Tuesday, February 23, 2010

look there – around my neck


  • Amy Butler fabric from Sew, Mama, Sew
  • Vintage suiting fabric, lightweight wool blend
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing machine
  • 20 minutes

I love that fabric. It’s the little things, people.

Monday, February 22, 2010

the plan, or what I still need to buy for seventh grade

Have mercy. Is it the end of February already? Here’s a look at our plan for next year. We keep going for a couple of days per week during the summer, so this really picks up as soon as we finish our sixth grade materials.

Suggestions are welcome. ;)

Math: Math U See Algebra 1*

Science: Prentice Hall Science Explorer (Chemical Building Blocks, From Bacteria to Plants, Weather, more if needed). We are also going to do Hakim’s The Story of Science series, beginning with Aristotle Leads the Way. This is a history of science and scientific thought which I think will be cool.


  • IEW’s Fix It Grammar (I just got this and I think it’s going to be great.)
  • IEW’s Windows to the World (literary analysis)*
  • Write with the Best Vol. 2. (This is a half-year at most, so I will need something after. I am considering a higher level IEW course, but I am not sure yet.)
  • A slew of historical fiction will once again be on the agenda. The novels will track with history studies.

History: Continue with MOH 3, and then on to The Story of US (Hakim) (This requires complete lesson planning on my part, but I really think the boy is going to like this series.)

Spanish: Continue with co-op classes and Rosetta Stone, if the library continues to let us use it online. If we lose our RS license (a likely occurrence), we will move on to the new online resource offered by our local library.

Art/Music: Both are taught in co-op classes. We are also beginning Artistic Pursuits’ middle school program at home and the boy will start guitar lessons soon. We also do a composer study that tracks (via date) with history.

PE: We hope to continue the YMCA’s homeschool PE class and we do health here at home.

Computer Apps: Nolan is in the midst of a semester of keyboarding and I am planning to create a semester course in computer apps. This will free him up to move right in to computer science in high school.

*Still need to buy

Friday, February 19, 2010

about a mouse


Either you get the appeal of Walt Disney World or you don’t. I am convinced there is no middle ground. No other company on the planet does things “the Disney way,” by definition. In fact, the Disney Institute actually teaches companies from around the world how to provide meaningful service that keeps customers coming back.

And we keep coming back.

I was fortunate to be able to attend a press event at WDW last week and I will share the details in a few upcoming posts. The Cliff Notes version is that innovation continues, with unmatched attention to detail and a firm grasp of what appeals to children, their parents and grandparents.

The Magic Kingdom is undergoing its biggest expansion in history, with a variety of interactive attractions coming. Below is a rendering of Belle’s village (Belle!!), which will be part of the expansion. The village will include several restaurants as well, including a Gaston-themed spot, which presumably will use antlers in all of the decorating.

Guests will be able to participate in a surprise party for Princess Aurora (that’s Sleeping Beauty, of course) and will learn to be a Royal Knight or dance with Cinderella. (Pause to sing the Stephen Curtis Chapman song. You know you want to. When you are done crying, read on.)


For every parent who has ever said, “Please, can we skip Dumbo?” I have great news. The attraction will soon be doubled in size and have a covered queue and activities to pass the time in line. Prayers have been answered from across the land.

Have you traveled via the Disney Cruise Line? We haven’t, but I hear wonderful things. In addition to amazing expansions, the new Disney Dream is going to boast the AquaDuck (points for the name). I get the heebie jeebies just watching an animation of this thing, for I am not a dare devil. OK, on some things maybe, but not things that involve water or enclosed spaces. But I would pay money to see my son and husband on this. Check it out online.

I am, however, a geek. Pictures below are from last week’s event at the newly themed ESPN Wide World of Sports. It was my first visit to the complex and it is all kinds of great. The athletic facilities are impressive and the new ESPN theme is going to make athletes who are competing there feel like they are on Sportscenter. And they might be. It truly is becoming THE place for youth sports and many, many adults, including the Atlanta Braves (Go Braves!), are finding the facilities to be top-notch.


