Monday, October 31, 2011

Best tool for writing ever! 
  Gone are the days of printing out the writing assignment.  
  Gone are the days of cross-outs, red pens, and scribbled out mistakes. 
 Gone are the days of hurt and overwhelmed feelings.   

Instead my daughter shares her work with me.  
 I sit on one couch and she sits on the other. 
 Opening the document, I spy her green cursor, and she is delighted by my pink one. 
  We are able to discuss the writing and fix any problems immediately.  
Either she or I can fix those problems on our computer. 

Google Docs has changed our homeschool for the better.  

How has technology  changed the way you do things in your homeschool?  

Be sure to check out other cheap homeschooling tips at

 Homeschooling on the Cheap at 3 Boys and a Dog

Memory Monday 10.31.2011

We are behind according to my lovely list I put together this past summer.    Oh, how that hurts!   But in my on-going struggle to go with the flow of life and learn not to control everything I am realizing the learning process is just as important as the actual end product.    Even though we are not moving on to week five of The Living Christ project, I realize how much we are learning about Christ in the process of memorizing.   

Parts were assigned for The Winter's Tale and memorizing of lines has begun.   Our lunch time is filled with Mamillius and Archidamus lines.   

In Math we are working on memorizing the prime numbers under 100.

And we continue working on memorizing A Grammar Catechism.   

What are you working on memorizing this week?  

The linky will be open for the week, so feel free to add your post anytime this week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Neatest and Saddest Nature Study Find

This poor guy appeared to be lost in downtown Saint Louis
We were able to see a coyote up close.   

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Versatile Blogger Award

I have been nominated by the Lovely Latasha for the Versatile Blogger Award.

Here are the guidelines to accept the award:
1. Link back to the blogger who nominated me.
2. Share 7 things about myself.
3. Nominate 15 other blogs.

So here are seven amazing (or slightly odd) things about me:
1. I had five wonderful kids in five years, and now I am less than one year away from having five teenagers.
2. Life without bacon and dark chocolate would be a prison for me.
3. I have 9 fingers.
4.  I love cheese as much as bacon and dark chocolate.
5.  All my friends must have a sense of humor.
6.  I love to write
7.  Gardening is how I relax.

My Fifteen  Nominees 

He Sows and She Sews
 is all about the days on the farm that include raising a family, homeschooling, and sewing.

Union Vale Home
features lots of neat activities and ideas each week.

Suitcases and Sippy Cups
showcases any and all topics related to travel

My Blessed Life
presents book reviews, weekly wrap-ups, field trips, craft ideas, and fab updates on her kitchen project

Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
celebrates all things homemaking from crockpotting to the history of aprons

Our Creative Day
 is a fab blog with lots of craft ideas for young and old alike
Learning Ideas 
shares all kinds of nifty ideas for teaching math, science, and the alphabet

Krazy Kuehner Days
shares their krazy days of homeschooling a family of six

At Home with Michelle
 is a friendly blog with crafts, yummy recipes (I tried the stuffed pepper soup tonight--it was great), and the occasional give away.

Melissas Homeschool Blog
 is full of reviews, neat resources, craft ideas, as well as post sharing her family's journey through homeschooling

Harvest Moon by Hand
 is an awesome blog full of book reviews, tales of service, and thoughts on life I always look forward to reading.

I'm Nobody! Who Are You?
 is always enjoyable with its thoughts on theology, homemaking, and homeschooling

Faith, Family, and Fun
featuring product reviews, homeschooling, recipes, book reviews, articles on social issues is about as varied as one can get.

Raising Arrows
shares her families journey through life encouraging others.

Homeschooling Just Next Door
 is just like visiting a neighbor and sharing the joy of the everyday.

Latisha thanks so much for this award.   It was great fun to have the opportunity to highlight some of the blogs I enjoy on a regular basis.

And as always, I'm linking up with my Tuesday Hip Homeschooling Pals for the
 Hip Homeschool Hop Button 

Memory Monday 10.24.2011

We are on fall break this week, but continue on with memorizing The Living Christ using Discover the Scriptures free helps.   We are a bit behind on our goal to memorize it before Christmas , so we will work on two sections this week.   I wouldn't normally try to catch up on something like this, but instead work from where we are.  But since we are on break and won't have other school work to do, I think this is achievable.  These sections also have easier vocabulary than the past two.

“Though sinless, He was 
baptized to fulfill all 
righteousness. He ‘went 
about doing good’ (Acts 10:38), 
yet was despised for it. His 
gospel was a message of 
peace and goodwill. He 
entreated all to follow His example. "

“He walked the roads of 
Palestine, healing the sick, 
causing the blind to see, and 
raising the dead. He taught the 
truths of eternity, the reality of 
our premortal existence, the 
purpose of our life on earth, 
and the potential for the sons 
and daughters of God in the life 
to come. He instituted the 
sacrament as a reminder of His 
great atoning sacrifice.”   

