It looks like today is a Pintrest kinda Tuesday in our homeschool this morning. We have been working our way through a Geometry Unit in math using Janice VanCleave's Geometry for Every Kid as our spine resource. We are adding along fun hands on ideas, charts, worksheets, and foldables we have found and collected on our Geometry Unit Pintrest Board. Today we tried our hand at making lines and angles using pretzels, red licorice sticks, and mini marshmallows. The children not only created great memory pegs for math but they had snack all at the same time. We also got some neat mnemonic tips for remember line, segment,ray, parallel, intersecting, perpendicular, right angle, acute angle, obtuse angle, and vertex using this video a classroom teacher posted HERE on YouTube. So what I am discovering is its really not all that hard to teach advanced concepts to elementary age children so long as you make it fun and engaging. I remember taking Geometry in High School and getting a D. It's sad but true. If the teacher would have tried to hit more than one of the learning styles I would have understood it. That and she was a very mean instructor and never wanted to go over something more than once so you literally had one shot to get it right. Just reason 1 million and 1 why we homeschool. lol! Well here are some pics from today's fun with geometry and candy.
So for years now I have been wanting to streamline my families every growing but not so functional wardrobe situation. This year I am going into the season with a well thought out game plan. I started by purging all of the clothes I was keeping that realistically would not get any further use and I assessed what we really need for each person in the house for this upcoming Fall/ Winter season. I say Fall/ Winter cause in Georgia we really dont have much differentiation between seasons as those of us up North do. Well I created this checklist to help me stay on track and only get exactly what is need for each member of the family. I included a space for sizes and the quantity that is needed for each clothing item. I plan on thrifting for most everything except under clothes. Those I am going to by new and hopefully on sale. The pajamas I am going to go out on a limb and make an attempt to sew my own. But if not we will go for a good solid thrift pair for those as well. I thought I would share my checklist for anyone who might find it helpful for them as well. Just one note on a word choice in the outerwear section and that is I use the term "gym shoes" cause I from Chicago. Depending on where you are from you might call them tennis shoes, running shoes, canvas shoes, sneakers, or athletic shoes. Just an FYI.
I wanted to share a recipe I made up the other week totally out of my own head. I had a craving for some meatloaf. And since me and the family eat a predominately plant based diet I decided to try and make a faux loaf or lentil loaf instead. It turned out better than I ever could have expected. My hubby who is not one for the fake meats or anything like that really like this one. It gave him a familiar texture without the heavy feeling afterwards. And the best part about this recipe is that it was very economical cause instead of using ground beef or turkey which is as high as $3 and $4 a pound I used a $1.15 bag of lentils. Meatless meals are easy on the pocket and perfect for feeding a large family. I recommend even if you are a meat eating family that you switch out 2 or 3 recipes a week with a meatless meal and see the savings.
I chopped up a small onion, 2 stalks of celery, and grated 1 large carrot.
I used flaxmeal and mixed it with water to create an egg replacer gel for the equivalent of about 2 eggs. Which I think I used about 6tsp or so.
I took about 1cup of oats and placed it in the food processor.
Process it until you get an oat flour. It might still have some whole grains but that's fine so long as most of it is flour.
I sauted the veggies till soft in a skillet with a little oil.
I used plain brown lentils I had cooking in the crockpot already.
I scooped out about 4 cups. Try and drain the liquid.
I added the lentils in a bowl with the oat flour.
Then I added some seasonings. I believe I put onion powder, paprika, parsley flake, and salt and pepper.
Nexxt I added the veggies and the egg replacer and mixed everything together.
I took out my rectangular pan and formed the mixture into a loaf.
I used tomato paste, ketchup. molasses, soy sauce, honey, and liquid smoke to make a tangy BBQ flavored topping for the loaf.
I didnt water it down. I just left it thick like a paste so I could spread it on the loaf.
I cooked it in a 375 degree oven with a little bit of water in the pan for about 35- 45mins. You could cover with foil and then remove for the last 15 min of cooking but we didn't have any foil when I was making it.
So here is the finished loaf. It came out really good and tasty. We served it with fresh farmers market green beans and red skinned potatoes. Its was so good.
