Tuesday, February 28, 2012

KS Cosmosphere

We went on a field trip a couple of weeks ago with our homeschooling group to the KS Cosmosphere in Hutchinson. For $8 a person we go to see an Imax movie about a space shuttle crew repairing the Hubble telescope, a planetarium show that taught us about the position of the stars we can see in the northern hemisphere in the different seasons, a personal 1 hour tour of the museum, ice cream made in about a minute with freezing liquid oxygen (I think) and it tasted really yummy, and then learn about Robert Goddard and see some experiments to help us learn the stages in how he created the rocket. Roger got to come with us on this field trip. It was a lot of fun at such a great price! I didn't get a lot of pics, but here are a few.

Showing us a rocket experiment with a water jug in a closed container. It went fast and boomed!
Evan collects squished pennies and the cosmosphere had a machine.
Replica of the Mars rover.

More Mars rovers.

You can see the parts of me that are warm and cool.
Controlling the Mars rover.
Steam molecules bumping into each other.
Liquid molecules flowing together.
Making the ice cream.

To hard to see, but this is liquid oxygen and it is a blue color, while liquid nitrogen is clear.
Replica of the moon rocket booster launch pad the first astronauts used to get off the moon back to their shuttle.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Look What I Made: Homemade Face Mask

 I have been experimenting with all kinds of homemade products. It started with homemade laundry detergent which I LOVE! This month I have been using homemade shampoo with baking soda and conditioner with apple cider vinegar, and using extra virgin olive oil for a face wash (all which I will post about another time). For this post I want to tell you about my homemade face mask.

I went searching on the internet and came across a couple of sites that talked about using French green clay. One site was Unfortunately I cannot find the other site that I found that I really liked about this type of mask. I guess I need to start bookmarking more often. Anyways, here it was you do:

I purchased some French green clay from I actually got it for free because I had turned in swagbucks for gift cards, but if I had paid it was about $16-17 before shipping, but there is a lot of clay in this bag and it will last me a long time, so I feel it was a good price. (Do you know about swagbucks? If you want to know more click here: The clay is 16oz and is a sage green color. I cut the complete top of the bag open so I can dip my hand and measuring tool into the bag and then store the bag in a food storage tub in the cabinet under my bathroom sink.

To mix up the face mask, I use 1/2 tablespoon of clay and mix it with a 1/2 tablespoon of warm water in a small canning jar I had. That's it! I forgot to take a pic of the mixed clay and water. You might want to try a little bit less than 1/2 tbs because I don't quite end up using all of that on my face.

In this first pic, it's really hard to see that the mask is green, but it really is. This is showing when it is first put on and is wet. Also, in this pic it looks like I barely have mask on my face, but I really did cover my face completely.

This next pic shows areas of my face that are wet and dry. The dark spots are the wet areas. Although it looks white in color in this pic, the mask is still green. It's really starting to tighten up my face so I can't really smile. LOL!

This last pic shows my face after the mask has completely dried. I usually leave it on for about 5-10 minutes which is enough time to do some cleaning up of the bathroom. At this point, the mask actually is white looking, not so much green any more.

When time is up, I simply take a warm wet washcloth and wipe off the mask. If your face feels dry after this, just use a little of your favorite moisturizer. I usually do this about once a week, but no more than twice. I just like the fact of knowing that it is a product from the earth on my face. It's natural. If you think you want to try a homemade face mask, there are all kinds of sites to get you started, some of them even using products you can find in your kitchen like eggs. So go research, experiment, and have fun!

Friday, February 24, 2012

A New Way of Schooling

*Introduction: This will probably be a long post, so I did not make sure all of my spelling is correct and I am not going to use spell check to correct any mistakes, so please just kindly overlook any spelling or grammar mistakes that I might have made--thank you!

I have known about the Maize Virtual Preperatory School for over a year now and have thought about it many times throughout this year. Here is the website if you would like to know what I am talking about and/or learn more about it:

It has intrigued me and you know when you can't stop thinking about something that just maybe you are meant to investigate a little harder into it because it might turn out to be a prompting from the Holy Spirit and it might turn out to be a path God wants you to follow? That is what I have been feeling all this year regarding MVPS. We belong to a homeschooling co-op that I love! We have been involved with this co-op for a total of 5 years (with two years taken off during that time to concentrate on full time schooling at home for a while). However, this year I have found myself thinking I need a break from co-op. I didn't want to teach, but last semester I ended up teaching 2 classes. Then this semester, I am a helper in 4 classes instead of teaching and have enjoyed that very much, however, I didn't want to be there all day (9:00-3:00), but it ended up being that way simply so my kids could enjoy being with their friends.

