Thursday, October 1, 2015

World History, Week 6

   This week was the first week of block 2. For those unfamiliar with us, we use a block schedule that consists of 5 weeks of school to 1 week off. During this block we will be wrapping up our study of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. In our text, Western Civilization, 8th edition by Spielvogel, we will be covering chapters 4-6. I begin each block by distributing a copy of our lesson plans. You can download a copy of our World History, block 2 lesson plans here.

Now we're ready to get started:

Lesson 11:

1. Video: The Hellenistic Age
2. PowerPoint Presentation: The Golden Age of Pericles (By: Students of History)
3. Complete the H/O in your notebook: Ancient Greek Wars (By: Students of History)
4. Video:

5. H/O: Alexander the Great and Hellenistic Culture (By: Students of History)
6. Homework: Read and take notes: Chapter 4, pages 89-104. Complete for homework. Be sure to complete before next class period!!!

Related Movies:
Alexander the Great

Lesson 12:

1. Video: Alexander the Great
2. PowerPoint: Alexander the Great (By: Students of History)
   Review and take notes.
3. H/O: Analyze Sources on Alexander the Great
4. Read and take notes: Chapter 4, Pages 104-112
Movie: The Bible: Hope (Netflix)

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

World History, Weeks 4-5

    We wrapped up the final two weeks of block 1 with a study of the Hebrew people and the beginning of our study on Ancient Greece. Chapters 2-3 of our text, Western Civilization, by: Spielvogel, were covered during this time. We continued using the same resources mentioned in previous posts.

Lesson 7
1. Maps:
  • The Descendants of Noah
  • Called out of Ur
  • Abraham's Journey
  • Exodus From Egypt
  • The Promised Land
  • 12 Tries of Israel
  • Israel's Golden Age
2. Watch: The Bible Homeland (Netflix)
3. Homework:
  • Read and take notes on pages 33-44.
  • Watch: The Bible: Kingdom, Survival (Netflix)

Lesson 8

1. Maps:
  • Solomon's Kingdom
  • Israel's Divided Kingdom
  • Neo-Babylonian Empire
  • Assyrian Empire
  • Persian Empire Under King Darius
2. Read and take notes on rest of chapter.
3. Homework:
  • Complete chapter outline
  • Chapter summary
  • Timeline
  • Study for exam on Monday
Movies and videos to watch:
Mankind, The Story of us All: Iron Men
From Bronze to Iron
The Book of Daniel (Netflix)
The Ten Commandments (YouTube)
Esther (Netflix)

Lesson 9 

1. Videos:

2. PowerPoint: Geography and Early People of Greece
3. Maps:
  • Early Greece
  • Greco-Persian War
4. Homework: Read and take notes, pages 54-68
Movie Suggestions:
300 Spartans (Netflix)

Lesson 10

1. Power Point: The Persian Empire and Persian Wars
2. Handouts:
  • The Making of a Spartan Soldier
  • Comparing Athens and Sparta
  • Persian Wars
3. Finish reading chapter 3.
4. Homework

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Extra en espanol Episodes 1-8

Image result for extra en espanol 

A few years back, I purchased Rosetta Stone Spanish for my children. It was one of the most expensive homeschool purchases I ever made but one of the most valuable. My children enjoyed the lessons and the knowledge gained more than prepared them to take their formal high school Spanish courses. My eldest child completed his first high school Spanish course in less than 14 weeks with an A average. Since then, all 4 have completed their first year of Spanish and 2 are half way through their Spanish 2 courses. All scoring A's in their courses. I truly believe that Rosetta Stone provided them with a very good foundation, but my goal is to ensure that all four of my children are fluent in Spanish.

   In order to assist them with the fluency in Spanish, we will be watching a series of videos titled "Extra en espanol." The videos are all about 24 minutes long and are great learning tools. I was able to locate transcripts for each episode, written in Spanish. My children will be translating them into English. In searching for resources, I was also able to locate a few valuable sites as well as some awesome worksheets on Teachers Pay Teachers/. 

     Below you will find links to my lesson plans, curriculum list, videos and worksheets that I've chosen for the next 8 weeks. I've included these links, not only to share the resources, but to also provide an example of how you can create your own lesson plans using a variety of resources. These documents are also things that we would include in our required portfolios. I hope these documents and this post will help to not only improve your Spanish learning activities, but also empower and inspire you to create more awesome lessons of your own!

