Back in the game

Well hello there. It has been a while that I have written a true update/ blog post. Well summer has been incredibly busy. Trying to make new friends, start and finish a renovation, start a new business, create homeschool groups, explore Oregon and stay in touch with old friends. It really has been a lot but somewhere in the middle between all of it I think we are finding our flow once again.  There are many crazy and uncertain facts and things happening right now but we are trying to make the best of it….

On Monday we officially started our ” new homeschool year “. The little one started  ” MBTP 7-9 and my oldest is still deep in 9-11 with MBTP,  so theoretically 2nd grade and 5th grade. After a few weeks trying to speed things up, worrying that she would be behind.. i decided to just keep going in our ( her ) pace… The curriculum is build in an awesome way, that we really are not behind. It is so deep in knowledge and created for gifted kids, that I am not worried about starting her in a few months… ( she just turned 10). Homeschooling gives us these freedoms to make things work for us, and I have finally reached that point to use these advantages for us ALL THE WAY !!! The rest I just shrug off and I will not have  silly discussions about these kinds of things anymore…

The beauties of homeschooling… the freedom..  Something I would never ever let go off again. Not many people understand it that have not fully homeschooled. It is one thing I would never want to give up again ! So really, I just wanted to wish everyone a happy new start into the new school year and hope everyone feels refreshed, encouraged and ready to encourage those little minds to explore, play, love and learn !!  Happy Homeschooling !

 

 

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Bella & Harry Series ( Book review )

 

We were in a super rush to head out the door for the library again today and just last minute, I remembered to get a picture of these guys. So not the best picture, but hey.. you do what you gotta do 😉 !!

The Bella and Harry series was a lucky grab a few weeks ago and we were pretty excited that our small library actually had quite a few from this series. This was our second grab already and we enjoyed each one of these.

They are clearly  for the younger audience ( 5 and up ) but if your child loves travel stories I think just about every age would still enjoy these. I know my almost 10 year old had fun reading these with her little sister. They both just love these little Chihuahuas !  We have studied many countries through homeschooling in many great details and I love adding little fun stories in between just to recall some of the basic facts, these were perfect for that !

The little puppies travel along with their family to all kinds of amazing places in the world and get to have little adventures. Each page is beautifully illustrated and very colorful. The story is brought to life in fun ways with little dialogues between the puppies as they travel through each city and full of great educational information.

They would be a wonderful addition to anyone’s library, educational, inspirational and just a whole lot of fun !!

 

Check out some of the other books from the series, maybe Bella and Harry have already visited the city you have on your next travel plan !!




Story of the world Vol. 2 Chapter 16 + 17

We are finally back in the swing of things and working with more of our curricula again. Some times it is good to take a little break just to discover how much you have even missed something. History was one of those things. We really love history and the girls have started begging me to start with Story of the world again. We had a very successful year with Volume 1 and Volume 2 we had started with, but with the move and everything it was just too much at times. We really love the activity book activity book that works along with SOTW and now that we are all back into it, it has been fun continuing our journey through history.
In Vol.2 you will discover the middle ages with your kids. Knights, Samurai’s, the crusades and so much more. There are endless extra sources and activities for most of these chapters and it has been hard just to pick a few here and there.

Here are just some fun things we have done recently.

One very fun activity, my younger one loved it especailly, was to build a stone castle out of rice krispies. This was one of those that might look better on pinterest lol. But we really had tons of fun building it, and it turnt out to be a delicious treat afterwards.

 

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For this subject you won’t have trouble finding good books. There are so many to choose from. One that was suggested from SOTW was the three Samurai cats. Unfortunately it seems to be out of print, but you might be able to find it at the library also ( like me) or you might find it used. It really was a good fit for the samurai topic in chapter 17.

 

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Another favorite book, and a favorite series I would really like to introduce (it really deserves it’s on post, that i will hopefully get together soon) is You wouldn’t want to be a crusader. This series is really amazing and so much fun to read. There are so many good ones to choose from ,some are even part of many curricula, including MBTP

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We also enjoyed the story’s of saint george and some of these other books above. Really there are tons of materials and you could probably spent 2 years studying it with the kids easily, afterall most kids love knights and pricesses 😀 It also reminded us again of our wonderful time we had in Germany with our family. I am hoping things will somehow work out and we can visit again soon and explore more of Germany and more of history. Nothing beats learning by traveling ❤

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Burg Cochem

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Knight festival

 

 

Chinese New year Festival

We are still super new to our area here in southern Oregon, and are still discovering new places, new events all the time. Last week I found out about the Jacksonville Chinese New years festival. How exciting, since we literally just discussed this with MBTP 6-8.

