More or Less Homeschooling & Home-making Adventure

I am a work in progress. I am striving to be an encouraging wife, a fun and loving homeschool mother, to learn to homestead, organize, and adapt. I desire to see life more like Jesus and less like the world's view of what's important. I praise God that I am saved by grace alone, through faith alone, by Christ alone! Cuz' I CAN'T DO IT ON MY OWN!

Friday, February 27, 2009


We have begun working in our garden to get it ready for the spring planting. We use the Square Foot Gardening method but have decided to do a lasagna garden inside each square foot plot. Lasagna gardening is an inexpensive way to build the soil and prepare the bed. We didn't do much work in our garden last year so it really became overgrown with weeds.

This is how our garden looked before we started. We had to pull all the weeds out first.


After the weeds were pulled, we dug all the dirt out of the squares and put it in a wagon.


Once all the original dirt was out, we began to layer. We started with shredded newspaper. For a correct lasagna garden, you should layer wet pages of newspaper to kill out the weeds. We had no weeds since we dug them out, so we shredded it to help the worms in the decomposition.


Next came a layer of leaves.


Then we proceeded to layer the original soil, with peat moss, and compost. 


Finally, we covered it with 2 layers of plastic. We should be using black plastic, but we don't have any. This will "cook" the compost to help it to decompose quicker.


We should be ready to plant in about 3 weeks. Next, we need to start the seedlings....

Chicken Study

Every year we try to hatch chickens. The kids love but unfortunately it doesn't always work. Our only set that has ever made it where all eaten by wild dogs. So, this year we're making changes. We started our incubation this week from eggs my mother gave us. We like the colored eggs so we have about 25 green eggs and about 10 brown eggs in the incubator. We put them in on Wednesday.

I like to make it a fun timeline study while we watch them incubate. There really isn't anything to see so by making a timeline it shows us what is going on in the eggs.  I found this idea a few years ago while researching how to incubate so I can't give credit to whomever had this idea as I have no idea where I found it.

 (here is our timeline and incubator)

We take 21 plastic Easter eggs and number them 1-21. I look for embryo pictures online and cut them out and put one picture in each corresponding egg. We make a 21 day timeline and hang it on the wall behind the incubator. Every day we open the egg that corresponds to that day and hang the picture on the timeline. No matter how many times we've done this, the kids still love it! Here they are filling the eggs with the embryo pictures.


Here are some really good sites for learning about incubation and for the embryo photos:

Mississippi State's 4-H Club - great site for black and white photos of embryo and lots of great information

Univ. of Illinois - Incubation and Embryology - cute site for lesson plan ideas (we're trying the egg in the bottle trick)

Univ. of Nebraska, Lincoln - 4-H Embryology page - some good information but I don't like their embryo pictures

Enchanted Learning - lesson plans, worksheets, embryo pictures and more

Happy hatching!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

World eBook Fair - free for 1 month

I recently came across the World eBook Fair site online. They will be having a free month from July 4th -Aug. 4th, 2009. All of their ebooks will be available to download for free during that month. Go check them out at: World eBook Fair.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Treasure hunting

I have recently learned of a fun family treasure hunting activity. It's called Geocaching. You log onto their website at From there you type in your zip code and you will see several locations in your area where boxes are hidden. You take your GPS and go hunting. I found over 15 in my little town. I am hoping to get a little homeschool group together after basketball ends and go on our first hunt. It looks so fun. Go check it out. You'll be surprised how many are in your area. Happy hunting.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Year 2 Schedule Term 1

I thought I'd show the schedule that I finally settled on. I used several schedules that other AO mothers posted. Thank you to all of those wonderful women who are willing to share!! This is our Year 2 schedule for Term 1. The first 2 are printed portrait style. I "x" off each item as I read them or I put an "x" in the box for each time I read that during the week. I have added Math and Poem study at the bottom in pen and I put an "x" for each time we do those activities to help me keep track of it. The third schedule is my children's check off list. Daniel Boone really likes to be able to see what he has to do for the day so he can see when his play time will be. They are really into Star Wars right now so I found a free color page online and put it on their schedule. They thought I was the best mom every!! How easy is that!! They do the items that are starred with me and I choose what we read. If there is no star they can do it alone if I'm busy or I can help them.

Traci's Year 2 Schedule Term 1

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Classical Music and Composer Study

Recently, we had the great fortune to see Vivaldi's Ring. I ordered the CD from Paperbackswap but didn't listen to it until the day before our concert. Oh, what a wonderful introduction into Vivaldi and his music. I have not been following AO's composer list but using the CD that I find about classical music and the children's versions that tell something about the composer. What joy it was to find that the concert we were watching was the play of the CD we own. It was performed by Classical Kids Live. We were all mesmerized for an hour, including my boys and my friend's toddler. Now, Daniel Boone was sitting with one of his friend's so they had the "I'm too cool for this" look on their face. However, once the music started, they are transfixed. After it was over, they went back to that same cool look. Everything changed when we were in the car alone and could talk about the concert. All three of them, Mr. Cool included, went on and on about the music and what they liked about the play. They were amazed that there were only 2 actors in the whole thing.

I highly encourage everyone to go to their website and see when they will be in your area. I would gladly drive 2 hours to go see another one. You can check out their schedule here and see if they will be near you. If not, then the CD's make a great introduction into this wonderful music. We very much enjoyed:

and and and

Mozart's Magnificent Voyage is by far my children's (and my) favorite Classical Kids CD. I ordered them all from Paperbackswap!! I've seen Beethoven Lives Upstairs on Netflix and plan to order that before the year is up.

After seeing Vivaldi's Ring, I'm going to try to find this CD for us to listen to during school.

I have recently come across this site, Classics for Kids, and I would like to spend more time there and see what we can learn from them.

It's funny to me that several mothers have told me their children just don't enjoy classical music and wouldn't consider sitting through a concert. But, so far, our introduction into classical music has been so much fun. I love to see even my boys asking for it over and over again. I believe it's all in how it's presented, how much you as the teacher/mom enjoy it, and how excited you get over it. I have found that they take that excitement and add to it!

Paddle to the Sea

He have absolutely loved Holling C. Hollings books. So much so that I ordered his Cowboys and his Indian book this week just to have. Paddle to the Sea has been one of our favorites. I wish I had known of these resources when I first read this book with my oldest two. My youngest read it with us but he was so young that I plan to do it with him over the summer. I thought I'd share the web sites that I've collected to use when we read it again. Thank you to all the wonderful ladies on AmblesideOnline and AmbleRamble for sharing these sites over the last year!

Watch a 30 minute movie and read the book online for FREE (But I love to own this one!!):

Follow Paddle with GoogleEarth.

Play the Game.

Cosee Great Lakes exploration

Vocabulary Lists

Activities for each chapter

Great maps at Goalongs blog

Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Spelling Wisdom Book 1, by Sonya Shafer

Our first dictation lesson went well. Daniel Boone really enjoyed it and felt so proud that he printed all the words correctly. It was so nice to see him accomplish correctly spelling all his words. We chose a Psalm that he has been memorizing. It was a short line but he learned to spell it all!! I like to have everything laid out for me so I began to look through our books and compare them to the 200 most used words in the English language. What a chore!!! Then I found Spelling Wisdom by Sonya Shafer. It seems to be everything I was trying to make without all my time!!! I have ordered the first book. I wanted to get started immediately so I wrote to Sonya and she was so kind to send me the first 6 lessons. I can't wait to get the book.