Wednesday, September 30, 2015

How to Keep A Strong Marriage While Homeschooling

I was just one of many homeschool bloggers who contributed to this piece on how to have a strong marriage...while homeschooling.   My quote is one of the ones at the end, but you'll want to read the whole thing (there's some really good words of advice here...)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Our Homeschool is "Play School"

Ms. Stegasaurus teaching Calendar Time in Play-School

Before we had decided for sure that we would homeschool, back in the summer after his first year of kindergarten when we were still weighing options (homeschool, private school, repeating KG at his current school, etc), my son asked me if we could "play school."  We set up a little classroom in front of our magnet writer board, with a Stegasaurus for a teacher and various other toys for students.  The first time we played, he was the teacher, and some of the students.  I would have the students I was playing ask him questions, pretend to struggle with answers, and I would whisper the real answer into his ear if he struggled with answering them, or have another "student" suddenly remember the answer.

  Gradually he let me be the teacher, until eventually that was my role all the time (I played as a dinosaur, or other character of course--funny voices and all).  I generally made up the lessons off the top of my head.  We had a lot of "new students" and would spell their names on a magnet board we had that worked for our school's "chalk board."   We practiced adding and counting and a little geography and even a  little science (usually learning about the habitats the "students" lived the elephant on the African Savana, or the snake who's home was in the jungle).  The "students" had pretend recess and snack and went home in the larger toy cars at the "end of the day." 

It was a lot of fun...but not just fun.  I could see how my son was learning through this, and without the tears that often proceeded our daily Bob Book reading or workbook page (when he was in public school, every day started with those tears).  There were no tears over "play school" fact, he would ask to do it!

When we started officially homeschooling, we continued "play school,"  though at first the "regular" homeschool lessons were kept separate.  Then I discovered that lessons that he was resistant tended to go smoothly and without objection when I just let the dinosaur teach them to her "class" (all the students, in reality, being my son).  If he pretended to be one of his toys when he read his Bob Book during play-school reading time there were usually no tears.  Pretty soon we were doing almost everything as part of play-school.

Half way through the year he started asking to "play homeschool" in stead.  That warmed my heart, though it didn't last (not enough "kids" in homeschool to have the interactions between the toys that he loved, so we went back to a "public school" style play school).

Playing school didn't ALWAYS work like it did when we started.  Now, a year later, if he doesn't want to do something, just moving it to play school can't always fix it.   I know part of that is that he understands that "play school" is really just HOMESCHOOL, with some pretending mixed in.  And, I'll admit I'm sometimes less patient now with the "hi-jinks" of some of the "students" that interrupt lessons (they can be fun, but I can tell when he's just stalling).  And as much as I love imagination there are some lessons I need him to be present in, as himself, not playing pretend.  Other times I  just get burnt out on make believe. But it's still something he'll ask to do, even when we're on vacation from regular school (like our last month of summer).  That assures me this was still worth keeping as a regular part of our homeschool day.

 I know eventually he'll grow out of this phase where he loves to pretend--but I'm going to enjoy "playing school" while it lasts.

This post is linking is being shared at the Hip Homeschool Hop and the

Sunday, September 20, 2015


US Family Guide Halloween
Do you have any field trip plans for this fall? This list might help you plan.  Below you'll find a  list of discounts, coupons and freebies for savings nationwide for events like corn mazes, pumpkin patches, fall festivals and other family friendly fall fun, organized by state.

Tolmachoff Farms - Glendale
Mortimer Farms - Dewey
Rocker 7 Farm Patch - Buckeye

Pirates Dinner Adventure - Vampirates - Buena vista
Gilroy Gardens - Gilroy
California's Great America - Santa Clara
Big Horse Corn Maze Festival - Temecula

Colorado Annual Halloween Guide
Anderson Farms - Erie
Fritzler Maze - La Salle
Mile High Farms - Bennett
Wishing Star Farm - Calhan
Harvest Farm - Wellington
Cottonwood Farms - Boulder
Rocky Mountain Pumpkin Ranch - Longmont
Elitch Gardens Theme Park - Fright Fest - Denver
Denver Zoo - Boo at The Zoo - Denver
Children's Museum of Denver - Trick or Treat Street - Denver
Scott's Yankee Farmer - East Lyme

