Friday, October 28, 2011

Pumpkin Time

First we gut.

Then we poke.
 Next we roast the pumkin seeds.

Light them up.

Wild Thing's Angry Bird

The Crafter's Mermaid

Princess Pink's Dolphin

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Math Resources

I thought I would pass along a couple of math links that we have been enjoying.

Timez Attack

Lead your little creature through the castles dungeon and defeat the ogre. Sound easy? It is if you have mastered your multiplication tables. Wild Thing has been testing this one out. He enjoys it, but he can get a little frustrated. The game adjusts to the player and it takes a while for it to strike the balance between challenging and frustrating. There is a free basic version and a paid deluxe version. The content of the game doesn't change with the paid content; it just gets more video gamey. We only have the free version.

Math Pickle

The Math Pickle has math challenges for kindergarten through 12th grade. It adds a little spice to our usual lessons. Each video presents a challenge to solve. Several have worksheets to accompany the challenges. Wild Thing's favorite is Willie Wiggle Wiggle Worm.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day: Lesson 1

We've been studying birds this year using Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day from Apologia. It's been fun so far. The first half of Lesson One covered the definition of zoology, classification, and the principle of flight. The first experiment involved placing a straw in a full cup of water and trimming the straw so that it only stuck up 1/2 inch. Then you blew at the top of the straw with another straw. Water was supposed to spray out of the straw that is in the cup when the air flow over the top of the straw reduced the air pressure.

It worked. I ended up having to hold the straw in the cup while Princess Pink blew. There was plenty of water on the table. I'm not sure how much of it came out of the correct straw

The second experiment involved making two gliders. Both had wings had equal areas. One was 1 X 8 inches and the other was 2 X 4 inches. Then they threw the gliders and measured how far they flew.

(Gliders made by Wild Thing)

Then they threw the gliders 10 times each and measured how far they flew each time. The Crafter recorded the data and computed the average.

We did not get good results from this experiment. The glider with the thinner wing was supposed to have a longer flight. Our results were about equal. I can't remember the exact numbers, and I'm too lazy to go find the Crafter's science notebook.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New School Year

Bradford Academy is a year round homeschool, so the old year sort of morphs into the new. The kids get their new grade designations when their classes change at church.  This year all three are having formal lessons. Here is this year's lineup.
Princess Pink: Kindergarten
Phonics Pathways, Saxon Math 1, Italic Handwriting B, Bob Books, Abeka Readers, Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and tagging along with Tapestry of Grace Year 3

Wild Thing: Second Grade
Phonics Pathways (just a few more pages), Italic Handwriting B and copywork, Saxon Math 3 followed by Singapore Math 2, First Language Lessons, Spelling Workout A, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, and Tapestry of Grace Year 3 Early Grammar

The Crafter: Seventh Grade
Rod and Staff Grammar 6 (we have 3 chapters left) followed by 7, Singapore Math 6b followed by Life of Fred Fractions and Life of Fred Decimals and Percents, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day, Spelling Workout F and G, Drama through Christian Youth Theater, Mavis Beacon Typing Instructor, and Tapestry of Grace Year 3 dialectic level

Friday, August 12, 2011

An Unexpected Visitor

We had a bit of excitement this afternoon. It was thundering, so I sent the children out to bring in the clothes. They came back inside. Then I heard scratching at the door. I had thought that our dog was already in, but I cautiously opened the door. The next door neighbor's dog came barreling in and hid under my computer dest. That's my dog's spot, so he wasn't happy. After a bit of growling, the question of whose spot was whose was settled.

The neighbor's dog settled down with Princess Pink. They looked at books and played with toys. The dog took a nap. After the rain stopped, the dog got up on Wild Thing's bed and looked out the window toward her house. Finally, her family's minivan pulled up. She went to the front door. I opened it, and she ran home.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Brilliant Idea

I was trying to organize and declutter when I ran across a stack of cheap, plastic award frames. We have had these things forever. Okay, maybe not forever, but they've been hanging around for at least ten years. I think the Historian had some purpose for them, but then that event didn't take place. Anyway, there they were, taking up space. I was all set to send them to the thrift store when I happened upon an idea for making a dry erase board out of a picture frame.

