Friday, June 1, 2018

Spelling Power Tracker form to download

So I have had some requests for the little papers I use to track my son's progress and I think it will just be easier to have the link here. Let me know if it actually works.  LOL  'Cuz it's been a loooonnnggg time since I have tried uploading one of these things.

Spelling Power (4 section) Tracker  PDF

or try this...

Spelling Power (4 Section) Tracker in Doc form

Hope it works. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

One Year Adventure Novel Review (originally penned in 2009, but updated 2018)

PLEASE NOTE: this review was written in 2009.  My daughter did enjoy the adventure for the length of time she stayed on it.  We simply were unable to fully complete it due to time constraints.  Now our soon-to-be Senior will be giving this a go.  I plan on doing a video showing the components and give a quick review of it.  Once he completes it, I can give a full review of his experience.  The ratings icons I used have disappeared, but I can attest to the fact that this is a unique and challenging program that can be a great addition to your teen's high school line up. **I have updated the links too.

PS:  The workbooks and a few other parts of the program have been updated, so you will see that it denotes that with an icon on those books.  I have been assured that the 2nd edition update will work smoothly with the first.  HTH

This is my original post:

"What makes a story a story? Why do we look for for truth in books? Could it be, that our hunger for story, and thirst for meaning are somehow related? Or do these merely point to something else? What if this is just another word for adventure?"

                                                     One Year Adventure Novel รข€“ DVD
As the author/creator of the One Year Adventure Novel program playfully states in the beginning of every lesson, we are left to ponder what really does make a story a story?As a homeschooling mom, I would like to add, "What's it going to take to get my kids to want to do their writing assignments?" How can I facilitate excitement and enthusiasm, to get past the introduction of the latest and greatest curriculum I spent good money on? Sadly, up until this point, not one of them has engaged their willingness and ambition to write without distress.
Recently, my answer arrived in a white box containing a program called the One Year Adventure Novel. My 14 year old daughter actually looks forward to doing her writing lessons! Her excitement and willingness almost shocks me! She truly enjoys the engaging presentation of the material, and eagerly delves into each assignment. The seventy-eight lessons (all on 7 DVDs) intertwine with the Student Textbook, which corresponds to the lesson, explains the reading assignment and any other pertinent information they may need; and the Map Workbook which is where they layout their novels. They work in this after watching the lesson on the DVD, and will use this as their "notebook" to write their novel during the second semester. Also included is a teacher guide which explains the program, and suggest ways for the teacher to best encourage, guide and grade the student's work. The package comes with the book, The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope (most likely to help encourage and give them some ideas for their own novels), which is to be read while working on their masterpiece as well. Finally, a resource disk is included, which contains the interactive quizzes, and other various teaching aids. I especially appreciate the quiz section since it grades them for you, and stores the information as well.

OYAN Consumable Workbook For Licensed Customers

This program is not like any other we have seen. Designed for the high school student, they will learn how to create and write their own fiction novel. This course does not cover the mechanics of writing but rather, it shows a student how to use their creativity and storytelling skills to create something they will be proud of. You could easily tag-team this with a mini-course on the mechanics of writing, but I suggest just letting it be on its own. No need for a buzz kill while on this adventure. What they will learn with this program will excite and promote the writer within your child.

A little side note here: The website is loaded with extra helps, such as the Student's Novel Showcase, and a forum with several different boards designed to aid the young author with their writing experience. The One Year Adventure Novel also hosts a yearly contest for best student novel and more! Who knows, your child could be the next featured author!

Find out more here: Adventure Novel Info

Order your free DVD sampler (Includes their new programs too) here. This is a great way to really get a taste of this program, so do take advantage of this offer.

Whole Kit: Includes Student text, Teacher's guide, DVDs and novel for study is
$239.00 for the complete set

Check the website for licensing information

Check out the free Sample Lessons to see if this is a good fit for your family.

**One Year Adventure Novel provided me with the free copy of The One Year Adventure Novel Student Wkbk/Text and the TEbooks, in order to test and use it with my family, so I could write this review.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Continent Box Videos! Yes-I have them all completed now

OK-for those of you who enjoy seeing the items-head to my YouTube channel to watch them all!  I hope to also get a video done in the near future showing the Montessori Sorting box I have a whole long (actually a few) posts on.  You can read about that project here.

