Thursday, May 31, 2012

Prime Numbers

What's Schoolin'?

Recently youngest dd and I did one of my favorite math lessons.  It's a hands-on way to teach prime numbers.

Sure, you could teach prime and composite numbers simply by defining prime numbers as: "A Prime Number can be divided evenly only by 1 or itself.  And it must be a whole number greater than 1." ]

But what does that mean to a child??

Here are the steps I use to teach prime numbers:

1.  The child uses some kind of marker (I strongly prefer translucent chips because you can see the numbers underneath - I believe mine are from Learning Resources) to physically cover up the multiples of numbers on a hundred board.  They start with the 2s and cover up all of the multiples of 2s (NOT including 2 or the number of the times table that they are doing).  Then they do the same for the 3s, leaving the previously placed chips.  And so on until they do the 10s.  Dd said, "We don't have to do the tens because they are already covered," since she can swiftly see that they are already covered by then.  At this point I give the name and definition of prime/composite numbers.  Sorry the photo is fuzzy but it gives you the idea.

You can find a hundred board like THIS for about $1-ish at teacher supply stores or Mardel.  Or there are many other styles that are more durable like THESE.

2. To self-correct I gave dd a list of prime numbers that I had printed off the net.  She went through and checked her chip placement to make sure all the primes were NOT covered.  Then she went back through again to make sure all of her blank ones were prime numbers.  So, she checked all those covered with chips and uncovered (I noticed that only checking it one way was leaving a few composite numbers uncovered so I suggested the other check as well).  She self-corrected without me.

Here are a few links that list the prime numbers only.  I don't see any like the one I had in my folder (in 2 columns and very easy to read) but I hope these will help.  I used a list that ONLY had primes on it so as not to make it too cluttered for a control. (scroll down for the list)

3.  Using her hundreds board as the self-correcting material this time, she circled all of the prime numbers on a printed hundreds chart in the color of her choice (all the same color).  She then chose a different color and lightly colored over the composite numbers.  She was using map pencils for this part.

4. She then cut out the hundreds chart and put in in her Math Notebook with a heading of Prime Numbers We use quadrille, or graph paper, notebooks.  HERE are some if you can't find them locally.  Underneath that she listed the prime numbers in column form.  And then... she took a break from school and puppy responsibilities to play with Polly Pockets in the doll house :).


What's Cookin'?

Nothing with excitiotoxins, if I can help it!  Here is an old, but excellent, book:

Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills

I read it years ago in the middle of bad neurolyme so I don't remember details to explain it.  However, I remember it was clear, well-written, and easy to understand.  My library had it - maybe yours does too :).  This is one of the main reasons that I avoid giving my children any MSG (which is cleverly hidden by processed food makers in their labels).  The other reason is that I get MSG-headaches.  The other day I hadn't even left the restaurant yet before it hit me!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Free Online Classics ~ Sourdough

What's Schoolin'?

 Here is a website with free clipart. I was looking for images of Texas explorers and discovered this treasure.

Free online books: great for literature studies, reading or re-reading the classics, or just for fun.  They have kindle versions so you can upload these classics for free:


Cultured Applesauce:

There are some good recipe's at Jen's weekly menu (lara bars, liver pate, and more):

What's Cookin'?

I finally got my sourdough culture going and made a triple batch yesterday (enough for 6 loaves).  I baked 3 loaves, 1 batch of rolls (just divided and shaped into rolls - placed far apart on parchment paper on a pizza pan), 1 batch of 'hot dog' or sandwich rolls (rolled into shape and put side by side in a 9x9 greased pan), and 1 batch of something like a cinnamon twist for Sunday breakfast today (added 6 tablespoons rapadura, 2 teaspoons cinnamon and several shakes of ground cloves; rolled snakes, rolled those in powdered sugar (from rapadura), and twisted it back on itself.  I put these in a greased glass baking dish).  I baked all of these at 350F for 30 minutes; rotated; and baked for about 15 more minutes.

