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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Christmas Break!

Yay we are on Christmas Break!  So, of course I am catching up on grading and report cards, right?  Wrong~  I am doing way more fun things than that, lol.  I will do those though, just not today.  We have a very busy week with choirs and band, parties, and of course Christmas.  My son has given permission to share his solo of Mary Did You Know, but he is doing my favorite O Holy Night, on Christmas morning.  So, I will just wait til then.  My little one is singing in a choir tomorrow night, but I can not share hers here, because other children are in it, and I don't do that.


I think my camera has died, so I only have this image for now.  I am thinking of Easter already, lol.  If you make, and sell crafts, you have to keep ahead of the game.  Anyway, we have all these plastic beads from when my daughter was making friendship bracelets.  That didn't last long, and I decided to try a Pinterest thing I found where you melt the beads.

So, I got my old toaster oven out on the back porch.  You need ventilation because of the fumes.  I didn't find the smell all that offensive, but I was outside, so that might be why.  You have to use metal cookie cutters, plastic will melt.  I had these from when we did Easter cookies one time.  The big bunny head broke, and those white beads were different plastic and barely melted.  The other bunny, and carrot, as you can see came out quite nicely.  Today, I did a small heart, two Christmas trees, and redid the bunny head, which came out perfect.  I tried a teddy bear, but the cutter must have been too old because it broke.  The hearts and trees will become earrings, and the bunnies and carrots will get holes drilled in them, and made into sun catcher planters, or wind chimes.  I only filled the cookie cutters about a 1/4 of the way full, one I did half and could not get it out of the mold.  450 degrees for 20 minutes is all it took.  You can make any number of things.  I will now be on the look out for other cool metal cookie cutters.



Monday, December 12, 2016

Crazy December Month!

See that picture of the beach? That is what I need right now. What a month December has been, and next week is even busier. On a relaxed note, we will be having a family day Saturday, to do something relaxing. Our Singing Christmas Tree Choir, has the grand finale tonight. What an experience, and blessing it has turned out to be. When we first started this, I thought this is a huge commitment, every Sunday for 3 months to practice, then 4 nights in a row for the actual event. But, we have met some amazing people, and I hope we are bringing blessings and joy to those who come to see it. My son is doing Mary Did You Know, as a solo. No solos for me, no one needs to be deaf, lol. I am keeping track of hours, plus his Praise Band, and Reading Music, he should have enough hours for a whole credit. I am hoping my daughter, and husband will join us next year. With 59 other people in the choir, you really don't have to worry about being able to sing great.

I am behind on my record keeping, on this blog, but it is all in my trusty calendar. We ended our first quarter, last week, and I am still working on grading, and getting a report card done for DJ. DJ opted to change his Chemistry from textbook format, to CK12. It just wasn't working doing the textbook, and already he is moving along faster, and improving his grade. We will be taking off a full 3 weeks for Christmas break. This will give me time to catch up on grading, re-evaluate where we are so far, and get some much needed Winter yard work, and storage issues taken care of.

I hope everyone is having a beautiful Christmas season. If you are blue, or feeling lonely, I encourage you to visit your local church, or get involved with a charity. So many people need each other this time of year, maybe you will find something new and beautiful.




Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving Break and the Real Story of Thanksgiving

We are on Thanksgiving break this week, and its a good thing too. I had so much to do to prepare for. For years, the kids, and I have watched a historical video covering the History of Thanksgiving. I think the one below is our most favorite. It talks about a lot of the traditions, and myths of the holiday. Though I think we should be thankful everyday, be extra sure to be thankful on Thanksgiving. If you are travelling, be safe, and try to remember those who have no family and are all alone. Maybe stop in and say hello to someone you wouldn't normally. Have a great one!








Saturday, November 12, 2016

Ions, Molecules and Compounds Chemistry Videos

It was an odd week of homeschooling this week.  Our schedule was changed 3 different times.  We did not get in our work day, that will be next Tuesday.  We did get to see the election process finally come to an end.  Too bad I have to do it again in 4 years, when my 12 yr old will be in High School.  DJ has been reading through his Chemistry textbook and the lesson is Ions, Molecules and Compounds.  I am hoping next Friday, he will be able to test on it, and do the lab.  Most schools are coming up on the end of their first quarter, but because we didn't start back to school until the third week of Sept.  our first quarter does not end until the beginning of December.  I am considering starting to let my son research some local jobs so he can make a little extra money, and learn some skills for having a job.  The application, resume and interview process are much more meaningful if you actually get a job at the end of the process.  Below are some videos on the current Chemistry lesson.










Sunday, November 6, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review 10/31/16-11/4/16

We had a full and normal school week last week, with hours and subjects. On Friday we got to get in Chemistry lab #2, heating and using test tubes properly. Because, I have opted not to have a real chemistry lab in my home, I have visions of explosions, we are using online labs, and answering questions in the lab manual. The video below, along with this reading article, fulfilled the job.  DJ already moved on with the reading chapters, prior to the lab.  Sometimes the labs come later than the chapter tests. 

This next week, we only have a 2 1/2 day school week.  We will be taking Thursday, to do a much needed work day for my Mom, and Friday is Veteran's Day, a regular day off for us.  Do you know the history of Veteran's Day?  You would be surprised how many people don't know how it came to be.  I will be doing a post later in the week, on this topic. 


We did not get to go to the Marine Ecology Event, I won't go into details, but it just wasn't meant to be this year. 







Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Vertical Angle Thoerem: Geometry

Awful fancy words for something that isn't too awful to figure out. We hit our first snag with Geometry, this week. You can guess what it was. I never took a formal Geometry class, a hundred years ago, it was just part of regular Math class. But, after watching the short video below, and the reading in the textbook, I was able to figure it out. I must say Math Help is an awesome website. I think their price is high, however, if you really can not teach your child Math, and they really need Math, it might be worth the investment. We aren't there yet, but I have come pretty close. I am saving the video, so my son can watch it a 100 times if he needs to get it.

The weather has been amazing this week. We started our morning one mile walk back up. I try to do it every day. I use Charity Miles app, to keep track of my progress, and you can pick a charity to donate money to just for walking. I have been using it for a while now, and I love it! Check it out in your app store.