What's going on with memory work in your home?   

Feel free to link up your memory work this week.  

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Blog Award!

Little Badgers Academy Blog has awarded me the 

The Liebster Blog Award is an award intended to drive traffic to blogs with less than 300 followers.   
The rules are:  
1. Show your thanks to the blogger that gave you the award by linking back to them.
2.  Reveal your 5 picks by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy spreading the love. 

Anna shares her homeschool journey in a joyous humorous way.   I look forward to each new post.   

is a new blog crammed full of neat resources.   I love the science ideas and activities posted regularly by Tasha

has a bit of everything--neat lesson ideas, reviews, and giveaways

is one of the neatest designed blogs out in blogland, and the art projects featured leave me drooling.

shares family life, homeschooling, and faith in an you've dropped by for a chat kind of way.   

Thanks so much for the award, Elena.  I am honored and thoroughly enjoyed sharing the love with fellow homeschool bloggers.  

Guest Post

Feel free to read my guest post 
about how to be a good friend.  

Friday, October 21, 2011

Solar Science Week Day Four

Our final day of  Solar Science Week again brought fog.   I had planned to drive inland to find sunny weather for our final project, using our solar ovens.   Alas, it was not to be.  I would have had to drive for a long time to find some sunny weather.   So, when that works out, I'll be sure to add it to our Solar Science Week.

We finished out our week continuing on the mosaic sundials.   Nipping the tiles into tiny pieces is hard on one's hands, and both E-R and I-E have decided they are glad not to be employed as tile workers in a cathedral.

Turns out I-E feel in love with building the different models included in our Thames and Kosmos Solar Power kit.   I required the girls to build two models each, and she went on to try her hand at all of them.    I'm thinking this kit will be in use for a while longer.

Planning supper took on a different meaning, after we learned how many sun days are in our different food choices.   Although I knew how much energy is used to raise beef, I never considered how much energy goes into dairy products. Quite an eye-opener.

Searching around the neighborhood in the fog, we found several different places nearby utilizing solar power.   The pool we swim at has solar panels atop the club house.   Another neighborhood pool implements a solar water heater.   This led to further research on our part, and we learned solar pool services abound in our area.   Both solar heating and solar power to run the electrical parts of pools.

E-R and I-E both played on this neat interactive UK Energy website.   They played several different games--involving renewable energy.   I'm not sure how educational it was, but was a fun way to end our Solar Science Week.

Here are some more awesome sites with lots of wonderful resources in case you would like to plan your own Solar Energy Study.

Infinite Power

United States Department of Energy

The Secret Lives of Energy 

Be sure to check out Days One, Two, and Three of our Solar Science Week.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Garden Then and Now

In May I planted this lavender plant.  

I had a pot that needed a plant.  I ran into this lavender plant on sale at the nursery, so into the pot it went.  

In late June I planted this butterfly garden.

At the time I was having a massive animal infestation problem.   And was feeling a big down and frustrated about my garden.   I was hoping these plants would survive.  

Four months later!  I love to see the insects buzzing around every time I visit my garden.

And now I receive daily visits from this guy.  


Solar Science Week, Day Three

It appears the fog is here to stay

So the solar ovens had to wait.

If it is foggy tomorrow, we plan to drive to the sun!

Edited:  Comparison paragraphs.

I-E's paragraph:

Many people use solar energy today.  There are two kinds of ways to heat houses with solar power, active and passive solar systems.  Active solar system heat houses using solar collectors that are flat black boxes that act like a greenhouse. The sun light gathers into heat then it heats the water. Then the water heats the air which is pushed into the house.  Passive solar systems heat house using non- moving parts such as windows that face south, so they catch the sunlight that heats walls or rocks in bins or pillars of water.  Some differences of active and passive solar systems are that active solar system can be put in every house, but passive solar systems can only be put in when you a are building the house. Some similarities are they both use sun light to heat houses, and they both release heat when it gets cold.  Both active and passive solar systems are efficient  and don’t pollute the earth.

 Designed: Houses with both Passive and Active Solar Heating Systems.

Researched: the cost and value of home solar system. A system for our home (which we couldn't technically install because of our shared roof) would cost $35,000. Currently we would qualify for a federal tax credit of about $9400 and a state refund of $2900, bringing the price of the system down to $22,700. At the level of usage we are currently utilizing, it would take 24 years for us to realize the cost of the system. So although the value of solar energy is high, the cost keeps most people from investing in it.

