Friday, October 29, 2010

Plan Your Year with the Schoolhouse Student Planners...

The opportunity to check out one of the Schoolhouse Student Planners dropped into my email box on the very day I was looking at the planners I already have for organizing my students' work and thinking, "I love X in this planner, but Y in this one is great. Both need Z from the third planner...why don't they put these things all in one planner?" I was pondering the idea of copying a few pages from two of them, stapling the copies to the pages in another, and trying to come up with some compilation of all three because I was tired of juggling the information in three locations.

Voila! It was one of those wonderful occassions where I asked, and the Lord porvided (in a way obvious to me) IMMEDIATELY. What a blessing!

Within an hour of requesting the 2010-2011 Middle Grades Schoolhouse Planner (to use with my seventh-grader, and hopefully adapt for my younger sudents as well), I discovered it was ready for download. I eagerly opened the file and was amazed at the 278 pages of content that is included in this planner. In fact, I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of information in this planner...there is so much more than I will ever use. 

Once I scrolled back and checked out the detailed Table of Contents, I got a handle on what was there and gleefully noted that there were editable, printable pages for ALL of the things I had wanted to see in one planner just that morning...and then some. The real substance of the planner lies in the scheduling pages, organizing tools, and goal-setting sheets. But the planner is full of fun and useful little bonuses, like cooking conversion charts, timelines, and geographic reference lists, as well. These will be great for personalizing the planner, once the real work of creating the "perfect planner" is done.

Here's what I wound up printing to make my student's customized planner:
  • Beginning and Ending Page
  • Monthly Calendars
  • Weekly planning pages
  • Yearly, Semester, and Monthly Goal Pages
  • Educational Objective Sheets
  • To-Do Lists
  • Course of Study Sheets for each subject
  • End of Year Evaluation Forms and Grade Sheets
  • Test Score Recording Sheet
  • Assignment and Due Date Sheets
  • Attendance Chart
  • High School Transcript Sheets (to use for my older son, who suddenly needs a transcript by the end of the month!)
  • High School Planning Sheet for Tex
  • Library Items Sheets for the actual library and the Bookmobile
  • Audio/Video Log
  • Loaned and Borrowed List
  • Books Read This Year Sheet
  • Books Read to Me This Year Sheet
  • Field Trip Log Sheet
  • Extra-Curricular Activities Log Sheet
  • A few Unit Study Record Sheets (for when we all study something together)
  • Bible Memory Record
  • Regular Memory Work Record
  • Discipleship Record
  • Community Service Record and Log Sheet
  • Research Paper Project List
  • Possible Future Plans List (so we can explore some career ideas this year)
  • Musical Instrument Practice Sheet
  • Sports and Fitness Log (to record time spent with his horse or riding his bike on the eight-mile loop near our house)
  • Daily Chore Chart
  • One of These Days I Would Like to...Sheet
  • Prayer Journal Sheets
  • Bible Study and Sermon Notes
  • Bible Reading Highlights Sheets
  • Website/Password Quick Reference Sheet
  • Family Tree Sheets
  • Family Rules Sheet
  • Important Dates Reference Sheets
  • Important Phone Numbers
  • Common Latin and Greek Root Sheets
  • Caldecott and Newberry Lists (Tex read many of these last year)
  • Thirteen Colonies by Date
  • US Presidents and Their Wives
  • US States and Capitals (he can mark off the postcards we receive here, too)
  • ABCs of Landforms
  • Famous Musicians and Famous Artists

Whew!! That took quite a bit of paper to print up, but now ALL of our stuff will be in one location. The truth is that no planner designed by someone other than yourself, will ever be exactly what you want. People include in planners what they see to be important...and that may differ from what you'd choose. What you'd choose might even differ from year to year. This year we are doing the United States Geography and some history. Next year we will be doing World Geography and Ancient History, so different supplemental pages would be useful. Some years we rely more upon unit studies and need to keep track of more book reports and projects. Other years, we use more textbooks and need to keep track of more grades.

By buying The Middle School Schoolhouse Planner for $19.00, you get the best of all possible outcomes. You get a fully-customized product that perfectly suits your family in whatever season of life you are in. You can use one planner to print sheets for multiple students (I could actually print more pages and make a planner for my littler ones using what is available here), and you can customize them as you see fit.

The biggest drawback I saw to this method was the drain on my printing ink, but considering it is a once in a year thing, and that my student and I will be so much better organized now, I think it is worth it. I also am not really a big fan of three-ring binders, which seems to be the going solution for storing the planner pages. But I already have a plan for that. I am thinking of requesting one of those cool binding machines for Christmas...useful, but fun, too. What do you think? ;-)

I hope you will think about checking out The Middle School Schoolhouse Planner at The Old Schoolhouse Store. You can click HERE and order your e-book planner right now for immediate download. I do think it is a great value for the money you will spend, especially if it gets all of your information into one location...think about all the time you will save, and the valuable organizational skills your students will be gaining as they learn to be accountable for their time.

Click HERE to see a sample of this item.

You can read reviews about the product HERE.

Currently, there is a GREAT deal going on HERE at the Old Schoolhouse Store. Buy a bundle of the Primary Schoolhouse Planner and the Middle Grades Schoolhouse Planner for a mere $10.00! You can't beat that! I don't know how long this fantastic deal will last, so head on over to snag yours TODAY!

Thanks for reading. I hope I gave you some information you can use. I want you to know that I did receive a complimentary copy of the Middle Grades Schoolhouse Planner in order to write an honest review about my experiences with this product. I hope this review was helpful to you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.

