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Monday, September 14, 2020

Starting the New School Year With A Bang!

 Over the Labor Day weekend, we took a family day trip to St George Island.  It was our first time visiting the state park there.  Our son, his new wife, and their new baby puppy was also able to join us.  St George Island is very pet friendly.  We were able to take the puppy into the restaurant, though we did eat outside on the screened-in porch, which was perfect for us anyways.  They gave her a big bowl of cold ice water, which she was bewildered by, lol.

The state park was not packed, and there was plenty of room to social distance even if it was packed.  Such a beautiful beach and the seashells were amazing.  They have the largest sand-dollars I have ever seen, though I could only find broken ones, no whole ones.  

The first day of Grade 11 started for Caitlin on Tuesday, Sept 8, 2020.  She got into her FLVS Language Arts class, but not the Criminal Justice.  She was accepted just waiting for a seat.  Hopefully, this week she will.  We are still volunteering every Tuesday morning at WAG.  We have been taking a dog to the park on days that it doesn't rain.  Last week, Panda got to go.  She loved the park and what a sweet dog.  Not a bad way to start the first day of school.  Caitlin was not complaining.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Physical Education: Preparing for the Physical Fitness Test to be A Cop

 In one of the previous posts, I laid out what Caitlin would be doing for PE in grade 11.  The goal is to prepare her to take the Physical Fitness test to be a cop which is her desired profession.  The part for 11th grade is only the first part, and not nearly as intense as the second part will be.  If she masters all the steps before the end of 11th grade we will move on to step 2.  We had planned on buying a treadmill, but that has not yet happened because of our AC decided to die.  So, I went on the hunt for some indoor running videos for her to start working on towards the goal of the 1.5 miles run in 15 minutes.  The video below is the first one I tried.  I am not sure if it is 1.5 miles I will have to track it next time I do it, but I think it is more like a mile.  Eventually, we will run outside, but it is simply too hot for that right now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

African American History: Grade 11 0.5 Credit Elective

As I mentioned in my previous post, Caitlin has decided to take an African American History course as an elective in grade 11.  This will be a half a year course, and worth 0.5 credit.  Most of it will be reading, videos, and conversation topics.  I will most likely throw in a few writing topics.  I would really like to be able to visit the African American Museum in Washington, DC over the Christmas break, but with Covid I am not sure that will be feasible.  Below are the curriculum choices I have made.  Since it is a half-year course, I don't want to overload it.  I can always add more if I need to.  Feel free to follow what I have chosen, or add and subtract as you see fit.  Some of these are timelines, so you can pick as you want.  You will find images and advertisements about African Americans.  These are great writing topics or conversations to have, and why they are racist.  

We will be watching three film options.  Roots is also a good choice and if we get time I will probably throw that one in too.  Underground is a TV series from WGN.  It is also available on Hulu.  There are two seasons, with a third on the way.  13 is a movie on Netflix about the 13th Amendment.  This amendment alone can encompass a lot of discussion and class time.  Uncle Tom's Cabin is a movie from 1987.  The Youtube version below is not the greatest quality but it does bring the book to life.  We will definitely try to squeeze in the book, The New Jim Crow.  

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Grade 11 Homeschool for Caitlin 2020-2021 School Year

As always our new school year will begin the day after Labor Day.  For the Summer Caitlin continues to work through Algebra 1. 

For the 11th grade school year, these are the classes Caitlin has chosen.

1-  Language Arts 3.  This year she will be doing Language Arts on FLVS.  She does much better with writing when I am not prompting and teaching it to her.

2-  Algebra 2.  We are sticking with ALEKS.  It works for both of us.

3-  PE:  PE for this year will be in preparation for the Physical Fitness Test required to be a Cop.  I will be posting what our routine will be probably next week.

4-  African American History.  This is a 1/2 credit elective option.  I will be posting our curriculum choices soon.

5-  Nutrition.  This is also a 1/2 credit elective course.  I will be putting this class together for her as I want her to focus on other Nutrition info than just a basic course.  This course will be completed after she finishes the History course.  So in the second half of the school year.

