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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book-It Registration Begins May 1

Just a heads up that registration for next year's Book It reading program begins on May 1.


Homeschoolers can participate in this program! I signed up last spring for my two boys and received my packet at the beginning of this last school year. If you're not familiar with the Book It program, it's a reading incentive program sponsored by Pizza Hut. You set a monthly reading goal for your students. At the end of the month, if they've reached their goal, you hand out a certificate good for a free personal size pizza at Pizza Hut. Just a fun way to get your kids reading!

So... If you want to participate next year, registration starts next Tuesday on May 1!

Friday, April 20, 2012

An ABC Assignment

I  recently joined voiceBoks, an online parenting/blogging community type thing. I'm still learning to navigate the site. One thing they do is create these fun little groups that they give an "assignment" to accomplish, just for fun if you want to do it. So they gave this assignment - the ABCs of You. Make of list of things about yourself using the letters of the alphabet.

As I was working on my list, I thought what a great activity this would make for you homeschoolers out there. There are several educational benefits:
  • Student will learn more about themselves.
  • They might gain a larger vocabulary - finding that elusive /x/ word to describe themselves!
  • Learn to spell new words.
  • Gain keyboard skills - if you have them type it up.
  • Practice writing skills.
  • Younger students could draw pictures, or dictate to you.
If you've done something like this with your students already, fantastic! Care to share your experience? I'd love to hear how it went.

If not, give it a try. Who knows, you might even learn something new about your child! Here's the task:
  1. Read the sample from my post, An Alphabet of Me, below, to get an idea of how to do the project. You can read the rest at my other blog, if you want.
  2. Create your own ABCs list about you!
  3. Publish the list in some manner: Maybe just a list like mine; or make a 26-page picture book; or write it as song lyrics (How many A is for... songs have you heard?) Get creative!
  4. Share, if you'd like. Share with me, or send to the grandparents. (Wouldn't they just love getting a list like that in the mail!)
Here's part of my list:
Asparagus: We have an asparagus plant growing (from seed)  in the gravel parking area in front of our house. Just picked our first stalk this week. I'm inspired to have a row of asparagus in my garden when we move and actually have a big garden plot.

Bleeding Hearts: One of my most favorite spring flowers, those and Lilacs.

"Californ-eye, here I come. Right back where I started from." I have to sing this part of the song (Which song? Don't know. That's all I know of it.) loud and strong whenever I head to California. That is, after all, where I 'started from.'

Dr Pepper: Ever since I was a little girl and saw the ads, I've wanted to Be a Pepper!

Educator: My college degree is in Elementary Education. Never really taught in my own classroom, but I very much enjoy being a teacher's aide. I love homeschooling, and I want to start creating thematic units for homeschoolers.

Funny: Well, I think I am. I crack myself up all the time. My husband may tell you different.
Read the rest.

I'd love to hear the results of your ABC lists! Comment below, or post a link. Do you have pictures of the project? I'm looking forward to see the creativity!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Front Yard Field Trips

The front yard may not seem like a place to take a field trip - it's right outside the front door! It's not anywhere special.

But for us this April, it's been the site of several science field trips - specifically weather related. Excellent opportunities to talk about the different forces of nature.

We've gone running out to the front porch and yard to witness wind storms blowing dust from the field next door, wind gusts that also brought in a downpour of windblown raindrops.

We've had a thunderstorm, and multiple rainstorms.

We watched as a hail storm dropped snow pellets, bouncing as they hit the ground.

Speaking of snow, this April we've also seen the biggest, fluffiest snowflakes we've had all winter try to cover our front yard with a layer of white.

Best of all, just today, we saw what could only be described as a triple rainbow, with the best view from our front porch.

This first picture shows a very bright arc on the bottom. This bright arc was actually a double rainbow, though the bands under the violet band don't show up in the photo. The third arc is a bit above the bright arc, not quite as bright. You can see the clouds are just a tad darker between the two visible arcs. So with the double rainbow on the bottom and the additional rainbow up top: Triple Rainbow!


