Wednesday, August 31, 2005

A New Invention.

My youngest son came to me this morning and said "Hey mommy, guess what? I found a new, cool way to make noise." Oh goody. ;-)

Geography Links.

There are lesson plans and printable maps here.

Lesson plan ideas here.
Education World

The Giant Map

Fortunately, before we got all this rain, I brought the giant U.S. map in and put it in the living room. We are kind of using it as an area rug, temporarily, while we are on this unit. Yesterday, we played a game of geography twister on it and it was a success. The kids want to do it again today. They especially enjoyed it when mama got on the map and they got to tell her what to do. My younger son enjoyed making me do things like 'put your right foot in the Atlantic ocean". Hey, at least he knows which one is the Atlantic now. I love this curriculum. Did I mention that?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I find that reading a fun book like Hank The Cow Dog gives me great leverage when I am trying to get the kids into bed. I can say "If you don't get your teeth brushed and get completely ready for bed in 5 minutes, there will be no Hank the Cow Dog tonight". That puts them into high gear!

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Tuna Fish Game.

When my daughter was about 4 years old, she said something in the grocery store about tuna fish and pointed at it. I really dislike tuna fish, so I said "Tuna fish! Eeeuuuu!" For the past 5 years, everytime we have gone to the grocery store, my daughter and younger son feel compelled to point at the tuna fish so and say "Mama, tuna fish." and I have to say "Eeeuuu!" You'd think after 5 years this would have gotten old? I guess it will eventually. Until then, "eeeuuu!"

Monday Yet Again.

It seems like every time I turn around it is Monday again. Monday is my day off from my job, so the kids are trying to talk me into letting them have Mondays off from school as well. I'm not sure what to do. Since we started early in July, we can take Mondays off and still have about 90 days done mid December. After that, we can decide if we want to add Mondays in to finish sooner in the summer or not. I do love the flexibility of homeschool. We can also do field trips on Mondays and get in some extra schooling that way. Today, I'm going to try to get a few things done here in the house and some errands done in town. I'm going to try and make Mondays my organizational day. Oh well, back to work on my schedule. I have hopes that I will write down a magic, wonderful, all-inclusive schedule and we will actually follow it. Right. That's going to happen. ;-)

Sunday, August 28, 2005

What We're Reading.

We started reading "The Further Adventures Of Hank The Cowdog" last night. It really doesn't have anything to do with our unit studies, but sometimes you've just got to read for fun! It is fun. It took me a long time to figure out what the silver monster bird was!

Friday, August 26, 2005

My Messy House.

I was explaining to my daughter the other day about how when the house is messy (basically all the time) it makes me nervous and I don't like it. She said "I bet that is because you grew up in a clean house." I agreed that it probably was. My wonderful daughter said "Yeah. We don't have that problem."

Please Do Not Disturb!

I've had some trouble getting my work done today. Usually, I get done early in the afternoon and then we can do school stuff together, but today, I ran out of work to do midmorning and that made me late. Then, when I finally had work again, the kids I put the kids to work on the giant map and went into my bedroom to work. There were constant interuptions. First, they lost Iowa. Then, my youngest son needed the light on the range hood turned off (no idea why???) and the math books were lost, etc. I finally made the announcement. "I am going into my room to work for 1 hour. You cannot come in there unless you are bleeding, on fire or have a bone actually sticking out through your skin." My oldest son (the lawyer to be) had to clarify. "What if we are only bleeding a little bit?" I said, "It must be a pumping arterial bleed. Regular bleeding will not work." My younger son's mouth was hanging open in shock. I told him, "I'm just kidding, any bleeding will do." and he said "Whew!"


My preteen is going to have the big 1-3 next month and go from being a preteen to an actual teen. He has been telling me all kinds of things he wants for his birthday. Many, many things. Last night, he said "do you know what I want?" and I said wearily "everything and a cracker." My 7-year-old thought this was the funniest thing he'd ever heard but my daughter said "Wouldn't everything include a cracker?"

A few minutes later we were talking about biking. Mr. 7-year-old has gotten extremely good at riding his bike in just 2 days and speeds up and down the street. My preteen said he'd like to build a big dirt bike track to ride on and my 7-year-old complained that he can't ride on dirt, only on pavement. I suggested that he practice in the yard. He said "The yard has obstacles. Like the house. And bricks hurt."

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Me, Before Coffee.

