Friday, October 29, 2010

Charlotte Mason Discussion Group

Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling SeriesThe next Charlotte Mason discussion group will be November 29 at 6pm.  We will be discussing Volume 5, pages 3-67.  December's meeting will be Monday the 20th.

The group meets in the cafe of Books a Million in North Little Rock.

Conjunction, adverb videos

Better late than are the Schoolhouse Rock videos for conjunctions and adverbs.

Park Day - Anyone?

I've lived in Little Rock for almost seven years but only recently visited Two Rivers Park. We loaded a bike and Razor skooter in the van, along with a stroller for Baby Caroline.
It was really fun - not to mention a great way to burn some boy energy.  There are miles of flat, paved trails.  Several people I talked with said they frequently see deer.  We talked with a fisherman who was rather entertaining.
Weather permitting, would anyone want to meet up on Wednesday, Nov. 3 at 11am?  We could walk, run, ride bikes, etc. then eat a sack lunch.  Email me if you're interested luvmyhub AT gmail DOT com and spread the word - please let others know.  We'll just meet in the parking lot at the furthest end of the park, where the road loops around.

View Larger Map

If your child is an explorer, or would like more map reading practice, print this one and bring it with you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Historic Washington State Park:: Civil War Weekend, Nov. 5-7

November 6 and 7 is the Civil War Weekend at Historic Washington State Park.  The school program is Friday, November 5.

The website doesn't give many details, so I recommend calling if you're thinking of going.

However, all the moms were raving about how wonderful it is. I'm sad that my family will be out of town or we'd be there.

Below is a portion of an email (excuse the format, I'm lazy and just cut/paste).

Historic Washington State Park

1.   1874 court house visitor center:
The 1874 Court House visitor center contains orientation information about historic Washington and exhibits thematically linked to the civil war during this special weekend.  There will be special civil war music programs in the upstairs courtroom you will not want to miss.  Also take a look in the gift shop for unique gift items to commemorate your visit!

1.   Civil war period music:
Music was a much needed pastime during the dark days of the civil war.  There was the comical, patriotic and spiritual aspects of music that motivated and sustained the masses.  You might even get to sing along!

1.  cooking in the field:
while visiting with civilian refugees students will see how people cooked on campfires to survive.

1.   artillery demonstration:
see and “hear” why artillery was known as the “king of battle”!
artillerymen will demonstrate the proper firing of actual full scale Civil war artillery.

1.   civil war medicine:
A look at how sicknesses and wounds were treated by doctors and surgeons of the military.

1.   Religion in war:
Explore the power and influence of religion during the days of the civil war.  You will be in one of the oldest churches in Arkansas!

1.    Soldier for the cause:
See soldier dressed in the Hempstead Rifles uniform. This was the first unit mustered from Hempstead county.

1.    the lady in mourning:
Death and its aftermath were stark realities for most families during the war years.  Visit with a typical lady who has lost a loved one during the conflict and see how she copes during these sad times.

1.     meet the sutler:
sutlers followed the armies and provided the soldier the means to make private purchases.  See the goods they carried and find out why.

1.     meet a town doctor:
when there weren’t enough military doctors to go around the local doctors were called upon to render much needed aid to not only their usual patients but to countless refugees and soldiers far from home.  See what tools and techniques he used to practice his noble profession.

1.      a slave’s work is never done:
while a war raged on around them those people still enslaved labored to take care of daily chores and responsibilities so that households and farms could get by with some semblance of normalcy.  Visit the sanders farmstead kitchen and grounds and learn why “a slave’s work is never done”.

1.      civil war guns and weapons:
see a special program on the more interesting and innovative firearms developed during the civil war.  Some of these were the types used in southwest Arkansas!

1.      newspapers at war:
watch a printer at work as he discusses the importance of “getting the news out” during the war.

1.      the candle shop:
visit the candle shop and learn more about early lighting.  There is also a small gift shop located here.

1.       children’s games:
young people have to play!  Join in the fun of some of nineteenth century’s more popular games.

