Skip to main content


Showing posts from July, 2013

Volunteering: a small act done with great love

A person that that actively takes on a task, responsibility, or project on his or her own accord without needing to be assigned, ordered, or told to do so. Often a volunteer is not paid for the work that they provide. For example, a volunteer may desire to work at a company's charitable events with or without pay and may even request to do so without being asked or told to.
2. Act of taking the initiative on a task, responsibility or project. This could be as a response to a request or by making the initiative to do so. For example, a group can volunteer to research an issue as a response to a request.

I do not believe that children should be forced to volunteer.  Isn’t that by definition an oxymoron?  Forced Volunteerism?  Many high schools, including the ones in my town require volunteer hours for graduation.  In my research, I discovered that with 60 hours of volunteer work, students can earn half a credit.  I wonder though, half a credit of …

Summer Reading

Our library, like many others, has a summer reading program where children log the books they read over the summer and receive prizes based on the number read.  The number.  Not the quality.  Quantity over quality.  
Lilah is on book #4 of Harry Potter.  
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - 309 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - 341 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - 435                                                                 1085 pages and counting.This is just Harry Potter.She has also read a few other smaller books like Number the Stars.Will she reach the “magic” number of 8 books to receive a tee shirt and a certificate signed by the mayor?You bet she will. I will allow her to fill in the remaining slots with graphic novels and she will count the two audio books we just completed.
When will we start looking at things a bit differently, valuing quality over quantity?  How about reading programs based on pages read?  Or how about a choice of reading book…

Writing Group: Grammar

I love the book First Language Lessons for the well trained mind by Jesse Wise.Lilah and I worked in it every day when she first came home. It is basic grammar taught in a fun, hands on style.
I believe that many of these lessons can be easily adapted to fit the older child who needs to review or how has just been introduced to grammar.  
We began writing group with a review of verbs, specifically linking or helping verbs.  The girls were given the directions to cut out two or three pictures from magazines that they found interesting.  They glued the pictures into their journals and wrote a sentence about the picture.  They were introduced to the concept of diagramming a sentence by boxing the verb and the helping verb.  

A list was added to their journal.  They discovered on their own that the helping verbs changed depending on the tense of the sentence.  To vary their sentences, they used different tenses.  

It was a fun mini-lesson adapted from First Language Lessons.

Writing Group : Zine

Fridays are officially my favorite day. Fridays bring out the best in me.  I wish all days could be like Fridays.
Friends of the girls come every Friday between 7:30 and 8:00am.  Their dad drops them off on his way to work and they spend the day with us, until about 7:00pm when I return them to his worksite.
By 7:00 I am up, showered, dressed and something yummy is ready to be popped into the oven.  I have a huge lunch in the slow cooker - this was a yummy whole chicken simmering in a dry spice rub.  The back room/studio is readied for writing group and I feel energized.  

I mentioned to Greg that I would love to homeschool someone else’s child in addition to my own because it upps the accountability factor.  I could get out of bed at 6am all summer and have baked goods on the table at 7:30 and a full nutritious meal at 1:00pm but when it is just the three of us, sometimes I sleep in until 7:00 or 7:30 and the day gets away from me.  Breakfast is cereal and I may not shower until an hour…

Beach Nights

Beach nights have been something that we have treasured for three years.  They are magical evenings spent in the company of friends...some new, and some old.  They are the highlight of our summer.


This reminded me of my brother.   Puts the North East heat wave into perspective....

Origin unknown.  Saw this floating around Facebook.

Vegan Gluten Free Gift of Yumminess!

Lilah had the opportunity to bake a cake for my Aunt’s annual pool party.  My Aunt had requested a chocolate cake that would meet her dietary restrictions.  

Lilah modeled her cake on her 10th birthday cake from Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey (home of The Cake Boss).  She felt she had the skills to make a comparable cake only hers would be vegan and gluten free!
Hours were spend creating a modeling paste from sugar, coconut oil and soy milk which was used to make the girls, the seaweed, and the beach blanket.  She used this same paste and a gumball to create the beach ball.  The only “artificial” ingredient was the blue frosting.  She simply ran out of time to try to create something with organic ingredients.  

Covering the cake and the crumb coating of frosting is a layer of fondant.  This was a brilliant addition because not only did it provide a smooth surface on which to build her beach scene, the fondant could be peeled off when the cake was being enjoyed and none of the brilliantly d…

Homeschooling High School

I rarely comment about curriculum until October or so.  There is so much buzz on the blogs right now about new texts, new curriculum, and new programming that I have fallen victim to being caught in the current and swept along thinking that everything program we planned would happen and every text I bought would be used.  In our home, this is not the case.  Often programs are not as great as I thought they looked on paper, books were not used and we tend to fall back on our tried and tested resources that work best for our family.
We will be incorporating some new things into our homeschool this year but I am not sharing them yet.  Look for them around October.  One thing I do want to share is a book I just finished: Senior High: A Home-Designed Form + U + LA, by Barbara Edtl Shelton.  It is just what it claims to be, a formula for homeschooling high school.  
This book gave me piece of mind in a way that no other resource has.  As I sat with my coffee still warm in my favorite mug and …

Art Journaling: Girls

Oh these girls.  These girls who each see life through their own unique lens.  They can take a model, created by Lilah, and turn it into something different and wonderful.  

Planning for this group can be a challenge because they never want to all do the same thing.  The girls who want to come up with their own challenge browse through Pinterest and my old art journals until they find something that strikes their fancy.

It was interesting to use oil pastel twice in the same week.  I prefer using them on a smoother surface, like the Gesso’d board book page.  The paper in our sketchbook is very heavy and textured.  The oil pastel has a completely different look and feel.  

Two coats of Krylon Acrylic Spray were needed to seal the pastel and provide a surface to write on.  Interestingly, I had an easier time writing on the sealed pastel in my sketchbook than in my board book, but I have no explanation as to why...