World War 1: a really brief overview

Archduke Ferdinand of Austria-Hungry was killed, which ignited a world war on a scale that no one had ever seen before.  There is some neat actually video footage from the era over at  The kids really liked this quick overview of the war:

Of course, we’ll get more in-depth coverage of World War 1 in the coming weeks, but for now, I wanted to post this video where LtVv111 can find it for his blog. Pop on over there and comment if you can, he loves getting comments.  Also, check out P1nky’s blog, and Capt740’s blog if you have the time.

Llama, Llama, Duck! & Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer.

Science for the younger two today was a lesson about Camels, Llamas, Deer, and Caribou. So of course, we had to play the Llama song.  Enjoy.


Then during our discussion of Caribou, we learned that it’s the females that have the antlers! That means Rudolph is a girl! We also learned that Rudolph wouldn’t have needed his shiny nose, because caribou have innate radar that leads them home.  My 9 year old then chimed in with, “But if Rudolph didn’t have his shiny nose, NORAD wouldn’t be able to keep track of him! Even though he’s fake anyway.”

Read With All The Colors of the Alphabet

This just amazed me. I’m doing All About Spelling with my 9 year old, who was just dx’d dyslexic. Today we were going to work on writing the letter when I say the sound.  I figured we’d have fun with it, and use sidewalk chalk outside on the driveway.  But after a few letters, he started to complain that he didn’t have the right colors, or even enough colors.  “‘D’ is supposed to be red, but all we have is pink-ish red.”  I asked him if every letter had a color, and he said yes, with a “Duh Mom, don’t they all?” attitude. So I opened Photoshop and used the OpenDyslexic font. (He says it makes it a little easier to read.  It’s a font that is thicker on the bottom of the letters to help “weigh the letters down.”)  Then we colored each letter to the proper color.  This was our result.


Funny thing is, some letters are the color they are for a reason.  Like “S” is snake green, and “B” is hot pink because his sister’s name starts with a “b” and that’s her color.  “I” is not really a color, but it’s glazed and sparkly like a donut.  “C” & “Z” are both white.  He says that the colors are not there when he reads them on the page, only when he thinks of each letter, and the lowercase versions are the same colors as their uppercase counterparts.

I thought this was just so cool.


EDIT:  I found Cassidy Curtis through a Google search.  Turns out this phenomenon has a name:  Synesthesia.

High School Art – Space

** My oldest has started high school courses! For art, we’ve chosen ARTistic Pursuits. The first lesson is on the use of space in art. Here are some resources I’ve found online to supplement the course.  Enjoy. **

The passive space in a piece of art is important.  Without it, the eye would have no where to rest from all the activity in the piece.  But space is just as important in webdesign and everything else.  So the information I’ve complied deals with all sorts of different types of design, but it will all be useful to understanding space as an artistic element better.

ABCs Of Art Space

From The ABCs of Art by M.C.Gillis over at Awesome Artists

There is an interesting article about the use of space in typography and printing over at Treehouse BlogVanseoDesign has a great article on the use of space in web design, and really activating the whitespace within your site.  Follow that up with a neat article about the use of whitespace in web and advertising design over at A List Apart.  I really liked the way he demonstrated how just a little judicious use of whitespace/passive space in advertising material can change the entire feel of the ad from cheap to upscale.

Joey over at the Daily Digi has a nice article about using whitespace in scrapbook layout design. This is right up my alley considering my background in digital scrapbook design.

Over at, Lucy Lamp has a very well done, comprehensive article that includes the different types of space found in artwork.  I almost feel like the article has more relevance to perspective than space, but it gave me alot to think about.

There are a few good articles about using space in photography, at Digital Photo Secrets and PictureCorrect. In fact, if you Google “Space in photography” you will find several good articles and tips about the use of active vs dead space and the Rule of Thirds.

And of course, no discussion of space in art would be complete without talking about negative space and optical illusions.  There is a good list of 25 over at Creative Bloq.  Word of warning, once you’ve seen the arrow in the FedEx logo, it cannot be unseen!

Do you see the arrow?

Do you see the arrow?



The 50 States

No offense, but this chapter of the Heritage Studies book is a bit dry, especially since I don’t shell out the extra dollars for the BJU workbook.  However, I have an activity book we will use to supplement this chapter. Travel the Great States is a great little workbook that should make this chapter a bit more fun.  Plus, if you click that link & buy the book, I get Amazon Affiliate credit, so there’s that.

But seriously, this chapter splits America into 6 different regions & looks at the states in each one.


The 6 Regions of the United States… According to BJU Press.


