Valentine's Day Project for Kids






Welcome! My name is Mary. I help parents educate their children at home one day at a time. This site offers LEGO printablesfree music lessonsunit studies,  and much more. Use the tabs above to discover what Homegrown Learners has to offer. You will be equipped and encouraged to travel a most amazing path in your home!

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Movie Review and Standardized Testing

Last night I took my daughter and her friend to see "How to Train Your Dragon". I must say it was a really cute movie - probably would be a bit too scary for the younger set (6 and under), but overall the message was heartwarming and it was a couple of hours of good entertainment. I like to check out what Common Sense Media has to say about a movie, and this one got a pretty good review. The girls didn't know what Vikings were, so we talked a little bit about that.

Yesterday the California Test of Basic Skills arrived in the mail for Anna. We have to take this test within the next two weeks and then send it back to be scored. After I perused the test, I was again reminded WHY I decided to homeschool. These tests test such a basic level of knowledge, with no deeper thinking required. For example: we have spent the last month talking about the Pilgrims/First Thanksgiving, etc... The only question on the test about this wanted to know where the Pilgrims landed. Plymouth, California, Pittsburgh, or Pennsylvania. Hmmmm..... I think Anna will be a bit insulted by this. I could be wrong, though. I also remember proctoring such a test when I was teaching in public school and one of the pictures was of a phone booth. Many of my students had never seen a phone booth in their lives (think about it - how many have you seen recently??). I could go on and on, but it is pointless. We will test because we have to every three years according to the homeschool regulations in the state of Georgia. Period. When I think back on my time earning my Masters in Educational Leadership I almost feel sick remembering how much time we spent talking about assessments and standardized testing. I am thankful I have the option to not expose my children to all of this nonsense.

Change gears. It is finally raining a little bit here in Georgia. The pollen levels have been ridiculous these past few days, and it's good for all of it to wash away. Then we may all be breathing easier.


Beanie Baby Math

Technically, we are not having "school" this week, due to my son's spring break from preschool. I have, however, been gathering materials in anticipation for him being at home with us in the fall. One of the books I got for him through a Scholastic flyer was "If You Were a Plus Sign". This book is one is a series of books about addition, multiplication, division, etc....

I read him the book this morning and he really liked it. He was clutching some Beanie Babies while I was reading him the book, so to reinforce the concept of addition we got out 10 Beanie Babies. (We must have at least 100 Beanie Babies - my mom and dad collected them for the grandchildren!) He started making up his own word problems with the Beanie Babies. "If two Beanie Babies, Bongo and Flash, were sitting in mom's lap, and then mom took two away there would be none!" This was after we had read the Minus Sign book. Who says we need to have a math textbook/workbook for him to grasp these concepts?
I think Kindergarten at home next year is going to be loads of fun!



The iPad and Homeschooling

The iPad arrived this past Saturday. I know my husband has been very excited about getting it, and I think it is certainly living up to our expectations. One of the features that I really like, is the ability to read books (much like the Kindle). While the "store" on the iPad doesn't have that many titles yet, I did download an adorable book, "My Father's Dragon" (which was free!) and decided to start reading it to the kids.

This particular book is on the Sonlight booklist for Kindergarten. Thank you to the homeschoolblogger who posted this list, along with the links for the Five In A Row booklists. Many of these books are older, harder to find titles. Some are also available online for free through Project Gutenberg. Another resource for books I like to use is the Ambleside Online free homeschool curriculum.

Once I pulled up "My Father's Dragon" it is larger than a regular book, so my kids can sit with me and actually follow along with what I'm reading. If we come across an unfamiliar word, I simply tap and hold the word and a dictionary and thesaurus option are available. How cool is that? The screen also shows neat stuff like how many pages are left in the chapter.

I quickly went to the internet (using the iPad of course) and found adorable lapbook templates for this book on Then, I emailed this idea to a friend of mine who also homeschools. And, did I mention that I was doing this at midnight the first day the iPad arrived. Sad. Oh, and in addition to doing this I was playing Words With Friends (Scrabble) and updating my Facebook all at the same time!

I know a lot of the naysayers have said it doesn't support Flash, and it doesn't have a USB port. Oh well, I didn't expect a laptop, and I didn't pay nearly what I would have for a laptop, either. For me this is going to be a great way to read to my children, have then play educational games, and just keep up with technology in general. Perhaps in another post I will review some of the apps that are good for homeschooling.

For now, I will enjoy a week off of school for spring break, and a chance to enjoy my children and some of this gorgeous weather!