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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Beginning Chemistry

Ugh, I already feel like I need to study this stuff a lot harder.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homeschool Portfolios and Our Homeschool Classroom

I get a lot of questions about our homeschool classroom. Do we have a separate space with desks and laptops? No our dining room is generally speaking our classroom. The walls are filled with posters, maps, calendars and other learning devices. I have various storage cubicles for our books and other supplies. Sometimes the kids do have to be separated from this room, but for the most part this is where the learning takes place, at least book work. We do so many other learning things that anywhere could be our classroom.

Below are the finished portfolios, for our evaluations, which are next week. I made them a lot smaller this year. Each kid drew the picture for their covers. I do not care for these folders, you can only put like twenty pieces of paper in the binder part, and that is not nearly enough for me. The Florida statute does not state how many papers you need to bring. You need their reading lists, daily log, and papers from each segment of the school year. So technically speaking twenty could be plenty, but not enough for me. I did scale them back this year. Usually I bring way more than is needed. Between this blog, DJ's writing blog, the portfolio and each child's personal interview, the evaluator can tell whether your child has progressed or not. So I will have to scour the local Walmart for a binder that I actually like. Maybe them accordian folders, I have used them in the past.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hooda Math Games

DJ really dislikes book work. Especially for math and grammar. So I try to mix up book work with online games, or other online learning resources to keep it from getting monotonous and boring. Hooda Math, is one of DJ's favorites to use. He is especially fond of the Geometry games. I will share a couple others in the upcoming days for grammar as well. There is also tutorials and printable worksheets, all for free to use. The tutorials are kind of dry and boring, in my opinion, but unless you absolutely love math, is there any other way to describe it? Check it out, and use it as you see fit.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Borders Going Out Of Business Sale Begins

In case you didn't hear Borders is going out of business, and the sales have begun. Right now items are 40% off at all Borders stores nationwide. This sale does not include the Borders website, which I don't really understand, but oh well it is what it is. If you love to read. and love a good sale head over to your nearest Borders store.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bribing Children to Behave and Photography

I don't know if I have ever mentioned this before, but I hate clutter. I read books and then give them away, so I don't have to look at them. I throw away owners manuals, so they don't take up space in my drawers. I don't own very many DVD's and if renting video games wasn't so expensive I wouldn't have those lying around either. The digital camera that I currently own, and DJ uses as well for his photography classes, is a Fuji and I love it. I have had probably seven years or so. As you can imagine from what I just said, I threw the manual away and now I need it. Why? Because this school year, DJ is taking book two of the 4H photography lessons. The first chapter talks about aperture and how much light goes into the lens of the camera. Ugh, what? So I had to check to see if the camera was fancy enough to have these funny settings, but I couldn't figure out where to find them, even if they were there. So the other evening, while it was a cool 90 at eight in the evening, I took the camera out to play with it. I am not good at taking pictures of myself, matter of fact my pictures aren't good when someone else takes them either. I have no idea how my children got to be so photogenic but it definitely was not from me. As I played with the camera, I did find the setting to adjust the aperture. It does not go as high as really expensive cameras, but just by looking at myself why would I want it to? I look pasty enough with the setting it did go to, and I have a nice suntan, jeesh. So I figured out the first chapter, I am afraid to look at the second. Then DJ has to learn it. I probably should have just let him do it, he is much faster than me.

A blogging friend of mine had posted on her blog whether she could bribe her children not to fight over the summer. Just because my kids are homeschooled does not mean they don't fight, trust me they do. So I thought, hmm I wonder if that would work? So I tried it, and I am sad to say that yes it is working. They get a quarter for everyday they do not hit, provoke a fight, or scream at each other in hated rage, slam each others doors, and spew hateful words at each other. There have been days they lost their earnings, the urge to kill each other just couldn't be over come. There are not many days though. You would think I would be happy, but now I have to pay them at the end of summer, ugh! For my kids the urge to get money is bigger than the urge to kill each other.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Quick Writes by Pamela Marx

OK, so I decided what book I want to use for writing for DJ, for grade 6. I am sure we will not complete the book in one year, so it can be used up to 8th grade. Quick Writes is just what it sounds like, short and quick writing assignments that covers all types of writing. This is for Writing only, and does not cover Language Arts. I still have not decided which resource I am using for that.

