Monday, July 30, 2012

High School language Arts: The Freedom Writers Diary

While browsing through the bookstore Michelle discovered a gem. When she found me in another section she was running toward me saying " Look what I found", " Can we do this for Language Arts?" After reading the title I could see where this was going because she enjoyed watching this movie.

Ideally this book would work best in a group setting, Michelle is determined to make it work. What I like most about this program is how it promotes peace through understanding and respecting diversity. It challenges the student to look deeper into themselves and leads them into service projects. I know we are going to have great discussions and learning experiences while completing this program. Another bonus is it meets National Standards in Language Arts. There are plenty of book suggestions too. Out of all of our other learning tools I bet this is going to be the best because she picked it.

A lot of our learning tools that I ordered are arriving everyday so I think it would be fitting for me to take a break from this space. I  have a lot of reading to do!!

See you soon :)                              
P.S I still have some reviews to share.                            

Advanced Practical Life: Hair Extensions

Following the interest of my children have made my days full of fun. They are unique and truly keep me in amazement of their talents that they have developed without fear of failure.

Ken's latest hair creation is very artsy. At the hair store they sell ponytail extensions. The ponytails come in various styles. The point is you can clip and go. It also allows someone to wear different hairstyles with very low maintenance. It is definitely a hair care invention that was made out of necessity. LOL.

Our home school journey is so exciting. I never would of thought that I would be blogging about ponytail extensions:)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Reading, Zoology, And A Volunteer Opportunity

DJ was approved to be a volunteer at our local zoo!  The joy I saw in his eyes when I shared the news with him cannot be explained in words. His strong interest in Zoology has overflowed in every area of his life. DJ's love of nature is immeasurable.

                                                                  Picture taken by DJ
When he found these two seedlings  that he sowed all by himself the world stopped and his love for Botany grew enormously.      

While he researches his own questions his reading improves. It has improved so much that it has become difficult to find reading books to match his interest in a way that it dosen't look like college material. I am not exaggerating one bit when it comes to his reading level. I have scoured the internet endlessly and started doing flips when I discovered the Scientist In The Field Series. This series of books follows a scientist in the field of science. There are a wide range of topics and now I am finding more in this series everyday.
In Fall we will start the series with The Snake Scientist where he will journey with a scientist in Canada learning more about Garner Snakes. It is only a 48 page book, he will finish this in two days for sure. So to go along with learning more about scientist involving snakes we will read The Snake Charmer together.

This book he will learn the risk of working with venomous snakes, go in depth to understanding the concept of mimicry, and much more.  In this book a scientist dies while working with snakes. We will also talk about death, not a new subject for him at all and it will not take him out of his comfort zone. This book I will read ahead and make his word list, and other language works from. I have no doubts that he can comprehend and read this book.

While DJ volunteers at the zoo I am required to be with him because of his age. It is definitely going to be a rewarding experience for him and I. DJ will visit and learn more about his volunteer opportunity in the next couple of weeks. His regular volunteer schedule will be put in place to start in September. 

Today we are headed to the library to check out the book Z is for Zookeeper. Sleeping Bear Press has a really neat activity guide to go along with this book which he wants to complete while reading the book.                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Friday, July 27, 2012

SchoolHouseTeachers.Com : A Schoolhouse Crew Review

I can't tell you enough how I am so impressed with this site. It is a place to go to for many resources. What first impressed me was how easy it was to navigate. With so many different resources you would think that you would get lost. There is so much, where should I start?
The classes that are available are amazing. Ken had so much fun browsing through the different subjects. It made her giddy to find out that they offered Film Making. The SchoolHouse Dallies is a treasure trove. Right now they have activities being uploaded daily involving the Summer Olympics. You can also find art ideas, daily math problems and writing activities. With this resource the homeschooling parent need not to worry about being sick and not having a plan available to continue to school for the day. You can direct your kids to go to Schoolhouse and pick a lesson, or an activity and they will be good to go.  DJ  has already taken advantage of their monthly suggested book list.
This site is for every family member. For every level of learning they have a plan of action. There are themes dedicated to the preschool child. There are Ebooks that offer guidance to the child who desires to go to college. If you only had just $5.95 a month to spend on your homeschool materials. I recommend you spend it all here. You won't be disappointed!!  I am sure that I have missed something because there is so much that they offer.

