay Italic (whatever he hasn't completed in book g) and Italic Character HW
Grammar:  Winston supplemental (finishing) and Advanced
Writing:  IEW level B
Reading: various books
Spelling:  IDK  yet (I have a few guides to use, like the one posted but nothing official)
Vocab:  Marie's Vocab flashcards, reading


Saxon Algebra 1/2 after he wraps up a bit from last year's text


One or two composers.  Still debating which ones.  Using various materials I already have and The Young Person's Guide to Composers.  


Beautiful Feet Books:  History of Science guide/books
includes experiments
Archaeology with some fun hands-on activities

I want to do a foreign language (I have some things about) but not sure we'll get to it.  I may wait until next year as this one is a heavy load.

That is what I hope to use/cover this coming year. Looking forward to seeing what you all are going to us too!

Nature/Art Idea: Crayon Rubbing build right into the table

So this is part II of the really neat art ideas I saw at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI.  This little ditty was a part of the children's area.  I have seen my share of crayon rubbing ideas-but this one takes the prize for being totally awesome.

They made a rough (but smooth-sanded) looking table for kids to sit around, then some crafty person(s) etched in all sorts of nature related items.  Like a leaf and a dandelion.  So cute and convenient.  The kids simply grab a piece of paper and sit down where they want to create a picture. There was also chair rail/thin book shelves around the corner for the kids to leave their art work for display.

For a home/daycare/school application-I should think this could be done on wood boards if etching a table isn't your thing.  This would be great for a Nature Center idea too.  I have been to many and have never seen this.

The best way I can figure out as to how they did this was to first create/build the table (they told me it was made in house-so I guess that is what she meant), then they obviously sanded and smoothed it before they etched in designs (thinking maybe with a wood burning tool) that was either free hand or traced.  Then it looked to be coated with clear a clear coat of stain-or two.

I had to share-this was just too good not to.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Art Puzzle Wall decor/activity Idea

So we were tagging along with the hubby on one of his business trips and the gracious folks he was working with, asked us if we'd like to visit their museum (their family started an art museum based mainly around birds) which is open to the public free of charge.  Being that we love art and birds it wasn't a hard decision to make.

The museum recently opened a large, new section and part of it is a great area for children.  Frankly, it was adorable!  Anyway, as I make my way through it (mind you I do not have littles anymore but it was fun to look about), my eyes spied the cleverly done art/puzzle wall. I had to investigate and thought I would share this cute idea.

Basically, it is an art easel [theirs were from Dick Blick, but any good easel would work] with a magnetic sheet mounted behind a painted art frame. This was all securely attached to the wall.  I wish the people who put this together were there for me to get more details on how they found/did this.  I would have been able to get a better grasp of how they constructed it all-esp. the magnetic board.  I will do some research (and of course let you know what I find) to see if I can find some already painted white. I guess if it's not white-one could paint it that to give the whole thing a "white paper" on an easel look.  Then off to the side they had a picture that was a visual guide for the child to follow. I would actually have the picture printed a bit larger, it seemed a wee bit too small but alas-that is my unsolicited suggestion on that.  Then below the easel was a large box (presumably made by someone-but there are tons of storage pockets like this on the market so one could wing it a bit) that held the puzzle pieces.  The parrot picture was printed right on the magnetic sheet, with the birds being the puzzle part.


I think they just had a larger version printed out or used a poster of it, to make the puzzle.  I know you can go to most photo places and get larger prints made of whatever picture you desire.  Then they attached it to either wood or a very sturdy foam board.  I cannot recall exactly now-but I think two were wood.  Whatever you decide to do (should you make this) just be sure it can withstand the kids putting it up and taking it down repeatedly.  My guess is that they were Modge Podged to it (?) That would be a simple and effective way for us folks to pull this off anyway.  Then someone cut out puzzle pieces to form a giant puzzle of the art work.  To hold the project, they put magnets on the back.  Very securely.  One had magnetic strips which I felt stayed up better.  The others had something I haven't seen before (but again, I am not routinely searching out magnetic devices such as this)-it was like a dual magnetic bar strip (sorry no pic) where it had a magnet on each end sunk into this plastic strip thingy.  Sorry, not real good description.  Go with the self-sticking magnetic strips.  Easier to use and less likely to be swallowed.

