Category: Thing 1

{School Pictures} : 2014-2015

Although the boys don’t go to school and I take a lot of pictures of the boys already, it is nice to take a few to commemorate our school year.  Today, the boys were dressed up nicer than normal, it is Sunday and we do make them look a little nicer than usual for church.  So without further ado here are “our school pictures.”

Thing 1 : 2nd grade (Age 7)




Thing 2 : Kindergarten (Age 5)




Thing 3 : Preschool (Age 4)




Happy school year!

Curriculum 2014-2015

We technically started our new school year back in April, however I never got around to posting the curriculum we are using this year.  While I may have a curriculum that we are following, I very rarely follow the curriculum the way it was designed to be used.  I am notorious for using curriculum as a guide, but creating the lessons on my own to better suit my boys and their interest.

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All Together :

Since Thing 1 and Thing 2 are so close in age and since they have similar interest in has made it easy for me to combine several subjects this year.  Thing 3 also joins us in many of these subjects.

Science : REAL Science Odyssey – Earth & Space Science

History : Story of the World Vol. 3 & Vol. 4

Geography : We will be focusing on the United States this year.  We will be using pieces from Road Trip USA by Erica at Confessions of a Homeshcooler, however most of it will be things that I have created.

Writing : I have created a simple writing curriculum to introduce them to the different types of writing.  However, we will be spending most of our time on creative writing.  Getting those crazy thoughts out on paper in some organized manner.

Art : Artistic Pursuits 1 & other fun arts and crafts that we do with the homeschool group I started here in Georgia.

Language : I will be introducing them to Sign Language and Spanish.

PE : The boys play golf almost weekly with Daddy Cameron.  I will be coaching both Thing 1 and Thing 2 in Soccer this year.  I also spend about 30 minutes a day introducing and playing other sports with them.

Nature Study : We now live on 11 acres, where nature study is as easy as walking out the front, back, garage or basement door.  We also have a couple of state parks with great hiking nearby.

Other : As I mentioned earlier, I have once again started a homeschool group here in Georgia.  So we will be doing activities at least 1-2 times a week with the group.

Also, now that all our summer travels are over, I am hoping to have the boys spend some time on a project of their choosing.  They may work individually or together.  I want them to work on something that is completely of their choosing.  They choose the topic and which direction it will go.


Thing 1 : 2nd Grade

Math : Singapore Math (US Edition) 3A & 3B.  We only buy the student workbooks.  I create and teach the lesson and use the workbooks as extra practice.

Reading : Thing 1 chooses the book he wants to read aloud to me or his brothers.  We also do family read alouds of the classics.  He will also reading some books on his own and telling me about them.

Handwriting : Handwriting is copywork, but instead of copying passages from books, Thing 1 dictates sentences to me that he then copies.

Grammar : First Language Lesson – Level 2.  We used First Language Lessons – Level 1 last year and had great success.

Other : Thing 1 also works with the WeDo LEGO Robotics set that he got as a Christmas present.


Thing 2 : Kindergarten

Math : Saxon Math 2.  Much like Thing 1 I create & teach the lessons and use the workbooks for extra practice.

Reading : Thing 2 has worked through every BOB Book over the last 8 weeks and then he will be moving on to early readers that he will get to choose. He also listens to the family read alouds.

Handwriting : Also like Thing 1, Thing 2 dictates a sentence to me which he copies.

Grammar : First Language Lesson – Level 1.  Thing 2 already knows a lot of what we are working on in this book simply because he listened last year, while I was working with Thing 1.

Music : Thing 2 will be starting guitar lesson, since I have finally been able to find a place that will let him start at 5.

Thing 3 : Preschool

Thing 3 goes through phases where he wants to do school like his brothers and other times he wants nothing to do with it.  So right now, he has no set anything.  I am just kind of going with the flow with him.  If he wants to do something “school like” I have plenty of games, workbooks, and stuff on hand to give him.


This list has changed since we started this school year in April, I am positive it will change again.  As we move through the year, things change, the boys change, our commitments change, interest change, so I have learned to be flexible and to go with the flow.  If something isn’t working I am no longer afraid to change it.  Homeschooling has definitely made me a much more flexible person.


What does your year look like?

{Art} : Jackson Pollock Art

I had been waiting for a warm day so that the boys and I could do some Jackson Pollock inspired drip painting.  This is a messy, but really pretty cool way to paint that is perfect for boys. 

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I started our activity by reading a little bit about Jackson Pollock and showing the boys images of his work.  It was really interesting to hear what the boys saw within Pollock’s work.  In one painting, Thing 1 said he saw tree branches.  In another he saw what looked like concrete.

I set Thing 1 and Thing 3 in the grass with some watercolor paper (because it was what I had and it is thicker than regular paper), a bucket of paint brushes and paints (red, yellow, and blue).  I explained to the boys he worked and set them loose.

