Monday, August 25, 2014

Navajo Sand Painting

The first stop the girls and I are making on our geography study is the United States. Our first project for this study was to do Navajo Sand Paintings.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight

Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Laurie from Inspiring 2 NH Kids. She's sharing a fantastic quick and easy recipe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Boxcar Children DVD - Review and Giveaway

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Are you familiar with the Boxcar Children books? My older girls love reading them. Now there's a movie that you can order from Walmart or win your own copy below. 

About The Boxcar Children DVD 

Four orphaned and homeless siblings happen upon an abandoned boxcar, which with a little creativity and hard work, they gradually furnish with all the comforts of home. Fearful that they will be sent to live with the reputedly cruel grandfather they have never met, the children keep their new home a secret - until a serious illness forces them to reveal themselves in order to save young Violet.

Collector's Edition Special Features 
About the Cast
Featuring an all-star cast of voice actors, including Academy Award Nominee Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now), J.K. Simmons (Spiderman), Zach Gordon (Diary of a Wimpy Kid), Joey King (Fargo), Mackenzie Foy (Twilight series), and Jadon Sand (LEGO: The Movie), this is the very first full-length, animated feature adaptation of Gertrude Chandler Warner's best-selling classic!

My Thoughts
We read the first book in the Boxcar Children series as a read-aloud for school a few years ago, so watching the DVD version with the small people was a lot of fun. I especially like that it is Dove Approved for all ages. Ballerina, my resident bookworm, absolutely loved how it stayed fairly true to the book. Little Red and Sassy also enjoyed the DVD; in fact, Little Red said that now she may actually try to read the books. Anything that encourages my small people to read is a plus.

You can learn more about The Boxcar Children DVD on Facebook and Twitter

Enter the giveaway below to win your own copy of The Boxcar Children DVD.

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Linking Paper Dolls

I mentioned before that the girls are studying geography and cultures this year. To kick off our culture study, the girls made linking paper dolls and illustrated them to represent different cultures.

I didn't really think this through before we did the project, so all I had on hand was 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper. If we do this again, I'll use longer paper so there will be more dolls.

First, I cut the paper in half lengthwise so it was 4 1/4 x 11 inches. Then the girls accordion-folded the paper into 2 inch sections. Once the paper was folded, they drew half of a person figure on the paper. One of the small people learned the hard way that you have to draw the figure against the fold.

After drawing the half figure, they cut it out while the paper was still folded, resulting in 2 figures. (Like I said, if I had used longer paper, there would have been more figures.)

After the figures were cut out, the girls colored them to represent different cultures.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Drawing to Scale

This year I'm doing a yearlong geography study with the girls using My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures. The first couple of weeks we've spent studying maps - learning about the compass rose, different types of maps (physical, political, and themed), and latitude and longitude lines.

We also talked about how maps are drawn to scale. Then to help them understand how scale drawings work, they created their own.

They traced their hands on a grid of 1-inch squares. Then they copied that onto a grid of 1/2-inch squares. Sassy had a difficult time understanding how to do that and pretty much just did a free draw on the smaller grid, but she's only 6. The older girls, though, really seemed to understand the concept and did a great job. They were able to see how mapmakers create maps to scale.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Thinking Is Work Too

Welcome to Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week I feature a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Christy from Houseful of Chaos. She's sharing how thinking is work too.

Christy Knockleby is a homeschooling mother of three. She blogs at

Thinking is work too.

I know that I don't have to spend all day working, yet there is a part of me that still wants to feel like I have accomplished something every day. Sometimes the work is taking the kids out for adventures and sometimes it is house cleaning. I have a pretty lose definition of work and count working on my blog as work, or doing the social networking it takes to stay sane.

Today though, I realized that thinking is work too. Let me explain a bit about how I realized that.

I'm not doing much homeschooling this summer but I do insist that the children do half an hour of schoolwork on any day I ask. If we're busy at the beach or on some other adventure I don't bother asking, but two or three days a week they do their half hour. It allows me to review things with them I don't want them to forget, but more importantly it allows me to test whether things I am planning for the fall will work or not. 

Yesterday a friend had lent me a copy of the history program she uses, so I could check it out before deciding whether or not to get a copy myself. The program is History Odyssey by Kathleen Johnson, and it uses the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, which I already own a copy of, so I went ahead and assigned my oldest to do lesson one from the book today. He did the first assignment which involves reading a couple of pages and labeling a map. Then his job was done, and my job of thinking really started.

I've been wondering about doing my own history unit study with the kids, but I got bogged down in all the possibilities. One book led to another book until I couldn't picture how I could possibly know enough to teach the children what I wanted to teach them. To sit down and really look at what my children would be doing with a particular other history curriculum helped me put what I was doing in perspective and realize I can do my own unit studies instead if I tame my expectations a bit and keep them a bit closer to the size of the program.

Before I can even get around to really planning, I have a lot of thinking to do and that thinking is work too. It is easier to recognize the role of thinking as work when it is done at a place of paid employment, and harder to recognize it when it happens around the house in amongst the day to day distractions of child-raising.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Homeschooler Spotlight: Setting Up Homeschool while managing ADD

Welcome to my newest weekly feature: Homeschooler Spotlight. Each week, I will be featuring a different homeschooler and her blog. This week we have Amy from Six More Summers. She's sharing how to set up homeschool while managing ADD.
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