1.       ladies and men’s fashions:
this program covers some of the more obvious differences between clothing of the nineteenth century and clothing of today.  Social customs and beliefs associated with fashion will be explored as well.

1.       period photography:
ever wondered why people photographed in the nineteenth century looked so serious? You might get a clue after your visit to a nineteenth century tintype artist.  See how he made “likenesses” of people and the tools required.

1.       politics and war:
Arkansas has seceded from the Union and has joined the Confederate States of America. Witness a rousing speech by a local political leader elected to represent the state in the Confederate legislature in the 1836 court house.

1.        infantry drill:
so you want to be a civil war soldier?  Well, you’ve got some shaping up to do!  Learn the basics of infantry drill with our courteous and mild mannered drill instructors!  Bring your marching shoes!

1.         cavalry equipment:
meet a typical civil war cavalryman and examine the saddles

and equipment required to carry out mounted service in war.

1.       infantry camp on campaign:
explore the camp of a typical group of soldiers on campaign in the countryside.  See the ways they attempted to make life a little better amid the boredom of life in camp.  But be warned!  When soldiers are around civilians anything can happen!  You might even see a typical situation unfold at the Royston log house campsite!

1.        life at home:
visit with an average farmer at his humble home and learn how he survives during wartime.  He will show you some much needed skills in woodcraft and self sufficiency that any person would need during such a crisis.

1.         woodcraft:
learn how rails were split, shingles rived, and beams hewed to make a home from the wilds of the forest.

1.          home gardens:
food is a necessity and especially in wartime with shortages of all types of foodstuffs.  Visit with a gentleman and learn how he tends his important garden!

1.          swords and plowshares:
experience firsthand the sights and sounds of a working blacksmith shop.  Smiths were called upon to help in any way possible toward the equipping of the armies during the war.

Writing Practice

This activity is as old as the hills but maybe you've forgotten about it. I was reminded of it by my neighbor (veteran homeschooling mom, Kristen Burdette.)

1. Give your child a shallow plate of cornmeal, rice, sand, flour, beans - anything really.
2. Ask them to draw letters or words.
If you have a reluctant writer, this activity changes things up and makes it more exciting.  Preschoolers can get in on the action, too.  Ask them to draw shapes or give them a few matchbox cars to drive around and make textured roads.

A 9x13 baking dish, or cookie sheet with rims is better than the small dish you see above.  What was I thinking?!  Rookie move.



At dinner one night, my six-year old son was struggling to cut his food. I don't want to be cutting his steak at his wedding rehearsal dinner, so we practiced during "school."
We used Play-doh, a real fork, knife and plate.  Unlike real food, Play-doh sticks to the plate, which makes it more forgiving and easier to learn to properly hold a knife and fork.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Them Bones

Here's a printable skeleton puzzle. For longevity, I laminated it. You could use it for Halloween decorations or talking about the body.  It was a hit with John Isaac - because he asked, "Can I do it again?"

Below is Kristi singing the major bones in the body, from last year. (or here on YouTube)

HT: Chasing Cheerios

also posted on Works for Me Wednesday.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Robin Hood videos

Without even asking my son, I know that Robin Hood will be his research topic of choice this week, and it's brought up some good discussions at our house regarding whether it's ever right to steal. I'm thinking he'll be excited about these Robin Hood videos from the History Channel.

Fun review

For the last few weeks on Friday, I've been utilizing Hope Bucher's suggestion of make a crossword puzzle of what we've done that week. It makes review a little more exciting than it could be!

We also have been using the fill-in-the-blank worksheet maker for Scripture memory (AWANA included), though sometimes I simply have my son illustrate the words rather than write them, to change it up a little.

Magna Carta

At the end of this brief video is a helpful clip from the History Channel about the Magna Carta, and a slightly dry one from howstuffworks. Here's actually an eight-minute video from a teacher that explores a little of the history behind the document all the way back to the Battle of Hastings; helpful for older kids, BORING for younger. This text with images explains things in a little more detail and includes the previous video.

Caves for kids

This week for our science fact on caves, you may want to check out these sites for a little visual:

The Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave

Virtual Cave—be sure to check out these amazing glacial cave photos!

