Sewing, Homeschooling and Craziness

Posts tagged ‘unit studies’

Top 10 Posts of 2013

Top 10 Posts of 2013




It’s TIME!!! Time to ring out the old and bring in the new! 😀 Don’t you just love New Year’s?? You can kiss the mistakes of the last year goodbye and welcome a clean slate.

As I’ve said before, I never make resolutions. No way am I setting myself up for failure from the get go. 😉 BUT here are some of the things that I want to do more of in the new year.


SEWING –  It’s been 2 LOOOOONG months since I have sat at my sewing machine. That’s 2 months too long. I have GOT to figure out a way to unpack my sewing stuff in this tiny house!! We are only supposed to be here a few months (until the rental agent finds us a bigger place) but I am going through some heavy withdrawals already!!! LOL


CRAFTING – It has been forever since I made anything. ARGH!!!! I need my creative outlets!! I’ll go starkers!!!


READING –  I used to set myself reading challenges at the beginning of each year. It’s been a couple of years since I have done that. Just not enough time. SIGH…. BUT I am planning a couple of different challenges for 2014. One is the Alphabet Soup Challenge made by Escape With Dollycas Into a Good Book.  You can check my page for it out HERE.

The other challenge is to read 100 books. That used to be NOTHING to me. I could read 3 books a week. AHHH, those were the days.

I’ll be keeping up with that challenge over at Goodreads. You can click the Goodreads widget over on the right side. I think it will take you to my books.


Now, on to the Top 10 Posts of 2013!!!



worm unit study

My Worm Unit Study!!!

That was a fun one to make. We actually haven’t done it yet… SHHHH!!! That’ll be one for spring! 😉



My Rocks and Minerals Unit Study! That was a fun one. The kids love anything hands on. I made sure to save everything from our  kits so we can do it again. 😉



Apron skirt 1

Apron Skirt Tutorial I just love old fashioned clothes for kids!! Not all the time but it’s nice to have some pieces. This was such a quick and easy little skirt to make. It can be easily personalized for the little girl in your life.



DinoROAR 1

DinoROAR Tutorial Part 2 – Colin still loves this outfit. It’s holding up well, too! HA! Little boys can be so hard on clothes!!




Marco Polo Unit Study  

Another fun, hands on study. And another one that we have actually put to use. 😉



Plants Unit Study –  Ummm… another one that we will be getting to this spring…. I figure we’ll do plants and worms at the same time.  😉



Simple Machines

Simple Machines Unit Study

This is going to be SO MUCH FUN, when we actually get to it…. (Our next science unit will be weather, which I think is perfect for winter in TN.)




Tee to Short-all 1

Tee to Short-all Refashion Tutorial

This was so much fun to make for my cousin’s little guy.




Aztec, Inca & Maya (DK Eyewitness Books)

Aztecs, Incas and Mayans Study Unit

I think this one was so popular because it’s hard to find great resources for that topic. Not sure why… It’s so interesting! So much fun to learn about!!!



Drum roll, please.


Sharky Stuffed Toy 1

EASY Stuffed Shark Toy Tutorial and Pattern

My very first (and really only) pattern made to share! LOL

Y’know… I never get around to making one for Colin…. Something to add to my to sew list!! Not like it isn’t a mile long already!!


So, there you have it! My top 10 of 2013!!! I hope you’ve enjoyed them all!!! Please, stick around for 2014!!!! And invite some friends!! PLEASE!! LOL





Top 10 Homeschool Posts

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Since we are now done for the year I thought I would post my top ten viewed homeschooling posts! As I plan for next year I will be adding more. That should be coming up sooner than I want to think about! LOL

My homeschool posts don’t have nearly as many views as my tutorials. That’s OK. I don’t mind… MUCH! LOL At least I will always know where all the info is located. Much easier for me to find if when we revisit certain topics. 😉

Speaking of view numbers, I’m not sure why but my views have done down DRASTICALLY!! I used to get 10 times the views I get these days. I guess the 2 moves took a toll. :/ I need to pick up on my tutorials, I think might be the biggest difference. LOL But no matter. Even if I only got 1 view a day, I would still blog. 😉




Number 10 – Electricity Study Theme – February 7, 2013 – 182 Views





Number 9 – Coral Reef Unit Study – January 16, 2013 – 192 Views





Number 8 – Marco Polo Unit Study – February 13, 2013 – 201 Views 





Number 7 – Russia, Foxes and Matter Units – January 7, 2013 – 206 Views

Russian Fairy Tales





Number 6 – Rocks and Minerals Unit Study – February 16, 2013 – 223 Views






Number 5 – Weather Unit Study – February 28, 2013 – 226 Views





Number 4 – Owls Animal Study – February 12, 2013 – 251 Views





Number 3 – Ireland and St Patrick’s Day Unit Study – February 24, 2013 – 264 Views





Number 2 – Aztecs, Incas and Mayans Unit Study –  January 21, 2013 – 575 Views

Vector warrior in style of the Maya on white Stock Photo - 11176943





NUMBER 1 – Plant Unit Study – March 11, 2013 – 1,030 Views 






Aztecs, Incas and Mayans Study

Vector warrior in style of the Maya on white Stock Photo - 11176943

Here is a list of resources that we will be using for our Aztecs, Incas and Mayans study! 😀


Aztec, Inca & Maya (DK Eyewitness Books)

DK Eyewitness Aztec, Inca & Maya – I ❤ DK Eyewitness books.

