Homeschool Music

September is National Piano month. In honor of that do a quick study of the composers that maybe you haven’t studied before. Listening to classical music is really an amazing way to widen your horizons. According to some studies Mozart helps the brain in learning math. That in itself would be a great experiment. Try doing math with Mozart playing in the background one week and then nothing another week. Then try it with a different composer, and then a different type of music. Record your findings.

Music is daunting for me to teach because, while I enjoy music, I am not musical. All of my children take after their dad and can play piano by ear as well as sing and play other instruments . Hey, everyone needs an audience, right?
If you think of teaching music in terms of music appreciation rather than teaching the actually playing of music it isn’t so scary. Most of the time my music curriculum consists of me reading aloud from the encyclopedia while the kids listen to classical music in the background and et cookies. I try to expose them to a wide variety of music, including opera and musicals.
My musical tastes are very eclectic. I love Gilbert and Sullivan, a lasting legacy from the mom of one of my boyfriends in high school. I love certain country songs, certain rock songs, classical, jazz, blues, swing..oh yeah! Swing! I love praise music and contemporary is hard to know what will be on the playlist any given day.
Since our brains are working all the time we are learning all the time. Just like being read to, listening to music gives children a basis for learning to play an instrument later.
Expose your children to many types of music form an early age. Have musical instruments int he house as you can afford to and let them experiment. A harmonica, a recorder, a tambourine ..these are inexpensive ways for children to create music. If you can find a piano, or a guitar for a price you can afford then get them and put them out where kids can play with them. Our piano is an old upright from 1908. It is woefully in need of tuning. However, the kids never pass by the parlor that they don’t slip in and hit the keys a bit. A some point it turns into more than hitting the keys, I was surprised to hear my 8 year old playing Beethoven’s Ode To Joy the other day.
I didn’t find many homeschool resources on the internet for free music lessons. I did find this list of composers. You can click on the link, listen to their music and read a biography, Classical Music Composers
ANd I came across this site, The School Place which is great, with lots of helps and links.

Teaching Art in the Homeschool

beautiful world
Beautiful World
An appreciation for art is an important thing to cultivate. You really don’t need alot of books and curriculum for it, just trips to a local art museum and some books on various artists from the library. Some libraries have prints that you can check out as well.
Looking at many types of art is the way to learn about it, it is,after all , a visual experience. Allow your child to look at the painting and come to his own conclusions without trying to prompt him about what he sees. He may see something totally different than you do! You will have to decide what your family standard is as far as nudity in art. Personally, as an artist myself, my children have viewed many paintings and are not bothered by tasteful, artistic nudity. We were actually embarrassed once to be with a homeschool group where the children made loud, rude comments through the tour, and were obviously uncomfortable with classic art. Realize that there will be nudes in the art museum and if this is bothersome to you best to steer clear of it.
You can easily integrate art into your study of history by adding a biography of an artist that was working at the time. His artistic commentary on society will give your child a deeper and richer understanding of the time and how people interacted.
You might also contact your library to see if they host an art club. Many communities have art clubs that meet once a month and there are demonstrations and juried competitions. It is fun to sit in on one of these and get to know your local artists.

Today is Grandma Moses’ birthday. She was Born on Sept 7, 1860. SHe brought a unique vision to 20th century art and was a forerunner in the returnign popularity of primitive art. Read about her here.
Check out her paintings and try to copy her style. What do you think contributed to her unique vision? How long did she paint?
Art helps us to understand our world through the artist’s eye. Be sure to explore this subject with your children.

Read A Book Day!

Today is read a book day. I know..I know..It’s tough but SOMEONE has to do it. Why don’t you share you favorite childhood book with your kids? Or..
Make a book together
Visit the library
Get a map and start marking the setting location of all the books you read
Read and act out your favorite Suess book
Make a book jacket design for your favorite book

Here are some great blogs about books and reading. ENJOY!

