Monday, July 27, 2009


Whoo-hoo, I've finally finished compiling the curriculums for the coming school year. Here are the links to the pdf filed. If you don't have a keepandshare username then you can use: kickbutttidbits with the password kickbuttmama

DJ's 3-5th grade Matrix
Xman's 1-2nd grade Matrix

Sunday, July 26, 2009


When we were at the CT Science Center DJ did a digital survey to find out what type of sports he should do (although I think he answered most as what he thought I would then they sent us a copy of his magazine cover..

new link

I was told by my best friend about this link and LOVED it - most of the downloadables are really cheap (or free) which are the only one's I'll enjoy!

Reading and things..

So I'm almost finished compiling our curriculum for this coming year...I feel like it's all I've lived and breathed for the last couple of weeks.

For my oldest - DJ - he's using Magic Tree House books as his reading list - reading one every 2 weeks as it takes him a little while to finish a book. THen he'll do a small 1 file folder lapbook on the book he just read. Some of the resources we'll be using for these lapbooks:

For my youngest - Xman - we're using Dr. Seuss and rhymes for our reading, as he's just starting to read independently.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Great Time Line Site

I found a fab timeline link that I thought I'd share -

For a US History timeline (through the present) -


This Year

Here's some of the YouTube clips we'll be utilizing in lessons this coming year:

  • Bill Nye The Science Guy (if you search on YouTube you can find whole episodes)
  • Sid The Science Kid (again you can use YouTube or go to

I've also discovered Teachers Corner ( ) and it's a fab site for lesson plans - especially science!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dinosaur Museum

Hiking the trails. Rawr!!

Yesturday as a part of our Earth Scouts, we went to our local Dinosaur was awesome (and it only cost a grand total of $7 for all 3 of us!!!!!!) We watched a really bad movie on the t-rex. Well it wasn't bad, it was just much more geared to adults than children - analyzing the debate between paleontoligist on wether t-rex was really a predetor or a scavenger....boring!

But the kids had a fabulous time. The museum itself isn't much more than a dome. See about 2 decades ago a plot of land was being cleared for a building. But the contractors came upon a fabulous find. Almost the entire plot of land was covered in dino footprints!!! They were everywhere. So the state purchased the land from the private company and built a dome over the find. They've added some info on local geology, and they added some life size dino replicas but that's pretty much it. There are extensive nature trails which have been set up in the Messozoic perion with plantlife, and picnic areas.

I think the kids' favorite part was the mining for fossils. You purchase a bag of' soil in the gift shop, and outside the set up a waist high 'stream'. You use net boxes to dump in the soil and water runs through cleaning out the soil and leaving behing about a ziper bag full of stones and a single fossil (like a little tooth or shell or something). The kids absolutely LOVED it.

Xman's hand inside one of the footprints. DJ's hand inside the hand print

Analyzing Fossils!

Science Experiments For 2009-2010

We're doing at least one experiment per week. While many will coincide with our Combo-books/lapbooks, not necessarily. Most of the time we'll just be progressing through common types of science (earth studies, physics, astronomy, etc.) This will teach the kids to study, collect and report findings as well as understanding the scientific process.

Now, as a former scientist myself, I can tell you adults in the field use a 13 step scientific process -

  1. Observe
  2. Classify
  3. Measure
  4. Sequence Order
  5. Infer
  6. Predict
  7. Communicate
  8. Investigate
  9. Control
  10. Hypotheses
  11. Interpreting
  12. Defining
  13. Formulating

For kids we shorten the process to only 5 steps:

  1. Ask Questions
  2. Observe
  3. Compare
  4. Contrast
  5. Estimate

Using this process we'll perform the following experiments this coming year


  1. The Sun and Us
  2. How Radar Works: Seeing inside a closed box
  3. Day & Night Part 1: Simulating Day and Night
  4. Day & Night Part 2: The differences between Day and Night
  5. The Shape of the Earth
  6. The Tides
  7. Creating an Eclipse
  8. Shadow Lines
  9. Equinox
  10. Star Tracker
  11. Shrinking Sun
  12. Sun Spots
  13. Sunset in a box
  14. Solar Oven
  15. Different Moons (2 parts understand the moon's phases and observing them)
  16. Your Weight On The Moon
  17. Reflective & Refractive Telescope
  18. Making a Parallax
  19. Mapping the Night Sky
  20. Your Age on Other Planets
  21. Green House Effect
  22. Rocket Launch
  23. Satellites Part 1: Simulating Satellites
  24. Satellites Part 2:Orbiting Satellites
  25. Satellites Part 3: Signals & Satellites

Forces & Waves:

  1. Splitting Light
  2. Angled Light
  3. Centrifugal Force
  4. The Sun's Gravity Part 1: Demonstrating the pull of gravity
  5. The Sun's Gravit Part 2: How a spacecraft can escape gravity to fly in space
  6. Escaping Gravity
  7. Watch Inertia
  8. A Pendulum
  9. Pull It Up: Using Levers
  10. Turn It Up: Sound Amplification
  11. Tinkling: See how sound vibrates
  12. Echo, Echo
  13. Water & Light Waves
  14. Shadow Drawing
  15. Rainbow Light
  16. Refraction & Reflection
  17. Turning to White - see how many colors make up white
  18. Falling Over: Energy Transference
  19. Bounce: Energy Transference part 2
  20. The Swing of Things: Every Action has a Equal Reaction
  21. Lifting Higher: Sideways Force
  22. Jumping Up: Static Electricity
  23. Ions in Action
  24. Lemon Batteries
  25. Magnetic Field
  26. Double Magnetism
  27. The Amazing Jumping Man: Relationship between electricity and magnets
  28. Jar Magnet

Earth Science:

  1. Salinity of the Oceans
  2. Classifying Living Things
  3. Breathing Plants: How plants obtain nutrients from the soil
  4. Nocturnal Plants
  5. Mini Greenhouse
  6. Classifying Fruits & Vegetables
  7. When is a Fruit a Berry
  8. Making a Compost Bin
  9. Tree & Plant Encyclopedia
  10. Bird Encyclopedia
  11. How does a Boat Float (It's full of air) Using a jar cap to show how a submarine floats or sinks.
  12. High Tides: Water Volume

Anatomy & Physiology:

  1. Balloon Lungs
  2. At Home Stethoscope

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It Has Begun!!!!!!

Oh the joy and stress of this time of the year. This is the time of the year that super obsessive people like myself, must begin compiling the curricula for the coming year...This means printing endless worksheets, reorganizing entire collections and closets. Trying to figure out how to mesh a 3rd/4th grader's lessons with that of a k/1st grader so that I'm not teaching for 20 hours a day......not to mention the fact that my children are spread across the spectrum of grades....They really spread about 3 grades each depending on the subject. Since my state has no regulations or mandatory testing I never felt the need to push them into a pre-described box or grade. So in sciences they are at least 2 grades ahead of their peers while in math they are the same as their PS all has to do with the ... you guessed it... FUN FACTOR!!!

So, this elusive concept is what has me working for at least 8 weeks prepping the work for the coming year....what lapbooks can we do, what field trips, plays, experiments, etc can we do to keep up the FUN factor while still following some kind of plan....Total unschooling is like stabbing myself in the eye - I'm waaaaay to anal for that, I need some kind of plan...LOL...

So, I'm trying to simplify our lives while trying to increase the difficulty of the lessons, not an easy feat mind you...

I wanted to give you a list of the resources we'll be utilizing this year for both my boys:

aaa(math, spelling, etc).com

America's Story (Books 1 & 2) - history workbooks, book one is US history to 1865 and book 2 is after 1865.
Teaching With Clifford (scholastic)
Brighter Child - we're using several of this brand - "I can tell time and Count Money". Math, etc
School Zone's Super Scholar series (we're using k, 1, 3 and 4)
Hooked on ___ Grade series (we're using k, 1, 2 and 3

Evan's & Moore's Getting Ready To Read (teacher's workbook)
Macmillan's 3rd Grade Language Arts

That's it so far. I'm still working on the Matrix for both boys, but I'll post them as soon as they're complete. We're trying something new organizational wise this year as well. I have 5 color coded folders. One for each week, and one for fun extra's. Each week this folder will have the blank index cards (for spelling/definitions) plus all the worksheets for that week. I had been using a shelf for each child but things always got messy and lost. Plus we'll have our Lapbook of the week and our Combo Books (which can spread for a month or more)...I'll keep ya posted!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vacation to VT

my in-laws cabin

We just got back from the longest vaca we've ever taken as a family....5 blissfull days without tv, computers, or thee phone! It was wonderful! The kids ran around outside from sun up to sun down...they rode on the 4-wheeler with dad (and even I learned to drive!). We went to our family reunion on Sat, at the beach. My youngest, Xman, proved he's our sporty child by both learning to ride his 2wheeler and to swim completely unassisted - things his nearly 8y/o bro still can't do!

It was just so nice to focus completely on bonding - w/ no work, groups, classes, or homeschool..although it only took 2 days for the boys to beg for some relaxed and focused on developing next years lesonplan. Here's some pic's

xman & dad DJ & dad

Pretending 2 drive

"Look ma, I'm doing it!" Look, Mom's doing it!