Aug 29, 2008

Away We Go!!!

We are off for the week to visit Tampa Grampa!!
We will be back with lots of fun pics!

Aug 27, 2008

1st Annual Not Back to School Day!

Living less than a minute from the school that KM used to attend makes it rather difficult to ignore the fact that PS kids are back to school today! We woke up this morning to the sound of the screaming kids on the buses as they rode by. I half expected her to get upset about it, but instead she was very excited as she knew I had a full day planned for us!

SC arrived right on time and we headed out to KM's favorite restaurant for tie-dyed pancakes
SC has started to figure out what to do with crayons - so that was fun for her! Even when we are trying to not learn something we do!We then headed over to the library to get some videos!

They love the rocking chairs!

And of course the puppet show was a must!

Next we headed to the park! Down the slides...
And up on the swings:

We headed over to the field for some ball play...

and found a shady spot for a snack!
We then headed home for a nap...
lunch and some video games!
When SC went home for the day I realized I had forgotten that I was suppose to make a stop while we were out this morning so off we went again...when we got back CJ was shocked to see his little girl looked soooo grown up!!
In case you can't tell from the earlier photos, KM had about 4-6 inches cut off her hair!!! We were walking passed a salon when I realized it had been quite a while since we had gotten our hair cut - so we did!

This was one of the best, most relaxing days we have had in a LONG time!
It will be the first of many Not Back to School Days in our household!

Aug 25, 2008

Our Olympic Lapbook

The Olympics have ended and we had a great time watching it, learning about it and creating a lapbook to remember it!
We used bits and pieces from several different free sites for this one!
We created a game board and pieces to go along with a trivia game we found.
KM took a lot of care with choosing which pieces she wanted to use for this one.
Her favorite part of the whole 2008 Olympics though had to be those cute little mascots!!!
I think we are starting to get the hang of this lapbooking thing!

Aug 24, 2008

Fun Sunday Afternoon

CJ had a VERY busy work week and was not home for a full two days & nights trying to cram in some extra side jobs. So today we decided to have a little fun!
We headed to the local mini-golf and go-cart place that we haven't been to in far too long!

KM was very excited that she was FINALLY tall enough to ride the go-cart by herself. She did pretty well up until the end when she didn't know what the attendants hand signals meant and ended up rear ending the entire line of carts! Luckily CJ was right in front of her and took the majority of the blow. We then went out for a late lunch / early dinner at our favorite restaurant. It was a very simple fun afternoon - oh and did you see there is actually proof that I was there!

Aug 23, 2008

I Will Survive- Homeschool Version


If it says that it is no longer available click HERE!!

I had posted the original mix lyrics, but I when this got reposted on another list I KNEW I had to put it on here! THIS IS SOOO Well done!

Aug 19, 2008

Attached at the Hip!

SC soooooo loves her cousin!
If she had her way they would be like this 24/7!

She has now taken to throwing temper tantrums if for some reason KM has to leave the room for any reason and forget it if she has to go to the bathroom or shuts her bedroom door to get changed! I am wondering how she is going to make it through 9 days when we go away. We have never gone that long without seeing SC, so it should be interesting! I probably won't be able to separate them at all when we get back!

Aug 17, 2008

I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling)

This has been going around a ton of homeschool lists but just in case anyone missed it...

I Will Survive (the first year of homeschooling)

When you click on it turn your volume up!

Try this one:

57 words


I thought I would have gotten better than that, but this stinky laptop keyboard just never feels right to me! I will use any excuse in the book!
Have fun and let me know how you did!

Aug 15, 2008

Twin baby moose in sprinkler

This is soooo unbelievable cute - you have to take a look!

Transferring Trends

One of our wonderful moderators for an on-line support group in our state MHLA shared some very interesting statistics with the list yesterday:

For the second year in a row, over 1300 public school students (and their families) decided to leave the system and homeschool in MA.