I am not sure I can describe this right: I still love teaching and didn't mind the 2 classes, and I don't really mind being at co-op all day, and it's like when we are there on Mondays we enjoy it, but the other days of the week when I think about going, my spirit just isn't it any more. Have you ever been in a place (job, church, school, sports activity, etc.) where you still enjoyed it, but at the same time you just felt like you were growing apart from it and you didn't understand why, especially because it was/is your passion? If you've experienced this than what I am saying makes sense to you. If you haven't experienced this then you have no idea what I am trying to explain and I've just confused you--sorry, but believe me it's a little confusing to me too. However, the times this has happened to me before, it was God's way of weaning me off of what I was used to and leading me to something better. For example, We attended a church for 7 1/2 years; our kids were born into that church; those people were our family; we were actively involved and loved the activities and the preaching, but then all of a sudden I stared feeling like these people and this place was strange to me. After a few months of feeling this way and then sharing this with my husband he started feeling the same way. We decided to try out some new churches, and during the week of considering which church to try out first, I had a dream about a certain church twice, so we went there, and that has been our church for over 4 years now. God weaned us off of the first church that we loved so much because he wanted to take us to a new church that has been better for us in our walk with him. Okay, did this church example help you understand what I've been trying to describe about co-op and moving onto a new way of homeschooling? Maybe MVPS is the better option for our family now. We are believing this is the path God wants us to follow, so we are stepping out in faith and enrolling our son into the program for next year. We will continue to use our favorite homeschooling curriculum to teach our daughter for at least another year at home, maybe a little longer until we enroll her into MVPS.

The MVPS website gives a lot of good information about the program, but I learned a lot more information by attending the meeting last night, talking with the creator of the program and some of his staff, and looking over the curriculum. Here are some notes that I took last night:

*The first step after enrolling will be to take the placement tests they have for math and language arts. This will help determine at what grade level your child is in and how it matches up to the Calvert curriculum. However, if you disagree with the level the tests placed your child in, then you can discuss that with the administration and they are open to what you have to say because they believe we know our child's abilities best. Last night someone kept talking about how their child was gifted in math--he had been tested in the public schools and was able to do calculus at an 8th grade level. I didn't hear all of the conversation, but I know that they were discussing ways they could accomodate the child by not stifling him in that area by making him work at an 8th grade level, but getting him the curriculum he needed to allow him to work at his level.

*The curriculum can be adjusted to meeting your child's needs/levels. So, your child may be considered a 4th grader in public school, but if they are struggling in reading, then you can work with them in 3rd grade reading, but if they are advanced in math, you can work with them in 5th grade math. This is great because it means you don't have to order and receive all the materials for just 4th grade, they can mix and match whatever materials your child needs to help them be successful. If in the middle of the year they have overcome whatever gap there may have been in reading, then you will meet with the teacher assigned to your child and they will get us new curriculum, or give us resources online that the child can work on to continue their education--the child is not stuck waiting until next year to begin the reading curriculum for next year. Will this be an additional cost? I'm not sure but, it didn't sound like it would be. I might need to email them and get some clarification for that question.

*If for some reason we decide this program is not for us, we can unenroll at anytime. However, they don't want that to happen--they want to help us in any way succeed with this program. Some people new to schooling their children at home may become overwhelmed, but that is why we have teachers assigned to us to help those parents adjust in schooling their child, help them create a schedule, help them adjust the curriculum, or supply them with online resources to help them succeed.

*Most of the staff of MVPS have educated their children at home for some amount of time, so they understand the challenges, but fun that homeschooling offers. I am not sure what qualifications are needed to become a staff member of MVPS. I don't know if you need a degree in teaching, or what. I guess that is something I can talk about with whomever teacher we get assigned to.

*I can create my own schedule and do however many hours/lessons a day that I want to. I sat with a mom last night who has been involved with this online school for some time (MVPS is a branch of the Lawrence online school that has been around for some time now) and she said that there are a total of 180 lessons, but only 150 are required to finish the year, and if you happen to finish in March, then your school year is done. Or, you may want to continue through the summer. They do recommend that we spend 4 days of the week doing math and language arts. We try to do math and language arts every day, so I can live with that reccomendation. :)

*A calendar is set up for us online that is kind of like a checklist for the student to keep track of their lessons. If we miss a day, we simply record that online and the computer self adjusts everything for us.

*There are 2 audit days in September where we will have to fill out paperwork. This is required by the state of KS to make sure we are enrolled in this school--like an attendance record. This is different than homeschooling because we don't have to really keep any kind of records at all. I keep a lesson plan in case I ever have to prove we homeschooled, but that is not required by the state, that is just what I do. MVPS receives money for each student, but not as much as public schools receive, so there is a little bit of answering to the state that they must do.

*This year MVPS was K-8th grade, but next year they are adding 9th grade, the year after that they are adding 10th grade, and will continue adding 11th and 12 grades the next consecutive years.