There is one more thing that I can't forget to mention. THE PLANNERS !! Just like I said before there is a planner available for everyone in the family. The kids can't wait to start Fall session with their planners. This my friend is our start at staying organized, sticking to deadlines, and jotting down our thoughts along the way. The planners are jam packed with information for my children that they can use forever.

I recommend this product to

1. All homeschooling families
2. All teachers who would like to stay up to date in their field of study

You can go here for sample pages.

If you decide to sign up it is just $1.00 for the first month. Every month after that it is just $5.95.

To read what other Crew members  said about this product go here

I was given a one year subscription with free access to ebooks and planners in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are all mine.                                                                    


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Good At Making His Own Works

Today DJ started making a Snake Directory.

 He even color coded the snakes by continent using a key.

Left to his own devices he comes up with some really amazing works.                                                                             

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Visiting Butterflies


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Everybody Has A Gig, Except Me!!

DJ was not too thrilled about Michelle leaving today to go volunteer. He said " Everybody has a job but me". I tried to cheer him up and let him know that maybe when he gets older he can volunteer somewhere. I asked him if he knew where he would like to volunteer. No answer.

 About an hour later I saw him looking at this zoo map.

He was drawing a map to where he would like to work at.

 The Reptile House at the local zoo. DJ said it is important that he studies this map so he knows his way around the park.

To be continued..........                                                                                

Monday, July 23, 2012


I have really been pushing the kids to get out of the classroom so I can prepare some things for the next session. They have been mostly sticking to our routine which is great. They have been doing their read alouds, and mostly review items. Being in their "office" is just not  feasible while I am trying to add new works that I don't want to present right now. So I have been Strewing. It has been working out well, especially since they are great with adding their own spin on things.

Garage sales have made strewing even easier for me..

 This Radiometer was a dollar. Just perfect for outside entertainment.
                                    ( Don't look at those socks, that's for a whole different post) LOL.
 DJ instantly went to try to figure out what this was. Once he read the box, he went to sketching in his science journal and exploring how it was working.

    The Tripod was $2.00. Ken is filming a video about herself.

       Just give Michelle a book and she is all good. The book is a review item.

Before we know it the work period is over and it is time for lunch. Strewing has helped us keep our routine and keep our curiosity alive.                                                                                                                                               

No- Nonsense Algebra: A Schoolhouse Crew Review

From Math Essentials we received a copy of their new algebra book No- Nonsense Algebra. Upon arrival I had one happy upcoming ninth grader who had been ready to do do some math lessons.

At first Michelle truly enjoyed working with this book. The directions were precise and she enjoyed referencing the videos that come along with the textbook. Everything was going well and I was happy that she was understanding concepts that once caused her to avoid math. Each lesson took about twenty minutes just what the creators of this book said it would. At the end of each lesson there is a review. For the first week or so Michelle compared how better this Math textbook was compared to her school's math book. Michelle was proud of mastering the skills that was promised to her and math was not a subject that she used to despise.

The program encourages the child to correct their own work. Then go back and see where you made a mistake if any. Having a child self check their work I am all for. This made me really like this program, especially since I AM NOT CONFIDENT IN TEACHING ALGEBRA. So this was helping us to learn Algebra together, improving both our self esteems at the same time. 

Unfortunately this self checking method led us to the end of our road with this program. Michelle and I are just starting our home school journey together. Michelle knows that I am uncomfortable with Algebra. Michelle has been respectful of this and knows that I will do what is needed to compensate for this lack of knowledge in this area. We had our first" I am MAD", "I don't want to be home schooled!" because I told her she was wrong and the book was right. Ouch that hurts!! Michelle was right, and she was right every time we came across the wrong answer in the answer key. In the end this boosted her self esteem and helped me to slow down. The second time we emailed Math Essentials together to bring it to their attention about this typo, We never got a response!! Enough said.

Certainly I agree that if I had handled it differently, maybe the result would not been not liking the program. Still it was enough for us to want to look into a different math curriculum.

