Thursday, September 22, 2005

First Day of Fall!!!!

Finally!   Fall is here.  After such a hot, hot, hot, humid summer, I am so glad it is finally the first day of Autumn
In honor of the new season, I did a little redecorating.  
Fall is definately my favorite season.  I love the cooler nights
and mornings, and being able to be comfy in a sweater and
jeans.   And the smells....I love the smell of leaves, and
now it's finally cool enough that I can have my windows open throughout
the house.   I always have a pan of potpourri simmering on
the stove - water with cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and vanilla, and
apple slices when I have them handy.    Fall just smells
so good.  The only bad thing about fall is that it means that 5
months of cold winter is just around the corner.

Images from

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Fall Unit Study

Fall 5 Day Plan

Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater - make little book, do coloring sheets.  Talk about different kinds of houses.

Scarecrow Coloring Sheet
Squirrel Coloring Sheet 1 2

Books to Read
Autumn : an alphabet acrostic / by Steven Schnur E S
Autumn : signs of the season around North America / by Mary Pat Finnegan J 508.2
Raking leaves with Max / Hanne Turk E T
Where do all the birds go? / Tracey Lewis E L
Rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks / by Mel Boring J 559.32 B
Homes / Margaret C. Hall  J 643.1 HAL
Right at home / by Jennifer Waters J 392.3 WAT
Smell J612.86

More or Less game

Number Matching

Take 20 paper plates, write number on each of them.  Get a bunch
of leaves (foam or paper) and they have to place the correct number of
leaves on each plate.

Make apple puzzles....cut a paper apple into a puzzle shape - put back together.  Apple Template

Acorn Numbers Worksheets

Leaf Graph
Go on a nature walk and collect leaves.
Have them count the number of leaves they collected from each type of
tree, and graph the results. After doing leaf graph, make a placemat
with the leaves and contact paper.

Leaf Sticker Match 
Place two identical leaf stickers on one index card. One on the left
side and one on the right. Then cut the card in half in a puzzle shape.
Follow with all the stickers. Then set out the cards and ask the child
to pick out one, then find it's match. Next, place the cards together.

Pumpkin Patch printable book


Planting Acorns
Collect acorns  on a fall nature walk. Place the acorns in a damp
paper towel and place in a sunny place. Keep the towels damp over the
next few days. Watch the acorns sprout.  Observe the acorns with a
magnifying lens. Place the acorns in potting soil in individual cups.

Fall Sensory Box

Leaves, acorns, pine cones, nuts, apples, and other things found on
nature walk.  You'll need a box the children can fit their hands
into without seeing inside.  Put the objects in the box. 
Have them take turns feeling inside the box.  Ask them to describe
what he or she feels and what they think it is. 

Talk about what animals do during Fall in order to prepare for the upcoming winter weather.

Open and Closed Pinecone
a pinecone in a plastic bag and add a small amount of water to the
bag.  Let set for 24 hours.  The next morning, the pinecone
will be closed.  Take the pinecone out and place it in the
sun.  After it dries, it will open back up.

Fall Smells
Go on a smell walk outside.  Smell leaves, trees, etc.
Place some objects in a box.   With her eyes closed, have her pick up and object and try to identify it by its smell.
Soak a cotton ball in a scent.  Hide it in the house.  Have her walk around and try to find it by sniffing.
Make fall potpourri on the stove - cloves, allspice, cinnamon, vanilla


Draw a tree, cut an apple in half and dip in paint, stamp on tree.
the apples the day before you will use them for printing. Also, it is
helpful to put the paint on a piece of paper towel in a tray. It
becomes more like a stamp pad and the apples print better.

Dried Apple Wreaths
Cut a wreath shape from cardboard. Glue dried apples rings around the
wreath overlapping them. Gather some dried flowers & leaves to fill
in the wreath. Add a bow at the top if you like.

Scarecrow Fun
Cut shirt and pants shapes out of fabric and face shapes out of
construction paper. Let the children glue the shapes on pieces of
construction paper to make scarecrows. Have the children draw on facial
features on the scarecrow. Set out 1-inch pieces of straw, and have the
glue the straw pieces around the edges of the scarecrow.

