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Monday, November 14, 2011

Busy but not forgotten

Wow time makes short work of itself when one is busy. I have been under the weather waiting for a surgery date to have my gall bladder removed. With that in mind school has been going full tilt for quite some time. I realize pictures of work have been lacking. So I intend to take more in the next few days and post here. We have been steadily crafting for the past few weeks for the first fundraising event for our association. One may ask why fundraise if you homeschool. Well as a more isolated community we felt it would be a great way to raise money for out of town field trips. Other then that we are heading into the holiday season at what feels a bit like a race to me. Time getting things done can be tricky. After the craft show, I have a baby shower I am doing all the baking for, and then a homeschool Christmas party I am organizing with a friend. After that I intend to change schooling gears. Having focused so much on the book work I would like to take a more relaxed approach through the holidays. I am going to make a healthy eating lapbook for the kids to do for school. The winter brings longer days inside and so I have many things to in the cupboard to keep us educationally challenged through the winter days. I have been thinking of something like board game days, or school with us days to keep the interest going. Just a moderate plan to break up the long winter days. Not sure how I would work it entirely. But I digress. I mainly wanted to post so that my readers know I haven't forgotten about blogging despite my busy schedule. So stay tuned for pics of upcoming events.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Check New Links

You may or may not have noticed we are featuring new links every week on the sidebar. These are sites I have found to be of higher quality. I hope also you are checking the links on our subject pages. I just added a few links to craft sites and hope to add more in the next few days. So be sure to come back and check out some pretty amazing sites.
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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Life Goes On...

Bumps in the road of life aren't uncommon. When I face a bump, I face a choice, the choice to ride the bump out or to try to dig a way around it. I have found riding it out is usually the best policy. So that cryptic remark aside I have decided to delete my long winded and likely boring rant.

Instead I would like to turn back to the real point of my blog. Sharing with all my friends and family parts of my life and our homeschooling journey.

Today was a bad day. I found out I need surgery. I had a horrible night and life goes on. So I didn't miss the opportunity to school. Such freedom it is to see the kids faces light up with new knowledge. My daughter said her favorite subjects are now math and french. In math she is completing basic geometery so I think her new found love of it is because she likes not having to do more additon. And in french having ditched the dry program that had them glazed over I have gone back to making my own curriculum. So she is loving the more fun and creative approach. This is saying a lot really because just a month ago she was groaning about how much she hated school no matter where or how or what was done. I am impressed and pleased to see her start to show some interest. She is now trying harder to practice her reading as well which is terrific and I am seeing a marked improvement there.

Ds is struggling with probability theory in the AI class. Well... so are we it is one of the hardest things I think to learn and I am just proud that he is interested enough to try. That said we are working on catching up in English and Math.

The kids have started a wonderful little bird unit for biology. We are using the coloring pages from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. After the pages are colored and answered we are making little birds nests to depict what style of nest each bird has. At the front of the study I printed outline maps for them to use overlays with to show the range of each bird. And we are using the DK bird study books as well. All in all it may be a long unit but it is proving to be rather enjoyable. I am looking forward to getting to the bird anatomy with them.

Our homeschool association has decided to try to fundraise through a craft/bake sale for the holidays. As we live in a rather isolated area new field trips can be hard to find once all the main ideas have been done. So this is hopefully going to help us rent a bus and take it farther afield. Either way the kids are happy to see the crafting materials come out again. And I am loving the feeling of sewing by hand. Something I can only really get into during the shorter days of the year.

Still I have more planning for the school year and more to tell you...but for now I have a family who wants me.
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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fall Things

It's been busy. The kick off for our homeschool association went wonderfully despite the threat of rain. Our game of capture the flag in the woods was really enjoyed by all. The smaller kids made a pumpkin craft. When it was time to leave we handed out handmade treat boxes filled with goodies from the Oriental Trading Company.
I wish I had taken more pictures of the event but mostly it slipped my mind. If there is ever a next time I think getting a person to photograph the event would be helpful. So often as a hostess we forget to take pictures of the minute details that make the party up.

Hubby had been out of work for the past few weeks. Which is ok he used the time to get caught up with friends and to have me write up a 'honey do' list. The list sits on the fridge.....need I say more. Last night he had a job interview and got the job so we are really thrilled.

Kids are doing really well in school if we overlook the grumbling at times over having to school. I think sometimes as a homeschool parent I feel the need for stucture more then they do. I need to reaccess my methods at the end of this term to see if this 'school at home' approach is really working for us. I think I may spend the winter doing a more Charlotte Mason approach and see where that takes us. Fun is in the flexibility and the ability to experiment to find the right fit for us. I will also like to add that I am personally rather disappointed in the Donna Ward unit Courage and Conquests. It lists the books she used to create the unit. Well number one not all the books are available to me at our local library. And number two the lessons are too short and not very interesting for people who like more hands on activities included. So I have been adding a lot to the kids lessons to help make them more interesting. However I have found lesson planning has gone far smoother then the years past where I made up all of the curriculum for the kids. Also son is now plateauing on his TT's and needs more review of his calculations before he can progress successfully in the program. So we are taking a couple of weeks off from it to do just that. Both of the children are doing wonderfully with their cursive work and I hope that by the end of this year I can have DS doing his copywork in all cursive for me. French is another area of disappointment though. The curric I bought is just not working. It's too dry and the lessons lack the repitition needed for young kids to gain a working knowledge of the material. One worksheet per lesson does not reinforce enough in my opinion the lesson.  When I purchase a curriculum I would expect it to take the work of making these add ins up off of me. And although the customer service was outstanding it took a nasty turn when they decided to lambast my personal blogging. So I have left their name out and consider my business with them concluded. I hope not all curriculum companies are so touchy about one persons personal opinion being shared with other people. If my personal opinion effects their sales that much then I hold far more power then I ever realized with my small following. Sigh I guess it's true what they say you certainly can't please everyone. I know I am not pleased with that company or their curriculum.

With the Canadian Thanksgiving looming we feel the pressure to winterize outside. My pondfish need removing and rehoming. I don't even know how many are left after we put so many in the spring and they disappeared into the weeds at the bottom. And with Hubby's new job it may take him out of town so the weekend is likely to be busy packing things away from the yard.

I would like to wish all of our readers a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend even if you aren't celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend we can always find something to be thankful for.

I am thankful for God,
my hubby,
my kids,
my parents,
my friends,
 and for this life in a wonderful country.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Busy, Busier, Busiest.

Wow fall has me jumping loops. I have been schooling with kids, out canoeing with family, getting ready for the homeschool association annual kickoff event which I am heading, preparing pickles, jams and so on, sewing away the wee small hours, and in all of this trying to have some sense of normalcy. Ha!
So I regret I can't post much new here as I just have to much on my plate right now. I will be sure to catch you all up in the beginning of next week after the kickoff.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Please Vote.

The Northern Ontario Homeschool Convention needs voters now that the logo contest has closed. They will accept entries up until Friday but voting is already underway. Take the time to hop over and place your vote. Voting closes Sept 16th 2011. www.northernontariohsconvention.com
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Most Useful. And Update.

First quickly for those of you pondering whether or not you should take the Stanford Robotics Course, they have informed the over 100,000 students that they are breaking it into basic and advanced. The basic class will be multiple choice quizzes and the advanced will have assignments. We officially booked for the basic class and I can't wait for Oct 10th to get knee deep in studying with DS, 8. Both classes will earn you a certificate of accomplishment.

I had a brainwave as I usually do with idle time. I am going to be adding to the side column a weekly link. I have been finding some wonderful new ones in the pursuit of educating the kids. I think some of them need to be featured. So enjoy them and have fun learning this year with your students!
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Saturday, September 3, 2011

Two Weeks In.

We have started our school year. And two weeks in I am counting my lucky stars that I have such wonderful student's of course but also that I purchased some curriculum to speed things along. Last year's disorganization is proving to be a thing of the past. No more messy stacks of paper that I am shuffling around during school having implemented the use of a file folder for any subject sheets, lessons and so on. Its divided into subjects and students so I can easily pull them out. I just have to make sure I take the time each weekend to prepare for the following week. On my printed lesson plan/outline for the week I make notations of what they need to improve, what we didn't finish etc...Then at the end of each week I type the file notes to the saved outline and then make up a fresh one using the same outline. Very much a fill in the blanks approach. I know I don't need to keep track because we have no reporting in the Province of Ontario but I like to do it for my personal reasons.
I love the Teaching Textbooks math I got for Ds and he loves it too. It's fun for him and lightens my workload a lot. I found though I am short when it came to Dd's math in the way of workbooks. So I have made up a workbook using pages from the free math program site. I find this site very comprehensive for math lessons.
Moving into the Canadian studies has been quite a challenge. We are starting with the provinces and looking at them in a superficial way. Where are they, what are the capitols, provincial flags, birds and flowers. Each week they take turns drawing a province outline and cutting it out. They stick a star on the capital and then label the province. We tack them up and when we are finished all the provinces we will use them as an abstract puzzle of sorts. I will have them lay them out in order to see how much information they have retained. Then when they are together we will likely add more information to our map land regions, major rivers, etc...
History with Donna Wards Courage and Conquests is rather dry so far. I am hoping it picks up the pace. We are going at a slowly so I started reading Anne of Green Gables to the kids. We will follow that up with the movie.
And science has been a huge headache. Robotics is one topic that you would think more homeschoolers would delve into. But it's sadly lacking in premade curriculum out there. You think you want a notebooking page premade on any major scientists/researcher forget it! I have been using the AI book from Scribd to make up notebooking pages to accompany the robots we are making for science class. It's been a second or third or maybe fourth, I've lost count, job for me. I spend the late hours of the evenings scrambling to get to read this weighty topic, make any sense of it and then create something meaningful to teach the kids. I was patting myself on the back the other day for managing to discuss lightly with funny illustrations evolutionary computation and genetic programming to a eight and six year old. And they understood it and were able to make diagrams showing the programming 'soup' that then trickled down into smarter successive generations. Whew! I managed to get through that week of science. Now to face this week. Luckily I realized Monday being our Labor Day hubby is home and I may just have him tackle robot building this week as it looks a bit more involved making an inchbot then last weeks rather simple bristlebot. I am NOT by any means a electronics guru. And so when the word solder appears I groan and look around feebly for some help...but as all my fellow homeschooling parents know when we choose to homeschool the pool of human resources is generally down to you.
In other areas we are finding french class fun. Art of course fun. Gym needs work to make it more interesting. English is expanding week to week as I discover the childrens' strengths and weaknesses in different areas. I have decided to haul out yet more binders to keep their English work in.
Our local homeschool association's annual kick off event is coming up. And I volunteered to organize it. I am really stoked to be doing this now that I visited the venue. Pickings were looking slim for somewhere with green space and washrooms. So I am very happy that the campground we choose is so obliging and helpful. And when we toured to check out the space and discuss it with them I was really happily shocked by the amount of trees and space. Virtually no one else was there so I can only imagine that in a couple of more weeks when we have the kick off it will be even quieter. We have a game of capture the flag planned for kids over 4 who wish to play amongst the trees. And crafts as well as a playground to entertain the younger kids.
If you are new to my blog and reading this please note that we have a HUGE amount of links some of which are very helpful. So do take the time to check them out on the other pages. And thank you for taking the time to stop in.
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Friday, August 19, 2011


Well looking about online today I discovered that Stanford University is going to be offering a free yes free online introduction to AI course starting in Oct. It will run for 10 weeks online and includes assignments. When completed a certificate of completion will be issued but not from Stanford. What I find wonderful about this is that its free and it is hopefully a sign of things to come. I wanted to post it here to get the word out. Its not too late to sign up.
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Having found many other homeschool Moms in the same boat as I, sadly lacking for robotics material to teach young kids. I thought I would share my scribd find of the day. Well truthfully I have had my scribd account for awhile and found it last spring but forgot until now to check on scribd for material. I find that happens a lot with various accounts. This is the second very useful book I have found.
I love scribd for it wealth of books you can download. This book was written to cover history, systems, nueral networks, evolutionary computation, and knowledge engineering and data mining. Do I know what it all means. Nope haven't a clue. But that the beauty of homeschool isn't it? Learning along side our children is fascinating to see them get it. For us to get too is an added bonus. This book comes with review questions. I am really excited to add it to our robotics science class.

The other book I am really loving yet still have to wade my way through is my Kitchen Chemistry Book I downloaded last year. So if you haven't already checked out Scribd its worth the money. And you know what I have even found complete lapbooks there as well. I am only scratching the surface of what they have to offer but wanted to share these incredible finds with you!

