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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Summer Camps In The Gainesville Area

I will try to remember to post each Saturday a new summer camp, located in Gainesville and the surrounding areas. Some of these are free right to very expensive. If you need daycare while you work, these camps can be a great asset.

The Spencer House Montessori School is excited to offer Great Explorations 2011! Nine weekly sessions full of discovery for children between the ages of 8 weeks and 10 years old. You can select the sessions of your choice and we offer part time and full time enrollment. Integrated into the program is a review of reading, writing and math for our older campers. Sign up is limited!

Weekly camp themes include:
Children's Art Discoveries - Monet, Degas & Van Gogh, DOT Art

Going Green - Gardening/Recycling, visits from Big Blue, Waste Watcher, Litter Pal, and the Compost Kid

Bugs, Bugs & More Bugs - UF Entomology and Museum of Natural History

Let's Get Messy - Practical Life Food Prep

Amazing Creatures - Lubee Foundation Bats and Museum of Natural History

Little Scientist - Sink/Float, Liquid/Solid, Build a Volcano

Space is the Place - Build A Spaceship, Star Gazing, Alien Hunt, Alien Dress Up

Pirates and Princesses - Treasure hunts, Princess Tea, Pirate & Princess Parade

Summer Splash - Splash Days and Water themed activities

Camp Schedule:June 8th - August 5th - Choose any of 9 weekly sessions
Ages: 8 weeks to 10 years old
Cost: Visit the website for rates

13921 NW 146th Avenue, Alachua, FL 32616 / (386) 418-1213

Friday, April 29, 2011

Movie Friday: Oceans and Legend of the Guardians

Since we are almost at the end of the school year, and both kids have completed some of their curriculums, we use Fridays as movie day. Last week we watched most of Oceans, and will watch the last 30 minutes shortly. Then Caitlin picked Legend of the Guardians, which will be watched immediately after Oceans. Do you have laid back relaxing, fun days in your homeschooling adventures? It makes for a nice school week, if you ask me.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Make A Lemon Battery

Today, I want to share this cool Science project or experiment, that you can do to. It is how to make a battery using a lemon. I am kind of electric dumb, so I will have to impose the knowledge of my husband to help me get all the correct parts. I hope to be able to do this experiment in the next couple of weeks. It is very cool.

The picture you see is another DJ picture, and I am trying to get them all uploaded to my online photo albums, so I can take them off my hard drive. He needs to start deciding which ones he wants printed off for his 4H book. It is due June 10th.

The second video is on common, and proper nouns. Since both kids are now learning nouns, I thought the video would be helpful for them both.

Lesson Plans For 04/28/11:

Math: Saxon 54
Writing: Parts of a story, and dialogue
Science: When the ground moves
Language Arts: Proper Nouns
5th Grade Test Prep

Head of the Class
Reading: Rub A Dub Cub, and Happy and Max
Shapes and Colors: Finish book
Phonics: Consonants and vowels: Finish book
Math: Addition and subtraction
Calendar work, clock work, sight words, skip counting
Making Predictions
Printing Practice

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why I Homeschool

Wednesday is Why I Homeschool day. It is a weekly meme put on by Miss Moe. Be sure to check out why she homeschools each week, and join in if you like.

I homeschool because my kids can be their own unique self, without fear of reprisal. Caitlin is shy and reserved, and doesn't really care much for change. DJ is bold and outgoing, yet sensitive and kind. I love to let my children grow to be their own little selves, without someone telling them they are different and need to comform.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Cell Biology, The Seasons, 1st Grade Sight Words

It seems like we are constantly learning about the seasons, from one grade to the next, LOL. So here is yet another seasons video for my kids to enjoy. DJ is just starting to get into the nitty gritty of Biology, and is learning about cells. The first grade sight words are for anyone who cares to use them. We use flash cards every day, but some kids find watching the video daily more helpful. This school year is almost over, and we will begin reviewing soon. I constantly evaluate and re-evaluate what is working and what is not. So, DJ will no longer be doing Head of the Class. We started it halfway through the year, and it is just adding to much to his work load. Caitlin will continue her Head of the Class lessons, and will be a major part of her curriculum for next year. It is a free service, so check it out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Exploring the Wild Wild West

Today DJ is doing makeup work from last Thursday, that he missed because he didn't feel well. Plus he will be learning about the Wild Wild West, including The Oregon Trail, The California Gold Rush, and Lewis and Clark. Caitlin may choose to watch the videos, but is not required.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Good Friday!

