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September 29, 2010

The Problem with Word Problems

I already shared recently what we use for curriculum. I like what we are using for math. It's simple but yet effective. At times there are what even I consider to be "too many" problems. However, I think it's better to have to many then not enough. It's easier to say will skip some of these then to find or come up with more problems.

Today's math activity required Superstar, 9, to look at a chart and to answer simple questions about this chart. This chart had 3 columns to it. The first for the countries name, the second for the population, and the  3rd for the year the data was collected. It's worth noting that each countries population number was collected in a different year.

His question: List the countries in order starting with the country that has the least population and ending with the country that has the greatest population.  Looking at this question Superstar announces that he can not do the work.

I ask him why, what's the issue. He reads the question to me, I point to the chart at the top of the page and tell him. It wants you to use this chart to solve the problem. "I know that Mom, but I'm telling you I can't do it".  Puzzled and confused, because I KNOW he can list numbers from the smallest to the greatest with great ease, ask "Why not?"

Superstar's answer: "They all have different years! So I really don't know which country has the least and which has the most."

I shared this tidbit with some of my local homeschooling friends. I had one that backed Superstar up and said well technically he's correct. If you are going to compare data such as population sizes then you should be using data that was collected in the same year.

In regards to my son's reaction to his math book problem my mom made a statement "Thank God you homeschool! And we wounder what is wrong with the public school system!" Of course my mom was being a little sarcastic when she made those remarks. LOL

I don't think math problems like those are the issue, but perhaps lack of free thinking and questioning why something is done like this; or how, what should have been, a simple math problem could not have been done because the facts given were not "accurate".  hmm....I don't think accurate is the right word there.... It's late and I can't think; so I'll just use accurate for now.

I told Superstar to just answer the question anyway with the data he had. I basically had to tell him to ignore the years the data was collected. He did do it, but the whole time made it known how it really wasn't an accurate answer and the problem truly could not be solved!

September 26, 2010

FYI: Catholic Bloggers

I know several of my followers participate in the Catholic Mothers Online Blogroll. Angie at Catholic Mothers Online has important information regarding changes to the blogroll!

Several Members of this blogroll have had their sites  labeled as malware and need to remove the old blogroll from their site. There is a NEW malware free options available to them!

Please see Catholic Mothers Online for details

2010-2011 School Year Curriculum

We have already done 3 weeks of school. Tomorrow the 27th, will be the start of our 4th week. Then for the week of Oct 4th-8th we will have NO SCHOOL. I've decided to school for about 200 days over 40 weeks. I've also decided that it will be more of an ALL year schooling. Because of this I can almost every 4-5 weeks take a WHOLE week off!  Our off weeks will give me time to grade papers, tweak our plans, and see how things are going.

Language Arts:


Fine Arts
  • Various fitness DVD
  • Library Resources
Foreign Language:
Miscellaneous Enrichment:

September 24, 2010

Ultrasound Vehicle Forced To Leave

Last month I shared with you how an free ultrasound clinic was going to be parked outside the local abortion clinic. It was a good thing while it lasted! On September 8th, the owners of the free ultrasound clinic were told they had to leave or face a warrant for their arrest. This amazes me seeing the signs in the window of this SAME clinic do not seem to bother the city's legal department.

It's my understanding that pro-lifers worked for weeks with Rockford Police, prior to the ultrasound clinic's arrival, to ensure the ultrasound clinic would be allowed to be parked near the abortion clinic.

September 17, 2010

America The Story Of Us

Back in March I shared how the history channel was giving away FREE copies of America The Story of Us.  Well Just wanted to share that our FREE copy arrived today.  This is several weeks later then I expected but I'm still thrilled that it's here.  Have you received yours yet?

September 14, 2010

Growing A Willow Tree

One of DH's all time favorite tree is the willow tree. He has always said that he wanted one.  I started to question what are willow tree seeds? Seeing we know we where we can find some at a few public parks and other areas.  My thinking was if we knew what the seeds looked liked or when they seeded we could get some and just grow a willow tree.

A few weeks ago we were @ my mom's house. My step sister was there and we asked her if she happen to know. She said I think you can take a branch, a cutting, and it will grow. So with that I asked my mom if I could borrow her computer to look it up. Seeing there was a willow tree there that we could take a branch or two from it that turn out to be the case.