Here's a cool art project based on cave painting!

And check out the American Cave Conservation Association's kids' page.

This site has maps, images, and virtual tours for kids—and another one chock-full of stuff just for homeschoolers.

Similar to our crystal making experiment awhile back, this experiment helps kids understand the formation of stalactites and stalagmites!

And here are a few National Geographic videos exploring Kartchner Caverns, Howe Caverns, and Carlsbad Caverns with a lot of amazing formations and insight into cave ecology—though I have not previewed all these videos. PBS Kids has a cave video, too.

Motley's Pumpkin Patch

A group of homeschoolers met at Motley's Pumpkin Patch on Friday.

The day began with "calling the hogs" - a pig race.

We also went on a hay ride.

Petted and fed animals
Played in/on HUGE hay stack.

Charlotte Mason Discussion Group

Charlotte Mason's Original Homeschooling SeriesI just found them - and I'm so excited!!!  There's a discussion group for Charlotte Mason's Six Volume series.

About two years ago I first learned of Charlotte Mason, some would call her the founder of the homeschooling movement.  Her educational philosophy puts an emphasis on reading "living books" and stimulating education in a noncompetitive, biblically based way. She is a contemporary of Maria Montessori, both women were 100 years before their own time.

So, the discussion group meets tonight (Monday - which is the fourth Monday of the month.)  They meet in the cafe of the Books a Million in North Little Rock from 6-10pm.  Maybe as no surprise, they not only discuss the books but provide support and advice for one another.

Email me if you want to meet up and go together: luvmyhub AT gmail DOT com


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spelling and Sight Words

Practice spelling words in a fun way (and even take tests!) at

There's even a fun game on there to match states and capitals. has its own list of sight words or here's another site.

HT: Backyard Farming

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Our family took advantage of the incredible season ticket deal with the orchestra.

Tonight my husband found a gold mind on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra website.  If you scroll down on that page, you can listen to a portion of what you'll hear at the concert.  In addition, you can click on other links that tell about the composer or the piece.


The Artful Parent gave me the idea.

He started with two colors, then asked for green.  The second picture he wanted to use the q-tips as a paint brush - which was fine with me.  I asked that he finish the first picture with dots.

The third picture he asked for white paint and colored construction paper (and I was thrilled he used pointillism on his own!)

Psalm 34 Activity

Here's a picture of yesterday's project, to help him memorize Psalm 34:8-14.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Magic School Bus science video/project: Erosion

Today I found the video behind our Magic School Bus science project on erosion! (I apologize for posting the incorrect link below, and corrected it just now.) I have no idea whether it's a legal copy, but it can be viewed online for free here, entitled The Magic School Bus Rocks and Rolls. We're going to view the video, then do the experiment, then glean points for "cool mom."

Bible Memory

Trying to put a new twist on Bible memory, I put together a little diddy for the workbox.

In the drawer, he will find:

- scissors
- glue
- construction paper
- the document

Monday, October 18, 2010

Revolutions of Time (Song)

Below Kristi sings "The Revolutions of Time." It's the history song the children are working on in assembly. Or, if you're reading this in email, click here.

Erosion for kids

The Discovery Channel has a video on erosion that may help us out this week! So might this from, but their stuff tends to be a little more dry. Disclaimer: I have not watched these videos in advance.

National Geographic has some (of course) striking photos of weathering and erosion, and this site has various sites with animation on erosion.

This site has a ton of erosion activities, mainly for older students, as well as a graphic organizer, power point presentations, quizzes--even crossword puzzles.

For younger kids, here's a Magic School Bus project on erosion, complete with a printable.