After being home for nearly a week sick, I could not wait to go. Unfortunately I overlooked the time for the actual parade and we got there only to see the end of the parade, we literally walked up the street with the last people walking down. What a disappointment. After a few minutes discussing our options we decided to still hang out a bit anyways and discover the town and maybe a few other events that were supposed to be going on throughout the day. Luckily we still found some fun and the girls still got to experience a little bit of Chinese new year fun ! They played some Chinese children’s games, made some crafts, explored Chinese zodiac signs and lots more ! It was a fun day !

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People around the world Culture Concept 3 6-8

After we finished Concept 1 of 6-8 I felt like I needed to change things up a little. I always try to look ahead, what each level from both kids will be dealing with and saw that Concept 3 would line up pretty well with the third Unit from Concept 1 from 9-11 .  In 6-8 you will be learning a lot about culture with your little one and it was one of the units and concepts she was most excited about. So, I figured why not.  It matches up wonderfully with the Tall Tales from 9-11 and the Myths and Folktales from 6-8.

After a little bit more research I also found tons of books our library actually has for these. For a small library, our library had hundreds of books with Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Mexican, Native American tales. I think I spent nearly an hour going through all of them and brought home a huge stack of nearly 100 books. In my defense, our library is actually renovating and trying to empty their room while they do it 😉

When we did the little activity page of different kinds of transportation in the world, Venice came up. And when you remind your child about Venice, she will want to read the OLIVIA goes to Venice book. It’s one of her favorites. So we all hung out together and enjoyed this silly but also beautiful story of Olivia Goes to Venice.

Then we explored Mexico a little bit more, made some musical instruments and read some more in this book.

This book is from the previous year actually, but it is one I pull back out so often. It always reminds us that life around the world is so diverse and often so different, yet there are so many things we all have in common. The book does a great way of telling the stories of some of the kids that are portrayed in the book.

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Also we have cooked a whole lot this week. We made a whole lot of Mexican food, bought sushi and also tried our luck with Chinese noodles. Actually it all turned out rather yummy, everyone was so inspired and excited to help  and eat that I pretty much forgot to take pictures. We also made some fun mexican instruments and listened to all sorts of music, thank you YouTube.IMG_20160202_1851515_rewind

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We had also found this Cat in the Hat book at the library and it was a great way to cover a lot of Holidays quickly. Not very detailed information but a fun intro about many different cultures, one of those books she can easily read over and over again on her own without much needed extra explanation.

Another book that worked perfectly with this lesson is

This one really does an amazing job at telling about all holidays all around the world and if you are looking for even more extra ideas and crafts this one is a must !

We ended up this lesson by researching a bit more online and also watch some more travel kids. My youngest was really in awe with Venice that day and since it is also Februrary, the time of Carnevale, we really enjoyed ” travelling” through the world a little bit more.

They have so many great video’s that give kids a fun, quick way to introduce them to different cultures. It’s one travel show my kids don’t get bored of.

I am really excited about the rest of this unit 🙂 It is full of discovery, fun crafts and lots of room for exploration !

Tomorrow we will start reading this book and I am curious what places and traditions we will discover !

The View from Saturday Level 9 to 11 Concept 1 Unit 2

We just finished the second unit of the 9-11 unit with MBTP  “The view from Saturday”. Most times I quickly research the book before we start a new unit or I just happen to know it ahead of time. There are many great sites out there that give you a good idea what the book is about.
For example https://www.commonsensemedia.org/book-reviews/the-view-from-saturday is always a great place to start, although I do not always agree with their opinion.

http://www.sparknotes.com/ is another good one but they do not have a wide range of books.

Also http://www.shmoop.com/ might be of help for quick research.

The easiest way to research a book quickly is of course to just read some reviews on Amazon.

A big goal of mine  this year is to read all the books together again or, which works better with the 9-11 level, to read them ahead of time by myself.  A great goal for working together  and also a great addition to my personal reading challenge of at least 50 books for the year.

I must say I was a little confused about the book at first but my confusion quickly turned into curiosity. What probably makes the book hard to read ,and maybe this is the reason it isn’t liked as much by some students ,is that it is written out of the perspective of different people, the actual main characters. Once you figure that out, or better your child figures that out, the story is not as hard to follow as it first seems.  I am glad I read the story ahead of time though as I now know the story plot and it is so much easier to  guide  her through the book.

