Thursday, August 25, 2011

County Fair, Part 2, with photos

County Fair was lots of fun this year! My son and I both entered items into competition, and we both did well.

My son got a special award for his cherry tomatoes, which I didn't get a photograph of, as well as a nature craft that he entered:

He also entered an electronic quiz board, shown here, as well as a Snap Circuits A.M. Radio that got a special award (no photo),
a blue ribbon on a soda-bottle rocket he made:

a blue ribbon on a jar lamp he made as part of the 4-H electric project:

and blue and red ribbons on some of his paintings:

DS also entered his hamster in the pet show and came away with several ribbons.

Then lots of rides on "Ride Day" (our family usually does rides only once a year).

Then I got to look at how my own fair entries did. My boys' slacks and boys pajamas got blue ribbons,
as did my latch hook rug, my blue teddy bear, and my fuzzy, floppy bunny with no face. I got a champion ribbon on my blue ribbon chocolate chip cookies with nuts. My other entries, some got no ribbons, some got lesser ribbons:

These are a crocheted market bag, a crocheted rub in bright colors, and a sewn pair of fleece booties. I had also made entries of a crocheted baby hat and booties, and a sewn apron, plus some other cookies.

Let me know what you think!

Unexpected blessing

Sorry I didn't post for a week -- I had an unexpected blessing, but it set me back...

One evening last week my hubby took me out shopping, and he bought me a new laptop! My old laptop was five years old, and it had gotten very slow. He wants to rebuild it and make it available for our student.

So, the setback is over the unexpected time it takes to transition from one computer to another. I could not believe how difficult this has been.

Okay, for one thing this computer does unexpected things. Like a moment ago I pushed the "enter" key to start a new paragraph, and instead this blog entry posted to my blog! No reason, no explanation. I don't get it.

Another example, my computers are on a network, so I wanted to easily move files from computer 1 to computer 2. But it wouldn't work. Computers were disconnecting from the network, and that seemed to be related to...

Oh, the earthquake. On the day of the earthquake, the kitchen computer died. (Oh, days later, fortunately, my husband was able to perform c.p.r. - computer pressed-air ressussitation... ha! ha!) That was the same day my computer 1 stopped talking to computer 2, and neither computer was willing to talk to the printer, and on and on!

Let's not forget the Math lessons I entered into my 36-week lesson planner up to week 17 or so that I saved, but which disappeared for some reason.


But, I'm finally beginning to recover from this transition to my new blessing. Wanted to post an explanation first, and next I'll post an update of our county fair fun!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

County Fair 2011

Fair days have arrived.

Monday (8/8) I went to the Fairgrounds to enter our 4-H Club's banner that we updated to reflect our current 4-H Year. Our banner got a 1st place ribbon and also a Champion ribbon! (No photos of anything yet; I'll have to post those a bit later; been too busy!)

Wednesday my son entered his "non-perishable" 4-H items, which included:
Pencil self-portrait; water color of our dog; acrylic painting of a mountain sunset; a bottle rocket from 2 2-liter soda bottles; an electric jar-lamp; an electric game board; a loom-knitted hat; a stone mozaic; a nature craft; and several more things. (again, photos soon.)

Friday I entered my own "open class" fair entries, which included boys' pajamas, boys' slacks; an apron; sewn baby booties; a crocheted tote, crocheted booties; a crocheted rug; a latch hook rug; chocolate chip cookies; a needlepoint pillow; and several other items.

Saturday my son entered his "perishable" 4-H entries: 5 cakes; 3 types of cookies; garden vegetables; citizenship baskets; etc. I also entered some items our club had put together: citizenship baskets. We then worked at the 4-H Bake Sale until 10:00 pm.

Today (Sunday) was the 4-H Parade. We woke to pouring rain! But by the time we got to the fairgrounds after church, the weather had gone from parade doubtful to parade possible, and progressed to parade definite! Our club got a 2nd place ribbon for its walking unit!

None of my son's cakes got 1st place, so we did not stay for the 8:00 cake auction this year. We're resting up. Tomorrow's the day we've set aside for the carnival part of the fair!

Happy summer, all!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Back to School! Curriculum Plans...

