Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Oh how I love..

ORGANIZATION!!! When everything has its home it leaves me with such a giddy feeling hehe;-)... And as we approach the new year and the restart of our school year...I have been working and praying alot lately to create plans for: Personal, Marriage, Family,and School Goals!:-) And this week me and the kids have been working on one of our school goals...Organization!!.. So we decided to start with our school cabinet and art supplies:-)

( I still can't believe I have managed to not have to buy a second cabinet, thank goodness for the kids work pockets that hold their school books, which frees up space in the cabinet our other stuff)

1st shelf includes: Jars for Pens and Pencils, Colored Pencils and Markers and then a bucket containing other supplies( hole puncher, rulers, paper clips, stapler, rubber bands etc)

2nd shelf includes: Our too cute bags from Buckhead Betties( thanks Aunt Angel!) The first one has my teachers manuals, planners etc, Second one holds books for the kiddos, And the third one is jam packed with notebooks and coloring books)

3rd shelf includes: Puzzles! Mason of course loves this shelf hehe;-)

4th Shelf includes: Another cute bag:-) which contains all our English File Folder games and other baggie games:-), A tub full of extra school supplies( can you believe the kiddos got 10 packs of crayons for Christmas?! lol) and then Mason's Pre-school Container which contains all his Activity Bags:-) The girls Math U See blocks are also down there:-)

Aaaaah this makes my brain happy hehe;-)

And then it was time to organize our art supplies, the kiddos received this for their birthday( also from Buckhead Betties, thanks again Aunt Angel!) and I thought it would be perfect for art supplies since its clear and we could see what was in each pocket! Looooooooove that, our old one didn't have clear pockets, so everything was crammed in there:-/

I have to admit, I sat and stared at this for awhile in giddiness hehe:-)

This may sound simple and silly to some, but for a homeschooling mom of four kiddos, simple organization helps in a HUGE way:-)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Maddie's Graduation!

Maddie finished up her Math U See Primer book last week and we had a little ceremony for her! Which included her certificate, handmade cap( hehe) and her NEW Alpha book! Yippeee! I am so proud of her and she is SO excited to get started in her new book!:)

Way to go Maddie!!!:)

Morgan giving Maddie her new book!:)

Sweet Sisters!:)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pop, Pop, Pop..

There was a whole lot of popping going on at the Shallowford Popcorn Farm yesterday!

Somethings we learned:

•1 Popcorn grows best in rich soil. It is planted in checkrows, rows that intersect at right (90-degree) angles, so that it can be harvested by machine. Hybrid forms of popcorn have been perfected to produce the most grains per ear of corn, flavorful kernels, the correct internal moisture to insure that most of the corn pops, and other market-friendly characteristics. When the ears are ripe, the corn is harvested with either a picker that removes the ears and leaves the stalks temporarily or with a combine that crushes the corn stalks, mechanically removes the ears, and husks the corn. Combines tend to do more damage to the ears of corn. The ears are collected in the field in bins or boxes and moved into steel cribs using mechanical elevators or conveyors.

•2 The ears are dried in cribs that are narrow and have open slots to minimize the time needed to dry them. A crib can be up to three stories high, as long as a city block, and with a capacity of up to 4 million lb (1.8 million kg) of corn. The ears are stored for eight to 12 months to allow them to dry, or in an alternative method, hot air is forced up into the cribs through holes in the bottoms of them to reduce the natural drying time. While in the cribs, the corn is carefully tended until the kernels reach a moisture content of 12.5-13.5% moisture, which is ideal for popping characteristics.

•3 The dried ears of popcorn are then transferred by conveyor belt to the factory and a machine called a scalper. The scalper strips the kernels from the cobs. Simultaneously, a cleaner and de-stoner sort out the shuckings and any dirt or particles by passing it through a series of screens to separate the kernels. They are cleaned and polished in another machine equipped with metal brushes that remove the chaff (sometimes called bee's wings). A gravity separator is then used to separate good kernels from bad; the kernels that have matured properly are lighter in weight, so the bad kernels drop through the bottom of the separator and are recycled for use as seed. The kernels near the two ends of the cob also tend to be either too small or too large to pop properly, and the gravity separator removes them as well.



