Monday, November 30, 2009

Watkins Mill Christmas on the farm FREE event

Sadly our family will miss this due to a Bible Bowl Tournament. We have volunteered athe farm in the past. All activities at Watkins Mill are fun, educational and family orientated for all ages.

Christmas on the Farm

Christmas on the Farm will be held at Watkins Woolen Mill State Park and State Historic Site on Saturday, December 5th, 2009 from 2 p.m. - 7 p.m. Admission is free for the event and there will be an open house at the Watkins family home for the duration of the event. Activities at the home will include holiday caroling, reading of family letters, free samples of traditional holiday treats, plum pudding flaming demonstrations, and an opportunity for children to visit with Father Christmas. Activities at the visitor center will include kids crafts, live traditional holiday music, and a performance by the Lathrop Singing Mules grade school choir. For further information contact the park office at (816) 580-3387.

Free Concert in St Jo

Come hear the Griffon Junior Singers annual Holiday Concert! The concert
will be held at 7:00 pm Friday, December 4th at the MWSU Downtown University
Center, located at 515 N. 6th Street.

The concert is free, but donations of a canned good for the Second Harvest
food bank are being requested.
Griffon Junior Singers is an award winning choral education program that
offers children grades 2 - 10 the opportunity to participate in an
enriching choral experience. The choir consists of local public, private
and home schooled children.
The Griffon Junior Singers Prelude and Premiere Choirs will be performing a
variety of holiday and traditional selections.
Griffon Junior Singers is a partnership between Missouri Western State
University, The Western Institute's Center for Community Arts, and the St.
Joseph School District.

Financial assistance for Griffon Junior Singers has been provided by the
Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. This project is also supported in
part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Martha Greer, Director
Center for Community Arts
Missouri Western State University
4525 Downs Drive
Spratt Hall, Room 105
St. Joseph, MO 64507

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

No, homeschooling ISN"T expensive (unless you want it to be)

I had someone send me a note that they thought homeschooling was expensive. No, its not. In fact, many parents report it is cheaper than PS or Private school as you have no lunches to buy, no school uniforms, no special PE shoes, you aren't required to have certain folders in certain colors and special markers and glue of only one brand. You also don't have to buy school clothes each fall.

In many homeschool houses, you find one parent often works from home or there is a stay at home parent. This isn't because they are rich, its because it saves them money. In the case of the work at home parent, it is cheaper than paying rent or mortgage at an office, in addition to the utilities. Often, it is a trade that can be passed on to the children to learn as well. And, if there are several children involved, a stay at home parent prevents having to pay for childcare and most often cooks from scratch, sews, gardens and does other things that save or generate an income.

You can buy books or computer programs each year for your children if you homeschool, but you don't have to. Here are some ways a lot of us save. Just get creative!!

1. Join a homeschool coop and take advantage of coop classes. Many coops also advertise and swap books and materials with each other as well.

2. See if your local public library offers homeschooling classes

3. Take advantage of free music recitals at local or nearby colleges. One tip I learned here is that the recitals at night often cost money, but if I go to the ones during the day, they are free.

4. Make your lesson plan for the year, then hit the library. Plan (generally) what you want to do for each subject each month or quarter, then shop the library accordingly.

5. Shop the Internet for websites that have free worksheets you can download. For a kindergartner or first grader, there are thousands of free worksheets on math, addition, telling time, letters, handwriting...

6. Wal-Mart and teacher supply stores have those great all in one books that are full of worksheets. They sell for around $9 to $11. You can use it and then if you see an area he needs more work in, go to the Internet for more free worksheets on the same concept.

7. Read, read, read. My girls learned a lot of history that way by reading books such as the biographies of the presidents, diaries from the civil war and letters from the underground railroad.

8. Plan day trips and vacations around field trips. Learn about where you are going then go. Many places (such as Fantastic Caverns) now offer "homeschoolers days", where they discount the price and offer a class in addition to the normal tour. Local businesses in my area are great for taking my kids to the back room and showing them the "behind the scene" tour. To date my girls have visited or even got to "work" for several hours at the library, a bank, fire department, pizza hut (they even let the girls make their own pizzas), vets office, auction, public garden, horse stable and more.

9. Each time you travel, map your route on a map with your child. This even works for short 20-30 mile trips

10. Most states offer free travel packages. We have studied about 20 of our states so far, by sending off to the state for their free state travel package. Its a good way to get a map, learn about the industry, climate and geography of that state.

11. Join Scholastic for homeschoolers. They offer some really good learning CD's for the computer.

12. a good incentive to read is to join Pizza Hut's reading program. It is free and open to homeschoolers.

13. Email, call or write companies and ask if they have an education kit or package. Many do and will send you information about their company, their history and a bit behind how their product was invented or started. Heinz sent us some really good info on pickles and ketsup that was fun to learn about.

14. Find another homeschooling family to "partner up with". Ideally they should have a child the same age as yours, or older (to give you advice what they did at that grade)

15. If you have access to the history channel, or science channel, they are great. If not, your local public library will have many of their programs on tape.

16. Take advantage of sales. When wal-mart has their back to school sales with the notebooks for a nickel, I buy several cases. I also go to the school districts when they have their sales to buy used books--normally I have paid less than $1 per book including text books and teacher books.

17. Visit homeschooling blogs and websites for ideas.

18. get together with other parents who homeschool and barter teach once a week or every two weeks. You teach Spanish and they teach math or whatever their speciality is.

