Father’s Day Creativity

I helped Garrett make this Toolbox for his Daddy for Father’s Day.  I felt so creative!

I had to put together that cute tape measure and really all of the tools.  Garrett might have been able to do some of it, but I just went ahead and did it myself.  I knew he wouldn’t mind!  I was running out of time, too.  He did a good job of telling me what he wanted to write on each tool.

I made a hammer with a nail in wood, a tape measure, a plane with real sandpaper, a saw in a piece of wood, a nut and bolt.

I got this from Cross-Eyed Curriculum at www.Currclick.com.  It’s called Dad’s Toolbox.  Fitting name, huh?


We also made a T-shirt with the kids’ handprints on it. And we made an apron with their handprints on it. He cooks a lot and wears an apron to protect his clothes. We even made a T-shirt for my dad with their handprints. He was here to get it in person! Then I made a lapbook. It’s the very first lapbook that I designed all by myself. I used the clipart from Appleworks for most of the booklets, but I had a brainstorm in the middle of the night that would be more appealing to the big boys. I found some pictures from Halo 3 and made booklets out of them. They did react with way more excitement than they had been showing about the whole lapbook idea. I finally got each one of the kids to write something nice to their daddy in a booklet and then glued them into the lapbook.

I worked hard to honor my own dad and Gary this Father’s Day! I made a neat card for my dad and had Fiona make it for Gary. I even had two of her little friends make this same card for their dads. They were really cute. Unfortunately, my dad was sick on Father’s Day. He couldn’t get too excited about the gifts we gave him, but we knew that he was too sick to react any differently. I got this card as a freebie from The Old Schoolhouse online conference. It was designed by Hold That Thought. I thought it was lovely.


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The Very Hungry Caterpillar Unit Goes On.. and On and On

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I have been watching Eric Carle’s videos about how he paints his pictures and other topics and checking out lots of ideas for extension activities for The Very Hungry Caterpillar.

I lay awake last night thinking of ways to incorporate caterpillar activities into our math. I came up with two games. One of them is for addition facts through 10. The other is for counting by 5’s and by 10’s.

One of the side benefits of constructing these games was that the twins got to work on their fine motor skills. I had them trace around circles and then cut them out for the parts of the caterpillar bodies. Emma even got to do some scissor work and tried to punch holes with the hole punch. It was hard for her, but she wanted to try. I’m going to have the twins do some hole punching tomorrow and probably some more cutting. I’m also going to have them play our new math file folder games!

Are You As Hungry As A Caterpillar?

Today we finished the first part of our Very Hungry Caterpillar lapbook.

We did some other activities to tie in with the days of the week and the life cycle of the butterfly. We also made a little book about the food pyramid.

I got the lapbook from Lapbook Lessons at Melissa’s blog. You can find a video for it here.

I used some of the links that she listed on her blog. For the days of the week, I got handwriting pages from here. I got the Little Pockets of Time for The Very Hungry Caterpillar from Fortunately for You Books at CurrClick.

I got the food pyramid booklet and the life cycle of a butterfly booklet from Enchanted Learning.

We will add more to the lapbook as we finish the other elements. When it’s finished, it will probably be a lot like Melissa’s. I might do some things a little bit differently. I haven’t found the counting game that she put in hers, so I probably won’t have a last section like she has. The twins are beyond that anyway. But I do plan to do more activities for the days of the week and the months of the year and include them in the lapbook.

We have been working on the elements of this lesson for over a week now. The twins have been learning to recognize the names of the days of the week. They are learning the basic food groups. Today we also talked about other things we need to do to stay healthy, like getting enough sleep and exercise. And they are reviewing what we learned about the life cycle of the butterfly (we made a butterfly lapbook last year).

Oh yes, I got the days of the week magnets from Target in the section where they sell the bulletin boards and white boards. I guess they were for a magnetic calendar, but I just got the names of the days of the week.

This has been a fun project for me. I think the twins are enjoying it. But they might just be doing it for the M&M’s I give them if they cooperate each day.

Yes, my little caterpillars eat M&M’s every day of the week. Just a few. They don’t want to become very fat caterpillars! Either way, I know they’re learning something. About caterpillars, days of the week, foods that are good for you … or how to earn candy.

Developing a Unit Study on Early American History – the Spirit-led Way

We have been doing a unit study on Early American history… for a while now. Many moons ago, I asked Shawn if there was an area of history that he felt we hadn’t covered well enough. He said that he didn’t really know much about the Colonial period of American history.

So I ordered an Early American history lapbook from In the Hands of a Child.

