Sunday, January 25, 2015

CC cycle 3 week 16 :: the plan

We are finding our groove and well into the 3rd quarter of cycle 3. We are loving the focus on American history with this cycle and find ourselves talking history all of the time! I love the blessing of homeschooling and learning right along side my children. Classical Conversations is such a blessing to us on this journey! 
It's time for week 16! 
**Remember, it is NOT necessary to supplement your CC memory work. The Foundations guide is all you need! Stick in the sand. Drill, drill, drill! These ideas are just some of the many that you could use if you wanted to dig deeper but it is not needed. 

This week is all about immigrants coming to America. We will focus our time on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in our home studies. We will plan to watch this video, "The Face of America: The Ellis Island Immigration Museum" to see more about the peoples who immigrated to our country through Ellis Island.
{view on webpage}

Virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty can be found at the National Park Service site which includes several images, video links and Park Ranger Interpretive clips. The Statue is such an icon of our country and a symbol of the hope and promise of America that immigrants focused on as they arrived.  

We may draw the Statue of Liberty for a fun extra this week. You can find the directions here.



This a video narration of the book "The Story of the Statue of Liberty" which tells about how the Statue came into being. 
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This Periodic Table visual called "What Does the Clock Say?"  can be found at Teacher's Pay Teacher's website for free. It gives the first 12 elements and also a chant which goes along with the tune of the song "What Does the Fox Say?" which my boys both think is hilarious! 

An app called Quick Periodic Table is free on iTunes and we will be using it to get familiar with the table itself and see images of what the elements look like as they appear in God's creation (in Wikipedia links). 
We will also use this free app called Nuclear also available on iTunes. A fellow tutor in our community recommended this one and it is amazing! (Thanks Angela!) It allows the user to add the correct number of protons, neutrons and electrons to create each element. Here is a screen shot of Nuclear:

So that's all I have in mind at this point. Hope some of it will be useful for you:-)

Linking up with the Cycle 3 Weekly Link Up at Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars {gf/df}

Several years ago I started a quest for the perfect, chewy granola bars for my kids. I wanted to be in control of the ingredients and eliminate yucky preservatives. Making them cheaper than the store bought ones was a major perk as well.

Our recipe has gone through a few morphs over the years and this version is our current staple. It is gluten and dairy free and makes all the tummies in our house happy!

Here is how you can quickly and easily whip up your own batch of delicious bars for your little ones...or even yourself!

{peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars}
2 cups gluten free rolled oats (I use Bob's Red Mill)
2 cups organic, krispy rice cereal
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup coconut palm sugar (you could also use light brown sugar)
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (the kind with just peanuts as the ingredient)
1 cup Enjoy Life Chips

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cereal and the flax. Set this aside for now.

Line a 13x9 pan with a sheet of parchment paper. Use some clothespins or chip clips to keep it attached to the sides of the pan. This will help in a few minutes when you pour the mixture in. Also, get another piece of parchment paper ready for pressing the mix evenly into the pan. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, stir together the honey and the sugar. Stirring often, heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from the heat and quickly stir in the peanut butter until well combined.

Pour the mixture over the oats mixture and stir until combined. Add the chips and pour directly into the parchment lined 13x9 pan. Place the second sheet of parchment over the mixture and use the back of a measuring cup to firmly press the granola mix into the pan. Easy peasy and no mess! Press down firmly to yield a nice pan of granola bars that will hold together well.

Let the bars cool completely and then you can easily lift them out of the pan by the parchment paper. {It is so much easier to cut into bars outside of the pan!} Cut into bars using a pastry scraper if you have one or just a large knife and enjoy!

Bars keep well in a sealed jar on your counter but hurry and grab one! They won't stick around very long:-)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

CC cycle 3 week15:: the plan

Hello fellow CCers!  We are soon to be 3 weeks into our spring semester and life is really starting to fly for us again. Time to hold on and buckle down for the ride!

Here are some things I have planned for week 15.

**Remember, it is NOT necessary to supplement your CC memory work. The Foundations guide is all you need! Stick in the sand. Drill, drill, drill! These ideas are just some of the many that you could use if you wanted to dig deeper but it is not needed. 

This week is all about Teddy Roosevelt and the Spanish American War. We will look to the Timeline card and rely on our readers this week. We may try to have "dress like a Rough Rider" day since my boys would have a ball with that!
Here is what a Rough Rider would have worn. 

We will also have a "Cuban" theme to dinner one night and make connections there. I have some ideas for that pinned on my week 15 Pinterest board if you are interested. 

Here is a coloring page we will use. 

