Friday, November 30, 2012

What Is Journal Writing and How Do We Do It?

Recently a very good friend of mine that is also a homeschooling Mommy asked me if I had any ideas for writing prompts. While journal writing may come easily to some it can been extremely difficult for others. If you do not already do journal writing as part of your school day, but are interested here are some tips.

  • Set a budget before heading out & discuss this amount with your child before leaving. 
  • Allow the child to pick out their journal. As hard as it may be, do NOT offer any advice, "Oh sweetie look how nice this one is." or "How about we look for a different one." By giving the child the option to choose on their own they are more inclined to take to the idea of journal writing, even if they are a reluctant writer.
  • After they have picked our their journal check out the arts & crafts department to see if there are any stickers, specials pens or other decorations they'd like to use.
  • Once you are home allow you child to decorate their journal in any way they'd like.
  • Have your child write constructively in their journal for 10 solid minutes. Set a timer. If they are not using their timely wisely then restart the timer.
  • No two journal entries can be about the same thing. Each entry must be a new topic. 
Now, depending on your child's age & level of writing, here is a journal writing check list. 

  • Does your journal entry have a topic sentence?
  • Did you provided supporting details?
  • Did I indent each new paragraph?
  • Does my journal entry have an appropriate title?
  • Did I proof read, checking for spelling, grammar and punctuation errors?

Yang is unable to take her thoughts and put them on paper. She becomes very frustrated, discouraged and starts to shut down - sometimes even having a meltdown. If you have a younger child, or one that may be unable to journal writing as described above here are some tips for you.

  • Have the child verbally tell you everything they want to write about. As they are telling you, write it all down. Do not add capital letters, punctuation or correct any grammar mistakes. 
  • Once your child has all their thoughts out go over a few words at a time. Have your child identify where there needs to be capitals, spaces, punctuation and correct and grammar mistakes.
  • Once your child has made corrected everything have your child write their entry into their journal.
Next up:
December journal writing prompts

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program

Sometime in the spring I signed Poppy & and Yang up for the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! program (Owlet is to old). Shortly before, or after, school started we received the certificates in the mail. I stored them in the desk Yang and I planned to share. We quickly abandoned the desk & moved to the couch & kitchen table. Go figure!

Through K12 Yang has an intervention specialist that we meet with once a week. Each month she has a reading challenge, and students are to keep a Reading Log. We list the date, name of the book & author, number of minutes the student read the book, and the number of the pages in the book. Then at the end of the month we turn our Reading Logs in for a chance to win a gift certificate. While we would read each month I was always forgetting to fill out her Reading Log, and it wasn't until earlier this week that I remember her BOOK IT! certificates. Luckily, I have been filling out her Reading Log everyday this month, so I was able to easily justify giving Yang her BOOK IT! certificate this month! She still has 1 day to go but has already exceed her goal of 300 minutes a month (15 minutes a day). Super proud of her!

Some things I have learned through all of this:
        A) It's much easier now that I have a small 3 drawer storage container. One drawer is labeled Daily Work, and inside I have her Reading Log, Sight Words, Daily Writing assignments, pens, pencils, scissors, tape & glue. (Notice my cool K12 drum stick pen I received the other day! LOVE IT!)
        B) BOOK IT! has a really cute minute tracker on their website. You can set a reading goal for your group of students, which can be changed at any time. View & print a list of minutes your students have read, and will even show you the current month and year to date.
      C) Scholastic has a free app available to keep track of your reading minutes.

So now that Poppy & Yang know that I made them miss out on 2 months of a free mini pizza they are sure to be on top of me! (Can't blame them!)

So what is on your reading list for December?