If you have a basic bread recipe that you like, I hope this inspires you to branch out and be creative with it!

I am using my Desem Whole Grain Sourdough Starter from Cultures for Health.  I'm still feeling my way regarding a schedule so I can put it up for a week.  I found that an empty gallon pail from Tropical Traditions coconut oil makes a great bread bucket :).

~ There are a bunch of awesome Real Food sales going on!  These are good until June 1st:

I can't decide on the kids or teens version of the Real Food Nutrition and Health book.  I plan on using it as a "structured" course for health and nutrition for dc.  They are on sale for $14.95 which is a decent price for homeschooling/teaching materials.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cheese Wheat Crackers ~ Montessori Books on Sale at Amazon

What's Cookin'?

Cheese Wheat Crackers:

I could give you a recipe but I would rather give you an approach :).  Take your favorite biscuit recipe, leave out any leavening, add a big handful of shredded cheddar (or your favorite hard cheese), roll out between parchment paper, score with a pizza cutter into squares, and bake uncovered on the parchment paper!  Ta-da!


~ I use a soaked wheat recipe for biscuits using all white whole wheat.  I only made a 1/2 batch of the biscuit recipe (without the leavening)  and then only 1/2 of that fit on my bigger flat pan at a time - so it was 2 batches of crackers for a 1/2 batch of biscuit dough (Jelly roll pan??  Why on Earth are they called that, anyway?).  It was basically one stick of softened butter, 2 cups of flour, 1 cup of cultured buttermilk, and salt to taste.  I left this to soak all day.

~  With my oven I had to bake them about 15 minutes and then I flipped them over for another 10-15 minutes so they would cook evenly on both sides.

~  I like my crackers on the crispy side so I then turned off the oven and left all of the crackers in it overnight since some were still a little bready.  As it turns out all 3 dc told me the next day that they prefer soft crackers - good thing they weren't as snap-crisp as *I* like them :).

~  For snack I drained about 1/2 C of homemade yogurt in a jar covered with unbleached muslin for about an hour or so.  Then I just scraped out the soft cream cheese from the muslin "strainer" and added salt for a cracker spread.  Dc had crackers, cream cheese spread, and orange for morning snack.

What's Schoolin'?

I happened to find these Montessori books on sale right now on Amazon and thought I would pass it along...  Happy shopping!

 Teach Me to Do it Myself: Montessori Activities for You and Your child (40% off):

Teaching Montessori in the Home: The Pre-School Years (26% off):

 How to Raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way (32% off):

Montessori: The Science Behind the Genius (31% off):

Montessori from the Start: The child at Home, from Birth to Age Three (32% off):

Montessori Today: A Comprehensive Approach to Education from Birth to Adulthood (22% off):

 Basic Montessori: Learning Activities for Under-Fives (33% off):

Montessori: A Modern Approach (22% off):

Maria Montessori: Her Life and Work (39% off):

Montessori in the Classroom: A Teacher's Account of How children Really Learn (37% off):

Memorial Day Sales

These are just a few sales I've come across this week and wanted to pass along.  I won't be able to take advantage of any at this time but hope it helps some of you who are needing some of these items.

~ Montessori Outlet (10% off):

~ This garden hose filter that I mentioned is on sale for $29.95 through Monday:

~ This was in my inbox.  Amazon has some Memorial Day sales in the electronics department.  I bet they have sales in other departments also...
Click on this link:
Amazon Memorial Day Sales in Electronics

~ This isn't for Memorial Day but Tropical Traditions' all-purpose cleaner is 31% off at $5.50.

Tropical Traditions Weekly Sales

~ 100% Pure has free shipping with no minimum through Monday.  Wow, this would be a great time to get that lipstick I found...

~ There are some sales listed here:

~ This starter kit for fossils is too good to pass up! It's 60% off and I don't think I could do any better by hunting for individual stones in stores:

This is not related to sales but it caught my eye because youngest is dog crazy. I can see her adapting one of our stepping stone kits to this:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Georgia History

What's Cookin'?

