The Mystery of History volume 4, CC and NP

First I want to provide a quick picture tutorial on printing The Mystery of History volume 4 Challenge Cards, and yes this will work with the other volumes.

(If you are here to for notebooking pages scroll down)

How to Print The Mystery of History volume 4 Challenge Cards

Printing Challenge Cards

I have a love hate relationship with technology. If you have found yourself completely stressed by getting the challenge cards to match-up I hope these two phrases will help.

In the printer settings change the options to Short Edge and Actual Size. 

Short Edge


Once these two options have been selected print a test page to see how things are lining up. Fingers crossed that the lines now match-up! If not leave a comment…I have computer whispers who can help.

The Mystery of History volume 4 Jeopardy with Challenge Cards:

Now that you have printed doubled sided and cut out all of those challenge cards let’s play a game.

  • Select 5 categories. I chose music, war, famous people, famous events and dates to remember.
  • First I sorted all the cards into one of the 5 categories.
  • Then I selected 5 cards from each pile.
  • I used a thumbtack to secure each card behind the dollar amount.

Jeopardy with Challenge Cards

The Mystery of History volume 4 Notebooking Pages

The Mystery of History volume 4

I have to confess, I have felt guilty this past semester when using The Mystery of History volume 4 notebooking pages with my boys because I know so many of you wanted them too!

Without any more delay…they are finished!

Because you guys have waited so long I am giving away one set of the notebooking pages.

If you can not wait to own your own set, click over to the Bright Ideas Press store and download your copy of The Mystery of History volume 4 Notebook pages .

Thank you for your support of this blog!

We are just about done with Q3 and I think I need to brainstorm some project ideas.

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Adjusting the Homeschool Plan

Adjusting the Homeschool Plan

I am joining the iHomeschool Network this week to discuss “Growing a Success”, whether it be a scientist, writer, doctor, missionary or …

Really, it gives me an opportunity to discuss the tagline of my blog…I Teach the Way They Learn. In other words adjusting the homeschool plan to accommodate gifts and learning delays.

Right now you are probably in one of two places in your home school…Your student knows exactly what they want to be when they grow up OR your student does not have any idea on what they want to study or do after high school.

Adjusting the Homeschool Plan for Knowing What You Want to Be:

My first two children from a young age both knew what area of study they wanted to major in at college. Once they became confident in that decision we began altering their school lessons to reflect those desires.

My oldest son, for example, has always wanted to be a meteorologist. When he was in highschool we made the choice for him to learn Latin. Since science terms comprise a large part of his studies; Latin would serve him best.

Since he was taking AP/Honors science classes we focused on history programs that only provided the basics. Now my son does like history but there is only so many hours in a school day and we focused on his science classes.

I found a Meteorology video series, bought a textbook and outlined a selective course his last year of high school.

My daughter is looking at attending 2 year college to become a pastry chef.  My daughter hates and struggles with math. I am pretty sure this past conference season while I was shopping for a geometry program and mentioned we were not going to do proofs…well the math people were astonished.

Instead she has focused on recipes with weighted ingredients and conversion charts for cooking measurements. I am planning a “How to Run a Business” class for her senior year. She is currently writing a 10 page paper on the history of pastries. At the end of the year she has a 5 course meal planned for her final project. She is currently following the Food Cottage Laws in our state. It seems our state is very strict on what home kitchens can create.

I would look at what the state requires for high school credits and then I would brain storm ways to tweak the class descriptions to match my children’s goals while still fulfilling the requirements.

Adjusting the Homeschool Plan for When You Do Not Know:

Now before you think I have been on easy street with two kids who have clear desires on what they want to be when they grow up; let me introduce my third child.

The only thing this young man knows is he loves to eat and he thinks he will move to New York City with his guitar.

Yes he takes weekly piano and guitar lessons. He can also play the ukulele. I do not mind investing in music skills…I do doubt they will support him as an adult. Yes, I know he might…but in the mean time he needs to be able to support himself in adulthood, you know because he loves to eat.

Since he will be a freshmen this coming school year I need to consider some goals for career exploration. At least for the next year I am going to continue exposing him to various job and education opportunities, in hopes of sparking a fire.

Summarize Adjusting the Homeschool Plan:

Be creative…Be bold…Be prepared to change things.

Do not be intimidated by the system. Fuel their passions.

You can homeschool high school! They can attend college or earn certifications in specialized fields.

Give them the time in the schedule to pursue their passions, even if this means average work in other subjects.

Adjust the homeschool plan to reflect their talents.


