Sunday, September 30, 2012

See The Light Art Class Dvd Review/Giveaway

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to review See The Light Art Class.   This is a Christian themed art program taught by Master Artist Pat Knepley.   Any program that I can stay at home and teach is one that I'm very interested in.    Read below for my review on this program and your opportunity to win Volume 1: The Basics (a $14.99 value).

There nine dvd's in the 1-year set and each has four lessons.   You can buy this set or each dvd separately.   The first of the series is  Volume 1: The Basics.   It has four separate lessons with a bonus.

Volume 1:  Art Lessons 1-4
Lesson 1:  Tools of the Trade
Lesson 2:  It All Starts With a Line
Lesson 3:  Contours & Composition
Bonus:  Chalk It Up Art

The night before I was going to introduce the program to Batman I sat down to review it myself.  I had my paper, eraser, and pencil all ready to go.   Pat talked about different types of lines and showed them all.   She then had us draw a contour line looking at an apple and not the paper.  This is easier said then done.   I happily practiced drawing an apple and then a pear without looking at my paper.   I did so-so but to Pat's point I needed to just practice.   

 Pat is very engaging and explains everything in a clear manner.  Her soft spoken tone and genuine love of art were so apparent in the videos.   I love how Pat not only explained what she was doing but showed you.    One neat point that I really enjoyed is that Pat talks a lot of different bible verses and how they relate to what she is teaching.    Art does reflect the beauty of God and His Creation.

The next day I got Batman all ready to watch the dvd.  We sat side-by-side on the living floor with our pad of paper.   Batman was pretty engrossed with Pat.  He listened intently and started drawing when she directed him to do so.   At the end of the lesson he proudly showed me his paper filled with drawings of apples and showed me his contour drawing.   He then went on to draw a lamp in the living room and even one of his toys.  He really got into it!

I really liked See The Light and made the decision to buy the rest of the dvd series!  I hope you will take a look at it and see if this Christian themed program would be a good fit for your family.   It's a great addition to any elementary age student's art curriculum.

Check out my giveaway!

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


As promised, I had to show you the volcano that we made in our Geography Co-op class on Monday.   We are using Evan-Moor Beginning Geography K-2 to study different landforms.   I purchased a super easy to use volcano kit from amazon a few months ago and it was the perfect time to use it.

We had a great discussion on how volcanos form.  Do you know the difference between magma and lava?

The kids LOVED the volcano and it was a fun class for everyone!

Make sure you check out my giveaway this week from Evan-Moor.  Check out my post below to enter.

Today I taught Batman all about density.

Density is defined as how closely packed particles are in a liquid or in an object.

First we pretended like we were going on a trip and had to pack our suitcase. We put as many clothes in the case until we couldn't fit one more thing in.   We talked about how dense (closely packed) the clothes were in the suitcase.

Now on to the fun stuff....LIQUID RAINBOWS!

This is what you'll need:

1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup blue dish soap
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup rubbing alcohol
3 plastic cups
1 quart jar or glass
red, blue, and green food coloring

Pour 1/2 cup corn syrup into a cup.  Stir in 1 drop each of red and blue food coloring.  Pour the purple corn syrup into the glass jar.   

Next, slowly pour 1/2 cup blue dish soap into the glass jar.

Pour 1/2 cup water into another cup.   Stir in 2 drops of green food coloring.  Tilt the jar and very slowly pour the green water along the inside of the jar. 

Next, slowly pour 1/2 cup olive oil into the jar.

In another cup, stir 2 drops of red food coloring into 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol.    Tilt the glass jar and very slowly pour in the rubbing alcohol.

YEAH!  How cool is this?

Liquids are made up of very tiny particles.  How tightly packed these particles are determine the overall density.   Dish soap floats on corn syrup because the soap is less dense.

The reason why we carefully poured the water in so it wouldn't mix with the soap.  What is less dense then dish soap?  The water floated on top!

Not all liquids can mix.  The oil didn't mix with the water.


