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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: homeschool, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 121
1. Miss Emma Ant Coloring Page

The picture book is coming soon! (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));Post by Donna J. Shepherd, Writer, Speaker, Singer.

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2. January is here — and I’m loving it!

It’s strange. From October to December, there seems to be very little time to do much other than marvel at how fast time flies. I do as much as I can to get done what needs to be done. I love that time of year, even the hustle and bustle of it all. But from…

3 Comments on January is here — and I’m loving it!, last added: 1/5/2015
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3. For Anyone Concerned About Homeschooling in NC

I have had several conversations lately about the state of homeschooling in our lovely state of NC. And as a homeschooling mom, I am more than glad to discuss this issue with anyone who asks. Here are a few things to help answer any questions in case more folks want to know: 1. I homeschool […]

6 Comments on For Anyone Concerned About Homeschooling in NC, last added: 9/8/2013
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4. Word Search - Ava's Secret Tea Party

*Click on the picture, then print! It will print out full size ready to be colored. If that doesn't work with your printer, right click on the picture, and then 'save picture as...' and then you can print it out using your photo program.

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5. I Have A Dream for My Four Children

For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we watched the I Have a Dream speech on YouTube and wrote our own speeches.

I would like to share my dreams for my children...

I Have A Dream

I have a dream that my four children will grow up to love God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I have a dream that because of this love, they will love others and treat them as their brothers and sisters in Christ.

I have a dream that my four children will yearn for truth and righteousness, that they may be filled with knowledge and hunger for more. I hope that their knowledge will bring them success as they journey through life, that they may have the things they need for themselves and their families.

I have a dream that they will understand that truth is eternal, and that the Holy Spirit can and will guide their learning and deepen their understanding, that it may be a great blessing to them in this life, as well as in the life to come.

I have a dream that my four children will have fulfilling personal relationships, especially with their family members, and of course, with the Lord, for all of these relationships can last forever.

I have a dream that they will find happiness here on Earth and eternal joy in Heaven.

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6. Evening of Encouragement

At the Evening of Encouragement for local homeschoolers, the president of the local homeschool association, Ronda Swanson, interviewed me Oprah-style on stage. I enjoyed this talk show format and think the audience did too. The 100-or-so parents who attended asked thoughtful, penetrating questions not typically addressed in a writing presentation. I ended up speaking about movie rights and film options, online media, and the effects of our current culture on children’s literature. (I’m prepared for Oprah whenever she decides to book me!)

Ronda Swanson and Ronica Stromberg at “Evening of Encouragement”

Several parent educators caught me after the public talk to further discuss books, writing, and other issues brought up during the talk. They were a well-informed group, which didn’t surprise me since I’ve spoken with parent educators nationwide while researching the homeschool movement for a magazine article I’ve been working on. I’ve found homeschoolers to be hard-working, dedicated to providing their children with the best education they can. Spending this Evening of Encouragement with them encouraged me to work harder in my writing for children.

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7. BOOK OF THE DAY: February 2012 List


No need to wait until the end of February for the complete list. Here it is–plan ahead! Click on the link above, and also follows us on Facebook at Litland Reviews http://facebook.com/Litlandreviews

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8. BOOK OF THE DAY: March 2012 list


Spring is upon us, and you can prepare for both Spring and Summer vacations with plenty of good books! Check out recommendations for all ages, plus DVD’s and teaching too!

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9. Book of the day: April


The full April list is here. Get a sneak peak at the 2nd half of the month and stock up for summer vacation too!

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10. Smiling, Happy Faces

Let's be honest. One of the reasons I love to homeschool, is so that I can see these smiling, happy faces any time I want!

I am quite biased, but I LOVE these four faces. And I LOVE being their mama.

And yes, being a stay-at-home mom is work...the most rewarding kind.

1 Comments on Smiling, Happy Faces, last added: 4/20/2012
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11. Plastic Easter Egg Caterpillar

Do you still have plastic Easter Eggs hanging around?

Look at this cute craft my Bubs came up with.