Youngest dd made homemade Oreos from scratch as a surprise yesterday.  Wow.  I got kicked out of the kitchen and only came in to help her with the hand mixer a few times (on the promise that I would not look at the recipe or what I was mixing ;) ).  She's 10 and I'm thrilled that she can (literally) think outside of the box and realizes that she can make processed food with trans fats and food additives at home with healthy ingredients.  This is a treat and it wouldn't be healthy to eat that much sugar every day, but I sure didn't want to discourage her efforts.  And of course, with the glass of milk it can sort of, kind of, peripherally, be considered a healthy snack (!).

Here is the link that she used and we happened to have all of the ingredients on-hand.  She used homemade powdered sugar (made from rapadura), palm shortening (NON trans fat), free range egg, rapadura for the sugar, real vanilla, and Rumford Aluminum Free Baking Powder.


What's Schoolin'?

As I was sending a post to a homeschool group with some links for Georgia history (the US state Georgia, not the country Georgia) I thought I would share it here just in case some of my dear loyal readers are in Georgia.

Here are some lesson links, but beware of Mr. Donn's... It's easy to get lost in his website because there is so much good stuff!

Here are some Georgia history books on Amazon:


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gottatries and Free Online Literature Units

What's Cookin'?

Fermented Orange Juice:

Fermented Beet and Carrot Drink [Gajar ki Kanji]

I'm determined to try beef liver pate when I can get some liver.  This uses chicken liver.  I'm wondering if it would have a milder flavor.  I have emotional issues with liver!  Seriously! [It would be another long, drawn-out rambling story of my childhood, I'm afraid :).]

Raw Strawberry Thumbprint cookies:

Mexican Style Lasagna (I usually have all of these ingredients handy and could probably substitute chicken I just put in the freezer for the beef):

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole (I just ordered 5 lbs of organic potatoes from Azure and we have chicken so this will be perfect for a change in pace):

Baked Beans and Rice.  We've been eating a LOT of beans and rice lately.  This would be a treat although I'll probably cut the sugar in have or just use the molasses.

Creamed Spinach (with cream and cheese):

Overnight Blueberry Baked Oatmeal:

Strawberry Refrigerator Oatmeal (use already soaked and dehydrated oats for this)(yogurt, milk, berries):

Sugar Snap Peas Pasta Salad (great for lunch!):

Raw Lemon "Cream" Bars (nuts, lemon juice, coconut oil):

Mango Melon Smoothie (with yogurt)(I think this would make a good popsicle also!):

Sweet Potato Zucchini Kugel (looks great - I love these 2 veggies):

***How to make fresh pasta.  Making homemade pasta is on my radar... after I get cottage cheese and mozzarella down:

What's Green?

Another healthy lipstick :).  These use food pigments!

What's Schoolin'?

This site has extensive titles and literature lessons for all ages.  I used it for Animal Farm somewhat.

This site has some wonderful literature units.  I used this complete one for Animal Farm.  It has before, during, and after reading activities.

These are some units I plan on using from that site:


Canterbury Tales:

The Metamorphosis:

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich:

Where the Red Fern Grows:

There is so much more there!

Home Schooling Books on Amazon:
Click here for titles available on Amazon

SAT Prep ~ Garden Hose Filter (who knew??)

What's Schoolin'?

Right Start Math Card Game Set on Sale:

If you use Right Start, this set is on sale for $50 (usually $78):

SAT Preparation:

~ Here is a SAT Prep book that was recommended on one of the loops.  For the cost (and 2 children using it) I think it's worth the $13 (41% off):

~ You can get the SAT prep with a DVD at College Board for $32 here:

~ Ah!  I just found the same one with the DVD for much less here (2012 copyright)($19; 43% off).  I ended up getting my copy at the book fair at the Rainbow Resource booth.

