Monday, September 27, 2010

How we study the big wide world around us

 Cruise Time..... maybe one day I will be able to get on a real cruise boat, and not just cruise from my office chair in the kitchen......... ahhhh, someday.....

The topic for discussion today is : "How do you do Nature Studies where you live?"

I remember when I first started homeschooling, I didn't know what a Nature Study even was.  (I figure there are people out there that don't know either, so I will start at the beginning...) I didn't understand what the big deal about them was.  They didn't do a subject called  "nature" in Public School....  I wondered if it was really even something to be worried about.

Over time, listening, and researching this thing that kept popping up on message boards, and in forums, I finally checked out the Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock., from my library.  (beware... it is a BIG, I mean BIG THICK book.... it was sort of scary lookin'.  I like the online version better, it is less frightening.)  That is when I got it.  Nature Study could be defined as the Art of Observation.  What you are really doing, is teaching your child how to actually SEE the world around them.  It is a stop and smell the roses sort of class.
Armed with that information....  that the teaching of a Nature Study doesn't have to follow a set of rules, and seeing how it integrates itself into all areas of study, I was eager to start this new "class". 

Now to the part you have all been waiting for....  How we do Nature Studies where we live.

I live in a mixed community.  We are definitely a city, but at the same time, desperately clinging to our agrarian roots.  It is common to see a house with a barn, horses, chickens, goats, or even the wild turkey roaming on a fairly busy main street.  Our opportunities may be more varied than someone from a major city, where tall cement prevails over tree dotted hills.  The biggest thing that we do for Nature Study time, is GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!...  I know, sounds hard doesn't it?

We will go for walks along the river, we will talk about why the sparrows all build their nest on one side of the bridge and not the other.  We look at bugs. We pick up leaves and try to classify if it is a monocot or a dicot. We pick flowers in the yard and we bring them in and cut them up.  We identify all the parts of the flower.  We pick up rocks and see what lives under there.  We hunt for snakes.  We watch the crows in our pine tree, and look for their nest every year. We investigate why the birds at daddy's office only live under the roof tiles on one side of the building and not the other....... We care for our pets, the rats, the dogs and the cat.... and we watch the things they do.

For larger animals, we have friends that have a farm.  We have helped with chickens, goats, pigs, and now cows.... we learn about the animal and their differences by being around them. We can observe the differences in feathers from a chick to a full grow chicken. We have seen every size and color of egg.  We learn why eggs start out small, and how long it takes for it to get to a regular egg size.  We learned about the protective coating chickens have on their eggs naturally.  We learned why chicken cluck after they lay an egg....  ( it is so you will notice them and not their cute new egg...). We have killed, plucked and eaten our fair share of extra roosters... We have bottle fed baby goats, watched their horns and hooves grow. We have felt the change if their soft baby fur to the more coarse adult fur.  We have milked a cow.  We have helped load pigs to take to the butcher.

Those are some of the things that we do when the weather is good.  Around here it can get COLD and it does snow....  So what do we do then....  is pretty much the same as in the summer, it just requires heavy coats, gloves and hats.  We get out of the house!...  When we have had a snow, we look around and see how the snow fell.  We ask questions like...Why did the snow fall here and not there?  Why did it pile up in this corner?  What in the world causes this poky ice on our fence?  Is the ground frozen?  How do we know?

Another way we study nature is to grow a garden.  We learn about seeds, soil, decomposition, insects, all sorts of stuff.

Nature Studies aren't hard to find.... you need only open your eyes and ask questions.
So don't be afraid of the name, or worried you might not be doing it 'right', just go out and look at the big wide world around you, and see what you can see.

If you want to read about how other homeschoolers study the world around them; click on the big cruise ship at the top of the post!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Schleich~ more than just toys

Can I just say.... I love little brown packages....  This one wasn't tied up with string, just plain box tape, but I was still completely delighted to open it.  Why?  Because contained within, was 8 of the coolest animal figures I have ever seen.  We got animals we didn't even know existed. There was Przewalskis Horse, a Swabian Hall piglet, a Donkey (we knew that one...) a Dartmoor Pony (all ponys aren't the same?) , an Asian Elephant Calf, an Okapi (a what?), a momma Gnu, and her calf.