Last year, 2006-07, the DOE ran their new SIMS stats for me (with the new Transfer to HS code) and determined that some 1371 students had "transferred" to homeschooling.

They have just run the stats for the 2007-08 school year and another 1323 have also decided to homeschool.

As stated before, this only tracks students that were enrolled as public school students and have left the system in the past year. It does not include those who previously left the system to HS, nor those who have HSed from the beginning and were never enrolled. Nor those who have left private schools for HSing.

Since my daughter is one of the 1323 students from the 07-08 school year, I thought I would comment on it. I have seen the term "accidental homeschoolers" popping up more and more in articles for parents who are new to homeschooling. It has been used to refer to the parents who never intended to homeschool their children, but have pulled their kids out of PS. I get the concept of it, but really I think it would be more accurate to call us "Parents that are Utterly Disgusted with the Public School System," "Parents who don't want to FIX their kids!" or "Parents for Truly Educated Children".

We didn't just fall out of bed one morning and say "Oops I guess we can't send her to school anymore!" For most of us it was a process that took a lot of wasted time, energy, and aggravation. We have been let down by a system that was suppose to educate ALL students that walk through it's "hallowed" halls. We have undertaken a huge responsibility in the structure of our children's futures. We have broken away from the norm, taken criticism from family and friends, suffered through our children feeling alienated and broken, in order to give them what they truly need to be well rounded responsible educated adults.

When I see that the numbers are as high as they are two feelings cross my mind:
1) Pride - I am proud of the fact that I can be included with such a courageous group of parents!
2) Sadness - for all the children whose parent's cannot, for whatever reason, give them this wonderful gift!

With the numbers this high, how can anyone say that these children would be better off in PS? Really can we ALL be wrong? Can we ALL be crazy?

For those of you who are also part of the 1323 - welcome! No matter what curriculum you use, what style suits your family, what religious background you come from - you are now "Homeschoolers"! You are brave, you are caring, you are wonderful! You are giving your child the very best gift you can give them!

Aug 14, 2008

Gotta love Freecycle!!!

That would be the consensus around this little house anyway!!!

Although it is not in perfect condition, SC had the biggest smile when she went into the backyard today and saw this little house waiting for her. It took me nearly 3 months of trying, but I finally got picked to receive something. I am so glad that this was the one I got! Kids outdoor toys are one of the hottest items on the Freecycle lists that I have seen. I think it is mostly because they charge so much for the items new that when you have only one or two kids, it is just not economically feasible to spend that much on an item that really doesn't get played with for that long.

If you don't freecycle already, I highly recommend that you go on to Yahoo and search for your local areas group. It amazes me some of the items that I have seen on there and how quickly things go!

Aug 11, 2008


I am not really a spontaneous person, gee bet you couldn't guess that one! I am pretty sure most of you would not even consider what I have done spontaneous at all,but here in my world it is a huge event! I finally found tickets to visit my father in FL for a reasonable rate, so KM and I are leaving in two weeks! Now as I said to most of you that would probably be a reasonable amount of time to book a trip. However I am one of those annoying people who plans trips months in advance and would normally already be pretty much packed by now. I just could not pass up the deal though. I think the biggest reason it is such a good rate is that is over Labor Day weekend and around here that is "Back-to-school" time. So yet again I get to gloat about homeschooling!
So now my spontaneous self gets to take the next two weeks and plan out our spontaneous trip to FL, so that we can have some really good spontaneous fun!!!!

OK stop laughing now! I know it is sad to admit how much of a control freak I am!

Aug 8, 2008

Curriculum and Planning Question

One of my favorite blogger mom's Fairyluver asked: "about your school year planning what curriculum do you use...if any, and how do you plan, I just ask because I look at your blog and your class days look like SO MUCH FUN, and your daughter looks like she has a blast too!!"
Well thanks so much! We try to have as much fun as possible!

