Review of a Pencil Sharpener

So you read the title and your thinking, seriously Peters? Your gonna write about a pencil sharpener? Well, truth be told I’ve been looking for one of the old-fashioned librarian pencil sharpeners for quite a while and haven’t come across an antique one which is built much sturdier than the ones you find today. In the process I’ve come across what could be the Three Musketeers of Bad Pencil Etiquette. First there is the ultra expensive electric wonder, followed by the mid-priced hand crank splitter and last but not least is the free, never reliable little cutter that couldn’t with no backing – you know the one that sheds all over because it’s doesn’t have a capture and of course your kids cut their finger because the blade is exposed. It was so bad that two years ago I said out loud during school one day “I wish I had a decent pencil sharpener!!” ….and E got me one for Christmas… it ate through batteries and that was about all it ate, never sharpened a pencil – but it made a great game of “Watch the Pencil Spin”…. ok enough ranting… let’s talk about this pencil sharpener we were asked to review….

So the pencil sharpener came in the box no directions…..and this is how the process went….

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…it took them quite awhile to figure out how to use it… their engineering skills were put to the test…. now my kids fight over who gets to sharpen pencils… they volunteer (gasp I said the word!) to sharpen and the points on the pencils don’t break off inside the sharpener. What I also thought was a great idea, they sell replacements parts when you need them. So instead of disposing of the entire item once the sharpener dulls, you can just replace the blade, the catch tray, or even the clamp. Great way to reuse instead of replacing the entire unit. The unit is also so quite…you don’t even know it’s in use.

We aren’t going to tell you how exactly to use it because that would spoil all the homeschooling fun! ❤ However, my daughter did say to mention that it helps if you “put your left hand no top of the gadget to hold it down a bit so it doesn’t wiggle.”

This is an amazing tool that is a must have for any home school family or teacher. I can’t express enough how nice it is to have a simple need met by a quality tool. Check out Classroom Friendly Supplies for one of these sharpeners today…. they come in green, blue, red, black and even pink.

Happy Sharpening…….*******************EcoMom22 was given this product to review. All opinions shared here are my own as well as, in this case, the twins and were not influenced in any way by the product provider. Please read our full site disclaimers & terms of use here.*******************

Welcome Back…. You do strictly homeschool, right?! Uh… Uh…

This summer has been a whirlwind. We have been here there and everywhere trying to make as much out of the summer as we could. While summer isn’t over, we do have to start getting back to our regular schedule.

I’ve met alot of people this summer and had alot of conversations about homeschooling and what that means. Since so many people concern themselves with labels I thought I would clear up how we run our school at home.

I have a Master’s Degree in Post Secondary Education and spent alot of time writing and auditing curriculum. This included developing mixed media classes where a portion of the classes were online and on ground. As I took my conversations from this summer and compared it to what we do in our own home I had an aha moment. While obviously our children are still in primary school; in our home we do what could be considered a mixed media learning environment. We are enrolled full time at K12 and like the structure, curriculum and support of the teachers and staff. However, I also choose to supplement with my own lessons – generated from a variety of resources. I would say that we teach our kids mixed media via virtual and home school. (Whew! There! I said it! Now we have a label too…..)

What I find interesting is that people are so quick to label the type of education without taking the time to understand the format of it; and how it applies to what the child truly needs. Our kids need opportunities to explore subjects more (for example last year we started a virtual Science lesson about the layers of the oceans and what animals are in them; then we spent the rest of the afternoon talking about all those creepy critters on the very very very very bottom of the ocean. How did they get there? How do they see? What do they eat? Do they get cold down there? How can they make that blue light glow?) On and on the questions went, we kept looking up information. This is called understanding a child’s curiosity to learn; and NOT ignoring it. The love of learning is like a fire which must be stoked; and never squelched because of a label or particular predetermined view you have of a delivery style/type of education. Questions are the fire; the fuel is the way you respond.

