Wednesday, December 30, 2015

STEM Project Ideas

This week I thought I would put together a list of some great STEM projects for you and your kids.

Paper marble coaster

Lego Zipline

40 STEM activities - From Playdough to Plato

Extending Grabber

Tiny Dancers - Homopolar Motor

Build Your own STEM Kits from the Dollar Tree

Make straw rockets

Printable STEM challenge cards

(The blog below is full of resources for Fairy Tales.  I won't list them all.  Great resource!!)

Teaching STEM through Fairy Tales - Princess and the Pea

Teaching STEM Through Fairy Tales - Stone Soup

Teaching STEM Through Fairy Tales - Rapuzel

Teaching STEM Through Fairy Tales - Henny Penny

The Brown Bag STEM Challenge

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 30 - Jamestown, Pocahontas, Websites, and Quick Breads

We had a 3 day school week this week.  I have been working on that approach for a few weeks now.  They like having most of Thursday and Friday off, except for reading.  Sometimes our work extends into Thursday, depending on the project.  But usually only a couple hours.  I have been experimenting with this approach versus a full vacation.  They do not recover well from full vacations, so I think we are sticking with this for the next few months.

This week in our American History we learned about the Virginia Colony and Jamestown.  Of course we learned about Captain John Smith and Pocahontas also.  The girls and I built a model of Jamestown based on what we saw in this Scholastic book.  We also watched the movie Pocohantas which is much more accurate than the Disney version.  They used different sized popsicle sticks to finish this.

The more levels we are adding to our webpages, the more confusing it is getting for the kids.  This week they learned how to add images, videos and make a 2nd page.  It was a little more difficult to teach because I was flipping between 3 of the kids trying to help check the code they were typing in.  I had my laptop screen displayed on our big screen TV, but they still had some errors to work out.  The HTML is very frustrating to Brayden.  I know he can do it, but he is choosing to fight with me.

Kentucky was our state this week.  We made these Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwiches for dinner one night.  I made a dairy-free version for Joey and we used turkey bacon.  Joe said it was really good.

I feel our poor president didn't get as much.  But we did learn more about John Tyler.  Poor guy was just thrust into the presidency.  So many kids and the loss of his first wife.  Battling against the former president's cabinet choices.  He had a rough presidency.  He was the first president to get married in the White House, and I'm sure the 23 year old bride helped make his pain go away.


Caty worked on double digit addition without and with regrouping.  She did very well on this.  She almost has finished her first set of Bob Books and I would say about 90% accuracy.  She is struggling and the more words on the page is making is more difficult.  Plus she keeps forgetting to use her sounds.  But a few things are clicking in place for her.  She enjoyed the Jamestown project this week.  She also did a cool art project with tissue paper circles.  It was not exactly what I told her to do, but I guess that is art.

She also drew an ice cream cone from Lydia's art program.


Lydia started a drawing class online.  She is the only one who truly loves drawing, but the other kids will do projects also.  I purchased it from the Homeschool Buyers Coop if you are interested in checking it out.  The lessons are not laid out in a particular order.  But Lydia did enjoy the first couple drawings she did this week.  I didn't get a picture from her sketch book.

She worked on another project from her Quick Breads book.  She made buckwheat pancakes.  They were a hit.  Caty said the best and barely stopped eating them.

She also learned how to make a baked cheesecake.

And worked on her cat project.  This week it was learning how to pick up and hold a cat properly.

Brayden and Joey

Brayden and Joey are chugging along.  Joey did some coloring sheets for the Nursing home this week.

Brayden finished his science unit on Dinosaurs.  He fought and fought about programming class.  He struggles to keep his brain focused.  He is on ADHD meds, but too much make him a zombie and not enough and he still struggles with focus.  So I may have to bring this up at his next check up.  He is at a happy medium socially, that is why I don't want to up his meds.  We are seeing the real Brayden.  It's rather nice.

Joey is finishing up a math level on CTC Math.  He is very much below level, but working to get the basics memorized.  This is his second week on the 3D Modeling class.  This week we learned about careers in this field.  Pretty interesting.

Joey also finished up another book in the Narnia series.  He starts Book 3 next week.  Brayden finished up a full Minecraft series.  Even with all the arguing about how he reads for a set number of minutes rather than chapters, he managed to get his reading in.

Hope everyone had a great week!  See you next week!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Homeschool Adventures - Carousel Museum

We have been trying to see more touristy places around our state.  Ohio is full of so many places to see and things to do.  You could spend every weekend in a year and still not visit all the fun things to do here.

While studying about Rhode Island, we visited the Carousel Museum in Sandusky, Ohio.

This time period was when Brayden started really opening up more.  He decided that he should be in pictures, and even insisted on being in many more than I planned on even taking.  This was a huge deal that day!

They featured so many different animals that have been on carousels through the years, some as early at the early 1800s.

There is even an antique carousel that you can ride.  The kids thought it was hilarious that the song being played was from Ghostbusters.

Sites of the Great Lakes graced the carousel

These deer were exhibited at the White House last year during their holiday decorating.

These were from France, turn of the century.

This was such a fun, laid back museum to visit.  The kids enjoyed seeing all the various animals and loved the ride.  If you are in the Sandusky area (home of Cedar Point), see if you can add a visit to this wonderful Buckeye Treasure!!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Week 29 - HTML, Waffles, Puzzles and Chalk Art

Well I had yet another reaction.  Holy cow, it took me out a whole day and then slowed me down the next day.  That's basically like losing two days in a week.  I am so behind.  The kids got Monday off because Mom couldn't help from the couch even.  In hindsight, the only child that should have gotten the entire day off was Caty.  She is hands-on for all her lessons.  The older kids though have a lot of independent work.  But instead of making dad fight them, I told them to have the day off.  That has bit me because they fought me all week then on getting their work done.  I may sound like a mean mom, but I only scheduled 3 days of work.  That's it.  3 days out of a 7 day week.....yeah that's pretty easy.  Brayden is the worst one this week.  He is learning very quickly how his electronics are disappearing.

