Homeschool Creations

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meeting Blog Friends

Last week I had the chance to meet Heidi from Reviews & Reflections when she was driving through my area. Heidi heads up the Homeschool Crew, the review group that I was a part of for the last two years.

Her daughter Ashley was along for the trip and took a picture of the two of us before we had to say goodbye {and Ashley is just as sweet as her mom}.


So good to finally meet her in real life ~ and put a personality, smile and more to the emails that go back and forth between us. :) Now we just need to figure out a time to get together again so I can meet all of her crew too!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Joining HSLDA


One of the main things that I wanted to do at our homeschool convention this year was learn more about HSLDA ~ the Home School Legal Defense Association. In years past I’ve just walked past their booth, not wanting to make a decision without my husband there…but forgetting once I got home to delve any further into it.

What is HSLDA?

Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed.

The Mission of HSLDA

To preserve and advance the fundamental, God-given, constitutional right of parents and others legally responsible for their children to direct their education. In so doing, we rely on two fundamental freedoms—parental rights and religious freedom. We advocate for these freedoms in the courtrooms, before government officials, and in the public arena. Additionally, we assist other educational organizations in similar activities, where possible and appropriate.

In a nutshell…they are advocates for you and me and a year-long membership is under $100.

Rick was able to attend convention with me this year and sat in on several sessions with Michael Farris, one of the co-founders of HSLDA. After the first session on parental rights ~ well, we plopped right down in a chair at their booth and became members.

If you haven’t looked into joining HSLDA ~ just hop over to their website and do a little browsing. Might not be something you would be interested in, but I wanted to pass the information along to you all in case it is!


Friday, June 25, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ VBS Week

This is the first year that every single one of our kids has been able to attend Vacation Bible School.

At the same time.

Meaning THIS mom had THREE WHOLE HOURS every single morning to sit back and relax and enjoy a quiet house. Not that I sat back and relaxed…but still. I had the chance.

Instead, I spent the week with Cindy from Along the Way and we worked on the lowercase abc crafts, planned for the upcoming year {we found some GREAT books and are working on some unit studies}, re-worked our workbook systems, and then laminated like crazy women!

Our kids have been asking to spend some time together too, so we also had a pool day at their house and just played away {much fun!}.

Aiden and Kaleb Aiden and Kaleb

 Aiden and Kaleb

That has basically been our week ~ Bible school and friends. What did you all do this week?

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.
 Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Laminating Kick {and a deal for you!}

I’ve been giving my laminator a HUGE workout this week and am working my way well through a 50-pack of laminating pouches. Sad, but true.

Can’t wait to share how we’re doing our workbox cards this year, though!

Scotch Laminator

I have such a love for my laminator {if you don’t believe me, I wrote a lovely post titled “If a Girl Buys a Laminator..”}.

But I digress.

Amazon is offering an amazing $20 rebate on the Scotch Laminator that I use!! You have to buy a 50-pack refill along with it {but you’ll need them since you’ll be laminating everything in sight!!!}.

The laminator is $31.49 {pre-rebate} and the refill packs are $10.30. After the $20 rebate, you’re only paying $21.79 ~ which is a WAY better deal that what you can even buy it for in the store! If you’ve been trying to decide about buying one, now is definitely the time to do it. Since the rebate is mail-in, you’ll also get FREE shipping!! :)

Here’s the nitty-gritty details per Amazon:

Through July 31, 2010, get $20 back on the purchase of a Scotch thermal laminator and a 50-pack of thermal laminating pouches via mail-in rebate. View rebate form. Applies only to products sold by; does not apply to items sold by other merchants on the website. Not valid with any other mail-in rebate offers.

And don’t think I haven’t thought about buying a back-up. I could even try dual-laminating…Amazon prices have a tendency to go up and down, so I can’t guarantee this great price ~ if it’s low, buy it then!!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Thanks to Carisa for the heads up on this great deal! :)

Coinstar ~ Turning Change into Amazon Purchases!

I know that I could turn counting change into a wonderful math activity for the kids, but after all is done and counted…I still have the change to deal with. And when I have bucketloads of change, taking it to a bank teller just seems like cruel and unusual punishment.

Enter the lovely Coinstar machine.

We have several machines in our area that we can use to count our change. Usually there is a fee associated with the change-over {around 9%}, but our machines offer a lovely feature ~ FREE coin counting if you opt for an e-voucher toward several online of them Amazon.