Owlet & Poppy will continue to read, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor for school. Owlet is looking for something new to read for pleasure. She recently finished reading The Complete Wreck (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snickett & The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.
Poppy is reading Rob Seablue And The Eye Of Tantalus by Russell Hasan with me. I will be hosting a book review here on December 26th, so be sure to check back.
Yang & I will finish reading Prairie School by Avi. Then we will pick a new Magic Tree House & American Girl book to read.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kindle E-Book Freebies

I know it must appear that I have ran away & forgotten you but I promise I haven't. I've been working on some post that I have decided to schedule to post on a particular day, as well as some children's book reviews for Innovative Online Book Tours. My first book tour review will be on Poppy the Proud by Emlyn Chand, and I will be posting that review on December 17th.

In the meantime, I wanted to post some free e-books that I was able to snag this morning while browsing around on Amazon. I hope you can find at least a few to be of interest. Let me know if you are on the look out for anything in particular and I'll see what I can find. ENJOY!

Don't have a Kindle? Don't worry. You can download the Kindle Reading App for free to computer or smartphone.


The Numberland Tales Omnibus - Adventure Stories about Learning Multiplication Tables (The Numberland Tales - Help with Times Tables and Multiplication for Children)

African Animals! Learn About African Animals and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (250+ Photos of African Animals)

Spiders! Learn About Spiders While Learning To Read - Spider Photos And Facts Make It Easy! (Over 45+ Photos of Spiders)

Eels! Learn About Eels and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Eels)

  Rodents! Learn About Rodents and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (250+ Photos of Rodents)

 Lobsters! Learn About Lobsters and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Lobsters)

Knights! Learn About Knights and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Knights)

Raccoons! Learn About Raccoons and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Raccoons)

 Platypuses! Learn About Platypuses and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Platypuses)

Cows! Learn About Cows and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Cows)

Grizzly Bears! Learn About Grizzly Bears and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Grizzly Bears)

Birds of Prey! Learn About Birds of Prey and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (200+ Photos of Birds of Prey)

 Moose! Learn About Moose and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Moose)

Cougars! Learn About Cougars and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Cougars)

Eagles! Learn About Eagles and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Eagles)


Denmark: Picture Book (Educational Children's Books Collection) - Level 2 (Planet Collection)

Crabs! Learn About Crabs And Learn To Read - The Learning Club! (45+ Photos of Crabs)

Giraffes! Learn About Giraffes And Learn To Read - The Learning Club! (45+ Photos of Giraffes)

Zebras! Learn About Zebras And Learn To Read - The Learning Club! (45+ Photos of Zebras)

Panda Bears! Learn About Panda Bears While Learning To Read - Panda Bear Photos And Facts Make It Easy! (Over 45+ Photos of Panda Bears)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving and Deviled Reading Eggs


Normally on Thanksgiving I cook the entire meal but this year we did things different. Poppy & Yang helped Daddy prep the turkey, while my Mom is cooking all the sides and dessert at her house. This gave Yang and I some time to cuddle on the couch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Since our flat traveler, Oshawott, is visiting from the United Kingdome we've also been teaching him about Thanksgiving.

Hubby asked Yang & I if we would make deviled eggs. Looking back I now realize I was being setup! Monday when Owlet & I had to go to her orthodontist appointment, I made a list of things I wanted Yang to work on with her Dad while I was gone. When she was done with everything she asked if she could play Reading Eggs. He told her he did not see any reason why she couldn't. When I got the eggs out the fridge today I realized they played another version of Reading Eggs while I was gone! Hey, as long as she is learning and having fun, it's fine by me!

So what do you have to be thankful for this year? I am thankful for my 3 beautiful daughters, my loving husband, my family and my friends. I am thankful that my Mom & hubby are healthy, at least for today. I am thankful we have a roof over our heads and food to put on the table. I am thankful I have the right to educate my children in my home. I am thankful that we all of a sense of humor, even if it is a warped one sometimes. I am thankful for all the information I have learned from Angie Voss and making this year a of accomplishments for Yang. I am thankful you, my followers!

I hope everyone has a blessed day!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magic School Bus - The Human Body & Adverbs

As you know we have been learning about the human body & working on our Human Body lapbook from Homeschool Share. Last night we watched a Magic School Bus video about the human body and then completed a short Q & A from Scholastic. Super proud of Yang. She scored a 7 out of 8!

