Sunday, February 24, 2013

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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

CurrClick Science Fair!

It's CurrClick Science Fair season! For just $7.00, you can join one of three science teams and get mentoring while you work on your science fair projects. Each team has four meetings before the videos of your project are due on April 15th.

If you visit iHomeschool Network, you can download a free science fair booklet from CurrClick. What a fun way to participate in a science fair for a nominal cost.

Want to join us?

This post contains affiliate information. If you choose to purchase participation in the CurrClick science fair through this link, you'll be supporting Blog, She Wrote. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chickadees in Chalk Pastels

We took the time this week to work on a new art project. Besides the need to get some new art time in, our powder room needed a new round of art to adorn its walls!

Our family always enjoys working with Hodgepodge Mom's pastel art tutorials and this time I pulled out her new ebook- A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels. It's pretty easy to have everyone at the table with our supplies out, including my laptop, to learn a new project.

We're off to a great start!

We consulted our field guide for some details and our feeder has been fairly busy with chickadees recently. You can almost always catch them at the feeder when you walk by our french doors. I love to combine art with nature study- what better way for our Creator to speak to us than through His creation. Make the time! It always brings a measure of peace to our day.

Not bad E14!

Art is so effortful for E14...yet I always love his work in chalks.
A nice plump chickadee drawn by I10!

This is the sweetest bird by J7! I love his lines. And look at that painterly effect!

Isn't it lovely? R12 loves to chalk and made several more besides this one- she always chalks on long after the lesson is finished!

R12's finished chickadee on display in funky bathroom lighting...

A gift which will be sent along to its destination shortly

All four are displayed in our powder room where guests can enjoy them too!

The best part about chalk pastels is their forgiving nature. They can a little messy, but it doesn't last long and the results are always worth the effort.

My new favorite way to enjoy our children's artwork is to put it up around our home. Seeing their finished, framed work on our walls always brings a smile to my face. These four framed pieces are on the wall in our powder room which is delightful even to guests when they see it. I like to keep spare dollar store frames handy for gift giving and to rotate out and around the artwork. Thank you to Tricia and Nana for sharing this medium and all the lessons with us!

A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels
A full school year of chalk pastel art lessons. Lucia Hames, Nana to the Hodgepodge family, teaches forty-five lessons. Her simple instructions will have you creating masterpiece drawings in no time.
A Simple Start in Chalk Pastels
Please know this is an affiliate link. If you purchase this item, you'll be supporting Blog, She Wrote. Thank you!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Making a Zine {Artist Style}

Recently while traveling through my Twitter feed full of Project Based Homeschool moms I came across the recommendation or maybe just casual mention of the book Whatcha Mean What's a Zine? I checked to see if our library had it and reserved my copy. Like many books that are a huge success at our house, I simply bring them home and lay them out and watch the magic happen. Passersby will notice them conspicuously placed on the coffee table or I will point out that I picked out a book for a child and sure enough it's a hit.

Such was the case with this book and R12 has been making Zines regularly since. At first her Zine was daily, but she has settled nicely into an every other day publication. Before the first issue, she was dropping hints all day that her Zine was going to debut at dinner time. Since then we all look forward to seeing her latest creation at the dinner table.

Photo Credits: R12

Her Zine is called The Artist's Palette and features the same cover and sleeve- the little sleeve has the issue number on it and keeps the pages together.

She creates all sorts of art inside each issue either drawing, collaging, or mixing her media. Her attention to detail is impeccable and it's so fun to see what she will do with each issue.

At the time of this photo, she had 9 issues but has since published the tenth. The Groundhog Day issue is a special issue with double the pages. I need to ask R12 for some extra photos of this one. She did such a great job with the whole thing.

Tonight J7 asked her where the Zine was and she had to quickly think about whether or not today was a Zine day. It wasn't. But we eagerly await the release of the next issue.

Zines (think maga-ZINE) aren't just for art. You can put anything in a Zine and R12 has been trying to get her brothers into it- we're hoping it catches on a little, but for now we'll enjoy The Artist's Palette.

I love to watch as our children get older all the things they will pour themselves into. Feel free to drop a comment and tell us some of things your children enjoy!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Math Minute {Practicing Place Value}

Two things coincided to make me buy Monopoly Millionaire recently...first, lots of moms were talking about playing it with their homeschooled kids because it must have been a hot game this Christmas. Secondly, I10 was having trouble with place value in large numbers.

So, I thought...why not try to play and we can talk about numbers in the hundreds of thousands with zeros all over the middle! That will help.

I have several Monopoly purists in the house, but this is a quick game to play and fits the bill for practicing with large numbers.

We've been working with place value in long division problems and that throws my fifth grader for a loop sometimes...the quotient with the zeroes in the middle. You know the ones.

Here are a few other resources for place value fun:

Interactive Math Journal- this is a nice little notebooking packet for math journaling. She has some place value activities in here.

Family Math- has several games involving place value and estimating, money, and digit value

Math on the Level- Money & Decimals Manual has a lot of ideas for teaching students large number place value.

