Making wands part one

Halloween is at the end of the week. This week we are studying the origins of Halloween and the myths that go with Halloween. Today we are learning about the Salem Witch Trials and witchcraft.

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Now Harry Potter has made being a witch not such a bad thing. When I was growing up you had a good witch in a huge fluffy gown or you had a bad witch with fabulous tights and great shoes, who was very misunderstood.

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Anyways, my son loves Harry Potter and has read the books three times. That is dedication!

My dad made when a wooden wand years ago and it still sits in his room and gets used. But I thought why not make our own wand? Where did I go to find help? Only place to go! Pinterest!

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After extensive searching I for this little gem.

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Not so hard! I am crafty, he is crafty, but do we have chopsticks?

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Chopsticks found!

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Gathered my supplies!

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Laid out craft paper so we didn’t ruin my kitchen table.

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You create the texture with hot glue. The glorious part to this is if you mess up, you can take it off and go again.

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Here is monster child’s wand!

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Here are a few of the ones I made.  I made the mistake of posting online that I was doing this and my two best friends from high school decided I should make them each one and bring them to our upcoming girl’ weekend.  I couldn’t believe I was asking two of my best friends what color they want their wands to be!

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After this I put a brown base coat on them and I have let them dry for a day. Today I will finish them and post when we are finished.

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

The Giver

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Last week we finished up The Giver by Lois Lowry. If you have never read this book, you should think about it. Here is Lois Lowry’s website for more information.

A novel in which a boy inhabits a seemingly ideal world: a world without conflict, poverty, unemployment, divorce, injustice, or inequality. It is a time in which family values are paramount, teenage rebellion is unheard of, and even good manners are a way of life.

 

Sounds like a parents dream! But it is not as sparkly with rainbows and unicorns as it sounds.

My older two children had read the book and loved it. My youngest son loved it He would talk to me each day about what he read and what he thought about the book so far. He was a little concerned with certain parts of the book and I kept having to remind him it was a book set in a different type of society.

We noticed that apple played a large part of the book. We now know that Lois Lowry used part of her life and the memories of apples and incorporated it into the book.

We decided that we would make a Giver Apple Pie!

Here is the pie crust recipes, you need two a mealy and a flaky. Mealy will do better with the juices on the bottom and the flaky is nice for the top.

Flaky Pie Dough

  • 10 oz pastry flour
  • 7 oz butter
  • 3 oz cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz sugar

Mealy Pie Dough

  • 10 oz pastry flour
  • 6.5 oz butter
  • 2.5 oz cold water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz sugar

Use hands and mix flour, salt, sugar

Butter needs to be cut into cubes, toss butter into flour mix. Make butter into flakes by pinching butter between thumb and finger. Make pea size for Flaky and hazelnut size for Mealy.

Add water and mix well.

It has to rest in fridge for 30 minutes, wrapped tightly in plastic.

Roll out to fit pie plate.

Apple Pie Filling

  • 2# apples
  • 1 oz butter
  • 3 oz sugar
  • 2 oz cold water
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 3.5 oz sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz butter

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We use green apples when baking and the are a great baking apple.

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We cored, peeled, and sliced the apples. We than put them in the lemon juice to help with browning.

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We grated our cinnamon and nutmeg with a micro-planer.  We like doing it this way but you don’ have to.

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This is out nutmeg half way through grading. Kind of cool looking!

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We brought the fruit, first sugar, and water to a boil. We dissolve the starch in cold water and stir into the fruit. Return to a boil and cook until clear and thickened. Stir while cooking.

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Add second sugar, salt, and spices. Stir until dissolved. Cool.

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Have your pie crust ready!

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Add your filling and the last dabs of butter.

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Put the top on and pinch the side seams together.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Remove and eat or let cool!

Peace, Love, and Pie

Shannon

Don Quixote

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Shocking as it seems …………….. we do NOT use a curriculum for our schoolwork. I know shock and horror, right? A few of you might stop reading this now and judge us for it, that is ok we don’t mind. How we do our homeschooling works for us. What we do is follow along with the book What Your Fifth Grader Needs To Know and What your Sixth Grader Needs To Know. There are plenty of  free resources out there to help us out. This works for us, it also follows closely to what our local school district teaches.

In our Reading Unit, we are trying to read some classic works. We tried to learn about Romeo & Juliet, the basics of a tragedy. That went over well, NOT.  Next we read Tom Sawyer and he loved it. We are about and hour and a half south of Hannibal and will go up there in the spring, once we read Huckleberry Finn.

