Monday, December 27, 2010

It's a Kindle sort of Classroom....

Well, it's going to be.
I got a Kindle for Christmas and I'm loving it so far.  Today I pulled out the notebook computer and just spent over an hour loading that little reader wonder with the books we'll use in our studies as well as practical goodies (several cookbooks, reference books, etc.) and then just some plain fun for momma who never gets to read anything other than school books :o)

Of course, now I have to sit and go back through them all and get them placed into some sort of usable reference order.  Thank you Kindle folks for making "collections" on this little wonder!

I'm totally new to Kindle schooling, but I've noticed alot of others already on the wagon.  I have lots of books....the real deal, pages, covers and all that...and while alot of tech-saavy schoolers are using this little smartbook for their home libraries, I will not be down-sizing my physical bookshelves in favor of smartbooks.  I love real books.  I love turning pages, smelling a good old book, listening to that paper noise.  I love this Kindle thus far, but it's not going to replace books here in this little homestead school, but it will definitely add to our library.

Sara shared with me a great blog link, a compiled grouping of Ambleside Online/Home Education books, all Kindle-ready! She even shared a great link for making your own Kindle covers.  I had a Kindle cover...a nice leather one with a light.  It didn't work.  Fresh out of the box, nothing.  Don't even get me started on the numb-nuts I had to deal with trying to return the stupid thing.  So, I'm looking at options today to get this little wonder book into some protection :o) you have a Kindle? Do you like it? Do you use it in your hoomeschooling, or just for personal use?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Some free nature readers:

Here are some wonderful readers you can download (or read online) free!
I've spent my day downloading to a memory stick practical all of the ebooks available at Temkit's site! Here are some of my favorites so far:

Exploring Nature in Stories.....from Robert Burns, to Abe Lincoln and more!
An entire PDF Nature Library
Down Nature's Paths....inspiring stories with a Sabbath moral

And Temkit Sunday Papers for study

Oh just go start downloading the whole site :o)

A Hebrew Model of Education

One quick question....actual think about it before you answer.

Who says a child has to read by age 6 or 7?

I mean, seriously, does life end in misery from that point forward if a child isn't reading?  What exactly is "on grade level" anyway?  Who determines what that is?  Oh sure, in public or state run school, they have to set some sort of target, I understand that.  But I'm not in the public or state run school arena.  I don't plan to be.  And honestly, if they were doing that great a job we wouldn't rate so low among every other country of industry.  Ok, so we aren't low low...but really, hanging out in the middle with just as many below us as above us, is hardly worth tooting a horn of pride over.  Not for all the big talk this country puts out about no child left behind and all.

So, back to the question....what do you think?

Obviously I'm not saying leave a child to his own devices and let him learn what may, in his own time frame.  I never could wrap my mind around the whole idea of 'unschooling' and such.  I like natural learning and all, but I've seen too many parents take it to the far side and simply allow free ranging well beyond anything proper for a child to really be learning. I've seen it work, too, but it's just not something I can put my entire mom-as-teacher cap behind. Kudos if you've got unschooling working for your children!

My children, my older children, learned to read in Kindergarten in public school, so I'm hardly saying it can't be done.  They were in the public arena, were blessed enough to have small classes for their fledgling year.  My 3rd child, started school at our small church, and blew thru Kindergarten before their Christmas break, and 1st grade before the year ended that May.  She breezed thru learning to read at age 6.  My other children didn't read so quickly, or thoroughly.  And of course, I worried it was due more to my homeschooling from there on out than anything else.  The idea of 'nature' simply kicking in and the heart for reading not coming to all of them in the exact same time frame never crossed my mind.

And I stressed terribly over that.

A couple years ago I finally settled down more.  Sure, I still have worries about keeping up with those Joneses there in the public school arena, especially when no one in my area that I socialize with homeschools. Those that do are more of the satellite school bend, and big Bob Jones folks.  I like Bob Jones.  It's not in my future, but I have no serious complaints about it.  We use mainly Rod & Staff for math and English, and their Bible series for reading.  We love The Handbook of Nature Study as our main course for nature/science studies.  We are following our Paths of Learning curriculum for everything else, with tons of added reading and bunny trails along the topic flow.

And now, I'm adding in Sonlight Education. No, not the Sonlight, with cores and IEPs and all.  This Sonlight Education is more of an old fashioned, Hebrew model of education. It revolves around The Bible, building ones character and sense of morals, the study of nature around us, and grows upon the everyday life experiences that help to develop the deeper understanding of the other areas.  All four work together to grow Godly children into God-driven adults.  From there the cycle can't help but continue along.

“In an age like ours, in which iniquity abounds, and God’s character and His law are alike regarded with contempt, special care must be taken to teach the youth to study, to reverence and obey the divine will as revealed to man. The fear of the Lord is fading from the minds of our youth, because of their neglect of Bible study."
Don't you agree with that statement?  There is very little fear of The Lord in the youth today.  I'd go as far to say even in the adults.  There are a few here and there, but by and large, it's been put away with grandmother's china and crocheted doilies.  What has replaced it is plastic disposable junk.

The work of the parents in the homeschool begins at birth. Long before formal schooling is started, you are already educating your child. 
 “It is in the home that the education of the child is to begin. Here is his first school. Here, with his parents as instructors, he is to learn the lessons that are to guide him throughout life—lessons of respect, obedience, reverence, self-control. The educational influences of the home are a decided power for good or for evil. They are in many respects silent and gradual, but if exerted on the right side, they become a far-reaching power for truth and righteousness. If the child is not instructed aright here, Satan will educate him through agencies of his choosing. How important, then, is the school in the home!
 “Upon all parents there rests the obligation of giving physical, mental, and spiritual instruction. It should be the object of every parent to secure to his child a well-balanced, symmetrical character. This is a work of no small magnitude and importance—a work requiring earnest thought and prayer no less than patient, persevering effort. A right foundation must be laid, a framework, strong and firm, erected; and then day by day the work of building, polishing, perfecting, must go forward.”
 The most important subjects taught in these first years are Bible, Character, Nature, and Practical Work. It is best to leave the Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic for a later time when the child has developed more mentally, physically, and spiritually. When the child is more mature, he will learn more quickly and easily what would have been difficult and frustrating at a younger age. This method helps to encourage a love of learning and the child will catch up with or excel beyond his or her peers.

Their  idea of 'grade level' placing truly mimics what we long ago determined suited our needs better than the cookie cutter levels offered up by a failing American educational system:
Kindergarten/Pre-school – 0-7 years 
First Grade – 8 years
Grades 2-8 – 9-14 or 
15 years
Grades 9-12 – 15 or 16-19 years
Apprenticeship Under Parent or 
Godly Adults – 20-25 years 

We don't necessarily learn to read before that first grade 'age' there.  And during that time we aren't simply playing games and running around, we are schooling with lots of read-alouds, plenty of good stories and experiences.  We do connect the stories together and have been working on lapbook type projects and narrations to practice writing and such. But even with a few short lessons here and there with learning to read (we have Learning to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, as well as our McGuffeys, and our Pathway Readers), my children have fallen into a routine of reading and really grasping it around age 8 or 9.

I know. Gasps and hushed murmurings usually follow that.  So, by that standard, am I saying my children are barely 3rd grade at age 12? No, not at all.  So far, they've seemed to grasp the whole understanding of other subjects ahead of those reading and true comprehension skills.  It just seems to be natural for them.  I can't believe it's just me.  I mean, sure, I suppose we are lazy in schooling, moreso than some, much less than others, but we get our needs done and my children will not graduate as half-read fools to join the ranks of the far-too-many already existing out there.

What I'm lacking is the apprenticeship end of education.  We keep looking, hoping to find resources for that.

So, how does your homeschool play out? Are you struggling to keep up appearances with the Joneses of the state run arena because that is what "school" seems to dictate to you? Or are you forging ahead and making your own pathways that your children can follow with their own children's education in the years to come?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

hello? still homeschooling?

