Friday, July 31, 2009

Geography links

Here is a link for lessons and activities for each state, to accompany the "Discover America State by State Series".

Crayola has coloring sheets for the fifty states. Also on their site are coloring sheets for the Canadian Provinces, animals, vehicles, landmarks, countries with their flags and maps, and presidents.

I like these International Recipes and cooking lessons for kids. Check around the rest of this site. There's all kinds of goodies on there!
Here are some recipes from around the world.
A nice collection of maps from Education place.
We are using these maps for our study of Africa.

Some geography games online....

National Geographic Geospy

Play Kids Games
I Like to Learn
A "tetris" style geography game

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hike! Gee! Haw!

My friend Wendy piqued my interest in the Iditarod a couple of years ago. I am not one to put something together at the last minute, so we didn't do it last year. We didn't do it this year because I was due with a baby at about the time the race was starting. So, finally, Iditarod 2010 here we come! I know it is a bit early to be posting this, but you know I plan all my stuff over the summer so I don't have to go back and plan stuff over the school year.

We are going to do a notebook/lapbook type thing (I maybe need to come up with a word for this- lapping notebook?) and since we have recently made some wonderful friends in Alaska, we going to study the whole state. We'll do this study for 15 weeks for the second half of our school year. (The first half we are going to do a study of Africa. Africa to Alaska? I know, what a contrast!) We will do Geography one afternoon a week. I am planning on taking the week that the Iditarod is actually going on, off from regular schoolwork and we'll just focus on some read alouds and daily musher tracking and updates, and that sort of thing.

I've tried to include websites with most of the material we'll be using, but a few of the things that I have I didn't get from the internet.

The Official Iditarod site.

Homeschool in the Woods has a great Alaska/Iditarod unit study.

Scholastic has some Iditarod information, and some ideas in their Teacher guide that you may want to include.

Here is is a wealth of Iditarod information, things to print and links to other The Iditarod Airforce site has some information and pictures.

How about an Iditarod Tic Tac Toe? We will also use the coloring page from this site.

We will use the Alaskan Malamute and Siberian Husky pages from Enchanted Learning.

Here are some different activities to print, but we will only use the "Alaska map quiz" from this page.

We are going to include this thermometer idea.

Here are some good dog and sled color pages.

Here is a pattern to make dog booties. I know there are other patterns out there, but I can't seem to find them and this one is pretty simple. There are also neat directions for an Eskimo wooden sled. (That we will not make.)

Here are instructions for making a popsicle stick dog sled.

Homeschool Share has several studies to go with Alaska/Iditarod related books, we won't be doing all of these, but I thought I would include them. Generally with any prepared study, I always just pick and choose the things that stand out to me.

Baby in a Basket by Gloria Rand

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill

Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett Also, I am planning on making a felt story for this book from the color pages on Jan Brett's website.

And, a study on Polar animals.

A Moose cam

Alsaka Cam

The start of the race should be able to be seen on this cam.

Here are some neat pictures of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis). Some of them are taken of the South Pole, but they are neat.

Take a self guided lesson on Aurora's. This will be a great tie in with the astronomy unit we are doing.

Here is another Aurora site with pictures, but I specifically bookmarded this site for the photo showing the sun's movement across the horizon in Fairbanks. The picture is on the right hand column of the page.

Here are some good pictures of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. I have not read the information on this site, we are just going to discuss what happened, and the impact it had on the ecosystem. Here are some experiments if you would like, but we aren't going to do any of these because quite frankly, oil and seven children equals MESS. And, we are doing other experiments for our science lessons anyway, and we will do the insulation experiment from the unit from Homeschool in the Woods.

Here are some some of Alaska's volcanocams.

Some info on polar bears.

How about these printouts of the flag, map, bird and flower.

We'll hightlight the Iditarod rules.