The book Blood & Guts that I ordered last week arrived yesterday and we started working in it today. We filled in some of the missing parts that we had already added to our lapbook.

We listened to an audio book of the Magic Tree House book Thanksgiving on Thursday.

Poppy and I are working on adjectives, predicate adjective and adverbs this week. She grasped adjectives very quickly but no we are stranded on a dead end street with adverbs. We've had to go beyond the K12 curriculum and work on some supplemental work to help her getting a better understanding of adverbs.

Oshawott has arrived!

We ended up skipping the tour of the replicas of The Nina and Pinta yesterday due to a bad sinus headache that I had. When Owlet & I returned from her orthodontist appointment I came home and laid down. My headache was somewhat better after my nap, but still pretty bad. Luckily when I woke up this morning it was gone.

We've decided to do very minimal work this week with Thanksgiving being Thursday. There is just so much that has to be done to prepare.

Oshawott arrived from the United Kingdom yesterday & Zuri arrived in the United Kingdom today! We are happy to have Oshawott visit with us for the next 2 months! Since Oshawott is a Pokemon from the United Kingdom he knows very little about Thanksgiving. I did warn his family that he may come home a little on the hefty side! She said no worries as he looked a little "flat" when he left! Oshawott already looks like he is at home!

Today we looked at the globe to see where Oshawott lives in the United Kingdom and we discussed the path Oshawott would have traveled to get to the United States, as well as what means of transportation he would have used.

Tomorrow we will teach Oshawott about the history of Thanksgiving, finish reading Magic Tree House Thanksgiving on Thursday, discuss what we are thankful for and perhaps do a craft or coloring page. We will start to prep for our Thanksgiving feast.


Next week we will begin a lapbook on the United Kingdom and continue to work on our Human Body lapbook. December 17th I will be posting my first ever book review and e-book giveaway brought to you by Innovative Online Book Tours

Monday, November 19, 2012

Long Day

This was my post from Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, and for whatever reason it did not post. I did not realize it until I was working on an upcoming surprise :) this morning.

Whew today was a long one! Yang woke up super early because of my alarm, and boy did I pay for it. She has been super cranky all day long.

We managed to finish up our K12 curriculum on the human body today. The book I ordered from Amazon earlier this week, Blood and Guts, will hopefully be arriving tomorrow so we can continue working on our Human Body lapbook. The girls spent a few hours taking Skeleton Steve apart & putting him back together.

Yang finished up her fluency reader this week at 56 WPM! Super stoked about that. Especially considering when we started fluency readers 3 weeks ago she started out at 11 WPM!

Yang did a little better today during OT but I really don't care for the OT's tone of voice with her, or the lagging system she uses. She asked something of Anneliese today that is clearly written into her IEP. I had to stop her & advise her of the accommodation. Clearly she has not read her IEP in full. There will definitely be a heart to heart talk after the Thanksgiving break. Will give me time to mull things over and compose my thoughts so I'm not hot headed during our talk.

Poppy is studying American History & today we began Politics, Power, and the People. We covered how Andrew Carnegie rose from poverty to become one of the world's richest men. The Homestead Strike. We were introduced to J.P. Morgan. We compared Rockefeller and Morgan in terms of their rose to power, their business practices & use of their wealth.

Monday Owlet, Poppy & I will begin reading, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor. I true classic & one of my all time favorite books. I ordered another copy and will pick a 3rd up this weekend from the library. I'm glad I will get this time to read with Owlet as being in high school this year has been quite an adjustment. All of her classes are online and there is no real parent involvement.

I was even able to slip in a little Christmas shopping for the girls today! We bought them Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light In the Attic, and Falling Up by Shel Silverstein.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Christopher Columbus Lapbook and Link Up

This post may contain affiliate links.You can read more about affiliate links under my disclosure policy tab, or by clicking here.

