Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Field Trips...

We went on a field trip to the pumpkin patch. We had a hayride, corn maze, ice cream, got a tiny pumpkin and fed the animals.  It was so much fun.

I love that as homeschoolers we can pick what we want to do. We can go on many wonderful field trips.

We have a few of them planned.  I am trying to fit in a trip up North to American Stone Henge.  I really want to go before the weather gets colder.  My boys use to love going there.

There are a few books we will read with Five in a Row that I want to plan a field trip to go along.  Like when we did How to Make an Apple Pie and See The World  we went apple picking.

Here are some future ideas for field trips to go along with our Five in a Row books...

  • Lentil- we can go to one of the war memorials near us and talk about the war its for and the soldiers that died in that war
  • Another Celebrated Dancing Bear- take Samantha to the ballet and we were just invited to go see the Nut Cracker
  • The Rag Coat- I wish we did this before my trip to NY last weekend and walked along the Appalachian Trail. So we will just have to put this book off until the spring and go back and visit my sister in law and do that walk again :) or maybe go somewhere else along the trail in another state and walk it.
  • The Bee Tree- I was thinking of either going to the animal shelter and visit with the animals after we talk about caring for them.  Or we could visit a music store and look at all the instruments and find somewhere I can take her to listen to musicians. I can pull out my homemade xylophone I made as a child with my dad and play it with her and the one her brother had in middle school.
  • The Finest Horse in Town- we can visit Maine, also with her doing the Girls Horse Club she is exposed to horses maybe have her go somewhere to ride a horse.
  • Follow the Drinking Gourd- I am going to look into if any of the houses around here has and of the hideaways they had back in the time of the underground railroad. My husband's grandfathers grew up in a house with the secret passages and hideaways behind the fireplaces.  Steve also worked in a few houses years ago with the hidden stairways.
  • Wee Gillis- I am going to look into the arts district around here and see if any of them have a display of wool crafts or will give a tour of their studio.  Maybe do a trip to a material/yarn store and look at the wool.  Go to the zoo and look at the sheep.  
  • The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge- go visit the Light houses around here.
  • Mailing May- try and arrange a field trip to the post office or the train depot.  

Sunday, October 20, 2013


I have looked for a math program that fits Samantha. I have tried a few.

We tried Horizons for first grade and part of second grade before I ditched it.  Not saying its bad but She would get so frustrated with it. She was learning but one lesson could take forever to do.  For her it didn't work.

I bought Bob Jones second grade and didn't even try it I knew it wouldn't work once I looked it through.

I looked at Abeka and realized it very similar to Horizons math.

I tried math mammoth blue and although I liked it she didn't. It too is a good curriculum but not a good fit for my daughter who is very hands on. She could do the work in all these curriculum but she was beginning to hate math so it wasn't working.  

So we are trying a combination of Life of Fred, hands on learning and games and I recently saw an excellent deal on Math U See and after hearing a friend and her daughter sing it praise I figured I give it a try, starting this week.  The only thing I didn't get was the DVD I haven't been able to find it at a good deal.  The Teachers Book, Student book and the skip counting Cd I got for $20 all together.  

Here is a picture of Sam using some hands on learning.  
Learning how to do the 2 times table.
 Skip counting the 4's table. 

The one thing that stuck with Sam from Horizons math was the skip counting. I was surprised how high she can skip count 2,3, 4, 5, 10 and 11's.  All the first steps in learning her times tables.  

Five in a Row.

It always comes back to Five in a Row.

We love this curriculum. I almost didn't do it this year.  I am finding this year school work takes us longer to do.  I tried cutting out FIAR but I can't.  Its such a rich curriculum.  So we do it.  With Heart of Dakota they say to use either their reading program or your own. So I use FIAR as our reading program since so much is learned through it. I still laugh at her putting eyes on the cat box last year when she learned about personification.  I am amazed how she actually learned it and still will point it out in books that we read.  

I don't have any pictures to share yet. I keep forgetting to take them.  

My daughter would be so upset if we didn't get to do FIAR.  I have the first 3 volumes and I hope to finish them up this year and move onto Volume 4 next year.  Then onto Beyond Five in a Row.  