We are gathering books from our local library again this week and will be reading all about Teddy Roosevelt. My oldest will read "Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt" for his reader and the others we will read aloud together. We will also talk about how the first "teddy" bear came to be and have a Teddy bear day complete with some Teddy Grahams to snack on. Whenever possible, I like to include fun snacks in our learning. Must be from those years we did Fiar;-)


We will hit our Geography Trivium Table for more stick in the sand. There is a video on youTube that puts the lakes to the tune of "The Streets of Cairo" that we will use for our memory work that you can find here. Since we are talking about the Great Lakes and Niagra Falls, I plan to use this video, which was shot by a quad-copter to bring the majesty of the falls to my children. I would love to visit there one day!
{view on web page}

The site has great information on atom basics found here but also gives much more info if your older Foundations students are wanting to ask the questions with you. 

I'm sure we will add more to the week as we dive in but this is the plan so far. I hope these plans are helpful to anyone as you think about making CC the spine of your homeschool. I use these posts myself to keep my thoughts all in one place. I pray it blesses you!

If you are interested in more ideas for week 15, check out my Pinterest board here;-)

Linking up with Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood Cycle 3 Weekly Link-up

Saturday, January 17, 2015

mid-year homeschool review

The half-way mark of the school year is here! Whew!

Most of us feel relieved to make it to this point of the year. Sometimes it is mingled with a sense of burn out and a need for things to be tweaked.

Each year in August, I plan, print and laminate with gusto. I lay out all of our dream plans and dive into the school year. By the time the holiday season hits, I've honestly lost some of that steam. We've gotten into a rut and things obviously need a recharge by the time January rolls around.

This time of year it is helpful, and even refreshing, to take an honest assessment of how things are going in our homeschools.

I like to purposefully sit down with my planner, curriculum, and guides and see how our year is going. I set aside any comparisons to other homeschooling families and any feelings I may have of not being <enough>. Instead of seeing all that we haven't done, I honestly evaluate what we have accomplished and where we are in the scope of the year as a whole.

I recommend 3 areas to evaluate as you make your mid-year assessment. Below I have the 3 categories and a list of the questions that I ask myself as I go through each. I typically write the 3 categories down on a page in my planner and write out the answers in pro/con format.  It is so helpful to get the answers out of our brains and onto paper. Take this opportunity to document in a mid-year review and not just think it through in your head.

3 areas to evaluate for a Mid-Year Homeschool Review:


How is it working?
Is it a good fit for your child? for the family?
Are you achieving success?
Are you on track? half-way through?
Do you need to speed up things or slow it down a bit?
Are they 'getting' it?
Is there mastery? 
Does everyone enjoy it? (I know that is a loaded one but consider it.)

If the answers are no to some of these...take advantage of the freedom you have to tweak or switch! Don't be afraid to make a change. One of the best things I've done in our homeschool was to ditch what wasn't working for us. 

Do you have a schedule? 
Is it working for your student and the family as a whole?
Do you need to implement a schedule?
Is a less structured routine needed?
Are there any changes to your family dynamic that would mean a change is needed? 
A new baby, a job change, children who have gained more independence?

If you find that you need more structure, this is a good time to create a schedule for your days. 
If your children are becoming more independent, then a daily checklist may be in order to give them more freedom to work through their work on their own. I recommend teaching the youngest first and work your way up to the oldest then allow each child to work independently as they are able. Remember, our goal is to raise independent learners!

Check off the things you've accomplished! Yay! Do a happy dance!!
Do you need to add any new goals?
Are the goals you started out with still valid?
Do you need to tweak things?

If becoming a better reader was a goal in August and your child is now showing mastery, then do a happy dance and celebrate the achievement! And then add a new goal!

I hope that these thoughts will be helpful for you as you evaluate how your homeschool year is going. It is a very Biblical principle to see where we've been and look ahead to where we are going. Let's keep our goals in mind as we learn along with our children. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

the 20 book reading challenge for kids

The new year is still fairly young. Resolutions and challenges still linger in the air.

I'm taking advantage of the fresh start and using it to issue a reading challenge to my 6th grader.  The 20 Book Reading Challenge and he has accepted!

We are a book loving family and spending free time reading comes pretty naturally. Even so, I felt like my oldest could use a little boost with his book selections.

I came up with a list of 20 types of books that I then challenged him with. I created a printable listing several prompts to assist him as he chooses books for his reading.  The selections will force him to think about books in a different way than he has before. As part of the fun, I will participate in the challenge along with him. The great thing about choosing books this way is that we can both choose different books to suit us and still satisfy the same prompts from the list. We can plan to check one prompt off every 2 weeks and finish up the list by the end of the year.

I'll plan to share with you here some of the books we are reading as the year progresses. If you have a great recommendation, either for his list or mine, I'd love to hear from you!

If you are looking for a way to increase your child's book consumption, try a reading challenge. Then sit back and enjoy the literary journey together.

click here to print a copy of the 20 Book Reading Challenge prompt list

"A child who reads will be an adult who thinks." ~unknown

Saturday, January 10, 2015

CC cycle 3 week 14 :: the plan

Time to take on week 14!

