Getting Ready!

Young Sprout (my grandson) is about to start kindergarten and is enrolled in distance education, meaning that my daughter Umm Sprout will be his main instructor with curriculum, supplies and guidance from a teacher.  Much is supplied through the program but we need to get a few things together ourselves (nothing like the regular back to school shopping I had to do when my two were in school though).

One thing is to provide the child with what the parents guide calls a Beautiful Junk Box to be stocked with egg cartons, cores from paper towels, boxes, clamshells from salad, etc. to enable the student to get creative and make models and do crafts on her or his own.

I found a good sized extra sturdy box in my storage locker


but it needed some oomph.


contact paper to the rescue!

And it’s already partly stocked with cores, boxes  and cheap ribbon, which I just happened to have on hand.  I have ideas of other stuff to put in that is already here but should consult with Umm Sprout first.  Am also planning to label the box using an 8-1/2 by 11 inch mailing label.  Again, I want to consult with my daughter as to what she wants it to say.  I’m excited but don’t want to over involve myself and suck all the fun out of it for everyone else.

Apparently they also need a box for math manipulatives but I just happen to have shoeboxes available which are probably a good size, and enough left over contact paper to do a coordinated cover.

Interestingly I phoned around before setting out to buy the paper and a deservedly famous local hardware store had the big box store prices well beat!

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Filed under Art, Math, organization

Parents: Naughty Kids Need More Sleep and Clever Kids Do Too.

Parents: Naughty Kids Need More Sleep and Clever Kids Do Too..

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Filed under organization, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

Teaser Tuesday

from The Trouble with Boys, by Peg Tyre, 2008, Crown Publishers

“He’s go the handwriting of a serial killer.”  He’s also bored to death with the drill-it-till-you-kill-it approach to math homework.

see Miz B’s blog Should be Reading for more teasers of all sorts!

I should mention that this is a non fiction book with a lot of thought provoking ideas which I plan to blog more about later.

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Filed under Literacy, Math, Reading

I’m NOT making this up!

Young Sprout and I set out for a walk the other morning.  Although it was cool and rainy it was good to get some fresh air, and as always in our neighborhood, no shortage of things to observe and talk about.  Starting with a helicopter, one on the landing pad and another we saw in flight.  Then we saw a sailboat.

Two horses were patiently waiting in a trailer to be hitched to carriages and go to work.  Remember the horses, they make a reappearance later in this story!After that we watched a workman fixing tires and putting them onto a tour bus – no photos because he was well aware we were observing him, so it would have been awkward.

We turned inland and headed towards the park.  On the way, Young Sprout noticed this funky fence:

which has been custom built to allow for the bole of the tree.

At the park he was fascinated by two bigger girls with guns that shoot foam-tipped darts.  As we walked towards the community garden the horses passed along the street.  Young Sprout has just this week learned to recognize daffodils, this is his own photo:


At the community garden, something exciting was actually happening!  One of the gardeners was having a beehive installed on her plot AND the local TV station sent a two-man crew to interview the beekeeper, Mr. Hutchings.

Since it was getting cold (plus I had a quilt show to attend in the afternoon!) we set off home.  As we crossed the road we noticed one of the horses had done its business.  We said hi to the chickens that live on the corner and came home.

“So, Young Sprout, can you tell Mama what we saw while we were out?”

“Horse poo.”


Filed under field trip, Nature

Things Muslims can’t do #1

No promises that this will be a series, but I was gobsmacked by this sandwich board this afternoon.

This is wrong on so many levels.

Who needs beer in a chocolate cupcake?
Have they no thought for the impact the Irish troubles have had on so many people?  Victoria is one of the few cities where you can walk around and hear people speaking with heavy fresh off the boat British accents (aka ‘talking properly’)

Not to mention the families whose loved ones are serving overseas right this minute facing the dangers of IEDs.

No one would market suicide bomber shawarma or car bomb curry.


Okay, that’s it, rant over, climbing off the soapbox calmly and peacefully!

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Filed under Islam, Rant

Move Over Picasso


First experiment with tempera and brush.  Interestingly, the red/yellow was done one day, and the next morning Young Sprout went to the art supplies before breakfast and got busy layering the green on top.