6-  Criminal Justice.  This is a FLVS course and a full credit elective course.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

What I Have Learned About Maintaining a Pool in Florida!

I am not from Florida.  I grew up in upstate NY where you might use your AC three weeks out of the whole year.  When we moved to FL in 2005 one of the first things we noticed was that we needed a pool.  Now, in 2020 I have noticed with Coronavirus and all that goes with that, lots of people who never wanted or needed a pool now do.  I read an article in The NY Times from a woman who was opining about how expensive and difficult it was to maintain the newly bought pool she got.  I will give you my best tips, and no they don't have to be expensive.  Obviously, you will have to spend some money, but it doesn't have to be a money guzzler.

First off the writer purchased one of the large blow-up pools.   You know the ones with the top is filled with air.  We owned one of these for many years, and it was extremely hard to keep clean and the water clear.  Why?  1- the pump sucks, literally.  It is small and not very powerful.  It is only meant to run a few hours a day, and most pools need at least 8 hours of filtering per day in the hottest weather.  The filters for these little pumps are often out of stock and they are not cheap either.  It is recommended that you replace them every time they are dirty, consider that money slug.  So, what can you do if you purchase one of these pools and that is what you can afford?  We actually finally invested in a larger more powerful sand filter pump.  This ended up paying for itself after only a few years.  We didn't need the cartridge filters anymore and it could run for more than just a couple of hours per day.  If you absolutely can not purchase a larger pump, don't worry I have more tips.  Make sure you skim it every day with a large net.  At least once a week, vacuum the pool and at the very least after each time you put shock or algae control in it, more about that in the next paragraph.  At least once a week, more if it needs it, wipe the sides of the inside walls with an old cloth.  Before you set up your pool put the side with the pump to the least amount of sun.  If your pool is already set up when you read this, only run your pump at night, it will save you on your electric bill too.  I run my pump only at night unless it has a lot of junk on the surface when I get in, then I run it for an hour when I get in and then turn it off.  Also if you absolutely must use the cartridges in the smaller pump, rinse them or spray with bleach.  I cleaned and reused mine all the time.  I hardly ever bought those stupid cartridge filters. 

Those tips all apply to any above ground pool, not just the blow-up ones.  But, chemicals are also extremely important.  I have owned a pool now for 15 years.  It took me 14 of those years to finally figure out how to keep the pool clear.  It would be clean, and free of algae but it always had this cloudy appearance.   Oh, there are tons of chemicals you can put in the pool that are supposed to help, but most of them are useless.  So, now I will give you tips on what I have learned about pool chemicals.  Do not buy your pool chemicals at Walmart or even Amazon.  These chemicals are simply not strong enough or fresh enough to do the job.  Just trust me!  I am sure you have seen the brands sold in these stores, so I will not name them here.  You need to find an actual pool supply store to get what you need.  When I started actually going to the pool supply store to get my chemicals is when my pool became crystal clear and easy to maintain.  I do not really pay any more, and probably less, because I am not wasting useless chemicals.  I do have to travel about 20 miles farther but it is so worth it.  Some pool supply stores may have online ordering, this one does not, but still, I am willing to go.  Ask the pool experts to be sure you purchase the correct product.  I will share the images of the two products I buy every time now.  These are the only two products I buy besides chlorine tablets.  Speaking of which I have two floaters with one tablet in each.   This seems to help maintain the proper balance.  I also throw a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser in my skimmer.  If you don't have a skimmer it can just float around your pool.  You would be amazed by the invisible algae it catches.  I shock my pool and use the powder algaecide once a week.  If it rains, which will wash out your chemicals I do it twice a week.  Don't put your chemicals in the pool in the day time.  Do it in the evening close to sunset.  The sun deteriorates your chemicals.   

If I forgot anything, or you have any questions, please leave them in the comments, and I will answer them the best I can.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

World History: Armenia

Before I start the bit on Armenia, I would like to mention a few blogposts coming up within the next week. 

