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Have you been on a field trip this week? Tell us about it!

Go here: Field Trip Friday and leave a link to your post. Have fun reading the other posts....

Our field trip...

The other day we went to Onondaga Lake Park.

We rode on one of these:

The Princess wanted to sit in the drivers seat. That means that although we were both peddling, she was the only one steering.

I could not remember that and kept trying to steer!

We were laughing so hard, especially since The Princess was deliberately steering back and forth and my natural reaction is to correct it!

We saw tons of cool trees and some momma and baby ducks.

There is  alot of history associated with this lake. We took a trolley ride up and down the lake. The driver told us some stories. One involved a plane crash in the lake. The driver was recovered, the plane never was.

It is home to Sainte Marie among the Iroquois, a re-creation of the French Mission that once stood on the shores of Onondaga Lake from 1656-1658. We plan on visiting the museum next time.

It also hosts The Salt Museum. Did you know that the City of Syracuse, NY once supplied the entire nation with salt!

That's why its nickname is The Salt City.

During Onondaga Lake’s heyday, many local residents would venture to Long Branch Park. In 1882, Ben and George Maurer purchased the land and developed Long Branch Amusement Park, complete with picnic areas, baseball games, playgrounds, skating parties and fireworks for the 4th of July.

For the sportsman, the park offered ice boating, row boating, bowling alleys, a billiards room and a shooting gallery.

It also offered a dance pavilion, a restaurant, an arcade and various amusement rides including a carousel. The amusement park closed in 1938.

Today Onondaga Lake offers miles of walking trails as well as a separate trail for skates, bikes, the trolley, and park police to drive on.

During the winter, they have a great "Lights On The Lake" display.

Then Yesterday....

Yesterday The Princess helped Ron fix my car- brakes, tie rod and an oil change. Of course my camera batteried died before I got a pic w/ her UNDER the car!


Learning a little about what's in the sky...

I have a telescope my Dad had given me years ago...and I mean years! He passed away 5 years ago, and it was probably a few years before that.

He had purchased it at a garage sale or flea market and it no instructions.

So there it sat for years, unused. Every now and then we would talk about trying it out, but always forgot at night time.

Yesterday, I took it out and put it on the porch. No way we could forget it.

Well, it was cloudy as all get out and we couldn't see a thing............

Today it's raining. We'll have to see if it clears up later.

In the meantime, we'll go to the library for some books and check out some cool stuff I have here about planets and such.

Radical Unschooling- can you do it?

This was on Good Morning America last week and cause a BIG stir!

I have always felt that a natural approach to learning is best...even before I heard about unschooling. I was so excited to see that there really is a way to learn without filling in boring worksheets, listening to the "Charlie Brown" teacher drone on..."wa-wa.......wa...wa..wa.."

I was a fairly good student- I did my homework, participated in class, and did ok on tests. But did I remember anything? Basically, how to read, do simple math and a few facts............that's about it.

I feel that most of what I learned that I use today I have taught myself...

...and our kids are the same way. They LOVE to learn, if they don't lose it somewhere in traditional "schooling". If they do, they WILL get it back homeschooling, EVEN unschooling.

I think the unschooling concept is great- but to extend it to parenting? No rules?


This is the sequel to the story.....

So what do you think- could you unschool or "radically unschool?"

Why or why not?

On to other stuff......

Our homeschool co-op is over until the fall. Princess Der had so much fun, I had such great fellowship with the other moms. They had a homeschool showcase where the different classes could show their stuff, and many kids (and even the parents) did piano or guitar performances, dancing, singing, was just great to see.

All the kids seemed happy to be there- I think that's what I like best about homeschooled kids- most are so stress- free and happy!

Until next time- bye!

April 9, 2010

Another week has gone by.....

I'll admit, we were planning on going on a field trip with our homeschooling group to the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse yesterday....

....but we ended up skipping it for a number of reasons. One was, Princess Der had $$$ ! It was burning a hole in her pocket. I promised a trip to Wally World Walmart before the field trip. Well, I got a little involved with the Internet thing, so the Princess started watching a movie...

Then I remembered that I never signed up for the field trip. I was going to at co-op on Tuesday, but ended up working in the toddler room during my break instead of hanging in the moms room, where the sign up sheet was.  So I hopped on the website, but sign up's were closed.