~ Here is some free practice on the College Board website.  There is also a place to get recommendations from them for your studies.  If you've taken the PSAT (which mine will take in Oct) then you can get personalized study plan (cool!):

~ Here is an online SAT Quick Test Prep course through Homeschooling Connections for this summer session ($30):

~ This was in a newsletter from Gravitas Publications that puts out the Real Science 4 Kids curriculum.  It's a free download:

What's Cookin?

We're eating a lot of chicken lately (although we're down to our last few broilers in the freezer :( ) so I was thrilled to see these 4 chicken salad recipes:

Cilantro Lime Pesto Black Bean Burritos:

Apple Ginger Smoothie:

Whole Wheat Crackers.  I'm constantly on the look-out for cracker recipes since I don't buy them at the store (well... rarely.  When I do they are usually Jacob's Cream Crackers because they are inexpensive at Big Lots and have plain simple ingredients):

What's Green?

In our previous house I had several small raised garden beds and was finally getting the hang of it.  One of my concerns with my organic garden was the garden hose or even the water itself.  One thing I had considered was a hose like the ones used for RVs but that wouldn't solve the water issue or water from a rain barrel that caught water from the roof.  I had no idea that there were garden hose filters until Kelly the Kitchen Kop had a recent giveaway for one.

That made me look around some more and I found quite a few options:
Click here to see more garden hose filter options

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Whatchagot Stew

The book Whatchagot Stew by Patrick McManus is my husband's favorite cookbook.  I'm not sure how much he's cooked out of it, but it's a fun read for an outdoorsy, witty sorta guy.  McManus happens to be one of dh's favorite leisure authors as well.  Unfortunately, the cookbook was stashed behind dh's snack box (dc and I don't get near that stuff full of yucky noxious ingredients!).  Something spilled on the counter and pooled back there, ruining the book :(.  Now it's on my Amazon wishlist so I can replace it for him.  I tore out his mother's inscription before dumping the moldy book.

Today we're having our version of whatchagot stew.  I did go ahead and buy 1 sweet potato and 2 organic potatoes in anticipation of stew.  Other than that I dug out the last wobbly organic carrots and that tail end of the wilty organic celery - you know, the white stalks that nobody wants to eat?  Organic celery isn't cheap and I didn't want to throw a single rib out.  The carrots are less than $1 but still... no wasting if I can help it.

Normally I would use our grass-fed stew meat but, although they are holding some for me, I haven't been able to pick it up.  I am compromising and using some stew meat my mom had in her freezer that she stashed in my freezer bag as I was leaving the other day.  At some point(s) in life you just say... we gotta eat!  It's not ideal but we're hungry!  So, to make this even better use some grass-fed beef - hopefully organic so you know it's not cloned (seriously, they are already releasing cloned meat into the market without labeling).

Once the meat and veggies were settled in the crockpot I added some spices.  Again, it begs the question:  Whatchagot?  I put in Real Salt , pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, a dash of curry, a dash of ginger, and a sprig from our rosemary sprout.  Oh, I also added a dash of Tamari (*fermented* organic soy sauce) to the meat before I put in the chopped veggies.

I hope this inspires you to dig around your fridge, grab those not-so-appealing veggies, and make a whatchagot stew of your own creation!


[The above is part of Kelly's Real Food Wednesday:

Also part of Allergy Free Wednesdays:

Okay, so this has nothing to do with anything!  This is a guinea hen that lives at a gas station on the way to my mom's house.  We look for her every time we stop for gas.  She'll go right up to your car door and doesn't balk at people.  Guineas aren't known for their intelligence and I'm always surprised and glad to see her!  I took it with my archaic phone so it's not the best photo.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Homeschool Book Fair (Part 1)(Hank the Cowdog)

What's Cookin'?

