Sewing, Homeschooling and Craziness

Archive for January, 2014

Groundhog Day Resources

groundhog day


Groundhog graphic from My Cute Graphics


Is it cold where you are???? As I am writing this it is 12 feels like -1. Which would be OK if we actually had SNOW!! But no, no snow here. It snowed in Louisiana but not HERE!! What’s a person have to do???

My point is, I bet you can’t wait for spring, right?? And I bet you are going to be watching ol’ Punxsutawney Phil to see how much longer we have to put with this! 😉 To help you get the most out of Groundhog’s Day I’ll be listing some resources for a unit study!

Now might be a good time to check out weather resources, too! (Scroll down to science to see all of weather resources and activities.)

As always, I try to include resources for a variety of ages. All books can be found at your local library, on Amazon or Paperback Swap (you should really check out this link).

All printable resources are free unless marked with $$$.


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If you don’t have a Kindle it’s very easy to add the app to your computer, tablet or phone. I think I have it on every device in the house! 😉 The same goes for the Nook. The reason I list Kindle books is because a lot of times you can find them for FREE or very cheap.


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Lapbook – Homeschool Share

Lapbook – Homeschool Helper Online

Coloring Pages – Animal Jr.

Coloring Pages and Activities – Making Learning Fun

Coloring Pages, Crafts and Activities – DLTK – Kids

Coloring Pages, Crafts, Activities and Lesson Plans – Yahoo Voices

Coloring Page, Crafts and Lesson Plans – Crayola

Coloring Pages and Printables – abc Teach (some free)

Coloring Pages, Puzzles and Activities – Activity Village

Coloring Pages, Worksheets and Activities –

Pre-K Mini Unit – 2 Teaching Mommies

Pre-K Unit – Blessed Beyond a Doubt

Printables and Activities – Kid Sparkz

Printable Activities and Worksheets – Scholastic

Printable Booklet – Lori’s Page

Worksheets and Puzzles –



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Activities –

Crafts – All Kids Network

Crafts – The Crafty Crow

Crafts – No Time for Flashcards

Crafts – Play with Me Mommy

Info – eNature

Info – MNN

Info – Nat Geo

Info – NOAA

Info – Squidoo

Info – Time and Date

Math Activities – Squidoo

Videos – YouTube

Watch Phil Live – Visit PA




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Cupcakes – Creative Party Ideas by Cheryl 

Pancakes – Gourmet Mom On-the-Go

Pudding Snacks – Domesticated Lady

Snacks – Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons










Homeschooling High School – Part 2 – The CHEAP Stuff

HighSchool 2




MOST of the stuff we use in homeschooling I get on the cheap. 😉 I love used book stores, thrift shops and PaperBackSwap for finding cheap books, especially since we use mostly living books. I have also been known to use eBay and Amazon.

Now, having said that, Deanna actually likes Abeka for science. Thankfully I have found all the books from 4th grade up to chemistry for at most $4 a piece.

I am going to give you a list of some of my favorite cheap curriculum and they can almost all be found at the same place, Currclick.



Hands of a Child – Lapbooks and Notepacks – can also be found at their own site (usually cheaper). The older kids have grown out of their love of lapbooks but still do a lot of notebooking.


Simple Schooling – Tons of prepared units for science and history. These go on sale quite often and at certain times of the year they can even be found for free.


Homeschool Learning Network – Tons of prepared units for science and history. They can also be found on Amazon for Kindle.


Brandenburg Studies – Units for almost all subjects.


History Scribe – History Notebooking Pages


The Christian Homeschool Hub Download Club – ALL SUBJECTS!! Seriously, just about anything you could think of. It’s a flat fee for a whole year and you can download as much as you like.


Now, those are just my favorite. There are many, many more cheap resources out there.

Just remember, homeschooling does NOT have to cost a fortune!! Even if you prefer text books, you can find them cheap at PaperBackSwap, Amazon or eBay. 😉






Homeschooling High School – Part 1 – The Free Stuff

High School Part 1




I realized the other day that I have posted very little about homeschooling my high school kids. Most often I follow the same things I do with the younger kids BUT the lessons are MUCH more involved.

There are, however, lots and lots of different FREE sites that we use. Yes, FREE!!! And I am going to list all of those for you here. 😉




Khan Academy – Most awesome site EVER!! We would never have made it through some of the upper math without it!! They also have lower level math, as well as science, history, art, economics…..

