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Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Crazy Christmas

We are officially on Christmas break, until January 5th.  Yes, that is a nice long extended break.  But, the public schools are out that long, this year, so I told the kids as long as they do one hour of math with me, each weekday, we would take that much time off too.  So far, so good, except for Christmas Eve and day, we didn't do it those days.

It has been a crazy Christmas season for us.  With 4H, youth band, Caitlin in the pee wee chorus that also did a Christmas play.  Wow, I am ready for a vacation now.  I am still trying to upload the video to Facebook.

Some of you may know that I am a learning painter, love photography, crocheting, and making jewelry.  I am having a BOGO sale, until January 1st.  So, if you got a little money for Christmas, or were lucky enough to get an Etsy gift card, head over to my Etsy store, or my Society6 store.  Society6 is where I upload my photography, and art items, and then they are turned into beautiful gifts.  If you have never checked out Society6, be sure to do so.  They offer gift cards as well.  Also, if you want a certain kind of painting, to go on a cell phone case, or other item, contact me and I will see what I can do for you.

With all that, we have managed to stay on track, and not get behind.  DJ has finished up his FLVS Driving course, and will be ready to take his test for his permit.  He also finished Digital Design part 1, a couple weeks early, and will begin part two when we return to school.  He also finished his first novel, and has three more in mind.  Imagine that three!

I hope all my readers had a wonderful Christmas, too!  I will try to be more active in blogging, in the new year. 

Friday, November 27, 2015

End of First Quarter Report Cards and Changes

We have finished our first quarter of school.  Man, that went by fast.  No major changes, just a little bit, and only because we need to move on.  Caitlin is studying some Earth Science, and Geography.  The Geography is part of her going west curriculum.  She has been watching supplemental videos for Geography, and I am ready to move her on to some more substantial lessons for this topic.  Also, for Science she has been doing videos and reading, but it is time to move on.  She will be using, the Glencoe website for both Geography topics, and Earth Science.  I also have a lab book for Earth Science, that I think both kids will do together will see time wise.  Her writing has improved immensely, but she is still not where I think she should be.  She has a B+ in Math, so that is awesome.  Though technically she would be considered behind, because we are using Common Core standards, she really is right where I want her to be.  A few things we decided to last, but she is moving fast enough to be able to go on to the next grade hopefully by the end of the second quarter.  I am over all very, very pleased with her progress.  She also has been singing with the little youth choir at church, and of course continues with 4H. 

DJ, will have no changes, as he is doing quite well both in progress, and management of his day.  I am quite impressed with his maturity this year in handling everything on his plate.  He finished up Digital Design 1, early, so won't have to start Digital Design 2, until after Christmas.  Marine Ecology has ended until January, and Driving will be over soon.  So, his schedule is a bit lighter than it was at the start of the school  year.  He has a 100 in Biology so far, definitely his thing, lol.  I have not graded his Math, yet, but I am very proud that he has been working his way through it, using various resources to find the help he needs.  That is awesome!  He continues with biweekly guitar lessons with 4H, playing in youth praise band at church, and he volunteers every two weeks with Camp Kerusso, which has been a wonderful experience so far for him. 

We start back to lessons Monday, after a short and much needed break.  Plus, Dad is off these days, and he is disruptive to school, lol. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Some Thanksgiving Art, Wood Burned Gifts, and End of First Quarter of Homeschool Year

I just realized I had not posted on this blog in a few weeks, good grief. Today, was the last day of our first grading period. I will be working on report cards over the next few days, and evaluating if we are where we need to be.

Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away, and the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special is on ABC tonight, at 8 PM. That means it is time to start thinking of Christmas specials, something my children and I enjoy immensely. Even at 15, and 11, this is a tradition they still love to do. This year, we are actually having no company for Thanksgiving, a first I think. Normally, we also decorate the tree Thanksgiving night, however this year, we are starting something new. We are taking the kids to the movies on Thanksgiving eve. I might regret it, lol, but we are going to give it a whirl. I am not sure when the tree will get decorated, maybe on Black Friday, a day I refuse to ever leave the house. I will be doing some shopping this week.

Speaking of shopping, some of my readers know I have an Etsy store, where I sell jewelry, crochet items, and art. I am having a BOGO sale, buy one get one free, that goes all the way through January the 1st. Click here to visit my shop, and I offer layaway too. The first three items below are made by me, and the last two wood burned pieces are my son's. He made them for two friends who turned 16 the last couple of weeks. Him, and I both love wood burning.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

State of Florida Marine Ecology Event and Competition

Yesterday, we took a trip to Kissimmee, for our first time at the Florida Marine Ecology Event. We are in Gilchrist County, and I believe this is the third year our county has attended. It was our first year on the team. Since DJ, always, and still says he is going to be a Marine Biologist, this was perfect for him. Our team won 3 photography awards, but none of the other awards. However, I got a ton of information, and what a wonderful learning experience. It was a very long day, because the event is almost 3 hours away from where we live. But, so worth it. After the kids had finished the contest, we went to lunch, and then you could come back and see the specimens with the answers. You could take pictures of the ones you got wrong, to study for next year. These are a few of the ones DJ missed. He figures he missed about 8 all together, out of he thinks 75 specimens. We won't know for sure until they return the answer sheets to the leaders. Even with that few missed, there were those who got less incorrect. These kids are serious, lol. We look forward to doing this again next year. Below are some links I want to save for future reference. Please feel free to browse through them, and use as you wish. If you live in Gilchrist County, and would love to join the Marine Ecology team, you can message me and I will hook you up with the leader.


Sunday, November 1, 2015

Halloween Fun!

This is the first year that neither of my kids were young enough to Trick or Treat. Yes, that is a rule of mine, and most people don't agree, but hey I am not one to care much. So, this year we planned on handing out candy to all the little munchkins. We had a ball getting ready, carving and painting pumpkins, messing with props, and just having fun.