Chip and Dale – Chip has the chocolate chip nose (above). Never be confused again. It’s just another public service I provide. You are welcome.



Pluto! Minnie! Mickey didn’t come to my table. I made up for it by eating Cracker Jack.



More to come….

Monday, February 15, 2010

Heart of the Matter’s Online Homeschooling Conference, Feb. 22–25

Winners!!! Random.org chose:

Jennifer said...

These speakers look interesting, especially that last title. I'd like to know everything! :)

Loving learning at Home said...

Thanks for this wonderful opportunity. I would love to win a ticket. I was just looking at the site and wondering if I could fit this in the budget. Hopefully now I won't have to. LOL


Want a ticket? I have two to give away. (Find conference details here!)  Leave a comment below. If more than two of you want a ticket, I will do a random drawing. The catch? I have to give HOTM the winners’ info TODAY! Drawing (if needed) will be late this afternoon. If you comment, please be sure I can contact you. I will need to give HOTM your name and email address.

The conference is online (live) next week, but the ticket will allow you to download mp3s of the sessions later. This can be a real source of encouragement and information.

Here’s the line up:


  • Belinda Bullard, founder of A Blessed Heritage - How Will I Be Remembered? A Mom for all Seasons
  • Cindy Carrier, founder of Values Drive Family Ministry - Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers, OH MY!: Successfully Integrating Little Ones into Your Homeschool
  • Sheila Carroll, founder of Living Books Curriculum - Planning for Learning--Homeschool Planning the Charlotte Mason Way
  • Maggie Hogan, founder of Bright Ideas Press - 7 Highly Effective Habits of Happy Homeschool Moms
  • Kris, author of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers - Adding Spark to Your Homeschool with Hands-on Learning
  • Katie Kubesh, co-founder of In the Hands of a Child - Beginning Lapbooking
  • Diane Lockman, author of Trivium Mastery and The Classical Scholar - Reading Aloud: The Key to Language Development
  • Carolyn Morrison & Jennifer Leonhard, authors of Guilt Free Homeschooling - Taking the Mystery Out of Learning Styles
  • Jim Mueller, founder of Bite Sized Physics - Bite-Size Physics
  • Dari Mullins, co-author of Galloping the Globe and Cantering the Country - I'm Homeschooling, but I'm NOT HAPPY
  • Jay Ryan, author of Classical Astronomy and Signs and Seasons - Topic TBA
  • Natalie Wickham, author of Pajama School - Everything Your Child Needs to Know and How to Teach it to Them

If you want to buy a ticket, they are $12.95 each and available through HOTM.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

white out






Buddy is conspicuously absent from the snow pictures. He’s fine – but he hates snow. :) Maggie is having at least as much fun as the kids.

Friday, February 5, 2010

buy my stuff

It’s a steal: absolutely free.

I  hope you enjoy the current fruits of my labors online:

Monday, February 1, 2010

requiem for a machine


(Sorry for the gross photo. You would think I don’t own a wet cloth for all the crud on the front of my washing machine.)

It deserves a requiem, for sure. This is my washing machine. It has been working almost non-stop since September 1990, when the nice people from Sears delivered it to the first house my husband and I owned. It has washed everything from spit-up encrusted onesies to really foul camping stuff. I have used it to felt wool, wash (too large) bedding and set dye on T-shirts. This thing is an undeniable workhorse.

This machine also sucks energy like a Shop-Vac devours dog hair. The lid takes some maneuvering to operate and it drips water after using the gentle setting. (This is a mystery.) We know the washer is living on borrowed time and we are looking for a newer model. Because I hope to live with the next machine for another 20 years, I want it to work hard and be the model of energy and water efficiency. If it could transfer the laundry to the dryer and then fold it and put it away, that would be great, too.

Do you have a front loading washing machine? I fear the mold that I keep hearing about. We are looking at a Kenmore HE front loader. Will I still be able to use my super low sudsing homemade laundry soap? What is the most earth-friendly option? So many questions!

eclectic education series

dollarhomeschoollogo.jpg Dollar HS logo-smaller image picture by homeschoolcrew


If you ever wanted your homeschool to be a one-room red schoolhouse from the turn of the century (the last one, not the most recent), you may find that the Eclectic Education Series is for you. The series is available on CD (we received it in a download) and it puts what could be a complete curriculum (for years) at your fingertips. These are classic books, scanned in (fonts and such are not modern and sometimes the resulting quality is not the best) and indexed.

