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.  

Sunday, April 24, 2016

FREE Daily Homeschool Assignment Sheets

Ever since we have been homeschooling, we've tried different ways of planning out work assignments and task. We've tried binders, planners, and calendars. We've tried weekly schedules.We always come back to our daily homeschool assignment task list. The girls see what is in front of them and what needs to be completed, I put all worksheets under the task list on a clipboard and they sit in front of the computer and get to work. They like checking it off and seeing their daily work in front of them of what needs to be completed. I have even put these in a sheet protector and wrote on it with dry erase markers and had them check it off with dry erase markers when they were younger. Now I just print off daily copies for the week, because as they are getting older their work is more detailed. I thought I would upload our Daily Homeschool Schedule Checklist for you. I personalized it for them. My oldest daughter loves football, so this could obviously be used for a boy and my youngest loves singing, so her's has a microphone. I will also upload a blank one for if you want to personalize it yourself. You can click on any of the pictures to upload these for FREE! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Traveling the Oregon Trail

Our week learning about the Oregon Trail consisted of writing a diary entry as a pioneer, making a checklist of supplies, being creative and making a video about the Oregon Trail, mapping out the trail, labeling wagon parts, and even learning about animals on the trail such as oxen and buffalo. My youngest daughter's spelling list even had to do with words we were reading from the Oregon Trail.

don't care how old my kids get, they will always enjoy picture books. So I checked these books out for reading during the week. 

Who could also forget about the childhood game we all loved to play as kids when computers were still new. I just so happened to have the Oregon Trail game by Mecc. I couldn't believe the CD-Rom still worked with my Windows 10. 

Some great resources I used were, Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Westward Ho! Lapbook, and Lapbook Lesson's Oregon Trail Lapbook.

We got this cute printable board game also from Tina's Dynamic Homeschool. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Science Fun in Slow Motion

Science Experiment

We did this fun experiment to see what air pressure will do when we flip a cup of water onto a large index card and remove our hand. I did the video in slow motion just to enjoy my daughter's facial expression. ;) At the end, she said, "It was like magic!" (you can kind of pick that out in the slow motion. The air pressure holds the water in its place. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Heavier Than Air

Don't you love it when your school curriculum goes along with a real life experience at the same time? We did a chemical reaction experiment with vinegar (our acid) and baking soda (our base) to blow up a balloon. The kids enjoyed watching as it changed into CO2.
After the balloon was filled up they quickly realized that their balloon didn't weigh the same as a balloon with air from our mouths. Why? CO2 is heavier than air. The balloon didn't float down to the ground, it came down much faster. 
Well, it just so happens that we did some filming this weekend with a smoke machine and to do that we had to have dry ice (which is a solid form of CO2). Why does the smoke go low? Again, CO2 is lighter than air. 
Want to try something similar and maybe you don't have a fog machine? It is real simple to do one on your own. Watch this dry ice experiment. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Road Trip

One of the reasons I love homeschooling is because we can pick up and go anytime we please. When my husband suggested on a whim for us to. take a road trip after visiting family in TN, that is just what we did. I jumped! We took a long way home. So from stopping at his old Army base at Fort Campbell, KY all the way to our las stop of the Hoover Dam in Nevada/AZ - the kids got to see so many things. I find it quite startling how easy it is for them to even find the states on the map after we have gone through them. Our plan is to get a big map off of Etsy to put pins in for the states we have visited. 

Here is a list of some of the things we got to see: 
Fort Campbell, KY
St. Louis, MO Gateway Arch
Kansas City Wizard of Oz Museum, KS
Kansas City Chiefs Stadium
Kansas City Royals Stadium
Kansas City Art Museum
Denver Broncos Stadium, CO
Buford, WY Population of 1
Tree in the Rock, WY
Salt Lake City, UT Mormon Temple
Salt Lake, UT
Las Vegas, NV
Hoover Dam, NV 

Enjoy some pictures of our adventure. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Income Tax Time - A Real Life Lesson for My Girls

The girls have learned a real life lesson when it comes to income taxes. This past year, they actually made pay checks from a theater they performed at. So we received their W-2s and filed their taxes.

My husband came to me and said, "I have their taxes done and I've prepared a small lesson to teach them." As a homeschool mama, hearing him say that statement was like hearing him say "I love you" for the first time. Some homeschool mamas dream of their husband's involvement like this! He stepped up and taught the girls a little bit about income taxes. He educated them on what taxes were paid for, and why they were taken out of their checks. He instructed them to why they were getting a refund as well.

I am so lucky to have a supportive husband when it comes to teaching the girls these real life lessons. The girls signed their forms and are expecting a small refund to be deposited directly to their bank accounts. Yes, the girls have bank accounts due to the checks they were receiving from the theater. They have learned even more real life lessons about balancing a check register in having their own accounts. My oldest has done quite well!