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*This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate Links for your convenience. It doesn't cost you anything but we may make a tiny percentage off a purchase made through a shared link. 

Ahhh, I can almost feel the refreshing salty air breeze...  

For our last month of school, we are going to do a Unit Study that will help take our minds off the dry desert weather. We're headed to Florida soon, back home to visit family and make some memories.  Since we are all getting anxious for our trip, I figured we could pass time quickly by diving into a HUGE Marine & Ocean Unit Study.

Preparing for this one has my old memories popping up. I once spent a summer camp exploring tide pools and marshes in the panhandle and it was the best time ever. We waded in the shallow water collecting water samples to test, explored water plants necessary for the habitat, and discovered so many little creatures. In high school, I chose a year long Marine Biology science class that turned out to be my favorite kind of science! Can you tell how this topic excites me?! 

This Unit Study collection will encompass all of my children's levels (3rd-9th). I think Units like this are easy to plan for multiple ages because they really are an a la carte of learning.  

Two Ways to do this Study: 

1) Piece together books and activities that you can do when you or your child want. 
2) Plan, Purchase, or Download a step by step guide for your unit. We decided the FREE Marine Biology Unit Study from The Good & The Beautiful would fit our needs, and it allows wiggle room to add or subtract things. 

*All unit studies could be prepared either way. Scroll down if you'd like information on where to buy Unit Study Guides. 


Focus Areas Let's be honest...the Ocean is a vast and complex system with thousands of living organisms. If you have younger children, they may not be ready to learn about currents, riptides, the abyss or the scary creatures that lurk there. Or your older children may not want to color sea-life pages and call it a day. You have the freedom to narrow this unit down to key sections such as the shorelines & beaches, tide pools, ocean animals, submarines, or ocean weather.  Our Focus Areas will include Sea-life, Tide Pools, Marshes, all of the Oceans, oceanic careers, and Reefs. Some will go into more depth while others will be a light covering. The reason I chose this many was to include all of the kids as well as get them prepared for things they will see on our trip!


Gathering Materials! 

 This is my favorite part...shopping.  Amazon, Michaels, Joann's, and the Dollar Tree really helped pull this together. Sure we have loads of books, but Ocean themed games, activities, and projects will make this unit memorable!  Scroll below to see what we collected.. 


Books

Marine Science for Kids
The Complete Aquarium Adventure
Coral Reefs
Shimmer & Splash
Oceanology

Island of the Galapagos
Sharks & Other Deadly Ocean Creatures
Oceans & Seas
Marshes & Swamps
A Day in the Salt Marsh
Jellyfish
Sea Turtles
Dolphins
Explore Earths Five Oceans
Explore Australia & Oceania
Whales
Teach Yourself to Draw Sea Life
Seashells, Crabs, & Sea Stars
Coral Reefs
Merlin Missions: Shadow of the Shark 
Magic School Bus: On the Ocean Floor
Marine Biologist
Why is the Sea Salty?
Eyewitness Fish
Eyewitness Ocean 
Science Comics Coral Reefs
How to Draw Incredible Sharks
Ocean Renegades
Ocean The Definitive Visual Guide
MTH: Dolphins at Daybreak 
The Beachcombers Companion
Who Was Jacques Cousteau?
Where is The Great Barrier Reef?
Where is The Bermuda Triangle?
Field Guides: Saltwater Fish, Shells, Seashores
Adventure Beneath The Sea
Amazing World of Sea Creatures (Glow in the Dark Animals)
Magazine: Science World Orcas in Danger

Videos

Oceanic 
Atlas
Popular Mechanics for Kids
BBC Blue Planet (online)
Life in a Tide Pool (Amazon)
Chasing Coral (Netflix) 
Jacques Cousteau's Legacy 

Games




 Play

Sand (Kinetic or Real) 
Sea Molds 
Shells


 Projects

Layers of the Ocean - We purchased 5 bottles from Michaels to create the layers. 
Wave Pool- You just need a clear bin, some sand, water, and food coloring! 
Coral Reef Diorama- Pompoms, colored clay, pipe cleaners, beads, Construction paper, paint, felt, & glue. (This idea came from Pinterest)
Tide Pool - Tin foil pan, shells, sand, and starfish toys. 
Ocean Pollution Activity- Clear Bin, Sea Toys, Boat, coffee grinds or cocoa powder & vegetable oil mix. 
Submarine Diving- KidzLabs Diving Submarine, Baking Soda, Water, Clear Bin

Identifying Tide Pool Specimens- I found a wood jewelry tray from Michaels, and some tide pool & coral samples from www.homesciencetools.com that fit nicely in the sections. 









Printable Resources & Websites:

Coral Worksheets-  https://colorfullllstudy.ecwid.com/
Worksheets & Activity ideaswww.naturalbeachliving.com 
Marine Biology Unit Study- www.thegoodandthebeautiful.com 
Other Unit Study Guides- www.unitstudy.com 

Website for Ocean Fun-
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/kids






For More Books & Activity Ideas, Check out My


So that's our Unit Study in a Nutshell. Eventually I had to talk myself out of buying more. We are truly blessed with what we have, but sometimes we are really passionate about certain topics.  If you like this blog post, please share or pin it for later! For more pictures of our progress, check us out on Instagram @WeWouldRatherBeReading !! 



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This post includes a few amazon affiliate links. There is very little made from any purchase through that link, but is greatly appreciated! 


It's almost SUMMER!!!


For our family, who didn't start homeschooling until the kids had many public school years in, we love keeping with the summer break tradition...for the most part! We do our best to finish out the curriculum, and get grades logged, papers filed, and cleaning the plate so to speak! This year, our summer break has a vacation in it, so everyone is super motivated to wrap up! 

 But... 


 I'm a planner. I plan ahead. I don't want to wait until the last minute in July to piece together the next year's plans. Are you like this too? Here is my personal list for wrapping up the Homeschool year! 


  • Recollect Successes- Think about what worked really well this past year, and try to plan a few things like it the following year. For us, we tried Morning Basket's, Christmas School, Unit Studies, and Nature Journal's. The things they liked most, we will continue to use!
  • Order next year's curriculum now! Sales are going on. Convention season is in full swing, which means discount's galore! If you order now, you'll not only be prepared, but you'll have plenty of time to go through the book's, set things up the way you like, plan it out, and be able to purchase all the fun school supplies in July! Scroll down if you want to see our favorite curriculum supplements! 
  • Gather summer reading materials and games! It's important to keep those little hands and eyes busy. They will get bored. No matter how many activities you plan, or how much free time they have to play..it never fails. We never stop learning, so have some fun themed books and games on the ready! You'll find my list to the left on the sidebar!
  • Grade those papers! This may not be necessary if you have little ones, but mine are older, so it is important for us. I also like to use my middle daughter to help as she is an excellent grader/helper.
  • Organize & File Away! As your children complete their workbooks & lessons, you will need to decide what to keep and what to toss. If you move often, it's necessary to keep a portfolio if you don't know where you will move onto next. For some of us, we have to be mindful of our household weight as well..so tossing old workbooks after samples are removed, and selling books that we are finished with or didn't work out, is imperative. 
  • Creating Portfolios- I love to use this Mead Organizer with file sections. I label the cover with their name and school year, then put in samples, test grades, report cards, etc. This is just a precaution in case I need to prove their home education. See my previous post on How to Create a Portfolio

So those are my main steps for wrapping up the year. Then the fun begins for cleaning and reorganizing book shelves and our learning spaces! But we have all summer for that! Ha! 


