Friday, September 17, 2010

Please don't stop by my house at 11am

As you may have guessed, homeschooling can reek some serious havoc on an otherwise clean house. Most nights I am able to get my house cleaned and straightened up after the kids go to bed. I enjoy sitting around in my clean house for just a few minutes before bedtime. But then morning comes and the mess begins. By 11am it looks like a tornado has come through. At lunchtime, I tidy up a bit and the kids help clean up when we are done with school for the day, so the house is not a total disaster.  But at 11am, the house is a complete wreck. So if you are planning to stop by unannounced, please come by at another time. Unless you want to feel better about your own housekeeping...
at night after the kids are in bed


at night after the kids are in bed


at night after the kids are in bed


at night after the kids are in bed


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Future Fashion Designer?

My oldest daughter made these dresses out of tissues, yes, that's right, tissues. 

Didn't you hear? 
Kleenex dresses are all the rage this fall!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dust Gatherers

As I typed out my curriculum purchases and mentioned that I thought the Writing With Purpose books might be dust gatherers (I am pretty sure now that I have them that they will be...), I thought about the other curriculum that I have bought that have turned out to be dust gatherers.

Now it's not to say that these products aren't any good.  One family's dust gatherer might be another family's favorite curriculum. Here are the curriculum purchases that haven't gotten much use in our house.

The Usborne Internet Linked Science Encyclopedia - I bought this at the same time that I bought The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History .  I have used the world history one more because it is used as part of the Story of the World curriculum.  I just haven't found a way to work this into our school.  I have kept it around for the 5 years since I bought it. I keep hoping I will find a use for it in our homeschool.

The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading - I bought this because I thought I needed to do more phonics with my oldest after we finished Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons.  We had finished 100 Lessons and she was just reading easy readers for about a year, but when she was almost 8, she hadn't made the leap to chapter books, so I got worried.  Shortly after I bought this book, something clicked and she has been a voracious reader ever since.  I sold the book at the end of the school year.

Many Math extras - When my oldest was in 3rd grade, we struggled with math.  Eventually, I discovered that part of the problem was the curriculum we were using (Abeka) and part of it was that she simply needed to solidly memorize her multiplication facts before we went any farther in math. But before my realization, I bought A LOT of math extras to try and help/spark interest in math.  These included a dominoes book, a geoboard book, Mia Math CD rom, Peggy Kaye's Games for Math, and Family Math. The girls played the Mia Math game a couple of times.  The rest I don't think ever got used.  Oh, I read Games for Math and Family Math from cover to cover and took notes, but I don't think I have ever actually used them with my kids.

Art Basics for Children - I don't think this even had time to gather dust.  This was one of those purchases where I wasn't able to get a good sense of what it was just from looking at it on the internet.  I sold it almost as soon as I got it.

Basic Not Boring Spelling  - I should have know better than to buy something designed for public school kids (And I should have remembered when I bought the Writing with a Purpose books this year...).  These workbooks were, well, boring.  I think my older 2 did 2 pages each before we stopped using them.

Hands on Equations - I bought this when I still thought I would use all of the math extras.  And hands on that sounds great, right?  We haven't gotten to algebra, yet, but I doubt we will use it.  There is just not enough time in the day/school year for all of the "great" hands on things.

Math Wrap Ups - These were used a few times and now just sit on a shelf.  We got slightly more use out of the states and capitals wrap up when my older 2 were learning those.

Winston Grammar - I bought the Basic teacher's manual and the cards used and acquired the Advanced level teacher's manual and student workbook.  I haven't used either of them.  They are too teacher intensive.  Kind of like Right Start (which I used for a while, but then sold and switched to Singapore). They are very hands on which is nice, but you know how it goes with hands on stuff...  Growing with Grammar is working really well for us, so I doubt these will ever get used.

Lyrical Science - I have the texts and CD's for Life Science 1, 2, and 3, and Earth Science, but I have never used them.  They seem like a good idea, but I can't seem to figure out how to use them in our homeschool.

Nitty Gritty Grammar - I think I needed to add something to an Amazon order to add up to $25.  I read it, but I doubt I will actually use it.

Number Jugglers - I bought this just last year. Did I not learn my lesson when I bought all the math extras several years ago?

Quarter Mile Math - Another one that seemed like a good idea, but my kids were bored by it.  The whole point was to make learning math facts more interesting, so I gave up making them play it after a couple of months.

But like I said, one person's dust gatherer might be someone else's treasure.  I am actually trying to sell the Winston Grammar and the Quarter Mile Math. If anyone is interested let me know.  And if anyone is interested in anything else on this list that I haven't already sold, feel free to make an offer on those too.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Many Faces of Arwen

Arwen has been borrowing my camera a lot recently and when I look at the pictures afterwards (deleting most of them), I find a bunch of self portraits.  Here are some of my favorites:

Bunny Arwen
Sassy Arwen
Upside down Arwen
Grumpy Arwen

The End

Friday, September 3, 2010

Homemade Laundry Soap - It actually works!

I was a bit wary when I thought about making my own laundry detergent.  I have learned from past experience that natural homemade stuff often doesn't work.  But I'm all for being gentler to the earth and I am really all for saving money, especially now that we live in Hawaii and everything is so expensive, so I decided to give it a try.

And it works.  It actually works.

Here is the recipe I used:

1 bar of soap  (grated into tiny pieces.  I use my food processor)
1 cup borax
1 cup washing soda
1 scoop oxy clean

mix and use 2 tablespoon per load

There are tons of recipes on the internet.  I chose this one because it make a powdered detergent.  I hate how the liquid kind drips and gets everything in the laundry room sticky.  Also, because it is easy. The liquid kind requires you to cook it on the stove.  And I chose this particular powdered recipe because it is easy to remember. 1-1-1-1...

The first time I made it I used a bar of Fels Naptha soap.  After that I have used Lever 2000.  The Lever is easier to chop up and it is less expensive and easier to find at the store. And it works just as well.

I have started making a double batch and that lasts me about a month.

I read that using the Oxy Clean is important or your clothes start looking faded because this homemade detergent doesn't have brighteners like the store bought kind.

You can also use baking soda in place of washing soda. I am going to try that with my next batch.  Mostly because I haven't been able to find washing soda at the store.  I got the first box from a neighbor who ordered a case from Ace Hardware.  I only bought one box because I was skeptical about whether homemade laundry soap would work.

I guess I didn't need to be worried. 

*** update***  It doesn't work.  The clothes became dingy and workout clothes stayed stinky!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Conversation with a 12 year old Homeschooled Girl

Today my girls were searching through my box of costumes and clothes and accessories that I have kept from the '80's in search of Halloween costumes.  Everyone has one of these boxes, right?  You know, just in case...

Anyway, my 12 year old daughter picks up a pair of zipper earrings and says in a tone frequently used by 12 year old girls everywhere, "Why did you wear those?"

"That was what was in style." I say.

" You wore what was in style?!?!" says my daughter in complete shock.

"Um, yes," I say.

"Why?" she asks.

"Well, I guess because I went to school and that is what lots of people who go to school do." I reply.

"I don't like to wear what's in style. I like to wear whatever I want."