HippoCampus – Another site with higher maths, sciences, social sciences and humanities

Coursera – I have actually taken a couple of courses on Coursera and HIGHLY recommend it. A lot of the classed will give you a certificate of accomplishment at the end of the course. These are all college level courses but my kids have been able to follow along quite well.

Saylor – This site has just added a K-12 option. Math seems to be the only course they have so far and that is 6th – advanced statistics. They do have a  variety of college courses, though.

All in One High School – This site has it all mapped out for you, day by day. It’s isn’t quite complete yet as far as I can tell, but it’s getting there. And everything is ONLINE!!!! I believe they may ask your child to read certain books that aren’t available online BUT they are always available at the library.

Ambleside Online – Another site that has everything laid out for you. BUT not quite everything is available online for free but there are options given.

An Old-Fashioned Education – Tons of free resources, almost all of them from yesteryear and for every subject.

Homeschool Share – Yes, I know, this site is geared more toward the younger set BUT you can still use  a lot of the lapbooks and unit studies to get you started. All you have to do is ask for more details and add more reading, projects, etc.

Practical Pages – Notebooking is great for ALL grades, except for the very youngest, of course. 😉

Donna Young – Printables for every occasion!! Even DIPLOMAS and forms for transcripts!!


So, how do WE use these sites?? Well, all 3 of my older kids use Khan Academy A LOT for math. A LOT. The other sites they use as their interests direct them or if they feel like going deeper into a topic.

We do a ton of reading. Lots and lots and lots of living books. I’ll give you some examples.

Founding Fathers

Founding Brothers

Founding Mothers

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee


Elements of Style

Lots of Isaac Asimov’s non-fiction

And pretty much anything in the non-fiction sections of the library that catches their attention.

I wish all my books were unpacked then I would have a better list for you.

Anyway, we also rely a lot on Netflix documentaries, YouTube and stuff we DVR.

Don’t forgot those field trips! Art museums, history museums, state parks, etc.

My advice? Give them a topic and set them loose to research the heck out of it. OR see what they are really interested in, then set them loose to research the heck out of it. LOL

And RELAX!!!! It’s OK!! They are learning and that’s what REALLY matters!!








How We Do Nature Studies

Nature Study




We LOOOOOOOVE studying nature. It’s one of our absolute favorite things to do and we do it as a family.

Here is how WE do nature studies.

We go to a lot of different places:

Our yard

Botanical Gardens


Nature Centers





Petting Zoos

Regular Zoos


And we take A LOT of pictures!!!


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Cailey found a caterpillar at a local park. She wanted to take it home and see what would happen.

First, we took some leaves from the tree where we found it.

When we got home we realized we had one of that same tree in our yard! YAY!!

Then we put the caterpillar in the bug catcher with the leaves and a few drops of water.

Next we waited.

After 2 days it started making it’s cocoon!! (Yes, cocoon, not chrysalis.)

Then we waited some more.

After what felt like FOREVER, a tent moth finally appeared!!!


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These  were all found in our yard when we lived in Virginia.



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These pictures were taken at 4 different parks in the Richmond area.



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These were taken at a botanical garden in the Richmond area. Botanical gardens are the PERFECT place to observe nature. Plants, bugs, birds, lizards……


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These 2 were taken in our yard in Georgia.

One thing about moving, you can learn so much about the different plants and animals in each environment.


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This was taken at a WONDERFUL nature center in the Richmond area. We LOOOOOVED that place. They had live animals, a nice park, fossils, skulls, bird calls (with pictures of the birds) and a ton of dioramas.


So, HOW do we do nature studies?? We just get out in it. No set topics, no set lessons. No agenda other than seeing what we can see and being outdoors.


We don’t do much of it in the winter, though. We usually just observe from the windows… LOL  I can’t wait until the temps warm up enough to go exploring!

I guess that sums up exactly what we do. We go exploring. 😀




Jackson Pollock Resources for a Unit Study

Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock’s Birthday is January 28th! I thought I would throw together some resources for a unit study!


As always, I try to include resources for a variety of ages. All books can be found at your local library, on Amazon or Paperback Swap (you should really check out this link).

All printable resources are free unless marked with $$$.

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Notebooking Page, Links and Activities – Homeschool Share

Notebooking Page and Mini Books – Practical Pages

Mini Books and Activities – Confessions of a Homeschooler

Artist Card and Activities – The Crafty Classroom

Worksheet – Teacher Vision (you can get 5 freebies)

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Activity –

Activity –

Info –

Info – NGA

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Lesson Plans – Story Board Toys

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Artist Box

Not a large group of resources by any means, but hopefully enough to get you going. 😀




Happy Birthday






Yesterday was Deanna’s 17th Birthday!!!

Tomorrow is Joshua’s 18th Birthday!!!!

I can’t believe it.

I now have 2 “adult” children with another very close behind.


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To Joshua,

Even though I know you won’t read this, I want to tell you anyway.

I love you so much.

I am so proud of the man you have become.

You are so smart.

You are so caring. You always put others before yourself.

You have so many talents.

Thank you for being YOU!!!



Deanna 003

To Deanna,

Even though I know you won’t be reading this either, I’m still going to tell you….

I love you so much!

I am so proud of the young lady you are.

You are so giving.

You are so bright.

You have so many gifts to give to the world.

Thank you for being you!!



You’ll have to excuse the pictures. SIGH…. They both HATE having their pictures taken. What’s a mother to do????



Fly on the Wall – January 2014


Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 15 bloggers are inviting you to catch a glimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

 Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:                          Baking In A Tornado                                  The Rowdy Baker                          Just A Little Nutty                                       The Momisodes                           Spatulas on Parade                                   The Sadder But Wiser Girl                          Follow me home . . .                  Stacy Sews and Schools                           Searching for Sanity                       The Lazy Mom’s Cooking Blog                             Menopausal Mother                       Victory Rose                                  Pink Heart String                                 Spinster Snacks







Deanna – We need to start our own store called “Burnett Sized – When Family Size Just Isn’t Big Enough”.


Colin – This family is full of crazies!!!


Joshua – I hate Thorsdays, they are so unLoki.


Joshua – It’s a sad day when you type Leonardo in the search box and DiCaprio comes up before da Vinci.


Never NEVER NNNNNNEEEEEVVVVEEEERRRR bring up the country of Djibouti around your kids… You will never hear the end of booty jokes.

Colin – I bet the grass in brown in Djibouti.

Joshua – I bet it stinks in Djibouti.

Deanna – Dang! I didn’t know Djibouti was so big.

And on and on and on and on……..

And let me apologize to the people of Djibouti on behalf of my heathen children.


Deanna – Why does everyone think Joshua is funnier than me???

Me – You’re a different kind of funny.

Deanna – And what do you mean by that?????

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Me to The Hubby – Deanna wants to know why everyone thinks Joshua is funnier than she is.

Yes, that’s what I said.

Deanna – Wait!! Tell me he didn’t say the same thing!!! What do you mean by different?????


Jacob (in his best Arhnahld impression) – Hi. I ahm Deaaanna Da Brows. Muh eyebrows will beat you into submission.


Cailey thinks that cat burglars steal cats. Cailey – What if a cat burglar comes  and tries to steal Derpy???


Apparently we have a clepto cat. Derpy keeps stealing things dragging them under the girls’ bed. Deanna was seriously upset to find a pair of Joshua’s underwear. Although, Derpy did leave a present of pipe cleaners and crayons in Cailey’s shoe.


Cailey bumping into Deanna – Sorry, I hope I didn’t hurt your internal orgals.

(no, that isn’t supposed to be organs 😉 )


Jacob just started a new job at the same place The Hubby works. He comes home and says this – I found my toe twin today. You know how I dropped that wood on my toe the other day? So did so and so. He took his shoe off and his toe looks just like mine!


Whenever that stupid Miley song comes on Cailey changes the words, like so:

I came in like a

tennis ball

soccer ball


It drives Deanna crazy.


At the Christmas party for The Hubby’s work, the owner mentioned a special kind of Christmas bonus this year. Every employee got $50 to give to another employee. They were to go to the office and put down which person they wanted their $50 to go to.

The Hubby gets in the van and says, “I know I’m getting $50 from 3 people.” He then names them. I asked if he gave his to Jacob. “No! I didn’t even think about that!!” Good grief!!!!


Deanna, Cailey and I were discussing doll clothes and what they were made of. We mention polyester and taffeta.

Jacob – I thought that was old people pudding.

Me – What?

Jacob – That taffeta word.

Me and Deanna – You mean tapioca!


Christmas Day and I am playing Battleship with Colin.

