Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Rolling a kayak

This summer, David has taught himself how to roll a kayak. Here is a short video clip of him rolling a kayak in our pool without a paddle. He calls it hand rolling. I took this with my phone, so the quality of the video is not very good.

DH and my younger boys, Nathan and Ryan, are working on their rolling skills as well. However, David is the only one who has currently mastered this skill. I personally have no desire to roll and prefer to use a sit-on-top kayak.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Burritt on the Mountain — A Living Museum

I'm excited about these classes because they will fit in well with our history lessons. (Tapestry of Grace, Year 3: The 19th Century)

Home School Happenings 2009-2010
Burritt on the Mountain educators are excited to offer a new year of Home School Happenings. Each month, they offer an enrichment lesson that focuses on science, history, art, or a combination of the three. Each lesson includes an oral presentation, a hands-on learning experience and a handout that includes information and follow-up activities about the month’s topic.

Classes will be offered from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. three times each month: the second Tuesday, the second Wednesday and the third Wednesday. The classes on the second Tuesday and Wednesday are geared for students in grades kindergarten through eighth grade. We suggest that lower elementary students attend on the second Tuesday and upper elementary and middle school students attend on the second Wednesday. (Exceptions to this age distribution may be made so that siblings may attend together.) The third Wednesday classes are reserved for high school students and adults.


September – Mining on the Mountain will fascinate students as we learn about mining (past and present), hike to an abandoned coal mine, and have fun at our sluice panning for rocks and minerals. Students will learn about the use of our natural resources and how those resources impact our lives.

October – When Cotton was King the south and its economy were shaped by the production of cotton and its sale. Students will learn about cotton and how it influenced the south of the past and present. How does cotton grow? How is it harvested and used? How do we use it today?

November – Technology of the 1800s was often very different from today’s technology. What technology was available for making furniture? Getting to town? Growing and preparing food? Come and see the differences between today’s technology and the technology of the past.

December – Decorations of the Past: Tin and Paper Punch are always popular crafts at the holiday season. Learn about tinsmithing, other metal arts, and the decorations of the past. Make an ornament of your very own.

January – School Days of the 1800s had some similarities with school days of the present, but there are many differences. Learn about the daily lives of children in the 1800s, experience writing with a quill and ink, doing sums on a slate, and helping the teacher prepare the school house for lessons every day.

February – The Underground Railroad had no tracks or train cars, but it moved thousands of slaves from the south to the north. Learn about who traveled on the Underground Railroad and where they went. Experience following the clues from one “safe” house to the next.

March – Food Preparation and Preservation of the Past was a challenge that our ancestors met with gusto. Find out how food was preserved. How do you smoke a ham? What did you use to refrigerate your food? You may even get a taste of some homemade cooking!

April – Amazing Animals: Domesticated and Wild Animals have many similarities and differences. Tour our barnyard to meet our domesticated farm animals. Why did farmers raise goats? Sheep? Learn about urban wildlife and how animals have adapted to their surroundings.

May – Archeology Adventure lets students not only view our collection of Native American artifacts, but also experience a simulated dig first hand.

Tennessee Aquarium Home School Day

Mark your calendars for Monday, September 28, 2009. There will be discounts for admission to the Tennessee Aquarium, the IMAX Theater, and the gift shops in each facility. Free animal programs will be offered in the auditorium from 11 am to 3 pm and special behind-the-scenes tours will be offered just for that day. So don’t miss this special day of fellowship with other home school students and their families.

Here is a link to some downloadable activities that you can print out and take with you to the aquarium:

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday Scenes

Well the state swim meet is finally over. David's free relay team finished in 6th place. Both of his relay races broke pool records, so he is really happy. It was a great way to finish the season.

While David and I were at the swim meet, my DH took our younger kids rappelling and rock climbing. I handed them the camera and asked them to take some pictures. Here are a few of them:

Ryan rappelling

Ryan in an inverted rappel.

Nathan rappelling.

Nathan working on his ascending skills.

Ryan rock climbing.

Nathan rock climbing.
Looks like they had a great time.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Still swimming

Finally... we are at the end of the season, the state swim meet. David, my oldest son, qualified for two relays. We arrived early today for warm ups and then sat around and waited several hours for his race. Finally, his medley relay team swam and finished in 5th place. Tomorrow, we get to do it all over again for free relay. Then, we will be done. Yea!

