Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Wordless Wednesday - 12/13/17

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Homeschool Holiday Traditions and Memories

Review Crew

In keeping with the season I thought I would write today about homeschool holiday traditions and memories we have made through the years. This post would be best with lots of photographs, but I don't have as many photos as I wish I had of the things I am remembering.

One huge tradition we had in our homeschool, particularly when all our courses were at home (no co-op classes, no high school classes outside the home, etc.) was to schedule all our class plans so that we could take the entire month of December off of academic subjects.

We liked to spend the month Christmas presents, doing Christmas crafts and special art projects, and doing lots of baking that everyone helped with.

I started a tradition of making a pair of flannel pajamas or a nightgown for the kids each year.

One baking item we would make was "Candy Cane Stocking" cookies. Starting with a batch of butter cookie batter, split the batch in half. Using red food color, color one half red. Form 1"-2" balls of each color. Taking one red and one white (really they were butter-yellow) ball, roll each ball gently into a snake about 6-7" long. Place the snakes together and gently twist together to form a candy cane shape and place on baking sheet. Follow baking instructions and remove to cooling racks. These are a nice change and are a nice addition to a plate of cookie varieties to give as a gift.

We also liked to make chocolate-dipped bars. Basically you make the recipe for toll-house or butter cookies (without chips or nuts in the batter). Shape into bars that are 3/4" X 2", and bake following directions (350 degrees for ten minutes?). Cool on racks. Chop walnuts and set aside in a bowl. Melt chocolate chips in a double boiler with 1 Tbsp. Cricso. Dip each bar in chocolate (about 1" on one end of bar) and while chocolate is still wet dip in chopped walnuts, then set on waxed paper for chocolate to harden. I love that one.

We always loved to make chocolate chip cookies, and Snickerdoodles was another favorite. And how could I forget!... Peanut butter kiss cookies! 

And I have a special recipe you won't find nowadays, but it was my favorite as a kid: Peanut Butter Scotchies!
Peanut Butter Scotchies

6 oz. bag butterscotch chips
1 cup smooth or crunchy peanut butter
2 cups Rice Krispies

Line 9" square pan with waxed paper. In a 2 quart pot over low heat, melt butterscotch chips. Add peanut butter and stir until peanut butter melts and mix is smooth. Turn off heat. Pour Rice Krispies into peanut butter mix and stir until well mixed. Fold into 9"X9" square pan and use rubber spatula to push into corners and smooth the top. Place in refrigerator until firm, about 3 hours.

Cut into 3" squares, or desired size. You can also melt chocolate chips and "ice" top with chocolate. These are SO GOOD! 

One of my favorite projects we ever did was gingerbread handprint Christmas tree ornaments.
On cardboard, trace one handprint of each child and cut out, with a straight line across at the wrist.
Using a gingerbread cookie recipe, make a batch of dough. Roll out about 1/4" thick. Place a handprint template on dough and cut out handprint by going around outside of template with a butter knife. Gently move to baking sheet. Use a straw to make a hole on each ornament near the wrist. Bake following cookie directions; cool on a wrack.
We used an icing recipe from a magazine that used egg whites, powdered sugar and food coloring. They were awesome and they were beautiful. Unfortunately no photographs. They were easily broken, and the ones that didn't get broken... the dog ate. Seriously. ::sigh::
It became a tradition to make a gingerbread house each year.

We also tried to take one family photo each year. Our oldest was no longer in the home for this one, and was not home for the photo.

So those are some of our family Christmas traditions. How about your family?
This post is linked up with the weekly Schoolhouse Review Crew Weekly Link-Up. Click below to see more posts on Christmas traditions.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Menu Monday for 12/11/17

Here's the quick "low down" on the meals for the week:

Saturday: leftovers

Sunday: BLT's, milk shakes, potato chips

Monday: French Bread Pizza

Tuesday: Chicken Caesar Salad

Wednesday: Spaghetti and meatballs, salad, TX toast

Thursday: Turkey cutlets, yams, broccoli

Friday: date night - dinner out

Saturday- Beef stew, rolls, salad

Monday, December 4, 2017

Menu Monday for 12/4/17

Homeschool Review Crew is on break for Thanksgiving, and it's hard to stay motivated to keep blogging! I was kinda in a "vacation mindset"!''

Anyway, here are this week's dinner menus:

Saturday: Hot dogs and beans, chips

Sunday: Corned beef and Cabbage, baby potatoes

Monday: pan-fried chicken breasts, brown rice, cauliflower

Tuesday: chili, salad, corn bread

Wednesday:  pizza, wings

Thursday: sizzle burgers, noodles, green beans

Friday: dinner out

Monday, November 27, 2017

Menu Plan Monday - 11/27/17

 I hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day! We were hosted by my adult daughter and her husband, with son-in-law's family and friends. There was SO! MUCH! FOOD! We came home with some stuffing and some dessert, but no turkey. We're having turkey cutlets one day this week and *pretending* they are "leftovers". Here's our plan:

Saturday: Wings, French fries, cole slaw

Sunday: spaghetti and meatballs, salad, Texas Toast

Monday: Turkey cutlets, stuffing, green beans

Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup, tortilla chips, salad

Wednesday: Beef and veggie skillet, rolls

Thursday: skillet barbecue chicken, noodles, brocolli

Friday:  Date Night

Monday, November 20, 2017

Menu Monday for 11/20/17

 I never got my menu posted last week. Did you miss me?