All I can say is: Thank you TOS Homeschool Crew for picking me for this one!

How we used them in our Homeschool:

First of all, I think they stayed in the box for about 30 seconds as soon as the boys saw what they were.  They pulled them out of the packaging, muttering "coooool...", and "wow".... "oooh"....
It was another 30 seconds before the sounds of guns and missiles firing at the enemy commenced.
These animal figures have been super heroes, they have been world travelers, they have been best friends.  They have been in and out of boxes, bags, and caves.  They have scaled high mountains and with their horns, blown a path through the summit to save the wagon train....
Name an adventure, my boys have used these critters to act it out.

These figurines are a great way to bring the things that you may be reading about, into your home to play with and help your child use their imagination.  Schleich strives to make their figurines as life like as possible.  They pay very close attention to detail, and seek to have accurate representations of the animals, people, or historical time periods they are representing.
Seriously?  Look at the detail on my little Elephant.  There are wrinkles on the bottoms of  her feet!....  anyone who has been to a zoo knows there are wrinkles on an elephants feet, but no other toy I have ever seen, has added that kind of detail into its molds.
Their eyes are painted very life like as well.  It always seems like this one is looking at me.

They even take the time to put the shoes on the horses.

Do you know a kid that loves Cowboys and Indians?  They've got them.
Do you have a grandson that is in love with Dinosaurs?  They have those.
Do you have a budding Marine Biologist? The ocean life collection is amazing...
Do you know someone fascinated by farm life?  They have cows, pigs, geese, rabbits, horses....
Learning about the Middle Ages?  There are knights, archers, and sentries....
I could keep you here for a year if I listed off all of the 500 items they have to offer.

Go take a look at their website and see all of the different things they have to offer, just click on the picture of their catalog below.

I can't tell you what these cost.  There are no price listings on their website.  They sell through many different retailers.  I suggest that you use their website to locate a retailer near you. Go to a store, pick up the figures and look them over.  Seeing really is believing.  I did check some of the prices on the online retailers that were listed.  For some families, purchasing these figurines for toys, might be expensive, and out of your budget....  I completely understand that.  I will however point out the craftsmanship, and durability of these toys.  All of the photos, above, were taken after over a month of torture and abuse play, by two overly imaginative boys.  These toys have been put through it all.... and they still look great. 
I feel that the products produced by Schleich, are worth the investment.

Age Range the Product is suited for:

Umm.... anyone who is breathing.
Really, my husband played with them. I played with them.  My kids did too, both the teens and the 8 and 3 year old.  Anyone near enough to touch them when the boys took them places..... had to pick them up and play with them.

Click on their catalog.  Take a look for yourself, and see what you can bring into your home to enhance the imaginative play, that reinforces learning. Click HERE to see what fellow crew members had to say about their little box of love....

****disclaimer....aka... the fine print******
As a member of the 2010 TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I received an assortment of animal figurines from Schleich North America, Inc., free of charge.  These figurines were provided for the purpose of reviewing their product for craftsmanship, quality, and usability within a Homeschool setting to engage a child in imaginative play.  In exchange for these figurines, I offer my honest opinion of their product.  I have received no further compensation, and the above opinions are my own.
blah.  I hate that part.  Makes me sound like a lawyer.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

Alrighty...  here are some things that I learned that made me feel real dumb, after I knew them.  I walked around for a long time not knowing some of them.... and it was embarrassing to be the one people were laughing at.....

I hope these things help you so you will not "know" something in the future.

1.  Pink Floyd is NOT someones name.  It is a band name. I knew it was a band, but I thought it was named after a single person.  Not so.

2. I had heard the name Cruella Deville for years in the Disney Movie.  I was 34 when I realized it was spelled de Vil..... and even then the fact that it was DEVIL was not plain to me.  It is now.

3.  A few years ago, we got a new microwave.  I thought it was saying "food 15 ready", every time it beeped to say the food was done. It made absolutely no sense to me, but hey, maybe it did to the folks that made the  microwave..... A few months ago.... it dawned on me, the 15 was digital for IS... it was saying "food is ready"....

