Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Homeschool Quest: What Does It Take to be a Good Student?

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If your child is homeschooled or attends a public or private school, there are still some common tips that will help them become a good student. I am sharing a modified version of my Class Rules and Expectations from the years I was a high school teacher. 

Daily routine

Following a daily routine is a good first step into being a good student.  
  • Be punctual
  • Have all necessary materials at hand 
  • Be aware of what is required each day - read instructions, listen to verbal directions, or begin a daily activity
  • If applicable…have homework ready to be turned in or checked. If you need to turn it in via an online system, make sure you click that 'button' that turns it in for you. 

Class Rules 

If you attend school, almost all teachers have the same rules. And even if you are homeschooled, some of these will still apply (while others will obviously not apply to a homeschool setting):

1.     Respect each other and your teacher.
2.     One person speaks at a time.
3.     Be prepared to contribute to class each day.
4.     Plagiarism is not tolerated.
5.     Unacceptable language and discriminatory or threatening remarks are not tolerated.
6.     All rules and polices are as laid out in your school's student handbook. 

Other ways to be respectful in a classroom:

1)   If you have a textbook or other course books, bring them to class and maintain them. Bringing your books is important because they are good references and having them covered helps protect it for the future and against any fines you might incur.
2)    Please do not bring food or drinks into the classroom.  Most schools do not allow you to have these items in your classroom.  Plus if it spills, your room might attract insects or other pests which are no fun to be around.
3)    Please leave cell phones in your lockers or have them switched off during class unless your teacher is asking you to use them for class. Every phone has a silent option and I recommend you leave yours silent.  If your teacher asks you to use your cellphone for an assignment, use it for the assignment and not to check social media, sports news or to text your friend or family member. In almost all cases, you will be able to wait 40 minutes until the end of class to see what your best friend wanted to tell you.
4)    Please do not open or put on lotion, perfume, cologne or hair spray in the classroom. This is just a respectful way to show your classmates and your teachers that you see the classroom as a place to learn and not a place to beautify yourself.  Plus some of your classmates or teachers may be allergic to certain scents.  



Do NOT plagiarize. Do NOT copy from another student, website, or book.  Your work must be original.  All projects should be accompanied by a work cited page or bibliography. If you think someone might accuse you of copying, create a work cited page even if it is not needed. 

Class Requirements

If you attend public or private school or a course at a homeschool co-op, you will need certain items for each class or teacher. 

What you do you need for class?  Listen to your teacher and buy what they request. They often have reasons why they like certain things like a three-ring binder to a 5-subject notebook. For example, when I taught World History, I required my students to have a three-ring binder because we had lots of worksheets to include in our unit studies.  

If you can't afford the class requirement, ask for help.  Your teacher may have extra materials.  

Organization is a must when it comes to wanting to get good grades or just passing that class.  Find a system that works for you (and that doesn’t mean leaving everything on the bottom of your backpack or locker). 

Being a Good Student Contract

Most teachers require you to sign a class contract or keep a copy of the class rules in your folder or notebook. These are some basic guidelines that will help you excel as a student if you follow them daily. 

1)      I will be ready to work.
2)      I will follow directions the first time they are given.
3)      I will bring all necessary materials to class including:
a.    a pen or pencil
b.    my three-ring binder, notebook, loose-leaf paper, etc
c.    my homework
d.    my textbook covered
e.    other materials as requested. 
4)      I will always try.
5)      If I am absent, it is my responsibility to:
a.      get the notes from a classmate or my teacher before/after school.
b.      turn in homework from the date of my absence(s).
c.      schedule a quiz or test make up.
d.      pick up new homework or worksheets.
6)      I will not plagiarize or copy for anyone (including my classmates, siblings, friends, books, or the Internet).

Every tip or suggestion may not apply to every child but they are a good place to start on one's journey to becoming a good student. 

If you are looking for more assistance in education or homeschooling, you might enjoy my posts on back to school essentials, homeschooling a high school student, or top five tips for studying history. 


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Learning Together: Weather Bottles

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In order to help our children learn about weather, we created different weather bottles together.

plastic bottles



My daughter put cotton balls, snowflake sequins and beads into this bottle to represent a snowy day.
This is a great craft for helping your little ones develop their fine motor skills.


We placed torn up tissue paper and blue beads to represent clouds and rain.

Sunny Day

We placed torn up blue tissue paper for the sky and a yellow pom-pom for the sun into this bottle. 

You could also make ones for cloudy days, hail storms, hurricanes, clear sunny days among others.  If your children are older, they could help you collect materials from craft drawers and boxes.

Once complete, you can glue the lids onto the bottles to prevent your little ones from opening them.


