Wednesday, January 30, 2013

When You Need a Fun Day

To those of you who homeschool, you know that some days just don't start well, and go downhill from there.  This has been one of those days.  Sooo, we need some fun to do today.

The three kiddos from next door (also grandchildren whom I help homeschool) are here with the three that live here.  A little noisy!  But they are breaking up into a three groups and working on some puzzles and playing some games they got for Christmas.  That got me to thinking about something else I needed to do, and that is make play dough.

Many of you already have this recipe but I thought I'd put it here.  My own children (who are adults) were talking about it the other day, and how much they actually like the homemade play dough as compared to the commercial play dough.  Some children like to build things with the play dough. My grandchildren like to use the cookie cutters and cut out all kinds of things.  

Here are two recipes.  One is cooked and that is the one we use for just about everything.  The other is not cooked, so you can let the children help you make it.

Play Dough #1

1 cup flour                                            
½ cup salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 tablespoon oil

     Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to thicken and change consistency.  It will begin to pull together in a ball.  Remove from pan.  Let cool enough to handle, then knead well.

Food coloring can be added with rest of ingredients.  It will get darker as it cooks.  After dough has cooled completely, put in covered bowl or plastic bag.  This is almost like commercially produced play dough.

This can be dried in the oven on very low temperature, or allowed to air dry several days.  If it is painted, watercolors tend to soften and make it “mushy”.  Therefore, if you want it colored, add the color to the mixture when it is in the pan, or use very thick tempera paint.

Play Dough #2

Equal amounts of flour and salt.  Blend thoroughly.  Moisten enough to model.  Add coloring or paint later.  May be used for maps, bases, cut with cookie cutters, etc.

Gluten Free Play Dough

If  you and/or your children are on a gluten-free diet, you also have to watch other things that come in contact with your skin, or you breathe in.  My grandchildren do not seem to suffer any ill effects from the play dough, but some may.  Especially if you have a toddler who may decide to sample the play dough.
So all you need to do is substitute rice flour and cornstarch or arrowroot flour  in equal amounts to equal the  amount of wheat flour.  That's it.  One recipe suggests cornflour too.

Get out the cookie cutters and let them "bake" some gingerbread men.

If you have recipes of things you use with your children--finger paints, other play dough recipes, beads, sculpturing dough, please share it with us.

As always, I'd love your input.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Saturday Musings

After two years I got my son to bring in the two filing cabinets and put them in the basement in "my room".  It is about 1/3 of the basement area and will eventually be my sewing/storage room.  

I pulled out the drawers to check and see if there was anything in there that needed to be thrown away but they were all empty except for some empty folders and things.  However, in the back behind one drawer was a big envelope full of greeting cards and the drawer wouldn't close.  I finally got a broom handle and pried it out.  These cards date from June 1974 when my father had an Open House to celebrate his getting his Doctor of Philosophy degree.  I went through them all, memories of people, since gone to be with the Lord almost overwhelming me.  Here are some thoughts I found in some of the cards and I thought I would share them today. 

These are things I have tried to teach my children and my grandchildren to help them in life.

"This above all - to thine own self be true,
And it must follow as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man."
--Shakespeare (Hamlet)

"I expect to pass through this world but once.
Any good therefore that I can do, 
Or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature,
Let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall not pass this way again."

"Ashley Montagu, the anthropologist, defined education in these words, "To nourish and cause to grow."  The art of education is to continue grow as long as you live.  Grow from what you are into what you desire to be.  Live to learn and learn to live." --Wilferd A. Peterson

This is my father, my mother, my father's sister in the back, and my sister and myself in the front.  This was taken in the early 50's.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  As always, I enjoy your input.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Today is Not a Typical Homeschooling Day

Kind of an off day today.  Cold, some snow showers, but warm inside.  So, we are opting to stay in.  

My almost 7 year old granddaughter decided it was a good day for paper dolls.  Not the ones you have to buy, but the ones I cut out of newspaper.  I cut several out for her and she is now making clothes for them.  I think I am going to call this art class this morning.  :)

Of course the two younger ones, 6 and 4, needed their own dolls.  I was sure to make BOYS for the boy because, he keeps wanting to make SURE whatever he plays with is a "boy" thing. 

He is so funny.  This morning he was jumping from room to room, which he does constantly, and is told, constantly, "STOP!"  My son's room is in the basement and this old house doesn't have any insulation between floors, so it sounds like a herd of elephants running though  when the kids run and jump.  Today he is not at home, so I told the 5 year old to come into the kitchen to jump.  I set up the egg timer and made him jump until all the sand was at the bottom.  He was beginning to slow down a lot before the sand hit the bottom.  BUT as he told me, "I'm built for jumping."  So, nope that didn't slow him down for long.

Here he is at Christmas in his pirate hat.  AARRGGH

I admire moms who have more than one boy and actually stay sane, not to mention their successful homeschooling.  One of my friends has a great blog about raising boys. Here is one of her blogs:

Now this blog reminds me:  How do you teach a boy to remember to do things like, flush the toilet?  Wipe? I can't remember having that trouble with my own son, but then he is 29, so maybe I don't remember.  

As always, your input is  welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Welcome to My Homeschooling Blog

This is a new adventure for me, as I have never written a blog before.  However, having been encouraged by a couple of friends to write about something I know, I'm taking the plunge. 

I'm actually a "seasoned" homeschooler, having homeschooled my three children through graduation.  I now have six grandchildren, and with their mothers' help, we are homeschooling the children.  

Here they all are on Christmas morning this year.  They are now ages 4 through 10.

We have a special group of kiddos, with various "issues" as they say now.  Three were preemies, the smallest being only 2 lb 10 oz, and as a result we deal with some things that relate to delayed development in several areas.  I will be addressing some of these issues and what we do in future blog posts.  The other three children were full term, but two of them still ended up in the NICU because of breathing problems, one with a small hole in one lung.  Only one of the children was able to come home with her mother three days after birth. And we have only one boy, so I am always looking for ways to allow him to "just be a boy'.  Those of you with boys know what I mean.  

We have put some of the children on special diets, and I plan to discuss this too later on.  I am always on the lookout for different things to use with the children as they learn in different ways.  It is an adventure every day.

Hoping to make some new friends as I go along, and am always interested in your input.