From the EES web site:

“The Eclectic Education Series (EES) is a set of textbooks which from roughly 1865 to 1915 WAS education in the United States, almost exclusively. They were the standard textbooks in many states and were chosen independently by over 10,000 school boards as their standard textbooks.”

I confess that I like the idea of this, but it was too difficult to implement here. This style is quite foreign to my boy who is used to a more modern (but not necessarily better) approach. Some of these materials will remain valuable to us – American Poems, for instance – but this was not something that I found easy to transition into. That’s more about our style than the materials, I imagine, but I do believe that modern day science programs, etc. are necessary.

Many (maybe all?) of these are public domain materials that are available for free online. Dollar Homeschool puts them in pdf form on CD and that is the real benefit of buying this product: convenience and ease of use. The cost for that is not cheap ($159 for the entire collection), in my opinion, but I know that time is money and if you prefer the ease of access over searching out the materials, this may be for you. If you plan to use this regularly in your homeschool and especially if you are teaching multiple children, the price becomes easier to justify. Please note that there are some missing pages in these scans and I found the quality to be lacking in some materials. I have not compared EES images to those in the public domain.

Here’s what is available in the EES (list is also online):

For Teachers

  • Manual of Methods
  • Question Book
  • Successful Teaching in Rural Schools

Ray’s Arithmetic

  • Ray's Primary Arithmetic.
  • Ray's Intellectual Arithmetic
  • Ray's New Elementary Arithmetic 192 pages. /Rudimentary Arithmetic.
  • Ray's New Practical Arithmetic
  • Ray's New Higher Arithmetic
  • Ray's New Elementary Algebra
  • Ray's New Higher Algebra
  • Ray's Treatise on Geometry and Trigonometry
  • Ray's Analytic Geometry
  • Ray's Differential and Integral Calculus


  • Thalheimer's Histories
  • Cromwell
  • Progressive Course in Reading
  • Cyclopedia
  • Andrews Constitution
  • American Poems
  • Rhetorical Reading
  • Good Morals and Gentle Manners


  • Norton's Elements of Chemistry
  • Norton's Elements of Natural Philosophy.
  • Norton's Elements of Physics
  • Ray's Elements of Astronomy
  • Ray's Surveying and Navigation
  • Complete Book Keeping
  • Schuyler's Principles of Logic
  • Introduction to Botany
  • Nature Study
  • First Year Science
  • Political Economy
  • Simplified Industrial Mechanics
  • Guide to Health

McGuffey's Readers

The Grammar Series

  • Long’s Language
  • Pinneo’s Grammar
  • Harvey’s Grammar


The entire EES collection is $159 on CD, with free shipping and a 30-day guarantee. Sample pages are available online. Subjects (Ray’s Arithmetic, McGuffey’s Readers, History, Science and Grammar) are available separately on CD.

We received a free download for review. I was not compensated. My opinions are my own.

beehive reader

If a picture is worth a thousand words… OK, I don’t know where I am going with that, except to say that Beehive Reader from All About Spelling has beautiful illustrations. We received a copy of volume one to review for the TOS Crew. This is a very beginning reader, in the style of the old Dick and Jane books. Even with very few words per page, the lush pencil drawings exude warmth. (Download a sample here. More samples here.)

If you already use All About Spelling, this would be a great addition. (It correlates with level one.) It is also a classic standalone reader – one of those “move your finger along the page” kind of books that little ones adore. At $19.95, it is not inexpensive, for sure, but it is hardbound and I think young beginning readers would really take ownership of this as a first book to read independently. Note that the book contains ten complete stories that, while written simply, actually tell sweet, complete tales. It has the feel of a classic. (Bookworms, you understand that, right?)


We received a free book for review. I was not compensated. My opinions are my own.