There is no doubt that we are living in crazy times. If you had told me in January what we'd be facing now, I would have thought you were absurd. Life is turned on it's head- even for homeschoolers who are at least accustom to at-home learning.
I've found myself researching the best face masks to sew in order to make protective masks per the CDC's new guideline. There are five prominent mask patterns out there on the web, but the one that many hospitals are requesting people sew is the Oslon Mask, which houses a pocket to place filtration material. Filter material can be taken out of household air filters for extra protection, and double sided skin tape can be applied for safety.
I spent part of Sunday evening making masks for my family and parents, though I don't have the filtration material or double sided tape. At the very least, the three layers of fabric will aid in protection during simple grocery store visits. The masks took roughly 20 minutes to make- and reminded me of how much I miss sewing!
Since I started the masks, they've added children's sizes, so I plan to use those as well!
Check out the Oslon Mask Pattern and tutorial from of Sew Can She!
A few weeks ago, we introduced some basic cloud vocabulary through Montessori Cloud Cards, and then went on a Cloud Scavenger Hunt. We decided to round out our cloud study with some fun crafts and baking.
For this craft, you'll need some paper of choice. We used brown paper, but blue, black or grey might be more authentic!
You'll also need glue, cotton balls, and some white and black paint.
I bet you can guess the directions already!
To start, we used a cotton ball to paint wispy cirrus clouds.
Then, my kids dove into gluing cotton balls into clouds-like forms for cumulus clouds. I tried to emphasize that cumulus clouds usually have a flat bottom, but art is of course subjective! haha
Finally, we made some cumulonimbus clouds by mixing in some black paint and glue and getting a little cloud crazy.
To finish the cloud unit study, I recommend something yummy- cloud cake!
Check out this recipe, and let me know what you think!
Who would have thought that much of the world would be thrust into homeschooling so quickly? I’ve seen so many hilarious memes out there, but I have to say, this one is my favorite!
Source: Unknown- please let me know if you know the awesome creator of this one!
I’ve been a bit under the weather the past few days, so we’ve modified our homeschool studies and my kids have been enjoying some amazing online programs! In the past, I’ve shared my reservations about online programs for kids. To sum them up, while a program may be “complete and comprehensive,” that doesn’t mean that your child’s understanding of the material will be and it’s often difficult to isolate areas where they need additional practice. With that being said, we use a variety online programs for fun learning times and stick to books work for daily studies.
The first program my almost 4 year old has been LOVING is ABC Mouse. They offer programs for pre-k through 2nd grade. Parents can adjust the learning levels as needed, so I set my children up on the 2nd half of their school year and found that they all have had a lot of fun! We keep running into technical issues with the 2nd grade program, which might be due to heavy system usage, or our out-of-date laptop!
ABC Mouse is offering free service for children who are currently out of school, the code we received was SCHOOL7771
My eight-year-old was enjoying Adventure Academy pre-pandemic mania, and we're enjoying free access now! Adventure Academy is a downloadable program which invites kids into a world of age appropriate learning where they earn rewards and points through completing quests. There is also a social aspect to this program where kids can interact with other kids in the game, but that feature can be turned off depending on personal preferences.
The code for free access is the same as ABC Mouse:
Generation Genius is video science program that offers amazing videos, accompanying worksheets and quizzes for students K-5th grade. All of my kids enjoy watching the videos, and I love the amount of material they cover!
To help families during our current times, they are offering a free month of service, even if you have subscribed for a free month before! I highly recommend incorporating their material into your schooling for a big dose of science and fun!
To access a free account, educators can go to:
Reading Eggs and Mathseeds
Reading Eggs and Mathseeds have been a staple in our house over the last few years. It differs from ABC Mouse because the programs are focused on one topic: reading or math, where ABC Mouse combines different areas of studies into one learning area. Both offer maps, which allow kids to see their progress as they finish their lessons, and kids can earn fun reward points!
Due to Covid-19, they are offering a free 30 day trial to keep kids busy!
Learn more about their trial here-
They also offer accompanying workbooks, which we've reviewed here!
Kanopy and Mango Languages are amazing programs that we receive free access to through our local library. They're great learning resources for older kids, and adults! I've been enjoying watching The Great Courses via Kanopy and my son has been working on his French with Mango! Check with your local library to see if you can gain access to these programs!
What have your kids been up to these last few days? Any free resources I should add to the list?
Stay healthy, friends!
As a part of our Montessori Cloud Study, we decided to take a cloud scavenger hunt. Our spring weather has been ideal for rapidly changing cloud movement. One moment, it's beautiful and a few hours later, spring showers have rolled in. This has been ideal for helping my kids learn about different types of clouds.
To be clear, there are a lot of types of clouds, but I mainly wanted them to master 4 types:
With this knowledge in hand, they can "read" the sky at a level appropriate for small kids and possibly even predict the weather.
The scavenger hunt was enjoyed by all, and mostly focuses on having children draw what they see in the clouds and relate it to the cloud vocabulary they have been learning. If your students are new to cloud vocabulary, grab the free montessori cloud cards here!
Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
Albert Whitman & Company has been creating beautiful books for the last 100 years! Recently, they released “The Boxcar Children” series, originally written by Gertrude Chandler Warner in 1924. I vaguely remember hearing about the series when I was a kid, so I was intrigued to find out more about the new The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set geared towards students ages 6-8.
Albert Whitman & Company will be producing a total of 8 books through 2020. We received the first four paperback books in the series and I began by reading out loud to all of my kids to spark their interest. They immediately connected to The Box Car Children because they were a sibling group four, just like my four kids. The second book my son read independently, then I asked him about it, and the third and fourth book we read together. I would read one page out loud and then he would read the next. I found this to be the best way to go through them at his reading level, so I could help him with words he didn’t know and be sure he understood the story.
Ultimately, we enjoyed the stories. Because they’re written in an “easy read” fashion, there’s not tremendous character detail or plotline establishment, but The Boxcar Children Early Reader Set offers mysteries and adventures for emerging readers to explore!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Homeschool Review Crew’s thoughts!
These last few weeks have been chaotic to say the least. Cold temperatures mean we’ve been stuck indoors and we’re at that point in the years where we risk turning into the Donner Party by staying in, or picking up some nasty sickness by going out. What’s a mom to do?
Well, I ended up changing our schedule and incorporating some new learning activities into the afternoon when the level of chaos seems to get unbearably high. I decided to pull some of the Montessori Method into our afternoons. It’s a bit more work for me and involves more planning than I enjoy, but I do think that the extra intentionality is beneficial in directing my kid’s independent learning time.
So, I started by creating simple stations at the kitchen table. Traditional Montessori Schools place activities on trays and allow children to pick their tray, do the activity, and put it back, but we’re going tray-less for now! Each spot has an activity for a child to do. Ideally, they’ll spend about 20 minutes at a station and then switch spots. But, it’s been slightly less organized than that. For the stations, I’ve pulled manipulative toys from our downstairs that have been getting very little play because they’re downstairs where the boogie man apparently lives too. For my older kids, I made some Montessori cards about clouds to supplement some lessons I don’t think they grasped the previous week.
You can download the cards here, cut them out, and glue them to cardstock of your choosing.
When I printed them, I had to hit “scale to fit paper,” because the top and bottom was getting cut off.
The benefits of the Montessori cards is that kids can match pictures with names, read about the picture, and then I have my kids draw their own version of the picture, and copy the definition of each into their workbook. The following week, I add in two more cloud terms and a Bible verse for my kids to familiarize themselves with (Card Set 2)!
It’s been a hit, except for some groans about the amount of writing from my 7 year old, but that’s to be expected ;)
I hope you enjoy the download! Have you used Montessori Cards before? Do you enjoy them?
It's that time of year again when I'm bringing my kids into the dentist for their 6-month check-ups. Somehow, trips to the dentist, and an array of other doctors, starts to feel like a full-time job. It's always really important for me to find medical professionals that air on the holistic side, or are at least respectful of my desire to build and maintain health through the most natural paths.
We've been seeing a wonderful pediatric dentist. Unfortunately, the practice isn't holistic, though they're respectful and accommodating. With that being said, I wanted to share my favorite toothpaste recipes to help keep your teeth healthy and clean!
I’ve been using this recipe for the last 4years! I started with it when the dentist said that there was a small cavity on the back of one of my molars and wanted to fill it. I declined and decided to try to remineralize my teeth. I never felt the cavity, so it wasn’t severely worrying to me. Long story short, I didn’t get back to the dentist for about two years. After we had moved and settled into our new home, I scheduled with a new dentist for a cleaning. I didn’t mention that spot from years before and they didn’t find any cavities! I still hold some healthy skepticism about remineralizing teeth and think many potential cavities are found by overzealous dentists, so I always recommend getting a second opinion if a diagnosis doesn’t feel right.
For the toothpaste, you’ll need bentonite clay, calcium carbonate powder, xylitol, coconut oil, and baking soda. This recipe is originally from Wellness Mama and adapted to suit our families tastes!
5 Tb Calcium Carbonate Powder
2 Tb Baking Powder
1 Tb Xylitol Powder- use more to adjust sweetness
1 Tb Bentonite Clay
3-5 Tb coconut oil
Essential oil of your choice
Start by mixing 5 tb of calcium carbonate powder, 2 tb baking powder, 1 tb xylitol powder and 1 tb bentonite clay with a plastic spoon (using metal will deionize the bentonite clay and defeat the purpose of it). Mix in the coconut oil to create a paste. A splash of water can also be added in to help mixing.
I use a small 4 oz mason jar and dip my toothbrush into the paste. I’ve tried to use it in small squeezable tubes, but depending on the room’s temperature can get quite hard! Have you made your own toothpaste before?
I've spent the majority of my life in this beautiful state, the shell-filled beaches and spectacular falls are my favorite. Your legislation, however, is not. We appreciate the freedom you allow homeschoolers in the state, making it one of the top places to homeschool in the country. But, the other laws you’re trying to put into practice are just plain ludicrous.