I know....of course you all still are.  And we are, too.  I'm just not blogging much.  sigh like I need a school blog, a kitchen blog and a family blog.  I can't keep up with any of them.  I simply don't get online via computer much at all these days.  I grab a few downloads when Homeschool Freebie of The Day has something we're interested in (which is at least twice a week).  Sadly, most of my sharing experiences lately are via the Blackberry.  I like my Blackberry, don't get me wrong, but I'm too easily side-tracked by these things. however, if I could hook up my printer to that cell we'd have it made!

So, where are we school-wise? Well, I'm re-evaluating again.  I need to stop doing this.  In my defense, I have been settled in for quite some time now with our curriculum, so maybe I was just due for a re-work.  I used to do it quite often.  I am actually looking at the current flow of our schooling and trying to figure out what will work better for the children.  We are not 'on target' via public schools.....however I do not give a purple fig about that in all honesty.  I have family members who stress that fact quite a bit, but if I was that concerned, we'd be part of the public school drone assembly.

Still, there is a part of me that lets that nag in the back of my mind to a certain extent.  It's really like comparing apples to oranges as far as I'm concerned.  Ahh, I'm sure most homeschoolers have folks who linger over traditional grade levels and the like.

So, here's what my mind has been pondering of late.  I love Paths of Exploration....even though we are lingering far too long on the Pilgrim colonies and not really gaining anything from it.  I am a book junkie and bought their full package.  In all honesty, we never follow step-by-step any curriculum we use.  We stay very free-form and gravitate along the interest levels, which often trails us away from the original plan.  We have done so with Paths as well.  We are working the majority of it as lapbooks and/or notebooking components. We have pulled lapbook units in from other resources, and it's been alot of fun..  I will probably order the next level, Paths of Settlement, and again go with the full deal.  That said, the way we school here, I do not see that the specified reading resources are set in stone.  We could have read any books on Columbus, Jamestown, The Mayflower, etc. and garnered just as much with this curriculum.  But that's because we deviate alot.

I have used Christian Light Education a lot, as well as their counterpart, Alpha Omega, and I am looking at going back to the CLE workbooks for a season to see what the lay of our land is here.  I have a full set of Rod and Staff curriculum from 3rd grade up when hardcover "textbooks' begin and that seems to be posing an issue right now.  We have a couple of competitive children and book sharing isn't playing out well, no matter how I work it.  I am thinking that we could go with the individual unit workbooks for math and English for this year and then see where we stand.  More than likely, I have one child who will by-pass the other 2 in no time and be ahead in grade level and our problem will work itself out to a great extent.  We have one who really thrives more with one-on-one schooling, and individual workbooks will help ME with that as well.

I also have one who is ready to finish her 'formal' book work and graduate from that onto more extra-curricular study lines, pretty much on the targeted time frame she has always expected to.  Good grief, what will we do with her now???  And we are pretty much finished with the oldest at home currently, as she has decided she is not interested in continuing beyond the point she has completed, and yes, it's ok with us but I had really hoped for a bit more :(

So, there are my update rambles....and here are some links shared with me this week I thought I'd pass along:
Top 50 Best Homeschool Blogs

Some great links shared by an online friend this past week:

AAA math by grade level 
AAA spelling by grade level

And lastly, Daniel Boone, here we come...after the New Year takes off, that is!
Famous Missourians
Daniel Boone TV and Movies
Biography...and a great online book to read
Daniel Boone Homestead
from Netflix....Time Machine: Boone and Crockett, The Hunter Heroes
Daniel Boone unit goodies
YWAM Publishing...a great book on Boone (we have the entire Heroes of History set)
Daniel Boone at EasyFunSchool
a CurrClick goodie
Homeschooling The Middle Years blogshare 
Lesson Pathways page

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thanksgiving Crafts and fun

Yes...we sort of stalled out on the start of Jamestown...and are working on the actual Pilgrims themselves this month.  It's November, so not a total wash out.  Pilgrim study...November...they just go together.
But still, we should have finished Daniel Boone already and been starting on Lewis & Clark right now. Just for the record, I can already tell you we will, yet again, be stalled out on Daniel Boone.  I have a clan of Daniel Boone followers here.  We will definitely have to extend that unit beyond 6 weeks just to appease the masses here!

Cindy Downes and Oklahoma this site.  I get a good start to my idea planning here.
A neat find from Amazon...a cut-n-build 3D Mayflower!
Activity Village pages for all manner of Thanksgiving fun...crafts, puzzles and more!
The Toy Maker has some fun crafts for the Thanksgiving theme
a sort of origami turkey...
Artists Helping Children site...well worth a look-thru the whole site, but today my focuse was Mayflower boats to build (a fun foam one here)
and a milk carton one...Martha Stewart has a small version here...a walnut shell Mayflower...another walnut shell version...
more folding paper boats (an ehow video)
Pitara makes one using a cork...
origami boats...and several other origami crafts...
Pilgrim Centerpiece made from styrofoam balls...
or one made with condiment bottles....
coffee filter turkeys...
BHG's Pilgrim Family and Indian Family paper tube people...
Parents Magazine shares how to make napkin ring turkeys (I'm thinking colored cardstock instead of foam)
how about paper serving baskets? or small ones filled with a treat to share with neighbors and family?
marshmellow pilgrim hat treat :o)
Easy Fun School, of course...

and for later, with our pioneers and Little House studies....a covered wagon :o)

and no Thanksgiving plans should be without the reading of An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott.  The movie version...while not bad, is just not the story and well, it's really shouldn't be called the same :o(

Monday, September 13, 2010

BlogShare: Moments with Mother Culture

Karen Andreola's wonderful Charlotte Mason blog...
Moments with Mother Culture

Learning to Read? We like Progressive Phonics books and sheets!

Progressive Phonics....
free readers for 5 levels, from ABS learners, to early readers and those needing more encouragement, as well as files for each book containing flash cards, activity pages and puzzles, each pertaining to the individual reader book.

and FREE, too :o)

Some Links to Share

National Geographic Coloring Pages....we are putting these to use as we can with our Paths curriculum nature portions 
And more here at site...
Bird coloring pages...
Jim Arnosky has a set of pages as well...and his famous Crinkleroot
Edupicks has some good pictures as well...

And some butterfly pages, perfect for putting together a fun lapbook or notebooking pages
And Plants lapbook/notebooking pages

lots of Nature coloring pages

Barb/Harmony Arts Mom has a great Squidoo lens on Autumn...artistic links and all

Cornell"s Bird pages are excellent...they even have a Home Study in Bird Biology course you can order

Animal Tracks...they are very interested in tracking skills after reading about the Shadow Wolves

lessons on drawing nature (or anything really) with your children...and here...and Nature Friend magazine  We have a subscription to Artistic Nature thru CurrClick and absolutely LOVE it...
Writing Field Notes in your nature journal and here...

and my favorite for notebooking and their great Treasury pages of freebies!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

POE: Jamestown Weekly Highlights for Study

We're about to start...yes, we had planned to start this week, but Columbus seems to have set anchor here :(

Some things we have lined up, floating around in my Netflix Queue include:

The New World, Christian Bale, Collin Farrell
National Geographic: Jamestown
Pocahontas....and Pocahontas: Her True Story....and Pocahontas: The Legend....and Pocahontas (Nova Doc.)

We will touch on Pirates while studying Virgina:
The Golden Age of Caribbean Pirates....Pirates: Dead Men Tell Their Tales...The Real Pirates of The Caribbean...The Pirate Code: Real Pirates...Blackbeard the Pirate

And who can look at pirates and not think Long John Silver, with Richard Newton....or Treasure Island, the original version as well as The Muppet version :o)

We will be touching on various Indian nations, The French and Indian War, We also have America's Godly Heritage, by David Barton waiting in queue for its release.

We are waiting for some more books to arrive via Amazon:
My America: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary (there are 3 in the series)
Dear America: Standing in The Light (although it's 1763...we'll add it in later on)
Betsy Maestro books...The Discovery of The Americas, The New Americans: Colonial Times
The Double Life of Pocahontas, Jean Fritz
Pocahontas, Joseph Bruchac
The Captive Princess (we are working on the entire Daughters of The Faith series)
The Arrow over the Door (1770's, so for later)
Calico Bush
The Courage of Sarah Noble (early 1700's)

We have lots of book reading plans :o) We will be doing several lapbook/notebook pages along with our Paths studies, and several hands-on projects during arts and crafts.