4.  The Beach Boys song is NOT Bop~a~Ran...... "Ba~Ba~Ba~......  Ba~ Bop~aRaahn...." ... no... it is Barbra Ann...... yeah... I felt dumb.  Real dumb....  I will not tell you how long I sang it wrong.

Salem Ridge Press ~ A three book review

What a wonderful company this is.  It was started by  homeschool graduate, Daniel Mills, in 2005.  Daniel is committed to bringing quality books, full of history, inspiration, and all around appeal, into the hands of today's young readers.  I will have to say, after reading three of his company's books, he is making good on that commitment.

Salem Ridge Press offers good quality reading material. The books I read were entertaining, thoughtful, and carried a great moral message.  They embody the word wholesome.

The first of the three books was Soldier Fritz.  It is written by Emma Leslie.  Salem Ridge press features it in their Junior Church History SeriesSoldier Fritz sells independently for $10.95 (softcover) and $20.95 (hardcover). I read this book in it's softcover format.  Written originally in 1871, it is recommended for ages 8-adult.
The setting of the book is during the German Reformation (1525-1526).  Young Fritz wants a sword for his birthday, and a kind peddler tells the boy of the great sword he has in his pack..... The Bible.  Fritz chooses the Bible as his gift, so he can be a soldier of truth as Luther.  There are strong lessons in this book about pride, and anger, and the need to choose Christ's way over selfish desires.  If you know a boy or girl who battles these enemies, this book is a must read. 
We have used this book as a family read-aloud, and everyone has enjoyed listening in.

The second book I was given was Young Robin Hood.  I was given this book via Electronic Download.  All of the titles that Salem Ridge Press publishes, are available as E-books through the TOS Schoolhouse StoreYoung Robin Hood  is available in softcover for $10.95 and hardcover for $20.95, and is suited best for children ages 6-10.
Originally published in 1900, and written by George Manville Fenn, this book is an enchanting story of a young boy named Robin who becomes lost in the forest after his father's servant is frightened and deserts him.  Robin, is taken in by Robin Hood, Little John and Maid Marian.  I did not read any of the blurbs provided with this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the twists and turns.  This book is not expressly a "Christian" book, however, the moral messages of kindness, hospitality and forgiveness come across strongly in the way that Robin Hood treats little Robin's father as he arrives to retrieve his son. 
This book is part of Salem Ridge Press' Young Reader's page on their web site. These books are easily read by young readers, and this one in particular kept my 8 year old son CAPTIVATED, as he read.

Lastly I was given Down the Snow Stairs. I received this book in Electronic format.  It is available in a cloth bound cover with a dust jacket for $24.95.  It is also available through E-book download at the TOS Schoolhouse Store  for $10.95.  Originally written in 1887, by Alice Corkran, this book is suitable for all ages.
This book is a wonderful allegory that reminds me of other great allegories such as Pilgrims Progress, and The Chronicles of Narnia.  The main character of the story, Kitty, is a naughty child.  She is worried about her brother, who is ill due to her naughtiness. She travels to a dream land where she learns what the fruit of naughtiness begins to look like.  Cleverly weaved into Naughty Children Land, the subjects of contentment, vanity, greed, are brought up.  You meet a man who has come to live in Naughty Children Land because he loves the children so, and wants them to be good.  His desire is to keep them from Punishment Land...  Much more and I will give the whole story I will just stop now!
I enjoyed reading this book.  We have not read this yet as a family, but I do plan to take it with us on our vacation and read it in the car as we travel.

I think that Salem Ridge Press is doing a wonderful job at bringing wholesome reading material back into print.  If you would like to know more about the company be sure to read about how they choose their books, what their standards are as well as their commitment to uphold them, directly from their website.
Their website is easy to navigate, and understand.  I found the way they grouped their books by either author, age group, historical time period, or A-Z list... very helpful.  It makes it extremely easy to find a book written in a time period you may be studying.

Keep up the great work!  I can't wait to read more!