If your still on the fence on what to use with your elementary student try FIAR its a very fun and rich learning experience. I am constantly amazed at all Samantha has learned using this.  Or what I have learned!

Some of the fun things about Heart of Dakota

I really like the curriculum Heart of Dakota that I picked out for this year. I has all I wanted in a curriculum.

I wanted something very hands on.  Fun learning of history and science. Creative and enjoyable all the while learning. Easy for me to teach with our crazy life. 

I found that with Heart of Dakota and Five in a Row. 

Five in a Row will be another post...

In history she does vocabulary, crafts and so much more to go along with the reading, 

In science she does experiments to go along with the reading. We have also taking our science to the beach.  That brought her learning to life.  

The art work adds some fun and ties everything in.

In history she is learning about early explorers.  In science she is learning about the ocean and all the life in and around it.

Taking the learning to the beach!  
Digging for the creatures that live in the sand
 Her art making it look like the ocean Finished project resembled the waves
 Showing me the route that Christopher Columbus took

 Activity to show how God made each creature special.  Birds have the right size beaks to collect the food they need.  Longer beaks to dig deep in the sand to get the creatures who live there. Smaller beaks to get the creatures that live on the sand.
 They didn't talk about the Vikings travels so I added this in
 Painting with water color on wax so much fun.  Thanks to the advice of other HOD users we skipped using wax paper and used crayons instead.

Learning continues

Things get so busy around here that I stop posting.

Things that we have been doing....

  • Horse club for girls- she goes every other week to a farm and is learning all about horses and how to care for them.
  • Some of the time we get to open gym and craft time with a homeschool group. 
  • Co op classes
  • dance, baton and ice skating lessons
  • music at school
  • gym and craft time at Calvary Bible church  
  • from homeschool ice skating at the Abby
  • and I can't forget the actual school work
We are kept busy and add in my job and we are very busy.  I am about to start a class at my house to learn all about our states too. 

We participated in the National homeschool spirit week.  Here are some fun things we did with it...

Not back to school day at the beach(not part of spirit week)

Homeschool away from home...

PJ day

Friday, September 6, 2013

First day of school pictures

 Willy thinking the water I set out was for him.
 Samantha learning about how waves are forms.. Willy getting right into it all. 

 I can't beleive she is a third grader already.  Like her boots? She just had to have them.. I gave in and she hasn't taken them off her feet yet... well only to sleep and when I told her that her feet were going to stink so bad that I would have to throw away the boots.  Got to love these finding her place in the world years.  I love watching as she tries to find her own style.  I think she is an amazing girl!

I LOVE IT!!!!!

I love our new curriculum.  I am so happy that I finally bought Heart of Dakota!  I asked Sam what she thought and she said its COOL.  LOL Did I say how much I love it? Can you tell how excited I am.  Its one of those times where I just know this year is going to be fun and full of learning. Just how I always pictures our homeschool journey to be like. 

Confession time.....  I had a blonde or senior moment and I an neither blonde or a senior....

For our first day of school we always do a scavenger hunt for school supplies and fun stuff..
For History we need a globe. Right now space is on the short side.
I thought buying a inflatable one would be the best option. I could deflate it when not in use.
fast forward to first day of school. I hid this globe in my chandler.  Not my smartest move yet
but hey it would have been ok except the clouds chose that moment of us starting the hunt to completely cover the sun and make all go somewhat dark. Samantha requested the light to go on so she could read her clues.
Yep after her finding a few items we hear this popping sound.
where the globe rested on 2 of the light bulbs it  melted the plastic thus sending our precious globe to the ground with big gaping holes in it. :(  my nice $15 huge globe no longer usable. It just arrived in the mail a few day before.

So today much to my dismay I had to order a new one as we are going to use a globe quit often.  I hope this one arrives as quickly as the first one did.  

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Homeschool Activities....

So a friend of mine got a letter the other day from her schools superintendent. In it he asked her to provide him with 6 things, one of them being what was her plan to socialize her daughter.  I think its a big joke to even ask that. Most homeschoolers have their children out involved in many things they actually socialize more then public schooled kids.  But it did get me thinking. Just how much time does an average homeschool kid gets out compared to a normal public schooled kid.  I think that would be hard to even prove.  But I do look at what Samantha gets to do and I know that if she was in school there is no way she would do all she does.  There wouldn't be enough time or energy to do so.  I think people are so hung up on the whole socialized concept because they are beginning to realize just how well homeschooled kids do academically compared to public/ private schooled kids.