Blue Thistle Books
Homeschool Mate’s Homeschooling Resources and Freebies
Indiana Jane’s Homeschool Notebook

Wordless Wednesday

Happy Be Late For Something Day! Actually, homeschoolers notoriously walk to the beat of a different drummer and you would think our lives would be simpler and less hectic but I know in my case this is just not true, and i am willing to be it is the same in yours. It seems so hard just to take time off, relax, settle down..Be Late For SOmethign Day can come to our rescue and remind us that we need to stop and smell the roses. In honor of today try making breakfast or lunch a little late. Look at the different time zones around the world and how they are set up. What is Greenwich Mean Time? Talk about attentiveness and how it is important to not dawdle about the important things so we will have time to do what we like to do. And Mom, it’s a good time to check your own schedule and see if it needs readjusting. Mine does!

Today in History Sam Houston was elected the president of Texas. Read about the Alamo. Can you name the flags that have fl
own over Texas? What is the state capitol, bird, flower?

It is raining today here. Pouring, and I think we are in for it all week. That means the pasture will be a large, wet mass of mud. I think I also heard some trees cracking during the night so when the sun comes up I need to go assess how many we lost. Since the flood/drought cycle we had we are losing trees right and left.Good for our woodpile not so much for our landscape!
I am trying very hard to find a schedule that words. With Marc no longer able to drive it is hard to have the animals to take care of, breakfast to get, and then him to take to work, and then try to get school going and the house cleaned up. I know a schedule would help, I have always been on one until now. is Wordless Wednesday from Five Minutes For Mom and I know I ghave been wordy but I will end with this:
kyrie in the rain
See more Wordless Wednesday participants FIve Minutes For Mom
and check out this Wordless Wednesday entry at A Picturesque Life .

Homeschooling Ideas All Around

I have been spending alot of time this weekend thinking and praying about this blog. I mean there are so many out there, what can I offer that is not being offered in other places. Why should you spend your time coming here and reading? I mean besides the fact that I am awesome cool.
So starting today I am going to do a couple of changes. First, there will be the same old insights and jabber that you have come to know and love about me. But i thought it would be fun to post an idea of the day. So that is what I am going to do. πŸ™‚

September is National Chicken Month.
Chickens are pretty cool, we have a flock of barred rock chickens, 24 hens and a rooster. chickens

On today’s date, Henry Hudson discovered the Island of Manhattan in 1609. Read about Henry Hudson and his explorations and find some cool activities here

orb spider
This is a picture of an orb spider that likes to hang out on our porch. This one happens to be huge. You can identify the orb spider by the zig zag it creates down the middle of it’s web. I took this early Sunday as we were leaving for church.
There are alot of ways to use spiders in homeschool science. After the spider has retreated for the day you can spray a black sheet of construction paper with adhesive and lay it up against the web to preserve it. They are interesting to watch as they catch and eat various insects and watching them weave their webs is fascinating. Need a unit study? Spiders are a good candidate. Besides the obvious, diagramming a spider’s parts, reading about them, finding facts about how they are beneficial, a report, and vocabulary there are other iinterestng things you can do. Here are some free resources, science ideas, history ideas, and activities for you to try. Use them as a jumping of place!
1. Read Charlottes Web

2.Read about Arachne in Greek mythology
3. Make a loom and try some weaving, or weave with construction paper
4. Contact a local spinner’s association to see if there is someone near you that spins and might be open to sharing the craft with your children
5.Read the story of Robert the Bruce and the about how observing hte spider changed the course of history…in theory anyway.
6. Here is a link to a “spider snack” spider snacks
7. How about taking a poll of the neighbors and making a graph to see who is afraid of spiders?
8. For the younger kids, Eric Carle has A Very Busy Spider
9. For the older kids this is a cool interactive site that discusses the geometry of webmaking. Interactive Spider Geometry
10.This is an interesting experiment that students did on the effect of music on spiders spiders and music
That should get your mind going with all the really neat possibilities for learning in the world around you. Frugal homeschooling is awesome, not just because it is cheap but because it teaches us to observe our surroundings carefully. Learning happens every day…be excited about it and your kids will too.

Check out these Homeschoolers …
Amy’s Humble Musings This is a fun blog. I love reading about people’s lives, what they are doing, thinking, and learning.
Mental Multivitamin This is an eclectic assortment of experiences..Fun to read.

Be blessed today!

