Friday, October 20, 2017

Fall's Golden Days

Fall’s Golden Days

Halfway between school starting and Thanksgiving is where I find myself today…It is a lovely day in my neighborhood, and we have been homeschooling for several weeks now. We have a busy schedule this year, but that is a story for another article…maybe…if I survive it! So as I stare at a blank screen…preparing to write…I’ve got nothing.
Fall is a time in our home to catch our breath and hold on…everything starts, school is amped up and running, and we are just trying to get used to our new schedules, hoping I have the brain power to remember we need dinner. We are hoping to implement some Sabbath rest weeks into our school year to give us respite…but, right now, we are nose to the grindstone. I thought it might be fun to share some lesser known holidays for October…maybe you can find one to color your month, bless someone else, or just create a memory together.

October 2- Name Your Car Day
October 4- National Frappe Day
October 4- International Frugal Fun Day
October 5- Do Something Nice Day
October 11- It’s My Party Day
October 11- Take Your Teddy Bear to Work Day
October 14- National Dessert Day
October 17- Wear Something Gaudy Day
October 18- Sweetest Day
October 21- Count Your Buttons Day
October 21- National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day
October 24- National Bologna Day
October 25- Make a Difference Day
October 26- Mother In Law Day

We may try a couple of these…just for fun! When we do, we will add them to our Year Book in a Box from the Smart Kids Launchpad. We will be gathering pictures and memorabilia throughout our school year to remind our children of all the great things we have done this year. The Smart Kids Launchpad is a FANTASTIC site filled with activities for you to do with your children to teach them responsibility, money and the value of hard work. I have several of these activities open in my web browser.
Since I have included a couple of dessert holidays, I will not leave you high and dry with nothing to make. Let me recommend some Gingerbread, Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Cheesecake , or this Apple Cake…Now, I already hear it…the groanings…but NOT ALL APPLE CAKES are created alike. I think you might really enjoy this one. Originally from a 1997 Cooking Light magazine, I switched out all the low fat subs for the real deal and this has been a family favorite ever since. Feel free to make the switch back to the low fat equivalents – we just prefer to eat certain things, like butter rather than margarine.

Apple Cake

• 1 ¾ cups sugar, divided
• ½ stick butter, softened
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
• 2 large eggs
• 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
• 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
• ¼ tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
• 3 cups chopped peeled apples (use a type good for cooking. My recipe suggests Romes, but I usually use Jonagolds or Fujis for this cake)
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat 1 ½ cups sugar, butter, vanilla and cream cheese until well blended.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture beating on low until just blended.
5. Combine ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon. Sprinkle 2 Tablespoons of the cinnamon sugar over the chopped apples, stirring to combine.
6. Fold apples into batter. Pour batter into a 9 inch springform pan and sprinkle with reserved cinnamon sugar mix.
7. Bake for one hour, 10 minutes or until cake pulls away from the sides.
8. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut with a serrated knife.
9. Serve with whipped cream if desired.

Hoping your fall into fall is colored with love and fun, but just in case it is a rougher transition for you, remember, MANY of us get to Fall Back on November 5th! 
Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics

The Catcher in the Rye

Hello!  I am back again as we are wrapping up this book.  I had never read The Catcher in the Rye before and was a little concerned as I was reading it.  I almost axed it, but decided to leave it in our line-up.  I will say that there is an extensive use of God's name in here that is not what you would call reverent  It was so frequent, that it was distracting.  Also, there is some sexual content that you might want to be aware of.  Definitely pre-read this before deciding whether or not it is appropriate for your family.

So, here are some resources we used for this book:

First, I enjoyed the Crash Course videos on this book.  I don't always agree with what he you may want to watch this before your student as well.

We used this resource from Teacher's Pay Teachers as a Study Guide.  This should be the Pinterest Link for that study guide if you can't see it on the other one.

