Thursday, April 29, 2010

Secular Thursday: Earth Day

This post was meant to be posted last week, but I had a VERY busy day and the weekend got busier, so it sat in my drafts for the week until now...just pretend we stepped into our time machine and it's currently 4-22. :D

Happy Earth Day! Yay.

We don't actually do Earth day. We like to celebrate Earth month. I am Pagan and I view the Earth as my Mother, so I have a lot of respect for her. This month we dedicated to learning more about her and ways to take care of her. We learned about trees, flowers, and other plants. We learned about recycling and waste. Last week (4/14) we took a field trip to our county landfill.

It was a very cloudy and windy day, on the brink of raining, when we arrived at the landfill. Because of the weather, we were able to see first hand what the wind likes to do with all the garbage. We already knew there would be a giant pile of mess, but the wind had made a lovely giant scattered pile of mess. The bulldozers and trucks were busy scooping up dirt and dumping it on the piles of garbage to keep them from flying away. We were unable to watch the machine turn the garbage into bales because of this. What we did get to see was, of course, the lovely mess, and a pond at the bottom of the hill where all the rainwater collected. We were pointed out the recycling bins; mixed paper, cardboard, newspaper, aluminum, tins, and glass. --Did you know that the most expensive thing to recycle is glass? They have to pay about a third more to recycle glass than they do with any other material. We also got to see where they kept thrown-out appliances (a bunch of broken fridges, water heaters, and stoves), electronics (computers and the like), and toxic wastes. --Did you know that most household cleaners are not considered toxic waste? You can ask your local landfill how to properly dispose of them if you are unsure.

After the initial tour, we went and saw the original landfill. Lo and behold it is the giant hill right next to the current landfill. Who would have known that the previous landfill would be so beautiful? They lay a filter on the ground before placing the trash. Once the garbage is this incredible hill, they lay the filter on top of the garbage, add six feet of dirt, pack it down, add six more feet of soil, this time loose, add grass seed, and monitor water and methane for the next 30 years. THEY MONITOR FOR THIRTY YEARS. They have this little pond at the bottom of the landfill where all the rain collects so as not to get mixed into the Boyer river or any of the surrounding farm land. They get check these little yellow posts that are sticking out of the ground for any water contamination and a white post at the top of the hill for the methane. Apparently our landfill hasn't been creating any methane. After the thirty years are through, the landfill is considered safe and can be sold off for other purposes.

I think I was the one who learned the most and was the most excited. My girls were just happy to be in some random person's pick up truck looking at garbage and out of the house on a craptastic day. He gave us a video (which I have yet to sit down and watch) about what they do, how they do it, and how they are being earth-conscious, as well as a few pamphlets on recycling and how this particular landfill has helped be a little more greener.

So now, you should go check out your landfill and give Ma Nature some love.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

You can tell they are sister. There is not much variety between them.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays Always Get Me Down

So today, considering it is both Monday AND raining, I would have liked to have stayed in bed. Instead, I auditioned for Glee on MySpace:

I have been such a bad blogger, but this past week has been CRAZY! Thursday seemed to have been all over the place. My schedule was full to the gills, so much so that stuff was overlapping. Then, that night, we had a fellow homeschool family come over from Ohio for the weekend. Much fun was had. We had a great time with them here. My house felt so quiet Sunday morning after they had left.

Anyway, I know a few of my readers (*snort* here I go sounding like I have more than 10 followers) are new to the homeschooling, so I want to share a resource that I absolutely love but had forgotten about.

Some time last week, Lesa from Free K-12 Education had posted about, which made me *facepalm* because I had completely forgotten about that resource. It's a great place to find templates of paperwork or activities you need.

I started using it last year, when the school year first started, for handwriting. My children are only 2 and 4. I needed something for readiness and one for Kindergarten and they were both available for each skill level. The great thing is that it wasn't just different kinds of lines and letters, but pictures as well. Sort of like dot-to-dot, just without the numbers. There is even a box of suggestions on how you should space the worksheets out and work with them.

When the girls become compulsory age, which isn't for another two years, I plan to use the portfolio set that is provided on the site. I currently use a regular notebook, and if I hadn't already set up one for next year, I'd have started this sooner. It has everything you need to write in. I like this idea because that way you only have the paper you need right when you need it. No extra sheets, or, what usually happens, not enough paper.

That's just my babbling two cents on the site. You should go and check it out. I have liked everything available. I'd keep babbling, but I'm so tired right now, I can barely see straight.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Homeschooling Blog Carnival

This week's Homeschool Blog Carnival is being hosted at Home Spun Juggling.
Go check out all the awesome blogs (myself included) at!!
Do it, 'cuz I said it.

