The Homeschool Mother’s Journal

Wedding Picture

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…

This week was pretty eh kind of week.  Vince has been working tons of overtime, I wasn’t feeling too great {you know, that whole I’m so freaking annoyed with everything, irritated, cramps, headache, uber tired, that time of the month junk}, and then there were the storms on Wednesday {please keep the people of AL in your thoughts, there was horrible devastation here}.  Babydoll and I did go bowling this week, which was enjoyable.

In our homeschool this week…

It was a fairly unconventional week.  I scored some major supermom points by having Babydoll “do school” on the iPod Touch Monday. She played several apps that helped her practice grammar, parts of speech, multiplication, and science.  I’ll put together a post of the great apps we found soon.

We did a few science experiments, studied quicksand, and learned about the British royal family and political system.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We went bowling this week and to soccer practice.  Other than running a few errands, that was pretty much the extent of our going places.  Babydoll has a soccer party this weekend and we’ve got a meeting on Sunday to learn more about her other options in soccer.  Next week will be fairly light {at least that’s the plan}, and we’ll end it with a Mommy & Me camp.  We’re excited to be able to see more of Daddy next week as well.

My favorite thing this week was…

graduation {which was technically last week I suppose} and seeing how excited Babydoll got doing the quicksand experiments.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…

I don’t think I really have any this week.  I’ve been working on my freelance writing and my last final this week, and with this funk I’m in, I’m too busy to really think straight.

A photo/video/link/quote to share…

Wedding Picture

A little trip down memory lane - makes me happy when I'm sad

Review: The Curiosity Files – Quicksand

Cover of Quicksand Unit Study


It’s obscure.  The only people that really ever learn a ton about quicksand are those who are really into it or those that have to for some reason.

We would have probably only learned about quicksand had it been present in some lesson at some point during Babydoll’s school career.  We would have gone over the skim-the-surface information and moved on.

Oh how glad we were that we were given the opportunity to review The Curiosity Files – Quicksand!

What is it?

Cover of Quicksand Unit StudyThe Curiosity Files are fun unit studies from The Old Schoolhouse.  Topics covered by the series include MRSA, the blue diamond, quicksand, and many others.  Each PDF file includes tons of great activities and incorporates many subjects:  vocabulary, puzzles, experiments, word problems, geography, math, and many more.  Most of the activities can be completed without the use of any additional materials, and the experiments generally use items found around your home {cornstarch, baking pans, pudding, etc.}.

The Curiosity Files – Quicksand ($6.95) is designed for children ages eight to thirteen and up, but could easily be adapted for other ages by combining the information provided in the unit study as well as the multitude of additional resources {such as books and websites} listed at the end of the study.

What we Thought

Overall, Babydoll and I thoroughly enjoyed using The Curiosity Files – Quicksand as a “for fun” unit study. The graphics are fun, the premise engaging {you’re “on the case” with Professor Ana Lyze, studying “outlandish oddities”}, the activities and experiments enjoyable and diversified.

The study was divided into sections, which made it easy to pick out what we’d be using and leave the rest.  Even though we took out some of the material, everything still flowed nicely and we never felt like we missed something. I also appreciated the way the material was made up of items that Babydoll and I completed together and items that she could do on her own.

Page from The Curiosity FilesWe started the study by reading the introduction from Professor Ana Lyze and then moved on to Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Quicksand.  Did you know it’s virtually impossible to completely sink in quicksand? Yeah, neither did we.  Following this information is a small quiz to make sure your student has picked up all the important points of the lesson.

Babydoll then completed a few math and word problem activities, a few activities in which she answered questions based on information in a chart {she loves these!}, a word search, crossword puzzle, vocabulary activities, and a matching activity.

Up next were the geography and art activities.  I particularly enjoyed these {as did Babydoll}; she was able to learn geographical terms, make a little geography book where she wrote her terms and their definitions, color a map showing a few of her terms, and draw a picture incorporating all terms she learned.

Then came the uber fun part:  putting together her “case file” and doing the experiments! She created her file from cardstock and then filled it with little “snippets” provided in the lesson.  We made quicksand goo and edible quicksand.  Just a bit of advice:  Don’t eat more than one cup serving of edible quicksand. You’ll want to.  You shouldn’t.  Just trust me on this one…

Quicksand Goo

Edible Quicksand

Final Thoughts

I found The Curiosity Files – Quicksand to be informative, educational, and fun; it’s definitely worth purchasing.  I would like to note that each The Curiosity Files study incorporates Bible verses and lessons; however, this shouldn’t really come as a surprise since The Old Schoolhouse is a Christian organization and it is noted in the product description.  We chose to remove those portions of the study and found it didn’t hurt the quality and delivery of information at all.

Give The Curiosity Files – Quicksand a try, as well as other The Curiosity Files studies and other products from The Old Schoolhouse; you’ll be so glad you did!

Photo credits:  The Old Schoolhouse

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a copy of The Curiosity Files – Quicksand for review purposes by The Homeschool Review Crew.  I was asked to give my honest opinions of the material {both positive and negative}, and received no other compensation for doing so.

