Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Memories 2017



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Today was one of those days I think our children will remember forever, as well as millions of others!  I know I will!  We spent the day observing the August 21, 2017, much anticipated solar eclipse with friends.  My husband observed the skies from his work and my oldest daughter started her new job at a local grocery store so unfortunately she was unable to get outside to witness the event.  :(

Here are some of the memories of our day....


Before my oldest daughter went to work we took some photos outside with my kids' t-shirts they made last week.  My 4 year old was not very cooperative with the photo session, as you can see.  :)


It was a busy day so we didn't make the cookies I blogged about recently.  Rather my kids munched on mini Moon Pies all day. :)  They also munched on these unofficial solar eclipse snacks.  I NEVER buy soda, so this 2 Liter Sun Drop was a treat, though it did hurt to buy it.  ;-)  And I used the "Moon" filter on Instagram for the black/white effect.


Our area observed 96% moon coverage with peak time at 2:48PM and at 1:00PM there was just a little sliver of the moon taking a "bite" out of the sun.  I have many photos on my blog's Facebook page that I posted throughout the day.  Here are photos at the beginning as my children and a few friends looked up with their glasses.  It was amazing to see the orange sun shaped like a crescent moon because of the moon.  My kids and I were saying "How cool!" a lot!


Here are some photos my son and I took. As the moon gradually covered the sun at peak, we started to hear crickets and it did get cooler.  However, even at 96% coverage, the day was still relatively bright and sunny, which goes to show just how powerful the sun's light is!   It was so neat to see the tree leaves act as "pinhole cameras" during the solar eclipse.  This is a photo of the shadows of leaves on our driveway.


It was an amazing and memorable day enjoyed by all!

O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!
I will sing of your majesty above the heavens

When I see your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and stars that you set in place—

O LORD, our Lord,
how awesome is your name through all the earth!

Psalms 8: 2,4,10

Will you be making plans to see the next total solar eclipse in 2024?  Here are the best cities to do that!  And you can start planning for solar eclipse 2024.

What was your solar eclipse experience like?   Would love to hear in the comments!








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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Solar Eclipse T-shirts, Cookies, and Links



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We just finished week 1 of our 2017-2018 homeschool year. But, we didn't start all our subjects as we ease into another year. 

I will be posting about our first week and new homeschool year traditions soon, but right now I wanted to share in the excitement of the upcoming solar eclipse happening on Monday, August 21, 2017!! I've enjoyed learning about this historical event with my family as we get closer to the date. My area will see 96% of the moon obscuring the sun which is exciting! If you want to see what your area will see by typing in your zip code, go to this site and find out. Cool site!  And you can See How the Solar Eclipse Will Look from Anywhere in the United States at TIME by again typing in your zip code.

It really is amazing and fascinating!  Here are some quick and easy special things we did and will be doing to help make this a memorable and exciting time for our family!  I then have listed several links you may be interested in that I have found helpful and informative through social media and/or the internet.


T-Shirts 
I knew when I stumbled upon this DYI: Make Your Own Eclipse T-shirt post it would be fun to do, but I wasn't sure how I would have the time to get the supplies and actually follow through with it.  Then in a local homeschool group's Facebook group, a Mom was organizing this project and after paying her for supplies she would buy them and families would meet at a local park to make the t-shirts. Yes!  It was a lot of fun and after my 5 children made their shirts, I realized it wasn't that difficult to do.   My big kids and little kids all enjoyed this t-shirt craft! 


My kids can't wait to wear these on Monday, Aug. 21 ! 

Cookies
When I was at the grocery store recently with my oldest daughter, we walked down the cookie aisle to see how we could make solar eclipse cookies.  I made one tonight to try it out and on Monday my children will make their own cookies as a fun way to celebrate this historic day.  They are so easy and quick to make! (and a bit on the sweet side ;) ) 

This is what I used to make them:
Mini Moon Pies (of course!)
Sugar cookies
White cake icing
Wilton red and yellow sprinkles

I cut the moon pie in half and cut a circle out of the center of the sugar cookie.
Then placed the moon pie top in the center of the sugar cookie and the moon pie with the marshmallow side on the bottom of the sugar cookie.  Then used white icing to make the white ring on the moon pie and on the sugar cookie.  I then sprinkled red and yellow sprinkles on top of the white icing that was on the rim of the sugar cookie.