1-  What I have learned about maintaining a swimming pool.  I read an article about a woman who was very frustrated after buying a pool that she thought would be easy to maintain, and affordable.  I will give my top tips on how it is easy and while not really affordable, it can be manageable.

2-  Our vacation.  This one is a trip, LOL pun intended.

3-  Updates to the grade 10 portfolio for Caitlin.

4-  There will be posts mixed in as I start to research African American History.  As I stated this will probably be her 11th-grade History, topic, probably a 1/2 credit, and then she will do the World History in 12 grade as that one is taking much more time to prepare.  In Florida, a student only needs 3 credits in History, but it is an easy way to get in interesting electives.  Which reminds me I have to really take a look at what she has done so far and what she needs for electives.

5-  I also need to start creating a PE year-long credit course for her to prepare for the physical fitness test to be a cop.  She will repeat it in grade 12 as well. 

So, now to Armenia.  As I stated before I really need to pick up the pace of the number of countries I get ready in a week.  Right now I am only averaging one, as we are crazy busy this Summer with wedding preparations and a 3 week-long vacation.  I hope to get back to a more regular blogging pace. 

Of course, there is always the virus to worry about, and it is exploding in Florida.  With 15,000 new cases yesterday, ugh!  Anyway, back to Armenia.  For now, I am posting just videos, and reading material.  As I decide what other activities we will do I will update each country.  Right now cooking a traditional dish, is what I have decided on.

This video titled The Land of Noah is a full documentary on Armenia.

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Saturday, July 4, 2020

World History: Argentina

Happy Saturday!  I am still on vacation, though our vacation plans changed dramatically, more on that in a different post.  Also, I believe I will do a half-year credit of Black  History, probably in grade 11, as World History is taking me some time to put together. You will see videos, and lesson ideas.  I am only in the country of Argentina, lol.  Caitlin quite likes to draw, to my amazement, so I think I will add some art into each country as well as the cooking of a traditional dish.  There are a few videos below, and one reading link.  You can always add more or less to each country.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Final Week of Grade 10

This is the final full week for Grade 10 for Caitlin.  This post will count as our portfolio for evaluation purposes.  We were going to do the PERT this year, but since her Language Arts still needs some work, I will have her take it at the end of 11th grade.  Below you will see the classes completed and the final grades.  I have not tallied all of the grades, yet, so some will be added later.  We are going on a family trip soon, and then my son is getting married.  So, I am anticipating a very busy Summer.

Math:  Algebra 1A 0.5 credit.  I am unsure how to find a grade on Aleks, but she did the work to get the credit.  She is still doing Algebra 1B and will do it over the summer until the school year begins again in the fall. 

Language Arts:  1 credit with an emphasis on Grammar and Writing.  She got an 84 on her final exam.

Science:  Oceanography:  1 credit.  She completed this course and got an 80 on the final.  She will move on to Biology in the fall. 

ASL:  1 credit.  She completed the course and her final grade is:         She will need to take another year of sign language for college credit of 2 foreign languages in the same language.  ASL counts towards that now. 

History:  I already shared her final in another post, I will have to look, but I think it was 86.  She got 1 credit for Civics and Government

Driving:  0.5 credit through FLVS.  I will probably use FLVS again for her Junior year for some classes.  She is still studying to take her learner's permit.

She continues to volunteer every Tuesday morning at Williston Animal Group and will continue into the foreseeable future.  This is something she enjoys very much.  She has been doing this since January of 2020.  I would not mind her taking on a job in her Junior year, especially if she chooses not to do Drama.

For PE she gets 1 credit as she did at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week, for the full year.  She will be starting a rigorous physical fitness routine in the fall, in order to prepare to be a Cop, the profession she has chosen.  It is grueling and I hope to do it with her. 

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Antigua and Barbuda

If you can imagine the most beautiful place you would love to visit, where would it be?  I have to say Antigua and Barbuda look absolutely amazing.  If you ever follow The Weather Channel during Hurricane Season, then you already know that Antigua and Barbuda are located in the Leeward Islands chain of islands.  One interesting thing I discovered about this country is that you can become a citizen via investment.  Don't worry I am not wealthy enough.  Apparently, you have to be extremely wealthy.  There is a video below just in case you are way more wealthy than me.