This morning, I got up, made a pot of coffee, got a cup for myself and headed to my computer to get started on work. My MSNBC headlines came up on my home page and I read the headline Katrina Bears Down On Florida. My first thought was 'what in the world is a Katrina Bear?" A few sips of coffee later, I finally figured it out. :-)

Shadow's Scare.

The other day, I took the kids to grandma's and went to the grocery by myself. In the 95 degree plus heat, I decided not to pick them up on the way home, but to bring the groceries home and put them in the freezer and then go get the kids. I'm only a couple of miles from my mom's house and I figured this way, I wouldn't have to rush and I could visit a little with mom and dad. When I got home, alone with the groceries, our dog, Shadow, jumped in the van (as usual) to greet the kids, only they weren't there. He really seemed shocked that the kids wern't in there! He jumped out of the car and ran around it, jumped back in and ran around it, jumped back in and ran around it, a total of 3 times, yip, yip, yipping the whole time. He was hilarious! Finally, I petted him and talked to him and he calmed down. That dog is a character!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Song About _____.

My daughter was cleaning out the kitten's litter box last night with the pooper scooper, happily concentrating on her work (which is kind of like an archeological dig, if you think about it) and was singing softly "cat poop, cat poop, cat poop." I wish I could somehow convey the tune to you, it was kind of a country song, if you know what I mean. This proves that my daughter can make up a song about anything and with her singing ability, can make it actually sound good. ;-)

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Downside.

The downside of having an 8 x 6 foot map of the United States being painted in your kitchen is that you might step in Lake Superior and get blue paint all over your foot and track it all over the kitchen floor. We moved the map out to the deck and now I need to check the weather forecast to make sure it isn't going to rain ...

The Sweet Taste of Success!

It happened today. That moment, when the balancing act of riding a bike without training wheels just 'clicks' for a child. Dan rode his bike! It was a long week and a half or so of frustration with about 100 temper tantrums along the way, but we made it. Whew. The other two kids and I applauded him. He said "I even clapped for myself." Sweet success.

The Map Went Pretty Well.

In the KONOS book, it suggests using 4 pieces of plywood to make a giant map of the United States. The next time we do this unit, in a few years, we may get to do that. This time, we only had one piece of plywood but my daughter drew a really good map of the U.S. on it. I am surprised at how well she can draw something just by looking at it. She got in a predicament and I had to help fill in some of the states at the edges, but I think she did a really good job. Our map is large enough to jump around on and play some games while we are learning the states and sturdy enough to take a lot of jumping, so I think it will work fine. The boys are not as interested in this project as my daughter is, so this has kind of become her project. My older son doesn't enjoy this kind of thing, so I've got him started researching some information on each state to put on it, like a famous person from each state, or the most valuable crop from each state. Both sons have been helping with the painting. I think this is something they will definitely remember!

Monday, August 22, 2005

Monday Again.

Where did the weekend go? It's time for school again. It is a cloudy day here and for some reason, that puts a damper on my enthusiasm. The kids are doing morning team time right now and I am planning what we will do this afternoon. This week for our KONOS lesson on cooperation, we are going to make a large United States map. It has to be big enough to jump around on because after you get it made, there are all kinds of activities to do with it. I'm not sure if we will use the Mega Maps site (from the post below this one) or if we will draw or paint it on plywood. I'll see what the kids want to do. We don't have a paved driveway and we don't have a basement with a large expanse of floor to draw it in chalk.

My problem with school lately is getting the kids to understand the different methods I want to use. For example, I want to use notebooking for most subjects and have them make notebook pages that go along with what we are studying. My oldest child thinks that he would rather have workbooks because that is what he is used to. I'm trying to convince him to give notebooking a try. It is different from the public school approach and he worries that I am doing school wrong and he won't know anything, I think. I can see his point. One good part about that, is he has started to take some responsibility for his own education. We got several free high school textbooks the other day at the public school book depository and he is studying those on his own, taking notes and generally educating himself. Isn't it interesting how things work out sometimes? I had hoped that he'd throw himself into the KONOS approach and notebooking, really enjoying it but he's really enjoying working through the textbooks. Either way, he's learning and he's having a good time.

Saturday, August 20, 2005


This is a cool download to print out maps as big as 8x8 feet. MegaMaps

This is a site that links fictional books to their time period in history. It has study helps as well. A Book In Time

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mom Has Left The Building.