Saturday, September 22, 2012


Earlier this year I was introduced to Evan-Moor products.   I had just finished my first year of homeschooling my son in kindergarten.   I took a step back to decide exactly what type of homeschool curriculum most worked for us.   I found that my son LOVES completing workbook pages but also likes a lot of hands on learning through experiments and crafts.   I love a program that is organized, easy to understand, and helps guide me every step of the way.   The more I researched Evan-Moor the more I got excited that this company was offering me what both my son and I needed.

This fall I started teaching Geography in my son's Homeschool Co-op Class. I have a class full of super smart kids ages 5-8.   I immediately decided to teach the class using Evan-Moor Beginning Geography K-2.  Based on the National Geography Standards, the 93 reproducible practice pages cover beginning map skills, landforms and bodies of water, and the continents and oceans.  

Class has been so much fun!   I've been really impressed with how all of the  children have responded to this book.  My son actually wanted to do his geography homework as soon as he got home from class.   Just last week he and his classmates made a map grid and reviewed map keys in an assortment of different maps.    On Monday we will learn about landforms and bodies of water.   Wait until the kids find out that we are going to watch a mock volcano erupt!  Pictures to follow I promise on Wednesday!     

Evan-Moor offers materials that are aligned with current standards and the best educational practices.   Best of all they are on target with student interests and motivations. They offer books on geography, spelling, math, history pockets, and so much more!  Check them out!

Ready to win???
Evan-Moor is offering Beginning Geography K-2 (a $15.99 value) to one lucky follower of Susie Homeschooler!

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Thursday, September 20, 2012


File folder games are great!   They're cheap to make and help add a new dimension to your teaching style.   I used them all throughout kindergarten with Batman and he really enjoyed doing them.   I picked up First Grade File Folder Games at Amazon at a great price.   These booklets are available in different grade levels.

What you'll need:
file folders
file folder games
ziploc bag

Simply purchase some plain manilla folders.   Make sure you have enough for how many games your booklet offers.   Mine has 17 games that offers practice in language arts and math.   On the outside of the folder I glued the directions of the game on the right-hand side.  On the left I stapled a ziploc bag and put in all the game pieces.

On the inside of the folder I glued the actual game.   This particular game is about having kids learn to put the books away on the shelves in alphabetical order.    This just happens to be something that Batman didn't yet know how to do.

Batman did fantastic and his books are all organized.    I'm on the hunt for more file folder games for sure.   These are a super motivator and provide a break when you really need it.

Check out free File folder games for more ideas and printables!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012



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Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Batman just started first grade this school year.   I wanted to add vocabulary to his daily schedule as part of his language arts program.   I didn't have to look very far for a program at all.  I chose  Evan-Moor Word A Day Grade 1.   

This program has 36 weekly units that teach 144 words.  Four new words are presented each week.   A definition, example sentence, and discussion prompts are provided for each word.  There is an end-of-week review through oral and written activities designed to reinforce student understanding.   All I know is that I'm sold!   Evan-Moor offers their Word A Day program from grades 1-6+.

I have two places in my house where I quickly jot down the "word of the day" each morning.    One is in our "classroom" and the other is the living room.   I do this so that I can remember throughout the day to talk about this word and have my son practice using it in a sentence.  

Take a look at the simple sign I made that totally goes with the decor in my living room.  Functional yet fun!

What you'll need:
cork board
decorative paper
decorative buttons

I found my supplies at Michael's.  Most everything was on sale or I used a 40% coupon.  Total cost was under $10.00.  I simply took the mirror out of the frame and cut the cork board to fit.   I printed our "word of the day" on my decorative paper and then used my pretty buttons to place on the board.   I then took paper and wrote our vocabulary word for the day.  The word was focus.

I love how this turned out and it looks perfect in my living room.  I wanted something that fit the look of my traditional living space.   This room is where my husband unwinds after work.   He now just glances over at the word and can instantly practice the vocabulary word with Batman.

Saturday, September 15, 2012



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Today we used put our new knowledge about primary and secondary colors to use and made a tie dye shirt.  This is a super fun project to you do with your child! 
This is what you will need:
a white t-shirt
2 paper plates
plastic bin
1 clothes pin
rit dyes (blue, red, yellow)
 3 squeeze bottles for dye
rubber gloves
large ziploc bag
First soak your shirt in water (not in the washing machine) and rinse out.   Lay right side down since you will then get a sharper pattern on the front of your shirt.   Place a clothes pin in the center of the shirt and start turning clockwise until you have a nice pie shape.