I have decided for DJ, that Monday and Friday, will be writing days. Since he wants to write a short children's story next school year, I have decided that he will write it out on paper first, make revisions and changes, then post the final results to his blog. If the book has chapters, he has not actually decided this yet, it will be posted on several days. He has already decided on a theme, and the main character, he needs to add supporting characters now. On Monday he will be given a writing challenge from the Quick Writes book. He then will have as much time as he needs to complete it. Since I am always looking to improve my writing skills, I too will take the writing challenge on Mondays. If anyone else is interested in joining in let me know, it could be a lot of fun to see what everyone comes up with. Then on Fridays, he can write about a topic of his choice. Usually it is fish, or some type of animal. I did pick one bird that he has to write about, and that is the Pileated Woodpecker. I chose this bird, because he took pictures at the Springs of the damage that these particular woodpeckers do to the trees. I thought it would be a good topic to cover and a great learning experience. So let me know if you want to join in on the Monday writing challenges, and I will mark your blogs to be notified each week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Homeschool Calendar For 2011/2012 School Year

I had six children today, my two, and four friends. We had an awesome day, and everyone got along with no issues. Last night I finished our homeschool calendar for next school year. This is posted mostly for record keeping, but also so anyone else who wants a homeschool calendar can use it. I changed it a bit this year, without all the early release days, rather choosing to take a few more days around the holidays. Our playgroup will have a few changes next year as well. One of our longest friends is going to be placing her kids in charter schools so she can finish her graduate degree. This means they won't be able to come to playdates during the week, so we will have to adjust to all of that. It is a big adjustment period for them, so we have to be sure to be patient and supportive. I have been contemplating a lot how I want to work DJ's writing curriculum next year. He really enjoys the blogging, so I will still use that platform. I will share my thoughts about his writing tomorrow. Here is the calendar.

September 6, 2011: First day of school,
October 10: No school Columbus Day,
October 21: End of first grading period,
October 22: No school report cards,
November 11: No school Veteran's Day,
November 22-24: No school Thanksgiving break,
December 23: End of second grading period,
December 24- January 6 2012: No school Christmas break,
February 13: No school President's Day,
March 9: No school,
March 16: End of third grading period,
March 16-23: No school Spring Break,
April 9-13: No school Easter break,
May 26-29: No school Memorial Day break,
June 9, 2012: Last day of 2011/2012 school year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Puce In A Nail Polish

OK, on Friday I gave a question for everyone to contemplate. What is the color Puce? To me it looks like a mauve, pinkish color. Wikipedia defines puce as: color that is defined as ranging from reddish-brown to purplish-brown, with the latter being the more widely-accepted definition found in reputable sources. Puce is a shade of red. In French puce means flea, and fleas are a dark reddish brown color. I tried to find a video with more info, but had no luck. The picture came from Google images, and there were a wide variety of the color to choose from. I even found a nail polish called Puce. If you like this color you could wear it everyday. It is Monday, so I hope everyone has an awesome week.

Friday, July 15, 2011

What Is The Color Puce?

Here is a new weekend challenge. What is the color puce? I had no idea, but I do now. Do you know the answer to this question? Post answers in comments. Answer will be revealed on Monday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Feeling Behind

I feel like I am way behind with my lesson planning for next year. I suppose I am technically not, since I have two children to plan for. I had them last year, and the year before too, but their lessons get a little bit harder and time consuming each year. Caitlin's is still not too bad, and since I began homeschooling DJ in second grade, I have a lot of reference points I can use. DJ's is taking a lot of time. Mostly because I am one of those homeschoolers who does not use just one type of curriculum. I view, review, and then pick and choose which books or websites will be for each subject and topic. This is actually very time consuming.

I do have my appointment for our homeschool evaluation. It will be on August 4th, so now I have to complete our portfolios. Each child has to bring their portfolio, a book to read, their reading list and our daily log of stuff we do everyday. If anyone in the Gilchrist county area needs an evaluator, I now have three options you could choose from. One is a test evaluator, not the FCAT but a standardized test of your choosing. Her prices are very reasonable. Another is for cyber evals and her prices are very reasonable. I have never tried either of these choices, but I am leaning towards the standardized test at least for DJ next year. The other is my regular evaluator, I have used for the past three years. She is 50 dollars per child, and she is very thorough. If you are in need of a homeschool evaluator, you can email me at

Now I better go get some work done. Have a great day, everyone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Simple School Homeschool

I have had this website on my saved list for a long time, and always forget about it. I did just sign up for their free Ezine, where you get freebies, they have unit studies for a dollar, and a one year subscription is about $75 dollars. That is for all the K-12 unit studies, printables, and literature units. This is not per child, but covers however many children you have participating. There are other plans available that are less prices. This link takes you to their Unit Study list, and you can then navigate around the rest of the website. Note, I have not yet tried any of their unit studies, but please feel free to check it out.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Worst Snack Ever and Evaluation Update

The worst snack ever is the potato chip. With the exception of pretzels, and healthier snack versions of potato chips, the potato chip is the worst snack ever. Want to know why? According to the Dietitians that ran this study, it is because no one eats just one serving of potato chips. An average serving size of potato chips is 10-15 chips, with most people eating way more than that. Ice cream, though high in fat, does give you extra calcium and the serving size for ice cream is 1/2 of a cup, which is not a hard serving size to follow. So there you go that is the answer to the question I posted on Friday. I believe it to. Potato chips are eaten by the bags full every day. We put a limit on potato chips, but I will honestly say no one eats just 10 chips in this house.