(Gravity Seperator)

•4 Finally, in the portion of the factory called the fanning mill, fans blow dust and other fine material off the kernels, and the kernels are treated with a natural, inert fumigant to eliminate insects. Most manufacturers avoid pesticides altogether during the winter months when bugs are less common, and all must comply with government regulations regarding their use. Now completely processed, the popcorn kernels travel toward storage bins on a conveyor belt; quality-control personnel watch the passing flow and vacuum up bad kernels that may have escaped the previous sortings.

•5 Types of popcorn with no other additives go directly to holding bins to await packaging. For microwave popcorn, measured amounts of salt, soybean oil, flavoring, and popcorn are pumped or dropped into the microwave bags. The bags are not vacuum-sealed, but they are air tight to prevent moisture in the air from affecting the contents.

•6 In the packaging area, popcorn is conveyed from the holding bins to packing machines where it is placed in bags and then boxed for storage or shipment. Usually, the factory will bag a particular type of quantity, say 5 lb (2.27 kg) bags, until it has met its orders plus some for storage. Then the packing line is changed to accommodate different bags and quantities of popcorn.

So if you have ever wondered how you get this:

from this:

NOW YOU KNOW:)..Pretty cool Huh?

*Special thanks to the moms from Triad Homeschoolers who helped provide me with pictures(since I didn't have my camera) and also since pictures were not allowed in the actual factory, props go to yahoo and google images;)

Monday, August 30, 2010

We WILL Survive!!!:)

I just HAD to share this video again since most of us have started a new year these past couple of weeks and for those of you just now starting your homeschooling journey..Take it from someone who has walked before you, I promise you..YOU WILL SURVIVE!!:)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Our First Week!!!:)

We kicked off our year with a field trip to Lewisville to visit an Alpaca farm, we had so much fun learning and meeting up with some of our homeschool friends!:) Fun Times!

The kiddos building a tower:)

Mason with one of his Activities from his Preschool Bags! He LOVES them!:)

The girls doing Spelling( oh how we LOVE All About Spelling!!)

Maddie working on her handwriting( So far we are really enjoying "Handwriting without Tears!)

Morgan working on her Writing Strands work:)

Maddie during her Computer Time:)

Check it out what Morgan made with her Math U See blocks! She is SO CREATIVE!!!:) (yes she does use them for her Math work too! hehe;)

We have been reading "The Secret Garden" during our lunch time and the girls have SO enjoyed this book and even begged me to read it to them at night, and so here they are ready to hear more of the story! They don't know it yet, but I am surprising them with the movie when we are done!!:) LOVE IT!!:)

And can't leave Micah out!..Here is what he spends most of the school day doing..hehe;)

We are having SO much fun this year!!..This week was as near perfect as we can get on this side of heaven, God's presence was so powerful as He poured into me and my children and we are SO blessed! I do believe this is going to be one AMAZING year!!!:)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Our Flat Adventure!!

Me and the kiddos need your help! We are going to be studying different countries this year and since we can't physically go to all these places, we decided to embark on the Flat Adventure! Our first country is America, so all you mommas( homeschool or not) that would like to participate,... please email me at and I will get you all the details!!

Here is the kiddos with their Flat version of themselves!!:) Please help send our 'Flat Kids" all over America!! hehe;)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

It's that time again...

Time to get ready for our school year!:) Even though there has been so much learning going on around the Smith household with baby Micah now apart of our family!:) Its also time to get ready to start back with our basic school subjects with also a TON of field trips planned!!

Planning this school year was alittle bit different with a newborn and adding a 2 and half year old who is ready to learn into the mix hehe;)... So I had to come up with a new scheduling format, and the answer to my prayers was in "Managers of Their Homes" book and kit! It is AWESOME and I highly recommend it to all families!! :) Here is some pics of our schedule all set up:)

Everyone is color coded so we all know who is doing what at what times:)

I laminated the time sheets, names, and activity squares and then added velcro tabs on both the time sheet and activity squares to make it easier to move things around when needed!:)

If you want to learn more about this AWESOME book and kit you can find it here:

And then it was time to figure out what materials to use this year;)..Most of it was pretty much the same with a few things added in;) Here is our list!..

Bible: We will be doing our morning readings and devotions and fun activites from our awesome Hands On Bible!:)

Spelling: All About Spelling( I found this Spelling curriculum to be a awesome blend of not only spelling but also phonics! And it is a multisensory curriculum which I LOVE!

Math: We will continue with Math U See, which is also a multisensory curriculum and it made Math click with my kids and we can't wait to start back!:)

Writing and Language Arts: Morgan will be finishing up Primary Language Lessons and starting Writing Strands..Maddie will be start Handwriting without Tears( Can't wait to start this as I have heard amazing reviews!)

