Coffee with Me

Friday’s Homeschool Feature – Science Jim February 19, 2010

Filed under: Homeschooling — Melissa @ 7:37 pm

I’m very pleased to link up with Mandy this week for her Friday’s Homeschool Feature!! Thanks for doing this, Mandy. I look forward to see what other homeschool features get posted.

This past week Samantha and Matthew participated in an online science class.

Science Jim has series of classes that are held weekly for $5 per week (or so). These particular ones are $5 per week. I found out about these classes and signed up through CurrClick Curriculum.

This current series is based on what is happening in the Winter Olympics. The first week was gravity and this week was on speed. I think next week is friction. You can jump in for any week though. Science Jim uses DimDim for his classes. You can see him on the bottom left here. In the middle is where he shows pictures and other media for the class.

On the right is a chat box where students can ask questions and also answer his questions. Out of 5, I rate this class a 4. It started out slow but got very interesting. The kids enjoyed his real-life experiments that he was doing. Plus he gave them ideas of experiments to try themselves (which Matthew did do with his Legos).

Another reason to mark it less than 5 is because of the chat feature. It is wonderful that the kids can ask questions and he can answer them right away. However, even though Science Jim reminded the children to not “goof off” or “get silly” in the chat box, many students still did. This is distracting to others that are watching as the chat box keeps moving. Plus Science Jim is trying to keep an eye on the chat box so that he can answer questions. I was disappointed that so many children – homeschooled children! – were doing that.

All in all, it was great…something different to do in their week…and something to look forward to each week. We’ll be finishing this series out for sure.


History of the Horse – Bookshelves Part 4 February 4, 2010

Filed under: Homeschooling — Melissa @ 12:00 pm

I do try to include my children somewhat in the planning of their school year. If they don’t like a subject, we talk about their reasons and I try to determine if it’s just a general dislike or whether it’s the curriculum that stinks for that child!

I had a different plan for literature this year. I had been acquiring many of the Veritas Press literature guides and was going to have Samantha work through them. She asked me about doing something with horses and I agreed to change everything! We found this wonderful literature study through Beautiful Feet Books.

History of the Horse has been a great choice for Samantha’s literature program this year. These books are kept on the top shelf, 2nd from the left, cubbie. As I talked about in a previous post Sam has a lot of literature choices in her days, but a wonderful curriculum is found in this small paperback handbook.

A sample lesson:
1. Read chapters 3 and 4 of King of the Wind.
2. Color and paste the map of Morocco in student notebook.
3. Why was camel milk better for foals than mares milk?
4. In the notebook, record Job 39:19-25. These verse describe just how the Arabian reacts when it hears the trumpet sounding war.

Another lesson:
1. Read chapters 34 and 35 of Black Beauty.
2. Look up the Crimean War in an encyclopedia and do some research on the use of cavalry during this war.

The books used in this study:
King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry
Justin Morgan Had a Horse by Marguerite Henry
Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
Brighty of the Grand Canyon by Marguerite Henry
Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West by Marguerite Henry
Black Stallion by Walter Farley
Album of Horses by Marguerite Henry
Handbook of Horses by Elwyn H. Edwards
How to Draw 50 Horses by Lee J. Ames
Horses of the World Card Game

Recommended videos:
Black Beauty
Justin Morgan
Black Stallion

Samantha has had only good things to say about doing this literature study and we look forward to using more Beautiful Feet products in the future. I have my eye on History of Science and History of Classical Music.


Tablecloths and Chair Covers February 1, 2010

Filed under: Base Living and 29 Palms,Home Organization,Homeschooling — Melissa @ 10:15 pm

I was so excited to be inside a fabric store again! We live in a small town and when I go to the “city” to shop, I don’t think about fabric. I think about CostCo, Target, Borders, Kohls. Necessities. But the last time I was in the city on a field trip with the kids I thought about Joann Fabrics. Oh how I wanted to get some fabric. I was starting to feel inspired to finish this dining room/living room of mine. I have no curtains! No cute pillows! It is time.

After our field trip, I took the kids and our friends and headed to Joann Fabrics. The smell. The colors. The feel of the fabric. Cotton only, please!   I was loving it!

Then last Friday I had several women over and we sewed all afternoon. Talked. Drank coffee. And sewed. It was such a fabulous time we decided to do it once a month.

And during that time I got a tablecloth, 5 chair covers, and a pillow cover made. We won’t talk too much on how I messed up slightly. Okay, I’ll share a little bit. My last tablecloth was gold on top and green around the bottom and my chair covers were green. I loved them. I’ve had them for years. I never did make more. While I was at the store, I forgot what I did. So now I have red on top, gold around the bottom, and red chair covers. It’s a lot of red. BUT. I’ve decided to make the opposite in another tablecloth and more chair covers and now I’ll have 2 sets! See. Really. It’s genius.

Jaime making her daughter a jean skirt out of an old pair of jeans.

Heidi sewing on the cutest felt flowers onto the jean skirt that she made her daughter out of an old pair of jeans.

