Tag Archives: garden

A New Kid, Birthdays, and Year End Events

It’s been a few months since I’ve actually written a post about our family and our homeschool.  Normally, that would mean that all is just mundane and not blog or photo worthy.  However, that’s not what my blog absence has been about,  I haven’t been able to find the time to share about all that’s been going on.  Today, I’ll try to fill you in some.

First, let me introduce you to MJ!  She’s our family’s new job.  Actually, she is a homeschool girl who is with us four days a week for tutoring while her grandmother works.  These photo are of her and Z at the last homeschool fieldtrip of the school year, Stewardship Day at Shawnee National Forest.

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We have a new chalkboard wall mural that goes along with our Lewis and Clark, Oregon Trail, and Westward Journey studies.


We’ve been working on improvements to our key hole garden.  The stone looks wonderful and made the best Mother’s Day present!  The flowers are quite nice, too.

10352584_636762289738960_4574333442912914450_n 1920199_636762126405643_399865237555379097_nThis next photo is E and B with SALT, (our homeschool support groups drama co-op) at the final performance of the year.  And, it’s sad that this was E’s very last performance with them.  Now that she’s graduating, she’ll not be in the troop.  Being involved with creative ministries and drama certainly has been one of her favorite activities of her homeschooling career.


And, here’s a few of the pics from the spring formal.

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Both of my youngest boys had birthdays!  Z turned 9 and J turned 11.

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These next photos are of Silver Lining (homeschool color guard) at their spring show, “Storms of Life”.  Though, this was E’s last performance with them, she is planning to stay involved with the group as an assistant coach.

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1625591_628980850517214_1221519875084586621_nAnd Silver Lining’s honor and awards banquet


There’s just one more event to add to this year’s homeschooling year, graduation and achievement night.  The plans are set and all will be ready for the big night, this coming up Friday.   I’ll be sure to share those photos then.

betty jo





It’s Unanimous For Strawberries!

At the beginning of each month I go through the special days listing, and check off what I think we should add to our studies.   I also give the list to the kids and they check off the topics that interest them. (https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2014/04/29/special-days-in-may/).  Rarely does a monthly theme interest all of us, but the May food theme,  STRAWBERRIES,  was unanimous!

This close to the end of our school year, I really won’t have the time to develop our own strawberry study, but can not just ignore the fact that we all want to explore this favorite food.  This is where my friend, Fran, comes in!   (http://www.franw.com/)  She has developed and published an e-book appropriately named Strawberry Craze. 

Strawberry+Craze+Cover+SampleStrawberry Craze is a 91 page study and activity guide.  Fran has graciously given me a copy and I’m so excited!  It is covers subjects across the curriculum and has something for all ages.    She gives the instructions for crafts, gardening, and science experiments.  She has included a list of questions for research projects and little known facts and trivia.  Strawberry Craze has math, health, and language connections, too.  And recipes!  Not just a couple of yummy desserts to try, but recipes for lip gloss, scratch-n-sniff stickers,  shampoo, and play clay,  just to name a few.

Strawberries have been added to the top of my weekend shopping list!  And will probably be repeated on every grocery list in between now and when we are able to pick our own from our garden.

Now is the right time to pick up a copy of the e-book for yourself.  It’s being offered for only $2!  To find out more and take a peek at some sample pages click here  http://www.franw.com/2013/09/strawberry-craze-ebook.html

Oh, by the way, Fran gave me Strawberry Craze just because she’s my friend.  The e-book gift was not given to me for the purpose of this review.  The review and recommendation is completely of my own doing.

betty jo

Our Homeschooling Week Ending 11/16

Our weather has turned much cooler this week but that has not kept us indoors.  Our beautiful maple tree is loosing it’s yellow leaves and has created an opportunity for work, nature observation, and play.

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Our garden science project from this past spring is still amazing.  Even though we have had a few frosts, and nearly everything we had planted is finished, the peppers and onions are still producing!  And weeds are coming up like crazy.  We are hoping to get the remnants of the tomato vines chopped up into mulch this coming up week.


Our lessons this week focused on the establishment of the Plymouth Colony, this day in history and science, and adding Montana, Washington, and Oklahoma more states to our board.  (We add a state every time it’s statehood anniversary comes up on the special days calendar.)

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After a week of word games and random drawing, we started on a new mural for our chalkboard wall.  It should be finished next week.

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Our homeschooling support group held a Pre-Thanksgiving cooking class.  E and I taught  cornbread cranberry stuffing and acorn treats.  The kids also learned to make rolls (regular and gluten free), butter, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, and turkey carving.  Kitchen skills and safety with a little science and history thrown in made for a great school day!  The class was followed by our monthly family night with more friends and more food!

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For more about our garden science project click here https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/04/14/homeschool-gardening/

For photos of past chalkboard wall murals click here https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/one-of-our-favorite-things-the-wall/

For more about our local homeschooling support group click here  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/02/23/what-do-you-get-when-you-cross/

The printable resources for our year long state study come from here  http://www.homeschoolshare.com/connections__usa.php

For more about our Plymouth Colony study and the links we are using click here https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/11/08/thanksgiving-unit-study-ideas-and-resources/

For the special days listing for November click here  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/10/29/special-days-in-november/

It was a busy, but good week for our family.  I hope yours was good, too!

betty jo

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Our Homeschooling Week May 20-24

I do not think I have ever looked forward to a Monday like I did this week.  Our weekend was too full of activity and by Monday morning I was thankful for the fun times but more thankful to just be staying home for the next few days.

