Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016 Homeschool Highlights!

I am going to try my best to post a monthly blog that highlights what we did in our homeschool!

2 reasons for this...
#1 My readers get a peek inside our month and I hope it inspires you to try some new, fresh ideas.
#2 I get to reflect on WHY I homeschool and get to take note of all the fun ways we learned that month.

So here we go!!!

Our August Homeschool Highlights

We took storytelling to the car wash!

This kiddo FINALLY learned his colors.  I just needed to make it FUN and with something he loves...trash trucks!

We learned about the Olympics!

We made torches using LED lights and battery

We made Brazilian Bread for Fun with Food Friday!

See this post for Recipe for Pao De Queijo

We got REALLY excited about writing Olympic Facts!

We made a shooting range using strings, cups and straws!  Part of our Olympic study!

We dissected Owl Poop at 8pm on a Friday night.

We discovered how tricky it is to write labels for Carnivore and Herbivore.

We had fun at the Thinkery Children's Museum for our #TechTuesday afternoons.

We made new friends at our Lego Club with the elderly.

We captured a GIANT spider in the kitchen and turned him into our pet for 2 days.

We chased the trash trucks around the neighborhood!
We learned the power of meditating on a rainy day.
We learned and we learned it all together! 

Happy Learning with your little (and big) ones!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Homeschool Moms! Connect with your "co-workers"!

About mid-summer, I was crying on the couch to my husband.  I was frustrated, scared and worried about our 7-year-old!  I was emotionally drained as his mom AND his teacher.  We had made the decision to consider putting him in public school...

I didn't sleep that night!

My heart slowly melted as I laid there, that night, thinking how could THIS be happening?  How could I fix it?  What if his 2nd-grade public school teacher assesses him and confirms that he SUCKS at writing, comprehends math on a 4th-grade level and can read like a 3rd grader.

What in the world was I going to as his mom AND as his teacher?!

Rewind 10 years ago, when I was a classroom teacher...

Every teacher HAS one of "those students".  The one that drives you crazy, keeps you up at night, isn't putting their best foot forward in your classroom.

And as teachers, we'd ALWAYS run down the hall for help.  Maybe it was a teacher that was next door, teaching the same grade.  It might have been a mentor teacher that was assigned to you for support.  Or maybe the school counselor that is a genius when it comes to dealing with "that student".
Yes!  I was the turkey - and the pilgrim to my left was one of my support pillars as a teacher!
We cried, laugh, yelled, and high-fived through our 2 years of teaching together.

As homeschool moms, we don't have those teachers down the hall or those professionals just foot steps away.  So what do we do?

Many times, I have chosen to keep quiet and would just wait for another day.

Yes, we have our husbands (aka our homeschool principals).  And mine is great at supporting, listening and offering advice.  But there's one thing lacking from this amazing man...emotion.  And that's NOT his fault!  The majority of husbands probably have a hard time understanding our fears and frustrations as a homeschooling mom.

And when that disconnect happens between you and your principal, we have to connect with our "co-workers".  Those moms that were graciouly given to us by God to support us during our down times.  The moms that know you and know your children!

So I snuck out of bed and jumped onto my email.  I began thinking of "my tribe".  The handful of moms that know my heart for homeschooling, they know my 7-year-old and they know how to pray HARD!

Side note: After searching for pictures with these moms, these "co-worksers", I noticed we don't take enough pictures of US!  So many of you are missing from my picture stash! However, I have a million of my kids with yours...but none of us!)

I wrote a simple email letting them know the situation and asking them to PRAY!  I needed support and the next day my inbox was FULL of positive replies!  And to my surprise...they had ALL had this same thought, at some point, during their homeschool journey!

"Just give up and try public school!"  It's one of our favorite threats!

But they all reminded me that homeschooling our children is a calling. It's a calling for our God-given purpose in life.

These women have been placed in my life at the perfect time!  (Thank you Jesus!)  Just like the amazing moms that I had in my life back when Mommy's Little Learners started.

Just like the moms that WILL be placed in my life when I have teenagers.
(Don't even want to picture my boys as teenagers!)

When God knows your heart has a homeschooling mom, he sends you your "co-workers".  They aren't down the hall or next door to your classroom, but they are just a text or phone call away!

So my challenge to you as a mom, homeschooler and blogger...USE this amazing network that God has designed for you!  Don't be afraid to ask for help and/or prayer.  Don't be ashamed to post a REAL picture of that REAL situation that's going on that day!  We all need each other to make it through this journey!  We need to rely on our "co-workers" during this homeschool career.

