Bright Ideas Press, Black Friday Sale


I wanted to take a moment and highlight some items in the upcoming Black Friday Sale at Bright Ideas Press.

Three Things To Consider for the Black Friday Sale:

Number 1:I think the biggest deal is on Illuminations. Actually it is the only time the program goes on sale.

With the 20% off you can purchase Illuminations for $125.00 $100.00.

If you are not sure if Illuminations is right for you, I have gathered some blog posts on the topic.

There is an Illuminations group on Facebook for extra support and encouragement.

Find a sample on the Bright Ideas Press website!

Number 2: The Mystery of History Volume IV Folderbooks are complete!

Finally, The Mystery of History Volume IV folderbooks are complete! I have been spending every working moment on completing volume 4 folderbooks.

Now that the folderbooks are complete, the Super Supplemental for The Mystery of History volume IV is complete. I might just be a tad sad that the series is done.

Number 3: Literature Study Guides are now available

The Bright Ideas Press office has been busy creating the literature guides for sale.

Prices will range from $5 to $10…but 20% off during the Black Friday Sale!

Titles include:

More guides will be added in the next few weeks!

If you have any questions on the sale or products, please leave a comment or find me on Facebook!

Geography Themed Christmas

Geography Themed Christmas…because when a homeschool mom focuses on one subject she finds a million ways to incorporate it into daily life.

Geography Themed Christmas

We have experienced a good start to our North Star Geography lessons. For Christmas we are going to take a break from normal lessons and study different countries from around the world.

Geography Themed Christmas Lesson Plans:

Our main focus will be on the countries covered in the Advent Calendar – Christmas Around the World. I will gather some books from the library and use the internet for facts about each country. We will end our time watching a few videos on Youtube. Once a week will spend a morning doing some fun activities that I am sure will center around food.

Youtube videos:

  1. South Africa: Switch on the Lights, Operation Christmas Child S. Africa
  2. Canada: Christmas Lights Across Canada, Christmas in Quebec City
  3. Argentina: Christmas in Argentina, La Navidad in Argentina
  4. Australia: Christmas in Australia, PBS Australia Christmas
  5. Philippines: Christmas in Philippines, Samaritan’s Purse Comes to Philippines
  6. Poland: Christmas in Poland, Veggi Tales Christmas Party, Christmas in 1939
  7. India: Operation Christmas Child India, Christmas 2013 in India
  8. Mexico: Finding Meaning with a Shoebox, Christmas in Mexico
  9. Costa Rica: Costa Rica Traditions, Making the Tamale
  10. Denmark: Danish Traditions, Christmas in Copenhagen
  11. Bolivia: Christmas in Bolivia, Operation Christmas in Bolivia,
  12. Japan: 5 Facts about Christmas in Japan, Customs and Traditions
  13. Brazil: Christmas in Brazil, Lights up Largest Floating Tree
  14. Ethiopia: Celebrating Christmas in Ethiopia, The Christmas Market
  15. Russia: How Christmas is Celebrated, Russian Orthodox Christmas
  16. Netherlands: Holland Christmas, BBC Christmas in Holland 
  17. Italy: La Befana in Rome, Christmas in Italy 7 Tips
  18. United States: 12 Days of Christmas, Tree Lighting at U.S. Capitol
  19. Scotland: Christmas in Scotland, Christmas Day Ukulele
  20. Germany: Christmas in Germany Words to Learn, Rothenburg, Germany Trees
  21. China: Chinese Culture, Operation Christmas Child in China
  22. Norway: Christmas in Norway (Lego Trooper), Norwegian Christmas Song
  23. Liberia: Operation Christmas Child in Liberia, Christmas in Liberia
  24. Outer Space: Christmas Music from Outer Space, Space Station Crew

The 10 Most Famous Christmas Trees [Read more…]

Mystery of History volume 1, Activity 1B

When we begin something new, especially something with significant depth, we can anticipate an initial learning curve. New curriculum definitely falls under this category.

