Monthly Archives: January 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up: January 28th

This week was another sick week for us – I got a sinus infection and Dora finally succumbed to this cold that has been going through the household. Fortunately, Gohan was fairly recovered. We have made many changes for him and they all seem to be working well.

The biggest change was that we re-enrolled in the ALE/PPP that he attended for 2nd-5th grades. He was not able to take every class that he wanted, due to it being mid-year,  but he did get to enroll in several classes.  He will be taking Improv, PE, Advanced Animal Science, and Chess Club. He will also still be involved in the YMCA program for homeschoolers that includes PE, Swimming, and Art.
The next big change was that we switched to Math Mammoth for math. When I had last looked into Math Mammoth, it did not go all the way up to sixth grade, or we would have just used it from the very beginning. It is working very well for Gohan. The explanations are clear, the problems clearly tie to the lesson, and there is review every unit. In addition, there are some higher-level thinking problems at the end of many lessons, which Gohan likes.


In Language Arts, I purchased a new program for spelling, but it just arrived this week, so I was not able to implement it yet. We continued working through the Scott Foresman Grammar and Writing Handbook. Gohan continues to work through Getty Dubay Italic Handwriting and his handwriting does seem to be improving. At the very least, he is now writing in cursive (Italic cursive), where before he was only doing print. We are still reading The Mysterious Benedict Society. Though I have purchased the second book in the series, I am still a bit undecided about how I feel about the book. I will need to see how it ends to be able to give any opinion.
In Geography, Gohan is now studying South America, using the Trail Guide to World Geography. I created another pushpin map for him and posted the labels for anyone who would like to create their own push pin map.
In science, Gohan did a lab this week. The lab was entailed testing and classifying rocks according to their properties. He then finished the unit on Minerals in K12’s Earth Science course. Gohan did not do very well on the unit review, but that is because I skipped some of the lessons that covered the same topics he covered in his science class that he was taking this fall. In all honesty, the questions he missed were more about knowing names of certain minerals than understanding the concepts that go into classifying minerals. So we are going to move on to the next unit.

That was our week. What about you? Have you made any curriculum changes mid-year? Have you done any fun labs or projects?

I’m linking this post to:

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time Weekly Wrap-Up: January 28

Dora was quite sick this week, but that did not mean she laid around or any such thing. What it meant was that we were confined to home for much of the week and I had to keep her occupied, even when she was grouchy from not feeling well. So we worked on colors. She pretty much knows all of her colors, though confuses black and brown. So I wanted to focus more on trying to teach her how to make secondary colors.
Some of the activities that we did to study this concept were:
Pinch and Mix Color Mixing – I actually bought a kit from Steve Spangler Science, but have heard of people doing this with colored Jell-o’s or paint. What you do is fill a Ziploc bag with a bit of yellow, red, and blue of whatever you are using (Jell-o, paint, or the official science kit stuff). Then your child can pinch and push on the bag to mix the colors, creating secondary colors. Even Gohan got into the action with this kit, though he filled bags with just two colors at a time, in an effort to make a pure secondary color.
Colored water mixing – Once again, we used a Steve Spangler product, Color Fizzers True Colors Mixing Tablets (I am not affiliated with Steve Spangler in anyway, just love his products). After creating batches of the three primary colors, I then poured the various colors into glasses and pitchers and Dora mixed the colors to her heart’s content. She really liked this activity and I had to set her up with new colors several times. She spent about 1 hour playing with this, which is forever in Dora time. Once again, Gohan wanted to get in the action also and spent about an hour playing with it also. My only complaint is that the red tints were a bout strong, so mixing one red and one yellow tablet resulted in a very reddish-orange. We found that we had to use about three yellow tablets to each red to make orange and the same with the blues to make purple. I think we must have got a bad batch or something, because we have used these in the past and not had this problem.

Color Paddles – this activity was a bust. It was just advanced for Dora to get the idea of holding two different paddles up to the light and seeing a new color.


Mouse Paint – We hadn’t read this in a while and suddenly, mid-week, Dora pulled it off the shelf and wanted to read multiple times, every single day. I have to think that means that the color mixing activities were sinking in, else why the sudden interest in this particular book?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
I also got out a set of shapes and colors gel gems that I bought from HearthSong. These are a good way review the basic colors and shapes. She really enjoyed playing with these and making various designs. In particular, she was very proud of her “line” of circles.
Finally, we got out her color peg board/stacker just to review colors and to have something for her to do.

I’m linking this post to:
Shibley Smiles Tot School

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

South America Pushpin Map Labels


I made another pushpin map for Gohan. These work really well for him as he can focus on geography, free of the stress of having to spell and write the labels himself. If you would like to use these yourself, you need to simply mount an outline map on to foam board or cardboard. I have an outline map 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 use Mod Podge to give a protective coating to the map. Then print out the labels and wrap them around a pin. I glue the two sides of the label together, but you could probably use tape if you wanted.

South America Map Pin Labels-1

You can read my more detailed instructions more making a push pin map in this post.

Labels: Apps, Blogging Business, Geography, Printables, Social Studies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

I Was Highlighted on Sprinkle on the Fun


I was spotlighted on Sprinkle on the Fun! You can read about it here.

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Trailer for the Class Dismissed: Education And The Rise Of Homeschooling In America

Just Released! Official teaser trailer for the upcoming documentary Class Dismissed:Education And The Rise Of Homeschooling In America.


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

I Received a Blogging Award!



