Friday, February 03, 2017

Savvy Shopper Badge

Due to some life changes, Tessa and I are mostly Juliette-ing it this year...in regard to badgework anyway. I'm sad to say, it's been pretty slow going. We're finding most Junior badges take a good deal more time than those of Brownies. (If I had to peg it, I'd say at least three good meetings worth. Eek!) We're also finding many of the badges difficult to access, as it seems a lot of them require going somewhere, finding an expert to talk to, etc. As a result, we've been stalling out after 2-4 steps. I'm happy to report that we have managed to make it the entire way through the Junior Savvy Shopper Financial Literacy Badge, though. Yeah!

The full requirements for earning the Savvy Shopper Badge can be found in The Junior Girl Scout's Guide to Girl Scouting. The resources listed below are the ones we used to fulfill these requirements.

Savvy Shopper Badge


Savvy Shopper

Food and water, clean clothes, a place to live: These are things everyone needs. A closet full of shoes, a new desk, tickets to the movie: These are things people want. But how do you figure out what you need and what you want? You might find it's not as easy as you think!

Steps

1. Explore your needs and wants. Pick one of the following choices to start exploring the difference between your needs and your wants.
  • Completed Choice #2 - Make a collage.
  • Completed Growing Girls Wants to Needs Banner.

    This step built on what Tessa learned from the Daisy Making Choices and Brownie Philanthropist badges. Since she has also studied this concept in school, we wanted to do something a little different than simply sort needs and wants again. The badge step choice we picked requires organizing 50 items in a progression from things Tessa thinks are wants to those she thinks are needs. The idea of creating a really long banner popped into my head. Tessa thought it cool, so we went with it. We jumped on the Web and started our search for 50 perfect pieces of clip art. Ok, wow. Not as easy as it might sound. LOL! In time, we found an illustrator with a bit of an edgy/hipster look that Tessa adored and thought other Juniors would like too.

Although Tessa had completed our banner several times during the testing phase, she wanted to do it one last time...to make it official for her badge. The banner looks cooler stretched out 11 feet across the floor, but it was cold this day. We opted to divide it into three segments and work on it on the table while shutting ourselves into the school room with a space heater. We taped it all together at the end.
Although Tessa had completed our banner several times during the testing phase, she wanted to do it one last time...to make it official for her badge. The banner looks cooler stretched out 11 feet across the floor, but it was cold this day. We opted to divide it into three segments and work on it on the table while shutting ourselves into the school room with a space heater. We taped it all together at the end.

Sorting 50 items in order of importance is challenging. Tessa knew what her needs were, but found it difficult to prioritize them. I think she ended up with the sun being her primary need. Having lost our beloved wire fox terrier of 15 years a few months ago, a pet was her number one want.
Sorting 50 items in order of importance is challenging. Tessa knew what her needs were, but found it difficult to prioritize them. I think she ended up with the sun being her primary need. Having lost our beloved wire fox terrier of 15 years a few months ago, a pet was her number one want.

2. Look into why you want what you want. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between what you need and what you want. Advertisers create exciting commercials to convince you to buy things. Or you might want something simply because your best friend has it. Think about all the forces that make you want something you may not need.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Do some time travel.
  • Researched popular toys, clothes, and games from the 1950s and then talked about how girls' needs and wants from this era compare to girls' from today.

    Tessa has an American Girl Maryellen historical doll whose story begins in 1954. She recently read Maryellen's books and decided to use them as the springboard for earning this step. We had great fun early one afternoon researching and watching old toy commercials on YouTube. Visit my Savvy Shopper Badge Ideas Pinterest board to view the Web site we used to research toys, games, and fashion of the 1950s and links to retro TV commercials for Barbie, Slinky, Colorforms, and Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head. There's links for other eras and ideas as well.

    Although Tessa opted not to use them, I also designed surveys for Choice #2 - Investigate the latest trends. They may be found within my Growing Girls Love It! Hate It! Investigate It! activity pack.