So I removed the frames from the donate bag. Here's one frame.

Then I trimmed a plain piece of printer paper to fit. Did I mention that these frames were oddly sized?

 The next step is securing the paper in the frame. How? I used duct tape of course.

Here's the finished product.

But why stop there? Here's one with lined paper.

And here's one with graph paper.

The possibilities are endless. You could do maps or a periodic table or a skeleton to label. I wish I had more frames. Don't tell the Historian.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Post From The Crafter

The Crafter was at writing camp this week. I sent her because getting her to write is an exercise in frustration for both of us. I am pleased to say that the week went well with the most difficult part being getting up and out in time. They had many different activities to encourage creativity. One was to describe a random object taken from a grab bag. This is what the Crafter wrote.

I remember when I was still at a store in Russia. I was polished daily. I was smooth, shiny, and colorful. My two friends who lived inside me looked exactly like me. But I didn't feel loved.

One day a little girl came into the shop. She passed by all the dolls and came to me. "Mommy! This is the doll I want," she said. In a few minutes, I was in the car going to her house.

After several years, I was chipped from being chewed by a dog, my paint had mostly washed off from being left outside, and my smallest friend was missing. But my owner was still my best friend, even though she was grown up. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday-Homeschool Organization

Please ignore the mess.

The contraptions on top are dish drainers. I copied the idea from Day by Day Discoveries.

This is a sideboard from the thrift store. It cost $15. I'll get a replacement handle eventually.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It Really Shouldn't Be This Hard

I am on a mission to find something that does not exist. The technology is readily available, but not in the form I seek. I need a big mp3 player. That's not too much to ask is it? Well it seems like it is.

My father-in-law is 84 years old and newly blind. He has mobility issues and a loss of fine motor skills. He is computer and technologically illiterate. He could not operate a DVD player before he lost his sight. He loved to read. Now he can't. He is depressed. I would love to load up an mp3 player with audiobooks to keep him company, but that seems more like a dream than a reality at this point.

I am running into several issues:

  1. Technology is getting smaller. This is a most difficult issue. Small buttons, small screens, small device to get lost in the furniture.
  2. The market for the blind is very small and very specialized. Blind friendly is not necessarily elderly friendly. Most elderly people are not going to learn Braille.
  3. Products for the blind are ridiculously expensive. The companies assume some type of insurance or government assistance. It takes time to apply and qualify and receive (up to a year) and even then the product may not be suitable. We are working on this, but I would like to get him something sooner.
  4. Children's products have big buttons but small storage capabilities. Thirty minutes to an hour of playtime is not enough.
What I want is one (really big) button operation with automatic bookmarking. It needs to turn on and start playing where it left off. We had hoped that he could use a Sansa Clip. It turns on and plays where it left off, but the slide that turns it on is tiny. He couldn't work it. If only there was one with a big button.

I posted my search on every message board that I belong to. I have some suggestions. Next stop is the Apple Store since they specialize in finding solutions.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Still Tired

I had hoped to post a health update about how great I felt, but that is not to be. I'm still tired (feels like an all day benedryl hangover). I do have more good days. I have hours during the bad days that I can function normally. That is a huge blessing and I am grateful. I need to go back to the doctor. I should have gone months ago, but with Wild Thing's medical bills and now a "fried" air conditioner, that has to wait longer.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


My family is safe. I have a roof over my head. The families in my community have roofs over their heads. My husband still has a place to work.

There are those in Sanford who have none of these things.

The devastation is about 12 miles from our house. Our usual Lowes now lies in rubble. About 100 people were inside when the tornado hit. All escaped with only minor injuries. We have friends who live on streets where their houses survived while others are unlivable. We have no damage. Our power and landlines were out for about 13 hours. We are fortunate.

Once again, I am humbled before God. Thank you for sparing us and our friends and family. Surely Your hand protects.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Monday, April 4, 2011

Standardized Tests

The Crafter and Wild Thing take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills next week. Yearly testing is required in our state beginning at age seven. It will be Wild Thing's first time.

We work through a test prep book each year to prepare. We always find interesting holes in the children's educations. For example, this year Wild Thing had to complete the poem "I was walking by the lake. There I saw a black and yellow __________." His choices were a picture of a duck, a picture of a rabbit, and a picture of a snake. Poor Wild Thing was so confused. He asked if the duck was male or female. He was thinking drake. I said that my instructions didn't say anything about the duck and to go with the one that he knew. Sigh.