When the first activity of the new curriculum finds you overwhelmed…well it is important to find reinforcements.

I have had a few moms over a 6 month time period ask for help in completing the first activity and honestly after attempting a search on the Answer in Genesis website…I get the struggle. The AIG website is loaded with so much information it takes time to find what you are looking for.

If you are teaching the middle grades you might be looking for just the definitions. If you are teaching high school you are looking for more depth to the answers.

I would suggest starting with online sites for definitions. If your student is older or looking for more depth than read one of the articles in the list.

Instead of defining all the terms a student could do an article summary on a few of the terms.

While I do not approve of Wikipedia being a source for documenting in a paper it can be a good place to start your research.

Defining Terms Online:

[Read more…]

Unexpected Side of Homeschooling

Unexpected Side of Homeschooling…have you ever experienced it?

*Warning…Reading this could cause you to second-guess unit studies…Continue at your own risk.

One of the great benefits of homeschooling is the mixing of everyday life with school lessons.

Unexpected Side of Homeschooling

When you are on vacation and your mom mentions in a casual conversation that the near-by lake at one time was the largest man made lake. The homeschool mom in you jumps at the chance to tie in your current geography lesson. In 20 minutes you and the kids begin exploring the lake and discussing your World Fact File with North Star Geography.

Oh the amazing way working allows your son to form a relationship with the Postmaster at the local post office.  My son often accompanies me when I need to mail packages for work. When Batman stamps came out she made special arrangements to get him a sheet. Of course he had to write a thank you letter for his first writing assignment for the new school year.

But there can be an unexpected side of homeschooling; an eerie side to the unit studies.

Circumstances that make you nervous about what subject to teach next. Might even cause your husband to ask that you strongly consider how the next study will affect life at your house.

When you study electricity and your washing machine has an electrical short and catches on fire. Then you try to move the washer outside and water from the drum dumps on the floor. Now you can discuss how water conducts electricity.  Once the machine is outside you have a great opportunity to show a burned circuit board and a chance to take apart the washing machine. [Read more…]

Shakespeare Activity, “You’re the Director”


Shakespeare Activity, “You’re the Director”

You're the Director in a Shakespeare's Play

Three things I have learned from my daughter studying Shakespeare in high school:

  1. Shakespeare is designed to be watched and not just read.
  2. Shakespeare had a sense of humor. I only had known of his tragedies before.
  3. Directing a scene from a Shakespeare’s play allowed for deeper thoughts than answering a list of questions.

Growing up I did not have a love for Shakespeare. Nor did I ever watch one of his plays performed. Having seen 3 of Shakespeare’s plays this year…I now love and appreciate his work.

My favorite books to read are from the No Fear Series. Macbeth (No Fear Shakespeare) [Read more…]

Accepting Limits, Balancing Home and Work


The day I realized I really didn’t have it all together...was the day I knew I needed to start accepting limits…really my body and mind was going to force me to accept them. I signed up to work full-time for the month of August while getting things together to start our homeschooling.

Actually the day started more with a huge meltdown…I could no longer make decisions, even simple decisions. I had Decision Fatigue…and I am sure I had it before but stubbornness kept me from noticing. Physically my exhaustion had taken a toll on my body and mind. Then I started feeling sorry for myself because I could not go hang out at the pool every afternoon with my friends. Hello huge cloud of depression hanging over me.

In my mind I was never going to let working affect how I homeschooled. I never wanted to become the carpenter whose house has undone projects, or the hairdresser whose family needs haircuts for weeks. I was confident I could work full time and homeschool full time when the time came to make the transition. I have been juggling part-time work for a few years. Instead of accepting limits I would clock 13 hours before and after a day off to take my kids on a field trip. 