Scarecrow Art
Supply precut squares, circles, rectangles and pieces of straw or hay
along with some glue and large sized paper.  Let them make their
own scarecrows.

Corn Cob Printing
Allow your child to use a dried corn cob as a brush or roll the cob in paint and onto a piece of paper.

Scented Playdough

4 c. flour,  1 c. salt, 1.5 c water, fall scents (cinnamon, vanilla, cloves, etc).  Could also add glitter to the dough.  Mix
all together and knead.   Make fall shapes - pumpkins, leaves,
etc.  Bake in a 300 oven until hard.  Paint, seal with clear
sealant (I use Future floor polish).

Pumpkin Playdough
Need: 5  cups Flour, 2 Cups Salt, 8 teaspoons Cream of Tartar , 3
Cup Oil, 1 Container Pumpkin Pie Spice, Orange Food Coloring (2 parts
yellow, 1 part red) , 4 Cups Water
 Mix all of the
ingredients together. Cook and stir over medium heat until all lumps
appear. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth.

Tissue Paper Pumpkin
Take a handful of poly-fil fiber and smash around in hands until shaped
like a ball.  Lay a orange piece of tissue paper on the table, put
ball of fiber fill in center and pull edges up around it. tie off with
what is handy for you.  Trim to a nice stem length, take a green
pipe cleaner and twist around and shape like vines.  You can also
add some  curling ribbon for a prettier look.  Let the
children cut out jack o lanter features from black construction paper,
and glue on.

Pinecone Squirrel

Baked Apples
Apple Pancakes
Sugar Cookies with fall cookie cutters

Easy Pumpkin Pudding

Materials and Ingredients:
1 cup vanilla pudding for each child 
2 tsp. Libby's easy pumpkin pie mix per child
A bowl for each child
A spoon for each child

Help them measure and place one cup of vanilla pudding in their
individual bowls. Next, measure out 2 tsp. pie mix with each child.
Have them mix the vanilla pudding and the pie mix together for a
seasonal and yummy treat.

Leaf Piles
The recipe is 6 cups cornflakes, 1 cup
karo sryup, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter.  In a microwave
melt the karo, sugar, and peanut butter together.  Pour over the
cornflakes and place them in piles.  Let them cool and dry a

Popcorn Balls

Leaf Toast
leaf cookie cutters with white bread to make leaf shapes. Put on cookie
sheet and toast in oven for short time. Give the children strawberry
and apricot jam to spread on their leaves so they turn into fall colors.


Apple Hide and Seek
Have them hide their eyes while you "hide" an apple in the room. (It
should be placed in plain view) Tell the children to find the apple,
and then let them hide the apple.

Apple Hide and Seek
Play the game the same as above, except really hide the Apple. Then
tell them whether they are "hot" or "cold" to the relation of the
Apple.   Let her hide the apple and have me find it, and she
says hot or cold. 

Visit Apple Orchard/Pumpkin Patch

lots of printable
Fall Books

Monday, September 19, 2005

Africa WebCam

National Geographic Botswana live webcam

They are 6 hours ahead of us, so it is almost dark there now, but
during the mornings here, this is really really really cool to
watch.  It is a motion sensored live camera and it is
awesome.  We got to see a baby elephant and her mother drinking
this morning.


This week we're doing the Community
unit study.  Today we learned about firefighters and
policemen.  After reading a couple books, we did some water
experiments, since firefighters use water.  I filled up 2 glasses
of water, and in one glass I added a ton of salt.  While we were
stirring the salt, we talked about dissolving, and how salt and sugar
dissolve, but sand wouldn't.   Then, we put an egg in the
plain water, and it sank.  Then we put the egg in the salty water,
and it floated.  (I thought that was cool LOL).   Then
we experimented with items that would or wouldn't absorb water.  I
used a sponge, washcloth, plastic bag, piece of wood and a shoelace.

