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.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Nature Study Materials and Ideas Video

I posted a video on YouTube highlighting the main books and materials we use for our nature study. I wanted to be sure to link it for you. I have a few posts regarding nature study here on the blog too, but thought a video would be a fun way to see it. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Artist Study: Charlotte Mason Style

If you are unsure of how to do an artist study or just need some other ideas to add to your repertoire,  hopefully this post can help you out.

I really love how Charlotte Mason incorporated the study of famous artists into the children's education.  The nice thing is that one does not have to go into some super, in depth investigation in order to learn about them.  Basically, you give it about 6 weeks of coverage.  That is all.  Folks have different ideas of how to go about it, but following the basic CM way-you do a brief intro to the artist (life/style/time frame), then have the student choose 6 pictures to study.  They will then narrate to you what they remember about the painting, along with stating it's title and when it was made.  Not too difficult.

How we study an artist:

I get a boat load of books via the library and pull what I have from my shelves/supplies. After reading a few of the more informative books on the life of the artist, I then have the student fill out a notebook page noting general life info, what their favorite media/techniques were and then have them add 3 little pics of different pieces to the page. When completes, we file that into our Artist study notebook.

During that time, the student will have already selected 6 prints to focus on.  Their task is to really look at it.  Study it and note any details they find. Also, they have to learn it's title and when it was made. Each week, they do one print. Of course, if they want to do more, they can. They will simply come to me at the end of the week and tell me everything they can recall about the painting (I will have the print in front of me to confirm the existence of said details) then place the print on a wall somewhere in our classroom. 
We also try to do an art project that reflects one of their well-known or more commonly recognized styles. Thankfully, I won (via a blog giveaway) a whole set of art projects from See the Light that we are currently using.  I also have the Spears Art Studio CD series with several different art project ideas that we can do as well. Usually I can find a craft/art project book (check your library first) that pertains to the artist  which I can pull an idea from, if the project sets do not have something that will work.  And for heaven's sake what would I do without Pinterest? Yes, I get oodles of ideas from there too.  If the project is small enough to fit the page protector pocket, that too will go into the Artist Ntbk when the study is over-otherwise, we proudly display it until we move to our next artist. 

So where do I find the pictures for the study? I mainly use the library because they usually have some big artist books to choose from. Helpful tip here: be sure to go thru it first and see how much nudity is in it. Some are more child friendly than others. I also go to sites like Amazon to find stickers, coloring books, and calendars highlighting the artist of study.  There are also some nice online sites too. Usually I go to Olga's gallery to print the wee little pics we place on our notebook pages, and Wikipedia for a pic of the artist.

In a perfect world, I would do two artists a semester.  But life happens.  So usually I do two per year. Which for us is actually perfect.  I try to choose folks that coincide with the era of history we are studying but that doesn't always work out.  Since I have that DVD set, we are simply going to study the artists she focuses on. I have done quite a few of these studies-so I can pull together a unit fairly quickly without much effort-even without having a base to start with, like the DVDs. There are plenty of dudes and dudettes out there to ponder so finding one or two to match what history we are covering isn't too difficult. Of course, as you go further back in time-it's a bit more challenging to find artists/material, but I know I do not have to have them correspond to do this. The kids (OK so I am down to one 'kid now) will eventually come to that time and place in their/his studies and it will just be one of those, "Oh yeah!  I remember him/her." moments of recollection. Studying even just a few here and there [some years we simply didn't do so swell covering artists] has proven to be beneficial.  I cannot even count the amount of times we will see a pic or ad that is from one the artists we explored, and my children will go, "Hey that's a ...." One of those 'ah yes' smiles will cross my face then. It's all good really, it truly is.

Anyhoo-for detailed posts on a particular artist, go to the artist tab at the top and click it.  I have a run down of the ones we have covered so far. It highlights what we used for the study, including supplies books and ideas.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Tiger Eyes Art Project for Geography

So as we move through our world geography, I try to find some fun art projects relating to the countries within the continent we are studying.  Currently we are on Asia.  We have made a wind sock and Origami animals so far.  I wanted something fun and different but wasn't sure what we would do next-until somehow, someway I came across this from the Crafty Classroom.  It's a really cool activity.

Tiger Eyes (India) 

I chose to do a Bengal Tiger and 
my son chose to make a White Tiger

Love this Two-Part Tutorial. I did notice the pics seemed a bit out of order when filling in the eyes, so read through it first.  We ended up adding the other colors prior to the black lines, then went back through it to adjust the look. This is an oil pastel project so you will need those and a nice pastel paper to complete it.  I only have a black construction paper backing on them right now because my card stock was not long enough.  


