Secular Schooling, Love, Family, Friends, Playing, Cooking, Baking, Gardening, Arts & Crafts, Music, Dance, Traveling, Reading, and Volunteering


all while living with Chronic Illness

Thursday, December 6, 2012

History Odyssey Timelines

I just received my History Odyssey Timelines from Rainbow Resource and they are lovely! I ordered both the HO Timelines and the HO Prehistory Timeline.

The HO Timelines has 4 timelines included: Ancients (6,000 BCE to 500 AD), Middle Ages (AD 500- 1600), Early Modern (AD 1600-1850) and Modern TImes (AD 1850 to 2020). Each timeline has 7 rows with small labels on the far right and left:

-Wars and Conflicts
-Inventions and Discoveries
-Eras/Reigns Dynasties
-General Events
-Men and Women
-Art/Architecture and Literature

I also purchased the HO Timeline Sticker Pack with 200 black and white stickers. There are 50 stickers for each time period covered and has an explanation on the back of who/what the sticker is and the dates associated with it. There are no stickers for the prehistory timeline.

The Prehistory Timeline covers 2 milion BC to 7,000 BC. It is approximately 4 inches longer than the other timelines and does not have the titled rows.

After receiving the timelines I took them straight to Office Depot and had them laminated, hopefully this will increase their chance of survival with my three little ones! The total for all five timelines to be laminated was $42.29. I used my Office Depot Star Teacher reward card and saved about $7.50, this is a benefit available to homeschoolers and is easy to sign up for online.

Next step is to find a wall space big enough for all of them!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Waldorf Window Stars

I was introduced to these Window Stars when we were living in Alaska. They are easy to make, colorful and brighten up even the dreariest days. These are still a little advanced for my little ones so I made a few for them to enjoy this holiday season. I bought the craft book and paper at a wonderful store in Fairbanks, AK, Enchanted Forest Toys. They specialize in Waldorf inspired arts and crafts, toys, games and homeschooling curricula and the best part is it's owned by two homeschooling moms!

Tools needed:
-Scissors and/or paper cutter
-Clear glue or transparent tape
-Colored wax paper
-"Crafts Through the Year" by Thomas and Petra Berger

I wish I had some better pictures of the finished product but here you go:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Synchronizing Math Programs Part I

So, I may have gone a little overboard with the math curricula for Blue. We have Rightstart A and B, Singapore Essentials A and B, Singapore Standard 1A and 1B, and all the Miquon books! I have also heard great things about Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP) but think I need to get the first three under control before adding a fourth.

At this point we are using RightStart as our spine and the others as supplements. I've been struggling with how to synchronize the three programs since they cover materials in different orders. Today I decided to disassemble Miquon Orange and Singapore Essentials (this is a big step for me because I hate taking pages out of books, it feels almost sacrilegious!). The Miquon pages tear our nicely but a razor blade and I have a hot date with Singapore Essentials later.

After all the pages are out of the books I am going to try to divide them into an order that makes sense for our family, update Homeschool Tracker with the order sequence and then slip them into page protectors.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Phonics Pathways

Now that our household goods have arrived and we've unpacked, I am trying to get our homeschooling prep work done so we can get started again. I am also going to try to make a teachers guide and daily lesson plans so any adult can teach the kids, in case I'm not feeling well. So here are my preps for Phonics Pathways by Dolores G. Hiskes:

  • Cardstock
  • Copy paper
  • Laminate and machine
  • Scissors
  • Notebook
  • Ziplock bags or clear sleeves for game pieces
  • Hole punch/clear sleeves/laminate for game instruction
To Do:
  • Read introduction
  • Short Vowel Stick - page 4 - copy onto card-stock and laminate (4 "sticks", one for each child and one for teacher notebook)
  • Short Sheet of Vowels - pages 5, 256 - (not sure how many copies yet of sheet), and 1 copy of instructions from page 5.
  • Short Vowel Shuffle and Shoo-Fly Shuffle - pages 5, 6, 257 - make 1 copy of instructions on page 5, make 4 copies of page 6 onto card-stock, laminate and cut apart. Page 257 is a master copy to add syllables and/or words to later in the book (optional).  
  • The Train Game - pages 20, 258, 259 - make 2 copies of each page onto card-stock, laminate and cut apart. Put copy of instruction in teacher notebook.
  • Blendit! - pages 16, 260 - make 3 copies of page 16 and cut apart 2 of them, the 3rd one will be used as the board. Put copy of instruction in teacher notebook. Page 260 is a blank master sheet to be used later in the book (optional).
  • Star Search - pages 37, 38, 261 - make 2 copies of page 38 onto card-stock, laminate and cut apart. Make 1 copy of page 37 and put in teacher notebook. Page 261 is a blank master sheet to be used later in the book (optional).
  • Bag of Bugs - pages 48, 49, 262 - make 2 copies of page 49 onto card-stock, laminate and cut apart. Make 1 copy of page 48 and put in teacher notebook. Page 262 is a blank master sheet to be used later in the book (optional).
Now to get to work....

