Tuesday, August 31, 2010

TOS Subscription Sale

While recovering from a hysterectomy this summer I spent more than my fair share of time reading--laying in bed, sitting by the pool, waiting at Fritz's roller skating lesson, etc.  I managed to get through several books that had been on my "to read" list for some time.  I usually had The Old Schoolhouse Magazine nearby as well.   When I'm feeling unsure or burnt out,  it's always the tool to ignite the enthusiasm again--reviews of new products, insight into different  approaches to teaching, homesteading ideas and recipes,  even tips for dealing with burn out.   I've been a subscriber for over five years (I haven't even been homeschooling that long).  I've clipped and sorted unit study ideas and drawing lessons that Fritz and I will use well into the future.

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine is extending an extraordinary
subscription offer to homeschool families. Receive a one-year print
subscription for just $7.95 or a one-year plus current issue
subscription for $12.95. One-year subscriptions start with the winter
issue. The one-year plus current issue starts with the fall issue.
Only 5000 of these special subscriptions are available from August 31
through midnight on September 15. Once the 5000 are gone, they're gone!
Hurry and grab this crazy price today!
Disclaimer:  In exchange for promoting the Labor of Love sale, I will be receiving MP3 files of the upcoming TOS Fall Expo workshops.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


What do you get when you cross and Easter Egg hunt with a cross country race and a geography class?  Well, if you look at the title of this entry, you'll see it's an orienteering event.  Fritz and I did a very small scale class last year with the Missouri Conservation Dept.  We were basically criss-crossing a field and using compass bearings to determine which tree to head for.

This time we were attending a class put on by the St. Louis Orienteering club.   We traveled with another homeschooling family and there were several other parent/kid teams in attendance.  The first hour involved how to  use the compass and read maps--topography lines, symbols for fences, etc.  Then we went on a brief walk with our maps in hand to see if we could use our new skills to find the "control."  This is an orange and white windsock-like object.  Attached to each is a unique  set of pins you use to punch your card and prove you found the control.

After final preparations (read that a bathroom break)  we were sent off on the course.  We had 45 minutes to find as many or all of 19 controls hidden throughout the park.  Our team had two moms and4 homeschooled boys.  Schnickelfritz mentioned out loud that we probably wouldn't do so well because "You're kinda slow Mama."  I'll attribute that to still recovering from surgery rather than just being out of shape. 

"That just means we'll have to travel smarter, not faster son," was my reply.  We did give the boys a general direction and send them on ahead.  By the time the moms arrived, they had usually found the control and punched their cards.   Forty-five minutes elapsed rather quickly and rather than risk a penalty for missing the deadline, we headed back having found only 12 controls.  (You'd have to travel at a pretty good trot to cover the ground for all 19).


When we returned to the Start/Finish line the regular members of the Orienteering club were preparing for their meet.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a group of teenagers poring over a map to plot their course--better than hanging out at the mall or playing video games.

Fritz was bubbling over with enthusiasm.  I don't know if it was because he couldn't wait a month until the next O-event, or if he thought his slow-poke Mama needed more practice but he made his own course when we got home.  He made five controls and a map of our yard.  I wasn't sure how much attention he was paying to the class portion of our morning, but he did remember the starting point was a triangle in a circle and the end was a double circle.  He drew topography lines and labeled north of the map.  

Homeschoolers are always looking for ways to add physical education to their curriculum.  Here's a sport that can be done alone or as a team and at any age level!  See if you can find an O-event in your area.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tornado Warning

Just as I was about to tell Schnickelfritz that it was time to get ready for bed the weather alert radio came on.  Doppler radar was predicting a tornado about eight miles to the west and we were supposed to seek shelter immediately.   I made everyone get shoes on (if the worst should happen we did not want to have to walk on broken glass in bare feet) and we headed to the basement bathroom.

First let me just say how greatful I am that our new house has a basement--not very common where we lived in Indiana.  The fact that I can take shelter from the storm AND   take care of any personal emergencies if you know what I mean, is just the cherry on top.

Fritz and I were snuggled in the tub.  Since it's only used when we're washing the dog or have house guests it was dry.  To make the tub more comfortable Fritz stuffed it with his Colts/Pacers blanket, Bobby the teddy-bear, the alphabet caterpillar, and two pillows.  It a wonder I managed to fit in as well.  The Toolman was running in and out to check on the situation.  Della, our dog, was curled up in the bottom of the linen closet.

We prayed together for God's protection and waited for an all clear.   The shower curtain is a large map of the world and Fritz and I took turns playing 20 questions to guess which country the other had spotted.   Isn't it wonderful that God's peace allowed us to do such a mundane activity in spite of the raging storm going on around us.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Schoolhouse Expo

Last Spring TOS Magazine had a hit on its hands with the first ever Schoolhouse Expo.  Now it's back to homeschool time and registration is open for the fall installmend of the online Schoolhouse Expo, October 4-8. It's five days of top homeschool speakers, fellowship, and fun door prizes. 

Save $5 per ticket! Register between August 16 and midnight August 22, and you'll pay only $19.99. Plus you'll receive over $200 in free E-Books.

You'll be inspired by speakers including: Zan Tyler, Dr. Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright,Carol Barnier, Diana Waring, Todd Wilson, Davis Carman, Kim Kautzer, Lee Binz, and many more!  I can't wait to hear Dianne Craft speak on Identifying Your Child's Learning Glitch.  She spoke at our local convention last spring and opened my eyes as to why handwriting was so hard for my Schnickelfritz.  If you ask me, she's worth the price of admission all by herself.