3. Find out what makes people happy (or not!) with what they buy. "Buyer's remorse" is the sense of disappointment people sometimes have after buying an expensive item. Often, they've convinced themselves that they really need something--like the latest video game or a new necklace--only to discover afterwards that it wasn't truly necessary. Of course, when you think through your reasons for buying something and save the money to get it, you can end up feeling very happy with your purchase.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Trade stories with friends.
  • Completed Growing Girls Love It! Hate It! draw-and-write prompts.

    Isn't it funny how you can think of certain things all day long until you actually need to come up with an example on the spot. Tessa and I found thinking of products we love and hate a challenge while completing this badge step. Another challenge was the notion that girls Tessa's age buy their own stuff, which I don't really think is the case. Most of the time, the money they do spend is given to them, which isn't the same as earning it. Until a girl earns, spends, and loses her own money, I think understanding the feeling of buyer's remorse is a difficult one to grasp. Since Tessa rarely shakes out her piggy bank, she simply chose items from among the possessions she considers her own.

    Despite these small challenges, I think the overall concept of this step is a good one. We enjoyed telling stories about the things we love and hate, which precipitated a meaningful discussion about preventing buyer's remorse. Tessa impressed me by coming up with some surprisingly thoughtful tips.

Tessa chose to draw a watch that she received for Christmas as her "love it." She rated it four stars because it's digital and she loves its colors. She had a heck of a time coming up with a "hate it." She finally decided on a cheap purple plastic backscratcher she won at a school carnival years ago that snapped in two after just a few scratches. Apparently, she still greatly laments its loss. LOL! She rated it two-and-half stars for its color and styling.
Tessa chose to draw a watch that she received for Christmas as her "love it." She rated it four stars because it's digital and she loves its colors. She had a heck of a time coming up with a "hate it." She finally decided on a cheap purple plastic backscratcher she won at a school carnival years ago that snapped in two after just a few scratches. Apparently, she still greatly laments its loss. LOL! She rated it two-and-half stars for its color and styling.

4. Learn how to decide what to buy. Even when you're buying something you need, you'll find you might have certain wants. For example, you may need a computer for school--but you want the top-of-the-line model with a super-fast processor. You may need new running shoes--buy you want a famous brand. Practice making these decisions on a pretend shopping trip (you don't need to actually buy anything).
  • Completed Choice #2 - Shop for groceries.
  • Completed Growing Girls Shop & Compare.

    This badge step is extremely difficult to bring to the troop meeting setting. I lead both Brownies and Juniors in our multi-level troop last year. While working on the financial literacy badges, I stuck very close to the activity outlined in the Savvy Shopper badge guide for Choice #1. Instead of going to the mall, which wasn't practical for our rural troop, I had our Juniors use Staples ads and a worksheet I created to compare the options and costs of laptops. As I suspected, they had zero understanding of what one should look for when buying a computer and based their decisions on aesthetic appeal and cost alone. I wasn't surprised, as I doubt most adults know either. Long story short, I don't recommend going this route for this step. Hah!

    Since Choices #1 and #3 are very similar, we opted for #2. I knew Tessa would be too distracted by the comings and goings of other customers, if we tried completing this step in store as suggested. Instead, I created a set of shopping cards with prices pulled from our local Walmart store and a financial literacy worksheet to illustrate the same concept.

Tessa picked her favorite foods from five food category cards, compared them to lower-priced options within the same food categories, made second-choice picks and then recorded prices for both. She figured up the difference between her favorite foods and lower-priced options to find her total savings.
Tessa picked her favorite foods from five food category cards, compared them to lower-priced options within the same food categories, made second-choice picks and then recorded prices for both. She figured up the difference between her favorite foods and lower-priced options to find her total savings.