Reading: They will both continue with their computer program( Sound Reading) and I have bought the book "Teaching to Read using Manipulatives" and I am SO excited to use some of the creative hands on ideas in there!) and of course LOTS of read alouds from the library:)

Mason will be starting Preschool Activties in a Bag and is SO excited to start his schooltime hehe;)

And we will be adding our My Father's World curriculum back in Jan! SO excited about that!:)

We also have SO many fun field trips planned! Here is just a few:)

* Alpaca Farm

*Back to School Party

* Popcorn Farm

* Fishing Class

*Greensboro Recycling Center

*Animals of the Piedmont Class

*Old Salem

*Police Safety Class

* Greensboro Airport

And thats just for the next two months!!:)

Our first day will start August 23rd( with a field trip, how cool is that?!?hehe) and I have decided to start a year round approach so we will go 6 weeks on and then take one week for vacation, I think we will enjoy this so much more as it will give a more relaxed approach to our homeschooling:)

We are SO excited to get back into the groove of things and look forward to seeing what all God has in store for our homeschool year!!:)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Baby IS the Lesson:)

This was recently shared on the My Father's World message board and God used it to minister to my heart. As baby #4 is expected in the next 2 and half weeks, I have felt myself get overwhelmed with everything that I will have to juggle.. And then the thoughts about how and when to start back with our schooling and through this message God whispered to my heart that this baby IS the lesson in our life at this time and don't rush through this season in our life, that everything will and always does fall back into place:)Ahhh HE is SO FAITHFUL!!:)

By Diane Hopkins:

One morning on my daily walk, I was fretting and stewing over what I could possibly do with my one-year-old during school time. I was feeling some despair with a new baby on its way. I couldn't see any end to the disruption of babies in my home school for many years to come. I was praying and scheming at the same time: I could wait until the baby's nap to teach school, I could rotate the children with baby-sitting chore away from our schoolroom, I could get a playpen . . . all solutions that didn't feel right--babies needs their moms!

As I walked and pondered, suddenly the Lord introduced one sentence to my mind and revolutionized my mindset entirely! "The baby IS the lesson!" I thought I was trying to teach Math, but in reality I had been teaching, day by day, how an adult values the precious gift of children. My children, by watching how I deal with the frustration of a crying baby or keep a toddler happy and busy with some of his "own" pieces while we play a math game, are soaking up "the lesson". Unfortunately, I had occasionally been teaching that the baby interrupts our learning.

How to be a Christlike person is the most valuable lesson a child could ever learn! The lesson is learned moment by moment; watching a parent being patient, handling frustration with kindness, pressing on for the goal in spite of numerous interruptions, valuing each child's needs regardless of inconvenience. That valuable insight--how Mother handles the baby is the real lesson--has dramatically changed how I view my home school. I am teaching foremost my values: godly character, kindness, respect for others, individuality, sacrifice and a host of other Christlike attributes. Teaching them reading, writing, math, etc. is very important to me but my perspective has been altered. "Mimic me, follow me and I will show you the way a Christlike person acts and what he values". That is the message every parent relays to their children whether they are aware of it or not. Children try to copy everything anyway (our mannerisms, our daily activities, etc.). We must be certain that we are providing a correct pattern for them to copy, not only in our daily activities but in our attitude, our tone of voice, and our facial expression. We need to conduct our lives so that we can say "follow me". If our children are to "buy" our values, what a tremendous responsibility we have to make sure we are living our best so the lesson is clear and well learned! What more could you ask for from your homeschool than to produce Christlike people?!

Teaching your children basically means getting your own personal life in order and striving daily to be the leader for them to follow. Of course, we fall short and they must look to Christ for the perfect being but they need to see daily how one acts, speaks, lives, solves problems. We are acting as a proxy, in a sense, for Christ. Since they can't have his daily role model, then he has given his children parents to be an example, to point the way. Along with lesson preparations, we need to prepare ourselves by asking: is the pattern I live the way Christ would act? Can I say today that I have marked the path for my children to follow? Children learn from seeing their parent's role model. Watching an adult make a simple mistake (such as being too punitive with a child) and go through the process of repenting is 100 times more effective than your devotional lesson on repentance. This means children must be intimately involved with you in your daily life. A few hours a day after school won't do it.

