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Some Random Thoughts…

This week I’ve been a little more ‘absent’ as it were from the homeschooling realm.

Having a few days away in Puerto Rico can do that to a mom. Getting that ‘itch’ for warmer weather…and just smelling the end of school time and summer break right around the corner.

And then Rick has been gone all week on business. My parents are in the midst of moving. My allergies kick in hugely. Strep hits the house. I get thrown up on….and another week without doing ‘school’ flies by.

Part of it KILLS me because the mental list-checker in me is on red-alert. In my mind I am now ‘behind’ two weeks in my plans and part of me feels like I might just get swallowed up into a huge abyss, never to be seen again.

Then I realize the abyss is something of my own making. And the beauty of me homeschooling my kids means it’s OKAY if we extend the school year or move things around. And {gasp} we can even do fun ‘school’ things in the summer to break it up a little. Every moment of life doesn’t need to be over-scheduled and it’s great to just relax and enjoy the moments too.

Just watch me!


India for Kids ::Week 1::

This week we started a 3 week study of India. Here’s a little peek into what we’ve been talking about.


  • Locate and map India
  • Learn new geography song (see video clip below)
  • Color/label map of India
  • Use atlas to find India and learn more about resources

Geography Song: Countries of South Asia



Click image to download the India flag printable


  • Studied the peacock (India’s national bird)
  • Talked about the Himalayans and Mt. Everest


  • Geography term: peninsula
  • Looked at clothing that is worn in India

Books We Used

Websites We Used

Volcano Lapbook and Unit Study

Volcanoes were top on the list of things to study when the girls found out that Mt. Fuji was actually a volcano. We decided to work together on a lapbook from Homeschool Share. Lapbook components that we studied and used were: parts of a volcano, volcanologist, who’s going to blow, trivia game, inside a volcano, exploding volcano (scholastic pull-tab), volcano phases, vocabulary words, ring of fire, types of rocks, and the earth’s plates.

Our “art” project was to build our own volcano. The kids were far too excited to see how it would explode in our backyard.

On Monday we made some salt dough and formed a volcano using a tea bottle and a cardboard box. I based the model we made from this one that I found through a google search.

The dough took a few days to dry, so on Wednesday we were able to paint it together. I outlined a few areas for the girls and they worked together to paint it to make it look more like a scene/cutaway of a volcano. When they were done with the base painting, they let Mommy drip red paint around the ledge of the volcano to make it look like lava was dripping down the sides of the mountain.

Here is our completed project in action. Be warned: Screaming toddler and swinging lens cap may disrupt your viewing pleasure.

Volcano links for kids:

Studying Japan ::Week 1::

This week we started our study of Japan. Of all the countries we’ve studied so far, Japan has had some amazing websites available to use in our studies. We’re planning on making this a three week study and wrapping it all up with a unit on volcanoes. Here’s how our first week was outlined:


  • Review geography song
  • Locate & map Japan with watercolors {link below}
  • Use atlas to learn more about Japan
  • Hello Japan video


  • Read Children Just Like Me & use notebooking page
  • Color Japan’s flag {printable below}
  • Facts about Japan using National Geographic for Kids website


  • Kids Web Japan
  • Talk about the Mon {family crest}


  • Review Asia geography song
  • Woodcuts/paintings {link below}

Laurianna’s independent reading for the week was Dragon of the Red Dawn by Mary Pope Osborne and the kids also enjoyed listening to the audiobook when Laurianna had finished reading it on her own. We’ve also been reading stories from Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories and The Boy of the Three Year Nap.

Great Links

  • Kids Web Japan – great videos, virtual games, pictures – too much to list, but a GREAT resource!! This week we watched the “Hello Japan” video, learned about tea ceremonies (and had our own), looked at some of the typical Japanese food
  • Visit Japan – this link is specifically to a quick video about Japan
  • National Geographic Kids: Japan – country facts, postcard, video clip and information on Japan
  • Japanese Woodcuts to Color – Ellen McHenry’s Basement Workshop has a great project for using watercolors to recreate some famous Japanese woodcuts
  • Hokusai’s Great Wave – picture and information on woodcut painting

    Next week we’ll be continuing our study of Japan by studying Japanese screens, origami, Japanese counting, puppet theatre and some other fun things too.

  • Studying Korea: Week 2

    This week we finished our tour of the peninsula of Korea. I found several other websites to visit this week with the girls. This week we focused more on South Korea.


    • Talked about kimchi pots
    • Mapped the Yellow Sea and the capitals of Norht & South Korea and explored on our globe a little more



    • Talked about Korean currency – I put together a little info sheet with pictures of the current South Korean currency (you can print off a copy for yourself below if you would like)
    • Practiced Korean numbers


    • Made Korean beef tips (one of Daddy’s favorite meals)
    • Put our notebooks together with our Korean studies information
    • Marked our passports as having studied Korea


    We are still reading aloud the book Archer’s Quest by Linda Sue Park (and I’m even interested to see how this is going to turn out!). Laurianna has continued reading Seesaw Girl by Linda Sue Park and McKenna LOVES the book Dear Juno by Soyung Pak.

    What We’re Reading

    Website Resources

    Here is the document with the South Korean currency: Next week we will be starting a three week study of Japan … and I so need to get working on those lesson plans. I’ve started researching some things, but haven’t sat down long enough to put it all down (that’s usually my Friday afternoon and Sunday evening routine).


    Our Panda Lapbooks – the video version

    Our panda lapbook from Homeschool Share was a great way to wrap up our study of China. The girls wanted to have themselves videotaped showing off their lapbooks this time, so that’s what we did! Laurianna shows off her lapbook in the first video and then McKenna shares a litte bit of hers.

    Some great Panda Resources