Blessings to you for an organized year!


Freebie---Jeub's Guide to Speech and Debate

The Jeub family, a Christian homeschooling family with more than a dozen children, has written a new book called Jeub's Guide to Speech and Debate. This book serves as an introduction for homeschooling families to the intricacies of competitive speech and debate. Their family business involves publishing materials for homeschooling speech givers and debaters, and their children compete in the same events for which they publish materials. This means that these folks have a lot of experience in this area, so I'll bet the information in this book is going to be good!

Here's the bonus for you: For the next week, or when the total of 100 books is reached, the Jeubs are giving away copies of their new book. All you have to do is go to their site HERE to find out more information about the give away. I think it sounds very exciting and I am hoping I was fast enough to get in on the freebie (because you know I love freebies!). I'll keep you posted about that, and you can bet that if I do recieve a copy, I will review it here and you will hear all about it.

Hurry over to the Jeub's site...the clock is ticking!



Learning Happens---Busy Beavers

If you haven't checked out Beavers: The Biggest Dam Movie You Ever Saw, an IMAX Film availale for instant download on Netflix this month, then you are missing out on some good, clean, BUSY fun.

The kids have been a bit under the weather this week, so we have been looking for actvities other than the usual "playing outside until we are too tired to stand up" to do with them. Watching some of the many educational movies in our Instant Play queue seemed to fit the bill nicely.

Trust me on this one, even if you are not normally into documentaries, you will not be bored with this movie. Those beavers are industrious. If you ever wanted to teach a character lesson on industry and hard-work, this is a good film with which to kick off your unit study. It is full of breathtaking scenery, fascinating facts, and some priceless hilarity and tender moments. Did you know that one pair of beavers can cut down over 400 trees in a season? Or that their hard work can turn a once rocky and fairly barren foothill into a thriving aquatic community, and eventually into to a lush valley, once the dam breaks down? It is absoulutely impressive how much influence two small furry mammals can have on their environment. Now there's a lesson for the kids on the importance of each person's individual impact on the world.

I asked my little ones what their favorite part of the film was, and each had a different answer. Cowboy (always one for a laugh) loved when the beavers cut down a tree that a bear cub had run up. Yes, the bear cub was fine. Ladybug (the one with a tender heart) liked when the beavers had babies best, and Firefly (my own busy beaver) liked all the parts when the beavers were cutting down lots of trees and dragging whole huge Aspens over to their dams. There is a bit of suspense when a hungry bear tries to break into their dam that will have little ones on the edge of their seats, but nothing is too graphic or sad for even the wee-est of family members.

In fact, my kids apparently enjoyed the movie so much, that this is what I found them making outside today, when they finally all felt well enough to go out and play for an hour or so:

It's not just a mud's a beaver dam.

And guess who the busy little beavers are!?

Aren't you proud of us? Yessiree!
Good work, guys and gals...uh, beavers!

I think I need to capitalize on their budding interest in beavers next week by reading them a few books about beavers, and maybe doing a project together (any ideas? Please leave a comment!). And while we are at it, maybe I can channel all that industrious beaver-energy into getting them to clean up their room....maybe.

Blessings to you and your busy beavers,


Making Your Home a Haven Fall Challenge

I happened across this Fall Challenge late in the game, but since it is right in line with what I have been trying to do this month, I think I am going to participate for the last few weeks. Here is a roundup of what the challenges for the month of October are, and a bit about what I've done with them.

Week One--October 3rd: Light a candle in your home every day. We do this regularly. All this week we have been enjoying Apples and Cinnamon, and Pumpkin Pie Spice candles. They smell good enough to eat.

Week Two--October 10th: Listen to soft music every day in your home. This is another regular thing at our house. Often, we listen to classical music. I have a few "Classical Masterpieces" loaded in the five cd disk changer and they can play for hours. I also like to stream my local Christian station, WWIP 89.1 through the computer. Tex has discovered Pandora, and has been experimenting with music genres, from Michael Buble and classical crooners to TransSiberian Orchestra (only the quieter numbers would qualify here) and Kenny G. I have an account on YouTube and one of my playlists is Worship Songs. I will click on that and it will play all forty plus songs I've picked, and the kids can watch and sing along. We love music.

Week Three--October 17th: Clean up clutter! That works for me, especially this week. With several of the wee ones, and myself, falling prey to the stomach flu this week, I have been moving slowly enough to REALLY see some of the clutter spots around the house. Since running around outside, in spite of the gorgeous weather, is out of the question, I decided to SLOOOOWLY clean off the five bookshelves in the back room, organize and label them, and gather as many of the unneeded books and SELL them. I just can't seem to let myself just BE SICK, so I have to devise these simple, yet rewarding activities, to justify my reduced activity. I think I would classify guilt as spiritual clutter, and one of the specifications of this week's challenge was to reduce spiritual clutter, not just physical clutter. Any ideas or suggestions on how to feel less guilty for not getting everything done?

Week Four--October 24th: "Keep the candle going, the music playing, and add some tender moments with your family." I have been trying to do that this month, all month long. I have made a focused effort to get out games with the little kids more, to be more spontaneous, and to make sure I don't miss out on our reading aloud time. A bit over a week ago, hubby and Bubba went together to a pro football game in Washington D.C. for the day, and tomorrow, Tex and his dad head to NC for a Christian concert event with Max Lucado, Michael W.Smith, Third Day, and Toby Mac (the boys each paid for their own tickets to their respective events, and Bubba paid for part of his dad's ticket as a Christmas gift). I think helping fathers to do things with their children individually is included in the "tender moments with family" category. I also really enjoyed our wonderful trip to Yorktown last week, and while hubby and Tex are gone, I plan to make caramel apples with the little ones, pop popcorn, and watch a movie with them, so they have a special treat, too.

