Monthly Archives: November 2010

November Sensory Tub

I had never heard of sensory tubs until recently, but several of my favorite bloggers use sensory tubs with their younger children (Counting Coconuts, 1+1+1=1, A Mommy’s Adventures, etc.). I decided to try one with Dora this month. It was quite a learning experience. Firstly, tracking down lots of little November items, isn’t that easy. I had to go to several stores, such as Dollar Tree, Michael’s, Ben Franklin, and several more that I don’t remember at the moment.

Also, while some people’s sensory tubs seem fairly simple, with just some artificial flowers and leaves, and maybe a couple of artificial gourds, Dora wasn’t so easily amused. In fact, the only thing she wanted to do with the tub, was throw everything all over the place. I almost gave up in frustration, but just when I was about to throw in the towel, Counting Coconuts (yes, I do worship the ground she walks on), had an excellent post on sensory tubs. After reviewing the post and her photos of past sensory tubs, I realized that I was missing a key element. Sensory tubs aren’t about playing with cute little items, though that is fun also, they are about stimulating a child’s senses. I realized that artificial fall leaves and flowers feel and look a lot alike – once Dora had examined those, she really didn’t have much else to do. What I I needed to do, was throw in more variety.

In the end, I may have gone a bit overboard, but it worked. For scent, I added cinnamon. For sound, I added autumn-colored bells. For more variety in touch and sight, I added a variety of artificial seasonal fruits and vegetables, some seasonal buttons, acorns, a weird arrangement of seasonal stuff that I found at Dollar Tree, pom poms, feathers, and some acrylic gems. Now, Dora, and everybody else in the house, really enjoys playing with the tub!

These are the strange assortment of things that I bought at Dollar Tree…

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Two Homeschool Blog Events I’m Participating In

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers is running Homeschool Showcase #60 and the Nerd Family is hosting this month’s Carnival of Homeschooling. Both offer awesome opportunities to learn about other terrific homeschooling blogs.

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Button-Turkey Bean Bag


Once again, Counting Coconuts posted a brilliant project to do with your child! She made a stuffed turkey that provides practice with matching colors and buttoning. I made one of these for Dora this week and modified it slightly, so thought I’d post the directions that I used.

Firstly, I’d like to mention that the day after I finished my turkey, Nap Time Crafts published directions for a felt turkey. I also made that project, but more importantly, her template is perfect for many of the pieces of the button-turkey also!

Hopefully, these directions will make sense, I am not a seamstress and I don’t play one on TV.

Materials needed:

  • Felt – dark brown, light brown, red, orange, and 4-5 colors for the feathers
  • Buttons – 4-5 that color coordinate with your feather colors
  • Googly eyes (2)
  • Beans
  • Craft glue
  • Thread
  • Needles
  • Sewing machine (optional)


  1. Cut out two round circles for the body (I made mine about 5” in diameter), using the dark brown felt, and a head, using the light brown felt. Sew or glue the head to one of the body circles.
  2. Cut out the wattle, using the red felt, and the beak, using the orange felt. Sew or glue the beak and wattle to the head. Glue the two googly eyes to the head. Let the glue dry.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  3. Sew the buttons to the body, leaving space for the feathers and keeping the buttons at least 1/2” away from the edge of the circle.
  4. Pin the two body parts, right sides together. Stich the two parts together, leaving a one-inch opening, unstitched. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  5. Turn the body inside-out (actually will now be right side out).November Homeschooling 004
  6. Fill the body with beans, being sure to leave some room for shifting.
  7. Stitch the one-inch opening on the body closed.
  8. Make 4-5 feathers. You can either just cut slits for the button holes or use your machine to make proper button holes, depending on how much use you think your turkey will get.


Labels: Arts and Crafts, High School, This and That, Toddlers, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Complete Signing Time Survey to Get a 15% Coupon & Entered in a Their Contest


Signing Time has posted a short, twelve-question survey for users of their products. If you complete the survey, you automatically receive a 15% off coupon for your next purchase. You also will automatically be entered into a contest to win the entire Baby Signing Time Collection (valued at $149). This is a really big deal as there are not that any Signing Time coupons out there. If you’ve never used Signing Time products, they are great way for the whole family to learn the beginnings of ASL. In addition, the Baby Signing Time series is a great tool to teach ASL to infants, which enables them to better communicate, even before they are verbal.

Labels: Educator Discounts and Curriculum Sales, World Languages
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

What’s Great About America Essay Contest

I just learned about another essay contest for students ages 13-18. I added it to my writing contest page, but thought I’d post about it also, so that no one misses it. It is Stossel in the Classroom’s What’s Great About America essay contest and is open to kids aged 13-18. Homeschoolers are specifically mentioned as being welcome to participate! There are multiple cash prizes.

BTW, I am not promoting any political views here.