My Three and Me

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Back to School

In my youth we would say Back to the grind. Hmm. Doesn't seem fitting for such an eventful, fun year of exploration and learning. Well I am almost prepared for school this term.
I am trying a few things differently. Of course with each year it's good to shake up your methods. Let go of things that didn't work, tweak some others that could have worked better and so on. So this year I have created a four day school week schedule. The fifth day is either a free day if the kids perform well in school the rest of the week. If they did not we will use the day to have fun school by playing learning games. I debated a lot should we 'reward' for not performing well on the fifth day with funschool or more of the same book work. I came to the conclusion that funschool was better because I don't want my kids to feel the disappointment that we always felt in PS when activities were yanked due to some kids acting up. No gym today kids, no art, no music etc.. I used to laugh when I got A's in those subjects because we rarely ever had them. I am glad I got A's for never doing much of anything but I don't want my kids to miss out on those subjects. In any event the four day schedule was then divided into subjects and only math and english will be repeated daily throughout the week. The other areas of study will alternate ever other day. And they include, history, geography, science, art, gym, and computers. Sometimes I know this schedule will fail me and sometimes I know it will be too ambitious but I hope by using it as a guideline it will help me to stay more focused on the end goals.
I am for the first time using some curriculums. So this is new and kind of fun and yet scary. What if they don't like the curriculums. What if I don't like them. Having read other homeschool moms postings I know I should cast the what ifs out the window and the curriculum should it really not fit. That's the beauty of homeschool. We can change the flow when needed. We don't have to stick it out to the end.
So what curriculums you are likely wondering. Well for DS Teaching Textbooks level 5 math. It looks awesome. I finally loaded it and love that it grades itself and he can check his own work. One family member asked 'do you trust your eight year old to check his own work? Really???? I wouldn't trust my kid'  Well I do. I trust him to check his work because he is smart. He has a brain and understands that if he cheats he learns nothing. I also know my son inside and out. I know he doesn't like work being done for him, it's boring. I know he has the integrity to do the course properly.
That being said I have also added to the curriculum lineup Learning A-Z's levelled reading and comprehension. I have already conducted the fluency tests on DS to know where he is at level wise and am ready to roll for next week. DD is also prepared to begin there. I love that curriculum because it uses informational text and current events a lot to remain informative as well.
Math for DD will be a continued ecclectic method of learning.
Both kids will be doing Donna Wards, Courage and Conquests for Canadian History. As well I am adding in some other crafts, art, learning to accompany it. And we will be studying Canadian geography this year as well province by province.
I am going to start them both with the BBC's dance mat typing and powertyping online to learn keyboarding skills. After they have sufficient knowledge of basic keyboarding we will learn a wordprocessing program called Abiword. It is essentially a freeware version of microsoft works. I hope that they will learn to use that for short story writing purposes.
Science, science, science, is going to be my main challenge this year. I am beginning the kids with robotics and have no idea where we are going from there. But as with all learning I am flexible. I will find something I am sure. DD isn't interested in robotics like DS so I am thinking I will come up with a second unit to do afterwards that is interesting to her. Before you know time passes and the year is done.
Art will consist to begin with of base color theory and crafts that revolve around the other lessons.
Gym will be varied activities pulled from a base list depending on weather and moods. No point in making a snuffly kid run around the block.
We are also going to be using the French Essentials computer based curriculum for french.
So it looks like it will be a long, wonderful year in our homeschool. I am super excited and hope that will transfer to the kids.
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Monday, August 15, 2011


The weather was nasty and cold. It had been raining all day. The last full day we would be at camp. The camp I had looked forward to all summer to relieve the stress that comes from the monotony of housework. I was really disappointed I didn’t get the time to fish that I had looked forward to that day. I love fishing. I don’t care if I eat them. I usually put them back but this was really getting to me that I was beside the water with a canoe, family, rods, and it was raining.

We had finished dinner. Our friends had left earlier that evening and it was dusk. With the rain it positively grey. I looked at my husband with a twinkle and said, “Let’s bundle up and go out anyway.”

We didn’t have to take the canoe to the big lake there was a small river running next to it. So we did. And am I ever glad that we did. As we skimmed the water’s surface drenched through and through I contemplated the beauty around me. My husband sitting in the stern of the canoe answered questions my kids had about the double rainbow that appeared in the sky. Why did we see only some colors instead of many. Why was it double. Why can’t we slide down a rainbow.

We turned the canoe halfway down the river. The fish weren’t biting much. I had only caught a small pike and a lot of weeds. It seems our lakes are being overrun with weeds. Then swiftly from a tree top next to the river a large bird swooped out of where it had been perched. Catching only a glimpse we all guessed at what it may have been. It appeared to be bigger then a hawk, maybe an owl. While still in the midst of our debating it reappeared to clear up the argument. A bald eagle swished gracefully above us and out of sight on the opposite river bank.

Feeling contented that nature had provided us with all we needed for the day. And feeling rather like a boatload of drowning rats we turned and headed back for the dock. The raindrops bounced off of the surface of the water. If had not been so wet I would have captured that moment with the camera. Perfection could not describe the beauty as we wound our way up the lazy little river that was lined with white and yellow water lilies. Silence and raindrops. And to complete my feeling of perfection I heard a small child chime in ‘this is the perfect day.’ It didn’t matter that we were all wet. It didn’t matter we were cold or that it was raining. It mattered that we were together enjoying nature as a family.
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Time Is Moving Fast!

I am so busy as of late our poor blog is suffering. However things are picking up speed as we move through our midsummer here in Northern Ontario. I have finally gotten the kids computer fixed and ready for this new year. We have a better hard drive now so we can expect them to start a computer class. The first computer class we will be taking is typing. Nothing speeds up computer work then good typing skills. I also like for them to use the website Spelling City . I loaded DS's math, he is doing Teaching Textbooks 5. Realistically I hope he will move on from that by Christmas as a lot of the work in the book has already been covered last year. I also downloaded the ebook by Donna Ward, Courage and Conquests to help with our history lessons. I am looking around online for geography province by province for the kids. I may just end up making up our own for this year though. So it is looker more and more like we are ready to head back to our cosy class and hit the books. I for one couldn't be happier as our time off has been long and although nice it has been also a tad dull.

I am heading up the kick off for the homeschool association and having been cooking up plans for that as well. And planning is underway for the convention next year in Northern Ontario. You can learn more about that at the Northern Ontario Homeschool Convention 2012 website. I look forward to meeting more fellow Ontarians and Upper Michiganers as well. Please feel free to comment on our newly made website as all comments will be taken into account. The convention may be put together by a few but it is intended for many and we love input.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Blog Hops.

Love them. If you know of any other homeschool blogs hops do share the link in the comments area. Right now we are linking up to the Hip Homeschool Moms Hop.
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Friday, July 22, 2011

Northern Ontario Homeschool Convention

Attention readers. I am organizing a group of homeschoolers in Northern Ontario to have a convention. At which we are hoping to have guest speakers, child friendly activites, teen workshops, a lunch served, curriculum fair and a good time by all. So with this in mind I have started a website to keep the public at large informed. We encourage all who are interested to pop on over for a look and to continue to check the updates on our website related to the convention of 2012.
And yes we encourage all vendors of curriculum or educational products to come back and check our packages that we will be offering in the near future for the convention.
Northern Ontario Homeschool Convention
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Off For Adventures in the Berry Patch

Tomorrow we are heading to a lake with our canoe to visit friends. Its high time we start enjoying some of our summer as a family. Husband only has one week left at his current job and then we are back to the unemployment line. Its the first summer where I can say I am excited about it. I know its not fun being out of work. But I for one am going to enjoy the family time. After the lake we will be heading to a berry farm to load up on raspberries. I am really hoping to pick lots as we love raspberry jam and I want to use this as a lesson for the kids. When I was growing up my mother pickled, preserved, and canned her way through the summer months. As a woman of this generation we often find convience in the store bought items. But as a child I recall fondly the skim off the jam spread on toast. And I love the freshness that homemade preserves have over the store varieties. I love the aroma of jam bubbling luciously in a cookpot as it thickens to perfection. So yes the excitement is exuding from me.
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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Attention Links

You may be a regular or you may just have found this site. I am currently working on organizing our links with new pages for each topic. I will add the links as I can. Please check out the new pages via the little links at the top of our page or using the side bar for navigation. Thank you for your understanding in our reorganization.
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Summer Heat Wave

The first major summer heat wave is here. And with it comes lethargy and lots of juice.
The kids play most of the days in the downstairs with lego to beat the heat. I am trying to stay on top of the housework but it can be tough. Yesterday was the worst. I was melting.
So much is going on all the time its hard to find time to come to my blog and post anything these days. I have the kids computer being looked at and hope to get it back soon so I can load their curriculums and get moving. But of course the classroom still desparately needs new paint. And hubbys hours are still incredibly long. He has two weeks left before the job is done and we are out looking for work again. We are going to enjoy our August as much as possible as family time  has been sadly lacking for months due to work.
I am really looking forward to getting out again as a family and having more time that is a regular schedule. I am also hoping that we will get blueberry picking this year. I am not sure if the area we normally go has been hit by forest fire or not yet. I will have to look into that more. But it has so many little inland freshwater lakes that I would love to take the canoe and camp. Fun!
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Monday, July 11, 2011

So Behind Yet So Far Ahead.

