Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Got It From My Mama!

As we were getting settled in the car from a normal Friday afternoon park day (months ago by the way), my oldest daughter (13 at the time) asked, "Mom, can I tell you something?" She then preceded to tell me, "I was playing and then coming up to find you and I overheard someone's mom talking about me with other moms." I then preceded to ask her what she heard, who she heard it from, and so forth. At that point, I just told her that I'm sorry she heard that, we don't want to be like that, and to let it roll off her back and move on.  When kids are doing it to kids, or even when moms are doing it with can be easy to dismiss it and move on. However, when moms are talking about children...sometimes it is easier said than done for sure, especially on my end as a mother.

I bring this topic up, because today I had a an old friend message me and tell me about a very similar situation. However, I think it is a bit worse. I don't need to go into all of it, I shouldn't. However, I do want to say that in this particular situation the mom was gossiping, talking bad about, and encouraging other girls to share insults about my friend's daughter. That right there should really speak volumes and set off a few red flags.

Are we breeding "mean girls"?  Have you ever heard "I got it from my mama?" I don't think that children are mean intentionally. However, I do have to question lately from hearing or seeing situations this year, do girls learn how to be mean from their moms?

In a world of social media, sometimes I think it can breed feelings of competitiveness, not only amongst kids, but adults as well. I think it also can stir some jealousy and insecurities in both kids and adults. And "where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice." - James 3:16

For my friend's daughter and my own daughter, I feel as if they have such strong personalities, and the qualities they possess like being outgoing, self driven, determined, and good at sports make them targets unfortunately. They succeed at what they do but want everyone to like them, so while they try to make friends and be nice, it doesn't always work out that way. All kids are going to be kids, make mistakes, and going to have to learn to get through insecurities or jealous feelings. In the mean time, could we as moms not sit and tear other children down along with them to make our kids or ourselves feel better? We're supposed to be the adults. Maybe we can teach them to give compliments, praise, root for the underdog or even the one that is good at everything, everyone hates her. Maybe we as adults shouldn't be "judging" children. Maybe you don't like the mom of the child, but that's not the child's fault.

I know that I am not perfect, I remember just a little while ago in the car that I strike up a conversation with my husband and my husband had to stop me and say, "Is this a mom of one of the kids' friends? We need to stop this conversation and wait until we get home away from the kids." He was absolutely right! So we ended the conversation and waited until we were away from our kids. We need to be aware of ourselves, whether that's in talks with other moms, children, and even social media. Our children hear us, observe us, and mimic us. They hear us venting to our husband about another person that may be driving you up the wall. They hear you gossiping on the phone to another mom about a situation.  Let's be truthful, sometimes we need to vent...whether that's to a husband or a friend. We're all still learning how to handle emotions. What I am saying is, DON'T do it front of your children, your daughters. Your children become a product of everything they hear. They become a product of you.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Why Not Dissect a Chicken Leg?

My oldest daughter has been taking Biology, but really with an Anatomy emphasis, because she is thinking of going into the medical field. As we have finished learning about the skeletal system, integumentary system,  and muscular system, we ended a unit today dissecting a chicken leg.

My youngest was intrigued too, so of course, she did it with us. 

Many animal systems have skeletal systems similar to ours. Our leg is very much like that of a chicken including the femur (thigh bone), knee (hinge joint), fibula and tibia (smaller bones of the shin), cartilage, and ligaments that are all part of our skeletal system. We pointed out all of these things in our chicken leg. 
We even went a step further and broke the largest bone to observe the bone marrow. We talked about people actually can give bone marrow for people with life threatening diseases like leukemia. 
 I've never been a fan of dissecting anything, it always grossed me out in high school and I ended up letting my lab partner do most of the work...but I realize now it is different to see your kids dive in and learn. So now I can't wait for our next dissection!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


This is something I've definitely needed this year and I know I will need all four years. So I created an excel spreadsheet, as well as a PDF (I have an actual paper version in my high schooler's binder) to help make sure we are on track through these four years. I thought I would share what I use to help with planning out our goals for highschool. You can print one or download one yourself from my FREE PRINTABLES link.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Evaporation in Less Than a DAY!

So this week, my youngest daughter has learned about the water cycle. We have used In The Hands of a Child's Water Cycle Unit.