Episode 1 

Free worksheet adapted from: Celebrate Languages Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Episode 4

Episode 5

Episode 6

Episode 7

Episode 8

Free worksheet: Extra Episode 8 by: David LaBoone

Peace and blessings,


Monday, September 14, 2015

World History: Week 3

     This week we wrapped up our study of ancient civilizations covered within our text. We spent some time on the Ancient civilizations of China and India and reviewed what we learned about the previously studied civilizations of Africa and Mesopotamia. We incorporated the use of timelines, chapter outlining, and chapter summaries to reinforce learning.

   Being able to retain and understand the material learned in history can sometimes be a challenge. My children tend to be much more visual and hands-on learners so we are always striving to add these types of resources and activities. Our timelines are one representation of that.

They are made using a simple seventy sheet sketch pad. 

We are using the  History Through the Ages timeline figures by Homeschool in the Woods and I have supplemented the figures by creating figures that were needed but not within this pre-assembled packet. In order to increase our productivity during class time, I cut and bagged the timeline figures by chapter in advance.

The pages were also marked with the time periods prior to the start of the course. The only thing left was for the children to review and verify dates from their text and history encyclopedia prior to adding the figures to their individual timelines.

My children finished off the chapter by creating a chapter outline and using it to summarize the chapter.

     We took this first chapter rather slowly. I wanted to emphasize the importance of utilizing good study habits and techniques. This week's activities were great for bridging historical knowledge with language arts activities. The resources that we used to wrap up this week are listed below.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Make it Yourself, Wednesdays: Laundry Supplies


  Laundry, laundry, laundry! It's a never ending cycle around here and it seems that the more I wash, the more dirty clothes my family tends to produce. With the six of us in the home, we still manage to need to wash at least two loads of laundry a day. I still haven't figured out why that is, but that's another story.  With washing so many loads, one can imagine the monthly cost spent on laundry supplies. Detergent, fabric softener, bleach, and fabric sheets, all of these things used to really add up. Well, when you've changed your way of living and you're living on only one income, you have too find ways to cut costs so we began to make our own products to save money. Our favorite 3 laundry items to make on our own have been dryer balls, laundry detergent, and laundry crystals. We make batches in bulk, to last us for months in order to save time.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 boxes of Borax, 76 oz box
  • 2  boxes of Arm and Hammer Washing Soda, 55 oz box
  • 2 boxes of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, 1 lb box 
  • 1 box of Oxi Clean, 3 lb package
  • 3 Bars of Pink Zote Soap
  • 2 Bags of Epsom, 6 lb bags 
  • Essential oils of your choice (We use a blend of lavender and lemongrass)
  • 2 packs of 100% wool yarn (We use Wool-Ease, Fisherman yarn)
  • 1 pair of knee high stockings
  • rubber bands
  • 1 metal yarn needle


     First up, replacing dryer sheets with wool dryer balls! This was a must do for us. My husband was partial to Bounce dryer sheets and we easily blew through two large boxes each month. By making reusable dryer balls, we were able to completely eliminate that monthly expense.

Next up, laundry detergent. First thing you need to do, is to break up the bars of Zote. There are several ways to do this, but I prefer to use a food processor. After cutting the bars into small squares, place them into a food processor. Run the processor until te soap has broken down into tiny beads. This usually takes about 3 minutes. 

In a 5 gallon bucket, combine the Borax, Baking Soda, Oxi Clean,  and Arm and Hammer Washing Soda with the soap and mix well. We only use 2 to 3 tablespoons per load!

And finally, the fabric crystals. I loved the smell of fabric crystals but never enjoyed the price. We would purchase between 4 and 5 bottles each month for about $6 per bottle. Something had to be done about that, so we began making our own. To make your own fabric crystals, simply empty the bags of Epsom Salt into a large bowl. Add drops of essential oils and stir in until you get to the desired fragrance. Really, that's it. Store these in an airtight container as well. Or, you can add some of the crystals directly to the laundry detergent. We actually prefer to use that method since we're usually busy with school and rarely go back too check on laundry during the rinse cycle.

That's it! You're all done. You now have homemade laundry supplies that work. You're laundry will be clean and fresh smelling. Now, you can sit back and enjoy the savings!

Peace and blessings,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

World History: Week 2

          This week in World History, we continued to explore the first people. We move from the age of the hunter-gatherer to the dawn of new civilizations. This week, we focused on the civilizations of Mesopotamia and ancient Africa. We studied the various advances in writing, technology, and agriculture. The resources and activities of this week were enjoyed by both of my students and I will certainly use them again for our current middle school children. Here are the resources we used for this week:

Friday, September 11, 2015

World History: Week 1

Chapter 1: The Ancient Near East:: The First Civilizations

     Our first week of World History was spent learning about the first people of the earth. We studied various creation stories of man and the universe.  Of course this all led to some deep and wonderful discussions as they each worked through their thoughts and personal beliefs about the stories of our beginnings. It is all so fascinating to see your children grow from sponges, seeking only to take in info that is presented, into thinking children who have their own views. 

