Friday, December 14, 2012

Homeschool Co-Op: Homemade Christmas Gifts

Our weekly co-op has done a great this semester in focusing on giving. The kids have done a great job giving this year with cards sent to the Red Cross Holiday Mail for Heroes and over 10 boxes full gifts for Operation Christmas Child.  In that spirit of giving this week we focused on homemade gifts for relatives and friends. 

Station 1- Clay decorations:

  • Rolling Pins
  • Christmas Cookie Cutters
  • Buttons
  • Quick Drying Crayola clay
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint

Station 2- Ribbon Tree Christmas Card for Kids

  • Sheet of thick paper/card
  • Curling Ribbon
  • Star
  • Tape
  • Glue
  • Scissors
Station 3- Christmas Shrinky Dinks (kids 7 and older)


Station 4-Thumbprint Reindeer Card

  • paper
  • brown paint
  • brown marker
  • googly eyes
  • black and red construction paper
  • glue
  • scissors
The plan was to do each of the activities in stations with 3-6 kids at each station. Well that was the plan but the kids (as kids will do) split into their regular groups of close buddies. We had a mom at every table to hang out with the kids as well as help out. It went smoothly and everyone seemed to have fun. The boys did all the crafts and for those with boys you know getting them to do crafts is like pulling teeth. But boys being boys we got some interesting takes on traditional Christmas themes.

 Like these snowboarding robotic Cyclops reindeer.

Or these beautiful multicolored clay ornaments.

My personal favorite was the Ninja Elf. As stated by my son " Because you need stealth to be an Elf."

It was a great day with great families whom we love.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Reflections of a Grady Doctor: More of The Best of What's Around.

Reflections of a Grady Doctor: More of The Best of What's Around.:   I have a friend who is having a very hard week. Today is the anniversary of something very hurtful for her and I am really, really thin...

Wordless Wednesday: Plant Science

Click on picture to see the details.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Homeschooling Plans for 12/12/12

Anyone have any plans for 12/12/12? 
Here are some suggestions from across the web:
  1. Read 12 books or list your favorite 12 books
  2. Do 12 acts of random kindness
  3. Eat 12 different foods
  4. Dance for 12 minutes
  5. Play 12 super-short games
  6. Take 12 pictures
  7. Make a pyramid out of 12 cups
  8. Go to the store and buy something to make for dinner that costs $12.
  9. See what you can make using 12 Legos.
  10. Send 12 friends an email, text or letter to let them know they are special
  11. Give 12 hugs
  12. Name 12 things you're thankful for

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Field Trip: Christmas 2012 White House Tour

I have always dreamed of visiting the White House during Christmas. Every year since we moved into the area I always think about it in December which is months to late to arrange. Well this year thanks to goal setting skills learned from, I actually remember to do it in August. Our co-op group was so excited about the prospect as well. Many have lived here all their lives and never visited the White House. One week after the election we received the conformation email. We were going to the White House!

In typical homeschool mom style I pulled all the resources about the White House for a two week long unit study.

Also we reviewed "How to greet the President" packet that we got from our amazing etiquette teacher Mrs. L. for Maryland. Details of the class here….
We also talked about "Expectations":
  • What do think The White House will smell like at Christmas?
  • Who would be in residence when we visit?
  • What behaviors are expected of guest in The White House?
  • What behaviors are unexpected at The White House?
  • What's the dress code?

A lot of these questions were answered at The White House website. Also we came up with a list of our own for personal conduct so there would be no confusion to mar the experience.

It was a beautiful cold clear sunny early morning as we made our way toward Pennsylvania Avenue. We were all a little giddy with excitement as we passed through the gates of The White House grounds. 

Everyone in the line was smiling and excited, the adults more so than the kids. God Bless the Secret Service they were friendly yet imposing at the same time. Think about their daily jobs to give their lives to protect the executive branch.

Once we were cleared onto the grounds I had to stop before entering the mansion. For some this may seem a little dramatic but it is how I truly felt at the moment. Here I was an African American women raised in a southern town who still today practices self induce segregation was about to step into the building where the President of the United States lives. The granddaughter of a lady who had to fight just to vote and marched in many a Civil Rights march while being forced to enter buildings through the back door..her granddaughter was entering The White House. In that moment I missed my grandmother so much it hurt. But I looked into my son's face and I saw her there…in his eyes ..the eyes that was ready to go inside The White House.

From the minute you enter it is overwhelming. It smells of holly and cedar while shining with twinkling colored glass d├ęcor. Your mind is stuck on "Ohhhhhhhhh" then "Hey, I know that portrait of that first lady", then back to "Wow look at that tree"

The staff there is amazing. They don't allow cameras but they will let you use your camera phone. They graciously took pictures of us as a family and answered all of The Student's questions. (Okay little mom brag here. He knew every single portrait of the president s that we saw. Plus he was excited to see them.)


The Student was amazed that President Lincoln ate off this china. He got really quiet and said "Mom, he was in this place. He really ate off stuff that is here." I think this is when The White House became "real."

On a visit to the National Mall we wondered what it looked like from the inside of the mansion looking out. Well, it is amazing.

Gingerbread House with a candy Bo.

 These good people filled the whole tour with wonderful music.

It was amazing day spent with family and friends.

Monday, December 3, 2012

QOTD: What is the oldest school in the world?

Last week we were discussing colonial America and how they educated their young.  Which promoted the question... What is the oldest school in the world?

The Student first pass guess was Oxford. A Google search brought back lots of data which lead us to   narrow the search to "universities" and "still in existence."

We found some information here:

Top 10 Oldest Universities in the World: Ancient Colleges

Wikipedia provide us with a list of oldest universities in continuous operation.

15 Oldest College in The World

The list varies because of definitions of continuous but Oxford does make the top 10 in each list.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Handwriting is Brain Power

Hoagies' Gifted Education Page highlighted an article linking handwriting to increase brain function. I agree with most of the data, especially how handwriting is good for adults as well as children.

  How Handwriting Trains the Brain