We still could have gone through the museum, but not the tour. It was so nice out, we said forget it. We are trying to set up going to the Harriet Taubman home in Auburn, NY.

Moving on...........

"Wii" are learning so much on our TV!

This is Mii on the Wii (not to mistaken with "me")

BTW- those lines are not showing on the TV itself- weird huh?

Princess has found some rather cool things on the Wii- we can get on the Internet! Who knew! Imagine that on a big screen TV. Cool!

Everyday she checks the weather around the world on the Wii. She is learning where the countries are as well as the temperature differences. It's interesting to see 3 towns near each other on the map- two will be 106 degrees and the one in the middle is 95. Why is the one in the middle cooler? That's a good lesson.

What country has the highest temp? which is the lowest? Is it the same countries every day?

Another is what is the major industry in any given country. What do they eat? Do they grow food, have it imported, or eat rats and grubs?

I HATED geography and social studies as a kid. Finding I like it now. I think it was all the boring reading and answering questions.....glad there's alternative ways to learn these days.

More on the Wii- you can read the news- again, if you are fortunate enough- on the big screen! Princess Der, who doesn't really read the newspaper, reads the news on TV now!

Last night the Princess decided to do some more of the sample  GED test. I have the books around becuase I tutored a guy to help him get his GED. The Princess goofs around and does some of it now and then.

Anyway....must go make some breakfast....

April 2, 2010-

Our trip to the zoo

Yesterday, Princess Der and I went to the zoo with Grandma. Little Man came along, too.

I have a few pics to share. My camera's being dumb, so I took some with my phone and emailed them to myself. Unfortunately, some are floating around lost in cyberspace and I deleted them off my phone after emailing. Lesson learned!

Grandma was kind enough to buy our family a membership. That means for the next year Ron and I (the two adults) and Princess Der, Golden Child and Little Man can get in for free and take advantage of other zoo savings. Unforunately Golden Child turns 19 in June and will be too old to take advantage of that.

Anyway, we saw a whole bunch of baby ring-taled lemurs...

Lions, tigers, and bears...oh my!

...and for Little Man's favorite....................

Construction Vehicles!

To see a REAL elephants foot, see post below called Lucky Elephants Foot?

After the zoo, we went to Ruby Tuesday for lunch, and then came home and played outside in the beautiful warm weather!


The Princess made a stool in woodworking, a class she is taking in co-op.

She is giving it to Ron, and no one knows his favorite color (and she had LOTS of red, white and blue paint...)

Here it is. All American.

 But she keeps painting over what she has done because she isn't happy with it.

BTW- no one knows Ron's fave color (even me!) because when you ask him, he's like, "I don't know..."

I'm the same way. I like purple sometimes- it's a creative color for me.

But then again, green - like the trees...

Or blue -  like the sky...........

So anyway.................this is the stool as it sits at this moment.

What will it look like tomorrow?

Lucky Elephants Foot?

Get a load of this REAL elephants foot!

Today in homeschool co-op, the coordinator walked in with this elephants foot. Apparently one of the co-op moms brought it in to share. She had been on a mission in some village in Africa. I guess an elephant was charging them, so they had to shoot it.

Since nothing is wasted there, they kept the feet and hollowed them out. Not sure what they used it umbrella stand, flower pot?

Regardless, it was pretty cool, it still was a little hairy on the back, and had a "rough, well worn" sole.

Grandma's in town, so we are probably going back to the MOST or else the zoo.

Princess Der's article on Stan, the Toothpick City creator comes out that day. If we can get our hands on the paper early enough, we can deliver one personally to Stan.

The weather will play a big part in our plans, of course.

 A little New York State Education...

Now that the weather is breaking, we can start going on some field trips. The homeschool co-op is going to the Erie Canal museum in April, and another mom and I are planning on visiting the Harriet Tubman home.

There is also a zoo in Watertown, NY that is supposed to be nice. I believe I read that all  the animals are wild animals of NY.

Then there is our (hopefully) impending travels.

