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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!