Tuesday, July 31, 2012

American Girl Doll Dress

 
My five year old loves her dolls and their clothes. She wanted to make a new dress for her 18" doll from her old and falling apart party dress. We found a pattern that would work in the book Sew Today's Fashions for 18-inch dolls.

We used the sewing maching for this project. I did all of the pinning and cutting out of the patterns. She operated the sewing machine. Together we completed this project in just a few days.





* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Leukemia - Depending on Others

When you have no razor to shave with.........
When the clothes you have to wear are your daughter`s and way too small, or bras are the emergency back-up ones when there are absolutely none left.........
When you are ready to run for the first time in three days and it is raining and you have no rain jacket......
When you ask the hospital staff for no white bread and they bring you only white bread...........
When your computer is at home................
When you want to eat and only have bread with meat spread...............
When you cannot go to the grocery store.............
When your daughter is in the hospital...........

This isn`t even about me. It`s about my daughter and I just want her to get better. That`s what we all want. In the mean time life is so different. I was raised to be fiercely independant and learned well. Now all of a sudden the numerous simple things I used to do for myself are impossible for me to do.

Everybody keeps saying how well we are dealing with this. I`m not so sure that is true. I haven`t said one nice word to my husband, my biggest supporter, in weeks.

I cry all the time. I`m scared. I don`t want to freak out everytime someone coughs or sneezes. My older kids are constantly being told to wash and sanitize their hands, clean-up, clean-up, clean-up. And we are only at the very beginning.

Sorry for dumping this all out there. I`m just having a really hard time with this today, but I`m going to try to stop crying for a while and maybe I can actually be nice to my husband today when he comes to visit. Things are getting better. Jemma`s fever is gone and she spent some time playing games and doing puzzles with her siblings yesterday. Hopefully there will only be a few days left like this and then maybe we can come to the hospital only for our planned visits and stays.

Six months of intensive treatment seems like a long time, but it is really pretty short in the grand scheme of time. In the short term I suppose I can deal with uncomfortable clothes and meat spread for dinner. At least I`m eating.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Learning to Sew - Red Polka-Dot Dress

After several requests from my five year old, I agreed to help her sew a dress. She did surprisingly well with this challenging project.

I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric and she cut them out.

I did all the pinning and she sewed all the straight seams. This dress had several. After she got going she was able to make the machine go forward and backwards, as well as start and stop on her own.

Since the zipper and arms were a bit more of a challenge I sewed those parts. I also added the ribbons she chose. What impressed me most about this project was her ability to stick with it. It took about four days of work spread over a month of time.

This is my little girl that wants one of everything, so I am glad she was able to see and participate in the hard work it takes to make a dress.

To see more of our craft activities please visit our Craft Page.





This Post is Linked to: 
For the Kids Friday
Real Family Fun

Parenting and Unschooling

One of my friends here in Germany is new to homeschooling, but not new to parenting. Every time I talk to her I get new ideas about both. To me she seems to lean toward the unschooling method of homeschooling, so this topic has been on my mind. In the past I have read a lot about the unschooling method, and agree with much of the philosophy. Personally, I have not made the leap into unschooling with my family.

One of my favorite unschooling resources is the web site Joyfully Rejoycing. It actually covers parenting and unschooling topics and ties them together. I love the way the author writes about chores from the child's perspective and then goes on to explain how parents can get willing help from their children.

When my kids aren't in school they are unschooled right? It is so interesting to see what they will do with their time. My girls usually choose crafty activities while my son putters around drawing, making paper computers, learning to use the buttons on his keyboard, and exploring tools like Google sketch-up. I am very interested in these types of activities and even created Homeschool Hobbies and Handicrafts, a blog hop to showcase what kids choose to do with their time.

John Holt is considered the father of the unschooling method. He has written several books on the topic. Following the philosophy takes a lot of strength from the parents who do it, and I admire those who unschool successfully.