Life of Fred Australia Lesson Plans

Life of Fred Australia

Yes I was excited to find the Life of Fred Language Arts Series: Australia
I created a notebook page to keep track of the “Your Turn To Play Section.” Then I researched some extras to reinforce the concepts presented in the book. My son does better with repetition and writing down answers.

I will place these in a 3-ring binder that way he can use the backside of the paper for when he needs to draw an answer.


Life of Fred Australia PDF

In trying to keep the “fun” in the Life of Fred grammar books I went on a web search for grammar games.

Life of Fred Australia Game Ideas:

Life of Fred Australia Extra Assignments:

I really enjoyed the letter writing covered in the book. In this day of emails and text messages I feel the art of letter writing is fading fast. Since my son does not like to write for “no reason.” I came up with a writing plan to reinforce his letter writing skills. We will work on these letter over the course of finishing the book.

  • Write a letter to his favorite musician. Bonus the musician sent back an autographed photograph before we finished the book.
  • Write a letter to one of the oldest members of church, this population is more inclined to write back.
  • Write a letter to a homeschool publisher with constructive conscism on a product he was using.
  • Write a letter of condolence to an adult whose parent died.

Another grammar assignment I will have him work on while completing Life of Fred Australia is writing down each rule for using a commas. Then he will write a sentence demonstrating the rule.

Then he can write down the rules for plural and give me examples.

I have created 2 extra notebook pages for these assignments.

So each day he can do a lesson in Life of Fred Australia, write down one rule for commas (when commas are done he can do rules for plural) and then write one letter a week.

[Read more…]

Edgar Allen Poe Lesson Plans

Poe Lesson Plans

Edgar Allen Poe lesson plans for high school students. This is how one study guide from our Illuminations program turned into a 6 week in-depth study on Edgar Allen Poe.

This could be an example for my homeschooling friends who are nervous about homeschooling high school. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is a popular pre-school book. Moms have read the book over and over to their children and provided small activities to go with the book. Guess what…It is the same format in high school except the topics run deeper.

If you give a homeschool mom a one week study guide on Poe she begins to study ways to teach the new topic.

She decides that one week is not enough to time for all the treasures she has found for her Edgar Allen Poe lesson plans.

Edgar Allen Poe Lesson Plans Resources:

She has chosen The Best of Poe: The Tell-Tale Heart, The Raven, The Cask of Amontillado, and 30 Othersfor her students to read. But then finds this book has a study guide, The Best of Poe.

After gathering information on which writings to read she decides the students must understand poetry to fully appreciate Poe.

Why not have students study poetry and practice writing poetry too. Yes, there is a study guide on Poetry Writing. 

My daughter’s favorite book in helping her understand poetry, How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry”

Really hearing the poetry read aloud to capture all the nuances leads to buying the Edgar Allan Poe Audio Collection. Which was my personal favorite.

Why not gather some free resources from the National Park Service on Edgar Allen Poe.

Edgar Allen Poe Lesson Plans Field Trips:

Edgar Allen Poe Lesson Plans for Co-op Setting:

The breakdown of how these resources were used in a 6 week poetry unit meeting for a 3 hour class once a week; 1 hour on reading poetry, 1 hour writing, 1 hour on Poe study guide.

Week before class started the girls read and discussed the resources from the National Park Service web site. [Read more…]

Mystery of History and Grapevine Timeline


Timelines with Grapevine Studies to review The Mystery of History volume I.

(From January 28th to February 3 2015 everything at Grapevine Studies is 50% off)

I am timeline challenged. After 15 years of homeschooling we just completed our first time line. While I do think time lines are great learning chances, you can send your child to college without ever completing one. Since I have 9 more years of homeschooling, I am pacing myself.

My struggles with timelines:

  • Deciding where to put people on the line. Do you do it by birth date, death date or another date
  • Deciding which events to add.
  • Keeping track of the project for the whole school year.
  • Which method do you use; sewing board, poster board, notebook, or on the wall?

I knew if I was going to help my kids complete a timeline I had to:

  • Keep it simple
  • Complete it in a day
  • Allow it to be sloppy
  • Have some structured directions

After completing the first semester test for Mystery of History volume 1, I ordered the Grapevine bible study timeline of the Old Testament.

Now Grapevine Studies come in the notebook format. Personally I like to see the actual timeline all at once. I copied the odd number pages since the timeline was double sided. Then I had my boys cut out each scroll, complete the drawings, and tape them together to form one long timeline. [Read more…]

Atomidoodle, A Periodic Table Game

*Disclosure: I received this app for free and have been compensated for my time on writing this review. All opinions are my own. You can read more about my disclosure policy here.