In the unit, we have to do an evaporation experiment. We have actually done one of these before years ago when learning about clouds. You can see my post here when we did it in 2012. This time there was a BIG difference! I'm about to tell you why. It was more than just a learning experiment of evaporation, it actually ended up being a learning experiment about WHERE water is evaporating from for my youngest and oldest daughter, too.

In 2012, we lived in Tennessee. When we did our water evaporation experiment in Tennessee, it took days or maybe even weeks for all the water to disappear. It definitely took a couple of days or a few for the water to even move down the cup. Now in 2017, we live in Arizona...that's right - the DESERT! Anyone see where I am going with this? With this experiment, we filled the water to the line we marked on the cup and put it out this morning and before the sun had even set, the water was gone! My youngest daughter was amazed because she slightly remembers the last time we did this. Her hypothesis was at least a few days (because we put a smaller amount in the cup than last time).

This became a lesson on the humidity in Tennessee versus the dry desert in Arizona causing the time of the evaporation process to be different. Because of the humidity, the evaporation project took longer and because of the desert and it being so dry here, it evaporated so fast.

Yay! Don't ya love it when an experiment turns into more than you thought it would?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Byzantine Art

We've really loved our Layers of Learning curriculum. The past two weeks we have done some map work on the Byzantine Empire as well as learned about Turkey and it's capital Istanbul (formerly known as Constantinople), read Anna of Byzantium, and definitely had some fun doing some hands on art.

We learned about holy halos in art, which are just circles surrounding the subject in paintings. Often this was painted on priests or other religious leaders. We did some chalk art drawings of our own.

We also learned about mosaic art. The girls had a lot of fun breaking up some old plates and doing this project. 

Monday, November 7, 2016

Comparing Pepsi to Coke in this Presidential Election and Everything Else We Did!

This is the 2nd Presidential Election we have been homeschooling. You can see some of the things we did in 2012 here when my kids were a lot younger.

This year, we've really covered the election a lot deeper with watching debates, touching on the real issues, and learning about the electoral college. I'm loving how my oldest seems to really be forming her own opinions about this election and our government. She is taking her half a credit of government this year.

For this election, we've played Election Bingo with vocabulary. They loved this. We played a lot. You can find these for FREE at Growing Book by Book.

They enjoyed looking at some Trump vs. Hillary campaign ads. They actually went on to the candidates' websites to see their platform on issues. 

I also gave my girls an assignment of doing a Pepsi vs. Coke persuasive paper. The girls were to decide which one was better and tell me why I should think that. In writing their persuasive paper, my oldest even researched online surveys on the topic. The girls drew their own logos and came up with their own slogans for the paper they wrote about. My oldest daughter's drawing should really be an advertising campaign. I loved "A Volcano in your Mouth." She said she thought of that because of the fizz. She takes after her father who is in advertising, I guess.
 My oldest daughter's drawing

My youngest daughter's drawing

These are some links we used for learning about the Electoral College:
We also have a Learn Through History DVD about the election that we sat through for lunch one day.

On election day, we split up the votes for Pepsi and Coke. I secretly divided electoral votes from Al Gore vs. George Bush. I wanted them to see popular vs. electoral. We colored the map here: of the red states and blue states. Afterwards, they were told about how in the 2000 election, the popularity vote went to Al Gore, but the electoral college vote went to Bush. Great lesson! I loved how they got excited about whether the states were turning red or blue. 

All this makes me anxious and excited for Election night! They are going to be glued to the television watching history being made. I can already tell with their interest level in it this year. 

Tomorrow we finish up our unit and I plan to take them to the polls with me to vote. We plan to play this computer game,  "Win the Whitehouse." Finally, we'll settle down in front of the tv with our maps (get a map here) to color in the electoral votes counting who gets to 270 first. It's been a successful election year, at least in our homeschool studies. 

In this year, it is amazing to see my high schooler grow as her own person. She actually has shared a different opinion at times on who should be president, even thinking differently than my husband and myself. However, there are times we give our arguments and like much of the country - she's baffled at how we could choose either of the two candidates. She's truly learned in depth about some issues that she didn't know even existed in her childhood years. She's even questioned, "What's the point of us voting if we have the electoral college?" This is why I love homeschooling. I love seeing her grow, form her own opinions, and question the things we as a country do and what could be done to change it. It's truly amazing to watch. 

