Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Memorial Day for us was pretty quiet. We did get up a little earlier than usual to get to the parade in the next town over. I'm so glad we did because it was a very nice parade. After the parade, we went to the store to pick up a couple of things then came home.

We cooked some hamburgers on the grill and the kids blew some bubbles and that's about it.
This evening at bedtime, we will begin writing in our summer journals. They are poised and ready in a little basket in the living room. Each evening from now to Labor Day, we will write in the journals about the day's activities. We did this in 2005 and really enjoyed it. The last couple of years, we tried, but somehow didn't follow through the whole summer. This year feels different and I look forward to seeing what the kids will be writing about.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today, I am thankful for the freedom to homeschool, that I get a front row seat to my children's learning and that my children are growing up knowing God.

I'm also thankful to the military who ensures these freedoms for us day in and day out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Jeannie Fulbright Giveaway

Apologia is now producing notebooking journals that accompany each of the elementary science books. Both Botany and Astronomy are now available. You can see samples on the Apologia website here:

Jeannie Fulbright's Apologia Series

These journals are beautiful spiral bound notebooks that will save you time and money. You won't have to print and keep up with your child's notebook pages, buy and maintain page protectors, or purchase and compile binders...everything that makes notebooking time-consuming and labor intensive for mom. Also, your child will adore having their own notebooking journal.

Each of the notebooking journals include:
A daily schedule for those who like to have a plan or would like their children to complete the book on their own
Templates for written narrations, the notebooking activities and experiments
Review Questions
Scripture Copywork, with both print and cursive practice
Reading lists and additional activities, projects, experiments for each lesson
An appendix with beautiful, full-color, lapbook-style Miniature Books
Field Trip Sheets to keep a record field trips
A Final Review with fifty questions the students can answer either orally or in writing to show off all they remember and know at the end of the course.

See the sample pages here:


Jeannie is giving away four Astronomy Notebooking Journals and four Botany Notebooking Journals to bloggers who post about this on their site. Visit her blog to learn more about this contest:

Friday, May 15, 2009

Our Big, Fat, Greek Field Trip

We attended the Greek Festival in Camp Hill, Pa today. This is a field trip that is well worth the drive. We get a peek into Greek culture from Greeks. I love field trips that cover several subject areas and this one is no exception.

Subjects covered:

Art and Bible - Take a closer look at the icons and mosaics. This is a picture of a mosaic over the doorway to go inside. Can you tell the story this picture tells?

Music - Greek music was playing throughout the festival; Observe the folk dancers

Mathematics - Calculating costs of foods before going and be sure to take enough money for everything you want to eat. We could also calculate the calories, but who really wants to go there? I mean, how many calories could possibly be in those pastries?

This is the most delicious moussaka. The ladies who serve it are also kind enough to talk to you about the food they are serving if you ask.

Language Arts - Write a letter to Grandma to tell her about the festival. Create a journal entry about the trip.

Social Studies - Learning about Greek-American Foods and Culture

After going last year, we really looked forward to returning this year. The dancers were impressive and I love looking at the icons inside the church. The moussaka and baklava alone were worth the drive.

During the next academic year, I am planning for us to learn a little about Greek language using Hey, Andrew! Teach Me Some Greek! from Greek n' Stuff. Perhaps what we learn will be reinforced next year when we return.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Tis the Season...

Listen.......Can you hear it?............It's a convoy of mini vans.............As each van parks, moms jump out and start suiting up with backpacks, baby carriers, strollers, empty luggage, and pocketbooks.

It's spring and the beginning of the Homeschool-Convention-and-Curriculum-Buying season.

As one browses through a homeschool magazine, one of the first things that pops out is an ad. In this ad is a child that is well-groomed, in an orderly home, is smiling (mom is usually looking on and smiling as well) and doing her school work with a joyful heart.