***** Disclaimer (otherwise known as the fine print...)******
As a member of the TOS Homeschool Crew, I was selected to participate in evaluating three books from Salem Ridge Press.  Salem Ridge Press, provided me with three books, one in softcover, and two in PDF format.  These books were provided free of charge and were to be used as the basis of my evaluation.  I am under no obligation to provide a positive review, either for the company or the books, nor have I received any other compensation for this review, which contains my honest opinion.
 This message will self destruct in 5 seconds.....5....4.......3.............

Monday, September 20, 2010

Grammar Game

A friend and fellow homeschool mom, came up with this great way to kinetically learn some parts of speech.

Check out her post at Consider the Lilies


Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Fun Day

My goal is to get out to more field trips this year.  Just setting aside one day for some real light school, and lots of exploring.

Today we headed down to the River.  I told my husband we went to the park.  He said, "The park isn't a field trip..".  I replied it sure was.  I sat in a field of grass and ate lunch, and we had to take a trip in the car to get there.  There both words were fulfilled.

Nah, really we did more than go just to play at the park.  We went on a very long nature walk, and discovered bugs, lizards, and birds.  We chased lots of birds.

After the bird chasing, we took a long walk along the river....  We are blessed to live a few miles from the Columbia River, and there are many places to explore along the Lewis and Clark Trail.
 Along the river trail, there is a Veterans Memorial.  It was erected to honor all the veterans of every branch of service.  We had a good talk about those we know who have served, and in what wars or conflicts.  We talked about the people we know who are still choosing to serve our country, and what that cost might be to them. We learned the significance of the Blue Star, the Gold Star, and the Silver Star....
So you see, there is much to explore, and learn about, right in your own home town.......  Fall is coming, get out while the weather is still good and explore! Go out and see if you can find a leaf as big as your head!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blog Walk ~Week 10~

Here is this week's installment of the Homeschool Crew blog walk.  Grab a cup of coffee, and settle in for a good read.  Spend some time getting to know others on the walk, or just finding out something new about homeschooling.

1. Hearthside Homeschool Reviews... And More ~ lots of informative reviews on a wide range of subjects!

2. Loving Learning at Home ~ adorable layout...  I really love the whole digi-scrap thing.  Even if I have NO clue AT ALL about how to do it.

3. Life on the Roller Coaster ~ with a blog name like that.... you know she keeps it real.

4. A Life Better Than I Deserve ~ I love the header picture on this blog.  Those books...  I can almost smell them. That faintly musty smell of days gone by, begging you to come over and pick up a book and hold a piece of history in your hand......

5. Joy in the Journey ~real, regular, messy life... good stuff on here.

6. Homeschooling, Autism & Stuff ~ F-U-N-N-Y!  oh! and the photos of the gluten free food? Had me drooling at the chocolate cake!

7. There is Hope ~ lots of Disney stuff... in the quick skim. I think I need to go back and read more. Her profile information has me very interested to see more.

8. Homeschool Reviews for You ~lots of great reviews on lots and lots of things.  Lobster Network sounds intriguing.

9. Mom Loves Books ~ lots of reviews, and a smattering of life.  The post about her mom was especially nice.

10. The Legacy of Home ~ relaxing flow of words.... makes me want to curl up with a cup of tea in a big chair and read, read, read.


Wednesday Wisdom

I made that....  that thing right up there.
I have never done a thing like it before.
I will probably never be able to do it again.
Really.  I can't even find the program I did it in on the computer anymore.

All these buttons, and banners... and watermarks and hickey-do's,
well frankly, they make me itch, they give me the hives......

I don't understand how to do it.  I try to import a picture... and then write on it.
 the picture starts changing colors and won't stop.
I would probably be better with an instruction manual.
One that would tell me exactly what to press to fix whatever it is I know I am going to break.

That is my wisdom for the day.... if you are afraid you are going to break it....
get a tutor.... go to a class.


Can I just be honest?


I See Cards, sent out it's PYRAMATH game to some on the Homeschool Review Crew.  I was blessed enough to be chosen for this little package of fun that arrived in my mailbox.

