Monday, September 29, 2014

Make a Card Monday - Sunflower Squiggles

I always like the color combo of this card. It's a lot less layered than I'd probably make today though.

cardstock: green (unknown), cream (unknown)

color: Jardin Moss, Sunflower ink (Palette); Prismacolor pencils

stamps: Background Squiggles, Squiggle Ladybugs (The Angel Company)

Monday, September 22, 2014

Make a Card Monday - Bright Angel

Here's another card from days gone by. I inked the edges to add some dimension but other than that pretty straightforward.

cardstock: yellow (unknown), white (Georgia Pacific)
patterned paper: stripe (Basic Grey)
embellishments: fibers (EK Success)
color: Burnt Umber, Noir ink (Palette)
tools: hole punch
stamps: Little Inspirations (The Angel Company)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Make a Card Monday - Lavender Field

So I told you about my Copic Coloring Class and showed you the cards. Well, in order to go to the class, I needed a way to transport all of my markers. The only thing that fit everything was a lunchbox tin that holds all of my handmade cards. I have all the handmade cards that have ever been sent to me plus a whole bunch of cards that I made once upon a time.
It was getting a bit full.
After I used the tin for class, I decided to pull out all the ones I made and just add them to my card stash. After blogging about them of course. It's funny to see how my cards have changed over the years.
Here's a purple flower card I made as a class demo to show second-generation stamping.

cardstock: dark and light purple base (Bazzill), green (unknown), white (Georgia Pacific)
embellishments: brads (Making Memories Tropical), ribbon (unknown)
color: Lavender Sachet, Violete, Landscape, and Noir ink (Palette)
tools: circle cutter (Creative Memories)
stamps: Something for You, Love and Joy (The Angel Company)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

School Summary - Early Colonization: Jamestown and the Pilgrims

A Summary of August 25 - September 5

We've rolled right back into a full school schedule without too much difficulty. I'm thankful that the younglings adjusted to the routine rather easily. I think, to be honest, that they just do better with a more structured routine. I've had a few grumbles about things here and there but for the most part attitudes have been good. We're getting everything done and finding time to add in some extras.
Here's what we did:

Things that were scheduled:
Language Arts (Grammar, Reading, and Writing)
This year both younglings are using IEW's U.S. History Based Writing. It's been helpful, I think, for us to go through the lessons together, brainstorming, doing key word outlines, discussing the techniques. They help each other along with the brainstorming parts so they don't get stuck. Having (and using) the teacher's manual has been invaluable thus far. I had them watch the Teaching with Structure and Style DVDs as well as the Student Intensive A DVDs this summer which has helped us as well.
Soprano continued working through activites for Sarah, Plain and Tall. One assignment was to write an advertisement for a brother or sister.  I thought she understood that she was writing a "wanted" ad. Nope, she wrote an ad to "sell" Tenor. *shaking head* Ah, sibling love.

Typing, Greek (Tenor), Spanish (Tenor), Home Ec (Soprano)
I went searching online for Tenor's Greek program and realized that if he were to complete levels 2 and 3 this year, then he would have one volume per year through 12th grade. So we are now on a mission to double up the lessons. It hasn't been difficult since his beginning lessons this year are all review of the Greek alphabet.
We haven't started Spanish yet. Soprano has done a few home ec. lessons beginning the year off with revisiting baking.

My Father's World Exploration to 1850
I caught the tail end of an airing of 60 Minutes last week where they were interviewing a man, Nicholas Winton, who had saved hundreds of mostly Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. His story is amazing but something he said caught my attention. He said something to the effect of 'the past is in the past, and we shouldn't look back only forward.' (I'm paraphrasing.) I agree... even Paul tells us to "forget what is behind and press on toward the goal." But there's danger in not looking at the past at all. It was clear this week as we studied history that we need to remember how our country came to be and to use our history as examples of what to do and what not to do.

Bible: This year we're doing an in-depth study of the book of James and attempting to memorize the entire book. We're up to verse 11 of chapter 1. Although verses 9-11 are still a little fuzzy.