We also found this company, Sungevity, which leases solar systems so the upfront cost is not a prohibitive. We are waiting to hear back about the cost of leasing.

Creating: Started a Mosaic sundial.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day Two of Solar Science Week

This morning we woke to this:

Lots of fog.
   Although we are in a coastal area prone to fog, this is usually our sunniest time of the year.

So book work it was-- at least for the morning time until that fog burned off.  

Graphing:   We worked on graphing the average temperature's and distances of the planets in our solar systems.  Not surprising the further away the planets are from the sun the cooler they get.  Except for Venus and the furthest planets Uranus and Neptune, Venus suffers from a bad case of greenhouse effect bringing its average temperature to 482 degrees Celsius.  Temperatures level off around Uranus and Neptune at -193 degrees Celsius because the sun's heat is no longer affecting their temperature.

Hands On:  Next we moved on to learning about how to read an utility bill and figure out the different calculations one finds on  their bill.    Comparing our water bill to an average home of six, we found we love our hot baths and showers.

Experiment!  Using these nifty little beads:

That change from white to colors in the sun

 we tested the validity of waiting for waterproof sunscreen to dry before getting in the water.

First we applied sunscreen and let dry 15 minutes as instructed on the back of the bottle.

Beads with freshly applied sunscreen.
Next our beads took a 30 second swim.

Fifteen and Thirty minutes later we compared our sun-screened  beads to beads without any sunscreen.  

Turns out sunscreen doesn't stay put--waterproof or not. 

Reading:  While we were waiting for our experiment, we finished reading The Kids' Solar Energy Book learning about Active and Passive Solar Systems as well as Solar Cells.

Construction:   Wanting to build something new with their Solar Power Kits, E-R and I-E went to work.

The models they built yesterday didn't move very quickly so they hoped that building one model and using two solar cells with it would speed things up. 

Mission Accomplished.  

Writing:  Compare Active Solar Systems to Passive Solar Systems

Be sure to check out Day One of Solar Science Week as well as Day Three and Day Four

and cross your fingers that tomorrow will bring sunny weather our way.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Introducing Solar Science Week, Day One

This school year we have decided to complete our science in one week blocks throughout the year.   I've divided the school year up into seven terms according to when we have breaks planned.   Each term except the last one ends with a science week.  

Our first science week kicked off today!

If you've read my recent article, How to Create a Science Course from a Science Kit, than you know our science studies are planned  around a science kit (or two).

Our main kit  for this study is 

Picture courtesy of Thames and Kosmos

We will also utilize some smaller kits throughout the week.   

The topics to be studied this week include:  

Law of Conservation
Active Solar Energy
Passive Solar Energy
Solar Cells
Solar Collectors
Non-Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable Energy Sources

We started off reading pg 106-109 in the Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia.

This gave us an overview of energy.

Next we read about Solar Energy and Solar Cells on pages 629- 630 of the Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia.

More reading in The Kids' Solar Energy Book by Tilly Spetgang and Malcolm Wells on How it All Began.

Enlightening even for this adult, this book is crammed full of interesting information. For instance, I didn't know the first mechanized use of solar power was demonstrated at the World's Exposition in France during the late 1890s with a printing press that printed leaflets about the virtues of solar power! And that soon afterwards roof mounted solar collectors became all the rage in the American Southwest for heating water. Unfortunately, these inventions were put aside when the ease of oil and gas energy were brought to the forefront in the first decade of the 1900s.  

Next we watched Basics of Physics: Exploring Energy on the Discovery Education Site, which covered more info on energy, renewable and non-renewable resources,  and had a particularly good explanation of potential and kinetic energy.

The best part of the day came when we got to pull out our Solar Power Kits.

Sorting all our parts.

I-E created a helicopter
and was a bit disappointed it didn't fly, but the rotor turned

A bulldozer caught E-R's eye 
moved around some mulch.

Finishing off the day was an assignment to write a paragraph about a topic discussed today.     

E-R's paragraph

The law of Conservation is “energy can never be destroyed or made, however energy reforms itself.”  There are different forms of energy such as: heat, chemical, light, kinetic, potential, sound, and mechanical energy. Scientist show how energy is reformed though energy chains.  One energy chain from the book, The Usborne Internet-Linked Science Encyclopedia, says that coal is fossilized plants.  When the coal is burned, and turns into heat energy to heat water and makes steam.  The steam turns turbines and  this produces kinetic energy.  The kinetic energy is turned into electrical energy in a  generator.  Then the electrical energy is used to power things.  The Bulldozer I made moves by sun light so that is called solar energy.  The solar energy turns into electrical energy to move the Bulldozer.  Energy can never be destroyed or made, but it can be reformed.

Be sure to check out throughout the week to see more happening from Solar Science Week.