Are you familiar with ClickSchooling?  I’ve been a subscriber for a few years and have found lots of neat web sites through their free service.  From their site:

ClickSchooling  – Get free, daily, web-based curriculum ideas that save you time and money and boost your kids’ knowledge of the world. The free reviews are sent in a daily email, Monday through Saturday, that are
focused on a specific subject as follows:

*       Monday = Math
*       Tuesday = Science
*       Wednesday = Language Arts
*       Thursday = Social Sciences
*       Friday = Virtual Field Trip
*       Saturday = Electives: Music, Art, & Languages

The sites include excellent information delivered in a student-friendly, multi-media format, and often contain free interactive games as well as printable lessons and materials that can be tweaked to your needs and interests whether you are homeschooling, unschooling, or after-schooling. Most of the sites are suitable for a wide age range.

The ClickSchooling site also has tons of articles, archives and more.

Song & Video about the American Presidents

Thanks Risa for passing on this neat resource that features a couple of lines about every American president right up to Obama.  It would be a great jumping off point for more detailed research into our presidents.

I also plan to talk to my kids about what a tiny (and sometimes biased) glimpse we can sometimes get through history lessons.  For instance, for Jimmy Carter they say he worked tirelessly for human rights.  Carter certainly was one of the presidents most concerned about human rights, but someone else could sum him up by talking about the Iran hostage crisis which really seemed to be what people associated with him at the end of his presidency and for a long time to come.  I am a big fan of Carter, but I do remember that at the time of his presidency that is not how people judged him.

George W. Bush is summed up by saying he strengthened homeland security and Clinton really wasn’t summed up at all (they just say he was the president of the new millinium).  I want to have my kids think about how they’d sum up the presidents they know about and to think about how the power really lies with the people who get to tell the stories in history.  That’s another reason it’s so important to get our information from lots of different sources.

Also, my father-in-law was telling me that CNN did a list of the best presidents in history and named the absolute worst too.  I think it might have been Buchanan but I can’t remember.  I really want to hear that story!  What a dubious achievement!  If I find the story I’ll pass it on.

Toilet Paper Day!

Yesterday was a snow day and we were fighting bugs and feeling bored.  We had to miss the last day of HS ice skating because the roads were too bad and I thought a little silliness was in order.

So I proclaimed it toilet paper day!

I had the kids retrieve a roll of cheap toilet paper and first we played toss with it.  We tried to toss it to each other so that the end would unravel as much as possible as it flew and tried to catch it without ripping it off.  Sometimes we got a pretty long tail!

When it was all tossed out, the kids had a blast throwing handfuls of it.

Jack swept it all up and then we moved on to a little math!

Victoria wanted to make mummies and I asked her to go look at the package and see how many feet of TP was in a roll.  They didn’t tell us that, though.  They told us how many square feet was in the entire package.  So we did some division, some multiplication, some measuring and figured out that one roll was approximately 125 feet.

After that, there was nothing to do but make mummies!

It was quite a lot of silly fun for the cost of two rolls of cheap toilet paper (which we used for runny noses, but could also be composted or made into TP play dough I suppose).

We could have extended the whole TP HS thing by making TP timelines, measuring out the longest whale or dinosaur in TP, taking a virtual tour of a TP factory or who knows what else, but we mostly just had fun.

“And what did you do in school today, children?”

“Played with toilet paper!”

My mother would be rolling over in her grave.  My dad would be smiling.  🙂

Fat Tuesday in Pictures (Part Two)

Here’s some pictures from the second half of our Mardi Gras day, which was also loads of fun.

Our family headed to Rasmussen Woods and Elks Nature Center, a lovely place that we used to visit years back.  Daryl stopped by recently while the kids and I were at our Valentines Day party and thought the kids would like it.  He was right!  They loved the place.

A few pictures, starting with….

Busted!  🙂

I stayed in the van with Alex for a few minutes after we got there, drinking some pop and trying to lesson my migraine.  When I got out, there was a police car parked behind us in the empty parking lot and the officer was writing notes!  Ack!  It was a bit alarming!  🙂  It turns out that when the staff worker opened the door for our family, he entered the wrong security code and the police came even after he explained it on the phone.   It’s nice to know they respond promptly!

Some pics of the inside of the place…

Jack asked me to read a book to him about worms and we learned how worms move, eat, reproduce and help the soil.  Afterwards he used his body to move the way a worm would…

… and drew a picture of a worm, complete with segments, for the staff member (whom he adored)

From there we went outside for a little king of the hill

Snowball flinging

and cupcakes!

Then the kids found this great…. thing.  It seemed to be a structure built of old Christmas trees!  We’re not entirely sure what it’s purpose was, but it was cool!

So I made them pose in it, which led to lots of falling over and getting stabbed in soft parts by pokey pine parts and general mayhem

But I didn’t care because I got some rather sweet pictures.  😉

Then the kids found yet another cool place and I took still more pictures….

It was a lovely way to end a fun day!

