Thursday, July 30, 2009

Clay Day

At a local craft store, my girls cashed in on a 40% off coupon, wrapped their arms around 7 pounds of clay and hurried home to the kitchen table. Clay creations came alive. Our table was covered in gray dust. We used several resources to learn more.

Fun With Modeling Clay by Barbara Reid
Mudworks: Creative Clay, Dough, and Modeling Experiences by MaryAnn F. Kohl

Later, our oldest daughter made some cooked playdough, a huge hit in our home. She used the recipe I used when I taught preschool, emptied all the ingredients into a medium cooking pot and cooked on medium heat until the dough formed a ball. The old recipe was hand-written on a piece of scrap paper and given to me by a mentor teacher. No idea where the teacher found it.
  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. salt
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. cream of tartar

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What Have You Been Doing?

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last post. What have you been doing, you ask?

Our summer started with a reunion in PA to celebrate my parent's 50th Anniversary. We came home, unpacked, and welcomed families into our home for annual evaluations. We love this time of year as we assess the progress of home educated children and encourage the mommas (mostly, though we did have one dad this year). Evals were a large part of our day, the other part, well Mike sent me off to write while he read aloud to the girls. I sat at the computer, writing and enjoying the giggles and laughs pouring from the living room.

Between June 16 and July 22 I polished the manuscript of my newest book, Celebrate High School: Finish With Excellence. The contents reflect the most commonly asked questions I've been asked, answered with the most helpful information we've discovered during our 6 years of high schooling. I added wisdom and practical helps I'd gathered and tweeked. Celebrate High School is packed with planning tips, record-keeping details, graduation and scholarship requirements, high school literature lists, sample course titles, NCAA guidelines, easy-to-follow instructions for writing transcripts, course descriptions and other valuable supporting documents, and Internet links for many high school-related topics. Sample letters and documents accompany explanations. The feedback I've received so far has been very positive. I am thrilled Celebrate High School has been helpful to many in just the first week of publication.

As I polished Celebrate High School, I prepared for a local high schooling event, Finish Well. Finish Well was a half-day conference Meredith Curtis, Virginia Knowles and I organized for families who were walking, or intended to walk, the high school journey. Held July 25, it was an event we hope to repeat in the Spring.

This week Mike is serving in the DR and Josh is spending week two in Mexico building water purifiers for the people of the Brickyard. When Mike returns, we will continue with two more weeks of evals before Mike heads back to school.

And so, you read what has kept me from blogging. It has been a productive summer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

To the Puddles

Rain poured. Rain poured. One solid week of on and off rain. Our outside time was limited. But, our girls were ecstatic. Rain meant puddles. Puddles meant...tadpoles! When the sun peeked through the clouds, to the puddles we went, fish net and small buckets in hand, ready for one of life's most adventurous events, tadpole-catching.

The first round of tadpoles made their way back home, to our home, that is. Dad dug out the 10 gallon tank from the garage. Swoosh! In went the tadpoles. Back went the children, to the puddles. The second round of tadpoles made their way to their new home. Swoosh! In went the second batch of tadpoles. You could almost hear the tadpole party leaping from the 10 gallon tank on our porch. The tadpoles had a new home with new friends and had been saved from being baked on the street.

So, for the last week we have observed tadpoles grow legs, shed their tails and hop out of the tank. It has been a week of jubilation, a week of excitement. Ahhh, if we could have such joy about the world around us, a joy that will send us back to the puddles next spring.

Raising tadpoles:

Reading about tadpoles:
From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer
From Tadpole to Frog by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The story has ended. My last blog, which took place at the end of our school year just days before our vacation, shared the beginning of our collage story. It was a story that began with painted papers intended to be cut into geometric shapes to create a beach scene. The idea was not our original idea, it was an idea we wowed over earlier in the month while reading the book I Love Collage! (you can read about it in one of my earlier blogs). Anyway, back to our beach collage.

After the painted papers dried, we cut out the shapes (yes, a math lesson) and created our scene. The girls helped one another place their shapes and re-cut new ones. In the end we had 4 amazing pictures, each completed at the developmental level of the artist.

I know it has been a long time, over a month, since I last sat to tell the story. I appreciate your patience and hope the anticipation built as you awaited the ending.