Things I Love

Below is a collection of websites, ideas, homeschool activities, people, places and things that have added value to our family in some way. Everything from lesson plans & science experiments to Arts and Crafts and beyond. 

Gutters for Planters

posted Jan 15, 2012, 9:04 AM by K Day

Today as I perused the web I found the greatest blog post that I had to add here so as not to forget and to share. The original post is HERE from the blog Family Trees May Contain Nuts. This is a really neat blog! My favorite ideas below are using gutters for planters, using the muffin pan, clear cup and magnets for kids stuff and the wrapping paper on the ceiling. These are all great time and space saving ideas that I will surely use in the near future :)



This information came to me in an email. These are not my clever ideas. Credit goes to whoever compiled this list originally. My notes are in***red***.

Hull strawberries easily using a straw.
Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes. ***what if your stain color is not walnut***

Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40. ***Please check this out before you do it***
Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.
Overhaul your linen cupboard, store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match. ***I do this but my cupboard still doesn’t look like this***
Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone & iPod in a bowl. The concave shape amplifies the music.
Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags. ***Great idea for in your car***
Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily, who knew?!
Attach a Velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.
Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor. ***I am way too short for this one to be helpful***
Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose.
Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting
crosses into a box lid.
For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.***Mine don’t look like that either*** 
Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins, tweezers and clippers, behind a vanity door.

***This one is a winner*** Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel.CRAFT CADDY
A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.
***Another winner***Bread tags make the perfect cord labels.
Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones, so much more fun and easier for kids to eat.
Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.
Install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles.
***Oh I can’t wait to see what you will create in these***Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila, you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream.
Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.
Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.
Use egg cartons to separate and store your
Christmas decorations.

Khan Academy

posted Sep 2, 2011, 8:22 PM by K Day

We found Khan Academy several months ago and I began exploring, hesitantly at first. It's a very simple concept; learn, practice, learn more. The tutorials are kept very short so it's easy to keep your focus. The you can go "Practice" what you've just learned. If you login you can keep track of what tutorials you've watched and what you've practiced. It will even let you know when you are ready to move on. Granted this is subjective but it does a fairly decent job at it. 

After using it for awhile, I decided to let Taka try it out. He is loving it! He started with basic math and quickly went through 3 videos. Most of which he later shared "I already knew all that.". The practice is great for him though. He loves doing his math on Khan, using the scratch pad to carry his numbers and getting the smiley face and badges when he is successful. 

I've decided I love it. I love it because it's mobile, it's fun, it holds interest and you can do it anytime. Who wouldn't love to learn calculus this way?

In-Home Conference

posted Mar 26, 2011, 5:13 PM by K Day   [ updated Mar 26, 2011, 5:42 PM ]

Our first adventure to the "In-Home Conference" was a success! This conference is AMAZING! There is always something to do, lots of like minded "friends" and just a general sense of goodness. If you don't go to any other conference, go to this one! Some of the reasons I think this conference is so successful are
  1. Location, Location, Location - The Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Il is a beautiful venue. This is an extremely family friendly place with 2 pools, 4+ restaurants and a Ben & Jerry's on site and activities scheduled throughout the days and nights. Additionally the service was perfect and everyone of the staff we met was kind, courteous and went out of their way to go the extra mile. 
  2. Bang for the Buck - For the price of registration you can go to as many workshops as you can fit in your schedule! The children's workshops are fun, exciting and motivating. The adult workshops are led by world renowned authors, philosophical guru's, and people who have 20+ years of experience to share. The best part is that the parents can enjoy their workshops while the kiddo's enjoy theirs. 
  3. Organization - This isn't just thrown together, this is really thought out. Upon check in you receive your "package" with your name tags and misc. other helpful documents, including maps. The name tags have your itinerary printed on the back so you always know where you need to be when :) The children's workshops begin 5 minutes before and end 5 minutes later than the adult workshops. This means you don't have to worry about rushing to get the kiddos when your workshop is over. There is also a nice break between workshops to pick up a snack, rest, head to your room for a few or just catch up with a friend. 
  4. Content - The In Home Conference attracts some of the best authors, speakers and homeschooling "Guru's", I've seen yet. 
  5. It's just good! - You know when you have that feeling that everything is right with the world? Well that's what we found at the In-Home Conference. Were there a LOT of families? Definitely! Did it feel like a crazy chaotic zoo? Not at all! There were so many wonderful families, independent kids and happy energy that you couldn't help but think "Wow, this is awesome!" I've never seen such an eclectic, accepting and laid back group. Everyone homeschools in different ways and yet everyone was respectful of each others differences and sometimes those differences were embraced and learned from.  
So if you are new to homeschooling or have been doing it for 20 years, if you haven't been to In-Home, I urge you to check it out next year. 