It was an interesting evening. It was quite warm, and the mosquitoes came out right after dark. They were biting like crazy. I couldn't find any bug spray, but I had read the mouthwash works. So, in the house I went to apply mouthwash. I took some out for the kids, and as I was applying it to DJ, a huge frog, ok huge to me, jumped off the roof onto my chest, and partially on my face. Needless to say we all had a good laugh, and the mouthwash ended up in my hair, and the frog, well he got a free ride to the other side of the yard. There were lots of little cuties, but I do know that I do not need as much candy as I bought. Will keep that in mind for next year. How was your Halloween? Got any funny stories? Share them here.

Caitlin, and I have a few projects for her History class, that hopefully we will be getting to soon. She is studying the fur trade right now, and needs to make a journal from the Lewis and Clark chapter. This week for Science, she will be starting some country research, and then closer to Thanksgiving, a Christmas Around the World series. She is writing at least three days a week, so some of these lessons could end up on her blog. She is currently doing letter topics, for writing. We are enjoying, The Yearling. Our first quarter ends the week of Thanksgiving, so I still have time before I have to stress about catching up on grading, lol.

DJ continues with all his studies, and is progressing quite nicely. Guitar, Marine Ecology, and Youth Band are going awesome, plus our regular 4H group. He volunteered twice this month at Camp Kerusso, and that has been such a blessing for him, and them.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

US History the West (Horses)

We finally got our art project done. We still have to make a soup, decorate pumpkins, and DJ has to do his first Biology lab. Last week was a crazy week, with outside activities. So, not much traditional school work got done, but still lots of learning.

Caitlin is studying the West this year. One of the fun activities in her book, the book can be found in an older post, and it is a good one, was to learn about the history of the horse in the west, and an art project. She did a blog post on the history of the horse, the Piebald. Her painting is the first one, and is a Piebald horse. She drew it first, then painted it. I think she did an amazing job. She actually can now use this painting to enter into the 4H fair.

Mine is an abstract, rather than the traditional horse type painting. I wanted something for Fall. I am really pleased how it came out, and will be available to purchase in my Etsy store.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Ginny Springs, Honeymoon Island and Family Fun

We have been on a short break, because my FIL came to visit from NY. It was still quite hot, when he got here, so we went to Ginny Springs, the first picture, and Honeymoon Island, the second picture. He loves nature, and water.

This was our first time to Ginny Springs, and it was beautiful, and no one there. There are 7 springs actually on the park property, four of which were flooded. This is a private park, so it is more expensive than the state parks.

This was our second trip to Honeymoon Island, but my FIL's first. He loves the ocean. We visited a different part of the park this time, and it was spectacular. He said this was his favorite of all the beaches we have taken him to. Today, we will only get to spend a little bit of time with him before he has to leave for the airport. Tomorrow we will be back to our regular school schedule, and it is cooler so morning walks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

First Two Biology Labs

I decided to start a Biology course as well, to take the CLEP, along with the Algebra.  I already got through part 1, and took the test.  DJ, for High School, and myself for nursing prereqs require a lab for Biology.  Since I am doing it online, and taking the CLEP, and DJ is taking it online, I am following the labs that go with my course.  The first two labs are to draw and label a microscope, and to draw and label basic equipment found in a lab.  So, we will get to those, and share them here when done.  I am hoping doing it this way will be acceptable, but lets face it I may have to take a lab class, at an actual college.  

We are sort of on a short vacation, because we have family coming to visit from out of state.  DJ will continue to work on his two FLVS classes, though. 

Here are links to draw the microscope, and the basic lab equipment.

Friday, September 25, 2015

College Prep Algebra 1 and A to Z Writing Prompts for 6th Grade

I am not sure if I shared this before, but 2015 has been an interesting, and challenging year.  When I resigned my LPN position in Dec of 2014, my husband and I decided I should go back to school and finish up my RN that I actually started over 15 years ago.  This has been easier said than done, for a lot of reasons.  After much research, praying, and thinking, I have decided that I will start with my pre reqs.  Because, even though I have been an LPN for 30 years, you still either have to take the classes for the credits, or challenge the exam.  This applies even for bridge, or speedy RN classes.  Most people take the test, and get the credits.  So, I am starting with college level Algebra 1.  I know I am crazy, but it is most applicable to the class my son needs the most help with, and the most challenging test probably for me.  I was going to do the English's first, but decided for the Math classes.  I can not take a test for all pre reqs but almost all of them.  Then as I get closer, I can enroll and hopefully get accepted into the nursing program.  Anyway there are several websites, that I will be using to basically take the course for free, then take the paid exam for the credits.  There are paid courses, but why would I want to do that?  I am using Saylor for Algebra 1, and I hope to have it finished, and ready for the test in 30 days.  I know that is ambitious, but some of this stuff I actually know already. 

For my 6th grader, I am working very hard with her this year on her writing and grammar skills.  She is getting frequent writing assignments, almost daily, this year.  So far, they have been fairly short and without too much difficulty.  Since, I want her to learn research too, I will starting a new endeavor for her.  I will give her a letter, in order, from A-Z per week.  She can pick a topic that starts with that letter, that interests her.  She will have one school week, to research, do a rough draft, edit, and then publish to her blog.  I will only be giving her basic help, and tips esp in the editing dept.  All three of us are using a free app called Notebooks, on our devices, to save on paper to take notes, write, and edit our information.  This is a nice way for them to learn to take notes, and use their devices effectively.  Plus, it never seems I can find a pen in this house, lol. 

So, that is what we have been up to.  We have family coming to visit from out of state, next week, so we won't be getting a lot of school work done.  DJ will have to keep up with his FLVS, but neither of those are horribly time consuming. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Disappointed in Science Curriculum

It just is not what I thought it was, a full year curriculum, that was being offered to free to the first certain number of people who signed up.  Guess what, it was three lessons for free, and I advertised a lot for this curriculum.  Oh well, live and learn, should have asked more questions, should have investigated more.  Bleh!

So, instead Caitlin and I will be doing Geography and Geology for 6th grade Science.  She needs to work on map skills, and Geography in general, and we all love rocks in this house.  So, this will work out just fine.  Here are some of the links to websites we will be using.  We actually have a rock tumbler, and some rough.  So, as soon as I remember to buy some grit we can polish some gemstones.