I happened to get a book from Goodwill called Rehoboth by Angela Elwell Hunt. It was a Christian novel, but as I read it, I realized that it was about the Wampanoag Indians and King Philip’s war right after the time of the first Pilgrims. It told about the ministry of John Eliot to the Indians. I read it first, then I read it aloud to my oldest children. We all really enjoyed the story, told from the perspectives of the Indians, the white missionaries and the Indian missionaries.

I got the Time Travelers – Colonial Life from Homeschool in the Woods.

I made this model of Jamestown settlement that I got from Homeschool in the Woods.

I looked in my book All Through the Ages for some books about the Founding of America and the Colonial period. I found a book called This Dear-Bought Land by Jean Lee Latham about Jamestown and Captain John Smith. We had never studied Jamestown in depth, so I was happy to read a book by an author that I already loved from reading her book Carry on, Mr. Bowditch years ago. My children really enjoyed this book about Captain John Smith, and we really got a feel for the time period and the dangers they faced from starvation, poor leadership and organization, lack of people willing to work and hostile Indians.

Simultaneously, I read a book about Pocahontas that I happened to have, The Story of Pocahontas by Brian Doherty, a Dover book.

We watched the HBO mini-series about John Adams. Not being from a Christian perspective, it was slightly depressing. It lacked the element of hope and the strong biblical foundation that our Founders actually worked from. I read aloud a library book about Abigail Adams, a biography by Dorothie Bobbe.

We then studied Thomas Jefferson by reading books from the library about him. I read a book aloud called Thomas Jefferson: Champion of the People by Clara Ingram Judson. In reading about Thomas Jefferson, we also read about the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Louisiana Purchase. I read several other books myself for background information but didn’t have time to read them all aloud. We wrote an essay together about Thomas Jefferson.

I also read a library book called Grand Papa and Ellen Aroon by F. N. Monjo. It was about Thomas Jefferson written from the perspective of his granddaughter. It was a sweet book that was informative and enjoyable.

I got several videos by David Barton of Wallbuilders, and we watched some about the American Revolution and the Foundations of American Government.

Somewhere in there I read aloud Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry. In this story, the main character, Joel Goss, went and fought in the War of 1812 and actually met President Monroe.

After doing all of this reading and soaking in the time period, we are now putting together that lapbook I ordered from Hands of a Child. The children are writing about the things they have learned from reading (or hearing me read) many living books about early American history. The lapbook goes up to the era of the cowboys and the Gold Rush, so I have had Kelsey and Morgan read some books about Davy Crockett and will probably read a few novels about Westward Expansion before I end this unit. I have been finding a few books in our home library from this general time period and assigning them to different ones of the children to read independently.

We have been working on this unit for about a year. The lapbook is our culminating activity. I have learned so much about American History through this study. I have a much better grasp of what happened when and why. We are so blessed to be able to learn this way – all together. We have had many discussions that have caused each one of us to think deeply about the Declaration of Independence and the biblical foundations of our government and the principles of freedom that so many of our people have died for. And we have become even more thankful for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers and for the Constitution that they provided for us.

Here is our lapbook so far:

This is an example of Spirit-led homeschooling.

How We Homeschool With Ten Kids

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Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

This is how we homeschool:

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First, let me tell you that we have routines, not a schedule based on time. We get up and eat breakfast. We pray together, put on our spiritual armor, and say The Lord’s Prayer together. Shawn, the oldest, leads the others in this while I take care of the two babies. Then he supervises the 6 oldest while they do their chores. We use Chorebuster.net to help us make the chore assignments each week. It has been the best chore organizer we’ve used. I put the information in one time, and then each week we print out what Chorebuster puts together and the kids don’t get mad at me; they blame Chorebuster for the chores they get. Each of them gets 2 or 3 chores each day. They set the timer and try to get everything done in an hour. I spend time on the computer during this time sometimes. At other times I help with cleaning. Then we come together, and I read aloud to the oldest 6.

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I read from the Bible or from a living book that we’ve been reading. Right now we’re reading the second book in The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black. The boys really like it. The girls like it, too, but Patrick, in particular, really likes it. It reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress, but it’s easier to understand.

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I’m also reading a book about 12th century Korea called A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. It is a well-written book that is making us want to keep reading on and on. We love to read books that get us so involved in the story and so fond of the main character that we just have to find out what happens next.

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Some days, we will do a lesson from Heart of Wisdom’s Adam to Messiah. I also have a unit study on Israel that we’ve started. We work on it sometimes. One week I read the assigned readings from the Daily Bible in Chronological Order every day, and it happened to be in Psalms. I really enjoyed reading those comforting words out loud each day.

