Monthly Archives: July 2011

Wrapping Up July

In my life this week… As I mentioned in my last post, things have been very hectic around here. Tertia’s dog has developed an autoimmune disease, such that her body attacks her red blood cells, causing severe anemia. I have been having some health issue flare-ups and as a result, weaned Dora, which was traumatic for both of us. We’re also in the midst of preparing to send Secunda off to college, which is causing all sorts of conflicting emotions. As such, I have not been staying on top off the homeschooling that I had hoped to finish this summer.

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In our homeschool this week… Dora has had almost zero interest in doing any of our transportation unit activities at home. So we’ve been going lots of places, such as parks, hiking, geocaching, seeing The Winnie the Pooh movie, visiting a local farm that has a train, tractors to climb on and emus (I have no idea why they have emus!).

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Gohan finished his weather science unit. We did this experiment where we used air pressure to crush a can . It was really cool! It took a few tries to get it right, but then when it worked, it happened so fast, it completely scared the heebie jeebies out of me.

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He also did this experiment, which illustrates what happens when a warm and cold front collide.

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Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Dora, Secunda, and I will be going to Secunda’s college orientation this week. Dora and I will explore the town while Secunda is at the orientation.

I’m reading… The New Global Student: Skip the SAT, Save Thousands on Tuition, and Get a Truly International Education. While I have no intention of selling everything we own, having Mr. Mo quit his job, and moving to South America, I am very interested in the general theme of this book, which is including international travel and studies as a part of your child’s education.

I’m cooking… Not much in this heat, we had cold cuts, bagel chips, and fruit for dinner tonight and it was just right.

How about you, what are you doing this summer? I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

I’m linking to:

Favorite Resource This Week

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

Win an iPod Touch From Geography Matters

I apologize for my recent blogging absence, things have a bit overwhelming around here the past couple of weeks. I did want to share about this giveaway from Geography Matters:

Our upcoming August Newsletter will include an exclusive offer for 20% off your next order. PLUS, every person that subscribes now will be entered into a drawing to receive a brand new iPod Touch and your choice of any 5 eBooks from our site!

We have used several Geography Matters products and been very happy with them.

Labels: Educator Discounts and Curriculum Sales
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

National Crayon Recycling Program

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Someone posted about this crayon recycling program on one of my Yahoo groups today. I thought I would share it with you all, as it is such a good idea. I know some people are really good about using up their old crayons, but I have yet to find a project that used old crayons that work really well for us. I have recently seen some cool new projects around the blogosphere, but they all use entail working with melting hot crayons, which I’m not willing to try with Dora quite yet. In the interim, she goes through crayons, leaving lots of bits and pieces, that I have ended up throwing away. Now I can keep those broken crayons out of landfills, by recycling them (not to mention support a program that hires people with disabilities)! I don’t even have to do anything special to prep our crayons for recycling! Here are some of the details from the program’s site:

  • This “recycling” education, community service program has made it possible to stop more than 72,000 pounds of unwanted crayons from going into landfills with the help from schools, organization educators and kids across this country. Thank you for your efforts to help the Earth.
  • The CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM takes unwanted, rejected, broken crayons to a better place, where they will be recycled into new crayons!
  • The program has drop-off bins nationally.
  • The CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM and Crazy Crayons, LLC work together, but neither one could exist without kids that care about the Earth.
  • We employ people with developmental disabilities, working on a positive impact through community service, environmental education and art.
  • All purchases of the CRAZY CRAYONS, Eco Stars, RECYCLE” Sticks, Earth Worms and Earthling Crayons support the CRAYON RECYCLE PROGRAM and recycling education.

Labels: This and That
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Easy Canvas Prints Review

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA         I was recently contacted by Easy Canvas Prints to do a review of their product in exchange for a free canvas print for myself. Needless to say, I eagerly accepted! I ordered a print of a the picture above of Dora walking in the strawberry fields. I felt the image really summed up her personality – she was off doing her own thing and she was amongst strawberries, which are her absolute favorite food.

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Ordering the print was very easy. I just uploaded my file and selected my features with the click of a button. I opted for the gallery wrap, since I wanted this picture to stand out. I also opted for image wrapping for the border, which meant that my image continued on the sides of the canvas. This was an excellent option for this picture as it made the strawberry fields really look like they continued on even farther.

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I received my canvas print in just a couple of days. It was packaged very securely and in excellent condition. The canvas material gives the print a professional appearance at an amateur price.I am very happy with the way it looks on my wall and actually I  now want to order a few more canvas prints to fill the wall.

Labels: Phonics and Reading
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Free Online Classical Curriculum

Sorry for being so quiet this week. We’ve had a bit of a lazy week and not done much of anything productive. I guess we all needed it as we all seem to be in better moods. I did want to share this link to a free online classical curriculum for grades pre-K-12 that someone posted on one of my Yahoo groups. Here is a blurb from the site:

The following is a non-religious, classical curriculum. The creators of this free online curriculum have sought to address the lack of any sound online classical curriculum for homeschoolers. Based upon the 19th-century German-Latin method and following the great-books model, this curriculum often attempts to be highbrow, emphasizing the best of occidental traditions. The following materials list can be used as a stand-alone curriculum or as a supplement to another curriculum. Many parents have said that this book list served as an outstanding supplement to other curricula. Our outline for classical languages, literature and history is one of the best on the internet. It is important for children at a young age to build a library of their own. Many of the titles below are classics, part of the Western Canon, books that children should keep into adulthood.