It's as easy as it looks. Just string up your egg-halves, keeping them all the same direction until the last one. (You may have to make some of the holes bigger with a pen.) We used a nylon cord that doesn't stretch. It allows some movement but it doesn't allow for separation of the segments.

Make a little knot on each end and trim the excess.

Don't forget the happy face.  :)

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12. Thoughts on the Meaning of Education

It's difficult for me to encapsulate my definition of education because education is everywhere in everything. It is life. It's growth. It's improvement. Education is so much more than school (or home school), which is merely one structure from which we aim to become educated.

Education, to me, is placing ourselves, and those we are responsible for, on the path of eternal progression, and moving forward. All light and knowledge are part of this. There is no division between temporal and spiritual. All truth is God's truth. In this way, there is no end to education. There is no graduation from eternal progression.

Part of our eternal path, is to gain success in our earthly life. I feel that my role as a mother is to help my kids obtain success here that will prepare them for this life, and in turn, for the eternities.

This includes, but is not limited to:

1. Building Christlike attributes and character.
2. Loving and understanding the Gospel.
3. Being exposed to a broad base of knowledge, with deep understanding of topics of interest, talent, and passion.
4. Realizing personal life mission.
5. Possessing skills that will enable them to support themselves and their families when/if necessary.
6. Embracing God-given gender roles.

When people ask me what we do for home school, it's difficult for me to explain. We don't structure it like public school. It's a life style of learning. I like to call it Life Education.

Happy Learning!

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13. BOOK OF THE DAY: The June 2012 List!


Plan in advance for father’s day! The month of June is dedicated to books for dads and boys…don’t worry, a few dads & daughter books thrown in too! Good list for reluctant readers as well as summer vacation. Enjoy!

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14. BOOK OF THE DAY: The May 2012 List


In celebration of Mother’s day, moms, women and daughters, recommendations span ages and areas of interest. Great for summer vacation reading too!

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15. So what do we think? Heaven in her Arms

Hickem, Catherine. (2012). Heaven in Her Arms: Why God Chose Mary to Raise His Son and What It Means for You. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. ISBN 978-1-4002-0036-8.

What do we know of Mary?

 What we know of Mary’s family is that she is of the house of David; it is from her lineage Jesus fulfilled the prophecy. Given the archeological ruins of the various places thought to have been living quarters for their family, it is likely the home was a room out from which sleeping quarters (cells) branched. As Mary and her mother Anne would be busy maintaining the household, with young Mary working at her mother’s command, it is likely Anne would be nearby or in the same room during the Annunciation. Thus Mary would not have had a scandalous secret to later share with her parents but, rather, a miraculous supernatural experience, the salvific meaning of which her Holy parents would understand and possibly even witnessed.

 Mary and Joseph were betrothed, not engaged. They were already married, likely in the form of a marriage contract, but the marriage had not yet been “consummated”. This is why he was going to divorce her when he learned of the pregnancy. If it were a mere engagement, he would have broken it off without too much scandal.

 Married but not yet joined with her husband, her mother would prepare her by teaching her all that she needed to know. This is further reason to assume that Mary would be working diligently under her mother’s eye when the Annunciation took place.

 We know that her cousin Elizabeth’s pregnancy was kept in secret for five months, and not made known until the sixth month when the Angel Gabriel proclaimed it to Mary. We know Mary then rushed to be at her elderly cousin’s side for three months (the remaining duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy), and that this rushing appeared to be in response to Elizabeth’s pregnancy (to congratulate her), not an attempt to hide Mary’s pregnancy. Note how all of this is connected to Elizabeth’s pregnancy rather than Mary’s circumstances. As Mary was married to Joseph, he likely would have been informed of the trip. Had the intent been to hide Mary, she would have remained with Elizabeth until Jesus was born, not returned to her family after the first trimester, which is just about the time that her pregnancy was visible and obvious.