A friend shared this on Facebook and I wanted to reshare: "No matter what happens on election day...No matter the outcome Tuesday evening, please don't loose your sh** because, I promise, the sun WILL come up Wednesday morning. We all have to live here together and keep the kids safe."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Greenhouse Effect Experiment

We have been using Layers of Learning  and we've enjoyed it so much. This is a "new to me" curriculum. We are loving it. It works with the style my girls learn best which is "hands on".

Our science experiment today was learning about the Greenhouse Effect. Note: Before the experiment, we went over what the Greenhouse Effect was. She obviously didn't understand until after the experiment since her first guess on what was going to happen was wrong. This is why we like to learn hand's on. Here's one of my daughter's lab reports which show the method and materials that we used. At the top of her paper you can see her guess or hypothesis. She guessed wrong and her conclusion was at the bottom of what the actual outcome came out to be. She learned that the gases in the atmosphere are what give us this greenhouse effect and why we are warmer than we would be without them.

In case you can't read it. We used two jars and filled both with 5 ice cubes. One jar we put a sandwich bag over. Then we set them outside for an hour and took their temperatures when the hour was up.

The jar without the bag at 74 degrees.

The jar without the bag at 78 degrees.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Is Your Blood Type Compatible?

The youngest is learning about the human body this year. In the past, we've done a lot of experiments with the human body, but this one experiment was really fun learning about blood types.

Here is another activity we've done on blood:
I'll eventually get a chance to group all of our human body activities because I have more on my blog.

There are 4 blood types: O, A, B, and AB. We discussed what a donor was, what a receiver was, and why it matters for doctors to know if the blood types are compatible when someone donates blood. We talked about antigens and how a patient could become very sick if their body rejects new blood.

This experiment was simple.

All you need is:
Two colors of food coloring (Red and Blue work best, but I only had yellow and blue. So that's what we did.)
Dry Erase Marker

1. Fill each cup halfway with water.
2. With the dry erase marker, label each cup with one blood type.
3. In the cup labeled A, put in 2 drops of red coloring.
4. In the cup labeled B, put 2 drops of blue coloring.
5. In the cup labeled AB, put in 2 drops of blue and 2 drops of red coloring.
6. Stir the water to blend colors in.
7. The cup labeled O is left with clear water.

Continued steps to start experiment:
1. To determine if the blood types are compatible, choose one cup of water to be your donor blood type.
2. Look at what will happen if you were to pour that water into each of the other cups (the receivers).
3. If the water of the receiver cup changes color, then the blood types are not compatible. If the water doesn't change color, then that blood type can receive your donor blood.
4. We put a check mark if the receiver blood can accept the donor blood and an x if it couldn't.

You can find this experiment with the chart at

My youngest thought this was so fun and she is type O blood. So she loved figuring out that her blood type is the universal donor (able to give to all other blood types).

How Much Salt Does it Take to Make an Egg Float?

The oldest is doing Oceanography this year. She had a reading on "Why is the Sea Salty?" from Wonderopolis. At the end of her reading we completed a lab on making an egg float.

 Of course, I made her do a write up on her lab for portfolio purposes. 
  • We've done a similar experiment in the past called Sink or Float. You can find that here

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Ancients are Here Again

Well, they say when it comes to schooling that history and science will repeat every 3 or 4 years. We've done ancient history before and we are back at it again. Since the start of the school year, we've had plenty to do with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

With Ancient Egypt this time, we did a lapbook from Homeschool Share. We also took virtual tours of the Sphinx, Great Pyramids, and tombs. You can do that by going here. And of course, you can't forget to write your name in Hieroglyphics (cheat sheet). We also studied some Egyptian Art and tried to do our own sculptures. My youngest is pictured below with her pyramid of modeling clay.

In the past, we baked a cake and decorated it with Egyptian Pyramids and the Nile River. You can see my previous blog post on Ancient Egypt here.

We've also covered some of Ancient Mesopotamia. It was fascinating to see the kids learn about the Code of Hammurabi and then to compare and contrast some of those codes with our own laws that we have today. My oldest daughter and her dad sat and had a lot of discussion on what some of the punishments of today were, including what malpractice was. So I have an example of some of her work below.

Its always fun looking back at this area, because my husband was deployed to Iraq and knowing that was around the same area is always kind of cool because he's been there and he can tell us about it. Plus, he has pictures of him right in front of what is believed to be the Zigguarat there. So the kids like looking back on that. You can see my previous blog post of that here.