Resources we used to cover this weeks lessons:
  • Reading:
    • Western Civilization, 8th Edition, Chapter 1, pages 1-4
    • The Holy Bible, Genesis 1-4
    • The Holy Koran, Al-Baqarah 2:1-2:36

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Life Skills: Lessons in Couponing

     Money, money, money! That's the math topic my younger children are reviewing this month. They long ago learned all the money basics so we started the block with a brief review of those skills. They ran through the review section of Math Mammoth U.S. Money and practiced calculations with a few of the free money worksheets from But nothing drives a lesson home like a real life lesson

   I wanted them to have some real life lessons to go along with our unit so I created a section on couponing. Couponing allows for lots of discussions and practice with math calculations and money. They will learn to identify and compare prices of items, determine the amount of savings when using coupons, calculate the percentage saved on the cost of an item from using a coupon, how to calculate the total cost of a shopping trip with coupons, and so forth.

   Because we are a family that loves to use interactive notebooks, I created a short interactive notebook for our unit. There are a total of 8 pages in the notebook. Included are foldables on couponing as well as math activities and writing prompts.

   I am offering this file for FREE and you may download a copy of our Lessons in Couponing, here

Peace and blessings,

Thursday, February 5, 2015

12 Months of Homesteading: Working With Yarn

     It's February, and this month we will be focusing on being creative with yarn! My daughters long ago developed a fondness to yarn. They all have different preferences as to which techniques they prefer, but they enjoy their creations just the same.

     There are so many different things that you can create using yarn. As urban homesteaders, we have learned to make many household items, such as dishcloths, Swiffer mop covers, pot holders, and coasters. But children don't just want to learn a skill for it's practicality, they want to learn things that they feel they can enjoy and have fun with as well. Things to wear are always a hit with children.

     If you have never picked up a piece of yarn, it is not to late. Working with yarn can be one of the most peaceful past time projects you could ever learn. Join us this month as we explore the various techniques of arm knitting and crocheting.  Arm knitting, loom knitting, knitting, and crocheting. We will learn the various tools used and even learn some advanced techniques. Our first project will be a loom knitting project, so here is a list of supplies you will need for this month, and a quick video intro to loom knitting.


  • yarn
  • crochet hooks
  • knitting looms
  • knitting needles
 How to use a knitting loom:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cells Unit Study, Weeks 2 and 3: Prokaryotic Cells, Animal Cells, Cell Cycle, and Mitosis!

     The past two weeks have been a blur of learning, to say the least. My younger children have been studying cells and they have been having a great time with the lessons. Over the past two weeks, they learned to differentiate between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. They also studied the organelles found in animal cells. We wrapped up this past week with a study on the cell cycle and mitosis.

     Continuing on with our interactive notebooks for science, we incorporated a really nice life science notebook I purchased on Teachers Pay Teachers. (By the way, this is one of my favorite go to spots for specific lesson material.) We've been using the notebooking lessons, specific to cells, found in the Life Science Interactive Notebook by Nitty Gritty Science. They practiced with identifying the stages of mitosis in cells using free worksheets found Biology Corner. Of course, no interactive learning can be complete without the audiovisual resources! We watched three very informative videos found on YouTube. They really helped my daughters to fully understand the information they recorded in their notes. Here are our favorite videos for these lessons: 




   Awesome! Yes? I know! We are serious fans of Crash Course  and Bozeman Science videos on YouTube.


For the second "Friday Funday" of our unit study, we also used some of our fun, hands-on learning material:

My girls were so happy to show off what they learned...or maybe they just wanted to eat the cake! Well, whatever motivated them, I was happy to see that they retained so much information about cells. By the way, the chocolate cake recipe was found at The Pioneer Woman, and it was every bit as delicious as she claimed it to be.


      For week three, I couldn't let my girls down. I wanted to continue to foster their eagerness to learn by providing them with more sweets interactive learning activities that they would enjoy. They are both very interested in cake decorating so I  decided to bribe encourage them to show off what they learned with some new cake decorating supplies. We were caked out, but we all love cookies, so our mitosis activities for the week, turned into an edible cookie lab!

     They started by making the cookie cake for the cell cycle model.

It turned out perfectly!

While the cookie was baking, we whipped up the batter for some blue velvet cupcakes! (Seriously, it was a chemistry lesson so it was all in the name of learning.)