Labels: Classical Homeschooling, Curriculum
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Apps for Teaching Social Studies

This summer I have been trying to keep Gohan’s brain alive with educational resources that are more a bit more focused on fun. I’ve really enjoyed some of the apps we’ve used for practicing geography. I also stumbled on some history apps that I thought I’d share. While I’m sure there are other great apps out there, I’m only listing ones that I have personally tried.

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Constitution (free)

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History: Maps of the World (free)

Smithsonian Channel

Smithsonian Channel (Free)

imageStack the Countries ($1.99 – but, try the free Lite version first)

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Stack the States ($0.99 – but, try the free Lite version first)

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TapQuiz Maps World Edition (Free)

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USA Factbook and Quiz ($0.99)

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The World Factbook ($0.99)

Labels: Social Studies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Today is Free Slurpee Day!

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Labels: Freebies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Wrapping Up June

In my life this week… It seems like the summer is just flying by! Part of this is because we have three summer birthdays and Mr. Mo and my June wedding anniversary to celebrate, in addition to Father’s Day and the 4th of July. Things are also a bit crazy with trying to get Secunda ready to leave for college in September.

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In our homeschool this week… I haven’t blogged a weekly wrap-up in a few weeks as we haven’t been doing anything new, just trying to finish up a few things so we can fully enjoy the summer. Gohan has been playing a few math apps to keep his computation skills sharp. We’ve enjoyed a couple of the Everyday Mathematics apps from McGraw Hill – Name That Number and Divisibility Dash.

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I’ve also been really happy with the Math Edge series – Division and  Multiplication. They’ve kept Gohan practicing his computation skills in proper form.

image In addition, we finished the third and final book in the Mysterious Benedict Society series, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma (affiliate link).

For art, we’ve continued with Meet the Masters. It looks like we will not finish this by the end of the summer. For geography, we’ve played 10 Days in Asia (affiliate link) several times. Finally, for science, we’ve continued to work on the weather unit that I put together.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing… Gohan started Taekwondo last week. He really enjoyed it and I hope he will stick with it as he has become much less physically active as he has been getting older.

I’m reading… Outliers: The Story of Success (affiliate link) by Malcolm Gladwell. This was Gladwell’s third book. While, I didn’t feel that it was as good as his second book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, it has still been quite a read. One of many things that I found to be interesting is that it ends up that by starting kids in kindergarten all at the same time in September, the children with fall and late summer birthdays are unfairly pitted against children who are six months more mature and larger than them. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it ends up that the disadvantages caused by this initial difference in maturity does not go away as kids age. “At four-year colleges in the United States – the highest stream of postsecondary education – students belonging to the relatively youngest group in their class are underrepresented by about 11.6 percent.” Fortunately for us, homeschooled children do not have to deal with this unfair system.image

I’m cooking… Mr. Mo’s birthday is coming up and I will be making him this Pumpkin Pecan Rum Cake.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share… I saw this while out riding my bike. If you read The Bloggess, you’ll know why this is funny (besides the fact that someone having a giant metal chicken in his front yard being funny unto itself).

Metal Chicken

How about you, what are you doing this summer? I hope you are having a wonderful summer also!

I’m linking to:

Favorite Resource This Week

Labels: Wrapping Up Our Week
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

Tot Time–Transportation Unit

This month, we are focusing on transportation. I’ve been amazed by how many preschool resources there are for transportation!

Literature: There are tons of books about transportation, but this week’s top pick has been a favorite of Dora’s for some time. Freight Train (affiliate link), by Donald Crews is so enticing with it’s rainbow of colors and simple story line. We also read and greatly enjoyed several of his other books about transportation.

In addition, we had fun reading Philomen Sturges’ “I Love ________” books about transportation.

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Art: I really wanted to capture the rainbow of colors from Freight Train in a craft project. Then I saw this cool color wheel gecko craft from That Artist Woman. So I decided to incorporate it into our craft this week. Dora isn’t old enough to understand the color wheel, so she just painted the paper plate a variety of colors. We haven’t attached the plate yet, since I didn’t have any brads on hand, but once we do, Dora will be able to turn the plate such that the middle box car changes colors.

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Fieldtrip: We focused more on trains this week because we had tickets for a very special field trip, Day Out With Thomas! Dora really liked riding the train, but didn’t care for any of the other things at the event, which was fine by me, as everything was horribly overpriced.

Gross Motor: Dora finally was well enough to attend her gym class again. Unfortunately, she was super tired because I switched her class time to a noon class, because she had been sleeping very late the last few months, but of course, on gym day, she woke up very early. She started getting a bit wild and running around without looking where she was going and all of sudden, whamo!. She ran into another little girl, which left them both in tears. She was so distraught that I had to take her home.

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Sensory Play: I set up a transportation-themed sensory tub. I used black beans for the base and added traffic cone candles, various vehicles, and miniature traffic signs that we had on hand. Dora did a lot of pouring and dumping with the beans. She also took all of the signs and vehicles out of the tub and played with them on our Thomas floor mat.

Pretend Play: In addition to playing with the vehicles on the floor mat, Dora also played with some Playmobil 1-2-3 vehicles. For her, these are the best vehicles because she likes to have people in addition to the vehicles. In fact, if Dora plays with vehicles without people, she has the vehicles “talk” to and play with each other.

How about you? Do you know of any fun transportation-themed activities? I’m linking this post to:
  Tot School play academy
We Play 


Labels: Montessori, Summer, This and That, Toddlers
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff

USPS Offers Free Lesson Plans and Resources

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The United States Post Office has a site, called Community Connections, which “was created by the Postal Service to help schools across the country in their quest for school improvement and student achievement.” The site offers education kits, resources, lesson plans, teacher’s guides, and more.

Labels: Freebies
Posted by Maureen Sklaroff