I also have a world History book, but I will be using it for the awesome world maps in this book.  I love maps, especially old maps.  I think we will do some map crafts, and sell some in my Etsy store.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Supplemental Work or Homework Help for 3rd Grade

This is a post by request, for a friend of mine.  These should all be free, and either printable or online.  They have limited internet due to where they live, so if that is your situation as well, you might like some of these.  I will not share any apps, or purchased items for this post. 




Arts and Crafts/Hands On  for Math/Reading:

Monday, September 14, 2015

We Survived the First Week but More Hands On Means Less Time for Other Stuff

We made it through the first week, and it went really well.  DJ has taken to his two FLVS classes, without difficulty.  Though he did say the Digital Design is kind of hard.  I reminded him that, that subject is all new to him and can not expect to learn it over night.  Caitlin has settled in more for her second week, not so much drama.  Her, and I, are doing a lot of hands on together work, this year.  I feel like she kind of got neglected last year, and am giving her extra teacher attention this year.  We are currently reading, The Yearling, together.  Some homeschoolers love this book, others hate it.  We are on chapter 4, and I love it.  At first she said it was boring, but now she is getting into it.  Because, the book takes place in rural Florida, we get a kick out of some of the language, and descriptions of where they live.  We discuss vocabulary words, and what is happening as we go along.  I think this will really benefit her, and me a lot.  Plus, sometime this year we can visit the Marjorie Keenan Rollins museum, which will be fun.  I don't know if I spelled her name right, too tired to look it up.

I will be doing a post later this week, that will be all supplemental work for a 3rd grader.  A friend of mine asked me to help her find some resources, so I thought I would share it here for all my readers too.  There is tons of info on this blog, but if you don't have to search for it, that is nice too. 

We did get to walk today, using our Charity Miles, apps, so that was nice.  It rained all last week, but one day. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

First Day of Homeschool for 6th and 10th Grade

We survived the first day of 6th and 10th grade. Minus some 6th grade Math drama, the day went very smooth. My 6th grader, and I, are doing a lot of hands on learning this year. I am hoping it will help her memory for remember facts and such. This greatly limits my time for other things including, house work, yard work, and crafting. Three things I love, but there will be plenty of time for that later in the year. Note, I do not love house work, lol, but I do love a clean house. Of course we took first day of school pictures. My kids hate these, now that they are older. The first image is of a very small lizard attempting to eat a rather large moth. He actually froze in place for us to take his picture. The Passion Vine, I did not plant, has produced tons of Zebra Longwing and Gulf Fritillary caterpillars. We have witnessed the hatching of three chyrsallis' and that is always fun. The last school year was full of drama, stumbling blocks, and family emergencies. Here is to a more stable school year. We do have family coming to visit, the first week of October, so we will be on an early break for a few days. Tomorrow we start up our daily walking, and Charity Miles app. My new phone should be here soon, so my 15 yr old can finally replace the phone he drowned, and leave mine alone. Happy homeschooling! I will try to keep up with this blog, at least a few times a week. Lots of goodies, and ideas we are trying out this year. We get to be your free guinea pig, lol.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hart Springs and Westard Ho

We have been to Hart Springs a few times. But, every time we go it is flooded so we can't swim in the springs. It is still a beautiful park with stuff to keep you busy, but swimming is the main thing to do. Yesterday, we headed out with some homeschool friends, and the water was a little high, but the springs were beautiful anyway. Just some slippery walls when getting out, because the algae grows when the water is above the wall. But other than that minor inconvenience, everyone had a ball. It rained before we got there, and right when it was time to go, so that was perfect. We will definitely visit there again, soon.

The other day, when reviewing curriculum for this year, which starts in less than a week. I discovered Caitlin really does not want to do the Middle Ages, and was looking forward to learning about the West. Grr, good thing I am flexible. Anyway, I was over looking some of the websites I saved, and they are OK, but not great. So, I got on my trusty Kindle to see what books I could find. One of them was Westward Ho. I started reading this book, 2 nights ago, and it is awesome! The activities that come with the stories are wonderful, and fairly easy. We will have a lot of fun with this book. It is available for free if you have Kindle Unlimited. You can see it here.

I think we are pretty much set for the new year. DJ is waiting for seats in his 2 virtual school classes. That is not unusual. He starts Marine Ecology group, today, and Guitar Club next week. Busy, busy, busy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Homeschool Evals, the PSAT, and 4H Annual Award Dinner

It has been a busy two weeks.  Today, we did our homeschool evals, and now I can take a deep breath and relax.  Well for about 2 1/2 weeks that is, lol.  Both kids did very well.  No issues, though there are still things I want, and feel they need to improve on.  With two kids getting evaluated, it is a very long day.

DJ took the PSAT, just a week or so ago.  He did quite well for his first time.  He got 1276 for a total score.  Strong in reading and writing, needs improvement on math.  We knew that, lol.  He did fair for math, but needs to bring it up a few points.  He will take the PSAT one more time, probably in January, and then the SAT at the end of 10th grade.  This gives ample time to learn where weaknesses are, plus most colleges take the highest score you get.  So, if you wait until the end of your senior year and bomb the test, then you are in a tight spot.  Both SAT and ACT offer free questions of the day, and we will continue doing them each day, as well. 

Last night was our annual 4H award dinner.  Both kids got their 5 yr pins, and Caitlin got 4Her of the  year, for her age group.  DJ got it last year.  We found out a lot of things at this meeting.  The Guitar Club will continue, this is very good news, and a new bow and arrow shooting group will be starting.  That too is very good news.  Caitlin will be starting Gymnastics in October, so my calendar just got really full all of a sudden.  That doesn't count our regular 4H meeting each month, and weekly teen praise band practice at church.  Now, I need a nap before all the craziness starts up again.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Two Cool Websites for Science and Geography

I had never heard of either of these websites until today.  Both of them I found on a homeschool group, on Facebook, that I belong to.

The first one Mystery Science is an awesome Science website.  Normally their curriculum is $99 per year.  But, they are giving away a free year of their curriculum to the first 10,000 respondents.  I got mine, but I was like 9,047 so there are not many left.  Click here, to see if you can get one too.  As far as I can tell there is no catch, and it is completely legitimate. 

