Random Goodies

1.  Here’s a simple little tomato life cycle sheet (PDF) for younger kids to go along with a garden theme.

2.  Did you know about the asparagus pee gene?  It’s news to me!  I always wondered why Daryl said asparagus made pee smell funny.  I thought he was just odd!  🙂  Now since I don’t seem to have this gene (TMI, anybody?!) and Daryl does, and since it’s supposed to be a dominant trait (meaning if you have one parent with the gene, you will get the gene), all of our kids should have it.  Hmmm!  But then there’s the added snag of some people not having the gene to smell it.  The plot thickens!  Since this is asparagus season I’m thinking we have to do some sort of experiment with this new knowledge!

3.  Some of my latest yappings….

And now, I have to get back to the world’s longest to-do list…

Poetry Out Loud

Have you heard of Poetry Out Loud?  This program is sponsored by the NEA and the Poetry Foundation and is for high school students around the country.  It works like a spelling bee, except the kids recite poems from an anthology of hundreds of selected poems.  They’re judged on 7 criteria like voice, presence, dramatization and accuracy.  Finalists move from local to state to national levels and win cash prizes (plus paid trips to Washington DC if they make it to nationals).  The grand champion wins $20,000.

There was a POL representative at the MHA conference and she gave me an anthology, a DVD of winning student performances, a CD illustrating great poetry readings and tons more.  Victoria has already started memorizing poems from the wonderful anthology, even though she won’t be eligible for a few years.

Homeschool students can compete at the school level by either competing at a local school or competing against other local homeschoolers.   The minimum number of participants for the school level is two, so even HSers in rural communities should be able to work it out.

Each state has a contact person who can get you started.  From the web site:

Teachers participating in the official contest will receive a free packet of materials from their state arts agency. This teacher toolkit includes the Teacher’s Guide, the Performing Poetry audio guide CD, the Best Performances DVD, two copies of the printed anthology, and posters for the classroom. Additional resources are available online.

It sounds like a great program!  The teacher kit is available to teachers of any grade level to use in a poetry program with their students, by the way, and it’s a great poetry packet.

Reading Rainbow Writers & Illustrators Contest

Here’s another great contest for younger kids to participate in:

The Reading Rainbow Young Writers & Illustrators Contest invites children in grades Kindergarten through Third Grade to create stories using their own words and pictures, and recognizes their efforts with awards and certificates. Parents, teachers and librarians are encouraged to help children participate in the contest.

Everyone is a Winner!

Every entrant receives a Certificate of Achievement signed by Reading Rainbow program host LeVar Burton. All local entries will be returned.

Local Winners receive prizes and will compete nationally for even niftier prizes.  The contest ends March 27.  Get more details here.

Art Contest for Kids 10 and Under

Peak of the Market, a Canadian produce company, is looking for some children’s art for their new potato bags. They say…

Calling all Artists 10 years of age or under
From Around the World


We are looking for coloured Artwork of a family for our new “Peak of the Market Family Values” potato bags. Draw your family, send it to Peak of the Market and you could WIN! Judges will select 3 pieces of coloured Artwork and each Artist will WIN 3 prizes!

  • $500 for your family
  • $500 for your the Charity of your choice
  • “Lunch with Larry” and your family in your town
  • More details here.

    Book Review Writing Contest

     Older kids may want to get involved in this writing contest:

    Write a book review—with a twist! Little Dozen Press is sponsoring a new contest for writers ages 11 and up. Review your favourite novel or other work of fiction. In your review, pinpoint a specific writing technique which the author does well, and share what you have learned about writing from reading the book.

    The entry deadline is March 15. Winners will receive their choice of book by Rachel Starr Thomson, signed by the author. All entrants who give their permission will have their review published on Inklings, Rachel’s blog for young (and other) writers.

    There will be winners in 3 age groups (all 11 or older).  Visit Inklings to get an idea of the blog (which seems to be geared towards writing advice, information about the industry and her her writing on being homeschooled in a large family, Christianity and science fiction stories) and see full details of the contest here.

    CurrClick Essay Contest

    Kids ages 8-18, tell us what is unique about your local homeschool group or co-op in a 3 paragraph, no more than 300 word essay, and you could win your very own digital camera and earn your homeschool group up to $300 in cash! We will nominate 5 of our favorite essays and let our customers vote for the top 3! Submissions are due by August 10th. Voting begins Friday the 15th and winners will be announced on Monday, August 25th.

    More info on CurrClick.

    Summer Math Contest

    From Googol Learning

    Crazy 4 Math Contest Deadline July 30th

    Crazy 4 Math Contest The Crazy 4 Math Contest is once again receiving entries from all over the world, showing that mathematics, the universal language, is enjoyed by children everywhere.

    This annual contest was founded in 2005 to help students keep up their math skills over the summer. Research indicates that children lose math skills over the summer. But this does not need to be the case. Math skills can actually advance! Summer is the perfect time for children to experience the wonder of learning by exploring and developing new interests. It’s also a chance for them to discover that learning happens all the time, not just in school.

    To enter the Crazy 4 Math Contest, children simply have to describe how they use math in an activity they enjoy. Entries must be submitted online by July 30th at www.Crazy4Math.com. The goal is to generate a free list of learning ideas to inspire families and teachers. There are hundreds of great entries posted from previous years and you can check out and vote online for your favorite entry in August.

    Everyone wins something! This year, all participants will receive several MP3s from Googol Power’s inspirational music and a certificate; finalists and winners will win much more. The most important thing is for children and families to share ideas and find new ways to discover math all around them.

    Visit www.Crazy4Math.com for more information and to check out exiting math entries from previous years.