Looking ahead, we also created some fun LOGBOOKS for each child to use to help them accomplish their daily tasks! You can use them all year or just for learning purposes! Revisit my Grade Tracking post about how we use our logbooks!


The great thing about our logbooks, is they are downloadable and you can customize them! If you have a binding machine, you can easily print all the pages needed for the year and snap those suckers together! I recommend printing the cover on cardstock and/or laminating it AND adding a stiff back to keep it nice all year long! We recommend the Swingline ProClick Punch & ProClick Coils to add and remove sheets as you go! 

Our Favorite Curriculum Supplements! 


Curriculum Shopping is upon us! We either love it or hate it. No matter what, it need's to be done. For me personally, I love it. I love looking at it, discussing among peers, and always finding a new & fun thing! This year, I found a few new fun things!  

  • Grace&Grit- I stumbled upon their booth at the DFW Great Homeschool Convention! It was soo cute and I immediately fell in love with their historical empowering female figure boxes! 
  • eat2explore - These great little food kits are perfect additions to your older child's culinary experience! They come with a curriculum guide, with geography, cooking skills, spices, a fun tool, and a country pin to start a collection! 
  • Lego Education - Years ago, my son fell in love with robotics at his public school. Today, lego education offers more robotic kits for early ages to high school! Coding and computer jobs are our future, so I never skip out opportunities to teach STEM & Computer Science. This year, we purchased the WeDo 2.0 for my 9 year old! 
  • Drew's Art Boxes - We have been using Liza's art boxes all year! She is continuously coming out with new, fun, and unique ways to teach modern techniques. We just purchased her Fluid Art kits and look forward to the next Alcohol Markers & Agamograph kits! 
  • Back to the Roots- If you're a nature loving, green thumb, these kits are great! You can find free curriculum online for an Herb kit, Mushroom kit, and Aquaponics Garden! There is even a special discount for educators if you contact the company! 
Do you have a fun supplement you'll be using too?  Please share! 

Comment here, or reach out to me on Instagram @WeWouldRatherBeReading or email me: underthedreamingwillowtree@gmail.com 




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Earth Party!

Q & A with Christine Echeverri, author of Earth Party!

Why did you write this curriculum?

The real reason — so many life forms are disappearing before our very own eyes! Many young students are aware of this predicament. Instead of leveling on guilt and sadness about this, we step back provide a broad introduction to all life that will provide an excellent basis for students. Encouraging a closer look, continuing to foster love of life, both for student’s own knowledge, and to add a stepping stone for them as they enter middle and high school biology. They will know (and have experienced) life such as fungi, insects, protozoa, and more!

You previously wrote a history curriculum, California Out of the Box. In what ways is this similar to that approach?

Through story, kids retain what they hear so much better. Given a well-situated context, deeper learning will occur — that will sustain students much longer than facts-oriented memorization. Like the literature-approach in California Out of the Box, this study relies on two excellent story-oriented resources: Tree of Life, and Karl, Get Out of the Garden!

Why should young students study this material that is traditionally taught in middle or high school?

Because — they already notice it! When they see coyotes in their neighborhood, insects on the walls of their room, and need I say: Pathogens like Covid that are so small, yet so powerful…Kids DO get it! They connect and notice!

Is this curriculum religious or secular?

Like California Out of the Box, this curriculum is secular. It does not come from a religious worldview.

What does a typical week look like?

A typical week looks like reading well-illustrated information from Karl, Get Out of the Garden, or Tree of Life; students in grades 3-6 will read from the highly-regarded Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia. Young scholars can answer questions in the Student Book. The week after will be hands-on exploration such as opening up and looking into seeds, exploring insects under the microscope, modeling protozoa and bacterial shapes, playing the review game, observing yeast, etc. One week of story and theory, and the next week hands-on. Most materials can be easily found around home.

If you want more information, see our recent Cathy Duffy curriculum review.

It’s not in Rainbow Resource. Where can I buy it?

Earth Party! is available through our site; Prime customers can purchase on Amazon. Through our site we also sell the full literature box, which makes the whole curriculum ready-to-go.

You teach California history classes. Do you plan to add this course to your class line-up?

Yes! We have worked hard on solidifying our California classes. Watch for summer and fall classes teaching this material. We are excited to see students responding to it!

Is there anything else you want to share?

Many people have asked me “Why this for my second curriculum?” My answer goes back to the reason I decided to homeschool in the first place. At the time my eldest was in third grade at a local public charter school. It seems the only science they covered, year after year were animal “life cycles.” All my kids enjoy animals — so I thought “Why not teach them about the broader forms of life, using scientific language?” We spent a month exploring the system of classification, culminating in a super quiz and a mobile. (Mobile culmination is a part of California Out of the Box as well.)

And — I want throw this out to the broader community; we would love to hear what our users are looking for in terms of curriculum. In fact, we have a form we would love for you to fill out to let us know what curriculum holes you have found that we should plug. Also, if you want to be notified when our classes are posted, fill this form out!

The post How to have fun in 2021? Add Earth Party Science Unit Study to Your Line-Up! appeared first on Carrier Shell Curriculum.

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Highlights from Fall and Spring Semester California Out of the Box Online Class

Yes, Minecraft –

Did you know Minecraft Creative is an amazing computer-aided design program? As my students worked on their written California missions project, they were invited to share in class about a few things they learned. Some of my students chose to create a Minecraft mission. I love it!

Here are some screenshots from one of my students highlighting San Juan Capistrano Mission.

Homing Pigeons,

Our last fall California Out of the Box class was spent hearing the quirky entertaining story about Catalina’s Pigeon Express. Operating between 1894-1898, this avian courier route functioned as the quickest method of getting messages from vacationeers on Catalina Island to Los Angeles. Remember, this was prior to the advent of the wireless radio and phone service to the island. Every day, the birds completed 2 runs; the pigeons never ceased to get their messages to and from the island.

Leah, 4th grade

Here is one of my student’s projects. each student colored in their pigeon and attached 2 messages: One historical message, and one message they wrote.

And Treasure Maps!

We launched spring semester of California Out of the Box history class reading By the Great Horn Spoon! (by Sid Fleischman) and exploring the David Rumsey Map Collection, housed at Stanford University (another awesome California institution.) One character in By the Great Horn Spoon!, Dr. Buckabee, is making his way around South America to California on the Lady Wilma — from the East Coast around South America. On his person, he holds a treasure map to California gold! What a perfect opportunity to study maps, and to invite students to make fun, aged-treasure map? Using the Youtube video above, students made an aged-treasure map. When do students ever get to make treasure maps in school? I am so impressed with my student’s work!

Elise, 4th grade

Stay tuned for next year’s online California history classes; we open enrollment in June. Classes begin the first week of September. Click here to be notified when the courses are posted!

The post What — California History Minecraft Projects? appeared first on Carrier Shell Curriculum.

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Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Accountable2You was designed to be a internet monitoring accountability tool. The concept is built on the actions found in the book of Proverbs 27:17 : "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." In this technology driven world, Internet accountability is almost a necessity. Accountable2You offered us the choice of one of four plans: Family Plan, Group Plan, Individual Plan and Small Business Plan. We chose the Family Plan.


Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Plans Available

The Individual Plan is great for monitoring a single person and their devices or a family that may only have one device each they would like to monitor. It allows up to 6 devices.


The Group Plan is a great option for church youth groups or homeschool groups. Each person is the group is allowed up to 6 devices to be covered. There is an administrator of the group but they do not have access to any of the reports unless they are set up as an accountability partner.

The Small Business Plan is great for small companies especially those whose employees have internet access. The administrator of this plan does have access to all reports and can set up unlimited devices.

With the Family Plan, you can add up to 20 devices for your family including android, apple, and windows. For a detailed list of devices supported, see this page.

Our Family Use

I set up Accountable2You on our family laptop by downloading the software on the computer. I also added the app to my teen's ipods, and my android phone to see how it would work. Since I only set up less than 6 devices, I could have chosen the individual plan but we have growing teenagers who will be adding more devices soon so I wanted to see how the family plan would work. The family plan costs $9.99 per month.

Setting up each device was pretty simple and there are videos to walk you through the process as well.

Features include detailed reports, instant alerts for questionable activity, unlimited accountability partners, GPS tracking, time limit alerts, the ability to add your own objectionable words, and more.

I chose to receive daily emails showing any alerts. You could also receive text messages or weekly emails.  Here is a sample email report with an alert.







Pros
  • I love the GPS feature! Especially after a recent escapade with my oldest who was in a wreck and had no idea where he even was at the time. This feature would have really come in handy then. 
  • The reports are extremely detailed. You can completely monitor text messages, emails, facebook, etc. You also have the option to change app settings so extremely personal information is not monitored. I love that it can be monitored for teens and turned off for adults because I could read exactly what was texted in my report. 
  • The app continually ran on my phone. We have a limited data plan but it never came even close to causing any type of overage for me nor did it slow my phone down. The same goes for the monitoring for the computers and ipod apps. We have used internet safety programs before that caused our older family laptop to constantly crash but had no problems with Accountable2You. 
  • The price is reasonable and includes the whole family and all their devices which let's face it, in this technology driven world is a lot.
Cons
  • One con was the limitation on the apple devices.  The app took a little more time to get going as you had to use their browser and disable the Safari browser.  IOS devices must use Accountable2You's browser and disable the Safari browser to be monitored. 
  • I would also love it if the apps and software could deny access to the internet instead of just alerting you if someone is on when they are not suppose to be. 
  • You need to use an additional filtering system if you wish to actually block websites.  They do recommend a few but it would be great to have an all in one app or software.  

Overall, we were pleased with how Accountable2You worked. I tested out the timing limits and received an alert right away. It is a great tool to begin teaching kids responsibility for their own actions because when they leave the home, they will have access to a whole world of internet at their fingertips. Staying accountable to each other is a great way to keep those fingers and eyes away from things they shouldn't be seeing and doing. There is a 10 day free trial if you would like to try it out for yourself.

Be sure to check out Accountable2You on Facebook, and YouTube.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}Crew Disclaimer

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Well, I knew I was going to take a little break but never thought it would be this long!  I guess it was well needed.  I left off at week 12 and now we're heading into our third week of summer break!!

The school year went really well and smooth and the milestones just keep flying by.  

A few updates since we last chatted....

We are now keeping a fun, smart, and absolutely wonderful baby girl each day.  She just turned 9 months old and we've been keeping her since she was 4 months old.  She is such a sweet and darling baby and we all fight for her attention instead of her fighting for ours!  She has been such a blessing to our family and I look forward to seeing her beautiful smile greet me each morning.  

Stephen turned 16 and has been working at our local Subway for almost 3 months now.  We had to adjust to his new schedule as their busiest time is lunch time so he has worked often during those times.  It took some adjusting but he did a great job of balancing work and school hours.   Since school has now left out, he schedule seems to be changing to closing lol.  

Sarah will be turning 14 in a few months and we are spending a lot of our time enjoying each other often as the boys are off to work.  She loves crafting, anything d-i-y and keeps me motivated to keep walking!

Jonathan has now been out of our home for a year and it's still hard to get used to.  He's our neighbor but often spends many nights away from home so we see him about once every week or so.  He turned 19 in April - still can't wrap my head around that!

As far as school for next year, this is the first year that I have no clue what or where we going!  I am currently praying for direction and will spend some time at the end of June hopefully closing out the past school year and ordering for the new one.  

I am still trying hard to keep up with my personal habits of steps, water, and weight loss.  I joined weight watcher and have been tracking since March 13th of this year and I am so close to hitting my 20 pound mark. 

Well, I think that's a quick update for now!  Hoping to get back into a posting routine!

Happy Summer!!!

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 February has been eventful in a not so fun way. On February 2nd I broke my right foot. There is never a good time for a mom to be out of commission, is there? The break is pretty bad, the fifth metatarsal broke in a 'jones fracture'. This kind of break doesn't heal well, due to poor blood flow in the area. My doctor said I have to be completely non-weight bearing for at least 5 weeks, and possible up to 3 months. Even then, it may not heal. If it doesn't, I will need surgery to put a screw in. The placement of my break would put the screw in a place that would cause pain to walk for the rest of my life. Yuck! So I'm being super good at following the doctor's orders about staying off my foot, and we will check it by x-ray every 2 weeks. 

As you can imagine, this makes daily life complicated. Friends let us borrow a wheelchair they have, so I'm able to get around the main floor of our home somewhat. The kids have all had to pitch in and help with nearly everything. They are doing really well, and so grateful that chore have always been a regular part of their day. They are running the house pretty well. Our church families have been bringing us dinner each evening, which is a blessing! My husband is gone from 3:30am-6pm most work days, then heads to bed at 8pm so he can get up again for work. 

The hardest part is the afternoon medical care for Mason, which I still have to do because none of the kids can do it, and bedtime, when I'm crawling around upstairs between bedrooms getting the little two kids to sleep. They won't go to sleep for a sibling. Oh well, it's great to be wanted, right? We're doing it, and we're finding a routine that is working. 

The one constant has been homeschooling, and I'm so grateful for that part of our day feeling normal. I can sit at the table in the wheelchair and teach just fine. I think a few of the kids were a little bummed to realize that - ha! However, the routine is good for everyone.

Yesterday the kids decided we needed to do our art project early this week. We pulled out the salad spinner and did spin art with paint dripped onto construction paper hearts. Our table is now covered in pretty hearts. We are still doing Beginning Chemistry. This week we've been studying the clues to a chemical reaction, which was a perfect time to make elephant toothpaste. In history today we reached the Battle of the Alamo. The kids had never studied this before, so it was fascinating and sad to learn about. Next we'll move into stagecoaches and the Pony Express. 

I think that's enough of an update for now!

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Our simple Valentine's Table

Friday: We had a pretty normal school day. Kids finished math for the week, language arts, and so on. Everyone chose a topic to notebook about and made a page for their history notebooks. Emma was not feeling well, and a few other kids were starting to get some congestion. My husband has had some congestion this week, no other symptoms, so we figured it was just a cold. Then my husband called right before dinner because he's lost his sense of taste and smell. Yep. He tested positive for COVID. We're now all in quarantine while we watch this run its course. Several kids are a day or two behind daddy in symptoms, with the congestion and early stages already started. Apparently February is the month of crazy medical things for us. 

