Thursday, January 31, 2013

History and Geography Meme 60: A History and Geography WALL Center

Have you ever considered creating a History and Geography CENTER? It doesn't have to be anything complicated or even take a lot of space, but a simple world map and a timeline  ON THE WALL can make for a very interesting and engaging learning resource.

I've had some questions about our History and Geography Center at Our Side of the Mountain, so I thought I would share my resources with you.

So, on the left is our WALL CENTER. Our school room is actually our 10x10 diningroom. A wall resource works best for us because it doesn't take floor space. I found Story of the World timeline strips and cards from Tending Our Lord's Garden here. It's a FREE resource, folks! Isn't that awesome? The strips are even color-coded for different time periods and the cards are varied enough that they can be used with other curricula too. Don't use SOTW? No problem! Did you notice the HOT PINK Post-its? We've been adding additional events to highlight events we've read outside of SOTW as well.

We added a world map. It's hard to see here, but I cut strips of Post-its to "point out" the areas we've studied. Although SOTW has great black-line maps, they don't show the areas in a WORLD CONTEXT. I feel it's important to see the "whole view" for a fuller perspective. 

And the best part of this wall center is that I find the kids reading the cards and searching for areas on the map all on their own! It's there for when they want to use it! 

Do you have a great resource? Link it up below!

Sweet Phyllis has asked me to co-host the History and Geography meme with her for a bit as she goes through her cancer treatment and recovery. (To see how she's doing, visit her On the Mend blog here.) Please keep her and her wonderful family in your thoughts.

I hope that you will continue to link your new (and old) posts with any history and geography topic to this meme every Thursday. Please include this button on either the post you have linked or your sidebar or mention All Things Beautiful History and Geography meme in your post with a link. All posts that do not link directly to a history or geography post will be deleted. Remember that I am pinning all posts to Pinterest.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Are You Linking up? Explorers Blog Hop Starts on Sunday!

I've been pondering a while about having a blog hop. I've always enjoyed linking up to other hops and reading other blogs, especially the homeschooling and cooking ones, but I wasn't sure about doing one myself. Until now. Why not! 

I'm kinda nervous no one will link up though. Will you? ::crossing fingers::

On Sunday I will be posting (sometime in the morning) my very first blog hop! Anything OUTSIDE goes! Gardening, sledding, swimming, playing in mud, running through the rain, nature journaling - it all works. A weekly blog hop to share our outdoor adventures and nature studies!


(I hope my button works. Could you let me know if it doesn't? I think I've worked out all the "button bugs"...)

Please include my button on your post or link back to Our Side of the Mountain or mention us in your post to spread the word. And we hope to "see" you on Sunday! (I hope I figure out how to do the inlinkz! LOL)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bon Voyage! Flat Sam Heads to Alaska!

Have you heard of the Flat Stanley project? It's based on the Flat Stanley chapter books by Jeff Brown. In the first book, Stanley Lambchop becomes flat after a bulletin board falls on him and he travels to California to visit family in an envelope. 

This literary adventure sparked the imagination of teachers and soon LOTS of Flats started traveling the world while kids waited excitedly for their them to return with daily journals and sometimes even a postcard, photos or special items from their host families.

What's a Flat? Well, a Flat is a paper doll or even animal. It can be drawn free hand, colored and cut out, or it can be a person or animal from a magazine, or a paper doll from a box, but the idea is that the student makes a paper "person" that can be sent through the mail in a regular sized envelope.

And now my youngest has sent out his very first Flat! When I pulled Flat Stanley from our bookshelves for him to read, I knew I would try to find somewhere for Balsam Fir to send a Flat out too.  I was super excited when Kay from Kay's Little Korner agreed to be his host family. Yippee! You see, Kay and her family live in Alaska...and we're planning a vacation there in August.What  better way to start learning about Alaska than sending out a Flat to a family LIVING there?!

So, Balsam Fir and I searched through Making Friends for a paper doll to turn into a Flat. He chose to make a Cub Scout paper doll that he named Sam, which we stuck contact paper too (to give it some protection on its travels).