The second website, Lizard Point, I know weird name, actually offers more than Geography just click the home button.  But, I want to use it for Geography.  Tomorrow we will be trying it out, for  our Geography lesson.  We are doing China tomorrow, and Netflix has some really cool documentaries on China.  So, China may end up being more than one day so we can watch the whole season.  We will also attempt some Chinese food tomorrow, for dinner.  It never seems to taste as good at home, but we will give it a whirl.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fun With Geography: France and Chicken Kiev

Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of food, again.  I guess taking pics of food is not appealing to me, lol.  Today, we learned about France.  Plus, we reviewed Italy, from last week.  I added in the continents to review, and basic map directions.  We use a globe to find each country, the countries that border the country, and their position in relation to other countries.  We get a kick out of trying to speak a little bit of the language, and always discuss the nation's flag.  Last, but not least, we discuss food.  Last week we made pizza, of course.  This week, after viewing some French dishes, and since I said no the desserts, they decided on Chicken Kiev.  It was actually quite easy to make, and my oh my so delicious.  I made pasta, and a white sauce to go with it.  My kids love just pasta with butter, and salt, but my husband likes sauce.  My white sauce always has some red wine vinegar, and lemon in it.  YUM!  What fun things do you do to learn Geography?  Please feel free to share in the comments.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Change to 6th Grade History and Tests

While looking for construction paper, that I was certain was in the garage, I came across The Story of the World Medieval Times.  Now, Caitlin was going to do the Wild West, this coming up year for History.  But, now, I have changed my mind, and she agreed that Medieval Times sounded pretty interesting.  I mean who doesn't love castles, princesses, and dragons. 

I have started the very daunting task of putting our homeschool portfolios together.  Our evaluation is next month.  I am kind of picky, and meticulous, so it takes me a while.  Plus, it gives me lots of time to continue to evaluate and see where we need improvement.  I say we, because I need to constantly adapt, and improve as well as the children. 

I also changed the tests that I am going to give them, before our evaluations.  Caitlin is not super confident in computer testing, as indicated by her ck12 lessons that I went through with a fine tooth comb today.  So, she will be getting a printed paper test.  DJ will be doing a practice online SAT test.  We have been doing the question of the day, for sometime, and I think he is ready to give it a try.  It is free, so it can only be a great learning tool.

I want both of these tests done before our evaluations.  DJ will be doing his next week, and I will order Caitlin's probably next Friday.  We were supposed to go to the springs today, but unfortunately the weather, and both kids caught a cold, so we were unable to go. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Some Fun With Italy Geography and A Cool Dog Whistle App

Today, we started our fun Geography series, by starting with Italy. We love Italian food, and eat it at least three or more days a week. We already had stuffed shells this week, and today we made a boot shaped pizza. Unfortunately I didn't take pictures, sorry. It was cute, and tasty. Then we looked up some websites about Italy for kids, discussed their flag, and the meaning of their flag. I started with Italy, because Caitlin has been reading about Rome in her Language Arts books. I think next week we will move on to Germany. As part of this exercise, they find the country on a map, or globe, and discuss countries and bodies of water around it. This is a fun way to learn Geography, and hopefully one they will remember. My son loves music, so I saved some Italian dinner music for him to listen to, as well.

DJ got a little job this week. He has to feed a cat, twice a day, for a week. He has to get himself there, on his bike, and back. Sometimes, in his travels there are big dogs that he encounters. We found this nice free app, to put on the phone. If he should encounter an aggressive dog, hopefully the dog whistle will keep it away. He has not had to use it, thank goodness. Since we walk, and bike a lot, during the school year, it will come in very handy having it. It is free, too!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Passion Vine Update Portfolios and Blue Springs

When I was taking the Zebra Longwing photos, for the previous post, I saw this Gulf Fritallary floating around the Passion Vine too. What I didn't realize, until I saw the caterpillars was that the Gulf Fritallary also uses the Passion Vine as a host plant. How exciting, though I am still not thrilled that I was sold Passion Vine, and told it was Bleeding Hearts, but oh well.

I have started working on our portfolios. DJ will actually have two, one his yearly evaluation portfolio, and the other his high school transcript. If I keep up with it, it will be much easier. Lucky for me, I keep a good daily journal, and this blog helps a lot for record keeping.

Friday, we went to Blue Springs, in High Springs, with some home school friends. This is one of my most favorite springs. There has been chatter that the state will be buying it. I hope that is true. Right now it is too expensive to visit there more than once or twice a year. Making it a state park, would make it my new home, lol. As always we had a very good time. I only got the one pic, because well I forgot to take any others. I did not see hardly any turtles this year, which is weird, kids said they saw a few, I didn't see any. The springs were low, however.

Be sure and visit my craft blog Melissas Jewelry and Gems, and check out my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Science In Your Own Backyard Zebra Longwing Butterflies

I have been saying for year, especially for elementary aged children, you don't need a fancy curriculum to teach Science. You just need a yard, observation, camera, and a way to do some research. I have posted before about our Milkweed and the Monarchs that have laid eggs, hatched, fed, then morphed into Monarchs. Two years ago, I bought what I thought was Bleeding Hearts. I planted them, and they did nothing. Last Fall I decided to move them, thinking they were getting too much of something, and not enough of something else. I placed them in different spots. Early this Spring I noticed them starting to grow, but the leaves didn't quite look right. Then, I started to notice that the Zebra Longwing butterflies really liked this stuff. So, I looked up Passion Vine, and sure enough I was not sold Bleeding Hearts, but Passion Vine instead. The flowers are just starting to bud, and we noticed Zebra Longwing caterpillars on the vines, two days ago. Now, if we pay attention we will find a chrysallis, and hopefully get to see them hatch into a beautiful butterfly.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Last Day of Our Regular Homeschool Year

Today, was the last day of our regular homeschool year.  Sniff, sniff, I can't believe it is over.  This whole month, has been basically half time, and tightening up things that needed completing.  DJ has now moved into Math review mode, as Caitlin will also continue Math over the summer months.  Caitlin's is more of catch up, than review.  Catch up to where I want her to be.  After my Mom was in a awful car accident this year, it made me realize how much I had to pay closer attention to Common Core, and if I ever had to be forced to put my kids in public school.  While we still will go at a relaxed pace for Math, it can't be as relaxed as they like. 

