Monday, August 30, 2010

10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Each Week


I recently read an article about questions you should ask yourself every Sunday.   I thought many of the questions were relevant to homeschooling.  I found asking myself these questions as I was working on my lesson plans for the week, helped me keep in mind what works for us and what doesn’t.  Also, helped to remind me what is important to us and our homeschooling goals.

Here is a list of questions I ask myself:


1. What did I learn last week? 

2. What was my greatest accomplishment over the past week?

3.  Which moment from last week was the most memorable and why?

4.  What’s the #1 thing I need to accomplish this week?

5.  What can I do to make this next week less stressful?

6.  What have I struggled with in the past that might also affect the upcoming week?

7.  What opportunities are available for this week?

8.  What are my homeschool goals?

9.  Have my recent actions moved me toward my goals?

10. What am I looking forward to in the upcoming week?





Friday, August 27, 2010

Build A Solar System






We built a solar system this week using the Magic School Bus Solar System science kit.  I love these kits, there is enough supplies and experiments for 10 to 12 activities. They cost around $19.99 per kit but you can find some good deals with coupon codes from Scholastic.


The photos are self explanatory.  It was an easy project and help to reinforce the order of the planets.

Supplies provided in kit


Line up the planets in order



Label each planet


  Cut the wire to the correct length


Painting Time


Let the paint dry


Assemble the planets in order



Completed project



Saturday, August 21, 2010

Field Trip – US Space Center


We took a field trip this weekend to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. It was a lot of fun. They are having a Star Wars Exhibit along with all the regular museum exhibits. It is pricey at $30.00 for adults and $20.00 plus the Millennium Falcon ride cost extra and of course the gift shop. It was completely worth it for a super fun and educational trip.

They have several hands on activities for experiments: with magnets, build a robot, and center of gravity are the ones LittleBit did. He was able to drive a hovercraft, and practice landing a space shuttle.

Of course, Star Wars needs no introduction. LittleBit is a huge Star Wars fan. They had so many cool pieces from all the movies. They even had people going around dressed up as characters for photos ops and LittleBit flat refused to have his photo made with any on them!

Here are a few photos from the trip


Monday, August 16, 2010

Why We Decided to Homeschool

Why did we decide to homeschool? I have been asked that question many times and I wish I had an easy answer to give. It is a difficult question to answer easily and the answer depends on who is asking. You know the ones who are interested in homeschooling and struggling with the question themselves and the ones who have already made up their mind on the subject; the answer is different.We all have many different reasons for why we choose to homeschool, and there is no short answer. I could go on and on in detail about the talks my husband and I had, the list, the plans, the alternatives, etc. we discussed but I have decided to put it in a top five format. We made the decision together and agreed 100% like everything else in our life this was a joint adventure and we are in it together.

Below are the top five reasons we chose homeschool for our family.

  1. Health reasons - When we first talked about homeschooling, I was pregnant and we were discussing the future and how we planned to raise our family. Little did we know that a 28 week preemie with a congenital heart defect and other medical conditions would help seal the decision. LittleBit is a heart baby and has trouble with the heat, getting sick easily and staying sick for longer than normal. We knew with homeschooling he would stay healthier and it would be simpler to work around him as needed. His health is our number one priority.
  2. Education System Concerns – The education ratings for our state are bad, there is no other way to put it. It is truly sad to know that high school students graduate without basic fundamental knowledge that we take for granted. When 8th graders can not read on an elementary level, there is a problem with the school system.
  3. Moving at his learning speed - LittleBit started reading at the age of 2, he picked up a book and started reading. I wish I knew how, other than he got his Daddy’s brain power. By the time he was three, our pediatrician started asking where we were going to send him to school and actually recommend homeschool or a Montessori school. We had already decided to homeschool and she supported the decision completely. He is now reading on a 5th grade level and his learning ability is mind boggling to me. By choosing to homeschool, he learns at a faster rate, limited only by his abilities.
  4. Instill our value system and beliefs – This is self explanatory; we both feel that homeschooling gives the time and opportunity to immerse him in our belief system and values we want him to have.
  5. It simply works for our family - Homeschooling works for our lifestyle. It gives us the time to travel, take needed breaks, work around illnesses, schedules, etc.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

One Month Review




I can not believe one month has passed already in our 2nd grade year.  It has gone by so fast.  Overall I am pleased with how it is going. We have kept on schedule, are moving at a pace I am happy with, and I have kept to my goal of making and following lesson plans. Yea me!

One new thing I am doing this year is letting him choose which subject he would like to do first.  This is working great for us, he is more ready to start school time and less likely to gripe about it. 

We are spending more time with actual sit down school work this year. I can tell a difference between last year and this years work, it is harder and is taking longer to complete.  We are doing more projects and experiments for hands on learning which is his favorite. 