While browsing through Math Essentials website I found that they offer a number of different math products for grades 4 and up.                                                                
The cost of the No-Nonsense Algebra textbook is $27.95 with free online access to video lessons. They offer a 30 day money back guarantee.

Who I recommend this product to
1. High school students who don't mind typos
2. High school students who want a video lesson to go along with the textbook
3. Parents and High school students who might not need email support.

Go here for more information about No Nonsense Algebra.

To read other reviews written by other Crew members about No- Nonsense Algebra go to

Disclaimer: As a member of the Schoolhouse Review Crew I was given a copy of the No- Nonsense Algebra book in exchange for a honest reveiw. All opinions expressed are entirely my own!!   

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Arts: Fall 2012


                                                      Photo from  Montessori Services

   These are companion cards that go along with the Art program by Aline Wolf. While using these cards they will learn to match, pair and sort by artist.

 We finally will be doing formal art lessons using Meet The Masters. We will start with Track A which includes history and hands on art activities about Van Gogh, Cassatt, Mondrian, Monet, and Picasso. They will select the Artist and they will get as much time as they would like to learn about the specific artist. There will be other activities available on the shelf to add to independent work. The art shelf will be supplied with the proper mediums according to artist and their creativity will supply countless hours of fun learning.

                                                 Foreign Language
When the kids were younger we learned Latin together using Song School Latin by Classical Academic Press.

 By popular demand they will be picking up where they left off. Recently we have been listening to the CD and reviewing.                                                                                                                                        

Music Appreciation will be gently woven into our program of studies. We will be using the Maestro Classics homeschooling guides that go along with their CD's.  What I like about the guides is how they have made it possible to connect all subjects while appreciating music, especially history.

                                                  Photo from What Did We Do All Day?   

Using this tutorial that has been in my plans forever we will have some bells similar to the ones in the picture shown above. I say similar because I am known to mess up anything that has to do with paint.LOL. In this tutorial  My Boy's Teacher gives great details on how you can create and implement the bells just as if you have the costly Montessori Bells. We will use Gettman's presentations for the bells and if they are interested in this material we will follow all of her plans as described in her Music postings.
I would like to share how I was able to purchase our curriculum purchases at a very low price. I have been on Ebay. It can get dirty!! LOL. It can be time consuming!!  It has been a lot of fun wining bids!! It is so worth it!!  The only thing that you will see that I paid full price for in our curriculum purchases are downloads, then again I found a few coupon codes along the way.

Next up our plans for Language Arts, Math, Botany/Zoology, Geography, and their Projects.                                                        

Our History Plans

This plan for history is to start this Fall.

This book will be our spine as we delve into Prehistory. Tons of information presented in a way that allows for independent work to emerge, questions to be asked and the scientific method will undoubtedly become ingrained in their absorbent minds.

I love this timeline because it is durable and it folds into a book. We don't have any wall space that would accommodate a timeline. At Amazon it is unavailable but just Google it and you can find it from other suppliers.

Ancient Creature cards also from Charlie's Play House.

Photo from
They actually will be working with the download from Montessori for Everyone. Depending on their interest I will make the books provided at Fossils,facts and finds.

Photos from Montessori Services

I will order the hand chart from Montessori Services. We'll have fun making The Long Black Strip.

The rest of this history plan waits as their interest develops and research takes off. I think these materials will be more than enough. I purposely left out a great deal so I could allow them to discover on their own. With the Elections in Fall and kids that ask questions I hope that we can make great connections to how all this relates to The Fundamental Needs of Man. Right now they are not interested in this work, but maybe this event can help change this because they love politics( or at least dissecting campaign ads). I will be using the card set available at Montessori For Everyone. These activities could last for months or just weeks. When they are ready to move on we will use Story of the World Vol I.

To see what others are learning or will be learning about Geography and History please visit All Things Beautiful.

Friday, July 20, 2012



 He waited and waited for the others to show. Became very frustrated when they didn't follow through. What he learned is that he is indeed capable of being dedicated to a project. His patience is emerging!!

Ken made some nectar and her observation skills are developing quite rapidly while waiting on butterflies to come take a sip.