Africa Update by John Isaac

If your child is in the first grade at Comm. Central, I hope they made it home with a coin from Rwanda, Africa.  John Isaac and his dad spent two weeks in Africa, where John was teaching a class on the Gospel of John (lots of Johns in this story!).  Yesterday I took John Isaac on an ice cream date with the sheer purpose of getting information out of him.  I asked all kinds of questions about his trip.  He didn't have much to say.  This morning before leaving for Comm. Central, he decided to dictate the below narrative for class (before seeing any of the pictures).  --Julie

I liked Rwanda, Africa, and the bananas and passion fruit too.  The outside of a passion fruit looks like purple punch, it is round and hard, about the size of a black walnut - you have to cut it open then scoop out the seeds.  The insides look like swirling swirling roots.  The seeds are really sweet.
passion fruit

We also ate rice, meat, sauce, chips (which we would call french fries), and fish.  My dad ate a lot of avocado.  We had some really good bread.  There was no fast food in Rwanda.

The power went out about every day.

The roads were one lane, not two lanes like America. Most roads were bumpy and made of dirt.  One time we were riding and I had to go without a seat belt because there was another person in the car.  There were six people and only five seats.  One time a person (Alphonse, the usual driver) had to ride outside the truck.

We slept under a net because mosquitoes could give you malaria.  In the mornings, a bird called “inyamanza” would wake us up.  In Swahili, it means: be quiet!  This is the sound it would make - AH-AH-AH!!

At the guest house, our neighbors were David and Liz from England.  We had tea because they have tea in the afternoons in England.
with Ms. Arrylia, who gave him the t-shirt

I liked Ms. Arrylia, the teacher of the second grade class.  I played football at the giant field.  There they call soccer “football.”

When we went to Alphonse’s family’s village (the college student we know in Little Rock), at least thirty Rwandan kids crowded around the door and just stared at me while I sat inside the house.  If an adult went out the door, the kids would scatter like a puff of smoke.  They were staring at me because they had never ever seen a white man before!
Alphonse's family outside
Alphonse's mother in red/yellow, g-ma in blue shirt, father white shirt sitting
We went to a game park, which is an animal park, kind of like a zoo except no fence.  We saw giraffe, warthog, impala (which is like an antelope except it runs faster), waterbuck, white fish eagle, hippopotamus, and crocodiles.  And lots and lots of baboons!  There was a tree there covered in thorns.  It was called an Acacia tree.
huge bird, about 4 feet tall
White Fish Eagle
 My dad taught a class and I went with him to his school, once.  There I saw a drum as tall as me, and one African painted maraca.  We sang, “Great is Thy Faithfulness” in English.  I ate lunch and had tea with Dad there.
Dad's class

At one of the churches we didn’t sing because they didn’t translate. (Julie's note: they were there FOUR hours.)
Boy with hand on Hubby's knee for 2 hours.  Kids starred at Mr. Intensity.
We also went to Kenya and spent two days there.  After we got off the airplane, we saw a whole lot of giraffes and a whole lot of zebras.  I made friends with Morris and Francis, their parents also work with FamilyLife.  Together we built blanket forts.
JI (age 6), Morris (age 9), Francis (age 7), standing in their garden, in front of sugar cane.
In the Belgium airport, my grandma bought me a dinosaur kit except I couldn’t play with it because we didn’t have scissors or a knife to open the package.  (Julie writes: He told me yesterday, but didn’t want to include this factoid in the report, “Because it would probably embarrass me” that “I learned that Mawgaw’s real name isn’t Pam. It is Pamela.”)

On the plane home, I slept the longest.  We watched videos on the plane.  In the whole trip, we had four flights that were eight hours long and two flights that were two hours.

--John Isaac, age 6

Julie adds - here is a picture of Hubby's arm with a crazy rash and yellow skin at the height of his sickness.  He continues to improve but still has a fever and aches every other day.  I'm glad my boys are home!

Free games for you!

Some homemade games for you to enjoy. It's a great way to get to know your paper cutter.

Make Your Own Math: Clip these simple cards and put them into an envelope. Kids make their own math problems and solve them.

Let's Find Out Science Questions: Cut this list of questions into little slips of paper, and keep them in your own "Let's Find Out Science" box--could be a Kleenex box. Your child can select a question to research together. Sample: Why do onions make me cry? etc. Here's a cover graphic for your box.