This rainbow ended right in our neighbors yard. Anyone care to guess if there are leprechauns lurking about? We felt the urge to go digging for that pot o' gold.
 

This side of the rainbow was extremely bright and seemed to end right in a tree in the horse pasture down the road.


So April has been full of front yard science field trips for our family. It's certainly been a case of April Showers {and hail...}{and snow...} Bring May Flowers. Well... we'll have to report on the May flowers bit when we get to May.




A Field Trip Blog Hop

This post is more for me than anything else so I can remember this Blog Hop, but I thought some of you might like to know about this blog also. When you go on a field trip and blog about it, you can post a linky here. And you can also go and read about what other people are doing on their field trips! What a grand idea!


And here's another field trip blog hop:


Chestnut Grove Academy Field Trip Friday Blog Hop

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Subway Kids' Fitness Kit

Just came across this neat little fitness kit you can get from Subway, thanks to Money Saving Mom.


Homeschoolers can send for it, as well as classroom teachers! Just fill out the form, indicating when your school year starts (I just put mine as the 1st of May - we'll see if we get it in time.), and they'll send you a kit with a planner, teacher's guide and a poster.

Can't wait to get it and try it out!

Ultimate Blog Party! {And a Giveaway!}


Ultimate Blog Party 2012


Thought I'd give this blog party a go - never really tried anything like this before... Hang around to the end for a little treat for my readers.

So - a bit about me, eh?

An Eclectic Homeschooler got its start after I decided I wanted to take my blogging a little more seriously and because I wanted to have a blog with a greater focus on homeschooling. I originally started recorded my homeschooling efforts along with other life events on my first blog that I still use for more general blogging, Bergherm Life.  I love to share all the great free websites available to homeschoolers, or sites that have free stuff available, and other good deals I find. I enjoy finding resources to put together as lessons for my boys, and plan on eventually creating my own thematic units for other homeschoolers to use.

I am a wife to a travel photographer who spends his working days as a university professor.

I am mother to three wonderful, crazy, little boys: Cedric, age 8 - lover of all animals and of Magic Treehouse books; Elijah, age 5 - crazy speedster with a great imagination; and Henry, age 11 months - adored by his older brothers who love to make him laugh.

I am a reader, a crafter, a couponer/deal-finder, a cat-lover and dog-tolerater, and a camper. I love chartreuse and Dr Pepper red....

...and I love Dr Pepper!

Thanks for coming by, all you Ultimate Blog Party-goers! As a special thanks for dropping by, I'm hosting my first ever giveaway! For this set of 10 cards with envelopes:


That say this on the inside (cute, huh?):


Use the Rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway! One entry per person, a simple comment to answer a question...

{Hint, Hint}
To find the answer, click on over to this post.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Taking a Virtual Field Trip

Ever wanted to take your homeschooler on a field trip, but didn't know where to go? How about staying home for a Virtual Field Trip? Gather round the computer for photos, information, try out some foods, activities and crafts. I found this fun idea by Toddler Bites Publishing, one of the publishers at CurrClick.

A Virtual Field Trip to the Statue of Liberty - take a day off from your normal schooling routine and try this!


Homeschooler's Convention in Oregon

I haven't had the pleasure of attending a homeschool convention. The closest big one is down in Portland, OR - four hours away, and the timing has never been convenient. It always conflicts with my husband's teaching schedule during the summer. I'm hoping to get away for it this year though - maybe, maybe...

If you live in the Portland area, or within a couple hours distance, and you haven't attended the conference before, I thought you might like to know what to expect and if it would be worth it to attend. I have a friend down in Portland who has attended The Oregon Christian Home Education Conference a couple times, and she loves its. I asked her to write a review to give an insight into what people can expect if they go to this convention.

Jennifer B. writes:
The Oregon Christian Home Education Conference was developed by home school parents who wanted to encourage and support other home school parents! They provide a wide range of seminars, from those just starting out to those with high school graduates. They even have a graduation ceremony at the conference!
 
