Friday, November 23, 2012

Schooling Around Town!

I thought I had a couple pictures of school around the house but mostly I found pictures of us schooling around town! We are mostly homebody schoolers but we do get to do some fun stuff around town too!

We got the amazing and FREE opportunity to see the Reno Philharmonic preform Peter & the Wolf! It is one of our FAVORITE music pieces! They even got the mascot form UNR to come out and capture the narrator (an anchor from the local news channel) at the end.
I was so overwhelmed to have the opportunity for my kids to hear this beautiful music performed right in front of them. I still get teary!

We've also gotten over to Ox Bow Nature Preserve a couple of times, it is one of our favorite nature walks plus the critters are always fun! The beaver dams and beaver chewed trees are among our favorites to spot!

Here is one from our backyard! Here are the kids making a village as we learned about the beginnings of Rome.

And of course we have been to the river! It is one of those places we go to unwind, or windup, wear out or calm down. Plus it is a great place to school! Leili and I were reading Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe and then Leili and Dad made a little boat to float in the river!
Inside, outside, here or there!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lantern Walk


The stars alined (& the rain paused) so we got to use the lanterns we made for the lantern walk. It was beautiful to see all the kids walking with just their lighted lanterns and then to sit around the bonfire and sip warm apple cider. What a beautiful night!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Fall Festivals


Schooling goes on even if the blog does not. I have been trying to spend less time in front of the screen and more in real life. I don't always succeed but I'm trying.
We have been enjoying the fall festivals this year. Above are pictures from our Michaelmas celebration. We made sword napkin holders, I made another dragon candle, and this year we talked Dad into baking us some dragon bread! Then at dinner we read the scripture account of the war in heaven and how Micheal drove Satan (the dragon) out of heaven with his sword of truth. Every night we will light our candle and watch how the flame vanquishes the dragon on the candle as we prepare for Christ's birth by vanquishing Satan from our lives and hearts.
We also made these cute little gnomes for our fall nature table.
Just this week we had our Martinmas dinner, I told the story of Martin with small dolls and then we cut our potato in half and shared it with our neighbor. After dinner we put together homeless packets we keep in the car to give out. We also recited the scripture, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven". The next day we made our lanterns symbolizing shining our light to others during this dark time of year that hopefully we will get to use for the local Waldorf school's lantern walk this week.
What does fall look like at your house?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Summer Science!

How is summer science looking at your house? Ours is filled with animals, insects (too many black widows!), botany, farming, chemistry (canning!), and physics (the river has been our play ground this summer)!!
I am gearing up and getting ready for our new school year but we are starting late! Stay tuned!!

And some links!

A blog post on elementary curriculum.

Mixing math and history might be just what I'm looking for for history!

TJed back to school newsletter!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Just Another Day!

We are still schooling because we took a couple good sized breaks this winter and spring. But we have slowed down as we are enjoying all the fun summer activities and learning as we go!
Science is always fun (and a favorite) around here. Jake is checking out insect parts on the microscope my Uncle Steve gave me a long while ago!
Dandelion the rabbit enjoyed watching the girls... with cloud sand! It was fun and pretty easy to make.

And here is Riley working on a braided rug with the help of his rat, Cookies & Cream.

And on an exciting side note, Lindafay over at Higher Up & Further In is blogging again! Not only is she a great inspiration as a homeschooling mama but also as a Christian mama!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Schooling is winding down here in our house, mostly because of the weather! The sun and beach are calling our names! But we are not quite done and we are still having fun! ;) I think a good portion of our enjoyment is a good balance between doing things like learning to print or write cursive and "life learning"!
I recently got tired of Jake telling people that we did not do any school on some days SO I explained the concept of life learning. That sometimes we learn from reading books or doing math problems but we can also learn amazing things by going for a hike, grocery shopping, or crafting! People keep asking me if we will take a summer break from school, most of the time I say, "yes we take a break from formal learning but we do continue to do less structured things." But really I want to yell, "NO! KIDS ARE ALWAYS LEARNING IF WE LET THEM!!!!"  Jake now proud;y tells people, "we had life learning today!" And I smile as big as he!

I have also found a couple fun things I thought I'd share!
One is THIS uber cool activity I found over a Journey Into Unschooling! We just have to wait until our craft store gets rounds back in.
I also found this fun site just this morning while looking for a copy work maker. They have math mazes, maps, tons of FREE printables over at Worksheet Works!
Happy Hump-Day!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Did you see...

