Home Education~Ministry Moments~Hearth and Home

Friday, May 31, 2013

For the Birds~(The End of the Bird Unit)

A few days ago my youngest finished up his bird studies from HERE.
One of the experiments he did combined physics and biology.  One raw egg, one cooked egg.


Stop it in mid-spin.  The egg that keeps spinning is the raw egg...know why?

And...as a perfect ending we had a wren build a nest in one of our planters on the front porch.  We have enjoyed watching the babies grow!  The good Lord has done this numerous times--sending things our way such as this as we are studying about them! 
Now as we are finishing up our studies for the year, he is studying other flying creatures: bats!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My First Try at French Bread

This past weekend I decided to try my hand at French bread.  For some reason it seemed like it would be difficult, and I had always just stuck with making basic white bread or whole wheat. 
I was inspired to try it because of this flour I purchased at Nora Mill Granary:
It is high gluten, so it would be good for French bread.  (I hoped!)
I usually use my Kitchen Aid mixer to knead my dough, but this recipe called for kneading the dough by hand for 8-10 minutes.  (What a workout.  If you ever need to get out your frustrations in a constructive way...make homemade bread~!)

I had leftover flour...I should not have put all 6 cups in.  Maybe just 5, then worked in more as needed.

The final product! I have to say...it was yummy! I divided the loaves in half so they would fit on my pan. It would have been neat to have some of those gorgeous long loaves...but I just don't have a pan that big!
I found out that making French bread is a lot easier than I thought. I think I'll switch to this during the warmer months. It is less "heavy" than the traditional bread I usually make. Perfect with pasta or salad!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blog Post Find of the Day: Preschool Discipline with No Time Out

      If you teach preschoolers at church you will want to listen to this 20 minute PODCAST titled: Preschool Discipline with No Time Out.  Mark is spot-on.

     I had the chance to meet "Mr. Mark at the VBS Institute I attended this past January. (He led a conference on decorations for VBS.)  We had a great time talking about learning centers and preschoolers!  His blog, Mr. Mark's Classroom is a great resource for anyone teaching kids at church.

Planting a Garden in the Mountains

We recently enjoyed a week in the Appalachian Mountains on the family farm. One of my sons' favorite activity was planting the garden with their Papa. 
Making rows the "old school" way! 

Taking a water break.

What a gorgeous day for garden planing!

 Pretty special day...My boys planting garden with their Papa in the same soil their ancestors planted garden in 150 years ago....

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Free Scripture Printables from Home Life

I discovered a great freebie as I was reading my Home Life magazine yesterday: Printable Scriptures!  I've been admiring these creativly framed scriptures inside the pages of Home Life...but never realized I could print them out.  Here is an example of one I really like (and it's our scripture for VBS!)...........
2 Timothy 1:7

Here's another one of my favorite verses:

Romans 12:12

Happy Printing!  

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

TOS Review: Science Naturally~~65 MORE Short Mysteries You Solve With Science!

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     Who doesn't love a good mystery?  Who doesn't love a good science lesson?  Okay, maybe not so many takers on that second question.  BUT....what if you combined the two?  That's just what Science Naturally did in 65 MORE Short Mysteries you Solve with SCIENCE!
Brief Overview
     65 MORE Short Mysteries you Solve with SCIENCE are part of the "One Minute Mysteries" by Science Naturally. This is a follow-up to the original book, 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science! They are co-authored by a father-daughter team, Eric and Natalie Yoder. This award winning  book contains 65 science "mysteries" that you read aloud to your kids (ages 8-12).  (Your kids can also read them to themselves, they just have to solve the mystery before they turn the page!)  The science mysteries are divided into 4 main sections: Life Science, Earth and Space Science, Physical and Chemical Science and General Science.  There are two smaller sections at the end of the book: "Five More Minutes of Mysteries" and "Bonus Section: One Minute Mysteries: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Math."  To help you locate even more specific topics, there is an index.
What our Homeschool Thought of the Book~How it Worked for Us
     We use this book everyday after lunch.  I read 2-4 mysteries each time.  This has worked out perfectly for us.  I just leave the book on the dinner table and read a few while my boys are finishing up their meal.  After reading the mystery, I give my 12-year-old the first chance at solving the mystery.  If he is stuck, my 14-year-old will give his answer.  Some of the "mysteries" are more challenging than others, but I feel that the suggested age range of 8-12 is pretty accurate.
     There are 2 things that I have found to be of benefit to us from this product.  1) Science Review.  Since my kids are 12 and 14, they should know pretty much all the answers in this book.  It has given me (and them) confidence in knowing that they really have learned a lot about science over the years.  The review has been great to make those science concepts stick even more.  2) Listening Skills.  After the first 2 or 3 mysteries, my boys and I realized just how crucial listening skills were in solving the mysteries.  This is a benefit I did not see coming...but an area I'm glad we're working on.
     My kids look forward to these mysteries each day.  On the afternoons when dad is home for lunch, he enjoys being in on the mysteries!  I love how the Yoders have made science part of everyday life in these mysteries, and how they have become a part of our day-to-day homeschool routine.
Cost of Product
The paperback is available for $9.95.  The book can also be purchased as a Kindle Ebook, for your B&N Nook, Kobo or iPad.