If you are like me you are having a hard time getting organized for the upcoming year. I have ordered some curriculums for the first time and am pretty excited about using them. I ordered Teaching Textbooks math for DS and hope it will be enough to drum his multiplication and division into him before Christmas because thats holding us up from moving further in both algebra and geometry. And for both kids I ordered French Essentials. I am hoping this computer based curriculum will help me to teach them basic french this year. However on the downside I haven't got their computer set up. It likely needs a new hard drive installed. And I haven't repainted our classroom which it desparately needs after all of last years charts being taped to the walls.

We did however finally complete our egg unit. We successfully hatched a second batch of chicks using distilled water. I noticed immediately that the water was evaporating at a much faster rate then the previous batch of eggs. I am inclined to think that the first bunch was just to cold or unfertilized to begin with. Seven beautiful chicks hatched to a very proud couple of kids. They were and I was so excited to watch them hatch out small, wet, and very sleepy. Unfortunately there was two fatalities of chicks who couldn't get out all the way but that is the life of chickens I suppose.

These are the chicks at a few days old. It was amazing to see them grow so readily. By the fifth day they were getting pinfeathers and had sprouted wee drumsticks. By the seventh day although they were still sleeping a lot they would run about with their wings outstretched. A couple even took to bouncing off each others chests for fun. And it was endearing to see them eagerly scratch in their chick starter with great gusto.

But by the eighth day they started to smell and having already arranged with a local farm to take them we delivered them to their new country home. It was a lovely little farm on the edge of town. I am really happy knowing they will be taken care of and given a good life as laying hens.

In other news Dh bought a classic car as a long term family project. The goal to have it running in another eight years when Ds gets his drivers license. Dh was so happy that he finally got the car he had his eye on that he actually started chucking stuff from our garage after eight years being here so there would be room for it. There was so much we had been storing I decided it would be a good idea to have a garage sale. I invited a friend to join us who lives around the corner as we have a large drive. Between us both there was a huge sale. It donned on me that I really need to pare down on buying non essential items. Another friend who homeschools kindly volunteered most of her day to help us set up. I am amazed at this womans giving spirit and shining personality that lights up rooms.

Also on the list of things to be done because my life isn't full enough. Heh heh. I have taken on an organzing role of heading up a homeschool convention. I can see it in my head and have several wonderful homeschooling people willing to volunteer. Now if we can just see it through to fruition. I think it is something we could be doing yearly to attract more people to our Northern city. I am going to be making a website up for the convention and will post a link when that is complete. The first official meeting of convention brainstormers is set for this Weds at my home. I need to get some binders to hand out for the info I have compiled already but otherwise I am pretty happy with what we have going so far. I also came up with an idea to make a homeschool contest of sorts by having homeschoolers submit logo designs for the convention this year and then the participating volunteers can vote on which logo we will choose to represent us this year on our website and any promotional products as well. Good Luck and Bonne Chance to all the entrants.

And my plate spillith over because I have scheduled an Arbonne Spa Party to be here at my home on Friday. So as you can see life is very busy in our home. I look forward to each and every event we attend as a way to network and meet new people. I grew up shy and am using this new line of thinking to push myself into the public forum and grow as a person. How's it working you ask? Well 'some days are diamonds and some days are stones' Thanks Mom for sharing that gem (no pun intended) from Neil Diamond.

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Friday, July 1, 2011

Canadian Blog Bash Giveaway Winners!

We have just drawn the winners for our first ever blog bash in honour of Canada Day!
The winners are as follows.
Winner of the gift card for Creationtwinne- Dayleb
Winner of Norwex cloth- AJ Mizen
Winner of Lalaloopsy outfit- Jen.S.
Congratulations to all of our winners. I hope you will continue to visit our blog and are enjoying your Canada Day where ever you are.
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Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Great Canadian Blog Bash is Here!

Please note that this is our first time attempting a giveaway. Should the entry boxes not work on the giveaway page just enter a comment with the name of the product you are entering for under this post. Thank you for you understanding as we learn to blog more effeciently :D

We've been talking about the blog bash for awhile now. Well its finally here! In celebration of Canada Day we are hosting three giveaways. Please note the little linky at the top of the page to enter our giveaways.

Canada is truly a great country to live in. I am proud to be a Canadian. Sure at times our humor is dry and I say 'eh' way to much like the stereotypical Canadian. I would like to acknowledge those people past and present who make up our great country. My ancestors emmigrated to Canada over one hundred years ago. Mostly of Irish and Scottish descent I am thankful for those first pioneers who traversed long, hard sea voyages to make today possible for us Canadians. I also would like to acknowledge the first peoples of Canada without whom we would be less rich in culture and diversity. And I would like to say that we don't live in igloos or use huskies to get around. (well maybe a small select few do.) So as a proud Canadian I want to share our national anthem with the rest of the world.

O Canada!
Our home and native land!
True patriot love in all thy sons command.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise,
The True North strong and free!

From far and wide,
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

God keep our land glorious and free!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

My hope for all is that this Canada Day finds you safe, healthy, and happy.

And I would also like to wish my parents a very happy 37th Anniversary! I hope and pray you have many more happy years together.
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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Great Canadian Blog Bash

The Great Canadian Blog Bash is just days away. Don't forget to come back on the 24th to enter our great giveaways! And you will find a linky list with all the other great Canadian blogs out there as well. Its going to be big! Its going to be fun! Its Canada's birthday! Let's celebrate the only way we know how. By throwing a big party! I will be using the celebration to kick off  our new homeschool year. In which we will be studing our great nation, its people, history, geography and contributions to the world at large.
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End of Year Party

Well the end of year party for our homeschool association was a success. More people came out last Sat and made it a wonderful time had by all.
Our theme was a fun carnival. My husband and myself made up games to take. Its a dream of ours to open a party palace of sorts as a venue for kids partys they are just so much fun. So we made up a highstriker game, a ball toss, a squirt gun game, a fishing pond which caught fish bath toys for a little something different. And I painted up a couple of cutouts to have photos taken in.     For food we made it potluck and also got a large cake made. We had popcorn and a lollipop tree.