Since Amazon is pretty much my favorite place to shop online, I’m loving this feature. I had a sandwich-sized baggie of change and it amounted to a little bit over $33. That’s a lovely chunk of change that I can put towards an ever-growing cart of books and such that seem to be accumulating in my cart by the week.

Just wanted to pass along a little tip to you all in case you have a pile of growing change….and a soft spot for Amazon like me!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blogger Widget Title ~ Making It Blank

There’s a glitch in Blogger lately. If you edit or add an html widget {or any widget}, it’s requiring you to add a title.

Which really messes with my sidebar and how I want it to look.

BUT there is a quick {and easy} work-around if you happen to need one! In the title area type in this coding and it will allow you to save the widget and no wording will appear in the title area and mess up your pretty sidebars.



It’s that simple! You’ll have to re-enter it whenever you edit your widget, but it’s a quick and simple way to fix it without pulling any more of your hair out. :)

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Find It Games Review & Giveaway!

image Our house has seen a lot of shaking, twisting, turning and searching over the last few weeks ~ all in search of some objects buried in a pile of confetti inside a Find It Game.

It has been so much fun!

What Are Find It Games?

Find It games can be taken anywhere you go ~ in the car, on vacation, at home…wherever you are, the game can travel with you. Players hunt for objects that are hidden inside the container {all items are listed on top of the game}. Many of the items like to stay hidden, so you have to twist, shake, and do whatever you can to find the hidden objects. They have a variety of themes for their games, from sports to birds and animals ~ a little something for everyone.

Find It Game

I requested to review the Find It Kids version for our kids because it was bright & colorful. It also has ABC beads hidden inside, so I thought it would be great to play with Kaleb as a preschool game. Little did I know that it would keep me busy searching!

Find it Game

Can you see the letter ‘c’ and the gold ring peeking out?
Everyone has gotten in on the shaking and searching and we’ve found almost all of the hidden objects…all but three, including the elusive penny. And trust me, I’ve have been searching, hoping to brag that I’d found all of them before this giveaway!

The games are all available from the Find It site. They are offering a $5 discount if you use the coupon code FIGBLOG. You can also do a search on their site to see if there are retailers near you that carry them.

Here’s how to win:

If you would like to win a Find It game for your family, there are a few ways that you can enter.  But first, leave a comment letting me know which game you would pick for your family!

Additional Entries {be sure to leave a separate comment for EACH entry}:

~ If you subscribe to Homeschool Creations, give yourself an extra entry.

~ Leave a comment with YOUR idea for a Find It game {a space version, undersea, etc….}. What cool ideas do you have?

~ Follow Find It Games on Facebook {or like them, fan them…}

~ Tweet about this contest using the tweet below and give yourself an extra entry.
Win a Find It game from @jolantheerb ~ your family will have hours of fun with this game!
This giveaway will be open until Monday, June 28th until 8pm. One winner will be chosen at random and I will announce the winner next Friday. Please be sure to leave a way for me to contact you ~ otherwise I will draw another winner. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me. Note: US Residents only, please!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Labels: ,

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Learning About Argentina ~ Lesson Plans & Links

We’ve officially ‘landed’ in South America and our travels are starting in Argentina! Here are a few fun facts about Argentina before sharing about our time in Argentina.

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world {and the second largest in South America ~ behind Brazil}. It is roughly the size of the U.S. east of the Mississippi River, about 1/3 the size of the United States. The border between Argentina and Chile is well-defined since the Andes Mountains provide a natural border {over 3,000 miles long!}.

The climate has extremes ranging from subtropical in the north to arid/sub-Antarctic in the far south. You can sit on warm beaches…or watch ice break off glaciers, depending on where you are visiting in the country.

You can view the other countries that we’ve studied in South America on my South America geography page.

Here’s a peek at our ‘travels’:

Week 1 Layout


  • Introduce new song about Argentina from Geography Songs {see words below}
  • Use atlas and globe to locate Argentina; read in the atlas about Argentina
  • Read one of our books from our bookshelf about Argentina

South America

Argentina, Venezuela and Colombia,

Ecuador, Peru and Chile and Bolivia,

Uruguay and Paraguay, Brazil and Guyana

and Suriname ~

These are the countries of South America.

The French have French Guiana.

The British have the Falkland Islands.

Brazil is the biggest country and

Chile is the longest.