After that they did a couple crafts - gluing tissue paper down in a
fire collage, and then fire painting.   This was kind of cool
to do, and Alysa liked squishing the paint around underneath the
plastic wrap.   And I liked it b/c she stayed clean
LOL.  There was actually so much paint on the plastic wrap after
we pulled it off, that I put it on another plain piece of paper and
smoothed it out and took it off.  I think that one turned out even
cooler than the first one.  The first one is on top, the second
one is on bottom.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

This week

This week we're going to be learning about our neighborhood and community.  Neighborhood Unit Study  5 Day Plan

The weather is supposed to be nice this week, so I think we'll be
taking a few field trips around town.   Living 2 blocks from
downtown has its advantages LOL.  We're also going to work on
being a bit more scheduled, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Oriental Trading Company

I just recieved my OTC catalog in the mail
and it had tons of fall/thanksgiving/christmas crafts in it.   A
lot of stuff for scrapbooking, too LOL.  You can get a catalog, or
just look at their online catalog here,  Oriental Trading Company 
They have a lot of crafts for younger kids.   And since most of
them are fairly simple, you can figure out how to do them just from the
picture.  So there are lots of ideas for crafts, even without
buying them all.  But for the ones you do want, they are really

Friday, September 16, 2005

Little Miss Muffet

sat on her tuffet, eating her toads and whey.   
That's how Alysa has been saying it all day and now she's teaching
Aiden to say it like that, too.  LOL.  It's too cute.

2 weeks done

I didn't realize how tiring this was going
to be.  I think after I finish getting the activities in a baggie
done this weekend, that will help somewhat with Aiden.  He wants
to do everything Alysa does, but then gets bored and wanders around and
gets into trouble, or just whines and whines 

I also vastly underestimated Alysa's perseverance.   She
doesn't like finishing things if she doesn't like what she's then she does something like this, when I make her finish...

So I've had to ease up a bit.    The first week they
really didn't watch many videos like they usually do, and I think such
a sharp withdrawl was hard, so they've watched a few more this
week.   At least half of them this week have been educational
ones.  Getting on a better schedule will help, too, I think.

So we haven't really done any math yet, or started her reading lessons,
which that I really want to do, and so does she.   I think I
might try a day or two of them next week and see how she
does.    I got my free reading rods sample in the mail
this week, and she loved those. 

I also got some huge, thick free book catalogs in the mail today. 
Actually they were FedExed, which was cool.  They were from Perfection Learning
which was listed in the Well-Trained Mind as a good
resource.   They look like it.   That will be fun
to sit down tonight and look through that.


Want to hear something gross???  If a
single pair of houseflies mate in April, and the female lays some eggs,
and all of the eggs hatch into larvae and become adults, and they all
mate and lay eggs.......and this goes on just for one
summer..........and the end of that summer, that single pair of flies
would have produced 190,000,000,000,000,000,000 flies.  

Is that not the grossest thing?    That doesn't happen,
obviously.....but for that potential to even be there??? 
Sometimes you have to wonder what God was thinking

We've pretty much finished up our insects for the week.  There are
a couple crafts we haven't done that we'll probably do tomorrow - the
bouncing grasshopper and the tp roll wasps colony.

We just finished the paper mache insects.   I didn't realize
what a huge project that was going to be.   But they look
cool, the kids had fun, and Alysa got to do paper mache for the first
time.  Which is really my goal in all of this -  not to
really teach her anything, but just to expose her to lots of
stuff.   They wanted to put glitter on the bugs, so we
did...the glue is still wet in the pictures, that's why there is white
swirls all over the bugs - it will dry clear eventually.  We made
an ant, a ladybug, and a jumping spider.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Creation bracelet

I saw this posted somewhere else and thought it was a cool thing to do. 

the following beads: colored beads, animal beads, flower beads, star
beads, and fish beads.  Use a pipe cleaner for the bracelet, and
string the beads.  A yellow bead for day 1, a blue bead for day 2,
a flower bead for day 3, a star bead for day 4, a fish bead for day 5,
an animal bead for day 6, and a purple bead for day 7, representing
God's royalty resting.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Insect Bingo

may take awhile to load, depending on your computer and internet
connection.  The first one is a blank bingo template, and the
other 4 are Insect Bingo cards that I made up.   I got all
the clip art from
Arthur's Insect Clip Art - an awesome site.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bugs, bugs, bugs