It's middle dd's turn to make up the menu using the food that we already have on hand.  It's a real life "Food Challenge" like the 4-H contest or "Chopped" on Food Network :).  Last night it was simply beans and rice tacos on corn tortillas since we needed to go somewhere after dinner.  I've been getting Buenatural organic corn tortillas and they haven't bothered me.  The ingredients say 'trace of lime' so they must be soaked and that's why I can tolerate them.

Youngest dd has  kicked me out of the kitchen this morning so she can make a surprise breakfast.  I just heard the oven open and can't wait to see what she's concocted...

2 quick Gottatries before I lose the links:

Mexican Hamburger Soup:

Chicken and Spinach Breakfast Sausage (using ground chicken):

What's Schoolin'?

Before I get into my main topic today... let me just tell you how much I love reading lists :).  I have an entire binder just dedicated to reading lists.  In fact, in big bold letters on the spine it reads, you guessed it, "Reading Lists" - on an orange strip of background paper so it stands out even more.  That binder is bulging!

Before I start yet another "Reading List Vol 2" binder I need to cull those lists which dc have way outgrown and, honestly, didn't need as much as I thought.  I'm thinking of the Fountas and Pinnell reading level list of early readers and guides like that.  There are also suggested ages/grades for children's classics in there which I could move to youngest's portfolio with titles checked off.  That would clear room for... new reading lists!

Here's a link for fellow reading list aficionados.  I can't wait to dive in and dig around the list of lists!

Homeschool Book Fair

I recently got back from a 2-day homeschool book fair.  Dc got to spend some time with my mom ("Ita") and I got to spend some time focusing on school-ish ideas, plans, and materials (and got to spend 5 minutes here and there with my dear, dear friend that I miss so badly!).  Right now I'm jazzed, overwhelmed, intimidated, and renewed.

Jazzed just because :).  I love conferences - especially the exhibit hall!  I went to a few sessions that had to deal with preparing for college admission.

This leads into feeling overwhelmed.  I miss the simple old days when my olders were youngers!!  It feels like every curriculum choice suddenly has such repercussions.  The choices for those last high school classes for credit are overwhelming (I've gone back and forth and back and forth and back regarding Geometry for next year).   The thought of college prep is daunting now that it's upon us and I don't want to 'goof up' any potential opportunities for my dc.

This leads into intimidating. The CLEP and PSAT and SAT are a bit intimidating to me.  Not the actual testing but the fact that they now count (we've taken the regular, not college admission, SAT for years off and on) and that we should spend real life time prepping for their maximized opportunity.  There is no way my dc will spend the recommended 10 hrs/week on SAT prep; yet, somehow we need to practice some to be fair to dc as well.

I feel renewed with a recharged sense of focus and purpose for the olders as well as the younger.  My head is spinning and spinning with ideas, schedules, planning, etc.  In my mind's eye the office where our school materials are stored is suddenly organized.  Now I just have to do it in reality, lol.  To that end I have pulled out most of the resources from 2 bookshelves and have sorted stacks all over the kitchen table.  I have exhorted dc to please not even sneeze in the general area or they will all come tumbling down to the floor!  3 of those stacks are just reading/writing/grammar type resources (and that's not even counting the Montessori grammar album that I have under the coffee table!).

My favorite fun finds:

There was a Hank the Cowdog booth which dd-10 has enjoyed reading lately.  The truth is, we are all enjoying them since the olders and I never read this series.  I previewed one that I thought was not appropriate for the olders when they were really young and never looked at them again when it was more appropriate for their ages.  I got a goodie for each dd:

Tales and Tunes from Hank the Cowdog (for dd-10)

Hank the Cowdog Playing Cards (for dd-15)

Fear's Return (another series by John Erickson) (for dd-16)(even though it's an easy read for her!)

As a writing teacher I really, really wanted to get this Story Craft book by the same author but, alas, that shall have to wait:
Story Craft: Reflections on Faith, Culture, and Writing from the Author of Hank the Cowdog

Monday, May 7, 2012

Easter Eggs/Basket Pictures

What's Cookin'?

