Homeschool Science Experiment

The girls love doing science experiments. Here, they’re making slime with glue and liquid starch.

Two girls doing a homeschool science experiment in the kitchen. Not So SAHM

Homeschool Science Experiment – ProjectEdit365 – 15 Jan

I turned the original into black and white . . . but head over to Project Edit 365 to see the original and how it changed. Thanks!

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Capitol Dome, Inside Out

I mentioned yesterday that my family loves history. We also love (to a certain extent) politics and the way that governments work. You could probably already tell that by the different State House pictures I’ve taken.

We took a tour of the US Capitol when we lived in the DC area. FASCINATING and beautiful! So much detail was paid to every square inch. Here is the inside of the dome. So gorgeous.

The inside of the US Capitol dome is much prettier than it's new exterior. Not So SAHM

Capitol Dome, Inside Out – ProjectEdit365 – 04 Jan

I was curious as to what my camera settings were when I took this because everything seems to be in good focus. Click over to Project Edit 365 to see what camera I used and to see what edits I made to the original! Thanks so much!

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Learning to Read

As a homeschooler, I say this with all the love in the world — it’s a blessing and a curse to be the one to teach your child to read. Maybe it’s only control freaks that have issues. I thought I would poke my eyes out with pencils before we got the hang of reading.

But you know what? She learned. And she’s reading up a storm now. Here she was, learning about initial sounds.

Girl plays a phonics game on the computer. Not So SAHM

Learning to Read – ProjectEdit365 – 01 Nov

There’s so much going on the pic, I made it black and white to take away some of the distraction. I love the busyness though because it almost all relates to her. The babydoll, the bike. I increased the contrast and clarity, lightened the exposure and highlights. Here’s the original:


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The Making of Mercury

Ash loves doing hands-on crafts and experiments. I like them in theory, but when it comes to it, and I have to gather all the supplies, and find the room, and find the time, . . . I’d just rather not. Horrible, so that’s why I’m just forcing myself to get over it. And now she’s old enough that she can clean up after herself.

She’s learning astronomy for science this year, and this week she’s learning about Mercury. What better to do than make a salt dough model of the pockmarked planet. She’s using a pencil to create the asteroid strikes.

Girl works with salt dough in the kitchen. Not So SAHM

The Making of Mercury – ProjectEdit365 – 24 Sep

Being a mom who likes to collect memories and a photographer on top of that, it’s sad that I almost forgot to get the camera out for this artsy craftsy time. I did horrible composition-wise, so I had to crop quite a bit for that. There’s just too much going on in the photo. Turning it black and white helps to get rid of the various color distractions. I softened the clarity and increased the contrast a touch. I decided to blow out the lights in the window because that helped take away some of the visual distractions in the background. Here is the original:


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Field Trip Digital Scrapbook page Not So SAHM

Homeschool – Fitting in field trips

Field Trip Digital Scrapbook page Not So SAHM

One of my desires in homeschooling, and passions in life, is to get out and see the world. Homeschooling gives you so many freedoms, so why stay cooped up inside the house with noses buried in books? I actually don’t know many homeschoolers that do that, but I always feel like I’m not doing enough to vary our girls’ educational experiences.

For years I’ve attempted to fit field trips into the school year, but it always seems that they either don’t get planned or they get pushed off until next week, which becomes the next week, which becomes never. Sigh. In previous years I’ve been scheduling them on FRIDAYS. Why? Because that’s the end of the week. A field trip on Friday would be a great ending and a good reward for working so hard Monday through Thursday. Something fun to look forward to. But then they were almost always pushed to the wayside. Or I couldn’t think of where to go.

I realized two of my problems:

1) Not planning the field trips in advance
2) Making Fridays our trip days.