Visit my YT channel and be sure to subscribe, as this is where I will be updating and posting reviews, chatting about homeschooling, planning (planners), crafting and so forth.

My YT playlist for the Continent Boxes

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Continent Box: North America

Here is my final box to showcase.  I am still working on building this one up, but I do have a good start.  I have decided to create a separate box just for the United States to help keep this one less cluttered and more about the other countries.  I do have a few state related items in here tho (for now) because they represent Native American tribes or unique (harder to visit) places such as Hawaii.

Contents for the North American Box:

*Coins and stamps from Ebay

*Postcards: various sources, some from post card exchange

*Mexican Items:  gifts from my oldest daughter to several of us-
including the bracelet, ball/cup toy, woven mat, coin purse (woven square thing), gecko key chain, lovely vase from Oaxaca Mexico (she also gave her sister a little cat statue made from the same material, but I didn't show that)

*Canadian Items:  gifts from my (second) daughter's friend who lives in Canada-  including the 10 cent paper money, the "Loonie" dollar coin, and the candy boxes
*Honduran Coffee bag:  gift from my husband's client (they own that coffee plantation)

*Wooden turtle box from Aruba:  Goodwill find

*State Items: 
Kukui nut bracelet and little Hawaiian token man (from our trip there),
the Alaskan pin (part of a giveaway I won a few years ago from Cosmopolitan Cornbread -check out   her channel on YT!  She's fun to watch), the two woven baskets (gift from a client of my         husband, just cannot recall which Native American tribe it is from) and the Hopi pin from AZ (purchased during a visit).

*Safari Toob animals/buildings/places:  North American Wildlife, River, Exotic Birds and a few from the Around the World and Landmark sets 

I will be adding more as I find items, hopefully some fun ones from Central Am. If I do-I will be sure to add another pic and description for you.  Be sure to check your local thrift shops, Goodwill and Salvation Army for some trinkets as well as Ebay.  HTH

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Laura Ingalls Wilder/Little House books video links

I have three videos showcasing some of our books/trinkets and thoughts on the sites, as well as some books I checked out from our library.  These ideas should hopefully help you pull some items together to create a Little House unit study, or just offer some great books to include in your pioneer/Laura studies.

Monday, November 21, 2016

History Project: Building a Medieval Castle -COMPLETED

As a part of my son's history this year, I wanted to include some hands on projects and since he is learning about all things Medieval-why not build a castle?

So using my Michael's reward discounts/reg. coupons and teacher discount [be sure to sign up, you can get deals others cannot thru it, and be sure to show your teacher ID so you can get an additional 15% off every time you buy], I was able to get the brick sets much cheaper than the original $14.99 price.  I actually would use a 50% then after that is taken off they will discount it the 15% for being a teacher.  Sometimes, they have 20% off sales (for all) so you can save even more on those days-just don't worry about showing an ID b/cuz that coupon is obviously better.

This is a large project-we needed almost 5 boxes of bricks. 
 Four (about 1/2 of the fourth) of the tan and one of the red.
The bricks are by Createology.
Look in the kids' kits section by the miniature sets area.  

I bought a foam board at the Dollar Tree (Michael's has larger and more professional ones but they are not cheap) and the tacky glue can be found in almost any larger grocery store or at the craft stores. Look in the craft section of your store. I bought mine at Meijers for less than $2 for the smaller version-but after seeing how fast he was going thru it-I ended up getting the 16 oz size, which we needed two of!

The flat sticks are for soap making or general use.  Depends on the brand, but I found the both at our local Meijers (in the craft section) and at Michaels in the soap making area.  Popsicle sticks [for the drawbridge-which he hasn't started on yet] can be found at almost any store where there is a craft section.