Week Five--October 31st:  The next challenge will be to "Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home. Cook things with pleasant aromas. Pick a meal the family can cook together - include everyone in a task and take pictures so everyone can remember moments in the kitchen together - test tasting, being creative, laughing and loving. Remove discontentment with your home or family and give thanks to God for the home God has given you to in which to create a haven for your family." I have neglected Menu Plan Monday for two weeks now (hubby has been on crazy shift-work and it just hasn't fit it time-wise), and I need to let Ladybug get out the cookbooks and help me plan the family's favorites for next week. She loves doing that. She is always so proud when we have written our menu out on the marker board. Tonight is Triple-decker Tortilla Pie, so we are looking forward to that one. The kids have already asked twice when it will be time to make dinner and we haven't even head lunch yet. I guess they like Tortilla Pie!

This challenge is a nice idea...I will be certainly checking out the Women Living Well site again for more great challenges and information. You should head over there and see some of her video clips...there is one of her on the Rachel Ray show talking about bringing back homemaking as an honored profession. It's great.

I will also post pictures of the organized bookshelves, once I finish (today, I hope), and perhaps, pictures of the Tortilla Pie (if I remember before we dive in) to go with the recipe, so check back later!

Blessings to you for a beautiful day in your haven,


Time4Writing Update

You may recall that over a month ago, I completed a review of an online writing curriculum called Time4Writing. If you would like to see my thoughts on the program, or details about what it entails, you can check out that post HERE.

Once our review was done, I gave Tex the option of stopping using the online course, but he declined, saying that he'd started it and wanted to finish it. Well, a month later, he is done with the program and earned his certificiate of completion. He is very satisfied with his accomplishment and with his experiences using this program.

Since we mentioned having a few issues with the program duing our initial review period, I thought it only fair to let you know how those issues were resolved very much to our satisfaction.

During the first few weeks of our use of this program, we had some communications issues with Tex's instructor. I felt as if there were not enough guidelines for what was expected at his level, and also felt that the grades/corrected errors were not well explained. I was having to spend a lot of time teaching Tex myself, and to me, the appeal of an online, teacher-graded program, was to release me from having to teach everything.

I wound up writing a lengthy note to the teacher about my concerns, and was pleasantly surprised when she responded positively and showed an almost immediate turnaround in the way she was handling her grading and remarks about Tex's writing. She started giving very detailed reasons for her marks, and taught him how to fix his mistakes. Her comments became more positive (which is what Tex thrives on) and he took the bit in his teeth and ran with that, eagerly completing the remaining assignments, trying to wow her with each one (instead of feeling he couldn't please her). She was a great teacher for him, once we worked out that homeschoolers are a bit different than public schooler, and I very much appreciated her efforts to help Tex improve his writing skills.

Overall, I would have to say that it was a great program for our current situation (I have two who are learning to read this year, plus other things, and needed help with the teaching load). In light of how agreeable this teacher was to adjusting her style to fit my student's needs, I would definintely consider enrolling Tex in another class at Time4Writing in the future.

One of my other concerns had been time constraints (we homeschoolers appreciate our freedom), but I want you to know that the administration of Time4Writing was very helpful, not just once, but twice, in adjusting the class time-frame to meet our needs. They increased the length of time we had up front (since this was a review situation) to accomodate our family vacation, and at the end, when we were one assignment away from completion and time had run out, they gave us an additional few days to finish our assignments.

Thanks, Time4Writing, for a great experience, and thank you very much, Mrs. Burrows, for being a great teacher.

Tex enjoyed Time4Writing and wants me to share that though some of the assignments were a bit easy for him, he thought they were all fun and liked the writing topics, in general. He felt he learned to be a better writer, because this program challenged him to try new styles and explore different ideas.

I'd like to share with you his final writing assignment, as well as her comments, as I thought they were particularly nice and demonstrate how connected she was to him as a student by the end of the program.

If you have further questions about the Time4Writing program, you can check out my original post HERE. It has links to the program's website, as well as a link to other reviews on the product by other members of the TOS Crew.


8.5 Expository Paragraph: What do you think is more important, how a person looks
or how a person acts towards others? Remember to support your opinion.
Pretty Is As Pretty Does
by Tex
     There is an old folk saying that goes, "Pretty is as pretty does," and I believe this to be true. It means that beauty comes from your heart and your actions, not from what you look like. No one wants to be friends with someone with a bad attitude, no matter how good looking they are. People might stick around for a while, but in the end they will leave the rudeness and negativity behind. Folks just don't want to stay around people who are bickering and gossiping constantly, or who are always talking and thinking about themselves. The truth is, God does not look on the outside either. He looks at what's inside to see what is in your heart. It is whatever is in your heart that reflects who you really are. Most people look at your heart, too. In the end, it's better to be ugly with a good attitude, then to be beautiful with a crummy one. Beauty starts on the inside, and slowly and surely will shine through.


You made me cry with your paragraph -- it was that well written! I could tell you connected with the prompt because your writing was so 'real.' Grade 100%

Your overall writing style is organized, focused and detailed - all of the aspects of strong writing! Please save this piece of writing for your portfolio, as this is the sort of writing that wins contests - or gets you into a great college! Nice job, Tex!