Like all the countries I will share, we will pick a local food dish to create.  There will be other activities, as well, I just haven't decided what.  At the rate, I am posting this curriculum won't be ready until she is a Senior, so I have plenty of time to prepare, lol.

I hope you enjoy the video options I chose for you.  There will always be a book option, also.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

World History and Geography: Angola

I better start posting faster, or it will take me forever to get through all of the countries in the world, lol.  Today, Angola is the topic.  Another very cool place with a pretty interesting History. 

This post may contain affiliate links.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

World History and Geography: Andorra

It has been an interesting week. I intended to add several countries to this blog, and yet it is Thursday and I have only done one. Today's country is Andorra, and what an interesting little country, and I mean little. This is another of the countries so far that I would not mind visiting someday. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be that easy to get into it.

Below are some videos I have selected for you to watch. You can always watch more, or even read more. There is a book at the bottom you can purchase through Amazon. Please note I do use affiliate links in this blog.  We will make a food dish from each country, as well as other projects that I have not yet determined.  This class will most likely be for her senior year, so I have plenty of time to put it together.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020


Next up in our World History/Geography tour of Algeria.  There is a ton of history in Algeria, as well as wonderful and beautiful places to see and learn about.  I have shared some videos, books, links to learning more, and a whole Pinterest page of Algerian recipes.  I think we will try to definitely cook something from each country.  We have used cooking in our History lessons before, and it is a fun way to learn about other cultures.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Albania for Homeschoolers

On to the next country, Albania.  I would really love to visit Albania someday.  It is such a lovely looking place, and it doesn't appear most tourists know much about it.  I am sure they have a busy season just like any other travel destination, but the quietness of this place is a huge attraction to me.  Check out the videos, and links.  This post may contain affiliate links.  Leave me a comment, especially if you have visited this amazing country. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


So, I decided to go country by country in alphabetical order just to keep it easier, as I find videos, books, etc for our World History and Geography classes.  There are so many cool things to see in the world.

There really is not much as far as videos to choose from on Afghanistan, for obvious reasons.  This UNICEF reporter, below, has some really cool videos on Afghanistan.  He has also great videos, in other countries, that I will surely use at different times.  You need to click the playlist to see all the videos in this series. This post contains affiliate links.

I hope you enjoy all the video choices I have made for you.  The last one on food is amazing!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Civics and US Government Final

I made a final test for Civics and US Government, and Caitlin received a 91 on that test.  She was very pleased with that grade.  She received a 0.5 credit for each class.

I have made her Oceanography final, and she will take that next week.

I still have to average her grade for Sign Language.

That leaves just Math, and Language Arts, her two least favorite classes.  She is in the harder parts of Algebra 1b, so I will have her do it over the Summer, just an hour a day a few days a week, because she will be taking the PERT probably in August, and I want her to do as well as she can.

I have already started thinking about next year, actually, I am a little late on this.  I will be posting videos and books for a World History/Geography class.  I am not sure yet if I will have her do this her Junior or Senior year.  I am leaning more towards Senior year.

I will post other items once I decide for sure what she will be doing in her Junior year.

I picked New Zealand to start with because I was curious about New Zealand.  The book below, may, or may not be the one I choose to use.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Wacky Wednesday Homeschool Item

This blog may contain affiliate links.

I know my kids hated learning to write in cursive.  The item below combines cursive writing with silly, fun, sentences.  Hopefully, your kids will get a kick out of this as they learn cursive writing.

Check out my other blog

Monday, April 27, 2020

Start of 4th Quarter

It has been a crazy few months.  Adjusting to my husband working from home due to Covid 19 and my son back to doing college work at home.  Plus disinfecting the house every day, and keeping everyone safe.  We have quietly moved into our fourth quarter.  Caitlin has shown great progress this year and I am so proud of her.