Using a calculator was a special treat that made completing this activity even more fun. I was well pleased with how everything turned out. Tessa did very well with it. The concept seemed to click and we both enjoyed sharing our foods picks, savings, and thoughts about what we might buy with the money we saved.
Using a calculator was a special treat that made completing this activity even more fun. I was well pleased with how everything turned out. Tessa did very well with it. The concept seemed to click and we both enjoyed sharing our foods picks, savings, and thoughts about what we might buy with the money we saved.

5. Make a plan to buy something you need or want.
 Now you're ready to put what you've learned about wants and needs into action! Once you've set your goal, create a budget and a plan.
  • Completed Choice #3 - Look into your future!
  • Completed Growing Girls Needs & Wants Time Capsule.

    Last year's Juniors created time capsules out of empty toilet paper rolls. Tessa had long wanted to make a time capsule of some sort, so I knew exactly which choice she would pick for this step.

    While I thought a toilet paper roll time capsule a clever idea at the time, its small size left no room for graphics. Designing my own pillow box as the capsule allowed me greater design freedom. Tessa, my husband, and I brainstormed ideas for a theme for the new version. We thought about a space theme, but that seemed too cliche. We considered a shopping theme, buy that seemed a little bland. Then, we got to thinking about animals that store food for winter. Squirrels immediately came to mind. I pulled up some graphics, Tessa fell in love, and the deal was sealed. Tessa and I conferred throughout this project on which were the cutest squirrels to use.

Tessa and I recorded what we thought our needs and wants would be in ten years. She considered her life as a twenty-year-old young college woman and wrote down "boyfriend" among her needs. Her father (and I) strongly disagreed.
Tessa and I recorded what we thought our needs and wants would be in ten years. She considered her life as a twenty-year-old young college woman and wrote down "boyfriend" among her needs. Her father (and I) strongly disagreed.

The time capsule was Tessa's favorite part of the Junior Savvy Shopper badge. She was super psyched and got creative with her coloring. She even sketched a bed for her squirrel to comfortably rest in for the next ten years.
The time capsule was Tessa's favorite part of the Junior Savvy Shopper badge. She was super psyched and got creative with her coloring. She even sketched a bed for her squirrel to comfortably rest in for the next ten years.


Our completed Savvy Shopper time capsules. I colored my squirrel gray since Tessa chose brown. She thought my pink acorn totally nutty.
Our completed Savvy Shopper time capsules. I colored my squirrel gray since Tessa chose brown. She thought my pink acorn totally nutty.

Purpose

When I've earned this badge, I'll know the difference between what I need and what I want--and I'll be able to smartly save money for both.


Growing Girls Scouting Helpers Logo
Looking for more Savvy Shopper badge ideas?

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Fourth Grade 2016 - Age 9

Fourth grade is feeling a bit *weird* to me. In the past, I've felt each grade to be an exciting new page in the book of Tessa. This year feels more like we've started a new paragraph on last year's page. I can't quite pinpoint why. Maybe it's our curriculum. Maybe it's Tessa's age. Maybe we've hit some sort of homeschooling plateau. Maybe it's the gloomy skies. Maybe it's simply the nature of fourth grade. Whatever the reason, the plan is pretty simple this year...relax, march on, and enjoy.

Tessa's Third Grade 2015 - Age 8 pic. - Look how much her hair has grown!

Tessa's first day of fourth grade!
Tessa's first day of fourth grade!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Brownie My Promise, My Faith Pin

Here we are about two years out from the last time Tessa earned a My Promise, My Faith pin and I feel nearly the same way about the requirements as I did then. Again, this award seems to be written directly to the girl, but it feels so abstract and intangible. Even though Tessa has two more years of knowledge, life experience, and skill under her belt, I still can't imagine her tackling this on her own. In all honesty, it was a booger for me to plan. Researching and aligning the steps to a specific line of the Girl Scout Law is very time consuming and really not all that much fun.

My goal for this pin was to design a scouting helper that was accessible to Tessa...something enjoyable that was simple and flowed from one step to the next with ease. Instead of having a bunch of separate little projects, I poured all of the steps into one cohesive, easy-to-use booklet. I ended up putting a lot of time and energy into this project, so I was a little happy cloud when it worked just as I had planned.