Ms. Burrows


We were initially given a complimentary class from Time4Writing in exchange for writing an honest review about our experiences with the product. I was not solicited to write this follow-up review, or compensated in any way. I wrote it because I feel that you should have all the facts about our experiences with this product, so you can best make a decision about what is likely to work for your family. I hope this review helps you. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me.




Thursday, October 28, 2010

Where in the World? Wednesday

Due to the stomach flu visiting our family this week, there has been an interruption in our regular programming...;-)

Please check back next week for a new edition of Where in the World? Wednesday, featuring the exciting state of Massachussetts.

In the meantime, you can try out this two page "Thirteen Colonies Mapping Activity" from KB Teacher.

See you back here next Wednesday.

Thanks for understanding.

Blessings for a happy and healthy week,


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What's in a Name?---Puppy Update

Well, Bubba's puppy has a new name. It seems he was looking for a name that related to his work as a farrier, or to metalworking, so he tried out the name Hardy for a while (which I liked a lot, but he decided it was strange to name a dog after a hole--the hardy hold--in an anvil), and a few others, then finally settled on...drumroll please...Copper.

I think it is a cute name for a puppy. He is the color of copper and Bubba works with copper from time to time for various reasons. It is also a strong name, and a classic. I think it is a good fit. Copper is a sweet puppy and so far is bringing lots of love and fun into everybody's lives.

Bubba introduces Copper to Molly. Me and Copper at the Harvest Festival.

Thanks to those who contributed ideas! It was fun.

Blessings to all,


Monday, October 25, 2010

Lego Challenge---Halloween

Since we don't celebrate Halloween at our house, but rather, we usually enjoy some sort of Harvest Festival celebration instead, I let the kids make a model of what they are expecting to find at this year's church Harvest Festival.

Here is what they came up with:

Here you can see the playground to the right, complete with Mr. John's amazing train playset. Firefly insisted upon the teeter totter (it's her favorite thing), and Cowboy worked on the trees. The pavillion is to the left, with the chili cookoff inside (all the Nanny's are inside eating!). The costume judging is taking place outside, featuring Woody, Buzz, the Bug Hunter, and an alien (the winner!) among others. The horse ride (featuring our Jake and Woody's horse) is in the back.

Cowboy is showing off his contributions of the teepee (not actually present at the real festival, but a great idea!) and mom's addition of a cross. To the left, you can see the church that Firefly worked on.

  Here are two final views of the fun festival. From the side, you can see the tractor and hay ride with "real hay" (grass), courtesy of Ladybug. At the real festival, a great gospel-singing act was set up in the bed of a pick up, to which was attached a trailer full of straw for the kids to sit in while they listenened. It was a marvelous time for all of us. Stay tuned for pictures of the real thing later this week!

Blessings to you and wishes for a happy harvest,


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sermon Sunday---Family Worship

This week I have been listening to sermons regarding the topic of having Family Worship. I will be honest here and say that having a regular formal family worship time is a goal at our house rather than a reality. At this point, my husband is working such crazy shifts, that we often spend our days tiptoeing around, trying to keep quiet so he can sleep, or he gets home just in time to carry the kids to bed. I try to do small Bible lessons with the little ones, though I am not as consistent as I'd like to be, and we pray with them and for them before bedtime. Tex is doing a Bible study as part of his homeschooling, and we encourage him to also follow the Bible reading schedule in his planner. I listen to lots of sermons and Christian seminars while working, before bed, and while driving, and we often have the radio tuned to a local Christian station, playing a worship or hymn cd, or sit and listen to a Christian audio story (sometimes an audio Bible and other times something like Jonathan Park). We often choose to read Bible stories, or stories with a Biblical messages at night, and we always stick to ones that encourage moral and mannerly behavior. I have certain Bible verses I work on with the kids from time to time, and we do like to sing Bible songs together (randomly), and with some, we are even learning the signs.

While all that is good, my idea of what I'd like my children to remember as part of their growing up experience, is our family getting together around the table all at the same time being led by their dad in family worship of some sort. My picture of this would be a short devotion or story, discussing what it means, maybe talking over any problems we have or see, working on a Bible verse, and perhaps practicing a hymn we want the kids to learn together (I believe there is great value in learning the classic hymns and not just more modern praise songs and choruses, though I like them, too), before praying as a family. I don't necessarily think we'd have to do the same sort of thing for the same amount of time every day. I certainly don't think we need to have a lengthy sermonizing most times (though listening to an occassional sermon together and talking about it is nice), or that we have to have any sort of fancy activities or exciting games to make it "fun" for the kids. Just a simple time of togetherness, worshiping God, and learning more about Him and his Word, just as He commanded us to do.

So I wondered, "Are there sermons out there that will give me some sort of ideas on how to get this started or what it looks like for other families?" I mean, I don't know if my perception of what I would like to see is "right" or not. I wondered what the Bible has to say about worshiping together as a family...if it lays out any specific things we should or should not do. Thus, I typed in a search for "Family Worship Audio Sermons" and got a results list a mile long. Apparently, this is a much preached on topic. Quite daunting, in fact, since after pulling up only ones where I  recognized the source, and not even looking further at other specific places I usually look, I still had at least a dozen tabs up with sermons to listen to.

Listen to them I did, and here are the ones that made the final cut. I am listing them in order of detail...kind of as if the first one is an introduction, and the rest give more details or a different perspective afterwards. The first one was my favorite, for content and style, so if you only have time for one, please choose it. The final one is a great wrap up and very convicting.  The central series is excellent, so really, if you can, listen to them all!!