We printed this timeline off and this plot diagram. I believe both of these resources were free when we did this.
We also used pages 7-13 of this resource.  It was creating journal entries as if you were Holden.  We are not finished with the book yet, but my daughter has enjoyed doing this.
I had her read this article (The link was not working when I grabbed it...It is the New Yorker article Who Was J.D. Salinger by Adam Gopnik, September 5, 2013, in case it is still not working when you go to look.)
I wanted to do a mind map similar to the one in this packet, but we haven't done it yet and I don't see it getting added in at this point in time.  A One Pager would be a good idea too.
I think that is it!  Next up, The Crucible!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

2.0 and To Kill a Mockingbird

The last two years, we have been greatly blessed to be a part of a small co-op that we called 2.0.  It was run by a small group of moms and we had a particular focus with this...getting these kids ready for college classes.  I don't know if you are aware or not, but homeschool families have particular things we don't do well.  DEADLINES are one of those...Anyway, that is not all that important right now, but we were blessed to have the strengths of others to teach some wonderful things.  My good friend was one of those blessings.  She gave two of my children a love for some great books. I am trying to re-create that for my girl this year, but I am no where near as wonderful as she is.  And we also don't have that wonderful group atmosphere either...BUT, this momma desires her sanity.

So, I thought I would share some of what we are doing for each book.  I want to be able to remember what we did...and HOPEFULLY be able to find it again!  You can take it, leave it or give your feedback. I know there is a variety of thoughts about what we should allow our children to read and all.  We have an interesting list this year, but I would like to expose my children to these titles when we can talk about them together.

I read To Kill a Mockingbird for the first time two years ago and LOVED it!  I knew that I wanted my children to read it.  We watched the Gregory Peck movie then, so we didn't watch it again this time, but I would recommend that...after you read the book.

We did not do tons for this book, because I was not on top of my game early enough...but I did LOVE this resource from Teachers Pay Teachers...You may need to be logged in to see it...if so, here is the Pinterest link for it

I also had my daughter do a One Pager.  Here are some examples.  I have not looked at all of these, so use just never know what will pop up in a Google search.

We did not do everything in this resource, but we did play with creating a Fakebook page for one of the characters...It was fun!

I also had her write an essay...I can't remember where I grabbed the questions I gave her, but here is a list.

I think that is it!

Monday, July 10, 2017

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

BOOK Club–‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”

Originally Posted on Home & School Mosaics:
This month we are focusing on the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff.  Two of our writers took on the challenge of this book in their homes and they will be sharing their thoughts and some activities you can do.  The writer for this month is Carrie Cannon.

Did you enjoy the book? Why? Why not?
I LOVE this book. The charming illustrations combined with the innocent and silly series of cause and effect instances that happen when you give a Mouse a Cookie are amusing and entertaining for children.
How did the book compare to other books by the author (or other books in the same genre)?
The author has a series of books that follow the same lines of what happens when you do this. They are fun as well, but If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is by far my most favorite. She has several other books, but I have not read any of those yet.
What about the plot? Did it pull you in; or did you feel you had to force yourself to read the book?
The book is so fun and the illustrations are so wonderful, that you find yourself turning the pages to find out what happens next. I LOVE that it circles back to the beginning…you can see the whole thing happening again!
How realistic was the characterization? Would you want to meet any of the characters? Did you like them? Hate them?
I loved the characterization. I am not sure I would call it realistic, but the characters are sweet throughout the story. I love that the mouse seems to gather energy throughout the book, while the boy is continually cleaning up behind the mouse and looks pretty worn out by the end of the story. Many of the actions remind me of life at home with children. Their wonderful energy, never ending flow of ideas, their creativity, their boundless energy paired with my fatigue at the end of the day, the mouse wanting to sign his name on his picture with a pen, getting scotch tape…my children would have so much fun with a roll of scotch tape.
Did the actions of the characters seem plausible? Why? Why not?
Setting aside the fact that this is a mouse doing these things, I do believe the actions of the characters are plausible. One thing just leads to another all throughout the story. The mouse bounces from one activity to the next with enthusiasm, a little bit of drama and a sweetness that is irresistible to readers of all ages.
Did the book end the way you expected?
I can’t remember what I expected the first time I read it…it has been so long ago. Now, when we read it, it just seems like that is the way it HAS to be.
Would you recommend this book to other readers? To your close friend?
Absolutely YES! My family has all loved this book! It has a nice story with the BEST illustrations. A wonderful book for children!
The Title of this book is ” If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”. The Title is simply the name of the book.
Laura Joffe Numberoff is the Author of the book and her Website is here and you can read about the author here.
An Author is a person who writes a book.
Felicia Bond is the Illustrator and you can find out more about her here.
An Illustrator is the person who draws the pictures in a book.