PYRAMATH is designed to reinforce the 4 basic skills of Math.  The concept is very simple;  use the skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division to build a pyramid and win the game.
There is no age specific range on their product packaging, I am sure however, that it can be used with all ages.  I used it primarily with my 3rd grade son, but my high school children did not complain about playing it at all!  They would play just with addition and subtraction when they played with their younger brother, but if I left them alone to play, they challenged each other by including multiplication and division.  There was much laughter that accompanied the learning that was happening.  That is my favorite kind of learning, the kind that is FUN!


We took this little deck of cards with us everywhere.  It was a great way to pass the time while waiting for your older sibling to finish their piano lesson or waiting for your turn to see the dentist.  I can see it adding lots of fun to our next long car trip too!  It is an excellent supplement to any curriculum and will be especially beneficial to those who loathe workbooks, yet need to sharpen their basic math facts.

PYRAMATH is available for $6.95.  You can purchase it directly from their website at .  Don't forget to check out all the online versions of their games too...  I should warn you though.... this game may become habit forming.  The company offers other game cards as well.... to see the entire line up of products visit .  I think we are going to get Fractazmic next!    

***Disclaimer*** As a member of the TOS Homeschool Review Crew, I was given a deck of PYRAMATH cards, free of charge,  by the folks at I See Cards.... for the sole purpose of expressing my honest opinion and review of their product.  I am not obligated in any way to give them a positive review.  Opinions will vary on all products tested.  To see what other people had to say about this product, click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Field Trip Friday

Last Friday we decided to take a field trip...  Something I want to do more often this year, even if it is local, and even if it is just a walk in nature.... there is something to learn everywhere.

For this trip we went to Fort Walla Walla.  Hunter has been listening to books on CD and has fallen in love with Farmer Boy and Little House on the Prairie, both by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Both of these books are set in the 1800's and this museum has much to offer on that time period!

They have covered wagons, stagecoaches, log cabins, all furnished with period furniture, quilts, and cookware.  There was enough farm equipment to keep any boy interested for hours figuring out what each piece was used for.  We even tried to lift one plow, so that Hunter could see how difficult it might be to keep it in the ground, and going in a straight line, while it was being pulled by a mule, horse or ox.    There was a great hands-on exhibit where the kids could decide what items they would need or not need in their covered wagon.  It was a great exercise in prioritizing what would be a necessity during the trip, and what things you could make again or just plain do without.

There is plenty of history to be seen, and learned about, at Fort Walla Walla.  There is Lewis and Clark Expedition history, civil war history, WWI and WWII history, as well as great information on the history of the region as a farming community, and the machines that helped the region grow.

Admission $ 7.00 for ages 12-adult
                 $3.00 for ages 6-12
               under 6, free.

I recommend this place to anyone who lives in the following areas: Eastern Washington, North Eastern Oregon, Western Idaho.  If you are planning a trip through Eastern Washington, try to make this part of your visit.  It is budget friendly, and worth the time to see a little piece of history on the Lewis and Clark Trail.


Me or not to Me..... that is the question.....

 Cruise topic for today is:  " How do you find free time? Is it OK to take time for yourself? and If so, HOW?"

The first thing I thought when I read the first question was:  " I lock myself in the bathroom..."  Humorous as that my sound... it is true....  there are times when I need to listen to a important call, or relax in the tub while they are in bed..... and I do.. I lock myself in there....

But I think that most people are looking for a more serious answer to the question.... so here I go...

Let me start off by saying these are loaded questions, especially within the homeschool community. I am teased by public school mom's about not know what free time is.....and that's OK, I don't want their kind of free time. Would life be 'easier' if I didn't have to answer 50 million questions a day?  Would life be simpler & all my bills paid on time, not to mention,  my house would be cleaner if I didn't have a crew of 4 here all day to mess it up? I am sure in the eyes of some it would be easier.... but for me the trade off on what I would have to re-teach my children at the end of a day....  Well, lets just say I have given up on having a home that looks like a Pottery Barn catalog....and for me the lack of free time that comes with homeschooling is worth it.

Now does this mean I never have any time to myself?  EVER?  That I live in constant chaos, and always surrounded by needy, whimpering, clingy children?  Nope....  not at all. 