My son is old enough to handle a knife so I didn't worry about the cutting and fitting that may need to take place.  I simply made sure he had a cutting board. :)  We dumped the blocks into a plastic container that was easier to get them out of.  The box was becoming cumbersome. It does help if the child has a plan.  Seriously.  And I highly recommend dry fitting at least the base to be sure that is where they want the blocks to go.  Once they get that going, it's all gluing and building.  We will also purchase a few trees and perhaps some fake grass to truly magnificent-ize the castle.  And yes-we did get a large dragon (after all what's a castle without a few dragon raids?) to torture our brave knights.

My son drew out a basic outline for his foundation
Getting the walls built up, with our General Manager-
 The Dragon monitoring things.
 The portcullis (gate) was made with the thinner sticks. 
 He is also lining his walk areas with them.


We have a video too!  Check it out!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Artist Study: Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat

Georges Seurat 1888.jpg
image from


Georges Seurat by Mike Venezia

Sunday with Seurat (toddler book) 
by Julie Merberg and Suzanne Bober
various art books from library 
(be careful-there are nudes in many of them)

Picture Study Resources:

various books from the library
a calendar (if you can find one)

image from Rainbow Resource

Notebooking Resources:

Homeschool with Index Cards

Notebooking Fairy: Pointillism and G. Seurat


Art Projects:

Project 1:

You can purchase these individually too-look at Rainbow Resource or check Amazon.
image from See the Light Shine website

 We popped in the DVD, covered the floor with a pretty 
Christmas tablecloth (all I could find)
then set up a table, the paints and supplies
 and let him get him to work.  It took 4 sessions for this.

first layering stage

 second layering stage

Final layers

Project 2:

Product Details

My son's version 
Yes, it is less dotty.  He went for the minimalist look.

FYI:  I am not an affiliate for any companies I linked above.  I just like them. :)

Continent Boxes: Europe

Like all the other boxes, we add in what we have about the home. Europe is a pretty easy one to build up because more people visit those countries.  I look at the local Salvation Army and Goodwill stores for little knickknacks to add into my boxes (simply because those tend to be the things people get rid of first)....

I also didn't include hats or shirts we picked up when we went to Portugal/Netherlands.

I didn't purchase the Montessori cards like I have for other boxes.  My son is too old-but I definitely recommend them to others who have younger kids.  You can find them here.

*Postcards-thru postcard exchange, received from relatives and purchased

*Coins-Ebay and from visiting there

*Stamps-Ebay, from my own collection from over the years

*Landmarks cards-from set found at Target dollar section

*Ads and brochures-from visiting and relatives who had visited (Germany, France, Portugal, Netherlands)

*Poster Tube from El camino de Santiago trail (a friend gave us this to transport our Roman poster-but he had traveled part of the trail, which does run thru Portugal). This hangs on our classroom wall.

*Chocolate bar wrapper (very good chocolate I might add)-from our Portugal visit

*Tea towel, Rooster, book mark and magnets-from our visit to Portugal

*Roman Mosaic Poster-from visit to a Roman village in Portugal (very awesome place to tour)

*Rosary and charm-Fatima, Portugal visit

*Doll-from grandparents when they visited Germany and Switzerland

*Templar Knight figurine-from last church/castle built in Portugal

*Stein-from husband's parents when they visited Germany

*Dutch porcelain shoes-we bought in Amsterdam

*Horses and Pig-Schleich's collection

*Different buildings and landmarks-Around the World Safari Toob and World Landmarks Safari Toob

Goodies from Greece

Our oldest daughter went on a trip to Italy and Greece.  When in Greece she purchased the lovely smelling soap for her sister, the medallion for our son and the beautiful little vase for us. Apparently, they use an exact picture from an original vase from thousands of years ago to then reproduce on the little ones.  So this is a pic of something you'd of found from way back when.  It is beautiful. These will not go in the box, we have them out to admire.  :)

*Links are to the manufactures' websites, these are not affiliation links.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hanging a DIY White Board

 Wondering how to install a DIY white board? Here is how we did it. I listed the basic steps on the pictures but also typed it up for you too.

(linked to Home Depot's site
 but you can find these at other stores as well)

*One shower board purchased at Home Depot (check Lowes too)'s in the building section.  Click the link for more details. I think that is the one we bought.  It is also referred to as tile board.  I see they also sell a marker board...hmmm... Anyhoo-we buy the bigger white board and cut it to size (at the store) so it fits our area perfectly.

