In a world fill of Cheerios, be a Froot Loop

In a world fill of Cheerios, be a Froot Loop
This is my image of the week. I love this picture. I actually have it hanging on my refrigerator right now as a reminder to my son to not be a conformist, to be himself and follow his own interests, regardless of how weird other people may think those interests are.  I know we all worry about our kids, especially when they hit the teenage years and they really start to feel the effects of peer pressure.  The pressure to just fit in or to completely disappear into the shadows can be a strong pull. But just like Alice told the Mat Hatter when he asked her if he had gone mad, “I’m afraid so. You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.” 

Things that made me happy this week

Oyster Books. There is just something about this service that makes me read more than ever. Maybe it is because it shows similar suggestions at the bottom and through this I have discovered books I never knew existed. Maybe it is because, unlike being on Amazon, I don’t have to think about whether or not I really truly want to read a book before buying it. Oyster has unlimited ebooks for only $9.95 per month. If you use my affiliate link, you’ll get a $15 credit and I’ll get one too!

Here are some of the books I have read recently, all free at Oyster:

Read-6-5

Creating Innovators  |  To Marry an English Lord  |  Keeping a Princess Heart: In a Not-So-Fairy-Tale World  |  Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha  |  Eating History: Thirty Turning Points in the Making of American Cuisine  |  The Last King of Wales: Gruffudd ap Llywelyn

And right now I am reading:

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Star Trek and History (Wiley Pop Culture and History Series)  |  Xenophobe’s Guide to the Welsh

Something I’ve made

Framed Star Wars O-H-I-O, made with vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo. Go Buckeyes!
I made this for my husband. He said he might even take it to work and hang it in his office.

From around the web

Books that I know you’ll love

We discovered a series of books about the history of Scotland and its famous residents, written by Allan Burnett. In Macbeth and All That, you’ll learn the difference between Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the real Macbeth * Discover how dark the dark ages truly were * Investigate Macbeth’s dealings with witches and Vikings * Uncover the true Lady Macbeth. There are also books about Saint Columba, William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, and more. The Kindle versions are $3.99 on Amazon or you can read them for free through Oyster Books.

On my blog, in case you missed it

Linking up with my friend Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


A Day at Cedar Point

Power-Tower

I love being an Ohioan. I may be a bit bias, but we have so much here that other states only dream of. We have the #1 ranked library system in the country, our science museum has been named the #1 science center in the country several times, the same goes for our zoo, we have been home to eight US Presidents, Thomas Edison and John Glenn, our Buckeyes are National Champions, and we have Cedar Point

My husband was a roller coaster kid. Growing up only 20 minutes away from the park, he was there every chance he got. Turning 15 was an exciting year for him, because he was finally old enough to work there during the summers. So for 4 summers, until he went away to college, he was at Cedar Point every day. One of the luckiest teenagers alive who got to practically live at an amusement park. This year was a momentous year for our little family because my husband always said that when our son turned 13, they would start buying season passes. Just the two of them. Father and son. Bonding over roller coasters. 

This past weekend, my family was given a trip to Cedar Point along with a complimentary stay in the newly renovated Hotel Breakers. And although the forecast called for scattered thunderstorms, we jumped at the chance.

Here are 5 reasons we love Cedar Point

Mean-Streak

1. The nostalgia (for parents)

Like I said, my husband spent some of the best days of his childhood and teenage years there. He knows the layout and history of the park like the back of his hand. Being able to share that with his son is very important to him. Like the time you take your child to see the house you grew up in or the elementary school you attended.

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Our view of Cedar Point from Hotel Breakers

2. The firsts (for kids)

This was our son’s second time at Cedar Point, but since this year he was old enough to go on all the BIG coasters, it was kind of like his first time. The memory of his first action-packed, roller coaster filled day at Cedar Point will live on in his mind for the rest of his life. I’ll never forget my first time on a roller coaster. It was The Beast at King’s Island, which is now owned by Cedar Point’s parent company. I was 9 years old and I rode next to my brother, with my mom and dad behind us.

Lake-Errie

3. The sand and water 

Cedar Point is located on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Erie, so it is surrounded by water and sand. On a clear day you can see across the water to Canada from the top of the Millennium Force. Until 1914, visitors could only get to the park via steamship. At this time a road was constructed through bog and marshland. This road, a feat of engineering and one of the first concrete roads in Ohio, was called the Cedar Point Chaussee. It remained the only road into the park until 1957 when a shorter route was constructed and named the Cedar Point Causeway. On both sides of each road and all around the park’s peninsula you can see the vastness of Lake Erie.

Cedar-Point

4. The laughter and screams

Cedar Point is know as the roller coaster capital of the world, so what do you expect the most when visiting…laughter and screams of course! It is the only amusement park in the world with four roller coasters taller than 200 feet. Just listen to the screams on the hundreds of recorded videos uploaded to YouTube. One of the best times that I had was standing on the sidelines with all the other chickens when my husband and son went on the Top Thrill Dragster. We laughed and laughed at the faces and screams of the people on the ride. Take a look at this image and you’ll see why everyone was screaming.