This week we're doing the Insect/Spider study.  I don't know why I'm doing this....these bugs are so gross!!   I mean in the beetle book, they show the dung beetle.  Feasting on a nice, slimy, wet piece of......well, you know.   
I keep my opinions to myself, tho....not influencing the
kids.   It's funny what they think is gross
though.   There was a picture of a bunch of black and yellow
striped caterpillars - I thought they were cute.   But Alysa
thought they looked 'ucky'.  But the picture of the maggots didn't
phase her a bit

We had a crafty day today.  I am exhausted
In between sneaking peaks at the confirmation hearings (which you can
watch live on, we finished up their African drums. 
(lesson learned....don't use bright red plastic cups.   White
tissue paper doesn't cover well LOL)

Then, I blew up ballons to make paper mache insects.  We are
making a ladybug, a spider, and an ant.  So while Aiden took a
nap, Alysa and I paper mached the balloons.   They take
forever to dry, so I have them sitting (setting???) on my air
conditioner vents.   I'll have to put a couple more layers on
tonight.    Those are going to be cute when they are all

Then, Alysa watched Magic School Bus Spins a Web, and made a ladybug
necklace while she watched.  This turned out cute. 

And, Little Hands to Heaven came today.   That looks like it's going to be a cool program to do with the kids.

Congo hippos disappearing

I just read this AP article - goes along with the Africa study.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

887 hippos are left in Congo, once home to the world's largest
population of the water-loving mammal, and they will be extinct in the
African country, an international environmental group warned Monday.

Hippos are being killed by government soldiers, local militia and poachers, the World Wildlife Fund said. The meat is sold as food while teeth end up as part of the illegal ivory trade. Hippos fetch around $50 per animal.

latest aerial survey puts the hippopotamus population in northeastern
Congo's Virunga National Park down to under 1,000 animals, compared to
some 29,000 in 1974. The last survey in 2003 counted 1,307.

continued presence of soldiers and armed groups in the park — a UNESCO
World Heritage Site with a 400-mile-long boundary — has made it
difficult to protect the animals, the WWF said.

"Soldiers are left in the park without being fed nor paid and that's a recipe for disaster," said Marc Languy, who heads WWF's regional program.

a five-year war in this central African country, the postwar
transitional government has had little success in calming the east,
where killings, looting and rapes continue almost unabated.

last month, the hippopotamus survey was carried out by the Congolese
Institute for Conservation of Nature, the European Union and WWF.

disappearance of hippos also triggers serious secondary effects for the
population, the WWF said. Because hippo dung provides vital nutrients
for the fish in Lake Edward, its absence has led to a rapid decline of
the lake's fish stocks.

the government does not take the hippo situation in Virunga seriously,
this will not only lead to an environmental disaster, but also to an
economic crisis for local communities," Languy said.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Amazing slide show of New Orleans

this isn't preschool related but you have to take a look at this.   New Orleans slideshow

197 pictures from before to 5 days in.  He has comments describing all the pictures as well.  Amazing.

Book sale finds!

Today, I went to a book sale, and hit the
jackpot.   It started at
9, and I knew I should have gotten there right at 9, but I didn't get
there until about 10:30.   Halfway thru, I saw this 12 or 13
yo kid who
had a pile of about 50 books....all of them greek and roman classics,
and various other classics.    He said he was going
through and picking
out which ones he wanted......but I never saw his discarded pile, so I
think he bought them all.  Good for him, bad for me
LOL.     But I
still got a lot of good books!  Almost all of the kids books are
hardbacks, in fairly good condition.  They're all older editions,
I like.  I think these types of books are perfect condition for
reading.  You can read them, and the kids can read them, without
fear of ruining them or getting the pages smudged up a tad, but yet
they aren't old enough where they are in danger of falling apart.
  And, they're cheap.  So, if something does happen to the
book, you're not out anything. 