So with that said here is all my child will be doing this school year.

Mondays- Baton at CD Rec
Tuesday- Free Homeschool Ice skating at the Abby, Homeschool meet up at the park for as long as people keep going. 
Wednesday- GIRLS FOR HORSES Horsemanship workshop 2 hours spent at a farm learning all about horses and how to care for them.
Thursdays-Homeschool Co-op 3 classes each an hour Biology, History and Art. Skating at night for her lessons. 
Friday-Wow is Friday the only day we don't have something planned besides the weekends?

Starting in Oct a class at my home teaching Samantha and a few friends all about our states.

I can't forget the once a month class at the museum.    

Then here are a few things floating around in my brain that I might do with her:

  Dance lessons and/or Karate at the rec center, an art class with a group, Music class at our public school and a friend has been asking about doing the cooking class/sewing craft class at my house. 

 After you read this do you still think my child is going to be the weird  unsocialized homeschooler??? So do you think my child is not socialized enough or maybe too much?  There is no way she could do any of this if she was in school.  It does sound like a lot but if you look at it as she gets out every day just like if she was in school she isn't out more.  Just out in a different environment and situations then school. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Good deals...

So in my last post I talked about procrastinating about sending in my letter of intent due to the lack of ink in my printer. I didn't think it would be cool to send it in to them in blue or another color ink.  But it paid off for me...
I went last week to buy ink but they didn't have my kind in the size I wanted to buy.  they only had the double package or the XL one.  I wanted the cheap o one.  The single package.  The XL one doesn't live up to having more like it says.  I didn't have the extra $$ to buy the double package.  

So I really need to get the letter out so I went back to Walmart and all they had again with the 2 sizes I didn't want.  But since I didn't have my own car I didn't want to drive around much.  So I bought the double package.  

When you buy the double packages at Walmart you get a gift card for $5.  Now that's a bargain.  So I actually saved money by getting it that way. Its normally $15 for one cartridge and it was going to be $25 for the double pack so this works out I got them both for $10 a piece.   I just love when I get deals.  

I am not sure if its just the HP brands the girl didn't  know.  But I have to remember this so I can get this deal again.  

So Monday my letter is going out.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

My thoughts...

So just a few thoughts rattling around my mind today.....

  • I need to get more ink so I can send out my letter of intent. (yes a little procrastination going on here) the letter is written I just need to get the ink.  
  • I need to organize all the school stuff and do it NOW
  • I need to decide on what extra stuff we will be doing this fall there is so much to choose from:                               homeschool co-op, museum classes, free ice skating, field trips, art classes, music class at                   the school and so much more.
  • figure out what extra activities she will take- dance, baton, sports or ice skating
  • make a list of supplies I do need to buy
  • wondering if the new principal at the school is going to let Samantha take music like the old one did. and I wont know until school starts, he calls me and we have our yearly meeting.
This month has been a tough one with car problems and now the need to buy a new car and having no car at the moment has me very stressed.  Three weeks without an income is stressing me too.  My client took a vacation and I don't get paid while she is away.  Finding 2 new jobs. One started right away but is only every other week, cleaning someones house. Then the other job putting meds in this man's feeding tube but it doesn't start until next week sometime.  Trying to plan at least Sept school time, work time and free time with the thoughts that I don't have a car is difficult.  I hate things being so up in the air.  Trying to make it all work.  
We had a few changes in our house also this summer.  Mike(my oldest son) moved home. So we have had to rearrange all out school stuff to fit mostly in Samantha's room.  Even though I lost our school room this is where Mike belongs for now.  We did have my granddaughters visiting off and on throughout the summer. I was so much fun to have them here.  

Finding out I have Lyme had us change some summer plans.  Being in the sun too long hurt so we didn't get in as much outside fun that I had planned.  Less time in the water.  Now that I can be in the sun we only had a few really good days for it. But with a lack of car no way of getting there.  A good friend Rachel picked us up for the beach a few times. We also went to a few movies in the park nights.  