Now slip several rubberbands on and then turn it around and do the back section.   This keeps the shape intact.
Place your paper plate with shirt in a plastic container so you can control the mess .  Remember, these dyes stain so wear plastic gloves and old clothes!
Prepare the dyes according to the label on the box.   Fill squirt bottles at least halfway full with each color.   Divide your shirt in thirds and color each section red, blue, and yellow.   Soak your shirt good with color!   Once completed, put another paper plate over the shirt and flip over.  Remove the top paper plate.  Repeat the process of putting dye on the shirt.   When you are done simply place your shirt into a ziploc bag, seal, and wait at least 24 hours for the colors to set.
Now it's time to rinse your shirt.  Remove all of the rubberbands and throw away.   Rinse until you don't see color coming out of the shirt.  Don't be alarmed at all of the color that will wash out.  You may now wash your shirt in the normal way in a washing machine.  Do it on its own the first time!

 Batman LOVES his new shirt that he made.   I don't think there is a doubt whether he knows his primary and secondary colors now.  Batman and I quizzed each other many times on what colors primary colors make.    All primary and secondary colors can be seen in Batman's shirt.  HOW COOL!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This week in art the focus was on making sure Batman knew his primary and secondary colors.   We covered this subject in two days with two different projects.  Here is what we did on day #1:
What you'll need:
white paper
paint brush
paint (yellow, red, and blue)
paint cups or a plate
an old shirt that can get messy!
Take a white sheet of paper and draw two boxes towards the top.  Add a plus sign in the middle of the boxes and then an equals sign after the second box.   Complete this step two more times below the first line.
  •  Line 1:  Have your child paint red in the first box and yellow in the second box.   What color does red and yellow make when mixed together?  Paint it ORANGE!
  • Line 2:  Have your child paint red in the first box and blue in the second box.  What color does red and blue make when mixed together?  
    Paint it  PURPLE!  
  • Line 3:  Have your child paint yellow in the first box and blue in the second box.  What color does yellow and blue make when mixed together?  Paint it GREEN!
Now introduce your secondary colors as orange, purple, and green!

Check back tomorrow for another cool way to learn about primary and secondary colors.
Want a hint?'s something you can wear!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Today in math we talked a lot about symmetry.  We listed items that were symmetrical on our list.  I pointed out that butterflies are symmetrical on both sides.   We looked at different butterflies on the internet and saw how different each one is from the next.  Some have lots of spots while others have beautiful stripes, etc.   We started to plan a butterfly mosaic.  Enjoy!
What you'll need:
Wood board or a sturdy backing
Burlap or any fabric to cover the board
Elmers glue
Assorted beans
I first got a 12"x12" piece of thin wood at Joann's.   Unfortunately I didn't have anything that would be study enough at home to use.  I then covered it with a piece of red burlap.  I love how bright it is.
I then wrapped the burlap around the board and glued the back.   I added clips to board while the glue was drying to keep it in place.   I found that later on I needed to staple the back to keep it tight.
Batman then drew a picture of a butterfly.   He made a good attempt to keep both sides symmetrical.

We used green peas, black beans, black eyed peas, rice, lima beans, and kidney beans.
Next came the fun part...the design process.   Notice how Batman tries to make both sides look the same,  He really enjoyed mixing everything up in the middle though.
The finished product!!  
This project was so much fun and it didn't take very long to make.  Batman and I got into a great converstation about the beans we used.    Dehydration and hydration were easily explained and understood.   Batman related how our bodies need water to stay hydrated.   The list goes on and on. 
So we hit upon math, science, and art during this afternoon project. 
Hope you enjoyed this post!  Enjoy!!


Sunday, September 9, 2012


A few weeks ago my sister made tandy cake at a family gathering.   What a treat!  Worth every calorie if you must know!  If you've eaten a Tasty Kake before then you know what I'm talking about.  Soft sponge cake, creamy peanut butter, and best of all yummy chocolate spread on top.   