Here is Thing 1’s first work.  It took him a little bit to get into his work.

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Here is Thing 1’s second work.  While he was working he said that painting this way was like sword fighting.  Of course, he would relate to sword fighting, because that is what we do.

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Here is Thing 3’s attempt.  He didn’t quiet get the whole concept, but he really enjoyed watching Thing 1 go crazy with the paints.

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I have really enjoyed doing art projects with the boys over the last few weeks.  I am also thankful for all the space we have to do such projects.  Thing 1 really gets into the art, once he gets started.

How have you studied Jackson Pollock?


Solar Oven S’mores

My goal for the school year is to do some fun science activities with the boys, on top of Thing 1’s regular science curriculum.  We really like science around here!

Today we made Solar Oven S’mores.

solar oven smores

Solar Oven S’mores
(found directions {HERE})

Supplies:smores,collegetri 005
Pizza Box
craft knife
Aluminum Foil
Glue stick
Black Construction Paper
Clear Packing Tape
Clear Plastic (I used 2 1-gallon zipper bags)
Graham Crackers
Chocolate bars
Ruler, stick or dowel (used to hold box open)



1. On the top of the pizza box, draw 3 sides of a square on the pizza box approximately 1 inch from the edge.  You do not want to draw a line on the edge of the box where the fold is.  Use a craft knife to cut out the three sides of  the square that you drew.

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2.  Glue aluminum foil to the bottom (what would be the inside of the box) of the flap. Make sure the shiny side of the foil is showing. Try to keep it as wrinkle free as possible.

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3. Glue aluminum foil to the bottom of the pizza box.

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4. Then tape a piece of black construction paper on top of the foil that is on the bottom of the pizza box.

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5.  Cut the zipper top off the top of two zipper bags.  Next cut down the sides of each bag so that you have two flat sheets of clear plastic.  Then, lay the bags flat and tape them together so that you have a larger sheet of clear plastic.

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6.  Take your large sheet of clear plastic and tape it to the underside of the lid to close the hole that was created by the flap.  You might have to trim the plastic.  You want to try and seal it as airtight as possible to trap in the most heat.

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7.  Take your solar oven outdoors and place it in direct sunlight with the flap opened toward the sun.  To make one s’more you will want to place a piece of chocolate on one graham cracker and a marshmallow on the other.

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8.  Close the lid to the box and then use a ruler to prop open the flap.

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9.  Depending on how hot it is you can have yummy s’mores within 30 minutes to an hour. Enjoy!

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The first batch of s’mores we made we let sit in the 95 degree heat for 45 minutes.  The chocolate was really hot, Thing 2 accidentally touched it and said it hurt.  The marshmallows were gooey on the inside, which made them easy to assemble.

The second batch only sat out for about 15 minutes in the 95 degree heat.  As before, the chocolate way pretty hot, however the marshmallow was not nearly a gooey.

We came to the conclusion that we should put the marshmallows out first so that they had a long time to get gooey and then add the chocolate at the end since is so stinkin’ hot outside.

This experiment also lead to an interesting discussion on how black absorbs the light and converts it to heat, thus the reason for the black paper at the bottom.  We also talked about how it is important when you are going to be outside on such a hot day to try and wear light colors so that your clothing is not absorbing the light.

Also, when we went back to do the second batch of s’mores we noticed that we could see each graham cracker square from the first batch on the paper.  The black paper that wasn’t covered by the graham crackers had faded.  So this lead to a discussion about sunscreen and how it protects us from the sun.  We will probably do an experiment soon using different sunscreens.

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Over the next few days I am sure we will find a few other things to make it our solar oven.  What ideas do you have?


It finally clicked…

This year I have really been focusing a lot of time on helping Thing 1 learn to read.  He has always loved to look at books.  He has been “reading” books by looking at the picture for years now.  Although he was making great progress, it just often seemed like torture to get him to read.  When I would get him started he would do fine, but getting him started was the problem.

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However yesterday things changed.  Yesterday afternoon the boys and I had to run a few errands.  As we were getting ready to leave the boys found some beginning readers that I had recently bought.  So they each took a couple of books and headed to the car.

I expected the boys to do what they usually do, which was to look through all the pictures in the book.  Thing 1 had a snake book and suddenly decided that he was going to try to tell me about what he was looking at.  However instead of describing what he was seeing, he started to read the words.  Next thing I know he is reading the snake book to me, with very little assistance needed from me.

Next he asked to look at the Alvin and the Chipmunks book that Thing 2 had chosen.  I soon hear Thing 1 ask Thing 2 if he wanted him to read him the Alvin book.  We finished up our errands to the sound of Thing 1 reading to everyone in the car.