So I guess I can't complain too much about our summer.  There are many things that will have to wait for next year to do. But we still had some fun.  

We also had some good things happen... a friend gave us a perfectly good computer that she thought was messed up.  Didn't want it back when Steve fixed it himself she already bought a new one.  Finding all of Sam's curriculum at a great deal.  Most I spent pennies for.  Amazon is a great resource for homeschoolers.  

So these are the things that keep going round and round in my mind today.  I hope you all have a great weekend.    

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013-2014 CURRICULUM

So this year I am trying something new and keeping some old.

We are trying a curriculum called Heart of Dakota. Through this curriculum what I will be following is their Science, History & Spelling Fully. Then I will be using only parts of their Math, Reading & English.  I am really liking what I have read in the teachers manual. With Hearts of Dakota they suggest a math and English curriculum but you can use whatever you want to use.

Math- We will be continuing with Life of Fred and adding in worksheets and games. Most of the games I will be using is found in the HOD teachers manual.  But there are some online games I found on the Easy Peasy all in one Homeschooling website.

English- We will be using a variety of materials. Grammar Skills workbook (same company as Singapore math), Language Arts Practice Galore skill based puzzles from The Mailbox and Scholastic Read and Practice Mini-books Parts of Speech.

Phonics & ReadingModern Curriculum Press Phonics Level CHearts of Dakota reading list, and some reading comprehension workbooks I picked up.

Science, History & Spelling- We will be using Heart of Dakota and for science I will continue with our Magic school bus science kits.

CursiveCursive Writing with a Twist!

The bonus to our work will be continuing with Five in a Row. Samantha and I absolution love this curriculum.  Its so much fun to read and learn from these books.  I think instead of one week with each book we might stretch it out to 2 weeks just so we are not trying to do too much in a day.

Samantha will continue with Baton, ice skating, the once a month museum homeschool class and hopefully taking music at the school.  We are waiting to see what is offered at the local coop and looking forward to the field trips the Life group plans.

I am also going to do a once a week Geography class with some friends.  For this we will use Road Trip USA.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Pros and Cons of homeschooling...

Just to warn you this is going to be a long post.  

Recently a good friend contacted and asked me about homeschooling. Her daughter had some issues in school and she really wanted to look into homeschooling.  She asked me to be completely honest with her about the pros and cons of homeschooling.  So here is my list of what I think are the pros and cons.
I will start with the cons:
*Your with your child all the time- sometimes you just need a break and if no one is around your stuck with them LOL *You will always second guess your choice-its a sign of a good mom. you want what is best and society tells you its school. Your heart may tell you different. *some people will feel the need to tell you that your not qualified teach them- you are because your childs education is your number 1 priority. *people will actually try and test your child's knowledge. Even if the questions are not suitable for a second grader they will asked them 7th grade questions. *cost of materials-although there are a few very very good sites that offer 100% free online curriculum. You still need the craft supplies if your child is one that loves crafts. *cost of extra activities(although there are many that I would pay for even if she was in public school like dance) *cost of field trips- some places give free trips with the letter of approval from the school and many places offer discounts *for my only child getting her out and socializing with other kids outside of activities. People like to tell you that your child is going to turn out weird if she doesn't go to school or know how to get along with other children. *depending on curriculum you use planning time. This year coming will be the first year I wont have to plan I picked a curriculum that does it all for you. *after christmas break slump... many I know get it myself including. Its takes some a couple weeks to really get back in the swing of things after Christmas *the days when its not so fun and easy.... kids just like adults have off days. homeschooling isn't all fun even if pictures make it look like things run smoothly. There are many days I threaten to send her to school. LOL Yes I actually threaten that. But usually off behavior means its time for a small break or switch gears and do something different until the frustration level is down. *many times you have to go somewhere like a doctors appointment and you have no one to watch them. With my recent infection in my arm that turned out to be Lyme it was very scary for Samantha. She sat there very worried and asked the doctor if her mommy would be ok. She is the only one who saw how sick I really got.


