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.  


Friday, February 6, 2015

A Totally Real Post on Our Very Rough Beginning to the New Year

Right now, I can barely pen this.  I am doing my best to keep sane, not break down or forgo everything.  That said, I am trying to regain some sense of 'normal' around here, and one of those is to write a blog post or two.  I am working on our Asia Continent Box and the Van Gogh artist study one now, but need a few things to finish it before I can publish it. Hopefully, I can get those done soonish. 

For those who do not follow me on FB-earlier in Jan. my dear brother passed away. He was only 46. If it weren't for the strength of the Lord and all the prayer warriors out there, I doubt I would have been able to get through it.  It has been very hard for my parents, and especially for his two boys who are only 17 and 7. This is going to be a very long road for all of us. And if that was not enough to blow our lives out of the water, my husband's mother fell prior to our going out of the country in November (still want to blog about that) so since then we have been trying to help care for her as well. Since she is 81, her recovery has been slow. Even though (thankfully) she didn't break anything (her should took the brunt of it) she did damage the ligaments, and it took a huge emotional toll on her. She is looking into assisted living nearby but until then my hubby and his sisters have been sharing the responsibility to make sure she is OK. So then imagine being jet lagged and 6 hours off on time and being home only a few days prior to Thanksgiving. We saw my brother then, and knew it wasn't good. He was admitted to the hospital two weeks later. Then three terrible weeks crawled by, and let me tell you there was not much Christmas spirit around here. On Jan. 8th he passed away. It was the longest stretch of hell I have ever experienced. 

To add to this-a week prior to that, my friend's mother died. Then just as we were starting to regain some footing a local family lost their 4 yr old son suddenly (he had special needs but this was unexpected) which just breaks our hearts. A day later, my husband's good friend's dad suddenly died.  I say-ENOUGH!  This is just too much.  The sadness and loss is immense around here.  I forgot to add that my husband had some suspicious skin lesions removed.  During all of this chaos.  We found out just a week after the funeral that one was basal cell carcinoma.  So that means he will need to see a surgeon to get it completely removed, thankfully-the type of surgery he will receive is usually 99% successful in removing it.  That is coming up in March.
**Oh and while I type this, I am nursing a lovely mini-sprain I got today while leaving the library. I was just walking normal like and because the parking lot had grooves/crevices from age, it caught my left ankle...the very one I broke just a couple years ago.  I am praying it is just a few days of minor swelling and pain.  I can only laugh because otherwise I do believe I would start crying and never stop.  So much for a great beginning to the new year.  I pray the middle and end of it is awesome instead of crappy like these past few weeks. 

Schooling has been minimal but I have managed to get a few subjects taught per day.  I have difficulty keeping thoughts in my head longer than a few minutes. Did I mention that I really don't have a human child but an overgrown hummingbird for a kid?  He is a tough one to pin down.  But when I can, we cram in what we can before I get exhausted. Anyway-that is where we are at. Pretty much in survival mode.

Please keep us, my parents/2 other brothers, my nephews, my mother in law (Lu), my friend and her family (Nancy), the Kroll family (adopted, they are a Reece's Rainbow family) and our friend John and his family in your prayers.  We all desperately need them.  Thanks

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:

We will study:  van Gogh and maybe Seurat if we have time
                          no musician chosen yet

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)
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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!