Since I did so much listening this week, I did not take the time to find supplemental materials or a song, so if you want those, you will have to Google search them on your own (sorry!). Maybe I will have another post on this topic down the line as I find more good ones and include some extra resources with it.

Here are my top picks for this week:

Sermon One: Family Worship by Stephen Gambill---I appreciate his perspective and overall  viewpoint on this topic. An excellent overview.

Sermons Two through Five:  Begin with the End, The Biblical Commission for the Family Altar, The Role of the Church in Family Worship , and The Ultimate Goal of Family Worship by Mark Livingston---An EXCELLENT four-part introduction to the concept and importance of family worship. Whose job is it anyway to teach your kids about the Gospel?I really appreciated this speaker's simple and straightforward thoughts on starting family worship in our homes, and also on how the church should be involved in developing a sense of family worship by encouraging the "family pew,' strengthening the fathers, and facilitating multi-generational discipleship. I encourage you to listen to all four parts, then think on them and discuss them...feel free to comment here!

Sermon Six: Is God in Your House: The Biblical Case for Family Worship is a top rated sermon that covers all aspects of family worship, from the benefits of it, to the consequences of neglecting it. It also focuses on the importance of God being the centrality and focus of our families and lives, and addresses practical aspects of how to conduct family worship.

I hope you enjoy listening, and, as always, I would love to hear your thoughts...please feel free to leave a comment.

Thanks for joining me.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Where in the World? Wednesday

Welcome to Where in the World? Wednesday!

Thank you for joining us again on our trip around the
United States via postcards and the Internet.


Welcome to our tour of the charming state of Georgia!

Here are our postcards for the week:


Here are some facts about Georgia you might find interesting:

State Capital: Atlanta
State Motto: Wisdom, Justice and Moderation
State Nicknames: Empire State of the South, Peach State, Yankee Land of the South
Origin of Name: named after George II of England

State Tree: Live Oak
State Bird: Brown Thrasher
State Flower: Cherokee Rose
State Song: Georgia on my Mind

State Gemstone: Quartz
State Fruit: Peach
State Insect: Honeybee
State Butterfly: Tiger Swallowtail

State Dance: Square Dance
State Crop: Peanut
State Shell: Knobbed Whelk
State Fossil: Shark Tooth

State Fish: Largemouth Bass
State Marine Mammal: Right Whale
State Possum (really!): Pogo Possum
State Reptile: Gopher Tortoise

State Wildflower: Azalea
State Game Bird: Bobwhite
Highest Point: Brasstown Bald - 4,784 feet (1,458 m) above sea level

Industries: paper, timber, agriculture
Main Tributaries: Chattahoochee River, Savannah River, Suwannee River
Other famous geographic features: Stone Mountain
Largest City: Atlanta

Famous people from Georgia: former President Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackie Robinson, Ty Cobb, Sequoyah, Juliette Gordon Low, Ray Charles, Jasper Johns, Brenda Lee, Gladys Knight, Clarence Thomas, and Paula Deen.
Hey y'all, folks from Georgia are called Georgians.
Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the Constitution and was admitted to the Union on January 2, 1788.

Here's a STATE INFORMATION SHEET you can print up for your kids to fill out. It incorporates some of the above info and spaces for drawings of the flag, flower, bird, and seal.

Check out this great site to see actual photos of many of the above state symbols. This is a good one.

A lovely coloring page for the Brown Thrasher and the Cherokee Rose can be found HERE. Your girls (especially) will enjoy this one.

 Much of this information was found on Enchanted Learning HERE.


Here is a map of Georgia.

A Georgia Map Printout and Quiz from Enchanted Learning is HERE.
A Label Me Georgia Map from Enchanted Learning is HERE.
An Outline Map of Georgia from Enchanted Learning is HERE.

Here is a Georgia's state flag:

Color a copy of the flag online HERE (or print it up).
Find the history of the flag of Georgia HERE.

Here is Georgia's state seal:
Further information on the state seal is HERE.

Here is Georgia's State Quarter:
Further information on the quarter is HERE.
A Georgia Quarter Observation Worksheet print out is HERE.

Here is the Georgia Stamp:
Further information on the stamp is HERE.



Here's a great collection of Georgia facts from the Kid's Corner at Explore Georgia.
Kids can find more fun facts about Georgia at Kids Connect.
Lots of good links to info and things to do at A-Z Kids Stuff.
Another list of facts from Apples4theTeacher.
Info and links from 50States.

Detailed information on the history of Georgia is HERE
at Thru the US 50.
Simpler information on the history of Georgia can be found HERE.
Start HERE to find out more information about Georgia's founder,
James Edward Oglethorpe.

Read an essay on the history of the Native Americans who
 inhabited Georgia through the early nineteenth-century HERE.
Information about the Trail of Tears is HERE and the
 Legend of the Cherokee Rose, the state flower.
Interested in the Cherokee people? Take language lessons HERE
(learn to count 1-5 in Lesson One).
View a Cherokee Storyteller relating the
Story of the Rattlesnake HERE.
Read some more Cherokee stories HERE.

An online word search with Georgia terms is HERE.
A printable Georgia acrostic poem worksheet is HERE.
A printable Georgia Word Jumble is HERE.
A printable Georgia Cities Word Search is HERE.
A nice alphabet coloring book (pictures for A-Z places in Athens, GA) is HERE.