Saturday, May 2, 2015

Planning and Purchasing next year's curricula-how I do it (usually)

So it's that time of year again, when we moms dive into websites, catalogs, stroll vendors at conventions [if you attend] and poke through various blogs to find all sorts of neat goodies we could purchase for our cherubs.  Usually this is a fun activity-especially if you need a break from the every day schooling to dream upon what you want to do next year.  I do that and actually enjoy it.  Crazy but true.  I love the thrill of the hunt and the planning of new things to study.  Others tho, may not.  I am not sure which category you fall under but if you need some 'how does that old gal do it?' kinda advice-continue on dear blogger pal.

If you have just started homeschooling or you can't seem to get a handle on it-maybe something here will help you out. For those out there that are can do this with mind-boggling precision, then perhaps this is not the article for you.

Now,  I know that some folks are all super organized with everything done all computery like-but  I do not go that route. Too old fashioned I suppose.  I like the ole pen and paper approach. Only after I have that done, I will go ahead and click the goodies onto the 'wish list'  for both Rainbow Resource Center and Amazon.  Mind you-that doesn't mean I will actually purchase it all there or even buy everything noted on it. I do that so it gives me a good visual of what I need to be on the look out for (of course, I can add to it as well) so that I will be ready to order when our pocket book is willing and able.  Plus, having it finalized (in loose terms) I have a list I can cherry pick from when I am out at local garage/library book sales, local shops and such.  I will also scan the resale online sites before paying full price on most things.  Not workbooks tho-I almost always buy those new unless there is a sparkly, spanking new one with the set.  I also make my book list (at least for the first semester) so that I can cruise the library website to see what I can find that way to help save money, then note what I cannot get and just order those books.

One thing I have learned over the years (mainly it's our funds for purchasing which have played a major role) is that you do not need to get everything new!  Seriously-unless you have a lot of kids coming up behind where you know for sure the program will work [for all] then a new item purchase would warrant forking over the larger sums of cashola. Less spency things are not necessarily in this category-I am talking the big bucks stuff. Of course the exception to that would be if it were a new program that just came out on the market.  But you get my drift.  I have also swapped books/materials with good pals from time to time to help save too.  But beware.  You should be sure they are responsible and loving toward your stuff (same goes for you) so that it isn't returned damaged or worse-destroyed or not at all.  Know who you trade with.

Here (finally) is my super simple but effective for me way of doing this.  

Step 1:  Write out some simple educational/personal growth goals you have for each child [and/or for the fam as a whole] for that coming year. Nothing deep or too wordy but just simply what you want to see accomplished. This is your first paper.  This is what you can pull out as the year progresses and see how you are doing. You can always add/delete to it, but by having this you can easily see if the fam is hitting those noted milestones. Remain flexible.  Life happens. I did not know we'd experience the death of my brother this year, so a lot of what I had hoped to cover, simply was not.  And that is OK.  I just carried a few things over to the new year's list. Actually, I was able to add a few things that we didn't think we'd cover too.  So it evened out. *No pic here.  I feel this is a very personal thing and don't feel the need to share-I believe you get the point by the above advice.  This is meant for our family and is something that should remain private-I suggest the same for yours.

Step 2: Take paper-fold into three sections with paper's long side horizontal-write out list. This one can be modified or just scribbled over as you double check and clarify. This is the messy, preliminary list that will be pitched once I am all done spending/creating and organizing this stuff. It's after all that when I make one final (nicely printed) list of the subjects and main curricula/materials needed (sans the have/order list) to refer to throughout the year.

Here is my chicken scratch list-made quickly. 
I went back to it later and noted a few changes 
as you can see with the pink pen. Again, it isn't
super detailed. I don't even have the artists/musicians listed yet.

First up: list each subject and main curriculum choice
and various other little additions. 
Do this off the top of your head and don't worry until you get to the have/buy sides.  Just list away. Sometimes when you over think it-you forget or miss stuff that the 'flow as you go' method catches. You can go back over after to find gaps or make corrections.
Middle-list what you already have.  
Third-what you need to buy in each category.
Once completed-go thru your stuff!  I found I had listed a workbook I actually purchased last year that we hadn't used yet.  I would have re-purchased it-not cool. Actually-I saw I had a couple repeats on it!  Yikes! So double check every nook and cranny first before finalizing 
the wish list on your favorite sites.
  Seriously, that is it!  Nothing too complicated. Just the facts ma'am. Just the facts. 