*There are no grades granted. This school is a pass/fail program. This to me is no big deal because I don't give grades in our homeschooling now. However, there are many parents who feel that once high school is added that there need to be grades given. I agree with this. The creator of MVPS has asked the parent committee to come up with a way to record grades. I think this will happen because we need to have some kind of transcript for college. Since Evan is entering 6th grade, I am going to believe that by the time he enters 9th grade, there will be some kind of grading system in place--that's 3 years from now, surely something will be developed.

*Right now they only allow a maximum capacity of 400 students/50 students per grade level I believe for 1st-8th grade because if they included kindergarten that would be a maximum of 450 students with 50 per grade level. I asked the question if we were to enroll Evan and then in a couple of years wanted to enroll Lauren, but her grade level already had 50 students in it, would she not be able to be enrolled? He said she could be enrolled because she would be a sibling of somebody already in the program. So, if there were say 3 other families in that position, then they would make allowances for that and let that grade level have 54 students in it. He also told me that if I wanted to just enroll Lauren for one subject I could. I am thinking if I want to enroll her for science and just use our favorite homeschool curriculum for the other subjects--I haven't decided yet. However, I would get all of the curriculum books for her grade--they couldn't just seperate out the science books, so I could use those books if I wanted to without answering to MVPS for those subjects, or I was thinking ebay maybe for those extra books I wouldn't need?!

*The computer is an enrichment tool--this is not an online course where the student does all of their work at the computer. The assigned teacher will provide us with additional online resources/activities to help our children explore a topic or favorite subject further if they want to, or to help them learn a topic they may be struggling with. There are texts and workbooks they use and we as parents still sit down with our kids if they can't work independently, or if we just want to work alongside them to complete their lessons. There is a technology curriculum, so of course they have to sit at the computer to learn that subject. When I looked over the technology textbook last night that Evan would be using I joked about how computer illiterate I was, so I would be able to sit with him while he was learning, and be able to learn right along with him! LOL

*If you already have a laptop, then you can opt out of using theirs.

*They are still trying to develop the high school courses, but they are thinking of doing them like college classes, and these would be using I-Pads or Notebooks--I couldn't follow all of the stuff they were talking about concerning this. But, one of my friends who was there with me last night understood, so I'll have to ask her to explain that better to me and Roger. Anyways, they were thinking that for example Biology would be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:00, or something like that. Just creating some kind of college like schedule--it's still in the works.

*There is a foreign language elective, but we have Rosetta Stone for Spanish and French so I don't know if we would use theirs. I think they offer spanish, french, chinese, latin and sign language. I would be interested in the sign language for my kids.

*The teacher assigned to us will work, or loop, with our kids every year, so they really get to know our students and our families. I really like that!

*There are field trips and socials, clubs, like science or math, are being developed by parents, and they want to hold workshops/expos twice a year.

*One of the things I don't like is that my kids will have to take the state assessment tests. But, they need to get used to taking tests, and the way I look at it is this will help prepare them to take the ACT or SAT, or any tests for that matter if they decide to go to college. MVPS will help us prepare for those tests.

*Thankfully, most school districts in the Wichita area allow for dual enrollment meaning if my kids want to take an art, band, photography class or play on a sports team at the local public school, they can. I already knew this, but just letting any of you reading this that might not have known about this read this. However, a school district can change this at any time, but why would they when they get a little bit of money even if our children just enroll for one class?

I didn't take notes on the philosophy of this school, but it lines up with what I agree. This program kind of allows you to have the best of both worlds while schooling your child. Your child gets to be home with you; your schedule can be pretty flexible; the curriculum can be kind of flexible as well as adjusted; your day and year can be as long or short as you want; and you have a support teacher who is there to help you whenever you need it and just to check in on you a couple of times a month to help hold you accountable to things. I LOVE this! I do feel this is the path God wants our family to take right now. Now, you never know, things could change down the road, but for right now, this is what we need to do. For Evan for sure starting next year, for Lauren I'm still deciding about enrolling her for just one subject. If you are a Wichita area friend reading this, enrollment starts March 1st. Don't forget that there is a maximum capacity of students per grade level, so don't put off enrolling for too long.  Go to the website and do as much research as you can on everything, and praying.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Date Night

Our church hosted a date night tonight. We got to drop the kids off at church where they fed them and played and watched movies while us parents went out to eat and then came back to the church to watch the movie Courageous.