Science: We jumped into AIG's The World of Animals starting with mammals. We compared human hair (Tenor kindly donated a sample since he was due for a haircut) and animal hair (our neighbor's dog) under the microscope. We checked our heartbeats and compared it to that of an elephant whose heart beats about 28 beats per minute. We also timed ourselves holding our breath to see how long we could do it. We didn't come close to a sperm whale which can hold its breath for an hour or more!
Soprano's notebook sheet for mammals. She chose to present the info like a newspaper.
History: We read about King James and how he wasn't as sympathetic to the Puritans and Separatists as they were hoping which prompted the Great Migration to North America. For all his faults though he did give us the King James Bible which has been used for hundreds of years. We also read about the Gunpowder Plot and had a campfire while reading the Guy Fawkes poem, "Remember, remember the fifth of November...". 
The first permanent settlement was Jamestown which we studied this week. We learned all about Powhatan, Pocahontas, John Smith, and the other settlers. Not quite the story Disney portrayed in its movie. We made wigwams like the Powhatan Indians lived in. I find some connection with the story because I'm related to Pocahontas (way, way back through marriage) on my mother's side. Cool, eh? After touching on Jamestown, we learned about Samuel de Champlain.
Tenor cut his door flap so it could lift and close.
The following week was a brief look at Henry Hudson and his discoveries. It's fascinating that they aren't really sure what happened to him. I wonder if he was taken in by an Indian tribe somewhere in Canada or if he really perished in the boat that he got sent out in by his mutinous crew. Hmm... the original "As the World Turns" drama?
Then it was all about the Pilgrims. Most of this history I was familiar with but it was neat to get a more in-depth look at Miles Standish. We skipped playing the Indian games as scheduled because the younglings had the opportunity to attend a program through our local environmental center called "Native American Games" a few weeks ago. The games they played there were very similar to the ones in the teacher manual.
We also went to a Native American festival this summer. It wasn't quite what we were expecting but we got to see tribal dancing, lots of handcrafts, and Tenor even got to shoot a blow dart.
I added in some map work from the SOTW activity book (Britain and Jamestown, Champlain's Exploration, and New Colonies in the New World). I also added two timeline pieces from Homeschool in the Woods (Champlain and Hudson).

Other MFW: 
Music: We listened to several selections by Franz Schubert and learned our second hymn, "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms." I taught Tenor the tenor counterpoint for the chorus. It was so sweet! Shh... don't tell him I said that.
Art: We (and by we, I mean the younglings) each painted a still life. Tenor chose a flower model he made for a summer botany project. Soprano chose her favorite stuffed horse. We also were introduced to Peter Paul Rubens.
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 1-14.
Other videos we watched:
Drive Thru History: Jamestown
Mammal videos from Answers in Genesis
including: mountain lion, porcupine, bats, elephant, giraffe, Maddy the Lemur, Prickles the Porcupine, baboon, and gibbons
Virtual Field Trip at Plimouth Plantation (There's one in the youtube playlist but two different videos on their website).

They also played a web game about Captain John Smith.
We didn't get to it but there's free curriculum available to go along with the movie Dolphin Tale.

Animated Hero Classics: Pocahontas by Nest Entertainment
Pocahontas by Disney
Explorers of the World: French Explorers by Schlessinger Media
American History for Children: Early Settlers by Schlessinger Media
The Mayflower by Learn Our History 
Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower by The History Channel
Explorers of the World: Henry Hudson by Schlessinger Media
Dolphin Tale by Warner Bros. Entertainment
Ocean Adventures: Whales, Waves, and Ocean Wonders by Zonderkidz (ColdWater Media)

Favorite Books: 
Animal Faces by Akira Satoh
Brueghel's the Fair by Ruth Craft
James Towne: Struggle for Survival by Marcia Sewall
Jamestown: New World Adventure by James Knight
You Wouldn't Want to Be an American Colonist by Jacqueline Morley
On the Mayflower: Voyage of the Ship's Apprentice and a Passenger Girl by Kate Waters
P is for Pilgrim by Carol Crane
Samuel Eaton's Day by Kate Waters
Sarah Morton's Day by Kate Waters
Squanto's Journey by Joseph Bruchac
The Thanksgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
Who's That Stepping on Plymouth Rock? by Jean Fritz

Monday, September 8, 2014

Make a Card Monday - Copic Coloring Class

I've been stocking up on alcohol markers but have been too scared to put them to use. Fortunately a solution came to light. Copic Coloring Class!
I had a little mommy sabbatical in July when I got to house sit for my folks. A craft store that's close to their house had a class slated for the week I was there. The instructor let us use her Copic markers to get the general idea of how they worked. We colored in a variety of stamped images to try some different techniques.
This past month they had a second class where we got to put those techniques to use on a few cards. Here are my results:
Card 1 - outside
Card 1 - inside
Card 2
Card 3 with blank space for future sentiment
I don't have all the details because the cards were pre-designed and pre-cut for the class.
I'll give you what I know though.
Card 1:
stamps: girl image (Magnolia) sentiment (unknown)
markers: Spectrum Noir (FS2, FS3, FS6, PP1, TN2, TN7, TN8) and Copic (YR14, BG45, BG49)
ink: Memoir
tool: Nestabilities label die
cardstock, patterned paper, pearl embellishments, twine (unknown)
We used a white gel pen to add the polka dots on the dress after it dried. I also used YR14 and BG45 to color the flowers and then added little pearls.

