Information about Common Core

Common Core is alive in Arkansas schools. Homeschoolers should be concerned because the standardized tests in 2014 are being aligned to the standards in many school districts. This means that homeschoolers will be subjected to Common Core standards, even if we don’t agree to teach them.

Here are some pdf documents that you may want to read in order to better understand Common Core.

Common Core Fuzzy Math

Common Core Standards

Common Core Topic Papers

Common Core FAQ


Posted on 18 December '13 by , under Common Core, Standardized testing. No Comments.

Homeschool freebie: Make it Real by Math Mammoth

If you are not familiar with Math Mammoth, you should check them out. There is a ton of free math worksheets and materials on their website. One of my favorite freebies from this website is the Make it Real, Volume 1, activity sampler. The ten lessons in this sample book show your child exactly why math is important.


The lessons are real life situations that your child will eventually come across. Make it Real starts off with a lesson on choosing a cell phone plan. Your child is given a data set—rates for different plans—and they must choose which plan would be the most cost effective for a given situation. This lesson is for kids who have already been exposed to working with linear equations. After completing the lesson, why not have your child examine your current cell phone plan to see if you are getting the best deal.


Cooking in the Kitchen is the second activity in the sampler. This lesson involves working with fractions and percents. Students will explore the importance of fractions and percents by working with a recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. You can take this one step further and perform the practice exercises in your kitchen.


Several lessons include higher level math including calculus. Some lessons, such as the lesson on investigating cubic functions, may not be suitable for younger children. This particular lesson uses teen pregnancy statistics as the basis for the lesson. I know many parents who would prefer not to touch on this subject with younger children.


The ebook is free to download as a pdf file. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader or other program that can read pdf files in order to use the book. You can download the Make it Real ebook here.

Hope this was helpful


Posted on 14 September '13 by , under Free lesson plans and ideas, Free or Almost free resources, Freebies, Thrifty Homeschooling. No Comments.

Homeschool Science Project: Solar Food Dehydrator

We have started to build the wooden solar food dehydrator for our homeschool science project. Those of you who follow Charlotte Mason’s teaching methods know that she feels older kids should have a project that requires the students to use their hands. This is the first of several woodworking projects we planned for the school year.

All materials were purchased at either Home Depot or Lowes. We did not need to purchase window screen to cover the vents, because we had that on hand already. We purchased the screens for the food trays from

One important note: if you plan to build your own solar food dehydrator, do not use regular window screen for the food trays. You must use food safe screen. We purchased ours online, it is food safe poly screen.

metal plate for solar food dehydrator

Homeschool Science Project Food Dehydrator metal plate

Today my son and husband created the metal shelf used to help hold and conduct heat through the dryer. It is a single piece of sheet metal, bent along the sides, with notches cut out so it will fit around the legs. The guys sanded the surface of the metal to get it ready for paint. We used black, heat safe, spray paint. It is the same type of paint you would use to repaint your grill or stove.

After the metal was sanded, the first coat of paint was applied. It dried and then we added a second coat.

We plan to finish painting the other side tomorrow. Then the boys start to work on the wooden cabinet and frame for the solar food dehydrator.

What the kids learned today with this homeschool science project:

  • working with sheet metal
  • preparing metal for painting,
  • proper use of spray painting
  • measuring, cutting sheet metal
  • bending sheet metal

I’ll keep you posted on how this project progresses.


Posted on 27 October '12 by , under Solar Food Dehydrator, Thrifty Homeschooling. No Comments.

Fresh Corn May Not Be So Healthy: Walmart to Sell GMO Corn

As a survivor of breast cancer, I have become extremely careful about what I eat. Changing my diet to a vegetarian diet was a big step for me. Adding fresh fruit and vegetables to the dinner table for those in my household that are still carnivores is another goal. You would think that fresh corn would be a good addition to your summer dinner table. Think again if you plan to purchase that corn at Walmart.


I know that homeschool moms are very picky about what they feed to their families. When I found out that Monsanto Bt Corn is being sold as fresh corn at Walmart, without any labeling to indicate it is GMO corn, I was shocked. It is time to tell Walmart and Monsanto that we, the consumer and caregivers of children do not want this in our stores, homes or bodies.


Looks like it is shopping for fresh fruit and veggies is going to be strictly at the local farmers market. Sorry Walmart, the cost of cancer is too high. I have to eat real food, not some form of franken-food. I need to protect my kids and keep them healthy. GMO corn does not fit into my lifestyle.


Just thought you would like to know



Posted on 29 June '12 by , under Cancer and homeschool, News. No Comments.

Homeschool Summer Mania Begins

4-H Shooting Competition

My kids enjoy 4-H Shooting Sports. Range Events is one of several summer competitions.


Some homeschool families take the summer off. We do not. My sons’ 4-H projects are integrated into our homeschool curriculum. Late May and June bring competitions, conferences, and camps. My Volvo is on its last legs. We have the added expense this month of renting a car to get everyone to and from their activities. In our home, the start of summer is the start of  our homeschool summer mania.


My boys enjoy competitive shooting. They are on the Ozark Youth Shooting Sports team. Summer is all about competitions. Two weeks ago, it was AYSSP (a shotgun competition) and my husband and sons left this morning for the YHEC (Youth Hunter Educational Challenge.)  They still have Range Events to attend at the beginning of July.

I like how YHEC is handled. The kids shoot everything: rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, and archery. They also must complete an orienteering course and pass a hunter safety exam. The exam is 50 percent of the overall score. It is a tough competition but they enjoy it.

It is not only shooting. June is when the 4-H Teen Leaders gather in Little Rock. The conference is a lot of fun and the kids enjoy it. I get to drive for  4 hours each way to get my older son to the conference on day 1 and again to pick him up on day 3. We have to rent a car for this one.

Camps are a big part of my youngest son’s summer. Every year he attends a week-long wildlife camp and a three-day camp. This year is no different. I’m driving to Little Rock again for all of the camps. Closer to home is the county camp. My older son is a counselor there. He really enjoys the leadership training this camp offers him.

Other Activities

I still have to balance everything with my cancer treatment. This includes traveling to the Cancer Treatment Center once every three weeks. I am balancing upcoming surgery with all of the summer activities. This weekend, I have an awesome opportunity to participate in Casting For Recovery. For a change, I get to focus on me.

If anyone in the Northwest Arkansas area knows of a reliable car or SUV for sale–on the cheap. Let me know. We really need a reliable vehicle and I don’t have a lot of cash to spend on one.





Posted on 7 June '12 by , under Cancer and homeschool. No Comments.

2012-2013 Homeschool Intent and Waiver Forms Available

Sorry this is later than it should be. Cancer seems to be all consuming some days. The good news is that I am done with chemo and I can finally look to returning to a somewhat normal life.

The 2012-2013 Notice of Intent and Waiver forms are available. You can access the forms on the right sidebar. Fill out the forms and send them in no later than August 15, 2012.


If your student is driving this year, make a copy of the form and get the copy notarized. Take the notarized copy to DMV when your student applies for a permit or driver’s license.


Grades three through nine have mandatory testing. You can test your child for free at a local state site in April or you can test privately.



Posted on 3 June '12 by , under Arkansas homeschool requirements, Cancer and homeschool, Testing. No Comments.

Free First-Grade Literature Curriculum from Hewitt Homeschooling

It is difficult to find quality homeschool resources. Hewitt Homeschooling is offering a free first-grade literature/language arts curriculum. You just have to sign up in order to receive notifications when the page updates.


Starting on September 30, 2012, Hewitt Homeschooling will upload four lessons, student guides and a teacher’s guide to their website. You can download the pdf files as you need them. The program is called Lightening Literature. An outline for the curriculum is available here. Most of the books are available at your public library or you can easily find them online at websites like or


I have looked over the outline and the resources listed on the webpage and it looks like a wonderful free resource for first-grade students. My children are in middle and high school, so this is not something I plan to use. If you decide to go with this program, drop me a line and let me know how it worked out for you.


Hope this is helpful


Posted on 3 June '12 by , under Free or Almost free resources, Freebies, Thrifty Homeschooling. No Comments.

A is for Activity

This is the first of my A to Z blogging challenge posts. Homeschoolers need to get out and get moving. Most of us do park days and some of us do PE classes, but what about everyday activity for the kids? I know I get bogged down with school work, house work, and with chemo–I just feel lousy sometimes. Here are some fun ways to get daily physical activity into your homeschool.