Activities for “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”

My children are all a little too old to do many of the activities for this book, but I had my youngest do a couple of them so I would have pictures! We also took some cookies and a copy of the book to our neighbor for a treat!
Try walking through each step of the story. Have a cookie, ask for a glass of milk, see if you have a milk mustache, get a hair cut…and so on.
Make a bed…either your bed or make up a bed somewhere in the house out of something else….snuggle down and looks at books…or take a NAP!!!
Make a family portrait and sign it with a pen. Hang it on the fridge.
Have fun with scotch tape
Clean up after yourself
Start your own if you give a….. story…
Take cookies/the book to a neighbor or friend

Make “signs” of the nouns in the picture…tape them onto the item
Note the verbs…do the actions
Here is a couple of wonderful Chocolate Chip Cookie printables, which are also on my Pinterest board, but you can create all kinds of games with these…numbers, colors, letters, whatever you are working on in your home!
Talk with your child or children about when happens when we do this and introduce the idea of cause and effect. Here is a good article on that.
Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics

Monday, May 1, 2017

Raising Mission's Minded Children

Raising Missions-Minded Children

We have always had a soft spot in our hearts for Missions/Missionaries. We have been very blessed to create strong friendships with many missionaries because of this. We raised our children around Missionaries, with Missionary stories, etc. We know that not everyone can go to Africa, but we can all support Missions/Missionaries in a variety of ways. Here is a short list of some of the things we have done in our family that have helped instill a Missions-Minded Heart:
We began our adventure in being Missions Minded by writing to the Missionaries our church supported. It began before we had children and continued for many years. As more children came and homeschooling began, those letters really slowed down. I cannot tell you how humbling it was to hear that my letters were the only contact one missionary had while overseas. Especially when I had known I had not written much. Missionaries were always gracious in writing back. This was the best gift to us! Please be VERY careful when writing missionaries. Some countries are not very friendly to the gospel. Also, packages are not as helpful as you might think. Some are opened and things are stolen, but often times, the packages are given pretty heavy fees. More than you would pay for the items being sent. Some good friends of ours are in the process of becoming a missionary family. It will be so much fun for my children to write to them when they go into the field and those children will be blessed as well! Most of the missionary friends we had in the early days did not have children with them in the field.
Attend Missions Conferences if your church has them. Most of the missionaries we know come home once every four years. This is a very busy time for them as they are reporting in with supporting churches, seeing family, taking care of needs, preparing to go back, getting some continuing education, raising more support, and so many other things we all take for granted. These times of “furlough” or home assignment are often filled with more activity than being away. It is a sign of respect and love to attend these meetings. This is where they get to see that they are loved and not forgotten. Can you imagine what it would be like to be alone in a foreign country where you speak very little of the language? We have had missionaries stay in our homes while in town for these conferences, which has blessed us all. I will never forget my little girl crying out incredulously, “YOU WERE BORN IN A TOILET???” at the end of a story a missionary was telling us. We have all formed strong bonds with those who have stayed in our homes. Our children have seen that missionaries are just normal people with a passion to share the gospel with a particular part of the world.
If you can afford it at all, support missionaries. Our regular giving to our church supports several missionaries, we take up special offerings as needs arise, support missionaries independently of our church, and are sometimes led for a particular gift. Any amount helps, even if only $5 a month. Throw all your change in a jar and save that for a missionary need. You will never miss it, and I am sure it will greatly bless someone! I will never forget one day when one of my children was younger. A need for a missionary came up and we knew we were going to take up a collection for it. He took every bit of money he had and put it into the offering plate…every dollar, every coin (I am sure the treasurer LOVED that!)…as his momma, I was tempted to tell him he didn’t have to do that…but I didn’t. My child got so much joy in giving that gift. Children can often be such natural and generous givers. Let them know how important their gift is.
Read biographies of missionaries. YWAM has a great collection of children’s missionary biographies included in their Heroes of the Faith series. Not everyone of these are missionary stories, but they have several that are.   My children LOVED these books about Gladys Aylward, George Mueller, Eric Liddell, Nate Saint and more. We learned of their great faith and more about OUR GREAT GOD!   Often times, after reading the YWAM book, I would look for more books on that person to learn more about their life. These really are great books!
Study different countries and cultures, especially the ones you have missionary friends in. Learn about the country’s people, customs, environment, and culture. Try their food! It would be fun to make it for your missionary friends when they come to your neck of the woods.
If your child starts talking like they want to go to Africa, encourage that. Do not treat being a missionary like they are doing this because they couldn’t get a better job anywhere else. You might never say this to your child, but we sometimes communicate that when it comes to OUR child wanting to go into Missions. These missionaries have a heart for God and a passion for getting the gospel out to people who are perishing. A great missionary, Jim Elliot, once said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” If God is calling your child into missions, let them go with your blessing and with great joy.