The added turtle research was a lot of fun. I googled for a few extra pictures, videos and fun facts. Unfortunately our small library did not have many books about Loggerhead turtles but maybe you get lucky and find some of these.


Far, far out at sea lives one of the world’s most mysterious creatures, the loggerhead turtle. For thirty years she swims the oceans, wandering thousands of miles as she searches for food. Then, one summer night, she lands on a beach to lay her eggs — the very same beach where she herself was born. Nicola Davies’s lyrical text offers fascinating information about the journey of the tiny, endangered loggerhead, while charming paintings by Jane Chapman vividly illustrate one turtle’s odyssey.

If you are really looking for more info about sea turtles, this will be a great addition. I know Moving beyond the page will cover ocean life etc a bit more later on, but I am not sure how much it will cover about turtles.

This series is also wonderful for younger kids, but provides quick info even for the older ones that don’t want to read 100 pages 😉

 

Of course the turtles are just a side study in this unit, but it is a fun one and the wonderful thing with Moving beyond the page is that you can stop and hang out at this subject for a bit, if your kids are super interested in it.

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Another completely different subject the book mentions is Calligraphy. One of the main characters learns how to write and use a calligraphy ink pen and naturally one of the activities was to try out the same. Now there are tons of different calligraphy sets out there from cheap to expensive. I did some  calligraphy as a child myself, i remember going to the local office/ art store and they had all the calligraphy nibs in a large set up and you could buy each one individually. So fun. They are a little harder to come by now but I did get lucky at our local MICHAELS and we purchased this Calligraphy
set. At home she could not wait to try it out. Of course I really should have bought some proper paper. I forgot how messy it can be and how much ink can leak through the other pages in a book or notepad. Oh well. It was fun and got me inspired to try it out as well again.

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Overall this unit was once again tons of fun. Our final project ” the tea party ” has not been able to take place yet, since we really wanted to bake some lovely scones to go along with our tea and our oven has been broken for nearly two weeks now.. so it will have to wait.

Anyways, hope this review of the unit has been of help.

Happy homeschooling !

 

 

50 states Concept 1 Unit 1 9-11

With the move and everything else that has been going on we are still only in concept 1 9-11 MBTP  . We are nearing the end of Unit 1, the 50 states. It was one of the units she looked really forward to, and with all the recent traveling it really was very enjoyable. I had many people tell me, there were better ways to study the 50 states and I can’t disagree that there are about a million cool ways you can learn about them (traveling probably thee best anyways ) but for bookworms like us, this way was pretty fun, too.

The book Smart About the Fifty States (Smart About History) is used throughout the unit. It is made like a class report and every student reports about a few states or one specific region. So it really feels like reading a class report and like the book was written by kids, which again makes it easy to understand for kids. She was able to pick out information easily and gather facts quickly.
Since we had purchased the complete 9-11 curriculum we also received a a super fun game , the Scrambled States card game. It is such a fun game that we have played it over and over again and  I loved that it was so easy to understand that little sister was even able to join us.  We had some fun family game nights and I am sure this game will be played many more times.

With starting 9-11 we also hit a major milestone and a big change with MBTP. Now we are working with the independent student books, which means all the lessons are completely directed towards the child. No more, tell your child to do this, or that. On the one  part, super cool…. On the other, a lot to get used to !  Luckily ( so far, at least ) this seems to work out well, and she is very happy to work on her own. I am not sure how it will work with the later units, but of course if needed there is always the parent book in the back to refer to. So far, I love that I can send her off with her studies, and she will work through the activities and check mark them when finished.  Both kiddos have also just recently gotten their own laptops so now all the individual research projects are easily taken care off.

Since we are quite a bit behind I feel like we need to skip a little here and there, but since she is in charge, she also gets a bit more to say on what to skip and what not. This was something I really kind of wanted to skip, but after she saw the word cookie and decorating this battle was over and I just agreed to make the cookie for the western US states 😉 What the heck.. it’s Christmas time anyways and I pretty much had the baking stuff still out from the day before. I made a double batch and we had plenty of cookie dough left to make Christmas cookie’s with cookie cutters and little sister was super happy about decorating cookies as well !