 So we these misconceptions clarified, we can put Mary’s example within an even deeper context and more fully relate to her experience. We can imagine living in a faith-filled family who raises their child in strict accordance of God’s word. The extended family members may not understand, and certainly their community will not, so Mary, Anne and Joachim, and Joseph face extreme scandal as well as possible action from Jewish authorities. But they faced this together steep in conversation with God, providing a model for today’s family.

 Although sometimes scriptural interpretations are flavored with modern-day eye, overall this book will be more than just a quick read for a young mother (or new bride, or teen aspiring to overcome the challenges of American culture, or single parent losing her mind). It is a heartwarming reflection with many examples that open up conversation with God. As an experienced psychotherapist, the author’s examples are spot on and easy to relate to. We do not need to have had the same experiences to empathize, reflect, and pursue meaning; we see it around us in everyday life. As such, a reflective look upon these examples can help one overcome an impasse in their own relationship with God and also open the reader up to self-knowledge as Hi

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16. Book Review: Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence by Peter W. Barnes and Cheryl Shaw Barnes

As you know, I've been a blog-slacker lately. Who knew that having four kids and a big house would be so time-consuming? Anyway, publishers have been asking me to review various titles, and I've been passing most of them by. Sad, but true.

However, when I was asked to participate in the blog tour for Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence, I didn't want to say no. I'm always looking for fun ways to teach my kids about important subjects. The founding of the United States of America is a very important subject to me.

Liberty Lee's Tail of Independence is a picture book narrated by a mouse named Liberty Lee. He takes us on a journey through the history of our beloved country.

The story is both informative and interesting. It is written in rhyme. Rhyming can be tricky, especially when trying to pack it full of facts, but the author/illustrator team, Peter and Cheryl Barnes, do a surprisingly good job combining the two.

On the first page, we meet Liberty Lee. Then he jumps into his "tail":

"To begin, let's go back more than 400 years
To meet the first settlers--the first pioneers.
Across the Atlantic from England they came
To seek opportunity, fortune, and fame!"

He then goes to the 13 colonies, the Boston Tea Party, the Revolution, and the Declaration of Independence. It's a great overview for children who are learning about our history.

After the story, there are 7 pages called "The Tail End" that describe the events mentioned in the book in more detail.

Although I enjoyed the character Liberty Lee, I think the book might be a more effective learning tool without mixing fantasy and history. When the mouse mentioned his fictitious ancestors, it threw me off for a minute. Here's an example:

"There were carpenters, shopkeepers, sailors at sea,
And farmers--like my uncle, Hamilton Lee.

At planting tobacco, you'd find no one better--
He worked any farm that would pay him in cheddar!"

In contrast, I love the section about the Continental Congress writing the Declaration. Here's part of it:

"They debated, and then on the 4th of July,
In 1776, they said, "Aye!"--
They voted together, with great dedication,
For liberty, freedom, and starting a nation.

Fifty-six patriots signed right below
The powerful words they decided would show
That these United States would forever be
One nation, under God, independent and free!"

PS. Happy Birthday to our Country (this month) and to me (today).  :)

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17. Olympics: Activities for Families

Happy Opening Ceremonies Day!

I might be a little bit anti-TV in general. I'll be honest. 

BUT...when the Olympics are on? Bring on the popcorn, and let's hang out on the couch!

As homeschoolers, the Olympics provide the perfect opportunity to do some unconventional learning time. Here are a few (easy and stress-free) ideas:

  • Have a globe or world map in the room. Each time a new country is mentioned, find it! You could even go the extra mile and google a little info about the country. Today, my son and I spent some time looking up some of the less-known countries that will be participating.
  • Make flags. You can make flags to hang or ones to wave while cheering for your country. You could make a flag for England and learn about London. You could have a sketchbook handy and sketch flags of countries you look up.
  • Make a banner of world flags.
  • Make a chart with a few of the most prominent countries, and chart their medals each day.
  • If you feel ambitious, set up a mock-Olympic games in your backyard. Have you heard of the Modern Pentathlon? It would be fun to imitate. It involves shooting, swimming, running, fencing, and show jumping. Set up a course in the backyard where kids shoot a water gun at a target, cross through a kiddie pool, stab something with a foam sword, and jump over a hurdle on a hobby horse. Don't forget a stopwatch. You could keep this pretty simple or go all out and invite the neighborhood.
  • Read about some of the people (past or present) who have competed in the Olympics.
  • When watching a sporting event such as basketball or volleyball, get out a white-board or chalkboard and tally up each team's points.
  • Choose an event and eat food from the country that earned gold.
  • Make medals for each other. You could think of a strength for each member of the family and give them a gold medal for that quality.
  • Learn about decimals. How long is a tenth or hundredth of a second? Find the differences between scores and times of gold medalists vs. silver and bronze medalists.
  • Buy gold coin chocolates and win 'medals' for doing chores, good behavior, etc.
  • Have everyone guess how many gold medals your country will win during the entire summer Olympics. Whoever ends up closest gets a prize.
  • Discuss the degrees of a circle in association with diving. 
  • Learn about a sporting event you are unfamiliar with.
  • Learn about horses and watch the equestrian events.
  • Create a routine modeled after synchronized swimming or gymnastics.
  • Do tricks on a trampoline. Have someone keep score.
  • Watch sailing and make sailboats to float in the bathtub or race down a creek.
  • Watch weightlifting. Weigh various items around the house.
  • Watch cycling, and go for a bike ride.
  • Have a race.
  • Wrestle.
  • Play water balloon volleyball.
  • Make a small canoe.
  • Go swimming.
  • Make mini bows, arrows, and targets. Compete. Watch archery.
  • Do gymnastics. Practice somersaults, cartwheels, bridges, splits...
  • Pretend a piece of wood is a balance beam.
  • Race on hobby horses.
  • Draw your own mascots.
  • Get library books about the Olympics.
  • Or, just snuggle and watch your favorite events together.
I'm sure you have some great ideas for celebrating the 2012 Summer Games. Please share!


18. Evening with Homeschoolers

I’ve been invited to speak at our local homeschool association’s upcoming “Evening of Encouragement.” I’m looking forward to meeting parents and speaking with them about the value of homeschooling. I’m not a home educator, but I have worked with the U.S. Department of Education and state education agencies and currently write for Royal Fireworks Press, the world’s largest publisher of books for gifted and talented children and a growing influence in the homeschool market. (The press is a bit unusual because it publishes novels that tie into school curricula and appeal to gifted children who want to go further on a particular topic or seek more challenging texts.)

I’m also working on an article about the benefits of homeschooling and hope to hear lots of good stories from parents. I’m looking forward to it!

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19. So what do we think? The Wild West: 365 days


 The Wild West: 365 days


 Wallis, Michael. (2011) The Wild West: 365 days. New York, NY: Abrams Press. ISBN 978-0810996892 All ages.

 Publisher’s description: The Wild West: 365 Days is a day-by-day adventure that tells the stories of pioneers and cowboys, gold rushes and saloon shoot-outs in America’s frontier. The lure of land rich in minerals, fertile for farming, and plentiful with buffalo bred an all-out obsession with heading westward. The Wild West: 365 Days takes the reader back to these booming frontier towns that became the stuff of American legend, breeding characters such as Butch Cassidy and Jesse James. Author Michael Wallis spins a colorful narrative, separating myth from fact, in 365 vignettes. The reader will learn the stories of Davy Crockett, Wild Bill Hickok, and Annie Oakley; travel to the O.K. Corral and Dodge City; ride with the Pony Express; and witness the invention of the Colt revolver. The images are drawn from Robert G. McCubbin’s extensive collection of Western memorabilia, encompassing rare books, photographs, ephemera, and artifacts, including Billy the Kid’s knife.

 Our thoughts:

 This is one of the neatest books I’ve seen in a long time. The entire family will love it. Keep it on the coffee table but don’t let it gather dust!

