July 15, 2015

Blood Stains

Soak the stain in hydrogen peroxide, wash (don’t dry), and repeat if necessary. This tip works especially well for carpet and clothes.

Spackling Holes

Nicks and holes in the wall are bound to crop up every year. Of all the household repairs one must endure, this is by fair the easiest to manage. All you need is spackling compound and a spackling knife, I recommend the plastic kind.

To begin, open the spackle and give a little stir. Take your knife and smear some of the compound on the wall and wipe clean and smooth with the knife, replacing unused compound back into the container.

Corners are a little tricky; just work smoothing one side, then the other – like frosting a cake. Let it dry, if needed sand (with sandpaper) and paint.

Larger holes, like say if the door is flung open and the knob ends up in the wall, require a kit readily available from the home improvement center. These great kits have everything but the spackle and knife and the directions are uncomplicated.

Removing Broken Bulbs

If a bulb breaks while in the socket or just drops out and hangs by wires turn of the switch right away. Then unplug the lamp or switch off the circuit.

There are two good way to go from here.

  • Take a pair of needle nose pliers grasp the edge and twist the bulb out.
  • Cut a potato in half and push the raw end into the broken glass and twist the bulb out.

July 7, 2015

Herbal Foot Soak

Add your beauty secrets, just sign up for an account and add it to the FAQ section in your dashboard.

Aspirin Hair Rinse

Is your head itchy? Got dandruff problems? How about it is just a little lifeless? Well, dowsing your hair with aspirin really seems to help. It seems to get the PH balance or your hair regulated. Dissolve six aspirin in a cup of warm water. Pour all over your head and work into your hair and scalp. Leave on fifteen minutes. Rinse thoroughly.

Chocolate Lip Gloss

In a double boiler or microwave, heat 1 teaspoon grated cocoa butter, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, and 1/8 teaspoon vitamin E (oil) gently until melted. Stir in the 1 teaspoon grated chocolate or 3 small chocolate chips until melted and blended. Pour into a small container and allow to cool completely before using.

Strawberry Honey Facial Scrub

3 large fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons honey

Mash strawberries. Add  honey and blend well.
Apply to face, by rubbing in circular motions with fingertips, rinse with warm water.
Keep any leftover in the fridge.

January 5, 2013

Fairy Tales, Aesop Fables & Nursery Rhymes

Introduce childhood memories with a good assortment of fables and fairy tales. These are meant to be read aloud to children. Reading aloud promotes listening and comprehension skills, it expands reading interest and will help self-reading by hearing an adult rendition. Follow-up with questions and activities.
  • Aesop Fables & Nursery Rhymes
    • Set one day a week for fables, discuss the moral and talk about the situations with kids.
    • Set another day for nursery rhymes, discuss these as well and have children memorize one rhyme a month to recite back to you.
  • Fairy Tales
    Create a weekly story time. Read the fable, ask questions, read a book with a similar subject interest and follow-up with a craft or activity.
    • Thumbelina
      • Have them imagine what they would see floating down the river.
      • What would the advantages be in being that small? What are the disadvantages?
      • Craft:  Make a walnut boat. Carefully pry walnuts open and take out the meat. Use a toothpick for a mast and a small piece of paper for a sail. Make predictions, will it float or sink.  Then try it out. Alternatively you can create a tiny fairy from modeling clay.
    • The Ugly Duckling
      • Discuss what other baby animals look different from the adult animal.
      • How will the child change as he/she grows.
      • Craft: Make a swan coin holder.  Using self hardening clay, sculpt a swan with a depression in its back to hold coins, marbles, etc.
    • The Three Little Pigs
    • Rapunzel
      • Craft: Cut out a castle turret from a file folder; cut out a window towards the top. Cut 20 (or so) 7 inch pieces of yellow yarn.  Tie them together at one end and tape to the window in the turret and let hang down. Braid the yarn and use a rubber band to hold the braid.
    • Goldilocks and the Three Bears
    • Little Red Ridding Hood
    • Toad and Diamonds
      • Discuss kindness and doing for others.
      • What do you think it would be like to have a diamond or a frog come out of your mouth whenever you talked?
      • Craft:  Make a frog. Paint a paper plate green, dry, fold plate in half. To make eyes, glue cotton balls on one side of the paper plate toward the middle. Cut out two small black circles. Glue black circles to the center of the cotton balls. For legs, cut out four long strips of green paper.  Fold each one accordion style and attach to body. For a tongue cut out a long strip of red construction paper, roll it around a pencil to make it curl and glue inside the frog mouth.
    • Snow White
  • Miscellaneous
    • Discuss Tale VS Tail
Story Starters:Once upon a time in a dark forest lived a family of...
Long, long ago in a time when...
Once there was a man who liked...
In a faraway land, deep in a cave...

Story Prompts:Describe a castle.
Describe a dragon.

Recommended Books & Things: 

The Random House Children's' Treasury
After and extensive search this book has just about everything - fairy tales, Aesop, nursery rhymes and nonsense verses.

January 3, 2013

One Day, My Day as a Home-schooling Mom

One of the questions I get most often is "What do you do all day?" or "What is your day like?" And so, here is one day.
[Addendum: I thought it would be helpful to know that when I originally wrote this article my son was in 2nd grade.]