I like to start the day out in the quiet of the morning...  Just me, a cup of coffee, and the Lord.  This is the most valuable "me" time I can get in a day.  When I miss this time, I know it.  My day just isn't set right, but with it....  I am a much more patient, kinder, gentler, gracious mommy.   Matthew 11:38 says: " Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."  This explains every mom, since Eve.... and is the only way to find true rest.  Rest without Christ, is just plain escape.

I still think it is important to carve out time during a week in order to complete tasks that do not require constant interruptions...  ie... time with your husband, bill paying, journaling, previewing reading material for your family, knitting or sewing, other household tasks or chores.  I choose to do many of those tasks while the house is quiet in the morning or evening, or at nap times....  Sometimes, when there is more energy than my home and yard can handle, I will take them to the park and let them RUN!...  Usually during those times, I take a book I need to read for the bigger kids work, or perhaps pay a few bills ( I keep them all in my day timer, so they aren't getting lost!)... often I just have my Bible, and I will take the time to read a few more things from God's Word.

I remember when my older two were little... 1 1/2- 2 1/2 up through about 4....  My favorite 'escape' was Mc Donalds.  I had a husband that traveled for weeks at a time, and I would work nights, and have the kids all day.  They weren't old enough for formal school, and being housebound with them would wear me down.  My 'escape' ( I call it that cuz it was....  I was frustrated, overwhelmed and lacked a Christ-like perspective) consisted of dinner or lunch at Mc Donalds.... and a book for mommy to read.  I would feed them, and let them run.  Meanwhile I would read my book, blissfully tuning out most of the ambient noise of the playland.  I didn't really leave refreshed.... I always had to carry them out kicking and screaming, one under each arm....  but I was able to be free of their needs and demands for a few hours.

Even reading what I just wrote, it sounds so selfish.  How irritated I would choose to be, because of my children.... wow.  Now, two more kids later..... and with a heart that is desirous to glorify God.....  I don't need that sort of time anymore.  I don't need to run from my children, or just have some me time.  I don't think it is the kids who have changed... nor the things that they do.... they still whine, cling, and barf on me.... It is me who has changed.  My perspective on mothering, and teaching, and training has grown to be more Christ-like.

Really I think that is the key to it all.  Is the time that you spend away from the distractions of your family, however that takes shape, honoring to God.  If the answer to that is yes....  Then I think that is a wise use of time.... if the answer is no.... or if the reason that you need the alone time sounds selfish..... you might need to re-evaluate.

Since this is an issue with many different opinions, please don't forget to click on the big cruise ship (at the top of this post) and check out what other folk's have to say on the subject.... the few I have read already are wonderful!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

It is Wednesday, and I am supposed to be full of Wisdom again.

Today I will share with you bits of wisdom that I have learned the hard way.  I have done something...and I usually have had some sort of embarrassing moment because of it..... whereby gaining the wisdom, to never do it again.  Some of the things on the list, have happened to people that I have known, and I have graciously learned from their experience.....hopefully you will learn from mine.

1.  When on your first date.  Never order the Rice Pilaf, with your meal.  In mid-sentence, a piece that was tucked back in your cheek, a piece so small you didn't even know it was still in your mouth, will fly out of your mouth and land on someones plate.

2. ( This one isn't mine.  I was there.  I saw it happen.  I learned.)  Never lean forward on a ski lift, in the attempt to see what is directly under you.  You will fall out.... and on a ski lift.... out is DOWN!

3.  Do not turn your head to see something that caught your eye, while you are on a winding canyon road.  You will likely lose control of your vehicle.... and slam it into a hill.

4. Wear clean underwear.  They really do cut clothes off of you after you have been in a car accident.

5.  ( I learned this one after having kids )  If a child has stuck something up its nose.  You can save yourself a panic attack, and a trip to the emergency room, if you gently close the unaffected nostril with your finger.... and blow into the child's mouth ( as if doing CPR ) the air you blow in, will be forced out the open nostril.... and usually blow out the raisin, m&m, or Lego....  sometimes repeated breaths are necessary.  If that doesn't work.... keeping a good set of forecepts around the house, might be something to think about.