It was quite funny really because the idea of the lollipop tree was one specially marked sucker one a large stuffed bear. The tree held 60 lollipops. But there weren't that many kids so we let adults take suckers also. Still no one had won the bear. So we started another round with the youngest person picking first then the next age up and so on. Finally the bear was won! After all the games were played and food was eaten we had a prize table and auctioned off the
larger prizes for tickets the kids had won at the games. It was a lot of fun although I will say I think in the future I would need a megaphone to be louder over the kids at auction. It was so much fun that I have had many people suggest that we should do the rest of the party's too. I am not sure we will be doing that but brainstorming ideas and keeping a book handy is in the works. So even if someone else wants the fun we can always offer help.
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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Park Hop Play has started! Inspired by a Facebook friend in another city it's a summer long Park Hop. I decided to start a local 'chapter' if you will. The idea is to name a new park each week in the city where parents and kids will meet. A lot of people know other people who may want to play also so I left it as a nonhomeschooling idea. Last week we kicked it off with a picnic in the largest park in the city. We will likely finish our summer hop there again. It was a lot of fun to hang out with other Moms and let the kids play. It is also an excellent way of seeing some of long forgotten city parks.

Spring has been keeping me away from the blog and hopping from this job to the next. My gardens are extensive and require regular weeding. It is the first year in a long time that I can devote to the gardens as the kids have finally reached an age to be both helpful and nonintrusive.

Our backyard has a sizeable fish pond. This year we had to completely restock it as the goldfish did not overwinter at all. The heater froze mid winter allowing it to freeze solid, lesson learned. This fall I am going to be giving the fish away to winter homes. First come, first serve.

The kids have had an easy spring in the schooling dept as I have been catching up on this and that. We celebrated our 15th anniversary this month. And had a new babysitter, a homeschool girl who passed the babysitting course this spring. She was so much fun the kids want her to babysit again really soon. I shall have to come up with something for us to do to get out.

We are having a year end fun carnival in a couple of weeks for the homeschool association. My husband and I get a real kick out of kids parties and have even discussed having a retirement business around that very idea. So this party is practice as I haven't had to organize something on this scale before. I have made it a potluck although we will be providing drinks and popcorn. Going off the orginial idea of a lollipop tree we are crafting a large version with a grand prize, which I won't give away (no pun intended) just yet. There will be several of the standard games as well and a prize table.  We also came up with the idea of having an 'outdoor' prize draw. I am hoping to have a facepainter but have to double check as I accidently deleted her last email to me. And a homeschool father has kindly stepped up to make balloon animals which he does as well as being a magician as a side business. Its looking like it will be a grand time had by all.  I will post pics after the main event.

I am still deciding what curriculum to use for Ds next year in math. And I need to find a decent yet not overly expensive french curriculum. Do you know of any? please leave a comment with info on.

And yes people, you can officially start to get excited over our blog giveaway as part of the Great Canadian Blog Bash. Please note we have links on the top of our page. I know they don't stand out as clearly as I would like them to but I haven't had time to fix that yet. That's a mid summer job for me to revamp the blog and get organized for fall schooling. I am pretty pleased with where the kids are so far. I will continue to school the kids throughout the summer as needed, possible or able. And of course you can always drop in to read about what we are up to. Or just to check out the links. I hope to work on those some more this summer to clean things up a bit.
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Geology and Biomonitoring

Spring takes us outside. I want to teach the kids so many scientific things as it really is interesting for them right now. So with the end of April marking Save the Frogs Day we talked  about frogs and made lapbooks up about them. We then went for a drive the second week of May to see if the Northern Leopard Frogs had laid eggs yet. As it turned out the weather has been too cold. The water's edge was dredged by people disturbing some of their natural shoreline. But that didn't stop them from singing. As far as we could tell there were two distinct frog's at the shoreline one was croaking and the other had a higher pitched peeping. Having been to this particular spot later in the season before we knew that it is also inhabited by small treefrogs in the trees nearby. I imagine some of that peeping was them singing to one another.
We took the time to have a Mother's Day picnic. And to scour for interesting rock specimens to study for our geology class. Later in school I gave each of the kids small bound notebooks and introduced them to the idea of science journaling. The were really excited with the idea of having these notebooks to take with on our future outings during the warmer months. I was excited to see them happier in our class rather then bored and distracted. I am hoping with more hands on and less book work we will see some renewed vim and interest in learning. So we are continuing this month learning about geology and I look forward to taking them for more rock collecting in the future. Ds also recieved for his birthday a lovely piece of Peacock rock or Bornite. It is simply stunning. It's amazing the colors that color our world and many walk by without so much as noticing. So please if you haven't today take the time to smell the flowers in bloom, notice the bee hard at work, or just how lovely a little breeze through a tree can be. And again don't forget to keep your eyes on our blog for the upcoming giveaways in the end of June, early July. Open to all Canadian residents.
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Well spring is finally here. It never ceases to amaze me how we can go from cold and sleepy months into a complete about face. Our activity levels triple inside of one month yet our energy is always constant.
With the gardens finally uncovered we can look forward to more time spent in our gardens learning, exploring, and playing. But with the increase in outdoor time we notice a signifigant decrease in our indoor time.
I have spent little time focusing on my blog. But with the Canadian Blog Bash fast approaching I want to let my regular readers know you are in for some special giveaways. I have a few Canadian sponsors for what is shaping up to be our first exciting giveaway here. Remember it is only open to Canadian residents though. I will be making a link to our giveaway page so be sure to look for it.
 The kids are feeling the spring fever that accompanies youth and it is making school a difficult task as they are distracted with other thoughts. I also had made up some workbooks for math for them which I have discovered were just a bit ambitious for them just yet. So as with most homeschooling things I realize I need to slow down. My enthusiasm for their learning may not be inline with their abilities. So I am taking a step back in mathmatics to make sure they truly get what they are learning.
English is progressing slowly as DD continues to practice her reading. DS practices his reading by frequently reading to his little sister and by reading silently to himself. It's nice to see a real interest for reading being developed in both children.
I have not published in so long I just want to take the time to quickly recap a couple of projects we have done.
The first was a science experiment for our egg-stravaganza eggs month. I had found this experiment on several site and decided to try to duplicate it at home. Needed one hardboiled egg and one glass small mouth bottle, the kind you might find a soft drink in. Well you might if everywhere locally wasn't into plastic bottles these days. So short of digging out an antique bottle from our collection I decided to try using a 'Ribena' bottle its mouth opening was similar. However the neck style was a little wider then a long neck pop bottle. Perhaps that is why it turned out so dismally. In any event we lit three matchs as per required and dropped them in the bottle. Then we plopped the peeled, hardboiled egg on top and waited. The gases were supposed to expand and then contract pulling the egg into the bottle. At best we only

got a slight vacuum on the bottom of the egg. So we reheated the gas in the bottle by placing it in a pot of hot water. We then let it cool down again. Nothing. A rather disappointing experiment for sure. I am going to keep my eyes out for the proper glass style bottle. But they are rare around here.
We managed to start to incubate chicken eggs. After the 17th day we had two start to pip. We were so thrilled to hear the cheeping from the eggs. But sadly after several hours both chicks succombed to exhaustion. We took them out and peeled the shells off. It was interesting to note that one had used up all of it's yolk sac and the other had some still left. We are waiting one more day to see if anyone else pips. But nothing as of yet. It's been another disappointment. The only learning outcome of the experiment is that perhaps chlorinated water in the incubator for hydration gives off some chemical that kills the developing chicks. This was the conclusion we have drawn after talking to an experienced egg hatcher. I may try again after this with a different egg if I can find any locally.
Sadly we lost one of our guinea pig friends this past month. We now have only four males. Our Lego club wrapped up for the season. My son turned eight. And we had company from out of town. I have to start to turn my thoughts not only onto the yard and gardens but onto the year end homeschool party which is in my hands. With DH working twelve hour days, seven days a week things have been rather stressful and tiring. But as my mother liked to quote 'pound on, pound on.' I am not sure where she got the quote from but it likely served her well as she slogged down our half mile driveway in the winters, when snow was three feet deep, making a path for us kids to get to the school bus. With that in mind I feel empowered to get done what needs doing. Thanks Mom for being such a wonderful hard working, stay at home Mom. And a belated Mother's Day to all the Mothers of the world.
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Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Great Canadian Blog Bash is Coming!

