Monday, November 14, 2011

Momma Mindy's Do It Yerself Spellen Krickulum.

I've had a  hard finding a Spelling curriculum
that's easy to use and will actually teach spelling.

The rote curriculums with lists,
 a week of activities and the quiz on Friday
are traditional, OK, but kinda' boring.

For kids that are good spellers, they get A's,
but never really advance their skills.

For kids that aren't good spellers,
it doesn't seem to help, just adds frustration.

The super-duper "only spelling curriculum you'll ever need"
 books have broken my heart more  than once with their false promises.

While Beka was making me lunch the other day,
I had a light bulb moment.

Are you also saying
"light bulb" with a German accent?
Then you haven't seen Descipable Me.

Anyhoo.... back to spelling and my light bulb moment.

The day my daughter volunteered to make lunch,
 and then I had to pay for it,
she spelled words wrong on her menu,

and on her bill.

It made sense to use these words for
that week's spelling list.
After all, these are words she uses and misspells.

The day's English worksheet added more spelling words.
I orally tested her on the months and dotted the ones
she spelled incorrectly.

I made a quick worksheet using Microsoft Word.
Quick.  No clip art, no borders, no nothing.
Got 'er dun.

She filled in the words in the blanks.

Using, she typed in the words
the way she originally spelled them.
When misspelled, it says "no dictionary results"
and will add
"did you mean _____________?"

She loved using the computer to find the correct spelling.
Along with the traditional entries, 
there's an option to hear the computer pronounce the word.

Scrabble board and tiles were used to spell the words
for the next day's spelling activity.

My son Jon grabbed my camera at this point and said,
"Hey Mom, we never get pics of you.  You're always taking the pictures.
Since you're dressed and lookin' good,
not that you don't look good every day...
(hmmmm learning to back peddle already, this is good)
lemme' take your pic."

Aw, I love that kid.
I also decided this is a very good view for a woman
who is conscience about her humongous scar on her neck
and her growing double chin.

Not to mention the hair growing on my chin,
but they usually don't show up in pictures.

The traditional Friday spelling quiz.
How do you spell success?

Momma Mindy's Do It Yerself Spellen Krickulum.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Big Ol' Leaves

While living in Kansas for seven years,
we picked up a few habits.

A love for basketball, for one.
My husband became a Duke University fan,
mostly in opposition to his students
who were ardent Kansas University Jayhawk fans.

We also picked up drinking iced tea, not sweet though.
Although we left in 1994, occasionally a y'all will slip out now and then.

I also picked up this strange affinity for hedge apples,
although the first time I saw I thought it looked like a tennis ball.
Once I kicked it and nearly broke several toes, I realized
it's NOT as light as a tennis ball.

But, the all time, most favoritest thing we brought back from KS-
saying big ol'!
You don't catch a fish, you catch a big ol' fish.
Nobody has a large dog, they have a big ol' dawg.

Imagine my surprise in moving to the Pacific Northwest
and seeing my first  Big Leaf Maple.
When the leaves began to fall, I felt like I had to duck.
There's no better way to describe these puppies than by calling them
 big ol' leaves.
Some are bigger than a dinner plate.

This year, we had to get some
big ol' Maple leaves to decorate.

We had to go for a walk.
one sunny fall day in the beautiful PNW.
(I love Science class!)

Beka always has to walk with a wicker basket
hanging gracefully over her arm when we go on nature walks.
I think she's seen too many Jane Austen movies
to ever live a normal life again.

When we came home, we tucked our finds into our flower press.
My oldest daughter, Jana, made this at Bible camp years ago.
It's been well loved.

A few days later, they were dry.
Because my laminating sheets are 81/2 X 11,
I had to choose smaller BLM leaves to fit in the laminating pouches.

Hot off the press!

Once I trimmed around the edges,
they were ready to add some color to my
big ol' Fall mantle.

 Some of the leaves I let dry crinkly
to add some texture and interest to the display.

 Remember, these aren't the
biggestbig ol' Big Leaf Maple leaves,
these are just the punks that could fit in my laminator.
Still dreaming about how to
flatten and laminate the
biggest big ol' BLM leaves!

I'm thinking this week I'll pick some more
big ol' Big Leaf Maple leaves.
I think my big ol' sister, Laurie, ya'll know,
the ones that lives down in Kansas,
would like to decorate this fall with some
big ol' laminated leaves.

Maybe, she'll be so happy with her
big ol' older sister,
she'll send me a box of hedge apples.
Of course, I'll use them for display,
not soccer practice.

If you don't have access to laminating,
my sister in law dried her leaves,
dipped them in melted paraffin,
then let them air dry.

For generations, people ironed leaves between
waxed paper.

Dried leaves can be modge-podged onto
paper mache pumpins, glass jars,
and anything else your heart desires.

The best part about decorating with leaves?
They're free!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Got Hunger?

Health is a required subject,
but it's too easy to view it merely as a text book
and not a way of life.

How the kids implement what they've read
about nutrition, exercise and personal care
is more important than how they answer the questions
at the end of each section.

After reading about the food groups and choosing a healthy snack,
Beka was determined to put it into practice.

Think she made a good decision for snack time?

Sometimes when learning isn't going well,
it's important to re-evaluate basic needs of students
and the teacher.

A few times, I thought the kids were being lazy
or disobedient in their school work,
but the truth was,
they were just hungry.

I didn't used to serve snacks
because I really wanted the kids to eat their meals.
However, if I hadn't served a filling, nutritional meal,
it didn't last.

Breakfast, especially, should be healthy,
including a protein which stays with them longer.
To ensure the daily requirement of fruits and veggies are eaten,
they need to be served with every meal.

Hunger can cause dizziness or lightheadedness,
irratibility, agitation and a lack of concentration.
Sound like your kids?
Or you?

If your kids are hungry, unless your breath smells like French fries,
they aren't going to be able to concentrate.

I always wanted to push on and just finish up what we were working on
and then eat lunch, but too late I realized that they could do the work
more quickly if they weren't hungry.

It's hard to be the mommy, the teacher and the chef,
but to make your homeschooling adventure more successful,
you have to keep all three plates full at the same time.


Speaking of plates, the United States Department of Agriculture
has changed their food pyramid

  to a plate.

They haven't updated all their kid and teacher resources,
but their site still contains a lot of helpful information
for your classroom/kitchen.