Saturday: Quarantine life is pretty quiet. We played games. Watched a movie. Rested. Played more games. You get the idea. I'm sure this week's blog will be fascination variations on this theme.

Sunday: Church today was wonderful via Zoom. We were able to hear from a young man who is leaving home to serve a mission for two years, sharing the gospel with others. After church we kept to our quiet routine. I had, thankfully, picked up a few things for Valentine's Day just before breaking my foot, so we decorated the table and spent time laughing and talking. 

Monday: Snow and cold outside left us inside staying warm. Well, actually, the weather looked more like this: snow, nothing, rain, hail, rain, snow, snow, snow. We took the day off school for President's Day - or just because we can. Several older kids and I played our first ever games of Pandemic. It was really fun, but definitely a game for older kids. The irony is not lost on me as we are dealing with the current pandemic. We have 6 sick right now, most of us mild symptoms. 

Other random things that kept people entertained today:

  •  Battleship
  • Coding our robot Cosmo
  • Laser tag battles
  • Piano practice and someone composing new music
  • Cooking and chores, of course.
  • Reading lots of books
  • Lego building
  • Scripture study
  • Video chatting with our college daughter
  • Writing a book review (me)
Tuesday: Jason and Emma, who were the first with symptoms, and the worst, finally started feeling a little tiny bit better today. A few of us are still getting worse, but this gives me hope that this illness won't last for weeks on end! Our day was basically a repeat of Monday, lots of games, lots of rest, lots of reading. We are taking this entire week off of school, but that doesn't keep the kids from learning. They all have their own favorite things to do and learn about in their free time. 

Wednesday: We realized some of our pipes were frozen. It only happens in especially frigid weather, and such it is today. The pipes? The ones to our washer. We set up a heater to reach the area in the basement and a few hours later things were thawed out. Thankfully, we do laundry daily to keep up on things, because with this many people we have a load a day ready to wash pretty easily. 

Thursday: Some people are well on their way to recovery, others are not. It's the usual large family with illness, it drags out a bit between the entire family. Those of us who have lost their sense of taste/smell are not terribly interested in eating. As part of our Come Follow Me/family scripture study this week, today we watched A Day for the Eternities. This is a video you can watch at the Whitmer Farm church history site in New York.  

Friday: We are still in our quiet quarantine. People are starting to get along less. It feels like we are juggling kids in the house trying to get everyone a little space from everyone else. It would be nice if the weather was warmer and we could at least spend some time in the back yard. Daddy teamed up with Mason and they set up an obstacle course for Botley. Botley is a robot you can program (totally screen free, which is awesome!) to tackle different tasks. They worked through the obstacle course step by step, coding Botley. (Mason got Botley 2.0 for his birthday last month.) 

We got a few magazines in the mail today, which was a fun distraction for the kids. Our March issues of The Friend, For the Strength of Youth, and The Liahona came. These call all be read free online or on the Gospel Library app, but we also love getting print copies in the mail. 

Well, I'm going to go rest some more until dinner time. Have a lovely weekend friends!

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 Okay, so there is this friend of mine from the wide world of everything-homeschool who has a Facebook group for homeschoolers & each month she hosts online "parties". Basically, lots of encouragement, she gives away free stuff (like, quite a bit of free stuff geared just for homeschooling families) and answers questions & if she doesn't have the answer someone needs for their particular homeschool question - well, she tries her best to find someone who does have the answer. 


In a nutshell, she just serves and serves the homeschool community. And I had this thought - why have I not been sharing about her monthly events with my blog readers? 


So, yeah, not my finest moment... How could I not connect those two dots and share free stuff, encouragement and support right here and right now? I feel pretty foolish that I didn't think of this sooner.

 


 


Without further adieu, here is a link to the Facebook party hosted by the founder of the "How to Homeschool My Child"  group  & it's happening the evening of February 9th, 2021. (Just click the link & it will take you directly to the event page & you can click "Going" or "Interested" and Facebook will remind you when the even it taking place.)


Valentine's Day Party for Homeschoolers 

 

I'm going to share her monthly events & parties here each month, so keep an eye out for that. 


And if you have any events or online groups or pretty much anything at all that would be a blessing to homeschoolers, would you leave a comment or, if this lands in your inbox, hit "reply" and tell me about them? I'd love to share! (This includes your own small biz if you homeschool. Seriously, let's help each other out!)


Hope to see you there on Februrary 9th (7 to 8pm Central time). And you can always watch the video later on - but I think it's worth it to be there live if you can and get some free stuff!


Have a great weekend everyone & I am going to be checking my email & comments on the blog to see what you have to share with me! Light it up, I'm anxious to see what you've got!


Lord bless

~ Jan L. Burt 

author of "The Power of God's Will - 40 Days of God's Promises Devotional" available on Amazon 

and "All Things Homeschool Devotions" Volume 1 & 2 available at JanLBurt.com

 

If you would like to join a totally free & completely private online prayer group on Facebook, here is the link (request to join and we'll get you added to the group right away!) We are having a prayer retreat in the group in March of 2021 (and all the videos from the 2-day, 9 session prayer retreat from August of 2020 are available to view in the group). Please join us!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/627249051525444

 

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 Today's blog post is pretty short & sweet - just some info about an upcoming online event that has a 100% free option. I mean, as a homeschool mom to five kiddos, there have been many times that the only way I could participate in an event was via the free option. So I really do try and promote valuable content that is affordable for homeschoolers.

Fair warning: I will likely blog again to mention this conference (& not just because I am a speaker!).

 

 


 

The host is partnering with the organization Unbound in their fight against human trafficking.
Seriously - the main reason I will be sharing about this event is because of the host's decision to use the event as a way to raise knowledge about human trafficking & to raise some $$$ to donate to Unbound.

(Which obviously means there is a "not free" option for the event, right?)

The host, Kerry Beck, is donating 5% of her proceeds directly to Unbound.


So am I.


And she will meet my 5% and double it to 10%. (plus I am gonna make a donation at the end of the conference week, which is February 28th, based on the number of sign-ups and ticket sales that take place via my link).

 

So, yeah, you can totally enjoy the Life Skills Leadership Summit event at zero cost to you. And that option is one more reason I love working with Kerry Beck! She always, always has a free option and she always, always is beyond generous. So RIGHT HERE is the link to attend for FREE.  


And if, by chance, you would like to benefit from all the speakers, freebies, and early access to the summit via the "All Access Pass" AND help me make the biggest possible donation to the work of Unbound, CLICK HERE & get the lowest price for All Access. (Oh, All Access pass holders get access to the speaker sessions a week before other attendees and there are some bonus items that only All Access pass holders will get. So, yeah, Kerry Beck has made it worthwhile to purchase that option in order to donate to Unbound.) 


Hope to see you at the summit & thanks so much for helping me to raise some funds for this important cause. In fact, I would really love it if you would pray that this event raises a huge sum of money to aid in the fight against human trafficking. Thank you for praying along with me!


Talk to you soon & Lord bless!


~ Jan


Conference Link to All Access Pass

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*This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate Links for your convenience. It doesn't cost you anything but we may make a tiny percentage off a purchase made through a shared link. 