There are giveaways galore so check some of these out. We will be having our own giveaway here as well. It will be our first one ever! So check back later to see what we have to giveaway. Open only to Canadians as per stipulation of Momvstheboys blogger who set this up. But we are hoping to start having giveaways here soon which will be open to all so check back often :D
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Friday, April 15, 2011

April 29th is the 3rd Annual Save The Frog Day!

I just learned about this day. I think it is important because I have noticed in the past 20 years a sharp decline in the number of frog voices in the spring. Let's do something now before all the worlds frogs are gone.
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Monday, April 11, 2011

April Showers.

April showers will likely bring May flowers. That's if they aren't super swamped from the sudden snow melt mixed with rain. Well there isn't much to do except wait for the strong winds we get to dry things up. And while we wait we have decided to undertake our 'Eggs-travaganza Eggs' month. It also includes Earth Day and Easter of course. I wanted a break for all of us from our heavy workbook work we had been doing for the past couple of months. So I put together some Easter related worksheets in booklets for the kids for the month. I thought surely there is enough work in these to keep them busyily learning along with our science eggs-periments and so on. Well here we are at the beginning of the second week and they have virtually completed their books. I am thinking I will have to stretch the science lessons to make them last. But then again once we get to the really fun eggs-periment of hatching chicks in our urban home we may just have a lot to learn there. Either way I am pleased with the way their art projects of faux sugar eggs turned out. We used balloons and covered them with glue covered tissue. The craft actually required paper mache. But I have little to no luck creating a good mache recipe. So I opted for white glue instead. It was sticky but oh so fun. After the glue dried over night we cut holes in the side. Now here's the rub, we really should have put more layers of tissue on the balloons. As the balloons popped the latex began to retreat and crumpled the balloons a tad. Making for a less the perfect egg shape. But they held up enough to fill with the easter grass and chicks.

Our eggs-periments got of to a curious start. I told the kids we were going to soak an egg in vinegar overnight. They were eager to learn what was happening. Why was the egg making bubbles? (It was the acetic acid reacting to the calcium carbonate in the shell making CO2). They wanted to know why there was foam on the egg. (Also a byproduct of the chemical reaction.) By the next day they were really wondering what was happening as I explained I was now going to very gently wash it under cold water. Of course I asked them to touch the egg very gently before I washed the shell off. I admit when I first came across this experiment I was a bit skeptical of the final results. Well it works people. Well worth the wait. We now had an egg that was raw and covered by the membrane.

As I passed it to the kids we discussed how the membrane protected the egg and why it was so strong. I also had them add the experiment to their science notebooks. When they did we discussed how an egg is really an exterior womb. It was all very fascinating. And then as if the shelless egg weren't a curious enough sight we placed it gingerly into a dish of cold water for two days. The goal of this experiment was to see the effect of osmosis, the egg grew larger as the water passed through the membrane.

After two days of soaking we removed the egg towelled it off and bounced it. Yes raw eggs can bounce.....just don't expect it to be a rubber ball. Our eggs membrane started to leak its water at the three inch drop and at the 12" drop it burst completely. Luckily we have tile floor so clean up was easy.
I am also looking forward to starting our egg hatching. We have eggs to pick up on the weekend and I hope to start them by next week. Once hatched we will take them to our relatives farm to live out the rest of their lives in comfort.
DS is currently working on a lesson plan from the NOAA about polar bears. The assignment requires he make a poster illustrating the current plight of the polar bears and what if any other pertinent information should be included. He is also taking on learning pre-algebraic equations in preparation for next years curriculum.
And DD is learning about ordinal numbers and mastering telling of time. She likes to draw so much that I have her draw on the whiteboard while I teach DS. I am hoping that she will pick up some of the information he is learning as well through hearing the lessons.
It's an interesting process this home schooling business. But I am learning that with each passing season there is so much more to teach and instill in them, my wonderful little birds.
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb.

To be truthful I have no idea what the weather is doing. But I know March came in with a vengeance at our home. DH was laid off from his regular job. I frantically looked online to find a new one for him. Being a home school family with a single income isn’t always the most financially sound decision. I found a perfect job it was a temporary job all that he needed to keep us on track. Then the third week in he had an accident at work that could have ended very badly. Thankfully he was spared. The downside was he was banned from returning to that work site. Which has left us again seeking employment. He has a promising job interview this week coming.

Our Dds birthday is in March and she turned six. Not wanting to forgo a party we threw her a grand balloon party. Our living room which is roughly 160sq feet was emptied and filled with three feet of balloons. No we didn’t blow them up alone. We used an air compressor for 90% of them. All of the pink balloons had a small paper inside indicating a prize. And the kids were to locate the balloons and bring them to us to be popped and prizes were put in their take home bags. We kept food simple and I made a Neapolitan cake at Dds request. In my youth I baked entirely from scratch and I love to still. However having suffered some cake defeats over the years at the most in opportune times I decided to opt for mixes. The chocolate and white layers were easy. But the strawberry layer gave me pause for thought. So I finally decided to add two boxes of jello powder to a white mix to get the strawberry flavour. I think it could have probably worked alright with one. The filling was pudding chocolate for one layer and vanilla for another. I have in the past made bakery shop icing for cakes. And although people love it I personally can’t serve it anymore knowing that it uses so much vegetable shortening solids. Very unhealthy. So I went with a butter cream icing instead. The party was super fun and I recommend the balloon pit, as we called it for anyone to try. She lost her first tooth the night before her birthday and was visited by tooth fairy~ yes we do believe in fairies around here. It was a really special time for her which was followed by her loosing another tooth a couple of days later.

Ds was most helpful this month with party prep and in school. However whether it be spring or the fact that he is nearing eight, I have noticed a small change for the worse in his mood. It seems to be rapidly improving after a good haircut. Which if I do say so myself turned out rather well. I have always cut his hair. He finished his grade three vocabulary list and has moved on to the grade four list. Which considering he actually only in grade two is pretty impressive to us. Way to go son!

For school we slid as we seem to do far too often away from the original goals I set out for the month. Sometimes I think I need a more solid outline to fair better. But I also find that the kids are learning nicely so I should ease off myself with the shoulds, woulds and coulds.