Week 1: starts out with more of a background lesson, reading about some of history between Columbus and Jamestown, looking at the 'pilgrims' who came, some of the Indian history that was already waiting here, etc.  We will take a short look at Queen Elizabeth, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Smith, England during the early 1600's and so forth.  We will look at the types of ships that were in use during the time as well, and get an overview of the chronological history around Jamestown.

The olders will focus more on the religious tone of the time, as well as the governmental and economical views of colonizing America.  We'll use just a few resources that we have here, as well as the Virtual Jamestown Colony site lesson plans here, and some found here at JamesQuest.

Week 2:  We start looking at John Smith; we will look at the water cycle and map out several rivers of fame around the World; We will practice reading with Richard of Jamestown; our animal studies will start off with swans, otters, mudminnows and stickleback fish.  I'm thinking of adding Trumpet of the Swan by E.B.White in for reading...don't know yet; we will compare and contrast landmarks between England and here locally; our art lessons will focus on pond and creek life.  Would be nice if our seasonal pond had some water, but we'll adjust.We will also begin studying the state of Virginia using our Trail Guide to US Geography as a guide.  We will also look at the Virginia Company Colonies and Bermuda. I will probably look more at these museum guides and see if we can incorporate their information into our lapbooks/notebooks.

Week 3:  We take a look at tidal marsh land, clams, crabs, oysters, alligators and loggerhead turtles; our look at Indians moves to the Algonquin tribe and Chief Powhatan and his tribe (here, here, here, and here...just some of what we will look at) as well as Werowocomoco; We will map out the James River; and sketch out what we think the 'island' of Virginia looked like, based on the descriptions in our reading. We will look at the countries of note along the paths here...London, Canary Islands, The West Indies.  Somewhere in this week we will do the pirate adventures, as well as some string art ships we plan to make using these as a guide.

Week 4:  Pocahontas study; wild plants native to Virginia, as well as some herbal medicines that would have been common to the first settlers; along those same lines, we will get our the various herbal/wild plant books we have here and branch off with herbal meds.  Some of what we will use:
Shonda Parker books
Medicinal Plants and Herbs, Peterson Field Guide
Using Plants for Healing, Nelson Coon
Jude's Herbal Home Remedies, Jude C. Williams
Herbs for The Home, Jekka McVicar
Home Remedies from Amish Country, vol 1 & 2

Our nature books will start to fill in more, with various birds such as pelicans, storm-petrels, bitterns, herons, spoonbills and others.  Plant life will include cedars, palmettos, and mangroves. We will have a nice collection of wildlife and plant life by the end of this unit, even though we plan to blend right on in to the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Weeks 5 & 6:  Nature studies keep going with belted kingfishers and Canadian geese; we will continue mapping the paths the 'pilgrims' took to get to Jamestown, from London, Chesapeake Bay, Canary Islands and the West Indies, and touch on their government back in the 1600's, as well as daily lifestyle. During these last weeks, we will print off the Jamestown Replica as well. We will also do the interactive and other readings at the National Geographic site.

We will mainly use Paths of Exploration as our 'spine' for this, but will draw from several other resources as well, such as lapbooks on Colonial Life, Early American Life, Jamestown Colony, etc.
**GuestHollow has some great American History Curriculum already laid out,  Historical Fiction book lists, resource ideas and more!
Literature Supplement to History Listing
The History Place
Timeline Ideas...
Jamestown Colony mini test
Jamestown short unit
Colonization of Jamestown unit  
    there are some nice "tests" to be found on this site :o)
The JamesQuest links
plenty of YouTube clips about whatever we can find that fit in!
History of The United States textbook, 1921 @ Project Gutenberg, just right for this particular unit
Academic Kids site, specifically Pre-Colonial and Colonial time...we'll put this to use through several units I'm sure.
Lesson Plan Central...specifically Colonial times for right now.
Fact Monster 50 States
   and their Fact Monster US Pages
The US 50 site
**The 50 States...and their Colonies to Revolution pages...this has so many things we will put to use again and again!

Oh...and for later, with the "real pilgrims" we'll use The Plymouth Colony Archive Project.  Great site!
Colonial Money
Colonial America Archive Document page
Colonial Radio Theater audio stories
Listing of The Landmark Series of books...out of print, but worth keeping your eyes open for!
Listing of The Signature Series of books...also out of print, but again well worth finding if you can!

I will keep updating as we go along, but if anyone has anything to share that might be fun with this Path, drop us a line!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

what do they call it...a little Linky Love?

Whatever it is, here are some fun links I found and wanted to pass along:

Earth Science Lesson Plans looks interesting...

As does Progressive Phonics...

I love the looks of The Simple Homeschool site (there is even a Simple Homeschool blog...and even a Simple Homeschooling Community) and can't wait to look around a bit more...I liked this look at Cell Biology, Plant Biology...quite a few goodies I think. 
There is even a Weekly Freebie every Monday...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blog Construction Ahead...

I will be working (slow as molasses I'm sure) at changing the blog around to better fit what I need to have here as an interface.

I will be making alot of changes to the sidebars, and maybe the entire template in general.

If by chance I've shared something via a sidebar link that you are interested in, you might want to grab it for yourself and bookmark it, as I make no claim to being a blog designer and who knows what links I'll lose in those sidebar areas.  You know, best laid plans and all that.

Just a heads up.  I don't think too many folks are chomping at the bit for my terrific blog shares here, but you just never know who is checking in and lurking about :o)

Jamestown Gathering is Done...Olders, Youngers and Mom (and lapbooking talk)

I and I both know that the word "done" in my vocabulary is just a filler sort of word.  I'm never really done with a unit...I tweak repeatedly.

However, for the most part, should I never touch another computer search bar, we are way beyond prepared for boarding a ship to Jamestown here.  The Paths of Exploration curriculum is already complete as it stands, but for fun, I started searching through all the goodies offered up along the trail, and we put together some resources outside of what they offer.  That's the fun of homeschooling anyway, right?  Of course, this is all just extra work for me...because as of this week, they have their lapbooking packs available for the Paths volumes as well.

So, really, I've just pulled resources and lapbook goodies together for nothing....but I had fun. Even if I am a bit bug-eyed and carpal-tunnel-ated from all the computer roaming.

I have not pulled together pages for all the various mammals, birds, trees and such that are discussed, or would be fun to search out during this lesson.  The list is just too full and my arms are just too tired :o)  I will hunt for those as we come to them.  I will share a bit of what we are researching as we go along each week, starting toward the end of this month. I will be posting things at least a week in advance of our actually using them, and if you have any resources, interesting pages or book ideas that we don't cover, please let me know so I can check them out before we are ready for them.

With the Paths unit, we are really only working math and English from our Rod & Staff curriculum.  Reading is amply covered in Paths, as well as the various resources I am pulling in, so aside from our Word Mastery or Learning to Read/100 Easy Lessons for the youngers, our full school day is Bible, Math, English, Spanish and Sign Language (a couple times a week) and Paths of Exploration.  Geography, history, writing/copywork/narrations/reports, arts and crafts, science, nature study....these are all well-covered with Paths.  I would like to incorporate some "outdoor survival" skills into the studies as well (we are planning to read Sign of The Beaver as our pm reading...maybe even do Robinson Crusoe or Swiss Family Robinson again, though I thing SFR would work in better later, history-era wise).

The olders will come into the picture from a wider view, reading additional resources focusing on the governmental and civic issues, as well as the religious foundations of the era, besides just main points of American History itself.  There are several resources available through Vision Forum I would like to get for this. I would really like to get this set of American History lectures from them, but we'll see.

The youngest of the group will be worked in with their own lapbook work on alot of the same topics as the "targeted" grade levels are, but honestly, I have a wide variety of ages/grade here with 8 children schooling and no one set of lapbook/notebook units is going to fit everyone across the board.  So, we tweak.  The littles (almost 6yo, 4yo) will be working on the same nature and science goodies, they will get coloring pages and card game fun with Jamestown, pilgrims, Mayflower, Indians etc. to do, they will have similar lapbooks to do, just geared a bit differently than the layout of the curriculum itself.  We love reading, so they will enjoy a coloring page while we read our chapters.  The lapbook "pieces" can help with motor skills like cutting, they will do some printing and lots of coloring.