Here is a book and video list. I haven't looked at all of these, but most of these titles kept turning up again and again in my research. I'm planning on choosing the ones that are available at our library. You can just use what books you have collected or what you have available at your own library. We will use some of the chapter books as read alouds when we take the week of the Iditarod to just focus on the race itself. I won't really have time to preview all of these books now, but I WILL look them over/read through them before I actually sit down to use them with the kids. Please just be forewarned to do the same and use your own discretion.


Woodsong by Gary Paulson

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Bite of the Gold Bug: A Story of the Alaskan Gold Rush" by Barthe Declements

The Alaska Purchase by Daniel Cohen

Aurora: The Mysterious Northern Lights by Candace Savage

Baby in a Basket by Gloria Rand

The Three Snow Bears by Jan Brett

Akiak: A Tale from the Iditarod" by Robert Blake

Storm Run: The Story of the First Woman to Win the Iditarod Sled Dog Race" by Libby Riddles

The Great Serum Race: Blazing the Iditarod Trail by Debbie Miller

Balto and the Great Race by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Togo by Robert Blake

The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill

"Iditarod Classics" and "More Iditarod Classics" by Lew Freedman

Adventures of the Iditarod Air Force by Ted Mattson

The Mystery on Alaska's Iditarod Trail by Carole Marsh

The Iditarod Dream: Dusty and His Sled Dogs Compete in the Junior Iditarod" by Ted Wood


Iron Will, Call of the Wild, Balto, Eight Below, Snow Dogs, and we have various documentaries on Alaska at our library.

I went through and collected all the printouts and ideas that I had and made a basic frame for my 15 week study. Your outline doesn't have to look like this, or be 15 weeks. It could be longer or shorter and you can cover whatever topics you want. Here is the basic framework and what we will cover, but I'm not including the exact lesson plans because yours will look different depending on how many weeks you choose, topics you choose and resources that you own or have at your library.

We also are going to use some tracing paper to make map overlays.
Week 1: Introduction to Alaska (facts, population, temperatures, etc)

Week 2: Maps (Overlays to include cities, bodies of water, mountains/volcanoes, Iditarod trail, artic circle)

Week 3: Maps/Volcanoes and Mountains (compare elevations with other US mountain ranges)

Week 4: Wildlife

Week 5: History (Alaska Purchase/Gold Rush and timeline)

Week 6: Poems and Stories (Alaska poetry/legends/felt story with "Three Snow Bears"

Weeks 7-11: Iditarod (We will actually spend the entire tenth week off from regular school to do just Iditarod stuff.) map overlay of the trail, anatomy of a dog team/sled, supplies, food, command terms, race rules, read alouds, recipes, videos, crafts, etc.

Week 12: Native People (Inuit)

Week 13: Native People (Naives other than Inuit; totem poles)

Week 14: Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights

Week 15: Natural Resources-Oil

All of the children will be doing Geography together. The oldest two (9th & 7th grades) will be doing the map overlays, minibooklets on the different subjects, timeline, and smaller informational booklets and things to include for the notebooks (three ringed binders) like facts, rainfall, population, etc. The middle two (4th and 2nd grades)- and possibley the 1st grader- will do more simple maps and booklets and color sheets to include in their notebooks. Although I think I will have the 4th grader do a three ringed binder and the 2nd and 1st grader (and probably the 4yo) do just pronged folders. The 2yo will have a limited attention span so he will mostly do the color sheets, maybe play with the felt stories and look at the books or play with legos while we read. Or whatever else will keep him busy and not fussy. :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Move over C.S. Lewis, there's a new writer in town.

I contributed an article to the Old Schoolhouse Magazine last year for their e-book on homeschooling preschoolers. It's finally been finished and is available in The Old Schoolhouse Store! This is the first time I've been 'published'-do I get to call myself an 'official' writer now?

Click on over to Fortunately For You books and read the review.

Here is the link to the Old Schoolhouse store.

The section I wrote is "Teaching Preschoolers".