First, I am always on the lookout for fun and different ways to encourage math skills at my house. Second, science is a subject that I often leave at the bottom of my school list.

Allowing my boys to unlock levels on the Atomidoodle app reinforced math skills while helping them learn new facts about the periodic table.

Atomidoodle by Hero Factor uses the periodic table and teaches math skills of addition and division by teaching fission and fusion.

Periodic Table

The fusion widget combines any two elements together and sends out the new element. Then if it is the correct element needed you can send it to the examinator. The fission widget will divide one element into 2 elements. The fission tries to divide as evenly as possible, but for odd numbers the smallest number will come out first.

My 10 year old struggles with math. I needed to briefly explain to him how the fission widget worked. Once you add the two elements together, try to think of what is half of the number. This helped when it was an even number. Sometimes he could figure it out and sometimes he would yell for help for the answer. I did not mind answering, I support all moments of using math without crying.

Before I was carried away in writing lesson plans to include this app in our lessons; I handed the iPad over to my 13 year old son. I wanted to see if he could figure out how to play and if he could play independently from my instruction.

He was able to follow the tutorial and play for a few rounds of the game independently. I made it a point to not mention how he was using math to reach new levels. After playing about about 40 minutes he had already unlocked 18 elements.

This is a fast pace game that does require some problem solving skills. My boys love the fun facts that are displayed before and after playing a level. [Read more…]

Hours Spent Homeschooling

Hours Spent on Homeschooling

How many hours spent homeschooling? How long does it take to teach history? How many hours do you spend a day on math? What time is your school day done?

I get asked this question often from other homeschool moms trying to get a feel for homeschooling or for teaching a new curriculum.

In my heart I want to answer them with a precise number but honestly in 15 years of homeschooling I have yet to have a child do their math in 50 minutes each day for a week…not even two days back to back. Answering the question with “it varies” just seems to be ignoring the question.

Factors Affecting Hours Spent Homeschooling:

  • Motivation
  • Meltdowns
  • Attitudes
  • Focus
  • Interest

Motivation: If tomorrow I told my teens they each could have a $100 or a week off from lessons if all their work is done by noon tomorrow…there is a good chance at 12:01 they would be done. But realistically that happens about once every other month when I can find a really good motivator.

Meltdowns: Most of the time you never know when they are going to happen but there is no planning. Most of the time I struggle to offer the needed grace. Then I find that we are still doing school at 7pm or leaving the lessons unfinished.

Attitude: Sometimes I have the bad attitude and sometimes it is one of the kids. It is hard to complete school when you spend time wining and complaining. Normally bad attitudes do not happen every day but at my house they are on a monthly rotation.

Focus: Look it is snowing! The farmer is plowing the field! Forget holding anyone’s focus when that happens. Late nights and extra activities can cause brains to lose their focus. Oh sometimes they get focused on a new book and there is no changing gears to a new subject.

Interest: It does not matter how many fun math games I buy, my kids hate math. Yes, I try my best to make homeschooling interesting but I can not make every subject in every lesson amazing. Some days the lesson becomes a matter of learning endurance to finish the things we have started.

Hours Spent Homeschooling: Game Plan

With all these factors I should be amazed that any learning is taking place at my house, but it does. We have lesson plans and goals to keep us moving forward.

I tend to be content with about 80 percent of lessons getting done. Yes some weeks are stellar and everything is completed and other weeks might only be 25 percent.

Some weeks lessons are done early and some weeks we school on Saturday.

I will skip a few things in the schedule to help us get back on track.

So if you really want to know I guess my best answer would be to tell you how many hours it took to finish school today

Living off a 50 pound Bag of Potatoes

4 Weeks of Potato Recipes to use a 50 pound bag of potatoes

This month’s goal…creatively feed my family by utilizing one 50 pound bag of potatoes. My kids were surprised that I could buy 50 pounds of potatoes for $10.00.

I asked my kids for their favorite potato dishes, their input always helps with getting them on board with my crazy ideas.

Since I am a homeschooling mom, I have assigned them the task of calculating the cost of each meal. I started a Pinterest board for potato recipes and invited my daughter to pin any recipes she finds.

I should note that food allergies require my meals to be gluten and dairy free. I either substituted various dairy free options or selected meals that were already gluten and diary free. I tend to keep things simple and do not spend a huge amount of time on finding substitutions, so you will not find a gluten dairy free chicken and dumplings recipe in my menu.