For extra curricular activities we are still in Taekwondo with tumbling and bug club.  I am looking for a music teacher for piano.  We are thinking of starting a Junior Lego League in our area but I am just not sure if I want to take that on or not.  If you have never heard of Lego League check them out, it is a great program. 

I am happy with the curriculum we are using this year. Here is a short review of each subject after a month of using. 

1. MathSingapore 2A Textbook and Workbook – Fast, it is moving almost too fast for him, we are slowing down and working on subtraction a bit slower.

2. HistorySOTW 2 – We are enjoying this volume as we did SOTW 1. I do think having the activity book makes a huge difference.  We are also using the test book this year, more as a workbook to get him used answering questions in different formats.

3. ScienceApologia Zoology – A hard read and it is going slowly which is fine with me.  I am in no hurry to finish this book on a time table so we will take our time read slowly and enjoy the activities. 

                    Apologia Astronomy – This book is easier and we are moving right through it.  I imagine we will be finished by the end of the year. 

4.  Language ArtsFirst Language Lessons- This is not my favorite, it is very repetitive and LittleBit does not like repetitive.  I have not found anything I like better for such an early age yet.

5.  Bible Who is God.  I like this book we are reading it slowly and having many discussions. 

6.  VocabularyWords are Wonderful  - I was able to get this test book on clearance from CBD.  I am using it as a workbook and it is a challenge for him.

7.  HandwritingHorizons Penmanship Manuscript 1 – This has been wonderful for us.  To say handwriting is a struggle for us would be an understatement.  He absolutely hates practicing his penmanship.  Last year we were using Handwriting without tears and it only caused tears for both of us.  He really likes the Horizons rocket ship theme and actually asks to do penmanship.  That is a raving success in my book, and his writing is improving. 

8. Reading – At the end of class time everyday, he is reading a chapter book by himself. He gets to chose the book. He has to read at least one chapter a day but he usually reads a few. One day this week he read an entire book.  At the end of each chapter he writes a sentence about something he learned in the chapter.  I use a form provided by Donna Young Reading Chapter Log.  It is a good primer to beginning writing and extra penmanship. When he finishes a book, he gets to get something from the treasure chest.

So far so good, hopefully the rest of the year will continue as our first month has. 

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bug Club – Butterfly Day


This weekend, it was Butterfly Day at Bug Club. We had a great time and thankfully it was a bit cooler than it has been.

LittleBit was able to hold several different types of butterflies, see eggs under a microscope, observe caterpillars, and chrysalis. There was a butterfly hunt and tour. Everything was divided into small stations with people to help the kids and answer questions.

Swallowtail Butterfly


Buckeye Butterfly


Monarch Butterfly


On the hunt and found an interesting caterpillar, with fake eyes



Observing Eggs at 4x and 10x

Examining a Chrysalis



Sunday, August 8, 2010

School Desk - A new Look

This weekend I picked up a old wood school desk for us to use. Here is the link to my craft blog which tells all about it. I just love the color.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


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We are in 3rd year of homeschooling. I have one 6 year old boy. We are all about hands on activities and reading. We follow an eclectic plan, a little of this and a little of that. I am always looking for great ideas.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Roman Pillar Sugar Cookie - FAIL


One of the activities listed in the Story of the World  history activity book  is to make a sugar cookie pillar crumbling to represent the fall of the Roman Empire.  I thought what a great activity for a Monday, school and cookies!  After reviewing why the Roman Empire fell and looking at pictures of what is left of the Coliseum today, we were ready to create and bake.

I did not make the cookie dough, I always make my own sugar cookie dough.  I thought using one of the premade rolls of dough would be easier to work with.   I was right about that, it was very easy to shape into different shapes, much like play dough.  What I didn’t realize Pillsbury cookie dough gets fluffy and spreads amazingly well.  All of LittleBit’s handiwork became one fluffy hunk of cookie.  He took it well and was more than happy to eat the cookie.  So, our activity was a fail in making cookies that actually resembled something other than a hunk of mess but it was a success we made our own ruins and they were yummy!

He made a gladiator with shield and ax, 2 pillars and lots of broken pieces of building and rock.  The sprinkles were small rocks and dust.


Our ruins


Sunday, August 1, 2010

L.E.N.S Photo Challenge

The LEarning Never Stops Photo Challenge
Home is where you heart is blog has a photo challenge. This week is about the properties of water. Click here to check out her blog.

Home Is Where You Start From

I chose for my photo a penny full of water from our "How much will a penny hold" experiment. You can see my post on our experiment here:
It is a fun easy experiment for kids of all ages.

A penny with 38 drops of water.