DJ has just a few chapters of Marine Biology to finish, and some labs which are always fun.  Caitlin will also continue to work on her Grammar and Writing over the summer. 

Now, I have the daunting task of putting together their portfolios.  We don't do our evaluations until August, so I have plenty of time. 

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Final Writing Tests Determined

As we finish up the year, some subjects I do my own test format.  Both kids will be doing the California standardized test this year.  I just haven't picked when, but it will be sometime in July.  For the end of year writing test, I have picked the topic for both kids.  DJ, end of 9th grade, is finishing up Marine Biology.  It is his life goal to be a Marine Biologist someday.  So, his final writing exam will be to explain what Marine Biology is, and why he has chosen that as a career path.

Caitlin, end of 5th grade, has accomplished a lot in her writing this year.  She, and I will continue to work on her writing over the Summer.  Her final writing exam will be to write a tutorial on proper care of a rabbit.  She has had a pet rabbit for many years now.  She will do a rough draft, then fixes, then write her final paper. 

Both kids will post to their blogs.  I still have to determine a test for Japanese 1, and Music. 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Division Made Easy

It is just about Summer Vacation, here at Melissa's Homeschool. The kids are still doing lessons, but Caitlin has mostly half days, and DJ has finished up a lot of his lessons as well. So, we are in a more relaxed mode until the end of June. So, that means I get to share stuff I find, and others might find interesting. If I have actually used the items I share, I will let you know. Sometimes I just find things interesting, and this is a convenient and easy way to save them for further use. When does your Summer Vacation start? Our local public schools are already done. The kids hate that, lol.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Wrapping Up the Regular School Year

We are in the last weeks of our regular school year.  Most days are half, or three hour days, and some subjects have been completed.  I will start thinking about putting together our portfolios, and gathering the tests I want them to take this year.  I do not normally do end of year tests, but I really want to see where they are at this year.  With my son going into grade 10, and my daughter into grade 6,  I need to see how they will test.  This will be for my info only, and if I choose to share it with my evaluator I can, but don't have to. 

DJ has finished Japanese 1 for the year, and Nutrition which was an elective.  I will be looking, or creating final exams for those.  He will not do a foreign language next year, but would really like Rosetta Stone Japanese for 11th grade.  He will continue Algebra 1, and American History over the Summer.  He will also finish up Marine Biology, which is almost complete, might go a couple of weeks over. 

Caitlin has finished almost all her required courses, and we are concentrating on Math, Writing and Grammar.  She will continue to work on those over the Summer.

Our Summer schedule is light.  They get to sleep in, and do school for 1-2 hours a few days a week.  Nothing major, and they get plenty of time for fun, and relaxation.  I also always encourage them to find books they love to read. 

I am ready to be done, lol.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

We are Loving Grammar Island

I mentioned in a previous post that a homeschool friend of ours was letting us borrow, Grammar Island, by Michael Clay Thompson. I have to tell you, I love it, and my daughter begrudgingly likes it. My 10th grader, was listening to us do it one day, when he said that may be the cutest and dumbest thing all rolled in one. LOL! It is a little silly, which is why my daughter likes it. To make it even more fun, instead of writing out the sentence work, we are using her brand new chalkboard door that we painted for her birthday. It is nice for those dreaded multiplication tables too. Why did I not think of chalkboard paint before? Anyway, we are only on the first level, and we will work on it all Summer, then purchase the next level for next year. We are moving through it pretty quickly as some of it is review, really. This is a curriculum you really should be willing to do with your child. I read the assignment to her, and then I have her read it back to me, and we discuss. Nice set, well worth the look.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Camp Kulaqua Water Park in High Springs

I had heard of Camp Kulaqua before, but had never been there. My husband, and son, went many years ago on one of their family weekend events. Camp Kalaqua is a Christian camp and event center. Most of their calendar is filled very quickly with reservations for groups. There are a few weekends a year they open up the water park for families. This is nice, because if your family is only four members, and not ten or more, you can go and enjoy the water park and other activities. We went with the Gainesville Homeschool Group, on Monday. It is a little water park, but it was peaceful, quiet, and easy to keep track of your kids because of the size. There is a wave pool, lazy river, and a water slide. It doesn't sound like much, but it kept all the kids busy. Plus, they let you bring in your own food and drinks, offer the tubes at no extra cost, and chairs and pavilions are also at no extra cost. They had plenty of lifeguards on duty, and they were very attentive. I would definitely go again.

Just a quick note. I have a disclaimer somewhere on this blog about affiliates, and such. When I do a review of somewhere we have been, or a product I have purchased, it is my review. I was not paid or in any way persuaded to do it. If I do get offered a payment, or product to test, I always say that very clearly. The Amazon products I share, are an affiliate program.  I make little to no money from it, but it does help in search engines. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Few Changes to Language Arts Curriculum for 10th grade and 6th Grade

While at a birthday party, for a homeschool friend, yesterday the mom and I got discussing homeschool curriculum, of course.  She buys from the Critical Thinking Company, for Language Arts, and has been very pleased with the results.  Since Language Arts is on of the more boring class to teach, I am always looking for something more interesting.  So, I went to their website last night, and decided to save a few of their products, to purchase when I am ready.  Oh, by the way, I am considering getting the Algebra 1 book from The Critical Thinking Co, as well.  I was checking it out, and it looks amazing, especially for the way they want the kids to learn the Math now.

For Writing, I have saved:

Those are all for my High School child, though word roots I may use with my 6th grader as well.  The earlier I start, the better.

For my 6th grader, my friend is letting us try a curriculum her girls did not care for, but that I think mine will love.  It is from Micheal Clay Thompson, and we are starting right off with level one.  If she likes it, I most definitely use it again.  Language Arts is her biggest complaint, and hardest subject to teach her.  I am hoping this will be a good fit for her.

