Monday, November 11, 2013


With our lives very much in flux, I have found it hard to jump back into our curriculum, it has been a struggle just to maintain the three R's let alone the fun in depth study of Rome to Reformation. I decided that the extra's can wait till the new year starts and then we will work through the summer. It might be better than taking long periods of time off after everything that has been going on.

Through this little fall/winter break I was planning on focusing when I can on some fun seasonal/holiday studies. I have always avoided the typical public school materials, no offense to anyone I just don't like the typical classroom mentality of certain publishers materials. But one series of teaching materials I really like is the Evan-Moor History & Literature Pockets, I have always enjoyed using these during co-ops and have tried to sprinkle them in our normal curriculum when I can. I like the end product and I like the fun hands-on low stress activities that help make a topic stick.

They have a variety of history and literature pockets, I have used:
Ancient Civilizations
Ancient Eygpt
Ancient Rome
Ancient Greece
Roman & Greek Mythology
Aesop's Fables
Folk Tales & Fairy Tales

This month I am going to try out Life in Plymouth for my 1st & 3rd grader. It is funny because I started homeschooling my two older children first I have always taught them together. I combined my efforts with those two where I could and took special time out to work with my 1st grader. It just occurred to me (sadly) that I will probably be able to increase my efficiency if I focused group effort on my 3rd and 1st grader and then worked individually more with my 6th grader. I am going to try that out over the next few weeks and see how it goes, I am going to spend that time helping my 6th grader really focus on developing her writing skills.

Hopefully this will be a nice slow easing back into a much fuller school day.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Roman Tablet Tutorial

We are in our 1st week of MFW Rome to Reformation. One of the activities this week was to make a Roman tablet like school children used in Roman times. The book gives instructions using corrugated cardboard or in the Roman Empire book they suggested using balsal wood I wanted something a little simpler.

We used $1 unfinished wood frames from Michael's and non drying clay I think it was $3.59 for 4 colors which worked perfect for us.
 My father-in-law cut out some lightweight wood to fit in the frames, I used hot glue to secure them although wood glue may be better I was finishing them up last minute so hot glue worked best for me.

We then gently pressed the modeling clay into the frame and used a playdough rolling pin to make it smooth.

Make sure you save the little dowel used to prop up the frame, we sharpened them and used them as the stylus. We also used old gift cards cut in half to smooth out the clay after writing on it.
The kids decorated the frames with markers and have been enjoying them all day.

The tutorial included in the curriculum is for a diptych or double-sided tablet. You could easily use two frames and drill holes then add twine to make a double-sided tablet. We were originally going to this for the older two but when the little ones saw the clay, I tossed the idea out and just let them each make one.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Confession Time

My name is Shannon and I am not a home decorator.

Despite the fact that Pinterest makes me believe that I am and need to be!
I need to get this off my chest, proclaim it from the mountain tops!

I really care not for the frivolity of home decor despite the envy I feel pouring over home decorating blogs and Pinterest boards.

I don't know how to put a fashionable room together, I don't know what colors go together, or fabric patterns. I like to sew and craft and organize things but not decorate I like to be surrounded by things I love and that serve a functional purpose, I really don't care if they go together. I want to paint my walls but only so I don't have to keep looking at 5 years of art work my children have drawn on the walls.

I want my house clean but not perfectly decorated or put together! I once tried to put a tablecloth, candle and specific stack of books on my coffee table, only to have my smallest children destroy it every time I left the room! This continued for months till folded up the tablecloth, tossed the candle and put the books on the shelf where they belonged.

I had a pretty vignette on top of my entertainment center until one Christmas I got desperately ill after pulling the dust coated decorations down for more festive decor. Two years later it remains empty and I have no desire to redecorate it.

Pictures are the only things I think are worth investing in to hang on my wall.

If you are a home decorator and fill your home with beautiful things, good for you! I probably secretly envy your home and your abilities and I hope your homes make you happy.

I think I am going to find a new approach to making my home a happy place and it has nothing to do with decorating.

Boy I feel better!