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One of the works that What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know suggest is Don Quixote. Now, I never read this book but I read the excerpt from the book and thought he might just like this. We put in a reserve at the library for an unknown copy of the book and waited for it to come in. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that not only was it the complete works but it was a graphic novel style book. Anyone who has a son that is between 9-14 years of age and is into graphic novels knows this is a huge draw!

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Now the book was not light, it was a bit thick. But he powered through it and finished the whole thing in two days. In fact when we got to the end he was a bit disappointed. He didn’t want to stories to end. I asked him how he would have finished the stories, which led to a three-day storytelling adventure.

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Last Friday we watched a movie I happen to find at our local library a movie about Don Quixote. It was actually a very cute and funny movie, go watch it!

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Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Math makes us cry

I remember as a child learning and memorizing my multiplication tables. It was something you just had to learn and you HAD to memorize. Now in the the public school system they say they don’t have time to make the kids memorize and it is not that important. NOT THAT IMPORTANT? It means the world, I can fly through 5th grade math problems, because I have memorized and retained that information from 4th grade. It drives my son crazy that this is easy for me and hard for him. We have had complete meltdowns at the kitchen table over this subject.

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We work with Khan Academy to help explain the concepts better than I can. We also use a white board to work out the problems. Experience has shown us, it doesn’t matter if you get the problem right you have to show your work. Our oldest son could work the problem in his head but failed to show his work and failed many test in high school for this simple reason.

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Now I can’t explain it, but the child can solve for X or Y like it is nobody’s business. I don’t understand it, it is basically multiplication with letters. This type of math makes me cry. I want math to get over her X and not worry about finding it. But this to him makes sense. My dad said it is because this is the way his mind is wired.

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My husband and I were talking about this last night on the way home from the ER and we both agreed when it comes to math he is very smart. We both agreed, we can see him working in a cubicle making video games or inventing things. English is not his thing and writing is out of the question but Math and Science are right up his alley.

So, while simple math makes us cry we will continue on. We will continue to learn and memorize multiplication tables, Maybe Legos will help?

Peace, Love, and Cupcakes

Shannon

Catch up………

I wish I could keep this blog updated better. I am making a return after a few bumpy weeks.

Let’s see if I can catch you up.

In Reading we finished The Little Prince & Romeo & Juliet. We watched a movie about both. This week  we started The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. He really like The Little Prince, but the movie was a musical and he suffered through it. Romeo and Juliet  was a bit tough but we suffered through it and the movie. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is turning out to be a real page turner for him. He really relates to the characters and likes reading. Listening to a recap of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer……. I never knew that Mark Twain wrote about “this one dude”. We need to break that habit!

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In Language Arts we learned about Onomatopoeia, Alliteration, Symbols, Personification, Dramas, Comedies, Tragedies, Shakespeare, Subjects and Verbs. That is a whole lot going on there. Subjects really need to be taught with verbs for the connection to be made. We also learned what it meant to “have a chip on your shoulder”. We read two poems From Opposites & The Arrow and the Song.

In Math we are covering a lot of ground. We learned all about integers and how to add them. We tried to subtract them but that ended in tears and we said we would revisit it later. We worked on rounding and estimating but we were having trouble with how we would use that in “real life” until we went to the store today. I gave him the shopping list, told him how much money we had, and had him keep track of how much we were spending as we put things into the cart.

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We also learned about square numbers, square roots, and exponents this week.

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While working on exponents today I learned that the school never taught him how to multiple double digits like 24 x 12 =. I guess this is something we will have to go back and work on next week, along with our other work.

In Science we finished up learning about weather, weather patterns, and different types of weather. We moved onto clouds and the different types. This last week we learned all about  the deserts of the world, why they are so dry, what can survive in a desert, and how they form. We even made a desert biome.

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In Social Studies we learned about seasons, salty lakes, rivers, tropical, temperate, and frigid climates. Last we we started a year long process to learn about each of the 50 states. We started with Delaware, since it was first to enter the union. For each state we have a three page worksheet that we fill out to learn all about the state. We have also learned about Pennsylvania and New Jersey (or the cow state as he calls it).

We are also working with our chickens daily. We say this is part of our home economics since it is part of how we live.

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We recently decided to hatch chickens. We built our own incubator and placed our 12 eggs in there are now we are waiting the 18-21 days it takes to hatch.

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Yes this requires fertile eggs and we have no rooster, we went and bought fertile eggs to hatch. We have lost one egg do to a crack. We have candled the eggs and maybe half will hatch.