19. Supplement your learning/teaching with activities such as 4H, Scouts, church youth group & Bible Bowl (we sometimes count church as history even, rather than religion, depending on the lesson). Don't forget music lessons count as well as any sports they are enrolled in.

20. Don't forget your phys ed --learn the history and rules of a game, then go play or watch it. My girls loved it when we did baseball--we went to a Royals game afterwards. We also spent $9 and went bowling one Friday after we studied the history of bowling.

21. Do you have a mechanic in the family or a friend who is one? Overhaul the lawnmower or change the oil and count it as a couple hours (or how ever long it takes) as votech-small engines.

22. Browse an antique store and try to guess what various items were used for. Why did the items change into what we have today? Such as a sad iron, being heated on a fire to the electric irons we now use.

23. Find the homeschooling contests in your area--we participate each year in a science fair, spelling bee, bible bowl and more.

24. Find a music teacher and have them tell you when their recitals are and go visit them.

Don't let cost be the reason you don't homeschool. Its like buying a car. You can buy a dependable car without the extras or you can get the luxury car with all the extras--but they will both get you to the same destination.

Be sure to first check your states requirements for homeschooling. In MO we have to have 1000 hours, with 600 of them being in the core subjects. But, even that leaves room for creativity--cooking can be cooking but if you have to double, triple or have a recipe, it can become a fun math lesson in fractions that you can eat! Making candles can be an art or it can be a history if you actually do some research and history along with it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Free Lesson Plan on the Iditarod Race

My girls and I like to follow the Iditarod each year. For those of you who don't know, the Iditarod is a dog race in Alaska. We like to do various things while we check the status a couple of times each day--things like checking he weather there vs the weather here at home, map studies--where are the racers on the map?, figuring out their mph, learning about the dogs, and reviewing the history of the race. The Iditarod Trail, is now a National Historic Trail, but began as a mail route and supply route. Gold came out this same route, all by dog sled.

In 1925, part of the Iditarod Trail was used to bring in serum for diptheria to Nome. This race was a race to save lives and records were set and broken.

Below is a copy of an email I received to help get you started. Just follow their links.

Hello from the Iditarod Education Department! The 2010 Iditarod is just around 'the trail' and the season of connecting the race to your classroom curriculum is about to begin! We hope you will be with us this year!

Herb Brambley, the 2010 Target Teacher on the Trail has begun posting lesson ideas.
The For Teachers section of the site has been undergoing some redesign with a better menu bar to help you locate information you need.
At the For Teachers section, you'll find many new items, pod cast information, Here's What's Happening, and a section for Students.

Many new items will be added soon!

My goal in emailing you today is to remind you that the newsletters will be arriving more frequently with the purpose of helping you meet the educational standards for your students and to help you know everything you need to know to follow the race.

You can review the newsletter that was sent out at this link: Scroll down the page to find the latest newsletters.

Let me know if you have questions or comments.

I am looking forward to the race this year and helping your students be successful.

Diane Johnson
Iditarod Education Department
605 228 6071

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Grandpa!

Happy birthday to my dad!

We have had a very busy month. Next week it will start to slow down for us again. We have been to a play "A Christmas Carol" and saw several of our homeschooling actors and singers. They did a very very good job. We have had several training sessions for the fire department, made more laundry soap, started some Christmas sewing, had 4H activities, Bible Bowl, a wedding, a baby shower, youth group meetings, trip to Grandma & Grandpa's, and I had a 30 year class reunion planning meeting. We had 2 weeks where we had something going almost daily.

Friday was our last day of homeschool coop for the semester and next week we have our winter program for coop. Then we will break until Feb of 2010.

The girls have been busy selling Girl Scout cookies. They are also working on Christmas presents, which they tell me I can't put on here, as some people might find out what they are getting for Christmas!!

Gehmans Country Fabrics and More - Fabric, Slips, Dresses, and much more

Gehmans Country Fabrics and More - Fabric, Slips, Dresses, and much more

I finally found a place that sells little girls slips and pettycoats!! They also sell bonnet patterns if you are looking to make bonnets for little ones, or if you do any reenacting.

Their prices are good and the quality is very nice.

Monday, November 2, 2009

This weeks deals from

It is Monday, so start planning this weeks shopping. Check out for the best deals and the coupons to match them up with. This week it looks like I will be stocking up on Dawn dish soap. CVS has it on sale and I have several 75 cent off coupons and some CVS bucks, so I will get about 3 bottles for free. Not bad.

Halloween is over, so if you drew your pumpkin faces on, you can recycle them into pumpkin pie. I bought a few and plan on cooking them down later this week and then freezing them for Thanksgiving and Christmas pies. Just remove the stem, wash the pumpkin and cut into about 3 or 4 large chunks (more or less depending on the size). Then boil till mushy. Drain them well, smash up and put in freezer bags and freeze. I freeze mine 2 cups at a time, as that is what my pie recipe calls for.

This afternoon the kids and I are going to travel the US. I have several videos that I got from the library for my coop class that are due tomorrow, that we will watch this afternoon. We are going to watch the history of the discovery of the Grand Canyon, learn about the gold and silver rushes, the rocky mountains and the great lakes and about an Indian Reservation. A couple of the videos are very short, around 20 minutes but most are around 50 minutes. So after lunch we will settle down with some popcorn and watch. I will count it as history time and geography.