New year coming, and plans are cranking. Some things I'm fairly certain of, and some things I have three or four choices on and am not sure what direction I will go. Some subjects I would switch in a heartbeat if I get a free alternate choice as a result of my position as a reviewer on the TOS Homeschool Crew... But here's how it currently stands:

o Awana’s;
o Continuing work on AOP 5th Grade Bible curriculum;
o Bible readings, singing of hymns, Bible memory verses

o Horizons 6

My current plans are to do the Apologia Zoology, Parts 1, 2 and 3 (a kind friend loaned me books 2 and 3 today!). I figure we should be able to do all three, for a 6th grader, because they are somewhat easy, like younger grammar could do one or two in a year. Here they are:
o Apologia Flying Creatures of the 5th Day
o Apologia Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day; and
o Apologia Land Animals of the 6th Day.
o [I also own or else 6th Grade Abeka]
o I will supplement with Supercharged Science
o [I am hopeful that I might receive, to review as part of TOS Crew, a copy of Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology or Physical Science to use next year!]

Social Studies:
o Tapestry of Grace Year 3 (1800’s)

Language Arts:
o Tapestry of Grace, Year 3

o Tapestry of Grace, Year 3 (additional resources: Writing Aids; Write Source 2000

o continuing in A Beka 4 Penmanship Mastery I (because we own it and he hasn't accomplished handwriting yet);
(Anyone have a copy of A Beka 5's Penmanship Mastery II they'd like to sell me for $5?)

o Easy Grammar;
o Daily Grams 6;

o Combination of “Writing Road to Reading”, Spelling Power, and Natural Speller (Stout), particularly noting words he misspells, teaching him the spelling, and then systematic review.
o Big IQ Kids free Spelling and Vocabulary program, where I plug my words into their program and have my son use their program daily to learn his spelling words. Sounds like a great plan!

o Latin Roots: English from the Roots Up;
o Tapestry of Grace Year 3 vocabulary
o I think I also own A Beka Vocabulary -- I need to go check
o Big IQ Kids free Spelling and Vocabulary program - just went there today for the first time so not quite sure if I provide the words or if I have an option to use a list they provide, but I think they provide both options for free.

Music Appreciation:
o Harmony Art Mom's Art and Music Appreciation of the 1800's pages;
o various hymns, patriotic songs and folk songs throughout the year;

Art Appreciation:
o Harmony Art Mom's Art and Music Appreciation of the 1800's pages;
o A Beka Art C

A Beka combined with regular discussion and study;

Physical Education:
o Wii fit and additional activities: roller skating, gymnastics, trampoline, bike, etc. plus co-op classes;

o Spanish/French: Combination of Live Mocha free French program, Usborne, Transparent Language Free FrenchBYKI free languages - select your language.

Okay! I'm all internet linked! Hope you enjoy! Let me know if you discover any messed up links. Thanks.

I love comments!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Homeschooling for Free!

The purpose of this post is to show possible choices so a person can actually homeschool for free from their computer if they wish to/need to for financial reasons.
I will set up this post in a format of eight academic areas required by my state, with Bible added, as required by my homeschool umbrella. These represent a way to homeschool for free, but they are not meant to suggest that I am homeschooling this way. In another post I will outline how I am homeschooling.

Bible Gateway or Audio Bible (KJV)
Bible reading Plans: Penny Gardner scripture highlights from Old or New Testament, or Bible Gateway

Curriculum Aid or Mathematics Enhancement Programme (MEP – UK)

Classic Science or Real Science for Kids

Vega Science

Phonics: From Don Potter’s educational website: FREE DOWNLOAD: Word Mastery: A Course in Phonics for the First Three Grades by Florence Akin or Reading Made Easy with Blend Phonics for First Grade or How to Teach Phonics, or Through the Phonics Barrier: Student Manual or LEARN TO READ

Handwriting: This is a long section, so please bear with me. Where I live, the schools are no longer teaching cursive. Hunh? That makes no sense? The following is excerpted from Don Potter’s educational website:

"Peterson Handwriting: Good handwriting and good reading go together, both should be automated in order to free up the mind for good comprehension and creative composition. The Peterson Handwriting Company has done some highly sophisticated research into process of automated handwriting. Visit their web site at: Peterson Handwriting.

