Archive for the 'homeschooling' Category

Historical Halloween

Halloween is here again, and my kids were responsible for coming up with a costume that was a historical myth or legend. This is their class’s second year doing this and I think it is such a wonderful and creative idea.  But because the announcement of this assignment was a little bit later than expected the kids already had planned their costumes.

Dancing Bones

These awesome GLOW IN THE DARK pajamas have been a huge hit in our house and I love looking at the baby in our bed, in the middle of the night still glowing….  But how were these to be historical?  Well, T decided to be the skeleton of Robin Hood and added a hat to his costume.  Where as L switched it up even more and chose a leopard costume.  Hmmm, how were we going to come up with an oral presentation for that one.  Well, we did and it was fabulous. T told about how Robin Hood became an outlaw, and L told the story of how leopard got its spots, adapted from Rudyard Kipling’s story.

historical halloween

The costumes may change again for the real deal tomorrow, not quite sure what will transpire, but looking forward to a fun filled day.

Also anticipating a visit from our sugar fairy!!

Truly Inspirational Homeschooling

I am truly amazed by what my homeschooling mom peers do and create to inspire their children. I am only on year four of this journey with my children and I know the possibilities are endless.  I just am so inspired when I see something like what this mom has created with her students.  It makes me what to do the same thing, but in my neighborhood.  Take a look, it is a little long, but so worth it.

Check out Akamai Backyard, and see how attainable sustainable really is.

Nor Cal Ren Faire

Don’t forget to get yourself to the Northern California Renaissance Faire if  ye is up for a good time to eat, drink and be merry…

jousting- "to the death" my son noted

this is why we love the ren faire... "living history"

ah yes, could not forget the Queen!

Have fun!!

Homeschooling Reads

These rainy days have kept us cozy, and we have been reading so many good books.  Homeschooling allows us the freedom to read whenever and whatever we want.  We frequent the library a bunch and even have a homeschooling book group that has chosen the best books…  I highly recommend 21 Ballons by William Pene DuBois, and then we just finished Call it Courage by Armstrong Perry.  These were both Newberry winners, but I had never heard of them.  My kids, ages 6 & 7, both thoroughly enjoyed these books’ adventures, the latter being a little scary in places but still a great read.   We also just finished The Golden Years, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, which was such a treat.  This year we have focused on mid to late 19th century pioneer history.  We read the whole Little House Series, supplemented with short stories about Western Ho,  wagon rides, homesteading, and Native Americans.  The kids did a play, “Gold Fever,”  based on another great book, By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleichman in their homeschool class.   We also just finished another book that played in to our weekend plans, Patty Reed’s Doll, which was an account of the Donner Party.  The visit to the Donner State Park Museum along with the book provided much discussion and interest.  

I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way…

A buckboard wagon for four

We made our way to my father in law’s house because he is a wood worker and is working on a wagon project with the kids.  Here is another reason why we love to homeschool.  Their Poppy, as he is affectionately known, is an amazing artisan woodworker.  We enlisted his help early on in this homeschool journey of ours and he has helped T make a skateboard,  an oar boat:

the "Nature Boat" at Comanche

"the Nature Boat"

and this year’s project, is a Buckboard Wagon.  Ambitious, it was L’s idea,  since now she is a homeschooler as well. We got the designs from this company and then they adjusted them to fit their desired measurements. This project is expected to last about 10 weeks, and Poppy has broken down each week’s lesson down so that each child learns vocabulary, math, and wood working skills such as sanding, gluing, clamping, planing, cutting, etc.  I hung around today and had fun watching them work in the woodshop.  Today they cut, planed, and glued the sides together.  


cut wood for the floor and sides




clamping down

Today also brought some light rain… the season’s starting to change.

Kid Made Root Beer

Despite all the warnings, people still drink soda…   I am grateful that my own children do not like soda or juice too much. Of course, I am sure they would if given the opportunity, but I do a good job of extolling the value of real drinking water and always having it readily available, especially in their own Klean Kanteen water bottles.  These bottles are the original stainless steel containers and they were designed and are sold  by friends in my old college town. And by the way, here is another product made by friends in Chico that is both groovy and green.

Back to soda talk:  I know a lot of people have tried kefir soda pop made with water kefir grains, and to be honest I have tried it, but am not yet a fan.  I want to try it again, and hope that my experience would be similar to that of homemade kombucha…which I now love.  However, it too was definitely an acquired taste.  So today’s post is another soda alternative for the kids and one that they can help make (if they are old enough)…  I found it in this awesome  book which we are using as part of our homeschooling science (herbs and plants) curriculum. The herb sasparilla is very healing to the liver, skin, and blood.  All of the ingredients can easily be found at a natural foods store.

Natural Root Beer

sasparilla, water, anise seeds, and cinnamon bark is all you need.

simmer 1 tablespoon sasparilla in 1 1/2 cups of water covered for 15 minutes

add 2 teaspoons anise seeds and add 1 piece of cinnamon bark

pull of heat and steep covered for 10 minutes

strain and add 1/4 cup carbonated water

let cool


The kids did all the measuring and watched it simmer on the stovetop:


It smelled so good...

And then they watched it cool and drank it up:


"kidmade root beer"

Have fun and enjoy!!

Posted as part of REAL Food Wednesdays hosted by  Cheeseslave.

Why do I homeschool??

My #1 reason why we homeschool our children is because I strongly believe in letting kids be kids. I do not believe that kindergarteners should have homework, but they do… I believe that siblings should be best friends and families should have family time together every day.  I think that our current educational system is outdated and does not work for every kid and family. I believe that through homeschooling we are letting our kids develop at their own speed rather than the speed of the state standards and their peers.

The book that really helped solidify my own philosphy was reading John Taylor Gatto’s book, Dumbing Us Down.  Once you read that book, I feel it is very difficult to not ask for something more in terms of public education.  Before I was a mom, I taught high school history for seven years, and I loved it.  I taught AP, and was a slave to the test. I taught my students how to take a test, albeit they learned critical thinking skills, but the focus of the class was to pass the test for college credit.  Now, I don’t think I can do that.  If ever go back in to the classroom I would be such a different teacher, a teacher that would probably have my run-ins with the principal because I am so strongly against standardized teaching.  After reading Gatto’s book, I explored the different types of homeschooling options from Thomas Jefferson, Unschooling, and traditional home school set ups, and realized that this is what our path is going to be when our son started school.  We are lucky that we live in a home school friendly county where there are several school hybrid options.  We actually go to school two days a week all day and the rest of the days the kids are home with me.  They are involved in a charter school which rents a room on a one school district campus. The kids are involved in school functions and understand the school community.  I think it is a win- win.