Then we made a simple journal with folded white typing paper and colored cardstock. We also used part of an envelope, glued to the front, to hold our paper traveler.

And now Flat Sam is on his way to the north! 

Wanna start your OWN Flat Stanley adventures? Check out these Flat Stanley activities!

Homeschool Share Flat Stanley Lapbook
On-line Games, Quizzes and Downloads
Printables, Quizzes, Vocabulary, Guides, and Parent Resources

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 3 Week 4 - We're Heading Back Down the Mountain

In My Life This Week
Did you notice? Yeah, it's not a huge change. I created an almost new banner and blog button using PicMonkey. I'm pretty darn excited to be able to do these things. Finally. Now, if only I could figure out how to put that code box under my new button. (And yes, I have followed a tutorial, but apparently not followed it accurately. ::wink::)

Anyway, on Tuesday we hit our halfway point: 87 days down and 86 more days to go! I mostly satisfied with what we've accomplished thus far this year. There are a few areas I wish we were further along in, but we're working on it. So, we're "heading back down the mountain"! To celebrate I announced "Game Day!" We made munchies and settled down to some History and Chess games and then watched an episode of  "Ken Burns: America's National Parks: America's Best Idea".

Homeschool High School
White Pine encountered a very frustrating and annoying issue with his Google SketchUp program: the download the instructor had the kids use was a TRIAL and now it needs to be purchased for use. (And there's NO WAY we are purchasing a $495 program for 3 more hours of this class. ::wink::) But his instructor and the director came though and he was able to get some details added to his hospital.

But he finished up his Around the World in 180 Days for this session. Check! He's moving right along! So, for the rest of this session he'll be concentrating on English, Algebra and Biology, all of which he's made good progress in as well. I see a very light final week of Session 3 for him.

Stripe Was Sitting on White Pine's Math work. It was a Stare Down. I Think the Cat Won! LOL

The Country of the Pointed Firs, Cather Author Profile and Approach Paper, Exponents, Classification, Google Earth SketchUp, Asia Religion and Culture

Homeschool Elementary
My saplings have both finished their HWT for the year, but I still have to play "What's that word?" Even rewriting doesn't always help! Or maybe they're practicing to be doctors someday?

Putting Together a Puzzle During Reading Together Time

Did I tell you that Sugar Maple is writing a story? She asked to type it up on my Microsoft Word program on the laptop. I have to say I think it's been helpful with her Spelling and Grammar! It highlights mistakes that she must fix. But, her creativity is wonderful and the story is already over 2300 words long!

Our Chemistry video from Netflix arrived and we spent our Science time watching it. But unfortunately it didn't spark the interest that I had hoped it would. They did enjoy this elements You Tube video though. Time for a change?

I'm co-hosting the History and Geography Meme with sweet Phyllis at All Things Beautiful for a few weeks. Want to see what we did this week in SOTW? Click here! And if you have a History or Geography post, new or old, link up! We'd love to read what you're doing.

Our History and Geography Center: Story of the World (Volume 1) Books - Wall Timeline - Mapwork with
Notes - World Map with Post-it Pointers on Areas Studied

Sugar Maple's Accomplishments
The Mark of Athena, Creative Story, Sequential Spelling Days 43-46, Reading Comprehension, Synonyms, XtraMath (Completed Addition), Decimals, Converting Unit Lengths, Fractions, Ancient China (Qin and Calligraphy)

Balsam Fir's Accoimplishments
Flat Stanley, Creative Writing in Wimpy Journal, Money, Handwriting, Word Builder, Flat Sam paper doll, Ancient China (Qin and Calligraphy)

Books, Books, Books
"You're never too old, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child." - Dr. Seuss

Don't you love that quote? It's something that I have to remember because oftentimes our Reading Together Time gets nixed when something needs to go for the day.

After a glance at the bookshelves, I pulled Minn of the Mississippi off, and while reading it aloud, the saplings worked on a 500 piece puzzle. Even though I've read "raves" about the Holling books I'm not really into them, but I hid my reluctance and the kids seem to enjoy Minn

Places We Went, People We Saw
☃ Girl Scout Penguin Camping (SM) ☃ Basketball (SM/BF) ☃ Scouts (WP) ☃ SketchUp (WP) ☃ Clarinet (SM) ☃ Library 

As always, thanks for visiting our "neck of the woods". We're linking up to these wonderful blog hops! Why not click over and read about other homeschool happenings.