No, seriously, you totally should.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Secular Thursday: Preschool-Kindergarten Curricula

A few days ago, I was on Twitter in homeschool chat and the topic of the chat was Curriculum. I currently use what I so fondly call the Outta Ma Butt curriculum. This curriculum is based solely on making it up as you go and running by the seat of your pants. When I mentioned this to my husband he fired me from ever naming anything again. However, Peggy from PeggySue'sBlog suggested that I could just abbreviate it and so now I will forever call it OMB Curriculum.

I am currently rockin' OMB, but not so many people can. Some prefer school-at-home, like an online academy, or a boxed curriculum. I can't afford any of these. The state of Iowa doesn't cover it. I am POOR. But to be honest, I don't really need a curriculum of any sort right now. My oldest is now just finishing up Kindergarten and starting 1st grade next year. Her sister will bunker down with preK, and to continue this honesty, I will say that YOU don't need any curriculum for these grade levels. I found a lot of fun activities and ideas that I either used, or reworked to better suit my needs online. I will now share with you a handful of these links (because if I shared all we'd be here until Tuesday) that I found useful in teaching my girls.

Homeschool Share
Preschool Printables
Alphabet Worsheets
Color Recognition
DLTKs Teach
Learning Treasures
File Folder Heaven
Printables for your Classroom
Brightly Beaming resources
Free K-12 Education
Lesson Pathways

Hopefully, if you're considering homeschooling preschool and kindergarten, these resources will help you and get you stepping in the right direction. And even if you don't do a lot of "sit-down" work, they at least give you ideas on what you should be working on with your child.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Secular Thursday: How We Do It All...

or, in reality, how we don't. :)

I'm going to burst into song right now: "Time, time, time, see what's become of me!! While I looked around/For my possibilities !!!!" And you're probably thinking 'why is this crazy woman singing Simon & Garfunkle's A Hazy Shade of Winter?" And I respond with, "but it's covered by the Bangles!" Also. that bit of lyric is suitable for today's post.

Now, a lot of my friends wonder how I have time to do all that I do. I homeschool my girls, I go to school online, I try and make sure the house stays in one piece... Usually my default answer is "MAGIC!" But that's just my catch-all response for anything I don't really have an answer to. In all honesty, I DON'T do it all. Ninety-eight point twenty-three percent of the time, my house is in total chaos. My cats have gotten into something, my children are running rampant through the house, and my dog is old and hiding upstairs from all of the crazy. Most days I have a headache, I keep tripping on my animals/children/toys, I haven't washed my dishes in the past week or two, I don't know where I put something vitally important, I have misplaced my glasses, and I have forgotten to do my homework that is due that very night. By 3pm *I* want to take a nap. My husband is a blessing. If it weren't for him I would have already done murders and arson. On Fridays, he's in charge, and in the evenings he's the one who cooks dinner. He works nights, so we don't get to be with him often, but when we do, I can take a break. I love my kids, I love being with them, and I love teaching them, but sometimes I need a vacation.

So you see, I don't actually do it all. I just try and get SOMETHING done. My goal for every day is to have my daughters learn something new or acquire a new skill. Everything else can just wait. And that's guaranteed to work most of the time, every time.

I was actually going to add to this, but I can't see straight. It's been "one of those days" where you do wish you had magic.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Unit Ideas for April

  • Amphibians
    • frogs
  • Reptiles
    • snakes
  • Insects
    • butterflies and moths
    • bees
    • ladybugs
  • Farm
    • farm animals
    • dairy farms and cows
    • chickens and eggs
  • Earth Day
  • Arbor Day

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The History of Easter

Most people today believe that the practices of Easter *begin* with the story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of Jehovah God, but are incorrect in thinking so. The word Easter is derived from the name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess of fertility and Spring, Eostre, whose symbol was the hare (fertility). Eggs were exchanged at this time to symbolize rebirth and were painted to show the coming of the sun and the growth of a new and fertile land. There are several different variations of this goddess such as Ostra (Scandinavian), Ostara (Celtic), Ostern, and Eastre (Teutonic). Her festival was celebrated on the vernal (spring) equinox, or what we now know as the first day of Spring.

Early Christian missionaries wishing to convert the pagan tribes adopted the festival as their own. Since it fell around the time of the memorial of Jesus Christ's death (Passover), the church simply replaced one celebration with another, changing the meaning of the festival and making an easier transition into Christianity for the pagan tribes.

Have a very blessed day today, whether you celebrate Easter for its religious aspects, both Pagan and Christian, or are secular and just love getting chocolate in your plastic egg ;) Today we are dressed in pretty spring-colored dresses, watching secularly-easter-themed movies, going to play outside in the dirt and eating eggs and pancakes for breakfast. How do you celebrate Easter?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up

We did stuff with things this week. :) The weather was so lovely the entire week that we spent most of it outside.