The Little Farm - Goulds
Lowry Park Zoo - ZOOBOO Kids! - Tampa

Siegel's Cottonwood Farm - Lockport

Amazing Fall Fun - Waterloo
Shipshewana Corn Maze - Shipshewana

Maryland/DCGreat Country Farms - Bluemont
Ripley's Believe It or Not! - Batimore

Bavarian Inn Lodge - Frankenmuth

Beggs Family Farm - Sikeston
Carolyn's Country Cousins - Liberty Corn Maze
Legoland Discovery Center - Brick or Treat - Kansas City

Applestem, Inc. - Vaughn

New Jersey
iPlay America - Freehold

New Mexico
La Union Maze - La Union

Blooms and Berries - Loveland
Beriswill Farms - Valley City

Rhode Island
Confreda Greenhouses & Farms - Hope (Western Cranston)

South Carolina
Hollywild Animal Park - Wellford

Oakes Farm - Corryton
Shuckle's Corn Maze - Hendersonville

Devine Acres Farm - Devine
Fiesta Farm - San Antonio
Barton Hill Farms - Bastrop
Lone Star Family Farm - Stephenville
LEGOLAND Discovery Center - Brick or Treat - Grapevine

Hee Haw Farms - Pleasant Grove
This Is The Place Heritage Park - Salt Lake City

Gaines Farm - Guilford

Great Country Farms - Bluemont

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Homeschool and Educational Link-ups

The following is an ever growing list of homeschool, homeschoolish, teaching and other educational link-ups where you can find great blog posts and share your own.  In addition to the strictly homeschool related ones, some of these are parenting linkys which specifically encourage homeschooling content, or general link-ups on homeschooling blogs.


There are currently no active link-ups I know of on Monday.
If you know of any on this or any other day I am missing, please share!


Littles Learning Link UP


Virtual Refrigerator
Share Your Child's Art Projects
What to Read Wednesday
at My Learning Table

A Little Bird Told Me
Homeschool and Other
Found in Regular Post
Link-up Won't Be Mentioned In Title


Throwback Thursday
Post past posts

Book Talk Thursdays

Homeschool Coffee Break

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall


Homeschool Link Up
Sometimes posted Saturday, Sometimes Friday Night

Camera Critters



Monthly - Check Sidebar for Link
Posted near the beginning of the month.

TPT giveaways - First Wednesday of the Month 

Show and Tell Tuesday
More of a classroom teacher thing than a homeschool one,
but including it here anyways.  3rd Tuesday of the month.

(Monthly) (Past Themes)

Celebrating things like International Pirate Day,
Girraffe Day, Star Wars Day, etc.  Random times.

Permanant linkies on various themes

Very comprehensive permanent collection of linky lists
organized by topic and age.

Homeschool Free Marketplace
Find their link ups under Unit Study Link-ups and Subjects in the top Navigation bar

The Ultimate Learning Directory
I've linked to the free resources...but on the sidebar you
can find other categories such as tips.   You can only submit things
in current categories, but come back often as she plans to add many
more categories.


but you can enjoy browsing old link-ups

(Just in case I missed some)

Homeschool Chicks

Mamma of Many Blessings

Hearts for Home Linky List 

2017 Not Back To School Blog Hop
(for sharing your 2017 resources) 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Talk Like a Pirate Day - September 19th

Arg.  It be "Talk like a pirate day"  Septeber 19th!  If you be lookin' for some free booty to teach your young whelps about pirates and seafaring, you can find some here below.

SIDE NOTE:   Did you know that talk like a pirate day could also be "talk like Shakespeare" day.  When I once auditioned at a Renaisance faire I was told that if you want to do an authentic Elisabethan accent, just talk like a pirate.  This video about Shakespearean English bears that out (they start actually demonstrating how the language sounded around minute 2:30, if you want to skip right to that part).