Deb over at Living Montessori Now just gave me the “Your Blog is Fabulous” Award!

This award has only one rule: I must specify three destinations to which I want to travel and say why. This is easy for me, as I have done very little traveling, so there are many places that I would like to go to:

  1. Walt Disney World – My husband has wanted to go to Walt Disney World since forever. I was never that interested until we stayed on site at Disneyland for the first time, last September. I grew up in Southern California, so had been to Disneyland many times, but had never stayed on site. This September, we stayed at the Paradise Pier Hotel and the whole experience was so wonderful, I have been wanting to go back there ever since I got home. So now I would like to try the even more fantastical Walt Disney World for a couple of weeks. We hope to be able to make it there before Dora is 6 years old.
  2. United Kingdom – There are two reasons that I would like to go here. For one, I went to England when I was a kid and absolutely loved it. I am a anglophile at heart, and just love seeing all the places that I have read about in history and English literature. Secondly, I am very Irish and would like to visit my ancestral home.
  3. Fiji – My reason for wanting to travel here is a bit silly. Whenever things get really stressful at our house, I start joking that I am leaving for Fiji. It is just a place that I imagine as being very relaxing. Of course, now that I have said it so many time, I just have to go there.

Now, to pass on the award. I read about 200 excellent, mostly homeschooler, blogs, so this can be a toughy. There aren’t any rules about how many blogs I must pass this award on to, so I am just going to stick with 10 blogs that I have just discovered reading recently and thereby have never given an award to. I’m awarding the Your Blog is Fabulous Award to (in alphabetical order):

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Fun Math Videos

I recently learned about Vi Hart’s math doodle videos, which have caused the inner geek in me to do a happy dance. I thought I’d share this one.

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

Tot Time Weekly Wrap-Up: January 21

The last two weeks haven’t been the most productive weeks around here, largely due to health issues. Last week, my husband injured his shoulder and then I got an abscess, which the doctor was concerned was MRSA (the flesh eating bacteria). Fortunately, the MRSA cultures finally came back negative, but it was extremely painful and time-consuming to deal with. Then this week, Gohan got a bad cold. So we stayed home a lot the  last two week and I am feeling a bit stir crazy.

Dora, being a toddler, still stays busy, not matter how sick anyone is. She also seems to have some wonder immune system and doesn’t get sick to speak of (knock on wood). Fortunately, I had stocked up on a few toys to pull out in the event of a boredom emergency, because we I seriously needed them this week, being cooped up so much.

We did continue to focus on our winter theme. As such, I tried to teach Dora the basics of tic-tac-toe with this snowman-themed game:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The game’s real rules involve trying to build two snowmen by adding pieces on top of each other, but she wasn’t having anything to do with playing a game anyway. She took all of the snowman pieces, sans the hats, and carried them around in this cheap Valentine’s basket we had bought. She is still carrying those snowmen around today and has even taken them to bed with her. If you try to put the hats in with the snowmen, she gets really mad and will throw the hats across the room. I’m not really sure what that is all about…
We did paint some stained glass snowflakes, which she really enjoyed doing. Gohan even joined in on the fun, as did Secunda and Tertia.
We also made our January play dough. I did not color this dough and scented it with a bit of peppermint, to make it more like snow. I don’t have bleached flour, however, so it wasn’t super white in color. We made snow men out of the dough and we were going to use beads for the eyes and buttons, but Dora just took off with the beads and wanted to decorate the whole thing with beads. Working with beads in dough is excellent fine motor skills practice, so I was excited to see her do this.
The recipe I used to make the play dough is the basic one that I have used for all our play doughs:
What You Will Need:

  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cream of tarter
  • 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract


  1. Mix all the ingredients together in a large sauce pan.
  2. Place on medium high heat on the stove
  3. Stir frequently until the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the stove.
  4. Once the dough has cooled enough to handle, knead the dough.
  5. Store in airtight container.

I then tried to make faux snow, using this recipe. I wanted something that really resembled snow, but was moldable so that Dora could make snowballs. I was not able to find Ivory Snow laundry soap, however, so I had the “brilliant” idea of grating up Fels Naptha, which is also laundry soap, instead. First of all, Fels Naptha is too yellow. As Gohan said, it looked like snow that someone had peed on. Secondly, the whole thing just made a big mess. The incident will forever more be known as the “soap incident”. After cleaning it up, both Dora and I were so exhausted, we went to bed at 7:30 PM without even eating dinner.

We read several books about bears and discussed that some bears hibernate during the winter. Her favorite bear book was this beautifully illustrated version of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.


She also liked this simple book about bears, which discusses the different type of bears that can be found around the world.


Finally, we took the opportunity to play with her teddy bear counters. I found these teddy bear pattern cards and wanted to see what she did with them. She loved matching her teddy bear counters to the pictures, but did not get the idea of continuing the pattern at all (she is only two, I know, I just wanted to see what she would do).


I’m linking to:

 Shibley SmilesTot School

Labels: Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Homeschool Showcase #64 Is Up

Labels: High School
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Craft Round: Felt Food

I have been bookmarking felt food tutorials and patterns for months now. I haven’t found the time to make any of these, but hopefully soon. In the interim, maybe your youngster received a toy kitchen for the holidays and can use some more food to accompany it????

pizzacarrotscookiesfried egggraham crackers copy

poptartssandwichstrawberriesFruit and vegiesimage




pastaeggsandbacon copysushimandmcookiessushi2


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