Today, we are taking a day off from school. We've finished the resourcefulness unit, all we are going to do right now, anyway; and we are starting the unit on cooperation. To celebrate the change in units, we are taking the day off. For a teacher mental health day, I get to go out to lunch with my best friend, while the kids get a break from me, and are going to grandmas.

I can't wait. ;-)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Homeschool Kickoff.

I attended my first Homeschool Kickoff carnival/party tonight. It was great. I have been to tons of carnival things kind of like this at the public school. There were major differences, however. At this one, all of the kids and parents fit in one room and I had met all of the parents before, so I felt comfortable letting my kids circulate throughout the room while I worked at my booth. There were fewer kids so we could do more things. When the kids were told to help pick up the garbage, they immediately pitched in and helped. And, I am not out fifty dollars like I would have been at the public school event, because it would be a fundraiser. It was really a fun night.

One of the best parts is that I got to bring home the extra brownies. I figure the kids don't need to know that part, right? That's now mama's chocolate stash. On a need-to-know basis, they don't need to know. ;-)


My youngest son happened to remember a game last night, that the kids used to play quite frequently, but that they haven't played for a long time. He asked my older son, when they were going to play it again. My older son said "oh, I forgot about that." My younger son said "I never forget the fun things."

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Physics Lesson.

Today, in our study of energy, we got into a discussion about Newton's laws of motion and did demonstrations of each one. I think my second grader is way ahead of where he needs to be (in science and history) but I worry that I'm not giving the other two kids what they need, so I'm going to look at World Book Typical Course of Study again to make sure. I know that if I did KONOS all 8 years, everything would be covered, but since I started late with the older two kids, I want to make sure they get everything they need to get, if you know what I mean. They also have requested, believe it or not, "more work". Okay, who are these kids and what have they done with my kids????

Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking?

My 7-year-old son made 2 little men out of Atollo blocks (kind of like Legos, but moveable). Then he connected their hands to each other and their heads to each other and he was playing with them. He said that they were connected to each other in their brains "so that when one says 'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' the other one says 'yeah' ".

Monday Musings.

Monday is my day off from work. Often we don't 'do school' on Monday's either, instead running errands or cleaning. I haven't decided if we will today or not. We started so early in July this year that we do have some leeway with taking days off. Also, we do a lot of reading at night and on the weekends which does count as school. I read an article last night about homeschooling that said that kids learn much more efficiently at home. A study found that less than 1 hour out of each school day at public school was spent learning. The rest of the day was spent on administrative duties and moving from here to there, not to mention discipline problems. You can read the article here.
Homeschooling Teens I do remember thinking that high school was a waste of time and now, here's proof!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Let's Pretend.

My 2 younger kids have been playing a game all day that involves pretending some of the time that they are babies with pacifiers and sometimes they are running and yelling. I'm not sure what the whole thing is about, but to the nonparticipants, it is kind of annoying. My pre-teen has taken to his room or outside most of the day and I've done the same. He and I have commiserated together some about them, but I think pretend play is important, so other than the occasional "shhh!" we've let them play.

Our Solar Cooker.

We've been doing a study on energy and one of the activities we attempted was to make a solar cooker. We started a little too late in the day, I think, and we didn't seal it up enough with duct tape and so we ended up with an ant trap instead of a solar cooker. Oh well, that's how science goes sometimes. We'll try again.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Our New Additions.

My daughter asked for either a kitten or a puppy for her birthday. I'm a cat person. My DH is a dog person. We already had 2 dogs so we got 2 kittens. The plan was to go and get one, but then the little brother kitten would have been so lonely, so we got a girl kitten and a boy kitten. We are still trying to decide on names. Last night, I brilliantly suggested "Mr. Boy and Mr. Girl" I had meant to say Ms. Girl. The kids got a good laugh at me! Any ideas?

Thursday, August 11, 2005


We went on a field trip yesterday and my mom and her sisters went with us. My mom is extremely cool about homeschooling and is in favor of it as far as I can tell, although I don't know if she'd say anything if she wasn't. One of her sisters is very curious about it and kept asking the kids things like "Don't you miss going to school?" To which they said "No" and to my older son, "Don't you want to go back to school? Don't you think high school will be fun?" To which he answered "Not really." I just let the kids answer for the most part. I did say that if they want to go back to school at some point, I will let them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Lava Lamp Lessons.

My daughter got a Lava Lamp for her birthday. The kids have all wanted a Lava Lamp for a long time, so we were really glad for her to get it. We turned it on yesterday and waited for it to warm up and get going. Then they spent probably 45 minutes watching it. We talked about why the wax moves up and down, what it is in and why it stays in round shaped globs. I had to look up things on several different web sites to answer their questions. Lava Lamp Physics You can learn a lot from a lamp. :-)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Another Cool Site


Reeko Mad Science Lab

Am I Doing This Right?

I went to a homeschool information meeting last night and though there were various topics discussed, the main theme of the meeting was the question on everyone's mind "Am I doing this right?" There is one mom there who has been doing this homeschooling thing for about 4 years now and she is very confident about it. Moms like her are a definite help to the rest of us, who all seem a bit insecure. Some of us compensate by buying new curriculum every couple of months or at least every year or trying to get the latest planner or other gadget. Some focus on being very, very, very organized. One homeschool email list recently had a discussion about arranging their home libraries with the Dewey Decimal System. Really. They did. (I was not a part of this discussion as my home library is mostly on the floor, in the closets, on the shelves, on the couch ...I can just hear it now, "The Dewey designation for this book is J Wild, so that means it is under the loveseat, filed with the other books by Laura Ingalls Wilder" Lol, but I digress.)

When homeschooling moms get around other homeschooling moms, the floodgates open and we are asking "Do you find this to be true?" and "Does this happen to you?" I should just say here and now for future reference. "Yes I do." and "Yes it does." as in "Yes, the house is more difficult to clean with everyone home." and "Yes, the kids sometimes rebel." "Yes, sometimes it is frustrating." "Yes it is quite wonderful." "Yes, we are going to continue to homeschool."

Monday, August 08, 2005


My daughter loves our little dog a lot. The other day, she was talking to him and called him her little pumpkin. Then she said, "Well, you're not orange, but still, you are my little pumpkin."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Saturday School.

I didn't plan to have any school related activities today, since it is Saturday but I had ordered a copy of the Oregon Trail game from Ebay for a very good price and it was delivered today. It goes along with our Resourcefulness unit, the subunit on the pioneers that we have been studying in the KONOS book. The kids played it for a couple of hours this afternoon and really enjoyed it. At one time I heard my oldest son exclaim "I wish I'd quit shooting myself!" and my daughter at one time said "60 dollars for a milk cow, that's crazy!" Anyway, a little school related play went on here this afternoon.

We didn't really celebrate my daughter's birthday today because the only time her friends could come to the party was tomorrow, so we'll celebrate it tomorrow. It should be a lot of fun.

In other news, I messed up my margins on this blog again and got the sidebar all out of whack. If any of my fellow bloggers could please tell me how to fix it, I'd be most grateful. :-)

Doodle Bear.

For my daughter's birthday, one of the things she received was a doodle bear, which is a little blue teddy bear that comes with markers and you are supposed to draw on it and then put it in the washing machine, then the dryer, then start all over again. It is really cute. Today, she was putting the bear in a pillowcase to put it in the washing machine and she said that the bear was going on a little trip. I asked where she was doing and she said "To Washington and then to Dryington."

Today is My Daughter's Birthday.

My daughter is turning 9 years old today. This time has gone so quickly. I remember when I had the ultrasound and found out she was a girl. I was actually kind of depressed. I didn't want a girl. I didn't know how to handle raising a girl. I had been doing the little boy thing for almost 4 years and felt that I was pretty good at it. I was afraid to have a girl. That is the stupidest I've ever been. Having a daughter is wonderful. I'm glad I got to experience both kinds of children. They are both fun, interesting, exciting and funny. Happy Birthday Sweetheart!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Farmer Boy

We started reading 'Farmer Boy" by Laura Ingalls Wilder last night. I enjoyed it as a kid, so I thought it would be good to read. I thought it would go well enough with the unit we're doing. We have to stop and make comments throughout any book like this, of course, and our first set of comments last night was how all that wool that Almanzo was wearing, even woolen underwear, would be very itchy. Then we went on reading for a little while. In the book Almanzo was doing his chores and the book said "the hay smelled dusty-sweet. There was a smell, too, of horses and cows and a wooly smell of sheep." and my youngest commented "Maybe its his wool underwear giving him the wooly smell."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Training Wheels

We took the training wheels off of my youngest son's bike today. He turned 7 in June, so probably this is a little late, but around here, we tend to wait until the child asks to have them taken off. My older son and my daughter immediately stepped up to be the younger one's teachers, teaching him how to balance the bike. I taught my older son using the grassy slope approach and he taught my daughter and now both of them are using their own modified version of this to teach our youngest son to ride. It's kind of a bike-walking technique. It is fun watching the older ones teach the younger one.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Today Turned Out Okay.

I decided to just go with what was next in the KONOS volume 3 curriculum book and not to second guess it in any way. We did several activites related to simple machines from the book and made a notebook page about it. We made a pulley and wheel and axle out of tinker toys. We made a lever out of a 2 x 4 and I lifted the 2 younger kids with it. Then they decided to use it as a see-saw. We used the same 2 x 4 as an inclined plane. We lifted things using a real pulley. Tomorrow, we'll study a bit more about the wedge and screw. There is also an activity to build a water wheel in the book and we may attempt that.

I sometimes worry that I'm not challenging my middle schooler enough, but I read today that middle school in public school is often just busywork because it is a tough age to teach, with so many behaviors, so I think he's doing okay. My plan is to do what I'm doing now until fall break and then we may reevaluate the subjects that we're doing and maybe add or subtract some things. Right now, though, it is going very well, largely thanks to the KONOS curriculum book.

Simple machines, my daughter's version.  Posted by Picasa

Another drawing of the simple machines which will go in our notebooks. Posted by Picasa

This is a drawing of the 6 simple machines we did today. Posted by Picasa

One of Those Days

I kind of feel like Alexander in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day, but it is totally my own fault. I was up late reading last night and then when I got up this morning to work, thought I'd sit on the couch to wait for my coffee to get done and maybe just cover up with this blanket ... and I woke up an hour and a half later. The coffee was done by then, but I had a late, late start. Consequently, I will have to fit in another work session this afternoon and not be as present in the kid's schooling today. I hate it when I do things like this. I need a little more self-discipline. Okay. A lot. I need a lot more self-discipline.

The younger 2 kids have gotten through reading and math and we are ready to start our KONOS afternoon activities. My older son has had the morning off of math and is just reading because he is very, very near the end of Harry Potter and I know how frustrating it is to be interupted when you are right at the end of a long book like that. (That is a definite homeschooling perk, getting to finish a book.) I hope the kids will learn during mom's crazy days like this ...

It reminds me of another song 'mama said there'd be days like this, my mama said."

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

On My Mind Today.

Not much, honestly. There isn't a lot going on in my mind or life today. We didn't really do much in the homeschooling arena today. The kids did some reading this morning while I was working and then we went to a homeschool park/planning meeting. The kids played at the park while the moms had a planning meeting. The kids had a really good time running around and still wanted to go for a long walk/bike ride tonight. I'm comfortable with putting an emphasis on PE some days and letting them get a lot of exercise. Tomorrow, we'll do the regular math lessons, reading, spelling and some kind of KONOS activity in the resourcefulness unit for the afternoon. Don't you love the way I haven't planned as far as even tomorrow?! Some homeschool moms have the whole year planned out, every single detail. I'd love to be that way, but sadly, that just isn't me. I am going to get some planner pages to write what we've done, after we've done it, for records purposes, but planning, real planning? Probably not.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Field Trip

We went on a field trip to the Falls Of The Ohio State park, where there is a large exposed fossil bed. It doesn't really go along with what we are studying right now, but August is the best time to see it because the river level is lower, so we went in August (barely). Public school here starts tomorrow, so any later in August and the kid's cousin couldn't have went with us.

I guess this field trip could go along with our study of frontier life a little bit, because it is "where it all began" for the Lewis and Clark expedition, although I neglected to talk about that today with the kids ... maybe I can mention it tomorrow? Anyway, it was fun and my 7-year-old fell into the Ohio river, so it was memorable.

Mom's Favorite Song.

Once in a while, one of the kids gets in a whining/begging for things mood and it seems that they are asking for things incessantly. That's when I will look at one of the other 2 kids and say "Do you want to sing the song?" and they'll sing that old classic by the Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want." We actually only know the chorus, but I think it is a good lesson for kids to learn.

My daughter's birthday is coming up this week and she is asking for something she's seen on TV, called Floam. Her grandparents are getting it for her. I wonder if it will live up to its advertising or spend eternity stuck in the carpet?


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