All in all homeschooling is good and we are settling in to a nice routine. We get along well and I think that helps. Besides it is always a good thing when school includes making BROWNIES!!

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Love, Peace, and Cupcakes!

Shannon

Point of no return…..

One of my favorite sayings is “The difference between being involved and committed is eggs and bacon. The chicken was involved, the pig was committed.”

Yesterday was the point of no return for us. The local school district started and I became a committed Homeschooling parent. I went from being an involved public school parent to being a committed homeschooling parent. I am not going to lie….. it is freaking me out a bit.

While we don’t start learning until August 18th, I am getting everything ready for that first week. We waited to start for many reasons. Last week Monster Child went on a camping trip with his best friend, so that week was out. This week his 10th grade sister was home two days before starting school on Wednesday. She has a tendency to be overbearing with him, even with me there. I didn’t want to start and have her get involved and upset him just as we are starting out. Then there was the options to start Wednesday, but we went against that as I don’t like a two day school week. We go to school Monday through Thursday. We will start classes on Monday and I need these extra days to finish getting everything ready.

I think I have things ready to go but then I start thinking I need to do more. Then I start freaking out as I start looking at all these website and gathering information, worksheets, and lesson and unit studies. I know I am over thinking it but I am nervous. I have never done this and the state of Missouri gives you very little guidance on what they require. I know my Monster Child is nervous and I try not to freak out around him, it will only add to the tension he may have.

I worry that I am not keeping him up with his peers and when he goes back to public school next year he will be missing something. I know that is highly unlikely but it is a fear none the less.

I guess we will do what is natural to us and what feels right. If we start off with one thing and it just doesn’t work for us, we will adapt. I will document what we work on and keep proof of his process. I have binders for just about everything. I guess that is all I can hope for. What I need to focus on is that he is learning, having fun, and we are working to get caught up and progress.

This blog is not for everywhere and it is more or less a journal for me on our adventure in this year long journey.

The journey is about to begin…..

The bible may be old, but it works. That is what my pastor says. Ecclesiates third chapter is titled Everything in God’s Own Time.

“Everything has its own time, and there is a specific time for every activity under heaven:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to pull out what was planted,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build up,

a time to cry and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to hug and a time to stop hugging,

a time to start looking and a time to stop looking,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

a time to tear apart and a time to sew together,

a time to keep quiet and a time to speak out,

a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

I think for most of us we have been through all these time. Lately I have been through all these time in the last six months.

A lot of the grief we have been through lately is with our youngest and the schools here. When we moved here 14 years ago it was a small school district with seven school in the district. It was a growing district and we knew that. The district is now close to 20 schools total. The district is growing so fast they can’t keep up with the growth. In the 2014-2015 school year they will add 5,000 new students to the district, not sure where they are going to put them all. My son’s school will add 300 students next year and 90 of them will be kindergarteners. Now the school is already at capacity and they are talking about making the specials go to a cart system to free up classrooms. I am not a fan of this, kids need an art room, a music room, a computer lab, and a gym.Kids also need two recesses, but that is a different soapbox for another day.

When I was growing up we, 1980s, we had computers in the library and music was traveling. This was how the Blue Springs School District made do. In 4th grade there was an additional classroom needed and they pulled 18-20 kids from the four classes and gave us the counselors room for a classroom. I have been through the growing pains of a growing school district as a student and it is confusing to students.

Currently my son sits in a classroom with 25 or more students. All of them with their own needs and wants and demands on the teacher. My youngest, aka Monster Child, has some needs that are struggling to be met. We asked for this teacher last year because she was a student teacher in his first grade class. She knew him and his “issues” and there would be no learning curve.

We had a horrible time in the second grade, the teacher didn’t understand him and said she didn’t have time to figure him out. We had a lot of tears shed that year, by parents and kid. We also had a bully that picked fights on the bus and beat the crap beat out of him one day in PE.

Third grade was a huge improvement and the teacher really tried and worked with us. I took a part-time job at the school to have an active hand in things. We still had the bully and the fights were getting worse. Finally as my mother-in-law was dying and I was taking care of her, my son had enough with the bully and beat him up and my kid was punished and the bully off Scott free. *The bully never picked on him again. Monster Child had an issue sitting still, so early in the year we took his chair away and he sat on an exercise ball. The exercise ball made him focus, strengthened his core, and allowed him to have a bounce rhythm that helped keeping him calm. The teacher also demanded that the school test him for a speech delay.