This one had pieces that were slipping (two magnet on plastic strip backing) 
so I pointed that out and they promptly sent their fix-it man to take care of that. 

Then when not in use, they were stored in that "easel" pocket.  Very adorable.  I would assume they change out the pictures occasionally too.  And there you have it-a great way to invite children to look at and build a piece of art. You could do so much with this actually, but the puzzle is just an adorable idea.

Basic Supply List

*Art easel that is large enough to hold your framed magnetic piece
*Frame of your choosing that is slightly larger than your magnetic board
*Magnetic board -painted if it is not already white
*Paint for the magnetic board (be sure it will adhere to it, and for the wood backing for the puzzle-if you go that route)
*Box to attach below that is large enough to hold big puzzle pieces
*Magnetic strip that is self-sticking
*Art work that can be cut up (or there are some big sized puzzles that you could simply attach magnets to and cut the cover out as their guide)
*Smaller print of the artwork for the guide
*Backing-whether it is a thinner wood or sturdy foam board (wood should be painted for a more finished look and to prevent slivers and such)
*Modge Podge to attach the puzzle to the board
*Someone to cut the pieces, my guess is a band saw would do the job perfectly or some very sharp, precise cutting tool that will give you nice clean puzzle edges.

If you decide to do this project, please come back here with a link to your picture so we can all see how yours turned out!

Thanks to the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum for this great experience!
Info on the children's activities is found here.

The museum is located in Wausau, Wisconsin.  If you are nearby, be sure to check it out.  There are some really nice pieces of art, and the kid area is fun too!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Back from a week long getaway and have lots to share

I hope to get back into a routine here soon. I saw a great idea for kids at a museum we went to, plus I wanted to share a few things we saw/experienced on our little work-related, tag along getaway.
For now, just touching base to let you know of future posting plans (hopefully I will  be more consistent posting them).

While you wait for me to get away from being a non-blogging bum, thought you might like to know that I joined Instagram. So if you also do that- look me up. I am under my name. Don't forget to check out my YouTube channel (Home Schooling on a Wing and a Prayer) too. My goal is to wrap up the classroom videos real soon. That is if YouTube is not annoying and such. Anyhow til then my friends. Enjoy your summer.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Reader Feedback

I have a question for ya...well several....

Please leave a comment with your thoughts.  I am looking to do a few different types of posts/videos.

My questions:

1)  I wanted to post about how I organize my shopping lists/pull coupons and put it all together to save at the grocery stores.  Interested?  Boring?  Obviously, I understand no one needs to do it 'my' way but wonder if you all are wondering how I do it.....

2)  Interested in seeing a typical grocery haul of ours?  I could do a post and/or video.  I actually scout through YouTube to see what others buy/how they do it/what it costs....esp. since I am unable to shop a variety of stores in a variety of different states.  I mean I do shop a few stores here, but it is fun to see what others can buy at different stores and what their costs are.
Research people.  That is what I call it. 
Anyway-the biggest concern I have is that there are 'weirdos' who troll such videos and just rip the receipts out of the person on what they spend, and what they buy-esp if it is not all organic or super healthy.  I do not want to have to deal with that.  I mean I will write an entire post on those thoughts but my goal would be to show how we saved to get what I bought and hopefully, it will spur others on to try some of the saving methods.  I still need to really pray over that-but if I see others are interested, I may just give it a whirl.  Thoughts?

3) If any of my readers have done a video like that-please comment on it in your response.  I am really on the edge of not putting myself/fam out there like that b/cuz too many feel they can just be vile on said subject. I mean frankly here-what works for me or you or Joe Schmoe is not going to work for the next dude. Its's called grace-sadly, too many have missed the memo. Not sure if I wanna swim in that shark infested pool-unless there is a real interest from folks who truly would like to learn some tips.