6.  While making suction noises,( they sound like big zerberts you do on baby's bellies ) with your back while you are in the bathtub.... is fun.  You can get stuck.  Real Stuck.  So stuck that you have to have the kids go get dad.... so he can figure out how to UN-stick you....  so save yourself the embarrassment, and just don't do it.


A few days ago, the boys were outside running off some energy, between workboxes, and we noticed a hoard of white butterflies all over the yard. 

They were in the front yard dancing among the pine tree branches....

They were in the back yard, flitting from grass, to weed, to the trees...

They were everywhere!

They boys couldn't resist, and Hunter sent in Jeremiah to ask me if they could catch the butter-whys, since Hunter knows that if I am given the cute face by his little brother, and I can justify something they are doing as school..... I will say yes, and let them 'play' longer.

So I armed the two butter-why hunters with disposable Tupperware..... and set them loose to terrorize,  I mean, to hunt, catch and release as many of the little creatures as they could find.

They brought one in for my inspection, and asked me what kind it was.  I told them I had no idea, but we would find out......  It took three days, but we found out what they were and why there were a gazillion of them in the yard.... well all over town, really.  Daddy had heard about them on the radio, and what they were called so we looked it up on the Internet to get more information.....

They are The White Pine Butterfly, who were apparently in the midst of an "outbreak".  It is said that the occurrence of them in such great numbers, happens once every 30 to 50 years.... 

We learned about their life cycle, and about what to look for on our tree next spring when the eggs hatch.....

It was a great (even if it was accidental ) nature study......

Monday, September 6, 2010

When Family and Friends are Fickle.....

yes it is cruise time again!....
 Today's topic:  " How do you respond to Family and Friends that don't support your decision to homeschool?"

This is a topic that touches the lives of just about every homeschooling family.  I think I can safely say that every person who has ever even brought up the subject of homeschooling to their family and friends has faced some dissension with their decision. 

I am blessed that in my extended family, there is support.  There are still questions, that are asked, that are not asked of family members who choose public education..... and I patiently answer those questions.  I find that the "proof is in the pudding", when it comes to defending your position to homeschool.  I have many people say how impressed they are with our children, how polite, how well mannered they are.  Many times we receive comments about how they are able to converse respectfully with adults on a variety of subjects, "they are so pleasant to be around" we often hear.  Those are the comments I store in my memory banks, not as a yea me!, but as outside conformation that we made the right choice.

Here is how we as a family have chosen to react to those who don't agree with our choice to homeschool:

In most cases we ignore it.

Yup, you read that right.... we ignore it.  We are not able to control what anyone else thinks or does.  We can only control the thoughts and actions we produce.  We chose to let love cover it, and ignore the comment.  Most comments are made from lack of understanding, or from fear.  If the person chooses to ask questions and seems to want more information, we will gladly, and kindly answer them.  If not, we ignore it.  Their words will not change our convictions..... so we just let it go.

I know, I can hear you now....  " But Julie!  You just don't know what I have to listen to!....  They are telling me my kids will be stupid, they say I am wrong!  They say my kids will be sheltered and unable to function normally....  that I am abusing them by not letting them go to school...."  
Regardless of the words....... we need to respond as Christ would.  Did he offer many words in his defense, before they took him to the cross?
If a person is more persistent, and aggressive in their attitudes, the same rule applies.  As a Christian, my behavior needs to be in line with what would be glorifying to God.  That is what I will be held accountable for.  I am told how to react :
"Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."  Ephesians 4:29

I can not react in anger, and tell them off and let them know just how wrong THEY are..... no, the Bible says my words are to be full of grace..... and telling them off, would not be very edifying.

This passage goes on to say that I am to be tenderhearted, forgiving.... because Christ forgave me. It is hard to stand ready to forgive someone who has hurt you with words, but it is what we are called to do as followers of Christ.

Above all, we should pray for those that may not agree with our decision to homeschool.  Don't pray that God will change them and their point of view to agree with yours, but that God will help you to love them, and be quick to forgive their hurtful words.