As you may have figured out by now one of my favorite words is eclectic! My family is eclectic, my music selections are eclectic, so of course our homeschooling style is eclectic as well!
Deep down somewhere inside of me I really would like us to be unschoolers, but as I know I have mentioned several times in previous blogs we NEED schedules in our house and I am a bit of a control freak so...don't see it happening anytime soon. I do try my hardest to allow our curriculum and studies be led by what KM wants to learn about. We school year round and will not be going back to full time school until 9/29 as we wanted to take 2 full weeks off around mine and KM's birthday (which happen to be 3 days apart).
With that being said though here is what we are planning on using in Oct - must of the titles are linked to Amazon or other sites so you can actually see the book if you are interested! -

- my favorite subject!
Daily Estimation Adventures - for some reason she can understand fractions, ratios, decimals, and conversions, but she just does not get how to make or use an estimate. We will be doing this everyday.
Math Problem of the Week - I can't find a link for this one, but it has word problems that you assign on Monday and then throughout the week there are hints and strategies to use to help the student figure out the answers. The student is suppose to need less and less of the hints throughout the year.
Teaching Textbooks - Pre-Algebra - we are both very excited about starting this series! We will be doing this Tues - Fri most weeks. As we have our local coop on Mondays.

Language Arts
This is a difficult area for us because, as I have mentioned before, KM does not like to do writing. I have several different plans to try to address this area, but not sure how long we will do each or if we will get to them at all.
Writing to Inform
Writing to Explain
Writing to Persuade
We will be doing these workbooks in this order one page a day to help reinforce sentence structure and genre.
Spelling and Vocabulary - Houghton Milton - this is one that I am very iffy on, I am thinking of going back to the Wordly Wise series as she really liked it when she was in PS, but I got this workbook at a local book sale and figure I will try it. Worse case I end up going back and ordering the Wordly Wise Grade 6 set. (added note - we did end up getting this as KM really wanted to do it again this year! so we will be starting out with this, but it is only a 22 week program so we will fill in the rest with my original choice!)

Literature -
along with the immense amount of reading that she does each day on her own these are the titles that we will be doing cooperative reading with -
Dragon Slayer Academy Book 1 & 2
21 Balloons
A Wrinkle In Time
Hitty Her First Hundred Years
Island of The Blue Dolphin
Left Behind: The Kids Books 1 & 2
Number the Stars
Strawberry Girl
The Giver
The Tale of the Despereaux
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
- We will be using efantasmic, resources from Scholastic's site and some lapbooks & literature studies from Currclick .

Science Question of the Day
- this is just to reinforce learned skills and to supplement.
Classic Science: Elementary Life Science - I was pointed in the direction of this FREE curriculum and KM walked in while I was looking at and thought it was something that she would like to try so...we are doing this first. It has a ton of interactive aspects to it. I also have an Earth Science Curriculum in the makings for when we finish the life science or just in case it doesn't go as well as we hope.
Ancient Science - this is an experiment book that we will use along with our Ancient History studies.
Museum of Science - We got a yearly membership and plan on going at least twice a month, to research whatever we happen to be working on and to use their fantastic library and teacher resources!

- this is the area that I had the most difficulty deciding on a curriculum for so we are winging it.
I realized that all KM really knew about History was the Pilgrims, Native American and the Pre-revolutionary war. You see given our location on the South Shore of Massachusetts these are the hot topics. So I decided to kind of go with The Well-Trained Minds approach and start at the beginning. I have an Ancient History textbook that I got at a local book sale, that I will be using as kind of a guideline, but we are mostly going to use living books to work through history. Starting with the dinosaurs, cavemen and prehistoric periods and work our way to the ancient civilizations. I really did not like the way that a lot of the curriculum jump from time period to time period and there is no real sequence to them. We will be working on a time-line basis which goes around our playroom/classroom area. Here are some resources that we hope to do -
Mayans, Aztecs & Incas - thematic unit
Ancient China - thematic unit
Ancient Rome - history pocket
Ancient Egypt - History pocket
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths & the literature unit to go with it
We will be doing geography along with this and I have a lot of plans for lapbooks that we can do!
We will be doing science and history one full afternoon a week - each of the two days that I don't have SC here so that we can really focus on them and do the experiments without the little one running under foot!

