Friday, December 17, 2010

The Winner is. . . .

Poohder!    Yeah.  She will get to choose the Panera or Starbucks gift card!  Congratulations! 
We want to thank everyone who has joined us as followers.  We really really appreciate it.
In January we are giving away a free Ohio Portfolio Assessment for the 2010-2011 school year.  Check back to see how you can win.
Merry Christmas!

Becky and Lisa

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Last Day ! Giveaway: Can we buy you a drink . . . .

of coffee, tea, or hot cocoa? :-) Lisa and I would love to give you more hours in your day, more to time to rest, or just some fabulous alone time. Wouldn't that be nice? But since that is not in our power to give you, we would like to give you a $ 10 gift card to either Starbucks or Panera. The winner gets to choose.

You can enter our drink give-away in the following ways. You may enter up to 4 times. Please leave a separate comment for each one.

1. Please become a follower and leave a comment. If you already are a follower(thank you!) let us know by posting a comment.
2. Reblog about our contest. ( let us know by posting a comment. )
3. Post on Facebook about our contest and let us know you did.
4. Forward the contest information to 5 friends via email. Then comment that you did.

We will choose a winner randomly next Friday December 17, 2010. Hope that you are the winner.
Becky and Lisa!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

School Lite

My kids have been kind of busy lately.  OK, loony.  :-)  Christmas is in the air and it knocks you down when you step through the door here.
So, I have a plan and  I call it School Lite.  School Lite involves Facts First Math Problems, and whatever we need the most work on.  This year we started our Veritas History program late so that is what we are spending time on.  We also clean.  Lots of cleaning.  We clean all the things that get pushed aside for homeschooling during the year.  Today we cleaned the Living room.  Lots of vinegar and dust cloths. 
I feel better and my kids have expended energy.  I think that is good thing.  
I would love to hear what others do.
The contest is still open.  We will draw on Friday in the morning.  A big thank you to all who have become followers.  We greatly appreciate it.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Art of Problem Solving

I wanted to share with you a  great math site The Art of Problem Solving.  It is truly a  very unique web site.  AOPS offers online subject classes for Algebra one and up.  Their  classes are very affordable, and they are OK  with a variety of ages taking their classes.  The classes have a  big emphasis on problem solving, and your kids come out knowing math.   You can also participate in up to 3 online-class-sessions before dropping  the class for a refund.

They also have a  FREE program you can use called Alcumus.   Art of Problem Solving's Alcumus offers students a customized learning experience, adjusting to student performance to deliver appropriate problems and lessons.  I would check it out.  

All of the teachers are true lovers of math  and have been involved in math competitions.  Truly worth checking out.  

Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 01, 2010


Thank you to all of you who participated in our contest. We really enjoyed reading your comments about what you like best about home schooling. We are pleased to announce that our winner is... toknowhim! Congratulations! Please correspond with me so I can send your books to you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Why I love homeschooling

Our contest is still going on through this Sunday. If you have not already told us why you love homeschooling or given us a highlight you still can.
I was reminded why I love homeschooling just three weeks ago. Though it is a happy sad story. My grandmother passed away two weeks ago and she was 95 years old. She was very active till about 6 months ago, and a part of my kids lives. She was one of my biggest cheerleaders and adored my children. The last month of her life she was sick and mostly sleeping. One afternoon I took my children over to say goodbye. They had been wanting to see her one last time, and it was hard to know their last memories would be of her lying in bed. By a miracle two days later she rebounded in the morning. My mom called me to tell me to come over quickly with the kids so they could see their great grandma awake. I packed all 6 kids in the van and quickly drove over. Their great grandma was just thrilled to see them and they were so excited to get to see the great grandma they remembered. She talked to each of them, held their hands, and told them how much she loved them. It was the last time they saw her.
I was reflecting on how if they had been in school that Wednesday they would have missed out on seeing her awake. She went to sleep after seeing them and never woke up again. My kids had one last chance to see her and we were available.
That is why I love homeschooling. We are available to live life.
Let us know why you do.
Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Registration now open for Northwestern University’s Midwest Academic Talent Search 2011!

It is that time of year. Time to register for NUMATS. So what is that? NUMATS-Northwestern University's Midwest Academic Talent Search. So what is that?? The talent search is for students in grades 3rd-8th. Students in grades 3-6th can take the EXPLORE test. It is a test typically given to 8th graders. Students in grades 6-8 can take the ACT and/or the SAT.
So why would your student want to do that??? If your student typically scores in the top 10%, this is a great opportunity for them. An above grade level tests allows you to get a better academic picture of your student. The NUMATS web site has a great explanation about the program. The test is given all across the Midwest, and in other states as well.
The students who score in the top 1% are invited to Northwestern for an awards ceremony in June. Some states like Michigan and Wisconsin have their own awards ceremony. But whether or not your student scores high enough for an award, it is still a great opportunity for them. Some students are used to always scoring very highly on tests that are not that challenging to them. This is a chance for gifted students to be challenged. ( My son jumped out of bed the day of the test. He was so excited about the challenge.)
This might be your student as well.
Happy bubbling!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting ready for next year's assessment or record-keeping.

This is a great time of year to think about a plan for your child's 2010-2011 assessment, or just keeping a good record of your child's work. That way when the weather begins warming up again, your records are in order.