The resources listed below are the ones we used to fulfill the requirements of the Brownie My Promise, My Faith Pin. These requirements may also be found on page 37 of The Brownie Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting.

My Promise, My Faith pin


My Promise, My Faith Pin

You can earn this pin each year that you're a Brownie. You'll find that Girl Scouting and your faith have a lot in common!

1. Choose one line from the Girl Scout Law. Find a story, song, or poem from your faith with the same ideas. Talk with your family or friends about what the Law and the story, song, or poem have in common.

Tessa completed a clock and coin activity to help her better understand that every worker in "The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard" received the same agreed-to pay no matter what time they went to work at the master's vineyard. On the next page, she learned that the master of the vineyard represents God, the workers God's people, and the pay eternal life in heaven.
Tessa completed a clock and coin activity to help her better understand that every worker in "The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard" received the same agreed-to pay no matter what time they went to work at the master's vineyard. On the next page, she learned that the master of the vineyard represents God, the workers God's people, and the pay eternal life in heaven.

2. Find a woman in your own or another faith community. Ask her how she tries to use that line of the Law in her life.

Once again, I opted to help Tessa complete this requirement in an alternative way so I could control the quality of the lesson. Instead of finding a living woman of faith, I chose a historical woman of faith. Tessa has been studying modern American history this year and has a keen interest in the times and people surrounding the Civil War. I knew Harriet Tubman, a deeply religious Christian abolitionist who lived from 1820 to 1913, would be a good pick for Tessa's historic woman of faith as a Brownie.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford

Tessa's completed drawing and writing prompt for Tubman. She wrote, "She led slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad," for how Harriet Tubman was fair.
Tessa's completed drawing and writing prompt for Tubman. She wrote, "She led slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad," for how Harriet Tubman was fair.

3. Gather three inspirational quotes by women that fit with that line of the Girl Scout Law. Put them where you can see them every day!
Her favorite quote was...

"It is not fair to ask of others what you are not willing to do yourself."
- Eleanor Roosevelt, Former First Lady of the United States

How funny, I just noticed that we used a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt for Tessa's Daisy My Promise, My Faith pin too. Quite a quotable lady. It will be interesting to see how many more times she pops up during Tessa's Girl Scout career.

4. Make something to remind you of what you've learned. It might be a drawing, painting, or poster. You could also make up a story or a skit.

5. Keep the connection strong. Talk with your friends, family, or a group in your faith community about what you've learned about your faith and Girl Scouting. Ask them to help you live the Law and your faith. Maybe you can show them what you just made or perform your skit!
  • Instead of sharing her completed booklet, Tessa opted to print and pass out the color version of the "Honest and Fair" faith-based bookmarks included in the Growing Girls "Living 'Fair' All-In-One Booklet" activity pack. I was a little surprised by how excited she was to do this. She had a whole list of people she wanted to give them to.
  • Shared Tessa's work for earning her Brownie My Promise, My Faith Pin with the world via this blog.

Growing Girls "Living 'Fair' All-In-One Booklet Bookmarks

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Looking for more My Promise, My Faith pin ideas?

Check out my Considerate & Caring Kit - Girl Scouts - "My Promise, My Faith" Pin - All Steps! printable scouting helper.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Introducing Growing Girls Scouting Helpers on Teachers Pay Teachers

I am super excited to introduce Blue House School's new Growing Girls Scouting Helpers store on Teachers Pay Teachers.


I have immensely enjoyed sharing my daughter's Girl Scout badge-earning efforts these past few years on Blue House School blog. In this time, I have been both humbled and delighted to learn that other leaders and parents have found these posts useful in our shared pursuit to help girls grow into strong, independent women. Understanding just how overwhelming and time-consuming researching and planning badge projects can be has led me to want to help even more.

