Wednesday, November 28, 2012


I don't see it very often anymore in my 11 y/o. She acts ho-hum about every assignment and every experience. Truly she has been outright resistant to learning these days. Until this morning. My husband had been talking to me about Asian children learning computer programming in the 1st grade, and I vowed to start my 7th grader. It took me a few weeks, but this morning I went over to Khan Academy to browse their free lessons, and there was computer programming. I know a few things about script, since I did a lot of statistical script writing in my other life. When I saw the examples, I was very excited, so when baby girl woke up I introduced her to computer programming. She stayed on Khan Academy's website doing computer programming for about 6 or 7 hours. She was excited about it, and I realized that it can assist with several subjects.

  1. Math (Geometry & Algebra)
  2. Science (Mechanical engineering)
  3. Spelling (She reads like crazy, but doesn't pay the necessary attention to spelling to be great at it. Script writing require attention)
  4. Art (color mixing, drawing, creativity)
  5. Critical Thinking (so many decisions to make to draw with script and to animate with script).
It's so funny because when she started it, it was like she was made for it. I got a little misty watching her go at it.

Friday, November 9, 2012


I'm going to admit something. I am ignorant. Not about everything, but I was certainly ignorant about Pagliacci.  When I was a child my mom used to say "Don't play Pagliacci with me." We heard it all the time, whenever we did anything she perceived as being slick or clownish. One day I found out he was a clown. Last night I went to Educational Opera Night at the Performing Arts Center, and I found out he was a sad clown. I kinda knew that too because of Smokey Robinson's song "Tears of a Clown."

Anyway, Me & the 11 y/o went to the Opera last night and I learned so much. I heard songs that I have always heard on a quick commercial for a Pavarotti performance.

I learned about Pagliacci's story and it was educational and moving. I am very thankful for free Educational Opera Night here .

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sprouts & Ph Balance

We've been sprouting in our windowsill! So far we've done radish sprouts and lentil sprouts. Sprouting led us to investigate acidic foods versus alkaline foods. Why? Because sprouts are these wonderful little super foods that have protein, vitamins, and nutrients without many calories.  We compared sprouts to other protein sources and discovered that animal based protein is highly acidic, which some say cause disease. Vegetables are highly alkaline, and many theories say to maintain health it is important to balance out all the acid we take into our bodies from sugar, fats, and processed foods. That was our lesson and I am seeing my kids apply it to their lives.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Field Trips

Field trips can start to add up when you have three children, so we take advantage of homeschool days at local museums and attractions. Last week Sea World in San Antonio had a field trip for $8.00 a person. We saw dolphins, sea lions, penguins, whales, sharks, sting rays, and a host of other fish. It was quite a bargain. However, I did slip and fall and hit my head on the concrete. That took a little bit of the excitement away toward the end of the day. 

Another free field trip I take with the kids is to the pet store!

We go in the pet store and see cats, dogs, iguana, snakes, rats, fish, hamsters, ferrets, and birds for FREE! We don't touch them, but we watch them and discuss them. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

What We Been Up To Lately...

 We've been making bread!
 Although, this looks like a success, it was a fail. This bread was horrible because I made it on a rainy day. My little son enjoyed kneading it though.
 Our pool is open year round, and our town still has temps in the 90's, so we get out to the pool for Phys. Ed. whenever we can.
 This is what a normal day looks like. Older one was correcting her little sister's work here. Notice the red pen.
 Son & I love to paint with household items. We used paper clips, a lid, and a hand beater to make the painting above.
 I am really into saving containers to use for homeschool stuff. Does anyone else do that?
We were practicing volleyball, and the ball got stuck in the tree. I get a work out and she gets to practice, when we go to the park with the volleyball.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oh Geez We're Booked!