Aztecs and Incas Hb (Focus on)

Focus on Aztecs and Incas

Step Into the World of Ancient Middle America

Step Into the World of Ancient Middle America

Me Oh Maya #13 (Time Warp Trio)

Me, Oh Maya  (Check your library for Time Warp Trios video to go along or if you access to Discovery Streaming you can find it there.)

Awesome Ancient Ancestors!: Mound Builders, Maya, and More (America's Horrible Histories)

Awesome Ancient Ancestors 


Ancient Mayan Culture Unit Study

Ancient Mayan Culture Unit Study – I was lucky to get this free for Kindle

Here is another link for it – Currclick – it is only $1 right now!

Free worksheets from School Express

Ancient Maya Lapbook from New Bee Homeschooler (aka 2 Dynamic Moms) FREE!

Mayans, Aztecs & Incas Curriculum

Hands of a Child Mayans, Aztecs, Incas Lapbook (On sale right now!!) The great thing about Hands of a Child packs is that they have everything you need. There is a answer key AND a study guide!

Free Clip Art – for making your own notebooking pages, lapbook  minibooks, coloring sheets, whatever. 😉

Here is a great list of coloring pages for Aztecs, Incas and Mayans

Online Resources

Maya Inca Aztec 

Ancient America

Squidoo – Lost Empires

Differences in the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans videos

YouTube videos


This was a tough one. There just isn’t a lot out there to get ideas from. Here is what I came up with.

Homeschool Den – Wood Animalitos   God’s Eye

Mayan Worry Dolls  (We actually have 2 that I bought from World Market, if I can find them!! LOL)

Aztec Suns

Inca Craft Ideas

Wednesday I should be posting our England study! 😀


Russia, Foxes and Matter! Unit Study Time

This week Cailey will be starting units on Russia, foxes and matter. We are still doing Rome, too. It’s taking FOREVER! LOL


Lapbook from Homeschool Share  – free

Coloring Pages, Crafts and Maps from –, Activity Village, Crayola (all free)

Printable from Nat Geo Kids (free)

Little Passports Russia Kit

Books –

Freebie I got for Kindle – (no longer free)

Russia: Picture Book (Educational Children's Books Collection) - Level 2 (Planet Collection)

Russian Fairy Tales (from my personal library)

Russian Fairy Tales

The Nutcracker Ballet – (personal library)

The Nutcracker Ballet (Step-Into-Reading, Step 3)

Usborne Beginners – Ballet – (personal library)

Ballet (Beginners Social Studies - New Format)

A to Z of Classical Composers – (personal library)


Lapbook from Homeschool Share – free

Shape book from Christian Homeschool Hub – $15 fee to join (used to be $1)

Crafts from DLTK Kids – free

Fox Unit Study  – free


Freebies I got for Kindle –

Foxes! Learn About Foxes and Enjoy Colorful Pictures - Look and Learn! (50+ Photos of Foxes)



Franky the Frolicking Fox (A Beautifully Illustrated Children's Picture Book)


Fox! Learn About Fox And Learn To Read - The Learning Club! (45+ Photos of Fox)

2 National Geographic for Kids Magazines –

December 2011/January 2012

August 2010


Young Scientists Club Kit 5

DK Eyewitness Matter – (personal library)

Matter (DK Eyewitness, 80)

States of Matter Unit

The Matter Song  

Matter Worksheets – some are free

States of Matter Booklet – free

Matter Worksheet set – free

There you go, our new units! We are also still doing Ancient Rome, 50 States and the usual math, spelling and language arts. Our music and art will be tying in with Russia for the next 2 wks.

I am always watching out for Kindle freebies for the kids and have been really lucky to find some GREAT ones for homeschooling!  Here is a link where I find most of them – Free Homeschool Deals – Jamerrill is an expert at finding awesome homeschooling freebies!!


Cool Homeschooling Stuff

Ahh, another great title… :p One of these days I’ll be back in my groove. I hope.

Anyway… Here you will find a bunch of cool resources for homeschooling, such as, unit studies, free lapbooks, kindergarten packs, etc.

Enjoy! (I hope!!!)