Homegrown Learnershttp:// Homeschool Hop Button

Note: Words in this color are links for more information, other blogs, recipes, or even helpful websites.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cluck and Quack Happenings: Why Chickens are Cool

I know what you're thinking...or at least some of you...chickens? cool? huh? But really, they are. And I'm not a crazy chicken lady! ::wink:: (Who said YET?! I didn't make any of those hooded fleece chicken ponchos I saw on Facebook, did I? Or the indoor diapers...)

My Top 5 Reasons Why Chickens Are Cool

5. Free ranging chickens forage, eating a diet of plants and BUGS. Now, I don't know about "your neck of the woods", but here in Maine we have a plethora of pesky insects: mosquitoes, black flies, Japanese Beetles, No-see-ums, and ticks. Chickens will eat them all! Devour! I know some of you love your bugs and they do serve a purpose, but I'm OK with a few less in the summer nipping me and the kids.

Our Coop and Run, Speckles, Balsam Fir with Chee (RIP), Egg Salad Sandwich, and White Pine with
Chee (RIP)

4. And those free ranging chickens don't stop at just bugs! No, they also chomp on grass, always leaving a couple inches close to the ground. Now, yes, LARGE flocks can decimate a beautiful, lush lawn, but my feathered 6 haven't. Well, OK, I do have a less-than-lush lawn...Anyway, less mowing. And the digging aerates the soil, and the, um, poo fertilizes it. 

3. Chickens help my family be more "green". Not only do chickens provide a natural source of, um, Miracle Grow for our garden compost, but they also eat veggie and fruit scraps, old bread, rice, spaghetti, and many other things from our kitchen. Obviously with the cost of groceries "going through the roof", we eat as much as our food as possible but now next-to-nothing goes to waste. We even dry and crush egg shells to feed back to the flock for a rich calcium source! 

Not Chickens, But They Were Foraging in the Woods. Tops of Celery From Making Sticks forSaplings'
Snack, Dandelions Pulled From the Lawn and Dropped Pumpkin Flowers from the Garden Make a
GREAT Duck Soup

2. I bet you thought eggs would be 1, but nope! ::grin:: Fresh chicken eggs are remarkably different than store eggs. Sure, they all LOOK like eggs out the outside, but the inside...Have you ever seen the BRIGHT orange-yellow of a farm egg? Store eggs PALE in comparison. Literally.

1. Our chickens help my kids live a healthier life. How so? Well, we free range under supervision. Our chickens are our pets and we do what we can to ensure their safety while letting them be, well, chickens. My kids are out almost every single day with our flock for at least a couple of hours...rain? yes! snow? yes! bone-numbing cold? some of the time. Fresh air and "foraging" is good for kids too! And no, they're not "foraging" for bugs, but they're building lean-tos in the forest, riding scooters, building snowmen and forts, searching for frogs, and gardening (depending on the time of year). They are more active because of our chickens.

Balsam Fir With "Twin" Rhodies, Chickens Digging and Foraging in Flower Garden, Chickens On The Search
for Bugs in the Fall Leaves, Balsam Fir with Chee (RIP)

So, what has your flock done for you lately?

Our Six Disheveled from Molting this Fall: Speckles, Onyx, Rhodie, Mustard, Little Rhodie, and Sassy

Linking up to these wonderful blogs:

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: Session 3 Week 3 - Looking Ahead to Spring

In My Life This Week
Looking ahead to spring! Really, there's SO much more Maine winter left, but our heirloom seed catalog arrived from Baker Creek and White Pine and I got browsing...And then I found GrowVeg through Itzy Bitzy Farm on Facebook. What could be neater than planning your garden on-line, adding and changing crops with a click? And then printing out a list of how many plants or seeds you need and when to plant! Awesome!