Be missionaries to those around you who do not know Christ. Speak truth, be loving and gracious, be involved in their lives, listen to them…this list is really endless. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…” This essentially makes every one of us a missionary.
This is not a complete list by any means, and I am sure you can think of more ideas, maybe even better ideas. This is just a list of things we have done in our house to encourage and support missions and missionaries. We currently have a boy talking about going to Africa when he is older. I don’t know if that will happen or not, but I will trust God to lead each of us along the path He has for us!
Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics

Monday, April 3, 2017

Just a Little Flat

Just a Little Flat

I’ve mentioned before that I go to the World’s Best Co-op Evah…did I happen to mention Biology Dissection Lab? Well, it is co-op season again and we are midterm into this session of co-op. One of the classes I have done before, and am teaching again now, is a Flat Stanley Class. There are so many ways you can take a Flat Stanley Class, that I thought I would share a few of my ideas and maybe this would encourage you as well.
First, we begin with reading “Flat Stanley” out loud and making our Flats. We will make 3 to send out and one more for me to keep until the end of class for a surprise. I LOVE using the Cricut Everyday Paper Doll Cartridge (# 291042) for these. They really turned out CUTE! (Now, because it is just disturbing to me to have their little behinds all nake-y, I flip the paper over after I have cut one set of clothes and cut a second set for the back side so it all matches up…if you are ok with naked little backsides, by all means leave them bare.) I have planned two class periods for this.