I got The Trumpet of the Swan, A Little Princess, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, Perrault's Complete Fairy Tales, an abridged version of Ben-Hur
(I like the idea that you read an abridged version when you're a kid, a
slightly more advanced version in jr high-ish, and then in high school
you read the actual version, and then it isn't intimidating b/c you
already know the story), Uncle Arthur's Bedtime Stories, an abridged Sinbad the Sailor, a cool older book of nursery rhymes, Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, a kid's version of The Nutcracker, a 1956 oversized Golden Book of Science
- this one is so cool.  Aiden has already paged through it several
times.  I found a coloring book of children of the world, that has
hardly been colored in.   It has nice, big drawings of people all
over the world in their native clothes.  So I thought that will
come in handy to make copies of and let the kids color.

 I also got - Walden, a book of selected poetry by Blake, Wessex Tales by Thomas Hardy, short stories of Stephen Crane, Grapes of Wrath, a large selection of poetry and prose by Percy Bysshe Shelley, House of Seven Gables - Hawthorne (if you ever get a chance to go out to Mass. and see it, it's very pretty), Plato's Republic (somehow that kid missed this one LOL), My Life
by Golda Meir (highly recommend - fascinating woman), a large
collection of literature from the Medieval Ages, and the crowning book
I found today - The Federalist Papers
I have been wanting to read these since I read John Adams by McCullough
a couple of months ago.  This book is in brand new condition
(aside from being 50 or 60 years old LOL).   And I found it in the
Science section - someone must have just set it down.  I was so
thrilled to find it LOL.   And, the best part was........all of
those books only cost $18!!! 

quick summary of our first week.

Well our first week is over - 1 week down, 20 years to go.  
I found that the days we were more scheduled tended to go a bit
smoother, so I'm going to have to work on that.  A few notes about
the Africa study - doing the stripes on the zebras freehand is a pain
to make a matching pair.   I'd recommend doing it in a
photo-editing program.  The Sweet Potato cookies were very
good.  I was surprised.  The kids keep scarfing them
down.  The homemade ginger   It had slightly
too much of a ginger aftertaste for me, although I bet that could be
remedied by adding more water or sugar or lemon juice.   The kids
liked it for awhile, too, which I was surprised by.   I think
their favorite thing to do was do the coloring pages and watch
audio/video clips on the computer.  Next week should be fun!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Fly On the Wall - Our First Day of Preschool

In perfect timing, I've been tagged!

have to tell what your day TODAY was like...really! Not what you wish
it'd been like or what you'd planned for it to be like, but how it
really turned out. Be sure to title it "Fly on the Wall" so we can look
for those blogs. Tag about five or so friends and we can all have fun
being a fly on the wall of someone else's homeschool for a day.
Answer these questions yourself and then send this to five other people.
Are you following any special diet right now? If so, what?
What food do you love that others usually think is gross?
How many magazines do you personally subscribe to?
What is your most favorite article of clothing, and how often do you wear it?
Do either you or your husband still have clothes from High School or
college hanging in your closet? If yes- do they still fit?
What book are you reading right now?
Name an odd thing you have on your kitchen or bathroom counter.

learned 3 things today.   1, letting Alysa stay up late is
not a good idea.   She was so ornery this morning.  So
we kind of had an easy day, which is a good way to ease into this, I
suppose.   2, Teaching a 4 year old to follow directions and
finish something, when she's never really had to before - will take
some time.  And 3, her bossiness finally has an up side LOL. 
The couple of times she wanted to quit after about 5 minutes, I got her to finish by teaching Aiden.  She loved that.

I realized that I made a 5 day study for Africa, and it's a 4 day
week.   So I'm kind of combining things somewhat.  
The first thing we did was read about Africa and Hippos.  Then
they colored their maps and painted with watercolors on the hippo
coloring pages.  I think it's the first time Aiden has painted
with a brush before, and he really did good - I was impressed. 
(notice the wonderful coloring job he did on my floor the other

Then we looked at some video
and audio of hippos on the computer, and then did a little math. 
She did a couple pages in a math book I picked up at a garage sale a
year or two ago.   I think it's actually a 1st grade math book -
but it's pretty easy.  I hope I'm wrong and it really is a Kdg
book, for those poor kids at school's sake. 
I wanted her to do a few more pages but she was getting ornery so I
decided not to push it.  Instead she played a math FFG.  
Which she didn't want to do, but when I had her teach Aiden to match
them, she liked it a little better.   (And, of course, as I'm
typing this up at 6:00 at night, she found another FFG on the couch and
is sitting and playing with it, and loving it.  LOL)  