There are so many things I look forward to at the conference! First I’m greeted by such friendly people who help with the name tags and answer your questions. Next I open up my workshop guide (40 minutes each) and circle the talks I want to attend. By choosing my workshops, I can now see which times I have available to walk through the extensively large exhibit hall. The exhibit hall has everything from full year curriculum, to videos, art supplies, games, and services available (such as testing for learning issues, photography classes offered, etc…) Best of all, the exhibit hall is full of energy; full of happy people who believe you're doing a wonderful thing for your child and have products to support you in making the next year of learning fun! I always leave the hall invigorated and pumped up ready to start a new school year!
 
Another feature many people love about the conference is the used book sale!!  When you register, you receive a slip of paper with a time on it. You will be allowed into the used book room at this time. In this room, tables are set up by grades and then subject matters; science, cookbooks, art, etc…  On Friday you can bring your used books to sell. You indicate the price and if you want to pick up the item on Saturday afternoon if it doesn’t sell. If you don’t want the item anymore, than it will be sold for $1.00 and the proceeds will go to the OCEANetwork.
 
For single parents, you are invited to bring your lunch on Friday and eat with other single parents and a leader from the OCEANetwork. As a single parent myself, I thought it was great having a time to ask questions, get support, and by hearing others with similar struggles, it gave me a sense of energy to keep going, knowing that I could make it through the tough times; as a mom and as a home educator. (If you are a single parent raising your family alone and you are homeschooling or want to look into homeschooling, contact Joyce Padilla at padillas@oceanetwork.org.)
 
The perks don’t end there though! Just for registering you will receive $200+ of free curriculum, coupons and homeschool helps on a CD!!
 
Parents with preschool children can attend their first home school conference for free. Grandparents have a discounted entrance fee as well. Not interested in all the workshops, but you do want to see the exhibit hall? You can register for a hall pass.

There are also times, aside from the workshops, when everyone is invited to the main speaking hall and the main speaker talks.

OCEANetwork also has a legal team that keeps up to date on what laws are going through Salem and will fight for our home school rights. They welcome your involvement and, if you enroll in the email list, will let you know what the laws are and if it would be helpful for you to contact your congressmen.
 
It’s so much fun learning about new products, getting encouragement from the speakers, and running into old friends!
 
Check out the calendar of home school events on OCEANetwork’s home page!!

Registration starts on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, at 8 a.m. The only benefit for registering early is appointments to the used curriculum/book sale are assigned according to when you register. The earlier the time slot you get, the sooner you can get in and the more books available to look at! (Although... if anyone wants to volunteer.. the volunteers get first chance at the used books!)

(Sidenote: Registration fee is $50 until June 15 - then the price goes up to $60 - another benefit for registering early!  If you don't know you can attend until that weekend though, you can register at the door.)

There's so much to this conference! It's huge! We take up a "wing" of the convention center!
Thank you, Jennifer B., for this great information! 

So... there's a bit about the Oregon Homeschool Conference for you. If you have any questions about it, ask them below in the comments, and I'll be glad to refer them to Jennifer for answers.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Telling the Resurrection Story

For Easter, we always do a little bit of an Easter Egg Hunt. Nothing big. We decorate a couple dozen eggs and hide them along with some plastic, candy (or otherwise)-filled eggs. Sometimes we have a little basket filled with some bigger treats - like jump ropes or other larger items that won't fit in a plastic egg.

A tradition we've started in the last couple of years, and one that my boys look forward to, is hiding Resurrection Eggs. These eggs have symbols inside that represent the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. There's a booklet included that has the explanation for each object. My boys love figuring out which egg is next to open.


If you don't want to spend the money on a set of eggs, you can make your own! At Motherhood Your Way, Mandi gives a list of the items you'll need, plus has free downloadable cards that tell the Resurrection story.