Dragster

5. The history

I am a genealogist so a desire to learn about the history of any particular area is constantly pumping through my veins. Luckily we have a walking Cedar Point encyclopedia in the family. Cedar Point peninsula was named for its abundance of cedar trees and was originally known for its fishing. During the Civil War, Confederate soldiers were held in a prison on nearby Johnson’s Island. The Cedar Point peninsula began gaining popularity as a picnic area, so the German immigrant who used to transport the prisoners began to use his boats to ferry locals to the Cedar Point peninsula. This immigrant, Louis Zistel, began operating a bathhouse, sand boxes and swings for children, and a dance hall for adults. This marked the very beginning of the amusement park.

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Cedar Point in the 1890’s

Hotel-Breakers

The best way to experience Cedar Point is with a 1-2 night stay. This way, you’ll get into the park early and be able to stay all day. This year, the 110-year old Hotel Breakers was completely refurbished from the ground up. Staying onsite at Cedar Point definitely has its perks. The park on one side and the beach on the other side! We were able to take breaks throughout the day if we wanted to rest in our room, or drop off leftover food in our little refrigerator. There was an outdoor pool and plenty of restaurants, including an excellent Hibachi Grill.

Hibachi

Guests receive early entry into Cedar Point, discounted tickets, free shuttle service, and complimentary parking.

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*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


Star Wars O-H-I-O

Framed Star Wars O-H-I-O, made with vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo. Go Buckeyes!

I made this for my husband.

Even if you do not live in Ohio, I am sure you are a Buckeye fan, right? Who isn’t a Buckeye fan? And since you are obviously a Buckeye fan, you probably know all about our famous O-H-I-O cheer.  Even President Obama knows the cheer!

While I positively, absolutely love my state…I just sort of like Star Wars.  I am way more of a Star Trek fan. However, since I live with two die-hard Star Wars fans, it is everywhere. My living room is home to these 3-feet tall things.  I was tired of looking at them after only a day.

Star-Wars-Statues

I don’t really like them, but fun little displays like this make a house a home.  Or like a giant playroom.

Framed Star Wars OHIO, made with vinyl and the Silhouette Cameo. Go Buckeyes!

We found a perfect 36″ wide frame at Hobby Lobby.  Next, I found very clean-cut, simple images online that looked like an O (the Death Star), H (a TIE fighter), I (light saber), and another O (Jedi Order symbol). I opened the images with the Silhouette Cameo and after creating cut files, I cut them out using red, gray and black vinyl.

My husband absolutely loves it. I have started to work on a Doctor Who version, but am not quite happy with it yet.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


Flexible Summer Learning and a Chance to Find Buried Treasure

This is a sponsored post with Brain Chase through The Motherhood. All thoughts and opinions are my own

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We are year-around homeschoolers, which means that “school” never stops for us. However, school for us does change drastically beginning in May. Things become more laid back and we go off on more rabbit trails than usual. We have more Netflix days and more do-nothing-but-read days. The education is always there, but just reached in a different way.

That is one of the reasons why we are both so excited about June 22nd.  That is the day Brain Chase 2015 begins. An educational experience that doesn’t feel like typical school. An adventure that unlocks your mind without you even realizing it. Brain Chase is the perfect resource to add to your summer.  Here are four reasons why:

Flexibility

If you are traveling this summer or have camps on the schedule and are worried about missing out on some of the Brain Chase activities, there is no need to worry at all. The program is extremely flexible:

  • Your child needs only to commit to do about five hours of focused online work each week for five weeks. Because the curriculum is web-based, he or she can complete the work whenever, wherever, and in whatever order he or she prefers.
  • You will be able to complete math, language and reading assignments on tablets, as well as laptops and desktop computers.
  • Brain Chase allows students to catch up on missed work from previous weeks (although they won’t be allowed to work ahead).
  • You can learn more about the flexibility of the program through this post on the Brain Chase blog.

#BrainChase

Brain Chase is award winning

In addition to winning several mom’s choice awards, Brain Chase has now reached the attention of the New York Times. Read the article here. There is also a new TV ad, appearing to audiences throughout the country.

Earn money or help out another teacher

Brain Chase is offering a $15 Staples gift card to teachers for each of their students they refer to Brain Chase. Registrants who hear about Brain Chase from a teacher can simply enter that teacher’s name and school name at registration. The referral rewards can add up to substantial funding for classroom supplies.

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Extra Goodies

Alongside the regular pricing package ($199 for the first registration, and then $100 for each sibling), Brain Chase has now begun offering their premium pricing package ($249 for the first registration, and then $149 for each sibling). The premium package includes Brain Chase registration plus a Brain Chase-branded adventure backpack, a Brain Chase t-shirt and Sunstone of Cortés patch. Later in the summer, these items will be available for a la carte purchase.

 

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


Science in the Classical Homeschool

A friend recently asked me what science looks like in a classical, literature-rich environment. Her question is completely justified given that she knows my son devours books and that we tend to fly through science curriculum. “Do you only read about science? Do you complete experiments? Does he have hands-on opportunities to learn?” No, sometimes, and of course he does! A classical homeschool is not limited to only reading and writing. But, then again science doesn’t necessarily have to be completed using hands-on labs.