Please don’t let the label of the educational delivery style deter the way you teach your children, please allow the children’s curiosity and love for learning to drive the path of the education. Ask yourself this, if you were at my home and we were doing a K12/Virtual lesson on triple digit addition – would you not allow your child to participate because it isn’t pure homeschooling? If the answer is Yes, wow – guess what all kids have to learn triple digit addition, does it matter if it comes from K12 or pure homeschooling? If the answer is NO, bravo your an open minded educator.

Be open and understand that every child learns differently, it’s all hard work but if mixed media works – don’t judge others, support others – everyone’s is on a path to educate their children and help them become strong, smart, free thinking, open, well-educated and successful adults. (And success doesn’t always mean marrying a billionaire, having a Stanford education, developing the next successful IPO and wearing a perfect Prada suit to work. For some it means virtual/homeschooling, climbing Mt. Everest and calling home for money because you’re trying to decide if you want to be a fashionista or a famous rock star).

Hope everyone has an amazing school year!! 🙂

“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” – Buddha

Oak Meadow Curriculum Giveaway

Remember the awesome iPad Giveaway DenSchool had a couple weeks ago? What an amazing organization and now they are partnering with others to giveaway something to help prepare your curriculum for next year!

We have teamed up with DenSchool and Teaching with Cents to bring you this great giveaway from Oak Meadow! Enter today on the Giveaway Tools form below.

One lucky reader will receive a Complete Curriculum Package (of their choice) from Oak Meadow. Imagine that, everything you need for homeschooling your child next year – for FREE!

Complete Curriculum Package Review

Oak Meadow has specialized in homeschooling curriculum for 35 years! They are committed to providing creative, innovative, and child-centered educational materials that can be utilized towards every family’s needs and routine.

We believe that true intelligence arises when children are given opportunities to engage not only their heads, but their hands and hearts as well. Our curriculum includes assignments that ask children to read, write, and think, and also to paint, draw, play music, write poetry, and build things, encouraging balanced and healthy development.

Oak Meadow

Have you begun planning your next homeschooling year and not sure where to start? Stop by DenSchool to read reviews for some of your favorite curriculum packages! There, you will learn all about Oak Meadow and what this great giveaway has to offer you!

Visit DenSchool’s Oak Meadow Reviews

DenSchool has reviewed curriculum packages for Grades 3, 4, and 6 – with an 8th grade review coming in August!

Contest Information:
*This great giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada, ages 18+.
*Giveaway ends on July 24th at 11:59 p.m.
*DenSchool Contributors, immediate family members, and group giveaway bloggers are not eligible to enter DenSchool giveaways.

The 5 Most Beautiful Things in the World (This Week) | Beekman1802.com

This is a must see if your a dog lover…. Hop over to the Beekman and checkout these beautiful lovelies!

The 5 Most Beautiful Things in the World (This Week) | Beekman1802.com.

Owens Beach

Yesterday we had a school outing with our other virtual and home school friends for an End of Year gathering at Owens Beach in Pt. Defiance. I forgot how beautiful it is and thought I would share a few pictures. There was a book exchange, journals handed out, lots of analysis of seaweed, sand castle building, exploring, looking for a giant sea star, climbing, running and lots and lots of joy! It was a great way to start the summer…. I keep hearing Dr. Seuss in the back of my head saying “Oh the places you’ll go…” I’m hoping this summer will be filled with new parks and lots of exploration.

Hope your summer gets off to a good start as well. Enjoy the learning journey!

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IPad Giveaway from DenSchool

ipad-homeschooling

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

….and you could learn anywhere with a

brand new IPad Mini from DenSchool!

 

DenSchool makes online schooling easy breezy with FREE lesson plans, Creative Learning in a Pinch (CLIP) and tons of resources to make learning fun, creative and easy to manage.

Record keeping  & Lesson Planning · Online Courses

DenSchool provides free tools, record keeping, lesson planning, downloadable courses and live classes for homeschooling families. Record keeping can be concerning, but you can take control with fast and easy to use online tools which will help with your state’s record keeping requirement.

Summer Classes Start June 17th – (Early Bird Discount!)