*When I had more than one student I would simply jot down each child's name at the top of the page and list what was needed for that year.  Then I converged all the 'to buy stuff' onto one big order list.

Step 3:  Once you feel you have the things you want to purchase noted, head to your favorite sites and start your wish list.  I didn't say 'buy list' because sometimes you can find them cheaper somewhere else or you may decide you don't want that item after all.  For example: I am still on the fence at this point for our Bible studies. I don't need to decide right yet-so I listed two curriculum choices that could work.  I have a noted list so I won't forget and I can pick one of those when I go to order or go with something completely different.  It just gives me a visual and frankly, it's a reminder that I need to spend more time figuring out that subject.
**I use Rainbow Resource Center mainly because they seem to have the largest selection and I can make and print a wish list quite easily.  Then I hit Amazon.  But there are plenty of other merchants that offer this as well-so the choice is yours.
For some reason the RR list didn't delete the geography art book had crossed off, so I did it after.  I also noted a few things to refer to later.  I also listed the Amazon and other companies here too.  I can go onto Amazon and see in my saved Wish List items in more detail and move them to my cart later.

This is my newly updated list-I just placed an order for a few things and could remove them. I figured I should type up a new one so I could read it. LOL
I also decided to print out a purchased list because I am already starting to get things for next year. I had to place an order now because we need the Monet calendar and a science kit (was already in my Amazon cart) immediately-hence why I have already made a dent in our next year's list.  I wanted to be sure I wrote those items down so I didn't repurchase or forget I have them.  The art list is for my shopping at JoAnn, Micheals and Hobby Lobby this summer or when I see sales on those items. I got ahead of myself (not sure why) and noted the math download as purchased-but alas, it is not.

Possible Step 4: If you plan on attending a convention then have your list ready to go. BUT for all that is good and gracious-save yourself the "UGH! I could have bought that for $$$$ less!" scenario. List the things you want to look at and or buy at the convention but only after you spent some time online/catalog researching to compare prices.  WRITE the lowest price you found next to the name of the source selling it with some sort of key like A for Amazon, or SL for Sonlight or RR for Rainbow Resource, so you can refer back to it later when you finish your shopping. AND for extra good measure, walk the circuit a couple times and 'window shop' jotting down prices as you stroll about because you may find things cheaper at other vendors or by ordering online later. Most vendors usually have convention sale prices/deals so watch for those as well. That way you know who has the best price for whatever it is you are looking for.  DON'T panic if you come back and it's gone. They usually give you the sale price on an order you can place right then and there which will be shipped to you. That way you don't come home having overspent.  Also beware of the 'bug eye' convention syndrome.  You DO NOT need every cool and dazzling thing out there.  Write down the name/brand/price and who is selling it. Get catalogs.  Think about it! Then after the fuzzy haze of convention wears off you can make a more informed purchase.  I have some books that are pretty much door stops now because I was careless (at first) and didn't follow that plan of attack.  Money gone for something that was an ill fit for us, that we never even used.

Possible Step 5: Now for giggles-I make another paper where I denote anything I need to make/put together for the coming year and that just simply helps me during the summer break.  I will pick and choose my point of interest and work on it as time allows.  Again-nothing elaborate or too detailed.  I don't need to drown myself in the nitty gritty but just give my ole brain a quick reference from the 'do it woman' list.
After I took the picture I wrote down the names of the artists and musicians. That way I can be on the look out for activities and materials to work on specific to them.

And there you go.  That is how I figured out a simple and easy way to plow through the planning of curricula and materials we'd need for our schooling.  I tried the super organized, super detailed way and all it accomplished was to kill the thrill of planning.  So I came up with this easy-peasy way that seems to be working. Hope you can glean a nugget of goodness to help you with your planning/shopping too.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Homeschool Room Tour 2015 Part 3:2 and 3:3 Whew-finally done with that area!

Well folks-after many, many retakes, stalls/stops and a kitty cat that just couldn't stop trying to be the star, I have uploaded the last two sections of the 3rd part of our tour.



and in case you missed the first one:

I have two other posts noting the geography wall and the basic pan around intro video too!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Supply Tote for Nature Study in the field

I was shocked that I didn't have a post highlighting the tote that we carry our nature study art supplies in.  Well, I may have had one but may have failed to transfer it before I closed down my Charlotte Mason blog.  So after filming that area of the classroom, I figured I best get an info/link post up on it.