Friday, October 21, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review 10/17-10/21

Well it was an interesting homeschool week, as it almost always is. I am continually learning about my children, and the strengths and weaknesses that they have. I feel truly blessed to be able to assist them in their teenage years. We have two major changes we are making, both for my oldest child. He was doing the Digital Media course through FLVS. However, we simply could not get the program we had to use to work. He spent hours, and still it was so slow and laggy that he fell behind on all his other classes. Due to that, we requested a withdrawal from the class. He had an A in that class, so felt rather discouraged. However, we will be replacing that class with a learning to read music class, for 1/2 credit, then after that a drawing class for 1/2 credit. He seemed pleased with these options. I am behind on grading, nothing new there, lol. We did not get in a Chemistry lab this week, other than discussion based, no hands on, but we did get in an Art project, related to our History studies. We have been learning about Africa. We did a map activity, and now today we all did an Art project. I printed the kids favorite native animals out, as they wanted to use colored pencils. Mine is hand drawn and then painted with paint pens, and Sharpies. The idea with African Art is that it is bold, and somewhat wild if you will. I picked a bear, yes there was a native bear in Africa. The Atlas Bear, which is now believed to be extinct. DJ picked the Ethiopian Wolf, and Caitlin picked a Leopard. You can read about the Atlas Bear, here, and the Ethiopian Wolf here.

 
Oct 17, 2016

DJ:
LA:  60 minutes
Chemistry:  60 minutes
History:  60 minutes
Geometry:  60 minutes
Digital Media:  60 minutes
Psych1:  60 minutes

Caitlin-  full day

All other days through the 21st the same as above, except for before mentioned issues with Digital Media.  DJ made up lessons at night.  Wed is our standard half day, when we walk with friends, 60 minutes Youth Band practice, plus FLVS for DJ.








Sunday, October 16, 2016

School In Review 10/10-10/14

There was nothing exceptional about school last week. Monday was only a half day, and Friday-Sunday the kids went off to camp. We did not get behind on lessons, and we remain on schedule at this point. As we continue to study Africa, for our World History, I thought we would do at least one African piece of art. I love this website, and we will be using it in the near future. We already did a map activity, about a week ago or so.  Below is just a sampling of the types of art work, from the website.  We will be doing our own, and I will share them later.






Friday, October 7, 2016

Here We Go Again Hurricane Matthew Effecting Our School Days

The video below shows some of the horrible devastation Haiti suffered from Hurricane Matthew. Matthew is raking up the East coast of our beautiful state. All the public schools are closed, so I decided to take today off too, since my husband will be home from work early anyways. Our weather just now is starting to get ugly where we are sort of center west of the state. Below is what our schedule looked like for the week, and of course Thursday we spent some time preparing for Matthew.

Monday October 3, 2016

DJ:
Language Arts: 60 minutes
Chemistry: 60 minutes
History: 60 minutes
Geometry: 60 minutes
Digital Media: 60 minutes
Psych 1: 60 minutes

Caitlin: Math, History, Science, Bible, Spanish, LA, Reading

All other days were the same with the exceptions noted below.

Wednesday Oct 5th, Run/Walk, DJ 60 min band practice, Caitlin volunteered to cook. DJ did Digital Media and Psych 1

Friday Oct 7th no school

The Marine Ecology boat trip was canceled due to the hurricane.









Thursday, September 29, 2016

Homeschool Week in Review for 10/26-10/30

Our second week of school has been really good.  We got a lot done, and we are adapting our schedule as needed.  Tomorrow, I hope to get on the phone with one of the local springs to set up volunteer times for the kids.  Tomorrow, I have not laid out exactly what we will be doing, but for sure a Chemistry lab, Chemistry chapter 1 test, Writing, Art,, and maybe some reading.  Fridays are our days to get in some fun lessons, that are not traditional text book lessons.  To supplement our reading on Africa, we found a nice documentary on Netflix.

Monday October 26

DJ:  LA-  30 minutes
Chemistry:  60 minutes
History:  60 minutes
Geometry:  60 minutes
Digital Media:  60 minutes
Psych1:  60 minutes

Caitlin:

Math, History, Science, Reading, Writing, Spanish

Tuesday:  October 27  Same as October 26th

Wednesday:  Nature walk with friends.  DJ Digital Media:  60 minutes, Psych1:  60 minutes.  Caitlin Reading and Spanish.  DJ 60 minutes youth band

Thursday October 29  same as Monday.

Friday October 30, as mentioned above

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Marine Ecology Field Trip and Learn an African Language and African Live Webcams

I told you most of my daily posts would end up as weekly, lol. Anyways, Wednesday our school day was a field trip out the Marine Research Facility, in Cedar Key. They were putting on a presentation to help the kids study for the Marine Ecology Event in November. This was my first time to the facility, but DJ went last year with that team. They were allowed to look at specimens in person, go over all the slides, and ask questions. We didn't get time to do the outside portion, we were on a very tight schedule.

If you have never heard of Clickschooling, Google it, it is awesome. They send me cool links everyday. I swear they know we are studying Africa, because I got two resources two days in a row, for learning about Africa. The first one is a live webcam to view African animals. I have also used Africam in the past. The second is to learn an African language. We will be using both of those resources in our studies. As a side note, since we are still following this election year, from our History lessons last year, we will be recording and watching the debates.  For another side note, I will be starting a weekly link up, each Sunday I think, for homeschool blogs, websites, or education related websites.  So, watch for that.

Daily Log for 9/22:

DJ;

Language Arts: 60 minutes
Chemistry: 60 minutes
History: 60 minutes
Geometry: 60 minutes
Digital Design: 60 minutes
Psych1- 60 minutes


Caitlin:

Math, LA, History, Science, Reading, Spanish and Bible

Daily Log for Friday 9/23:

This was a half day, as my husband was home from work, and we started our weekly bike path walk with friends. DJ did 60 minutes of Psych1, and 60 minutes of Digital Design, in the afternoon.






Tuesday, September 20, 2016

World History Africa

Our World History, which I have adapted for both kids, has started with Africa. Yesterday, we did some reading, today we watched the video below. I have one learner that likes to listen, and one more visual. So, I have to mix it up for them both. The video was very interesting, I highly recommend it. Tomorrow we have our first Marine Ecology Team event, so no standard classes, or homework will be done.


Daily Log for 9/20/16:

DJ:

Language Arts: 60 minutes
Chemistry: 60 minutes
History: 60 minutes
Geometry: 60 minutes
Digital Media: 60 minutes
Psych 1: 60 minutes

Caitlin: Math, Science, History, LA, Bible, Spanish




Monday, September 19, 2016

Weeki Wachee Springs and First Day of the New School Year

Well we survived our last two weeks of a very busy Summer Vacation, and are ready to start the new school year in full. If you read my blog, then you know we had already started Math, and bits of other subjects. DJ, and I are also doing a Christmas choir, this year, and that has already started for practice too. So, yeah very busy. I wanted to make sure I mentioned our trip to Weeki Wachee Springs. Caitlin did not feel good that day, so it wasn't as much fun as it could have been. It really is a beautiful park, with plenty to keep you busy. The swim area is clean, and does have lifeguards. You can take a quick boat tour, watch the mermaid show, and there is an animal show. The one downfall, is even though it is a state park, and we have a state park pass that allows up to six people on our pass, they have their own yearly pass and would allow only two people in at no charge. So, we had to pay full price for three people, not cool in my mind. If you live near there, the year pass would definitely be worth it, but if you have a FL state park pass like us, not so much. Plus, the slides at Buccaneer Bay only run on weekends, again not real cool considering the price.