A special teen track is planned--the entire family will definitely want to listen to these special sessions. We've also planned a special focus on a topic that touches every homeschool--writing. Plus, an array of other topics that will inform and inspire you throughout your homeschooling years.

Don't forget, MP3 copies of each session comes with your LIVE event ticket.

Two special preconference shows on August 24 and September 21 with Dr. 
Jay Wile, Jeannie Fulbright, and Kim Kautzer!

Register starting 12:01 a.m. on Monday, August 16.

The theme this fall is "Celebrate Homeschooling!" We're going to celebrate the unique blessings of homeschooling, the beginning of another school year, our families, and the freedom to tailor our children's education to best meet their needs.

If you cannot make the Live event,  then the October Expo To Go is just your ticket! You'll reserve MP3s from all of the workshops. This week only, pay just $14.95!

You can visit either of these links to get more information.
Disclaimer: I will be receiving  free  mp3's of the workshops for promoting the Schoolhouse Expo as part of the Homeschool Crew.

Monday, August 16, 2010

State Fair

About the time I start wondering if the hot, steamy weather will never come to an end a little tune starts forming in my head.  It gets a little louder as I start to see the back to school ads in the paper.  Finally I can make out the words....it's an old Rodgers and Hammerstein tune "Our State Fair is a Great State Fair...."

Since our move to Missouri, Fritz and I always arrange  a trip to see his grandparents and visit the Great Indiana State Fair (Toolman had to work).   Call us corny, but we don't want to miss a thing--from the World's Largest Boar to the tiny bees in the honey extracting exhibit.

One of Fritz's favorite spots is "Little Hands on the Farm"--a chance to teach city kids about where our food comes from.   The kids put on aprons and hats and meander along a path gathering eggs...

 planting poker chip "seeds" and harvesting their crops. ..

  There's even a pretend cow with a rubber udder to milk. 

 Last year Fritz was deemed too big to ride the pedal tractors, there's always a log jam at that station anyway.  At the end of the trip the junior farmer deposits his eggs, produce and wool in the appropriate bins; turns in his apron, and collects a dollar for "selling" his crop.  He  gets to keep the hat and takes the dollar to the store to buy a treat--usually string cheese or a juice box.  Fritz usually opts for the Apple Jacks cereal since I don't allow him to eat it at home.

The next favorite venue at the fair is the fishing pond behind the Dept of Natural Resources building.  Twice a day youngsters are allowed to catch and release blue gills and catfish for 15 minutes or 3 fish, whichever comes first.  During the first weeks of the fair the fish often ignore the bait, they've been fed so much.  The last week though, most of the kids are in school and the fishing only occurs in the afternoon.  Believe me when I tell you by then those fish are HUNGRY!  Fritz has caught his limit with time to spare the last two years.  Here he is with Grandpa...

The Champion litter of pigs has always got a crowd.   This is a much cuter picture than the enormous boar, laying on its side covered with flies.

And then there's the midway...fortunately for my pocketbook they offer wristbands enabling kids to ride all they want from noon to 4pm.  In my college economics class we learned about the Law of Diminishing Returns, that is the more you consume a particular item the less satisfaction you'll derive from it.  Schnickelfritz is an exception to this rule.  He rode the Wacky Worm roller coaster over and over for 50 minutes.


I managed to find a little time to sneak off and see some of the more "girlie" sites of the fair.  I always enjoy the quilts and the cake decorating (I made my own wedding cake).  It's a good thing the Toolman didn't know there was a John Deere option before our reception.


Of course, after a full day at the fair there is usually a very quiet ride home.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Bubble Gum

Problem: Schnickelfritz has two friends over and only one piece of bubble gum to share.  The fraction was the easy part, these boys knew the gum needed to be divided into thirds.  My problem as the one with the knife was ensuring the pieces were as equal as possible. Being an only child and having an only child I had  not been party to the intense analasys that occurs to see which piece was actually the biggest.  I almost offered to get out a micrometer.   The outcome--the boys chewed the gum for far less time than they inspected it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Studying Bugs

We are using Apolgia's Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day book this year.  Since the book suggests studying the insects when they are easily accessible, we have jumped forward to Chapter 9.   I found a wonderful resource to supplement our studies from of all places.....the Orkin Man.  I quess it makes sense to study the enemy you're trying to kill.  Anyway, you can find coloring pages, insect games, and lesson plans at their learning center

Now I'm gathering materials for Feeding Frenzy--a lab to discover the different types of insect mouthes: piercing, sponging, chewing, sucking, and cutting.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Two teeth missing

Fritz has been fiddling with a loose tooth since VBS.  Today it finally came out after church.  And a bonus tooth came out at dinner time.  We were eating pizza when Fritz excused himself from the table and ran to the bathroom.  He got visual confirmation that his big front tooth had fallen out, but where was it?  Toolman and I tried to console him with stories of our own teeth swallowed and lost.   Our sentimental boy was in tears--not that the tooth fairy wouldn't visit because we don't play that game.  One of his baby teeth would be all alone in the septic tank, never to join his brothers in the tupperware container in the bathroom. 

He had lost his appetite to finish the pizza.  He was so upset I was considering doing something I hadn't done since he was a year old and swallowed a penny.  Inspecting a diaper was one thing and I didn't know if I had it in me to carry the thought further.  I carried his plate to the kitchen and was preparing to drop the pizza in the garbage when I heard a "plink" on the plate.  A small tooth had fallen free from the cheese where it had been stuck.  Suddenly, all was right with the world again.
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