I was reminded of his uncle, Senior Sprout, who was blown away by his first experience of painting.  He just kept going and going, with one colour after another until the final result was gray, and the paper was so wet it basically disintegrated.  Soon after that, he found a piece of driftwood which he decorated with markers, working on it every morning before breakfast and finally presenting me with “a statue.”  Today his favorite hobby is painting Warhammer figurines.

This may be genetic, I’ll be posting process photos of my newest project in Textisle.  Picasso doesn’t have to move over but maybe I should!

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Filed under Art, Portfolio

Keeping Track while Making Tracks!

Umm Sprout and I have been discussing ways to keep track of Young Sprout’s homeschooling activities.

As yet it’s not of critical importance because kindergarten officially starts in British Columbia the year a child turns five, but keeping some account might bolster family confidence that we are presenting opportunities and making progress.

Once they reaches the “official” age, homeschooled children in BC have to be either registered as homeschooled or enrolled in a distributed/distance education program such as SIDES.  That final choice is still a ways away for Umm and Abu Sprout.  Plenty of time to research and make an informed decision.  Keeping records is a topic that comes up quite often in homeschooling blogs and FAQs.

I suggested perhaps keeping notes, however basic and short, in Googledocs, so they would always be accessible no matter which computer was used.  At times in the past I kept a two-side daily to do list, one side with things to do and the other side with things done.  In a stressful work environment where it was impossible to keep up with the things to do, this was a sanity saver!  This year I’m keeping a brief daily narrative in my sketchbook of creative things done, and most days I find I’m able to note something, perhaps a blog post, knitting or a sketch, even if I haven’t set hand to needle or foot to sewing machine pedal.

While researching something completely unrelated to homeschooling or fibre arts, I stumbled across this, California Content Standards for High School Earth Science.  Hey, wake up, yes, you!

  • Questions at the end of standards-based textbook readings and/or activities cited in the right-hand column after each standard/benchmark can be considered as potential standards based assessment questions for quarter “mid-terms” or semester “end-of-term” finals.·
  • YELLOW is used to draw attention to core instructional vocabulary.
  • BLUE is used to draw attention to instructional “experiences” that students should have.
  • GREEN is used to draw attention to expected student opportunities (some requiring the application student initiated metacognitive1 skills) based on state framework suggestions.
  • RED is used to draw attention to issues that might affect the scope and sequence of how the standard based material is presented.
  • PINK is used to draw attentions to items that can be used for “cross-curricular” integration of “Language Arts” standard-based items.
  • GRAY is used to draw attentions to items that can be used for “cross-curricular” integration of “Mathematics” standard-based items.
  • Notations like “Q 2” beside a standard or benchmark mean that the standard or benchmark in question will be covered during the 2nd Quarter. L means late in the quarter and E means early in the quarter.
  • The “Content Standard SummarySummary” and annotations after each standard and benchmark are from the California Science Framework (scroll through this document to the Middle School Physical Science Standards)
  • NE or *- Considered a Non-Essential Standard/Benchmark (Standards considered “essential” are those that are included in the state CST blueprint for a given subject area test)
  • “(13% – 8 items)” means that 13% or 8 questions on the HS Earth Sciences CSS CRT have been written using framework descriptions for this standard and its benchmarks (ES CST Blueprint, 2002).

The colours on the website are better, copying them made them into plain black text and my editor doesn’t allow highlighting, so that’s why yellow isn’t yellow.  I did my best!

Although reading this just makes me glad I’m not a high school earth science teacher, I have to admit I’m a sucker for any type of colour coding.  And it did just occur to me that this could have some possibilities for homeschooling.  Say you’re baking cookies, that could be PINK for reading the recipe and GRAY for the math of measuring and timing and BLUE for science if you add on an experiment to show how baking soda works with acid to make bubbles.  Leaving aside student initiated metacognitive1 skills, you get the picture, hopefully.

I’d love to hear from other homeschoolers — how have you tackled record keeping, and has your approach changed over time?

How much of that was due to state or provincial requirements, and how much was your own initiative?

If you believe in providing the minimum required to officials, do you keep more detailed records for your own information?

Do you track time spent on school activities, or just the areas covered?


Filed under organization, Portfolio