We are looking for an RV or travel trailer. If you get a sec, check out the new blog:

When we get one, the first thing we'll do is visit some places in New York. This all works out as the school gave me a VERY brief  summary about what my daughter should learn in 6-8th grade. One of the two (maybe 3) things they specified was learn about NY state. Ok, then....

I also got a great book at co-op the other day:

America From The Road by Readers Digest. I read the part about New York and I learned ALOT! Have to have the Princess check it out!

Solar Oven Update....

I completely forgot to give an  update on our Solar Oven project.................

The day we built it, we had alot of technical difficulties. The glass top we had fell off, the thermometer kept falling off the inside, etc...

I believe it was a little too cold and not quite sunny enough. It was about 42 degrees and having lived through several months of winter weather, it felt like a heat wave! Realistically, it wasn't "super-sunny", nor super warm out. Since we lost our top, we lost heat.

We also lost heat because (duh) we were trying to melt snow! Like I said, duh............the snow was keeping the temp stayed the same temp or maybe a degree or two higher in the box than out.

Lesson learned. No freezing cold stuff!

Next day we opened a can of German Potato Salad. Put it in a pan in the box. Great sunny day...for a while. the weather turns....

We have decided to modify it a little and wait for the next HOT, SUNNY day. It may be a month or so, but every now and then, the NY weather surprises us...

What have we been up to?

Saturday, Ron had to change our water pump for our well. Afterward, he gave us a lesson on how it works:

It was very interesting, but for me to explain it here- yeah, right! But the Princess got to see the process and Golden Child helped Ron fix it.

Yesterday, we went to our homeschooling co-op classes. The Princess had a great time in woodworking, stick drama and karate.

Then we had Girl Scouts, where we did another experiment.

What's your electrical sign?

This was a cool experiment:

You take 2 film canisters and fill  them about 1/2 full with modeling clay. Then you put 2 flexible straws in each can, flexed and facing away from each other.

Next, take 2 ( 4")  pieces of scotch tape and stick to the edge of the table, with enough hanging to use as a handle to take it off.

Quickly pull the tapes from the table and place one on a straw in each canister, again leaving most hanging.

Put the canisters about 6" apart, and gradually move the two canisters together. Observe if the two pieces of tape repel or are attracted to each other.

Tear off two more pieces and stick the sticky side of the one to the smooth side of the other. Quickly tear them off and stick them to the other arms. Move the canisters together and see what happens.

We had fun afterwards by putting our hands, hair and other objects near it.

It's all about positive and negative energy. Pretty cool. Try it.

You'll like it!

And now, I must get to work, then we are going to the Y to exercise and maybe swim.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fridays is when we tell all about the field trips we have taken during the week. Follow the link above and leave your link there. Check out all the other bloggers field trips.

Yesterday, the Princess and I went to the RV show at the fairgrounds. There were hundreds, maybe 1,000's of Rv's to look at, dream about, etc...

Some of these Rv's were almost as big as my home!

By far I think The Princesses liked the one with a room that had a couch and such for kids to hang out with a loft over it for sleeping. It was super-cool.

It was a great lesson on the expense of things, and how bigger is not always more expensive. The little pop-up campers were almost as much as total medal ones that had no tenting. I finally asked a sales person why a little pop-up would cost more.

He said that pop-ups are specially made to be very light weight for people who cannot tow heavier trailers with their vehicle. Apparently the aluminum they use is expensive...

The Princess also saw what monthly payments were for different price ranges. Real life economics!

After our water problems today, I would love to sell all and just travel. Stay in each place for like 3 weeks, soak up all the touristy stuff, then move on.

Cool thought- not exactly practical or possible right now!

Solar Power..................

Today the Princess and I made a solar oven. It was complete at 11:45- it is now 3:55. We put snow in a pan in the oven to melt. Last I checked (around 3 p.m,) it was partially melted. We did open it every hour to check, so probably lost some heat there. I also had to modify things a little, which shortened our over-all "cook time." And the coldness of the snow itself will keep the overall temp lower.

If it's sunny out again tomorrow, maybe we'll try to bake something. See if the temp will rise to normal baking temps without the snow.

The Potato Clock

We moved the probes to a different place on each of the potatoes and the clock worked for maybe another 12 hours. Then we tried a banana on one side, a potato on the other. It worked and lasted overnight, but was pretty dead later in the morning.