May you all have a blessed Easter weekend.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cleaning Is The Education Of The Day

I have been putting this off, and putting it off, but today it shall be done. I am talking about Caitlin's room. She has so much stuff, and her idea of cleaning is to just shove it under the bed where I can not see it. Trust me I can see it. So Caitlin's lessons for the day will center around Head of the Class, for thirty minutes, and then she and I will tackle her room. Items need to be removed, plain and simple. When I look at her room I think of that show Hoarders. Caitlin does not like to throw away anything, ever. This will be an interesting lesson.

DJ will do his usual lessons for the day, as scheduled. Oh and DJ is going to try a couple of more trick pictures for his photography lesson. Wish me luck everyone! I think I am going to need it.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why I Homeschool

Each Wednesday, Miss Moe, has challenged me to write about why I chose to homeschool. Of course there are so many reasons, why I chose this path, but one of them is because I find society to be so judgemental. Everyone it seems finds the need to judge others for their looks, clothes, religion beliefs or lack of, finances, sexuality, morals or rules they live by, etc. These are all things I do not want my children to do. I may not agree with the way someone else lives or does things, but it is not my place to judge them. I would still be kind, compassionate, and caring to anyone. The only exception would be if you somehow earned my distrust. I don't want my children to learn to be cruel and unkind to others because someone else says they should be, or says that person is living in a way that is wrong. I do not know one person who is perfect, or has lived a life of pure innocence free of sin. Even as a homeschooler we face judgement from other homeschoolers. If you don't teach from a religious point of view, are not conservative enough, or you speak your mind in a bold manner, you may be shunned. I think it is a shame that homeschoolers, which is not an easy task to uptake, are forced to deal with judgement from other homeschoolers. It makes me sad to think about it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Making Trick Pictures

OK so we had a lot of fun trying to make trick pictures. DJ needs to finish up his photography book 1, for 4H, and be turned in by June 10th. We only had a few lessons left and the trick photography was one of them. I think we will try these again because the lighting was not optimal, and the jar we used was way to big as you can see. Caitlin looks like a flea standing on my hand. She needed to be a bit closer and a smaller jar. I have a very small hand and holding that jar up in position, and trying not to get into the picture was none too easy. But you get the idea. We needed way less sun. Then we went to the playdate at the park, met some new members, and it was really, really hot. I have mentioned my pool pump is dead, not that it was a great one to begin with. So I just sent my husband to Walmart to hopefully get a new one. Everywhere we have tried to order the nicer one, in our area, is on back order until the end of May. Don't these people know it is way too hot to wait that long? Obviously not. Hope everyone is having an awesome Tuesday.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Earth Day 2011, Flowers For Butterflies

Earth Day is April 22nd this year. I have probably mentioned before that my kids love anything that has to do with plants, animals, and are very interested in conservation. While we are not perfect little green people, we do our best to conserve water, food, power, and to be kind to Mother Earth as much as we can. I mentioned we already planted a baby pine tree, so I was unsure of what we were going to plant for Earth Day this year. We have quite a few rose bushes now, and tomatoes and cucumbers are trying to grow. So I thought I would try to find a plant that will grow in Florida, that will attract butterflies, and or humming birds. I found a cool website that tells me what plants make butterfly and humming bird nectar. Now I just have to find the plants by Friday. I suppose if it is a little late Mother Earth will forgive me. We have a busy week, this week. I am pushing hard to finish up all the curriculum in this last semester. It shouldn't be a problem, but sometimes I can be a bit aggressive. Summertime you would think would be a time of rest for me, nope it is the busiest time of the year for me. I have to get ready for the next school year, round up and evaluate the last school year, yearly doctor appointments, all my classes for my nursing renewals are due, I hold two state licenses NY and FL. Plus all my mandatory education classes for my job. That is just the beginning, but you get the idea. Plus my husband is taking his certifications for fire rescue, but I am hoping they will be closer to the Fall. Oh and my poor pool needs a new pump, which is on back order until the end of May, so cleaning the pool is more time consuming than normal, and you can't very well call it clean yet. Ugh!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Science In My Own Backyard