Labels: Academic Competitions, Composition, Language Arts
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–November 12, 2010

My parents were visiting this week so I didn’t start a new theme with Dora this week. We took them to the Children’s Museum and we did a few things more with the fish theme. I tried taking her to some tide pools, but the climb to them ended up being a bit treacherous, so we just played on the beach. She has never been to the beach, so this was a big deal for her. This particular beach did not have sand, but it had some really cool shells. We never found any live creatures, but we did have a really fresh crab shell wash up right at our feet.
We also examined barnacles, a fully intact clam shell, and sea weed, all which were brand new and exciting for Dora. Then she spent about 1 1/2 hours finding shells and throwing them back into the water. I have no idea whys he felt that is what should be done with shells.
Later she painted the shells that we brought home.
We also spent some time playing with the fish counters that I used to make the fish sensory bag last week. She really wants to be able to count and has a general idea of how it works, but counts, “1, 7, 9!” every time she counts.


Other than that, she played a lot of make believe, read a lot of books, ran around outside, and had a great time visiting with her grandparents.

I’m linking up to:
Tot School  preschool corner Reviews and Giveaways


Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Weekly Wrap-Up November 12, 2010

Gohan recovered from his cold and though my parents were visiting this week, we stayed on task with him. This week he did:

  • Geography – I’m going to talk about this first, because I am really excited about what we did. With all my researching of Montessori methods for Dora, I kept coming across references to push pin maps. I never really found a good example of what one looked like and how they were used, but I used my imagination and came up with something that I felt would allow Gohan to do more map work independently, despite his learning differences. So I modified the mapping assignments for Trail Guide to World Geography, which we are using.
    1. I printed labels for every country in North America on to cardstock. Then I attached the labels to some sewing pins by gluing the two haves of the label together and wrapping it tightly around the pin. Push Pin Map Labels
    2. Then I printed out a copy of a blackline map of North America on to cardstock. I have one from the Trail guide to World Geography curriculum, but good free maps can be found at infoplease, worldatlas, National Geographic’s Xpeditions Atlas (be sure that detail level is basic and country borders are on) and Eduplace. I personally favor infoplease’s map as it doesn’t have a lot of extraneous writing around the map and you need as much space as possible for this activity.
    3. I glued the map onto a piece a foam display board.Push Pin Map
    4. I then covered the mounted map with two coats of Mod Podge (I actually first had to spray it with Preserve It! because our printer’s ink runs when it gets wet.)
    5. Then Gohan labeled all the countries by pushing the pins into the map.
    6. We will also label the capitals, major landmarks, and major sources of water.
    7. I uploaded a copy of the file with all of the labels here.
  • Outside classes – swimming, PE, art, guitar, Hands-On Science, CSI, Musical Theatre, Chess, and Math Lab (all are going great!)
  • Language Arts –
  • Literature – We finally finished  The Graveyard Book! I didn’t love the ending, but overall, I would give the book a B+.

    • A Workbook for Dyslexics has been getting more and more into the nitty gritty of phonics and spelling. He learned more about long vowel sounds and when to double letters when adding “ing” to a word.
    • Growing with Grammar continues to move along smoothly. It is the one aspect of language arts that seems to come relatively easily for Gohan.
    • Vocabulary – We started working in a new book, entitled Red Hot Root Words. I had a teacher who had me study Latin and Greek roots and I have always felt that was one of the most useful things that I learned in school. So I really want Gohan to learn them, but he was adverse to learning Latin, so this was the next best thing. The book is actually for 3rd-5th grade, but with Gohan’s language issues, is perfect for him.
    • Getty Dubay Italic – Gohan continues to do well with this program. We just ignore all of the sidebar notes and he just copies the actual handwriting exercises
    • Composition – We tried  National Novel Writing Month’s Young Writers Program, but it was just too much for Gohan, who really struggles with narrative at any length, without trying to keep track of a full novel. So I am back to the drawing board for that one.
  • Math – Gohan continues to work through Singapore 6A – Standards Edition
  • Science – Gohan has been having so much homework for his science class that he takes at the ALE, I decided that it was just ridiculous to continue doing a separate curriculum at home. So we dropped Awakening Wonder.

I’m linking this post to:



Labels: Social Studies, Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Wordless Wednesday – S is for Starfish




Labels: Wordless Wednesday
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Carnival of Homeschooling

Carnival of Homeschooling

I’m participating in the Carnival of Homeschooling. It’s an excellent way to find new homeschool blogs that interest you.

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Time to Vote for the Homeschool Blog Awards!

This is the last bit of blogging business for the day, I promise! Now, I’d like to start of this post like so many of the big name homeschoolers have, with listing all the categories that I have been nominated for an award in, but there’s one problem with that. I’ve not been nominated for any of the categories. Boo hoo! Anyway, once my self-inflated ego recovered from this shock, I decided to be the bigger person (bigger than who, I don’t know, but you’ll know them if you see them, because they are smaller than me) and promote the awards anyway. After all, some of my favorite blogs have been nominated and I am eager to check out the other blogs that have been nominated. So, go cast your vote for your favorite blog here.

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff