Thursday, February 28, 2013

Confessions of a Homeschooler 2013 Blog Planner Review
I'm a new member of Mosaic Reviews and to start off our team was asked to do a review on free blog planners.   I was really excited because I never even heard of a blog planner.   I eagerly searched through the list of blog planners provided to us and found the one I wanted at Confessions of a Homeschooler.

I've been a follower of Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler since I started homeschooling a few years ago.  I love her style, ideas, and her many printables and programs.   When I saw that Erica had come up with blog planner my choice was made.  Isn't it beautiful?  I love the pretty flowers and the whole design.   The calendar is done entirely in beautiful colors and makes you feel inspired to get organized just by looking at it.

This blog planner comes in two formats: a monthly post format calendar and one that offers a post layout.  This is more in list form with dates where you can fill in your details.   This planner starts with a year at a glance calendar.   It then has a page for each month that is for your notes.  There is a place for you write down your reviews/giveaways, ideas, and your monthly statistics.  There are small boxes on the calendar where you can check off the social media sites that you have posted to including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google +.   There is even a small box to check off if you've scheduled a post that day and if you have a giveaway/winner.

One thing that I still have to do is quickly bind it at my local office supply store.   This will just cost a few dollars.  The instructions were to print the front and back cover in cardstock for more durability.   I ended up doing the whole calendar on cardstock since I knew I would be using it heavily.

Did I mention this is FREE?   I've been completely inspired and my calendar is keeping me very organized.   No more racking my brain for details or searching my email for a certain one that I need.  Now I can simply have everything I need in one place.  I can also now give quicker information back to my vendors.

I have to say that I used up a lot of ink to print this in color.  It's so pretty though that I'm not complaining all that much.   I also would've liked to see a vendor information page to track in more detail information about the people I'm working with. 

Please check out Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  She is truly inspirational and has really helped me in my homeschool journey.   Homeschooling children is hard work but she looks like she does it effortlessly with four children.

Mosaic Reviews will be posting different blog planner reviews done by their review planner after March 1.   Check it out!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Are you ready for some fun?

I'm very excited to be organizing a USA Post Card Swap for all of our fellow homeschoolers.   What is this you might ask?  It's when one person from each state agrees to send out post cards from their state to every person participating.   How awesome is this?

Think of how fun it will be to see all of those post cards arrive in your mailbox.  This is a fantastic opportunity to help your child learn while having loads of fun.    Get out your map of the United States and encourage your child to find each state that a post card arrives for.   Place a star on your map for easy reference.   The learning curve on this is endless!

How do you sign up?
I will be accepting the first person in each state that emails me at   Please send me your name and address along with the name of your state in the subject line.   Once I receive all the requests I will then email out the address list to all of the participants.
If you receive an email from me directly then you are confirmed for the state you live in.   If there is enough interest we will then do a second swap.    Please email me if you're interested no later then Wednesday, March 6th.

Sorry ladies and gents but I have to grab Florida as my state.  Can't wait to send you all out a post card!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Yesterday I taught the children in my Creative Writing co-op class how to write antonym diamante poems.   This type of poem is done in the shape of a diamond.  Each line uses specific types of words like nouns, adjectives, and words ending with  -ing.  Words don't have to rhyme.

Beginning Topic
Adjective, adjective (about beginning topic)
-ing word, -ing word, -ing word (about beginning topic)
Four nouns or a phrase of words (about beginning and then ending topic)
-ing word, -ing word, -ing word (about ending topic)
Adjective, adjective (about ending topic)
Ending Topic

The children (ages 6-8) did amazing!!!!  They kept wanting to come up with more and more poems during the entire class.  Here is an example of one of their poems...

Fluffy, Soft
Meowing, Cuddling, Sprinting
Stares silently at you, barks loudly at noise
Barking, Sleeping, Sniffing
Fun, energetic

and another...

Sun, Play
Relaxing, Swimming, Tanning, 
Laying at the pool, comfortable in the house
Shivering, snowboarding, freezing
Snowman, sled

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I'm teaching Creative Writing to first and second graders in my homeschool co-op.   My goal for this class is to make writing fun and easy.  Half of the class love to write and half hate it.   Hopefully I'll have a group of happy writers each week.

The focus on the first class was learning about acrostic poems.  The kids loved this and thought it was easy.    Now it was on to writing bio poems using the packet biopeomsmadeeasy that I got free on TeacherspayTeachers. I used this simple template and had each child write the answers to the questions on the line provided.