This summer DenSchool will be offering self-paced, teacher supported classes. Some of the classes are Accounting, Algebra, Art, Beginner Guitar, Social Studies, English, Science, Journalism, World History….the list goes on and on. Remember these are not just for High School learners. Normally these classes are $59.00, but if you order by June 10th the cost is only $29.00; that’s more than a 50% savings!  These classes offer flexibility; with a 9 week format and learners are free to complete the class at their own pace taking more or less time. They have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all the courses.

mobileSchooling

Creative Learning in a Pinch (CLIP)

CLIP classes are free and there are some fun ones to choose from….Remember National Doughnut Day on June 7th? Oh boy we did in this house!  While we enjoyed the doughnuts, it would have been more fun to have a lesson. From Summer Solstice to 4th of July there are lots to choose from.

 

 

So what are you waiting for?

 

Oh the places you’ll go with an IPad Mini and

4 DenSchool Online Classes from DenSchool.com!

Ready to win? Enter here!

 

Note: This is a sponsored post by DenSchool. Please see a full disclosure on giveaways.

 

 

The Blue Mouse Movies

 

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My parents have been heading over to  The Blue Mouse Theater for as long as I can remember. It’s a cute little neighborhood theater in the Proctor District of Tacoma. They just recently underwent a major fundraising and transformation effort to stay open in the digital age.

They always do the Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday night!  I have been wanting to go for a while, as I’ve never seen it – so it’s on my bucket list for this summer.

This week they are showing a great movie called “The Croods”. My daughter went to go see this and said it was fantastic! It is in 3D, but she said it didn’t bother her in fact it made it more fun!

View Trailer

Monday Movie Madness is fun – all seats are $3.00.  Be sure to check out their Facebook feed for updates on movie times.

It’s a great way to see big title movies before they leave the big screen, without the big screen price!

DIY Science Fun

I was reading a recent Blog post about doing a science experiments. We did a couple of these and we thought we would add in our own notes, just in case someone was struggling a bit.

First one was called DIY Tornado In a Jar. It was a lot of fun to create, but there was a bit of a hurdle: you must use a taller jar, like a spaghetti jar – you can not use an oblong jar, such as a glass Nutella jar. The shorter the jar the more difficult it is to get it to make the actual tornado. 🙂IMG_4592

Second one was called floating egg. My kids thought I was crazy when I told them you could make an egg float, but sure enough it can! Make sure to mix the water to  IMG_4401   IMG_4399 IMG_4400 the exact measurements otherwise it won’t work. The kids would have done this one over and over if they had a choice!

Last one for these weeks was making a potato clock. The kit can be purchased here, or at World Market. Here’s the ubber super cool (according to the twins) thing about THIS experiment: it doesn’t work on humans, but it does work in tomatoes, lemons, apples, potatoes… the list is endless. We kept the clock going for several days. Until……..air started to ripen the apples, then all you had to do was insert the nickel and copper probes into an unopened part of the vegetable or fruit, and it starts all over again.IMG_4301

Next up for us is making clean water and seeing which liquids seeds grow best in. These should be fun!

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Enjoy the summer!

Summer fun!

I’m all about sharing BLOG love and ideas, and I couldn’t pass these two ladies up. As I started writing a “to do” list for this summer of fun activities I’d like to share with the kids I ran across this post: Summer Lovin Bucket List for the Pacific NW!  Oh the places we will go…. some of them I forgot about, some of them we’ve done….and some I’ve had on a wish list for a while. Hopefully we can cross off a few more, and add a few of our own (like Olympic Game Farm Park in Sequim, Wa.)

As I was reading that post, I came across making Glow in the Dark Bubbles! Our twins will be all over this one, as they love to play at night. We might even do the glow sticks in the pool this year, so they can swim well into the night.

We’ve been doing a lot of work in our yard so we can spend the summer having fun and not laboring in the hot weather. our strawberry plants have finally flowered – and boy are there a ton! Yesterday the Hubs spent sometime securing a fence so the birds and the rabbits don’t chomp them down before we get a chance to. This is one of the kids favorites so it will be great for them to hop out and grab a chemical free snack. In the meantime, we’ve had a few bbqs with friends and family the last couple of weekends and have noticed the mosquitos have gotten bad. So, in an attempt to try to keep a bug free back yard…. I’m thinking of trying this homemade mosquito trap…hope it works! We’re trying to attract humming birds, butterflies, lady bugs and pollinating bees; as well as keep out wasps, yellow jackets and mosquitos…. the battle of the bugs! 🙂 Should be interesting….