*Wood Trim:  I linked to a decorative one b/cuz I couldn't find the plain style. It is not what we bought...but the shape is what you need to look for (it has to have that indent on the interior to accommodate the board) by the foot.  You will need to cut the corners at an angle so they meet up (this is the trickiest part).

*Finishing nails-it may help to pre-drill your holes if it is a more solid wood. We used pine so it wasn't a big deal.

*Small hand saw and cutting guide box, if you do not have a table saw and all those fancy cutting things.

*Acrylic white Caulk (well we use white b/cuz that is what we painted the trim-but it is paint friendly, so you can have pretty much any color and just paint over it when dry).

*Paint for trim if you wish it to be super fancy.  We cut, then painted then let it dry before attaching to the wall.

*Level, pencil and perhaps a stud finder (and ladies, I am not talking about your man) :).


Figure out where you want the board, as this will be kinda permanent.  Figure out the size and pencil mark the area [corners] for the trim.  Be sure it is level.  We hung the bottom trim first (you are seeing pics from when we replaced the board; so we decided to take the bottom off for ease), being careful to not put the nails into the gap area where the board needs to sit. Adhere the trim.  Then set up one side at a time.  After that, we slipped the board in then finished it off by attaching the top trim.  The board should be free floating, so that if need be, you can replace it later on down the road.  This board is softer than then the usual marker board-so after about 3-4 yrs., we did need to replace it. 

After that, we counter sunk the nails, added the caulk and that was that.  Because it is painted white, we didn't need to touch up the paint. But if you have a different color, you will need to do that after it is completely dry.  


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Blogging Decisions-My blogs and their futures

Well, this is something I have been debating and contemplating for a long time. My blogs and their futures.

I am not getting the visits I used to when I had begun this odyssey.  It takes lots of time to write and upload pics and provide links.  It can be exhausting.  I simply cannot justify the time it takes to work on this blog when it is not getting read.  SO, I have made the decision to wrap up what I want to add on here by Dec. 31, 2016 and then I will let it go semi-dormant.  I have already removed all Amazon affiliate links (except in the tab sections above-still need to do that), and decluttered the posts.

I do want to finish the continent boxes series, add a post about how to install (or for us reinstall) a shower board white board in the classroom, , get the castle post completed, and maybe add a couple more odds and ends.  After that-I doubt I will post much at all.  I will however keep this up and available to you. I will simply post when there is something really cool to share.

I have moved over to the YouTube venue for chatting about homeschooling, planning, life updates and more.  So if you want to see what is currently happening around here-please go to my channel and subscribe.

I do want to thank all of you who have stopped by, followed and commented.  I truly enjoyed being able to share our experiences with you-and getting to know many of you through this blogging experience.  In the future, after I am done with homeschooling-I may very well start one new blog about something?  Not sure yet, but if I do I will def. be sure to let you all know.

So there you have it-I finally made a decision regarding this.  It's been a long time in coming and I am feeling a big relief off my shoulders. Whew.

Monday, September 12, 2016

New year for the Virtual Homeschool Co-Op! Open to YouTubers and Bloggers!

Hey, calling all my fellow homeschooling bloggers! Please consider joining the Virtual Homeschool Co-op group.  Trish now has a website set up so that bloggers can partake too!  What a neat forum to build our homeschool community and yes-your voice is important too!

It just started last week (first week of Sept.) so it's certainly not to late to catch up.  Head to the site and find how you can partake.

'Til then, here are my two contributions so far.  Also, if you haven't already, subscribe to my YouTube channel.  I will be pumping out lots of new videos soon.  And I promise, I will get back into blogging soon.  It's just been one of those summers.  And early falls.  Yup-crazy busy and so when things settle, I will start trying to post a bit more frequently.

Monday, July 18, 2016

DIY Homeschool Planner downloads and video links

I haven't done the download thing in some time, so if it is not working, please be patient with me...just leave a comment and I will see if I can figure it out.  But I went thru Google Docs and these should work.