Hotel Transylvania Pre K Pack

This is the newest pack from Over the Big Moon. It’s so cute!! LOL My little guy loves their packs!!


OOOH!!! Here is a great site that I just found!!! Documentary Heaven!!  You can watch all sorts of documentaries for FREE!!! Yes, FREE!!!! LOL


Over 70 Activities for Lois Ehlert Books!  We invite you to get to know the author with interviews and tons of activities for the Lois Ehlert Virtual Book Club for Kids!  {Blog Hop} *Enter to win a giveaway*

We love Lois Ehlert’s books!! Right now is a perfect time for Leaf Man!! Here are over 70 activities to go along with the books from a blog hop on The Educators’ Spin On It.



Are your kids as Angry Bird crazy as mine are??? Everyone in the house, including The Hubby, has gone totally nuts over them! I tried to play it once, got aggravated and gave up…. LOL Here are a bunch of cute printables from The Activity Mom for those cuckoo for Angry Birds!


50+ Eric Carle activities.

OOOH! Here’s another great group of activities from The Educators’ Spin On It!! There are 98 links in this blog hop!!!



the book diaries: 15 Dragon Loving Picture Books

Well, that name says it all. LOL Both Cs love books about dragons! Here is a great list from The Book Diaries.



notebooking printables

Here is a link for a few notebooking pages from The Crafty Classroom. And, if you scroll down a little and look to the right you will find a  GINORMOUS list of crafts for just about any theme you can think of!!!


Top Ten Websites for Homeschool Notebooking

Yep, Top 10 Notebooking Sites!!!!  The Notebooking Fairy (one of THE best places for notebooking) has compiled the top 10 notebooking sites! Awesome!!!




I love Mama Jenn’s list. I have used every single site mentioned! They really are great!!!



Making mini offices for homeschool learning.

My kids used to all have their own mini offices… Then the big kids lost theirs….. Looks like I will be making new ones soon!



10 blogs that bring books alive for children in all sorts of ways from crafts and play ideas to outdoor adventures and cooking

This is a very good list from Rainy Day Mum. I am always looking for new and fun things to do to go along with books that we are reading.



Free and Cheap Homeschooling Resources


Ahhh!! Here you go! Free and Cheap Homeschooling Resources!!! Perfect!!



NatGeo videos

National Geographic Videos! ALL my kids love to watch NatGeo!!!!



A quilt square by Donna Young

Donna Young’s Homeschooling Resources has everything! Need a transcript guide? She has it. Need a calendar? Or a planner? Yep, she has those, too!



Gamequarium has a lot of free games and videos to go with a ton of different themes. LOTS of fun! They even have some Schoolhouse Rocks videos!


HippoCampus is exactly what you need if you are teaching high schoolers. They have advanced math and science and a few other high school subjects. They even have online text books. Between them and Khan Academy, there is really no need to buy high school math or science curriculum.



Lapbooks and notebooking pages

I love Dynamic 2 Moms. They have some realllllly nice lapbooks and printables. I mean realllly nice!! They go really in depth with the topics, too.



This site has some amazing ideas. I really love to see what all they have been doing. I hope you enjoy All Things Beautiful as much as I do. I even follow her on Pinterest! 😉



Printable  History, crafts, coloring pages, etc.

This site has all sorts of printables and activities for just about anything topic you could think of. I have printed TONS from Activity Village!!!



Here are a couple of my go to sites-


Homeschool Share

Homeschool Helper Online 

Currclick  – this site sells things BUT they always have freebies and sometimes they have special freebie hunts

Homeschool Creations

Practical Pages

No Time for Flash Cards

An Old Fashioned Education





How to Homeschool in Virginia and Basic Homeschool Info

This is a post that should have written  a long time ago! LOL It can be very confusing when you first start looking to homeschool. The local school systems are usually uninformed or misinformed about the laws and can give you the wrong answers if you ask them. And some  people that work in the school systems can be down right hostile about homeschooling. I have first hand experience with that. 😉

So here is the break down.

You do NOT need prior authorization to take your children out of the school system. They ASK they you notify the superintendent of your local board of education within 2 wks of starting your homeschooling.

You need to file a NOI (notice of intent to homeschool) with the local board of education, addressed to the superintendent. What this means is that you need to send in a list of your children that you will be homeschooling and their ages, along with your address. You will need to send in an NOI every year by August 15th. Some BoEs have a person that is designated to handle the homeschooling paperwork, even if that is the case, send your NOI to the superintendent like the law states. 😉

There are several options when filing to homeschool. Under option 1 you have 3 choices- i- You have a high school diploma, GED or higher. You will put this on your NOI and send in a copy ONE time. After that when you send in your yearly NOIs, you can say that your diploma is on file. ii-have a teaching degree,  iii- provide a curriculum or program of study,  iv-You do NOT need a diploma or GED. If you don’t have a copy of your diploma or just don’t have one at all, you can still homeschool in the state of Virginia. You will need to say on the NOI that you are filing under that option (iv) and include a paragraph that shows you have basic mastery of the English language.  This is the option I usually use. I  write a paragraph stating why I think homeschooling my children is a better option for my family and my general homeschooling philosophy. I have never been found to not be in compliance.