The next week, we will ATTEMPT to work on addressing an envelope. Last time I did this, I thought, we would do this each week. Well, with 4 boys aged K-2, that QUICKLY got thrown out the window. This year, I have the same age group, but much more realistic expectations. We are still going to try to do this one time, but will talk more about the proper way to address it, where the stamp goes, and what happens next. You could work in a full Post Office/Mail unit study if you like. (Update: This went so much better than I could have expected this time! So glad we did it! Also emphasized that a STAMP is NOT a STICKER!)
After the third week, we will read portions of some of the remaining books. From these, I am planning for one food item and one activity for each book. Things I learned last time: Papier Mache piñatas MIGHT be the way to go. DO NOT TRY to create your own from cardboard and tape…unless you want to be VERY FRUSTRATED. WE have not yet done the Papier Mache, so I may scrap it entirely if that doesn’t work either. ALWAYS practice the origami project before attempting to teach it. We barely got a Ninja Star done last time. Have a wonderful helper who lives to fill in the gaps you leave by flying by the seat of her pants! I have had the best helpers ever and they totally save face for me before these kids as I can be a whirlwind type in this kind of a class…(UPDATE:  Ditch the pinatas...TRUST ME on this one!)
So, here are some ideas I am thinking over with the books and which weeks I am planning on using them. I am writing this article at the beginning of the class, and I have already told you I am a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl, so this MAY change AND since it is at the beginning, I have not yet had the opportunity to tell you what went well and what did not. I will try to post updates to my blog so you can keep up to speed on it if you are interested. (UPDATE:  That did not happen...but you can still check out my blog!  AND by this time, I THINK I will be most of the way through my third time with this you just never know!!!)
Week 4: Mount Rushmore Calamity – I will be talking a bit about the History of Mount Rushmore and why the four presidents were chosen. We will take a look at the South Dakota and Mount Rushmore Quarters just for fun, try some beef jerky, and make a Mount Rushmore Card to take home. This week, we will also begin some light map work, coloring in the area we are talking about. I have glued a U.S. map and a World map into a file folder to keep these neat. I had a hard time deciding what to do this week. Many crafts for Mount Rushmore were rubbings of a Quarter, Nickel, Dime and Penny to create the mountain, but it bothered me that Franklin D. Roosevelt was used for Theodore Roosevelt. I got the card idea from a blog post I found on the Clearwater Public Library Family Connection site . My version is a tweak on what they did, but I was pleased to get the inspiration!  
(Update: This class time went very well…I forgot to get pictures of their cards, but I will try to explain as best as I can: We folded over a sheet of blue construction paper. On the front, we glued a color picture of Mount Rushmore. Inside, we glued a copy of the coloring page that is linked in the post above. Here it is just to keep life easy. For the back, I printed off the four presidents from some cards I found and cut around them. We glued them on and wrote what they represented: Washington represents birth, Jefferson growth, Roosevelt development, and Lincoln preservation.)
(ANOTHER UPDATE:  I could not get the pictures to load from the Library blog post...not sure what the issue is there...Big bummer!)
Week 5: Australian Boomerang Bonanza – I MAY try to see if I can find some Vegemite for the kids to try…I hear this is a BIG deal down under. If not, I know there are some cookies that are also very popular.  We will also be making boomerangs from foam core board and I will bring in origami boomerangs that actually SHOULD return to you when you throw them. I will make these at home though…I don’t think that my group can be this precise. (UPDATE:  I waited too long to find Vegemite...I think I found some Australian candy for them)
Week 6: The Amazing Mexican Secret – We will be making cheese quesadillas with the SECRET ingredient and making a piñata. The Piñata MAY take two weeks…if it does, we will not do the activity planned for week 12. (UPDATE: Just say no to the Pinata!!!  Get something like these instead if YOU HAVE TO DO THEM...and if the link is gone, just search mini pinatas on Amazon...PLEASE TRUST ME ON THIS!)
Week 7: Japanese Ninja Surprise-Origami – We will try a Ninja Star and I will send home some papers for them, with directions, to make a crane to make at home. We will have the children try Roasted Seaweed Sheets that you can get at Costco. We have MANY people at our co-op who love these, so MANY of the children enjoy them as well. I will have a back up treat if that fails…maybe pocky…(upate:  Have an Origami NINJA helper if this is not your gift!  We did the one project and sent the other home.  Did the seaweed and pocky)
Week 8: The Flying Chinese Wonders – I have not yet fully developed this one because I just received the book …but I have a fantastic picture of The Great Wall of China that my husband’s great aunt took when she was there and I will bring that in as well as some of those rice paper candy things you can get at the store. We used to get these from time to time in the Chinese Restaurant when we were little. The book mentions Chinese New Year, talks a little about determination and lists some Chinese Food. The book also covers quite a bit about acrobatics…maybe this will be a good time to do somersaults or cartwheels. Emperor Qin’s Terra Cotta Army is mentioned too and that would be a fabulous thing to show the students as well. We will either make a Chinese Dragon Puppet or a paper lantern. We will have fortune cookies and tea too!
Week 9: The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery – I will be making falafel and bringing in my good friend’s Persian dip. I have a pin on my Flat Stanley board for making mummies in a sarcophagus , or we can use hieroglyphics and make a Cartouche. I also have a pin for a death mask…so LOTS of ideas for this one.
Week 10: The Intrepid Canadian Expedition – For Canada, I am thinking of creating Northern Lights Art and serving up some poutine. If poutine isn’t in the cards, I may try to get my hands on some Canadian snack. Growing up in a hockey family, I may JUST HAVE to talk about the Stanley Cup too! (Update:  I had a friend who was going up into Canada close to when my class was and she brought back some candy.  I cannot even believe I was thinking about making poutine...)
Week 11: The U.S. Capital Commotion – For the U.S. Capital week, there are so many different directions to go, that I am having a hard time focusing.   I may try making a model of the Washington Monument, or we may make newspaper hats. Many D.C. attractions are mentioned and there will be no end of what we can talk about. I may give just an overview of them all. For a snack, I was thinking Apple Pie, because what is more American than that, but Nachos/Chips and Salsa are mentioned in the book so I may do that instead.  (Update:  I cannot even remember what we did was week 11 for goodness sakes!  And actually, I think this ended up being week 12 because something took longer.)
Week 12: The African Safari Discovery -The African Safari book is my ace in the hole. I don’t think we will get to it, because I am pretty sure week six will be two weeks long. It is the book I am also having the most trouble pulling ideas from. I would LOVE your suggestions on what you would find interesting to do with this one. (Update: We did NOT end up doing this one!)