We usually make a batch or two of muffins each week but lately I have been trying something new. I have been modifying my basic muffin recipe into a sweet bread loaf recipe instead. So since I had a bunch of blueberries in the fridge cause Aldi keeps putting them on sale for less than a $1.50 I decided to go for Blueberry Bread. For those who dont know we have been grinding our own wheat berries for almost 3yrs now using an electric grain mill called the Wondermilll. Its awesome and helps us make nutritious true whole grain bread products. When you use fresh milled flour it makes for a really soft and moist finished product so this bread turned out beautifully. If you dont have a your own countertop grain mill you can always used store brought flour in this recipe. We have tried it before with Spelt flour. But if you use Wheat cut it with at least a cup of All purpose else it can make the bread kinda crumbly.
What You Need:
3 cups of fresh milled flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1/2 cup oil(we used coconut oil for this one but you can use whatever you have)
1/2 cup sweetner( we use maple syrup or honey)
1 egg or egg replacer equivalent(we used flaxmill gel)
2 cups of milk or milk alternative( we used Almond Milk)
1pint of fresh blueberries(frozen work just as good)
optional: You can add in Walnuts, Shredded Coconut Flakes, etc...
* Bake in 400 degree oven for about 35- 45mins in a rectangular baking dish or bread loaf pan.
My girls have been wearing their hair in locs for almost a year now. I am just now at the point with my 9yr old where I am exploring different styles and looks for when I wash and re-twist. I am so not a hair person at all. Hence why I always end up cutting mine in a low wash and go or wearing a headcovering. But with my 9yr old coming into herself and her own ideas about beauty and fashion and I am forced to get on the natural hair style bandwagon. I honestly forgot where I first saw this look but what I did was re-twist her new-growth and then took two of the locs and twisted them together into a two strand twist just like you would with unlocked hair. It came out better than I ever could have imagined. And she loved it. Who knows what she is going to request next. Mama is going to be a full blown loctician stylist when its all said and done.
One of the easiest and economical meals you can prepare for a large family is beans and rice. But that can get real old real quick so you have got to be creative and find ways to spice it up so the family doesn't suspect that their mainstay diet is just beans and rice. A good way to prepare this all time go to is to make burritos. I mean come on who doesn't like a burrito. They have restaurants nowadays that will try and charge you anywhere between $5 and $8 for a burrito. I think that is shear madness since I know the low cost of the ingredients. But back to what I did for burrito night at our house. To make things a little different instead of just plain brown or white rice we decided to go with the Saffron/ Yellow Rice. It is full of flavor and everyone loves it. We of course went with the traditional black beans which I cook a big batch in the crock-pot at the top of the week so I just used a few cup fulls with some seasonings and a little onion. We had the normal burrito toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, salsa, etc.. And even fried up some sweet plantain and rolled that up as well. It was very tasty and didn't break the bank to feed my family of six. There were some leftovers as well and we used those over tortilla chips the next day for a quick fix nacho plate for lunch.
I fried the ripe sweet plaintain in a pan of shallow coconut oil.
I know there are a lot of recipes out their for the Saffron/ Yellow rice but we have always enjoyed this brand here. Its a time saver for sure.
I added some chopped onion, chili powder, cumin, onion powder, salt, and pepper to the beans.
We warm the tortillas in the skillet with a dash of oil. This night we were blessed enough to have organic grape tomatoes and organic romaine lettuce with our toppings. The Salsa was just the Walmart Great Value store brand.
This is Week #3 of our Homeschool Vlog Hop on YouTube and so far its has been going better than I ever could have expected. We have 31 participants and counting. For those interested in seeing what the parents have posted so far here is the link to our every growing Playlist . So because this year my family is taking on a majority unit study approach to implementing our curriculum I ended up with two video post that were twenty minutes each. And I still was not able to share everything and all my resources. So I decided to share a more detailed description of this years curriculum here on my blog along with helpful links for those interested.
Language Arts 2yr Old son- He will be using activities once again from our Pintrest boards Montessori Inspired and Preschool Kinder Activities. His main goals and objectives are to cover the pre- reading skills of: letter recognition, letter sounds, upper and lowercase recognition, turn books right side up, identify parts of a book(pictures, words, pages, etc...), matching, sorting, and sequencing. He also have the goals and objectives to cover pre- writing skills of: trace lines with fingers(straight, curved, zig zag), trace lines with crayon/ pencil(straight, curved, zig zag), cutting, folding, sifting and pouring, play dough play, and transferring objects. So the activities we select will focus on meeting these goals.