Growing Girls Scouting Helpers offers printable paper activity packs designed to fulfill various Girl Scout badge steps with minimal supplies, ink and time. They are perfect for the leader on the go, or a quick-and-easy way to squeeze one more step into a troop meeting. Many are also ideal for multi-level troops where a leader's time may be divided, for home use, badge make-up packets, and Juliettes.

Shop Growing Girls Scouting Helpers at Teachers Pay Teachers. Be sure to click the green star under my name to follow me and receive new product updates and sale announcements.

Follow the Growing Girls Scouting Helpers Pinterest board for new product updates as well!

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Physics: Force & Motion + Gravity + Isaac Newton (Block 1)

Our school days ran overly long last week (our first week of third grade). It's apparent that I'm going to have to drastically restructure our history plans and go back to a rotating block schedule for it and science. I can't figure any other way to work it. That means history will have to take a back seat to science for a while.

This is the fourth and final year of our first time around the history-science cycle we follow. I talked about the four-year cycle method way back when we started Ancient History. Here's a refresher as to the ordering.

Ancient History < > Life Science (First, Fifth, Ninth Grades)
Middle Ages < > Earth Science & Astronomy (Second, Sixth, Tenth Grades)
Early Modern < > Chemistry (Third, Seventh, Eleventh Grades)
Modern & Today < > Physics (Fourth, Eight, Twelfth Grades)

We're a year ahead, so that means Modern History and Physics are up for us this year. Luckily, physical science is common in the early grades, so materials were a good bit easier to come by than when we studied chemistry last year. However, creative, quality output options I found lacking.

We will primarily be using BrainPOP, BrainPOP Jr., Bill Nye the Science Guy DVDs, various science themed books by Nomad Press, and a couple of supplements from Teachers Pay Teachers in our study of physics this year.

Brain POP
 Explore Gravity!: With 25 Great Projects


Force & Motion - Day 1

Force & Motion - Day 2



Gravity - Day 1

Gravity pulls everything down toward the center of the earth. Tessa proved which way is straight down by creating plumb bobs with pencils, yarn and various objects around the school room. Her favorite bob had a plastic frog tied to it.
Gravity pulls everything down toward the center of the earth. Tessa proved which way is straight down by creating plumb bobs with pencils, yarn and various objects around the school room. Her favorite bob had a plastic frog tied to it.

Gravity - Day 2

Gravity - Day 3

Tessa and I created and tested a water level that we made out of clear plastic tubing, a funnel and colored water. Tessa learned that when water is in a confined space, gravity makes sure the top of it is level. Pretty cool!
Tessa and I created and tested a water level that we made out of clear plastic tubing, a funnel and colored water. Tessa learned that when water is in a confined space, gravity makes sure the top of it is level. Pretty cool!

Gravity - Day 4

Tessa fashioned a mobile from straws, paperclips and pictures drawn on card stock to better understand the relationship between gravity and balance. The theme for her mobile was our recent trip to Florida. It features pictures of the beach, a view of our condo at night from the pool, a pizza (doughnut on the opposite side), and a triple-scoop ice cream cone.
Tessa fashioned a mobile from straws, paperclips and pictures drawn on card stock to better understand the relationship between gravity and balance. The theme for her mobile was our recent trip to Florida. It features pictures of the beach, a view of our condo at night from the pool, a pizza (doughnut on the opposite side), and a triple-scoop ice cream cone.

Gravity - Day 5

Gravity - Day 6

Tessa swung a ball in a cup to see centripetal force in action. No matter how she swung it, the ball never fell out.
Tessa swung a ball in a cup to see centripetal force in action. No matter how she swung it, the ball never fell out.

Tessa created a mock Earth orbit with a drawing of the Earth taped into the bottom of a plastic bowl and a marble "moon" (the "moon" is the green blur on the right-hand side). She moved the bowl in a circular motion to experiment with centripetal and centrifugal force.
Tessa created a mock Earth orbit with a drawing of the Earth taped into the bottom of a plastic bowl and a marble "moon" (the "moon" is the green blur on the right-hand side). She moved the bowl in a circular motion to experiment with centripetal and centrifugal force.