After that, I let them watch a
video while they had "munchables" (Alysa's word).   I made
homemade Lunchables for them -  lots cheaper and a little
healtheir LOL.   And then they had a nice nap.   We
worked for about an hour and a half this morning, and I had figured on
about 2, 2 1/2 hours, which I think will be about right on when I
usually do everything I have planned.   I'm planning on the
couple of hours in the morning, and then an hour or so in the afternoon
after their nap, when we'll do Little Hands to Heaven - that should be
coming next week - I'm excited to see that one.

After they got
up from their nap, we did a little bit more.  They painted with
these textured toys we have, and that morphed into fingerpainting (and
clothes painting  and body painting...not to mention the door and the floor), so after a bath, we finished up by listening to African music
and making rain sticks.  Which seems like a good idea, but boy are
those annoying LOL.  And yes, they wanted to get into their
pajamas after their bath.   And then they went and played
outside for a couple hours.

It was nice having them stay fairly
occupied all day and it was fun doing all that stuff with them.  A
little more tiring than I would have thought.   It was nice
having the tv off a lot more during the day, too. 

Ok - other questions part:

Are you following any special diet right now? If so, what?  Not
really.   I read South Beach Diet awhile ago and liked a lot
of their ideas, just as far as eating healtheir, but it is more
$$$.    We have cut out a lot of red meat tho, and eat a
lot of beans and rice.   When I remember to soak them all day
first.  And we eat some salmon....which tastes fine to me but the
thought of eating fish grosses me out, so I have to force myself to
make it.

What food do you love that others usually think is gross? I can't think of any.   But I have an opposite one - I hate bread and rarely eat it.  

How many magazines do you personally subscribe to? 4.  
2 were presents, 1 was free, and 1 gave me a lot of free stuff
LOL.   I have Somerset Magazine, Scrapbooks ETC, PCPhoto -
love love this one.   This is my free one, and I might
actually pay for it to be renewed.  And then The Old Schoolhouse.

What is your most favorite article of clothing, and how often do you wear it?  I don't have a specific one; I have a few comfy shirts that I've had for years and I wear them a lot.

Do either you or your husband still have clothes from High School or
college hanging in your closet? If yes- do they still fit? See
above, LOL.   Yes, but in all fairness, we've only been out
of high school for 5 years.   But a good portion of our
clothes are still from then and still fit and look good.

What book are you reading right now? Abigail
Adams, The Way They Learn, Well-Trained Mind, some novels by Stephanie
Grace Whitson, Roseanne Bittner, and W. Dale Cramer.

Name an odd thing you have on your kitchen or bathroom counter. 
I wish I had a bathroom counter.   On the kitchen, some dried-out
tea bags.   I'm going to open them up and dump out the tea, and
use the bags in my art stuff.  Except if I don't move them
upstairs to my craft room fast enough after they dry out, dh throws
them away 

Thursday, September 1, 2005

some finished file folder games

Someone told me a better, quieter way to do FFG's than velcro.  Glue thin washers underneath each piece, and then on the top piece, glue a piece of magnet.   These are the coolest things!!!

Why We Homeschool

I have contemplated making a list of reasons why I will never put my kids in public school, but have never done so.   I have finally had it, and am going to start keeping a list of reasons.   Every time I hear of an incident in a public school, I'm going to add it to my list of reasons.