Pretty exciting!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


David told Brittany that she could get her ears pierced when she was 14. That day finally came yesterday. Although when I reminded him, he said that no, he had definately said age 16. Such a kidder.

David took her to Claire's. She chose her birthstone. She wasn't even nervous. She said it didn't even hurt.

Birthday girl and her beloved cheesecake.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Monday Musings

A very tired boy.

Tristan always has a funny way of saying things. Last week he says, "I don't know, Mom, but I stepped on something and now my 'foot pinkie' hurts."

Friday, July 17, 2009

Away down south in Dixie

I feel a small need to redeem the south, namely South Carolina, with its rising unemployment, its cheating governor, and its serial killer and all. I wasn't raised in South Carolina, but I've been here for eleven years. My family is from a little town in Alabama way out in the woods. When I first met David he was afraid I'd drop him off and he would have to use his Marine Corps land navigation skills to get back to civilization. This is also where "Courtney Lane" is.

I have always lived in the south, well except for the three years we lived in Hawaii. The weather in the south is great. Here in South Carolina we have two seasons "Great golly it's Hot" and "It's cold during the month of February, but we can still wear shorts through December". Further south you have "Really Hot" and "Not too Hot" and a little further north you have "Hot" and "Here comes that once-every-two-years-ice storm".

A little, or perhaps most, of my souther drawl has faded. No longer, "III'd liiiike a Spriiiite, thank youuuuu." I believe I left it in Hawaii when everyone kept asking, "Honey, when are you going to lose that southern accent?" However, I have held on to most of my southern vocabulary. It's just inbred. You can't lose that. Here are some examples:

Hey!: Used as a greeting, or as an interjection as in, "Hey! Why did you just smack your brother in the head?"

Y'all: Used as a plural pronoun, as in, "Are y'all just going to sit there while your brother runs around with a serrated bread knife and a pudding cup?" A less desirable "you guys" is used in the north.

Fixin' to: Used as a verb, as in, "I am fixin' to come up there if y'all don't stop that!"

git: Also known to some as "get", used as in, "Git your brother out of the toilet!"

Bless your heart: Used sympathetically as in, "Oh, you just fell down three flights of stairs, broke both legs, and need a body cast? Well, bless your heart!"

Say!: Used as a command, as in, "Did you just cut your sister's hair with those scissors? Say!"

I'll be dog!: I don't actually use this term, but my granny did. It is used as an exclamation when you are surprised about something, as in, "The kids are all playing nicely without arguing? Well, I'll be dog!

fo' shizzle: Oh, wait-that is not southern.

Certainly the south has had its share of difficulty. I mean we did try and secede from the union. Well, not me personally. But, I do have a rebellious side. I rip off my "do not remove" pillow tags right away. Do not try to control me.

The south also has the best food- fried chicken, fried catfish, fried okra and fried squash. Notice a theme? The south is not cholesterol friendly. We do eat our vegetables. As long as you simmer them for at least an hour to make sure every last nutrient has been leached out. Then add a stick of butter. And cornbread on the side. Mmmmmm. You can't get any better than that.

The deep south is the setting for many of my fondest memories. I recall sitting in my Granny and Papa's trailer on Friday nights watching "Dallas" after the local high school football game. Except that I don't like Dallas, or high school football, but that's really beside the point. I remember when you told someone how to get to that trailer by saying, 'It's up the road a piece- cross the bridge and take a left at the crossroads." I remember picking up the phone and hearing the neighbor talking because we had a "party line". I remember when "going to town" just meant you were going into town. I remember my papa filling up his truck with gas on "credit" when credit meant saying, "I'll come back on Tuesday and pay you."

I have visited the north-my husband is from Chicago. But, there is just something about the south. I will always call it home.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I would like to thank the academy.....

I won.

I won!


Isn't it fun to win?

I entered a contest over at Saving the Family Money. This is a neat blog- I mean who doesn't like saving the family money? And, I won this really fun Applebee's prize pack. It's the very first thing I have won from a blog contest. A very momentous occasion.

