Jan 28, 2013

Chaos Abound - What's been going on around here!

The last few weeks have been quite hectic around here. I have been working between 25 & 38 hours a week outside of our home, whilst CJ has been making much longer trips west and KM has had to take on a lot more responsibility around the house. Although we knew that there would need to be some sacrifices and a tremendous amount of adjustments, we were all willing to do so.

My work schedule is very chaotic and constantly changing, so I am having a bit of trouble finding a good balance at the moment. I am fully committed and unwavering in my efforts to keep KM on a routine and am strict in keeping her regularly scheduled activities - even if that means I have to ask for help in doing so.

Luckily with the chaos, comes flexibility. I am not away from home for 8-10 hours at a time, most days it is only 4-5 at a time. Some days I am gone from 7:30a-11:30a and then 5:30p-9:30p, others I am only gone 10a-1p. This has led to KM taking on a wide variety of chores around the house and they vary from day to day. She has been doing exceptionally well at completing her lessons and all the tasks I leave.

As I mentioned I have been very strict in keeping KM's activities and any other commitments that I make to her. This is not an area that I am willing to be flexible in so she is continuing her bowling, chess club, and youth activities. In addition we have added in a day when her and a few friends go to the library to work on their lessons together and have lunch at a nearby restaurant. I am very fortunate to have some great friends who are assisting me in getting her to and from these consistently.

There are constantly ideas floating around that you can home educate if you have a parent at home full-time, but we are proving - along with MANY others - that this not the truth. It takes some ingenuity, creative scheduling and a whole LOT of cooperation, but it CAN be done!

Jan 24, 2013

Three Free Tools for Creating Stopmotion and Timelapse Videos

I stumbled across this and had to share - Free Technology for Teachers: Three Free Tools for Creating Stopmotion and Timelapse Videos:

Creating stopmotion and timelapse videos can be a good way for students to tell a story that they have developed. Stopmtion and timelapse videos can also be helpful when teachers are trying to help students see how a lengthy process like osmosis works. While good stopmotion and timelapse videos can take a long time to create, there are some tools that can make the process a little easier. Here are three stopmtion video creation tools that are worth trying.
JellyCam is a free program for creating stopmotion movies. Using JellyCam you can create stop motion movies using images from your computer or images that you capture via your webcam. Once you've selected images you can quickly arrange them into a sequence. After the sequence is set you can specify how many images you want per frame. A soundtrack can be uploaded to your video. JellyCam uses the Adobe Air platform. If you don't have Adobe Air Runtime it takes just a couple of minutes to install.
Stop Frame Animator from Culture Street is a neat tool for creating animated stop motion movies. Creating your animated stop motion video is a simple drag and drop process on Stop Frame Animator. To get started creating your stop motion video select a background scene then drag your characters into place. While you have nine background scenes to choose from, the only characters you can use are wooden manikins. You can position the manikins' arms and legs in every scene. After choosing your scene and characters you can add some other props like chairs and beach balls. And if you want you can add sound effects and music to your video by selecting them from the Stop Frame Animator gallery.
OSnap is an iPad app (available in a free version and in a paid version) that you can use to create stop motion and time lapse videos. The app is quite easy to use. To create a video with the OSnap app you simply need to start a project and take a series of still pictures using your iPad’s camera. Then adjust the number of frame per second to edit your video. If you want to, you can add a sound track to your video by selecting audio files that are stored on your iPad. You can go back and edit your videos by removing images and from the project at any time. Completed projects can be stored on your iPad, uploaded to YouTube, or shared via email.

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Jan 22, 2013

Recap Lesson of Pres. Obama's 2nd Inauguration

Utilizing one of the Flocabulary Daily lessons - State of the Union and Inauguration Lesson -  that I shared HERE, we discussed President Obama's second inauguration speech this morning and created a word cloud of the transcript using Wordle.

Link to the official video of the inaugural speech and the transcript.