With the cupcakes out of the way, it was time to make some cake decorating icing. We made a large batch of buttercream icing and the girls were really anxious to play with their new tools.

Finally, it was show and prove time. Time for them to show me what they learned about the cell cycle and mitosis. They started by applying icing to the cookie and using different colors to represent the phases of interphase. I use the time to ask them questions, just to see what all they know.

They added cupcakes for the stages of mitosis. They used sprinkles and icing to show what happens during the various stages of mitosis and labeled them.

   It turned out great and after all of that work, we had to taste it. They loved it and asked to make another one someday soon. Now, don't think we only use edible labs. They also identified onion cells during their various stages of mitosis. we pulled out our handy microscope and slides and they had fun identifying the cells.

     Well, that wraps up the last two weeks of our cell study. Looking forward to completing this week and getting into some more exciting learning activities.

Peace and blessings,


Monday, January 26, 2015

Friday, Fun Day: Sewing Project: Unpapertowels

     Friday Fundays are all about having fun while learning. I provide learning activities to booster their understanding of the topics covered for that week. I also incorporate fun projects to help them learn life skills that I feel are important for them to have. As homeschoolers, we have a tremendous advantage when it comes to making sure our children have a balance in what they are learning. We can also help them to understand the relevance of what they are learning in textbooks and how it applies to them in their lives. 
   Last year, we made a decision to decrease our usage of paper products in order to decrease our carbon footprint on the earth. One product we wanted to find a replacement for was paper towels. With a family of 6, we used lots and lots of paper towels. We were excited when we found out about unpaper towels. After a quick trip to the store and a few days of mommy and daughter sewing, we created our first set of unpaper towels that lasted us an entire year!

     Since we are focusing on sewing, this month, we decided to make new sets of unpaper towels for this year. I found the same fabric and girls and I have been using our Friday Fundays to sew these useful items. We've even had a few family members to join in on the weekends! Priceless! 

Lessons covered in this project:
  • Measurement: 
    • How to read and use a ruler
    • How to measure items
    • Perimeter of 2D objects
    • Area of  2D objects
    • Unit conversion (easily covered while cutting out each square foot from the square yard fabric)
  • Economics and money:
    • Cost (add cost of each item used in the project)
    • Savings (compare cost of typical year's purchase of paper towels against cost of unpaper towels to determine savings)
    • Money (combine needed amount of dollars and coins to purchase material and calculate change back)
  • Home economics:
    • Identifying sewing tools
    • Sewing by hand
    • Threading a needle
    • Using a sewing machine
    • Identifying parts of a sewing machine

To make a set of 9 unpaper towels, you will need:
  • One yard of printed fabric
  • One yard of terry cloth
  • Pins
  • Matching thread
  • Snaps (optional)
  • Sewing machine (optional)
  • Scissors

  • Step 1: Prewash, dry, and iron all fabric prior to use.
  • Step 2: Cut fabric into 12x12 inch squares.
  • Step 3: Pin one square of printed fabric to one square of terry cloth with right sides facing.
  • Step 4:  Sew edges together, leaving a 1 inch gap for turning.
  • Step 5: Turn the fabric right side out.
  • Step 6: Sew the opening closed. 
  • Step 7: If you want to stop here, you can. Simply fold and store in areas for use. You can also apply snaps to the corners if you want to connect them into paper towel rolls. 
  • Step 8: Repeat for remaining fabric squares. 


    That's it! When you're done, you will have a beautiful set of unpaper towels for your family to use. No more guilt about sending paper products to the dump and you'll save some money each month with these reusable items!

Peace and blessings,

Friday, January 16, 2015

Black History Border

My son, who is taking Honors U.S. History, is nearing his exploration of the Civil Rights Era. As I began to look through our shelves, I found a few primary source posters I wanted to display. As I was hanging them, I began to think about the people that I wanted to be sure he studied. I wanted him to be able to look at the beautiful black faces of those who were so instrumental during the Civil Rights Movement, but why stop there?

The more I thought about it, the more I felt inclined to include more and more black and brown faces from around the globe and throughout history. People who represented much more than the liberation of those of us living in this country. I became more and more excited as I began to collect these images. After a while, I decided that I wanted it to be a permanent display that all four of my children could learn from. So, the idea of creating a boarder utilizing the images came to me and I am so very pleased with it.

The boarder was created using images that I found online. I purchased a beautiful, natural brown cards stock to print the images on. All images were printed in landscape layout and in black and white coloring format. We are nearly finished with the project and very pleased. This will be a great learning tool for us to use for years to come!