A suggested Georgia reading list from Apples4theTeacher HERE.


Here's a beautiful picture of the state tree, the Live Oak, covered with the
characteristic Spanish moss hanging from its branches.

Atlanta is a bustling metropolis and was home to the 1996 Olympic Summer Games.


Georgia has numerous beautiful tributaries.

Visit Georgia and take a trip to popular Stone Mountain.

Hungry? You will be after seeing these pictures of juicy Georgia peaches!



Go HERE to check out a video of the top five things to see in Atlanta. A list of fifty things to do in Atlanta is HERE...and a list of free or inexpensive activities is HERE.

Then stop by the Georgia Aquarium HERE. Take a picturesque VIRTUAL TOUR (a bit hard to navigate, but pretty), then move on over HERE to see specific areas. Be sure to click on each area heading, and you will not only see information on the animals in the exhibits, but also have an opportunity to click on webcams for each of the tanks. Really cool! Check out videos taken at the aquarium that are posted on YouTube HERE. This last link leads you to a Teacher Page, with two links to teacher's plans for your visit. The topic is how animals meet their basic needs. On both sets of plans, the final page is a nice reproducible graphic organizer about being a "Sea Life Survivor." If you have younger ones, you might want to give this a try.

You can also visit the Atlanta Zoo. Start your tour with the interactive map. Then learn more about the animals that really interest you HERE and the plants scattered throughout the park HERE. These links are extensive and very informational. All include pictures. For a change of pace, check out the many fun crafts (such as a panda mask, etc.) and printable activities (such as a lemur crossword, etc.) HERE. Learn about the intersting history of the zoo HERE. Then before you leave, don't forget to check out the Panda Cam (M-F 10-5).

Visit Stone Mountain for many fun, family activities. See pictures of the attractions and descriptions HERE. Stone Mountain is one of the ten most visited paid attractions in the US.

Take a virtual tour of the Coca-Cola factory HERE.

A tour of Andersonville, the Civil War Prison Camp, as a tribute to all POWs, is available HERE.

Visit Westville, an 1850's Living History Museum near Lumpkin, GA. First, read the background history of Westville HERE, then go to THIS PAGE to view a large collection of videos that show various parts of the museum grounds and reenactments. It's great!


I am beat! That was a BUSY trip, with a LOT to do. I hope you found some things that added to your homeschooling this week. We sure did.

I hope you will be back next week to join us again.

If you post on any geographic topic at all, especially any of the fifty United States,
please link up with us below. We'd love to take a trip with you.

Blessings to all,



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sketch Tuesday---Something in an Art Museum

The challenge for this week's Sketch Tuesday was to draw something from an art museum. I will be honest and tell you that I am not a HUGE fan of modern art, but it seems that my kids are. Perhaps it is because it it is a bit easier to fairly represent a Modrian or a Pollack than it is to attempt a Rembrandt or Constable, or maybe it is just that they really like the colors.

In any case, Ladybug was the only one who went "outside the box" of modern art that the others chose. She picked an impressionist painting she knows her grandmother likes a lot. They had fun, and learned a bit about "abstract" art, using shapes to figure out how to reproduce a painting, and perspective (in Ladybug's case).

Join us next week by clicking HERE to see the new topic, or to see the new slideshow on Tuesday.

Here is Tex's wonderful work of art:

Piet Mondrian
from the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
 (click on the link to see the actual painting)

This is Ladybug's masterpiece:

Auguste Renoir
at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.
(click on the link to see the original and a brief lesson on the painting)

This lovely piece was done by Cowboy:

The Snail
from the Tate collection in England
(click on the link to see the original work, made from cut paper pasted on canvas)

The Snail
from the Tate Collection in England
(click the link to see the original artwork)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sermon Sunday---Taking a break for the kids...

This week on Sermon Sunday, I am doing something a little different. I realized that I have been posting at the last minute on some weekends, rushing to listen to a sermon or two late on a Sunday night, after a busy day with the family. I have been thinking that that is not the best choice, for myself or for my kids, who need me to be on the top of my game the next morning.

I have decided that to counter that trend, I am going to spend the next week listening to sermons about my new topic, so I can get the next post together BEFORE Sunday and schedule it to post automatically in the morning...leaving nothing for me to worry about on Sunday, but my Lord and my family, as it should be.

So this Sunday (to give myself some time off), I am going to make a simple post of some sweet things that my kids will enjoy some day during this week, when I need them to take a moment to let me work on something else. A few favorite songs, I think, and a God-honoring story or two.

If you would like to join us in singing and watching, please do!! If not, I hope you will check back next week for another Sermon Sunday post...the next one will be on Family Worship.


We will start with a few songs, especially for the Three Amigos.

This one is a favorite of all three. I thought this version of Jesus Loves Me was cute. The kids love to do the motions as they's not all exactly ASL, but I think using the motions adds to the understanding of the song. As they get older, we will get more exact with the signs (and as I learn more!)

Firefly and Cowboy really like He's Got the Whole World in His Hands. I like Cullen's ABC's. She does a nice job for the kids. If you have preschoolers, you should check out her other stuff.

Firm Foundation is Ladybug's favorite that we sing in church. I couldn't leave it out. They love the part where you "echo" the song leader, or as in our church, the men sing one part and the women sing the other.


This story is a new favorite. It's called That's Where God Is by Dan and Ali Morrow. I recently found out that Ali is Lee Strobel's daughter (he wrote the Case for Christ books...amazing stuff! If you've never read it, you need to go get it today). Knowing that the authors are related to him and that maybe he is the grandpa this story is based upon, makes me like this story even more.


