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I Homeschool My Kids – I Am Not A Leper

When you think of homeschooling, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

I am going to guess that some negative stereotypes are the first things that pop into your mind. Am I right?

Homeschoolers are weird. Homeschoolers are religious nuts? Hippies? Those weird kids are all maladjusted and unsocialized. Well, I won’t argue that some are. Interestingly enough, an equivalent proportion of public and private schooled children and their families are, as well. I think it has more to do with environment and heredity more than with educational preference.

I won’t argue the first point, my family are weirdos. You bet we are and proud of it. If this is disturbing, then please stop reading now. Continue reading

Salty Science

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This year the kids are learning all about the different ecosystems. This week’s ecosystem is Oceans. This just happens to be my favorite ecosystem. We had the pleasure of experiencing a few years on the Aegean Sea. We spent nearly every summer day at our favorite beach just down the road from our house. We also drank our fair share of sea water – yuck! – when snorkeling & swimming around. The activities we did today were pretty fun and they were a reminder of all of the time we […]

Volcanic Eruptions

Ever have one of those days where you just felt like making a volcano? The boys and I have done this experiment a couple of times now and it never gets old. We’ve done it a variety of ways, but this was the first real-life model of an actual volcano. Okay, not exactly real-life, but we did go that extra mile and construct it with clay.

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Of course, no experiment  is complete without making a complete mess and making little (or big) discoveries. On this particular day, we were fortunate enough not to make a total catastrophic mess. However, we did discover that the volcano was rather mono-chromatic. The volcano was totally cool, but it was so hard to differentiate between all the white! White plate (a.k.a. grassland or mess barrier), white volcano, and white baking soda and vinegar lava. It didn’t occur to any of us that there was any lack of color. I mean the volcano was on it’s way to the trash when Gavin and I thought it would have been much more realistic if the lava had been red. I guess we were just so excited for an artificial, natural explosion that we didn’t think beyond the basic instructions.

Artificial. Natural. Explosion. An artificial, natural explosion? Is that like an artificial, natural sweetener?

Okay, then how about a recreation of an erupting volcano?

The experiment was a hit, every single time. Go figure! Every time Tristan or Gavin poured the vinegar down into the volcano, it erupted. That’s what I like about this activity, it’s completely reliable. Plus, I only needed vinegar and baking soda. It is great for boys and it never fails to amaze and elicit the response of “Cool!” or giddy laughter. They even made their mean old schoolmarm do it.

For next time, for there will certainly be a next time, we have already drawn up the plans to have it spew red lava and we will just have to choose a different color of grassland. Now that the initial excitement has passed, they can sit down and prepare for another round of erupting volcanoes.



“I shine,” says the sun,
“To give the world light,”
“I glimmer,” adds the moon,
“To beautify the night.”
“I ripple,” says the brook,
“I whisper,” sighs the breeze,
“I patter,” laughs the rain,
“We rustle,” call the trees,
“We dance,” nod the daisies,
“I twinkle,” shines the star,
“We sing,” chant the birds,
“How happy we all are!”
“I smile,” cries the child,
Gentle, good, and gay;
The sweetest thing of all,
The sunshine of each day.

-Louisa M. Alcott

As I was helping Tristan with his English assignment, I had the opportunity to read this poem. I’ll be honest, poetry is not an inclination of mine; nor do I enjoy reading it, creating it, or thinking about it. I’m just a simple gal and I was not wired for poetry. However, I found myself meditating on these words. I found myself considering that all of God’s creations have a way of praising and glorifying Him. Nature speaks to those that are willing to listen. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia & Pajama Friday

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Today is Friday, also known as “Pajama Friday” in the Barker household. Pajama Friday started out because mom sort of has trouble waking up and being cheerful by the time Friday morning rolls around. To help ease this situation, Fridays are more casual and laid back. Oddly enough, we tend to begin our school day a tad earlier than usual. The kids set to work on their respectful subjects and tried to work as independently as possible. I think that is the ultimate goal here – independent work. However, sometimes I’m […]

Ireland – Our Last day

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On our last day, we were up early, driving around the Ring of Kerry. We began in Killarney and took an accidental detour through Mall’s Gap. That was okay because we just met up with the path/road again in Sneem. We stopped in Waterville for lunch at the Bayview Hotel. We had hoped to eat at the Cable House, but it was closed. This is Charlie Chaplin’s town or at least he ate at the nearby Butler’s Inn. The town holds a Chaplin Festival here in September. Most notable thing […]

Ireland – Day 6

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On day 6, we woke up to a slight drizzle – which was really not all that surprising, given that we were in Ireland! We decided to hike around the Slieve Mish Mountains. The owner of the B & B recommended this to us, and it turned out to be amazing! We went to Glanteenassig for a walk around the breathtaking views and waterfalls. It was very windy and rainy, but we made the most of our rain jackets. This was precisely why bought them. The lake was pretty large, […]

Ireland – Day 5

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Day 5 On day 5, we had to talk ourselves into leaving the B&B and head out for the day. It was very windy on this particular morning. We finally decided not to let the weather dictate our fun time. We were so glad to have gotten in the car and drive to Crag Cave near Castleisland. It’s a small cave, but the kids loved it. Then we headed toward Killarney to visit the Muckross House. Apparently, Queen Victoria stayed here for two nights, after giving the owners a six-year […]

Ireland – Day 4

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Day 4 was boat tour day! We set out on a boat from the tiny town of Ventry. We were headed out towards Blasket Island and possibly spot some aquatic life. We saw some Gannets, a glimpse of a couple porpoises, and some friendly seals. We missed the humpback whales that were spotted earlier in the morning by our wildlife guide. She said that she had seen them earlier from her telescope on the tip of Dingle Peninsula. It was definitely a day to wear our caps to keep the […]