Fat Tuesday in Pictures (Part One)

So much for sleep.  I went to bed at 1:05 and at 1:20 Alex spiked a fever and pretty much kept me up for the rest of the night.  He has a runny nose and seems to feel rather rotten, but the fever is gone today and he seems better.  I feel a bit like a truck rolled over me several times, but Daryl has taken the whole brood of kids to Windom to run errands so I’m not about to grumble.

Here’s some pictures from our excursion yesterday.  It really was a fun day!  This is part one, the sledding/Mardi Gras HS party….


About halfway down I realized this might not have been such a bright idea with a one year-old!  We went flying down that hill and it was steeper than it looked!  🙂


We ended up waaaaaaay down there and Alex thought it was the most fun ever.

After that I decided pulling him around on the sled was good too!

Who needs snow?  Jack went down the grassy part of the hill even after the sun had melted most of the snow off.

The poor little guy would fly down the hill and ended up farther than most anybody else.   He’s the speck at the bottom of the hill.

Then he would lie there on his back for at least a minute, sometimes with his feet straight up in the air, sometimes calling “Mom!  Mom!  Mom!” until he gathered his strength and righted himself again!


Pancake racing

They had to flip as they ran!

Then they ran back as fast as they could and handed them off to the next kid

Moms yapping by the tailgates, where we had a hot dog cooker and treats galore

My fabulous friend Lonni, dreamer-upper of the party, with one of her fabulous daughters in Mardi Gras gear

We got to see old friends, made some new friends, ate good food, had a blast and enjoyed a rare warm winter day.  The kids ended up so drenched we stopped at a thrift store to get them new outfits for the second half of the day (coming soon!).

As much as I said I’d rather stay in bed, it was a lovely day, migraine and all.




A Particularly Pretty Migraine

Today turned out to be a really good day.

We sledded, had pancake races, saw good friends, ate fun food, went to a nature center, had a cupcake picnic and had french toast for supper (it seemed close enough to pancakes and sounded better to me).

Early in the day as I was leading a horde enthusiastic pancake racers in the snow, I noticed some giant lightning bolts of flashing diamond-like areas in my vision.  It was an ocular migraine, something I’ve dealt with since one day when I was pregnant with Victoria 11 years ago.  I had never had a migraine in my life before that day, and I’ve pretty much had them every day since.

Some days my vision just gets all wonky, like I’m looking through a camera I can’t bring into focus.  Sometimes the auras are all different colors.  Sometimes there’s just big spots where everything vibrates.

Today it was so sparkly I wished Victoria could see it.  And yep, I know how nuts that is!

Ocular migraines (or “auras”) typically come first and then the pain comes later.  The pain today came a few minutes later and got worse and worse as the day progressed.  The lightning bolts went away and I was left with a plain old migraine.  We kept doing fun stuff anyway.  I slept on the way home and threw up at the end of the day.  Which is why I’m not posting a billion pictures till tomorrow.

I had a dozen miscarriages before these kids and no migraines.  These children drive me up and down the wall several times a second, but if I have to live life with funhouse vision in trade then I guess I can deal with that.

Not that I don’t gripe and whine and get grumpy and act pouty plenty of the time, but today as I stood at the bottom of a sledding hill surrounded by laughing children running around with pancakes and sleds, I just watched the flashing lights and wished I could take a picture to show my kids.  It really was a particularly pretty migraine.

Prepare for a billion pics tomorrow.  Tonight I’m going to find some mashed potatoes and sleep and sleep and sleep.  🙂

Pancakes, Face Painting, Sledding & Feasts

Today is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday, also known as Shrove Tuesday, also known as Pancake Day.  And it’s our sledding party out of town.

I’ve been racing around trying to find one of the 85 assorted sizes of snowpants that our family owns.  I have been unable to find a single pair between the sizes of 2T (I have 5) and adult.  Enter my fabulous mother-in-law, who has volunteered to drive over to meet us (it’s near their town) with some of her snowpants in kid sizes.

My MIL rocks!  She is so flat out fabulous.

So now I’m racing around getting everybody the rest of the way dressed, printing out Shrove Tuesday information that Daryl wanted, grabbing face paint (did I mention it’s a Mardi Gras sledding party?) and secretly wishing I could go back to bed.  😉

Did you know that Mardi Gras originated because it’s the day before Ash Wednesday and people needed to use up the foods they’d be giving up for lent?  They traditionally gave up foods like meat, milk and fatty foods and a feast was held the day before so nothing would be wasted.  Pancake Day started because pancakes incorporated lots of the foods that would be traditionally given up (eggs, milk and fats).

So that’s that.  Pancakes for supper!  It’s homeschool.  😉

Or if you want to do Cajun food for supper, here’s a whole page of mouth watering recipes.   Here’s a little about the day from an Irish perspective.

I’m bringing a page of Shrove Tuesday info to read with the kids on the drive and we’ll do some fun, easy Mardi Gras stuff when we get home tonight.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go draw on my children’s faces.  🙂

Happy Tuesday!