We own about a 1/2 acre of land in a small rural town. Even though we are in town, we get all kinds of critters, that DJ has been enjoying taking pictures of. I also mentioned that next year for 4H the kids picked bugs. One of the projects you can do is to have a bug collection. Since the kids are opposed to killing the bug in order to collect it, we are recording bugs we find with the camera. There are only a few so far, finding a bug that is ready to get its picture taken is not an easy process, LOL! The one picture is of a cocoon DJ found when helping his Dad clear up leaves. As you can see the butterfly had already released itself from the cocoon. Yes, by the way, that is a caterpillar on Caitlin's head! And no that caterpillar did not go into that cocoon, and may or may not have been the moth shown. We had a picture of a really cool moth, but do you think I can find the picture? We get that same moth, or one that looks just like it, every year in the same spot of our garage wall. I hope I find the picture. You can teach your kids about ecosystems, and habitats, without expensive curriculum just by exploring your own back yard.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Buy Or Sell Your Used Homeschool Books

I was contacted and asked if I would do a short review on the new website Of course I said yes. While I have not yet used the site, the sign up process was very easy, and they offer an affiliate program as well for those that are interested. Lots of homeschoolers need affordable text books, or would like to make back some of the money they spent on textbooks. If this is you, check out My Book Cart, and see if the website can work for you. They accept Paypal as payment which makes the process easier if there ever is a complaint. I personally do no buy from anyone who does not have a verified account, so keep that in mind whenever you are purchasing on any website. I probably won't be adding any books until the end of this school year, but I do have a couple more that I would like to purchase, so maybe I can find them here.

Addendum: You can not buy books only sell them on this website

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hoopla In The State Capital

Last week when I was at Seaworld, I didn't check any emails, or do any online work. No I don't own a smart phone, just a regular old dumb phone, LOL! When I checked my email the next day, it seems there had been some legislation going on in Tallahassee. I had like a hundred urgent emails telling me to call, fax, or email the state government to oppose a bill being proposed. There was all kinds of panic words being used. I am not a panic kind of person, and I like to read what I am going to be panicking about before I panic. At any rate it turned out to be something that did not necessarily concern homeschooling, but was related to private schools, and daycare centers that take public funding. The purpose of this is I wanted to share with you some tips that were shared with me, about being informed about legislation, and other issues that may concern homschoolers. I think they are worthy to share with my readers.

To speak out most effectively, as well as to avoid being manipulated by other agendas, it's important to understand, as much as possible, the facts of the matter. Fortunately, there are some basic tools and practices that those wishing to stay abreast of legislative happenings can employ to be their own best lobbyists in this and in other similar situations.

1.Stay informed about pertinent legislation – In Florida, we can track the course of whatever legislation we want via a Legislative Tracking system in both the House and the Senate . Simply register your email address, do some keyword or bill number searches (search on a variety of related terms, not just one word or phrase) and you can be updated at your convenience. You can even track specific committees, and statutes, particularly handy if you want to want to see who's poking around the laws. If you live in a less transparent state, try StateNet . At the national level, there are dozens of resources, from to Open Congress, all of which allow you to keep a close eye on issues and those behind them. We have a large collection of Civic Engagement Resources at our website .

2.READ ! – Read the text of a bill for yourself, rather than taking someone else's word on what it says. Admittedly, bills can make for long and tedious reading. But you can use your computer's Find feature to look for specific words, phrases or relevant sections.

3.Ask questions – Of legislators, lobbyists, and anyone proposing, discouraging or promoting action or legislation. Don't reject things out of hand, but don't follow blindly either.

4.Focus on the real issue – Politics is emotional, and it can sometimes be hard to see the heart of the matter through the smoke and mirrors of all the vested interests. But take statements like "if this bill becomes law, then this will happen" and honestly assess the possibility and see if there's any relationship at all to the reality of the text or the situation. There are lots of great resources now for assessing the validity of claims, including PR Watch, PolitiFact, Fact, GovTrack and others.