I wanted to share what I do. I set aside a file folder with each child's name on it. I then choose a date. (maybe your child's birthday, a number in the middle of the month you pay bills on, or your anniversary date) I use the 17th as it is our anniversary. On the 17th of each month I put aside a dated work sample from each subject into the file folder for each child. I may add a picture of a project my kids are working on, or some art work. I also write some notes on the inside of the folder or on a sheet of paper noting any progress my child has made that month. At the end of the year, I have my work samples ready for an assessment. This method also helps me to celebrate the progress my children have made during year. It is easy to forgot those things in the grind of life. We have our new assessment forms up for the 2010-2011 school year. You may want to include those in the folder as well.

I would love to hear how others take care of record keeping. Write a comment and let us know.
Happy Filing!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


We have been cleaning here for the last week, and will continue this week.  Cleaning out homeschool drawers for the 6 and under crowd, shelves for the 10 and up crowd, and bookshelves filled with teacher helps.  Cleaning out the Montessori room, kitchen cupboards,  and thinking about what we still need for next year.

 We homeschool year round with breaks in between.  It seems easier for us to get back to school work after a 2 or 3 week break than a longer one.  I laughingly say that my kids are better people when they are doing math problems. We have taken breaks in December, April, July, and September  in the past, or when I have had it.   This year I am contemplating going 6 weeks on and 1 week off.  Taking a break for Christmas, Easter, and around the 4th of July.  It seems to help if we all can stop and do something fun, clean the house, and remember that school work is way more fun than cleaning kitchen cupboards.  My goal is always to make math facts look more fun that they did a few weeks ago.

Some pictures below of some of our shelves. Would LOVE to hear other people's schedules. How do you break up your year?  Year round or summers off?

The book shelves and school drawers.

N's school shelf

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do you think your child is gifted?

Do you think your child is gifted?   Now that sounds like a loaded question, but actually it isn't.  Parents are usually the best judge of whether their child is gifted.
If you know your child is gifted, or have been wondering if  they are, a great place to explore  is Hoagies. (Yes, like the sandwich.)   It is a great web site for all things gifted.  There is a great deal of information on homeschooling, the different levels of giftedness, and many articles about the needs of gifted children.  I highly recommend it.  I learn something each time I stop by.  
Happy learning!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Danny Books by Mary Ruth Books

My son loves his Danny Books. Danny Books are published by Mary Ruth Books. The books are sold in sets of 6. The books come in varying reading levels. The web site says, " Our books are created with the idea of stimulating young children to enjoy reading while they are practicing the strategies necessary for becoming successful readers. " I have seen my son's reading improve as he reads these books. They have become an integral part of him learning to read.
The books have pictures of Danny the dog participating in various activities. The books have a way making me smile as we read them together each day. They are wholesome books that beginning readers can't help but love. We love Danny! Check them out.

Monday, July 12, 2010

AIMS for Science and Math

When I taught in Georgia I was introduced to AIMS. (Activities Integrating Math and Science). AIMS is non-profit organization dedicated to helping you give students a solid conceptual understanding of math and science, built on research in best practices and brain-based learning.

I have always loved their hands on activities. They sell books that range in price from $20-$40 with activities by theme for grades Kindergarten through 9th grade. Some examples of themes are: Plants, Physics, Problem Solving, Probability, etc. They also have fabulous $2.00 activities you can download. If you live near a university with a Teacher Education Library, they sometimes have the books available to borrow. Inter-library loans would be another way to try them out. There are also free samples of activities on the web site.

My kids love the activities. The supplies are usually things you have around the house, or very basic science equipment. They also sell a small group/homeschool science kit. The activities include making predictions, making a graphs, and charting results. The charts and all forms are all made for you. The instructions are easy to follow.

This is a great way to add experiments to your science program, or problem solving to your math curriculum.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Lego Quest

Legos are such an awesome way for kids to work on so many skills.  They help with imagination, visual spatial skills, math, science, and are just plain fun. My boys and my girls love them.  The duplos for the little ones and regular size for the 5 and up crowd.

This summer my children have been following the blog Lego Quest.  They are crazy about it.  Each week the blog presents a Lego challenge.  The kids have a week to complete the challenge, take a picture of their creation, and then send it in.  The pictures are posted on the blog and commented on by Sam the blog owner.  Sam  does a great job affirming creativity, and giving good feedback.  My kids can't wait to see their creations on her her site, read what she wrote,  and check out what everyone else has completed for the challenge.  The range of projects is truly amazing.

This last week the challenge was to make a Lego boat that floats.  My boys spent hours building their boats in the basement and coming up to our bathroom sink to see if the boat floated.  They learned about buoyancy, design, and some engineering skills.  They experimented with many designs before snapping a picture of their final one.  It was amazing to watch all they learned.  I highly recommend Lego Quest!

Happy Building!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Hallelujah Flight

I love strolling through my library. I love to look for the NEW sticker on the side of books. This last time I found a great book called The Hallelujah Flight by Phil Bildner. This is a picture book about the 1932 flight of James Banning and his copilot and mechanic Thomas Allen, both African Americans. The book tells their story and introduces the readers to dangers they faced flying, their desperate lack of supplies, and some of the prejudice they faced. It is worth checking out to read. All my kids loved the story. A great way to bring in history through a trade book. 
Fly high!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Journey to the Stars. . . from your TV.
Someone sent this to me on a homeschool e-loop. NASA and the American Museum of History are giving away a free DVD.    I thought it might be something everyone would enjoy! The above link explains the DVD and tell you how to order. 

Happy Star Gazing!