Card 2:
stamp: lily image (unknown)
markers: Spectrum Noir (BP6, PP5, PP3, PP1, CG1, CG2, DG3) and Copic (B0000, 0)
ink: Memoir black
tool: Nestabilities circle die
cardstock, ribbon, patterned paper (unknown)
We used the white gel pen again to go over the flower stamens after the markers were dry.

Card 3:
stamp: fox image (unknown)
markers: Spectrum Noir (CG1, CG2, DG4, BG4, BG6) and Copic (B0000, 0, YR14, YR18)
tool: embossing folder (unknown)
cardstock (unknown)

Monday, August 25, 2014

School Summary - Explorer Review, English Monarchs, & the Netherlands

The younglings got free tickets for the PA Ren Faire through our library's summer reading program. Bass has a co-worker with connections there so we were able to go for half-price.
A Summary of August 11-22

Doesn't it just seem like yesterday that I wrote our last school summary of the 2013-2014 year? How did our summer break go by so quickly?!?
Well, I kind of know where it went. In every spare minute between vacation and the pool and summer concerts and other summer activities (like the PA Ren Faire again), I was busy planning and preparing for this school year. I finally realized that the reason this year took so much longer to plan was because there are that many more resources available for this era of history. It took time to wade through all of them and decide what would be a good fit for us. I have layers of Post-It notes in my MFW teacher manual. :)
My original plan was to start with a week of just the 3 Rs and then add in everything else but plans, of course, change. We're planning to go to Williamsburg during the fall homeschool days so we needed to start with everything in order to finish studying colonial history before our trip.
Usually the first lessons are lighter anyway so it wasn't too overwhelming. Ready or not, right?
Here's what we did:

Things that were scheduled:
Soprano started Saxon 6/5. We're also continuing to use Life of Fred Butterflies. She started with a lesson in chapter 6. Tenor picked up Saxon 8/7 where he left off last year. After two weeks, he's about 1/4 through the book.
Language Arts (Grammar, Reading, and Writing)
Soprano began with Rod and Staff English 5 while Tenor began English 7.
I gave Soprano one week off from reading but she started Sarah, Plain and Tall during our second week. Tenor needed to read Island of the Blue Dolphins our first week of school in order to be ready for his assignments. They've both done some vocab exercises; Tenor did a mapping activity and did a short report on California missions in the early 1800s.

Typing, Greek (Tenor), Spanish (Tenor), Home Ec (Soprano)
A change from last year... simplifying! Can you hear my blood pressure go down? With our history studies this year, we'll be covering PA history (required for our state) as well as some government (counts as civics; also required). I'm going to add a little more map work to our history (using the Story of the World activity book) to beef up our geography. With all that we're already covering, we won't be doing anything extra there. I'm also not adding in any health curriculum. We talk about making healthy choices in our daily lives. I don't think adding in worksheets will be beneficial to us in any way.
They WILL be doing a few extras though. They need to make some more progress on typing so we'll continue with Typing Instructor. Tenor is super excited about continuing Greek and has agreed to take another year of Spanish because we'll be beta testing some curriculum. Soprano was not in the least bit interested in Spanish again so we're going to wait on foreign language for her. She'll be doing Home Ec for Homeschoolers volume 2 this year.
I'm hoping with less officially scheduled electives that they'll have time to pursue activities that they've expressed interest in like: computer coding, woodworking, leather crafting, swimming, tennis, photography, knitting, sewing, and geo-caching.
My Father's World Exploration to 1850
Here we go! I've been looking forward to teaching this era of history since we started homeschooling. I've enjoyed our other years though. I've learned so much along with the younglings. This year I'm more familiar with what we're studying but I'm sure there will be new insights and plenty of things I've forgotten I knew.

Bible: This year we're doing an in-depth study of the book of James and attempting to memorize the entire book.

