Swapping Adventures

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I think I might have posted about this before, but I thought I’d do it again.  On Facebook there is a group called Homeschool Swapping Adventures.  They have many different types of swaps you can get involved in.  Some include: postcards (monthly), Geoboxes, Traveling Buddies (similar to Flat Stanley), penpals, and various holiday swaps.  We have really enjoyed being involved in this group.  We are participating in the postcard swap right now.  We are trying to get a postcard from every state.  We even have a map up to mark each state we get.

4 1 13 002  This shows the map when we first put it up.  We only had four states.  We now have seven.  It’s a lot of fun to read the postcards, and then to mark them on the map.  This map is 2 pages x 2 pages.  You can make a map as large as 8 pages x 8 pages at Your Child Learns, this is one of my favorite sites.

We are also starting a unit study on Ireland and then Great Britain.  So we have done maps for those places as well.

4 15 13 012           4 15 13 013

The first map is of Great Britain and the smaller map in the second picture is of Ireland.  We have also made the flags for England, Ireland, Wales, and Scotland.  As we do things in the unit study we will add to the maps.  Today she will be adding four cities in Ireland; Blarney, Trim, Galway, and Dublin.  She is working on a Sightseeing Guide booklet today.  I got this study from Homeschool Share, It is under the free lapbooks.  Abby feels she is too old for lapbooks, so we do the same thing but then put the lapbook components in a notebook.  Here are a couple of pictures.

4 15 13 015            4 15 13 014

The first picture is the lapbook components she has completed.  I cut down a piece of construction paper and put holes in it.  She then completed the component and glued them on the construction paper.  When she is finished with the unit, she will have a notebook full of lapbook components as well as notes, drawings, and research essays.  So if you have a pre-teen or teenager that feels they are to old for lapbooks, this is a good alternative.  The second picture is the lapbook component she is working on today.

My next post will be about our new Writing Notebook and  our timeline.  I love our timeline!!  There is a post about it in an earlier post, but I thought I’d update it.




Reading Response Journals and Activities Webcast

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Today we are going to talk about Reading Response activities.  I also want to know if any of you use any type of reading response journals or questions to help your child retain what they have read.  Many curriculum have reading response activities that go along with their stories.  But if you’re using your own reading program or just reading books, you might feel that you need something to help with comprehension.

Reading Response Journals are one of the easiest ways that I’ve found to keep up with comprehension type questions.  In my classroom, I had my students put together reading response journals to go along with whatever book they are reading.

There are two ways you can do this.  You can either make a journal for every book they read or you can make a larger journal to keep for an entire semester.  You can make these journals very inexpensively.  This is how I make mine.

I use card stock for the cover.  I have some response questions that can be printed right on the cover or you can cut it out and glue it inside the cover.  Either way works.   You then put in lined paper.  I found a really great site for this.  It is www.printablepaper.net

There are two options that I found.  This one I like but you will have to cut these out.  So more work. The other you will only need to fold and put into the cover.  I staple on the outside because I don’t have one of those large staplers.

The process for this journal is the child either picks one of the questions inside the cover to write about or you can give them specific questions about the book they’re reading.  On the internet you can find many places with questions for almost every chapter of a book.  One of the best places I’ve found for this is “Homeschool Free Stuff”.  Here is the address.  If you look on the right hand side, look under English, and click on “books – supplemental materials”.  There is a long list of books.  If you don’t find your book there, you might need to do a search for the book.  Use the book’s title and then put lesson plans or unit.  This will usually bring up many websites to check.

You can also use Author’s Study, Character Studies, and many other Reading Response type sheets to keep things changing.

My resources for today are:







If you would like to watch the webcast you can click on these links.  There are two because I was cut off and had to start the recording again.

Reading Response Journals and Activities part 1

Reading Response Journals and Activities part 2

Math Tips and Tricks Webcast Feb. 7, 2012

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Multiplication Tricks

When you multiply by 0, the product is always zero.

5 x 0 = 0           0 x 26 = 0

When you multiply by 1, the product will always be the other number.