Since last year, first time ever, I lost my log book twice, I will be posting our daily logs here on the blog. They are boring, and not worth reading, but I have to have them. It may end up being a weekly post instead of daily.

We have our first Marine Ecology team practice this Wednesday. So, a field trip already, lol. 4H also started this past Saturday. A new group, and both kids happy with their new group.

Daily Log for September 19, 2016

DJ:

Chemistry: 60 minutes
Language Arts: 60 minutes
History: 60 minutes
Geometry: 60 minutes
Digital Media: 60 minutes
Psych 1: Still waiting

I do not log homework or study hours. I also do not log time spent for Caitlin, just generic what she does.

Caitlin:
Math, Science, History, Language Arts, Spanish and Bible







Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Our Last Two Weeks of Summer Vacation

We started back to school for Math, and one other subject for each child, part time. For our last two weeks of our Summer Vacation, we have family visiting. MY FIL from NY, who loves the ocean, and my sister will be here next week. She will want to see my mom a lot, and hang out at springs if not flooded from Hermine.

Yesterday, we took FIL to Anastasia State Park, in St Augustine. This was our first visit to this park, but we frequent St Augustine public beach. This is on the Atlantic Ocean, and the waves were huge! We have been there in rough surf before, but wow! The boys were brave, and sore by the time we left, lol. Caitlin and I stayed in closer. There were rip current warnings, so no one went out too deep, and let me tell you if you have never felt a strong rip current pulling on you, it is something to feel.

Today, we went out to Cedar Key, which was just hit so hard by Hurricane Hermine last week. Of course there is a ton of cleaning up going on. It was surreal to see such a pretty little town with so much damage. Cedar Key is on the Gulf Coast of Florida. The last two images are from there. I didn't take any images of damaged homes or businesses, just so sad.

Tomorrow we are off to another FL state park, a spring this time. I will get pics up as soon as I can. Friday will be our quiet day, lol, Saturday clean and laundry for my sister to get here.






Saturday, September 3, 2016

Be Prepared For A Hurricane, and Zika Virus Prevention

Well, Hurricane Hermine has come and gone from Florida, but the damage is immense. Where we are, damage was pretty minimal. Most people have power back in our county, and we never left power which I can not even believe. A puff of wind and our power usually goes out. However, I was outside trimming branches away from incoming power lines, and cleaning up before the storm was close. I noticed our neighbors doing the same. Maybe that is why our power stayed on, we were diligent. Of course you can't stop a tree, unless you just cut it down. It rained, hard, even before the storm got close, but there was really not much wind, or thunder and lightning. We have lived in FL for 11 years, and this was our first land falling hurricane experience. Cedar Key, which is about an hour from us was just inundated with water from storm surge. The Weather Channel predicted this storm surge days ahead of the storm, and were pretty much spot on. The pictures from there are devastating and sad. Cedar Key is just a lovely little fishing, and resort town in the big bend of Florida. Hermine beat it up pretty good. For a Cat 1, it was plenty scary. It really was not too bad until the eye started to get close to land. I mean within seconds weather went from not to bad, to frightening. We had no tornado warnings up until then, and and all of a sudden they were popping up everywhere around us, one after another. So scary! My husband is a firefighter so I could here all the activity, for our county, and it was something to hear. Our power did go in and out almost constantly during this time period, so we did have to turn off the air, for about 4 hours. I grew up with blizzards, so howling wind is not so scary, but losing power in the night time with howling wind, and not seeing what is going on outside your house, is plenty scary. I will probably never buy a generator, but I would recommend it if these things really frighten you. I was fully prepared to be without power for 3 days, thank goodness that did not happen. I think I slept one hour, and when I went out in the daylight we did have tree limbs everywhere, some of my plants look like someone took scissors to their leaves, and even some of my flowers had browned edges like they got wind burnt. Two pieces of older fence got broken up and had to be taken down. A gutter was torn off, but easily fixed. So, all in all we came out of it pretty good. But, what did I learn from all this?

1- If the authorities tell you to leave, leave. Thank goodness there were no deaths, in places that were evacuated, and I understand why people would stay for some reasons. But, when they say they are not going to come help you they mean it in this state.

2- Prepare for your pets, and elderly friends or loved ones. My mom is stubborn and won't leave her home, but I can help her be ready. She has been through several of these so she knows better than me what to do.

3- Even though we were prepared to be without power for days, I forgot to consider a battery powered radio for weather alerts. I do have walkie talkies that will do this, but I didn't think to dig them out and charge them. I won't make that mistake again, tornadoes in the dark are frightening.

4- Think about possibly renting a room for a couple of nights, ahead of time, and reserving just in case.

5- We were smart enough to have cash on hand, because ATM's don't work without power.

6- Talk to your children about how frightening it might get. We talk about a meeting place, and such. But, I was surprised how scared my 12 year old was. I was not prepared for that. Children, and adults all react to fear in different ways, be prepared for them to not do what you expect.

I do not want to do this again anytime soon, but at least we have an experience now to evaluate and improve. Note, the weather man said FL gets hit with a hurricane, typically, every other year. Good grief it had been 11 years, and I am not sure I like that stat, lol.


Now, that the hurricane has passed, mosquitoes will be everywhere. Zika is already in FL, but only in small amounts. The video below will explain how to prevent exposure to Zika. I am not a huge fan of bug spray, matter of fact I hate it, but even I bought a can of bug spray. Safe sex, and or abstaining, imo, are the best prevention methods for spreading it from human to human.











Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Homeschool Evals Done, Family Coming, Hurricane Watches Up and Zika WOW!

Wow, it is heating up here, in central Florida.  We did our evals last week, and all went well.  We have family visiting next week, and the week after, so we are preparing for that.  Along with that, we are still watching TD 9, trying to form into a TS, in the Gulf of Mexico.  It has slowed down a bit, and appears to be strengthening.  What does that have to do with homeschool?  Lots, actually.

Hurricane preparedness, like most Floridians, is something we have not had to even think about in many years now.  So, we have been lax.  Now, my children will learn exactly what I do each year to get prepared.  Tomorrow I will post some info on hurricane preparedness.  Right now, even with just a depression, this system is really large and 7 inches of rain is a lot of rain in Florida.  We are not in a flood prone area, but all areas will be susceptible to tornadoes.


