Monday, 18 August 2014

Happy at Homeschool: Robin Williams Week


Post Contains Affiliate Link 


With the passing of Robin Williams the idea to use his work to learn arises.   I can't completely give credit to the ideas that float in my mind to myself.  When I joined an organization called City Year, we learned a lot from movies like Malcolm X and Patch Adams.  One learned to protest, the other learned to heal.  My kids are not old enough for Patch.  The are old enough for other great movies that are appropriate.
Monday Happy Feet
Math
build a dart game with chalk.  If raining bring it indoors
Reading
Watch Happy Feet at end of the day
Penguin Chick By Betty Tatham
History
Science
write about emperor penguins

Tuesday Flubber
Math and Science
Life of Fred make "Flubber" after movie 
Reading
Purple, Green, and Yellow By Robert Munsch
History
History of Silly Puddy
History of Play Doh
History of Slime

Wednesday Robots
Math
Life of Fred  Robot Math Game
Reading
Robots Rodney and the Rusties By Kate Egan
History
Science

Thursday Ferngully
Math
Reading
Walt Disney's Bambi Book A Golden Book
History
Science
Discuss deforestation






 Friday Hook
Math
Life of Fred  Peter Pan Preschool Pack  Portions of this can be used for first graders/ beginning readers.  Just make sure you look over it.  
Reading 
History
Science


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Happy at Homeschool: Homeschool on a Budget

 This post contains affiliate links.

 When I first began homeschooling six years ago,  I had no money at all to do it.  I had no computer and we would not own one because of the bug problem in the  projects in which we lived.  Homeschool was better than the alternative in this case.  My son was in first grade. I thought to myself, 'You can do this! You've been trained to tutor kids his age.'

I started with a workbook called Comprehensive Curriculum.  This book covered every subject I needed to meet my states requirements.  Since, I did tutor, I had already collected quite a few children's books.  I purchased a small dry erase board at the Dollar Tree and a few other odd supplies.

We were in the middle of a move.  We were just waiting on Habitat for Humanity to let us know when we could begin building our home.  Having a tote with a lid marked in very large bold letters "HOMESCHOOL" was a must have.  That was how we got through our first year.

I noticed an issue I was having with my son and had him tested.  The diagnosis was Aspergers.  Diagnosis in hand I thought I could send him back to public school.  His teacher, most wonderful lady, felt he would be better served at home.  He was placed back in homeschool and the following is how I have been coping on a budget:

Every year I allot $500 toward supplies.  Things I purchase in Bulk are markers, pencils, crayons, construction paper, writing paper, printer paper, printer ink, and glue.

I have been dying to purchase Life of Fred which reads like a story.  Five year old Fred, is a math professor at Kittens University.  I've seen the smile when my kid thinks I'm not looking, he enjoys reading about Fred.

Where I obtain the rest of my supplies:

Yard sales, garage sales, and flea markets-  These places all have pretty terrific kids books.  I have some "My America" books, "Little House on the Prairie",  and a few little readers.  Then, there's clothes, computers (my oldest tears them apart and that's learning too),  manipulatives, and art supplies.

Second Hand stores- Sometimes you can find music instruments!

Neighbors- I have a neighbor that's a teacher and she has given us so many books and teaching supplies.

Teachers- I have a child in public school.  Sometimes teachers give me supplies that I can really use. I got a whole bunch of dry erase markers for my daughter's kindergarten teacher and I really appreciated it.  It didn't matter that he used them all year because they still worked and I try to be as eco friendly as I can.

My mom-  I have an amazing support system in place.  My mom has gifted us with encyclopedias, journals, coloring books, history books, math books the list is endless.

Amazon- has tons of free books that you can get for Kindle, PC, or your apple device.  Nook also offers free books.  When you download the Nook program, you can write notes in you book.  The capability of the Nook app has made this a valuable resource.  We read "Number the Stars" By Lois Lowery.  Because of Nook, my son retained the information from the book.

Hippocampus- offers free classes as does Coursera with offerings from all over the world!  No list is complete without Kahn.

Free Homeschool Deals is one of the best sites for free stuff to teach.

Pinterest- Satisfies all my creative homeschool fantasies!

Teachers Pay Teachers has a lot of freebies!

Lesson Pathways has a free curriculum and the books can be borrowed from the library.

Burpee has a garden lesson!

Truly, you can homeschool at almost no cost.  Make sure you get into a group in your region and you will find, your peers have just as much information to offer.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Happy at Homeschool: Themes

I've decided to come up with themes to base homeschool on.  I don't own an honest to God curriculum.  In a way I guess you could kind of say we are unschoolers because I don't believe in learning like a zombie.  Brains!  I need to eat your brains!  Sorry, had to get that out of my system.

I do believe in learning though.  Sometimes that means movies, games, books, worksheets (we do need to make sure our portfolio is in check after all), gardening and whatever tickles our fancy.  In other words, I pull things out of thin air on most days.