I spent off/on for 3 days continuing lesson plans.  I had them written up through next week.  So I made them through the end of March.  I am relying more on textbook guides, so it is making it easier for me.  I just fill in better experiments and other projects around this then.

We are making progress on our computer science course from  I am really breaking out of my comfort zone.  I had always hoped that Joe could take the lead on this subject.  He unfortunately cannot due to his work schedule.  It's requiring a lot of studying for myself.  But I have been making my way through.  This week, they learned the HTML code for adding more text to their potential sites and adding color.  I made them a cheat sheet of codes which I realize now that I will need to laminate once we finish the HTML section of the course.  This section of the course is above Caty's head, so I had her start at the base of the classes on  She is really enjoying it.  Here is what we have learned so far....I cut out a section of the page I am creating...Yes, I am doing this project right along side of them.

Caty and Lydia have been working on some puzzles we found for them.  These are not cheaper Dollar Tree finds, but nice thick pieces and larger puzzles.  This has been a slow climb for them to slow their brains down to do such tedious work.  I helped Lydia very little, and she put hers together (180 pieces) in roughly 2 hours.  I really didn't help much at all.  She wanted me to, but I sat and watched her mostly.  Only turning over the pieces for her.  Caty worked off and on all week on hers.  It is a 200 piece Frozen puzzle.  They both are enjoying this and we will be getting more of these.

The girls did chalk pastel polar bear drawings for art this week.  They enjoyed this project a lot.  The boys opted out, since they hate chalk texture.  I didn't force it this week because of that.

Our state this week was Georgia.  While we watched Aerial America, they enjoyed a Coke and GF fried peach pies (or at least my version of them so that everyone could enjoy them).  They were not too bad.  Joey wouldn't try the peaches, but everyone else did.  Our state meal this week was fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

 Brayden had his peach dumplings with whipped cream.

Our president this week was William Henry Harrison.  Such a short, tragic presidency.

They are all (ok...not Caty) excited to get to go and see Star Wars with daddy.  I finally broke down and pre-bought tickets.  I wanted to make sure to get them for the least crowded showing as possible to help out Joey.  Caty and I are going to go and run errands together while they are enjoying the Force.  I took her to the beauty store and let her pick out some new nail polish.  She was in awe at the over 500 bottles on the shelves.


Caty is really progressing on her reading.  She has made it to the 3/4 mark of the Bob Books Set 1.  She is still reversing letters and forgetting sounds, but we are making progress.  She didn't realize how much progress she has made.  She is even recognizing words in chat boxes and even typing some of her own words in search engines.  I have been having her use both Reading Eggs and Reading Kingdom.  We have also been playing sight word Candyland and the dog bone Sentences game.  I made sentence cards for her current level.  As she advances more, I will continue to make adjustments for her.

She is making great progress in Math.  The review has helped and Math is a favorite subject next to Science.

Doesn't everyone do schoolwork like this?


Lydia started the reading for the next American Girl meeting.  The next characters are Marie-Grace and Cecile.  She has almost finished Book 2.  She is also making progress on memorizing some of her multiplication facts.  She has been watching Times Tales and working hard on this.  We'll keep working on this for a couple weeks.

She also started using scales on maps.  I was nervous because it's math, and not Lydia's favorite subject.  But she did really well!!

This week she started a 4H book from our county called Quick Breads.  This is an intermediate cooking program.  Everything at her age was boring her, so they said to go ahead and let her try it.  She made her first recipe this week, whole wheat waffles.  I showed her how to cook turkey bacon for with them for lunch.

She used whole wheat flour that we purchased locally from the Metroparks when we went on the Canal Boat Ride and Mill tour.

Lydia and I played a game we have had forever.  Herd Your Horses.  She loves anything to do with horses.  It was fun, and I'm sure we will be playing it again soon.


He fought and fought and fought all week.  I am not backing down.  He will soon learn if he doesn't do the work, he doesn't get any privileges.

Brayden finished up his chapter on rocks & minerals.  Started the chapter on dinosaurs.  So he examined rocks and we also reviewed the 3 types of rocks.  I broke out the candy bars to show the difference between sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous.  He also opened up his crystal experiment.  The epsom salt didn't work the way it was supposed to, but the borax never disappoints.

Here are the pics from his candy bar rock types experiment.  Adding heat to the candy bar.

 Sedimentary rock
 Our metamorphic rock.
Igneous rocks
 Examining the different rocks

Uncovering his crystals from last week.

He finished one chapter and started the new one.  The next chapter is on dinosaurs and fossils.  He made fossils in Model Magic.  We discussed why we have fossils and how they are "made".


Joey is feeling anxiety again, and experiencing anxiety attacks.  He got extremely anxious before he started his new 3D modeling class this week from Creative Electives.  I assured him that this was not a totally independent course and I would be taking it along with him.  Basically I am helping him take notes.  I'm sure it will get tougher, but this week was an easy week.

He finished the first book in the Narnia series.  He is working on his Mensa reading list.

Joey eluded the camera again this week.  But I did catch him putting together one of his snap together models that came from Japan.  He is seriously into these robots.  The directions were in Japanese event.  I was surprised he got this one together.  But he did.

I am always surprised when I go back through our weeks.  I know I always feel busy, but I always feel like we don't get much done.  Hope everyone had a wonderful week!

See everyone next week!!  And yes, we are doing school through December !!

Linking up with other moms at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Weekly Wrap-Up