The Crafter needs to brush up on her emoticons. I kid you not. She was supposed to identify the one for being bored. On a serious note she also needs review her literary terms and some basic government. 

Next week shall tell the tale of how my homeschooled scholars measure up against the rest of the country. They may not do so well in "social studies", but I know the real story, and my son knows what a drake is.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wild Thing Vs. the Magnolia

 or How I Earned My New Gray Hairs

We have a magnolia tree. It's an awesome climbing tree. All of my children are accomplished tree climbers. But sometime the tree wins. The picture below is not our tree, but it is very similar in height and shape.

As near as I can piece together the situation, here is what happened. Wild Thing took a piece of rope that he found in the back of the truck up the tree. He climbed up around 15 feet, looped the rope over a branch and jumped. The rope broke and Wild Thing fell.  He landed on his upper back and bumped his head. The Crafter came into the kitchen and yelled that Wild Thing fell out of the tree. He was screaming. His arms and legs were drawn up. I scooped him up and brought him into the living room. (Dumb I know.) He kept screaming and his breathing sounded rough. He said it hurt to move his arms or legs and his back hurt. I told the Crafter to pack a bag for her and Princess Pink. I put in calls to a neighbor to come help. Wild Thing said he was "churny" as he lay on the floor. I called 911.

Our neighbor got here first. Wild Thing stayed remarkably calm the entire time. I made some more calls and lined up a friend to come and get the girls. I could not get the Historian on the phone. He has changed numbers at his work. I hadn't memorized the new number yet. The new number was stored in my cell phone which was with the Historian. I tried his old number, but no one answered. The Crafter sent emails.

EMS arrived and went through their protocol. Wild Thing answered their questions, but kept getting a distant look in his eyes. One of the paramedics took me aside and said that he had put the helicopter on standby. They put a cervical collar on Wild Thing and strapped him to a back board. The decision was made that he could be safely transported by ambulance. My friend arrived and took the girls home with her. I boarded an ambulance with my son bound for the hospital. My neighbor followed us. It was tough keeping Wild Thing awake on the trip.

We arrived at the hospital. The helicopter pilot met us and said he bet Wild Thing was disappointed that he didn't get to go up in his whirly bird. I was not amused. We get to a room and Wild Thing said that nothing hurt anymore except that his back felt asleep. The Historian made it to the hospital soon after we got settled for our time of observation. Wild Thing's tests came out fine.  He had some bruising and a mild closed head trauma (code for concussion).

Thank you God for sending one of your angels to catch my son.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday--With Words

I've been battling insomnia and it's ugly friend fatigue for the past couple of weeks. I tried to keep up and continue to cook balanced, nutritious meals for my family. Today the tiredness caught up with me. I wimped out and succumbed to the temptation of an easy meal.

Inevitably the question came: "Mama, what's for supper?" The answer brought cheers of joy and dancing. What delightful morsel could cause such bliss?

I will try to not think of this as criticism of my cooking abilities.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Happy Pi Day

Every year I annoy my family by celebrating Pi Day.

We shall start the day with pancakes (circles).

Then we will read Sir Cumference and the Dragon of Pi.
It's a cute story.  Wild Thing and Princess Pink like it.  The Crafter just rolled her eyes. She is not a math person and has a low tolerance for puns.

We will finish the day with pizza pi and maybe a fudge pie with a whipped cream pi on top. 

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mama's New Toy

Yesterday I did something that normally don't do. I bought a toy. For me. I can argue that it is for the family. I can make a case that it will make The Crafter's school work easier. I can even say that it will save money in the long run. It will. Really. And since I didn't get anything but long johns and a foam picture frame for Christmas, and Valentine's Day came and went without so much as a card from the Historian, I felt that it was time I got a present.

Do you want to know what I got? Drum roll please!

It's a Kindle!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Rabbit

The Crafter:  Look!  I see the rabbit in the moon!
 Me:  Don't you mean the man in the moon?
The Crafter:  I don't like to look at him.  He's creepy.

I think she's right.