4)  Want to see some of our family favorite recipes?  Can't guarantee they will be super healthy tho-LOL.

5)  I am still going to get the final classroom videos done.  YouTube was being jerky, so the one I did finally manage to film would not load.  I became so irritated that I had to walk away for a time.  So hopefully by the end of the month I will have that completed.
But the question is-would folks like to see more videos on certain HS products and curriculum? Other ideas?  Lay em on me sistahs!  I need ideas.

I really want to grow my YouTube channel into a little oasis of help and encouragement for the homeschooling families out there-well any family minded folk-but need to know what people would like to see.

So leave your comments and I will see what I can do. Spread the word too.  More feedback means a better blog/YouTube channel for you.

Not seen my channel?  Stop on by.  I have a few classroom videos uploaded, one on my Nature Study supplies and hope to add many more soon.

Thanks and I look forward to reading your comments!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Family Updates and miscellaneous stuff

OK, so here it is almost the end of June.  How'd that happen?  We have been up to our armpits in baseball season, so many things we wanted to accomplish simply haven't yet.  On top of that-we had a nasty two week plus cold/flu run through our home as well.  It was one of those annoying, low grade ones that keep you down so long instead of just stopping in and leaving shortly after.  Which means we missed two weeks of school.  So our timeline was pushed out further than I wanted. Oh well,  we simply did the little bit I figured we needed to do to get us to a point of stopping until we start up again.  I simply cannot go on.  I am exhausted from all the things that have come our way this year-and the boy is 'checked out' for the summer at this point.  So we are done til I figure we can start up again. Maybe late August.  Maybe after Labor Day.  I cannot think of that now.

Also, our oldest son purchased his first house. We are very proud of our boy, but it also has meant (and still does) lots of runs out to his homestead (40 mins or so away) to bring him things he needs to set up the house properly.  We don't mind, it just has meant many a weekend has been dedicated to other things than our majorly long "to do" list. Oh, and it's his birthday this weekend (so have some presents and cards to bring him too), plus the baseball finals, plus we have to go on a huge bug killing spree because I found that my usually gorgeous Dinner Plate plants are infected with sawflies.  My gosh those jerks can chow down a plant in no time.  I am just sickened by the destruction.  I wait all winter and spring to see those gorgeous flowers and now I am not so sure the plant itself will even survive.  So that is top priority.  Then we have the 4th of July (of course) to celebrate, and our youngest son's 14th bday.  Who planned two kids with bdays so close?  Oh, I guess that'd be us. Actually, both were due on the 4th of July but one came early and the other late. We have a busy July ahead of us. Maybe-just maybe near the end of it I can start working on painting, landscaping and visiting with some pals I have not been able to schedule in.  And you know-homeschooling planning...maybe.

I also have to wrap up the final installments of the classroom video tour.  I am currently trying to pull out things we finished and add in the new stuff before I do.  So once I have that done I will be sure to let you know.  I am wanting to do a few other videos on some different stuffage we have about the classroom and maybe a curriculum choice one for the coming year.  SO lots to think and plan on.

Hope your summer is going smoothly and you are not under any sawfly invasion either.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Science: Geology Notebooking Activity

I have a fun idea to share.  You don't need to be doing a full blown geology study to do it either.  Just a few goodies and some kids who enjoy such things.  

Mineral Experiment Activity  

Supplies Needed

Scale that can accurately measure lighter weights
-think below an ounce- 
(My son used our good postal scale)

(they also sell a rock kit* too)
*these are linked to my Amazon affiliate code
Several minerals you have about, a nail and a streak plate

Pencil, eraser, color pencils, glue stick

Ruler with centimeters on it

 Experiment worksheets from the Crafty Classroom


Basically the student works thru the listed activities on the worksheet to figure out different qualities/traits of the mineral. My son truly enjoyed this activity.  I hope your student(s) will too. Be sure to have them place their worksheets into a binder/notebook or little booklet.  

The Crafty Classroom has a very detailed post on how to set up fun activity stations for exploring rocks/minerals. Actually, I was so excited to come across this site.  There are lots of great ideas to help you homeschool.