I Graduated!!!

Vince and I before graduation

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, I graduated!  From college. A real college that gives a real degree.  It only took 12 years…

Sign outside AL TheaterSaturday was the inaugural University of Phoenix-Birmingham commencement ceremony, held at the historic Alabama Theater.  I joined quite a few other graduates in the time-honored tradition of attempting to walk across a stage, shake a strange man’s hand, receive a sheet of paper, and turn my tassel from left to right, all to symbolize the fact that I have hopefully learned something in the past couple of years.

No matter, I was exceedingly giddy; it was my day!

Babydoll helped me get ready, and I was chauffeured to the theater by an extremely handsome man.

Babydoll and I before graduationI had to leave Vince and Babydoll outside and head into the graduate holding area.

After getting into my cap and gown and filling out paperwork, I realized that I was uber hungry and there was no way I was making it through the ceremony without a serious bout of low blood sugar.  Vince and Babydoll came to the rescue with a bag of chips and some water, and I was good to go.  Good thing, too; we had to wait almost two hours before we could walk into the theater.

Vince and I before graduationI entered the theater to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, and immediately felt excited, proud, and anxious.  And a little like I wanted to cry.

I sat through a few speeches, one by Simon T. Bailey, which was pretty decent.  The doctoral, masters, and bachelors candidates walked, and then it was my turn.  I walked across the stage.  We turned our tassels.  I was a college graduate.

Babydoll and I after graduationIt was such an amazing feeling.  I’ll admit, I don’t really feel that different, but at that moment I felt special, happy, and proud.

We went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate, and then Vince took us to Anthropologie.  While I still don’t quite get the concept of that store, I did score three ultra-cool books.

The day was awesome, and I’m so glad I was able to share it with some of the most special people in my life.


Vince and I after graduation

Babydoll and I after graduation


Weekly Wrap-Up: The One With Chocolate and a Dairy Farm


What a fun week we had!  It was filled with all sorts of learning, and that made it spectacular!

Field Trips and Other Fun

We took a trip to the Anniston Museum of Natural History to see their chocolate exhibit.  It was amazing {and lengthy – 2+ hours}; Babydoll thoroughly enjoyed adding to what she’s been learning in her unit study with what she found at the exhibit.  Babydoll’s favorite “stop” was the rainforest.

We SO want this stool!

Dairy FarmAfter we left the museum, we headed to the Wright Dairy farm.  Unfortunately, they were not doing tours, but we were allowed to walk around a bit of the farm and the barn.  The cows are grass-fed, and aren’t given any hormones or antibiotics.  Cows Crossing RoadCows Drinking

We bought milk, cheese, and ice cream; it’s all pretty yummy!  They pasteurize, but don’t homogenize, the milk so the cream rises to the top. This means you have to shake the milk every time you use it.

Babydoll also spent time cooking this week.  She made rice bowls with rice, tofu, scallions, tamari, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. Dessert was candy sushi.Babydoll with her rice bowl dinner


We started learning to skip count by “9” {precursor to multiplying by “9”}.

Language Skills

We studied adverbs that tell when, where, and how.


We started Stone Fox this week.


Babydoll worked on her blog this week, creating a couple of new posts.


This week Babydoll learned a couple of new spelling rules:  when to use “c” or “k” for the /k/ sound and when to double a consonant at the end of a word.

Unit Studies

We started a unit study on quicksand this week.  Babydoll is really enjoying it and we’re learning a ton.  {We’ll continue chocolate next week.}

How was your week?

Awesome Linkage

How about some link-y goodness this Thursday morning?

  • Keepin’ It Real – Falling Behind – Lynda at My Heart’s Desire featured this article in October, 2010.  We all fall behind at some point or another {don’t think it’s not true}, but this article gives some much-needed perspective on the subject.

  • Cadbury Chocolate Tour – Since Babydoll and I have been doing a unit study on chocolate, this post was of extreme interest to us.  Who wouldn’t want to go tour a chocolate factory?  Anna-Marie has the amazing opportunity of homeschooling in the UK.  Her blog, Life’s Adventures, details all of their extraordinary ventures across the pond.

  • Weekly Homeschool Planner ~ Edit AND Save It! – OK, this thing is just awesome.  Really. Awesome. It combines my love of technology with my need for organization with my desire to find something that fits my lifestyle.  Oh how I’m so grateful that Jolanthe over at Homeschool Creations created it!

  • Geography – Postcard Album – Nebraska – Phyllis and her family are participating in a postcard exchange {national AND international!}.  This isn’t just any postcard exchange; the postcards come from other homeschoolers around the world.  Not only do they learn about each place, they make fun meals from their destination, and do other fun projects related to their postcard place.  All Things Beautiful is a great blog and Phyllis is a wealth of knowledge; she’s been homeschooling since 1995!

Have any awesome links you want to share? Please email me so I can look them over and include them in the next Awesome Linkage!