This battle isn't about vaccines, if it was, you'd be pleased to know that the rate of unvaccinated children is incredibly low in this state. The most recent data says 96.5% of the state’s schoolchildren are vaccinated. This isn't about public health, because if it was then the effectiveness of vaccines in the inoculated population would protect them from a health threat. This is government overreach in an attempt to control people, that's very unfitting in a state named "the constitution state."
When it comes to abortion, the left cries, "my body, my choice." And, the government applauds them and beckons to their every wish. Hopefully, the person with the next great vaccine creation for say, the coronavirus, wasn't already killed in a forced Chinese abortion years ago.
When concerned parents decide to take a different path, delaying or denying vaccines, saying “my body [and my children’s body], my choice,” you say no and start looking a little like 1940’s Germany with proposed registration of everyone who disagrees with you. I don’t necessarily find fault in saying that unvaccinated children can’t go to public schools. If it’s a state resource and people aren’t following the laws of the state, then that sounds reasonable. Perhaps, you should take away welfare benefits too. Now, history will tell us of times when those liberties have been taken, once again in Nazi Germany. But it could still be just? Maybe, all anti-vaxxers should sew on yellow emblems of a vaccine with a line through it to be easily identified. Or, is that too far? It’s hard to draw the line in the correct place.
For The Constitution State to support women’s choices, but not a mother’s choice is quite a paradox. It gets more paradoxical when we consider that women’s choice to abort their babies provided the necessary ingredients for the HP vaccines and further medical testing for potential vaccines against other viruses.I know that no one likes to think about that, but it happened. To judge the morality of something as “just” because it happened a long time ago is a philosophy that would feed the demise of civilization. To prevent the demise of civilization, many have relied on religious values. The Buddhist practice a philosophy that involves harming no one, therefore they rely on a religious exemption for vaccinations because of the harm inflicted in the creation of the vaccines (Pelčić et al., 2016). Catholics too may rely on that exemption because of their stance of abortion, and Jews and Muslims may deny vaccines because of the use of pork products used (Pelčić et al., 2016).
With a stroke of a pen, those people will lose their freedom to exercise their religion guaranteed in the first amendment of the constitution. Have you prepared the cattle cars to round up the deflectors, Connecticut? I hope they’re not wealthy because God knows the state needs the tax dollars.
What about the people who are not able to move out of the state and are forced to inject their children with an unheard-of amount of vaccines all before the start of the next school year? What are the health consequences of so many injections so close together? Or is this one of Dr. Mengele’s experiments?
Dare I ask, why not spend your time and energy getting pharmaceutical companies to make vaccines that people wouldn’t object to on religious grounds, rather than taking away parent’s constitutional rights? Every other industry is forced to change and innovate to please consumers. Heck, even McDonald’s has reduced the sodium in their french fries to please their customers (Bhushan, 2016). Why not pressure pharmaceutical companies to make more alternative vaccines that wouldn’t be rejectable for religious reasons? It can be done and has been done, but the availability is sparse (Pelčić et al., 2016).
So, now the great debate rests in our legislature. Do parents have a constitutional right to decide how to raise their children, or do they have to follow legislation that violates their conscience? It’s a political battle I would not like to personally fight. I know what choice I’d make, and it stems from my constitutional right to make choices.
I sincerely hope your choice is wise,
Bhushan, R. (2016, August 5). McDonald’s goes on a healthy diet, reduces sodium in its mayonnaise and fries. The Economic Times. Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/cons-products/food/mcdonalds-goes-on-a-healthy-diet-reduces-sodium-in-its-mayonnaise-and-fries/articleshow/53549504.cms?from=mdr
Pelčić, G., Karačić, S., Mikirtichan, G. L., Kubar, O. I., Leavitt, F. J., Cheng-tek Tai, M., … Tomašević, L. (2016). Religious exception for vaccination or religious excuses for avoiding vaccination. Croatian Medical Journal, 57(5), 516–521. https://doi.org/10.3325/cmj.2016.57.516
Offit PA and Moser CA. Vaccines and Your Child: Separating Fact from Fiction. 2011. Columbia University Press.
I am so deep in survival mode at this point that things like Valentine’s Day barley cross my radar. My kids on the other hand, that’s all they’ve talked about this week. Apparently, we’re having a Valentine’s Day party in our homeschool and my girls already have their dresses picked out. Unfortunately, Friday is supposed to be too cold, otherwise we’d be hiking with our friends, but even these snowbirds know when to keep the littles inside.
My contribution to our Valentine’s Day party, besides location, chocolates, and gifts, was supervising the cookie making. Sugar cookies are so much fun to eat and decorate, but I wanted to come up with a recipe that wasn’t so sugary. These maintained the proper texture and were tasted delicious!
Without further ado, I'm happy to share my new healthier sugar cookie recipe with you!
is an author, blogger, and homeschooling mom of four, giving her excellent credentials to run her own circus one day!