Feb 20, 2014

Fungi, Fungi, Fungi

So, you may be thinking, what's with the "fungi"?
Well, I've recently been bitten by the fungi-bug. 
What is that you ask and how did you catch it?

It began with an innocent visit to the Barnes and Nobles book store when I casually decided to browse through the nature field guides section. 
   After perusing the shelves of guides on everything from insects to edible wildflowers, one in particular captured my attention.

A Falcon Guide to North American Mushrooms.
Two hours later I placed the book back on the shelf and volia', the fungi-bug fever set in!!  I never pictured myself as a fungi-loving kinda gal, but nevertheless I am officially hooked on mushrooming.  Warning, the above guide can be a bit overwhelming at first read as it assumes you are already familiar with fungi-lingo right from page one. 

For instance, did you know that a mushroom cap is technically referred to as the pileus or that the gills are called lamellae in Mycologese? 
 Well, I sure didn't!  
Consequently, I almost closed this guide after struggling through the vocabulary in first few pages.
However, I my gaze couldn't resist the beautiful, full-color photographs of mushrooms in all of their fungi-glory. 
So, now I can't wait for the snow to melt and for the warm, wet days to arrive bringing with them all of the amazing mushroom varieties that abound in the woods and fields of Pennsylvania.  

Transparent Nature

Ok, spring fever has officially set in!  I've been creating a Pinterest board to capture nature study ideas that inspire me.  While on a recent search, I came across this ingenious idea for creating transparent nature squares. 

transparent nature squares

All you need is clear contact paper, scissors, and masking tape. 
We will begin creating these eye-pleasing homemade light catchers as soon as the snow melts. 

Jan 29, 2014

"Grand" Homeschooling

More & more grandparents are homeschooling their grandchildren either because their grandchild lives with them full time or because the parents must work, but everyone agrees that homeschooling is the best option. 


I am a grandparent who is now raising a grandchild unexpectedly.  Plus, I am a veteran homeschool mom who can't help but begin homeschooling her grandchild.
After searching endlessly online for a group designed for folks in a similar situation and coming up short, I determined to create a group just for "us".

So, the Grand Homeschooling Group on Facebook was born. The group is designed with the homeschooling grandparent in mind.
Click on the link below to be directed to the Grand Homeschooling Group on Facebook to learn more.

Join the group - Grand Homeschooling

 Designed for those who currently are or who are considering homeschooling one or more grandchildren.  It is a safe place to find support, advice, encouragement, but most of all to share the unique ups and downs of homeschooling a grand.

Prepping for Teaching

Well, I'm just about ready to begin teaching a full 1 1/2 years of Bible, social studies/science, phonics, math, nature study, art, etc...
All free online worksheets & Resource Section copies printed, memory verse index cards created, project/craft materials gathered, library books/videos list prepared per unit, & my unit plans are ready. All that remains is a bit of math & phonics prep & scheduling.

 Wheeww.... Yay!!
One thing that I learned from past homeschool experience is that if I don't plan & gather UP FRONT, I tend to get behind & then the frustration sets in. I can be such a procrastinator and this helps to nip that in the bud for me. 

Also, I thought I'd share a pic of my "milk crate file box" as I'm such a visual learner & I know I like to "see" how others prepare to homeschool.
 Not shown is a basket for project materials & a box of resource books.

Jan 8, 2014

52 Books in 52 Weeks

Ok, so the holidays are over. Yay!  Am I the only one that's happy to have Christmas & New Years behind me?
Anyway, one of my goals for 2014 is to spend less time watching Netflix & more time reading good books.

I've owned a copy of The Well Educated Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer for several years and although I read carefully through the introduction soon after purchasing it, that's about as far as I got. ;)  The book lists & previews included in the book simply seemed a bit lofty at the time.

Enter the 52 Book in 52 Weeks Challenge!

 I stumbled across this blog while searching for a copy of the 52 Week Savings Challenge worksheet that I shared in previous post. (Yes, I am adding to my savings account - more on that later)

As I bounced from page to page of the blog, learning a bit about how this 52 week book challenge thing worked, I became excited that maybe I could actually DO this.  Maybe I could read 52 books in 2014 & hey, even if I only read half of that it would be 25 more complete books than I managed to read in 2013 right?  Now, I must decide on which book to start with.


Dec 21, 2013

Free Algebra Course Online!

I came across this while searching for help with a course I may have to take in the near future...the dreaded Algebra I.  Ugghh!  If you are anything like me, you absolutely, totally, & completely DESPISE Algebra. 
Hence, I have postponed this course as long as possible.  However, I will need to take it next fall in order to complete my degree. Sooo I'm grasping for help now so that I can brush up over the summer. 
(Although I realize I'm deluding myself by
 thinking this will help prepare me for the terror to come!)

Anyway...here is the link to the online course & hey, it's FREE!! (site operates via donation)

Core Algebra1


Dec 19, 2013

Why do I love Charlotte Mason?

Recently, I was asked, "What makes you love Charlotte Mason?"  Well, that question I just had to answer! Where do I start? This will be my second time around with CM as I homeschooled my children for 12+ years & next month my granddaughter & I will begin her homeschool journey.
The truth is I guess I've always followed Charlotte Mason's methods even before I ever heard of them. lol!
I can still remember when Karen Andreola's book, A Charlotte Mason Companion: Personal Reflections on The Gentle Art of Learning,  first swept the homeschooling world & how CM was all the "new" rage.  So, of course I picked up a copy at the next homeschool convention.
  I read it & only then did I realize that I was already incorporating many of Charlotte Mason's methods into our homeschool. Charlotte taught God first, character/habit training as essential for the young child (& adult!), short lessons, narration & copywork, nature study, use of living books rather than textbooks, so much more.
She believed that children are persons & that they should be given "something to love, something to think about & something to do" each & every day. After morning lessons, she encouraged the children to be out-of-doors every afternoon exploring God's creation & learning about the natural world.
I wish I could have known her personally! In some ways, I have had the privilege of "knowing" her better through those who have written about her.  I placed a list of links below so that you too can come to know Charlotte Mason better.  Many of the links on my sidebar are Charlotte Mason related as well.  Happy researching!
Catherine Levison -
A Charlotte Mason Education



Ambleside Online's Annotated Charlotte Mason Series
click the link above to access Charlotte Mason's own writings on educating children (free)

Dec 17, 2013

Nature Study - Free Nature Treasure Hunt!

Charlotte Mason was a huge proponent of children getting outside to interact with & study the natural environment around them. Today's experts agree as an increasing number of studies show that kids who are given time to play outside are happier, healthier & smarter. Help your kids connect with nature and put smiles on their faces by going on a Nature Treasure Hunt courtesy of Nature.org!

Tuesday Smiles

I saw this on Christian Homechool Association of Pennsylvania's (CHAP) website & just had to share it here.
Hope it brings a smile to your face! 
Actually, this concept would turn the simple act of building a snowman with my granddaughter into a great object lesson to draw her heart closer to God & His creation.

Dec 16, 2013

Nativity Printable pack (Free!)

Merry Christmas!
I wish I could say I created this pack, but I didn't.
However, click on the image below & you download this adorable package for free!  Enjoy!

click on image

Nativity Printable Pack!