Did you see the super moon? Did you take the time to walk outside?
We did.
We planned it and talked about it. We met with friends and waited. We are high here in Reno so we had to wait until it got over the mountains to our east.
Minutes before it peaked we could see its glow! The kids were amazed the moon could make so much light. And then it crested the mountain. It was beautiful and big and bright.
I love that my family can watch this kind of celestial phenomenon and be awed. Awed at our Father's creations, awed that nature can provide such a spectacular and beautiful sight. And awed that in the dark you can find so much happiness just being together!
We're ready for Sunday's annular eclipse! And ready for more awe!
Yeah for life learning as jake would say!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


I am always excited when I find out something has stuck in the kids brains, to me it means they are enjoying or find our studies interesting!
We continue doing Artist Study even though I do not put the pictures up on the side bar any longer (it was a pain to get up!). This last trimester we have been looking at paintings by Albert Bierstadt, the intrest was first piqued when they learned he was German the second because of his subject matter.
Bierstadt was an explorer and in the 1800's where was the frontier? Right here in our back yard! The Sierra Nevadas were a large portion of his paintings. Plus he is a beautiful artist, he paints in the romantic style but was also considered an luminism because of the use of light in them.
The fun came when during our trip down the 395 last month, we stayed overnight in a hotel with the usual hotel furnishings. But then Riley noticed... above the beds were prints of what appeared to be Bierstadt's paintings! Riley pointed out why he thought they were his and my proud homeschool mama heart swelled!
It is the sweet days that make it all worth it!

Thursday, May 03, 2012


Sometimes Mondays can be hard. Sometimes you have to just deal with it. But sometimes you have to outsmart Monday!
That is what we have done, at least for schooling. We don't start a new week on Mondays, we now start on Tuesdays. So that means that on Mondays we are just finishing off the last couple tasks from our lesson and I am not feeling overwhelmed trying to get everything ready Sunday night! Seriously this was a hard step for me mentally because I am a things in order kind of gal, Monday thru Friday, A thru B...
But in all seriousness this has really taken some pressure off of me and Mondays are not quite so dreaded!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mono Lake

The kids and I drove down and made a stop at Mono Lake. What a strangely beautiful place it is! They have a great new (at least new since I was last there years ago) State Park Visitor Center. They have some really interesting displays not only about the lake itself but also about the Native people who lived there.
One of our favorite exhibits was three ordinary salt shakers one with about 1/2 inch of salt which represented the ocean, one with about 1 inch of salt which represented the Great Salt Lake, and the third with almost 2 inches of salt, that one represented Mono lake! It is crazy salty, believe us we tasted it!
We also learned why there are bubbles anywhere the waves lap up (it is super windy so there are small waves), and we have a recipe to make our own Mono water:
1 quart fresh water
2 1/2 Tbsp. salt
5 Tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. epsom salts
a pinch of borax
a pinch of detergent

The baking soda or calcium carbonate is what forms the tufas that make mono lake so interesting to see! After Jake's legs dried they were white from all the dried salt on his feet!
The small islands in mono lake are breeding grounds for the California Gulls. They fly all the way from the Pacific ocean to lay eggs here. Also out in the middle you can see the atoll of a former volcano.
This was a wonderful stop on our very volcanic adventure!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SPRING is upon us!! Time to get back OUTSIDE! HOORAY!!

We steal as many moments as possible outside during the winter but it is so nice to think of all the time we will get outdoors soon! Learning out of doors is one of our most favorite!

I recently read a GREAT ARTICLE from the Audubon Society about making family time and nature time co-exist.

And since we are on the subject I thought I'd share a few other fun resources our family has enjoyed!

:: Last Child in the Woods ~ Saving our children from nature-deficit disorder. This is an awesome book, I think this should be required reading for all parents!

:: i love dirt! ~ 52 activities to help you & your kids discover the wonders of nature. This one is a fun spring board to fun outdoor ideas.

:: Nature's Playground ~ Activities, crafts, and games to encourage children to get outdoors. Arranged by season this one is wonderful in that it has wonderful ideas but also explains about being respectful of nature and leaving it for others to enjoy too. This one also has great pictures!

:: Falcon Guides ~ Best Easy Day Hikes in _____. I love these books, especially for when you are just starting to look for good places to get out too but also they are great when moving to a new area! Other publishers also print similar books Best Hikes for Children in _____ are wonderful too!

:: And one to share :: The Salamander Room. A great picture book can inspire magic that pulls you out of doors (and it's a Reading Rainbow book!)!

So as you celebrate the first day of Spring tomorrow I hope you can feel the sun on your face and some dirt in your hands!

Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Oh the good times are rolling along! We have had a good rhythm going all winter after a rocky start last fall. One of the things helping that is we (the kids and I) have not traveled or had many other distractments.

Fern has been all excited about math since I introduced her to horizontal problems! She asks to do math EVERY day!

Jake has been my reading machine! And being an awesome big brother has been reading to Leili often! She just loves that! This book was a big hit here last library run Llama llama mad at mama.

Science is always popular around here, impromptu experiments are often going on in various parts of the house!