Since Discovery channel was hyping "Shark Week,"  I decided doing shark week was a fabulous idea.  We don't own cable so Netflix became our friend.  

We used Life of Fred for math (our only real curriculum),  We keep in mind that we have to cover not just math but reading, history, science, spelling, and English and anything else is extracurricular.

I'm not going to get into what exactly we did for shark week on this blog post because I am merely giving an idea for public school teachers and homeschool teachers.  I will say this much though, next week will be Robin Williams week.  I grew up with Robin Williams and  it's like saying Star Wars never existed which is devastating enough.  Next week we watch Mork and Mindy and discuss astronauts.  We will watch Hook and Read J.M. Barie's Peter Pan.  If I can find Aladdin, we will discuss Arabian Nights.  Jumanji, we can create a board game to learn about animals.  See how I do that?  I just pull things out of thin air.

I'm going to give the list and when I can get around to doing some of them, I'll give you the ideas I had.

Theme ideas


  1. Robin  Williams week
  2. Fall  week
  3. Penguin  week
  4. Butterfly  week
  5. Bee  week
  6. Antarctica  week
  7. garden  week
  8. dance week 
  9. robot week
  10. weather  week
  11. Pokemon  week
  12. Rock/ geodes  week
  13. Bacteria/ Virus  week
  14. Snow  week
  15. Planet  week
  16. Turkey week
  17. Character week
  18. Trip around the world  week
  19. News  week
  20. Spider  week
  21. Lady bug  week
  22. Praying Mantis week 
  23. Bird week
  24. dino week
  25. art week
  26. under the sea  week
  27. Rocket science  week
  28. skeleton week
  29. President's week
  30. Sweetheart week
  31. Math week
  32. history week
  33. Animal week
  34. ice cream week
  35. field trip week
  36. space week
  37. homeschool Olympics week
  38. Theatre week
  39. Debate week- Would a zebra make a good pet?
  40. music week
  41. Architecture week
  42. garden madness week
  43. victory garden week- I have so many garden themes to get my gardening in.
  44. Pirate week
  45. Earth week
  46. Tree Week
  47. Dr. Suess week
  48. Independence Week
  49. Fairy tale week
  50. Jungle week
  51. cooking week
  52. bunny week
  53. summer time fun week
  54. out on the farm week
  55. over the rainbow week
  56. Oz week
  57. reptile week
  58. snake week
  59. camping week
  60. fall week
  61. Hug a tree week
  62. Think peace week
  63. Diversity week
  64. Civil rights/ we are the world week  (covers rights of women, African Americans, Natives and others)
  65. Body week
  66. Apple/ Harvest week
  67. Polar Express week
  68. Zoo week
  69. Manners week
  70. Friends week
  71. Invention week
  72. Women's History Week
  73. Black History Week
  74. Native History week
  75. Big Top circus week
  76. Poetry week
  77. Sun week
  78. Fire safety week
  79. Community helpers week
  80. Beach week
  81. recycling week
  82. wind week
  83. Mardi Gras week
  84. Cinco de Mayo week
  85. Amphibian week
  86. sports week
  87. western week
  88. explorer week
  89. family week
  90. Pet week
  91. owl week
  92. silly week
  93. kindness week
  94. Laura Ingalls week
  95. sticky, icky science week
  96. lollipop week
  97. nature week
  98. Newton week
  99. movie week
  100. library week


Saturday, 28 June 2014

My Habitat Home: That Five Year Mark

It's been around five years since we moved into our home and we will be making changes.  The first will be to our front and back porches.  The wood is looking stained and old.  We aren't even certain it was properly stained to begin with.  We want to protect the wood so we will be cleaning that and hoping for a cool week with no rain.  We purchased Behr Tile red PFC-04 that will go on our walkway and matches our maroon shutters.  The texture seems like it will be pretty awesome.  Then we purchased Glidden Stratosphere 40YY 73/028 Satin which will show up white.  I'm pretty psyched about the change because my husband does not handle change well.

My birthday just passed and my brother bought me some wood for my birthday.  That is going to be the beginning of my floor to ceiling wrap around bookshelf I have plans on making homeschool more functional and organized.

I started to keep a household binder.  In this binder, I'm keeping money saving tips, car repairs, household repairs, items in the home and more.

We'll be holding our first, ever, yard sale in September.  I have a lot of prep work for that to do.

Next year our bathroom will have a face lift.  I found some wood panel that's white and looks like wood that will be part of our theme.  At the moment our theme is lighthouses so we may be deciding the beach will be our new thing seashells, starfish, sanddollars...  In addition to that we are going to replace the plaster attached to the shower.  That stuff isn't intended for the bathroom.  No clue what they were thinking but there are some things not quite right with the house.   The new plaster around the tub will be mold resistant and a lot more moisture resistant.





Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Happy At Homeschool: Pokemon

When I was a kid I swore of certain cartoons geared toward little boys.  Things like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Pokemon.  I have two boys and it seems that there really is nothing new in the world of boys cartoons and somehow, someway I ended up stuck with these cartoons.