She has completed the Oceanography curriculum and is studying to take the final.

She has completed ASL first year.  The final grade will be posted,

She has completed  Civics and Government and is studying for the final.

That leaves Math Algebra 1B and Language Arts.  Plus, last week she started the driving school on FLVS.  She will be able to sit for her driver's permit when she is done.

We are still volunteering weekly at the dog shelter.  Socializing in these times has become a challenge.  We do meet on the bike path for the girls to skateboard or use their Heelies.  We limit the time to one hour per day.

I am so glad we bought the pool last year, as all the springs are closed.

I will be working on making new posts as I was initially doing, and then got distracted.

I hope everyone is well.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Almost To The End of 3rd Quarter

You may have noticed I have not been blogging as much.  I am a little stressed out about all of this Coronavirus stuff.  We already homeschool, but I am still working, as is my son and my husband just started working at home.  I am a nurse, by trade, and I have kidney disease, so I am stressed, to say the least.  I don't want to not work, but I am scared of catching it as people are dying of kidney failure.  I have created a Family Care Plan so they know the steps that need to be taken to care for me should I get sick.  My son works in retail, and they just started limiting the number of people in the store, and I am grateful they are doing that.  I am disinfecting my house daily with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or bleach, whichever I can find in the stores.  I am also crocheting face masks for my family to use at home if needed and if it comes to it in public as well. 

We are coming up on the end of our 3rd quarter the week of Easter.  I did give Caitlin a week for spring break, as her friends were out of school.  She only got one, though, they got 2.  We are limiting friend time to only outside, in groups no more than 3 and with strict social distancing.  If we start seeing cases in our county that too will end.  She has finished her Sign Language course, so I will be signing her up for Driver's Ed if I can even get her in it due to all the new homeschoolers.  She had also moved on to Algebra 1B and is doing well with that.  Everything else is the same, though History is definitely morphing into learning about being a good citizen and staying home to protect other citizens.  I had her watch the youtube video below on the Spanish Flu so she could see how awful a pandemic can be when people don't do as they should.  Also how our local, state and federal governments are dealing with the Pandemic. 

I am irritable and grumpy but trying to keep life as normal as possible right now.  I have started a Mindfulness course to learn about it and implement it for me and anyone else who needs to relieve stress, which might be everyone right now.  I also think I am going to write a book on homeschooling.  I will use the info I have collected over the years in this blog and other places. 

I hope everyone who reads this is well.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Travel on Tuesday: Gilchrist Blue Springs

Florida actually has several parks named Blue Springs.  This Blue Springs was bought by Gilchrist County and is now called Gilchrist Blue Springs.  It is one of my most favorite places to visit.  The video below will show why.  I did not take the video.  I found it on Youtube.  The jumping dock shown in the video is no longer there which makes the park less crowded because teens and young adults would crowd it to jump and there was not much room left to swim.  So, I was not sad to see it go.  My kids were, though, lol.  If you ever can be sure and visit Gilchrist County Blue Springs.  You will not be disappointed.  You can camp there, too.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Music on Monday: Learn to Play the Ukelele

As I stated before, Caitlin has been asking for a Ukelele.  I think she has decided she will buy one if she gets birthday money.  Of course, she will need to learn to play it.  Below is a beginner learn to play the ukelele video.  There are tons of these types of videos on Youtube. 

I hope everyone has a great home-schooling week.  The weather is beautiful for this week and I intend on doing lots of gardening and yard work, as well as outdoor walking.  I would love to get in the pool to get the leaves out, but the water is only 60 degrees, brrr. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson

Well since this week has mostly been about Impeachment in Current Events, that is what I shall discuss.  I am recording a little bit each day of the trial of Donald Trump for Caitlin and me to watch together.  But, I wanted to cover the other Impeachment Trials in USA History first.  There are two videos in the series, both about an hour-long.  We will be watching these tomorrow after we go check out a dog rescue to volunteer at. 