Me – I, 1

Colin – You did????


Joshua – Do you know the actress So and So?

Me – No, I don’t think so.

Joshua – She was in such and such.

Me – Oh, yeah!

Joshua – She is also on the show XXXXXXXX.

The Hubby – Yeah, but she dies.

Joshua – Gee, thanks.

The Hubby – Oh, are you starting back at season 1?

Joshua – I’m not so sure now…..


Colin, with tape on his nose – Do I need Proactiv?


Wheel of Fortune is on the TV with a split screen. Vanna and the letter board are on the bottom and the contestants are on the top. Colin – Are those people really big or is that lady really small?


So, there you have it, folks! The crazy things that have been heard around our house!!!

Don’t forget to check out the amazing bloggers that are taking part in Fly this month!!!




Oil Pastel Stained Glass Windows

Oil Pastel Collage



The other day I went into Big Lots looking for pillows. Cailey had complained that hers was too flat. While I was browsing through the store my eyes landed on a set of oil pastels for $4!! YIPPEE!!!! I had to grab them!! Cailey and Colin had never worked with them before!

So, I get home and I am thinking about art projects for history this week. We are still studying the Middle Ages. Then it hit me! Cathedrals! Stained Glass! Oil Pastels!! PERFECT!!!

Yesterday I Googled medieval cathedrals and let the Cs look through the beautiful pictures. Then we read about how they were made.

After that I showed them how to use the pastels and set them free to work on their “windows”.



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Cailey created a beautiful butterfly window. She had such fun with this. She is such an artsy girl anyway.  She could spend hours drawing.


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Colin’s is a knight! I had to correct The Hubby very quickly…. He was calling it a monster. GASP!! Couldn’t let Colin hear that!! 😉

Colin is 6, and as many little guys, he has a very short attention span. He has no patience for projects that take too long, no matter how much he enjoys them! LOL  I always try to encourage him to finish the projects, but I don’t push.





What Kind of Homeschooler Am I? And How Many Kinds Are There?

Type of Homeschooler



The answer to the first question is easy for me. I am an “eclectic” homeschooler. This means that I pull from a lot of different homeschooling types to get at what works best for my family.

On to the second question, not as easy an answer…. There are as many types of homeschooling as there are homeschoolers. BUT there are a few categories that a lot of them would put themselves in (there are many more than I name).


Montessori – classified as child-led, hands-on, independent learning style  created by Maria Montessori  (this is just MY watered down definition) For more info click HERE


Boxed Curriculum – the parent purchases a complete line of curriculum from one company and uses that exclusively. Some of the company names – Bob Jones, Sonlight, Abeka, just to name a few


Public/Private School at Home – the children learn through an on-line school connected with either a public school system or a private school


Charlotte Mason – in which children are taught as whole persons through a wide range of interesting living books, first hand experiences, and good habits. (copied from the Charlotte Mason site) This one is a little hard to define on my own but here goes… No text books are used (YAY), living books only. There’s a lot of copy work, reading and nature studies. This is known as a gentle approach to homeschooling (much like Montessori). There’s even a website devoted to bringing you as much as it can for FREE! They have complete lesson plans, too – Ambleside Online.


Unit Studies – multiple subjects are taught within the parameters of a single topic. Now, this is NOT how I do unit studies. LOL I guess I should start calling them something else….


Unschooling –  No set lessons or subjects. The child is free to choose how much they want to learn, when they want to learn  and about what. Oh, the MOST appealing type for me but I just can’t bring myself to give up control. LOL


Now, those are just small definitions, just to give you an idea. And those really aren’t all the types that there are, just the most popular.

That being said, there can be reallllllly big debates in the homeschooling world over what constitutes unschooling or if someone that uses boxed curriculum or an online school is “really” homeschooling. Let me put in my 2 cents. WHO CARES??? I mean, really??? What does it matter to YOU?? The whole reason that we homeschool is to do it OUR OWN WAY, whatever way that may be. So what if someone says they unschool but they make their kids do math everyday??? So what if someone uses boxed curriculum? No skin off my nose. They are still doing what they feel is the best for their families and I  have no right to judge.

Ok, climbing down off my soap box. 😉


Now, WHY do I consider myself eclectic?

Well, I hate text books, so no boxed curriculum or online schools for me.

I can’t give up control to be a complete unschooler. (Although I do give the kids a lot of control over topics and subjects. I just make sure they do their math, language and reading every day.)