First Name______________ 
3 Words That Describe You_____________
Lover of______________
Who is able to__________ 
Who feels______________
Who wonders___________
Who fears______________________
Who would like to________
Who dreams_____________

I first did an example on the board describing myself.
Creative, Energetic, Thoughtful
Lover of good books, chocolate, and lip gloss
Who is able to make pierogies from scratch
Who feels happy being with family
Who wonders what heaven is like
Who fears spiders and snakes
Who would like to travel the world
Who dreams of the day when there will be peace on this earth

Now it was time for the kids to do their own bio poem.  Batman wrote his and couldn't wait to read his in front of the class.   

Fun, Cool, Fast
Lover of Batman and Spiderman
Who is able to ride my bike really fast
Who feels happy
Who wonders why I can't eat lollipops for breakfast
Who fears snakes
Who would like to play
Who dreams of mommy and daddy

All of the kids did amazing and almost all wanted to get up and read their bio poem in front of the class.   I gave homework to each child to go home and write a bio poem on a fictional or non-fictional character.   Can you guess who Batman chose?  You guessed it...Batman!  =)

Next week...diamante poems.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

1st Place Winner!

I  remember a few months ago when my son asked yet again for soda to drink when we went out to eat.  I wouldn't let him have any and he didn't understand why all his friends could have it and not him.    No six year old cares about benzene, chemicals, additives, etc.   A little boy just knows something tastes good and he wants more.  I decided to try a different approach and talked to him about what happens to your teeth over time if you drank sugary, acidic drinks.      

Note...this experiment wasn't meant at all to scare Batman but to gently guide him into making healthier choices.  That includes eating plenty of fruits and vegetables instead of sugary, hydrogenated oil laden food.  Also, choosing water over sugary drinks.

I showed Batman a child appropriate clip on youtube about bad teeth and asked him if he wanted to do an experiment with teeth.  He thought it would be "cool" so I took the next step.    I asked my girlfriend if her husband (my dentist) could get me some real teeth.   I know, kind of gross but I wanted the experiment to be as authentic as possible.   He was kind enough to give me six sterilized teeth in really good condition.  All white, with no decay.

We were required to have each step of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD included in our project.  They include:
Material List
Detailed Procedure

Here goes our project.

Question:  What effect does certain drinks have on teeth over time?
Hypothesis:   Batman thought that soda (specifically pepsi) would show the most decay.
Material List:  5 teeth, 5 small containers with lids, 2 oz. each of pepsi, sports drink, orange juice, apple juice, and water, measuring cup, camera, kitchen scale.
Detailed Procedure:
1.  First Batman weighed each tooth and documented the appearance of each. I put a piece of aluminum foil on the scale for the tooth to sit on.
2.  Next he measured out 2 oz. of liquid for each container and put one tooth in.  Each container was labeled.
 3.  Each tooth sat in the liquid for 21 days at room temperature.
4.   Each tooth was then weighed again and the appearance of each tooth was documented.
 This is a picture of all of the teeth after having soaked in each liquid for 21 days.  They are in order left to right: soda, sports drink, orange juice, apple juice, and water.  
Graphs:  Batman did two graphs.  One showed the before and after weight of each tooth.  For the second graph Batman asked his friends what their favorite drink was.   
Results:  The tooth dipped in soda showed the most decay.  The weight of this tooth decreased by .44g.  

Conclusion:  Batman's hypothesis was correct that the tooth soaked in soda would show the most decay.   Proper oral hygiene is key to protecting your teeth.  

Side note:  All teeth except the one soaking in water showed decay.  The teeth soaking in soda and sports drink showed significant decay.

 Batman did a great job on his board.  He did all of the writing, coloring, and pasting.  I helped with the placement of things, and typed up the headers.   Batman had to talk to four judges and did a great job explaining his project.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Evan-Moor "Explorers of North America"
Grades 4-6+

Evan-Moor, leader in education material recently gave me the opportunity to review "History Pockets-Explorers of North America" for grades 4-6+.   Batman got a lot out of the History Pockets we did for grades 1-3 so I was excited to see what the next level was all about.   I was lucky enough to have my special helper "Wonder Woman" complete this product since she is the appropriate age for this special project.