We also have a series of three parts of the classic story The Legend of the Three Trees. If you've never heard this one, or never read it to your kids, make yourself (and them) comfortable and enjoy. If it's already a favorite of yours, I hope you will appreciate hearing it again, just like we do.


Lastly, here is a good representation of the chasm between us and God, sin, the cross, and how Jesus helps us get back to God. You can view this together and talk about it if your little ones have questions after the Legend of the Three Trees.

I hope you enjoy your time together, singing and watching these movies. We did.

Blessings to you all for a wonderful Sunday,


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Home Clean Home

My mom and dad came over the other day and helped me get a good start on one of the projects on my "to do" list: cleaning the little kids' room. The kids are pretty good at keeping it picked up, especially Ladybug, who seems to take after me the most, and likes the room to be tidy BEFORE she starts playing in it (though she hasn't yet discovered my "always pick it up when we are done" gene). It has been fun observing how she develops her "picking up" abilities. Mostly, I am sure, it is from watching how I "rally the troops" and applying it in her own way. Sometimes, I am sitting in the master bedroom next door, typing on the computer, and her sweet little voice can be heard trying to cajole the others into cleaning things up a bit. Usually, they work as a great team, but Baby Boo is still nothing more than an "Octopus Tornado of Mass Destruction" (as Tex says). Boo just recently got relocated from the master bedroom into the little kids' room (he had spent his first year in a sturdy metal hotel-sized portable crib in the MB, as I was not convinced he could hold his own with Firefly, who likes to climb into bed with him).

In any case, my folks' visit allowed me some focused time to a) sort and put away toys b) remove a few unnecessary items and store them in the attic space, c) rearrange the furniture into a more useful arrangement, and d) sort some of their shoes and toys, removing all of the items that were too small or young for anyone to use. My mom helped me sort and try on (the kids) many pairs of shoes, dress up outfits, and dolly clothes, and she washed the dishes and helped do laundry, so I could continue to clean. My dad entertained the troops outside on a beautiful day, and later inside, he patiently sat through an animated kids' movie. Thanks a bunch, guys. You are the BEST!

Well, here is how the room turned out:

Ladybug and Firefly's beds

Cowboys's bed to the right and the Duplo/Brio/Hot Wheels table
(the top flips over to show a road/town scene)

Yes, the room is light pink. Once upon a time, it was painted pink because Ladybug wanted pink and the plan was for the one room upstairs to be for girls and the other to be for boys. Then, after nearly a year of trying to fit two adults and a baby (with a queen bed and a crib) into the tiny room downstairs we turned into a master bedroom (we live in a small 1930s farmhouse, so there wasn't even a closet in that room), with Bubba having moved on to school and into my parent's house, we realized (thanks to my mom) that it was ridiculous for Tex to have the large room next to the little ones' room all to himself. So, we relocated the boys' twin beds downstairs, where they fit quite nicely, and offered to move Cowboy in with Tex, but he continues to decline that offer, prefering to be with his best bud, Ladybug, in spite of the pink walls. When he is old enough for it to bother him, we will move him and get bunk beds for the guys in the bedroom downstairs.

Baby Boo's crib and toy chest on the left and the kitchen/doll area on the right

Cowboy's bed next to the table that serves for playing school and restaurant

I think the room turned out nicely. Notice, there is one corner with restaurant/kitchen items, and dolls for the girls. Then there is one part of the room with Duplo and Hot Wheels (and Brio Trains, which are currently put away) for the boys. They all play with all of the items, together. Cowboy pretends to be a chef like Bobby Flay and his restaurant is The Dino Diner. The girls like to play dollies, and Cowboy is either the Daddy, or he is the handyman and fixes their sink and broken beds and such. They all like to build with Duplo, especially Firefly and Cowboy. Ladybug is in a slight school-teacher phase and enjoys organizing them for class. We have a dress up box with a "teacher vest" (it is made of a chalkboard print material), chef's outfit, and doctor clothes, among other things. I love to see their imaginations at work, and hope they are learning that order helps us play, and think, and that they will want to keep their room clean...but I went ahead and took the pictures right after I finished anyway, just in case this is the last time this room is this clean.

My mom helped sort the toys, and we put all of the play food and dishes into the drawers under Cowboy's bed, so it would be easier to pick up. The dolly clothes and bottles are all in the drawers on the side of his bed. We stored their shoes in baskets under their beds, and there is a sock/tights bin under Ladybug's bed, too. The Duplo store inside the table, and the cars are in a bin near Cowboy's bed. The trains are currently in storage due to space issues. The baby toys are in the toy chest at the end of Boo's crib. When it is time to clean up, first I have them make their beds and arrange their special animals nicely. Then each one has a type of toy they are responsible for picking up. It is usually Ladybug who picks up the food/dishes, Firefly picks up the dolly things, and Cowboy picks up any Duplo Legos or cars that are out. Who ever finishes first/second helps whoever is still working, until the job is done. So far that plan is working out very well.

Last month, I found removable wall art for their room, and they each picked something out to put on the wall by their bed. Ladybug picked pink butterflies, Firefly picked flowers, and Cowboy picked planets. I think I will put them up today to surprise them when they get back from a short visit with my parents (who were kind enough to take the little ones for an overnight stay while I host Tex's friend's for his delayed birthday bash). Maybe while they are gone, I can tackle their closet, too. You wouldn't want to open the closet door because you might get hit by an avalanche of clothes, most of which don't fit anyone anymore. My friend, L., just sent over a dozen "new" dresses for the girls and I need to make room for them. It may sound odd, but really, I can't wait to get started cleaning!!!