My Favorite Thing
Balsam Fir brought me out to dinner last night. He earned a gift card from his Cub Scout popcorn sales and wanted to buy me dinner. (I was going to pay, but he was quite excited to hand his card to the waitress. ::laugh::) How sweet, huh? 

Homeschool High School
Something went awry with White Pine's tablet, but fortunately he's gotten pretty knowledgeable about computers and was able to get it working again. Was he ever relieved! Phew! 

Even though his SketchUp class didn't meet this week, he continued to work on his hospital for the group's 3D city. And he continues to make GREAT PROGRESS this session with his other subjects! 

O Pioneers!, CS Lewis Approach Paper (94%), Volume Conversions and Exponents, Finite and Infinite Sets, Fossils, Google Earth SketchUp, Tablet Repair

Homeschool Elementary
Sugar Maple spent several happily-focused hours making paper dolls of Greek Myth god and goddesses from our Ancient Greek studies. All on her own accord! Delight-directed learning at its best, huh? It's times like this where I can see going "unschool"! Anyway, she most certainly knows more about this era than I do!

Balsam Fir and I had a wonderful morning reading and baking. On-the-fly! Pun intended! ::wink:: Oh, did you see my post here? My pun would make more sense after you read it!

Our on-line Chemistry has kinda gone by the wayside. Not only has White Pine needed our ONE laptop for longer periods of time to do HIS work, but we're just not "feeling it".  So, I found a Netflix DVD on Chemistry that should arrive soon. I'm hoping SEEING Chemistry will help us to understand it better and incite some excitement. We'll see, right?

But we did make lots of progress with Story of the World! We read about the long-lasting Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome, and Hannibal who tricked the Romans with ELEPHANTS, but only to be tricked by the Romans who defeated the city of Carthage. And then learned about Hinduism and Buddhism in India.

Sugar Maple's Accomplishments
The Penderwicks, Hoot, Chomp, Creative Writing (on Computer), Spelling Days 38-39 and Test (95%), Conjunctions, Cursive, Fractions and Decimals, XtraMath, Ancient Greece, Clarinet

Balsam Fir's Accomplishments
Flat Stanley, Writer's Notebook, Word Wall and Word Builder, Handwriting, Subtraction with Borrowing, Coin War, Time Bingo, XtraMath, Ancient Greece

Books, Books, Books!
I finished reading the Treasury of Greek Mythology to Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir this week. I'm not sure that I would recommend this book to you as some parts were questionable, but my Saplings really seemed to enjoy it. Anyway, now what? ::laugh:: 

Places We're Going, People We're Seeing
☃ Basketball (BF) ☃ Boy Scout Merit Badge College (WP) ☃ Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Clinic (BF) ☃ T_, D_ and L_ Over ☃ Scouts (BF/WP) ☃ Clarinet (SM) ☃ 

Something to Share

As always, thanks for visiting Our Side of the Mountain!  Linking up to these wonderful blog hops! Have a great week!

Homegrown Learnershttp:// Homeschool Hop Button

Note: Words in this color are links to other sites for more information, educational games, blog posts, and even recipes.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

History and Geography Meme 58: All Things Beautiful and Our Side Linkin' Up!

Sweet Phyllis has asked me (Our Side of the Mountain) to co-host the History and Geography meme with her for a bit as she goes through her cancer treatment and recovery. (To see how she's doing, visit her On the Mend blog here.) Please keep her and her wonderful family in your thoughts.

Now, just because I'm new at this co-hosting thing, I thought I would start out by sharing a little about what we're doing for History and Geography this year. 

My oldest Sapling White Pine is in 8th or 9th grade, depending.  Sometimes it's tricky to nail down those grade levels. ::wink:: He chose to work independently through Around the World in 180 Days, a research curriculum for grades K-12. (IMO I would say it's more grades 5+ though.)  This curriculum breaks down the world into continents (mostly) and asks students to research and answer questions about history, religion, culture, and geography. White Pine keeps his work in a notebook.

And my 2 younger Saplings, Sugar Maple and Balsam Fir, are learning with Story of the World Volume One with activity book and wall timeline. I read aloud from the book while my Saplings fill out their maps with dates, people and events.