4yr Old daughter- Her language arts focus will be phonics and handwriting. For phonics we are using our set of Hooked On Phonics that I have already gone through twice before with the two older kids. She started level 1 or the k level some last year but we are still working through. So that is where we are starting out. Its an older edition cause it was gifted to me from my mom from when my younger sister used it back when she was in 2nd grade. lol! We have never used the audio or CD Roms. We prefer to go through it together.I have a 2part video series on teaching phonics if you are interested. Its Phonics 101 pt. 1 and Phonics 101 pt. 2. With the information in these videos I demonstrate how to teach phonetic reading regardless if you purchase a curriculum or not. Although its a complete program and doesn't require it we use supplements like Starfall or the activities I went over in this video I did on Phonics Activities.
6yr Old son- My sons main focus for language arts this year will be handwriting, writing composition, grammar, spelling, and Latin vocabulary. I did not include reading comprehension cause that will be covered through the unit studies with all the read aloud and research books. Handwriting we will use copywork from the same resources as my 4yr old. He also has half of his Handwriting Without Tears 3rd grade Cursive book to finish up from over the summer.
For writing composition our focus will be on: books reports fiction and nonfiction, formal and informal letter writing(he has a penpal), thank you notes, and developing a strong paragraph. I will be using a spiral notebook to keep the writings. I will have to come back another time to explain how I go about teaching writing cause I use my own methods. I am not drawn to any particular writing curriculum and I am not found of writing prompts either. But that is just my style. For grammar we will focus on: eight parts of speech, synonyms and antonyms, homophones, homonyms, and homographs, dictionary skills, and proof reading. We will be notebooking our grammar lessons in a spiral notebook. I will uses various resources to help teach the concepts. Here are those resources: Rod and Staff English Grade 2 First Language Lessons level 1& 2 Our Mother Tongue by Nancy Wilson
Pintrest board Homeschooling Language Arts
Pintrest board Notebooking Language Arts
For spelling we will use techniques and list found in: Uncovering The Logic of English Language by Denise Eide and Spellbound Phonic Reading and Spelling by Elise T. Rak.
We are still working our way through Prima Latina for Latin vocabulary so we will continue on with that. They love doing the Latin too. 9yr Old daughter- Our language arts focus for this year will be writing composition, grammar, spelling, and latin vocabulary. Just like with my 6yr old the reading comprehension will be covered in the unit studies. She does like to use the Pathway Readers and workbooks as well for fun. I don't require it though. So that is some extra reading comprehension as well. We completed Handwriting Without Tears 4th grade Cursive Success at the beginning of last year so we have transitioned from handwriting and copywork to complete focus on writing composition. So for writing composition our goals and objectives are: book reports nonfiction and fiction, formal and informal letter writing, thank you notes, using an outline, developing strong paragraphs, story writing, types of poetry. For grammar our goals and objectives are: eight parts of speech, sentence diagramming subjects and predicates, sentence diagramming compound subjects and predicates, synonyms and antonyms, homophones, homographs, homonyms, dictionary skills, types of sentences, proof reading skills, types of literature, literary terms, using a thesaurus, and utilizing part of a newspaper. Here are the resources we will use to meet these objectives: Rod and Staff English Grade 3 First Language Lessons level 3 workbook Grammar and Diagramming Sentences by garlic press Our Mother Tongue by Nancy Wilson
For Spelling and Latin Vocabulary we are using eh same resources as my 6yr old. They do those lessons together.
* We will use multiple free resources which I have been compiling our Spanish Homeschooling Pintrest Board. I have chosen to set up the extension activities in a Montessori classroom format on a shelf in our homeschool room. Extracurricular * This year I decided to schedule 30mins out of our homeschool day to dedicate to all the things we never seem to get around to otherwise. These are not formal subjects but just all the extras that make homeschooling fun. These are the more child lead activities and not anything required. But I like to give some preselected or suggested choices cause not all children are good with coming up with ideas on their own. So they can select for any of these areas for the extracurricular timeframe. Art- Pintrest Homeschooling Art Board
Music- My oldest daughter was gifted a keyboard from granddad for last years birthday and has yet to learn to use it. Thanks to one of the ladies on the Vlog Hop I found out about the free resource for teaching kids piano called FreePianoLessons4Kids.
Okay now that I have layed all this out on the table its time for a little DISCLAIMER!!!!