So here are the T-shirts and Moon-Pie cookies side by side: 


Links
I have had the book, Someone is Eating the Sun ,for awhile now and I read it to my younger children this week.  It is a cute story of how animals think someone has taken a bite out of the sun and they run to tell all their friends as the day got darker and darker.  It wasn't until their turtle friend explained what was happening that the animals realized no one was eating the sun, but rather they were witnessing a total eclipse.  Unfortunately, it looks like this book is out of print, but maybe there are other books on this topic you can find. 



 
FREE Eclipse E-Book from Apologia
 
FREE Solar Eclipse Foldable by Science and Math Doodles

Watch: Teaching Students About the 2017 Total Solar Eclipse: An Animation for Science Teachers, Parents, and Kids! at McGraw-Hill Education

This is the best simulation you'll find of the upcoming total solar eclipse at Mashable

Weird Things Happen with a Total Solar Eclipse at Astro Maven Blog

Total Solar Eclipse 2017: When, Where and How to See It (Safely) at Space.com

Eclipse: Who? What? Where? When? and How? at NASA

2017 Total Solar Eclipse at The National Weather Service

2017 Solar Eclipse at The National Parks Service...

How to See the Best Solar Eclipse in a Century at National Geographic

How to Photograph a Solar Eclipse at National Geographic

NASA will be live-streaming the eclipse at this link

As someone who loves the Catholic liturgical calendar I found The "Great American Eclipse" and the Catholic Liturgical Calendar at GetFed a fascinating read! 

Another fascinating read: Striking Phenomena During This Centennial Year of Fatima at Roman Catholic Man


Will you be viewing the solar eclipse?  Are you in the path of totality? 

Have a great day on Monday, August 21, 2017 and be sure to be safe with the proper viewing procedures! 








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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Our 2017-2018 Homeschool Classroom and Curriculum


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We will be starting our 2017-2018 on Monday, August 14!  Where did the summer go?


I am grateful we have a room in our home that is designated as the "classroom", but when we first started homeschooling in 2005, we used our dining room table in our previous home and didn't have a room just for school. (And really a "homeschool room" is not a necessity to have a successful and thriving homeschool experience.) In reality school work is done all over the house and even outside.  We just have all our school "stuff" stored in one room.

Not much has changed through the years with how our room looks and how I organize our homeschool books. If interested, take a little tour of the room and an explanation of our book baskets and foam boards where our curriculum is stored and stays organized .  I must say I struggle finding the "perfect" system for many things, but our book baskets have worked for us for several years now so that's one thing I'm not changing (yet).  Maybe it will inspire you and be helpful!



In year's past I have spent most of my summers discussing, contemplating, discerning, feeling sometimes a bit overwhelmed about curriculum decisions and praying about our upcoming homeschool year.  This summer I didn't spend as much time researching and looking at curriculum options because I have soooo much stored in boxes from the past 12 years of homeschooling.  So I spent time looking through my storage boxes. :)

I don't buy a "box curriculum", but rather I pick and choose from several different companies of what I think will work best for each of my children's learning styles and needs.  That's one of the beauties of homeschooling..being able to meet each child's needs with curriculum choices that I hope will help them thrive and become successful, but most importantly will help them grow closer to our Lord and His Church.

If interested, here are posts from previous years of what I selected for each child:

2010-2011 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 5th, 3rd, 1st grade and a 3 year old) 

2011-2012 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 6th, 4th, 2nd grade and a 3 1/2 year old)

2012-2013 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 7th, 5th, 3rd grade and a 4 year old) 

2013-2014 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 8th, 6th, 4th, and Kindergarten grade and I just had Baby #5)

2014-2015 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 9th, 7th, 5th, 1st grade and a 1 year old)

2015-2016 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 10th, 8th, 6th, 2nd grade and a 2 year old) 

2016-2017 Homeschool Curriculum (my kids were 11th, 9th, 7th, 3rd grade and a 3 year old)


In this post I will just list the curriculum for each of my children with their ages, but I'm still tweaking things. I'm still working out all the scheduling details, but it may look similar to our daily routine from 2015 with some changes, of course.)

*I use baskets and foam board dividers with subject headings to organize each child's books as explained HERE.

*I use one basket for all the Teacher Manuals for the various subjects and the foam boards are used to divide each child's Teacher Manuals so that I can quickly grab them when checking over work.