Enjoy the day! Namaste.

Checking In

Wow what an amazing month this has been! I didn’t even realize I hadn’t written in a while. We have met at TON of new people and are so excited about all the amazing friendships we’ve made. I can not wait to share some of the amazing blogs we’ve read over the last couple of weeks. The stories are so inspirational, the recipes look amazing and the crafts are inspiring.

We participated in an amazing P.E. program through Washington Virtual Academy (WAVA) in partnership with Pacific Lutheran University. The program involved student teachers and a visiting professor to PLU/WAVA High School teacher running a 5 week physical education program, twice a week for about an hour and a half each time. The girls learned a bunch of new ways to work out, they loved their student teachers and made some really great new friends. In the end they got the cutest rewards for all their hard work and “sweat”. Hopefully the program will continue and allow the kids to progress through, as they get older, through various stages of new lessons. What a great program!

I got to participate in my first blog hop. That was a fun way to meet new people, and Katherine from Katherines Corner was so patient with me while I got the ins and outs of html code. I just recently started learning, in very limited fashion, how to write and manipulate some of my own html code. Which has opened up a world of doors as far as adding things to Word Press. However, it also at times has added to frustration when I can’t get a code to work, or try to add something and it shows up – but the code shows up to. This blog has been a true learning experience and continual work in process for me. Hopefully I can resolve my most current issue which is, how to add a Instagram widget – so confusing….an yet so challenging. (hopefully there aren’t a bunch of computer engineers sitting around laughing at me right now – 🙂 )

I have been exercising quite a bit in the last couple of years and recently made the goal to start running again. My overall goal is to walk the Golden Gate Bridge on my 40th, but for a closer goal I had hoped to run a 5k in February 2014. Well, that plan has been botched as recently the pain in my knee got pretty intense. After trying about every home remedy I could think of, I gave up and went in for XRays. Apparently I have osteoarthritis and bone spurs in both my knees. (well that would explain the shooting pain – thinking of bone spurs in painful period!). My doctor said it comes from too much sports when I was younger, along with the impact of current exercise, and not enough concentration on building the muscles in the leg to support the impact to the joint. Interesting….so old age is starting to kick my butt. Not for long – I have a 6 week treatment plan which includes some anti-inflammatory meds, yoga, low impact exercise, as well as starting to work on building leg muscles. So, lesson learned – proper strength training is important. In the meantime, I’m also headed to see a physical therapist whom I hope can help me become stronger overall so I don’t have to keep having an argument with my knee every time I want to walk a couple of miles in the sun.

In the meantime as well we have been working on doing a little more revamping to our diet plan at home. I use diet in the sense of food consumption – not being on a diet. The way a person eats is a lifestyle choice, and while ours is a constant evolution – I’ve recently been motivated by not only LaLa’s desire to be a vegetarian, but by my own desire to cut out the crap food (what little was left). I’ve had a lot of fun trying new recipes and chatting with people about food and meal choices. One of our friends Dottie shared this amazing recipe which we tried the other day  – and LOVE IT! We used vegan chocolate chips instead of blueberries (because we’re about blueberry out with smoothies) and it was SO enjoyable! Jump over to her blog and check out the recipes! Thanks Ms. Dottie!!

Almond Pancake Recipe
5 T. Almond Meal (I buy Trader Joe’s) 2 t. Flax meal (I buy Big bag at Costco)
1 T. Sour Cream …
3 T. Water
1 egg
1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. baking powder
Mix all together and cook like regular pancakes. I add blueberries to the mix. this recipe is 1-2 servings. Robby eats the entire batch 4 pancakes

Well, off to the races! Another day of school and finishing up a sewing project tomorrow…pictures to come. Enjoy the day!

Namaste