I've always gone with the "when life hands you lemons" thinking.  I believe my youngest has a learning issue and I think the only way he will begin reading is if I twist his favorite shows.  Little does my little one know I am a master at manipulation in a good way.

Lesson Plan:



There are a variety of books you can pick up at the library about Pokemon to encourage reading.

Monday, 28 April 2014

My Habitat Home: Osbra Eye Wildflower Hike Part 2

As mentioned in the previous post we went on a nature hike on Saturday.  Sadly, I'll probably never bring my kids on one of these walks again because they acted out the whole time.  If it wasn't for my husband, I would have learned nothing.

I'm going to start with a few that were mentioned but I already knew about.

Dandelions!  My yard is filled with them! My family eats the greens in soups, salads, and dehydrated as an herb.  We eat the flowers as a jelly and I will be trying the root when I'm happy with the amount I have collected.  Dandelions are not native to America , they are European.  They are considered a weed because their roots go to China (slight exaggeration) and they really take over.  For my family, I'm fine with that because I don/t have to plant anything to get food.

"Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones,joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic."

They say there isn't much scientific study on it but the health of my family does improve when the dandelions are in season.



 The dandelion jelly was delish!  It tastes kind of like honey.  Jelly is one of those things, as a mommy, we buy because you can't have a proper pb&j without the j.  I will not be purchasing jelly for about three months.  The jelly is actually saving about $12.



Next, we discussed purple dead nettle.  They advised not eating it but my family has indeed been eating it for about two years now.  This one is in the mint family.  It does not taste like mint.  It tastes like dirt and smells like dirt that has nutrients that are good for plants (yes, I sniff dirt to figure out what my plants need.)  Good dirt smells like dead nettle.  My family dehydrates this to make an herb or tea.  We eat it in salads and soups.

"The entire plant is an astringent, styptic, diaphoretic, diuretic, and purgative.  A decoction can be made to help with hemorrhaging and the freshly bruised leaves can be applied to external cuts."



Dock was another that was mentioned.  This is another that grows as a weed in my yard but I never have tried it.  This is another European native.  I'm not real confident on this one because any new plant should be eaten with caution.  Snake venom is used in medication but that doesn't mean you go out and hunt yourself a venomous snake to cure something.  Like snakes, treat all plants with caution.  However, the root is said to be edible.


I'm turning this into a series.  I'm not done showing what I learned and their are plenty more edibles, medicinal, and plants to just stay away from to show!  Keep your eyes open for a part 3!

Part 1





Saturday, 26 April 2014

My Habitat Home: Osbra Eye Wildflower Hike Part 1

Osbra Eye was the superintendent of Kanawha State Forest in West Virginia between March 2, 1956 to June 13 1981. He was a self taught naturalist, botanist, and wildflower expert.  In 1993 the Forest Foundation named these walks after him.

This hike, I had been looking forward to for a really long time.  I wanted to share with my kids why I love WV so much.  My kids were not having it and what resulted were kids that misbehave.  Luckily my husband doesn't care much for these things and he walked off with the kids.  I did learn my lesson though, never bring the kids.  If they learn it, it'll have to be from me.

I took some video and notes and this is what I learned along the way.  Since my memory isn't the greatest and I only grabbed up some plant names,  because of outside distractions, I'll provide links to other sources with a little extra info.

We'll start with the mayapple  This is a herbaceous perennial plant.  The fruit is edible in small amounts but consuming too much makes it poisonous. It contains  podophyllotoxin, which is used as a cytostatic and typically in the treatment of viral and genital warts.  

The Natives turned the plant into a tea for the garden.  It kept insects away from their crops.  They also boiled the poisonous root, and used the water to cure stomach aches.

Trillium is also called birth root of birthwort.  This plant is a perennial but even just picking the flower will kill it off.  It is known as a uterine stimulant.  It was used to ease childbirth among the natives.

 "The root is used as an alternative medicine and is antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic, emmenagogue (to promote menstruation), and ophthalmic. The roots, fresh or dry, may be boiled in milk and used for diarrhea and dysentery. The raw root is grated and applied as a poultice to the eye in order to reduce swelling, or on aching rheumatic joints. The leaves were boiled in lard and applied to ulcers as a poultice, and to prevent gangrene. An infusion of the root is used in the treatment of cramps and a common name for the plant, ‘birthroot’, originated from its use to promote menstruation. A decoction of the root bark can be used as drops in treating earache. Constituents found in the volatile and fixed oils are, tannic acid, saponin, a glucoside resembling convallamarin, sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate, gum, resin, and starch."



Blood Root was used as a toothbursh type of thing for it's antiseptic properties.  use of this plant can potentially lead to oral cancer.  This is approved by the USDA in some toothpaste.  The dye from the root was used by native artisans in basket weavings. 







Jewelweed is used for skin irritation.  It's known for treating poison ivy and bee stings.  This is one of my favorites and not because of it's medicinal use.  When I was a child I used to play with the flower seeds because they kind of pop.

Part 2