For dinner we headed to Longhorn Steakhouse, a new restaurant in town. We walked in and they had a 60-65 minute wait. Wow! As we were walking out, we ran into another couple from church. I asked them if they had called ahead (which we didn't know you could do) and they said yes they had. They were meeting two more couples from church there, but one couple's children had gotten sick so they had to cancel, so they asked if we wanted to join them in their place! We did and had a very nice time chatting with friends from church. We had eaten at Longhorn in Kansas City and I had fallen in love with their macaroni and cheese, and was so looking forward to eating that again. Well, my meal I ordered got messed up--they gave me the wrong piece of steak. I was going to go ahead and eat it, but it was not well done which is how I like my steak, so they took it back and made me the correct one. In the meantime I ate my mac and cheese. When they returned with my correct steak, they also brought me another bowl of mac and cheese. My stomach filled up before I finished my steak, so I got to take the rest of my steak, plus the second bowl of mac and cheese home with me for another meal. The only problem is, Roger tasted my mac and cheese and agreed with me that it is some of the best he's ever had, so I may have to fight him off when I go to eat the leftovers LOL!

When we got back to the church for the movie they had all kinds of snacks to eat. My favorite movie candy is M&Ms and Twizzlers. This was our second time seeing Courageous and everyone was moved to tears. The guys all chalked the tears up to allergies HAHA!

Such a fun night hanging out with my guy knowing the kids were well taken care of.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Harlem Globetrotters

We went to see the Harlem Globetrotters last week. It was the first time for all of us. One of the best games of basketball I have ever seen, and oh, oh, oh so funny!!! We laughed out loud all night! We had great seats--6th row up from the floor.

Globie (spelling?) the mascot. There was also Mini Globie his little brother (which I didn't get a pic of) and then his big brother Big G.

Stretch is sooooo tall! I don't know his exact height, but I'm sure you could find that on the internet if you really wanted to. Here are a few pics of him...
He was holding the ball up way in the air trying to get the little girl to jump up for it!
He just towers over everybody during autograph signing.

Here are some random pics:
The MC--I forgot his name
The opposing team was really good
The refs were awesome and added to the fun
Big Easy--he wore a microphone all night and was the leader of the team and the fun
Each half of the court had two of these 4 point circles. Scooter made 3 of these shots in a row!
This was one of Wichita's news anchors acting as a special ref

Well, did you have any doubt that the Globetrotters would win?

Autograph signing was CRAZY! Roger and Evan got Bingo's and Bull's signatures. Then we got in line to get Big Easy's signature and a pic taken with him, and we were so close to it being our turn, but time elapsed. I took the first pic with Big Easy in the background--it doesn't look like we were all that close to him, but the camera fools you in this pic because we really were. In the next pic, as Big Easy was walking away, people crowded close to him to get one last autograph for him, and you can see Evan in the white hat and black hoodie trying to squeeze close holding up the basketball--he made it and got the autograph!

We had so much fun. If you are a Wichita friend reading this, they usually come to town each February. If there is any way you can save up the money to go see them, I really recommend it. It was one of the funnest nights I have ever had with my family. I would love to go see them again!

Thursday, February 2, 2012


School has been going well since the beginning of 2012.

We just finished our 3rd week of co-op. Evan's classes are General Science, P.E., Physics, Knights and Vikings, and Discovering Great Artists. Lauren's classes are Art, Handbells, Physics, Native Americans, and Discovering Great Artists. Yep, E and L are in two classes together. That's usually quite an age range to have a 2nd grader in the same class as a 5th grader, but it's been working out well. I am enjoying being a helper in the classes instead of teaching this semester. I have the 9:00 hour free, but then I help in two hours of Handbells, Knights and Vikings, and then Discovering Great Artists. I think I will be ready to teach next fall, though; I think I'm kind of missing that. Still considering what to teach, though.

At home, we started 5th and 2nd grade at the beginning of January. Evan is studying Rome right now and the human body. Lauren is studying the USA and general science. They are working through their MathUSee curriculum. We are in a really good routine and keeping up with the curriculums. If we work through the summer then come next fall we will be on a "regular" school schedule--meaning Evan will be starting 6th grade and Lauren 3rd grade at the same time public schools start. OH MY GOODNESS!! I will have a middle schooler! And my little girl will be a 3rd grader! Time really does move fast.

We will be attending some great field trips this spring. This month we will be going to the Cosmosphere and to see a play based on one of my favorite kids books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

The kids are doing the YMCA Homeschool P.E. class on Wednesdays and Fridays this month. On Wednesdays they swim, and then Fridays are different fitness activities.

Today I took them to Exploration Place and we saw the cyber dome/planetarium movie about Egypt. Evan studied that in his 4th grade curriculum, so it was neat to see the pyramids, hyroglyphics, etc. in the movie. However, those cyber domes/planetariums are a little bit freaky. The rows of seats are so steep, and you feel like your seats are sometimes moving. Then, we went through the GPS/geocaching exhibit they had and that was fun. That was their schooling today--no book work at home. I love homeschooling!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What Happened to Winter?

Hhhmmmm.....the kids are playing outside in shorts and no jackets. Can this really be January 31st?!