Friday night was our homeschooling support groups Prom Alternative.  Group photos, dinner out, then a private party with dancing, Wii games, costume trunk photo booth, and ice cream bar.

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Saturday afternoon was the first public performance for Silver Lining, our homeschool color guard team.

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Sunday night was another homeschool group activity.  SALT – Saved, Anointed, Loved, Transformed, (creative ministries troop), performed at a local church who was hosting a meal and service for a homeless shelter.

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Much of my family’s time has been spent praying for Ian.  He is a boy from our neighborhood who was violently attacked at a public school playground that is just a block away from our house.  He had some brain hemorrhaging and swelling issues as a result of the beating and had to be air lifted to Vanderbilt Hospital.  Miraculously, he is on the road to a complete recovery.

ianWe attended a prayer meeting at the school playground at 4:00 Thursday.  It was so good to gather with our neighbors for a time of prayer for our community, public schools,  Ian, and the boys who attacked him.  Thanks to social media, we were able to reach brothers and sisters in Christ with our prayer requests and many agreed to stop what they were doing at 4:00 and join with us in prayer.

We had lovely weather for being out in the yard this week.  We have enjoyed watching our homeschool garden project grow.

580344_464341090314415_1749948604_nBoth the tomato and pepper plants have bloomed.

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Our homeschool summer schooling focused on reading through a huge stack of library books as the start of it’s summer reading challenge.  We also did a mini unit study of turtles in tribute to World Turtle Day (May 23).

Here are the links to this week’s blog posts:

Our homeschool prom:  Night of the Living Teens  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/19/night-of-the-living-teens/

Homeschool Creative Ministries:  SALT  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/20/salt/

About our neighbor’s boy:  Ian  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/22/ian/

Homeschool garden science project:  Watching Our Garden Grow  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/23/watching-our-garden-grow/

Turtle mini unit study:  World Turtle Day  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/05/23/world-turtle-day/

As of now I don’t have much on the planner for the upcoming week except for another library trip, Church history notebooking,  and the biggest homeschooling support group’s party of the year, Graduation and Achievement Night.

I hope you had a good week,  and that this next week is even better.

betty jo

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Homeschool Gardening

Genesis 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.

We did not plant a garden last year.  However, we attempted to grow some flowers , bushes, and a few vegetables,  but nothing succeeded in our clay and rock soil.  This year we are trying again, but we won’t be planting directly into the yard.

This past week, my husband and B15 dug out a 10ft diameter circle and lined it with bricks,  (my husband is a brick layer so we always have a pile of bricks around),  with a path designed going into the center.  Do you think it looks like Pacman?  E17 and a friend of mine think it does.

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Z7 helped his dad and B15 add a ton and a half of good soil.

garden 3Now we have a garden spot.  My husband must be anxious to get this project finished, because he went to the nursery as soon as the new soil was spread out and bought some tomato plants.

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That burlap basket is for our compost.  This idea,  as well as the garden shape,  comes from So. Africa’s “key-hole” gardens.  Brilliant plan!  There is no bottom to the basket, just rocks so the rain water can drain.  And as the water drains, it washes the nutrients from the compost into the soil.  When we water it during the dry spells,  we’ll do so through that basket.  We won’t have to dirty up our feet when we take out our compost.  That’s what that path to the center is for.  Also, most of the picking can be done from the outside of the garden.

E17 went back to the nursery with her dad yesterday.   She decided on several different pepper plants and some mint.  Maybe next weekend we’ll add beans, calliflower, and broccoli.garden 2

With all this gardening going on, we will be adding some garden studies to our homeschool science lessons.

We will be working on this free Gardening Unit Study from  http://www.inallyoudo.net/2013/03/26/gardening-unit-study-prek-5/

We’ll also be using some of the garden connections for unit studies and lapbooking from http://www.homeschoolshare.com/connections__plants.php

And, I found  gardening journaling pages and interactive  games here  http://www.nourishinteractive.com/nutrition-education-printables/category/9-kids-gardening-growing-healthy-food  (By the way, this site is very cool!  I’ve got it bookmarked for later studies.)

You can view the Keyhole Garden tutorial here  http://www.se7en.org.za/2009/04/26/saturday-spot-our-virtual-keyhole-garden  (This site is awesome, plan on staying here to explore for a while!)

For another post about our gardening science unit study, click here  https://stilllearningsomethingnew.com/2013/04/16/a-science-lesson-from-a-friend/

Are you gardening with your children?  And, is your garden shaped like Pacman, too?

betty jo

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It’s springing here in Western KY.  With the time change springing ahead, the extra daylight hours have aided the trees in producing their blooms.  Flowers are opening up and the grass has lost it’s dead color and found new green. The temperatures are a bit warmer.  The birds that stayed around through the winter are singing a happier song than they were just last week.

Spring is a wonderful time for outdoor nature lessons.  We have some flowerpots to decorate and a variety of flower seeds soaking to germinate before planting.  We will be making a fairy garden around a tree stump in the back yard.  We will be studying the spring nighttime skies, and making a weather center.

Spring is the time to get out the sports equipment, bikes, and kites.  Hiking and picnics are on our spring agenda along with some outdoor field trips with our homeschooling support group.

Our middle ages history studies will move on into the Renaissance.

Spring is also a good time for poetry studies (picture my kids rolling their eyes and sighing).

Song of Songs (Solomon) 2:11-12

     Don’t you see? The winter is done.
The rains and clouds have come and gone.
         The flowers are unfolding in the fields;
the birds are warming up their songs,

Poetry can be in the form of music, too (picture my kids no longer rolling their eyes or sighing).


betty jo