Gravity - Day 7

Gravity - Day 8

Gravity - Day 9

Tessa played "Set the Bottle" to see how some carnival games use gravity to make it harder to win. I filled three bottles half full of water and then placed them in the freezer the day before so that one bottle froze upside down, one on its side and the third upright.
Tessa played "Set the Bottle" to see how some carnival games use gravity to make it harder to win. I filled three bottles half full of water and then placed them in the freezer the day before so that one bottle froze upside down, one on its side and the third upright.

Isaac Newton - Day 10

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Brownie Quest - Connect Key

It's Your World - Change It!: A Leadership Journey
Girl Scout Brownies

I've had several inquiries over the past months regarding how we completed the rest of our Brownie Quest Journey last year. I know it seems like we just kind of fell off the face of the earth. In reality, I overextended myself. Regretfully, the only thing I could responsibly drop to give myself a little breathing room was updating our blog. I'm going to do my best to rewind and provide an abbreviated version of what we did in a series of posts these next couple of weeks.

To recap...Brownie Quest - Discover Key.

Meeting 2

Meeting 3

Quick Note: Although I don't plan to detail it, we did fill in the Brownie Quest Map as we progressed through our Journey. The girls delighted in guessing the names of the keys.


Brownie Quest - Connect Key

To find the Connect Key, Brownies connect as a Brownie Team, with their families on a healthy-living activity, and with their communities to increase healthy-living opportunities.

Brownie Quest Connect Key

Meeting 4
I printed the rules and story I read to the girls from Toobeez.com. I couldn't find my tablecloth, so we used an old beach towel for the sinking ship. The girls had an absolute blast with this and requested to play it a second time. I used information from the Brownie Quest How To Guide (page 60) to both preface and then discuss connecting as a team after the game.

  • Created the Brownie Team Agreement.
I felt the Brownie Team Agreement as presented in the How To Guide was rather dull. I knew it was not going to impress our very active troop of eight-and-nine-year-olds. Thank goodness I ran across a pic of Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten class promise bulletin board on Pinterest. Feel free to give it a "like," as this display totally transformed our Brownie Team Agreement into something creative and fun. The girls expressively enjoyed signing their agreement with custom paper-crafted self portraits.

After coloring and attaching lines of their Brownie Team Agreement to a piece of tag board, our girls paper-crafted self portraits to "sign" the agreement.

I used information from the Brownie Quest How To Guide (page 61) to type out, print and cut apart the lines to the team agreement ahead of time. (I recommend printing them on white cardstock.) During our troop meeting, I guided the girls in coming up with similar lines by using the answers they gave to the questions from our previous "Connecting as a Team" (page 60) discussion. I jotted down most all of their ideas on a dry erase board and then asked which ones would be the best to include in their team agreement. As the girls answered one at a time, I handed the corresponding pre-cut lines to them to color (we used colored pencils) any way they wanted. In other words, the girl who said, "helping each other" got the "to help each other," line to color.

After coloring and attaching the text with double-sided re-positional tape (to later be glued on permanently by the troop leader at home) for the Brownie Team Agreement to a piece of over-sized colored tag board, I handed out paper-crafting kits that I prepared ahead of time for the girls to make self portraits. I also displayed a sample of myself as a Brownie, so they could understand the idea. Each kit contained an appropriately colored skin tone circle for the head, a dark brown semicircle for the beanie, a slender dark brown rectangle for the beanie tab, a white Brownie elf emblem to be colored by the girl, one heart shape, and one star shape. Cardstock works best for all components. They shared scissors, glue sticks and colored pencils from community school boxes. The heart and the star were to represent the ever popular Girl Scout SWAP. Each girl was supposed to pick just one to write her name on and then attach it to her portrait's beanie at the end with a staple (to represent a safety pin), but some girls used the leftover shapes as barrettes. (An adult may wish to help with the stapling. My girls were exuberant staplers, which jammed the device. After the third time, I took over to prevent tears from damaged projects.) I had a short stack of quarter sheets of paper in various natural colors for them to choose from for their hair. Again, I had the girls use re-positional double-sided tape to affix their portraits to the team agreement. I detached and returned their portraits when I handed out end-of-the-year badges.