 * Family Morning Time
After breakfast, we will continue to do things as a family on our living room couch before we head upstairs to start our other school work.  Here is an outline of Family Morning Time:

- Couch Catechism
- watch CNN Student News (free, daily, online 10 min. news briefs that my children look forward to watching each day, Mon.-Fri.  I know CNN is not a favorite news source for many families (including mine), but I really do like how CNN Student News shows are geared toward middle school/high school aged kids.  Note: you can always preview the shows before showing your children.)  
- Couch Conversations (if you have heard of "Morning Baskets" this is what "Couch Conversations" time is just with a different name that I made up.) :)   Here are some of the books I plan to use with our Couch Conversations.
The Harp & Laurel Wreath (learn poetry together)
The Story of the Orchestra

Now onto the curriculum for each child...

Daughter, Grade 12 (Senior Year!!!!!!)

Religion/Theology
* Couch Catechism with Mom and siblings
* Various service projects throughout the year with our homeschool group/church youth group
*  Daily Mass on Thursdays and Adoration on Fridays
*  Once a month Confession
*  Tea Times where we spend time as a family reading over the Gospel readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass and have a fun snack

* Celebrate the liturgical year with faith, food and fun
* Following Christ into the World by Anne Carroll (Seton)


Math:
* My daughter will be taking a Math course at our local Community College in the Fall and Spring with their dual enrollment program.  So her math class will count as both high school and college credit.  Juniors and Seniors in public/private/homeschool may apply and test into this program.  This will be a big change for my daughter and for me!  But, it's exciting too!


English

* My daughter will also take an English course in the Fall and Spring at our local Community College

  History:   
* My daughter enjoys history and reads various books through the year on different historical topics

Extra-Curricular Activities:
* Piano
* Cross-Country with homeschool league
* volunteer at local library
* sing in girls' choir and play bells at church
* member of church youth group and youth board 

* baby-sitter for a mom at our parish

* My daughter just got her first job at a local grocery store near our home!!!!! (This will count as a Life Skills/Time Management/Economics/Accounting course ;) ) 

Son, Grade 10



Religion/Theology
* Couch Catechism with Mom and siblings
* Various service projects throughout the year with our homeschool group/church youth group
*
Daily Mass on Thursdays and Adoration on Fridays
*  Once a month Confession
*  Tea Times where we spend time as a family reading over the Gospel readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass and have a fun snack

* Celebrate the liturgical year with faith, food and fun
* The History of the Church with workbook (Didache Series)


Math:
* Teaching Textbooks, Geometry


Literature:
* World Literature (Seton)

Writing/Cursive 
* IEW US History-Based Writing Lessons (With 13 year old sister. We didn't finish the book last year so I'm just carrying it over to this year)
* Continue with daily cursive practice using Seton's Better Handwriting for Young Catholics 2011 workbook edition

 History: 
* Christ the King Lord of History text with workbook
* Continue putting in dates and timeline figures in their "Record of Time": Timeline Notebook Binder (from Homeschool in the Woods) as they read about world history.

Science: 
* Physical Science or Chemistry (with a homeschool co-op group, still working on the details) 

Foreign Language:
* Spanish course with Rocket Spanish 


Map Skills:

Extra-Curricular Activities:
* Piano
* Soccer team with homeschool league in the Fall
* altar server at our parish
* member of church youth group 

*mountain bike team in the Spring

 Daughter, Grade 8

Religion:
* Couch Catechism with Mom and siblings
* Various service projects throughout the year with our homeschool group/church youth group
Daily Mass on Thursdays and Adoration on Fridays
*  Once a month Confession
*  Tea Times where we spend time as a family reading over the Gospel readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass and have a fun snack

* Celebrate the liturgical year with faith, food and fun
* Read various Saint books and apologetic books (ie: Saint Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks, The First Christians, Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons? )

Math:
* Teaching Textbooks, Pre-Algebra


Literature:
* Various Literature suggestions in All Ye Lands-World Cultures and Geography

Writing/Cursive 
* IEW US History-Based Writing Lessons (With 15 year old brother. We didn't finish the book last year so I'm just carrying it over to this year)
* Continue with daily cursive practice using Seton's Better Handwriting for Young Catholics 2011 workbook edition

History: 
* All Ye Lands-World Cultures and Geography text with workbook
Continue putting in dates and timeline figures in their "Record of Time": Timeline Notebook Binder (from Homeschool in the Woods) as they read about world history.