Science: We're slated to study Zoology and Botany this year. We worked through 90% of the Botany book (AIG's The World of Plants) over the summer in order to be able to be outside and have better access to the plants, fruits, and veggies we needed for experiments. We didn't quite finish but set it aside to start AIG's The World of Animals as scheduled by My Father's World. We talked about days 3, 5, and 6 of Creation, when God made plants, fish and birds, and animals (including dinosaurs and people). 
I explained why we choose to study science from a Creationist perspective.
We also did lessons on classification and vertebrates and played a fun classification game online.
Tenor's mnemonic: Keep Penguins Cool Or Find Good Shelter.
Notebooking sheets I made for our science notebook
Our vertebra model
I wasn't able to get a fish backbone to look at but the grocery store butcher had a piece of pig neck with a good stretch of backbone that we were able to check out. No pics of that. You're welcome.
History: We started with a review of some North American explorers that we touched on at the end of last year: Leif Ericsson, Columbus, Cabot, de Leon, Balboa, and De Soto. 
Map work using MapTrek
Map Work from MapTrek
After that we jumped into the English monarchs and how their rules shaped the beginning exploration of America. We discussed Charles V
Instead of a written notebooking page, we used this coloring page from SOTW for Charles V.
read about William the Silent of the Netherlands and Mary, Queen of Scots and all of her opposition. I have a little more sympathy for all that she went through in her life. Marrying a not-so-great guy, being forced out of her country by power-hungry nobles, being imprisoned, and then having her son taken away from her and being forced to sign over her throne to him. No wonder she spent a lot of time on needlework. Clever gal though... she hid messages in her embroidery.
A paper version of a Marian Hanging. Notice her name (MARY S) hidden in the center of the design.

Other MFW: 
Music: Our composers for this year are Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Chopin. We started with listening to a biography about Schubert.
We're also going to be studying and learning about 15 hymns this year. We started with "This is My Father's World."
Art: Art started our second week. We are continuing with our 3rd year using God and the History of Art. We read about Peter Brueghel from the Netherlands and Hieronymous Bosch. Bosch had a very, um, imaginative style.
I spent a lot of time looking for videos this year. I didn't want anything boring or anything with poor quality music. I found some great options that will help my visual-learner younglings really cement what we're learning about history, science, music, and art. I found videos for all of the hymns we'll be learning too, in case other users out there need them. 
You can see them all in my Youtube playlist for weeks 1-14.
Other videos we watched:
Leif Ericsson
Drive Thru History: the Discovery
The Animal Kinds (part 1 and 2)

Vikings in America by Nova
Explorers of the World: Vikings by Schlessinger Media
Columbus and the Great Discover by Learn Our History 
Explorers of the World: A History of Exploration by Schlessinger Media
Explorers of the World: Spanish Explorers by Schlessinger Media
Explorers of the World: English Explorers by Schlessinger Media
Explorers of the World: Cortes and Pizarro by Schlessinger Media
Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists: Rembrandt (based on the book by Mike Venezia)
Rembrandt: Fathers and Sons by Devine Entertainment
The Name Game by Moody Video
Favorite Books: 
I, Columbus by Peter and Connie Roop
Land Ho! Fifty Glorious Years in the Age of Exploration by Nancy Winslow Parker
Montezuma and the Fall of the Aztecs by Eric Kimmel
Pish, Posh, Said Hieronymous Bosch by Nancy Willard
Rembrandt by Mike Venezia
You Wouldn't Want to Be Mary, Queen of Scots! by Fiona MacDonald

Sunday, July 27, 2014

If you give a homeschool mom... Homeschool Room Redo

The schoolroom gets a lot of use during the year. We like having a space where a majority of our books and supplies stay corralled and a space where I can shut the door and not have to look at it all the time. I think if we were to homeschool in the dining room and had to clean up books and papers everyday to use the table, I would go nuts. We're not chained to the room but it's definitely our best place to work and spread out. (Here's what it looked like before the current redo.)
However with all that use, it was seriously grungy. I try to do a thorough cleaning at the end of each school year (cobwebs, scrubbing desks, dusting each shelf of books) but it really needed some help. I started the process and realized that the walls needed some touching up. Perhaps, just maybe, because some of the people who use the room (*cough, cough* the younglings) like to put their dirty feet on the wall when they read. Can you see the grunge?
We also had a crack where the paneling had been pushed on. Bass tackled that with some spackle. (This is not a "finished" space. It's in our basement... so concrete floors, open ceilings, cinder block exterior walls. On the other side of this wall, the former owners had built in a big brick wall with closets on one side and a brick, working fireplace on the other end. We use that as our family room. This room was a 'bedroom' or den of sorts with old 70s era paneling on all the walls. We're just working with the existing elements until someday we can afford to reframe the whole space. Which is probably never. You can see before pics here.)
The floor was pretty grungy too. We used concrete paint when we set the room up at the beginning of our homeschool journey but it seemed like it never cured properly. It was weird and kind of spongy and impossible to clean.
So my plan was to give everything a thorough cleaning and touch-up. Well, it needed a lot of touching up and I didn't have enough paint on-hand. So the annual summer cleaning snowballed into a whole project.