This post is linked to: 
Works for me Wednesday

 * I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Recommended Books for a 7 year Old

A question I read on a lot of homeschool message boards is "Could you please recommend some books for my 7 year old to read." I rarely see this question asked for any other age. So I've been thinking about why that is. I believe it is because at the age of 7 many children are transitioning from picture books to chapter books. They're not quite ready for the challenging chapter books recommended in the higher grades, but ready for more than just short stories.

Both my older children, daughter and son, have passed through this phase. Here is my list of books they were able to read on their own while transitioning from picture books to chapter books.


There are many different books series which have been thoroughly enjoyed:

Animal Stories by Thornton W. Burgess - The Ambleside On-line curriculum uses the Animal Book and Bird Book by Thornton W Burgess as part of the science curriculums around years 1-3. These Animal Stories such as The Adventures of Buster Bear, are quite a bit easier, educational and very entertaining.
26 Fairmount Avenue Series by Tomie De Paola - This is a semi-autobiographical series of books and very good for the transition phase.
The Littles by John Peterson
Little House Chapter Books by Roger Lea MacBride (adapted) - This series is an extension of the Little House on the Praire books by Laura Ingles Wilder. The books follow her daughter Rose on her childhood adventures. I don't usually recommend adapted books, but these are good for children just beginning to read chapter books.
Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne - Although these are not my favorites, they do contain lots of historical and geographical information. The kids really like them.
Magic School Bus by Joanna Cole - This series is another which is on my ok list. Again the kids really seem to like them and the stories contain lots of science information.

In addition to the series books listed above, these books are great.
Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley - The book contains several short stories which are particularly good for girls. They follow the oh so innocent adventures of a Little British Girl. I remember one of them about when she ran a store for the afternoon and another about her new bedroom.
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes - This is another story particularly suited for girls.
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett - This is actually a series, but we have only read this book. 
Abel's Island by William Steig - This is charming tale of adventure and survival as related by a newly wed mouse.
The Big Wave by Pearl S Buck - Set in Japan this story deals with death and Tsunami.
Tornado by Betsy Byars - This is the story of a dog who is lost to another family during a tornado.
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleishman - Set in the middle ages, the prince and his Whipping boy go on an adventure together.
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain by Alice Dagliesh - A growing child must cross the wilderness to complete an errand.
Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla - This book is an excellent example of a Living Book. Through story readers come away with an excellent understanding of life during Viking times.
The Last Little Cat by Meindert De Jong - This is the story of how a little cat finds a home.
Quake! Disaster in San Francisco, 1906 by Gail Langer Karwoski - This is the story of how a boy is seperated from his family during the earthquake, befriends another lost child, and eventually finds his family.





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This post is linked to: 
No Time for Flash Cards
Living and Learning at Home

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Homemade Jewelry

After being introduced to wire jewelry making through our Celtic History Co-op the girls and I were hooked. This new handicraft was relatively easy and not super expensive to get started with. We spent $10 or so on the book Wire and Bead Celtic Jewelry by Linda Jones, $15 on the beading plier tools, and another $20 on various wire and beads.

Last week we spread our jewelry making supplies all over the floor and each made something.


Necklace made by my 5 year old.

Necklace pendant made by me (left), pendant made by my 10 year old daughter (right).

These supplies would make a nice gift to a crafty child or adult.





I Can Teach My Child Favorite Resource This Week One Artsy Mama The Self Sufficient HomeAcre

* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Bananagrams - Spelling and Reading

I love playing games with my kids and fun-educational games are the best!

Bananagrams - In this Scrabble-like game players race against each other to be the first to use all their letters in words. Words can be changed and letters can be traded. We have played individually and in teams. This fun-educational game is great for family game-night.

My non-reader also enjoys playing this game. She will put letters together and we help her to sound them out. We often hand her a vowel to put in the middle and suggest a consonant or two for the beginning and end. It is fun for my older kids, but also helping my youngest learn to read.