  • Review geography song
  • Learn {and review} some terms: plains, pampas, mountains
  • Independent reading from bookshelf
  • Filled out the map of Argentina using our notebooking page


 Click on thumbnail to download pdf file


  • Review geography song
  • Watched a LOT of video clips from World Zone Live {there are some great clips here}
  • Independent reading 
  • Review geography song
  • Children Just Like Me book {Carlitos, p.12-13} and notebooking page
  • Talked about the variety of geography features in Argentina ~ from beaches to the areas close to the South Pole; mountains to plains
  • Read book together on Argentina {from our bookshelf}

Week 2 Layout



Click on thumbnail to download pdf file


  • Review geography song
  • Watched a video with the national anthem
  • Talked about some of the animals in Argentina ~ there is a huge variety of them! The mountains are home to llamas and condors, the southern part of Argentina has cougars and pudu {the world’s smallest deer}, the coast of Patagonia has elephant seals, sea lions, and penguins. The waters off the coast have dolphins, whales and orcas.
  • Read together one of books from bookshelf


  • Review geography song
  • Summarized one of our reading books and copy summary/dication
  • Bought Dulce de Leche…because mommy was too lazy to make it. :)
  • Added our notebooking pages to our binder and stamped our passports!

Books We Used

Resources and Websites

 Jolanthe Signature affiliate button

Labels: , , ,

Penny Baths ~ Science Sunday

This week our experiment together was all about chemical reactions. We have plenty of dirty money around our house {pennies that is}, so we decided to give them a bath in a few different solutions and see what would happen.

If you’d like to try this experiment at home, you’ll only need a few simple things to try it yourself:

penny experiment 

  • salt
  • white vinegar
  • dirty pennies
  • a glass jar
  • a Tablespoon to measure
  • a plastic spoon
  • paper towels
  • bowl of water

Before starting our experiment, the kids made a prediction about what would happen when pennies were washed with a mixture of vinegar and salt. Would they sizzle, turn black, bounce up and down, or become shiny? Predictions varied with our three ~ black, bouncing and shiny {only McKenna guessed correctly}.

We also tried putting just salt on one penny and just vinegar on another to see what would happen. The salt just rubbed off and the vinegar started brightening the penny, but didn’t do a very good job.

The kids measured and mixed 6 Tbsp. of white vinegar with 2 Tbsp. of salt. They took turns stirring and stirring, meanwhile peeking to see what was happening inside the swirling mix.

penny experiment penny experiment

Each of the kids drew a picture of what happened during the experiment ~ I LOVE seeing their interpretations of what happened! The result? Here are the before and after pictures of Laurianna’s two pennies.Penny Experiment June 2010

The Nutshell Reason…

Pennies become dull looking because the oxygen atoms in the air combine with the copper atoms on the pennies. When we mixed the salt with the vinegar, a chemical reaction took place. Together the two different items formed a new chemical called hydrochloric acid. When hydrochloric acid meets oxygen atoms on the surface of the pennies, it makes them shiny and looking new.

How to Do Science Experiments with Children Resource: How to Do Science Experiments with Children is available from Amazon and you can also check it out {and do some of the experiments} using Google Docs! The experiments use easy-to-find objects and also include record sheets for kids to fill out with their predictions and experiment results. Each experiment also includes teaching tips and explanations…which are rather handy! :)

Don't forget to check out some other great science ideas at Science Sunday hosted by Ticia at Adventures in Mommydom.

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Homeschool Village ~ Favorite Book

Homeschool VillageI may be a little late joining this week, but I figured better late than never, right?

That and I had to think about what I was going to say, because in all honesty, I’m not sure I had a real answer for the question.

Curious what could have me stumped?

Share your favorite book that has supported and encouraged you in your homeschooling adventure and why you'd recommend it to another homeschooler.

Truthfully, reading non-fiction is not one of my strong suits. Instead it quickly leads to a lack of insomnia on my part. I get all blurry-eyed and …well, it’s probably the reason that there’s a stack of them right next to my bed.

I did pick up a copy of The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer last weekend and have high hopes of actually sitting down to read it {ahem}. I’m not sure if I consider myself a ‘classical homeschooler’ ~ so I suppose I should read it and find out…but I’ve heard some great things about the book, so I had to see for myself. At the rate I go, I’ll probably have it wrapped up about the time Kaleb graduates from high school.