*Your with your child all the time- Its you shaping your child's ideas and modeling what you want her to learn morally. You also develop a very close relationship with them. *Samantha has time to spend with elderly family member's and is shaping her to be a compassionate person- at least once a week my mom takes her to visit my great uncle Leo in the nursing home... she doesn't always like going but goes because she knows how much he likes seeing her. He saves all his fruit for her. (she hasn't been in a few weeks but I still think opportunities like this is what makes homeschooling special. *I choose what I want to teach her. I pick the curriculum. I follow a loose list of what each grade needs to learn but I pick it all. If something isn't working I ditch it. I threw away her math curriculum last year half way through and found something else that worked. *If she gets something quickly I don't have to stay on it until the rest of the class gets it. and just the same if something isn't clicking I can stay on it as long as needed for her to learn it. *She learns in so many different ways that I can tailor her learning to her strengths. She is a strong reader so I pick curriculum that plays on that. Her math reads like a story and she is learning. She was tested at the beginning of second grade and she was reading at the middle to end of fourth grade level. *She is a good guesser so I stay away from most online curriculum as she is able to guess without learning. *If we need to travel work can come with us she doesn't miss school. Or we can take a break and pick it back up when we are home. the trips to Mikes she would have missed too much school and we would have not been able to go. *I get to see her learn, I get to witness the lightbulb moments. I get to relearn things along with her *Its no harder then trying to do homework with a kid who has been in school all day and has to come home and do homework. Most days its easier. *It takes a lot less time to complete a day of homeschool then kids are in school. On the average if we don't have any projects planned it takes about 2 hours to do. This year it will be a little bit longer but she is getting older. * many of your daily life is considered schooling. shopping=math cooking=math and science *today there is so much out there for homeschoolers- classes at co-ops, field trips, proms, sports, in mass the schools have to allow your child to participate in everything they have to offer and still be homeschooled. free classes at community colleges that earns them real credits when they are older *they learn how to get along with people of all ages. *when your not sure on a subject other homeschoolers will help out- co-ops are good for that. the one Sam is in has many different classes and parents that will teach your child say Algebra and you teach their child something in exchange.

For me the pros outweigh the cons. I love that if I had the money today I could just take a break from school and visit Mikes family for a couple weeks. (that was before he came home) I love that she is learning so much more at home then she would ever in the public school. yet I do maintain a good relationship with our district school so I can take advantage of all my taxes have to offer... she does music and computers at school. plus we are welcome to do anything with them like field trips, concerts, sports or other classes. I love that for Samantha she hasn't learned to hate learning. She gets excited over science kits for Christmas. She will actually sneak her math book into the bathroom to read it if I tell her I have had enough of it today. Her creativity hasn't been squashed... that I can make it work when her hyperness gets the best of her and no one is telling me to get her on meds and that I never felt the push or need to have her tested.
I think the biggest con for some is the cost.... but just like anything you can pick and choose what you want to do. Split costs with other homeschoolers, get free books and kits from the libraries and so much more. If I didn't homeschool Sam she would be in private that would mean I had to go back to work full time so she could get a decent education and miss out on so much of her. I spend a fraction of the cost of a good private education on homeschooling.

I fully believe that homeschooling is a great choice for most. just like I think public or private schooling is the best choice for others and only the parents can make the decision to what is right for their child.
I would love to hear what you think is the pros and cons of homeschooling.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Field trip to Arruda's Dairy Farm

A friend called and said she arraigned a field trip to the dairy farm would I like to join them.  SURE.  We are always up for a fun field trip and this was free!

We learned many new things like, when you buy local you can ask the farmer as many questions as you like and he will answer them.  At Arruda's they do it all themselves.  They grow their own feed for the cows.  They raise the cows from birth.  Some cows become used for beef, some for breeding and some for milk.  

Our tour started at the barn with the calves.  They are so cute.  A one week old one tried sucking on Sam's shirt, hands, face what ever she could get in her mouth.  So funny.

 Then we went outside and learned about the teenagers- aka the trouble makers.  They are beautiful creatures.

 Then we learned about how they grow their own feed for the cows.  How it is stored and the equipment they use to plant the crops and harvest the crops.

They no longer use silo's to store the feed they use a very expensive equipment to put the feed into these huge bags and store it like that, It keeps out all the bacteria and is much easier to use.  