As for the update on our yearly homeschool evaluations, I sent one more email to my previous evaluator, and she did get back to me. She isn't doing them until the end of August which is fine with me, and hopefully I will have an appointment by the end of this week.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How About A Fun Topic For The Weekend?

I thought I would post something kind of fun for the weekend to ponder. Here is the question. What snack type food is the absolute unhealthiest to eat? Your choices are cake, candy, popcorn, potato chips, ice cream, donuts or other pastry type snacks, and cookies. Don't look any of them up, just think about which one you think is the worst. I will post the answer on Monday. If I get no comments, you will all have to wonder what the answer is. Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

2010/2011 School Year Report Card

I don't know why Caitlin's won't scan but it is really irritating me. I am not technically inclined and would rather just choke the scanner. At any rate, the report cards are for evaluation purposes, and record keeping. I am still having an issue with the evaluation, but for now I am just going to proceed as I normally would, preparing for the evaluation. If you are interested in reading the report card just click the image and it will enlarge. I am proud of both of my children, and myself too honestly, another awesome school year.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How To Homeschool A Child

Every now and then I like to post these informational videos. They are meant to help you in beginning homeschooling and the process to help you along. Each state has their own laws, so these are for helpful reasons only.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cars 2, Wrestlemania Birthday Cake

Well the holiday weekend, and birthday weekend is winding down. The guys have had a nice weekend. Last night we swam in the dark with the tiki torches on, the kids love this, and some of the neighbors were putting off fireworks. I am sure there will be more tonight. Yesterday DJ had a small birthday party with just family that is here. He wanted a Wrestlemania cake, so that is what I made. This was my first time using a edible cake design. It is not the easiest thing to put on, but as for flavor it just tastes like sugar. I was disappointed with the sides of the cake. The red and blue were supposed to be fancy swirls. They started out as fancy swirls but as you can see they didn't end up that way by the time we ate it. Come to find out the gel tube frosting melts. Next time I will just make my own colored frosting. Not as easy but the results will be better. DJ didn't mind either way, so it was all cool. The guys went shopping after, with the birthday money.

Today we are going to see Cars 2. There are so many good movies out that it was difficult to pick one that all four of us could agree on. The first one was good so I am hoping this one is too. Caitlin could really care less about the movies, she just likes the soda and popcorn. Later the kids are having their neighbor friends over for swimming, and play fun. Then later we will again venture out with the bugs to watch the neighbors put on their fireworks show.

On a homeschool note, I finally finished the kids report cards and they will be posted later this week. My evaluator, who has done our homeschool evals the last three years, seems to have disappeared somehow. I have emailed her several times, and she usually has sent out an email asking for her people to make an appt. Then I considered a cyber eval, which I still would like to try, but the lady that does them does not keep in good communication with me, so I am leary of that. So come to find out one of our 4H leaders does homeschool evals, and I will be contacting her tomorrow to learn more about her teacher certification. I will keep everyone posted.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fireworks At Horseshoe Beach

I am not a spur of the moment person. I am a planner and an organizer. DJ and Craig both have a birthday on July 4, and 5th, so much of the weekend is spent celebrating. Since we don't have a ton of extra money very often, and with two dogs and a rabbit you can't really venture far from home for trips. So we spread the fun out over the holiday weekend.

Last night, out of the blue, I said lets go to Horseshoe Beach to check our their fireworks. We had never been to Horseshoe Beach, though we have been to Shired Island which is basically twenty minutes from there. Horseshoe Beach is a small fishing village on the Gulf of Mexico, about an hour from us. So we ventured out thinking there would be a public beach to sit and wait for the fireworks. No public beach, and the vending area wasn't really all that great either. But it is a nice little town, with friendly people, and we did get to stand right by the water to see the fireworks. Man they put on a nice long show too. People were leaving early it was so long, LOL! Since I am still learning to use the camera at night, I only got two pictures that even resemble looking like fireworks.

We went to get ice cream at one point and look around a bit. When we got back to the waters edge, you could see a storm was coming in rather quickly. It got real dark, windy, and even some lightning. It didn't rain though, and once the lightning passed the show began. We did notice there are a lot of beach front properties, and others as well, that are for sale. It is a remote little town, so if you ever wanted to live on the water you should check out Horseshoe Beach. As you can see from the pictures DJ and I still experiment with the settings, and angles to use on the camera for the best shots. All in all it was a good spur of the moment decision, thank goodness. Now I am baking and preparing birthday cakes.

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