I have some lapbooks here aleady, and we will see what elements we can pull from them...most of them came free or very inexpensive, through CurrClick and the like.  We have a 17th and 18th Century Life unit, several History Scribes, ideas from Squidoo, HomeschoolShare, a Wordpress blog on Lapbooking (I really like this will be a definite go-to resource!), Lapbook Lessons at Ning, Lapbook Lessons blog, and Homeschool Helper Online, among others.

I know there are alot of folks on the Lapbook bandwagon and I'm merely a late-bloomer with it all, but I'm excited.  If you have children who like projects, hands-on schoolwork, and so on, I don't see why you aren't already lapbooking.  There doesn't have to be a great deal of money spent on fancy unit kits, lapbook bundles, clipart and so forth.  There are just too many free units already laid out, and far too many resources available online to say you can't do it.  And lapbooks are a great way to incorporate several age groups together on similar topics.  Look at us -- we have 17yo, 14yo, 12yo,10yo, 8yo, 7yo, 5yo and 4 yo (give or take, as everyone is about to change-over with a birthday...) all schooling together and we'll be doing alot of notebooking and lapbooking with our units coming up!!

What are you waiting for???

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

BlogShare: Boost for Readers, Word Mastery, American History

Ok, in the technical sense, Boost for Readers is not a is a website.

It's full of goodies to give a boost to young readers.  Pages of word lists, decoding pages, early reader booklets to print as well as 1st grade reader booklets.  There are a lot of useful things there.  We use the spelling lists alot with young readers here.

Along the same lines, Word Mastery is good program for teaching reading, and it's free :o)  In fact, Don Potter has an excellent collection within his Education Pages worth checking out (and printing!).

And one more favorite of mine -- Mr Donn's History Pages.  Obviously, we are looking more into his American History pages right now, but he has several other worth a peek!

Ok, I'm off the computer and back to the task at hand today -- all our Jamestown pages are printed and ready to notebook-up.  I need to lay out all these puzzle pieces....POE Jamestown, POE Pilgrims, indian lapbooking and notebooking units, Pilgrim lapbooking units, early 17th - 18th century life units...and figure out how to fit them all together!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Adding to my POE Jamestown/Colonial links

I thought I was done.  I really did.  I mean, I have units here with notebooking pages, lapbooking components, I have the entire POE unit printed....2 older sets, 2 younger sets, and 2 sets of assorted pages that we can use with David and Emily (trust printer is smokin' after all this printing.  I'm on ink cartridge #3 and I believe paper pack 5, but I lost count on's ALOT...I really need a good duplex printer I think...)

Either way, I stumbled on some more...and I have yet to really sit down with it all and piece it into some coherent footprint for us to use!

Someone want to share with me some good reasons as to why I do this?
Why, when I have a perfectly good curriculum all right in front of me, complete with books, a few projects, all the papers needed, my bookcases full of math and English studies, WHY WHY WHY must I always start tweaking and adding????
What's wrong with being a boxed curriculum sort of mom?
What guilt is there in simply using the curriculum I've paid good money for AS-IS??

Ok.  Doesn't matter now.  I've done strolled 'net land and found things that I simply must add in.  I have found pages of creative, fun, witty homeschool moms sharing such interesting goodies, I just can't avoid the inevitable portion of my nature that causes me to tweak almost endlessly.  There are just too many great ideas out there.  Too many to dismiss.

And after all I've added so are some more:

Our Journey Westward blog...
The 42Explore Thematic Pathfinders site has a great Colonial America page I'll be using to lay things out and glean ideas from...
and this neat yarn boat...sure, it's a sailboat, but that's's going to be our Mayflower anyway!
And a paper mache boat we can easily turn into the Mayflower...

I'm going to have to stop wandering and say enough is enough....stick to what you have...stop looking over the fence at other folks' school yards...

unless, of course, you have some other pages I might want to check out....just to be neighborly, you know...

Craft Recipes: Homemade Glue and Paste

Homemade Paste

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • cold water
Method: Add flour to a sauce pan. Add cold water until a thick cream forms. Simmer on stove for 5 minutes. Warning:This paste takes a long time to dry.

Library Paste   
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. alum
  • 4 cups water
  • 30 drops of oil of cloves
Mix all ingredients in saucepan and cook until clear and thick. Remove from heat and add drops of oil of cloves.

Clear Library Paste   
  • 3/4 cup rice flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 teaspoon oil of witnergreen
Mix rice flour, sugar, and cold water in a pan until smooth. Add boiling water and bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens. Remove from heat and add oil of wintergreen.

Stamp Gum   
  • 1 packet (1/4 ounce) of unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbs. cold water
  • 3 Tbs. boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. white corn syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon or peppermint extract
  • 2 drops boric acid solution
Sprinkle the gelatin into the cold water and wait until softened. Pour softened gelatin into the boiling water, stirring until dissolved. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. When ready to use brush a little to the area that you would like it and let dry. When you need it to stick, moisten it a bit. If the gum dries up in your storage container, just scoop it out into a saucepan and heat it again.

Envelope Mucilage   
  • 6 tablespoons pure white vinegar
  • 4 packets (1 ounce) unflavored gelatin
  • 1 tablespoon peppermint extract
Method: Pour vinegar in a pot and bring to a boil. Add gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Add peppermint extract and stir until thoroughly mixed. And a YouTube for making edible glue of course..

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Note/Lap Booking Resources: templates, supplies, and more!

Templates by Donovan looks to be a promising add on to my growing list of resources!

and a basics and more list of supplies to have handy for notebooking adventures...

More POE Jamestown/Mayflower Notes

Granted, when you go a bout looking at various unit studies, information, resources for extra reading, projects and the like for something like Jamestown and The Mayflower and the Pilgrims, you are pretty much going to find a lot of repeated stuff.  I mean, it's history -- it all happened the way it happened, and folks have been there/done that with lesson plans for years using the same dried up facts.  As they say, there is nothing new under the sun (or under THE SON)...

But, nonetheless, I keep googling under various terms to see what new sites pop up.  And I'll share what I find, repeated projects and information or not, and when our time begins on this path of lessons, we will pick and choose ideas from all of them.  So, here are more "stepping stones" as it were along our Paths of Exploration studies:

Us History Lesson Plans and Resources -- they have links for all time frames, not just Colonial
Carole Hurst Literature Site -- discussion starters, book listings, etc.  We will print her list and check out the library for added reading opportunities
This TeacherLink site has some books and outline ideas based on them
This ProTeacher site has some offerings
EasyFunSchool....of course!
The Teacher's Corner...

HSLDA even has a page of information and links we will be looking into between the Pilgrims and beginning the Revolutionary War

And I keep coming back to Homeschool in The Woods' products, like their History Through The Ages: Time Travelers Colonial Life.  I really think we will order it.  It will add alot to our fun, I'm sure.

Danielle's Place has several craft goodies we will go through and keep bookmarked
The Kids Kreate site is the same...definitely a bookmark page for the littles
Just for fun and future reference, the Craft Tales site offers free projects, start to finish...

There's just so much out there that looks fun!  I need to really lay out a plan before we get started on/around late July!!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Independence Day: Thoughts, Crafts and Food Fun...

We have a short unit study we will be doing for the July 4th "holiday", although I think this year we will be very low-key for the weekend.  Normally we put out a great deal of time...and funds...into a great fireworks show.  We have alot of neighbors who have come to enjoy our display here, and I suppose it's almost a tradition, but not this year.

One, this bi-monthly budget plan I'm working the kinks out of didn't allow for it...
And two, is there really a call for celebration of some level of independence in the United States anymore?  Not to get overly political and all, but really folks...we've leased off, sold out, and otherwise given away our freedoms by allowing the government such a far reach.

But, I digress...Independence Day, 4th of July...Miss Emily's birthday celebration :o)  Miss Emily turns 4 on July 9th, but she fully believes that the fireworks...everyone's fireworks displays...are in celebration of her :o)  We don't correct her -- she's too cute, young, and innocent to have her fireworks bubble burst, just yet.  But, this year will be decidedly more quiet, more prayer-filled...yet full of fun crafts :o)

Here's some of what I've found so far:
The Crafty Crow has several pages of 4th of July craft, here, here and here  and several fun games for any summer fun day.