If your child has the ability to learn through reading, you should let him read. If he wants to complete labs to better grasp the material, set up some labs in your kitchen. That is the beauty of homeschooling. It is your homeschool! You know your child best and can tailor your science to his learning method.

Memoria-Press-Chem

So, in short, that is my answer…we do what he wants to do and currently, that is mostly reading. Even for science. Here in my house we go through science books faster than a speeding bullet. I am growing a scientist after all. He has been known to sit and read books like the John Hudson Tiner series just for fun. What I love the most about this set of classical science books is that they are written from a biblical perspective. What I love second most about these books is that they are not textbooky and often, they read like stories, filled with fascinating facts and discoveries.

Books are available for the following topics:

  • Exploring Planet Earth: The Journey of Discovery from Early Civilization to Future Exploration
  • Exploring the History of Medicine: From the Ancient Physicians of Pharaoh to Genetic Engineering
  • Exploring the World of Chemistry: From Ancient Metals to High-Speed Computers
  • Exploring the World of Mathematics: From Ancient Record Keeping to the Latest Advances in Computers
  • Exploring the World of Physics: From Simple Machines to Nuclear Energy
  • Exploring the World of Biology: From Mushrooms to Complex Lifeforms
  • Exploring the World of Astronomy: From the Center of the Sun to the Edge of the Universe

While Mr. Tiner’s books do have review questions and activities after every chapter, Memoria Press has developed a series of supplemental books that contain review questions to each chapter, unit reviews, unit tests, and a final exam for each book in the series. These supplemental books can be a blessing to moms who want to ensure that the material is being mastered and not just read.

Click here to see samples of each supplement and to make a purchase. Each booklet is only $5!

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Want to learn more about classical science? Here is some advice from more experts

2 Ways to Use Living Books for Science

Paige Hudson says: Living books are written by someone with a passion for the material or by someone who has experienced the story first hand. Because of this, the author is able to pull the reader into the story. He or she presents the facts in such a way that the students hardly realize they are learning.

Science in the Classical School

Jeffrey Mays explains: Science education sometimes creates a quandary for classical educators. Its origins in the West are from Greek philosophy (for example, Aristotle developed genera and species and other classifications for plants and animals), but with the possible exception of astronomy, science is not explicitly included in the seven liberal arts and therefore has been considered something of a stepchild in many of the more purist classical schooling environments.

How to Teach Classical High School Science

Sara Dennis explains her three goals in teaching high school science in her classical homeschool. As she states it: #2 is to teach the scientific method in regards to research. This means labs.

Science and Classical Education

Another excellent week-long series written by Paige Hudson for The Homeschool Scientist. Paige tells us: Science is taught like any other subject in the classical education model.  You focus on the different skills of the subject that are appropriate for each stage while seeking to build their knowledge base at each level.

Science in the Classical Curriculum

In this article, The Well Trained Mind author Susan Wise Bauer explains step by step requirements for each of the classical stages.

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.


Which Way to Gallifrey?

Which Way to Gallifrey? Doctor Who directional sign. Don't go to Trenzalore.

Before long, my entire house is going to be every Doctor Who fan’s dream come true. We should probably just go all in and paint all of our walls blue. Or make more TARDIS “round things” like we did for our son’s bathroom and put them on every wall in the house.

Since I have always been fascinated by those collections of directional signs, I have wanted to make one for months and finally got around to doing it. With the help of our trusty Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary, we created a list of 20 great locations in the Doctor Who universe. It was really, really hard to narrow it down to only eight for the arrows.

Doctor-Who-Arrows-1

I drew the arrows out first, onto a very lightweight sheet of particleboard, and then my husband cut them. I am not allowed to use the saw. He thinks I’ll cut my arm off or something. I haphazardly drew them without measuring and without using a straight-edge, as you can tell from the arrow above, and this actually drove him crazy. He is a perfectionist and kept trying to correct my angles and lines. I wanted them simple and rustic, like something you could find in the middle of some alien city.

After painting the arrows blue, I made the letters using my Silhouette Cameo and white vinyl.

Which Way to Gallifrey? Doctor Who directional sign. Don't go to Trenzalore.

We haven’t quite figured out where to put it yet. Next to the TARDIS cutout downstairs, or next to our sonic screwdriver cabinet upstairs?

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Last year, I reviewed the first edition of Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary and shared some Doctor Who bookmarks that I made. DK has released an updated and extended version, complete with the new Doctor on the cover.

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

He certainly does look like his cranky new self in that photo, huh. The new version has 32 new pages of material, including all the season eight storylines, monsters and new characters…

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Like Danny Pink, who has his own two-page spread in the book. Sniff sniff. What a shame, I really liked him. Uh oh, I better not say to much…spoilers, you know.

Doctor Who: The Visual Dictionary

Speaking of spoilers, River Song…the Doctor’s wife.

By popular request from my readers, you can now visit my brand new Etsy store for some great River Song products and more nerdy goodness.

My Patronus is River Song My Patronus is River Song

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.