Let it be said that I do not get paid by any of these companies (say for Amazon-well I have yet to earn anything sadly), altho I should.  I do have my Amazon Affiliate links for those items found there, and you can read more about that disclaimer at the bottom of the blog.

Nature Study Tote Box Supply List:

You can put whatever supplies you'd like in your tote-
this is just what we use the most.  


The price has gone up a bit since I bought these
 but they are worth the money-very sturdy!
And you can always re-purpose them later.
Otherwise, look for totes that have
a secure top/lid and are not flimsy.
USE your discount coupon!

Magnifying glasses/compass/etc.:

our Optic Wonder is by Navir but I see it is hard to come by now.
These companies make the exact same thing.


Small sliding magnifying glass from Dollar Tree

Art Supplies:

through Joann, Amazon and other art stores

General Pencils 12 pc set 
 Joann, Michaels, Hobby Lobby, etc.

Prang Watercolors 8 ct
Prang Watercolors 16 ct
or any school supply section of your local store

Assorted Paint Brushes-15 ct
[this is just an example-most art supply stores
 have a variety to choose from]

Paint cup
I bought mine years and years ago from ??
But I know you can usually find them by
the paint palettes in the art section
of most supply stores.
Otherwise, a plastic cup or old food dish works too

Prismacolor pencils 12 ct
Prismacolor Verithin pencils 12 ct
USE YOUR COUPON to help save $$

3 pk white erasers (from Dollar Tree?)

Micellaneous Items:

pretty much any store
*smaller ones with a sharper point work nicely for
older kids so that they can snip specimens, etc.
Obviously, blunt points are best for younger kids

look at your local dollar stores for these
our plastic one came from one of those giant magnifying
glasses and/or a bug kit from the Dollar Tree

Pencil sharpener
check the school supply area and esp. the dollar store

Tree Identifying Cards
Cards by thesnailstrail on Scribd

Paper towel or other absorbent cloth

Small pack of baby wipes/Wet Wipes
great for cleaning off that sticky residue from plants
and or to clean their hands/paint off

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Homeschool Room Tour 2015: Part 3:1

OK right now I have the first part of the 3rd installment loaded.  This covers the area with the information center, nature study box and a few other things.  I had to split the video because it was too long.  I hope to get the second part loaded soon.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Part 2 of the Homeschool Video Tour 2015-Geography Center

OK here is part two. It took so many takes to get one that was decent, I truly don't know why I thought this would be fun.  Sorry it gets kind of shakey/fast near the end but I am not redoing it.  Hope you enjoy it-LOL

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Finally-video tour of our classroom:Part 1 and Part 2: UPDATED

OK folks, be patient with me-as I am very new to this video/Youtube process (not viewing but actually you know-posting) so I only have the intro video done.  This took me countless hours because I redid the thing at least 20x and frankly had to finally go with this one because I was so exhausted.  So the detail look videos are gonna take some time.  Anyway, here is the basic overview.

UPDATE:  here is part two-the Geography Center!!!

Geology Notebooking Ideas

We finally were able to start our Geology and Archaeology series.  Since we had such a late start-I decided to do the Geology first (it has less chapters) so we could finish by the end of this year.

I simply glued then taped (the cover is soft not the cardboard like other Mead Composition notebooks) the label to the front.  Then we started notebooking.  I find some of the material on the internet, or from a book or have him simply draw/write what is needed.

I am using the teacher's guide to simply see what their worksheets were asking the student to cover. I am not much into worksheets as much as I am lapbook components, small diagram pictures and such. I find my son actually becomes more engaged when I have him doing a lot of the work himself or by having him color/cut and place smaller snippets of data.

There is enough space to have him do both units so I will simply add a tab to the point of where the archaeology starts.

Being creative and finding different components does take time (lots of Pinterest and basic Googling) but the results are worth the effort.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Artist Study: Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh

**Please note-the books/art cards listed below are attached to my Amazon Affiliate link. You can read more about the disclaimer at the bottom of the blog.

An intense man with close cropped hair and red beard gazes to the left.
image from Wikipedia

The coffee table book showcased a lot of different pictures
 you won't usually see in the children's editions.
BUT please preview-I saw a few nudes
in the ones I checked out from the library.

I have listed the ones I could find on Amazon.
Try your local library for more options.
I did find a 1999 DK ArtBook on van Gogh.
It is really nice.  Sadly, I wasn't seeing it on Amazon.