Anyway, here are this week's plans:

Sunday (11/19):
Baked ziti, salad, TX toast

Monday (11/20):
Roast chicken, broccoli, rice

Tuesday (11/21):
Grandmas chili, salad, corn bread

Wednesday (11/22):
Chicken Caesar salad, King’s Hawaiian rolls

Thursday (11/23)
Family Thanksgiving dinner at my daughter's: turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls, fresh veggie platter, pies for dessert

Friday (11/24):
Turkey cutlets, stuffing, green beans

Saturday (11/25):
Wings, fries, fresh Vegetables.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Thinking Like an Engineer - A TOS Homeschool Crew Review

Review Crew

Today I get to tell you about an amazing on-line course my family has been trying out this month by Innovators Tribe.

This opportunity to look at Thinking Like an Engineer came at a perfect time for us as my high school senior is looking at engineering and trying to determine what he will major in next year in college. We received a 2-year subscription in exchange for our review.

 Thinking Like an Engineer is a video course. It is well set up. From the Course Dashboard you can access the course Overview.

Scrolling down the Overview page brings you to a link where you can download the course Syllabus. 

 I did, however, think they could (and should) improve the "Materials List".
For one thing, it would be helpful if the list was broken down by lesson. For example, here is the syllabus content for Unit 1:
Under the Challenge activity of Lesson 1 it should say: Materials: 5 sheets of copy paper; 12" masking tape; scissors. 

Also, the material list was incomplete, because the Challenge activity under Lesson 3 called for two empty 2-liter soda bottles, masking tape, fine sand, coarse sand, gravel, coffee filter, and I think cheese cloth, and alum. None of those are on the provided materials list, and I'm still in Unit 1.

So... that was the only negative thing. I didn't make a water filter because I didn't have the materials, and I felt guilty that I wasn't prepared to make a water filter... And if I'd been doing this with kids I'd not have been prepared and I would have had disgruntled students.

Okay, so taking on this product review I was planning to work on the material at least three days per week, and I figured that would be about an hour each day. Doing this (not really knowing), I thought I'd get through quite a bit of the program.

What I found in truth was that the speed a student goes through the program will vary greatly from student to student. If they are really interested in the material, to a certain extent, the slower they go through the material the more they will get out of the program.

For instance, the Challenge Project for Lesson 1 was to create the tallest paper tower you can with five sheets of paper and 12" of masking tape. I really obsessed over this assignment, and spent hours on top of hours with my sad attempt that resulted in a flimsy construction about 2' tall.
How sad is that tower? ::sigh::

Lesson 2 provided an Activity Sheet with an assignment to research various types of engineers. These Activity Sheets are assigned throughout the program and are an intrinsic part of the program. And I'm not sure what happened with the Challenge activity for Lesson 2 - I didn't do it because I overlooked it.. I've now watched the challenge video, and my mind is cranking with how to attack the challenge...

Lesson 3, Engineering Clean Drinking Water, left me wondering how sustainable it is to create a clean drinking water system for a remote Mexican village. Don't the filters eventually need to be changed? How sustainable is that? And what about the last stage of cleaning the water where chemicals are added. Can't we learn and do more more with doing that stage without chemicals, with an ultraviolet lamp? I hate that our water is full of chemicals...

Lesson 4, 14 Grand Engineering Challenges, really slowed me down (as if I wasn't already going slowly enough!).
Lesson 4 gives a link to a website where the student can further explore these 14 engineering challenges. I could have spent two weeks on this one website following all of its links!

As you go into Unit 2, you download a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program. I've done this, but I'm still at the beginning of the unit learning how to use the program. Here is what Unit 2 includes:
Unit 3 is about Engineering Roller Coasters and has a challenge to make a paper roller coaster. You saw my paper tower -- I hate to think about what my paper roller coaster might look like!
Lesson 4 is about bridges. It was split onto two pages, so that's why it looks weird below:
Unit 5 is about 3D Computer Design. This might be the topic that fits my son well!
Unit 6 is about Nano-Engineering. We looked at nano-engineering once in First Lego League, but it didn't hold my son's attention. It might have been that he wasn't ready for it - he was in 6th Grade.
There is a brief summary at the end of the program.
Signing up for this course brings you a bonus course, How to be an Innovator. I haven't done that course yet, but it's amazing to get a bonus course!

The outline for Thinking Like an Innovator immediately follows the outline for Thinking Like an Engineer.

The provided information indicates that the course includes about 30 hours of work and can be counted as 1/4 high school credit.
I went through what I got through of Thinking Like an Engineer at the rate of about one lesson per week, not a lesson a day as I had envisioned. Most of the time I spent "on the program" was actually not on the program website but on connected links or on challenge activities. I loved it! If your student goes as slowly as I did and studies thoroughly it might merit more credit than is recommended.

While I have been using this program my son has been very busy with his dual-enrollment college courses and his other high school coursework and activities (including scholarship applications!). I expect I will continue to work through the program and share morsels with him until he finds time to begin working on it himself. Since he doesn't need the partial credit, he will probably just blast his way through the video portions and read what interests him of the links. I think this is such a valuable program for him to help introduce him to branches of engineering and to help him determine if there is a particular direction he wants to go.

Other members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew reviewed this course or Thinking Like an Architect. To read additional reviews please click the link below.
Thinking Like an Architect or Engineer {Innovators Tribe Reviews}

Crew Disclaimer