Materials Used:
  • Masking tape
  • Photos of individuals that you want to display. I have saved the photos we used as one file. 

Well, that's it for our black history border project. We hope you enjoyed!



Monday, January 12, 2015

Cells Unit Study: Week 1, Plant Cells


Our first science block is off to a great start. My younger girls chose to study cells and this past week, they learned all about plant cells! They watched lots of videos that they found on YouTube and I found an excellent PowerPoint presentation for the introduction of cells over on Biology Junction's cells unit. Great resources to begin building a unit study on cells!


Interactive notebooking plays a major role in our learning as we seldom use textbooks in a traditional way. This week, they created notebooking pages for cell parts using a plant cell coloring worksheet. They used the cell interactives on Cells Alive to learn about the plant cell organelles and used that information to complete the notebook.


In our house we have Friday Funday. That means we school Monday through Thursday and Friday is for fun learning and life skills. We also play quite a bit. So, along with making homemade pizzas and having a salad bar for lunch, my eldest daughter baked a cake for her younger sisters. I provided the supplies and they used the cake to begin to learn about cake decorating and to also reinforce their lessons on plant cell organelles! Now that's what I call a win, win situation!
My daughter used a basic yellow cake recipe that she found over at My Recipes and doubled it. After the cake was removed from the pan and allowed to completely cool, the younger ones began to decorate their cake. They used the Learning Resources plant cell model from our school room and we discussed the function of each organelle that they added. They used toothpics and address labels to label each organelle.

This week, we continue on with our learning about cells and cellular processes. They will discover more about animal cells and cell theory. We will be sure to share our learning experiences and resources with you all later. 

Peace and blessings,

Sunday, January 4, 2015

12 Months of Homesteading: Sewing

Greetings Everyone,

This month we are kicking off our 12 Months of Homesteading beginning with sewing. Sewing is an important skill to have for those looking to live sustainable lives. In the past, I often found myself throwing out or discarding perfectly good clothing, simply because a button was missing or because the hem had been torn. That was not that long ago but our family has since began to evaluate our wastefulness and to develop skills to limit our waste and to limit our spending.

As we go through this month, we will also be sharing all of our projects with you and we hope that many of you will join along as we develop our sewing skills throughout this month. To help us all get started, here are some lessons that we will be working on that I hope will be useful to you as well.

Free Sewing Curriculum:
Sewing Buttons and Shanks:


Hand Sewing:


Using a Sewing Machine:

  • Over at Skip to my Lou, you will find printable sheets for kids to practice using a sewing machine.
Well, these are all the basics I'd like to share with you. Again, we will be posting projects for beginners, throughout the week. In our homeschool, we have set aside Friday as our project day. We officially start back with our homeschooling on Monday so we look forward to sharing our projects with you next week. Please, stop by and let us know what projects you guys are working on as well.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Organizational Thursdays: Seed Storage Notebook

     Being a homeschooling, homesteading mama can be both exciting and exhausting. For every task that I complete, there seems to be 10 more that need to be done. Over the past two years, I have learned to take things in stride and to not sweat the small stuff. With that being said, I've decided that in 2015, I would focus on one thing each day, rather than trying to juggle multiple things while also homeschooling my children. I've dedicated various tasks to different days of the week. On Thursdays, I will pick one thing that needs to be organized.

     This week, I decided to find a better way to organize and store our seeds. I'm ashamed to say, that for someone who loves to grow fruits and vegetables, my seed storage has been anything but admirable. I've tried several different ideas that turned out to be disastrous. They were once housed in coupon envelopes, all in alphabetical order. The problem was that when we took them out to plant, someone always seemed to knock the envelop over and the contents never managed to stay in order. We also attempted to store them in mini crates with dividers.  The varying envelope sizes made that a little difficult as well. Well, I am happy to announce that we finally settled on a storage idea that works for us. Behold, the seed storage notebook!

I found this gorgeous 1 1/2 inch binder and it reminded me of spring. Perfect for storing all of our organic seeds. 

I picked up dividers for alphabetical organization. Seeds were stored by their type. For example, jalapeno peppers were stored behind the tab for the letter P as peppers, jalapeno.

 I picked up a few packs of business card protectors and some baseball card protectors. They worked great! The baseball card protectors were used for the larger seed packets. Both allow for clear visibility of the seeds.

The seeds are all stored in individual bags that can easily be removed and placed back into the binder. Best part, the binder can sit comfortably on one of our bookshelves! I am very pleased with this little organizing project and I look forward to using it to plan our garden for this upcoming spring!

Peace and blessings,


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