I tried Charlotte Mason for a little while but it wasn’t a good fit for us. We like twaddle too much. (See numbers 4, 6 and 7.) My definition of twaddle – light reading for F-U-N!!! As long as my kids are reading SOMETHING I am happy. Now, that being said, I do encourage them to read classics, non-fiction and historical fiction. They can usually be found reading 2 different types of books at a time, one “twaddle” and one of the other. 😉

We MUCH prefer “living books” over text books. I just happen to believe that you can also learn from “twaddle”. 😉

I pull a lot from the IDEAS of unschooling, Charlotte Mason and Montessori.  I believe in a more gentle, don’t rush, hands-on approach. Kids need to be KIDS!! No pressure! Don’t beat the fun out of learning. 

Psst! Can I tell you a secret??? I don’t grade. Nope. Not at all. I don’t believe in it. Either they have an understanding of the subject matter or they don’t. And if they don’t, we will keep trying different approaches until they do. I also don’t believe in tests. I don’t think they are a good measure of how much a child knows or how much they have learned. I understand its uses in a traditional school setting but still question its usefulness even there. I think a much better measure is to have the child SHOW you or explain to you what they have learned. Around here you would be hard pressed to STOP them from showing or explaining! LOL


What we DO-

Lots of hands-on learning. My kids love crafts and projects. They really learn a lot more when they are active and involved. I try to do a lot of hands-on with math and science, especially.

Lots of reading. I have always loved reading to my kids and they love listening.

Lots of watching. YouTube, Netflix, DVRed stuff. There’s no end to the great stuff you can find for kids to watch AND learn.

Lots of games. On-line, board and mommy made. Kids LOVE games!! Learning should be FUN!

Lots of getting out and about (when it isn’t freezing). Museums, parks, zoos and just traveling! We go to Lowe’s and Home Depot for their kid workshops almost every month. There are just so many things to see and do and a lot of it is FREE!!! Can’t beat that!!!

I LOOOOOOOOOOOOVE creating my own “curriculum”. I love the research involved. I love taking a topic and finding different ways to approach it. I love that I can tailor anything to fit each child’s needs.


For more info on the types of homeschooling click HERE.


So, there you go. My 2 cents on homeschooling styles.


Oh, I wanted to leave you with 2 free and complete curriculum sites that go from K to 12.

Ambleside Online – Charlotte Mason

Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool (no “style” definition) – I use a lot of links from this one. 😉





Mozart – Resources for a Unit Study


I am finally adding some music resources on here! LOL We “do” music all the time but we more or less just listen and discuss. Every once in a while we might do like we did with The Nutcracker and I will have them paint or draw how the music makes them feel or what it makes them think of.

This will be just the first of many art and music unit study resources that I will do here. I have Jackson Pollock on my next list (his Birthday is January 28th)! 😉

ANYWAY, Mozart’s Birthday is January 27th and I thought there may be some people out there that will be needing some ideas and resources. 😉

I’ve been thinking about writing up a post on how we do nature studies. Is that of interest? I have tons of great pictures! 😀

I’ve also been thinking about a post on my “methods”……. I consider myself an “eclectic” homeschooler. Any interest there?

As always, I try to include resources for a variety of ages. All books can be found at your local library, on Amazon or Paperback Swap (you should really check out this link).

All printable resources are free unless marked with $$$.



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Lapbook – Homeschool Share

Lesson Plan and Printables – Instructor Web

Notebooking Page – Homeschool Helper Online

Notebooking Pages – Practical Pages

Notebooking Pages, Bio Sheets, Mini Books – HSLaunch

 Worksheets, Coloring Pages, Printable Bio – Making Music Fun

Worksheets and Info –

Coloring Page – Crayola

Coloring Page –


Currclick Products

Teachers Pay Teachers



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Info, Photos, Games – BBC

Info (Audio) – Classics for Kids

Info – Mozart Project

Info – Classical Music

Info and Music Pieces – DSO Kids

Info and Music Pieces – Last.FM

Info and Photos – Garden of Praise

Info and Videos –

Interactive Info – Starfall

Lesson Plans for The Magic Flute – Keeping Score

Links – The Piano Student

Links – Easy Fun School

Mozart’s Musical Diary (Interactive) (scroll down)

 YouTube List 

YouTube List Specifically for Kids









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