Tomorrow we are off to a fun day at the water park.  I feel like we have not accomplished a ton the last week.  We were at the springs twice, and now the water park.  However, this time of year with lots of birthdays, and end of year fun stuff it is hard to say no.   We aren't behind, I just like to drive myself crazy, lol. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

6th Grade Homeschool ELA Language Arts Curriculum Lesson Choices

I finally decided what I will be using for my 6th grader, next year, for ELA Language Arts.  There are actually a few websites I will be using.  I really like the K12 that follows the Common Core Standards.  I know, I can't believe I just said that either.  I just like the set up and the quality of the worksheets provided.  So, we will be using it.  She will continue to read books I choose, and some she chooses, with book reports for each.[]=303

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Are You Tired of School Yet? I Am! Visit Honeymoon Island State Park

I hope my kids don't read this, but I am tired of school now, lol. We have six weeks left, and have finished up some of our lessons. But, not all of them, so we go on. I always get tired of school, this time of year. I would much rather be by the pool, which isn't even open yet, grr, or at the beach. Normally we go to one of the local springs, or St Augustine to visit the Atlantic Ocean. But, I wanted to go somewhere different. So, we headed south to Honeymoon Island State Park, a very busy state park I might add. On the Gulf side of Florida, the water is much calmer, so it is more clear, and safer if you ask me. DJ had a ball using his goggles to see all the things under the water. Thank goodness he didn't see a shark. Caitlin enjoyed playing in the water without the waves knocking her over, or pulling down her bathing suit. I too felt more comfortable on the Gulf side, and it was a beautiful day. We will definitely visit Honeymoon Island again. Until then, we will finish up school

Thursday, May 7, 2015

6th Grade Science Curriculum Finally Decided

So, I finally decided what I will be doing for my 6th grader next year, for Science.  I have previously posted Social Studies.  I will be using Ambleside Online, which is a Charlotte Mason inspired type of learning.  I love this for homeschool Science, especially in the younger grades.  I also have collected a whole bunch of Science unit studies, over the years, both printable and hard copy.  I will be using those as well.  Some of them she has started this year, because she finished up her Rainforest curriculum.  I also have two Science textbooks, that I don't completely like, but I can pick and choose from them what I want her to do.  She does experiments, now, with her older brother.  At least ones that are appropriate for her age.  I will layout the other subjects, and my choices, when I make a final decision.  I think the only one left, that is final is Math which will be Life of Fred, and ck12 elementary math.  That really only leaves Language Arts.  I also would really like to her to pick up on an Art that she loves.  She draws quite well, but has slowed down interest due to not wanting to draw things she doesn't want to draw.  So, I might just try and find a curriculum that just lets her draw what she is interested in drawing.  My son has taken to music quite nicely, but my daughter shows no real interest.  She loves to do nails, and interior design type stuff.  Maybe I can somehow foster that love.  She is only 10, lol.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

The Wild Wild West 6th Grade Homeschool History

Science, and History were the two subjects that I still had to decide for my daughter, who will be in 6th grade next year. So, I finally decided on the West. The Wild West, history of how the western states came to exist, and Geography of that area. Below you will find the resources I found so far, for this class. I am sure Little House on the Prairie would work too, but she hates it and doesn't want anything to do with it. Netflix has a streaming series called the West, which is a PBS show. We will be watching that. Now, I still have to decide for Science. I do have an older book I might just go ahead and use, not sure.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A Fun, Free and Easy Way to Give to Charity: Charity Miles

I found out about Charity Miles, quite by accident.  I had downloaded and app called Hip2Save, because you know I love to be hip.  While browsing through the specials, deals and such I came across Charity Miles.  I was curious so I downloaded it from the Amazon app store, to my Android phone, only to discover it had to be downloaded from Google Play to work properly.  So, I uninstalled it, and then reinstalled it.  As I was reading about what to do, I realized I could rack up miles just doing stuff around the house, like mowing, or weed whacking.  So, on Sat I tried it while I mowed.  Wrong answer, lol I was not logged in.  So, today I had my son download it on his phone, and we all went out for a walk. You can walk, run, or ride a bike for Charity Miles.  Kazaam it worked~!  We both racked up over a mile, and a dollar a piece to the charity we chose for today.  You can choose the same charity each time, or a different one from their list.  This is actually a great motivator for us to get out and walk everyday.  It is a free app in the Google Play store.  If you are on your feet all day at work, and you can carry your phone on you, or you are active this is a great way to painlessly give to a charity you love.  BTW you can download the app from Amazon, but it says right in the app you have to use Google Play.  I am not sure how that makes sense, but hey I don't make the rules. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Paint the Town Purple to Support Relay for Life or Lupus

Every year, our little town does something called Paint the Town Purple, to support Relay for Life. I paint my mailbox every year, and this year I decided to paint it purple, with pink and white flowers. I barely had enough of this color purple, and the flowers are not real smooth because of the ridges on the mail box. But, I love it anyways. Purple can also be in support of the Lupus Foundation, a group I recently donated some handmade items to for an auction to raise money.

We ended our 3rd Quarter yesterday, which means I will begin working on report cards. I also think I have finally decided on Caitlin's curriculum choices for 6th grade. I will share that info soon. I have decided to take a little bit of a different approach with her.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Earth Cookies, Planting Herbs and Earth Day Minute To Win It

Both of these ideas were found on Pinterest, and adapted to my needs.  April 22nd, is Earth Day, and the kids and I love to do something each year to show our appreciation for Earth.  Last week, DJ and I watched, Plastic Paradise, on Netflix.  It was a very eye opening documentary.  We are not zealots, but we do think that if you can make some simple changes in your life to reduce, reuse and recycle, then you should do it.  Water bottles, and plastic bags are the two biggest offenders.  If you really want to know the true stats of those two items, I would suggest some basic research.  It will stun you.  I was stunned, and a little ashamed.  So, all this week, we are dedicating a little bit of school time to Earth Day.

Today, Caitlin and I planted an herb garden.  Now, we had been wanting to do this anyway, we just chose this week to actually do it.  We planted Garlic, Parsley, Cilantro, and Sweet Basil.  We also decided to try and propagate a Mimosa Tree, by planting a clipping.  It will hopefully grow roots, and become a beautiful tree.