Also, I just heard on the news that Zika has now spread to the Tampa Bay area.  This is a huge concern, especially with a tropical system approaching, and standing water that will likely be left behind.  I took a CEU class on Zika, and I was amazed how much we really are not sure yet of this disease.  So, as part of hurricane preparedness I will be posting mosquito control, with a focus on Zika prevention for lay people.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

DJ's Homeschool Portfolio for 2015/2016 School Year Grade 10

This is DJ's portfolio for the 2015/2016 school year.  He completed grade 10 this school year.

FLVS Driving:  1/2 credit  final grade: 92 (A)   DJ got his learners permit on 7/5/16, and has been practicing driving with his parents.

History:  Civics and US Govt:  1/2 credit for each final grade: 76 (C)  DJ used the book, The Everything American Government Book, for our main reading purposes.  But, the bulk of our learning for these two courses came from icivics.org, and following the presidential elections for this year.  We watched, and discussed debates, the process, the pros and cons of each candidate, the system as it is with pros and cons, etc.  At the end of the year, DJ took a US Govt and Civics exam, that all people who want to become citizens take.  That is where his final grade came from.  Due to the fact that he also did writing assignment, and discussion topics, I am adding 10 points to his final grade, ending with an 86 (B) for his transcript.  You can read his final exam, the written part, on his blog, Through the Eyes of DJ, plus my critique and comments. 

Math:  Business Math:  1 credit final grade: 76 (C). DJ used Alpha Omega Lifepac for this course, and while he didn't complete all 10 books, I don't think that is unusual.  He did not enjoy the Lifepac format, at all, though I can't say he really enjoys math.  He put in enough hours to get a full credit, and he did do two Math curriculums this year. 

Math Algebra 1:  This was a continuation of his Math U See Algebra 1 book, from 9th grade.  I really wanted him to try hard to complete it.  With two math courses it was a real challenge.    final grade: 76 (C)  DJ took the PSAT, practice test online, on August 10, 2016, and got a score of 78 for the Math section.  While we realize this still needs improving, I am happy he is passing it, and not struggling as much.  We will continue to improve  his Math grade as we move forward.  His Geometry book, for grade 11, has Algebra review, so that will help.  DJ will be taking the full SAT, at the completion of 11th grade. 

FLVS Intro to Digital Design:  1 full credit final grade: 81, 84 (B).  This was a required course, on FLVS, to take any further computer programming classes.  DJ is taking an Honors computer class for the 11th grade.  While DJ still maintains that Marine Biology is his career choice, he understands that working while in college will be necessary, and the best option pay wise might be computers.  Plus, computers are the wave of the future. 

Biology:  CK12 plus hands on labs 1 credit final grade:  100 (A+)   We used CK12, for Biology, and you can see why this is the future for DJ.  He excels hands down.  He probably ended up with over 100 for an average, with the extra questions on each test.  Plus with the labs.  We did some hands on labs, I will bring some samples, as it is a pain to scan and upload them all.  Plus DJ participated in the 4H Marine Ecology event last year, still part of this school year,  and he had to identify plants, and animals.  I am counting that as labs as well.

Language Arts:  DJ did not do a formal program this year, but concentrated on writing.  1 full credit final grade per PSAT on August 11, 2016:  86 (B), I am adding five points to this as DJ wrote one complete book, and started a second.  So, his final grade will be 91(A) for his transcript. DJ's first book, a fan fiction, based on the video game series, Monster Hunter is saved to his email.  If you would like to read it, he will provide that for you.  That was done on NanoWrimo, a yearly writing contest for teens.  He will be doing it again next school year, with his second fan fiction.  His second book was began, using Litlift.  He has since gotten writer's block, and has set it aside for now. 

Reading:  DJ got a score of 78 on the Reading section of the PSAT practice test, on August 11, 2016.  He is a proficient reader, so this concerns me a little.  However, he is not a speed reader, and I think that might be part of it.  We will be working on this to increase his grade for the Reading section.   One technique we will be doing for grade 11, is reading and listening, aloud.  He will read a chapter, and then I will read a chapter.  I am going to try and see if I can add time limits if it doesn't mess with his comprehension.  

DJ did  27 volunteer hours with Camp Kerusso,  was active in 4H, and the Teen Praise Band at church.  He is the lead singer and co-leader of the band.  The band has played at local nursing homes, as well as different special church events.  DJ went to Crossroads Camp again this year.  He also has done probably 20 hours volunteer time with Tri County Outreach, I just have to get the form signed and verified.  He really wants to do more volunteering, and get a job, we will see, since he will have homework and study requirements for grade 11. 

Music:  This is an afterthought, but DJ has been doing the 4H Guitar Club, for two, and a half years.  Unfortunately it will not be continuing this next school year, due to not enough interest.  However, he did 2 hours every week for two full school years, so I am giving him 1 full music credit.  I will be having him do a video that shows his progress, and load it to  his blog. 

I think that completes DJ's portfolio.  If I think of anything else, I will add it later. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Caitlin's Homeschool Portfolio for the 2015/2016 School Year Grade 6

This is Caitlin's homeschool portfolio for the 6th grade.  Due to a family accident last year, Caitlin got somewhat behind on Math.  I started her off at the beginning of the year with grade 3 Math.  In Feb she took a placement test and was placed in 5th grade Math.  She is almost completed with grade 5 Math, as of the end of June.  She will begin grade 6 Math in the beginning of July.  Her writing has also improved immensely, compared to last year.  I did not issue final grades for Caitlin, but instead will give reviews of curriculum used, and her progress as I see it.  She has focused a lot on Math and Writing this year, and is currently writing a book of her own on Watt Pad.  Part of  the agreement to use it, was that she had to do her own editing, and then I read the final result. 

Reading List:  The Yearling with book report.
Percy Jackson book 1 with book report.
Warrior Cats 6 book series, some with book reports
Warrior Cats series #3 6 book series, started

Math:  Caitlin has made great progress with Math.  She started out as 3rd grade level, that was with Common Core test, she was given a placement test on Prodigy Math, at the end of the school year, and has moved up to 5th grade level.  She is actually on schedule for grade 7 and has already started her Saxon 7/6 school book for the 2016/2017 school year. We used CK12, workbooks, and Prodigy Math for her Math choices this year.   I am super pleased with the progress she has made, and the hard work she has done.


Language Arts:  Michael Clay Thompson series.  I loved this series, and she showed great progress with it.  I wish it wasn't so expensive.  The only book we did not use, was Poetry, she just couldn't get into it.  Though we did do some funny poetry topics, which she did enjoy.  I will have writing samples with us for our face to face visit.


History:  The West.  Caitlin read the book, Westward Ho, and we did some of the fun activities, like horse paintings, some writing assignments, we made a wagon cake, etc.  Click the link to view the book.  We also watched Frontier House on Youtube.  It is a PBS series, that sadly only had one season.  We immensely enjoyed this show, and a lot of conversations about how hard life was back then.    I think Caitlin definitely enjoyed The West, as did I. 

