Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Our Classroom! On The Cheap!

During our previous 12 years of homeschooling we never had a separate room that we used for a classroom.  We used the dining room and the kitchen table.  We were completely fine with that.  Now, however, we're in a different house that has a finished basement that we're able to use as both an office (hubby works from home) and a classroom!  We're so thrilled about this!

This is the beginning.  We're doing things on the cheap for now.  We're searching for the perfect table but for now we're using a long fold-up table and a long wooden door set on two tv tray stands.  It actually gives us a lot of work space and I love it.  Since we're renting this house until we buy sometime next year (we recently moved back to the Atlanta area) we are trying not to put nails in the walls to hang stuff so the white board is held by an easel in the corner.  The maps are are hung with the sticky adhesive stuff.

I needed a place to store our MANY maps that we purchased.  I didn't want to keep them folded away.  We hung them in the closet where we're keeping most of our supplies.  This works quite well for our needs.

"A" has decided she doesn't want to wait another three weeks to start school.  I'm still doing some planning but I've been giving her some busy work to do.  By the way, she dressed herself this morning after her bath - hence the mismatched top and skirt.  But, she's got her trusted companion, Sofie, to help her with those vocabulary words.

We're still working on some storage and other things but those will come.  I love to get ideas for homeschool spaces from Pinterest.  I'd love to see your homeschool room!  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Box Turtles

We had an unexpected little treat come to visit us the other day.  A cute little box turtle came to lay her eggs by our front porch steps.  My hubby and A were on their way out the door when they spotted her.

She laid several eggs, covered them back up, and went on her merry way.  We haven't studied turtles before so I thought this was a great opportunity!

We'll be following the progress and will post more as time goes on.  In the meantime, here's a few educational tidbits....

Box turtles are found in a variety of locations throughout the Eastern United States and some other areas (see below).  They are typically terrestrial which means they live on land as opposed to water. However, they can occasionally be found soaking in a puddle.

Box turtles like a variety of things to eat:  mushrooms, grapes, berries, and other fruits, and will occasionally eat a worm, slug, or insect.  They live long lives - up to 50 years or more!  Females nest in the summer and will typically lay three to eight eggs.  Our little turtle (above) is shown "excavating" her nest.

Male box turtles typically have red eyes!

Check out some more cool facts about box turtles here!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Food Origins

Our son, K, who is living with us for a little while, has always been a trivia buff.  During a family dinner of spaghetti the conversation turned to foods that originated in the United States.   He proceeded to inform us of foods that originated in the US and those that didn't.  I could see a mini-lesson coming on as hubby had to make sure K was correct.

But before we get down to the actual list, it's always good to have a little background for you trivia buffs....

Some foods that we think of as truly American didn't actually have their start here.  Many dishes have originated in other countries and then were modified (Americanized, I like to say) or evolved into what we know them as today.

Apple pie, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, chocolate, jelly beans, ice cream, steak, potato salad, watermelon all originated in other countries and were brought to America by the colonists and immigrants.  Many native foods play a key role in Americanized dishes but don't tell the whole story. 

 Native Americans ate corn, squash, and beans.  These foods are known as the "The Three Sisters" and were consumed by several Native American tribes.  Several varieties of nuts, vegetables, mammals, and fish are also indigenous to America such as buffalo, bison, and wild salmon (Alaska, of course).  Some indigenous recipes included succotash, cornflakes, and baked squash.

Many plants, animals, and spices were introduced by the "Old World" to the "New World" such as pigs, oranges, apples, cattle, grapes, onions, olives, cabbage, lettuce, carrots, watermelon, peas, etc.

Foods originated in the US (sort of):

According to The Food Timeline, "American" foods fall into six different categories (because we're a melting pot, after all!):

Native foods:  "The Three Sisters" plus indigenous nuts, veggies, fish, and animals

Ethnic blends: foods mix when diverse cultures settle into a region: Chop Suey

Hybrid dishes:  Old world recipes (say, from England) that use New World ingredients: cornbread

Regional specialties:  specific tastes or dishes based on region: tex-mex

Manufactured foods:  typically produced in America - moon pies, Kool-Aid, Jell-O, Mac and Cheese....

Generic traditions and food fads:  these can often be traced back to the old world - Chex Mix, corn dogs, Rice Krispie Treats (who knew, right?)

So, there you have it!  I have to admit that we were slightly disappointed to know that the all-American favorite foods at baseball games didn't originate here!


Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

New Homeschool Journey

It's been some time.... ok, a really long time.... but we're back and starting a new homeschool journey.  Our last child, "A", has been in public and private schools for the last four years since Kindergarten.  Now, we're at a point where we're able to bring her home to educate her.  So, our journey begins and Alfabet Soup is reborn.

I'll start by introducing you to us....

This is "A".....

We're heavily involved in Girl Scouts and this was a trip to the Georgia Aquarium recently.  She was reading about the Pacific Reef.  Here's a great live cam of the Pacific Reef, in case you're interested:  click here (oh, LOOK!  There's a Dori fish!) A is the last of our five children.  It's almost like starting over as our other kids are now adults and off on their own.  Our homeschooling adventures with her should be quite interesting....I've always said she's a little ball of dynamite - she is all four of the other kids wrapped up into one little kid.  She definitely has her own mind - and likes to tell others what's on it!

This is me....

Homeschool mom of five, Girl Scout leader, advocate for women and children's issues, and full-time college student.  For the past several years I've been very interested in helping the fight against human trafficking.  I'm also a Pinterest junkie, I admit.  Lots of great ideas on there! 

I would love to connect with other homeschoolers!  I'm always looking for great ideas - aren't we all?!  I'm looking forward to meeting other homescoolers through their blogs.  All the ones I knew before have grown children now! 

Thanks for stopping by!  Can't wait to see what this new journey has in store!