To end this post,

J is still at home with us.  August 23rd, the first day of school, came and went.  Have things gotten easier...some days, yes and some days, nope!
But I have BIG plans for us and can't wait to tackle another school year with this awesome learner!  He was the first born that gave me the desire to homeschool in the first place.  I can't just give up!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Fun with Food Friday - Making Pao De Queijo

My learners requested that we do MORE cooking on Fridays...I have to admit that I became VERY lazy planning our Fun with Food Fridays over the summer (we school year round).  

Side note:  I just love cooking in our homeschool!  We cover SO much material while having fun!  Today, my little learners were exposed to fractions/measurement, reading, following directions, geography, chemistry, and so much more!

So with that request and our 2 weeks of Olympic Thematic learning, we whipped up some Brazilian Cheese Bread called Pao De Queijo.  **click the word to hear the pronunciation**

It was a HIT!!!  (We also did our very, first FaceBook Live session!  So jump over there to check us out cooking this recipe LIVE)

**My Biggest Learner was sick this day.  BOO!**

The ingredients are simple...excepted the flour!!!  Tapioca Flour is the main ingredient and you can grab it at your local grocery store OR
Making the milk mixture to boil!  Be careful bc it's HOT!!!

I poured the boiling mixer in with the Tapioca Flour and we started to mix!!!  
The boys LOVE seeing how the mixer works.

Kids CAN crack eggs (and then wash their hands IMMEDIATELY!)
 My trick is to crack into a separate bowl so we can fish out any shells.

adding the eggs...slowly!
Adding the cheese...slowly while "taste testing" the cheese.

Rolling up our golf ball sized dough using wet hands - SUPER IMPORTANT!!  The dough is sticky and this helps it not stick to lil hands.

While they cooked and make the house smell amazing...the boys played!  

TA DA!!!  Our Brazilian Bread Balls turned out to be sooooo yummy! I think we will eat them up while we watch the games this morning.  
A downloadable version of this recipe is up on my facebook page 
OR feel free to leave a comment and I'll email it directly to you! 


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Wheeler Workshops 2016

If you head to the Texas Panhandle, the small "handle" squished between New Mexico and Oklahoma, you will find small towns.  Head east of Amarillo, Texas and you will find my favorite, small hometown of Wheeler, Texas.  It's the small town with the BIGGEST heart.

Last year, a sweet, friend of mine invited Mommy's Little Learners to Wheeler to host a 3 day workshop.  And what a memorable time that was.
Jackson at the 2015 Wheeler Texas Workshops
This year, we went back.  We've grown up in our learning experiences and we were ready to share all that with the families of Wheeler.


So we pulled out our lab coats, brought electronic toys to hack in to, and packed our favorite recipe read-alouds.

Day 3 was PACKED full of cooking fun!  This workshop was all about enjoying a good book while eating a tasty snack.  Two of my very, favorite teachers came to help out!  Mrs. Hampton and Mrs. Woollard each read a book while the kiddos created a snack based off that book.  And the best part was all the books had simple recipes in the back of the books for this kiddos and their moms to use!

Cook A Doodle Do - Strawberry Shortcakes
Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli - Apple Monsters with broccoli
Chicks and Salsa - Homemade "Quack"amole

Day 2 was FULL of hands-on experiences with electronics.  We brought our favorite circuit kits
 (Thanks to our friends at Snap Circuits and Squishy Circuits).

Each kiddo got to make a Wobble Bot and a drawing Battery Bot!


And YES! We even brought along 40+ pounds of Legos for kids to explore with and use the 
Lego Movie Maker App to understand how cool stop-motion animation can really be!

Day 1 was all about Chemistry.  We showed kids and parents how you can pull out a few kitchen pantry items and perform some awesomely-cool experiments.  The local fire department came to explain safety when mixing chemicals!  BIG high-five to Mr. Robert Ford for doing that!

Last year, I gave back to the community by give a percentage that I made from my workshops to the
Public Swimming Pool fund.  I can't wait to go back next year to see their NEW pool!

This year, my donation, was much more meaningful and emotional. 

The picture above is me and my favorite teacher.  I was blessed to have her as my 2nd grade teacher.  But before she was my favorite teacher, she was my God-mother and my mom's best friend.  She has a heart of gold that loves Jesus!  Her smile makes everyone feel welcome and happy.  Mrs. Rives grew my heart in so many ways as a child.

A few months ago, Sammye was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She drives 90 miles from Wheeler to Amarillo every Wednesday for her chemo treatments.

I knew this woman, this mom, this grandmother of 7 would be the one that I would work for this year...and what an memorable honor it was handing Mrs. Rives the donation for our MML workshop.

Until next year, Wheeler!  Happy Learning with your little ones.

Our Unschooled Week in Welly

We had been pushing hard at home for a good 4 weeks. We finished up our BraveWriter Arrow book, Sarah, Plain, and Tall . We completed ou...