 Every page is a look back into history with a well-known cowboy, pioneer, outlaw, native American or other adventurer tale complete with numerous authentic art and photo reproductions. The book is worth owning just for the original pictures.  But there is more…an index of its contents for easy reference too! Not only is this fun for the family, it is excellent for the school or home classroom use too. A really fun way to study the 19th century too and also well received as a gift.  I highly recommend this captivating collection! See for yourself at the Litland.com Bookstore.

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20. So what do we think? Wally the Cock-Eyed Cricket


Wally the Cockeyed Cricket


 Brown, Bea (2011) Wally the Cockeyed Cricket. Mustang, OK: Tate Publishing. ISBN 978-1-61777-106-4.  Recommended age 8 and under.

 Publisher’s description:  When Wally the Cockeyed Cricket finds himself trapped in Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen, he sings a sad song and Mrs. Grumpydee’s locks Wally in a jar. When the jar is knocked over and shatters, Wally the Cockeyed Cricket sings a different tune.

 Our thoughts:

 Read it—see it—listen to it! The great thing about books from Tate Publishing is that you do not need to choose between print and audio formats because books have a code that permits you to download the audio version on MP3 too! The print version has beautifully captivating illustrations. Yet the young man (ok, he sounds young to this old reviewer!) reading the audio does an excellent job at it. A great enhancement to teach reading to little ones :>)

 Of course, the most important reason to consider adding this book to your child’s bookshelf is because they will enjoy the story! As evidenced by its title, Wally looks a little different than most crickets. He doesn’t think anything of this difference and is happy as can be. Until, that is, he unfortunately wanders into Mrs. Grumpydee’s kitchen! Captured, bullied and made a public spectacle, Wally never loses courage or confidence. Helped with the aid of a complete stranger, he is rescued and makes a new friend. Virtues exhibited are courage, justice and friendship.  A feel-good story where the good guys win! Great parent-child sharing, Pre-3rd grade class or homeschool, bedtime reading, gift giving, therapy use, and family book club! Grab your copy at the Litland.com Bookstore.

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21. So what do we think? The End of the Line

End of the Line: A Parker Noble Mystery


Manno, Mike (2010) End of the Line: A Parker Noble Mystery. Five Star Publishing of Gale, Cengage Learning. ISBN 978-1594148637. Litland recommends of interest to adults, acceptable for older teens.

 Publisher description:  When former banker R. J. Butler is found murdered on a city transit bus, police take little time making a connection with the embezzlement at his former bank. But is that the motive for his murder? State police detective Sergeant Jerome Stankowski and his persnickety “partner,” Parker Noble, are called to investigate and run into a host of possibilities including a trophy wife on drugs and an ex-wife desperately needing a church annulment R. J. was blocking..

 Our thoughts:

 The second installment of the Parker Noble series, End of the Line, is a fun yet engaging, quick-paced detective mystery. Parker Noble may be the genius who solves the crimes, but it is Detective “Stan” Stankowski’s antics both on and off the job that lighten the story. Truly a man’s man, Stankowski enjoys girl watching while being easily manipulated by his somewhat-girlfriend Buffy the reporter.  He  tries to juggle dating 3 girls at the same time, each end up having a role in solving the mystery. Meanwhile, the contrast of Parker’s rigidly-ordered life to Stan’s adds color, and both humor and clues surface throughout the story just often enough to keep the reader alert. My favorite dialogue pertains to Parker’s dog, Buckwheat Bob the basset hound, who listens to talk radio while Parker is at work:

(Stan) “I take it that the human voice is soothing for him?”…(Parker) ”Not really, he likes to listen to the political talk”…”You don’t think he understands all of that, do you?”…”Don’t know, Stanley. All I can tell you is that he’s turned into quite a Republican.” LOL!

 A cozy mystery written for adults, it would probably have a PG rating if a movie: use of the bird finger; one suspect referred to as tramp, hussy, nude model; Buffy pressuring Stan into taking a vacation together. However, Stan remains chaste in his girl-chasing and the story is focused on the relationships between all the characters, which adds depth, interest and a few chuckles along the way. A fun story available in the Litland.com Bookstore.