Math Magic: To play, we spin the spinner (assembly: place a paper brad in the center, stuck through a large paperclip), then the player has to complete that number of math problems drawn from the deck of cards to move the spun number of spaces on the game board. If they answer one incorrect, it's your own house rules that determine the consequence.

Word Whiz: To play, we spin the spinner (assembly: place a paper brad in the center, stuck through a large paperclip), then the player has to make that number of words from the Word Whiz cards (we just spread them out on the table!) to move the spun number of spaces on the board.

Middle Age Freebies

A whole, loooong page dedicated to free resources for teaching the Middle Ages. Eat your heart out.

Genghis Khan

This week, can be credited with three informative videos of Genghis Khan. If you'd like to see a full, 43-minute video, BBC has this five-minute trailer that you can check out to see of you want to watch the whole thing.

This site lists resources for educators, for kids, and by kids on Mr. Khan.

And for all you crafty types out there, here's a slightly makeshift version of a Mongolian hat to stitch out of felt.

Here's a fairly extensive (eleven page) resource to teach about life on the Mongolian steppes, including a crossword, a felt Mongol hat that you can either sew or staple (I'm going for quick and dirty, personally), food they eat on the steppes, and more.

Here, your kids can view photos of the current Mongol people.

FIELD TRIP: Pumpkin Patch!

Kudos to Pamela Moore for planning a fantastic field trip THIS FRIDAY for the first seventy to sign up; at posting time, there are about thirty already committed.

This Friday, October 22
12:30 P.M.-around 2:30
Motley's Pumpkin Patch (off Willow Springs Rd.)
13724 Sandy Ann Dr.
Little Rock, AR 72206
Children: $6 (pumpkin included)
Adults: $4 (no pumpkin)

1. hayride around the farm (Christmas tree farm)
2. farm petting zoo
3. exciting pig races.
4. trip to pumpkin patch to pick a pumpkin to keep, adult fee does not include the pumpkin.
5. snack and drink

TO SIGN UP, do not contact this blog. :) Contact Pam Moore at

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Great Interactive Art "Gallery"

I have to admit that I like the idea of art and music but they are the first subjects to get dropped when I am pressed for time. This is a great site that introduces children to fine art. The animation is very fun and your child doesn't have to be a reader to use it. Under the "Stories" section is a "St. George and the Dragon" option. Have fun!
The Art Institute of Chicago Curious Corner 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Coloring Sheets for Japan, Samurais & More

Baker loves to color sheets while I read the history lesson. Since the number of coloring sheets in the Story of the World is not enough to satisfy my little man, I go digging on the 'net. I found these with Samurai and other great sheets. He is so excited. He loves to color, cut and mount them on card stock to put in his History notebook. He loves going through it. He remembers more from the reading and the lesson and it keeps him from getting too antsy.

Multiplication practice that's FUN

There are a lot of great online multiplication games out there! But so far of all we've tried, this one, Timez Attack, is my son's favorite; he couldn't wait to show his dad last night. Seriously, how many educational games have their own trailer?

Big bonus: it actually teaches the facts, too--it's not just review. It starts with a pretest to gather the facts your child knows (which for my first grader, wasn't many), and then in the game, has them collect giant snails to throw at a door to skip count to the right answer that opens the door. Cool.

Note: This game is a lot like a video game, so it's cool graphics and soundtrack take a long time to load and especially cache (at least 15 minutes). You may want to install it the night before. One of my computers had too high of security settings to allow it to download.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Contractions game

Yes, I'm a little late on this one, but here's an online game to practice contractions, as well as a memory/concentration game you can print out (and don't forget the file folder game).

Geysers in action

Taking my cue from our grammar memory work this week, our science fact can also be put to "Ring Around the Rosie."

Here's a good overview of geysers along with a couple of videos from, and a coloring page for those kids who can't get enough of their Crayolas.

You can also see helpful animation on how geysers work. Some kids might appreciate this "electronic field trip" to Yellowstone, too.

Wanna make your own geyser? Here's an idea using Alka-Seltzer and a two-liter bottle, or you can go the Coke-and-Mentos route.