Another fun, delightful way to tell the Easter story is with these Resurrection Cookies I found a recipe for at Motherhood on a Dime:



Bible Story Printables has some great Resurrection activities:
  • Coloring pages
  • Bible verse copywork - Four different pages
  • Easter file folder game
  • Make-A-Word (see how many words you can make from the letters in "Easter Sunday.")
  • MiniBook
  • Bookmarks
  • Jelly Bean Prayer Box
For preschool-age kids, Christian Preschool Printables has some ABC Resurrection coloring pages, Bible verse cards, and a handwriting page. They also have some additional Easter activities:
  • Make Your Own Resurrection Eggs
  • Easter Memory Match
  • Word Wall Set
  • Printable puzzles
  • Several "He is Risen" crafts
  • Easter Bingo
  • Bookmarks
  • File Folder Games/other games
  • Hosanna Craft
  • Songs and calendar helpers, bible verse cards, and more!
However your family chooses to celebrate Easter weekend, I wish you all a happy family-time!

 Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Timberdoodle - A Quick Look

I stumbled across a link to Timberdoodle the other day, and clicked over to their site to take a look at their curriculum...

...and it sat on the computer screen for a few days...

Now I'm wishing I'd gotten around to checking it out sooner because I personally think they've got a good curriculum package going on. While I haven't taken a ton of time to browse the website, I wanted to bring it to your attention in case this is a good fit for you. They've got a good deal going on that ends at the end of March. The deal is this: when you purchase one of their Complete Core Curriculum bundle by the end of March, you'll receive a $50 gift certificate. Plus you earn Doodle Dollars which is a rewards program - earning points that can be used to purchase their products.

I started out on the 2nd grade curriculum page - comparing it to what I've been doing with Cedric. I can tell you that their Handwriting choice is what I chose. We've been doing A Reason for Handwriting all year, and it's great! They use Bible verses for copywork, which coordinate with the stories used in A Reason for Spelling that we use (not included in Timberdoodle's bundle).

Timberdoodle also has selected a couple items or so from Critical Thinking. I've used a few Critical Thinking books with Cedric in the past and he loved them. I considered using many of their books for our curriculum this year, but chose not to simply because I already had enough going on with my Download N Go units.

They also chose an Apologia science program - I love Apologia science, having used the Ocean Animals book with the boys this year.

The World Map Puzzle would be awesome to have - Cedric loves looking at the world map I hung on the wall and constantly refers to it when we find something out about a new country. And the description of the history book they chose makes me want to read it - and history totally isn't my thing.

And a Smencil and some kind of putty included? How fun is that!

I really can't say anything bad about the choices made for this particular 2nd grade bundle. If you're looking for a curriculum that you can lay before your child without having to do much planning, I recommend taking a look at Timberdoodle.

They also have a Damaged section and a Closeouts/Overstocks section - might find some good bargains over there.

Scholastic $1 Sale - Ends 3/28

Teach Express Scholastic is having a 3-day sale. A huge selection of teaching books for $1 each! Very good deals - 90% off in some cases! And many of them are downloadable, so you can buy and access immediately. Many of these books are definitely geared to a classroom teacher, but I find that most activities can be adjusted to fit the homeschooling family needs.

History, Math, Language Arts, Literary Units, Science, Thematic Units, Geography - over 1600 titles on sale! Great to add as a supplement to your curriculum, or to make your own thematic units with. Just make sure you don't go all-out crazy. Have a plan: look for items that go along with lessons you've had in mind to teach or that address skills your child needs practice on. For instance, I could use some supplemental math worksheets to help my oldest learn his adding and subtracting facts better, so a 2nd grade math activity book would be on my shopping list. And I know that I need to get both boys writing more, so I'm going to look into books with great writing assignments.

Have a plan - it saves money!

Here's a brief sampling of what's available:

If you live in a state that requires you do the state testing, you can get some practice test books.

Want to do a Penguin theme? Great book of 3-D style learning activities and booklets that would be good to add to a lapbook.

How about a Teeth theme for those youngin's who are losing their baby teeth?

Teach grammar through the use of Comic Strips.

Need some Map Outlines? 101 maps included!

Habitat Dioramas make science learning fun!

And those are just a few I've found in the first 4 pages of items! I'm going to have fun going through to find some helpful items. If you don't want to go page-by-page, you can search by category or by age.




Friday, March 23, 2012

Time to Buy Curriculum!