  • Learned to prepare two healthy snack recipes to connect with their families on a healthy-living activity at home.
It was nearing Christmas when our troop met to complete this step of the Journey, so I thought making Grinch-themed fruit kebabs with Strawberry Yogurt Fruit Dip (just two ingredients) would make this activity all the more festive. I demonstrated how to make the dip and then the girls made several kebabs to pass out to their parents and the other girls in our multi-level troop as a snack. I also sent home copies of the recipes for the Brownies to add to the family recipe books they made as part of the My Family Story badge. Learning how to make these healthy recipes and preparing them for their family members fulfilled the second part of the Connect Key. Making the kebabs for the other girls in the troop fulfilled Step 4 of the Snacks badge.

Meeting 5
  • Created "Circle Map: Creating Circles of Caring" from the Brownie Quest How To Guide (pages 66-67) more or less as suggested. I drew the concentric circles on a sheet of over-sized newsprint ahead of time. The girls took turns labeling the circles as we progressed through our discussion.
  • Passed out and then read aloud "The Case of the Broken Sidewalk" from the Brownie Quest girls' book. Discussed the corresponding questions from the Brownie Quest How To Guide (page 68). We also discussed what improvements could be made to better the city of Green Falls (How To Guide, page 64 and/or girls' book, page 61).
  • Crafted concentric circle bookmarks from circles that I pre-punched from heavy decorative cardstock (leftovers from a personal scrapbook project), colored craft sticks and glue (in the form of glue sticks).
  • Passed out Caring About Your Community slips to be completed at home and returned the next meeting. - The final part of earning the Brownie Quest Connect Key!

Tessa reluctantly posed with the concentric circle bookmarks she crafted during our "circle map" troop meeting.
Tessa reluctantly posed with the concentric circle bookmarks she crafted during our "circle map" troop meeting. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Home Art Studio: Second Grade - "Color Wheel"

Lured by pretty projects and clean design, I was so very tempted to switch our art program to lessons by Deep Space Sparkle this year. While she offers many wonderful, affordable lessons in print format, Tessa really works best during art with video guidance. Deep Space Sparkle offers some video lessons (the sample is very nicely done), but I couldn't justify the cost for a product we'll use only once and has no resale value (the video lessons are digital files).

Last year, we used Home Art Studio (a fairly new DVD-based leveled art program) for the first time. Tessa greatly enjoyed it and I found it easy to use. At just under thirty dollars retail, it's an excellent value for homeschoolers. We used First Grade last year because its around-the-world theme coordinated well with our history studies. I gave Tessa the option of using Second Grade or Third Grade this year. After checking out the student work galleries, she decide Second Grade looked more fun. So, that's the one we're using this year.

Home Art Studio: Second Gradee

After tracing around a large bowl on watercolor paper and then dividing the subsequent circle into six parts with the aid of a ruler, Tessa used green, yellow, orange, red, purple and blue tempera paints to create a color wheel. She will use the color wheel to help her choose complementary colors in future lessons.
After tracing around a large bowl on watercolor paper and then dividing the subsequent circle into six parts with the aid of a ruler, Tessa used green, yellow, orange, red, purple and blue tempera paints to create a color wheel. She will use the color wheel to help her choose complementary colors in future lessons. 

Tessa outlined her color wheel in black to make it pop.
Tessa outlined her color wheel in black to make it pop.