Sir Ken Robinson

posted Feb 8, 2011, 11:12 AM by K Day

A few months ago I came across Sir Ken Robinson's talks on TED and ran across them again today. I am reminded that there are others who recognize the current challenges inherent in the current "traditional & institutional" education system. You can find multiple talks online but if you only have time for one I would recommend his talk at the 2010 TED conference in California. You can also visit his website @ to learn more about this creativity expert or check out his perspective on Homeschooling

Spelling City

posted Jan 28, 2011, 4:55 AM by K Day

We just found and what a find it is! We have only begun to explore it and we love it already. You can utilize their existing words and word lists or create your own. There are games to play like matching the word with it's definition and they even have cursive practice print outs. One thing to keep an eye on is that they do have "British" spelled words. This is actually a bonus for us but may catch some people off guard. You can have a look at their introductory video HERE

Games - Playing while you learn

posted Dec 31, 2010, 6:34 AM by K Day

Takayiyo LOVES to play games. He still kind of relates them to being a "Big Kid" because he is learning "rules" and playing the "grown up" games. We, the parents, love games that reinforce something Taka is learning or working on. After all some of the best learning happens when the kiddo's don't know they are learning:) Below is a list of some of our favorite games and why we like them. Hopefully one of them will inspire you to play with your child today!

Monopoly - Playing Monopoly has really helped reinforce Taka's understanding of money, cost, value, percentages and so on.

SET - This is an incredibly addictive game that reinforces abstract ideas like creative and critical thinking as well as recognition and deductive reasoning. This can be played by all ages and an adult who has never played doesn't necessarily have an advantage over the kids. 

Perplexus - Talk about addictive! This is really more of a 3D puzzle. When Taka first got it he played it for hours at a time. Even after weeks of use, he'll pick it up a few times a day to play on a whim. Again, this reinforces more abstract concepts and is super FUN!

Scrabble - Of course Scrabble is great for helping kids to learn new words and spell. Fore younger kids just starting out I've found it helpful to have an extra set or 2 of the letter tiles. By giving them more letters to work with it helps them "find" their words easier.  

Equate - This is scrabble with numbers instead of words. This game reinforces simple math (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division). Again, if you can get your hands on an extra set of tiles you can use your imagination to customize this game for your little one. For instance, we remove the multiplication and division tiles and only do addition and subtraction for now. 

If you have a favorite game that promotes learning and is a lot of fun I'd love to hear about it!

Happy gaming! 

Calvin and Hobbs on Homeschooling

posted Nov 3, 2010, 8:57 AM by K Day   [ updated Nov 3, 2010, 9:15 AM ]

I know it's not really a statement on homeschooling but I just love this cartoon!  Think about it ;)

EIA Energy Kids

posted Nov 2, 2010, 6:13 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 2, 2010, 6:40 PM ]

The U.S. Department of Energy Information Association has a great website with a wealth of information. The best part of this website, IMO, is Energy Kids. Here you will find everything from teacher guides, cool lesson plans and science experiments to games and activities. If you're looking for ideas on how to engage and teach your kiddo about energy, this is the place. 

The Morning Board @ Homeschool Creations

posted Nov 2, 2010, 2:16 PM by K Day   [ updated Nov 2, 2010, 3:24 PM ]

As you can see by the sidebar I follow a "few" homeschool related sites. One of my favorites is Homeschool Creations. This blog is full of creative ways to inspire your homeschooling experience. One such inspiration comes from the Homeschool Calendar & Morning Board page. It's a great way to get started and has helped me incorporate consistency into our homeschool day. Take a look and you are sure to find something inspiring for your own homeschool routine. You can check out how we've implemented of some of the ideas in our "Misc. Works" page. 

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