Wii or Kinect

I love the Wii. You can set up your own profile in Wii Sports and all of the other fitness programs that use the Wii board. Spend an hour with your kids and Wii Sports and everyone can benefit. This makes a great rainy day activity and it is a good way to put an end to cabin fever.


Don’t have a Wii? An Xbox Kinect will work just as well. They have a lot of fitness games, and you are not limited to a board.



Get the kids outside and weed the garden, mow the lawn and sweep the walks. Maybe not the most fun of all activities, but they burn calories and the work needs to be done.


Mess kit hockey

Okay, this one requires a large family room, an old mess kit or other aluminum dish, a broom and at least six people. A smooth floor with no carpet works best. I don’t recommend this for high-end wood floors.


Choose teams. Teams line up on facing each other. A goal is marked on either end of the room. Use the mess kit as the puck and brooms as the hockey sticks. Hit the puck into the opposing goal. It is a lot of fun, but it will trash the mess kit or aluminum dish.


Crystal Bridges

For homeschoolers in Northwest Arkansas, park at the Compton Gardens parking lot. Wednesday evening is the best time to go–about 45 minutes before sunset. Start down the Crystal Bridges Trail and head toward Skyspace. Take in the Skyspace experience and talk then continue down the art trail to the museum. You can circle back to the parking lot, or you can take one of the other trails. The grounds are beautiful. Look for boulders with numbers on them and see if you can find them all. This is a unique way to get everyone outdoors and moving.


Hope this gives you a few good ideas.


Posted on 1 April '12 by , under A to Z Blogging Challenge, Ramblings and Rumors. 8 Comments.

Free Homeschool Help Workshop: Curriculum Choices


The next Homeschool Help workshop will be CURRICULUM CHOICES on Monday, March 26, from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Circle of Life Hospice Building in Springdale/Tontitown.

At this workshop Shelley will describe the different types of curriculum, how to choose and buy, and different
schooling philosophies and methods that shape the variety of curriculum that authors produce.
Some other topics that will be covered are Unit Studies, Living Books, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling, and Classical Education.
There will NOT be any curriculum there to browse.

This is a FREE workshop, but donations are accepted to help cover the cost of handouts.
Invite a friend!

There will be no childcare provided. Nursing infants and babes in arms
are welcome.


From I540, take the Holiday Inn exit in Springdale (exit 72) and go west toward Tontitown.
Near Tontitown, turn right at the Jones Rd. stoplight. There is a Harps
on the right at that intersection.
Circle of Life is the first building on the right after Harps, 901 Jones Rd.
It says “Circle of Life” on the building, but at the entrance there is a
sign that says “Willard and Pat Walker Family Center”.

Hope to see you there!
Shelley and Marni

Shelley Kinder

[email protected]


Marni Hendrix

[email protected]



Hope you find this helpful


Posted on 12 March '12 by , under Events, Free or Almost free resources, Freebies, Great Field Trips, Homeschool Parent Education, Homeschooling 101. No Comments.

Money Saving Car Care Tips for Northwest Arkansas Homeschoolers

In Northwest Arkansas, homeschoolers depend on their cars to get them where they need to go. We do not have mass transit in most places, so if the car dies, we are stuck. Thrifty homeschoolers will want to know where to get free air and where to get free car vacuum services. Check out the places listed below for free services and gas discounts.

Money saving car care tips for Northwest Arkansas:

1) Kum and Go gas stations have free air. Visit them to keep your tires properly inflated, thus saving on gas consumption.

2) Boomerang Car Wash has free vacuums. You do not have to purchase a car wash to use them. Save your vacuum and your electricity and use theirs for cleaning your car. If you do want to wash your car, their prices start at $6.00.

3) Load up a Walmart gift Card and use it to pay for gas at Murphys. You will save 10 cents a gallon. Use the gift card instead of a debit card. They charge $3.00 to load a debit card. This offer is good until September 2011. After that it should revert back to 3 cents off for a gift card. This offer is not good in Oklahoma, so fill up before you head out that way.

4) Check your fluids (oil, transmission fluid, antifreeze and brake fluid) regularly and top them off when necessary. This will keep your car running smoothly. Change the oil every 3,000 miles to prolong your engine life.

Hope these tips are useful.


Posted on 19 July '11 by , under Free or Almost free resources, Freebies, Thrifty Homeschooling. No Comments.

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