Into gardening? Check out our FREE activity sheets on garden beneficials to help kids identify and appreciate the good guys.

I’m writing a gardening module for my grandkids (as part of a study on self-sufficient living), and I’ve put together a little activity to introduce them to garden beneficials. Since many fellow homeschoolers are also interested in gardening—specifically using sensible, sustainable practices—I thought I’d share it with our online friends.

The Beneficials’ Bios page gives a brief description of some common garden helpers and how they work for us. You can refer to the pictures on the Beneficials Bingo sheet as you read about each one. When you’re finished, you’re ready to head outside for a scavenger hunt and a game of Beneficials Bingo. We’ve rearranged the pictures on the Bingo pages to create different versions for those who’ll have more than one student participating. Here are the different pages: Beneficials Bingo Card 1 Beneficials Bingo Card 2 Beneficials Bingo Card 3

This FREE Lilly the Ladybug Coloring/Activity Book from Earthbound Farms also makes a great introduction to the basics of organic farming.

And finally, if the height of summer has you fighting a losing battle with weeds and water loss, you might want to check out our previous post on recycling cardboard as garden mulch.

www.finders-keepers.net

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Win a FREE First Form Latin Set—the new beginning Latin program from Memoria Press. Entering is EASY!

First Form Latin Set from Memoria Press

First Form Latin  is a new program designed for use with students in 5th-12th grade, or younger students who have completed Latina Christiana 1. It’s getting rave reviews from those who’ve had a chance to use it, and we’re excited to add it to our product line.

Part of the program involves learning Latin sayings, so we thought it might be fun to share some sayings amongst ourselves. From the down-home witticisms of Will Rogers (“It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so”) to the lofty thoughts of Aristotle (“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it”) to our beloved regional sayings (“Sittin’ in an oven doesn’t make you a biscuit”), clever minds through the ages have come up with ingenious ways to say a lot while speaking little.

For this week’s contest, we’d like you to share a favorite saying or quote. To enter simply write your entry as a “Comment” to the contest  post on the Finders-Keepers Facebook page. The winner will receive a free First Form Latin Set.

All entries must be received by Noon CST on Wednesday, June 30th, and the drawing will be that afternoon. One winner will be selected randomly from the number of responses received. The winner will be announced on Facebook, and he or she will receive a message from Finders-Keepers requesting shipping information. Please feel free to share the contest information with friends and family, but we do request that responses be limited to one per person.

And don’t forget, the Finders-Keepers website offers fantastic prices on First Form Latin products as well as the entire line of Memoria Press materials with FREE shipping on all orders of $50 or more.

www.finders-keepers.net

Win a FREE Apologia Biology Set (Student Text, Solutions & Tests Manual, Extra Test Booklet). Entering is EASY!

contest post on the Finders-Keepers Facebook page.  The winner will receive a free

For our Apologia Biology contest, we had originally planned to touch upon biodiversity and the interdependence of life.  However, the oil crisis in the Gulf—which is, of course, upsetting the balance of nature—is such a sensitive and/or grievous subject for so many that we thought it best to go in a different direction for now.  Having said that…

Since Biology is the study of life,  for this week’s contest we’d like you to name a song that has some form of the word “life” in the title.  It can be any genre (hymns, country, pop, etc.) , from any era, and in any language.

To enter simply write your answer as a “Comment” to the appropriateApologia Biology Set.

All entries must be received by Noon CST on Wednesday, June 16th, and the drawing will be that afternoon. One winner will be selected randomly from the number of responses received. The winner will be announced on Facebook, and he or she will receive a message from Finders-Keepers requesting shipping information. Please feel free to share the contest information with friends and family, but we do request that responses be limited to one per person.

And don’t forget, the Finders-Keepers website offers free Apologia Notebook Pages and Sample Modules, as well as fantastic prices on Apologia Science materials with FREE shipping on orders of $50 or more.

www.finders-keepers.net

Strategies for Sanity in the Schoolroom: The Dad Cam


Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this in a place as public and as permanent as the internet, but things haven’t always been sweetness and light in our schoolroom. (What? You already knew our lives weren’t perfect?) Most days were great, but when you’re living, working, studying, eating, playing, etc. in such close proximity, the minor conflicts of normal life can be magnified, and they can easily get out of control if left unchecked.

I was determined to address problems as quickly and fairly as possible, but as my darling little cherubs grew into clever little debaters, I found myself spending a lot time trying sorting out who said what to whom, what their tone of voice and facial expressions were like, what happened just before and just after, who had initial possession of any items involved…you get the picture. And after all that, it still often came down to a he said/she said situation. If the offense was more serious and required some counsel from Dad, the play-by-play had to be repeated several hours later, adding to the opportunity for misrepresentation.

It finally hit me one day that what I needed was instant replay—just like in a sporting event. This was long before the days of web cams or cell phones that captured video, so it was an off the wall concept at the time. I got out our old clunky camcorder and set it up in a place that offered the perfect blend of scope and detail. I told the kids my plan, then pressed “RECORD”. The Dad Cam was in operation.

Your first response to this idea might be, “Sure, anybody will be on good behavior if they know they’re being taped.” Uh, yeah. It was kind of nice.

But that can only last so long, and our Dad Cam stuck around for quite some time. It served several purposes:

1. If there was a minor conflict that just required a quick sorting out of fact from fiction, I’d say, “Let’s go to tape.” We’d gather ’round the VCR, and the truth would be plain for all to see in a matter of moments. Those who were mistaken or downright deceitful had an immediate opportunity to make things right. Those who were wrongly accused were vindicated.

2. If an opinion from Dad was in order, he could simply watch the video to see what really happened instead of trying to sort out the facts from several perspectives.

3. It gave me—the mom—a chance to see how I really looked and sounded. Sometimes I was harsher than I should have been. Sometimes a little more patience was in order. Sometimes a more watchful eye could have kept things in check.

4. If something wonderfully extraordinary happened in the course of a school day, we had a record of the event. On many occasions, the Dad Cam played a part in letting others get a glimpse of an amusing or profound moment in our homeschool.

These days, access to video is cheaper, faster, and easier than ever before, and even constant streaming is an option for regular folks. It’s the perfect time to bring the Dad Cam into a new era. If you’re looking for ways to keep the peace, keep Dad in the loop, and keep tabs on your day, you may want to give the Dad Cam a try.

www.finders-keepers.net