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22. So what do we think? The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag (Flavia de Luce)

The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag

 Bradley, Alan. (2010) The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag. (The Flavia de Luce Series) Bantam, division of Random House. ISBN 978-0385343459. Litland recommends ages 14-100!

 Publisher’s description:  Flavia de Luce, a dangerously smart eleven-year-old with a passion for chemistry and a genius for solving murders, thinks that her days of crime-solving in the bucolic English hamlet of Bishop’s Lacey are over—until beloved puppeteer Rupert Porson has his own strings sizzled in an unfortunate rendezvous with electricity. But who’d do such a thing, and why? Does the madwoman who lives in Gibbet Wood know more than she’s letting on? What about Porson’s charming but erratic assistant? All clues point toward a suspicious death years earlier and a case the local constables can’t solve—without Flavia’s help. But in getting so close to who’s secretly pulling the strings of this dance of death, has our precocious heroine finally gotten in way over her head? (Bantam Books)

 Our thoughts:

 Flavia De Luce is back and in full force! Still precocious. Still brilliant. Still holding an unfortunate fascination with poisons…

 As with the first book of the series, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, we begin with a seemingly urgent, if not sheer emergency, situation that once again turns out to be Flavia’s form of play.  We also see the depth of her sister’s cruelty as they emotionally badger their little sister, and Flavia’s immediate plan for the most cruel of poisoned deaths as revenge. Readers will find themselves chuckling throughout the book!

 And while the family does not present the best of role models (smile), our little heroine does demonstrate good character here and there as she progresses through this adventure. As explained in my first review on this series, the protagonist may be 11 but that doesn’t mean the book was written for 11-year olds :>) For readers who are parents, however (myself included), we shudder to wonder what might have happened if we had bought that chemistry kit for our own kids!

 Alas, the story has much more to it than mere chemistry. The author’s writing style is incredibly rich and entertaining, with too many amusing moments to even give example of here. From page 1 the reader is engaged and intrigued, and our imagination is easily transported into  the 1950’s Post WWII England village. In this edition of the series, we have more perspective of Flavia as filled in by what the neighbors know and think of her. Quite the manipulative character as she flits  around Bishop’s Lacy on her mother’s old bike, Flavia may think she goes unnoticed but begins to learn not all are fooled…

 The interesting treatment of perceptions around German prisoners of war from WWII add historical perspective, and Flavia’s critical view of villagers, such as the Vicar’s mean wife and their sad relationship, fill in character profiles with deep colors. Coupled with her attention to detail that helps her unveil the little white lies told by antagonists, not a word is wasted in this story.

 I admit to being enviou

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23. Unwanted Halloween Candy

I'm the first to admit that Halloween isn't my favorite holiday. BUT...our jello worms did turn out amazing. The idea came from Divine Dinner Party, which I found via Pinterest

Daddy took the kids Trick-or-Treating, while I handed out candy to a fairly small trickle of little neighbors. I opened a huge, Costco-sized bag of chocolate bars just in time for the very last Trick-or-Treater. So, the next day, let's just say, I was less-than-thrilled by the sugar overload around here.

So today, for our morning Mini-Lesson, we did some Candy Experiments. (I'm pleased to announce that we got rid of quite a lot of candy before the kids realized what I was really up to.)

For this first one, you simply put M&Ms or Skittles (the more, the merrier) letter-side up in a bowl of water. Can you see the floating Ms in there? It takes a few minutes for them to separate, but it's very cool.

 Then we mixed candy colors.

Yellow candies+Blue candies=

Red + Blue=

And finally, Yellow+Red=

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24. Word Search Puzzle - Where is Salami?

Visit Salami's blog to print out a word search puzzle with words from Where is Salami?http://whereissalami.blogspot.com/2011/11/where-is-salami-word-search-puzzle.html

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25. BOOK OF THE DAY: The January list!


Here it is! The book of the day challenge, to recommend a new book or related media every day in 2012. January is complete, and attached for handy download–just click on the above link. February is on the way! “Friend” Litland Reviews on Facebook to see daily recommendations as they post. http://facebook.com/Litlandreviews

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