When we arrived home he got out of the car and exclaimed that he loved reading, especially to his brothers.  I was in shock.  This was coming from the same kid, who that morning I had to ask 50 times to come read with me.  It was a complete 180.

What amazed me even more was that he continued to read to his brothers, even as they played outside.  He also wanted to read the bedtime stories.  He was so excited about reading to his brothers.

However, I guess the biggest shock came this morning when we sat down to read during school time.  He finished a whole book within the 20 minutes and needed very little help from me.  Just a week ago we sat down to read that exact same book and it took him 20 minutes to read 4 pages while I helped him out what felt like every other word and I had to prod him along the whole time.

I even caught him reading to Thing 2 during their “recess” time after lunch today.

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Honestly, the last 24 hours have been exactly what this very tired home school mom needed.  We have about 8 weeks left in our first official home school year and needless to say I am tired as I work to finish up this year and plan for next year (which will start in May.)  It has been amazing to watch Thing 1 finally get it.

Egg Carton Christmas Trees

Today all three boys created another Christmas craft.

Egg Carton Christmas Tree

egg carton
pipe cleaner
paint or markers
anything to use as ornaments (buttons, pom poms, glitter, etc.)

1. First cut three of the “cups” from the egg carton.

2. Put a small hole at the bottom of each egg cup.  I used a pair of scissors to poke a hole through.

3.  Decorate using paint, markers or anything else you might have on hand.

4.  Once the paint has dried, then stick a pipe cleaner through all three of the cups and cut to the desired length.  Make sure to leave enough coming out of the top of the Christmas tree so that you can hang it.
5.  Make a loop or a hook with the top part of the pipe cleaner so that you have something to hang the ornament.

6.  You can always go back and add more decorations once it is put together.

My boys like to do crafts, however they are somewhat impatient (I have no idea where they get it).  So once they were finished painting they had no desire to go back and decorate it any further.  They really just wanted me to put the pipe cleaner through it so they could hang it up.




Just another day crafting with the Cameron Clan!

Sparkly 3D Stars

On Friday all three boys worked on this super easy and apparently super fun Christmas craft.

Sparkly 3D Stars
Difficulty: Easy

1 1/2 inch styrofoam ball
glitter spray paint

1.  I gave each boy a bowl with a styrofoam ball and some toothpicks and told them to stick the toothpicks in the ball.


2.  Once you are done poking toothpicks into the styrofoam ball, then spray paint the creation and let dry.

3. Place your sparkly 3D star anywhere.


Originally I had only planned on Thing 1 doing the craft, however, when I presented him with all the materials both Thing 2 and Thing 3 wanted to do it also.  All three of them enjoyed this craft, so much so that they asked to make a second star.  The best part for me was that this craft was easy enough for Thing 3 to do.  It was actually great motor skill practice.

Obviously, you need to supervise your kids while they are handling the toothpicks and parents are the only ones who need to handle the spray paint.

Just another day Crafting with the Cameron Clan!

Christmas Tree Pillow

A couple of evenings ago, Thing 1 asked me how stuffed animals were made.  I have no idea where that questions came from, but I explained how they were made.  He then asked me how quilts were made, so I explained that.  While I was talking about batting, it hit me we should make a stuffed something so that I could show him the basic process.

Our Christmas Tree Pillow was born.

Christmas Tree Pillow

Fabric (You can use anything, I had 2 yards of muslin)
Fabric Markers
Needle & Thread (we used a sewing machine)

1. Draw out your Christmas tree pattern.

2.  Cut out your Christmas tree.

3.  Put an X on the insides of your tree, so you know which sides to decorate.

4. Using the fabric markers, decorate your Christmas tree.

5.  Turn the two pieces so that the decorated sides are facing each other.
6.  Sew around the outside, leaving a small hole somewhere so that you can stuff your pillow.

7.  Flip the pillow inside out, so that the decorated sides are now facing out.
8. Stuff your pillow.
9.  Sew you the hole that you left for stuffing.

10.   Enjoy your new pillow!

Thing 1 absolutely loves his new pillow.  He was so excited to see his creation come to life.  It was also a great learning experience for him to learn how things are made.

Just another day Crafting with the Cameron Clan!

Do Pumpkins Float or Sink?

After reading Seed, Sprout, Pumpkin, Pie by Jill Esbaum and seeing all the different types of pumpkins in the book, I decided that it would be the perfect time to do the simple sink or float experiment.  I wanted to do this simple experiment last year with the boys, but I just ran out of time.  So I was determined to get it done this year.

Pumpkins of various sizes
Anything else that can get wet

1.  Take one object at a time.  Let the kids guess whether it will sink or float and then throw it into the water.
2. Record the results on a chart.

The boys had a great time.  We discussed the real science behind it for a bit, but in the end they understood it was because most of the pumpkins were hollow.

Have you done the sink or float experiment?


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