Science: 
* Finish Nutrition Science Complete Set from last year and Reignite Glow with Physical and Spiritual Health (my daughter has an interest in Nutrition Science and Health so we chose curriculum to match her interests)

Foreign Language:
* American Sign Language (ASL) course (still researching which curriculum to use)

Map Skills:
Maps, Charts, Graphs

Extra-Curricular Activities:
* Travel Soccer team with local league

* member of church youth g
roup 

Daughter, Grade 4
Religion:
* Couch Catechism with Mom and siblings
* Various service projects throughout the year with our homeschool group/church youth group
Daily Mass on Thursdays and Adoration on Fridays
*  Once a month Confession
*  Tea Times where we spend time as a family reading over the Gospel readings for the upcoming Sunday Mass and have a fun snack

* Celebrate the liturgical year with faith, food and fun
* Jesus Our Guide (Faith & Life 4)

Math:
* Rod & Staff 4


Reading:
* Pathway Readers

Writing/Cursive  
* Draw Then Write

 
* Continue with daily cursive practice using Pictures in Cursive Book B

History:
* Read aloud A Child's History of the World
* Continent Study Bags that I bought from a friend
Continue putting in dates and timeline figures in their "Record of Time": Timeline Notebook Binder (from Homeschool in the Woods) as they read about world history.

Science: 
* a friend of mine who used to teach school gave me a whole bag full of The Magic School Bus Science Club science kits on various topics so we are going to try to do these kits again throughout the year .

Foreign Language:

Map Skills:
Maps, Charts, Graphs

Extra-Curricular Activities:
* Gymnastics classes
*
sing in girls' choir at church

Daughter, Age 4
* My Little Patron Catholic Preschool Printables from SaongJai
* Letter of the week activities
* Various workbooks
* Read-alouds
* She will be going to the Good Shepherd Montessori program at our church one day a week for a few hours.
* I'm in the process of planning activities for her to do independently and with her older siblings as I work with my children on a rotating schedule. I've been looking through these books for ideas:
Catholic ABC's from Catholic Icing
The Preschooler's Busy Book
A Year of Fun Just for Three's 

I am currently sketching out our schedule with the curriculum I have chosen.  I've been busy jotting down notes and schedules as rough drafts trying to figure out what will work best for our family.  But, even when the best plans are made and laid out, it doesn't always go as "planned."  So we will see how it all goes.  

On the first day of  this 2017-2018 homeshool year, we will continue with our new homeschool year traditions that includes morning Mass, a Sacred Heart cross cake, draw on their "We've had a T-riffic summer paper T-shirts", measure everyone's height and fill out All About Me sheets.  So I'll be doing a post about these traditions that we do this week!

May you have a blessed 2017-2018 school year whether you are called to homeschool or not!








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Friday, August 4, 2017

A Unicorn Cupcake Cake for our 4 Year Old!


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We celebrated her birthday on her actual birthday, July 30th, with a Unicorn Cupcake Cake and some fun beach time with family and friends. 


I've made a similar cake for the Horse Cupcake Cake party for another daughter in 2012.  For this unicorn cake I just had to add a sugar ice cream cone, ice it and roll it in rainbow jimmies to make the unicorn horn. 

The chocolate cupcake recipe came from the Hershey's Cocoa can that I have used many times in the past with many of the other cakes I've baked.  I put the cupcakes on a flat mailing box.


Then I wrapped the flat box with gold glittery wrapping paper, then decorated the cupcakes with homemade cream cheese icing that I first made when I iced another daughter's soccer cake. The pink and purple sanding sugar was used to decorate the mane and tail and we found small paper pink and purple flower embellishments that were used just for decoration. I added more cupcakes with unicorn clip art on toothpicks for the toppers, an idea I have used often for past parties.  

Here's the before and after Unicorn Cupcake Cake....


Close up of the head and mane...

One of my daughters made the cupcakes, while 2 other ones helped me ice and decorate the cupcakes. 

We had the party at a local beach with family and friends and it was a beautiful evening filled with fun, food, sun, surf, sand, beautiful weather and a beautiful sunset!



Happy 4th birthday to our littlest "Cupcake"! We love you!








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