What Makes A Van Gogh A Van Go
Famous Artists: Van Gogh
Art Masters: Van Gogh
Vincent Van Gogh and the Colors of the Wind
Great Artists: Vincent van Gogh
Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids
The Great Artists and their World: Van Gogh
(linked to book with different cover than shown)

Picture Study Resources:

 Calendar purchased at book store

Art Calendar
Taking the calendar apart provided 12 great pictures for him to choose from.  
He now has 6 large pictures to study, which I laid out on the desk in front of his.
That way he is always looking at them.  Each week he will study one, 
then give me a narration of what it is on Friday. 

Notebooking Pages:

 images for page or to study

Art Project Helps:
Art Projects - Boxed Set
image from See the Light website 

I was fortunate enough to have won the Art Projects Boxed Set from See The Light.  This awesome set contains DVDs that focus on 9 artists/styles. Sadly, I haven't had the chance to dig into these until now.  I pulled out the Van Gogh to start. I figured since my eldest daughter had given me a Van Gogh calendar last year (and we no longer needed it) the time was right to begin. [My pic is to the right. Frankly, I didn't like the oil pastels much.  Not exactly pleased with the results].

The required supplies include oil pastels (24 count) but I only had a 12 pack laying about and I didn't have to correct sized paper either.  No problem.  I made a list of items to pick up, but in the meantime, I had my son practice using these .  That way, when he started working on the actual project, he would be a bit more experience with them.

I had him draw two plastic pears first then I busied myself making lunch. When he came into the kitchen he had another paper done of a seascape.  I was impressed. When I told him to put it on the fridge, he was saying, "Look mom!"  His grandma had recently given us a Noah's Ark magnet. He strategically placed it on the ocean part of his picture which looks like it was meant to be there all along.

Finished Art Project:


Main recommended supplies for this art lesson.
I set up our own sunflowers in a vase to help my student
get an up close visual for the project.
Plus, I can use them to decorate my home later :)

My son's sunflowers drawing.
 Enthusiasm for the lesson (esp. the oil pastels)
was not there for him,  but he is not our artsy kid
so I wasn't too surprised.
Also-many of the colors/layering in this lesson are
hard to decipher due to his color blindness.
But the overall piece is quite lovely.

Additional Helps:

Pintrest has lots of ideas/links

Monday, February 16, 2015

Thoughts on Blogging-Part One

Here is a straight from my heart post. This is not a boo-hoo poor me thing, but a truly honest take on what has been stirring within me for a long time. I sense I am not alone.  I bet many bloggers out there feel exactly like I have/do/will. When do you call it quits? What's the point anyway?  I mean, really.

Seriously. There are those shiny blogs out there that you know are very popular and they do offer oodles of ideas and resources.  Thank God for them.  I have gone there many a time to get new inspiration or ideas to help me carry on. But what about my blogs?  If I go by traffic (I am betting many hits are just spam) then I would have to say I am definitely not in that category.  The real kicker here is that I am not even sure I want to be.  It's work.  They must continually maintain and keep on top of it to be that successful. Do I even want that responsibility?  What about the posts I pen?  Are they just junk to the reader?  Useless? Are they even remotely helpful?

Honestly-I can't answer that.  

I decided I was done blogging. It's true.  Done. I lost the love of it and I didn't see any reason to continue.  Hence the lack of postings over the last year or so.  It has been on my mind (letting it go) for a long time now. I felt like I put a lot of effort into what I was writing/creating and had very little response/traffic to justify the time involved.  Why write when no one is even reading it? So I did very little to maintain it and just let it sit there as it begged me to put it out of it's misery.

I mean, did anyone really care?  Was I helping fellow moms/homeschoolers or was I just taking time away better spent with my family?  Frankly, it was the latter not the former of that question that hit me like a big pizza pie in the eye.  I was blogging for not.  Now, I know people have lives, so cruising the internet for this or that isn't always possible.  But I also know many gals do have successful blogs that truly are a help-that get readership and have loyal fans.  They exist and thrive. They are blessings.  

I didn't (and still am unclear here) feel mine were much help. And that is the cold hard truth that has literally kept me awake at times-pondering...

Do I just let it go?  

I have prayed about it.  I have even shed a tear or two about it. 
I have let it sit so as not to make any rash decisions. 

Then I had a talk with myself.