Have a blessed Saturday with your loved ones, and don't foget to visit tomorrow for Sermon Sunday. I wonder if I can find a sermon about having order in our lives?



PS. Just in case you wondered, most everything in these rooms is a hand-me-down, from a yard sale, or found at a thrift store (other than the handmade blankets and a few things that were gifts on birthdays). The shopping cart (which they love!) has seen better was from when Bubba was a little boy, and the dolly bunk beds were mine! They don't make 'em like that anymore. I definitely believe that you can have nice things on a tight just requires patience and a bit of ingenuity to make things work out the way you envision.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Boy and His Dog

I should have known. It seems almost every time we go to my friend, B's house to help her with her horses, we wind up dragging something home in exchange. Often, that something is alive.

A long time ago (well, a bit over eight years ago), we got our wonderful ball-fetching, frisbee-catching, chicken-herding dog Bella for Tex's fifth-birthday. Then, a few years ago, just after moving here, we drug home a sad little stray kitten we found in the woods by her barn. He had been chucked out alone when the renters in the house next door vacated, and was probably less than six weeks old. We HAD to take him in and give him a safe haven.

Unfortunately, little Jack is no longer with us. One day (I think sometime around when his hormones kicked in), he escaped off of the front porch and decided to find another home. The boys are pretty sure they saw him down the road mooching off of someone else, so I think he's okay. Our search efforts were to no avail, but we tell ourselves that he is fine. I don't think he ever quite got over the few nights he spent in those woods alone being barked at by B's dogs (he was always skittish), but he was nice and we were glad we were a temporary home for him.

A few months ago, we went to check on B. just before she had surgery, and she had kittens she was trying to get rid of before she was out of commission and unable to care for her pets for a time (her daughter helped out during that time). Well, I'm a pushover for helping AND for small animals, especially adorable ones that sat on my daughter's lap quietly all day and let themselves be loved on, so that is when Molly joined our family. She has turned out to be a perfect addition to our family...patient, sweet, and smart enough to run when she sees Boo coming after her! I was informed by one of my kids recently, that the old picture of Molly makes her look mad, so if you look in the sidebar, you may notice that there is an updated picture where she hopefully looks as pretty as she really is.

One good thing about getting animals from B, is that we've never gotten a bad one (well, except for Jack running off, but he technically was not from one of B.'s pets). I don't know if that is due to the quality of her animals, or due to the raising we do on our end, but I am grateful that in choosing an animal from her house, there is a very high chance of it turning out to be a GREAT one. I am particularly grateful about that fact today, because guess where we went yesterday? Yup. B's house. She had surgery again and was laid up and needed a few of her horses' feet tended to. Bubba went over to do the honors, and I went along to hold the horses and visit with her for a bit.

You can figure out what is coming, can't you? B's Australian Shepherd, Chrissy, had a litter of four puppies and BOY were they adorable. Like our Bella, who is half Dalmatian, these puppies are not purebreds either. They are Boxer-Shepherd crosses, and we LOVE Boxers. Bubba's first dog was a Boxer named Gabby, and she was a sweet companion to him through many military transfers, helped him adjust to several new houses, and was his constant friend. Boxers are dogs that are well-known to be family-friendly, and I imagine a cross with a Shepherd, known to be livestock-friendly, would be ideal for a horse-oriented individual who is around people a lot.

You will be proud to know (and my hubby is relieved) that I am not the one who carted a puppy home last night. I resisted the urge (there was a girl one I really liked a lot...;-), but I will admit to you that when Bubba fell in love with the one boy puppy, I didn't exactly discourage him from the decision to take him home to raise as a farrier dog. Bubba said he'd just been commenting to his friend, A., that he needed to get a dog to keep him company on his often long drives in the countryside. Then, voila, he shows up at B's house, and the puppies are part Boxer, and one takes to following him all over the barn, and...the rest is history. I did, however, tell him that he needed to make the decision whether he was willing to commit to the care and costs involved in having a dog. He considered it (for about thirty seconds) and decided he was ready to jump in.


I hope my folks aren't too mad...Bubba is living at their house for the time being, and they are not exactly dog people. We never had dogs growing up, though we always had cats. Bubba says that my dad laughed when he called and told him the news.  He and my mom are good sports about things like that. We stayed with them for quite a while after moving from Florida with six kids, three horses, one pony, two potbellied pigs, two cats, and three dogs...Then they just get rid of us and my brother and his wife relocated and moved in with their son, cat, and chihuahua (at least all of our pets were outdoor ones...I tell myself that so I don't feel We are all very grateful that they were so nice about helping out...that is what family is for, right? We are blessed.

My hubby laughed, too, when I showed him a picture, and said, "Well, you can never say that your son doesn't take after you..." I guess there are worse things to pass onto your kids. I wish for Bubba and his new pal many years of happy companionship (he really is a sweet puppy...) and love. I am sure they will grow to be best friends.

By the way, the puppy doesn't have a name yet. We jokingly called him, "Alfred" at the barn because I said he looked like a dignified British butler rather than a barn dog. Perhaps if you have a suggestion, you can post it here. I told Bubba that he needs to let the puppy "try on" names for a week before he decides on one that really fits, so get those suggestions in right away.

Blessings to you and yours,

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