We originally did this lapbook Nov. 18, 2012. I have since added some additional links to complete the lapbook, correct some picture placement and added a link up, all in time for Columbus Day.

Tomorrow (11/19/12) we are going to tour replicas of The Nina and Pinta. So today we did a mini lesson and lapbook on Columbus. Since Owlet and Poppy had attended public school for several years I did not feel there was a real need to study Columbus back in October. Yang and I went over some of the common basic facts about Columbus, read a little poem about Columbus, copied some common words associated with Columbus and his voyage to the New World and watched some videos.

Poppy's Lapbook

For Poppy's lapbook I did a lot of piecing together of things I found online. Since I used lots of different lapbooks, unit studies and journaling pages, I created a pinterest board to go along with our lapbooks we made. ENJOY!

Poppy working on facts about Columbus' 2nd voyage.

On the left:
The cover of Poppy's lapbook.

On the right:
Page 1
Facts about 1492
and a map of Columbus' 1st voyage

Cover from Marine Corps Nomad

Most think Columbus took one voyage and ended up in the Americas. He actually made 4 trips across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain - 1492, 1493, 1498 and 1502, and as you see he actually landed in several different islands in the present day Caribbean.

Photo and facts of Christopher Columbus on left.

Facts about Columbus' 2nd voyage and parts of a ship on right.

Yang's Lapbook
For the majority of Yang's lapbook we used this free Christopher Columbus Mini Pack from 3 Dinosaurs.

Yang working on gluing her pieces to her lapbook.

Suggested reading material:

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Fun

Thanksgiving is approaching faster than I'd like at this moment & I need to clean - DESPERATELY! I don't even know the last time I cleaned. Of course we pick up everyday, run the dishwasher and at least a load of laundry but I am talking about real cleaning. I really should stay at home today & do just that but it doesn't seem fun at all. Instead we went to the movies. Ever Saturday one of our local theaters offers a free kids movies. This weeks movie was Pocahontas II, which we had never seen. Yang has never seen the first Pocahontas (which we were under the impression was playing) but none the less we had a grand time.

In Pocahontas II, Pocahontas travels to London to meet the King in hopes for peace. Of course Governor Ratcliffe is still up to no good and has lied to the King. Pocahontas has been under the impression that John Smith is dead but soon discoveries that is not the case. Ratcliffe had framed John Smith to cover his own wrong doings, and therefore John Smith has been in hiding. Does Pocahontas follow Smith? Or has she fallen in love with someone else?

When we got home I decided to do one of my most dreadful chores, clean the hamster cages. Poppy & I folded a basket of laundry, and put it away, ran the dishwasher, started a new load of laundry, swept, mopped and vacuumed.

Monday Owlet has her orthodontist check up. Afterwards, we are going to visit replicas of the Nina & Pinta before they head out again. The girls and I will watch some Christopher Columbus shows tomorrow and hopefully completing a speedy lapbook.

BEECH Retreat

Someone recently asked me what it meant to be a blooger? I'm not really sure. For me, it is a way to get my thoughts out, to share what we are learning & hopefully inspire others with home educating their child(ren). It's like an online diary that I can go back & reflect on once my girls are older, or even when we hit a brick wall. What was working before? Why is it no longer working? When we are having a bad & fell like hope it lost, we can reflect on why we homeschool & look through post of things we've done.

There will be a wonderful BEECH Retreat January 31 - February 3, 2013 in sunny southern Florida. The focus of the retreat is all about blogging. I have my fingers crossed that I'll be able to attend. It would be an honor to learn from all the wonderful speakers. I can't even imagine even a fraction of what I could learn. What does being a blogger mean? The ins & outs, dos & don't.

 Right now there is BEECH Retreat Giveaway going on over at Homeschool Creations worth $635!! Hurry over & check it out! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hunman Body Lapbook continued

Today was actually not to bad. Poppy dragged her feet on a unit review in GUM (Grammar, Usage & Mechanics) about verbs and complements. I was proud of her for the 92% she earned on the unit assessment. Now, if we could just do something about her attitude!