Tropical Traditions has their gallon of organic palm shortening on sale 42% off this week until May 13th.  I have it in my cart right now as I decide whether or not I can get it.  I normally find Spectrum organic palm shortening in local stores for almost $7 for 24 ounces/1.5 pounds (less than 1 quart).  The TT sale is $23.59 for 112 ounces/7 lbs.  I figured it out to be a savings of approx $8.60 without shipping cost.  They also have the lip moisturizer dc and I use 2 for $3.25.  That's a steal!

Tropical Traditions Weekly Sales

Here is a picture of the food-dyed Easter eggs that I discussed in this post.

What's Green?

Here is a picture of the Easter baskets I mentioned at the bottom of this post (I used clay pots instead of "baskets" for Easter baskets this year).  I forgot to take a "before" picture without children with the pots plain with goodies in them.  This is (obviously!) after the dc painted them.  I have the varnish and the dirt to FINALLY get my strawberries, cucumbers, and such container-potted.  Poor plants are barely hanging on in their tiny nursery pots.  It didn't occur to me to tell them *not* to paint inside the pots and 2 have paint inside.  I'm not sure how to deal with this.  I think I'll varnish the outside and then try to wash off the paint from the inside before planting.  By the way, I got 'made in the USA' clay pots at Wal-Mart so I'm thinking that there won't be any lead or nasties in our 'organic' container garden.

What's Schoolin'?

~ Middle dd just finished her second day with her new Algebra 1 curriculum:  Life of Fred.  She likes it better so far.  I was able to sell her Teaching Textbooks and buy the LOF at the same time at a local homeschool store so she didn't have to go any time without (she didn't want to go a month without doing Math while I sold TT online and used that money for LOF, so, although I got less for the TT than I would've online I was able to do an immediate transaction - worth it for dd's peace of mind... "following the child" in olders looks soooo much different than in youngers!)

~ I pulled out all of our fractions shelf work and laid it out on a blanket last week for youngest dd.  I meant to take a picture to post before she cleaned up but she was too quick!  She and I had fun playing Hamburger Station and then she found the circle contraption where you slide the dial around and it gives you equivalents for fractions and percentages.... I need to post a better description and link for this, eh?

~ Oldest dd recently finished Mark Twain's book of humorous stories and is starting The Prince and the Pauper.  I thought we would read it when we studied the Middle Ages but both older dds are itching to read it now, so... okay (yes, see?  More "following the child"!).  We'll probably do a Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court at that point... if my olders don't snag it beforehand :).

There are many home schooling books both new and used on Amazon.  Here is the general search:

Home Schooling Books at Amazon

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flag Day is Coming!

Okay, so Flag Day isn't until June 14th but things have a way of sneaking up on me and catching me unprepared.

We were looking for flag info for an essay and came across this fantastic site.  I got lost in it, found my way back, and thought I would share the link with you all.  It could be used to make 3-part cards (if you click on a flag it opens to a new window with just the flag), pin map flags, just to search and get lost like I did :), or just about anything.

When I went to the El Salvador page, for example, (because I'm a bit partial, after all!) they had all of the departmental flags, military and civil flags, and even a Mayan flag.  I'm assuming they have a variety for other countries as well.

The US page has more than I could even begin to describe!  There are links for history, documents, military flags, state flags, etc.

More flag links:

Some of their links are dead but a great resource (and where I got the link to Flags of the World):

Red Skelton's version of the Pledge of Allegiance is also there:

Flag Day coloring pages:

Enchanted Learning:

Ben's Guide to US Government for Kids:

Don't have a flag?  Click below for some ideas.  I'm thinking we need one of the "high wind" flags - you wouldn't believe how windy it is out here on the prairie!!  Why bother with a hair-do?  It's either the "wind blown" look or a pony tail :).
United States Flags

Some books suitable for Flag Day (or any day, 'cuz... shouldn't every day be Flag Day? We try to fly ours daily):