I do not expect to get all of these unit studies done in a typical 180 day homeschool year. We school year round and there is a fair amount of units listed to keep us busy for months.
I did not purchase all of my core books and spine books brand new or all this school year. I have had some of these items sitting in a box or on my shelf of years and have just decided to incorporate them into this years lessons. I also shop very frugal for the items I have purchased this year using penny items on Amazon, used book sales and curriculum sales, thrift stores, library sales, etc... I am making the rest of my resources for free or cheap using idea on Pintrest. So need to go into a panic thinking that a in order to successfully homeschool a large brood like mine you have to dish out hundreds of dollars in cash. Just not true.
You have probably notice I did not refer to my children's grade levels at all in my descriptions and I am using varying levels of materials. Well that is because we dont use grade levels in our homeschool. I don't find them to be necessary. I just go by the children's ability levels rather than focus on an arbitrary grade level approach that is purely based off the child's biological age and says nothing about them as an individual. My thoughts and my way of looking at it. It doesn't have to be yours.
Please keep in mind that even though I have a lot of things listed for my 2 and 4yr old children that does not mean they are going to be doing a "Formal" homeschool year. I just have things planned for them but I do not have any certain expectations of them completing a certain amount of work before the year is out. I do short lessons that are focused and straight to the point.I just make the learning materials available for them. A lot of times they want to join in for school but sometimes they don't. And that is fine will me also.
This is just a template or a plan. I have learned over our homeschool years that plans change and flexibility is the key. So I am okay if all of what I wrote here somehow goes a totally different direction. That happens sometimes. But I like have a starting point and some sort of game plan in the beginning. Even if you have to put things to the side for a while you because you have your plan written down you can always go back to it later.
With the birth of baby #5 coming in a month I totally have been focused on quick and easy meal ideas for the kids. I focus on things that would easy for my oldest(9yr old) to help me fix or fix herself. We have been doing a lot of kitchen training this year. I am so grateful that she has taken to it very well so far. Of course with our family size and budget restraints we focus on frugality as much as possible without trying to compromise the nutrition. So we buy a huge container of organic spinach from B.J's food warehouse club or the smaller container from Aldi for $2.46. I add it to everything throughout the week. So I thought why not try adding it to a Quesadillas? I mean I just thought a plain cheese quesadillas wouldnt be enough. It turned out to be very tasty. And the kids loved it. I tip for those wondering how I get my kids to eat the green leafy stuff is that children will almost always "Try" any veggies that you allow them to help prepare. So getting the kids involved in the meal preparation process is the key to success with adding more veggies into their diets.
Step 1: Heat and oil the skillet. Add in your favorite flour tortillas and put some spinach and shredded cheese on top. Wait till tortillas bubbles a little with air before going to next step.
Step 2: Add another flour tortillas on top of the spinach and cheese. Then take a wide spatula and flip it over. Just cook for about 30 secs on the other side and take off skillet and onto a plate.
Step 3: Cut the quesadillas into slices. We prefer to use a pizza cutter and we just make quarter slices.
Optional: We serve ours with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, avocado, sour cream, and salsa.
With such a large brood and growing I am always looking for low cost or free entertainment and activities for the kids. This weekend we tried out our local Loews for their Kids Clinic.This weeks theme was Toy Story. So they got to build a model of the car RC from Toy Story. They loved it although I ended up totally building the project for my 2yr old son. He hammered a little at the start and that was it for him. He spent the rest of the time picking up dropped nails and wood pieces from under the table. My hubby rotated between the other 3 kids helping them out when needed as well. My 4yr old girl did pretty good. I was very impressed by her skills. My oldest(9yr old) figured it all out on her own. What a big girl she is becoming. My oldest son(6yr old) did a good job to. He required minimal help as well.
To sign up for the clinic all you need to do is go to the website and select the one you are interested in. You enter your kids names and print out the safety waiver. Then you just show up on your day prepared for about 30-45mins worth of woodworking. They were suppose to receive an apron and a pair of safety goggles but this particular location was out and promised to have them in next time. The children did receive a participation certificate and an iron on badge that said Toy Story RC to put on their aprons once they receive them. So that was a nice added bonus as well. We have attended the Clinics at Home Depot in the past. They have theirs on the first Saturday of he Month so sometimes we miss it. But Loews Clinics are more frequent so their are more opportunities for me and the kids to attend. All in all it was good for a free activity.