Science:  Earth Science.  Caitlin used various reading info books, videos, etc to learn about Earth Science.  For testing purposes, at the end of the year, she used a free app called Itooch grade 6 Science.  She ended up with an A average, after completing the tests.  This was actually a quite nice app.  They could study the info if needed, then take a little test.  I loved it, saved me a lot of grading time.

Writing:  See Language Arts, plus Caitlin was given writing assignments on her blog.  You can view her final exam, for Writing, and some of her other Writing assignments, for grade 6, by visiting https://kateandbiscuit.blogspot.com/

Spanish:  Caitlin used the free app Learn Spanish 6.000 words, and did quite well.  Spanish is more of a fun class, and intro to another language.  She will do it again in grade 7, as she loved it so much.  She was not graded for this class. 

Caitlin continued with 4H through out the year, and was in one competition, and two fairs.  She received blue ribbons for her efforts, and a couple of second place.  She continues to learn about rabbit care, and cares for her rabbit pretty much on her own. 

She also continues with church, and activities there.  She was in the Kiwis singing group, and did a Christmas concert where she had a speaking role.  Though she was frightened she did it. 

She started Gymnastics in Jan of 2016.  This has been very good for her, and we still continue our weekly walks with homeschool friends, plus field trips as allowed. 

It has been a very good school year for Caitlin.



Thursday, August 4, 2016

Books and Classes Chosen For the 2016/2017 Homeschool Year

I am still working on our homeschool portfolios.  I hope to complete them next week.  DJ will be taking the new PSAT next Wed, with the essay option.  Then on the 11th, both kids will each start two classes of their new school year.  Since we have family coming the first two weeks of Sept, we will not have our first full school day, until the 19th.  So, at least we will have some started.  Caitlin, and DJ both, will start Math, and Caitlin chose Spanish for her second class to start, and DJ will be starting his certificate Digital Media course on FLVS.  Two new things for DJ this year, he is going to take the World History CLEP Exam at the end of the school year, and he will be really pushed to take notes this year, and required to study at least 45 min per class each night. DJ will also be working on his second book, that he is stuck about half way through, writers block, and will be participating in the NanoRimo writing challenge again in November.  Caitlin is currently using Wattpad for some writing fun.   Caitlin will be required to study, with reading or writing.  Of course we will continue our weekly Wed nature walk with friends, and volunteer hours as well. 

Caitlin 2016/2017 School Classes Grade 7:

Math:  Saxon 7/6 with supplement of Prodigy Math game, once or twice a week.
History:  World History with focus on Geography.  I will be posting some fun things to do for this class.
Spanish 1:  Along with textbook, and workbook, there is a really fun app she likes.
All other subjects will be grade 8 Alpha Omega including Bible.  I got a really good deal, but it was a grade higher but I have heard they are not real challenging, so it should be OK.  She could use a good challenge anyways.  I will be giving her books to read, but have not decided yet, besides Ann of Green Gables.  I am looking at her taking at least one FLVS class next year.  DJ will take his second year of Japanese in his senior year.  Both kids are deciding what they want to do with 4H, and I don't want them overwhelmed with activities anyways.  Caitlin will resume Gymnastics in October, and DJ of course guitar.

DJ 2016/2017 School Classes Grade 11:

Geometry
World History:  CLEP study guide with exam at end of year, will also be doing fun activities with me
English/Language Arts with focus on Writing
Chemistry with Labs
Digital Media 1-  full credit certificate course with FLVS
Psych 1- half credit elective course can also count as 1/2 credit of History with FLVS
Typing will be squeezed in somewhere, probably 2nd half of year as a 1/2 credit elective.  He really needs this class.  He has no clue about typing rules, such as for spacing.

So far DJ has chosen Dracula to read, and I still have to consider which ones I want him to read.  I am leaning towards classical literature as opposed to newer options. 




Thursday, June 16, 2016

Online Homeschool Portfolio?

We are in our full Summer vacation schedule, and so far so good.  The kids are getting plenty of extra sleep, fun time with friends, and relaxing too.  Plus, I get to do all the household things, like clean closets, since I don't have to worry about being quiet. 

We have had the same evaluator since we started homeschooling, 10 years ago, and she is awesome.  This year, I asked her if instead of lugging all the paperwork to her house, if I could do an online portfolio right here on this blog.  She said yes!  So, this will be a first for her, and for me.  We still have our face to face meeting, so no change in price, and I still have to bring our daily log and a book for them to read from.  But, besides that all other info she would want to see will be right here.  I am thinking this will be much easier.  Our evaluations are not until August, so this gives me plenty of time to get it set up how I want.

Do you homeschool?  How do you do evaluations?

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Finishing Up the 2015/2016 Homeschool Year Plus Some Great Summer Deals

This is our last full week of lessons.  We will be doing Math over the Summer, plus my son has to finish Biology.  We will be doing two to three days a week, of about 2 hours of work.  Caitlin will be doing Writing along with her Math.  She is currently writing a book on Wattpad, but does not want that included in her school work, so that will be free time work.  DJ is also at a stand still on his second book, so that is also on hold until he figures it out.  Wattpad has helped encourage Caitlin and her creative writing.  Assigned writing assignments are still a hassle, but she is getting a hold of it.  So, over the next few days, I need to come up with final exams for each child, and each subject.  Biology, no final needed, he holds an average of 100, and Caitlin is finishing up her Science testing, and should be done soon. I, believe it or not, have next year's curriculums almost completely chosen.  I will be sharing those in the coming weeks.  I also have to start working on our portfolios, for  our yearly evaluations in August.   There are two websites I want to share with you, to use over the Summer months.

Nanowrimo is doing a Summer writing contest.  DJ did their Fall contest, and loved it.  However he is not interested in doing it over the Summer, much to my sadness.  It is completely free, and an awesome way to get your kids writing. He will be doing it again in the Fall.  Click this link to check it out. 

Second, I got an email, yesterday from Homeschool Buyers Co-op with their list of free for Summer class offerings.  There are several awesome options here.  I took advantage of Mathhelp.com and Emusic.  If DJ likes the Math format, and setup, then I will buy their Geometry course for next year.  Otherwise I will stick with Saxon Geometry, which I have not yet purchased.  Be sure to read all the directions when you sign up for any of the classes.  They are not complicated, but there are steps that must be followed.  You do have to be a member of the website, which is also free to get the deals.  Click this link, to visit and check out all the offerings. 