Here is a super simple sugar cookie recipe that will work. We simply cut out the state map provided with MBTP and copied it on parchment paper, rolled out the dough and cut it out on the dough. Since it’s a rather large piece we made sure not to roll it out too thin, adjusted the baking time a little and stuck the cookie in the oven. We decorated with food coloring, sprinkles and chocolate chips 🙂

Total Time:
2 hr 25 min
Prep:
2 hr 15 min
Cook:
10 min

Yield:approximately 36 2-inch cookie
Level:Easy
Ingredients
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (or 1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Salt to taste
To decorate: 4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
ADD CHECKED ITEMS TO GROCERY LIST
Directions
In an electric mixer cream the butter with the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs one at a time, mix well. Sift together the flour and salt, add it to the wet ingredients beating until just incorporated. Place the dough in a 1 gallon size plastic bag. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours and up to 8 hours. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a lightly floured board roll the dough to approximately 1/4 inch thick. Remove rolled dough to a lightly floured board and using any shape cookie cutter cut the dough into shapes. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 7 to 10 minutes (depending on the size of the cookies). Remove to a rack and cool before decorating. Place the rack with the cookies over another pan to catch the excess chocolate. Put the chocolate in a quart size plastic bag. Place the bag with the chocolate in a saucepan with hot water. Allow the chocolate to melt, squeezing the bag to mix occasionally. Snip one of the corners off and drizzle chocolate over the cookies. Allow chocolate to set before serving.

So much for now, I will post some fun stuff about the Poetry Unit that we are also currently working on, soon !

Holes Concept 3 8-10

Holes has been a unit my daughter had her eyes on, since we started with the 8-10 level. I had again never read the book, and could not quite imagine what story was waiting for us. The geology, the science part that goes along with this unit looked very promising and fun as well. It comes with its special little science kit and you will do multiple tests, labs, experiments throughout this unit. Once again we had many opportunities to all work on things together, her little 5-year-old sister had plenty of moments to observe along with her, go on a rock hunt and big sister even let her help discover the skeleton of the T- Rex.

 

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The book ” Holes ” was a great story. I was not sure how my daughter would react to the feel of the book at first, the whole idea of “bad kids” at a camp being punished for things. There is a little bit of violence in the book ( hitting, kicking, a few guns etc with the mention of the wild west ) but we had no problems with it at all, I guess my little girl is really growing up. She surprised me many times again, with her wonderful insight and great ideas. As we were discussing the final project, to make a better camp for juvenile kids, she instantly had wonderful ideas how kids could be helped. We have not started with it yet, and I was nearly set on skipping the final project here, but with her wonderful ideas it would be a shame to do so… This weekend we will also watch the movie ” holes” which is currently available on Netflix 😉

Our geology studies were great fun throughout this unit. We started with cookie mining !

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We learnt lots about rocks and minerals and another activity that surprised me as being fun, was reading through all the labels in our pantry ! She sat there for multiple hours and dug through the whole, entire pantry !! She was amazed about what we are eating and shares her facts with us nearly daily now !

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Above are some of the rocks and minerals that come with the science kit. I would loved it to be even more rocks, even though we already had some from other kits we still wished for more to just really be able to do the experiments better and have a wider variety. I found some great rock kits on amazon and I will be ordering some for her birthday in the summer. She had such great fun with this unit that I know she will be happy to pick it back up again.

This is an amazing series of books, which we have gotten from the library. It is fun and brings science to life !

Overall there are many great kits available on amazon. I will update this after I have chosen another one and we have tested it. For now it looks like I will be ordering another one of these.
ROCK & MINERAL COLLECTION Kit with 2 Easy Break Geodes Activity KIt with Over 150+PCS Comes with Identification Sheet EDUCATIONAL DISCOVERY TREASURE KIT SORT, FIND, IDENTIFY

Of course we also got to break our geode. She was a little disappointed to see how little the geode was and the size also made it harder to actually break it. Again, I plan on buying a few more to let her try it again and maybe get a better chance at finding a colored one. Ours was white, and still very beautiful.

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We had multiple activities that called for lots of outdoor time. Unfortunately our weather her in Texas has been very awkward for our state lately and we have had rain, rain and more rain. We still ventured out a few times and had a great time collecting and hunting for rocks. Our great exploration to an actual Fossil park will have to wait until better weather though.

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Some of our crystal experiments did not work this time, but we got some amazing sugar crystals !

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Working on different fossil types. We learnt about imprint, cast and mold fossils !