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Every day is the same, but different. I try to be led by the Spirit in what I read and speak to my children each day during our school time. Sometimes we discuss prayer needs that I’ve come across through email and Christian news online and needs of family and friends, and then we pray for them together. We used to make everyone pray, but that took a long time, and we had to really prod some of the younger ones to pray, so we changed our policy, and now we just allow anyone who wants to pray for a certain need to pray for it. Our together school usually lasts about 2 hours. Sometimes we discuss issues that have arisen and caused strife between certain children during this time. At other times, I have praised individual children for character development that I’ve seen in them and things that I’m pleased about in their behavior.

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By the time we finish together school, Daddy is home, and we switch gears to welcome him home. He gets a big welcome with lots of little children yelling “Daddy’s home” (usually led by Emma when she hears the garage door start to go up) and running to him and hugging him. Some of us bigger ones run to him, too, if possible. Then he tells us what happened to him that day. This teaches them to honor their father. Twins Starting apple unit 028

Then most of the kids scatter to their separate rooms and activities. On alternating nights, Daddy takes the older kids to the YMCA where they lift weights and run and walk and generally get some good exercise. On the other nights, Shawn and I intend to do Geometry, using Life of Fred, but we haven’t been sticking to that plan very well. I think he’s getting antsy enough that he will press the issue soon and we’ll get cracking, so he can move onto Algebra 2, which we think he will like a lot better than Geometry. The younger kids do Math Mammoth. They do the pages, then bring them to me if they have a question and to check the problems when they’re done. The two next oldest kids use Teaching Textbooks which they can do on the computer, and is self-checking.

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Science for us is everywhere. I have lots of books about science topics in our personal library. I also check out science-related books from the library. They like to watch nature shows and are drawn to nature books. They find things outside and study them on their own quite often. I can’t wait until we can move to the country and these kinds of occurrences can happen more frequently. Surprisingly, they did find a snapping turtle on the street in front of our house smack dab in the middle of a manicured-lawn neighborhood the other day. So no matter where you live, I guess nature happens!

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We discuss Creation Science versus Evolution quite frequently. I have done some online Science courses through Cindy Rushton’s classes with the younger children this year. We did an online class about water from CurrClick.com with Kelsey and Morgan.

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The other areas get covered by copywork and reading on their own and writing on their own. My girls do lots of writing without any direction from me. My boys are another story. I have to look for things to motivate them to write, such as letters to friends, lists of things they want, lists of things to do, etc. I use the Getty-Dubay Italic curriculum to teach them handwriting. I absolutely abhor teaching handwriting. The process turns me into a monster. So I let Italic do it. You can also find these at Rainbow Resource Center.

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We also do lots of lapbooks. They are my babies. The kids aren’t as crazy about them as I am, but it’s the best way I’ve found to make them write some information about a topic on a page. My favorite lapbooking sites are lapbooklessons.com, homeschoolshare.com, In the Hands of a Child and knowledgeboxcentral.com. We do some notebooking, too, with the same results. I have to make my kids do them, and they resist, but they do like the results. Don’t ask them, they won’t tell the truth. I know they really do like their notebooks and lapbooks. They just don’t like being told that they have to do something.

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That’s about it. They learn a lot about raising young children. They have each learned a lot about the stages of development. They learn a lot from daily things that happen to us and our loved ones. We discuss politics and spiritual ideas openly, and I know that even the younger children are picking up important principles and truths from listening to our discussions.

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The older children read to the ones “assigned” to them at bedtime. I didn’t really assign them; it just kind of happened. They have Bible storybooks that they read to them and other books, too. I have to stay in my room to get the babies to sleep each night. Katie usually does late night kitchen clean-up.

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We try to have family movies that have a good family theme from time to time. We love to make lots of popcorn and all sit around together watching a good, wholesome movie. Unfortunately, Emma manages to make a big mess of the popcorn every time. One night, when the movie was over and we turned the lights on, I discovered Emma asleep with her feet inside one of the popcorn bowls. Our family movie nights are educational in what they teach about sharing, cooperating, being together as a family and the importance of bonding. Oh yeah, and how movie theater ushers feel when they clean up after a movie.

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That’s all I can think of for now. I believe that

Education is a Life

as Charlotte Mason said it. And our life is about getting to know God and learning what He wants us to learn, so we can be ready for whatever He has for us in the future.

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So this is how we homeschool with 10 kids. See how much easier it would be for you!

Wow, I guess I should write something now

I have been writing a little bit on my homeschoolblogger blog, but I just realized that the only people who can get on there are people who have blogs there.  So now I’m going to start putting things on here.  Pictures, lapbooks, homeschool happenings, family happenings, etc. are soon to come.  I’ve also been doing a lot on Facebook and Twitter.  I already spend too much time on the computer, and now I’m adding this blog, but I will make it something worthwhile.  I promise.