Online Art Lesson

I am all about getting help in areas that I don’t feel confident in teaching or don’t have expertise. Art is one of the biggies that I needed help. Never mind that I come from a family of artists! :)

One of the homeschool moms that I know just sent me a recommendation for a website that teaches you how to use chalk pastels and acrylics. I have been told that the more you practice, the better you will become…

Hodgepodge has over 100 free lessons to try. Her ideas are simple and clear. This gives hope to even someone like me who has two left thumbs. Why not look into it and see what you think? I’d love to have you post a picture of your creations…


Here are Daneale’s and her family’s art projects. They look great! Thank you for letting me share your artwork.


3 Elementary and Senior High Chemistry Curriculums

Don’t you hate it when you perform an experiment and it fails? My first two years of teaching 6th grade science were a horrible failure when it came to doing them [experiments]. I didn’t have the necessary equipment to perform the activities and when I did, they failed. Eventually, we just read about what the experiments were supposed to do and discussed the process. How interesting is that? :(

I had much better success when I began homeschooling my sons. I used Janice Van Cleave‘s books and I was thankful that not only did the experiments work, but they were fun and the explanations that were written in the book made sense! Oh, happy day! I heartily recommend that series of books because we used them for several years and had very little failure.(I created links to each of the products- just click on them.)

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Science For Kids is a website that has experiments and lesson plans. It is FREE and has games to play too!

If you are looking for a  more traditional curriculum I have some suggestions listed here.

NOEO Science has a terrific Chemistry curriculum with the trade books that you need included. I have used the Chemistry Level 1 for 1-3rd grade and enjoyed the books and experiments. Although at first glance it appears to be a bit pricey, you have the convenience of all the books being at your disposal and there is no time spent on finding the books that you will need for the class. The science kits are included, which is a huge time-saver! If you have several students you will be instructing, you may want to purchase an additional kit. There are several levels so it will go all the way through high school.

Chemistry 1

Chemistry 1

Are you in need of Chemistry for your senior high student? I just finished looking at a video series called Chemistry 101. It also has workbooks and tests. I didn’t see any actual labs for your student to do, but that isn’t such a bad thing because of housing chemicals in your home. Weird things happen to them after a period of time… After watching the video and reading the reviews, this would be worth checking into for your student.

101-375-2TI have heard good things from homeschool moms about Spectrum Chemistry, although we didn’t use personally.  “Fulfill all your requirements for a lab-based chemistry course while exercising your student’s practical-problem-solving skills and scientific reasoning. This one-year chemistry course is done three days a week, one of which is a lab day. It is the equivalent of an honors chemistry for college-bound students.”-

Personal Finance for Students of All Ages


Image by AMagill via Flickr

Beginning with the graduating class of 2014, personal finance is a required subject for Ohio public school students. Given the state of economic affairs, I think this is a credit that will benefit all students. It’s never too early to begin showing and discussing money affairs with our children. I have some resources that you can incorporate into your math curriculum or teach as a separate topic.

My Family Counts workbook is free and can be downloaded and used to introduce and discuss with your elementary students ideas such as needs versus wants,saving, spending, giving, setting goals, budgeting, and banking transactions. There is also a free online game called Nicklesberg that you can register your student and is designed for students 3rd to 5th grade.

Looking for a homeschool curriculum? Many people recommend Dave Ramsey’s course.

Dave Ramsey Financial Peace The Foundations in Personal Finance for Homeschool Student Text is a comprehensive, 288-page student soft-cover consumable. It provides students an opportunity to learn, practice, and apply important personal finance knowledge and skills. The 12 chapters are aligned with the National Standards for Financial Literacy.

Here are several online courses for your high school student if you’d like to have your scholar do it this way.

Practical Money Skills for Life has a FREE downloadable course for your 9-12 grade student.

This dynamic financial literacy curriculum for 9 – 12 graders features engaging design, student-centered activities, research projects, discussion points, and tools and resources–all designed to engage students in learning the personal finance skills they need to succeed in life after high school.

Time4Learning is affordable if you have a student that can move through the coursework  fairly quickly. It is $30.00 per month and you may quit at any time. I have copied the description from the website

High School Personal Finance

The high school Personal Finance curriculum is organized into thirteen exercises that cover topics such as balancing a checkbook, avoiding debt, saving for home ownership, preparing for retirement, and performing investments using a program designed to simulate real stock market transactions. This course is designed to help students understand economics as a whole, and the importance of financial responsibility, both in college and beyond.




Writing Prompts for Reluctant Writers

freewriting2Last week I wrote about ways you can help a writer. What if your student is just “stuck”? Here are some prompts to help them. Be sure and give specific instructions to your budding author to avoid short, vague answers and encouraging them to write.

  • If I were an (name an animal) for a day, I would be…
  • The thing I like to do best is…
  • Tell what our favorite season is and why you like it.
  • My favorite food is… because… My least favorite food is… because….
  • I am thankful for…
  • If I could be in charge of my homeschool for a day, I would… (name three things)
  • One video character I would like to be is….
  • A state that I’d like to visit is…
  • The 3 things I like best about homeschooling are…

How about some art with that writing?

  • Create a poster of your favorite of your favorite (book character, super hero, sports star, etc.) Tell why they are your favorite.
  • Make a cover of your favorite book and write why you like the book.
  • Write a story for someone else (sibling, friend, grandparent, etc.) and add illustrations.
  • Draw a scene and create a story to go along with your picture. For instance, a beautiful park could be the scene and the story could be about friends who meet there and what they do there.
  • Create a menu for a restaurant.

Ideas to Help Boys With Writing


I have found when I am talking to moms about writing that generally boys have more difficulty writing than girls, although I know there are young women who struggle as well. I had the problem of getting one of my sons to write and together we had to work through the writing process. I believe that partnering and modeling are the keys to successful authorship.

  • Write ideas and stories down for them as they are sharing. Writing is communicating ideas on paper and shows your son he has something to write about.
  • Read his stories back to him. This is empowering to a student because he can see that what he has to say matters.
  • Validate your student as a writer. “You were sharing a story with me that I wanted to write down.” means the world  to a new writer since many times they aren’t quite sure where to begin or what to say. (That’s like me and my blog at times.:) )
  • Write along with him. Have you ever been given a project that is daunting that you wanted to keep push it off until that last-minute? Did you wish you has someone to help or encourage you? That’s how many new writers feel. When you sit down and write alongside your budding author, he will see that you value writing and the importance of doing it.
  • Start slowly. At first you may just need to write for a few minutes. That’s okay because ideas build upon themselves. Your son may just have a list of things at the beginning.  Lists are a way of communicating and can be expanded upon in the future if need be. You also can just let that idea go since it may not yield anything further. I have quite a few blog posts that I have begun, but have not been finished. That may be the same way with your son’s writing, and that is okay!
  • Share your writing too. As you share and model the writing process your son will see that writing isn’t it a one and done process. Saying things like, “Oh, I don’t like that sentence.” or, “I was looking for a different word to describe that.” lets him see the process of writing.
  • Keep at it. Writing is like any other skill. The more you do it, the easier it will become.

Some ideas that I have written about have been from the book that I used with my sons called, The Writer’s Jungle, by Julie Bogart.