If you know you're homeschooling next year, now is the time to look into what curriculum you want to use. And it's time to buy!

Why now?

Spring is when many homeschool curriculum companies have their items on sale. I just got a catalog in the mail from Christianbook.com - "Homeschool SALE!" emblazoned across the top.

Christianbook.com is a pretty good place to peruse several different curriculums, and they usually have some of the best prices around. (I especially like to browse through their really cheap clearance section. Very worth taking a look at!) As an example of why you want to buy soon: In April, Christianbook.com has Alpha Omega products (like Horizons, LifePac and Switched-on Schoolhouse) for 20% off. That's a pretty good deal, because when it comes to May, they go down to 15% off... and in June, they're only 10% off.

So you can see - you'll want to start buying soon to save money. But try to know what you really want to get, otherwise, you buy something in a hurry just to get a good deal and if it ends up not working for you, then you'll end up spending more money on other curriculum... So know what you want.

In trying to figure out a good match for curriculum, you can attend a local homeschool convention to see the books. If there aren't any conventions nearby, and if you're like me and need visuals to see if something works for you, many of the companies will have sample pages you can download or otherwise view online.

At any rate - it's time for the good deals! I'll try to post them as I find them!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winter Close-out Sale at CurrClick

There's a great sale going on at CurrClick from now until March 19. Get 60 to 80% off certain holiday and winter themed curriculum.




I'm excited about this in particular because there are some Magic Treehouse lapbooks on sale for $1.00 (reg. price $4.99), and Cedric is totally into those books right now. He'd probably even do the lapbooks without any encouragement from me.



They have some American Girl Lapbooks for $1.25 (reg. $4.99).




And there are many more options - go take a look!


CurrClick

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Luck o' the Irish

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

What activities do you have planned for St. Patrick's day lessons?

The boys and I are learning all kinds of fun stuff about Ireland, using Amanda Bennett's Download N Go unit: Expedition Ireland. After learning a little about Waterford, Ireland, the boys loved seeing the Waterford crystal bowl and thimble I'd bought back in 2003. Made the study more relevant for them to actually see something from there... or did it make having those shiny dishes in the cupboards seem more relevant?  The boys also enjoyed the myths behind The Giant's Causeway, and they'll always love learning more about various animals like those found in Ireland.

I found some fun St. Patrick's Day printables and crafts on Enchanted Learning.

Family Fun had a couple recipes we'll try.

Clover Cookies

Taste A Rainbow
Fun, huh!

Plus, some Irish Soda Bread that I also found a recipe for on Family Fun. Can't wait to try that - no yeast... might actually turn out for me!

More activities:
How about a leprechaun playset? Or a shamrock maze? A fun Treasure Hunt? Also found at Family Fun...

At DLTK, I found this neat leprechaun craft. Check out all their St. Patrick's Day crafts and printables.

Sent away for Darby O'Gill and the Little People to watch as part of the unit... Should be fun to watch the young Sean Connery in action. I saw this when I was little girl, but haven't seen it since then.




I combined most of the printables into a couple activity packets for the boys. They like working on them in between our other subjects.

If you have a preschooler, here's a cute, free printable St. Patrick's Day theme set.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

More Leap Day Freebies from CurrClick

Here are 5 more freebies you can get from Currclick today - Leap Day - only! The first two freebies I posted about earlier today. Code expires tonight at midnight. You can put them all in your cart and then enter the code 'leapdayfree' at checkout.




Field Trip Notebooking Pages
















Learning Across the USA















Thoughts on Being Left Behind















St. Patrick's Day Complete Counting Card Set












Make Your Own ABC Book About ...The Human Body













Two more will be posted by CurrClick on their Facebook page later - Head over, if you like, and 'like' their page to receive updates yourself.

Freebies at CurrClick - Leap Day only!

CurrClick - one of my favorite sites that I've mentioned before - is running a special set of freebies for Leap Day. They have nine products you can get for free after entering a code at checkout. So far today, they've released two of them. Here they are, and I'll share the other codes out as they come. (Or you can 'like' CurrClick on Facebook and also be in the know!)