"They have published a REVIEW COPY of their entire program at: Handwriting – The Complete Program. This is a MUST read. Matthew McNatt has written that, “Just as well-taught writing can help students’ reading, poorly taught writing can hinder students’ reading.” Read his comments on the effectiveness of the Peterson Method at the McNatt Learning Center.

"Here is a link to the once famous Palmer Method (1915). I like this 1866 method by my namesake, S. A. Potter, Penmanship Explained. Sam Blumenfeld maintains that we should start children writing with Cursive First, just as everyone in America learned to write before 1923. I totally agree, especially since I was taught Cursive First when I began school in 1953. Here is a good link to some old handwriting methods: Nib.

"Here is the Zaner method of cursive handwriting and a lot of other school ideas from 1921: Zaner Penmanship. Public School Penmanship: A Handbook for Teachers. 1909. Manual of Free-hand Penmanship, 1877. How to Teach Writing, 1892. The Theory and Practice of Handwriting, 1897. This is a theoretical and practical book advocating vertical penmanship. Here is a very satisfactory handwriting method with complete details: Complete Manual of Commercial Penmanship, 1893. Teacher’s guide for the Palmer Method.

"Here is Dr. Robert Rose’s new book, Forget the Bell Curve. Mr. Rose maintains that early letter writing fluency is the key to early reading success.

"Still thinking of teaching printing? Okay, try A to Z’s Cool Homeschool Site or Head of the Class (create an account) or"

Spelling: The Basic Cozy Spelling Course or Big IQ Kids or Spelling City or UK’s Phonic Spelling 1 (and a cool list of free downloads of tools and games) or Spell by Color

 Grammar: Scott Foresman Writing and Grammar or The Big Book by English Banana -this page for a list of available pages or go here to download the full grammar book or English Grammar 101 or BBC UK or Grammar-Land by M. Nesbitt (soon) or

Writing and composition: Five J’s .com or Scott Foresman Writing and Grammar or Old Fashioned Education or A to Z Home’s Cool
Literature: AmblesideOnline or Old Fashioned Education or Materamabilis – a Catholic Charlotte Mason Education

Free  one-year Curricula by Guest Hollow:
Ancient History
American History, Year 2
American Heritage free one-year American History
Mosaic Introduction to World History I: Myths, Maps & Marvels
K-12 World History for Us All

ART APPRECIATION: Ambleside Online – I am following the schedule (somewhat) posted on – for each 12-week term of the schoolyear we focus on artwork of one artist. Sometimes we read a biography of the artist spread out over the period.

Crafts for Kids

MUSIC APPRECIATION: Again, AmblesideOnline – they have a schedule for Composer study: Each term you listen to various works of the term’s assigned composer, and you can consider reading a biography of the composer spread out over the term.

PHYSICAL EDUCATION: A.C.E. Youth Fitness Program:

Operation Fit Kids - The Operation FitKids™ free youth fitness curriculum DOWNLOAD CURRICULUM

Nutrition Detectives (Dr. Katz)

Khan Academy - free homeschooling

Dori's Tumble Through the Internet


Other Great Homeschooling Resources:
Marilyn Rocket
Donna Young
Homeschool Radio Shows
Homeschool Freebie of the Day
Click Schooling by Diane Flynn

ClickSchooling is an ezine that brings you one, F.R.E.E, web-based curriculum idea every day — Monday through Saturday!

You'll enjoy the daily recommendations (delivered directly to your email inbox) for educational and entertaining websites that help your kids learn.

Each day of the week is themed around a particular subject as follows:

•Monday is Math
•Tuesday is Science
•Wednesday is Language Arts
•Thursday is Social Sciences
•Friday is a Virtual Field Trip
•Saturday is for Music, Art, & Foreign Languages

We make every effort to recommend websites that have content that is appropriate for general audiences. However, all of ClickSchooling's recommendations assume that parents will preview the sites for suitable content, and then review the sites together with their children.

We will never sell, trade, barter or share your email address with anyone - ever.

To subscribe, just visit and enter your name and email address in the subscription form on the home page.

So, I think that’s everything I will list today. These are ways to homeschool for free, not necessarily sites I have used or approved. My goal was to show that you can homeschool at very little cost (computer, wireless connection, paper to print out). Gotta go.