This is footage from a road trip up North.
Swimming lessons, volleyball practice, choir rehearsals, choir performances, random interviews and tapings, Theater Ensemble rehearsal, playground time, YMCA play time, whew it's getting kinda of heavy! I'm burning gas and trying not to burn out my candle. I haven't even mentioned school lessons and check ups. Anyway, we're rolling...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Check out :57

I am a guest speaker at The Free online Women's Emotional Wellness Conference. I made a video and my 11 y/o old made me an awesome graphic at 0:57.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Circulatory System Study via Youtube

The Plan: To study the body this school year.

The Question that led to circulatory study:  11 y/o to me: What do they mean when they say internal bleeding? Aren't we bleeding inside anyway?

 The Answer:  Several days of Circulatory System study.

Day One: I started with a verbal talk explaining arteries, veins, and capillaries.
Day Two:  Reinforce the learning with anything we see pertaining to the circulatory over the next day or so (surprisingly, a lot comes up).
Day Three:  Go to the Science book and read the circulatory chapter.
Day Four:  Youtube videos & a Writing assignment.

Here are the videos we watched:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A few days at the beach...

Can't say that it was an educational trip, it was just a trip to end the Summer officially. Summer is NOT over here in Texas. It was 102 today. The heat is raging on. 

Texas beaches are not as pretty as Florida beaches, but we were appreciative to be there.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Laid Back Homeschooling, not quite Unschooling

If you've been following our homeschool story for the past 5 years, you may have picked up on the fact that I get overwhelmed sometimes. This year I've decided to be especially laid back, especially with the 7th-grader. The 11th-grader is going to be on a very structured program with Connections Academy,  so I need to keep up with what's she doing. However, I'll be doing that in a very laid back manner.

Here are the resources and activities I'm using to keep me sane and calm:

1) Meditation - We've been starting our day with it. Yes, the two year-old heckles us, but he knows that it's meditation time. He isn't exactly honoring it right now, but he is acknowledging it. I start my day in the bed with my own personal meditation, but we have group meditation for school to teach them the practice.

2) Exploration - When a question comes up, we explore it. It doesn't matter if we are in the middle of a structured lesson. We pause and explore. Exploring keeps them interested and keeps learning exciting. Today we studied more on nutrition, but we ended up exploring complete proteins for vegetarians (see related, but we took it where it led us).

3) Deconstruction within structure (linear vs non-linear) - Reading through a chapter in a the way that moves you. It's not necessary to start at the front and end at the end. Explore charts first, look at tables, read the questions. Explore it the way you want. Study it in the way that matters to you. (This keeps me as an educator calm because I don't have a child staring off into the sunset when boredom strikes)

4) Youtube, teachertube, google tumblr, blogger, TECHNOLOGY!!!! We live in 2012. I love to use what we have around to support me when I don't know something or if I'm too busy to focus on a question.

5) Lunch dates with Hubby! I have older children, so I leave them in the house alone and run off when I need too. They are great babysitters, and I take advantage of that. I do this to keep my mental health. Note: I make sure that their cell phones at close at hand and I CALL TO CHECK UP!

6) Community activities - We need classical music, we are using a Presbyterian church, we need acting classes, we are using an ensemble that pays our teenager, we need daycare, we are using the YMCA's classes for toddlers and the 1.5 hours in the playroom for childcare. We need books, we are using the library. We need to exercise and Phys Ed, we are using the YMCA again for swimming, volleyball, yoga, etc.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We Studied MJ Today!

I love homeschooling because of days like today! Today was Michael Jackson's Birthday, so we paused to celebrate and study him. We watched his videos. I discussed what I knew about them. We danced, we danced, we danced, and we watched an interview he did in 1980.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We Have a Banner!

11 y/o made us a banner for art class. I gave her few tips. Here's her natural talent:

Here's the one after momma gave her some tips (notice that Momma is a little more jazzy). Not only that, we talked about art being figurative versus literal. In real life 11 y/o is taller than me (see above), but in art she needs to show mom & dad bigger, to illustrate and communicate the family dynamic. Art needs to tell us something (I think), so Dad & I am teaching her how to do that.