That is it for now.  Be back in a few days with more awesome stuff that I find.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

My Review For Prodigy Math Game

As we round out our school year, I have been planning for next year, already.  I already got Chemistry purchased, and I am looking at getting Alpha/Omega for my daughter.  I have heard mixed reviews for their Lifepac series, but my son has been doing their Consumer Math, for this year, and we had no issues.  I am probably getting her a grade ahead then where she will be.  So, I won't have to worry about her, plus I can always supplement if it isn't enough.  I am not sure I will use their Math, because she is really enjoying Prodigy Math, and I will be using Saxon 7/6 with her.  This will free up a lot of computer time that the kids are currently monopolizing for school, and allow me to get some much needed computer stuff done.  My son was going to do 3 classes on FLVS, but because of the reason I just stated, and the fact that I found some much forgotten high school text books, he will only be doing 1 class on FLVS.  His reading music lessons will also be online.  So, I really still just need a Chemistry kit, and Saxon Geometry, and we are all set for next year.  I hope, lol


I am doing a short review for Prodigy Math.  This is not a paid, or sponsored review, just a website we enjoy and I want to share it with my readers.  Prodigy Math is free.  There is a paid membership, 5 dollars a month, but we currently use the free version.  If my daughter decides she will do it every day, for an hour, over Summer, I will let her get a membership.  Below are my likes and dislikes about Prodigy Math,

Likes:
1.  It is grade K-8, so it meets a lot of levels.
2.  My daughter actually enjoys it.
3.  I get to choose the topics, number of questions, and time frame for her to practice.
4.  They offer a free placement test.
5.  You can use Common Core, or choose not to.
6.  It is free, and lets face it 5 dollars per month is not that bad either.
7.  You can play unlimited, even free accounts.
8.  It gives me accurate reports for each student.  Currently both my kids are signed up as students, but only my daughter uses it.


Dislikes:
1.  Prodigy Math does not actually teach your student.  So, it is not a complete Math program for me.  I still have to teach her things she doesn't know.  I am not complaining, but it would be awesome if they offered lessons.
2.  This is not Prodigy's fault, so not really a dislike just for them, but for all computer based learning, and that is sometimes directions are not clear enough, and it is  hard for the student to figure out exactly what the computer wants.  That is one of the things I dislike about most computer based learning.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Frontier House PBS Series

While looking for some more fun ways to learn about the West, I came upon a PBS series called Frontier House. It is on Youtube, and I believe there is more than one season. We watched episode one, so far, and I was surprised at how realistic it was. It takes modern families and puts them in a Pioneer setting. Caitlin, and I both have enjoyed it so far. Check it out if you are studying the West, or Pioneers.



Thursday, May 5, 2016

Moving West Covered Wagon Cake

The History book we have been using for moving West, in American History, suggested we make a covered wagon using Lincoln Logs, and such. Well we don't have any of those, so we decided to do a cake. Which btw was way more fun, and messy. As you can see our Pioneers had to trudge through snow, which made their wagon wheels start to bow in. Plus the fierce winds caused their canopy to collapse. Honestly the hardest part was getting the canopy to stay up. Straws, didn't work, tooth picks didn't work, so we gave up and said it collapsed. The cake was delicious, too. We are still deciding how we want to do moccasins. Our next project will be...... Ha you will just have to come back and check. My husband took vacation next week, so we get an unexpected week off. We have lots of fun things planned though. We also watched the movie, Fievel Goes West, but I truly could have done without it. It really did not teach much at all about moving West.



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

High School Biology Labs and Covered Wagon Cake for American West History Project

Our Fun Fridays, when we do Biology Labs, and other fun but educational things, have been a little messed up. Plus, next week my hubby took vacation time, so we won't be doing any school. Anyway, I am still working on 3rd quarter evals, and I have tons of useful websites to share, but lacking time yet again, it will have to be posted later. Below you will find a set of videos with Biology labs. Here in FL, you not only have to do book work, when you homeschool Biology, but also labs. Sometimes this can be time consuming, and not user friendly. Next time, I will share the website that has Biology labs with interactive simulations. We have already done a ton, but still many to cover. I think tomorrow, we will do some microscope work, since we walk on Wednesdays, then have a lighter school day. I also have some updates for Math, as well.

My daughter turns 12 next week, yikes! Since it is also Mother's Day this weekend, we decided on two cakes. The first cake, we will be making tomorrow, and yes there will be pics. It will be for her West history activities, and will be a horse drawn covered wagon. I will not give details now, but be sure to check back tomorrow. I will try very hard to have it posted tomorrow. The second cake will be store bought, I am sure, and for Mother's Day, and her birthday, as we will be going to see my mom for Mother's Day, on her actual birthday.





Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The History of Homeschooling

I have lots of information to share with you, but am limited on time. So, for now I will share this short video on the history of homeschooling. This is a very interesting topic to me, and I might just assign a writing assignment, as a final exam to my 10th grader, on this topic. The three named individuals would be a great place to start. Enjoy! I will hopefully be back in a couple of days, to post some of the more interesting things we have been up to. Our field trip to Payne's Prairie got delayed, due to vehicle conflicts, and we might have to wait until Fall now to get there, but there are plenty of other fun things to do.





Sunday, April 17, 2016

Field Trip to Fort Clinch and Little Talbott Island State Parks

I am so happy we bought a Florida State Park Pass. I think we have used it six times already, and this Friday we are taking another field trip to Paynes Prairie. Last Monday, all of us, even the hubby, took a trip to Amelia Island. On Amelia Island there are several different state parks, plus Fernandina Beach, a small town on Amelia Island, that I just fell in love with. Anyway, we decided we would visit two of the state parks all in one day. Why? Because some don't allow swimming, and everyone wanted to swim. In the end only Caitlin swam, lol. Fort Clinch, we visited first. Fort Clinch is a beautiful state park, with lots of trails for hiking, and biking. The canopy entering the park was just beautiful. The Fort itself, was not included in the price of the state park. It was 2 dollars per person, which is still a great deal. The museum part of the fort was small, but the 12 min video about the fort, was awesome. The fort is not handicapped accessible, at all, but you could just stay on the lower levels and be fine if you needed to. I didn't post all the pics, because it takes too long, and I really think anyone reading this should visit this park, and get some of your own, hint hint.

Little Talbott Island State Park, has a huge beach, and it was very clean and quiet. Of course it was a Monday afternoon. The surf was rather rough, and ooh the water was cold. If it had been just a little bit hotter, all of us would have swam, but it was only 75 and just not warm enough. Except for Caitlin, lol, she swam. We walked the beach, collecting different shells, that we hadn't found before. I have some projects in mind for them, and they are currently cleaning in 50/50 solution of bleach and water. We even found large Sand Dollars, they were broken, but we have never found any before so that was exciting.  We got to take a ferry ride, back in town, and ended with dinner at Olive Garden.  All in all a beautiful day!

I still have a bunch of experiments to share, and I hope to get them uploaded soon.



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Just About 3/4 Done With Our School Year!