3 x 1 = 3            1 x 56 = 56

When multiplying by 2, you double the other number.

8 x 2 = 16          5 x 2 = 10

6 trick” – Take the other number you are multiplying and hold up that many fingers.  Count by 5s on each of those fingers and then go back and count by 1s.

9 mental trick” – Take one away from the other number, then say what number + that number = 9.

9 hand trick” – Bend finger down corresponding to the number x 9. Then count the fingers on the left of bent finger and then right of bent finger.

Divisibility Rules

A number is divisible by:

2 – if it is even

3 – if the digits add up to 3 or a multiple of 3

6 – if it is divisible by 2 and 3.

5 – if it ends in 0 or 5

9 – if it is divisible by 3

10 – if it ends in 0.

 Converting between Metric numbers

Kids Have Dropped  Over dead converting metrics

Kilo Heckto Decka   units deci centi milli

This is a pneumonic that will help children learn how to convert numbers within the metric system.

The “O” stands for the units begin converted, etc. liters, meters, …

So if you wanted to change this sentence you could use a “U” instead of an “O”.

Order of Operations

1) Do all Exponents first

2) Do all calculations within parentheses

2) Do all multiplication and division from left to right

3) Do all addition and subtraction from left to right


Reducing fractions – find the GCF (greatest common factor) of both numbers and divide both top and bottom.  (on board)

Adding and Subtracting fractions, you need to have common denominators.  If the denominators are the same, you add the top numbers and keep the bottom numbers the same.

To get common denominators you find the smallest number that both denominators will go into.  Then change the top and bottom of both fractions.  (on board)  The rule to remember is: if you do it to the bottom you have to do the same to the top.

Then you can add the top numbers.

Multiplying fractions, you multiply both the top and bottom numbers.  Then reduce.

Dividing fractions, you change the division symbol to X and flip the second fraction and then multiply and reduce.





http://www.kidzone.ws/ – one of my favorite place to print math worksheets 

Paypal account:  rcstanley@ms.metrocast.net

Email address:


Blog address:


The Schedule for the next several weeks is

Feb. 14th – Famous Artists lapbook/notebook

Feb. 21st – Making edible earth layer

(fun projects for the children)

Feb. 28th – Reading Response Activities

Planning for the coming year Script


Good afternoon.  Today we will be discussing planning for the coming year.  I thought this week would be a great day to begin looking at what we want to accomplish in 2012.  I want us to look at academics, but we will also look at what we want to accomplish in our lives spiritually as well.

So let’s jump right in.

My very first step in planning my year is to begin by praying.  I pray that the Lord will show me where my priorities need to be.  That I will listen to His voice throughout the year, so I want miss an opportunity He has for me.  And I pray that He will lead me in all I do everyday of the year.

My second step is to begin the planning process. One of the best ways I know how to plan is to have a planner handy.  The very best planner I have ever found is one made my Joni Eareckson Tada.  She gives places for prayer requests, monthly planning, and daily planning.  She also encourages you throughout the entire year.  If you would like one of these planners they are available online at


The planner is on the first page under featured products.

One of the things Joni asks you to do on Jan. 1st is to choose an annual verse and memorize it.  I have found this to be very helpful.  So step 3 is to plan my verses for this year.  My annual verse is:  Roman 15:13.  I think scripture memorization is a very good way to keep our hearts and minds on Christ.  So I have planned to memorize one scripture a month.  That’s only 12 verses a year.  I don’t think it will be too hard.  I have gone ahead and written some of the verses I want to learn at the first of each month.

Another good practice is to have our children memorize scripture as well.  So step 4 is to plan verses for our children.  My daughter is 11, so I got her a planner also.  She has picked her annual verse and we will be looking at what verses I want her to memorize throughout the year also.  Her annual verse is:  Philippians 2:14-15

My next step is to look at any travel we might be doing and putting that into my planner.  My husband travels with her job, and Abby and I are privileged to be able to travel with him on many occasions.  So I have written down the travel we know about.  There are always others that come up, but you have to start somewhere.