Free Coloring Pages/Activity Sheets 
All of these are from the Dover Sampler

More Pirate Homeschool Freebies


How Pirates Navigated - And a List of Pirate Resources

Editable Pirate Game (All Ages)

Another Pirate Game (All Ages)

Pirate Activites (K - 2nd)

Pirate Scavenger Hunt + Printables

Printable Pirate Book and More


Pirate Math Printables (PreK)

Pirate Themed Number/Word Match (PreK) 

Pirate Measurement (KG, 1st)

Pirate Place Value (1st, 2nd, 3rd)

Pirate Cut and Glue Math (2nd)

Pirate Multiplication Color By Number (2nd, 3rd,4th, 5th)

Pirate Themed Word Problems (3rd,4th)

Pirate Geometry (3rd,4th, 5th)

How Math Is Used in Navigation - Video (Middle/High School)


Pirate Questions (All Ages)

On the Deep Blue Sea - Emergent Reader Book (PreK, KG, 1st)

Master of the Ship - Sight Words, Alphabet Game (PreK, KG, 1st)

Sailing Into Summer Journaling Pages and Craftivity (KG, 1st, 2nd, 3rd)

Shipwrecked Pirates(KG, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th)
An activity for using descriptive language.

Talk Like a Pirate - Context Clues Game (3rd,4th, 5th)

Pirate Research Project (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th)


20 Pirate Science Activities


Pirate ARRR-ticulation (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th)
Talk Like a Pirate Speech Round-up (not all free)

    Monday, September 14, 2015

    How Dragons and VBS Helped Us Out of Our History Rut

    Sometimes, when you love something, it makes it harder.  I LOVE history, so choosing a history curriculum was HORRIBLE for me.  I just obsessed about it and couldn't decide.  It didn't help that  my child had shown no interest in history, and that my attempts to start without a curriculum just with library books fell flat.  Last year, after that, I didn't even try.  It just seems so hard to fit all the wonderful historical details of any historical topic into the bite size attention span of my 6 year old.

    Now he's a year older, and, thanks to "How to Train Your Dragon" he suddenly showed an interest in vikings.  Could this be a way in?
    Be A Viking! Postcard
    Be A Viking! Postcard by thinkytees
    (Affiliate link from which I could earn commission
    ...but mainly using it cause I think it's funny.)
    But Vikings are sort of a weird place to start really, right in the middle of things...and I still sort of had my heart set on going chronologically.

    So, I decided to just...ask him.   The coversation went something like this:

    ME: We need to start history soon. Would you like to start in really ancient history, or would you rather start by learning about Vikings, and then we can go back and learn about other stuff later? Or we could start with learning about how America started?

    HIM: So, ancient history is like...dinosaurs? (With excited look)

    ME: Well, yeah, but we've studied a lot about that already. I was thinking about what came after dinosaurs.

    HIM: Oh, like there's this extinct rhinoceros that...
    (I cut him off)

    ME: Actually, I was thinking about learning about people.

    HIM: Oh. Well, Vikings are pretty ancient, aren't they?

    ME: Yeah, they are. Though there were people before them. Like (I get out paper and draw a pyramid) one of the first civilizations were Egyptians...we learned about them in church. Do you remember when we did VBS and learned about Moses and how the Isrealites escaped from Egypt a couple years ago?"

    HIM: Umm...No.

    ME: Remember when we set up all the tents and stuff..

    HIM: OH yeah! I remember that!

    (Our church does a Vacation Bible School where we do sort of a living history version of a different Bible story each year)

    ME: Well the Isrealites had just left Egypt (I try to draw a Spinx to go with the pyramid). And after Egypt there were a people called the Romans. Rememeber the year before that when we did Rome in VBS?

    HIM: No.
    (I pull up some pictures of Romans on the internet and then he remembers..."Oh, yeah...Rome! I remember Rome!")

     This was the year our church "visited" Rome.

    And then I pull up pictures of Vikings, and tell him that they came a while after Rome.  And I pull up some pictures of Egyptians for him to look at...cause why not.   When he sees the pictures of ancient egyptian stuff he gets all excited and asks "Can learn about mummies and stuff?!

    Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun Postcard
    Innermost coffin of Tutankhamun Postcard by bridgemanimages
    (I shamelessly decorate with Zazzle links from which I could earn commission.)  

     And of course I say YES.  (BIG HAPPY GRIN, CAUSE ANCIENT HISTORY IS REALLY WHERE I WANTED TO START ANYWAYS!)    AND, I had already been looking hard at Story of the World, so...I ran out and bought it on ebay (review to come soon). 

      Linking Up At...