Tween Chomping is out of Control

My 11 year-old is a growing, growing girl. She is taller than me and wears larger sizes than the 15 year-old. She is going to be a tall girl (maybe close to 6 feet). Since she's growing, she's always chomping, chomping, chomping. I thought that the first day of school was the perfect day to talk to her about nutrition. We did a mini-lesson from the Science book and then, she did this project on her own. The reason you see Calcium & Iron highlighted is because those are essential nutrients for children her age. This was done in Keynote on Macintosh. She's a great graphic designer, I didn't help a bit, accept with having her to correct some of the foods.

Monday, August 27, 2012

We're Back!

Homeschooling blast off in 5 4 3 2 1!  Eleventh grader will be doing public homeschooling and 7th grader will be on a homegrown curriculum that she and I created. Nearly 3 year-old will be doing learning play stuff.

I will be posting on this blog again, but not sure how just yet. The only thing I know is that we are homeschooling again, and I like to chronicle that by using this blog.

This is about what it will look like for the next few months. Check the facial expressions and body language, pictures don't lie :)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I Can Handle it!

Three things I remember when I took my daughters out of traditional school and decided to homeschool them. One teacher the year before had decided for me that my child's standardized test score was "not bad." Her math score was 59 percentile or something like that. I guess it was not too bad if you had no reference point. However, I did. My daughter had always tested above 90 percentile, so for it to drop so drastically was a huge red flag. The young teacher said to me with an attitude "I don't know what you want us to do for you?" I replied "nothing else, we'll take it from here."

The next year, she did one marking period in an All girls school and when we withdrew her, the honors teacher gave me some paperwork to get into gifted classes when she returned to school. I threw them out because I knew she would not be returning to that school system again. I could handle it, and I resolved to do just that.

The third thing I remember when I took my other baby out of her charter school was one of the teachers telling her how lucky she was to be homeschooled.

When my high schooler returned to school at the beginning of this year, I came to her guidance counselor ready for battle. I wanted to make sure she was on the right track to attend a great university. I actually had no problem at all. Based on the transcript I submitted and her new test scores, she went right into honors classes.

The first marking period she came out of the gate swinging with 5 A's and 2 B's. Every marking period since then has been above a 3.0, but not as great. She falls asleep and wakes up at the end of the marking period to slip in under the wire, so that she can attend the doughnut honor roll party.

Why am I saying all this? Because lately parents have been getting arrested for trying to send their kids to a great school. Arrested! For wanting what's best for their babies. The system is screwed up and it's set up to put certain kids in certain lanes their whole lives. If you know anyone who can homeschool, encourage them to do it. Even if it's just a year or two. The point is to grab the kids back, and to make them aware that whatever a school tries to do to them, they have the power over their education. We can handle it!


Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Sensory Play with Navy Beans

I've been hearing a lot about sensory play lately. More so, than when I had toddlers 13 or 8 years ago. Although, my girls went to a really great Child Development center that exposed them to sensory play, so I didn't have many concerns about them in this area. Since I'm in charge of my son's education right now, I'm more in touch with him receiving a wide range of experiences. I'll have to admit that he's been doing way too much on the wii & on the ipad. He gets the normal book, abc, shapes & colors exposure, but lately I'm more committed to him getting sensory place. When we lived in a beach town, it was not a problem at all because the beach provides lots of sensory stimulation.

Anyway, Here's some video of today's sensory play. It was taken at the end of his play time, so he was transitioning into making everything into car play.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Homemade Play Dough

I'm trying out toddler activities to educate the baby boy. I have to go to the (he calls it graygound) playground very often. He loves to move his body all around and run and climb.

Pinterest is very helpful in finding new ideas for education. It's my new hang out. I get lost in ideas and images over there. Anyway, I found a cool recipe for homemade play dough and my baby boy loved it. Here's where found the recipe, and some pics are below. It smells fruity because I used wyler's flavored drink mix to color it. Overall, I'm happy with it. Oh except that no matter what color I added, I still ended up with red. I don't know why.