Tag Archives: L

Finally – a Texas Butterfly field trip

Texas Discovery Gardens


Miss L has enjoyed butterflies for a long time now. She is known affectionately as the Butterfly Whisperer by many of her friends for her ability to coax butterflies onto her finger and for her patience to be still and wait or to just be still and enjoy watching them.

Yesterday, we went to the Texas State Fair and visited the Texas Discovery Gardens. The Texas Discovery Gardens is a butterfly garden. We were able to get special pricing during the State Fair so it was very reasonably priced. We spent a good hour there, maybe an hour and a half. And the space is not that large but she did enjoy it tremendously. The joy she had just running around and looking at these lovely creatures was wonderful.

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There were volunteers and staff members here and there throughout to offer information and answer questions. But mostly, we just enjoyed observing and watching to see what all we could see. It was wonderfully peaceful in the garden.

The flowers were also something to see. I was fascinated by the beautiful flowers throughout the butterfly house. All sorts of colors, shapes, sizes, and types. I don’t have names for most of them but one that had a name plaque there was the pitcher plant. It was really neat. The plants alone were just lovely.

They also had a bee tree. The bees came into the tree from the outside through a tube and there was a plastic viewing place where we could watch the bees moving around inside the tree/hive. We could watch them and look at the combs. Miss J had a magnifying glass and spent quite a bit of time studying them up close through it. Miss E also seemed to find these pretty fascinating and spent some time viewing and reading about the bees.

From the lovely Blue Morpho to all the others that I don’t have names for, we saw a lot of lovely butterflies. It was definitely an experience worth repeating. If you haven’t gone, it is definitely worth going.

At Home.

Recital (violin) – Blogging Through the Alphabet

R Recital (violin)

A couple of weeks ago, Miss L had her spring recital with her strings class. She has been able to participate in a string class at Baylor. This class has benefitted not only our family (in that the cost is extremely reasonable, even cheap!) but it also benefits the students at Baylor who are learning to teach in classroom settings.

The recital was lovely. She and her class, as well as the two other classes, did a fantastic job. It was lots of fun and it is such a rewarding experience for her to get to show off all of her hard work this year. And it really was.

R Recital Miss L with violin

She started the year (last September) with a little bit of violin knowledge under her beltR Recital program for string project but not much. So, she began in the Bravo class with other beginners. At semester, they determined that she had made so much progress and was playing well enough to jump up a year and join the Encore class. Now that was huge and she had a big learning curve since they all had a year more experience than she did. But she undertook the challenge, practiced daily, and did really well.

The recital was the culmination of the year. We are hoping to return next year for their 3rd year class, though I can’t remember at this point what that class will be called. She still practices (almost) daily and really enjoys playing. We will encourage this for as long as she will pursue it with a heart.

At Home.R Recital

Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

Origami Paper Dolls


As Miss L continues in her exploration of all things Asian, especially with an origin in China, she has experienced some new and different things. Recently, she was given this origami kit and she LOVES it.


She works diligently on each paper doll until she has folded and fitted and decorated each doll just right.


The results are stunning and absolutely beautiful.


At Home.

My New Cereal


my new cereal

My name is Miss L. I am 10 years old. This morning, for my creative writing, I chose to use the writing prompt that told me to make a breakfast cereal that gave the consumer super powers. this is what I wrote on the blank below it:

It would let you talk in all different kinds of languages-Polish, Portuguese, French, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Italian, German, Bulgarian, Swedish, African, Cambodian, Irish, Mexican, Russian, Spanish, Icelandic, Indian, Turkish, Arabian, and even Native American. Everything you can think of-and more! It would taste deliciously fruity, like, really fruity, and not just artificially flavored, with a refreshing taste of mint. I’d come with a pink bowl and spoon to eat it with. And I’d call it Fruity Babble.


At Home.

The Giggly Girls’ Perspective – Back to Homeschool

Giggly Girls' Perspective

I decided this year, I would give you a little bit of insight into the giggly girls’ perspectives on homeschooling.