We are patiently waiting to see what becomes of the avocado seeds we have started and I am planning to make a large unit study called 'Egg-stravagna Eggs' next month. We will, fingers crossed, be hatching some chicken eggs. Looking at Easter customs, learning egg science, and so on.
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The Harder Row to Sow Often Reaps Greater Rewards.

  People seem to think that home school people are weird. They must be either really smart or stupid. That people who choose to home school their kids are weird. And you know what I am realizing? We are weird! We don’t fit the socially acceptable norms. And we are not alone they are millions of us weirdo’s. We may be separated by time and space but we number the millions. And we, by home schooling are allowing our kids to be socially different. Yay! We want them to buck that system of normalcy. Normal is boring. We don’t want them to be beholden to someone else’s preconceived ideas for them. We want them to search the depths of their own persons to be the best possible them. And if they falter, as we all are prone to do, then we will pick them up and dust of their knees. And guide them down the next path of their choosing. This is our role in this lifestyle we have chosen.

   It becomes clearer by the day that this was and will remain one of the best decisions we have made in our marriage. My children tired and weary from all long day of partying, shopping, and fun were asking questions about water and wind resistance. And were asking about why stars are the color they are? And at 10.30 at night when were we bone tired and not wanting to we schooled them in our vehicle on the way home. If we don’t have all the answers and we don’t pretend that we do, we help them seek those answers their young minds are hungry for. Textbooks are failing our kids because they don’t allow imaginations in. If a child is required to follow guidelines you may have an automatic response system of unparalleled quality when they graduate but you won’t necessarily have a person capable of critical thinking.

  We are hearing more and more of how the world is needing critical thinking. Nurture young minds and you will get the minds capable of creativity. Starve them of answers and you will shut off that possibility. So sometimes in life we are given choices. The choice may not be easy and it may scare you a little but the harder row to sow often reaps the greatest rewards.
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Monday, February 28, 2011

What a strange month.

February has been a strange month. Rushing to get things done for a friends shower, ordering gift and making cake. Cake was finished, order held up and then it was postponed.
School has been getting tad monotonous for us all. So to shake it up I stopped our unit on Monarchy. We will likely touch back on that for the upcoming nuptials. In the meantime we head into March like a lion. And look at green science. Is it earth friendly? Or color related? We are doing it. School elective swimming starts again so I have a schedule that looks like this. Experiment day one, swim day two, experiment day three, Lego club day four and experiment on Friday. And again to ease the minds of those many wondering well meaning people yes the three r's plod onward and upward. DD has taken to writing sentences on the white board for spelling/reading and then illustrating her finished work. DS is moving ever forward. I look forward to more outdoor time and pray the Groundhog was right and that spring is around the corner.
I am behind in our flat travellers and need to get them packed and returned soon. DH just was laid off from his regular job. Not that that is new he usually has some slow periods with the type of work he is in. However this time he agreed to seek other employment. So far he has lined up a possibility with a temp job for the time he is laid off. It's in his field so that would be nice rather then depending on the less then stellar EI our government gives out. I think the silliest part of our EI or unemployment is that the government wants us to work yet insists we don't for a full two weeks when we first file for EI? What is the point, merely to save them some paperwork. It's ridiculous and unfair.
I am meeting a lot of fabulous people lately and feel very blessed to make their acquaintances. I hope that some of them will lead to some lasting friendship for myself and my kids who are started to feel the effects of two whole months with no electives other then Sparks which has been sporadic at best due to a death in the Leaders family.
I am not certain I will put her back in Sparks next year. It seems to be alright but DD isn't forging any relationships with the other girls as I had hoped. I may try to get her into the ballet homeschool class instead. She has been wanting to learn more 'moves' lately. My ballet isn't as graceful as it once was many moons ago at seven.
So February was strange and March looks busy with electives and DD's birthday. I do hope the snow starts to melt some. But to occupy my time I am planning the year end party for our homeschool group. More on that later.
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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Winter School Blahs and Life.

Our Lego club was off and running this past week. We had two families come for a total of eight kids. The free play was nice. Next week though I have a questionnaire for the parents and will make more of a formal meeting out of it. An hour goes by fast when fiddling with Lego.
One of my dear friends is having a baby shower next weekend. I had agreed to make the cake. My cakes seem to be popular around here with friends. I have plans to make a round tiered cake topped with buttercream icing. I am going to sculpt babies in pink, she's having a girl, out of fondant and place crawling all over the cake. Because the party is also going to include children I am making cake pops for the first time. I hope they will turn out as I envision them. Although I was a little disappointed that the local candy store didn't have as many 'quins' or candy sprinkle choices as I had hoped. I also am making a gift bag specially for the baby Daddy as he will attend also. Mums' the word on that until after the shower in case she is reading this.
I have put together a unit for this week to cover Littlest Pet Shop. I hope the kids will cooperate and have fun with it as well as learn somethings new. I took some pictures of our Oceanography bulletin board from our last unit which the kids help put together by coloring images. We divided the ocean into three distinct layers or zones and put twisted green construction paper on like a kelp forest. I liked it a lot and was sorry to see it go in favor of February's Valentine board.

The kids also made  a couple of beautiful dioramas for their Oceanography unit. Pictured below are images from my DD's. DS took pics of his but they turned out fuzzy. The yellow pipe cleaners poking through the top are illustrating the sun's rays in the daylight zone. I admit to helping with hanging and sculpting one or two of the salt dough creatures at the request of my daughter. I certainly can't sit by and watch them have all the fun. However the painting was all her. And she wanted to entirely sand the bottom of the box. So we mixed sand with white glue to the bottom. The green pipe cleaner in the front near the pinkish seahorse are representative of kelp or seaweed.

If you are thinking of doing a unit on life in the seas then may I suggest a couple of sites  to print out for free paper crafts. I did the living fossil Coelacanth fish with the kids help. A glue gun generally is the best way to put these together. It dries faster then waiting for white glue.

It's in an Asian language but if you click the images they will come easily enough.
Canon also has some wonderful printable paper crafts
Yamaha Motors has paper crafts too. All sorts of animals and vehicles.

Monday, Valentine's Day I am going to have a  surprise party for the kids. I got red balloons and a tablecloth to go on the new classroom desk. I have left over from years past some special napkins, cups etc. I will post pics next week when I have time.
Spring is around the corner and already I feel busier then I have in years. I am enjoying it immensely though and can't wait to see what each day brings.
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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Website Review.