Next experiment.............who knows?

Next time, I'll give you some facts about our solar oven- hourly temps, how long it took the snow to melt, etc....

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Yesterday was Princess Der's first day of co-op classes through our homeschooling group. She loved it, and so did I!

The parents have to stay and help.

1st period, the Princess had woodworking. She so got into that. I was in the mom's room, relaxing and socializing.

2nd period, Princess had stick drama. She really liked it, but some of the moves bothered her a little with the arthritis. I was supposed to be in the preschool room, but they moved me to the toddler room. I was also in the toddler room third period.

3rd period, the Princess had karate. That bothered her a little.

In all fairness, the Princess has gotten off-schedule with her med, and her shots make her feel sick, so she didn't take that this week. She's sick of being sick! Waiting on the doc to see what to do about that.

Later in the afternoon, we had Girl Scouts. This week, they did a few projects to do with electricity.

We did a 2-potato clock:

We made it around 4:30 yesterday afternoon- this is it at 8:56 a.m. this morning. Still going....

I had told the girls we will keep it together and see how long it lasts. Inquiring minds want to know.

A few hours ago, I took the Princess to a friends that she helps with homeschooling . Came home and had a meeting (phone) with one of my team members. Just looked, the clock is dead. Sometime, while I was goofing off, it died it's last breath...............Let's have a moment of silence, please.

The directions suggested other things to try- I seem to remember bananas being one....maybe the Princess can experiment furthur with that.

Tomorrow, the Princess and I are going to the Great RV show here in the city.........just to dream...

I mean, I can afford about 1/1000 th of what they cost. Ok, whatever............

Thursday, February 23, 2010

Little Man wants to go to homeschool, too!

Inside one of Aunties old backpacks, left over from PS days!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Stethoscope Statistics

The other day, the Princess was reading something about the stethoscope. Did you know it was invented in 1816 by a French doc, named Rene' Laennec. It was made out of a hollow wooden tube.

The flat side is called the diaphragm. It picks up high pitched sounds. The funnel shaped part is designed to pick up low-pitched sounds.

The word comes from the greek words stethos, which means chest, and skopein which means "to examine".

We are going to try different things today like rolled up paper, a paper towel tube and such to see if we can pick up a heart beat.

Of course, I have a real stethoscope as well :-)

Here's your sign

We got a couple of books out of the library about sign language last week. The Princess has really taken to learning it. I have always wanted to learn, but admit I haven't studied it as much as the Princess. I'm a little involved in Attraction Marketing whenever I have a little spare time. Can we say, "What is spare time?"

Building Bridges

At Girl Scouts this week, we continued doing the experiments in the tech tub that we borrowed from the Girl Scout Council. This week, the girls built bridges out of the materials provided (ONLY!)

They consisted of things like strips of cardboard, strips of wood, aluminum foil, masking tape, white glue, bobby pins and different weighted paper.

I think the first team got a little lost as they got going.........although the little "pouch" in the middle of the creation held quite a few washers (our weights). I will have to admit that the girl on the left did most of it alone, as her partner is often a "non-participant" at Girl Scouts. That is Princess Der's hand on the right helping out. She wasn't even on that team.

Princess Der and her partners bridge won- it held most of the washers (maybe 50-75 of them?) It is made out of cardboard, weighted paper and masking tape.

Please enter the schoolroom quietly
Next week the Princess starts a few classes with the local homeschool co-op. She is taking woodworking, stick drama and karate. The Princess was worried about Karate with her arthritis, but I told her go for it-she knows her limitations.

The parents have to help out as assistants. I have 1st period free to hang in the moms room. The next two periods, I am in the toddler room one period, and the preschool the next. Yeah- that is exactly where I would have asked to be placed, unless they had an infant room!

Well, time to go take care of the animals- 4 legged AND human :-)


Forgot to mention that when we get to Girl Scouts, there are kids lining up in the cafeteria (where we meet) for special reading help after school. This is in the elementary school. I was talking to one of the teachers there- he and his wife babysat Princess Der one summer when I worked at the Library.

Anyway, he was telling there used to be 25-30 kids. They were starting a new round of classes yesterday and now there are 50 or more kids!