Do you have any ideas for teaching large number place value? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Groundhog Day {A Quick Stop}

Happy Groundhog Day! Did you hear the news? Spring is right around the corner! 

I'm in the middle of working on a math post, but I couldn't resist sharing the fun moment we had this morning when it was time to find out what Punxsutawney Phil predicted for the remainder of winter. I had reminded the kids that February 2nd was coming right up and we'd have to find out whether or not the groundhog would see his shadow. My kids are a bit beyond the age to really do up a big unit on the little holiday with printables and crafts, but it's still fun to mark the seasonal transitions and to acknowledge the day on the calendar. Besides, I do still have a second grader and Groundhog Day is just a fun time. 

R12 has been working on making Zines after reading the book Watcha Mean What's a Zine? She publishes a new edition every other day and it's just plain fabulous. Today a special Groundhog Day edition is due out and to greet us at the breakfast table were Groundhog finger puppets on the napkin holder. We are all waiting with great anticipation the release of the special edition!

Photo Credit:

In the meantime, what's a homeschooler like me to do when you want to find out what happened to groundhog Phil without all the printed materials and rather on the fly after her kids show some interest? We turn to the internet- of course! I regularly read the CNN homepage along with The Washington Post and I knew both would have some headlines regarding Phil.

The Washington Post had a great article from Accu Weather which is so worth reading aloud to your children. In it, there is a brief historical reference to the origin of the holiday along with some weather facts- it's a humorous and informative article.

Visit the Official website of Punxsutawney Phil and you can read about the history of the day and all about the Inner Circle who are the royal protectors of Phil the groundhog.

For a real kick, click on the Groundhog Day live stream at the top of the page and you'll see video from 7:35 this morning. You would not believe the crowd there today- seriously go and look! You can see the members of the Inner Circle arrive and the handlers take Phil out of his den to make his proclamation.

Among the highlights of these impromptu moments were noticing Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel on stage with the other members of the Inner Circle- wearing a top hat but in place of the black wool overcoat was the tell-tale blue LLBean Weather Channel parka whipping out his iPhone to get a picture of Phil and his handlers. The other was E14 standing in the background saying, "This has to be the craziest little American holiday there is." Indeed!

The point of this blog post? To remind my readers that not everything in the life of a homeschooler has to be formal with printed materials and notebooked items. Sometimes it's ok just to recognize a special day with some fun learning together and following links. Didn't get a chance to make that groundhog puppet? Who cares! Just get to the moment- and follow a little treasure hunt of links on the topic.

I'll be sure to share R's special edition Zine (along with her others) and that math post is coming right up. I just couldn't resist the chance to share a little easy holiday fun today!

Spring's just around the corner!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Advanced Algebra {High School Math Update}

In an effort to keep everyone in the high school loop, I thought I'd share an update on what's happening with E's work this year. I've noticed that bloggers sometimes shy away from showcasing the homeschooled high schooler and I know that it is always encouraging to read about what other homeschool high schools look like. So, here goes:

E14 has been using Life of Fred exclusively for his math instruction for two years now. Before that, we'd done some Fractions and Decimals and Percents, but that was in conjunction with Math on the Level and the Fred Pre-algebra books all with the focus on preparing for algebra.

E14 began Algebra I half way or more through 7th grade using Saxon, but we began Beginning Algebra in 8th grade to see if that would be a better fit. Essentially, he was fatiguing when doing the chapters with 30 problems. It made sense to make the switch to see if we could increase accuracy and endurance by using Fred. We met with big success.

Fred accelerates concepts faster than the traditional algebra counterparts and E was performing with great accuracy very consistently. That's a win!

So, he started Advanced Algebra last spring in March of 2012 when E was in 8th grade. Heading into February he has about 4 weeks to go until he completes Advanced Algebra and he'll begin Geometry.

How does a math lesson work for this 9th grade Advanced Algebra student?

He reads each lesson on his own in the Home Companion and references the Fred text as it tells him to. Then he does the problem set. For those of you familiar with Fred, there are more problems at the higher levels. He does between 10-15 or more problems a day. My job is to check in with him and see how he did with the lesson and to check for the dreaded "show your work" format.

Right now he uses his Galaxy Player Real Calc app for a scientific calculator. I recognize that before he takes any college entrance exams, he will need to make friends with a graphing calculator. Mine is a bit old at this point so we'll probably seek out something newer and more battery friendly than the TI-86 that I have.

What happens if there is a problem? Generally speaking I will help him by going through the problem and helping him to see where his mistake might be. If we can't beast through it, then we bring Dan in. Usually that clears things right up and we can continue.

One of my favorite things about a family using Fred math is all the story sharing that happens around the table. High school Fred is no exception. E often shares funny stories about what's happening in his Fred books and the younger kids can share too. We have a whole body of knowledge and story line to match which makes it a lot of fun. None of can wait till E takes Calculus and we find out why Fred is a 5yr teaching math at Kittens University!

Next up is Geometry and I'd better get that order in soon since he'll be ready to begin in just a month!