It's amazing to me what I can glean from the net , the seemingly limitless information. I have no idea how I would be able to homeschool without it. I guess I would be forced to buy curriculum's. Right now though I am happy and content with gleaning for free. And I wanted to share with you a new link of interest. http://www.education.com/ sign up is free and means you can download their worksheets without being plagued with ads. I love the way you can input the grade level you are looking for and by subject to sort through the sheets. But don't take my word have a look for yourself.
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A Journey Into the Unknown

So as the winter lingers on I tend to think of new creative pursuits. For a long time now I have been pondering how to go about starting a homeschool Lego club. Still in it's infancy I have decided to host it weekly at home. It will be a good way for the kids to interact and have fun. We worked on cleaning out the downstairs which is the ideal location in our home since the Lego are already sorted in a six drawer dresser. My husband will have to put up a simple shelf above for projects that have to wait from week to week to be completed. I am thinking of the first Lego meeting consisting of seeing how many attend and what ages they are. A meet and greet of sorts followed by free play with the Lego's. I think keeping the meetings to one hour means people won't feel like the day is being eaten into too much with the meetings. The parents are of course encouraged to stay and help or socialize. I have put some newsprint on the wall beside the dresser where we have stuck a small Lego table for the younger kids in the group. I am thinking of posting on it a poster of sorts to identify the different Lego pieces.  As of now I really know of only a small handful who are interested. However as word gets out who knows how many will want to join in the fun. Attendance is not mandatory as I want it to be a fun thing not a I have to do this other elective responsibility.
I think if I can manage I may get the first meeting started the second week of February making something Valentine related. If kids have their own red Lego's all the better. There are several sites out there that offer wonderful ideas for projects to work on as well.

Down the road perhaps next fall as winter leads into Spring quickly I will want to start a robotics club for the homeschoolers as well. The robotics club is going to go in four week blocks to allow time to work on one robotic assignment/project at a time. Because robotics is involving cost I need to research that more. But I am really eager to delve into it as my son has aspirations of becoming a roboticist.
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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pay for websites.

As a homeschooler we are often on the Internet looking for resources. Trying to glean as much as will be useful to our lesson planning. Often I find myself looking for worksheets and coming up with pay for use websites. So I caved finally after having one continually coming up when I searched for items. I thought to myself perhaps they really do have all the worksheets I will need. The cost for a year to their website, a cool $50US. Hmm I thought that is a bit more then I would like to spend but hey I won't know until I try. I really should have thought about asking others on a forum. Let this be a lesson for myself and others to learn that checking with other homeschooler's is ALWAYS a good idea. The site in question? http://www.teachnology.com/ not worth the money. I find it poorly organized. They indicate they have plentiful worksheets for you to download. But finding them was a bit of a hassle. I had to email the site for assistance. Well I will give them an A+ for responding promptly. I had help within in one business day. But I still find the site cumbersome and not as useful as I had hoped for the money. Also the workbooks you can download are lacking in accuracy which is in my opinion important. For example looking at the geometry pages I discovered poorly drawn images for a ninety degree angle making it ambiguous at best.
I have learned my lesson and will henceforth check with others who have gone before in ordering from these sites.

I have heard wonderful reviews from homeschoolers about http://www.readinga-z.com/ and I will want to order a year from them. I did use their free trial and discovered the reading levels and comprehension packages were very well done. Sadly I did not get that package first.

The overall message. Buyer beware!
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Friday, January 14, 2011

Education is more then the basics.

Title make you wonder. Well you aren't alone. It has come to my attention through friends and family that they seem to think I don't teach the 3 r's. I DO. I DO. I DO. Now that is off my chest let me clarify for the rest of my readers. I post here about the more interesting things we are studying or undertaking. I don't feel the need to chatter on and on about the hum drum. To me the everyday nitty gritty of uneaten lunches and dirty dishes makes for a dull read. I want to share here what is more interesting and creative about our homeschool. So forgive me if it seems like things are left out.
So Oceanography, with the beginning of a New Year I decided to take a more advanced approach to studies with the kids. And by that I mean a unhurried look at a units. Before I was trying to make mini units weekly as I made up our curriculum. Well it was exhausting and hurried and not much fun for us. So now supplementing our 3 r's we look at one area of study for however long it takes to work through the material I have compiled. This month we are looking at the world's oceans. Ds has learned to identify and spell each. And DD well I am aiming for at least identify. Spelling will come with age. And we are looking at the life in the oceans. Obviously this is a huge undertaking as the oceans are vast. So we are looking more at the scientific classifications like, mollusks, corals, fish, mammals and discussing what each is. We have an extensive collection of shells and even a seahorse that the kids have arranged in an artistic display in the class. So many aspects of this unit are fun. I will post more once I get the camera out.
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Flat Update!

I don't like to talk bad of people even if I didn't mention names. But earlier I had posted that one flat never came home and that my daughter was heartbroken. Well I think it is only fair to add that flat has returned albeit six months later. But what a trip Flat Cuddles had. Visiting more then one zoo, a birthday party, and a few meseums. And the hosts of the flat traveller went above and beyond to create a wonderful digital scrapbook of memories for her to return with. Thank you. If you read this you know who you are. My daughter was overjoyed to see one of her friends return. Her first flat traveller and her first experience in homeschool to a mail exchange of any kind. I am so grateful it was returned safe and sound.
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Well Here We Are.

Another Christmas is over and New Year begun. You may have noticed the change again in our design. Never to remain the same I like change. I picked this fresh face for our blog and hope you like it as much as I for the New Year. I will likely change the template up a little for holidays but will return to this design as the main look throughout the year.
Currently I am downloading a free reading program for the month of January. For those who are interested in trying it out for themselves the site is Funnix as I understand it was created by the same man who made Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. I took a peek at the first lesson, as I said I am currently downloading the whole thing. It looks pretty good so far. I will say this you need 2GB of free space to put the download and it is a slow download in four installments for all 220 lessons.
We continued schooling throughout the holidays when there was time. DH was off and took over teaching so I could manage to make up a curriculum to cover Oceanography. Bless him he handled it with flying colors.
The lesson I have made up is really comprehensive and I will likely post more on that unit later after we have had a chance to cover more of the subject matter.
We are also tackling measuring both in imperial and metric. Review for my son and new for DD. The unit is a light introduction using the pages from Learning Pages . You can become a member there for free and it is a small but useful site.
I have decided to bite the bullet as they say and buy a curriculum for math. I have decided on Life of Fred for my DS as it seems like it may be more independent and less repetitive then other curriculum's. He can pick math up quite readily. So I will keep you posted on how that goes also.
Our Christmas card exchange with other homeschoolers through a Yahoo group was a success although we are still waiting for one or two stragglers.
I wish I could say the same for our Christmas swaps with homeschoolers through another Yahoo group. My DD again did not get her swap in return, this makes it her second failed swap from that site. And she has gotten nothing back that we have done through the mail. I pray that she gets her second flat traveller back that we sent out at Christmas time as I organized it with other women on a Christian forum.
I have decided I really need to pull the stops out on the kids as they are eating their way through all I give them work load wise. So awhile ago I had printed out some 'popcorn' words on popcorn shapes. I can't remember where but it was really cute and they were just sitting there collecting dust. So I cleaned off a bulletin board and pinned all of them up. Then I made a paper popcorn bucket like you would get at the theatre on the wall below. I told my DD who loves popcorn that I would take her to the theatre for some of their popcorn when she had learned all the words and filled her 'bucket'. Well you can't have something like that going on without the other wanting in on the action. So I told my son I will make up a list of words equal in number to hers. When he learns to spell them correctly he can pick out a small prize also. I think I will make the words revolve around the vocabulary we are doing for Oceanography and that may also be on the list.
So we start 2011 off with a wonderful school day full of hope and promise of wonderful educational opportunities for the New Year.
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