That to me is a lot of kids that need special help!

And do they REALLY need that help? The Princesss supposely needed help with Math last year. Now she's homeschooled. She can blow 1/2 the 7th and 8th graders away in math. Did she really need help? or did she just do poorly on a standardized test?

Only the man upstairs knows for sure!

Friday February 19, 2009

Wow, where did the week go? Princess got her article done and handed in. Stan the toothpick man said it was good and gave it his thumbs up. We did have a numerical error which he caught. Our bad!

The Princess went to visit with relatives from her Dad's side from Sunday- Tuesday. I picked her and her cousin up for puppy training on Monday night. Her cuz got sick Monday night. The Princess got sick Wednesday night and was still a little yuk yesterday.

The PS kids are off school. We haven't done much formal stuff this week. The puppy is enough of an education. You should see the puppy manual!

I know Princess has been reading some child care stuff from a book we have. Don't think she's updated her blog though.

We also had a cookie booth sale for Girl Scouts last weekend, and another tonight. The girls really had fun thinking of  effective things to say to prospective customers as they entered the store (business,marketing & promotion class). And talk about math! Some people order several boxes of cookies @ $3.50 each. They may pay with a $10, $20 or a $50.00. I have the girls try to figure it in their head first, although we do have a calculator available.

...that's about it right now.

Friday,February 12, 2010

Wow, this week has been almost all puppy, puppy, puppy! But have no fear, there is plenty to learn here.

We have a huge training manual to read, training everyday, even math. We had to figure out what the pup weighed to even know how much to feed it. Golden Child, the Princesses older bro, weighed himself alone, then with the pup. We then figured out the difference to determine the weight.

Yesterday we helped out at the Cookie Depot. That is where they deliver ALL the Girl Scout cookies for our service unit. The Princess was such a HUGE help- everyone was impressed. There was alot of Math involved here, too.

We had to take boxes of cookies off the pallets to fill the troop orders. We would stack the orders along the wall, with the troop order taped to the wall so we could see what we needed. We then stacked boxes in rows of 6 or 7. Talk about math- figure out how many rows of 6 to make 123 Tagalongs! I KNOW it's not rocket science, but do this 100 times with different numbers. After 4 hours of moving cookies, we were beat and our minds stopped working.............

Today the Princess needs to complete writing up her interview with the Toothpick Guy.

We are also going to be checking out stuff about Boston. There is a homeschooling conference in August we want to go to and it's close to Boston. I have been wanting to go there, so this is a good opportunity.

The Princess has been so into her art. Painting, scrapbooking, even trying to design a new fangled T-shirt from an old one.

Until later...............

Tuesday,February 10, 2010

What is Homeschooling?

Homeschooling or homeschool (also called home education or home learning) is the education of children at home, typically by parents. Other relatives, tutors, even the students themselves are often the ones responsible for the childs education.

There are different styles of homeschooling. We prefer an electic/unschooling approach. We use no formal curriculum, as in I haven't purchased a set curriculum. My daughter did pick out a math workbook and 2 science workbooks she wanted, but we don't use them everyday.

We learn a lot through games, cooking and science experiments. We also love nature, our farm animals and blogging and building webpages. We have a shelf (well 3 shelves) of books on just about every subject you can think of, as well puzzle books, games, and the Internet. We also frequent the public library and my daughter attends business meetings with me as I am the Coordinator of the Central New York Network Marketing Group.

In her spare time she babysits kids, helps homeschool a friends 6 year old, and helps a neighbor who is having medical problems right now.

We belong to the homeschooling group LEAH and soon she will be taking a class with other homeschoolers.

Check out our old homeschooling blog at: for older posts

Today....a mostly "puppy" day

Today was spent mostly getting to know the new puppy. You can read about her in the "dog Tales" section.

Princess Der also had to read the section for this coming weeks training in the manual that was provided. She had to record where we took the puppy so far.

We also spent some time learning sign language. I thought it would be a good thing to learn. The Princess really enjoys it.

Tomorrow we are (hopefully) going to complete the article on the Toothpick Pick" guy at the MOST.

Of course, having a puppy is like having a baby- you would much rather play than work :-)