Kristen showing off her fun coffee making skills on my Keurig (Don’t know what that is? Come back Friday!).

Tina on the phone. Again. Tina?? Tina??? Don’t you want to sew???

There’s Tina with her finished pillow cover! It was her first time sewing and I think we have her hooked.

Almost done with the tablecloth!  And yes, Tina and I have the same gold fabric, picked out separately!!  Yes, my pictures are all messed up on the small bookshelf.  Yes, I fix them.  And then?  The little girls come and “play” with their daddy.  🙂   I’m glad you can’t see my desk that is under that sewing basket.

I realized I didn’t have a picture of Shannan. Look at the right side of the picture. You can barely make her out!  But you can see my homeschool bookshelves back there.

There’s a close up…as good as it gets! Shannan worked on her living room curtains. Then she listened as Heidi told Jaime how to make the jean skirt. She went home and made one and showed it to us a couple days later. Very cute!! Her daughter is going to love it!

My finished tablecloth and chair covers.  How I love them.  I can’t wait to sew some more!

This post is linked to A Soft Place to Land’s DIY Day. Check it out for over 300 other great DIY projects!

I also linked up with Toot Your Horn Tuesday at Silly Little Sparrow.


Sam’s Books – Bookshelves Part 3

Filed under: Homeschooling — Melissa @ 3:00 am

This is a continuation from this post about my homeschool bookshelves.

Middle column, second row down is Samantha’s cubbie. It is the place she keeps all her schoolbooks when they’re not in use.

She doesn’t have very many books in there right now because she is now doing most of her school work in the study. Our oldest daughter moved out in September and we turned her room into a guest room/study. We moved in a couple bookshelves, a small computer desk, and Roy’s college stuff. Now Samantha (and Roy) have a quiet room to go and do their studies. We also put our old computer in there and Samantha uses that for her math.

Here’s a list of her curriculum, most of which is normally on that shelf:

Bible – She reads a couple chapters every day, choosing which book of the Bible she wants to work through. Starting tomorrow she’s going to do the same Bible reading plan as me.

MathTeaching Textbooks

ScienceApologia’s Elementary Series – Zoology 2 Swimming Creatures of the 5th Day

LiteratureHistory of the Horse from Beautiful Feet

HistoryExplorers to 1815 from Veritas Press.

EnglishBob Jones

VocabularyWord Wisdom from Zaner-Bloser (also where I get my handwriting curriculum for the younger children)

SpellingSequential Spelling

ArtArtistic Pursuits (though she needs the next book!)

And that is Sam’s Cubbie!


Sam’s Readers – Bookshelves Part 2 January 28, 2010

Filed under: Homeschooling — Melissa @ 8:30 am


Yesterday I shared you with my homeschool bookshelves. This is the first post in a series that will take you through each cubbie.

We’re going to start in the top middle. That’s Sam’s cubbie for her readers. These are books that she is allowed to read any time during the week. One thing I try to focus on with the children is giving them good literature to read. She has a lot of fun books that are in her room. She loves mysteries and has a lot of those. During the week, though, she is only allowed to read a history book or one of the readers on this shelf.

Some of the books are
Treasure Island
Secret Garden
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Scarlet Letter
The Moffats
Gulliver’s Travels
Anne of Green Gables
The Adventures of Robin Hood
Robinson Crusoe

Currently these books are not part of her literature curriculum. She has a separate curriculum for that. These books are just the ones that I want her to read to encourage her to read good literature.


Bible Reading Plan January 27, 2010

Filed under: Family,Homeschooling — Melissa @ 1:00 am

I have a few different plans saved in my bookmark. A friend even mailed me a little booklet of a nice one that has “catch up days.” It’s from Grace and Truth Books.

But today I came across this awesome plan. I love that each day is reading from just ONE book. As soon as I saw the plan it dawned on me what I didn’t like about trying to follow other plans – I don’t like the skipping around each day. I love that with this plan I can just focus on that one book for that day.

Thanks to Ann at Heart of the Matter Online for sharing that with us. I’ve printed one out for myself and Samantha.


Homeschool Bookshelves January 26, 2010

Filed under: Home Organization,Homeschooling — Melissa @ 11:45 pm

I’m posting this for Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family.

I love my Ikea bookshelf! We got this a few years ago initially to be in the girls bedroom. They used it for toys, clothes, books, and more. But after our move, the bedroom arrangements are different, and the girls have more space now. So we decided to use the bookshelf in our main room where we could store homeschool items at our fingertips.

I love having the books in separate cubbies, with labels, to make easier to find a book on a topic that we’re discussing. In future posts, I’m going to share more about the books in each section. The kids each have a cubbie with their specific books for their schooling.

I realize that each shelf isn’t full. It’s not like the other bookshelves in my house, that are crammed to overflowing. I wanted these shelves to be easily accessible. The kids know what each cubbie is for and it makes it a bit easier for even my youngest children to return resources to the shelves. This is what works for us!