A Christian Child's Prayer, Color, and Copy Book  

Enter code 'leapday' at checkout.

Call of the Wild (Novel)

Enter code 'leapdayfree' at checkout.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's In The Bible? for $5!

My boys like to play games and watch videos at Jelly Telly. There's Dr Schniffenhousen (love that name!) who explains science stuff, the Sunday School Lady who shares all kinds of things from the Bible, Chuck Waggin who sings countrified songs, and a multitude of other fun characters. It's just a fun Christian-based, educational site that was created by the same people who came up with VeggieTales!

Awhile ago, the Jelly Telly people came out with a video series entitled What's in the Bible? Maybe you've heard of it... If you have an opinion on this series, go ahead and share in the comment section. I'd like to hear what you think about it, since I haven't seen any of these yet.

I didn't think I'd ever get to watch What's in the Bible?, cuz, well... Their normal price per volume is $15, and that can be pretty spendy on our budget. Especially when there's a whole series! But I'm really excited because they're offering a Valentine's special. There's a code to get $10 off of Vol. 1: Genesis.

Plus you get free shipping!

Enter the code LOVE1 at checkout, and you can get the first volume for only $5!

You can check out the deal here.

I haven't seen an expiration date on this code, but you may want to jump on the chuck-wagon right away so you don't miss out!

UPDATE (3-12-12): I received a Thank You email for my last purchase, and they included another code to get $10 off of Volume 1. So if the code above doesn't work, try this one:



And here's a short blurb on the first five minutes:



Additional volumes in the What's in the Bible? series:


Disclaimer: The Amazon links above are my affiliate links. When you purchase through my link, I receive a small referral fee that allows me to add just a bit to our income.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Rain Painting

I've been waiting for a long time to do rain painting with my boys. The main reason I haven't before is because I never had the right kind of paint.

And now I do.

And it's raining today.

So we got out some white construction paper and went to it.

What is rain painting? I don't know for sure if this is actually termed 'rain painting', but it fits.

Use powder paint (tempera)... the kind you have to mix with water to make paint... Only don't mix it with water... cuz that's what the rain is for...



Sprinkle some on a piece of paper - whatever colors you desire. Make a pattern or don't.



Set it on a tray out in the rain, and let the rain do the painting.




Snap a photo of the co-artists with their masterpieces:




Then be all artsy and discuss the color blending, the textures created by the raindrops and paint. Ask: What do you think the rain was trying to say with this piece of artwork?











Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Victor Borge - Phonetic Punctuation

A friend of mine just pointed me in the direction of SchoolWAX TV (a close relation to SchoolWAX which I will also be looking into as a possible homeschool resource). It has free videos to watch that were specifically chosen for their educational value... much in the way youtube has videos to watch, only without all the ads and such. Basically a safe viewing place for homeschooling (or schooling). I'm still in the throes of checking it out, but in doing so, I came across a video of one of my heroes that I had to share.

Since grade school, I've been a huge fan of Victor Borge. He's an awesome pianist! And he's hilarious to boot! He has these routines that he puts on with the piano as the backdrop. One thing Borge came up with was giving punctuation its own sound - Phonetic Punctuation, he calls it. I've seen one routine several times from when he was older. When browsing through SchoolWAX TV, I came across one I'd never seen before: Borge doing phonetic punctuation with Dean Martin (for those who haven't heard of him, he was a rather famous singer way back when...).

Here it is for your viewing pleasure. (And while you're there, check out the rest of SchoolWAX TV.)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Homemade Fabric Flashcards


Homemade fabric AC-123 flashcards!

I want to make these! Just another thing to put on my ever growing list of things to make...
 
I just came across this gal from Crafty Gemini who created these ABC-123 flashcards from fabric. They are machine washable and virtually indestructible! Watch her teaser video below. She has the video instructions and printable templates on sale right now for $9.99 at her site: Crafty Gemini...the shop. Until Feb 3, 2012, you can also enter a contest to win some pellon and other items (she talks about it in the video).