Almost forgot…..5 Top-rated Activities of 2012-2013!

ImageWe’ve been so focused on getting ready for this school year that I almost forgot to give reviews on how last year went! When I was going back over my kids portfolios and writing up their “Letter from the Teacher” (an overview of their progress for the year) I began to reflect on our favorite activities of the 2012-2013 Homeschool Year. It’s hard to narrow it down but I think these were our Top 5 Picks:

1. Reading Camp-outs: This was sucha a hit that I wrote a whole separate post on it. You can read all about it here:

2. Author Your Own Book: This project was so fun- we want to do it again this year! First we talked about story basics. Then over the course of about a week the kids made up their story, illustrated it, and we glued and stapled and Voila! A book was born!  More to come on an upcoming post!

3. My Favorite Book Week: Each of the kids picked a favorite book and we based many of the school activities off of that book……more to come in an upcoming post!

4. Monarch Field Trip: This was probably MY favorite of the year. To finish a unit in science on butterflies we went to see the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuaries in Morelia, Mexico. FANTASTIC! You can read and see more about our trip here:    AND HERE:

5. Service Projects: Although not as many as we would like, we did some service projects that I think really stuck with us. I think our two favorites were building toys and puppets for an orphanage and making goodies for some families we knew were having a hard time. We did the second one several times but here is a post on one:             We are really hoping to find creative ways to do more of these, it’s a bit more complicated with small children…..So any input and ideas would be very welcome!

First Day of School!


As you can see, we are a very serious group.


3 yr. old- Preschool/KindergartenImage

4 1/2 yrs old: Kindergarten/1st gradeImage

8 yrs old: 3-4 grade

Apparently I missed the memo on holding out the ears in the photo so we can resemble gorillas….


Hey Mom! Don’t forget me! 9 months: “The Helper”


Even the teacher dressed up….meaning I have a shirt on that fits, with no stains OR holes! I know, I know….pretty stylish!


A little M&M Math (Well, technically they’re Lunetas…same thing just Mexican version)

ImageImageI love M&Ms, so multi-purpose….a little sorting, counting, and of course…eating!


Science: Observations, Predictions, Solids, Liquids, Colloids….in other words, making a little Oobleck!

Unfortunately I didn’t think to take pictures of our other studies, too busy studying I guess! We’re excited about a new year of learning!

ImageNow you know where all the fingerprints on the lens/pictures came from!


ImageOne way we use the internet is to scan or create cards online and email them (much more reliable than our land-mail system)!

Hallelujah! I have internet again!

So funny how I lived more than half of my life without a computer, let alone internet, and now if I go a day without it I feel like I’m missing an arm!

The internet has become one of my main sources of information, socialization, and communication and though I’ve often fantasized of living in the “good old days” I don’t know that I could do it now.

This is the thing, the internet has it’s evils, just like most anything else nowadays, but being a busy mom that lives far away from family and many friends I like the fact that I’m just a type or skype away from my dear ones.

I also love being able to research and educate myself on subjects that affect me and my family and that I’m interested in. It’s awesome that my children can hear, see, and do so much more with the subjects that interest them.

Now that I’m blogging a bit, I find that I have something once again that I enjoy doing and look forward to and can use as an incentive if need be. I also like feeling like the community feeling that can come from online networking and finding people to exchange ideas with and learn from.I love sharing and expanding my views on a variety of subjects.

Yes, there is the addictive nature of internet use, there is the pornography and filth, but shouldn’t there be opposition in all things? As for me, I’m all for it. Do I worry about the bombardment of negativity? The possibility of wrong information or TOO MUCH informaiton. Yes. Do I worry about what my children will encounter on the internet? Yes.

However, I think the internet is a another great opportunity for us to stand our ground, choose our side, decide who we are and where we are going. It’s not what is there, it’s what we do with what’s there. It’s just like anything else, it’s our choice. We’re not victims here, we’re agents. A tool or a vice. You decide.

Cookies!….well, almost

Cookies!....well, almost

Here are the butterfly metamorphosis salt-clay creations my children were creating when they decided to also “act it out” in the video I posted yesterday. I forgot to tell my husband about our activity though and he thought the one’s my two year old had created (the round ones at the top) were cookies! Oops! Needless to say he got his salt intake for the day!

Quality vs. Quantity

So tell me this, which is it? Which is more important? Does it depend on the issue? Or are they both equally important? Quality or Quantity? Quality and Quantity? Well, let’s explore the issue shall we?

When it comes to food I think we can say that quantity  is important, adequate but not too much. However, don’t you think the quality is even more important? We all know that if you have a quantity of junk food it will do more damage than good. Also, studies have shown that some of the healthiest people in the world have lived on a very small quantity of food but of high quality. Well, food may be the only isse we can say one or the other.

What about water…that’s a tricky one. If you don’t get enough you die. If you have bad quality water, you die. I guess we could say that to get enough of not high quality but not deadly water then you’ll be fine. However, pure quality water works better in the body than water that your body has to filter and fight in order to use. So it’s both isn’t it?

Then we have the issue of education. It seems that the general world view is moving toward the philosophy that more is better. School hours are increasing and teachers and parents are heaping tutoring and homework on top of that. But is the level of education increasing with this added time?

I think we can agree that if a person spends an hour studying a subject and understands what it is studied it will be considered a success. However if the same person spends hour upon hour studying a subject and never understands it then what is the point? We could go off on learning styles and teaching methods (if these subjects interest you, be sure to read my articles on Discovery Learning and Homeschooling: Before you begin…), but let’s stick to it shall we?

Many of the United States founding fathers and other pioneers of that age we consider well-educated for their time, however they did not spend hours in a school room. What they did do is read and study quality materials and then apply what they learned in everyday speech and living. More emphasis was placed on thinking rather than studying. At the same time, we know that great minds like Aristotle and Einstein spent their free time studying. Maybe in this case we can say that it’s like water, quality first and then quantity?

For my last complicated issue let’s look at time. We often hear it said that quality time is more important than the quantity but I tend to think that its justification for letting our priorities slip (see my article on Balance if you want to explore this more).

Children especially feel loved when they see us busy, but still taking time just for them. To them it is less important of what we do when we’re with them as it is that we are with them. Nonetheless, if we constantly are putting off what the child most loves doing with us (like the “Love Languages” mentioned in my article Homeschooling: One more thing before you begin…)than they will begin to feel neglected regardless of the amount of time we spend with them. So again, it’s both isn’t it?

Now tell me, what do you think? Is there ever a clear answer on Quality vs. Quantity or is it simply an issue of balance?