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 PART 1

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.

More to come soon.  He is working hard on this and gets more and more creative as he goes.  He still has one back corner to build up, the two other towers to finish, the topping of the wall with the defensive bricks [ones where the guards hide behind] and he still has the entire Keep to build.  After that, he wants to place a few trees about and add snow to make it a winter scene at the stay tuned for an update post soon!

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.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Homeschool Dad Tag

So I am a subscriber of a gal who is collaborating with another mom on a HS dad tag.  It is really fun and seeing/hearing dads answer the questions is hilarious and encouraging.   Now, if you don't have a YouTube acct., nor want one, you can still partake.  Just ask your hubby the questions and post his responses on your blog (or here in the comments section if you don't have a blog), then come back here and link the post so we can head on over to check it out.

If you want to video your man's responses, then link your video here. Part of the tag is to put a link in the description box or a card in the video to mine then ask others to link to yours. FYI, it's not difficult to join YouTube and once you get over seeing yourself on camera, it's kinda fun.  I just use my iPhone to record then load to YT.  HTH

Here are the questions (be sure he doesn't see them ahead of time so you get the total off the top of their head responses).....

1 - Who was the first to suggest homeschooling as an option?
2 - What are your thoughts on socialization, co-ops, homeschooling groups, etc.
3 - Did you have any preconceived ideas about homeschooling and those that choose to homeschool?
4 - Three words: Charlotte Mason Method: your thoughts? [Or insert whatever your main method style is]
5 - How many hours a day do you think your children are doing school work? How many hours do you think is appropriate?
6 - What is your first thought when you hear the word "curriculum"?
7 - Let's talk: high school, higher education, future careers - what are your thoughts and goals for your children?
8 - What do you believe is an appropriate homeschooling environment? Couches, desks, etc.
9 - If you had to homeschool for the day, in what order would you lay out your day as a teacher?
10 - Last question: in ten seconds, name as much homeschool curriculum as you can think of!

And here we are:

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Literature Activity for kids-and what we did

So with all the books we read for our studies (we are mostly CM in style, literature based kinda homeschooling folks) the boy and I can get rather bored with just a narration or some kind of book report.  It's fun to add in a project that takes the student deeper into planning and executing an idea based around one moment in the story.

Now many may know this as a diorama if it is 3D-ish, but since we were pressed for time-we chose to do a 1D-ish flatorama.  LOL

Here is the low down for creating one:
I know this is pretty basic, but ya know-
some folks may have forgotten about this sorta activity-
I know I totally did.

**The child will need to read or have a book read to them.
**They will then ponder what moment in the book really captured their attention.
**They will then draw, find/print, or collect toys/figurines/animals [with these they would be creating a 3D version] that could represent the characters in the story.
**Once those goodies are gathered, they will need to paint, draw or (as in our case) use paper to cover the background on the poster board or foam board. FYI: we used a variety of scrapbook and construction paper to create the background, the images we found via the internet.
**After that is set, adding in the details (of their choosing) will finish off the main project.

The second part is where they will need to print up a quick (this is not to be a book in of itself!) ditty on what is happening and why they chose it.

We added a book cover picture at the beginning of his description, to help pull this together. The two go side by side or with the story description below the picture.  And there you go-a nice way to shake up and stir away the boredom while engaging the student. Plus, with the 1D version, less space is taken up with the project.

My boy's story board:

 Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard

Now, mind you-my son is all manly-man and chose what may be kind of shocking to a few of you [esp. if you are blessed with princesses and not princes] but it was totally not a surprise to me.  In fact, I thought he was going to chose the moment Old Majesty pounced the three dogs. Seriously. Being a chick-I probably would have chosen a moment like when Danny was at the dog show or when the dad thought Danny was having a girl come to stay with them-which was a funny scene. But no. The animal vs animal throw down was his choice.  When reading this part, I did get all teary and totally angry at that mean ole bear when he wiped Asa out.  I was fond of that dolt of a mule. Anyway, I love when a book can provoke emotions. Which is why we seek out and prefer "living books" for our literature choices.

This moment (bear vs mule) was actually a turning point in the story so I was impressed that he chose it. We worked as a team here and there. Since he is my only student, I wanted him to have the collaboration experience as a part of this project.

To add in some artist interest and to make the grass scrapbook paper not look so darn huge-we chose to go the Eric Carle-esc way [OK so he used paint and such but same type of look] and tear and paste to create a collage look.  I am pretty pleased with the results.  He had fun and now we have this moment from Big Red plastered on our classroom wall.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

YouTube Subscribers Give Away! Winners announced

OK subscriber peeps-here is the low down on how to enter the YouTube subscriber give away.  For those of you who visit my blog, you can enter as well but you will need to be a subscriber to my channel. Postage is kinda outrageous lately, so I have to keep it for US only at this time.

I am so happy, and humbled, to have hit over 150 subscribers! Whoot!

I decided to choose two winners and here they are:  Melissa and Kristy! Congratulations ladies.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

New YouTube adventure! The Virtual Homeschool Co-op

So there is a new YouTube channel where homeschooling mamas (well dads too) can be a part of by joining the fun by putting up their video responses or simply just partake in by viewing them!

I know I have a ton of homeschooling pals who visit my blog-so I am definitely addressing you all....please consider joining!  You can set up a channel super easy like and follow the assignments (doing the ones that apply) and then build from there. Your voice is important too and we need you there!

Just Sew Trish started this channel and so far many have joined.  I finally did too.  Again, I get it can be intimidating-I mean I had no clue if anyone would ever watch a single video of mine (they have) so think about it.  If you just want to view and learn that is great too.

First assignment:  do an intro video.  Well, mine is a bit cheeky and full of sass.  I literally filmed, refilmed and filmed it some more.  Several takes-felt like a billion times. Over a couple weeks of trying too (seriously) but I finally got a goofy one done.  There was always something happening to waylay my attempts. This is my "I have had it, it's going up as is!" video for ya.  I promise I won't be so crazy from here on out (or will I?) LOL

Click this link to go to the main Virtual Homeschool Co-op channel (this is the first assignment video but you can go back to the playlist to see them all).  Seriously, there are some awesome gals who have joined and their responses are great.

And if you haven't already subscribed to my channel-please do so!  Thanks!