Ahhh, I can almost feel the refreshing salty air breeze...  

For our last month of school, we are going to do a Unit Study that will help take our minds off the dry desert weather. We're headed to Florida soon, back home to visit family and make some memories.  Since we are all getting anxious for our trip, I figured we could pass time quickly by diving into a HUGE Marine & Ocean Unit Study.

Preparing for this one has my old memories popping up. I once spent a summer camp exploring tide pools and marshes in the panhandle and it was the best time ever. We waded in the shallow water collecting water samples to test, explored water plants necessary for the habitat, and discovered so many little creatures. In high school, I chose a year long Marine Biology science class that turned out to be my favorite kind of science! Can you tell how this topic excites me?! 

This Unit Study collection will encompass all of my children's levels (3rd-9th). I think Units like this are easy to plan for multiple ages because they really are an a la carte of learning.  

Two Ways to do this Study: 

1) Piece together books and activities that you can do when you or your child want. 
2) Plan, Purchase, or Download a step by step guide for your unit. We decided the FREE Marine Biology Unit Study from The Good & The Beautiful would fit our needs, and it allows wiggle room to add or subtract things. 

*All unit studies could be prepared either way. Scroll down if you'd like information on where to buy Unit Study Guides. 


Focus Areas Let's be honest...the Ocean is a vast and complex system with thousands of living organisms. If you have younger children, they may not be ready to learn about currents, riptides, the abyss or the scary creatures that lurk there. Or your older children may not want to color sea-life pages and call it a day. You have the freedom to narrow this unit down to key sections such as the shorelines & beaches, tide pools, ocean animals, submarines, or ocean weather.  Our Focus Areas will include Sea-life, Tide Pools, Marshes, all of the Oceans, oceanic careers, and Reefs. Some will go into more depth while others will be a light covering. The reason I chose this many was to include all of the kids as well as get them prepared for things they will see on our trip!


Gathering Materials! 

 This is my favorite part...shopping.  Amazon, Michaels, Joann's, and the Dollar Tree really helped pull this together. Sure we have loads of books, but Ocean themed games, activities, and projects will make this unit memorable!  Scroll below to see what we collected.. 


Books

Marine Science for Kids
The Complete Aquarium Adventure
Coral Reefs
Shimmer & Splash
Oceanology

Island of the Galapagos
Sharks & Other Deadly Ocean Creatures
Oceans & Seas
Marshes & Swamps
A Day in the Salt Marsh
Jellyfish
Sea Turtles
Dolphins
Explore Earths Five Oceans
Explore Australia & Oceania
Whales
Teach Yourself to Draw Sea Life
Seashells, Crabs, & Sea Stars
Coral Reefs
Merlin Missions: Shadow of the Shark 
Magic School Bus: On the Ocean Floor
Marine Biologist
Why is the Sea Salty?
Eyewitness Fish
Eyewitness Ocean 
Science Comics Coral Reefs
How to Draw Incredible Sharks
Ocean Renegades
Ocean The Definitive Visual Guide
MTH: Dolphins at Daybreak 
The Beachcombers Companion
Who Was Jacques Cousteau?
Where is The Great Barrier Reef?
Where is The Bermuda Triangle?
Field Guides: Saltwater Fish, Shells, Seashores
Adventure Beneath The Sea
Amazing World of Sea Creatures (Glow in the Dark Animals)
Magazine: Science World Orcas in Danger

Videos

Oceanic 
Atlas
Popular Mechanics for Kids
BBC Blue Planet (online)
Life in a Tide Pool (Amazon)
Chasing Coral (Netflix) 
Jacques Cousteau's Legacy 

Games




 Play

Sand (Kinetic or Real) 
Sea Molds 
Shells


 Projects

Layers of the Ocean - We purchased 5 bottles from Michaels to create the layers. 
Wave Pool- You just need a clear bin, some sand, water, and food coloring! 
Coral Reef Diorama- Pompoms, colored clay, pipe cleaners, beads, Construction paper, paint, felt, & glue. (This idea came from Pinterest)
Tide Pool - Tin foil pan, shells, sand, and starfish toys. 
Ocean Pollution Activity- Clear Bin, Sea Toys, Boat, coffee grinds or cocoa powder & vegetable oil mix. 
Submarine Diving- KidzLabs Diving Submarine, Baking Soda, Water, Clear Bin

Identifying Tide Pool Specimens- I found a wood jewelry tray from Michaels, and some tide pool & coral samples from www.homesciencetools.com that fit nicely in the sections. 









Printable Resources & Websites:

Coral Worksheets-  https://colorfullllstudy.ecwid.com/
Worksheets & Activity ideaswww.naturalbeachliving.com 
Marine Biology Unit Study- www.thegoodandthebeautiful.com 
Other Unit Study Guides- www.unitstudy.com 

Website for Ocean Fun-
https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/kids






For More Books & Activity Ideas, Check out My


So that's our Unit Study in a Nutshell. Eventually I had to talk myself out of buying more. We are truly blessed with what we have, but sometimes we are really passionate about certain topics.  If you like this blog post, please share or pin it for later! For more pictures of our progress, check us out on Instagram @WeWouldRatherBeReading !! 



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This post includes a few amazon affiliate links. There is very little made from any purchase through that link, but is greatly appreciated! 


It's almost SUMMER!!!


For our family, who didn't start homeschooling until the kids had many public school years in, we love keeping with the summer break tradition...for the most part! We do our best to finish out the curriculum, and get grades logged, papers filed, and cleaning the plate so to speak! This year, our summer break has a vacation in it, so everyone is super motivated to wrap up! 

 But... 


 I'm a planner. I plan ahead. I don't want to wait until the last minute in July to piece together the next year's plans. Are you like this too? Here is my personal list for wrapping up the Homeschool year! 


  • Recollect Successes- Think about what worked really well this past year, and try to plan a few things like it the following year. For us, we tried Morning Basket's, Christmas School, Unit Studies, and Nature Journal's. The things they liked most, we will continue to use!
  • Order next year's curriculum now! Sales are going on. Convention season is in full swing, which means discount's galore! If you order now, you'll not only be prepared, but you'll have plenty of time to go through the book's, set things up the way you like, plan it out, and be able to purchase all the fun school supplies in July! Scroll down if you want to see our favorite curriculum supplements! 
  • Gather summer reading materials and games! It's important to keep those little hands and eyes busy. They will get bored. No matter how many activities you plan, or how much free time they have to play..it never fails. We never stop learning, so have some fun themed books and games on the ready! You'll find my list to the left on the sidebar!
  • Grade those papers! This may not be necessary if you have little ones, but mine are older, so it is important for us. I also like to use my middle daughter to help as she is an excellent grader/helper.
  • Organize & File Away! As your children complete their workbooks & lessons, you will need to decide what to keep and what to toss. If you move often, it's necessary to keep a portfolio if you don't know where you will move onto next. For some of us, we have to be mindful of our household weight as well..so tossing old workbooks after samples are removed, and selling books that we are finished with or didn't work out, is imperative. 
  • Creating Portfolios- I love to use this Mead Organizer with file sections. I label the cover with their name and school year, then put in samples, test grades, report cards, etc. This is just a precaution in case I need to prove their home education. See my previous post on How to Create a Portfolio

So those are my main steps for wrapping up the year. Then the fun begins for cleaning and reorganizing book shelves and our learning spaces! But we have all summer for that! Ha! 