That's us in a nutshell! Your turn! I'd love to see what you and your kiddos have been learning in History and Geography!

I hope that you will continue to link your new (and old) posts with any history and geography topic to this meme every Thursday. Please include this button on either the post you have linked or your sidebar or mention All Things Beautiful History and Geography meme in your post with a link. All posts that do not link directly to a history or geography post will be deleted. Remember that I am pinning all posts to Pinterest.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kids in the Kitchen: Fly Guy Approved! Shoo Fly Pie with Vanilla Ice Cream

You know what's really special? Snuggling under a warm blanket on a chilly morning with your little guy while he reads to you for an hour. 

"Shoo, Fly Guy!"

Have you seen the Fly Guy books? It's a series of Scholastic early readers about a boy named Buzz who has a pet fly.


And Balsam Fir thinks they're funny!

The books are really too easy for him, but sometimes you just gotta read for pleasure rather than challenge, right? And it's a wonderful way to build his self-confidence and enjoyment with reading.

Fly Guy's favorite food is "brown, oozy, lumpy, and smelly" Shoo Fly Pie. Go figure! ::wink:: I had a "light bulb" moment and asked Balsam Fir if he would like to MAKE a Shoo Fly Pie. 

"Shoo Fly Pie is really a pie?"

So, I searched All Recipes on-line and found this simple Shoo Fly Pie recipe. But wait - no crust! (Yes, I buy my crusts and just roll them out! ::wink::) Could we REALLY make the crust from scratch too? 

I found a pie crust recipe on All Recipes called "Easy to Remember Pie Crust" here with only 3 ingredients. And you know what? It worked! We can actually make a decent pie crust from scratch! 

Well, at least my 7-year-old can! ::laugh::

Once the crust was chilled, rolled out, trimmed, and filled with our Shoo Fly molasses layer and brown sugar-flour crumble, we waited impatiently for it to bake and cool. It smelled wonderful! And then we topped it with French vanilla ice cream...

and we had one proud chef-in-training!

But we're still working on this part! ::sigh::

Do you cook with your kiddos? Share the fun on Tuesday with Adventurez with Kids in the Kitchen and Try a New Recipe at Home to 4 Kiddos!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cluck and Quack Happenings: Signature Eggs

Would you believe that we can tell which hen laid which egg? For the most part. All we have to do it look at the color, shape and size!

Although specific breeds lay similar eggs, such as Ameraucanas who lay pastel-colored eggs or Cuckoo Marans who lay chocolate-brown eggs, hens can lay their own unique eggs. And if you can catch a hen "in the act" and snag that egg before another hen wanders into the nesting box, you can identify who's egg is who's.

Our little flock is made up of mixed breed hens. The rooster was an Ameraucana (for sure), but the hens were Buff Barred Rock, mixed Cochin, mixed White-lace Wyandotte, and Barred Rock. We think. Interestingly, NONE of our hens lay the blue or green eggs that Ameraucanas are known for.

It's kinda neat to be able to say, "I'm eating Speckle's egg!" Or "That BIG one is LITTLE Rhodie's!"

And we also know who's slacking. ::wink::

Our smallest hen, Little Rhodie, lays some of our biggest eggs. They're a pale pink color with a rounded tip.

Little Rhodie's "twin" Big Rhodie lays lightly tanned SPECKLED eggs. So, even though they look very much alike, their eggs are quite different. See?

Onyx, our black hen, also lays big eggs, but they're almost white! Black hen, white eggs! Ironic, huh?

Our orange Buff Barred Rock -Ameraucana Mustard lays small, pointy-tipped pink-tan eggs.

Now, we're still trying to figure out what eggs Speckles and Sassy lay. They have eluded our sneak peaks into the nesting boxes and little coop. But someone laid a small, pale pink with a rounded point mystery egg yesterday. Who's is it?

After a 3 month hiatus to molt and grow in new, fluffy-soft feathers, the "girls" are back to laying. And the best thing about our eggs...they're yummy!

Update: I caught our mystery egg layer in action!