We'll be making our Amish Sugar Cut-Outs and decorating them with red, white and blue for fun

POE Plans Ahead...

Well, I've run the numbers, um, dates, and we won't be walking along with the Jamestown folks and Pilgrims during (or even just before) Thanksgiving.  Oh's not set in stone that November is the month for Pilgrims, right? (uh...right?)

Here's how it appears to be working out:
Columbus sails off into the bookcase in a couple more weeks
Jamestown, 6 weeks, starting the week of July 19th, ending the week of August 23
The Pilgrims, 6 weeks, Aug. 30-September 27th
Daniel Boone, October 4-Nov 11th
Lewis & Clark, Nov 15-December 20th
a break for alot of Christmas baking and regrouping, and starting with the New Year, we begin the Trails West portion, Jan 3-Feb 7th

That actually works out well.  I will be able to get prepared for buying the Paths of Settlement curriculum next and move on to the Revolutionary Way and Civil War.  And, those dates are really just tentative.  We have been dragging Columbus along like dead weight, but the end is near :o) 
Given plain daily LIFE, we could end up adding time to any (or each) of those 6 week plans, which .  That's just how things happen...we're a large family, canning season is coming, goat breeding is here....just regular life in  any farm family, really. 

Organizing: File Tubs, Crates, Binders and Piles

Which one suits me?  LOL....more often than not it a mish-mash of them all! 

I have LOTS of piles, clipped with one or two binder clips to keep them "together and organized", kept stacked (precariously, at best) on a lower shelf of a bookcase.And, yes....usually forgotten.
I also have several file tubs. Handy they are...practical to store with limited space, not so bad compared to some methods of organizing, but not the greatest either.
File Crates just never did it for me.  They tend to get smooshed -- little ones have trouble "stacking" them back up, you can see into them...we are not Martha Stewart Homeschoolers here, sorry.  We have a very much lived-in house...and equally lived-in/on/around/with bookcases, school areas and school materials.  Open crates, young children,, just doesn't work for me.
I have a 2 drawer file cabinet.  Poor thing is in serious need of cleaning out and maybe attacked with some cool scrapbook papers and a clear coat.  I'd love a wall of 4 drawer cabinets...maybe just 2, but 3 would be ok, too.

Then again, I have bookcases lining what few walls I have here, where would I put a couple of file cabinets? 

So far, what seems to work best, what we keep coming back to, is binders.  I have lots of them (bless you Sam Walton and your "Club" where I can buy bulk binders reasonably priced).  They have a dual purpose for me in that I can select whatever sizes best fit the need -- some unit study selections fit in 1", some lapbooking units need a 2", my own home/school binder needs a honkin' 4" and so on.  The other big draw for me is they fit right along with the books on the shelves.  Already have bookcases...just add binders here and there.

I could see becoming a multi-organizatinal task mistress, though...combining the current notebooks and maybe adding one of those 4-drawer cabinets for the goodies I glean to put into "maybe later" use.  I don't know.  We'll see how that vision works out.

Here are some sites I ran across about organizing:
Sunflower School House -- I have a wonderful pack here, Memory Verse Pack, Vol. 1 that we are implementing (finally...I just discovered it...bundled with a binder clip on a lower shelf!)
Sunflower Faith has at least one good post on organizing...I can't wait to check it out more.
By Sun and Candlelight has a good post...another site I'll be checking back with many times
Donna Young's site...if she doesn't have a form you want, you just plain don't need it!

I'm sure there are plenty more...share the sites or blog posts you have found useful for setting up (or discarding) your own organizational system!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

POE: Jamestown, The Mayflower, Pilgrims, etc.

While I'm waiting on a mega download of new printer drivers for this mini (I love this thing, but oh how I miss having a disk drive!!!!) I started scanning around for some extra books to add to our coming Jamestown portion of Paths of Exploration study. Here's what I have so far -- if anyone has any favorites or other suggestions, do share!!
(I may come back to this same page and update things...any changes will be marked in red text)

Almost Home: A Story Based on The Life of The Mayflower's Mary Chilton, Wendy Lawton (A Daughters of The Faith series)
The Captive Princess: A Story Based on The Life of Young Pocahontas, Wendy Lawton (a Daughters of The Faith series)
Blood on The River: James Town, 1607, Elisa Carbone
Surviving Jamestown: The Adventures of Sam Collier, Gail Karwoski
1607: A New Look at Jamestown, Karen Lange
The Lost Colony of Roanoke, Jean Fritz
Mystery of the Lost Colony (Roanoke), Lee Miller
Pocahontas, Joseph Bruchac  (and later, for Lewis & Clark: Sacajawea, by him as well)
The Landing of The Pilgrims, James Daugherty
A Gathering of Days, Joan W. Blos
The Story of Liberty: So You Will Comprehend What Liberty Has Cost...And What It's Worth, Charles Carleton Coffin
Mayflower 1620: A New Look at a Pilgrim Voyage, Peter Arenstam
Tapenum's Day: A Wampanoag Indian Boy's Day in Pilgrim Times, Kate Waters
   We will probably check out Sarah Morton's Day and Samuel Eaton's Day, and On The Mayflower as well...they are favorites!)
Three Young Pilgrims, Cheryl Harness
The Mayflower and The Pilgrim's New World, Nathaniel Philbrick
Squanto: Friend of The Pilgrims and A Lion To Guide Us, Clyde Robert Bulla
Stories of The Pilgrims, Margaret B. Pumphrey
A Journey To The New World: The Diary of Remember Patience Whipple, Mayflower 1620 (a Dear America series)
The Starving Time: Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary (A My America series), Patricia Hermes
Sign of The Beaver, Elizabeth George Speare is a great read-aloud
The Felicity series (American Girls)
We have selected chapters in This Country of Ours, H.E. Marshall (parts 2 & 3 for sure...) and
The Story of The World, vol. 3 (chapter 15+)
I'd like to check into the Besty Maestro series of history stories as well...
And maybe some of the various "If You Lived..." books that would coincide with our studies...

We might find something worth using on Wowio, to use as well.

I am interested in The Colonial Life set from Homeschool In The Woods, but I don't know if we'll order it. I have a couple other unit study/lapbook sets here already that will probably prove more than enough. We have a History Scribe set on Indians we can pull some pages from, as well as a 17th Century Life lapbook set. I just love CurrClick!
Highland Heritage Homeschool has a unit on Colonial America...among several other great pages!
Learning Through History Newsletter, Pocahontas Study
Instructor Web, Jamestown Lesson Plan

We will definitely be creating the Jamestown Replica!
Colonial Craft Day
Ye Olde Colonial Craft Book (probably give the entire site a good once over with the children)
A Book In Time has some crafting ideas, as well as a great listing of books, ideas and the like: The 1600's, The 1700's, The 1800's, The 1900's
I'd like to add the books in the Hands-On America series to our home library....crafts and handwork projects covering all peoples, countries and such. 
Suite 101 has some links I want to check out, even if just to glean more ideas
The Teen listing at LibraryPoint

Old Time Radio Shows has several You Are There programs to listen to as well...great resource!
Edupicks is a terrific coloring page, timeline art, etc. site.  They have EVERYTHING, I swear!
Passport To Colonial Times site...looks really neat, we might do this.

POE Work quick update

We are over halfway through Columbus, and I think we might break between so that we are in Jamestown during late October and November, to tie in some craft fun with pilgrims and Thanksgiving.  I need to get it laid out and run the calender first.

I ordered several mini units through CurrClick today and they look to be fun additions to our full unit here. I have also set up my list over at Homeschool in The Woods and we will be getting their Colonial Life Time Travelers History Study unit as well.

Has anyone ever used the Homeschool in The Woods products?  What about History Pockets?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Paths of Exploration: Jamestown

Gathering some ideas to supplement our next unit in Paths...