KM was quite mesmerized by the president - she usually becomes bored and lost during speeches, but she hung on his every word. I guessed the biggest word would be citizens and she guessed people - her guess was quite a bit larger than mine. This was a really interesting quick project that we both enjoyed!

~~~Tip~~~ when we did the cloud the first time, we got a giant APPLAUD through the middle of the cloud because it was in the transcript 24 times! if you make your own use your find tool to remove all the noted "applause" points to get an accurate cloud.

Jan 20, 2013

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - I Have A Dream Speech Analysis Lesson Plan

Find Every Literary Term in Martin Luther King Jr.’s Most Famous Speech

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. led a march on Washington, D.C. The speech he gave that day is one of the best known in American history. When people remember the “I Have a Dream” speech, as it has come to be known, they recall King’s message about civil rights. But perhaps the reason it is so memorable is because King was a master of literary and rhetorical devices. His word choice matched the strength of his message.

This lesson plan allows students to review literary terms, rhetorical devices and figurative language with a scavenger hunt through “I Have a Dream” speech. Then you can have students discuss or write about the speech using the literary terminology. This lesson can be modified to work well for everyone from students just learning about metaphor for the first time to AP students reviewing for their upcoming exams.

I Have A Dream Speech Analysis Lesson Plan

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Jan 16, 2013

Presidential Inauguration 2013 - Free C-SPAN Classroom Resources

Presidential Inauguration 2013

This Sunday, President Obama will officially be sworn into office in a private ceremony at the White House for a second term. With January 20 falling on a Sunday, the President will also be sworn in during a public inauguration ceremony at the U.S. Capitol on Monday. This is the seventh time in U.S. history that the constitutionally mandated Inauguration date has fallen on a Sunday. The last time was for President Ronald Reagan’s second Inauguration in 1985.  
Our coverage of this 57th Presidential Inauguration begins Sunday, January 20 at 10:30am ET on C-SPAN. Events will include:
  • A look back at the President’s 2009 Inaugural Address.
  • Later, a discussion with former presidential speechwriters about this year’s address and how past inaugural addresses have been crafted. Guests will include Terry Edmonds, former director of speechwriting for President Clinton & John McConnell, former speechwriter for G.W. Bush.
  • Then, live coverage of the President’s official swearing in by Chief Justice John Roberts.
On Monday, January 21, Barack Obama will be sworn-in publicly for a second term as the nation’s 44th President.  Live coverage begins at 7:00am ET on C-SPAN. Events will include:
  • Gavel-to-gavel coverage of the inaugural ceremony from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol at 11:30am ET. Includes the swearing-in of Vice President Biden by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then President Obama by Chief Justice John Roberts at noon, followed by the President’s address.
  • Later, the Inaugural Luncheon from inside Statuary Hall at the Capitol.
  • And, the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House. 
Viewers can also join in the conversation by phone and on Facebook at facebook.com/cspan as well as on Twitter at #inaug2013.
Resources for Teachers and Students:
Additional Historical Inauguration Programming will air this weekend on C-SPAN3
The History of Presidential Inaugurations
Historians Peter Onuf, Ed Ayers, and Brian Balogh each specialize in a different period of American history, and host a weekly radio show called “BackStory with the American History Guys.”  In this program LIVE from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, they’ll explore the traditions of presidential inaugurations, as well as the social and political forces at work around them.
Saturday, January 19 - LIVE at 11:00am ET (Re-air at 8:00pm ET) on C-SPAN3
American Artifacts: National Building Museum & Inaugural Balls
The first Inaugural Ball held in the National Building Museum was Grover Cleveland’s in 1885, when it was known as the Pension Building and was still under construction. Composed of over 15 million red bricks, the Pension Building contains a Great Hall that’s 316 feet long and 159 feet high. American History TV toured the building to learn about the Inaugural Balls of several presidents, including William McKinley, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.
Saturday, January 19 - 9:00pm ET on C-SPAN3  