E, age 11

E – age 11

What I like about Homeschool:

  • We don’t have an exact schedule.
  • We get breaks whenever we want.
  • We get fun field trips even when we’re older.
  • We’re on a review crew so we do most of our school on those products.
  • I only have 2 teachers! Yay!
  • I can learn things like sewing and cooking.
  • We can watch TV.

What I don’t like about Homeschool:

  • Everything is harder!
  • Reviewing math programs!

L, age 9

L – age 9

I think homeschooling is really fun. I like it a lot, and for a lot of reasons. One reason is because we, well, I, get to learn cursive. My mom says that public schools don’t teach cursive anymore, which I think is wrong. I also like it because while I do my writing, cursive, memory work, history, art, science, and math, I never feel pressured, like I sometimes did at public school. There it sometimes felt like it was about finishing your work, not learning. And, in first grade, my teacher only taught me half of telling time! I like homeschooling much better, and here, we add in God!

J, age 6

J – age 6

What I like about homeschool is the math and the writing.

Truly, these are their own words. We edited spelling and some of the grammar together. But, I did not edit their sentiments at all. Ya’ll, kids get the difference. I felt really, really happy when I read what L wrote about the pressure. She was 6 at the time. 6! And feeling the stress and pressure of completion, but not learning. It just makes my heart sing all the more that we brought them home.

When you start looking at research, there are so many reasons to bring them home. As E gets into her teen years, I see the difference that sleep makes. She is able to get the sleep she needs, which makes her attitude and ability to learn better. There is research being shared more often now that shows that the accumulation of lack of sleep is detrimental to young people. I am so glad that we can allow them the sleep they need, the learning the yearn for, and the enjoyment of subjects that “float their boat.”

I am not knocking public schools but I understand their hands are tied. My children are worth the investment of my time, effort, and money (yes, money – homeschooling is not cheap, though there are plenty of ways to cut costs – check out this post for some of my ideas). Not parenting them, of which overseeing their education is a part, has much, much too high a cost – our children.

I am so thrilled at the joy my girls are finding in education at home. Not school at home but education and learning. We are looking forward to a fun, enjoyable year filled with a variety of Review Crew products and delight led learning. Bring on the horses, sewing, cooking, writing, and math.

A list of all posts related to the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop 2015 came be found under the Back to Homeschool page.
At Home.

Back to Homeschool Blog Hop

This post is part of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop, sponsored by School House Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection. There are over 50 bloggers participating in the blog hop so you have lots of reading to do! Click on the picture to be taken to the listing of all participating bloggers and find something to encourage you today.

Summer Fresh Drink Choice

Lemonade summer

A few weeks ago, our blogging friend over at Farm Fresh Adventures asked us to share some of our favorite summer recipes on her blog. When I asked the girls about what some of their favorite recipes were, two of them said “I don’t know.” One of them jumped up and said

“Lemonade!!!! It is so yummy and fun to make!”

So, I asked if L could share her recipe for lemonade. Farm Fresh Adventures was all for it and published her recipe a couple of days ago. I’d love it if you would hope over and check out L’s recipe for this summertime favorite. Then feel free to pop back over here and tell us what you think. We’d love to know if you try her recipe.

L’s Lemonade recipe at Farm Fresh Adventures

She had lots of fun making a test batch to ensure she had the right measurements and she had lots of fun drinking it afterwards. Writing the recipe down was a good exercise in making sure her words match the action she wanted someone to take. She wrote it down and then I described what I would do based on what she said. She didn’t have to rewrite much but there were one or two things that she decided to change based on that exchange. Writing a how-to was a change to our writing activities and I think it was a good one.

At Home.

Doll Purses

purses free tutorial

Make It Work Monday is all about accessories for 18″ dolls today. L came to me wanting to make purses to go in the boutique that she is creating for one of her dolls. She knew exactly what she wanted but didn’t know how to do it herself. She wanted to sew them. So, we went to work.