It arrived in the mail today all wrapped up in a bow.

A calculator was also part of the prize, but I didn't realize I neglected to put it on the desk til after I'd taken the pictures and downloaded them.

I would like to thank the academy and especially all of the little people for making this possible.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday Musings

I forgot to mention on my last musings post that our fun fireworks enjoyment ended abruptly with Tristan slipping on the stairs, banging his nose and bleeding all over the carpet. There is an alarming amount of blood in the nose.

This weekend the kids were all playing hide and seek and Tristan decided to hide in the downstairs closet. After about 7 or 8 minutes had gone by and no one had found him, he yelled out, "Do you "forgive up"?

Thomas likes going to the gym with our friends and playing with the balls and "frisserbees".

We were trying to decide on a family movie to watch last night and Brooke piped up, 'How about "Anne of Green Maples"?' (You know, the one where Anne starts her own syrup making business.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Math Resources......

Math is not my best subject. I don't hate math, but I guess I don't love it either. Math and I have a nuetral relationship.

We have done Saxon math in the past. It is a teacher led program until 4th grade when it becomes a student led program. It is fairly dry, the student reads the lesson and then does the lesson. My oldest doesn't like this. She "never" understands the lesson and I always end up reading and explaining the whole thing to her. She has basically shut down on Saxon. So, this year we are going to switch to Math U See. I have seen the videos and I think they will work well for us.

There are lots of good resources to teach finances at Money Instructor.

Living Math! is a great site with alternatives to teaching "textbook" math. There are learning games, lesson ideas and even book lists of math "living" books.

Mathwire has some neat probability games that use dice and other small easy to find items.

Little Brick Schoolhouse has some great Lego information and ideas on how to make Lego play educational.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Art and Music Resources

These are few because I am not an artsy/music person.

Classics for Kids is a great site for classical music.

Check out Incredible Art Lessons.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday-only with a few words.

Bailey turned four months old on Monday!

Wait a minute. How'd this one get in there?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Monday Musings, Fireworks Edition

We were sooooo disappointed that the Village didn't do fireworks this year. We went to them last year-their first (and apparently last) annual fireworks display. It was the best we had ever seen. I'm not sure why they cancelled it, but our little hearts were broken.

We planned on grilling out that day, also, but David woke up not feeling well so we decided to postpone the grilling until Sunday.

We thought we'd go on outside at dusk and see if any neighbors were doing any fireworks. The neighbors behind us usually do a few. It turned out to be incredibly pleasant outside and, for the first 4th in I don't know how long, it didn't rain. And well, everybody must have been in a patriotic mood this year because we had fireworks on all sides! There was so much smoke and noise in the neighborhood you would have thought we were right out there at the actual Battle of Lexington. It was awesome! The day was saved! Hooray for America!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

History Links

BBC has an online game for World War 1

Here is some good information on the Oregon Trail.

My Wild Frontier is an online pioneer game.

Learn about Cher Ami, a carrier pigeon from World War One. Check out the rest of the site for great information and booklets, including one on the Medal of Honor, and Inaugural Addresses of all the Presidents.

Leslie, The Contemplator, has some very good selections of time period music for your history studies.

Music from the Civil War era.

Here is a neat Civil War soldier supply activity.

National Geographic has a nice site about the Underground Railroad.

This Monticello site has some neat things for Thomas Jefferson, and an online tour. Also, it has lots of stuff about the Lewis and Clark expedition.

These are some cute historical paper dolls.

This is interesting-a collection of presidential recipes.

Plimoth Plantation has a neat kids page for learning about the Pilgrims and Wampanoag.

I love this Kids and History site. Take a tour through Paul Revere's virtual museum or through 1607 Jamestown. (And great activities for both!)

Early British Kingdoms has tons of information on what else? Early British Kingdoms!
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