Tessa's completed color wheel.
Tessa's completed color wheel.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Last-Minute Beach Getaway (Seagrove Beach, FL) - July 2015

What do you do when the beach and blue seas are calling your name, but your pooch is too old to stay at her usual digs? Take her with you, of course! I'm not sure why it took us all year to figure this out. It wasn't so much that the thought hadn't occurred to us, it was more committing ourselves to driving hundreds of miles with an elderly dog in tow, finding a nice, yet affordable place walking-distance to the beach that would also accept a dog, plus the logistics of doing so. (Not to mention, accepting that a cruise or trip to Disney just wasn't in the cards this year.)

A little over two weeks to vacation time, we knew if we didn't buckle down very soon, it was going to be a staycation for us and no one wanted that (well, Sweetpea probably would have been okay with it). Not long after, we logged onto VRBO.com, closed our eyes, and booked us a vacation. While not our most exotic getaway, it was a good and memorable trip.


Woohoo, no June grass! These were some of the clearest waters we have seen anywhere in Florida. (The dark blotches are gigantic schools of fish!)
Woohoo, no June grass! These were some of the clearest waters we have seen anywhere in Florida. (The dark blotches are gigantic schools of fish!)

In our many vacations to Florida, we had never tried tubing the emerald waters. The waves were such that we found it to be a most relaxing way to spend our days.
In our many vacations to Florida, we had never tried tubing the emerald waters. The waves were such that we found it to be a most relaxing way to spend our days.

Tessa delighted in daily visits from the ice cream truck!
Tessa delighted in daily visits from the ice cream truck!

Previous guests at the condo we stayed at had graciously left several new kites. Tessa selected her favorite and enjoyed several minutes of kite flying on the beach. This was another first for us. She was really good at making it perform loops. Me? Not so much.
Previous guests at the condo we stayed at had graciously left several new kites. Tessa selected her favorite and enjoyed several minutes of kite flying on the beach. This was another first for us. She was really good at making it perform loops. Me? Not so much. 

Tessa insisted on breakfast on the balcony. Who could blame her?
Tessa insisted on breakfast on the balcony. Who could blame her?

I think Florida weather agreed with Sweetpea, our thirteen-year-old wire fox terrier. Her arthritis improved to the point that she walked like a youngin again. A few days upon returning from our trip, her lungs started gurgling. We found out that she has congestive heart failure. My husband has another week of vacation coming up. We're trying to decide whether she can handle one more trip, as she did so well and seemed so happy.
I think Florida weather agreed with Sweetpea, our thirteen-year-old wire fox terrier. Her arthritis improved to the point that she walked like a youngin again. A few days upon returning from our trip, her lungs started gurgling. We found out that she has congestive heart failure. My husband has another week of vacation coming up. We're trying to decide whether she can handle one more trip, as she did so well and seemed so happy.

After one sun-drenched day, we enjoyed an early dinner at Pizza By the Sea, a favorite Fort Walton Beach eatery of ours.
After one sun-drenched day, we enjoyed an early dinner at Pizza By the Sea, a favorite Fort Walton Beach eatery of ours.

Staying a little further west on the Panhandle this time, we discovered a new ice cream haunt. Blue Mountain Beach Creamery makes their own ice cream and features creative flavors. The banana pudding cone I had was so good I ordered it both times we stopped by.
Staying a little further west on the Panhandle this time, we discovered a new ice cream haunt. Blue Mountain Beach Creamery makes their own ice cream and features creative flavors. The banana pudding cone I had was so good I ordered it both times we stopped by.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Third Grade 2015 - Age 8

A bit of a slow start this morning, but we got 'er done. Tessa's quite excited about starting so many new curricula this year. Wordly Wise 3000, CLE Reading and Beast Academy were big hits. Hopefully, that enthusiasm will endure. Tomorrow, we attempt New American Cursive and CAP's Writing & Rhetoric Book 1: Fable. Wish us luck!

See how she's grown! - Tessa's Second Grade 2014 - Age 7 pic.

Tessa's first day of third grade!
Tessa's first day of third grade!