Hotchalk Lesson Plans on Jamestown
     JamesQuest has some wonderful links I'm sure we'll put to use
Homeschool In The Woods has several great products we have been talking about trying out...a replica of Jamestown to put together, and a whole slew of Time Travelers packs...
Creative Learning Connection has a couple we are pondering...Jamestown The Birth of a Nation, Jamestown Lapbook components....looks like a neat site to order from.

We will probably go back and look around at Sea Scholars Lessons Plans, too.

Various sub-topics will include things like oceans and seas, Queen Elizabeth I, Sir Walter Raleigh, the Lost Colony at Roanoke, lifestyle during the 1600's (dress, everyday life, customs, religions, etc).  And, of course, look at native tribes and Indians (who studies the Pilgrims without reading about Pocahontas??)

We will be studying climates, elevation, physical maps, latitude/longitude, comparing the climate of England with that of Seattle, Washington.  We will continue with clouds and wind currents, water cycles, evaporation and such.  And mammals of all kinds, which will work into our drawing and nature notebooks.

Paths of Exploration: Christopher Columbus

We're doing more on oceans, salt water, navigation, parts of ships, types of ships (caravels and a nao).  We are going to read Carry On, Mr. Bowditch in another week or so, studying navigation techniques again; etc. We found a neat page called The Times of Mr. Bowditch.

We'll look into several tropical areas -- Jamaica, Canary Island, Cuba, San Salvador, the Azores, Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Puerto Rico...studying aspects of a tropical island life, such as flora and fauna, native dress and customs, and so forth.

We'll be looking at a study of wind currents, clouds, and sea/ocean life.

Here are some pages we're using or have used:
Columbus' Ships
Sailing into the 19th Century
Sea Scholars Lessons Plans...a variety we have/will put to use

We are growing a bit weary of Christopher Columbus to tell the truth, and we will finish his adventures, but bring on Jamestown!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sumer Schooling: Crafty Round-Up

We don't actually "summer school" here, but we do school all year, so I suppose that is summer school, heh?

While working on this and that today I came across a great blog called Creative Jewish Mom.  Wow!  What fun she shares.  Homemade Water Colors are definitely coming to this schooling experience this week!  Homemade Puff Paints, too.  Or a cute little Matchbox Chest of Drawers.

Some fun Ruby Dolls...I could see these done up perhaps in costume following our current study (right now with Paths, it's Columbus, Marco Polo, China, Italy, etc.).

Perhaps some creative Stained Glass Melts...

For some fun sewing (perhaps to add to my Farm market list, who knows?) there is a really cute Reversible Bonnet pattern here...And she has a really neat notebook and pencil holder I'd like to do as well.

Some really neat veggie can crafts....and recycling pop cans into a neat mobile.

Modge Podge and food coloring!  Imagine the possibilities!

A Gazing Ball for the garden...made from styrofoam???  My mom has managed to break like 3 gazing balls lately.  This could be just the thing for her :o)

Friday, May 14, 2010

And More Goodies...

Ok, everyone knows about Project Gutenberg...we just printed off This Country of Ours by H.E. Marshall to add to our reading with the Paths curriculum.  You knew I'd keep hunting, didn't you?  I can never just get a curriculum and leave it as it stands.  No, I'm weird.  Gotta always tweak and adjust.

Well, after This Country of Ours, I moved along to The Baldwin Project and The Story of The Worlds, by M.B. Synge.  The second volume, The Discovery of New Worlds, has a lot of good reading for explorers, including more on Columbus.  The first volume, On The Shores of The Great Sea, we've already read through with some ancient history.  There are 5 volumes...(3) The Awakening of Europe, (4)The Struggle for Sea Power (5)Growth of The British Empire.

As we move on through Paths, we'll go back and grab other books...James Otis...Richard of Jamestown is a fun reader for the youngers.

I'll probably add more to this post as I wind through the various books available at The Baldwin Project.

A Moral Alphabet is fun...goofy, but fun...
America First...
American History Stories, Vol I  II  III  IV...
A First Book in American History...
Historical Tales, Vol I  II...there are also volumes on Greek, Spanish, Roman, Japanese, English, German, etc.
Several volumes of Streams of History by Ellwood W. Kemp

Gearing up: Things we're planning, help we need

I don't have a world map.  How sad is that?  I have US maps, nice outline blank maps, full page size, not too compressed you can't read them. I even have a large US map on our bulletin board.  But when I need a world map, do I have one?  Shoot no.  What kind of homeschool mom am I?

So, scanning the 'net today we are in search of compass crafts and activities, Columbus fun, and a blank, printable world map we can put in our notebooks.  We have to mark Genoa Italy, show Spain, route some of Columbus' voyages....all mappy things.

We found some, but not quite what I want...I'm dealing with youngers who need a lot less detail and a bit more space to color and mark things.  Of course, the olders could stand a lot of detail, but still...this one-room schoolhouse has issues with combining lessons.

National Geographic:  Xpeditions  
National Geographic site also has lesson fact, when we get to Lewis & Clark, we'll be back for more fun!
National Geographic also has a MapMachine site

AOL @ School site...lots of stuff, but maps are what I went for...I'll definitely be back as their selection of goodies is huge!  Like under Explorers, there's a nice section on Christopher Columbus...
World Atlas site
for books and such on mapping and related activities, there is also A Book in Time...they sell several books on all sorts of subjects.
an illustrated guide to using a compass...we'll read this along with other things
GISnet has a nice page on the origins of the compass and a study on the 32 compass points we'll check out as well
Of course, the curriculum included the 1911 Boy Scout handbook...plenty of decent orienteering notes there.
Theodora's offers several map selections, print and purchase both

We're pretty much ready to go with the Paths curriculum and will probably do some reading and checking things out this afternoon to start tomorrow.  I've printed off the first 2 weeks of student sheets and gathered some coloring pages and Bible sheets for the youngers, our books are ready, our notebooks set up, and but for that world map I've yet to find, we are good to!

Here's what I shared yesterday when the books arrived:
New Books: our Paths of Exploration set arrived this morning! Ahhh, the book junkie in me is feeling quite satisfied right now :o)
I have a nice, tightly bound new Handbook of Nature Study. I have discovered the Reader's Digest North American Wildlife book. How we have crept along homeschooling without that beauty is beyond me. It's my new definite "must have" title now.
We have several other titles that will make a great addition to our homestead library here. I didn't see a dud in the bunch.
And somehow I totally missed that the POE texts were hardcover. Hardcover. We love the sturdiness of hardcover books here. Considering they need to last thru several children, hardcover is always what I try to search out. I never paid any attention to the main texts in the curriculum being hardbound.
I'm over the moon :o)
I've already maxed out the ink cartridge printing student sheets, supplements for David and Emily that flow along with the week's work, Bible sheets, and a copy of the week at a glance checklist. We are doing over the binders we had for Nim's Island and other projects and if I can contain myself, we will start Monday morning. Most likely we will start tomorrow :o)
I'd start now, but I suppose that is just a tad over zealous, beginning at nearly 8 pm, heh?
Our day will mesh like this:
Math lessons
main English lesson
Light for the Trail (Bible study)
Paths of Exploration...
We'll have copywork/dictation/narration work, reading aloud, word study, geography, writing (reports and creative), art projects/skills, country/state studies (we will tie in the Trail Guide to US Geography later with this).
I don't have a laminated world map. I'll have to get one at Books-A-Million next week. Wish we had done it -- Dewey was planning to take a World map and US map, place them back to back between thin plexiglass and seal them up so we had a true write on/wipe off map instead of changing ours out all the time. Oh well...we'll be ready to put one together now :o)
We'll be mapping the journeys, countries of origin and destination for Columbus. We have 6 weeks of his era, then off to Jamestown, the pilgrims and more!
I'm really enjoying the looks of the Paths curriculum so far. I think I've read pretty much the entire first volume since it arrived this morning :o) We like the flow of the Trail Guide to US Geography, aand this is rather similar. It's set up mainly for a typical 3rd-4th-5th grade run, but we will be tweaking (as usual) to include Jacob (8), KatiAnne (7), David (5) and Emily (almost 4).
The olders will also participate, with deeper work on the same topics in the history and science areas especially. We will find additional titles for them...any suggestions? We're looking for upper elementary and high school reading. Historical fiction is fine, biographies are better :o)
*Lewis & Clark expedition
*Johnny Appleseed
*Daniel Boone
*Westward Expansion
And perhaps some thoughts on crafts/skills/projects for the olders as well :o)
You can look over the areas of exploration at Paths of Exploration 
scroll down and you can read all that's offered in this comprehensive Ruth Beechick/CM style curriculum, including the future additions coming out!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Have I mentioned needing some accountability in my life?