David, glancing my way before he swims medley relay.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Gardening ideas...

Earlier this spring, I read the book Square Foot Gardening, by Mel Bartholomew. I am intrigued with this concept and plan to start a small gardening project this fall. However, I'm a terrible gardener and I've killed almost everything I've ever tried to grow. But, after reading this book and browsing the website, I have been inspired to try again. I really want to learn and be successful at gardening. I'll try to post an update on this project once I get it started. FYI... this book is available for free on google books.
In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, I'm really interested in growing and using herbs. Currently, one of my favorite sites for herb supplies and information is the Bulk Herb Store. I would love to learn how to make my own herbal first aid kit. It would be nice to have several all natural remedies ready to use for those pesky mosquito bites, bee stings and poison ivy rashes.

Click on picture for a quick video:

New music

pureNRG has a mission to entertain, educate and promote Christian values for young people (tweens) by using wholesome, uplifting lyrics, along with music and dance, in order to provide a positive role model.

From their energetic live performances to their deep-rooted desire to spread the gospel, pureNRG personifies the phrase "Faith in Action."

They are currently on tour and will perform at Westwood Baptist in Alabaster, Alabama on August 19, 2009.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Reading is one of my favorite activites

I definitely read my share of news, current events, text books, reference books, historical novels, etc. on a daily basis for self edification and for homeschooling. However, when I have free time, I relish reading fiction. It is a complete escape and is almost always better than a movie. So, what am I reading? Well, I just finished Deep Blue, by Tom Morrisey. It is the first book that I have read by him, and it was pretty good. It was like a Clive Cussler book for the Christian market.

There is a book that I am eagerly anticipating... Green, by Ted Dekker. The release date is September 1, 2009 and I can't wait! The Circle Trilogy is one of my all-time favorites.

Click on the book to read the first chapter:

Click on the picture to see a video clip:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1st day of school traditions

Last year I gave my kids a Schultuete on the first day of school. This is based on a German tradition where parents would give their children a "school cone" filled with school supplies and goodies on the first day of school. Well, my younger kids really enjoyed this and decided that we should do it every year.

Some of the items that I put in their cones last year were: pencils, erasers, glue sticks, scissors, colored pencils, pencil grips and highlighters. I also had a few items that were too large to fit into their cones. So, I created a treasure hunt for them with clues in Morse code. The treasure box contained some moon sand (found on sale at Walgreens), small wooden logic puzzles and a few pre-packaged science experiments (found at a local homeschooling conference). They really had fun that day setting up their school desk, playing with their new treasures and performing science experiments. We topped all of this off with ice cream sundaes.

So, what will go in their Schultuete this year? I'm still working on it, but here is what I have so far:
  • Younger boys - fun or special pencils, erasers, glue sticks, scissors (we always seem to loose or break these by the end of the year), colored pencils, markers, pencil grips and highlighters.
  • Older son (who doesn't really care for all of the fuss) - mechanical pencils, extra lead, erasers, pens, White-out, highlighters, Post-It notes/flags and a thumb drive (to back up his files and papers).

I haven't decided yet what I'll put in the treasure box, but I know that I'm going to make the treasure hunt more difficult and complex this year. I really want to make it a challenge and it sure makes going back to school more fun.

Family Enrichment

Franklin Springs offers wonderful family films that are educational and entertaining. Two collections that I have my eye on are:

The Young Men Pack
This three DVD pack will provide a wide range of God-honoring entertainment and encouragement for boys and young men. The set includes:

  • An American Adventure: The Living Legacy of Jimmy Gentry
  • Measure Twice, Cut Once
  • Still Standing: The Stonewall Jackson Story

The Homestead Blessings Collection Two (currently taking pre-orders) The West ladies are back with three exciting new instructional and inspirational DVDs. The set includes:

  • The Art of Gardening
  • The Art of Canning
  • The Art of Herbs

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Now that swim team is almost over for the summer and we haven't started back to school quite yet, the boys are looking for fun things to do with their time. We do spend plenty of time outdoors. However, when we come inside, I don't want them spending all of their free time on TV and video games. So, I've listed some of our favorite board games that they enjoy playing along with my wish list of games that I would like to purchase this year.