There are other options- 2- Religious Exemption, 3- Certified Tutor, 4- Private or Denominational School but I believe that option 1 is used most often.

No matter which option you choose, you will need to send a list of subjects that you plan to teach. This can be as simple as saying math, science, art, history, music, etc. This has just recently been cleared up. Some counties were asking for scans of the table of contents from text books, or out and out summaries of each subject. BLAH!! That was more than the law asked for.

You will need to test your children at the end of every year OR have them evaluated by someone that holds a teaching degree in any state. I always go with the testing option just because it is easier and less costly. You can buy the tests for $25 for each child and give them yourself in your own home. I always use Seton Testing Service. They are quick and easy.

Here is a site that gives the specific laws for homeschooling in Virginia, HSLDA and HEAV.

Also, notice that the law specifically says that the BoE has NO RIGHT to approve or deny your right to homeschool your children. They can only say whether or not you are in compliance with the law. The letter that I receive from my county actually says that I am approved and that just goes all over me….. I called a local homeschool lobbyist and she said that I COULD fight it if I wanted to but that she would just let the wording go unless there was some other infraction that happens. So, that is what I did.

Now, when you pull your children out of school all you have to do is say that you are taking them out to homeschool. DO NOT let them tell you that you can’t because YOU CAN! You need NO prior authorization whatsoever. 😉 I actually had this happen to me in Henrico county. 2 of my children were in elementary school when I decided to homeschool. I went to the school to withdraw them and everyone was perfectly lovely and supportive. Deanna’s teacher even offered to provide me with anything I might need in the way of curriculum. Then I went to the middle school to withdraw Jacob…. Oh, boy! A completely different experience!!! The lady in the attendance office was downright hostile! She said that I had no right to homeschool. How would they know I was doing a proper job?? I had her call the BoE and ask THEM. Well, she got someone on the other line that misinformed her. WHAT A NIGHTMARE!!! I went home and called the same local homeschool lobbyist that I had to call when we moved out of Henrico county. She said that she wanted the name of the lady that the attendance lady talked to, because she was misinforming the school.  One thing lead to another and I agreed to talk to the superintendent at the BoE about the whole experience. He apologized for everything I went through and said that he would make sure it never happened again and that everyone in his office and the office of  the lady that oversees all the homeschooling paperwork in Henrico county would be given a current list of the homeschooling laws and make sure that they understood them correctly.

You do NOT need money to homeschool. All you need is internet access and a library. Seriously. I have NEVER spent a lot of money on homeschooling. Most of the money I spend goes to paper and ink! LOL BUT if you want to you can certainly buy the fancy packages but know that they are not needed. There are SOOOO many free resources online. When I do spend money it’s usually for unit studies on Currclick or lapbooks/notebooking packs at Hands of a Child. LOL  You can find free unit studies, lapbooks and notebooking at these and other places-


Homeschool Share

Homeschool Helper Online

The Notebooking Fairy

New Bee Homeschooler

An Old Fashioned Education

There are MANY, MANY more but these are really great starting points and the ones I use most often.

Also, check out my Pinterest boards! I have stuff saved for every subject you could possibly think of! LOL


All of this may sound complicated, but it really isn’t. It may sound scary, but it isn’t that, either. Now, that being said, it can feel overwhelming at times and there are the bad days BUT I wouldn’t change it for the world. I LOVE homeschooling my children and I wish that I had ALWAYS been a homeschooler. Even if I moved to a town with PERFECT schools I would still choose to homeschool. Am I a perfect homeschooling mom? That doesn’t exist. BUT I am doing what I think is right for each of my children. That is what counts. Will we miss a few things here and there academically? Maybe… But tell me, who remembers every single little thing that they were taught in schools? No one and I can’t do much worse than that! LOL My kids are learning at their pace and in their own styles. There’s no stress and no pressure. They are kids and I want them to enjoy that time, it is so fleeting. So, if it takes one of the kids 2 years to learn algebra properly, that’s OK!! And if one hates to write then he or she can type or draw or simply tell me in his or her own words. I don’t do grades. To me if they know it, they know and if they don’t, they don’t. There is no in between and we have all the time in the world to make sure they understand something completely.

There are so many wonderful things about homeschooling. This post just scratches the surface! LOL I could go on and on and on. And on…. LOL Maybe I should make a weekly homeschool post! LOL

I have a couple of other posts about homeschooling in general and I list some of my favorite homeschooling sites and blogs. You can find those posts under the homeschool button at the top of the page.



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