5.Speak out politely, articulately and specifically – If you feel compelled to speak out on an issue after becoming informed about it, do so clearly and outline specifically what you'd like your legislator to do, and request a response back. You may not get the action or the response that you'd like, but your views will become part of the public record and you have started a dialog.

We're all busy with families, work, school, health and the day-to-day concerns of life and living. But we are also each signatories on the social contract for our governance. Our legislators work for us, and if we abdicate our responsibility as the owners of our government, others will happily step into our place, on their own behalf. And if you only speak out or act when others "alert" you, you risk ignorance of other possibly more problematic legislation of which they may chose not to inform you.



Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why I Homeschool

One of the reasons I chose to homeschool is because I can steer the direction of socialization, and family life. I am not criticizing anyone when I say this, but I think most children are too socialized by friends, and activities outside of family life. I think this is having a negative effect on society in general. Don't misunderstand all kids need friends, and socialization, plus group activities, I just think there is way too much of it in the every day life of most children.

This is a weekly meme, every Wednesday, started by Miss Moe. If you homeschool your children, or have in the past, come and join in.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Setting A Formal Dinner Table

We have only one more 4H meeting for this year, in May, then comes the big formal type dinner. Have you ever set a formal dinner table? Have you ever been to a fancy formal dinner? For me no. I am not fancy, or formal, and would probably feel very uncomfortable in this situation. We have been learning about manners, as a group, and last night we finished up the booklets, and Ms Lorrie brought in her fine china to show the kids how to set a formal dinner table. I could tell none of them were remembering it, I could barely remember it. She did say that we would be doing the family dinner setting, not the real formal one, for the test. Yep a test. I June, the kids will be setting a table properly, and then serving a meal to the parents and 4H branch manager. So, we will be practicing, because yes I do not like to fail any test, even one as corny as this. After the dinner we are done until the Fall. It should be a very interesting dinner, indeed. Thank goodness it isn't until June.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Spring Is In The Air

It is Spring, yay! It actually starts acting like spring in early February, here in Florida. So we have been experiencing it for sometime now. Spring is when everything wakes up from up its long winter nap, and is reborn. Baby animals are born, as well as new flowers and leaves. Caitlin has been learning about the seasons and will begin working on her Spring door tomorrow. We color Spring pictures, cut them out and tape them to the door. Since I don't have bulletin boards, this works well for us. I did find some I could print on Edhelper for bulletin board themes, but they are huge and use a lot of ink. Below are some fun videos for you to share with your little learners. There are baby farm animals, baby farm animal story book, and a drawing lesson on drawing a baby lamb. Caitlin will be doing each of these tomorrow, along with other lessons. I use Edhelper for printables, but DLTK Kids, and TLS Books, offer free resources for your Spring time lessons. Edhelper has some free ones, but I am not sure which ones, but you could search around. Edhelper only costs me 20 dollars a year, and I love their resources. Plus we plant tomatoes, and cucumbers, which are always a great Science lesson, and affordable and easy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sort Of Back To Normal and More Seaworld Pictures

Today is about the closest to normal we have gotten all week. While I do not normally give homework, or after school work, DJ will be doing some this weekend. He finds it easier to do some math over the weekend, than do more than one chapter in a day, so that is what he will be doing.

Some of these pictures were taken by DJ and some by myself. Craig and Caitlin don't really get into the pictures so much. This time around we made sure and got to the Shamu show right when we got there. We were way up high, so the pictures are not the greatest, but you get the idea. Then we went back to the helicopter simulator ride through the Arctic. That was very cool! Caitlin got a little scared, but she didn't even make a squeel. Then you got to see Arctic animals like polar bears, walrus, and beluga whales. It was all very cool. Very dark and cool so the pictures did not come out real great. The walrus was amazing, that thing is huge, and what a funny looking face up close. Then DJ and Craig conquered the Kraken, the rollercoaster. They loved it and I am grateful Caitlin is too short to go on, LOL! Then we went to see the dolphins. They are always so much fun. The kids got to touch one just barely, and a big one jumped up and twirled right in front of us, so close if you knew he was going to do it you could have touched it. It got us all wet, but it was warm. I didn't have the camera ready, but what a shot that would have been. The next time we go, in the Fall, we are going to sign up to pet and feed the dolphins. Of course all the other exhibits were amazing as well, and look at those parrots. They are just stunning. If you ever get a chance to go, I highly recommend it. DJ will be doing a blog post on the clown fish, and the blue tang the fish from Finding Nemo. So be sure to check out his blog later today.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why I Homeschool