Yang and I worked on the digestive system and circulatory system before heading to town. We also managed to complete 2 handwriting worksheets and reading for 20 minutes. I was super excited for her during her fluency reader, as she read 53 WPM!! We've also begun writing 3-4 presidents names and the years they where in office as part of her handwriting exercises and history. She wanted to begin with Obama and work her way backwards through the presidents.We also got a chance to play the circulatory game real quick.

While in town we made a stop at Sam's Club where we came across the Smart Lab Squishy Science From Head to Toe. It is just like the Smart Lab Squishy You Explore It Human Body I had ordered expect it comes with the brain as well, and about the same price.

Here are some pictures of Poppy & Yang checking it out.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Human Body Lapbook

Currently we are using K12 with Yang but that will be changing with the upcoming Christmas break. Her last day will be the day before break, and at that time we will be doing our own thing. To prepare, we have been doing lapbooks and so far so good. I dislike all the printing and cutting but Yang likes to carry things around with her that she has worked on so I know these will be great.

Today we started working on the human body. We found a great lapbook over at Homeschool Share. Since K12 provides our curriculum we started using it for today's lesson. I've ordered Blood & Guts & Smart Lab's Squishy Human Body , and they should be in by Friday.

We started off with talking about the skeletal & muscular system. We went over the importance of bones and muscles, how they are attached & work together, and joints. We added No Bones About It, Types of Bones and Mighty Muscles to our lapbook. 

Here is our agenda for the rest of the week:

Wednesday - *The Digestive System
                      *The Circulatory & Respiratory System (Depending on what I can find on the respiratory system we may talk about this particular system on for a few days. Yang & her sisters all have mild sports asthma. Their father & Nanny - my Mom - have COPD.)
                       *The Circulatory Game 

Thursday - Therapy day. Yang will have OT in the morning, intervention after lunch and speech in the afternoon. We will continue any unfinished work.

Friday - The Nervous System

Monday, November 12, 2012

Flat Travelers

We have attempted to participate in a flat traveler swap. We found a great group on facebook, Homeschool Swapping Adventures but our first swap was a flop. We found a match, sent our traveler out and waited to receive a traveler in return. We waited, and then waited some more. Finally after several weeks I contact one of the group admins and explained what was going on. She offered to contact the individual to see what was going on. No response. So I sent her a message asking for our traveler back as we where looking to actually "swap" with someone. She seemed upset, and perhaps even insulted that I would ask for our traveler back. I understand life happens. Things come up that are out of our control. Never once did she ever say, Hey, we've had a situation. I apologize, we will get it sent out ASAP. Or that due to certain circumstances they would not be able to participate and would be sending our traveler back to us. With appearing that she would be sending our traveler back to us we made arraignments to swap with an adorable little girl from Tennessee. I had spoken with her mother about our previous ordeal and she assured me that Zuri (our traveler) would be in good hands. Since we had not received our original traveler back we made up and new one and sent Zuri on her way to Tennessee.
While Zuir #2 was having fun in Tennessee we where having lots of fun with Princess Sophia. We took her to The Pottery Place and painted a spider!

We went on a nature hike and did a scavenger hunt at Lake Vesuvius.

We went on a field trip to an apple Orchard. We learned how an apple grows, why apple trees are planted on hills, and how to pick an apple. We got to see how the apples are cleaned, sorted, packaged and stored. We went in a corn maze and learned the different ways farmers use corn. Afterwards we had cider slushies and carmel corn, YUM!

This month Zuri is off to the United Kingdom! So exciting. We kissed Zuri and packed her up this morning in her padded envelope. It will take Zuri about 10-14 days to travel from Ohio to the UK. Since her travel time is so long she will actually be visiting the UK for 2 months! Can't wait for our newest flat traveler friend to arrive and show him around that US. I just hope they don't get jet lagged to bad!

Check back as we add photos from our flat travel fun!