I selected 5 meals each week, my kids would mutiny if I gave up Taco Tuesday and Sundays are left over meals. Thus choosing 5 meals gives me a weeks worth of meal planning. I tried really hard to mix up the recipes to avoid the dreaded “I will not eat another potato again.”

We ate these meals for 4 weeks, this is just not a list of things you could do…we cut the food budget and ate potatoes for 4 straight weeks. 

I have another pet peeve with cooking, when recipes call for 2 tablespoons of something, or 2 cups of a 2 and ½ cup package. I tend to cook recipes where I use it all or skip it. It bugs me to waste food and I am too distracted to remember to use the open can of tomato puree from yesterday’s meal.

4 Weeks of Eating A 50 Pound Bag of Potatoes Meals

Week 1 of Eating a 50 Pound Bag of Potatoes Meals:

Week 2 of Eating a 50 Pound Bag of Potatoes Meals:

Week 3 of Eating a 50 Pound Bag of Potatoes Meals:

Week 4 of Eating a 50 Pound Bag of Potatoes Meals: Disclaimer my son went into the hospital during week 4, so this actually became week 5 of meal planning. Since he came home Christmas Eve, we were given 2 spiral hams. Thus we ate 5 days of ham and potato combinations resulting in putting my family over the edge of the potato eating frenzy.

Potato Meals

Here is a printable of the 4 Weeks of Potato Meals

Follow Stacey Lane’s board Cooking with Potatoes on Pinterest. [Read more…]

Illuminations Schedule Created for Mom

Illuminations Custom List for Mom

How I used Illuminations Schedule to Create a Custom To Do List

I have really been struggling with forgetting things, or just winging my work hours and not really having a plan. In keeping with my word for 2015, Stones, I decided I needed to spend a few moments on writing some goals and to do lists. I started a google search looking for planners, schedules, and to do lists.

After about 30 minutes I decided I would probably need to create my own since I did not trust my brain to learn a new system. I took a moment to think what I might already have to help keep me on task.

How To Tweak the Illuminations Schedule:

  • Open up the program and select create a new schedule.
  • I selected the subject family bible and created the new schedule.
  • I began adding custom subjects for each different area of my schedule.
  • I added homeschool, Lane kids, blogging, BIP and errands.
  • I then deleted family bible from the schedule.

[Read more…]

9 Things That Summarize My 30 Something Years

30 Something

9 Things That Summarize My 30 Something Years

1. I do not know what biological mishap occurs but one day I realized my upper lip looks like a adolescent young man’s lip. Now a monthly waxing must be added to my calendar.

2. Clearly the cerebrum begins shrinking because Amazon tells me that I have already purchased that ebook and Pinterest reminds me that I have already pinned that page and I honestly have no recollection until they kindly mention it.

3. I reach up to grab a dish on the top shelf and notice a small jiggle under my arm or what is also known as an arm flap. My mind immediately flashes to the photo of the granny with a flag tattooed on her bottom arm. Then I realize that maybe I should be completing my bathroom exercise routine more often.

4. I have begun paying attention to those in their 40s and 50s because the light bulb has gone off and I know bigger changes are going to happen in the next decade of my life. Some how I think it will start with reading glasses

5. I realize that a mid life crisis is like explaining to a first time pregnant women what it is like to give birth. Every mother has a unique birth story but no one can predict how your story will develop. I think every person who struggles with a mid-life crisis does so in their own unique way. I am working on planning my mid life crisis.

6. The biggest lesson I learned in this decade…be a Willow Tree..otherwise if you stay an Oak Tree…you will break. I have learned to pick my battles, cover it with grace and let go of the small things. Maybe it has something to do with being to tired to fight every battle, but I found the value of grace intensifies with age.

7. When you suggest to your soon to be 16 year old daughter, “We could have a birthday party together.” She looks horrified and states very clearly she does not want a party with a bunch of old ladies. In an instant I became the mature, older woman who quickly googled at what age does someone become old. Then you find yourself chasing a squirrel, cause that is what happens when you google things.

8. Enter the trails of chasing squirrels; the internet is loaded with quotes and jokes about turning 40. There are pages of posts with bloggers talking about turning 40. There are gift ideas like a Turning 40 Birthday Candle Hat and party ideas on turning 40. Now I am not sure if I should dread, celebrate or ignore my 40th birthday.

9. I will get no respect from those in their 40s, 50s or 60s reading this post. They will laugh, roll their eyes and mumble that I have no idea what it means to grow old. No one in their 20s will read this, they are still excited about being an adult. That leaves my peer group…other 30 year olds…what do you think? Oh wait it is my birthday technically I just entered a new decade. Hello 40!

Just Remember