Don't forget to click on the big Cruise Ship to see what other homeschoolers have to say on this subject!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mom's Science Camp


I received this email the other day from a Science Resource I often use.
This man Greg Landry M.S. provided online science camps and talks for homeschoolers, he also had camps and such.  Read his email carefully, and please please please nominate someone you know that fits this category.  I was also a wife of a deployed soldier, I know how hard it is.  Please nominate someone you know and be a blessing in their life.

Greg's email:
The Lord has given my family a heart for military

families. I know that I can't begin to understand
the sacrifices they make for our freedom. I'm
very grateful.
We would like to offer a "Mom's Science Retreat"
scholarship to five homeschool moms who have
military husbands who are deployed. We'll also
cover the cost of their gas to drive to the retreat.
Everything, including meals will be covered. It
won't cost them anything.
Will You Enter a Military Family Mom and Child Sit?
Do you know a homeschool mom who fits into this
category? And, would you offer to take care of
her children while she attends the "Mom's Retreat"?

Or, are you a homeschool mom who fits into this
On Wednesday, September 8, we'll draw the names of
five moms out of a hat. They will win a scholarship
to attend and we'll cover the cost of their gas
to get here.
==> Please consider forwarding this scholarship
information to your homeschooling friends or
homeschool group.
Please see "Mom's Science Retreat" dates and details here..
To participate in the scholarship drawing for yourself or
a friend..
1. Email
2. Subject line: Military Mom Scholarship
3. In the body of the message:
- Your name (if different from below):
- Your Email address (if different from below):
- Military mom's..
email address:
Where is husband deployed?
Are you able to attend if chosen?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Time for Learning ~ Spelling City

My next review for the Homeschool Crew is Spelling City is a free interactive website for all ages.  It uses computer games to reinforce spelling words.  I was given a free subscription to their Premium Membership.  That membership costs $24.99  a year for a family, yes more than one child can use this membership!  This is a great resource for homeschoolers whether you purchase their Premium Service or not.

Pro's of Premium Membership:
The ability to track your child's progress
Keep a grade book and individual records.
Unlocks some specific games.
Read, respond and keep track of writing assignments online.

The Free usage also allows you to enter specific words on the home page and either test the child, or have them play interactive games for practice with these words.  There is NO way to record or store records with the free option. 

With their database of over 48,000 words, there is no end to the words you can learn and practice while using  They are also working to add more features for the Premium Memberships, with enhanced vocabulary and phonics.

All my children (ages 7,15,16 ) enjoyed playing the games on the website.  No one said they were bored, or that the games were too babyish.  I recommend this website to all homeschooling families as a way to make spelling lists more fun and interactive.  I think that if you intend to use the website to help you track and grade your child's work, or if you would use it as an active part of your curriculum, the Premium Membership is very much worth its whole family value of $24.99 for 5 users.

Please go and visit and see how it can be used as a great learning tool for your homeschool family.

Other Crew Members reviewed this product as well as other products sponsored by Time 4 Learning, click here to see what they are saying.

*** Disclaimer*** As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given access to SpellingCity's Premium Membership, for the purpose of writing this review.  No other compensation was given, nor am I obligated to provide a positive review of their website.***

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday Wisdom

I am sitting here staring at the screen.  Wondering what to write about today.... and the words Wednesday Wisdom come to mind....  Then I think.... wisdom?  what kind of wisdom?

I still don't really know, but I will start with some of the things I do know, and that people have told me they have never heard of before.....  If you learn something great....  If you think I am nuts.....

I am.  I already know it.

Today you get money saving tips:

1. Wrap your block of cheese in a paper towel before putting it back in a plastic bag in the fridge.  This will keep the mold from forming for quite sometime... the towel absorbs the condensation in the bag, and keeps the cheese from getting slimy.

2. This also works for the leftover grated cheese when you have tacos.  Wrap the grated cheese in a paper towel, and the next day when you pull it out, it wont be slimy.

3. Wrap your heads of lettuce in paper towels and put them back in the produce bag.  it keeps the lettuce drier, and you can keep a head for twice as long in the crisper drawer.

That is it for now.... the buzzer on the dryer went off.  I have clothes to fold.....
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...