Children should be involved in the adult's life rather than daily life rotating around the children. Research has shown that children who have grown up to be productive well-adjusted adults are those who have been drawn into the parent's world; their daily activities, work, and interests; rather than having parents who centered their world on the child. When I began home schooling, I never could find the time to do the things I felt were important for my life; such as writing in my journal, corresponding with relatives, studying my scriptures, and more. Somehow, in my busy-ness of trying to teach the kids how to write in their journals, I was neglecting my own journal writing. Thankfully, we now have journal writing time in school daily, and we write letters to relatives together as a family on Sunday. Homeschool life should help parents do the daily necessities, rather than usurp the time needed for them. Home maintenance, chores, food preparation, gardening, food preservation, budgeting, clothing care (mending and sewing), planning family social relationships, caring for small children, record keeping, quilting, wallpapering, etc. are all wonderful life skills that can be done together that enhance a child's education!

The parent's joyful task is to lead and guide the child into the real world--not set up a contrived pseudo-world to teach skills that the children would easily learn if they spent their time around adults who were striving to live good lives. What constitutes an adult trying to live a "good life"? Being a productive adult would constitute a full-time curriculum! Plant a garden, read good literature, serve the needy, be politically aware, keep a journal, vote for honest men, develop your talents, etc. The exciting part about leading a child into the real world is that they are self-motivated. The moment I sit down to play the piano, all my children want to play and want me to teach them to play something. No sooner than I begin typing on the computer, I have the whole family "needing" to type. My efforts at writing have, humorous to me, stimulated the production of "books" from my youngest children. Modeling is so much more effective than lecturing.

Studies show that the biggest determining factor for a child's success in reading in school is if they have seen a parent reading in the home on a regular basis. This is especially true for boys if the parent who reads is their father, rather than their mother. Somehow, the example says far more about the value of reading than endless hours in school reading groups.

In every area, it takes instruction to teach skills to little people. Children need to master the basic academic skills (reading, writing, arithmetic), social manners, music competence, and a host of other abilities and that does take focused concentration and time from mother/teacher to accomplish. It isn't realized just by living in a family. But shared family life practices and contributes to those skills. Having taught my little girl the numbers and the plus, minus and equal signs and how they worked, she jumped right into figuring out how many plates she needed to set the table using her new skills: ("We have 9 and the boys are gone to college so that is minus 3, so we need six").

When we think of homeschool, sometimes we get tunnel vision, and think "academics", "keeping up to speed" and other worrisome concerns that don't really tell the whole story. Homeschool is the growing and nurturing of fine, upright people. So, how we treat and value the baby really is the lesson.

Class never dismissed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Math U See!:)

Oh how we just LOVE LOVE LOVE this Math curriculum!! I honestly don't know how we were doing Math before..And I only wish I had of learned Math this way!:) The kids are SO excited about Math now that its the first thing they ask to do!..Which totally makes this momma HAPPY!:)..I have also had to save it for last so they are encouraged to finish their other assignments and they call Math their FUN time! How awesome is that?!?!:) We are breezing through the lessons, Morgan has already scored 100%s on all her tests so far and Maddie is doing amazing as well! LOVE IT!:) I also knew once we received our blocks that we would need a special "home" for them and when I came across this idea, I just KNEW I had to do it!:) Our container finally arrived and I just wanted to share our Math block's..NEW HOME:) hehe;)

If you are intersted in this totally amazing Math Curriculum you can find more information at

OR if you are already a Math U See user and want to purchase one of these "homes" for your blocks:) can find it here!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Animal Memory Game..

We learned how Scientists group and classify animals into five groups( fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and birds)

And that Mammals are animals like cats, dogs, and sheep that nurse their young( with milk). Most of them don't lay eggs-they give birth to live young."

Reptiles lay eggs and have dry, scaly skin. Turtles and snakes are reptiles.

We then played a fun Memory Game to help us remember what we learned!:)

Living/Non-Living Things

God created Living and Non-Living Things...The girls made a chart to label all they found in Genesis 1..:)

Cotton Gin

We have been learning about Eli Whitney and how he invented the cotton gin and the girls did an activity to realize how hard it would have been to pick all those seeds off the cotton one by one! At the end Morgan replied.. Mom..Eli was a genius! I have to say I agree!!:)


We have been learning about cells and made a model to help us remember all the parts!:)

Lamb of God

As we were studying the Passover and learning our memory verse " The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29..We made Lambs to help us remember that Jesus is the Lamb of God!:)