We will also be doing the following Electives:
Exchange City - We are doing this for a second time, but are doing the curriculum with our Homeschooling coop group.
Spanish - we are going to be trying out the site.
Health - using this free curriculum -Road of Life - as well as a lot of websites.
Typing - using several different websites and programs - KM's favorite is Dance Mat Typing
Current Events - using thematic studies as well as Flash Five - PBS Kids News site.This will also cover the upcoming Presidential and Local Elections.
Art & Music - we will be using the Core Knowledge Book What Your 6th Grader Needs to Know as well as supplements for music history and of course lots of arts and crafts projects. I am also thinking of using some of the activities from How to Teach Art to Children.
Yoga once a week.
Cooking as interest is shown.

Now this may seem a bit extensive to some, but I like to be prepared and a lot of these things KM just really wants to do. How are day actually works will be different than how we did it last year and I am hoping that it will work.
Here is my plan for that:
Since I have SC generally three to four days a week we will be doing science and history one full afternoon a week - each of the two days that I don't have SC here so that we can really focus on them and do the experiments without the little one running under foot!
Mondays is our coop group so she will not having any other full subjects on that day - though she will be responsible for doing her daily math & science questions, writing, spelling/vocab & reading. However we may try to sneak in Health or Spanish on this day in the evening if it is workable.
Tuesday - Friday ~ she will be doing Math every day as well as the daily things mentioned above in the mornings.
Electives will be done in the afternoons on the days that SC is here. We will also try to include her in these activities if possible and/or do some while she is napping.
Literature reading will be done in the evenings either during dinner prep or after dinner.
We use Saturday Mornings for catch-up if we need it. This allows us to do field trips without having to adjust the plans too much.

Well I feel like I left a gazillion things out, but of course that is always the way. How can really account for everything that goes on in a household.

Aug 7, 2008

What Happened to the Garden?

I got an email today from one of my wonderful blogger mom friends asking about how our garden had turned out as I hadn't mentioned anything about it.
I think I hadn't mentioned it because it didn't turn out nearly as well as we had hoped, but we did get some things out of it.
Here is what happened -
First we had everything growing beautifully and when we went to start transplanting them outside we had a downpour for 3 days and most of the seedlings did not make it. Then we got them up and going again on the back porch this time and we had another wash out that lost about 2/3 of the plants. When I finally got a dry enough day to transplant we realized that all the sticks had gotten mixed up and we really weren't sure what some of the things were, so we just guessed and put them in the ground. We knew that we had cucumbers, carrots, peas, squash, lettuce and watermelon once they started growing a bit more and things looked good once they got in the ground. Then came more torrential rain! It was the long leaf variety so the weight of them with all the rain water made them topple over. They were growing so well too! We had lettuce coming out our ears.
The cucumbers and the squash have not produced anything. Don't know why they had huge flowers blooming, but their is no sign of squash forming. Some say we did not water them enough, but I don't know how we could have watered them more.
Here is a picture of the beans KM got out of the garden today and the mini carrots that she pulled up because she did not believe me when I said that they really were carrots growing under there!
We have been discussing our plans for next years garden and the big thing we will be doing is RESEARCH!
We really kinda just went at it this year with very little information or guidance at all, so I guess with that in mind we did really well.