Heading to the sewing area, she described what she wanted and I pulled out some scrap fabric. We used scrap and leftover or salvaged pieces for every bit of these purses. We talked about each step before sewing it so she could veto it if things didn’t look right. Moving right along, here is what she created:

Purse design 1

Now, it is tutorial time! As we went along with the second one, I took pictures so that you could make some of your own. These are simple and, had I been doing them myself would only have taken 20 minutes, max. With L, age 8, doing the sewing, these took about 45 minutes. The second one was definitely faster than the first, so I suspect that future ones will be even quicker.

Step 1: Select and cut your fabric. This is a rectangle about 6 inches wide x 7 inches long. This can be adjusted for a wide or narrower, longer or shorter bag. Just modify for what you need.

Purse pic 1

Step 2: Fold it in half from the width, right sides together. Sew down the long side and across one of the short sides. Pin it before sewing if you need to. For a child, definitely pin it before sewing. It just helps keep the fabric lined up so well.

Purses pic 2

Step 3: Turn the fabric right side out. Press with an iron.

Step 4: Tuck the raw, unfinished edges in about 1/4″ – 1/2″. If a child is doing the sewing, tuck a larger amount in so it is easier to ensure that the raw edge is caught and held. If I am sewing it, I’ll just tuck 1/4″. Pin and sew. Press.

Purses pic 4

Step 5: Fold one end up about 3 inches. You will be sewing up the edge to create the biggest part of the purse. Tuck 3/4″ of ribbon in between the front and back of the purse, along the seam line you will be sewing. This will allow you to sew up the center of the ribbon, ensuring it is caught and held. Sew both sides.

Purses pic 5Purses pic 4

Step 6: Hand sew a snap on as a closure. (If you want to do a piece of Velcro and sew it with the machine, you should probably do that before step 5.)

Purses 6Purses pic 7

Step 7: If desired, add an embellishment to the front of the purse. L’s note: You can add ribbons and little buttons and things like that to make it extra special, the way that you want it.

Purses pic 8

Isn’t this a sweet little purse she designed? I love her creativity and her ability to see something in her mind and describe it in a way that I can help her bring it to reality. That is a talent that I dearly hope she is able to hold onto as she matures. It will be invaluable. I am so proud of L! At Home.

Talking about Mammoths, part 2

mammoths part 2

We did a few things relating to the mammoths this week. (See the post on our field trip.) But, I was not in a terribly creative mood, I guess, because I had some real trouble thinking up some ideas. So, after we had used the files from the Waco Mammoth Site, I went with a bit broader category: fossils.

The Waco Mammoth Site has a lot of educational printables for various age groups. I went through and picked out a few for each of the girls that I felt would appropriately challenge or review materials. Here are the ones the girls did.

mammoth L mammoths E mammoths J


On E and L’s scientific name worksheet, it had them create their own animal using scientific names and draw it. After they had done that, I had them brainstorm ideas about what happened to their animal and more specific details about their animal. They had to come up with a lot of words about their animals. Once we had a white board full, each girl was asked to create a story or a poem or a written account of their animal. I don’t have copies of those finished products but the girls enjoyed that writing assignment.

On another day, we explored fossils. We got down all of the fossils that we have tucked away. E and L got down on the floor (so that dropped fossils would be less likely to break and the floor would be less likely to be damaged) and touched, examined, talked about, felt, and explored the fossils we have. We have various real fossils and then we have a few that were made by pressing a shell or other natural object into plaster of paris or air dry clay. The girls spent probably 45 minutes discussing and talking about all of the fossils.

mammoths shark teeth mammoths fossils

After their chatter began dying down, I handed them a worksheet I had created and asked them to each choose one fossil to complete the worksheet on. This included a measuring activity in both inches and centimeters. There was a box to describe, factually, what the fossil was like. They were encouraged to describe it with as many of their senses as they could, as well as anything specific they could observe about it. There was place for them to draw their fossil. One box had them describing where their fossil might have been found. And a final box had them describing what the fossil might be from and why. They were also asked to color-code their page: blue for facts and yellow for opinion/theory/hypothesis.