Saturday, November 17, 2012


It's funny how once you have kids you start to think more about the assumptions you've made during your life. What is Thanksgiving? Why do we celebrate it? What really happened between the pilgrims and Native Americans

I told my kids it is a time to give thanks for our family, friends, home, food and health. I just don't think they are old enough for the ugly truth of the history of this holiday. Maybe in a couple of years, but right now I want them to be innocent a little longer. 

Once they are a little older I may share these with them:

-Plimoth Plantation - Thanksgiving Interactive: You are the Historian
There is also a great teachers guide that goes along with it.

-The Plymoth Plantation Story by Chuck Larsen
The last narrative is written for kids, but if you scroll up there are two narratives written for adults that include "more" of the history of Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Book It!

I saw this program mentioned on the Well Trained Mind forum and thought I would check it out. Book It! is a reading incentive program for K (age 5 by Sept 1st) - 6th graders and homeschoolers are eligible to participate. The program runs from October 1st and ends March 31st and during that time children can earn free pizzas for reaching their reading goals. I think Blue would really enjoy this incentive and it could be some nice mommy alone time for him, maybe it will become our monthly "date"!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

How to SMILE (Science and Math Informal Learning Educators)

How to Smile is another great free site for STEM focused hands-on-activities. From their site: is collecting the best informal science and math education activities on the web, and creating tools to help those who teach school-aged kids in non-classroom settings.

This site is free to register and free to contribute. They have an in depth advanced search function with age, subject, material costs and even a special search by chemical. I did a quick search for Acetic acid (vinegar) and it came up with several fun experiments using this household item.

I think this resource along with Teachers Domain will be a wonderful supplement to Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding, since Blue loves hands on experiments.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Living Math Books

LivingMath has some wonderful living math book lists, everything from early concepts to geometry to spacial ideas. From their site:

This site is dedicated to sharing resources for learning, exploring and enjoying math in a dynamic and holistic manner, for all ages.

They also have a Yahoo groups page LivingMathForum,which I plan on joining. I can't wait to delve into this site and Yahoo group and will report back!

A Beautiful Evening

We have a beautiful pond right off of our deck and last night while eating dinner outside we had one of our first springtime visitors. A beautiful Mallard that splashed and preened in front of us while eating all the goodies out of the pond. The kids were fascinated and spent a half an hour looking at her and asking questions. I found an old copy of a field guide for birds and we looked her up, discussing why she wasn't a certain duck and how we determined she was a Mallard. Blue grabbed his nature journal and drew picture of the pond and duck and practiced writing his name and date on his paper. Red showed some interest in drawing in her journal and Yellow just enjoyed taking in the scene. I'm looking forward to many more days like this.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Teachers Domain

I just found this wonderful site called Teachers Domain! Here is some information from their website:

Teachers' Domain is a free digital media service for educational use from public broadcasting and its partners. You’ll find thousands of media resources, support materials, and tools for classroom lessons, individualized learning programs, and teacher professional learning communities.

They receive major funding from the National Science Foundation and seem to have an especially rich collection of science resources. As a registered member (which is free!) you have the ability to create folders to organize your resources, by child, by topic, etc. There are also several ways to filter which I think are particularly helpful for educations: Grade Level, Content, Media Type, Permitted Use and Accessibility Features. There is also the ability to join groups and create your own groups which I have not had the opportunity to look at.

*Thanks to Only Small Things blog for posting about this fantastic site!*

It looks like the groups are for pre-formed groups, I have not figured out how to join one or create one yet. Does anyone else know anything about the group feature?

Also, Blue watched several videos and loves them! He even asked to watch one several times and then asked for the same materials they were using and did his own experiment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

New Medication

Well, it is that time again to try a new medication, but this time I will be injecting myself! I will be starting Enbrel next week and am keeping my fingers crossed it will help. I went to the Rheumatologist yesterday and had labs done, chest x-ray, TB test, Pneumonia vaccination, and a little class on how to inject myself. My immune system will be lowered so I am going to have to be careful not to catch any infections, easier said than done with three children under the age of 6. Please let this medication work!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It's been a while...

A lot has transpired since the last time I posted here. We moved 2500 miles away and are now back in the "lower 48", as Alaskans like to call the continental United States. This has been a really good move for us and I hope the military doesn't change our plans. We are now close to family, old friends and a lot more resources for my health problems. The children are still adjusting to all the changes but like being with Grandma and Papa so that helps. We've found a really great homeschooling group with kids their age, and it is fairly active so we are staying busy. I am looking forward to spring (which will be here a lot sooner than in Alaska) and starting this next phase of our life!