  1. It’s hard to get anything done if you don’t plan. Desiring to take field trips is one thing. Just like a visit to the dentist, or getting family pics made, if you don’t plan it *and get it on the calendar* it’s not going to happen. So before this school year started, I looked through what we’d be learning for the first five or six weeks and did some research as to what trips around this area would fit in. I preplanned and then wrote them in on the calendar. I’ll actually be planning the next five or six field trips this coming week. First step.
  2. This is the ingenious step, IMHO. I gave up the idea of trying to schedule field trips at the end of the week and have now switched them to Mondays. Instead of being the last thing we do, it’s what opens up our week. We’ve been schooling for four weeks now using Monday as our field trip day and it is working out really well. We have a shortened school schedule that day and leave the house around lunchtime. Sometimes we take a picnic and eat out, and sometimes we eat before going. It has been a fun way to start off the school weeks! And we look forward to Mondays now instead of grumbling.

The one downside I’ve noticed to having a shortened school day on Monday is that Tuesday seems to be pretty long. Two out of the four Tuesdays have ended with me wishing the yellow school bus stopped at our house. Right now I’m attributing that to growing pains and us having to learn our new schedule. I am also toying with the idea of lessening the Tuesday schedule somehow — rearranging our history, most likely, so we’re not spending around 2 hours on that. I haven’t figured out how to rearrange it though. But that, to me, is an issue with our history program, not necessarily the field trips.

So, there you have it. If you’ve been struggling to fit field trips into your weekly schedule and haven’t given the above tips a try, work on it and see what happens. If you are a pro at this and have tips for me that I should implement, I’d love to hear them! One of the great things about homeschooling is the freedom to be flexible – to incorporate or scrap what does or doesn’t work any time you need.

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ice plant grows on the hills facing the ocean

Carmel River State Beach

In lesson 1 of our science program (Apologia’s Zoology 2: Exploring Creation with Swimming Creatures of the Fifth Day) we learned what estuaries are and the brackish water that fills them. Basically, estuaries are where rivers meet oceans or seas. The water is brackish – a mix of fresh and salt water.

We read about Carmel River State Beach recently and I was excited to learn that it’s got an estuary where birds love to hang out. People do too. Not too many people though–apparently not many people use this beach. When people visit Carmel they go to the Carmel city beach. Who wants the crowds when you can have a beach practically all to yourself?

Carmel River State Beach sign

Go here to have the beach to yourself!

We did a very quick and brief review about estuaries and headed down after lunch. We didn’t have any troubles finding parking. We wore hiking clothes instead of swimsuits, and this was on purpose. This beach isn’t safe for swimmers due to the rough current. I have Keens that were great for trekking around Hawaii, getting in and out of watery and soft-sandy places. Here though, the sand is more like miniature rocks. The little rocks got in my Keens and wouldn’t escape. Ouch! Flip flops probably would have been better.

The first thing you come across is the marshy estuary, which right now is not reaching the ocean. Perhaps it’s the drought. Perhaps it has something to do with the dam removal that is ongoing. The birds love it though!

the birds love the estuary at Carmel River State Beach

River ahead of me and ocean behind me – beach is in-between. See the birds!?

Birds fly around Carmel River State Beach

CRSB is a bird sanctuary

Birds fly around at Carmel River State Beach

the birds took flight to avoid us, but didn’t go very far!

birds fly over us at Carmel River State Beach

they flew over us to head back to the marsh. Fortunately no air mail was dropped. . .

dried kelp on the beach

dried kelp

Something blue on the beach

no idea what this is, but I love the little collection of things

As we walked along the beach it became rockier and rockier. We walked and explored for about an hour–then my feet just couldn’t take it any longer. We rested by some big rocks and then took the walking path on top of the cliff back to the car.

waves spray up against the rocks at Carmel River State Beach

splash and spray

Water flows over low-lying rocks at Carmel River State Beach

Tide was starting to come back in

waves crash against the rocks at Carmel River State Beach

I was kind of obsessed with the spray

water washes up between two rocks at Carmel River State Beach


ice plant grows on the hills facing the ocean

ice plant grows everywhere around here

I’m an East Coast girl, but I’m starting to love the Pacific Ocean! What is your favorite body of water? (The Gulf Coast in Florida has the best sand, imho)

    Not So SAHM