We are so close to "finishing" school for the season, even though I don't school to a calender really.  We school year-round here, changing grade levels as the time comes, in various subjects.

However, calender schooling or not, I can always use accountability to keep me spurred along.  As I mentioned, we now have Prepare and Pray and Blessed Assurance to start delving into, and by the week's end we will have Paths of Exploration, the first of the Learning Adventures series, as well as Light for The Trail Bible study.  I hopped onto Amazon and found hardcover unabridged copies of The Swiss Family Robinson, Robinson Crusoe, The Sign of The Beaver...and added in the Nourishing Traditions and the Traditional Foods cookbooks for good measure.  Can't always fit things into the budget, but when I can without stress and strain, it's time to go for it.

So, I've looked over Prepare and Pray/Blessed Assurance....and I'm leaning toward starting backwards.  yeah, don't I always go against the flow? We are wanting a bit of a lighter reading as we get our feet wet this summer.  The Sign of The Beaver, moving off into Robinson Crusoe, sounds like something more doable at this point.  Then we can shift gears again and go for The Swiss Family Robinson.  Am I wrong in thinking that way?  Should I just buckle up and go along with the designed flow?

Then again...I do have the Paths coming....maybe we should just start there.

LOL...I'm nothing but indecision.  I think too much for everyone's good I believe.

The general days will play out like this...
Rod & Staff math lessons, flashcards, review sheets, etc.
Rod & Staff English lessons, Working with Words
Our Bible will flow mainly from the lessons of the unit studies...there are memorization passages, Scriptural notes, character traits, and with Paths, we have Light for the Trail.
There are all manner of trails to follow on both unit studies...
under Science you have animal studies, clouds, weather patterns, levers and simple machines, outdoor activities (building shelters, rafts, camp items, etc)
and History is covered, obviously...
The olders have the CLE Home Ec series to finish through as well...

That gives us a rounded program I believe.  I can easily work the youngers in with alternate stories and coloring pages, and we like reading aloud, and narration times.  I think we can easily work the olders in, focusing more along the history sides and science trails with a bit more indepth work on their part.  I don't believe for one minute that being written for "grade such and such thru such and such" locks me in in any way, shape or form.  Adjustments are always there if you want them.  I have ages 3 1/2 on up to 17...I always make adjustments to include everyone in as many areas as I can.  I have to.  There's only one of me and 8 of them.  I'm out-numbered!

So...what do you think?  On top of all this, I have a 17 yo not the least interested in finishing her assigned graduate work, and a 14 year old determined to graduate by years' end.  Always something tossing rocks in my road I guess.

Paths of Exploration unit...

I broke down and ordered it.  I've wanted it for some time now.  We have really enjoyed GeoMatters' Trail Guide to US Geography, and wanted more like it.

I'm becoming a unit study junkie, I think.

We ordered the complete unit, text and all resources.  I needed another copy of The Handbook of Nature Study as ours is pretty much nothing but duct tape and prayer binding at this point.  Wonder if I can get it spiral bound?  It's rather thick...probably not.  And I really wanted most of the resources they use for our own shelves.  I like reading for fun sorts of books, but I want a library built on resources and references, with fun fictional reading added as a secondary focus, not as our primary focus.

So, between Pray and Prepare, Blessed Assurance and Paths to Exploration I think we have another year covered pretty well.  Math continues along, as does core English work (spelling work, parts of speech, etc) and areas of bunny trailing as usual.

Maybe I can stick to it for a while...?

Prepare and Pray unit study curriculum

An online friend, Beth from Northern Sky Art, loaned us her copy of the unit study Prepare and Pray! and it arrived today.

We have long looked at this unit as something we would like.  We enjoy the Swiss Family Robinson book, so what's better than the story and some learning fun along with it?

A vital part of any well rounded education will include emergency preparedness. This extensive, yet practical hands-on course will equip the participants to be ready to face whatever the future brings, while always acknowledging the True Source of our well being: God Himself!

A 36 week literary unit study designed for the whole family, toddler through resident Grandma and teaches a confident, positive approach to impending difficulties using simple resources and family teamwork. Fear is not the object of this study, but it is our desire to stimulate a watchful, prudent attitude which will equip children and parents to develop untapped abilities, press through physical limitations, and respond reasonably and scripturally to threatening situations and the challenges of end-times living.

Learn outdoorsmanship, survival skills, and sustainable living skills from a practical academic course for all ages 3-103!

Based on the Swiss Family Robinson , a classic novel for children written by Johann (David) Wyss, a radical believer who used every available opportunity in the story to emphasize character training and true godliness. The written original version has little or nothing in common with the Disney version. There are no pirate battles, squabbles over a flirtatious young lady, or allowances for laziness. The curriculum was originally developed in 1997, has been widely and successfully distributed, with endorsements from many homeschooling veterans, experts, and publications. It was never intended as a "y2k" curriculum, as we have clearly and repeatedly stated that judgment upon the ungodliness of our nation could clearly take many unpredictable forms. So we cover a variety of scenarios, including natural disasters, economic downturns, terrorism, plague, etc. It is a miracle, but we have managed to develop a curriculum preparing for these events that children and families consider fun! Your child's life may depend on skills he learns while having fun.

Sounds like something right op our alley!  I can't wait to really dig in and read through the unit and make some plans.  There is another one we may go for once this is over...Blessed Assurance, based on The Sign of The beaver and Robinson Crusoe as its text.
Blessed Assurance! is based upon The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare and Robinson Crusoe, the timeless classic by Daniel Defoe. These books were chosen for a distinctive purpose. As Prepare and Pray! developed the foundation for family teamwork in preparation for perilous times using Swiss Family Robinson, the stories chosen as the foundation for Blessed Assurance prepare your children to develop independent skills and a very personal relationship of trust in their Redeemer. In preparation for a life of responsibility during increasingly difficult days, these stories focus on characters who must stand alone, remain loyal to what is right and true, and rely upon resourcefulness and prayer to solve a multitude of problems.

The Sign of the Beaver is the story of thirteen year old Matt, a colonial American boy who is left alone on a n undeveloped homestead in the Maine wilderness, while his father is delayed in returning with his mother and sister. To survive, he learns to cooperate with a Native American tribe who teach him many skills in exchange for lessons in reading using a Bible and Robinson Crusoe. He has many adventures and the story is one the whole family will enjoy. Part Two in Blessed Assurance proceeds into reading the true story of Robinson Crusoe, the story of a young man who rebels against the guidance of his parents and reaps catastrophic consequences. He winds up on a deserted island, repents of his sin, comes into an intimate place of fellowship with the Savior where he no longer feels profound loneliness, and becomes skilled in primitive self -sufficiency. He is faced with issues as varied as self-defense, racial prejudice, and assurance of salvation. Blessed Assurance is designed to build character in your sons and wisdom in daughters who must also learn to make an independent stand for truth and honor in these last days.

LOL:...I'm such a dolt!  I stopped and looked over the binders Beth sent and BOTH units are there!!!  Prepare and Pray and Blessed Assurance both waiting for me to notice!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Oh Boy!!! This is great!

I know...everyone knew about this but me, right?  I have downloaded soooo many audiobooks this afternoon I've got to be smokin' the site!  They are available in ITunes and MP3 format.

Books Should Be Free

oh my gosh -- the children's selection alone is burning up my computer!

This Country of Ours, H.E. Marshall
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Tom Saywer
Huckleberry Finn

And History --
Our Island Story is just a good read
 Story of The Middle Ages, Samuel B. Harding
James Otis....Richard of Jamestown,  Ruth of Boston
G.A. Henty titles as well!