The only homeschooling book that I’ve actually read has been Debra Bell’s Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling which is chocked full of great information for both the new and seasoned homeschooler. Would I recommend it ~ definitely yes. It’s well-organized and has a lovely section on burnout, which for some reason, I was especially drawn to when reading it. {grins}

Don’t forget to visit Stef at Layton Family Joy and see some more homeschool book recommendations from other homeschool moms!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Friday, June 18, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Trying to Plan

Since convention last week I’ve been laying out our upcoming year in my head and on paper and do you want to know something?

I’m feeling at a complete loss on what I’m going to do with Kaleb next year.

Obviously, I like to plan. There are ideas spinning around in my head, but I have yet to find a means to quickly get all those ideas into print form…and see if they are actually REAL ideas or bunny trails {because I’m famous for those too}.

I have plenty of things on file to do, but for some reason I feel the need to do something new ~ just for him. In many ways {and I’m just laying it all out for you here}, he truly gets the short end of the proverbial stick.

So I’m sitting. And thinking. And praying. Knowing that soon enough it will fall into place…I just need to stop getting ahead of myself and enjoy the fun and relaxing that we are doing right now.

Have you started making plans for next year yet? What do you have in store for your preschooler and/or kindergartener?

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! Please link your exact blog post to the Mr. Linky below and link back here too! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.
Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Thankful and Rambling

This year was the first year that Rick attended convention with me and during lunch together one day he said nine of the sweetest words to me.

“I am so glad you are homeschooling our kids.”

Really, I about started crying. I am so thankful for his support and encouragement, but having him sit in on workshops and get a deeper insight meant so much to me.

I’m really not sure that I can put it adequately into words, but that simple sentence encouraged me beyond measure.

And made me thankful that I have the opportunity to homeschool our kids.

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Monday, June 14, 2010

Real Quick…

I haven’t dropped off the planet…but am still basking in the glorious homeschool convention ‘glow’. {grins}

Can you believe I had my camera on my all weekend and forgot to take ONE SINGLE PICTURE??

I met Dari, one of the ladies who wrote Galloping the Globe…had much fun with Roy & Richelle from VA Soaps & Scents {making my hubby carry off a huge stash of their Lemon Verbena soap and lotion}…found some wonderful new stuff to use this upcoming year…and am feeling much refreshed.

I’ll be sharing some of my ‘finds’ with you all soon…both from curriculum and some of the workshops I did get to attend. Stay tuned!

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button


Friday, June 11, 2010

Preschool Corner ~ Blogroll Update

We’re still basking in the fact that the school year is officially done ~ which essentially means we’re playing and goofing off together!  Technically, I’m not even at home right now. I’m off at a homeschool convention with my hubby, making the rounds of the vendor halls, meeting up with some of you lovely blogging ladies ~ and getting motivated, re-energized and excited for the weeks and months to come!

ping pong ball experiment 2We’ve still been sneaking in a little learning here and there ~ science experiments, a little handwriting and art, but otherwise…it’s just been FUN! If you want a quick and fun experiment to do with your preschooler, be sure to check out the Ping Pong Air Pressure activity we did. The kids had so much fun and were playing with my blow dryer and the balls for awhile!

Wedgits have also been a big ol’ hit at our house this week with both of the boys {don’t miss the giveaway for Wedgits I posted yesterday}. I had also purchased a few additional resources to use with our Wedgits Starter Tote. The starter tote comes with Design Cards, so I purchased a Teacher’s Activity Guide. The design cards give the kids an example of a creation, show them what is needed to create that design ~ but it doesn’t tell them how to do it, so they have to figure it out on their own. Zachary has been flying through the cards and I love watching the little wheels in his brain turn as he tries to figure out the solutions.

IMG_4975 IMG_4989 IMG_4990

Kaleb has been enjoying them too ~ not quite the same as Zachary, but he is learning how to fit and stack the pieces together. We used the blocks to also make patterns.

Kaleb wedgits ` Kaleb wedgits 2

Updating the Preschool Corner Blogroll

If you have been linking up to the Preschool Corner, could you do me a favor and check out the Preschool Corner blogroll? If you name isn’t on the list, please leave a comment and let me know {along with your blog link} so I will be sure to add your name and link to the list!

Ready to Link Up?

Share what you are doing with your kids! The updated guidelines can be found here if you need them.

Please link your exact blog post here and be sure to include a link back to the Preschool Corner. I will delete any entries that do not link back to the site. Thanks for understanding. :)

Jolanthe Signature affiliate button