Because, we have 4H tonight, and we all bring a snack to share, we decided to make Earth cookies.  They are easy, just a standard sugar cookie recipe, add blue and green food coloring, shape in a ball and bake.  Also, because DJ is the VP of our group, we come up with a fun game, or Ice Breaker, for each meeting.  Again, keeping with the theme of Earth Day, we came up with a Minute to Win It game using a styrofoam egg container.  Because I forgot to print stuff for Caitlin today, she had a little extra time.  So, I told her to paint it blue, like water, and then use green to make the numbers.  The idea is to get as many beads in the number slots in a minute.  The player with the most points wins.  Of course the kids had to try it, because they said it was too easy.  Ha, no it isn't.  Caitlin of course will save this, and torture her father with it at a later date.

I haven't decided what tomorrow will bring, but I think a writing assignment for both of them will be good.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

4H Volunteer Day at Otter Springs

Today was our volunteer day, with our 4H group, at Otter Springs. We only had one real young child show up, and her mom was with her. So, this time the kids were given a little bit of a harder, and more adventurous task. We walked to nature trail, and the area around it, in search of trash. We found quite a bit of it, unfortunately, most of it glass bottles. We probably walked a good mile, out, and then back of course. We were able to find, and take pictures of some animal tracks a deer, and possibly a bear or fox, for Caitlin's project book. You can see common Florida animal tracks here. We had a lot of fun, and the kids got to swim in the camp pool after, for half price. DJ does not like pools, so he wanted to go and see if the springs were in fact cleaned up. As we got closer we could see people swimming, so we were optimistic. They in fact had been cleaned up quite a bit, and were quite lovely. There was quite a few people swimming in the spring. We did see one snake, it is in the last picture. Everyone cleared out of the water real fast, lol, and it didn't bother anyone. They were saying it was a Water Moccasin but I was not where close enough to tell. Everyone got back in after it went on its way. All in all a fun, and productive day.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Thinking of Next Year: 10th Grade

So, DJ and I sat down this week to discuss 10th grade curriculum choices.  After some debating, and negotiating, we put in stone what he will be doing.  FLVS offers certificate classes now, so he decided rather than dual enrollment, he would like to do one of the certificate classes.  He decided on Digital Design.  Plus he will be taking the 5 hour driving class for his permit, through FLVS. Here is what his year will look like.  I have not figured out the daily schedule yet, that can wait. 

Driving- FLVS
Digital Design- FLVS
Guitar-  for anyone wondering FLVS does offer Guitar 1, but DJ decided to keep doing what he is already doing.
Algebra 1 and Business Math-  We talked, and decided that we will continue to work on the Math U See Algebra 1 curriculum, through the Summer and 10th grade.  I was given a Business Math curriculum, and it did not look too challenging.  So, he will do both.  We will worry about Geometry or Algebra 2 in 11th grade.  That way he can continue to learn it at his pace, and be sure he understands it.
Comprehensive English and Vocabulary- sometimes called English2, LA grade 10 etc.  We have a textbook and workbook, with a focus on writing.
Biology with Labs-  In Florida there has to be a lab component to at least three of the four High School Sciences.  We decided to use CK12 and online labs.  I will list all the resources at the end of this post.
Civics and American Government-  This was the hardest one for DJ.  He had his heart on doing Greek Mythology.  But, Civics and American Government is perfect for next year due to the upcoming presidential elections.  I am hoping to get to some live town hall meetings, and other rallies.  It will be fun.  Eventually he gave in, and will do Greek Mythology the next year.
The only other issue was a second year of Japanese.  He decided to wait and do that for 11th grade as well, and review all his info he is learning this year, from time to time. DJ's curriculum for next year, will not be expensive.  That will be very nice.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Polliwogs and Frog Eggs In the Pool!

We usually have our pool open by now. But, this year we decided to wait due to tight finances. Well we got polliwogs and frog eggs in there now. You can only see one polliwog in the second picture. They are a little camera shy, lol. The eggs were there last evening, and have already hatched this evening. No eggs left to hatch, and no croaking frogs looking for mates. Now, we will watch them and wait for them to grow into frogs. I hope it won't take too awful long. About 12 weeks I think, which is really late to open a pool in Florida. But, that is OK, what a great learning experience. A couple of years ago, a friend of ours gave us tadpoles from her pool. I looked up all the info of how to care for them to adulthood, there were a lot of rules. Unfortunately we did something wrong and we found them deceased. We were so sad. They should have a much better chance in a great big pool, with tons of algae to eat. They have eaten a lot of it too! I will post more pics as they grow and change.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Manatee At the Springs, Banded Water Snakes and Ticks Learning the Fun Way

We took a Spring break this week, even though I wasn't going to.  I was way behind on grading papers, and we really needed some relaxing from the stresses of life. Now we have seen Manatees before, in the wild, but never as close as this one came. It truly acted like it wanted to come say hi. There was a ranger down at the Springs, when the Manatee came into the river run, and he said they are truly curious. While we were standing there looking at the Manatee, he pointed out the kids a ball of snakes, Banded Water Snakes, that were mating in the shrubs. I truly never would have seen them if he didn't point them out. Then the Manatee came right into the swampy side of the springs, where no one swims. So, we watched it for a bit, and then it disappeared somewhere. So, we sat back down, and the kids began swimming again. About 30 min later, poof it came out of nowhere under the dock and into the swim area. Thank goodness they are docile and harmless. It came almost right up next to the girls. Caitlin was amazed at its size, and had a ball looking at it under the water. It was an amazing experience. I thought they would make the kids get out of the water. But, they said because there was only a handful of people in the water, and no one was approaching it, it was OK. So, what a wonderful experience that was. As for the ticks, we have never experienced them before. We have been here ten years, and never had one on us. We got four in one week. So, now ticks, manatees, and banded water snakes will all be three different writing prompts for this next school week. Both kids got to have a sleep over, or two, and just some plain old relaxing. A great week, and now I am ready to get back to schooling! We are almost at the end of our third quarter, hard to believe, but true.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Thinking of Next Year : 6th Grade A Bit of Unschooling

Next year, I will have a 6th grader, and a 10th grader. My 10th grader, believe it or not, is easier to plan for than my 6th grader. I am going to try some Unschooling with her next year, which simply means interest led schooling. Not all her subjects will be interest led, but a few. First off, she has been saying she wants to be an animal groomer, walker, own business type thing when she grows up. She has a rabbit, and we have two dogs. She has been doing rabbit grooming for years, but is not comfortable nail trimming. I will have to work on that. Plus with the book below, she can begin learning about grooming in general. After she completes that book, I will look for others. She also has 4H horse project book, for next year. I was going to start a 4H horse group, but that has been sidelined at least for now. I just don't have the time to dedicate to it right now.