Aug 6, 2008


This time of year with everyone getting ready for "Back to School" - or in our case "Not Back to School" - organization has been a big topic of discussion. As I am sure I have mentioned before I am a bit OCD with organization in my house. Honestly I just can't focus or feel settled if there is clutter. Now I don't mean that you can eat off the floors or that my house is spotless by any means, but things need to be neat and close to its place. One of the moms on a yahoo group I belong to brought up the question of beyond organizing how do people deal with the accumulation of "stuff" and I thought I would share my suggestion to her -

When KM was younger we moved a lot - 8 times in 5 years. We were lucky when we moved to our current home to have the ability to move in very slowly over a four month period so that KM could finish kindergarten at the school she was in and I could really get the place organized. As we were moving I started discovering boxes with things I hadn't seen in years, there were literally 14 large boxes and 5 smaller ones that I hadn't opened in years. CJ made a really good observation - if we hadn't looked for it in "X" amount of years when would we? We had moved those boxes each and every time we moved thinking hey we could use that for this or will have somewhere to hang that picture in the new house, but of course we never did and we just kept moving them from place to place. So we really went through them this time and found two items out of all those boxes that we actually wanted/needed to keep, since then we have tried to live by if you don't use it - it goes.
Here is my suggestion:
Starting with the attics, basements, and closets go through the boxes and bags and such where you have things stored. Look at the things that you have and besides sentimental children's things and such, think whether you will really ever use it. Now I know it is difficult to get rid of stuff so start by boxing those things that you aren't sure if you will use. Seal the box with tape, date it and put it in the corner. In six months if the boxes seals are not broken then off they go. Don't even open them or have someone else take them and open them - this helps you from the temptation of "Oh, but I might NEED that."
In the playroom we have a tote that I use to store things that aren't touched. For instance if I see the Polly Pocket castle hasn't been touched in weeks, I simply put it in the tote. If my dd doesn't ask for it in a month, I move it to a larger tote in the garage. Then at the end of each month KM and I go to the tote and take it to the donation & recycle center. She has one chance to say why she hasn't used it, why she wants it or when she thinks she will use it. Like in the summer there is more leg room as she tends to play outside so the smaller inside toys don't get touched, but then we put a tote on the back porch and do the same thing with the outdoor toys. Generally everything in the tote gets taken away. It is up to you whether you want to give your child the last chance effort or not. I do know some parents, especially of younger children, who just get rid of the stuff without asking or telling the kids. Honestly I used to do the same thing with some stuff, especially with the little do-hickey items - like BK toys & birthday favors - until KM started being responsible for the recycling in the house and able to understand why she didn't NEED all the stuff.
I also do this in areas where I store things that don't get used all the time, like carafes, pitchers and serving items. I am generally the one in our family to do all the hosting, therefore I have a lot of these items. Recently I have begun to discover that there are certain items that don't come out anymore and I just keep moving them to get to the things that I always use. These items have been put in the garage tote as well to go to the donation center.

So this is what works in our house - maybe it will work for some of you guys as well. What is your strategy to deal with "stuff"?

Aug 5, 2008

Night-time Suprise

For a while now I had thought that the art area in my daughter's room was not being used and had been thinking about moving it. Today when I went in to bring her laundry I was pleasantly surprised to see something on the easel. Come to find out she has been sketching at night when she can't fall asleep. Gee - that might be why she has been having such a hard time waking up in the morning!

This is her art area that we had to consolidate when SC started getting mobile, we moved everything into KM's bedroom so that we could close the door.Here is her latest sketch. She used glitter tape left over from a project to make the rays shimmer. She has been into this rapid line approach lately as she says it gives the picture movement!

Aug 4, 2008

Award Nominations!

A fellow homeschooling blogger mom - Leigh - nominated me for the Brilliante Weblog Premio 2008 Award!

Thank you, thank you! Hold the applause!

According to what I have found the rules once you receive this award are:

Put the logo on your blog.
Be sure to add the link from the person that sent it to you.
Nominate at least 7 other blogs.
Be sure to add those links to your blog, too.
Leave a message on their blogs so they know they are nominated.

Here are my nominations -
Bore Me To Tears
Building Castles in the sky...
Different Brilliant Colors
From the Rubber Room
Life at Chez Smiffy
Live Free in Harmony
Throwing Marshmallows

Thanks Leigh - I would have had you at the top of my nomination list if you hadn't gotten me first!