Little School On the Highway

adThere are so many homeschool resources that you could never ever utilize everything you wanted to even if you taught your kids 24/7 until they turned 45. Seriously. Think about it…free curriculum, homeschool blogs, books, ideas, papers, magazines…all with great ideas..and so much of the time I feel like I should be doing everything..whew!
One thing I was reading about that I think is really cool is being able to take a year off and travel. Or even a month off and travel. What a great way to learn about geography, history and social studies! Not to mention gas prices and economics. :p
But you know, you wouldn’t necessarily need to take a large hunk of time. Most of us have places in our own areas that we never consider.
For example, I live in the Dallas, Texas area. I did not know that there are American Revolutionary War Veterans buried in the state cemetary. I just never associate Texas with the revolution, especially since I grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey and am probably a history snob.
A quick check of google will turn up so cool resources that you might not have thought of. Start by searching the most obvious things and then try weirder ones. Putting in the terms, Things to see in North Texas , got me links to several day trips I would not have thought of on my own.

For example:

Old – Fashioned Country Kitchen
Visit Spring Creek Farm and see how the famous Owens Country Sausage began, as you tour a museum featuring a fully equipped kitchen, workshop, butchery and country store with articles and replicas dating back to the early 1900s. Outdoors, see Belgian draft horses, miniature ponies and other animals. Self guided tours daily – guided tours for groups of eight or more by reservation only.
Mon. – Fri. 9 am – 3 pm
Reservations requested in advance.
1401 East Lookout Drive at Plano Road, 972-235-0192

Farmers Branch Historical Park

The Farmers Branch Historical Park is home to several historic structures that range in time from the 1840’s to the 1940’s. Structures include log cabins, the oldest stone structure on its original foundation in North Texas, and a 1930’s gas station. Tours free, interactive programs available.
Mon – Fri 8 am – 6 pm
Sat – Sun 12 pm – 6 pm
Call 972-406-0184 for information.

I didn’t know about either of those. We all know our kids learn best by seeing, hearing AND doing. This is a great way for kids to learn and understand about thier community.

Homeschool Across America this is a cool blog about a six week learning experience.
Homeschool TravelMore information on how to integrate learning and trips
Homeschool Journey A very cool article about this subject
Another article about travel
Now, I need an article to tell me how to finance this caper and I am all set!

Children’s Photography, Homeschooling Through the Lens


This is a picture that one of my kids took of a night sky recently. I thought it was interesting in many ways but the best thing is that once the picture was taken conversation was started as to why the clouds were the way they were. We talked about reflection, both natural light and light pollution…we talked about cumulous clouds and other types..
As early as age six you can hand a kid a cheap digital camera and have him click away throughout the day. It is amazing how, by viewing the pictures, you see into his life as through a keyhole. It has been a learning experience for me to see what my kids think is cool enough to take a picture of. And with digital photography the cost is minimal and there is the ability to be spontanious.
Not only is it a learning experience for me, but a creative experience for them. Learning photography is just the tip of the iceberg. They begin to observe the world around them in a more detailed way and ask more questions, digging a little deeper to understand what they have photographed. I think it leads to a real appreciation of creation.
Sometimes I give them a catagory, or a sentence, or a word to start it off. Maybe the phrase for the day will be something like, Miles to go before I sleep. or a single word like,
thankfulness. I don’t critique what they have done..I observe what they have observed and help them find more about it if necessary…
When they get a little older you can let them experiment with a photography program like Photoshop. They can try their hand and changing the photo to black and white photography or sienna. They can play around with different lighting techniques, action photography and macro photographs. My kids like ot take pictures of eachother to use as fodder for blackmail but I try to overlook that to some extent.
Anyway..this is a creative way to introduce new life into school once in awhile!
Try it sometime. πŸ™‚
Here are some more pictures that the kids have taken in the past month:

Frugal Homeschooling for the Cheap at Heart :)

One thing so many of us have in common is that way have way more things that we would like to buy than the money to buy them.
That is a no brainer.. alot of homeschool families are one income and many have numerous kids. Many of us prefer to stay away from debt, and blatant least we swear that we are staying away from it..right up to the time we walk into a book store or get the GCB catalog. πŸ™‚
Well help is here! Check out these coupons for homeschool stuff…
Homeschool SuperMall
Links here from: alphabet soup which is an amazing store for the coolest toys. No they are not paying me to say that..It is really cool.
woekbook window turns any workbook page into a washable, reuseable surface. I really like this because Kyrie likes to do her workbooks over and over.