Presidential Inaugurations from the C-SPAN Archive
To coincide with the second inauguration of President Obama, American History TV airs presidential inaugurations from our archive. We’ll begin with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s in 1933, and end with President Obama’s first inaugural in 2009.
Sunday, January 20 - 1:00pm ET (Re-air at 7:00pm ET) on C-SPAN3

Jan 11, 2013

More on the science front ....

After the continued issues earlier in the week and a long discussion we have decided to streamline KM's chemistry program. She feels like it is much more in depth than she will ever need and although I do agree I am also not willing to let her just quit, so we have made a compromise. KM will do the reading for each unit, answer only the review page questions and forgo the other exercises. She will also continue watching the ChemMatters videos and do the HHMI interactives to reinforce the real world connections.

With this adjustment KM will have her chemistry finished in just a few weeks and wants to start right into her Physics when she has completed it. She will be using the Steck-Vaughn Physical Science workbook along with activities from the following sites -

If you know of any others feel free to post them in the comments section!

Jan 9, 2013

Oh why oh why do I open my mouth!

So of course I made the proclamation that things were going well and we weren't going to have to make any adjustments to our programs only to be slammed with a hard core dilemma in Chemistry - KM is just NOT grasping equations! She reads the section and answers the review questions, but as soon as she is asked to work on any sort of equations she is completely befuddled!

I have never taken a chemistry course - EVER! - so I am little help in this predicament. We look up you tube videos and scroll through Khan Academy topics to try to find something that will make it more clear, but nothing seems to be TRULY working. I am not sure where we are headed at this point with it, but I am not willing to let her just give up and feel that she needs to keep working through it - even if that means that we go over each and every answer together with the answer key because I would rather that she see the correct answer than keep doing it wrong and getting frustrated.

Things don't always run as smoothly as many home educators' would have the outside world believe, but this is one of the greatest benefits of this educational choice - customization to the student! We WILL find something that works and won't give up until she has it!

Jan 8, 2013

Flocabulary - Lessons For The Rest Of The Year

Flocab on the Daily

Plan out your year with Flocabulary lessons for 2013

Flocabulary's new feature, Flocab on the Daily, will help you:
  • Get ahead on your planning.
  • Make lessons more fun and engaging.
  • Get your students prepared for high-stakes tests.
Flocab on the Daily is our brand new selection of Flocabulary songs, videos and activities for every month of the year. Whether you want a lesson for MLK Day, Pi Day, Shakespeare's Birthday, the last day of school, or some educational enlightenment in between, we've got you covered.
January | February | March | April | May | June
July | August | September | October | November | December

Flocabulary - Lessons For The Rest Of The Year:

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Jan 4, 2013

Jan 1, 2013

Prepping for Winter Session

Five years completed and we will be starting in on our 21st session next week - THAT SOUNDS SOOOOOO FREAKING WEIRD!!!

I can't believe that much time has gone by and yet it feels like only yesterday that I was trying to wrap my head around this weird "homeschool" thing. We have come a long way and this is one of the first times that very little is changing. KM is really liking all of her programs and things are running quite smoothly. 

The only changes are some additions to her electives including a Currclick Live class by Natureglo called MathArt, adding the Currclick Chess Club to her weekly IRL club and The Symphony (Great Courses Parts 2-3) which we found at our local library and KM is really enthusiastic about completing! Also since she finished up the long-term project at the library where she was doing her volunteer work, she will be taking a break from that this session and her Shakespeare Group had to unexpectedly change their plans so those two things have been taken off the calendar. 

KM has adjusted to me working outside of the home more regularly really well! She gets everything on her list done in record time and seems to be thriving with this new level of independence. We are also hoping that my schedule will allow us to be able to get back to ice skating weekly again, as we both really enjoy that time and it is a great workout! 

Here is her Winter Schedule - 

For a full list of our current curricula click HERE.