  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Vermont
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Conneticut
  • Rhode Island
  • Pensylvania
  • New Jersey
  • Deleware
  • Maryland


  • Virginia
  • Washington D.C. (which technically isn’t a state, but neither Virginia nor Maryland wants to claim this piece of land as part of their state)
  • West Virginia
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • N. Carolina
  • S. Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Alabama
  • Mississippi
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana


  • Ohio
  • Michigan
  • Indiana
  • Illinios
  • Missouri
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • N. Dakota
  • S. Dakota
  • Nebraska
  • Kansas


  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Arizona

Rocky Mountain

  • Montana
  • Wyoming
  • Colorado
  • Utah
  • Idaho
  • Nevada


  • Washington (the state)
  • Oregon
  • California
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii

Of course, no discussion of the 50 states would be complete without this little gem from the Animaniacs:


Read More:

The map I used to make mine is found here.
Plenty of games and such can be found at Learning Games For Kids.
The US Consulate of Hong Kong has some interesting stuff about the 50 States.
If you aren’t afraid of being tracked when you visit .gov sites, then has a listing of each state’s official “Kids!” pages.

Finally, this is another cute video from Marbles, the Brain Store:

Chaplains & Circuit-Riding Preachers

* Pages 68-69 in American Heritage Series 4 by BJU Press.

Julia_Ward_Howe-_History_of_Woman_Suffrage_volume_2_page_793Julia Ward Howe wrote the Battle Hymn of the Republic after watching some Union soldiers encamped in D.C., preparing for the coming Civil War. Preachers who were also soldiers were called “chaplains”.  They spread the gospel through the encampments, and helped soldiers learn more about God. The impending war led many soldiers to think more about their eternal souls. Why?

Church attendance skyrocketed all across the country.  Soon there were more churches & communities in need of pastors than there were pastors.  Preachers who rode on horseback were called “circuit-riding preachers.”  Why?  Because much like electricity follows a path around in a path, these preachers would have a set route to travel, circling through all the towns.  Sometimes a few of them would get together and hold a “camp meeting” – where many folks would show up from the surrounding communities and camp out for a week or so.  It was a time of great revival, or spiritual awakening in the country.


Read More:

Into the Wilderness: Circuit Riders take Religions to the People
Holy, “Knock ’em Down” Preachers
Colorful Peter Cartwright, Circuit Rider
Women Leaders in the Wesleyan Movements – Some women did preach publicly.

New School Year, New State, New Regulations.

I know it’s early, but we usually homeschool during the hot summer months to allow us to take more time off during the holidays and spring.  But here’s the catch.  We’ve moved -which is why the lesson plans stopped being posted in February.  We’ve moved from a state that had fairly lax rules and an area that was pretty friendly to homeschoolers, to a state that is pretty strict and an area that is anything but friendly to homeschoolers.

By: Chris

In Maryland, you have to submit to portfolio reviews, which are done by the school board.  In the county we live, the board is notorious for being hard on homeschoolers. As such, we’ve opted for the Umbrella School option.  Thankfully I found an umbrella school that will allow us to use whatever curriculum we want. Another thing about Maryland, is that we have to show proof of progress in not just Math & Language – which is all that was required to show progress in Virginia – but also in Science, History, Music, & Art.  I’ll be honest, we were doing Language, Math, & History with the younger two, threw in science as well for the oldest, & unschooling everything else.  Now that I need something more concrete to prove the work *is* being done, I’ve got to add something with a bit more structure in each subject.

Then there’s the oldest.  He’s doing high school level work this year, despite being an 8th grader.  In Virginia, I was letting him take the CAT (California Achievement Test) for his grade level according to the state, so that if we hit a rough patch, we’d have room to slow down & really dig in.  But in Maryland, you only get to claim high school credit for 3 courses, and he’s taking 4 high school courses – Math, Science, History, and Language.  So, it makes more sense to promote him to 9th grade and make him officially in high school.

So this year, everyone will be using Math-U-See, and I’m counting this summer’s swimming lessons & pool time as PE for everyone.  The younger two are using Easy Grammar, and BJU’s American Heritage Studies.  They’ve decided on Apologia’s Land Animals for their science, and we will be using SQUILT for Music Appreciation.  Besides Math-U-See’s Algebra 1, the oldest will be using Switched On Schoolhouse for Grammar, History, and Bible.  For science he will be using Apologia’s Physical Science, for typing, and for art, we’ll be using a combination of sources found online, primarily Khan Academy & TICE 1010.

So… Aprendemos Academy officially starts it’s 2014-2015 school year tomorrow morning.  I am so not ready for this.