mammoths fossil sheet

It surprised me that the girls were excited to complete these. E actually asked to complete two of these, so I let her. They also choose to sit down together and share their findings.

mammoths sharing

After these were completed, we got out our posters on poetry styles. We reviewed poetry styles, including limericks, lyrical poems, cinquain, and more. They each chose one style of poetry to use and wrote a poem about their fossil. L’s favorite style is always lyrical; she loves rhymes and descriptive phrases and long, flowy sentences. E’s favorite style is almost always cinquain. Here is their poetry.

mammoths E poems mammoths L poem
I am linking below to the information page the girls filled out. You are welcome to use this and share it but please link back to this post when you are sharing it.

Fossil worksheet

Our mammoth and fossil study has been fun. I have a couple of other ideas that I would like to do but we’ll see if they happen or not! Please share with me if you study mammoths or fossils or something related. I’d love to know what you do. At Home.


A Review – Progeny Press

Title pic

In our house, literature is all around us and everyone in the family constantly has at least one book going. That made Progeny Press appealing to us – study guides for literature from a Christian perspective.

Progeny Press Review

We have been studying two different books using Progeny Press Study GuidesLittle House In The Big Woods and The Courage of Sarah Noble. Progeny Press Study Guides have a couple of things in common, even though Little House In The Big Woods E-guide  is recommended for use by 4th-6th grade students and The Courage of Sarah Noble E-guide is recommended for use by K-3rd graders. Both of our study guides began with notes to the instructor. Next is a synopsis of the book and information regarding the author of the book. Following the author’s page, we found facts about the time period and the part of the country that the book is set in. Both of our study guides also included some Before-You-Read Activities, which helped set the tone for the book and guide. Another way in which both of our study guides were similar is that the lessons were set up in groups of 2 chapters at a time. These lessons always included a set of vocabulary words and definitions with various activities to engage the student. These lessons also always included a set of questions, though the set up of these was dramatically different between the K-3 study guide and the 4-6 study guide.


Progeny Press Review

 Little House In The Big Woods Study Guide

This guide was used by our oldest giggly girl who is 10 years old. I had been wanting to get her started on the Little House books and this was a great opportunity to introduce these wonderful books to her. She read straight through the book when she first got her hands on it. She wasn’t asked to do this but it worked out good, since this is recommended by Progeny Press. (They recommend, at least at this level, that the student read the whole book through first and then go back and work through the questions in two chapter sets.)

We started by having E read the synopsis, the author information, and the background information. We then talked about these things, especially the background information. We completed a couple of the Before-You-Read activities. Paul Bunyan storyShe searched on the computer for information on Paul Bunyan and read the story of the lumberjack. We also found a video of the Paul Bunyan story that was entertaining. We also pulled out our big US map (remember the one from our states study?) and found Wisconsin on it. That allowed her to review a bit about what Wisconsin is famous for and words that describe the state. The activity in the study guide asked us to study a map of Wisconsin, so we located one of those (actually found one from the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum) and studied where Pepin was (on the Mississippi) and where the forests of Wisconsin were and are currently.

Then we jumped into the lessons. Each lesson began with a vocabulary activity, focusing on 5 to 10 words and their definitions within the context of the story. Most of these words are ones that I would have chosen myself because they are used differently or not at all in our society or lifestyle. Some examples of words include kegs (for a barrel to hold items in), sullen, sulked, bored (with a knife), and flatirons. The activities varied from lesson to lesson. In some the word was given and the student was asked to consult a dictionary and write the definition. In another, the student was given a short definition and had to unscramble the letters to find the word. In yet another, the student was given multiple-choice answers to choose from. This variation helped to keep the interest in a task that can be dull and boring.