Monster Child has born deaf and gradually developed his hearing over the first two years of life. He didn’t babble until he was 8 months old. His speech was delayed from early on. We were always open and told the school repeatedly about this. We noticed it getting worse in second grade and asked the teacher, she blew it off. Third grade teacher heard it and did something about it.

Monster Child has been in Speech Therapy for almost a year. He works on his “sh”, “ch”, and”th” sounds. It is a fine motor skill that comes from the back of the throat.

Fourth grade has not been without the tears either. We have a new bully this year and it is a girl! Even better is that her mother is a teacher at the school. Bonus is that my oldest is good friends with the girl’s older half brothers. This child can do no wrong at the school…. ::snicker::. I have seen this child manipulate adults to her will. She does a thing to provoke reactions from others and then plays the victim.

*Example: One day in class they were sitting in groups around the classroom. She happened to be sitting at my son’s desk. She started messing around with his things. Monster Child politely asked her to stop and leave his things alone. Her response….. “I am going to rip your eyes out and shove them down your throat.” (Um…… WOW!) His response was “I am going to stuff an oil rag down your throat” The teacher only heard this snip of the whole thing and took his recess away for a week!

Of course I threw a fit and told her what happened the next day. She knew there was previous issues but didn’t think they were this bad. She now keeps these two apart. She now sees this child with new eyes. This is one of the issues we have with the school district. They are punishing the child who is getting bullied. The child who is the bully gets excuses on why they did it and we have to let them grow and learn.

Another issue we have is the class sizes. Now Missouri is getting on board with the idea that having a manageable class size really does make a difference in how well students do in school. Having smaller classes mean that children learn more, they have better achievement and they have better lifetime outcomes if they’re in smaller classes. The average class size in the United States has increased 5 percent, to almost 22 students per classroom. We are way above that!! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 22 also is the average class size in Missouri. Missouri is now saying that class sizes need to be 18-20 students. Our school will be raising class sizes next year to close to 30 student to one teacher!

The last issue I will talk about is the staff itself at the school. I have seen these teachers in the classroom, away from parents and I can honestly say I am not impressed with the 5th grade teacher options. I have seen them yell and scream at the kids, I have heard them call them names. The fifth grade classes at the school are the most unhappy kids I have seen. The thought of Monster Child being in one of those classes makes me want to run screaming from them.

Well, that is kind of what we are doing. We are turning and high-tailing it out of there for 5th grade year.

We are homeschooling next year!!

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Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states in the U.S., however, each state has different levels of regulation and guidelines.

  • States requiring no notice include Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma and Texas.

Yep, I am in Missouri!  DESE (Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) does not regulate home schooling. There is no registration for home schooling.  There are very few rules given to us about home schooling in Missouri. This is what we are told and the guidance we get.

According to Section 167.031 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, a parent or guardian of a child, between the ages of seven (7) and seventeen (17) years of age, shall cause the child to attend regularly some public, private, parochial, parish, home school or a combination of such schools. Any parent may educate a child at home. The parent does not need a teaching certificate or need to meet any education requirements in order to provide home instruction.

If a parent decides to home school, he or she must offer 1,000 hours of instruction during the school year, with at least 600 hours in the basics, which will be in reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, and science. At least 400 of the 600 hours shall occur in the home location.

**By the way most kids spend 900 hours in a school!**

A parent who is home schooling a child must maintain the following records:
  1. A plan book, diary, daily log, or other written record indicating the subjects taught and the activities engaged in with the student;
  2. A portfolio containing samples of the student’s academic work;
  3. A record of evaluation of the student’s academic progress; or
  4. Other written, or credible evidence equivalent to a, b, and c.
  5. The school year is defined as beginning July 1 and ending the next June 30.
  6. Children with disabilities attending a home school program may receive special education services provided by the local school district, in accordance with Section 162.996 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, and the State Plan for Special Education.

Section 167.042 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri, states that a parent or guardian may notify the superintendent of schools or the recorder of county deeds, in the county where the child legally resides, of their intent to home school. This is to be done before September 1 annually. Home-schooled students do not register with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Now if Monster Child still requires Speech Therapy next year the school district will provide that. Otherwise we are on our own. I have started working on our curriculum for the next year.  Lots to do and lots of questions. We are doing this on a one year trial basis. Keep your fingers crossed. Good thing my son and I have a great relationship!
I will keep you informed and updated on our journey!
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~Love, Peace, and Chickens!