This week I am hoping to be back in the saddle and finding our groove again! Are you back at it after a long break? Take heart. Give yourself grace (and your kiddos) as you find your groove. I am a fan of a soft start after a bigger break. How do you get back into the swing of things? I'd love to hear how others tackle this!

On to the plan for week 14:-)

There is a good series from the History Channel called The Men That Built America. You can watch clips but not the entire series on and access a trivia quiz. We were able to watch the series before Christmas and really enjoyed it! 
The following video gives a general overview of the Industrial revolution. 

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Check out biographies on all of the tycoons at the links below.

We are making the most of our local library system lately, so these are the books I could get for us this week. 


Linear equivalents are this week and there is a cute visual download available at suzanneshares that I will use with my kiddos. Check out her site for some great ideas!

Also, check out this site for some measurement worksheets to go along with these units of measure. 

Continuing on with the physical features and the Northwest mountains. We pretend to mountain climb when we say the ranges and make a peak with our arms over our heads for each mountain. This week we may try to make a volcano at home since we are talking about Mt. St. Helens. Here is an easy method to make a volcano with kitchen ingredients. 
Here is a fun video on the elements that I'm sure my kids will get a kick out of. We will sing our memory work for science this week to the tune of "Rise and Shine". 

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We are using these great Latin flashcards from Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood to review our vocab. There are also these Latin Bingo cards available on CC Connected under username brandyferrell to review Latin. Thank you Brandy for such a great resource!

We are also adding some American Sign Language motions to help us as we move through the passage in John. Check out this video for some ideas. 

As always, there are more ideas for this week on my Pinterest board titled CC c3wk14.
Thanks so much for stopping by! I'd love to hear some of your plans for this week:-)

Monday, January 5, 2015

CC cycle 3 week 13 :: the plan

So thankful for a nice long break but excited to begin a new year and jump into a new semester of cycle 3!

We'll be slowly easing into a routine this week. Re-establishing our morning routines and the kids will get back into their daily notebooks. My oldest and I will do a laid back parent proof for the first 12 weeks of memory work as he is working towards Memory Masters again this year. I just want to see where he is at this point in the year and determine what we need to start drilling more. I'll make use of the Cycle 3 app and let the youngers review in that way. We will likely finish up a few Civil War related readers that we didn't fit in before Christmas. Hopefully, by the end of the week, we will be back in our school mode. 

So....week 13. Here we go!

This week we focus on the 14th Amendment and the changes that came as a result of Reconstruction. There isn't a great deal available on the 14th Amendment but this is a good video giving the basics regarding it. 

This is another, more in depth video which would be better for older students. (It covers content such as lynching, etc. )
This is a good week to start looking ahead to the Civil Rights Movement and that will come back again in week 20. Our readers will focus more on that content. 


We start our adventure into the world of chemistry this week.  We will sing the science sentence to the tune of "La Cucaracha" (let me get my maracas! ) and use the science snippets from CC for our memory pegs. 
This video is a good visual and goes into atomic mass as well but does a good job explaining atomic number. 

If we have time this week (if not we will move it to a later week) I plan to make edible atom models like these

And that's the week in a nutshell! 

For more ideas and inspiration, check out my pin board for week 13 on Pinterest!

**Remember, it is NOT necessary to supplement your CC memory work. The Foundations guide is all you need! Stick in the sand. Drill, drill, drill! These ideas are just some of the many that you could use if you wanted to dig deeper but it is not needed.

sharing with the Half a Hundred Acre Wood Cycle 3 Weekly Link-up

Saturday, January 3, 2015

one little word for 2015

I love New Year's! A time for new beginnings. Time for reflections and goal setting as we look forward to the upcoming year.

One of the things that I have enjoyed doing over the last few years is choosing one word to help me stay focused and motivated toward my goals for the year. 

I've given a lot of thought to my one little word for 2015. 
There were a few words swirling around in my mind over the last week but one kept coming to the surface again and again. In fact, I couldn't get away from it. 
Finally, I committed it to paper this morning. 


It seemed natural for me to choose joy as my word for the year because it was something I found myself earnestly praying for as 2014 drew to a close. Through many issues and situations, I kept seeking joy. Joy in my circumstances, joy in my roles of being a wife, mother and homeschooler. Joy in this journey. And often I felt that joy was far from my reach.

As I move through 2015, I desperately want joy to be reflected in my life. I long to be one of those people who simply exude joy.

I want true joy to flow from me to those around me on a daily basis, especially to my children as we move through our days together.
I want to grow in understanding "joy" as a fruit of the Spirit that is richly available to me. It isn't dependent on my cirumstances.
I want to express with joy the goodness of God and all He has done for me.
"For you make me glad by your deeds, Lord; I sing for joy at what your hands have done. How great are your works, Lord, how profound your thoughts!" Psalm 92:4-5
Joy comes from continually praising God. Unspeakable joy is available in the Lord and I long to have Him cultivate it in me.

So, in so many ways... I choose joy!