Shoguns, samurai, and seppuku--oh, my

Here's an interesting, computer-animated video (no voice over--text only) from The History Channel on samurai. This one goes a little more in depth on their weaponry--again, text only--with a little live action, and pretty interesting. Your boys may eat this up. Note: Does have a dramatized, History-Channel limited-blood demonstration of seppuku (Japanese ritual suicide).

These photos from National Geographic give some great images of samurais as well as these.

Here's an overview for kids of Yoritomo and the Japanese feudal system.

For more interest, in this video clip, a host from the History Channel is dressed in a samurai suit, and participates in medieval combat with a female samurai. In the end, his loss means he has to pay honor to the female samurai.

For those of you with older students, The History Channel has a lot of articles on shoguns this week--including an article on Minamato Yoritomo (see images here), as does There is one History Channel video on seppuku, but I don't think I'm going to watch it. :)

File Folder Games

File Folder Games do a lot to switch up our routine and turn things into a game! On the post I've linked to, check out for a great game to reinforce last week's grammar lesson on contractions. If you've got another free file folder game site that works for you, let us know!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Silent Letters Sorting

When John Isaac was a preschooler, I read everything I could get my hands on about the Montessori method.  We had so much fun learning new things together.  He learned the activities, I learned about the Montessori method.

It was during that time when I ran across Lori's blog.  She now has a business - Montessori for Everyone and sells fabulous Montessori materials.  Once a month she sends a newsletter, to which I've subscribed.  Each month there's a link to a freebie.

This month's freebie looks fabulous.  I've printed the Silent Letters Sorting "Game."  She doesn't call it a game. That's what I call it.

Learning is more fun when it's  a game.

- Julie

Friday, October 8, 2010

More volcano worksheets and printables!

Thanks, Amy Loften, for these great resources from!

Volcanoes for Preschoolers

Seeing Janel and Baden's volcano experiment reminded me of John Isaac's first taste of soda and vinegar. Below was originally posted at Havin' Fun Yet, June 2008.

Using our old play-dough, together we fashioned the semblance of a volcano...and hid a small cup inside to hold our liquid.

When asked, "What color is the lava?" Immediately he responded: RED! So first he poured a bit of red water into the hidden cup.The Moveable Alphabet recommended using yeast so the lava would appear more solid, though I couldn't tell a difference. Then he sprinkled a BIG tablespoon of baking soda in the water.
And, finally, the vinegar. When he smelled it, he said, "It smells like chicken broth." Really? ugh. I love the expression on his face here, just as the reaction begins.
Look at that smile! He loved the explosion. What an expression of satisfaction.
Once the bubbles ceased, "Let's do it again!"

We did secondary colors: orange then purple and finally green. He would have made volcanoes all day.

This was an easy project. Specifically, set up/ clean up time was minimal. There were HIGH returns for my investment.

Volcano Fun

Way fun stuff here to reinforce not only volcanoes but also using volcanoes to reinforce things like alpha order and so forth. - Amy Loften

If you haven't seen this----This was in the news this week-----an incredible video of a guy in a heat suit in the middle of a volcano.  - Wendy

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Easy model volcano

This week, we made a simple model volcano, though if you want to knock it out of the park, I'd go with people who know what they're talking about (use the recipes on the right of this page).

For ours, we made quick playdough: 1 cup flour, 1/2 c. salt, 2 T. cream of tartar, 2 T. oil, and 1 cup minus 1 T. water. Cook it on medium-low heat until it forms a ball. We added red, blue, and yellow food coloring to make it brown (not that you can tell here), a quick color blending lesson.

Next, my son formed it into a mini volcano, making a cavity inside.

We placed baking soda inside the hole. The more, the better.

We added a little food coloring to some vinegar to make it more magma-looking, though discovered too late that we didn't need this much vinegar; the end result was more watery than fizzy.

Pour the vinegar into the hole, and you've got a little eruption. This is a good time to remind that the mantle and magma heat up, the expansion causing pressure--like the fizz of our mini-volcano--till the volcano can't contain it anymore.

The whole experience took about ten to fifteen minutes, and occupied all of my other kids. Now that's my kind of science experiment.