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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Misc.
Tribute to Moms
Category: Misc.
Tags: happy mothers day mothers day quotes mothers day sayings mothers day ideas

* Mother’s Day, observed on the second Sunday in May, was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.

* Celebrated Around the World: Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than 100 countries.

* Tributes to Mom:

   ** Gifts for Mother’s Day that Americans spend the most on include cards, flowers and dinners out.

  ** Let’s hear it for Mom! A traditional way to show appreciation is with loud and hearty clapping of hands, a custom that goes back at least to Roman times. Roman citizens applauded speeches and dramatic performances they liked. In England, those in the British Parliament approved of what someone was saying by shouting, “Hear him! Hear him!” (The shortened form, “Hear, hear,” we still use today). So, let’s all shout, “Hooray for Mom,” and give her a well-deserved round of applause.

 **A toast! How about raising our glasses and saying some nice words honoring Mom. It’s an idea that dates back to the Romans, who spiked glasses of wine with spiced toast during special ceremonies to pledge friendship. The toast enhanced the flavor of the wine by making it sweeter. This Mother’s Day, be sure to make your Mom the “toast of the town,” an 18th century custom that entails drinking to the health of a celebrated person – who better than Mom? 

* “Elbows off the table!” (and other well-worn platitudes): It’s generally considered proper etiquette to keep one’s elbows off the table during dinner, but the origin of this custom wasn’t necessarily about manners. According to one explanation, during medieval times, the common people were so eager to take advantage of an opportunity to dine at court, that they would pack themselves shoulder to shoulder on long wooden benches, leaving little room for arms on the table. Even today, following this rule can keep errant elbows from knocking over glasses and bowls, and creates more personal space. So Mom’s not really being a nudge. She’s just being practical. 

Other Classic Mom-isms There are many -- and many variations -- but these are some of my Mom’s personal favorites:

 Keep your wits about you!

You’ll get rickets! (if we didn’t eat our vegetables)

You’re not going out with me looking like that.

Because I SAID so!

Oh, fiddlesticks! Or Hells Bells! (to express frustration)

Finish your food; there are children starving all over the world.

This room is a pigsty.

When I was a kid, I had to walk miles through the deep snow to get to school.

What, you expect to be entertained 24 hours a day? (if we said we were bored)

This isn’t the Waldorf, you know.

Dont sit too close to the TV; it’ll ruin your eyes.

Let’s face it, if it hadn’t been for our mothers, we’d all have been standing in the middle of the street, talking to strangers, without our jackets. 

* “Now, as always, the most automated appliance in a household is the mother.” (Beverly Jones) Hey, Mom. Aren’t you glad that methods of cleaning clothes have progressed? Throughout dirty laundry history, Moms have done everything from pounding clothes against the rocks in a river, to dragging clothes through the seawater while riding in a boat. Not to mention washboards and all of that scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing. Talk about labor intensive. Fully automated washing machines finally came along in the 1930s and 1940s – and a new day dawned. 

* The Old Gray Mare: If your mom colors her hair, she’ll be interested to know that particular element of her beauty regimen dates back to the Assyrians, circa 1500 B.C. Like the ancients, if Mom wants to employ natural dye methods, she can use what the Greeks used: yellow pollen, flour, or gold dust for blond. For brunette, she can try a Roman concoction made of boiled leeks and walnut shells. More daring Moms might want to sport the bright hair hues most often associated with 1980s punk rockers -- but the Saxons actually did this first, dying their hair red, green, orange and sky blue. 

* “Mama-mia, that’s a spicy meatball.” (1969 Alka-Seltzer ad slogan):  Just like “comfort” is associated with Mom, “comfort food” is associated with Mom’s Kitchen – or sometimes, Grandmom’s Kitchen. Those family recipes passed down from generation to generation. Just to smell them cooking takes you back to some warm, childhood memory – relieving pain, providing a sense of well-being. Kudos to all our moms who keep us nurtured and nourished – even if some of their meals, at times, result in some minor indigestion. 

“I love my mother as the trees love water and sunshine – she helps me grow, prosper, and reach great heights.” –Terry Gullemets

 Thank-you, Mom. And Happy Mother’s Day.

Much of the information on customs came from a cool book I checked out at the library: An Uncommon History of Common Things

 Fun book to read with the kids.  



Happy Easter
Category: Misc.
Tags: wildlife wildlife preservation wildlife conservation animal classification animal types list of endangered species endangered animal species

Easter Egg Activities:

(Endangered Animals Easter Eggs and other activities.)

Learn about mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, plants, ecosystems and habitats, and endangered species at the Arkive, a not-for-profit conservation initiative that is building a multimedia archive of the world’s species.

The site can be explored by topic or grade level (ages 5 - 18), and there are many learning kits and activity packs to download, some with PowerPoint presentations to introduce and explain topics. Some examples: 

Nocturnal AnimalsIncludes a PowerPoint presentation and game for matching animal sounds to correct animal pictures.

Animal ClassificationSeveral different presentations, worksheets and activity packs are available for this topic, including a Guess Zoo guessing game.

Animal Communication: Presentation on how animals communicate, and resources for researching a particular animal and creating a video report on how it communicates.

The site also has a games and puzzles page, and activities page with animal origami and mask crafts. 

More Egg Stuff

Egg Math : And links to free math instructional videos.

Egg Hunt: Webquest for researching egg cookery, egg safety, egg products, and specialty eggs.

Egg Lab: Egg Shell Geodes

Good Egg Project: Learn how eggs get from the farm to the table.

Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die..."

John 11: 25 - 26

National Parks Adventures
Category: Misc.
Tags: national parks list of national parks national park pass national park service

The National Park Service turns 100 this summer, and to celebrate, they’ve been running, among other things, the Every Kid in a Park program allowing families to visit various parks, nature centers, natural wonders, and historic sites for free.

Visiting these places has always been one of my favorite pastimes. As a city girl growing up in Brooklyn, I learned to appreciate the outdoors experiences my parents provided through tent camping and day trips we would take during the summer months. Leaving the “asphalt jungle” even for short spurts was like stepping through a magic portal to novel environments and settings. Those trips awakened in me a desire for travel, knowledge and adventure that is with me to this day -- and my husband and I have tried to pass on that sense of wonder to our own children through our camping adventures. (Although, with an RV, it’s more like “glamping” in comparison to what my parents did).

We’ve had a lot of fun in our national parks, and look forward to returning to and visiting more in the future. For homeschoolers, the parks are awesome places for on-site history and science studies, with access to knowledgeable “instructors” and free educational materials, both at the locations, and on websites. Here are some of our favorite places -- and related free resources:

Read these articles describing the interesting science going on at our national parks:

Arizona

 

Grand Canyon

Petrified Forest

California

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