Step 5 – I look at how many schools days we have.  Some of those school days will be while we travel.  We have learned to take our school with us.  While we travel we only do the basics, but we do work on keeping the basics on track.  So if I count the days left in this year we have about 88 days left.  Some of those days are travel days, but I count those as well.

Step 6 – I look at each subject and divide it into 88 days.  If it looks like there is too much work for 88 days, then I know I will need to add some days onto our total or we can do some Saturday mornings to catch up.  For me I like knowing where our stopping place is for the year.

For example:  For math and English we use ACE PACES.  I know she has 6 more math PACES and 5 more English PACES to go for the year.  If I say 88 divided by 6, I know she will need to complete one math PACE every two weeks.  Usually for English that is not a problem, but for math she will need to work pretty hard.  For English she has less to complete so I know she can do those without much help.

For Science we are using a curriculum I found online for free.  It has 36 chapters and we have finished 12.  So we are behind.  We will need to do at least 7 weeks of two chapters a week, or we can continue to work through the book during the summer.  Since she enjoys this science book and I don’t want to go to fast and her not learn the material well, I will continue this during the summer.

I do this for every subject and decide what needs to be done to complete the year.

Step 7 – I then print out a calendar for each month of the year through June.  And then go through and write the plans on the calendars.  I use calendars in a planning notebook separate from my planner just so I will have enough room for everything.  I like keeping the two separate for space reasons and so that I have a personal planner and a school planner.


Planners: www.joniandfriends.org

All types of planning sheets and much more: www.donnayoung.org

Attendance sheet: http://donnayoung.org/forms/planners/administrative.htm


Coming in 2012 with Ms. Colette

Jan. 3rd – Geography

Jan. 10th – Double lapbook and lapbooks as gifts

Jan. 17th – Notebooking 101

Jan. 24th – Reading Strategies

Jan. 31st – Math tips and answers

Feb 7th – Famous Artists lapbook/notebook

Feb. 14th – Making edible earth layers

(fun projects for the children)

Feb. 21st – No webcast

Feb. 28th – Reading Response Activities


Email address:


Blog address:


Penguin lapbook

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I thought this would be a great time to have some fun and do some different science than what we usually do.  I found this lapbook and also this Penguin unit.  I decided to put them together and allow my daughter to do this instead of her usual science.

This is the lapbook site:  http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/penguin-lapbook/2237824

And here is the site for the interactive unit:  http://simpleschoolingunitstudies.s3.amazonaws.com/2011_12_days_freebies/penguin_course/player.swf

This interactive unit will be free until sometime in January.

Using this unit your child can answer pretty much all the questions in the lapbook.  There are some creative writing that they will have to do on their own, but for the most part all the answers are there.

Let me know how you like it!

Merry Christmas!!!


Math Game – 24

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This is a challenging math game for kids (and okay, adults) that requires no materials except a pencil and paper.

This is how we learned to play the game:

Write down the following numbers, either on a chalkboard or whiteboard or paper:

2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Next, have the student (or yourself!) select four numbers—just circle them on the board.

2, 5, 7, 8

Now, the purpose of the game is find a way to use those four numbers–using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division–to reach a result of 24.

And it works. No matter what four numbers you pick. It always, always works–somehow, someway, you can always reach the end result of 24. (Sometime this happens after much blood, sweat, and tears and insisting that nope, I happened to select the one combination of four integers that in fact will NOT result in 24 before one of your kids proves you wrong a minute or so later.)

It also never fails to torture me when I am unable to solve one of the combos.

Try playing this with your kids today! Select four numbers from 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9 and use addition, subtraction, multiplication, and/or division to reach the result of 24.

Some Summer fun ideas!

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Here are some great Summer fun ideas:  To go to the page, just click on the image.

water sponge balls

super slip and slide

homemade sidewalk chalk


melty crayon colors

ice diggers

Very lonely firefly craft

summer journaling

I love this idea, so I made a journaling sheet myself.  I haven’t figured out how to add a document, so If you would like a copy of my sheet just email me.

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