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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Plant of the Week #1-The DOGWOOD tree

Plant of the Week #1
DOGWOOD TREE
Teaching 4 Moments-Pink flowering Dogwood tree
Pink Flowering Dogwood

I love teaching my kids about the plants all around us!  Being able to have them point out plants from the car as we drive by, or from walks we take, by name makes me so proud.  What can I say, I think it's awesome!  I'm going to try and feature some of my favorite plants once a week along with some quick facts about the plant to teach your kids.  I tend to go a little crazy with taking pictures of plants as well, but I hope you will get an idea of how gorgeous they are from some of the pictures.  Enjoy!

Pink Flowering-DOGWOOD

Chances are, you've seen hundreds of Dogwood trees throughout your life.  They are a very popular tree in landscaping and are even the state tree of three states (Missouri, South Carolina and Virginia), as well as being the state flower of Virginia.  The flowering variety of Dogwood blooms in the Spring.  

It is said that Native Americans...

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

How Full Is Your Bucket?

Teaching 4 Moments-wonderful book to teach kids about kindness and empathy
Teaching kids to be kind and empathetic

As a young mother I first read the book, How Full Is Your Bucket, by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton for a book club.  I don't recall if I picked the book or if it was assigned, but I loved it right away.  At that time of my life I was knee deep in diapers, nursing, chasing babies, and desperately trying to keep my sanity while my husband was preoccupied with grad school.  4 kids in 5 years, was a bit overwhelming.  I appreciated right away how the book helped me to focus on the positive parts of our lives and how we can help others to be happy as well.  I know that self-help books often get a bad rap, but I love them!  They make me feel good and motivated, so where's the wrong in that? Good stuff! 

In 2009 Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Growing Plants with Kids

Growing plants
Does this look familiar to any other homeschool families? Planting galore...
I walked past my window sill this morning and realized that my own potted plants have been replaced by the kids' experiments and growing treasures.  It didn't happen all at once, but here we are, one plant after another, and my own growing treasures have been pushed aside.  

I actually love this part of being a mom.  Ok, so I don't love the dirt, the often spilled water droplets and the grass clippings when Miss Suzie gets her haircut.  I DO, however, love how excited my kids get when they see that something they have nourished is alive and well.  I know that these experiments will cease to exist on my window sill one day when the kids are older, so until then I'm trying to cherish (deal with) the mess every day.

We do a lot of planting at this house.  In fact, if I hadn't gone into teaching I would have ventured into horticulture, or some kind of landscaping design.  I love plants!  We've moved around a lot in the last several years and I still can't stop the urge to construct a garden everywhere I go, and try to make our yard nicer than when we got there.  In the past five years I've actually had 6 different yards to tackle.  I know, I know, that's a lot of moving.  (To explain all of that moving would take several more blog posts, so...moving on...)

With all of these different yards to work in, I've found some of my favorite plants to grow, and others that I will forever avoid with a passion.  I'll add some posts about those plants on another day.  

What have you grown with your kids lately?  

Here's a list of a few plants...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why Homeschool

Those that know me, are aware that I've been thinking for several years about homeschooling my kids.  I'm excited to finally be at a point where it feels right for our family and to give it a try.  While there are many reasons for this decision, I wanted to share this video I first saw several years ago.  I think it really illustrates some of the problems we have in our education system today.  Hopefully this will help a few of you with that question of "why?"

*I do think that he goes off on a bit of a tangent with some of what he says about ADHD, but overall, I think it's great.



Here's also a great blog post written by KATHLEEN BERCHELMANN, M.D., entitled:

18 Reasons Why Doctors and Lawyers Homeschool Their Children.

 It's definitely worth the read.  While I'm still new to it all, I agree with her assessments so far!  

I'm planning on adding more later to this post, but in the mean time, what are your thoughts on homeschool?


Metal Earth

Metal Earth, 3D laser cut model
Metal Earth 3D laser cut model in the palm of my 9year old son's hand.

So I wanted to share a great teaching toy today!  I've actually got several other toys and games in mind that I seem to ALWAYS recommend to friends and fellow teachers, so I'll definitely have some future posts on this topic as well. (And no, I'm not being compensated for this endorsement.  I just love to share great things I've found!)  


Metal Earth, 3D laser cut model
Metal Earth:  P-51 Mustang

This toy TODAY is one that I recently learned about.  My sister returned from a conference where these kits were given away by the vendors.  She thought right away that our family would love them! She was right, we think they're great.  Several of them found their way into our Easter baskets, so we were thrilled.


 It's a laser cut 3D model that you...

Sunday, May 4, 2014

CHIP Trophies!

Motivate your students by offering this cute award!
 Need a way to motivate your students or children? Try using CHIP Trophies! I relied on these so much during my public school teaching days and will be starting these soon with my own children in our homeschool.  My kids DEFINITELY need a little push in this direction.  I'll keep my words short since I don't want to lose you before I get to the tutorial.
Chip Trophy is about 4inches tall.
Chip Trophy is about 4 inches tall

Cooperative, Happy, Independent, Person

Here's the scoop: 


CHIP stands for Cooperative, Happy, Independent, Person.  Make a bunch of these at the beginning of the year and put them in a prominent spot where they will be seen while reminding the students of their goal.  Discuss these attributes, put up a bulletin board, and watch...