I love this time of year, we start to finish up some classes, and get more free time for fun stuff.  Plus, it is warm outside, gardening, pool, hiking and springs are on our mind, not textbooks, lol.  Caitlin has finished up her Spanish, for this year.  She is 90% finished reading her History book, then we get to start some of the fun activities, which I will be sure to share for all of you.  DJ finished up Driver Ed, and Digital Design, some time ago.  He has writers block about half way through his second book, yes I said his second book.  So, I think I will be supplementing that time with Biology labs, plus he is reading the first Percy Jackson book to his sister.  A couple weeks ago, Caitlin and I finished reading, The Yearling.  Now, I will not say it was the most exciting book, it was not, and it took us a while to read, mostly because of the slang language.  I really wanted to sound like they would have, lol.  However, it was an amazing coming to age book, and though I had predicted pretty early on the ending, I still was shocked, and horrified.  You will just have to read it to see what I mean.  Classical literature is very often not that exciting, I find, but the lessons taught are really amazing.  DJ, and I read,  To Kill A Mockingbird, last year, not his favorite by far.  But, I loved it, a little slow, but so worth the read.  Now, I am reading the sequel which moves quite a bit faster.  Don't expect me to have it done anytime soon, I am notorious for reading three to four books at any one time.  I know, crazy, done it my whole life though.  I think I will have DJ read it for next year.  Speaking of next year, it is time to start thinking about it.  For DJ, I think the only two things we have completely agreed on is Saxon Geometry, and the next class in the Digital Design certificate classes, on FLVS.  Most likely he will also do World History, on FLVS, as well.  That saves me both money and time.  For Caitlin, I think I will also stick with Saxon Math, and she will use 7/6.  I am going to skip 6/5 and move right to 7/6.  She has improved greatly, and she will be in 7th grade, so she will be at grade level.  I used Saxon Math, when I was in school, so I am very comfortable with the layout and lessons.  That is what we have been up to, Monday we are going on a family field trip, should be fun!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

3 Sisters Garden and Water Tension Physics Experiment

The corn for our 3 Sisters Garden, is now one inch high. That means it is time to plant the beans, and squash. However, because we will be having one last coldish snap, I am holding off until next week to plant them. It is not supposed to hit freezing, but 30's at night, so we will play it safe. We got some cute fence to go around our little garden, at the Dollar Tree.

The bird picture, is the Red Bellied Woodpecker that had a nest in our dead tree, a few years back. He still comes and visits our feeders once in a while. At least we think it is the same one, lol. I guess we can't say for sure.


Yesterday, we were supposed to do a Physics activity, make a rainbow, that would have been perfect since it was St Patrick's Day this week. But, of course it had to be a rainy day, lol. So, we did a different Physics activity related to water tension, and why boats move. Below you will see some pictures. The first picture is what your boat should be cut out like, the second two are the wrong way, and the last one is correct. I let them do it wrong on purpose, then tried it and it didn't work. This is what you will need:

Foam board for each child or cardboard which does not work well because it absorbs the water.
A large clean dry bowl. I actually wish we had did this in the bathtub, you might want to.
Scissors
Concentrated liquid dish soap, we used Dawn.
Water

Then it you just have them cut their foam just like the first picture. It is actually a tricky shape to cut, so if they do it wrong, let them try it so they see why that doesn't work. Have them record all observations, and what happens. After they have the shape cut out, put it in the bowl that you have put water in. Then carefully add a drop of dish soap directly where the back of the boat is, at the opening. If you have a correct shape it will quickly, and immediately, push the boat across the water. We actually should have had two bowls of water, because once the water tension has been disturbed the second boat did not work as well. Have them try to tell you why the boat moved. The explanation is that the water tension is very high, before the soap is added. After you add the soap it decreases the water tension, which causes the water at the front of the boat to pull the boat to the front. Very cool experiment, easy to do, supplies easy to obtain. In their project book I had them draw both pictures, of the proper cutout and the incorrect cutout, then explain what happened.








Monday, March 14, 2016

Field Trip to Ichtucknee Springs

Since we finally got our year long state park pass, I want to be sure we use it. Since it is still the school year, we can do a field trip here and there, at least once a month. Today, we traveled to Fort White, to visit Ichtucknee Springs. This spring was named an official historic landmark in 1972. The spring itself is not that large, but the main activity here is the tubing down the Santa Fe River. We did not tube today, but we will definitely return to do so. For Christmas, DJ and I both got water proof cell phone case covers, specifically rated for underwater images. Much cheaper than buying and underwater camera, if they worked. Since his phone was getting replaced anyway, that same day, we used his phone as a guinea pig. It worked amazing, not even one drop of water got in there. Now we need to find some Manatees, lol. If we get to Fanning Springs, before it gets too warm, we will almost certainly see at least one there. This was our first time to this park, and the weather was spectacular. We walked a one mile trail, down and back, and that was just super nice.

I have been slacking on the blogging, again, my apologies. Just been so busy. I will get the Physics activity posted this week, and will probably have another at the end of the week.



Friday, February 26, 2016

Bioluminescence Science and Chemistry Experiment Fun Friday Homeschool

I am going to walk you through the steps of this experiment so you can try it at home. This counts both as a Biology, and Chemistry lab, read why here. As you can see in the first image with my daughter, this is actually the end of the experiment, it really glows right on her face, nice and bright.

You will need:

Glow sticks
2 drinking glasses
Ice water
Warm water

Procedure:

Give each child a glow stick. Have then look at the stick only. Ask them what they notice. What does it look like, in its original form. Have them gently rock the stick back and forth. Does it do anything? Now go into a darker room, gently bend the stick, observe what happens, and note it. Now put the sticks into the ice water, observe what happens. Leave the glow sticks in the ice water for five minutes, then return to observe the results. Now put the glow sticks in the warm water, observe and note what happens. Leave the glow sticks in the warm water for 5 minutes, then observe your final results. If you have a dead glow stick, in other words it doesn't glow anymore, stick it in both types of water and observe what happens. I won't give you our results, that ruins the fun.

We are also doing a Physics experiment today, which I will share another day, baking, and art.



Saturday, February 20, 2016

Fun Fridays are Back

We have not done Fun Fridays, in a very long time.  We are halfway through our school year, and I decided we could do Fun Fridays.  What is Fun Friday?  Well, if we are not doing a field trip, it means we are doing some more fun and leisurely assignments at home.  I like it to be creative, and also to get some things done that maybe there isn't enough time for during the week, like DJ walking to the Barber to get his hair cut, lol.  It also gives us time to do experiments, and research.  DJ has to do labs for Biology, and since some of the Marine Biology experiments fit Biology, and didn't get done last year, we are doing them this year.  Once my roses have some nice buds on them, we are going to do a Hybrid experiment.  I will share all that, when we do it.  Yesterday, we did an experiment for Annelids, it was real simple, but they got the right idea.