I have been a mom now for almost 27 years, have cared for children since before I was 13, I have an Early Childhood Development degree, have worked at a Montessori school, had home day cares, taught Sunday School, researched the snot out of different homeschool methods, curriculum and so forth, wrote reviews on curriculum for four years, helped with homeschool groups, ran a homeschool co-op for a time, plus I have done home preschool through high school graduation with my children for over 25 years. Surely I have some insight, some useful nugget of hope or help that can inspire or encourage someone out there.  I know I have, I have a few comments attesting to it.  But is that enough?

Our lives are different now from whence I started blogging. Three of our children have graduated. Two have earned college degrees, moved out and gone on to be successfully employed adults. So yes,  to all those doubters, they are able to live -no thrive- in the real world.  One is currently working (while still living at home to save for future expenses) and will be attending college down the road. The baby of the family is our lone student. The dynamics are different. Homeschooling one vs four is a big change.  It's definitely a "horse of a different color" from our humble beginnings. Do I have anything new, update and hip to offer?  Or is it all the same regurgitated stuff penned on a different day?  Is there enough in me to want to continue? Want to keep coming up with different ideas or projects? 

For five people to read in five minutes? I don't know-I truly don't. And here I am-standing in some vast wasteland of doubt with discouragement bombs raining down with hurricane force. Do I truly want to make that [dedicated, intense and committed] walk across this land to save my blogs or grab a shovel and bury it quickly.  Very, very quickly and move on along down the road?

Right now, I have decided to wait it out. I will continue to pray to see what comes about. I guess, all five of you out there who may read this-you too will have to wait too to see what becomes of this. The 'to save or not to save my blogging career' will not be made lightly-but it's become abundantly clear I need to get off the fence and go in one direction.    

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Continent Boxes: Asia

Asia is quite a big continent to cover.  Many countries are represented, so you could conceivably have a huge variety of goodies for your box.  I looked on Ebay and various other sites that sell more oriental type trinkets and such.  I could have bought a lot more but needed to watch the budget. Also, with his age and no other munchkins following his footsteps, it made little sense to go on a spending spree for items. My sister/brother-in-law spent ten + years in China so we have some nice items from there.  I don't have many post cards right now-which is fine. I could also add many more animals and would if I had younger kids. Because our lives have been upside down for several months, this is not high on my priority list.  

Contents for the Asia Box:

*These items were gifted to us by my hubby's sister:

*Stone, hand-carved stamp with the characters for my husband's name (with ink but I did NOT put that in there b/cuz that stuff is so stainy and messy!)  I took it's picture individually so you could see the detail. 

*Delicate bowl (probably for rice)

*Soapstone Elephant 

*Tigers (by Schleich.  Can be found in most stores where toys are sold.)

*Orangutan (no idea where or how this toy came about around here but we have it so I added it to the box)

*Russian Stacking Matryoshka dolls (Ebay)

*Chopsticks (local restaurant)

*Coin purse from Vietnam (gift)

*Japanese Samurai Doll (I think it was originally a necklace-where it came from?? No clue)

*Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and the Buddha of Lantau (from the Safari Toob Around the World and World Landmarks sets)

*Asia Traditional Foods cards (Montessori Print Shop)

*Asia Animals and Landmarks cards (Target dollar section. I suggest looking during back to school time for these, or check Amazon/Ebay). The Montessori print shop also has cards for landmarks, musical instruments, animals, and more to purchase. There is a whole Asia set you can buy to make your life easier.

*Postcards -still need to add to this section 

*Stamps-for sorting in Montessori box (Ebay)

*Coins (some from Ebay, China coins/paper money were gifts)

Additional Items:

Klutz Chinese Jump RopeI have many books from the varying countries in our library book bin next to the Geography center.  I also put our Klutz Chinese Jump Rope book/rope (I see it as being available on Amazon thru some sellers, but there are nice rope substitutes for sale as well) into the basket on top of the center. Not sure if it is truly a 'Chinese' jump rope but hey-it's fun to do so I have it there. 

Product DetailsI included the Treasure Chests: Ancient China by Running Press we have too. This is a part of the older version of the Sonlight 5 history program.  I see a few are available on Amazon, you'll just have to do some searching to find one.  This has a fan, coins, ink and activities for the child to do. [images from]

We are putting flags onto our notebooking pages that we are doing for our Mapping the World by Heart program, so I do not have individual flags for the box. And because we really like Asian food-we have been frequenting our local Thai and Chinese restaurants.  I would love to find a Russian one but that may require quite a long drive.  My oldest daughter has friends from Pakistan and so we have had that type of food too (delish), so actually we are quite familiar with most of those foods.