This is part of Civics and Government courses for homeschool high school purposes.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Travel on Tuesday: Virtual Tour of The Statue of Liberty

Hello, again!  This Summer we are going to NY to visit family and we decided to spend a night in NYC on the way up to our cabin.  There are 4 of us and with the limited time, I hope we can all agree as to what things to see and do.  If we decide not to visit the Statue of Liberty, Caitlin and I will view the video below.  It is a walking virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty.  There is no talking at least not in the first few minutes, except for people in the background.  There are so many cool places to visit in the USA, not to mention the rest of the world.  I could do a blog post every day just on this topic.

Visit my other blog Health Buddy Melissa

If you have not heard yet Microsoft is no longer servicing Windows 7.  I have a dinosaur PC, ten years or more old, and of course, it has Windows 7 on it.  I looked at buying Windows 10 but it was almost as expensive as a new laptop.  So, I am working on getting 10 years worth of data and images off the dinosaur PC, so it can be moved to the grave.  This could take a while, lol.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Wednesday A Week of Current Events

Well, for whatever reason the debate only recorded for 1 minute last night.  So, I had to adjust our day by watching clips and post-debate shows.  This was actually quite boring, lol.  I also had Caitlin follow the candidates on Facebook plus a few news organizations.  Each week she will have to go through her feed to see what topics they are all talking about and discuss with me.  The first primary votes are less than 3 weeks away.

Next week, and possibly longer, we will be recording and watching the Impeachment trial of President Trump.  I forgot to add one important event to the list below.  The whole Russian Government just resigned after President Putin attempted to make changes to the Constitution.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Travel on Tuesday: The Continents

Travel to all 7 Continents with BBC's new documentary on Jan 18, 2020.  See the trailer below for more information.  I will be recording this series to see if it will be useful to me for Geography next year.  If you have Directv Channel 264 is what you need.  Dish Network channel 135.  I love BBC so I am sure I will like this even if I can't use it for schooling.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Week of Current Events

I was supposed to have posted this yesterday, but I had it all ready and then I didn't hit publish.  So, it is a day late.

Use these topics to discuss the week's current events and how they affect our society.  You can approach it any way you see fit.  I try during discussions to not try to sway their way of thinking, especially politically.  It is much better in my opinion for them to make up their own minds on various current event topics.  Tuesday is the last Democratic Debate before primary voting begins.  I will be recording that and watching it with Caitlin on Wednesday.  Now is when the real fun begins, lol!  Tomorrow, I work so there will be no Fitness on Friday post.  I will sneak one in the following Friday.

My other website Health Buddy Melissa

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Travel on Tuesday: Virtual Field Trip to Africa

Have I mentioned that I love PBS?  I love PBS.  This short video below will take you on a virtual field trip to Africa, and there are teaching materials to go along with it.  All of these Travel on Tuesday posts serve a dual purpose.  1- for your personal use and 2- for when we do Geography and World History.  You need to click the link to go to the website with the video and other teaching information.  I hope you and the kiddos enjoy!  Let me know what you think.

My other website Health Buddy Melissa

Monday, January 6, 2020

Music On Monday

First off, Happy New Year!  I have been battling this cold.  I have kidney disease so I can't really take anything to make the symptoms better.  So, I just suffer from a cough which can be exhausting.  I am feeling much better now, though.  One of the things I absolutely love about homeschooling is the flexibility it affords me.  I have decided to take this week off as well since I didn't actually get anything accomplished.  I will just cut days from our spring break if I feel we need those days back.

Caitlin got a keyboard for Christmas a couple of years ago, and while she has played around with it I really would like her to learn something from it.  She now has an interest in a Ukelele, but right now that is not in the budget.  So, I will encourage learning the piano.  She also can sing quite well and I hope to get her to practice some singing lessons.  We love Youtube, use it all the time for all kinds of great resources.  Below, is a beginner lesson in learning to play the piano.  There are more in the series and you can just follow down the list.

DJ loves playing guitar and singing.  He is the leader of the Youth Praise Band.  I am hoping to foster her love of music a little more too.

Currclick for Homeschoolers


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