Here's our whole "If you give a mouse a cookie..." saga:

If you give a mom a homeschool room that needs to be spruced up, she'll want to repaint.
(The daughter might suggest blue instead of brown.)
I went with a semi-gloss finish this time to hopefully help with next year's cleaning.
If you give a homeschool mom new paint for her room, she'll probably want new flooring.
It's in a basement so we went with a vapor barrier and a foam underlayment. It wasn't terribly expensive so if we do end up with serious water issues, it won't be the worst thing ever. We're hoping that it will last though.
If you give a homeschool mom new flooring, she'll probably want baseboards to hide the gap between the flooring and the wall.
Bass dug through his wood pile and then hit the Re-store to find most of the needed pieces for super cheap.
If you give a homeschool mom new baseboard, she'll probably also want trim to finish off the door that didn't have any.
and if you have the saw and nail gun out, she'll probably want that goofy spot without paneling to get filled in
We had a few pieces of paneling in the woodpile so Bass planned and calculated carefully to be able to fill in a weird hole that was by Soprano's desk and fill in above the main entry door.
If you give a homeschool mom freshly painted walls, new flooring, new trim, and fixed paneling, she'll probably want to replace all of the ugly, 70s dark brown outlets and covers
Bass had most of what we needed in his electrical stash.
If you give a homeschool mom new outlets and covers, she'll be happy for awhile but then she'll want to put the furniture back in.
When she goes to put the furniture back in, she'll probably want more cube shelves.
I was thinking of getting the Ikea Kallax shelves (Kallax just replaced the Expedit) but for less money, I could get 3 sets of their Bitrade 2x4 cube shelves instead. I'd link to Ikea's site but I don't see them listed online anywhere.)
If you give a homeschool mom new cube shelves, she'll probably quickly stuff them with books and curriculum
If you give a homeschool mom a fancy new space with lots of books, she'll probably want to set-up spaces for her kids to learn and work
Tenor's desk. Same set-up as previous years.
Soprano's desk. Same set-up as previous years.
If you give a homeschool mom spaces where her kids can work, she'll probably want to hang things to help her visual learners retain info.
This is new!! And I'm excited about it!! Can ya' tell? I hung their on-the-go storage clipboards and our yard and meter sticks. Then on the door I took some clothespins and used Command strips cut in half to hang them on the door. Each set of clips hold an education placemat that I got at a local Education store. The top shows the systems of the human body, U.S. presidents are in the middle, and the solar system on the bottom. We studied anatomy and astronomy last year so these are up for reference/review until we get to this coming year's topics.
The white board was on the other door. I moved it so the placemats would be more visible (plus that door is always closed.) This is our main entry door to the family room space so the white board could be facing into the family room. We'll use this for IEW brainstorming this year.

 If you give a homeschool mom space to hang things, she'll probably want to add a little music.
Getting our music list to work easily has been a frustrating issue in the schoolroom. Bass finally talked me into this little hamburger speaker that we can use with the iPod. The speaker was fine last year but the cord kept slipping down behind the desk. This year I have the speaker on my teacher desk sorter and the wire secured with a binder clip. It will slide in and out easily so I can plug, play, then put away. Stress-free, right?
 If you give a homeschool mom a fun speaker to pop in the iPod so they can all listen to music together, she'll probably want her own desk space on which to set it.
The desktop computer we had in here went out to the family room. Tenor has been using it more so we wanted it in a more visible location. Now that I have a laptop and am not really using the desk in the family room, the space is free for the desktop machine. Bonus, this table where we do joint work, read together, and I correct their work has a lot more open space.
And if you give a homeschool mom her own work space and a "brand-new" room and new cube shelves and places for her kids to learn and work, she'll probably want a cozy reading nook chair to collapse in.
This is pretty much the same, although a little cozier than before since the new bookshelves take up more wall space. I framed our two posters to make it look a little classier. :)
Soprano has come dancing in several times saying how much she loves the blue paint and the new space. Tenor sans dancing has been in a lot just working on little projects at his desk and rediscovering books on the shelves.
I'm just thrilled that the floor will be easier to clean! :)

How about you? Do you have a dedicated room, or do you spread out on the kitchen table? Do you have any organization tips to share? Or organizing trouble-spots?

Linking up here:
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

iHomeschool Network Not Back to School Blog Hop 

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