What we must remember is - this is an advertisement that highly paid marketers put together so we will buy their product. I'm not saying the product isn't good. It might be great for your family, but how many used curriculum sales have you gone to where there is curriculum that has the first few pages used or it's not been used at all? Sometimes we get sucked in to thinking that this book, unit study, curriculum, etc. is all we need and things will be sunshine and roses for next school year.

I really think the advertisements of this sort are just as dangerous to homeschool moms as the advertisements we try to protect our teens from. You know the ones with the beautifully, perfect, air-brushed models. When our teens are exposed to that, they think that is how they must look to be happy. The bar is set to an unreachable height.

A good friend of mine started homeschooling her girls just this past January. It is exciting to see her go through this transition with her girls. She has been attending the Charlotte Mason discussion groups and has embraced her philosophy full force. Her observations at a recent used curriculum sale are very insightful and I wanted to share them here.

Another friend advises to pray about your homeschool before, during and after purchasing curriculum. I think this is very sound advice.

Finally, I just came across this blog post and wanted to share it as well.

Don't we all go through this at some point in our homeschooling lives?
Planning for a new academic year can be exciting. You have a clean slate and a fresh start for things hoped for. Do your research and keep in mind that every family is different. For that matter every child is different. Find what fits your situation best and keep in mind that because something works for someone elses family doesn't mean that it will work for yours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

2009 CHAP Convention

The CHAP convention is over - for this year. I look forward to it every year. It's nice to be in a building full of somewhat like-minded people.

Some of my favorite finds at the convention include:
Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science from My Father's World
Apologia's Exploring Creation through Astronomy Notebooking Journal
Science Experiments in a Tube by Amazing Toys found at Nature's Workshop Plus
Queen Homeschool's Copywork for Girls and The Door in the Wall study guide
Chalcedon Foundation - I met Bruce N Shortt and bought his book The Harsh Truth About Public Schools

I purposefully don't take the kids to the convention with me. I need to be able to think and sometimes it's hard with them there. I see many families at the convention with well-behaved, tidy children and think, "I should have brought my kids". Then I snap back into reality. I know my limitations. Since they don't go with me, I always bring them back a little something.
The Science Experiments in a Tube were fun because the kids could do them right away. Along with these nifty little tubes, I also brought home new T-shirts from Homeschool Mania.

The convention is a time for renewal for me. Going to hear the speakers is both encouraging and inspiring. God always leadd me to just what I need to hear and I love that. I thank God for the freedom to homeschool without fear of persecution. I also thank Him for this opportunity to a front row seat to my children's learning. There is so much I would miss out on if they went to school all day. My prayer is that we are able to keep this freedom for generations to come.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Winner Announced!

The correct answer for the Giveaway is John Holt. He was a strong advocate for school reform in the 60's and 70's. I wonder what his thoughts would be on the school systems today. Hmmm.

The winner of the $10 Staples gift card has been notified.


Thanks to all who participated.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Geography Club

Last Tuesday was our group's last Geography Club meeting for the year. For the last 4 months, each of the kids have been working on their End-of-the-Year Projects at home. The projects focused on some country other than the United States. All of the projects were well done and a couple of the kids even gave oral presentations.
We concluded the afternoon with the breaking of a pinata that was made by the child whose project was on Mexico.

The countries represented were:

South Korea
Hong Kong
New Zealand

South Korea

The Pinata

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Can you identify this person?
“Education – compulsory schooling, compulsory learning – is a tyranny and a crime against the human mind and spirit. Let all those escape it who can, any way they can.”
Born in New York in 1923 and died in 1985
Another Hint:
He bacame an advocate for school reform and was a visiting teacher for the education departments at Harvard and University of California, Berkley.
Yet Another Hint:
Wrote a book in 1981 for homeschoolers called Teach Your Own.
If you can identify this person, submit his name by leaving a comment or sending an email to along with your name on or before May 9, 2009. You will be entered for a drawing for a $10 Staples gift card. Winner will be announced on Monday, May 11, 2009.
Good luck!