DJ's Art project, he has two, both have to do with the upcoming 4H fair.  He is doing a cover design, and a wood burning project.  Caitlin will be making a matching painted paw print shirt, to go with her pants, for the fair, and she still has to pick a photograph.  Speaking of photographs we saw our first Monarch caterpillar of the year, this week, and it made a chrysalis already.  So, we will be watching that.  I told Caitlin if she wanted to do Art on Fun Friday, that she had to pick an artist she wanted to study, and learn about.  She chose Robert Bateman Wildlife Artist.  She drew, and then used colored pencils to complete her first remake of his Lynx painting.  He really does beautiful work.  She will have to do writing assignments, along with art for her projects. 

The new SAT, is interesting, lol.  There are actually five sections, with the essay writing now optional.  I don't know why anyone would not do that part.  Even if you got a low score, it will still boost your overall score.  DJ is very strong in writing, so it will work well for him.  We took a practice SAT, full exam, he took the old version at the end of last summer.  We did not do the essay part, because it is self graded, right now, until it goes live in March.  He actually improved quite a bit on the Reading, which was already pretty good, and the Math, which is his weakest are, he improved 30 points.  Heads up there is a lot of Geometry.  So, if you have not started Geometry yet, which we had not, you might want to.  So, for now Business Math will be awarded to him a half credit, he started Geometry, and will work through the rest of this year on that, and finishing up Algebra 1.  That way when he takes the actual SAT, at the end of this school year, hopefully we will get a real good idea of where he is.  He will be at the end of 10th grade.  The SAT, can be taken as many times as you want to pay for it.  Colleges only get the highest score you get.  So, there is always room for improvement. 




Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bird Watching at Andrews Wildlife Management Area

We finally got our state park pass. Andrews is not a state park, but I plan on doing monthly field trips to local state parks, which are mostly springs. We hiked for 3.5 miles, at the Andrews Wildlife Management Area, yesterday, looking for birds. We didn't get a lot of pictures of birds, but we saw tons especially in this one area. The Suwannee River is high, from all the rain north of here, and will probably stay high through the spring once the snow starts to melt. So, we will be visiting springs on the Santa Fe River, which currently at least is not flooded. If the water is high, at the springs it is OK, but a lot of time the water gets brown out conditions where you can't see the clear water, and swimming is not advised. We were able to identify a lot of the birds we saw, but some we could not, they were too far away, even with binoculars. We saw about six Feral Hogs, but they were scared of us, and wanted no part of being close to us. Even though there are hiking trails, this area also allows hunting, so you do have to be very careful what time of year you go, and lucky for us none of our kids were quiet, lol. DJ saw a big cat when we first got there, unfortunately I did not so I can't say what it was, but we did find tracks for it. No gators, too chilly. After I had to take DJ up the road to Fanning Springs, for his volunteer day, and that springs did have brown out conditions. The ranger said there were manatees in there, but that we wouldn't see them. Of course we had to go check, and not only did we see one, but got a picture of it. DJ told me later, that he saw three more, in the hour he was there, but that the camera on his phone would not work. The weather was beautiful, and no bugs, awesome~!  We are at the end of our second quarter, and will be finishing up testing Monday, to see where we are in Math and Writing. 



Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Great American Bird Count 2016

I have been using Ebird for the past week, or so, to keep track of birds visiting my feeders.  Starting this Friday, the Great American Bird Count begins.  We will be going on a field trip to a local bird watching refugee, and then entering our findings on the Ebird app.  The weather is supposed to be splendid, Friday, and I am looking forward to it.  We are having a ball identifying all the birds we have been getting to the feeders.  I put up an extra feeder last year, and the birds just come like crazy.  I love to watch them, and see all their quirky behaviors.  We have some birds that are here with us all year, and then visitors throughout the year.  If you want a fun nature activity to do with your kids, check out the Ebird website. 

Caitlin, and I bought our seeds for our Three Sisters Garden.  We are not ready to start planting yet, but by the end of March, the corn should be able to go in,

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Rediscovering Hooda Math and PBS Math Educational Resources

My 15 yr old used Hooda Math for years.  When he got in the higher grades, he stopped using it, and I forgot about it.  I rediscovered it while looking for fun Math games for my now 11 year old.  She loves it, and I find games to be an excellent way to learn.  Not all day, and not all the time, but 15-30 minutes of educational games is a nice brain break, and different way to learn.  One thing I have noticed, since I decided to use Common Core standards, in our homeschool, is that I think it is harder for one because they don't allow kids to memorize math facts such as multiplication, and division before moving them on to harder concepts using those facts.  This slows kids down incredibly.  I think they need to learn those math facts first, before being forced to learn something their poor little brains just can't comprehend.  That is what I am doing anyway.  One of the beautiful things about homeschooling, is I can go at my child's place, even if the end goal is still to achieve the harder standards.  It isn't even that they are harder, just they want them to learn is harder.  The method has changed, not what they learn in the end.  Caitlin has improved immensely in the last 6 weeks, since I took her off the total Common Core method, and started letting her brain learn in a more sensible manner.

Along with OpenEd, I have started using PBS, and their media Math resources.  I then reinforce the videos with worksheets, discussion, games, and hands on learning.  Fridays, I evaluate how much she has retained with a test.  I can not say how much I love Flash Cards, for learning the math facts I mentioned above.  We use an app, and that makes it just that much more cool.  Cool Math, is another website, I used to use, and will be looking at it again for my daughter.

I will be looking at the Writing on PBS as well, though I love the Michael Clay Thompson series we have been using, and am already looking at purchasing it again for next year. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

4H County Events

Yesterday, was our yearly 4H County Events. Both kids got 1st place in their class, and will be able to move on to Districts, which will be on Caitlin's birthday this year. But, I did discuss it with her, and we will it on another day. She also has two friends with birthdays that same weekend, so it might get interesting this year. It will also be in Taylor County this year, which is a bit of a drive. DJ played Fix You, by Coldplay, on the electric guitar, and sang of course. Caitlin did Fashion Revue with her embellished clam digger pants. I thought I took a picture of them, but apparently I did not. I think I will have her make a matching shirt for Districts. This will be Caitlin's first year at Districts. Not because she didn't qualify before, but because she didn't want to. I am pushing her a little bit more this year. She also started Gymnastics last week, and she really loved it. She was sore the next day, saying I used a lot of different muscles. I hope she sticks with it, and has found something she can really love and get into. I would load the video of DJ playing, but I am not sure how, lol. Next up for 4H will be the Suwannee River Youth Fair, in March.  We usually do photography, but maybe they will both want to enter a wood burning project too.  Caitlin can also enter her pants in that fair too.



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