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This was the T-Rex dig !! It was a lot of fun for them, the spent two days outside just working away on it !

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We love the variety of activities throughout Moving beyond the page. You really learn in so many ways. Cooking is a favorite of my daughters and she loves learning about culture, history and food al at the same time. Here we made Katherine Barlow’s famous spiced peaches !!
Ps: Here is another fun site to go along with Kate. http://holes.wikia.com/wiki/Kissin%27_Kate_Barlow_(Katherine_Barlow)

So as you can see, this Unit kept us very busy ! I didn’t feel like it was a very difficult unit, and it was fun and easy to go through and along with all the activities. Sometimes some units feel like they have an intense work load, or just way too much to read. But the chapters in HOLES are short and sweet and easy to read. My daughter actually finished the book on her own at some point, because she was too excited and just could not wait. The Geology rocks is a wonderful book, that will be kept in the library for a very, very long time. Many more experiments that can be done at a later point, just for fun !

So if you are curious about this level of Moving beyond the page, the Unit HOLES and the Geology can be found in the 8-10 level here. You can buy them both separately and both can be done independently but they are so much fun together !

Fieldtrip time… the adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The coolest thing about living near a big city is clearly having great opportunities to see and experience many things. We have many amazing museums in the Dallas area and many wonderful exhibits have come to town. In the two years we have now lived here we have switched up our memberships, a different one each year, and we have been trying to make the most out of our visits and see as many as possible. We do a lot of things with our homeschool groups, but we also try to do many field trips as a family, it is something we have always done and we really enjoy talking with the kids about everything and really experiencing it together. Always such great memories.
So this time we discovered the adventures of Sherlock Holmes at the Perot museum in Dallas. I didn’t read up about the exhibition much before, but I pretty much knew it should be an exciting one ,especially since my oldest loves Nancy drew books so much, this should be right up her alley.

When we arrived at the museum I was a little shocked to see groups of kids from daycare and schools, luckily the museum really is so big, even with large groups, all you need to do is pick a different level to start and make your way through. It is nice to see that in this school district some kids still get an opportunity to see museums and other places during the school day schedule. Something that would have never happened much in our old school district. I still have to laugh though when people tell me our homeschooled kids, don’t get socialization or the opportunities to go do things. We are doing more than ever now with homeschooling than I ever imagined, but anyways…back to Sherlock Holmes.

In the first room, we got an introduction into detective work, some medicine practices and also a little bit of history about the Author of Sherlock Holmes Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Amazing were the many photographs from London from old times and it connected with some great books and other studies we had done in the past. Of course since my husband and I had traveled to London last year, it was even more amazing to see some of those old pictures.
Throughout the exhibition we had a fun task to do. We each had gotten a booklet at the entrance and we had to find clues, get stamps and solve a very fun mystery ourselves. With our little one just being 5 years old, I was a little bit worried about some subjects here and there, but since she is really interesting in medicine practices and the human body etc she saw it mostly from a scientific point of view and there really was nothing to worry about. Instead we had fun trying to solve the murder case,  among other things we had to puzzle a statue back together that had fallen down, we checked sand tracks if they matched up with the suspects, compared poisons and in the end solved the mystery.

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We spent a few more hours in the other levels of the museum and even though we nearly stayed all day, it wasn’t enough time to even see half of the museum. It’s always that way so we choose different levels each time, and every time we discover something we didn’t before.
Now back at home I would love to introduce more of the actual Sherlock Holmes story to my girls. I have found a great selection and hope we can add some to our library soon !!


We listen to Story of the world which is also narrated by Jim Weiss and I think this would be just as fun !!

And these little board books are a fun series even for the youngest. It makes me sad that my kids are too big for board books lol.. would it be crazy to still add them to “my collection ” 😉 ?!

Forces of Nature Final Project Unit 3 | Concept 2

We finished the project for the science Unit, the Forces of Nature. My daughter picked to make her presentation with Powerpoint. It was one of her first times working with Powerpoint but I was amazed how quickly she understood the concept and was able to use it well on her own. This was definitely a great learning experience for her and I think we will use Powerpoint more often from now on for other things as well.

I’m not sure how to include Powerpoint presentation in the blog but hopefully it works 🙂 She spent too much time and effort on this not to share it with everyone ! As long as you have POWERPOINT installed on your device, I guess you should be able to view the file 🙂

THE FORCES OF NATURE