She really loves Life of Fred, so I will continue with that series. I will also continue with CK12 Elementary Math, to supplement Life of Fred. Learning Language Arts Through Literature, is also my choice for her. I have not decided for History yet. I also will probably supplement other Science. She will begin Spanish next year, using the free Duolingo app.  I do often change my mind, but this is looking pretty set in stone right now.  I would love a great deal on some of the books shown.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

The Easter Story for Kids

While we did do the Easter Bunny, when my kids were small, we also taught the true meaning of Easter. Of course, that has nothing to do with the Easter Bunny. The Easter Bunny is the commercial, money making scheme created for Easter. This is the first year that my kids were too old to care about decorating eggs, finding eggs, or even getting a basket. We never did too awful much in that regards, anyhow, just a tidbit. I hope your Easter was full of blessings, and a beautiful day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How To Train Your Dragon 2 with Printables Plus Art

The kids and I have not sat down to watch a movie for school, in a while. So, today we sat down to watch, How To Train Your Dragon 2. I read another blog post that said this movie was a lot about diplomacy, and politics. There was only one little section where I would say that was true, and that the whole of the movie was may more than that. This was in 3D in the movies, so it wasn't as exciting on our plain old TV. Both kids had a writing assignment after they finished watching, and next week will get an Art assignment. All of us, yes me too, will design and draw a dragon. I already have ideas for mine, and I think it will be fabulous, lol. Here are some worksheets to go along with the movie. Be sure to check out the rest of that website, for some other cool items they offer.  We have Netflix, and watched the movie on there.  But, if you don't have Netflix, you can always purchase the movie too. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

12 Years A Slave for American History Reading

I read 12 Years A Slave last year, but have waited to watch the movie. As far as books go, this was a good book, but I was very disappointed by the ending. I will not give it away, but you should read it. It will be part of my son's American History reading. He will begin it Monday. Then we will watch the movie. He just finished Trail of Tears.

The second book, The Secrets of Heavenly, is a book that I am currently reading, and have not decided if I will have him read it. It is quite a bit more graphic than 12 Years A Slave, but a very good book. Apparently this is the first book in a series. I await the next book to be released. If you have Kindle Unlimited this book is offered for free reading right now.

I also have Uncle Tom's Cabin, on the list, but I have tried to read that one several times and just can not get into it. So, I am not sure I will use that one.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Buffalo Tangle Doodle Art and Growing Broccoli From A Stem

Have you ever tried to grow Broccoli from just the stem? I tried this several times, and it just didn't work. It would start, and then nothing. I tried again, recently, and as you can see in the picture, it is quite tall. Tall as a small tree, with big beautiful yellow flowers. I can see some broccoli heads also starting to form. What I am wondering is, is this normal? It seems like it won't be able to support broccoli heads so far off the ground. I guess I will find out eventually, lol.

Last night, I got an urge to draw, so I sat down and drew out my Native American Art picture. You can see the kids in the previous post.  I found some Native American symbols to use to complete the tangle doodle part. Native Americans revered the buffalo, and my kids are always amazed at the fact that Native Americans wasted no part of the animals they killed.  Nothing, no waste at all.    I still have to paint mine, and as you can see I drew one side darker than the other. But, that won't matter once it is painted in. One of the hardest things, for me, with drawing animals is symmetry. I think I got this one pretty good. The finished product will be on my Jewelry and Gems blog.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Native American Art

We are not studying Native American Art, per say, but we are doing American History and I am trying to correspond our art lessons with that in mind. Both of the kids completed their art project, but I did not. I am currently drawing out a Spring garden picture, and it is not complete yet. Once I finish that, I will do my Native American art piece. DJ did the Indian wearing the bear head/hat/mask. I really love how it came out. Caitlin chose to do a wolf, which is one of her most favorite animals. Mine will have to do with the Buffalo, but that is all I will say. We did not get to start watching the Irish video yet, or do the Geography. Maybe this next week.  Next up I think will be either something with the flag, or The Statue of Liberty.  Maybe I will combine the two in one lesson.  That might be pretty cool.

Monday, March 16, 2015

100 Words Every High School Graduate Should Know

Ha, I don't even know what some of these words mean, and I have been to college, and will be returning again this year.  My 9th grader will start working his way through this list tomorrow.  He will have to look up the definitions, then put them all in a sentence.  He will then study, and memorize them, with a weekly test.  Here is the list. 

Rather than continue with new spelling words each week, my 5th grader will revisit previous lists and do definitions, sentence writing, find the nouns and verbs, and alphabetical order.  This serves many purposes all centered around one group of words each week.  She too will be tested weekly on these words.

DJ will also be doing the ACT Question of the Day, and the SAT Question of the Day, each day.  This is a great way to practice and prepare for these tests.  There is also an app that I love it is shown below. The first one is free, and the one we use.  The second is not free, and I have never used it.  I have Android phones, so any apps I share should work on Android phones, but be sure and check first.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The History of Irish Americans

We did not get to our Native American art, like I had hoped. But, I will definitely get it in this next week. For Geography I want to watch the documentary below about the history of Irish Americans. It is a long documentary, so we might have to split it up into two days. I am hoping to get to the springs within the next two weeks as well. I will have to see how it goes.This weekend I am catching up on grading, planning, and more research for me to go back to school.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Earn College Credits with CLEP Exams at A Fraction of the Price

I will be using CLEP exams for some of my nursing requirements, and I am hoping can use some of them too. You just have to pass the test to earn college credits.

Currclick for Homeschoolers


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