Looking ahead, we also created some fun LOGBOOKS for each child to use to help them accomplish their daily tasks! You can use them all year or just for learning purposes! Revisit my Grade Tracking post about how we use our logbooks!


The great thing about our logbooks, is they are downloadable and you can customize them! If you have a binding machine, you can easily print all the pages needed for the year and snap those suckers together! I recommend printing the cover on cardstock and/or laminating it AND adding a stiff back to keep it nice all year long! We recommend the Swingline ProClick Punch & ProClick Coils to add and remove sheets as you go! 

Our Favorite Curriculum Supplements! 


Curriculum Shopping is upon us! We either love it or hate it. No matter what, it need's to be done. For me personally, I love it. I love looking at it, discussing among peers, and always finding a new & fun thing! This year, I found a few new fun things!  

  • Grace&Grit- I stumbled upon their booth at the DFW Great Homeschool Convention! It was soo cute and I immediately fell in love with their historical empowering female figure boxes! 
  • eat2explore - These great little food kits are perfect additions to your older child's culinary experience! They come with a curriculum guide, with geography, cooking skills, spices, a fun tool, and a country pin to start a collection! 
  • Lego Education - Years ago, my son fell in love with robotics at his public school. Today, lego education offers more robotic kits for early ages to high school! Coding and computer jobs are our future, so I never skip out opportunities to teach STEM & Computer Science. This year, we purchased the WeDo 2.0 for my 9 year old! 
  • Drew's Art Boxes - We have been using Liza's art boxes all year! She is continuously coming out with new, fun, and unique ways to teach modern techniques. We just purchased her Fluid Art kits and look forward to the next Alcohol Markers & Agamograph kits! 
  • Back to the Roots- If you're a nature loving, green thumb, these kits are great! You can find free curriculum online for an Herb kit, Mushroom kit, and Aquaponics Garden! There is even a special discount for educators if you contact the company! 
Do you have a fun supplement you'll be using too?  Please share! 

Comment here, or reach out to me on Instagram @WeWouldRatherBeReading or email me: underthedreamingwillowtree@gmail.com 




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Earth Party!

Q & A with Christine Echeverri, author of Earth Party!

Why did you write this curriculum?

The real reason — so many life forms are disappearing before our very own eyes! Many young students are aware of this predicament. Instead of leveling on guilt and sadness about this, we step back provide a broad introduction to all life that will provide an excellent basis for students. Encouraging a closer look, continuing to foster love of life, both for student’s own knowledge, and to add a stepping stone for them as they enter middle and high school biology. They will know (and have experienced) life such as fungi, insects, protozoa, and more!

You previously wrote a history curriculum, California Out of the Box. In what ways is this similar to that approach?

Through story, kids retain what they hear so much better. Given a well-situated context, deeper learning will occur — that will sustain students much longer than facts-oriented memorization. Like the literature-approach in California Out of the Box, this study relies on two excellent story-oriented resources: Tree of Life, and Karl, Get Out of the Garden!

Why should young students study this material that is traditionally taught in middle or high school?

Because — they already notice it! When they see coyotes in their neighborhood, insects on the walls of their room, and need I say: Pathogens like Covid that are so small, yet so powerful…Kids DO get it! They connect and notice!

Is this curriculum religious or secular?

Like California Out of the Box, this curriculum is secular. It does not come from a religious worldview.

What does a typical week look like?

A typical week looks like reading well-illustrated information from Karl, Get Out of the Garden, or Tree of Life; students in grades 3-6 will read from the highly-regarded Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia. Young scholars can answer questions in the Student Book. The week after will be hands-on exploration such as opening up and looking into seeds, exploring insects under the microscope, modeling protozoa and bacterial shapes, playing the review game, observing yeast, etc. One week of story and theory, and the next week hands-on. Most materials can be easily found around home.

If you want more information, see our recent Cathy Duffy curriculum review.

It’s not in Rainbow Resource. Where can I buy it?

Earth Party! is available through our site; Prime customers can purchase on Amazon. Through our site we also sell the full literature box, which makes the whole curriculum ready-to-go.

You teach California history classes. Do you plan to add this course to your class line-up?

Yes! We have worked hard on solidifying our California classes. Watch for summer and fall classes teaching this material. We are excited to see students responding to it!

Is there anything else you want to share?

Many people have asked me “Why this for my second curriculum?” My answer goes back to the reason I decided to homeschool in the first place. At the time my eldest was in third grade at a local public charter school. It seems the only science they covered, year after year were animal “life cycles.” All my kids enjoy animals — so I thought “Why not teach them about the broader forms of life, using scientific language?” We spent a month exploring the system of classification, culminating in a super quiz and a mobile. (Mobile culmination is a part of California Out of the Box as well.)

And — I want throw this out to the broader community; we would love to hear what our users are looking for in terms of curriculum. In fact, we have a form we would love for you to fill out to let us know what curriculum holes you have found that we should plug. Also, if you want to be notified when our classes are posted, fill this form out!

The post How to have fun in 2021? Add Earth Party Science Unit Study to Your Line-Up! appeared first on Carrier Shell Curriculum.

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Highlights from Fall and Spring Semester California Out of the Box Online Class

Yes, Minecraft –

Did you know Minecraft Creative is an amazing computer-aided design program? As my students worked on their written California missions project, they were invited to share in class about a few things they learned. Some of my students chose to create a Minecraft mission. I love it!

Here are some screenshots from one of my students highlighting San Juan Capistrano Mission.

Homing Pigeons,

Our last fall California Out of the Box class was spent hearing the quirky entertaining story about Catalina’s Pigeon Express. Operating between 1894-1898, this avian courier route functioned as the quickest method of getting messages from vacationeers on Catalina Island to Los Angeles. Remember, this was prior to the advent of the wireless radio and phone service to the island. Every day, the birds completed 2 runs; the pigeons never ceased to get their messages to and from the island.

Leah, 4th grade

Here is one of my student’s projects. each student colored in their pigeon and attached 2 messages: One historical message, and one message they wrote.

And Treasure Maps!

We launched spring semester of California Out of the Box history class reading By the Great Horn Spoon! (by Sid Fleischman) and exploring the David Rumsey Map Collection, housed at Stanford University (another awesome California institution.) One character in By the Great Horn Spoon!, Dr. Buckabee, is making his way around South America to California on the Lady Wilma — from the East Coast around South America. On his person, he holds a treasure map to California gold! What a perfect opportunity to study maps, and to invite students to make fun, aged-treasure map? Using the Youtube video above, students made an aged-treasure map. When do students ever get to make treasure maps in school? I am so impressed with my student’s work!

Elise, 4th grade

Stay tuned for next year’s online California history classes; we open enrollment in June. Classes begin the first week of September. Click here to be notified when the courses are posted!

The post What — California History Minecraft Projects? appeared first on Carrier Shell Curriculum.

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Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}
Accountable2You was designed to be a internet monitoring accountability tool. The concept is built on the actions found in the book of Proverbs 27:17 : "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." In this technology driven world, Internet accountability is almost a necessity. Accountable2You offered us the choice of one of four plans: Family Plan, Group Plan, Individual Plan and Small Business Plan. We chose the Family Plan.


Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}

Plans Available

The Individual Plan is great for monitoring a single person and their devices or a family that may only have one device each they would like to monitor. It allows up to 6 devices.


The Group Plan is a great option for church youth groups or homeschool groups. Each person is the group is allowed up to 6 devices to be covered. There is an administrator of the group but they do not have access to any of the reports unless they are set up as an accountability partner.

The Small Business Plan is great for small companies especially those whose employees have internet access. The administrator of this plan does have access to all reports and can set up unlimited devices.

With the Family Plan, you can add up to 20 devices for your family including android, apple, and windows. For a detailed list of devices supported, see this page.

Our Family Use

I set up Accountable2You on our family laptop by downloading the software on the computer. I also added the app to my teen's ipods, and my android phone to see how it would work. Since I only set up less than 6 devices, I could have chosen the individual plan but we have growing teenagers who will be adding more devices soon so I wanted to see how the family plan would work. The family plan costs $9.99 per month.

Setting up each device was pretty simple and there are videos to walk you through the process as well.

Features include detailed reports, instant alerts for questionable activity, unlimited accountability partners, GPS tracking, time limit alerts, the ability to add your own objectionable words, and more.

I chose to receive daily emails showing any alerts. You could also receive text messages or weekly emails.  Here is a sample email report with an alert.







Pros
  • I love the GPS feature! Especially after a recent escapade with my oldest who was in a wreck and had no idea where he even was at the time. This feature would have really come in handy then. 
  • The reports are extremely detailed. You can completely monitor text messages, emails, facebook, etc. You also have the option to change app settings so extremely personal information is not monitored. I love that it can be monitored for teens and turned off for adults because I could read exactly what was texted in my report. 
  • The app continually ran on my phone. We have a limited data plan but it never came even close to causing any type of overage for me nor did it slow my phone down. The same goes for the monitoring for the computers and ipod apps. We have used internet safety programs before that caused our older family laptop to constantly crash but had no problems with Accountable2You. 
  • The price is reasonable and includes the whole family and all their devices which let's face it, in this technology driven world is a lot.
Cons
  • One con was the limitation on the apple devices.  The app took a little more time to get going as you had to use their browser and disable the Safari browser.  IOS devices must use Accountable2You's browser and disable the Safari browser to be monitored. 
  • I would also love it if the apps and software could deny access to the internet instead of just alerting you if someone is on when they are not suppose to be. 
  • You need to use an additional filtering system if you wish to actually block websites.  They do recommend a few but it would be great to have an all in one app or software.  

Overall, we were pleased with how Accountable2You worked. I tested out the timing limits and received an alert right away. It is a great tool to begin teaching kids responsibility for their own actions because when they leave the home, they will have access to a whole world of internet at their fingertips. Staying accountable to each other is a great way to keep those fingers and eyes away from things they shouldn't be seeing and doing. There is a 10 day free trial if you would like to try it out for yourself.

Be sure to check out Accountable2You on Facebook, and YouTube.

Accountability across all your devices {Accountable2You}Crew Disclaimer

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Well, I knew I was going to take a little break but never thought it would be this long!  I guess it was well needed.  I left off at week 12 and now we're heading into our third week of summer break!!

The school year went really well and smooth and the milestones just keep flying by.  

A few updates since we last chatted....

We are now keeping a fun, smart, and absolutely wonderful baby girl each day.  She just turned 9 months old and we've been keeping her since she was 4 months old.  She is such a sweet and darling baby and we all fight for her attention instead of her fighting for ours!  She has been such a blessing to our family and I look forward to seeing her beautiful smile greet me each morning.  

Stephen turned 16 and has been working at our local Subway for almost 3 months now.  We had to adjust to his new schedule as their busiest time is lunch time so he has worked often during those times.  It took some adjusting but he did a great job of balancing work and school hours.   Since school has now left out, he schedule seems to be changing to closing lol.  

Sarah will be turning 14 in a few months and we are spending a lot of our time enjoying each other often as the boys are off to work.  She loves crafting, anything d-i-y and keeps me motivated to keep walking!

Jonathan has now been out of our home for a year and it's still hard to get used to.  He's our neighbor but often spends many nights away from home so we see him about once every week or so.  He turned 19 in April - still can't wrap my head around that!

As far as school for next year, this is the first year that I have no clue what or where we going!  I am currently praying for direction and will spend some time at the end of June hopefully closing out the past school year and ordering for the new one.  

I am still trying hard to keep up with my personal habits of steps, water, and weight loss.  I joined weight watcher and have been tracking since March 13th of this year and I am so close to hitting my 20 pound mark. 

Well, I think that's a quick update for now!  Hoping to get back into a posting routine!

Happy Summer!!!

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 February has been eventful in a not so fun way. On February 2nd I broke my right foot. There is never a good time for a mom to be out of commission, is there? The break is pretty bad, the fifth metatarsal broke in a 'jones fracture'. This kind of break doesn't heal well, due to poor blood flow in the area. My doctor said I have to be completely non-weight bearing for at least 5 weeks, and possible up to 3 months. Even then, it may not heal. If it doesn't, I will need surgery to put a screw in. The placement of my break would put the screw in a place that would cause pain to walk for the rest of my life. Yuck! So I'm being super good at following the doctor's orders about staying off my foot, and we will check it by x-ray every 2 weeks. 

As you can imagine, this makes daily life complicated. Friends let us borrow a wheelchair they have, so I'm able to get around the main floor of our home somewhat. The kids have all had to pitch in and help with nearly everything. They are doing really well, and so grateful that chore have always been a regular part of their day. They are running the house pretty well. Our church families have been bringing us dinner each evening, which is a blessing! My husband is gone from 3:30am-6pm most work days, then heads to bed at 8pm so he can get up again for work. 

The hardest part is the afternoon medical care for Mason, which I still have to do because none of the kids can do it, and bedtime, when I'm crawling around upstairs between bedrooms getting the little two kids to sleep. They won't go to sleep for a sibling. Oh well, it's great to be wanted, right? We're doing it, and we're finding a routine that is working. 

The one constant has been homeschooling, and I'm so grateful for that part of our day feeling normal. I can sit at the table in the wheelchair and teach just fine. I think a few of the kids were a little bummed to realize that - ha! However, the routine is good for everyone.

Yesterday the kids decided we needed to do our art project early this week. We pulled out the salad spinner and did spin art with paint dripped onto construction paper hearts. Our table is now covered in pretty hearts. We are still doing Beginning Chemistry. This week we've been studying the clues to a chemical reaction, which was a perfect time to make elephant toothpaste. In history today we reached the Battle of the Alamo. The kids had never studied this before, so it was fascinating and sad to learn about. Next we'll move into stagecoaches and the Pony Express. 

I think that's enough of an update for now!

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Our simple Valentine's Table

Friday: We had a pretty normal school day. Kids finished math for the week, language arts, and so on. Everyone chose a topic to notebook about and made a page for their history notebooks. Emma was not feeling well, and a few other kids were starting to get some congestion. My husband has had some congestion this week, no other symptoms, so we figured it was just a cold. Then my husband called right before dinner because he's lost his sense of taste and smell. Yep. He tested positive for COVID. We're now all in quarantine while we watch this run its course. Several kids are a day or two behind daddy in symptoms, with the congestion and early stages already started. Apparently February is the month of crazy medical things for us. 