  This book contains eleven discover pockets that feature:
*a reproducible pocket label
*a bookmark of short, fun facts about the subject
*a reference map of the voyage(s) made by the explorer
*a fact sheet of background information for teacher and students
*arts and crafts projects
*writing activities

The book includes the following pockets:
*Introduction to Explorers of North America
*Christopher Columbus
*John Cabot
*Hernando Cortes
*Jacques Cartier
*Sir Francis Drake
*Henry Hudson
*Daniel Boone
*James Cook
*Lewis and Clark
*John Wesley Powell

“I really, really liked the Daniel Boone History Pocket that we did because their were lots of hands on arts and crafts such as coloring, pasting and creating poems.  At times I really had to think but that is fine with me because I enjoy a challenge.  Thank you.”
~ Wonder Woman
“As a home educator, I truly appreciate the fun-aspect of the Evan-Moor History Pockets.  The directions are clear, the materials are easy to assemble and within a short time, my child can see the fruit of her labor.  The pages come to life when colored with colored pencils or crayons, and the homemade pockets are great to store the beautifully illustrated unit study in as a keepsake to enjoy.  The amount of projects in Explorers of North America Grades 4-6 allowed us to choose what we wanted to cover based on our other studies.  With eleven projects to choose from, we were well-provided with great lessons and fun, fast facts.  Though we could have completed the project in one day, we chose to take our time throughout the week and really talk about the fast facts and the ‘about’ page which taught us a lot about Daniel Boone’s life and adventures, while the limerick activity gave us some new knowledge in Language Arts.  Evan-Moor has really captured a great niche with the History Pockets – we plan to start on the other ten projects right away!” -Wonder Woman's mom

Now is your chance to win a free copy of Evan-Moor "Explorers of North America" for grades 4-6+ (a $15.99 value)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

However, all opinions expressed on Confessions of a Homeschooler are solely my own, and I only suggest products Disclaimer: I received a copy of Evan-Moor "Explorers of North America" in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions presented herein are my own.  
hat I believe will be helpful to my 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I recently started teaching a Creative Writing class at my homeschool co-op for 6-8 year olds.   Writing hasn't been a favorite subject for Batman and I was hoping to start fresh with this class.  I created a syllabus that I think is lots of fun and already I'm seeing a lot of positive responses from my students.

The first week we had fun learning about acrostic poems.   Anyone can do this in a matter of minutes so it's great for those students who need a bit of a push to get them to write.    All you do is take a word and write the letters of the word vertically on a sheet of paper.  Now think of a word or sentence that starts with that specific letter.   

In honor of Valentine's Day I found pretty "love" paper so your child can write an acrostic poem.   Here is my son's version:

                            Opening all my Valentine's
                       Visits to the park are fun
                     Eating yummy cookies

Practice writing acrostic poems using your name, the seasons, food, holidays, and so much more.   Check out pinterest for some great printables!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I use a lot of Evan-Moor curriculum when I teach Batman and so do a lot of my friends.   It's user friendly, has a great variety of subjects to choose from, and it's correlated to core standards.  How easy is that?    Evan-Moor has yet another learning opportunity for your child called "Interactive Courseware" .

Powered by
Portals is a free learning platform that allows you to launch your Evan-Moor interactive courseware.  It provides a place where, much like itunes, educators can store and access all of their Evan-Moor courseware.   Students are able to work independently while completing interactive lessons.  
Portals comes with a free trial of every one of Evan-Moor's interactive apps.  That's over 150 interactive lessons that you can simply download and use.   If you decide to purchase your app, it will automatically be added to your Portals library where you can easily manage your lessons in one spot. 

Writing is one subject that wasn't Batman's favorite.   Now that he's in first grade I knew this was one area that I was really going to have to work intently on with him.    I had Batman  work on "Super Sentence Maker".
This courseware was broken down into three sections: builders, starters, and creators.

In the "builders" section Batman had to build a sentence broken down in three main areas: describing word, who or what, and did what.
I would then save the sentence so we could talk about it.   I sometimes would have him point out the noun or verb as an extra since we were also working on that in school.

In the "starters" section Batman would have to pick sentence and add a describing word for it.   He could also use a machine to generate a sentence answering where, when, what, etc.  This was a great way for him to learn about drawing out his sentence.  

In the "creators" section, Batman was given a sentence but had to make changes to it.   That included coming up with a new who, what, where, and when.

I noticed that Batman started writing using more descriptive words which made for better sentences.   This learning platform also had three levels to it so he could easily move on to the next level once he was ready.

I really like the "Super Sentence Maker" and have been impressed with the growth Batman has shown in his writing.  I was encouraged enough that I started teaching creative writing in my homeschool co-op this term.    I couldn't believe it when Batman told me that writing is his favorite class!!!!

Download Portals today and receive a free trial of every Evan-Moor app.
Choose from subjects such as spelling, geography, science, math, and more! Great for all age groups and learning levels!