Check out some of the links I have used on my Flat Stanley Pinterest Board. I have not used all of these ideas, but some did spur on other ideas or are for future use too!
So, a couple of last thoughts:
In this class, I send out all the flats. I want to be sure they get sent and not set aside and forgotten.  I have notified all the parents that I will need three addresses before co-op starts, so they are prepared to have that for me either the second or third week. If my children can, I have them address the envelopes we are sending out. If not, then I do it and mail it with a letter for the person receiving it.
I chose to send out three flats, HOPING they would at least get one back. This time, I made a 4th flat for each child and I am HOPING to create a little book for each one. This might be a bit adventurous when push comes to shove, so we will see if it gets finished, but my thought was just in case someone did not get anything back.  (Update:  The book did not happen, but I had a friend make a cookie for them that looked like their was AMAZING!)
Have you ever done a class on Flat Stanley? If so, I’d love to hear your ideas! If not, I hope I’ve inspired you!
Originally Posted at Home and School Mosaics

Friday, March 24, 2017

For Love and Honor

For Love and Honor
Written by Jody Hedlund
Published by Zondervan Publishing
Ages: Young Adult
Cost: $12.99

I have had some HEAVY reading on my list recently, so when I finished my latest 425 page book on the cousin kings of World War I, I was so happy to have some easy reading to give my brain some pleasure.
For Love and Honor filled the gap beautifully.  A story of chivalry, adventure and love, with a historical context (WHICH I LOVE) was a quick and enjoyable read.  Both Lady Sabine and Sir Bennett have a secret that drives this book forward to its finish.  Will it be true love or a disaster?  I am sure you can figure it out, but there were some twists and turns I did not expect along the way, and there is a sweet resolution at the end.
For those concerned about the romantic element, it is all handled graphic descriptions, but you can feel the attraction.  If you are concerned about the material, an advanced read might be beneficial.
I personally enjoyed this book, ,but I am also careful not to read too much in the romantic genre as I don't find it helpful in real life.

* I received this product to help facilitate a frank and honest review.  All opinions are my own.  Your results and/or opinions may vary.