The first reason is a school about 20 minutes away from me.  In the 4th grade, the teacher hands out a piece of paper to the kids and tells them to answer the questions.   The questions ask things such as 'how much tv time do you have at home', 'how much time do you spend on the computer' 'what does your mother cook with - oil, lard, butter', etc.......     Then, they proceed to line the students up and weigh them, in front of their peers.   The weighing is done at every grade level - I don't know about the worksheet; I know that is at least done in the 4th grade classes.   The reason for all of this?    Obesity in children.  Um, ok.  Since when is it the school's responsibility to make sure kids aren't getting fat?   I thought they were supposed to educate the kids.   Not line them up and give these kids more ammunition to bully each other for how fat some of them may be.  Before the schools start butting in where they have no business being, how about they work on their own lunch menus first?  How about serving the kids a healthy lunch?    Oh, and you want to hear the height of irony with this particular school?   The P.E. teacher weighs over 400 lbs, and they had to build him a special bench in the gym.      But yet they feel free to invade the privacy of all of these families, demanding to know how they live their lives.  

My brother-in-law is a senior in high school.  He just started school, and his first assignment for his Global Studies class is to draw a world map and label it with lots of well-known landmarks - like Nile River, Himalayas, label the continents and oceans, etc.   You would think this would be a relatively easy task for 11th and 12th graders.  You would hope it would be, at least.  But, alas, no, it isn't.   The world map was up on an overhead, and it started with Europe on the left side, and stretched all the way over to North America on the right side.   The kids were supposed to go up to the front and label things.     B/c the map was 'switched' (not having the US on the left side where some flat maps typically start), these kids couldn't figure out which was Africa and which was South America.  They couldn't figure out where the Pacific or Atlantic oceans were.    Someone thought Asia was only India, Korea and Japan.........need I go on?     In a few short years, these kids will be businessmen, teachers, and engineers.   Scary thought, huh?

My dh's coworker has a son who is now in kindergarten.   Requirements for kindergarten acceptance nowadays?    Be able to write your name in both capital and lowercase letters, count to 10 (that one is reasonable), and know all the phonetic sounds of the alphabet.  Knowing all the phonetic sounds before entering kindergarten???????????   That used to be the whole POINT of kindergarten!!!!!!!!   Not to mention that for boys, especially, they are not developmentally ready to be able to write their name at 5 years old.  What a way to frustrate them and make them hate school, right off the bat.    You know,  I could kind of understand this reasoning, if our schools had a rigorous curriculum.   But it doesn't!    There is no reason to be pushing these kids this hard, this early.  Somehow I doubt knowing all your phonetic sounds before kindergarten is not going to insure that you know basic world geography at age 18.

Another reason that I'm glad I'm homeschooling is that I really won't have to worry about gross things such as lice, impetigo, or ringworm.

Public schools only allow kids to check out books that are on their reading level.  And until you are formally assessed to see what your reading level is, you are only allowed to check out books at your grade level.    So if you are in 2nd grade, even if you read at a 5th grade level, until they assess that, you will only be allowed to check out books at a 2nd grade level.  They say that they don't want kids picking out books that are too hard for them.  Whatever happened to challenging kids?  When you challenge what you read, and read words that you don't know, you get better.  Why be satisfied with what you can just do?  And what determines what book is at what grade level?  minimum standards is what.  It is just unbelievable to me that schools will not allow kids to read anything except what is the minimum standard.  How very educating.

1895 8th grade exam

This is the eighth-grade final exam from 1895 from Salina, KS. USA.

It was taken from the original document on file at the Smoky Valley

Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, KS and reprinted by the

Salina Journal.

8th Grade Final Exam: Salina, KS - 1895

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.

2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.

3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.

4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.

5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.

6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7 - 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.

2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?

3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu., deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?

4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary
levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104
for incidentals?

5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.

6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.

7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per m?

8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.

9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per are, the distance around which is 640 rods?

10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.

2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.

3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.

4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.

5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.

6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of theRebellion.

7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?

8. Name events connected with the following dates:






Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, syllabication?

2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?

3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?

4. Give four substitutes for caret 'u'.

5. Give two rules for spelling words with final 'e'. Name two exceptions under each rule.

6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.

7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono,super.

8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name
the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd,cell,
rise, blood, fare, last.

9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane,fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.

10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced andindicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?

2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?

3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is theocean?

4. Describe the mountains of North America.

5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver,
Manitoba,Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fermandez, Aspinwall and

6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.

7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.

8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?

9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.

10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

Gives a whole new meaning to 'he only had an 8th grade education'.

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