When I saved them to PDF the font/look remained the same but when I uploaded the docx it changed them.  GO figure.  So I only have the PDF listed right now because that has the same font/pic layout as my planner pages.

Please keep in mind-there are no washi tape (images) at the top of  the papers b/cuz I don't have the copyrights to that.  You can simply download a copy, put your own washi across the top and then scan/print what you need.  The book washi tape  I have on many of my sheets is from Washi Wednesday's site or you can purchase thru their etsy shop. If you order thru them (I only went thru their website so I don't know if the Etsy orders take the same amt of time or not), it takes a few weeks to arrive because it's shipped from overseas. Check them out tho-they have some adorable products! Be sure to look at the MT encyclopedia sea and MT birds tapes, the MT moon and MT planet too.  Very neat!

Videos showcasing the planner pages:
I am refilming th DIY cover pages video, once that
is complete I will get that up here as well.

**In the video description boxes are links to the
 various pages that I found for free on line.
Please click those to download thru those sites.

Pages to Print:
The pages I created via MS Word.

(near bottom so you can print off a calendar above it)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Books for Geography: South America

Well now I thought I had a post on this up here but apparently I do not. So here are some book I have decided to use to help us study some countries in S. America.

For the younger set:

Product Details
Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter 
Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown  

Product Details

We read the Waiting for the Biblioburro.  Very cute story and loved the art work.  We have owned and loved the Great Kapok Tree for years.  Lynn Cherry has many more books that are suitable for younger children,

thanks to the Planet YA site for this list!

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details
Island of Thieves (Josh Lacey):  My son loved it, I was like OK with it.  There is some content that is not obscene but kinda sassy and perhaps not for every child.  If you kid loves James Bond movies (or similar) and can handle reading about guns, mobsters and such, this would be suitable then.
The Disappeared (Gloria Whelan):  We both enjoyed this but it does talk of government murders and one character is in a bad jail/prison situation. A couple minor swear words included.
I Am a Taxi (Deborah Ellis): We enjoyed this story so much that we actually read the sequel.  The child (Diego) does get tricked into working for an illegal cocaine production, and does encounter cruel situations but I felt it was worth reading because this is a real issue for the people of Columbia.  
Origin (Jessica Khoury):  Even though my son balked about this at first, I "made" him push through.  It is more sci-fi than realistic but it was a descent story to discuss (immortality and what it takes to create that).  he thought it was weird but I think it was more that it was based on Pia (a chick) and not a dude.  LOL Nothing too terribly horrifying for a child to read.

Product DetailsProduct DetailsProduct DetailsProduct Details
City of the Beasts (Isabel Allende) : I stopped reading it by first few pages of chapter 2.  The whole demeanor of the story line was very negative (the kid's mom has cancer and I understand a teen being angry but this was just over the top dumb) and then by the second chapter we have him conversing with some chick who is talking about smoking weed.  He admits he has done drugs/alcohol.  What?  This is a recommended book for teens?  Just because they are teens and prob'ly hear a lot of this stuff doesn't mean I want my kid reading this dribble. Yuck.
The Queen of the Water (Laura Resau):  This is based on a true story. It does have some abuse against the main character by her employer/talk of past abuse by the father toward the mother and children [which apparently really did happen]. The story centers around this young lady who is born into one world (of poverty) and gradually, through many events, merges into one of recognition, education and possibility.  It's more of a girl book. There are things mentioned that girls would understand and it comes from a young teen girl's point of view.  I didn't have my son read this.
The Motorcycle Diaries (Ernesto Che Guevara):  We started reading this but because I was the one reading aloud-it simply didn't work.  I gave him the option of reading it on his own-he opted out.  It is set up in diary form and tends to jump about a bit.  So since we didn't read past a chapter or so-I cannot truly speak on its content.  
First Descent (Pam Withers):  Some cussing and negative talk about ingenuousness peoples (by the grandpa)
which is in context of the story (he's from a "different generation") so if you go in understanding that-it shouldn't be too distracting.  In the beginning of the story, the kid (Rex) is pretty full of himself which is kinda funny but he is later humbled by the events in the story.

And there you have it.  I know there are a few more books that could be added but our year is done and we need to move on to Europe and N.A.