As far as internet time there are alot of things that are free on the internet.
fun brain has a ton of online educational games, not the best graphics, o.k..really bad graphics, but my kids, who are poor video game-less urchins, love this site.

I love great, creative, SIMPLE ideas and here is an awesome one from Phyllis Franklin at wet canvas. SHe calls them scribble stories and what a fabulous way to get your kids to do creative writing and get in touch with their inner muse.

Need a fact? Just looking at this page is a year’s worth of Civics/Social Studies. fact monster

Identify Insects at Insect Identification (what else?) cool pictures, descriptions and facts about insects of all kinds.
Identify flowers at wildflower information where you can identify by color,type, region, or habitat!

math worksheet generator Great for worksheets if you need them once in awhiel for extra practice or whatever.

Check out a different picture from space every day with astronomy picture of the day not just pictures but information and thought provoking questions..too cool.

word central from merriam webster…vocubulary building games online

need to get organized? Who doesn’t? organized home has some great ideas tailored to homeschoolers!

How to make just about anything make stuff

O.k…there is a pretty good list of free homeschool resources and curriculum and just plain cool stuff!

Several Helpful Homeschooling Links

sean reading
It is that time of year again. Whether you unschool, do abeka, use unit study, or a combination of things it still is the traditional time of those ominous words that called you home before the fireflies came out that one fateful night every year….End of summer.
I don’t know what God was thinking when He decided end of summer should be the end of September..Everyone knows it is a month earlier than that.
Anyway. I am always looking for new, cool, and incredible ideas this time of year. Even though we do unschool, or relaxed school, or whatever you want to call it, I keep an idea file. Here are some helpful links I have found:

1.Math U See Ethan has put together a carnival of homeschooling…a ton of great sites (including yours truly!) and some great ideas!
2. Carolyn at Guilt Free Homeschooling has 10 ways to ease into homeschooling! I love it!
3. I love reading Becky at Farm School because of her love of literature and poetry..and because I love reading well written blogs. Just some very nice poetry references, great for your narration..and alot of thought provoking blogging.
4. A very introspective post on how we give our children a view of the Glory of God on Under the Sky
5.Homeschooling Journey a plethora of information here, as well as printable worksheets..
If you have come across any cool ideas comment and leave me a link..or just comment. πŸ™‚

Alternative Learning Programs-Pimp My Homeschool


Back in the 80’s when I first dipped a tentative toe in homeschooling we kept our kids inside from 8-4 so as not to get questioned by neighbors. We didn’t exactly sneak around but we were cautious not to attract attention. We kept ourselves separate from school systems and anything that looked like a school system.
It seems that homeschooling is coming out.
Rather than being at odd with eachother it seems that some public school and provate schools are opening their arms to homeschoolers and inviting them to participate in sports programs, certain classes, or utilize resources like labs, libraries, and computer centers. In essence we seem to be building a Burger King ability to have it our way.
In this day of custom cars, custom houses, custom music, custom foods, we can now create a custom education. Don’t like to teach math? Fine, teach art and history,and send Charlie to school to wrestle over his algebraic equations with an expert. Hybrid homeschooling seems to be the new wave.
It looks great in theory. I mean, I hate teaching certain subjects. My concern, and I am not the only one by what I am reading, is that we are sleeping with the enemy. Why did we pull our kids out of school in the first place? Wasn’t it to create an education that allowed our kids to learn from pass on our values and beliefs, to control the influences on our kids? Wasn’t it to be able to educate in complete and blissful freedom?
I am concerned, admittedly, that this is the frog soup mentality..I am concerned that we will swim in the pot unaware that the heat is being turned up until we are cooked and it is too late.
By being involved with government school systems do we open ourselves up for regulations and restrictions that we are currently without?
Perhaps it is my old school homeschooling mentality…After all I have been homeschooling since 1989 continuously. I was part of the rebellion in pulling my kids out..I am now part of the *cool* of homeschool… I remember the battles, the worries, the criticism, and the numerous checks of the HSLDA website! Now it seems that those of us who forged the path are watching new homeschoolers water the weeds…
Any thoughts on this? Have you tried hybrid homeschool? DO you feel it is selling out? Or is it a creative solution to a problem?