One chilly January weekday
I wake up, (turn the heater up), and walk about the house. I straighten the couch, pick up crumbs I missed the night before, make my bed, put the dishes away, so on and so forth. Then I do some stretching exercises and try meditating. I'm not sure if I have the hang of this yet [meditating] but I'm determined to try since it is suppose to help relieve stress. My son wakes up, we sit on the couch and he tells me about his dreams and we discuss the idea of Santa having a second workshop at the South Pole for all the kids on the other half of the planet.

I go shower and clean up and he works on building his K'Nex Space Station. Now I make breakfast; we eat. He tells me how much he wants a hamburger and after some discussion I tell him we can go out for lunch to get a hamburger, but he needs to eat breakfast to sustain him until then. Agreement reach. He finishes his food and clears the table. While I wash the dishes, he washes up and gets dressed.

Now, we are ready to begin our school day. I don't have a strict time to start but I do try to keep it around the same time everyday. We are required to put in a total of four hours each day (technically 3 hours 50 minutes) however, we usually put in more.

Hour One: We start with math, calendar, coins and time.

Hour Two: Phonics and grammar sessions start the hour which is followed by our Thematic Unit (right now we are studying nutrition); I begin by reading to him aloud.

Lunch break is usually 30 to 45 minutes. However, today we are going out to lunch so it will take more time. While we are out I will also run errands. Here is an example of how the schedule needs to be flexible. I would have preferred to finish our schoolwork first and then run errands but two trips out the door are wasteful so we made the best of our burger run.

Hour Three: We continue our unit studies, discuss the topic of the day (proteins and amino acids), and begin writing and creating pages. Then he reads to me and we work on vocabulary and spelling words.

Hour Four: We finish up today's topic and then we do our physical education part of the day. Today is practicing throwing and catching a beanbag.

We venture outside and decided to visit our 400-year-old oak tree that is our towns big controversy. The city wants to move it but conservationists say it will die and want the city to simple go around it. By the way this counts for social studies. We talked to the tree huggers, made a banner and learned about oaks.

It is starting to get dark so we head back inside and I start dinner. He washes up and winds down by building some more and watching a little TV. After dinner, I wash the dishes and then try to get him get ready for bed. This can sometimes take a long time, so I usually try to start early. Tonight, we play Mancala, a game with marbles. Then he's off on his own building (he's constantly building something) and I vegetate for a moment then look over my lesson plans for the next day, week, and month. Do I need anything, am I forgetting something.

Now, I have a little computer time, then read, watch TV, draw, or try to have an adult conversation. Then crawl into bed.

In between everything I make snacks, write a bit, check email, take out the trash, etc.

It is important to note that each day is different and as such schedules are just a formality. For example, one day we go to art class, which is in the middle of our regular school session. One day we go to the park and jog around the track and then play kick ball. The weather determines the time we go. And yet another day we meet with kids at the park. In addition, an hour of work may take longer than just "an hour" due to interruptions and snack breaks. Furthermore, there are the regular household *ugh* responsibilities like cleaning and grocery shopping that need to be accounted for and those unexpected goodies like the toilet overflowing.

I must admit it is a pretty full day but it is also very rewarding.

January 1, 2013

What Do I Teach Them?

This is a good question especially if you are just getting started. The process can be overwhelming. From everything Ive read there seems to be no definitive answer. Since every child learns at a different rate this is beneficial. However, it is also frustrating when your are trying to make sure they get everything they need. A really good book is Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp. Rupp gives you general guidelines of what is taught and more importantly the skills they should have. For example by the end of kindergarten they should be able to recognize and repeat simple patterns and they should be able to throw, catch and kick a ball; by the end of 1st grade they should be able to listen to, repeat and follow two step directions and they should be able to throw and catch a beanbag.

The basic subjects covered are math, language arts, science, social studies/geography/history, art, music and physical education. All areas are important to achieve a well-rounded child. How you go about teaching this is all up to you. Even this can be intimidating since there are several routes you can take. Classical textbook style (just like in the schools), whole curricula programs (lessons plans created for an entire year or years) and thematic or integrated studies (all subjects are geared to one topic). Another consideration is your budget. The classical textbook version usually includes a teachers addition, student book and one to three workbooks plus additional supplies as needed. Books are needed for each subject which is pricey. Curriculum programs run anywhere from $150 to $300 not including additional supplies. Integrated studies will range depending on what you study and if you make the lesson plan or purchase one ($7-$10) plus books and supplies. No matter which route you choose the library will be your greatest asset.

The time you spend may vary from state to state and each state has different avenues to establish yourself as a homeschooler.

To divided your time amongst your subjects will change year to year. The primary grades spend a good chunk of time on language arts (reading, writing, phonics, grammar, spelling). Another good slice to mathematics. Science and Social Studies/History comes next in the line up. Music and Art follow although art is often integrated into daily work. As for P.E. as any parent knows we need to get them out everyday and let them "run out all that energy"! Most health organizations suggest a child have a minimum of 30 minutes of physical exercise a day. Technology is a newer subject but should not be ignored, that means learning how to use a computer. In all of these subjects there are specific goals or skills you want to achieve. Plan out your learning goals for your child not only for each year but for their entire youth education.

There is a lot more to check out like co-ops and home school support groups. Look for support group in you area at the Homeschool Social Registrar. Yahoo Groups is another great resource.

Here are a few great books to get you started.