It was clear that yes, a cutting or broken branch can and will indeed grow and take root for MOST willow tree varieties. Of all the different varieties there are only 2 of them can not be cultivated in this matter. So with that we took a few small branches of the tree that was available to us.

I came home and place it in some water. We have noted the leaves are starting to dry out and fall off. I thought perhaps it didn't work but today we noted there are roots starting to grow off the branches.

In about a week we'll transfer the branches to a pot with soil and leave it  inside for the winter. We think we'll keep them in a pot until they are bigger and then transfer the biggest strongest one to the yard and give away the other ones if they all make it that is!

September 13, 2010

Liquid, Gas, Solid

We know that matter comes in three forms; Liquid, Gas and Solid. I'm sure everyone knows that those 3 forms can be easily shown at home with water. However did you know it can be shown with a candle too?

The candle is a solid. When it is heated up it turns into a liquid and gas. After the candle burns for a period of time you can clearly see the liquid wax. It's possible to see the gas by relighting the "smoke" from the candle right after you blow it out. This is because the smoke is really not smoke but the candle wax in its gas state.

Although technically that gas is not a gas but a vapor. However seeing my children are young and we are just trying to grasp the idea of solid, liquid, and gas, I feel it's okay for us, at this time, to describe the vapor as a gas.

Please see our video:

September 11, 2010

Thankful for New Stove!!

I got a new stove tonight (thanks to my step father).  A few weeks ago we were down at their house and made mention how I needed a new stove. Mine was falling apart. My step dad said that I should have spoken up and let him know these things because he has the gift of find those kind of things for UNBELIEVABLE prices!  How unbelievable? How does a Jackson or less sound? I don't know where or how he comes across these things but he can and does! We are incredibly thankful!!!

This is my OLD STOVE!!!

The arrows are trying to show how the top was pulling way from the side. The piece circle laying on top is the side. As they were pulling the stove out of the house it totally fell off! I had a feeling it would totally fall apart, but I was hoping and praying that it would hold out until we could get a new one. We were planning on getting one from the store until my step-Dad told me about his unbelievable way of finding incredible deals!

This is my NEW stove!!

Soon, I'll be able to have my Mom and step-Dad up for my salmon and white bean soup!!!! This will be my way of saying thanks for finding such and awesome stove!!!!  Tomorrow, I will have some friendship bread to bake in the oven!!!! Very awesome.... I'm sincerely thankful, not only for the stove but for the time they put in bringing it and installing it.

Not only did they gift us with a stove today, but they gift us with a front door screen!  It's so cool to be able to sit here and have the door open and not worry about bugs coming in :) Thanks :)

September 9, 2010

School Has Started!

Who knew trying to start up a new homeschooling group/co-op and lessons would eat up all of my computer time? It really hasn't been the group stuff, just the building the website: I-H.O.P.E. Illinois Homeschoolers for Peaceful Open Education.  Luckily webs.com, the service the site is built on, makes it "easy" to build the site. Even though it's "easy" it still takes TIME to add content, tweak things, and submit it to google, yahoo, bing, etc.

On the school front we are 4 days into our lessons! Kids are enjoy getting into the grove of things, although yesterday and today due to unforeseen errands we haven't really stuck to our schedule.  Although we are getting the work done!  In the near future, I'll post what materials we are using this year, lesson plans, and our ideal schedule for this school year.

Well, I'm off to the races....
Okay not really, but I do have work around the house that needs to be done, lessons to be taught, and all the other "mom" activities. I just really wanted to post to say, I'm alive and well! Some of my more faithful followers may have thought it was odd that over a week had pass without any new content, posting, etc.

Hopefully things will iron itself out here shortly and I'll be able to better manage all of my online activities.

September 1, 2010

I-H.O.P.E. is here!

Yay, We have developed a group name and on our way of becoming a reality! We've got an email address and a website. (I-H.O.P.E.)!  Now we are just hoping to spread the word and get other homeschoolers in the Rockford, IL area interested in joining our group and making I-H.O.P.E. a reality!!!
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