I will spend a lot more time there for sure.  I'm tickled Jennifer shared this link!!!!  I had no idea about's that cave I live in.  I need to get out more, heh?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Insects: Grasshoppers and Crickets and more

Here we go...insects.  We're starting with some grasshoppers, and other "straight-wings" like mantids, walking sticks, katydids, cockroaches, and crickets.

Seems it will be a high year for grasshoppers up in Saskatchewan...

Here's a basic information page on grasshoppers (there are pages for crickets as well there) from the University of Arizona Center for Insect Science Education Outreach...

The Handbook of Nature Study Blog also has pages for crickets here.  Barb shares a neat YouTube of a cricket singing here.  And the Handbook itself has a large selection of insects for us to cover:  grasshoppers pgs. 338-341, crickets pgs. 344-348,  walking sticks pgs. 402-403, and katydids pgs. 343-344.

 And a video on raising crickets...and making your own Cricket Keeper...

And some of the units already shared out there we will be using and touching on...
This Homeschool Share page has several insects we'll look through and print what we want to use
Here is the unit put together on insects in general by Oklahoma Homeschool page
Enchanted Learning Pages for are the assorted bug/insect pages
Bug Finder...identify those bugs in your yard ;o)
Nature Songs...songs and calls of all sorts of insects

Plenty to keep us busy.  We're thinking 2 weeks in this section of "bugs" then on to others...maybe Bees nest.  We have plenty of those around right now.


History, Science and Unit Studies...

If you know anything about me from the regular blog, then you already know, I'm put it loosely.  Really loosely. (LOL...that just doesn't seem grammatically correct there, but you get the idea...)

I am settled, happily, with Math and Grammar, spelling, Bible,  and so forth.  We are using Rod & Staff and it's working really well for us.  I know some folks don't like it, but that's what "homeschooling" is all about, right -- the choices are in the thousands for style and materials.  My 'home' isn't your 'home' in the schooling realm anymore than it is in the decorating realm, the meal planning realm and so on.  Ahhh, the colors of life :o)

Go figure...I digress...

While my core there might be settled and content, the various off-shoots to complete a rounded sort of education are most certainly not.  This is where the eclectic comes into play.  I'm all over the place with science and history topics here.  It isn't that they aren't important to our schooling really, but more like they just seem to drag us down.  It's all in the method, I know.  My method just isn't interesting I guess.  We really are a rather boring family here, just mundane daily stuff.  We hit on a gold strike every so often, but by and large, we are just plain vanilla folks here.  The schooling tends to be the same way, at least with science and history.

But, that really does have to change.  And it should at some point before ALL of them leave the school of the dining room table, don't you think?

Take History, for example.  Where do you begin?  If I flow with the interest level here, we will certainly miss a lot of history.  This family lives in the 1860's.  Always has.  We don't mind a good mummy now and then, maybe a pyramid or something, and even a Torrey thrown in for good measure.  But something as long and extended as several weeks of them?  No, but thank you for asking.  It's just not our cup of tea.  Give us the Civil War/War Between the States, we're there.  Give us the Westward Expansion, we're johnny pioneer ready with the wagon train.  Hey, toss in a Little House on The Prairie or even one of the old Bonanza episodes and we're yours, 100% attention included.  We're Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Trigger, The Lone Ranger and Tonto, The Gold Rush, The Donner Party, The Pony Express.  We don't even mind venturing a bit farther back and picking up a pilgrim, those lost folks at Roanoke, or even Daniel Boone.  Bring em' along!  It'll be a hoot-nanny of grand proportions :o)

But to stick with pyramids, Pharaohs, ancient Mesopotamia for more than a week at best, I don't know.  We like our prairie land.  Deserts just aren't our dessert tray.

But look at all the HISTORY we miss that way!  We miss Cleopatra.  We miss the intricacies of King Tut and that awesome tomb.  We miss mummies and cats...and the Cat of Bubastes!  We miss dinosaurs.  We miss huge bugs and various ecosystems I know these guys would find an interest in.  I may not be a desert person myself, but when you start talking weird bugs of the desert, my brood would be all over it and wanting to cover the yard in sand to build their own biodome on the homestead. 

Maybe not for 6 weeks or so,  but still.

History connects.  And Science does too.  They interlock with each other.  You can sort of force a connection with grammar, spelling and math, but really, history and science just snap together very easily, truly effortlessly.  Even for me, who isn't totally in love with the pair as a whole.  And by skipping through the part of history we really really love, we are missing out on a lot of science and creating rather large gaps in our learning. 

I'm looking at unit studies to help with these areas.  I love the idea of unit studies, and am beginning to grow some really nice appendages there for the concept of notebooking and lapbooking in terms of putting some FUN into history and science studies.  We already enjoy using some of the 'units' or challenges over at Handbook of Nature Study blog.  That is by and large one of THE BEST books I've ever bought.  I can't imagine anyone schooling, or just being outside, without a copy.  We like to choose from the resources and ideas of a  more Charlotte Mason-style method, using Ambleside Online for nature studies, as well as other areas.  And I've been really looking over my resources here for a full history plan, incorporating some science as it comes along (no, we probably won't be mummifying anything other than maybe the stray doll...).  In the resource department, I have alot here really.  Even a stash of worksheets and information bites perfect for lapbooking.  And I do think we could find plenty of enjoyment with it all.  Ancient stuff, that is.  I like antiques ;o)

When  I look around at scheduling ideas for history, I pretty much find the same thing...a rotation of 4 to 6 years, building one upon the other.
Ambleside/Charlotte Mason:
Year 1 -- early history, focusing on people rather than events
Year 2 -- 1000 AD - Middle Ages
Year 3 -- 1400 - 1600 (Renaissance to Reformation)
Year 4 -- 1700's up to the French Revolution and American Revolution
Year 5 -- 1800 to 1920 up to WWI
Year 6 -- end of WWI to present day, then a term in ancient history
Year 7 -- 800-1400's Middle Ages (Alfred, King Arthur, Joan of Arc)
Year 8 -- 1400-1600's (Reniassance to Reformation)
Year 9 -- 1688-1815 including French and American revolutions
Year 10 -- 1815-1901 including the American Civil War
Year 11 -- 20th Century
Year 12 -- ancient history
 And you HAVE to check our Oklahoma Homeschool site...great ideas and resources to get me off and running.  We will be using their suggestions alot.

History/Geography-Year 1
Ancient World History: Creation, Ancient Middle East, Ancient China, Mayas, Incas
(9 wks)
Ancient World History: Egypt (9 wks)
US History: Early Settlements, Pilgrims (9 wks)
US History: Colonial Days (9 wks)
Beginning Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 2
Ancient World History: Greece (9 wks)
Ancient World History: Rome (9 wks)
US History: American Revolution (9 wks)
US Government: Presidents, Government, Elections (9 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 3
World History: Middle Ages (12 wks)
World History: Renaissance, Reformation (12 wks)
US & World History: Explorers (12 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 4
World History: 1700-1800 (6 wks)
US History: Westward Expansion & Frontier (6 wks)
Oklahoma History (18 wks)
US Geography (6 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/GeographyYear 5
World History: 1800 - 1900 (6 wks)
World Geography—Eastern Hemisphere (6 wks)
US History: Civil War & Reconstruction (12 wks)
US & World History - Industrial Revolution, Prohibition, Labor Unions (12 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

History/Geography-Year 6
US & World History - World War I (3 wks)
US & World History - Stock Market Crash, World War II, Depression, New Deal (6 wks)
US & World History - Korean War, Cold War, Civil Rights, 1950-1960’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Vietnam War, 1960-1970’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Space Race, 1970’s-1980’s (3 wks)
US & World History - Middle East Conflict, 1990's - current (6 wks)
World Geography—Western Hemisphere (6 wks)
Mapping Skills & Current Events

Notice the point??  Durn history starts at the ancients...we have to study them. We don't get a full view of the world without them  And I have several texts here...including the first volume of Mystery of History, sad to say we've never really put it to good use.  We've read it, just never really taken it to any hands-on level.  I'm a curriculum junkie.  I like the security of having books available...I just don't use them as well as they should be used.  Their full potential is just lost here most the time.

What resources do you have for units on History and Science?  How do you use them in your day to day schooling?  What is your science plan?  Where is your history going?  I need some help here!  :o)  Share!!!