hasty pudding

In the questions for Little House In The Big Woods, there are two sections. One is titled Questions. The other is titled Digging Deeper. The Questions section is lower level thinking (information and comprehension levels of Bloom’s taxonomy). These are questions that ask you to repeat information from the book, such as “Where were Laura and Mary’s playhouses?” These were very easy, and therefore actually frustrating for E. She did not want to answer these! She was required to answer a few out of each lesson, but we did not require her to answer all of them because they didn’t really add much to her learning. We spent a lot more time on the Digging Deeper section. These questions focus on the higher level thinking (application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation) and are the types of questions that really grabbed E’s attention. She was required to answer almost all of the questions in this section each time. One thing I liked about this section is the questions were quite different – Bible application, social settings, comparing your life to theirs, and so much more. These are the questions that really create a learning situation for E. An example of questions from this section – “What does each child receive for Christmas? How does this compare to what you normally receive for Christmas? Would you be happy with (what they received)? Why or why not?” These push her beyond simply knowing the answer. These make her think and defend her position.

soap carving 2

After the Digging Deeper section, the Little House study guide then gave suggestions for activities that help foster further learning and investigation. We did at least one of these from each of the lessons. For one E made Hasty Pudding. This is cornmeal pudding, not sweet, but very good with a drizzle of honey over it. It surprised us and allowed us to talk about the use of sugar during Laura’s time. Another activity that she did was carve soap. Pa whittled and carved in the book and this activity allowed her to feel what it was like to carve and create. There are 3-4 activities for each lesson and this was our favorite part of each lesson.

soap carving

The study guide finishes up with a crossword puzzle to print and complete. It also has some activities to wrap-up the whole book, including some presentation ideas. We did not make it to this point, honestly. There is so much to these study guides and the activities that we just did not have time to get there, since we had some illness occur during this period. But we made it about 90% of the way through the guide and we will finish it out.

using interactive guide

One way in which this study guide is different from The Courage of Sarah Noble is that it is an interactive PDF file that you download. You can print out the PDF and the student can write all of her answers on the page. We did this and it worked well. It is also set up so that the student can use the PDF file on the computer and type in her answers. We did this, as well, to see what it was like. This has some definite advantages – you don’t have to print it out and use paper and ink; sometimes typing answers helps the student to be more interested; it can be saved as a PDF file and easily added to portfolios. E liked it both ways and she didn’t have a preference of one way over the other. Personally, I liked that printed out, she did not have to be locked in at a computer. She could take it to the couch, her room, or a table. It is more flexible when printed out, in my opinion.


Progeny Press Review

The Courage of Sarah Noble

This study guide was used by our middle giggly girl who is 8. She absolutely loved the book. She also read through it all the way the first time she got her hands on it. Again, this is encouraged by Progeny Press. In my opinion, it helps the student get the big picture of the book and be able to put a lot of it in context when it comes to answering questions.

I do not think this study guide is as good as the other one we were asked to review. It is for a lower age level but it actually has significantly less hands-on activities, which is more important for K-3rd students.

L map workAfter reading the synopsis, author information, and background information with L, we jumped into the Before-You-Read activities. We pulled out a US map and looked at Connecticut. We talked about what we knew about Connecticut and what the wilderness would be like in the 1700s. We answered some of the questions from this section including things like what it would be like to knock on a stranger’s door to ask for shelter for the night. These were good activities to get her mind set on how things were back then as compared to what she knows.

This study guide had an activity that the other did not. It included an As-You-Read Activity. It asked the reader to keep a list all the times Sarah Noble reminded herself to keep up her courage. L kept a list of the times she reminded herself with words and a separate list of when she reminded herself with her cloak. This was an interesting comparison and really brought out how often we all need reminded to keep up our courage in difficult situations.

As with the Little House study guide, each lesson covered two chapters and began with vocabulary work. There were between 5 and 10 words for each lesson. The vocabulary activities varied from looking it up in a dictionary and writing the definition to matching a word to its definition. The words chosen often represented words that we don’t often encounter such as palisade, namesake, and musket. They are great words and, again, are the kinds of words I would have chosen myself.

building a log cabin

The Questions section was structured differently, as well. It only had one section of questions. This section included questions from all thinking levels. There were informational level questions next to analysis questions and evaluation questions next to comprehension questions. This was interesting in that it kept her thinking with different processes throughout. She did not like answering the questions at all but it wasn’t because the questions were not good; I don’t know why it didn’t fit her well. Some examples of questions include “Why do you think Tall John was looking sadly at her?” and “What did her father tell her was the best courage of all?” One part of the questions section that I really liked was that it included some application of Bible verses. Since this is an area our family focuses on, I like that this was included for each chapter.