Click HERE to read samples of the science mysteries. Have fun trying to solve them!
Additional Products Available from Science, Naturally
CLICK HERE to find other great titles like: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Math, 65 Short Mysteries You Solve With Science, 101 Things Everyone Should Know About Math and 101 Things Everyone Should Know About Science.
Special Price for My Readers!
      Science Naturally is offering a special deal for the readers of the TOS Reviews!  You can purchase any three books for only $19.95 with a shipping rate of just $2.95.  The retail price for three books with shipping is $35.80 (a $12.90 savings).  Just enter coupon code 3SPEC in the shopping cart at www.ScienceNaturally.com.

Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Crew!




Sunday, May 19, 2013

Gearing up for Colossal Coaster World VBS!

Our church's Vacation Bible School is 8 short weeks away! A lot has been happening lately at our church in preparation for the big (or should I say "colossal") week!
T-shirts have been designed and are we are taking orders.
Kids are beginning to practice the VBS theme song on Wednesday nights at church so they can perform it the Sunday morning of VBS.  (And help lead it during the worship rally!)
Today is VBS National Day of Prayer. Our church took time in our service to pray for VBS. We also passed out prayer reminders...each family taking one name of a VBS volunteer to pray for.
Registration has begun.
Here are a few snapshots of our VBS meeting room where we have had our meetings for teachers and helpers.  I just love all the bright colors this year!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

TOS Review: High School Prep Genius

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    In just a few short months we will have a high schooler in the house.  As a homeschool mom, I am trying to learn all I can to make sure we use these next 4 years wisely as we prepare our son for college, life and manhood.  My son and I have been reading through the book, High School Prep Genius, which is put out by College Prep Genius.  We have found it most helpful and insightful.
     We chose to read High School Prep Genius, An Academic Guide to Excellence at the perfect time, since the book is written to begin reading at the start of the high school freshman year.  The introduction of the book includes a very useful "9th-12th Grade Timeline."  It guides you month-to-month the things you should be doing or preparing for. 
   The heart of the book is divided up into 3 sections which address foundations for personal, academic and future success.  My son and I focused primarily on the academic section.  (That's what is so great about this book...you can pick and choose the sections/chapters that will benefit you the most.)  In these 3 main sections there are 6 chapters per section.  In each chapter, there is a section of information to read, questions for the student to answer, a page or two for parents to read, and then "Parents' Homework." The way these sections are set up worked easily for our use.  I liked that my son had to think out and write down his thoughts concerning study habits, etc.   The parent homework was simple to understand, and reminded me of things I can do to encourage, challenge and prepare my son for academic excellence. 
     A bonus of High School Prep Genius is that is contains more information than is printed on the page.  They give lots of other websites and books for additional resources.  For example,  I was MOST excited to learn about the SAT question of the Day.  There are appendices at the end of the book.  I've already highlighted Appendix A...How to Build a Homeschool Transcript
    The bulk of this book is written for high school students who are in school.  Homeschoolers are mentioned throughout the book, but are not the primary focus.  This book is also primarily written for high school students who are preparing for college.  There is a small section that talks about the fact that college is not for everyone, but the focus is definitely to prepare for college and life beyond. 
     Preparing your homeschooler for high school can be a bit daunting.  (Take it from me...I'm feeling daunted!) Homeschool moms (and dads) are no longer just "teachers," but are "guidance counselors" as well!  This is scarier to me than being my son's teacher.  High School Prep Genius will remain on our shelf for the next 6 years...until both of my boys are away at college.  I will think of it as my "guidance counselor."  She will need to be consulted often, no doubt.

A few words from my son on "High School Prep Genius"......

This book was very encouraging.  It tells you to make the most of the time you have now.  It convinced me that the information it gives is for my best.  The questions at the end of the chapter really made me think. 

High School Prep Genius can be purchased for $29.95

CLICK to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew!

Chemistry in my Kitchen: Reaction Table #1

Science has taken over the buffet in my kitchen!

Table drawn out in the Science Notebook...ready to test out the reactions.

Where our pop bottle caps come into play...

The thing I love about chemistry is that usually everything turns out exactly like the book says it should.  Not so with life science.  This experiment was lots of fun...we have few more to go using the bottle caps. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Free May Issue: The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

Go  HERE  to find great articles in the May 2013 issue.  There are several articles about gifted and/or special needs kids.  You will also find a couple of articles highlighting "spring cleaning."  I was especially excited to see the article about the Impressionist artist, Mary Cassatt, since we just acquired a great card game based on Impressionist artists.  There's always something for everyone...even if you're not a homeschooler!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Today: Our (Long-awaited) Birding Field Trip

We had a great family field trip today!  We took a 2 hour trip to Whele Nature Center where a wildlife biologist/ornithologst spent 3 hours with our family.  This is a trip that has been planned for months.  We had been in contact with the ornithologists at the nature center, and they had invited my oldest son (and us) out for a visit.  It is peak migration time...so today was the day!  My oldest was thrilled to add 9 new birds to his life list!

Dad trying to show little brother where the King Bird is.

Big brother is not the only one who likes birding!

It was a great day.....  I loved being surrounded by peaceful nature, eating our picnic and being with my family!