* I did not receive any compensation for this recommendation. I'm just a homeschooling mom who has found many products that I like. If you're interested in the products I recommend on this blog I want to make it easy for you to find them. 
** I am an Amazon associate and receive a small portion of the sales on orders made after clicking in from this site, which I promptly spend on homeschooling books and supplies for my children.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Speed! - Patterns in the Cards - 7's, 8's and 9's on Top

This is the eighth and last post in an extension of the Speed! Patterns in the Cards posts. - I created the fun card game Speed! to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. The series of Patterns in the Cards blog posts are meant to show some activities that can aid in number sense development using the Speed! cards.   

Cool patterns become visible when two decks of Speed! cards are placed one on top of the other matching numbers. Last week we looked at what happened when Six Speed was the top deck.

If you are still reading this series of posts you are a trooper and perhaps fascinated by math and patterns as I am.

For the last week let's find out what happens when Seven, Eight and Nine are the top decks. In all three cases let's experiment with Five Speed as the bottom deck.

First lay Five Speed, the base deck out like this.


- Now get out Seven Speed, Eight Speed and Nine Speed and find the cards each deck has in common with Five Speed. (35 for Seven Speed, 40 for Eight Speed, and 45 for Nine Speed). If the decks were extended they would also conatin the common cards 70, 105, 140 and so on for Seven Speed, 80, 120, 160 and so on for Eight Speed and 90, 135, 180 and so on for Nine Speed.
- Take turns laying the common cards from each Speed deck on top of the corresponding Five Speed cards.

The resulting patterns should look like this.

These patterns are a little more difficult to see than the patterns from prior posts, but as the others repeated themselves when substituting base decks, these too repeat. I hope you had fun on this visual math pattern journey and join me in the future when I talk about using Speed! cards to find prime numbers and other fun math activities.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Paper Whistle

My son decided he wanted to make a paper whistle, so he typed "paper whistle" into the a search engine. This is what he came up with. It's surprisingly loud. If you need a safety whistle in the woods this specially cut piece of paper may just do the trick.

 Simply hold it to the lips and blow!




This post is linked to: 
For the Kids Friday

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Biking in European Cities

Many cities have bike lanes and walking lanes.

Tons of people ride bikes in European cities. It is often a very efficient means of transportation. Here are some cities where we have seen lots of bikes: Munich, Strasbourg, Salzburg, Brugges, and Amsterdam.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Speed! - Patterns in the Cards - Diagonals Part 3

This is the seventh post in an extension of the Speed! Patterns in the Cards posts. - I created the fun card game Speed! to teach multiplication. It uses skip counting to teach children to multiply and how to multiply faster. The series of Patterns in the Cards blog posts are meant to show some activities that can aid in number sense development using the Speed! cards.  

Cool patterns become visible when two decks of Speed! cards are placed one on top of the other matching numbers. Last week we found that if the top deck was Three Speed the pattern was often a diagonal to the bottom right using several different decks as base decks.

Additional Activities from last week
The following base decks result in a diagonal when combined with Four Speed.


Bottom Deck
Two Speed
Four Speed
Five Speed (not pictured - pictured last week)
Seven Speed
Eight Speed




Diagonals Part 2
In many, but not all instances when Six Speed is the top deck, the resulting pattern is a diagonal to the bottom right. Let's experiment with Five Speed as the bottom deck.

First lay Five Speed, the base deck out like this.


- Now get out Six Speed and find the cards the two decks have in common (30). If the two decks were extended they would also conatin the common cards 60, 90, 120 and so on.
- Lay the common cards from Six Speed on top of the corresponding Five Speed cards.

The resulting pattern should look like this.

A similar pattern is visible when Seven Speed is the base deck.


When Two Speed, Four Speed and Eight Speed are the base decks this diagonal is still visible, but these decks have additional common factors with Six Speed which results in the double diagonal pattern which can be seen as follows.


Next week will be the last week for this series of posts. We will find out what happens when Seven Speed, Eight Speed and Nine Speed are top decks.
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