Here is our biggest science experiment recently... Riley got a rat... for a pet! Yes I am crazy, but so far everyone is enjoying Cookie (Cookies & Cream)!

I also have a few links to share!

:: The new Oak Meadow Journal Live Oak is out!

:: This genius of a homeschooling mama collaborated to make these great Living Learning Lists, seriously if I could homeschool like this for everyone through every stage I would!!

:: Recently the local elementary down the road had their science fair, I am thinking we need to have a homeschooler science fair... now just to find some willing participants!

:: And last but not least, I am not a big fan of computer games for learning but I do like Starfall and these Cool Math Games for kids and Cool Math Games for Little Kids looks like we need to explore a bit!!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Fern has started working on her Word Families! She is so excited! It is wonderful!

So I made Fern some cards to make some of the AP words and then after she had sounded them out she showed me the words!

She came up with all of these by herself I was just the photographer!

And Leili wanted in on the fun too!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

As a family we are learning about the Civil War era, slavery, and Abraham Lincoln. Mostly through out loud reading, it is amazing to me how much the kids absorb when I read aloud verses other learning!

We scored this week at Goodwill and found a mostly complete set of Lincoln Logs! The kids have been building Abe Lincoln's log cabin, with no windows but they have not found a bear skin for the door! ;)

I have collected these books over years at thrift stores and library sales. We are onto the second book in the Addy series, the American Girl Books are great historical fiction! We also read the If you Grew Up With Abraham Lincoln which I just found at Goodwill last week! Perfect!! I am also planning that we will listen to THIS free recording of the Gettysburg Address. This all ties into our learning about Nevada as Nevada became a state during the Civil War. Which is why our state's nickname is Battle Born!

Monday, February 06, 2012

I came across some great thought provoking articles recently that I thought I'd share. The first one is an article from Simple Homeschool's Homeschool Day in the Life series. Rachel DeMille shared one of her days, I have always wanted to peek into the windows of her homeschool among others. A couple things that really stood out for me was the excitement in sharing what she figured out with her children. Lately as Dan has been traveling and not having a true kindred friend here yet I have felt a little without. Maybe I should just get over the hump and learn to enjoy sharing more with my children. Of course it can not completely fulfill my need for adult conversation but that does not mean I can not enjoy them more! I also read another article from the DeMills about the importance of reading, both as an individual and as a family. We really adopted and made this practise our own, our youngest has thrown that off a bit in the 2 1/2 years she has been with us. I need to make this more of a priority in our day, it is so enjoyable to see everyone getting excited about a story!

I also read this story about Steve Jobs, I'm not a huge fan but I think he was good at what he did and I do want my children to find their passion! I also agree with the article that if we want our children to find their passions and desire to find things out then they need to have that time outdoors, they need to have time. What more can we truly desire for our children's education than curiosity, passion, and time for them. I truly remember going to school because it was my "job" and then coming home to enjoy my passions. It was not uncommon for me to stay up late into the night because a book had sparked the fire of my curiosity!


Teaching is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire. ~ William Butler Yeats


He ate and drank the precious words ~ his spirit grew robust ~ he knew no more that he was poor ~ nor that his frame was dust~ he dance along the dingy days and this bequest of wings was but a book ~ what liberty ~ a loosened spirit brings. ~ Emily Dickinson

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Posted by PicasaWe are back! Thank goodness that did not last as long as I thought it might! Mostly because we did not have to replace the computer just the hard drive. Thank goodness for self learning husbands! ;)

While I was away from the computer we had a most deliciously warm day! So we did our school work quickly and headed to the nature center near our home. I am not sure there is a better way to learn than by being outside in an unstructured way! The kids threw rocks in the river, they ran and yelled. We soaked up as much vitamin D as possible and we ate outside (which I just love to do)! It was lovely!!

If you have not read Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder. PLEASE DO! He has a new one out that I can't wait to get my hands on!

Monday, January 30, 2012

So we are trying something new to help us get through our day. At the beginning of the year I bought Riley a student planner because he likes to know what is expected of him before he starts his day. I thought eventually he would be able to look at our schedule and look at his weekly assignments and fill in the individual days himself. It has not happened that way and in fact I realized he rarely even looks at the daily list, he jut asks me again... But I have to say it was nice to have a daily list of what we were going to get done, so I am trying out the white board. I take the weeks assignments, look at what subjects are scheduled for the day and then write every ones assignments. Jake is enjoying this as he has become a super reader, Fern really does not need a list as she does not read yet but I knew she'd feel left out so I put her right at the top. Besides it helps my brain (it needs all the help it can get)!

So we will see how this goes, maybe it will stick maybe it won't.

And a little FYI for those who are not readers of my other blog, my hard drive is fried so I will just be posting occasionally now when my husband is not traveling and such. But also the photos will suffer as the few I do share will be off of my phone...


Here is an interesting article about homeschooling rising!