Favorite Games:
Amazing Labyrinth by Ravensburger
Five Crowns
Made for Trade
Rush Hour
Spy Alley

Wish list:
Qwirkle Cubes
The Dangerous Book for Boys Game
Ticket to Ride

Besides games, my boys love to build things. One of their favorites is KEVA planks. Click on the picture below to see more pictures...

One other item on my wish list (because the boys have requested it) is Speed Stacks. It looks like loads of fun.

Check out this video...

Your Story Hour

Your Story Hour contains hundreds of dramatized audio stories for children. The stories promote Christian character and values. You can purchase the CDs or download individual stories in MP3 format. They also have free Bible lessons with quizzes and an on-line magazine.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Staying Organized

I have two favorite products that I use to keep myself organized:

Motivated Moms is a printable chore planning system to help you have a clean and organized home and still have time for yourself!

Edu-Track: homeschool record keeping and lesson planning software

Friday, July 10, 2009

A book that has my younger boys...

JUMPING UP AND DOWN in anticipation - Hunter Brown and the Consuming Fire. The release date is set for September 9, 2009. This is the second book in the Codebearers series. The first book, Hunter Brown and the Secret of the Shadow was one of their favorite books this past year. Part fantasy, part allegory and full of action and adventure. It kept my reluctant readers captivated from the beginning until the very end.

Watch a video clip:

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

There is a new Christian movie coming out this fall... The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry. The release date is September 18, 2009.

Set in 1970, the story centers around a 75 year old man named Jonathan Sperry (Gavin MacLeod) who starts mentoring three boys (Jansen Panettiere, Frankie Ryan Manriquez, Allan Issacson) to follow the Lord. What he teaches you... will last forever.

“The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry is a heartwarming experience for the entire family.”Pat Boone, Actor/Singer

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Snead State Community College Youth Programs

Lego Engineering - In partnership with All About Learning

Video Game Making - Online:
Learn how to design and modify your own exciting arcade style video games.You`ll learn how to control characters, objects and outcomes in your game, then increase the difficulty level and add more features. Graphics Design and Graphics Animation topics will also be covered. Learn how to design your own version of PacMan and several others. This class is appropriate for Ages 10 and older. This course is taught by Senior Instructor Rob Mayo of All About Learning, Inc. This course IS instructor facilitated. You should have a fast Internet connection which should be faster than dial-up. If you have a DSL or Cable modem, then you should be fine. Your computer must meet minimum system requirements. This class is 7 weeks in length. Your 7 weeks will begin when you register and pay for this class at this website.
Cost: $129 per person

Lego Engineering - Online:
This class is an on-line version of our ever popular Elementary Engineering as an on-site class in a classroom. This class is held on-line. Once registered for this course, you will be sent a LEGO® kit with over 1,000 very advanced LEGO® parts and pieces. When you receive the kit in the mail, then you are ready to take the class. Yes, you keep the kit when the class is over! The class consists of engineering theory and instruction reinforced by immediate building, plus 6 very complex building exercises. This class is for the serious builder! Suggested for ages 8 and
Cost: $129 per person

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Greek Alphabet Code Cracker

This would make a great summer unit study! Learn all of the Greek letters from Alpha to Omega, and their phonetic pronunciation. Practice writing the letters, gather the clues from witnesses, and trace the path of the thief! You will first learn to sound out simple English words with the Greek alphabet, and then will go on to learn Greek words as well! This workbook text is an excellent introduction to Greek for students of all ages.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Lamplighter Theatre presents...

"Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince."

This is a new dramatic audio drama (CD or MP3) from Lamplighter Publishers. Pre-orders are now being accepted. CD shipments will begin the first week of August.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

4-H Youth Leadership Conference

There will be a 4-H Youth Leadership Conference for ages 9-13, August 29-30th.

Friday, July 3, 2009

"Do Hard Things" Tour

The Rebelution's "Do Hard Things" Tour is coming to five major cities across the United States in Summer of 2009. Each conference is a challenging one-day event for teens by teens who believe that our generation is ready for a change.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Getting Involved

Here is a list of activities/clubs/groups that I would like to have my kids involved in this year:

Free Homeschool Resources

I am currently adding a very long list of free homeschool resources at the bottom of my blog. Check it out...