Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Is This School Or Not

Sometimes I feel like we take a lot of days off school. Or at least off of working on our curriculum on the computer. It seems like we are on the go all the time. We spend a lot of time at the Environmental Center, the Art Museum, the Nature Center, or the Science Museum. But these are all educational events. And our Lego Engineering Class, Lego Lapbook class, and Geography class are definitely learning times. But is it really school when we go to Chuck E. Cheese or the park. I’ve decided that it is. The park is recess, right? And physical education. I mean how much more exercise can a little boy get than running around a park all day. Chuck E. Cheese teaches so many things. Hand eye coordination on those video games. Then the math skills that are required to add up your tokens. Do I have enough points to win that prize I want? How many more tickets do I have to earn before I can buy it? Yes, it is much more than just playing games.

I think one of the problems many of us have when we first start homeschooling is that we think of school as being Monday through Friday from 9 till 3 with weekends off. That’s what we are used to. But what’s wrong with doing school work at midnight. Or doing a special class on the weekend. That’s still learning. It still counts when you have to document your learning experiences for quarterly or annual reports. Many times homeschoolers are required to document the number of hours per day they spend on school. But do you count all those learning hours. Making cookies requires math skills. It also teaches some chemistry. Watching the bread rise is definitely a chemical reaction. But I don’t think most of us think to document those hours. Sorting laundry or sorting the silverware is also learning. I mean if it counts as math to sort the blue balls from the red squares on the computer, why not count sorting all the forks from all the spoons.

Take some time this week to look at all the things you do with your child that actually are learning experiences and not just play. If you have to provide documentation to the school district or a supervising teacher, be sure you count those hours as well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I don’t know what it is about little boys and slime. But they all love it. It’s gross and squishy and makes a mess. Maybe that’s why they like it so much. I found a few recipes for slime online that I thought I would share with you.
Sewer Slime Put 7 tablespoons of cold water in a cup. Add 1/4 teaspoon of guar gum and stir it with a popsicle stick 10 times. When you stop, leaving the stick in. Dip a pinky into the cup, then rub it in your fingers. After it sits for 2 minutes to thicken, add the final ingredient: ½ teaspoon of the Borax Solution (Borax Solution: 1 teaspoon borax (sodium tetraborate) in one tablespoon water). Stir and it will form a gel that looks like real boogers!
Bouncy Putty Slime Combine ½ cup water with one teaspoon of Borax in a cup and stir with a popsicle stick. In another cup, mix equal parts white glue and water. Add in a glob of glue mixture to the borax. Stir for one second with a popsicle stick, then quickly pull the putty out of cup and play with it until it dries enough to bounce on table (3-5 minutes). Pick up an imprint from a textured surface or print from a newspaper, bounce and watch it stick, snap it apart quickly and ooze apart slowly. It’s just like silly putty.
Glowing Slime Modify the above experiment (Bouncy Putty Slime) just a bit to make glowing slime: substitute clear glue (or glue gel) for the white glue, and extract the yellow dye from a high lighter pen (called 'glow juice' The result? A slime that fluoresces under UV light.
Corny Slime Fill a large bowl with two cups of cold water. Mix in one cup of cornstarch. The faster you stir, the harder it is to stir. Go s l o w l y . Grab it with your hand - it should form a hard ball that you can't squish. When you relax your grip, the ball should melt and drip between your fingers as if liquid. If this is not what's happening for you, adjust the amounts of cornstarch and water you have in your bowl.
Squishy Slime Mix 1 cup sugar, 12 cups water, and 3 cups cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Place a glop in each of several bowls along with drops of food coloring in each. Place a dollop of each color into a plastic sandwich bad and zip it shut. You can squish and squeeze without getting your hands slimy.

You can find these recipes and more at:




Have fun playing with your slime. I know you will make a little boy very happy if you make some of this for him.