Archive for the Homeschooling Category

And so ends the life of Jupiter.

Posted in Homeschooling, kids on June 21, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

Keek got Triops for her birthday about two months ago and today her beloved Jupiter followed his partner Athena into the afterlife.  They both will be dearly missed. Keek has written the following in memory of…

“Athena was grayish orange with two whiskers on one side and one on the other.  She was relaxed and calm for all her life.  She loved to play with Jupiter.  They would chase each other around the tank and dig side by side.  They would chew on the sticks in the tank together like two beavers busy at work.

Jupiter was big.  He dug almost non stop.  He loved to swim upside down just under the waters surface.  He’d do loopdy loops all around the tank and hardly ever sit still.  He had three whiskers on each side and was grayish green with an orange tint.

Now Athena and Jupiter are together again.  I love you and miss you. I will always remember you.”


Homeschooling on weekends.

Posted in Homeschooling, kids with tags , on May 16, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

I know it’s Sunday.  Most families in the school systems count the weekends as days off.  They deserve those days off.

School system families spend so much time apart from one another working under the control of some unknown, distant, superintendent clock watcher.  We, on the other hand, get to see lots of each other and can complete our work quickly with relatively few interruptions.  So school on the weekend is not a big deal. It’s not like we unplug our brains for two days.  Learning still happens whether we record it or not!

The kids have decided to have recorded school this weekend.  Which really amounts to doing some math and recording the reading they’d be doing anyway.  I think they made the decision, in part, because Dad is working this weekend.  No shift in his routine means no shift in the kids’ routine.  So we get two extra days of recorded school and “summer” comes that much sooner!

ATOS and Lexile Book ratings

Posted in books, Homeschooling, kids, Uncategorized on May 7, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

“Well, this is just too cool.” Says the sometimes over eager homeschooling mom to her cuppa tea.

At the AR Bookfinder website you can enter a book title, author and/or ISBN# to get the ATOS grade level rating.  The grade level number, like 2.5 means during the fifth month of second grade the child should be able to complete said book.  Now, I don’t think the month number is relevant and even the grade should be taken loosely but it’s a general idea and that’s what I’m after. 

Not every book is listed, which is too bad.  If you can’t find it on the AR booklist look it up, here, in the Lexile framework database. When the results come up on Lexile you get a number, like 1050.  Take that number and find it, here on this comparison chart,(page 2) to see the ATOS grade level approximation.  Again, I’m after a general idea and this list is great!

Not all books are listed in the lexile database either, so if you know of another database with this kind of information… please leave a link in the comments!

An interesting tidbit, too… books are rated differently by each country.  In the US, HP and the Sorcerer’s Stone rated 5.5 and in the UK, HP and The Philosopher’s Stone rated 6.0.  Same book, different score.

Wery wery interesting, no?

Juvenile Cedar Waxwing

Posted in Homeschooling, useless knowledge with tags , , , , on April 13, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

Discovered an unknown bird in the yard.  It appears to have fallen and died.  Had a heck of a time trying to ID it at  It was a juvenile so I kept clicking the smaller bird category.  And these guys are not supposed to be breeding in Oklahoma, they are supposed to nest far north of here.  Only whatbird has them nesting as close as Northern KS and NE.  But anyway, we finally found it’s true identity by Googling “yellow tipped tail feathers.” Once we were certain we listened to it’s song at

Here are some pictures of it’s beautiful tail feathers.  You can see in the two last photos how it’s plumage was changing to the adult colors but it hadn’t developed the red spots on the wings quite yet.  Poor birdie. 😦

You can find more information about Cedar Waxwings here:

Planting trees

Posted in gardening, Green, Homeschooling, kids with tags , , on March 29, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

Planting trees with the kids is one of the most eco green good example activities I can do.  As homeschoolers the planting and keeping of the trees teaches many important lessons.  As inhabitants of Earth we can ease the load of our carbon footprint.  And in a couple years it will make our honeybees very happy!

Today I received my ten free flowering trees from the National Arbor Day foundation.  I am now an unofficial arborist!  Yay!  The family and I planted the trees in staggered groups of two around the north and west sides of the house.  They are so very tiny.  Only a foot tall from root tip to branch top.  I do hope they thrive.

It was a mixed lot including two Sargent Crabapples,

two Eastern Redbuds,

two Goldenraintrees, 

two White Flowering Dogwoods

and two Washington Hawthorns. 

In four years I’ll have a nice floral tree garden.  🙂

Shrunken Head Project

Posted in Art, entertainment, Homeschooling, kids, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 3, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

Shrunken Heads. Big hits here after the Harry Potter shrunken bus driver head. Our shrunken heads were previously apples.  The photo below show two heads 24 hours after carving. They get delightfully hideous as days past.

We decided to wait on the lemon juice treatment until the coloring was natural. “Real” shriveled heads are not the same color as a juicy head after all!   When first carved they aren’t so gruesome.

After some time, as yet undecided, we’ll dunk them in lemon juice to halt the browning and insert cloves for eyes and cat gut (aka brown embroidery floss) sewn to the tops for hair.  All the sites I’ve checked say approx. two weeks drying time.  I’ll post pictures of the finished product then.

Read some history and pop history of the shrunken head, here.  Have fun but don’t lose your head!

Spy tech

Posted in Homeschooling, kids with tags , , , on February 28, 2010 by Pendant & Ring

Spy life has invaded.  We are *constantly* playing spy games.  I’m known only by my spy name as is Dad and the kids refer to each other as Agent ______.  I would divulge our identities but then I’d get a burn notice… LOL!