Grease and flour a 15 1/2 x 10 1/2x 1" jelly roll pan (a cookie sheet the same size works fine). Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the cake:
Beat 4 eggs until they're a pale lemony color
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons melted unsalted butter
Continue beating until the mixture is completely smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean). Cool for ~10 minutes and spread 1 regular sized jar of Creamy Peanut butter on the cake. If you just drop spoonfuls of it onto the warm cake and let it sit for a minute, it will melt and be really easy to spread! Put it in the fridge and let it cool completely.

Melt 10-12 ounces of good quality milk chocolate with 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil. Pour and spread the melted chocolate over the cake. Let it cool until the chocolate is slightly hardened. Slice into squares and then refrigerate until hardened. 
Special thanks to the Purse Forum for posting the recipe!

Thursday, September 6, 2012


There are pros and cons of giving tangible rewards to your child.   Who doesn't like a little extra something though?   I love a handful of m&m's after a long day like anyone else.   Many teachers in schools have reward boxes with prizes to be given out.   Students often get stickers, a new pencil, or a lunch pass to eat with the teacher as their reward.    Recognition makes people feel great!!

Each Friday Batman has a spelling test.    Last week I simply printed out a reward certificate for him to keep.    I then told him that he did a great job when he got every word correct.  He raced to his bedroom and taped it up on his bedroom door.  That door is filled with ribbons, awards, special pictures and notes.   Seeing how excited Batman got after getting his reward gave me the idea of the "Great Work" box.   I control exactly what "prizes" are put in the box and when to give them out.

Let's talk about what you need in order to make your box. 
 Here's what you need:

Plastic box
Mod podge
Paint brush
Assorted scrapbook paper and stickers

   I bought this plastic container box at Target for $6.

Next I painted on mod podge (glue) all over the areas I wanted to cover with paper.   I bought three sheets of assorted scrapbook paper at Michael's Craft Store.

I also used some paper letters that I had leftover from another craft to decorate.

My son love cars so I had to put some on his box.

The finished product!

I filled the box with things I knew my son would love.   Passes for extra play time, tv time, batman books and stickers, and a few other things.   Some items cost a few bucks but others were free.

I decided the way to earn a visit to the "Great Work" box is to earn it.   Tomorrow is Friday and it's the first time my son is able to get a prize from his box if he get's another perfect spelling test.  I think he'll be super excited!

Don't forget that Sunday, September 16th is Grandparent's Day.   Here is a cute gift for your child to make that also teaches different ways to use clay.   You can buy this fast drying clay in either white or terracotta at Target, Michael's, or Amazon.

What you need:
Paper plate
Tooth picks

Here's what to do:
Roll a ball of clay and insert your finger in the middle to create a well.   Now "pinch" the sides of the pot to make it larger as you form into a bowl.    Next, decide on how to implement different designs on your pot.  You could roll out small balls, coils, or use a toothpick to make different designs.  The possibilities are endless.

Once you get your bowl exactly like you want simply let air dry for at least two days.  I put our bowls on top of the refrigerator.

This is what the bowl looked like after drying for a few days.

Now on to the fun part...painting!!   I love how each bowl looks so different!   Batman had so much fun making coils (or snakes as he called them) and making each one unique for his grandparents.    Once dry, add some candy, paper clips, or anything else that you have on hand.

Remember, these pots are pretty sturdy but will probably break if you drop on the ground since they haven't been fired in a kiln.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

CTF Auction

Please visit Blythe over at Desperate Craftwives for her online auction to help raise awareness and raise funds for a cure for Neurofibromatosis.   She's be posting a different item each day for you to bid on.  


Each week I give my son about 10 spelling words that he needs to know.     We read a book using these words, do some workbook pages and writing to practice these words each week.  I came up with fun way to help my son remember how to spell but in a fun way.

Make you word search!!  FREE!!!

Simply type in your words, figure out the shape for your search, and print!  

This is the first time Batman has ever done a word search so I made it simple.   I  titled it "Batman's Word Search" and created the search in the shape of a square.   Listed are the ten spelling words for the week to the right along with four new vocabulary words that were the focus this week.

Have fun making your own word search for free!