Then we learned about the dairy cows, and how they are milked.  We were happy to find that they do not use hormones or antibiotics in their milk.  

We had a very fun tour of the dairy farm.  I hope we can go back again one day.

This is so exciting....

watching our caterpillars form their chrysalis'.  I find Samantha and myself often walking over to the cup of caterpillars watching them.  We have 2 now in the pupa stage.  I am still hopeful that tiny will turn into a beautiful butterfly.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013


playing and learning all about volcanoes is so much fun.

First she learned about the tectonic plate and we did a fun messy experiment learning about how they move... take a soft boiled egg crack it a bit, draw with marker over the cracks push together and see what happens......

She wasn't expecting the yolk to come out like that just like a volcano blows its lava out. 

She learned the different types of volcanoes, how they erupt differently and what the inside of one looks like.

We then painted a fake one and experimented with different things to make it erupt   She enjoyed this so much.  We erupted the volcano many times.  

We really are having so much fun with the Magic School Bus science kits.
I am hoping this link works.  I will try it and hopefully you will get to see Samantha in action

We have Caterpillars

They arrived in the mail about 2 weeks ago.  We have 6 caterpillars.  We were supposed to get only 5.

 Samantha has been recording their growth. As of today we have 5 huge hungry caterpillars and one runt.  He is only slightly bigger then when the arrived.  The others are close to being 2 inches.  This little runt is lucky if he is 1 inch long.  I wonder if he will change into a butterfly. Only time will tell.

We are at the second week mark and that is when they start entering the second stage the pupa stage.  I think one is just beginning.  I am hoping the runt or tiny as Samantha calls him will also change we are wondering if he will just be a tiny butterfly.

the runt bottom right 

I think they are starting to go into the pupa stage I think. Well the one hanging on the left he has done that all afternoon.  Wiggling here and there.  

Its exciting to watch and wait.  

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

New classes...

Samantha has started a few new things this winter... ice skating lessons, wiggle kids gym class and a co-op.

The skating lessons are going awesome.  She will continue this until the summer and start back up in the fall.

Wiggle kids gym class has been so much fun. Its a 6 week class not sure if we will continue this.  She loves it but its falls on her dance class day and by time she starts ballet class she is so tired that she begs me to let her just go home to bed.  Not a good thing when they are practicing for the recital.  

The co-op. A friend convinced me not to wait until the fall to start her in the co-op. Mostly so she wouldn't be there alone.   So we caved to peer pressure. (thats ok I do the same to her from time to time) and I signed Sam up for the co-op.  She is taking a pre-chemistry class and history class.  She loves both of them. She came home excited that she had homework.  My silly kid.  

The science teacher gave me a book to catch her up since they started the first half of the class in the fall.  So Allicia and I have been teaching Samantha and Isabell the first 5 lessons.  They enjoyed it and learned so much.  Here is a picture of Samantha's understanding of atoms and how they become molecules.  H2O.

Some winter time fun...

This winter is really dragging on.  Here is a small peak into some of the fun things we did this winter.

Fall River rec center sponsored an outside week long skating rink during Feb vacation.  It was fake ice.  We met a few friends there.  The kids had fun

 She turned 8 and had a fun old fashioned party at home and said it was her best birthday party yet! It was American girl themed.
 We had a new addition to our family. Here is Willy trying to hid from all the giggling girls at Sam's party
 Samantha completed the youth 2 program and advanced onto preskating.  This is the step before figure skating.

 We had a blizzard.  Oh what fun that was.  No that wasn't sarcastic I actually enjoyed the forced home/family time this gave us.
 Went to a few Providence Bruins game. Here she is posing with the free give away's at the ticket gate.  
 Here we are longing for summer.. yes we are at the beach.  Actually we were looking for a snow free playground and got sidetracked at the playground/ beach in Somerset.  

On stage performing in Seusical 
 Samantha at youth 2 lessons 
 Valentines day gift for Daddy a home made scratch ticket. He won hugs and kisses from Samantha.
 Sam in the Christmas parade for ballet & jazz class

Now that we have had this much fun can spring please come!!!  We enjoyed the snow now we want to enjoy the warmth.