One of the other things I love about homeschooling, is I can take my kids on field trips without jumping through hoops, whenever I want to. Today we took our second trip to Seaworld in Orlando. We bought a season pass as Christmas gifts, and we hope to go at least two more times come Fall when it is cool again. It is brutal in summer, so I don't see that happening. Though we are all tired, we had a ball. This time we got to see the Believe show with the killer whales. I am really glad because they are retiring this particular show later this month, for a new killer whale show. The particular picture shown was the whale waving at the crowd, as he cruised by. Very cool show! I will share more pictures later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jar Of Hearts

I love this song, Jar of Hearts, by Christina Perri. It is a beautiful song. What do you think?

We have a free day for school today. That means the kids can do whatever they want, as long as it is educational. Getting ready for our second Seaworld trip. Busy, busy, busy, and it is hard to get anything done with power going on and off, from nasty storms again. I hope you all have an awesome Tuesday.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Different Learning This Week

This week is going to be a little different for us. Because we are going on our next trip to Seaworld on Wednesday, I don't want too much book work this week. DJ did extra math assignments, and History assignments in his books last week, so we won't be behind. We have a Netflix account, had it for many years now. With their play now feature, you can watch videos right on your TV or computer, without a disk. Since we have been learning about ecosystems, weather, ancient Egypt, and many other great topics, I will be using Netflix this week for educational purposes. I have saved tons of documentaries and movies for the kids to enjoy. I hope I get to the Liberty Kids series, but that one may have to wait until next time. Caitlin will also be doing Head of the Class, and Mightybookjr since she doesn't really like to sit and watch anything for too long.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Wrestlemania XXVII Tonight

Tonight is Wrestlemania XXVII, and it is somewhat of a tradition to watch it in my home. My husband and I both grew up with wrestling. Though I haven't continued with it much into my last about 10 years, my son loves it. Tonight via pay per view, they will be watching Wrestlemania. I may watch a couple matches, but it will give me the opp to get a lot done. Since everyone will be up late, I am sure school will start late tomorrow as well. Since we are going to Seaworld, for our second trip on Wednesday, we will be doing Social Studies activities tomorrow. Have fun, and drop me a note if you will or will not be watching Wrestlemania.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Take A Journey To The Earth's Core has sent me an email alert to let me know that on April 2nd at 8 PM Eastern, they are airing a new show called A Journey to the Earth's Core. Be sure to Tivo it or watch it, if this is something you or your child would be interested in. I will be Tivoing it for sure. Here is the description they sent me.

Journey to the Earth’s Core
Saturday, April 2nd at 8/7c

Humans have mapped nearly every corner of the globe--from jungles and deserts to the depths of space. Yet we have gone only seven miles below the Earth's surface which is only 1/500th of the total distance to its center. Journey to the Earth’s Core travels 4,000 miles down into the heart of our planet. Scientists, engineers and explorers encounter the underground world where strange life forms are able to inhabit deadly environments and trees force their way through 400 feet of rock to find water. Viewers will learn about mines the size of cities and about the ways electric shocks to the Earth can help reveal the location of oil. Throughout the program, students will learn new information about the mysterious underground forces that shape life on the surface of our planet.

Curriculum Links:
Journey to the Earth’s Core would be an excellent contribution to Science and Technology, Geography, Environmental Science, Politics, and History Courses. It is appropriate for high school and college students.

Discussion Questions:
1. What methods do the scientists in this program use to analyze their findings as they explore the layers beneath the earth’s surface?
2. How do you think information about the earth’s core can help us understand life on our planet?

Currclick for Homeschoolers


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