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summer update

Things are progressing nicely with our house. The foundation, slab, well and electric are all done. Soon, my Hubster will be taking two weeks off from work and getting the framing going. We are hopeful that the house will be complete by late fall.


The girls and i have had a slow, quiet summer. Lots of time at the pool next door or taking walks. It's probably been better for me, as I have been thoroughly enjoying the lack of plans and activity. Our church hosted a VBS-type event called Arrow in July. We helped a bunch plus enjoyed the evenings of fun and games.


Our only adventure of the summer (apart from building a house!) was a three day trip to my parents house. They live in the Adirondacks and we love visiting them any time, but summer is especially fun. My cousin and her family traveled up from Long Island to meet up with us for a few days. We went to the Great Escape as well as the beach, then a fun little spot my mom found for go-cart racing and the like. It was a great (quick) time that I hope we can make a tradition.


And now it's nearly mid-August. The stores are filled with back to school specials. My mind is turning to the final pieces of curriculum that need to be purchased, how I'm going to organize chores for the fall and how school will fit in around our building project. I definitely need a hand with keeping it all together. I'm sure some of you do too, right? Very soon, I'll be announcing a giveaway that will help one lucky winner stay on track! When I have all the details together, I will be posting the entry rules. I'm very excited to be able to offer this giveaway to one of my fellow homeschool moms, so be sure to check back soon for more details!


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Khan Academy

{Check out the UPDATED tutorial on using Khan Academy!!}

I'm not a math person. It just never clicked for me. So many homeschool moms have shared similar thoughts as well as their worries over how they'll teach their children upper levels of math. Finding tutors is always an option as are the more expensive computer-based curriculum. But what if those expensive curriculum are out of reach for you or you don't know anyone who can tutor?

Enter Khan Academy.

Khan Academy is a completely free resource that began with Sal - the original genius behind Khan Academy - wanting to provide a better education for relatives overseas. What began as some math videos shared with family members has become an extensive virtual library of over 4,000 videos on topics ranging from basic math to trigonometry to American Civics. They've been featured on The Today Show and have thousands of Twitter followers.  Khan Academy is being used in schools around the world.

So how does this work for …

Khan Academy - UPDATED

{UPDATE #2 -- Khan Academy now gives each person the option of choosing a grade level, from early math - which covers K-2 - to high school. You have to log in under your student's account to change their grade level. But it definitely guides their exercises in a very clear way! We really enjoy it. Let me know what you think!}

One of my most popular posts has been this little tutorial on using Khan Academy for homeschool.  Soon after I posted, Khan Academy completely revamped their Learning Dashboard.  It is even easier now for homeschool families to use Khan Academy for their students.

Here's how to get started, if you haven't yet.  And you should! Because it's amazingly easy and totally free.

First step. Sign in. Always sign in as a teacher, so you have access to all the 'coach resources' as they're called. It will also give you more ways to track what your students are doing and what skills they need to keep practicing.

Once you're signed in, what you…

map tablecloth

Reposting a popular homeschool idea...

One issue homeschoolers run into at times is where to keep maps. Many programs really require access to a world and US map. Some homeschoolers are blessed with enough space to have a dedicated homeschool room. For those of us that do school at the dining room table, the living room couch or where ever we land - where do we display a map?

My oldest daughter suggested gluing a map to the underside of a clear tablecloth. Sounded like a good idea to me! Turns out it was the easiest project ever. We now have a sturdy plastic tablecloth to protect the table as well as easy access to a world map as well as a US map.

I purchased a large clear table protector, a World & US wall map set and clear Elmer's glue.

First step, spread the whole plastic cloth out and line up the maps up the way you want them. Our table is large enough that we could have both maps shown at once.

Glue like crazy on the map side, then carefully flip it over so the map side…