pretzel log cabin

The Sarah Noble study guide ended with three hands-on learning activities. Activities like these are good but I wish there had been activities like this for each lesson, not just at the end. It would have improved this greatly and perhaps L would have enjoyed it more. L created a log cabin out of pretzels and icing. It was a great learning activity because she realized just how much thought and work has to go into building a house from logs, how many problems can occur. For art, she is going to create a collage of Sarah and her father in the woods. There is also a pebble game similar to that which the Indians might have played with Sarah. This activity actually held no appeal for L so we skipped it.

Buying a Progeny Press Study Guide

To purchase a Progeny Press study guide, visit their website at http://ProgenyPress.com. Their website is easy to navigate and you can easily find what you are looking for. The study guides we used were both digital downloads. Little House In The Big Woods is priced at $16.99 and is an interactive download. The Courage of Sarah Noble is priced at $11.99 and is not interactive. Once you have purchased these, you can download and save the file to your computer. You then print what you need/want or open the file for the interactive PDF, type in your answers, and save it to your computer. If you have any questions, their FAQ is easy to read and gives a lot of information.

Things To Note

* I did not like that the lessons were done in two chapter sets, with no indication of where question answers could be found. This was especially frustrating, in both study guides, with the vocabulary. Since these were set in the 1700s and 1800s, some of the word usage is different and it was not always easy for the girls to accurately define the words the way the books used them. When they had to look for the words in the books to help them out, especially in the Little House book, it could be 40 pages to look through. It was time consuming and frustrating. With the Little House book, the download did include an answer key. That gave the answer but did not give any indication of where the student could locate the information to help them formulate the answer.  (As a side note – I do realize that they cannot give page numbers since each printing of a book will end up with different page numbers. Keeping the lesson to one chapter would certainly help this, though.)

* I say this often but I will say it again: pick and choose to fit your student and your family. These study guides have a lot in them! The oldest giggly girl, E, did not enjoy or need the lowest level thinking questions, meaning those where you are just repeating information from the book. We did not complete every single question. However, in the Digging Deeper section of the Little House study guide, she had to think and apply the information, compare information, or use the ideas from the book in a different way. We did a lot more work in this section because it was more interesting to her and she got a lot out of it.

* These guides are more of a worksheet learning style. I think the guides for K-3 would benefit from a lot more activities and fewer questions. These would fit a family whose learning style is question/answer or a family whose students are older (middle-school/high school).

Final Thoughts

At this time, we are not planning on purchasing more of these study guides. They really do not fit our family’s style of learning. I can see that these will be very good for older students and I do foresee us purchasing from this company when the girls are older. At Home.


To see more reviews on these study guides or study guides for different literature selections from Progeny Press, click on the banner below.

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E is for Experiments

E is for title

I know when you read the word experiments you are probably thinking science. But, for this post, you need to think taste! You see, the giggly girls like to experiment with making up their own recipes. While this is good practice for thinking through different aspects of the recipe, it is kind of frightening for mom and dad because you know who gets the responsibility of tasting all of these experiments, right?

Thankfully, most of them are pretty reasonable, though we have had a couple of doozies! I thought I would share the most recent one as an example of the types of recipe experiments we try around here.

This is by J, our youngest giggly girl at the exciting age of 5. (It was written down by her 8 year old sister for her.)

E - J recipe pg 1 E - J recipe pg 2

I don’t have any pictures of the finished product but, as you can probably tell by the ingredient list, this one isn’t too bad. At least we didn’t have to have something strange like rice in our ice cream today. Perhaps on another day, we’ll be sharing another experiment in the kitchen. For today, we’ll be eating Increadable Ice Cream. At Home.


I am linking up with ABC Blogging over at Ben and Me today.


Ben and Me
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