Kids DIYS' Weather Bottles
Teacher 2 and 3 Year Old's Weather Bottles 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Crafts: Veggie Tales: Stained Glass

Veggie Tales characters

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Since our toddlers are really enjoying the Veggies Tales series, we decided to create both Bob and Larry as stained glass art for the windows. They also looked great for our birthday party.

Larry the Cucumber There are several examples online but I wanted to use the materials we had in the house so our creations are modified.  



1. Draw or trace your characters onto one sheet of the transparency paper. (I recommend just tracing them all in black.  The tissue paper will add the necessary color to your creations.) 

Bob Tomato

2. Tear or cut the tissue paper into small pieces.  Your children can help you with this step if you wish. 

3. Spread glue onto the reverse side of the transparencies.  (You want your image to be opposite.)

4. Attach the appropriate color tissue paper onto the transparency.

5. After it is dry, you can cut it out. Trim it to cut off the excess paper.

6.  Attach a second blank sheet onto the back to create more stability. 


I Can Teach My Child's Bob and Larry (Stained Glass)

Veggie Tale's Official page had a link to templates on their page (I used their stained glass activity and their coloring pages as templates. They change what free activities are available, so check back often.) 


I linked up with the following blog(s):

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Farm Themed Birthday Party

For my daughter's second birthday, we planned a Farm Themed Party to celebrate her big day. A lot of my inspiration came from not only farm related items but also Easter related treats and decorations.

Here is a link to my Pinterest Board: Party Ideas - Farm.



Pulled Pork Sandwiches

We boiled our pork for about 8 hours, shredded it, and then the next day heated it in the slow cooker with BBQ Sauce.

Shredded Chicken Sandwiches

We used McCormick's Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning Mix to season our chicken in the crock-pot.

Roast Beef Sandwiches 

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law brought a crock pot full of yummy roast beef for sandwiches. My 3 year old really enjoyed having these as leftover sandwiches for dinner. 

Deviled Eggs Spread & Crackers

I used Blessed Beyond a Doubt's recipe for Best Deviled Egg Spread.

Cheese and Crackers

Presented in a washed egg carton. The crackers were a huge hit with my two littles.

corn muffins

party food



1. After baking, I separated some of the white icing to dye it pink for the pigs.

2. After icing the cupcakes, we decorated them with a variety of materials.


3. Pigs: We used pink jellybeans, candy eyes, brown Reese's pieces, and pink mini-marshmallows for the pigs.

4. Chickens: We used brown Reese's pieces, red and orange jellybeans, and candy eyes for the chickens.

5. Cows: We used black jellybeans, pink mini-marshmallows, candy eyes, and brown Reese's pieces for the cows.

6: Sheep: We use pink and white mini-marshmallows, candy eyes, pink jellybeans, and brown Reese's pieces for the sheep.


I used an example I had seen for Easter as a starting point to make our own lamb cake.

1. After baking the cake, we iced it.

2. We used a little red food dye to color two marshmallows cut in half for ears.

3.  We used a variety of jelly beans for the eyes and mouth.

Peeps and Corn 


1. After cleaning an egg carton, I put white jelly beans in the bottom for eggs and placed edible grass on the top as hay.

2.  Then I placed peeps and worms in the container.

 3. For the corn, we made individual baggies of popped corn and attached green tissue paper on the outside to give the appearance of the leaves and stalks.

popcorn, apples

Games and Crafts 

I created several barnyard animals from milk, juice, and soda bottles to allow the kids to bowl.

I also painted a box to imitate a cow's hide so they could play toss.  I used bulletin board milk glasses (left over from a milk and cookie set in which I used the cookies for my son's Sesame Street Party) to create an item they would toss into the box.  I simply traced the glasses onto cardboard and then cut out the shapes.  After they were glued on, they had just enough weight to make it easy for the kids (5 and under) to toss into the box.

Chicken Craft

I made the sample (on the top) before the party using my daughter's hand.  At the party, my son and his two cousins made their roosters to take home.


To decorate our door, I used bulletin board conversation bubbles from the dollar store to write down animal sounds.  I also had animal pictures that the children could match up to the correct sound as a game.

I made several barnyard animals to hang in our house.  My daughter called this one "the sad cow."


The chicken and pig were in the kitchen. 

The sheep was in the dining room.

I also made four animals out of construction paper to decorate our kitchen and dining room: cow, lamb, horse, and pig.

We made these before the party. They look a little more like bunnies but that is okay. 

My daughter and her 'baby' cousin.

My toddlers made this hand-print chicken art to help decorate as well as the other crafts below.



Buggy and Buddy's Farm Animal Windsocks 
Teachers Pay Teachers' Farm Cut and Paste Set
Danya Banya's Paper Plate Sheep Mask
Craft Ideas' Paper Hen 
My Party Ideas - Farm Pinterest Board for more ideas.
A Mom's Quest to Teach Pig Paper Plate Craft 
A Mom's Quest to Teach Toilet Paper Roll Chicks