The back story, the one I do not share often, my husband was diagnosed a few years ago with COPD. I have watched it affect his quality of life. When you limit oxygen to the body it affects your energy level and brain clarity. We have to limit activities because if his body gets tired he becomes more prone to getting sick, which then makes breathing even harder.  When he can not breathe then he gets more confused. 

In less than two years I will transition to full-time work since my husband will retire early due to health reasons. Yes I will still have 2 boys at home who need to finish their homeschooling and 2 young adults in college.

Now you know the highlights of how I found myself crying in my bed one morning declaring…I WAS DONE. Honestly at the moment I did not know what I was done with…just that I wanted to be removed from all situations. [Read more…]

World Fact File, North Star Geography


We are going to take a little journey around the world. Our goal is to complete a World Fact File from our North Star Geography lesson. At first I thought my boys and I could easily create our own Guinness Book of World Records about Geography facts. Then we began researching.

World Fact File Question: Number of Countries in the World

Until teaching this class I never realized how difficult it is to answer how many countries are in the world. I thought there might be a reason to teach a logic class alongside completing the World Fact File after we began researching the answers.

Some people use the number of members in the United Nations. But after watching these videos you might chose a different answer.

Population of the World reminded us of how large is a billion.

World Population uses dots to show how the population has increased over the years.

World Population by the Billions  uses blocks to show the year in between reaching each billion.

[Read more…]

North Star Geography Video Selections

I have compiled this North Star Geography video list for my boys to refer to each week. During the 2015-2016 school year I will be adding and tweaking this list especially since their schedule grid reads go to mommy’s blog and watch your geography videos.

Geography Bulletin Board

Since visual learning was taking over my planning thoughts, I created a bulletin board style display.

About 2 years ago I hung a Galvanized Drip Pan on my wall above our drop leaf school table. I printed some maps from WonderMaps and two of the landform pages from North Star Geography. I included the definition of geography to help my boys to understand why they are learning about it this year. To help them visualize longitude and latitude I included an extra reminder.

Now when they sit down to school lessons they have great information to read while avoiding their math lessons.

Oh, did you know? North Star Geography comes in an audio format. My boys can review by listening to Tyler Hogan read to them.

North Star Geography Video Selections:

Please preview first to make sure nothing questionable happened since I wrote this post and that content is suitable for your children. This is by no means an exhaustive list but an enrichment list to layer on the knowledge from each North Star Geography lesson.

Lesson 1: What is Geography

Lesson 2: Maps

Lesson 3: Navigation

Lesson 4: Structure of Earth

[Read more…]

Blessings of Including a New Homeschooling Family


Yes I am beginning my 16th year of homeschooling. Honestly we have a school routine, we know what activities the kids want, and what school books work at our house. How quickly I check the box on what needs to be done and move forward with the old established routine.

The downside to that established routine…doesn’t leave room for anything new…including interacting with a new homeschooling family.

Including a New Homeschooling Family

Okay I am going to publicly declare that I am veteran homeschooling momma even though I am pretty sure my oldest was just in Kindergarten not that long ago. Oh the denial of becoming the older woman. 

Since this school year I am reaping the benefits of having a brand new homeschooling family in my life…I wanted to share them with you. [Read more…]

North Star Geography and Literature Selections

There are two different ways to select and schedule the literature books for North Star Geography. The first way is to select books based on the subject matter of the lesson. The second way is to select books with settings that matched the geographical area of the mapwork. Between the two I was able to have at least 2 book selections for each lesson.

Please note that my boys have learning issues but are avid readers. These book selections are geared toward their visual learning styles, their love for survival skills, and their sense of adventure. Sometimes I have included a younger level reading book so I can use it has a jumping off point to show poetry or other literary devices.

Since my boys have been through all the levels of Illuminations, I needed to focus on books that were not already scheduled in the program. Who knows…maybe one day there will be Illuminations 7 for North Star Geography.

Yes, this is a huge list of Amazon links. I wanted to be able to share the visual for each book. You might be able to find them used other places. [Read more…]