Saturday: Quarantine life is pretty quiet. We played games. Watched a movie. Rested. Played more games. You get the idea. I'm sure this week's blog will be fascination variations on this theme.

Sunday: Church today was wonderful via Zoom. We were able to hear from a young man who is leaving home to serve a mission for two years, sharing the gospel with others. After church we kept to our quiet routine. I had, thankfully, picked up a few things for Valentine's Day just before breaking my foot, so we decorated the table and spent time laughing and talking. 

Monday: Snow and cold outside left us inside staying warm. Well, actually, the weather looked more like this: snow, nothing, rain, hail, rain, snow, snow, snow. We took the day off school for President's Day - or just because we can. Several older kids and I played our first ever games of Pandemic. It was really fun, but definitely a game for older kids. The irony is not lost on me as we are dealing with the current pandemic. We have 6 sick right now, most of us mild symptoms. 

Other random things that kept people entertained today:

  •  Battleship
  • Coding our robot Cosmo
  • Laser tag battles
  • Piano practice and someone composing new music
  • Cooking and chores, of course.
  • Reading lots of books
  • Lego building
  • Scripture study
  • Video chatting with our college daughter
  • Writing a book review (me)
Tuesday: Jason and Emma, who were the first with symptoms, and the worst, finally started feeling a little tiny bit better today. A few of us are still getting worse, but this gives me hope that this illness won't last for weeks on end! Our day was basically a repeat of Monday, lots of games, lots of rest, lots of reading. We are taking this entire week off of school, but that doesn't keep the kids from learning. They all have their own favorite things to do and learn about in their free time. 

Wednesday: We realized some of our pipes were frozen. It only happens in especially frigid weather, and such it is today. The pipes? The ones to our washer. We set up a heater to reach the area in the basement and a few hours later things were thawed out. Thankfully, we do laundry daily to keep up on things, because with this many people we have a load a day ready to wash pretty easily. 

Thursday: Some people are well on their way to recovery, others are not. It's the usual large family with illness, it drags out a bit between the entire family. Those of us who have lost their sense of taste/smell are not terribly interested in eating. As part of our Come Follow Me/family scripture study this week, today we watched A Day for the Eternities. This is a video you can watch at the Whitmer Farm church history site in New York.  

Friday: We are still in our quiet quarantine. People are starting to get along less. It feels like we are juggling kids in the house trying to get everyone a little space from everyone else. It would be nice if the weather was warmer and we could at least spend some time in the back yard. Daddy teamed up with Mason and they set up an obstacle course for Botley. Botley is a robot you can program (totally screen free, which is awesome!) to tackle different tasks. They worked through the obstacle course step by step, coding Botley. (Mason got Botley 2.0 for his birthday last month.) 

We got a few magazines in the mail today, which was a fun distraction for the kids. Our March issues of The Friend, For the Strength of Youth, and The Liahona came. These call all be read free online or on the Gospel Library app, but we also love getting print copies in the mail. 

Well, I'm going to go rest some more until dinner time. Have a lovely weekend friends!

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 Okay, so there is this friend of mine from the wide world of everything-homeschool who has a Facebook group for homeschoolers & each month she hosts online "parties". Basically, lots of encouragement, she gives away free stuff (like, quite a bit of free stuff geared just for homeschooling families) and answers questions & if she doesn't have the answer someone needs for their particular homeschool question - well, she tries her best to find someone who does have the answer. 


In a nutshell, she just serves and serves the homeschool community. And I had this thought - why have I not been sharing about her monthly events with my blog readers? 


So, yeah, not my finest moment... How could I not connect those two dots and share free stuff, encouragement and support right here and right now? I feel pretty foolish that I didn't think of this sooner.

 


 


Without further adieu, here is a link to the Facebook party hosted by the founder of the "How to Homeschool My Child"  group  & it's happening the evening of February 9th, 2021. (Just click the link & it will take you directly to the event page & you can click "Going" or "Interested" and Facebook will remind you when the even it taking place.)


Valentine's Day Party for Homeschoolers 

 

I'm going to share her monthly events & parties here each month, so keep an eye out for that. 


And if you have any events or online groups or pretty much anything at all that would be a blessing to homeschoolers, would you leave a comment or, if this lands in your inbox, hit "reply" and tell me about them? I'd love to share! (This includes your own small biz if you homeschool. Seriously, let's help each other out!)


Hope to see you there on Februrary 9th (7 to 8pm Central time). And you can always watch the video later on - but I think it's worth it to be there live if you can and get some free stuff!


Have a great weekend everyone & I am going to be checking my email & comments on the blog to see what you have to share with me! Light it up, I'm anxious to see what you've got!


Lord bless

~ Jan L. Burt 

author of "The Power of God's Will - 40 Days of God's Promises Devotional" available on Amazon 

and "All Things Homeschool Devotions" Volume 1 & 2 available at JanLBurt.com

 

If you would like to join a totally free & completely private online prayer group on Facebook, here is the link (request to join and we'll get you added to the group right away!) We are having a prayer retreat in the group in March of 2021 (and all the videos from the 2-day, 9 session prayer retreat from August of 2020 are available to view in the group). Please join us!

https://www.facebook.com/groups/627249051525444

 

Rss

 Today's blog post is pretty short & sweet - just some info about an upcoming online event that has a 100% free option. I mean, as a homeschool mom to five kiddos, there have been many times that the only way I could participate in an event was via the free option. So I really do try and promote valuable content that is affordable for homeschoolers.

Fair warning: I will likely blog again to mention this conference (& not just because I am a speaker!).

 

 


 

The host is partnering with the organization Unbound in their fight against human trafficking.
Seriously - the main reason I will be sharing about this event is because of the host's decision to use the event as a way to raise knowledge about human trafficking & to raise some $$$ to donate to Unbound.

(Which obviously means there is a "not free" option for the event, right?)

The host, Kerry Beck, is donating 5% of her proceeds directly to Unbound.


So am I.


And she will meet my 5% and double it to 10%. (plus I am gonna make a donation at the end of the conference week, which is February 28th, based on the number of sign-ups and ticket sales that take place via my link).

 

So, yeah, you can totally enjoy the Life Skills Leadership Summit event at zero cost to you. And that option is one more reason I love working with Kerry Beck! She always, always has a free option and she always, always is beyond generous. So RIGHT HERE is the link to attend for FREE.  


And if, by chance, you would like to benefit from all the speakers, freebies, and early access to the summit via the "All Access Pass" AND help me make the biggest possible donation to the work of Unbound, CLICK HERE & get the lowest price for All Access. (Oh, All Access pass holders get access to the speaker sessions a week before other attendees and there are some bonus items that only All Access pass holders will get. So, yeah, Kerry Beck has made it worthwhile to purchase that option in order to donate to Unbound.) 


Hope to see you at the summit & thanks so much for helping me to raise some funds for this important cause. In fact, I would really love it if you would pray that this event raises a huge sum of money to aid in the fight against human trafficking. Thank you for praying along with me!


Talk to you soon & Lord bless!


~ Jan


Conference Link to All Access Pass