Wednesday, July 29, 2015

{sponsored} Remember to sign up for Discovery Education

Just popping in with a quick reminder to sign up for your FREE access to Discovery Education Streaming Plus.  Access expires August 31st, so sign up now before the summer is over. :-)

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Hands-on Math: Weights and Measures

One of the most common questions I am asked about homeschooling is "What math do you use?"  Since the time we started using My Father's World a few years ago, we have stuck with their recommendation of Singapore Math.  Aside from one little foray into Math Mammoth (which I also loved and highly recommend), we have not found it necessary to supplement at all.

This year Miss M has been working through Singapore 3A and 3B.  She was so pleased with herself when she completed level 3A.  Of course, I was proud too!


Level 3A focused on working with larger numbers (up to 10,000) and really nailing in those multiplication and division tables.  One day I sat down with a pile of flashcards to drill Miss M and since my camera was handy, I snapped a few shots of her in constant motion.  Apparently acrobatics help with math fact memorization!


Level 3B moved on to some topics that really lent themselves to hands-on learning: length, weight, and capacity.


Miss M measured liters of water to see how many would fill a bucket, a tub.  She weighed out a kilogram, a pound, a gram, and an ounce of rice to see just how much each of those units is.  These are some of her favorite lessons, and with good reason!

The weight activity I saw on Pinterest, but the capacity activity was written right in her textbook.  And of course no study of capacity would be complete without this great video!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Pretty Tween Dresses for Summer

If you have a daughter between the ages of 8 and 12, you may have noticed that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find appropriate clothing for her.  My 8-year-old is most definitely still a little girl.  She is not a small adult.  I would prefer her to dress like a little girl in clothes that provide appropriate coverage and allow for the freedom of movement needed for active play.  Toward that end I spent a weekend sewing up some sweet summer play dresses for Miss M.


This is the Flower Hexagon dress from Ottobre 3/2013 (pattern #16).  I made it of some beautiful vintage cotton printed with roses in size 128, but cut the length to 146 because Ottobre dresses tend to run a bit too short for my tastes.  It has hidden pockets in the side seams!


The second dress I made is also from Ottobre.  This is 3/2013 #13, the Hollywood Cerise dress.  I didn't have enough of the fun paisley patchwork print to manage the whole dress, so I scrounged up some contrasting plaid seersucker.  I love the combo!  There are patch pockets on the front and mismatched buttons from my vintage button collection all the way up the back.

These two dresses are long, cool, and airy.  Miss M loves them!  Even better, come fall she will be able to layer these over leggings, boots, and a long sleeved tee!

Monday, July 13, 2015

ECC Highlights

We started My Father's World Exploring Countries and Cultures about 18 months ago and though I have blogged about very little of it, we have been having a wonderful time!  I won't be able to give a rundown of everything we've done the past year and a half, but here are a few quick highlights.


We made clay sun faces while in Mexico.



In Brazil we studied the rain forest and made a terrarium with tropical plants.



While traveling through Germany we read lots of fairy tales and ate delicious plum cake.



For France we took a little picnic in the park with a baguette and some imported French cheese.



I bought some unfinished wooden boxes to paint in the traditional style of rosemaling while we learned about Norway.



We loved learning about Morocco and trying our hand at some leather tooling.



A trip to the zoo yielded a close encounter with a bongo during our study of Zambia.



For Kenya we fashioned some simple items into a musical instrument. This thumb piano is much more simplistic than the ones we saw online that actually come from Africa.



Our friend from Benin came and cooked a traditional meal for us. The sauce is typically made with peanut butter, but we substituted butter made from sunflower seeds.  It was delicious!



A few lengths of fabric were fashioned into traditional Indian attire -- a sari for Miss M and a dhoti for Mister E.

These are just a few of the countries we traveled to with the help of great books from the library and documentaries from Netflix and Amazon Prime.  We have less than four months left in our school year, and while it has been fun, I am just about ready to be done with ECC and move on to our first year of history.  We are in the Orient now and will finish up with a stint Down Under before the end of the year.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Celebrating 100 Days of School

We started our school year here on Sycamore Hill back in January.  We've been trudging along following a rough "Sabbath Schooling" schedule (that's 6 weeks on, 1 week off) and this week finally hit our 100th day of school!  The kids have been so excited counting down and wanted to have a big party to celebrate.  While that didn't quite happen (parties are fun for kids, but lots of work for mamas!), we did celebrate with a little 100 pizza!



We each got to put the toppings on our numeral just how we like it.  I had a shredded zucchini and a little leftover ham on mine with extra sauce.  Miss M had light sauce and pepperoni on hers and Mister E had regular sauce with pepperoni and extra cheese on his. He thought it was funny that his "pepperonis" slid down the cheese and off the pizza during baking!

After lunch we went to the park.  We were supposed to meet some friends there, but they thought it was going to rain and headed to an indoor venue instead...and since neither of us are living in the 21st century (i.e. we do not have smartphones), we weren't able to communicate our whereabouts and missed out on playing together.  Oh well, I think the kids had fun anyway.  The best part, according to them, was that when we got home they got to go swimming in their little pool!

It's an 8' by 18" wading pool with a kiddy slide going into it. I call it the poor man's water park!

I didn't get to any of the other amazing 100 days of school activities I have saved on my Pinterest board dedicated to the topic (I really wanted to do the 100 days smarter t-shirts!), but there's always next year, right?

Monday, June 1, 2015

FREE resource for summer: Discovery Education Streaming Plus {sponsored}

When it gets hot and humid out, I like to have something educational indoors to keep the kids occupied.  This year I'm really excited about this amazing deal from the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

The offer is for three months FREE access to Discovery Education Streaming Plus.  DESP is a comprehensive, educational digital streaming service that has over 12,300 full length educational videos, plus tons of other educational content including games, interactives, images and more.   So, you can have your kids engaged with educational content all summer long at no cost!  Fun, right?!




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We will be incorporating video segments of life in India for the next several weeks.  I hope you find something fun to watch too!

Sign up here.  You don't even have to give them your credit card or anything...truly free!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Apple Rescue Muffins

Do you ever discover a wrinkled old apple in the bottom of your produce drawer?  It's not moldy or rotten, just soft and wrinkly and old.  What do you do with it?  No one is going to eat it like that! Do you throw it away?  Or does the truism of our ancestors come to mind:

Waste not, want not.

Rescue that apple!  Don't throw it away, but transform it into something scrumptious and satisfying.  Once you rescue the apple and turn it into these delicious muffins, the muffins in turn might rescue you on a busy day as a quick grab-and-go breakfast or snack.  Now doesn't that sound like a winner?



Apple Rescue Muffins


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Mix thoroughly:

1 egg
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. applesauce


In a separate bowl, sift together:

2 c. flour
1/3 c. sugar
3 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 c. peeled, finely chopped apples 
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional, I never do)

Combine dry ingredients with wet until just combined. Do not over mix.

Grease a muffin tin or use paper liners.  Fill each cup nearly level.  Bake for 20 minutes or until the largest muffin tests done with a toothpick.

Cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.  They also freeze well!

Makes 1 dozen standard sized muffins.