Google The Unplanned Homeschooler

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A review of 'Nellie Nova Takes Flight'

Earlier this month, I received a review copy of the new book by Stephenie Peterson, "Nellie Nova Takes Flight." This book, about a nine-year-old, crazy-haired, glasses-wearing, homeschooled genius with high aspirations sounded like a fun selection to read with my own precocious, crazy-haired, glasses-wearing, homeschooled eight-year-old daughter.

Nellie Nova is quite the little girl. From the very beginning of the novel, the author makes it clear just how brilliant Nellie is. She's not just smart, and she's not just a regular genius. She's so far beyond, I actually began to worry that the character would not be relatable as I began reading the book aloud to my daughter at bedtime.

But my daughter had no problem relating to Nellie, whose brain was so powerful, she was nearly superhuman. She was excited to see what adventures Nellie would encounter as she traveled through time in her homemade time machine.

Nellie Nova set off in her time machine to meet a woman who changed the world, specifically, the famous pilot, Amelia Earhart. But not everything went according to plan. It's through the twists and turns in the story that you start to see there is a lot more to Nellie Nova than just her big brains. This homeschooled youngster is very close to her family and cares a lot about others, too.

My daughter and I enjoyed this book, and now that she has worked the kinks out of her time machine, I have a feeling there will be more Nellie Nova adventures to come. We look forward to reading them.

Keep up with author, Stephenie Peterson, and all of Nellie Nova's adventures on the Nellie Nova Facebook page.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for my objective review. 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The History of Rock and Roll unit study available now!

Would you like to incorporate music appreciation into your studies this year, but you haven't been able to find a resource that really strikes a chord with you or your kids? Dive into "The History of Rock and Roll" and have fun learning all about this incredibly diverse musical genre that was born in the late 1940s and helped shape the culture of America and the world for decade after decade as it evolved.

I created this unit study based on the co-op class I taught last year. The teens in my class were very engaged and full of questions and comments as we learned all about the birth of rock and roll and explored how it changed and diverged into a myriad of subgenres up through the modern era.

Enjoy samples of great rock and roll music from rhythm and blues and doo wop to psychedelic rock, surf rock, punk rock, southern rock and even metal. This unit study includes relevant musical selections that showcase nearly every facet of rock and roll, and a wide variety of artists. Your kids will come away with a deeper knowledge of the music that has served as the soundtrack of the last three generations, and an appreciation for the roots of the music that they listen to today.

Get the full size printable version of The History of Rock and Roll unit study, or order the Kindle version on Amazon today.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Finding a fabulous prom dress on a budget

I mentioned in my earlier post about getting ready for a homeschool prom that I would let you in on a few great tips for finding a fabulous dress on a budget. With spring formals and proms just around the corner, there's no time to waste in finding that perfect dress.

I'm not much of a girly girl, but I just love this time of year, when my Facebook feed is flooded with photos of dress fittings, and exclamations from moms who can’t believe their babies are so grown up. I love the fanciful prom pics that will be floating across my screen soon, with bright, clean-scrubbed young men and beautiful young ladies in dresses of every sparkling hue. This year, I'll be joining them with pics of my own, as my kids attend their first semi-formal dance, a masquerade ball hosted by our homeschool group.

I bought my daughters' dresses secondhand this year, and saved a bundle. I bought my son's suit secondhand, too, which is great because at 14, he is still growing like a weed. If your kids have a big dance coming up, you can save money, too.Here are some of the best ways you can save a bundle on a beautiful dress for prom or a spring formal.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

How to prepare for a homeschool prom



Wait a minute.  Do those two words actually go together? Well, yes, as a matter of fact, they do. And no, homeschool prom is really nothing like the clich├ęd depiction you might have seen on TV where one lonely homeschooled girl in a homemade dress dances with her weirded-out, public-schooled date in the basement while her grandma serves punch and her mom takes pictures.

Homeschool proms have actually grown in both size and popularity as homeschooling itself has taken off in recent years. With conservative estimates placing the number of homeschoolers in the United States at well over 2 million and growing, there is no shortage of kids available in every state for a high school prom. If your teens want to attend, you need to prepare early... here's how to do it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

How to plan the perfect co-op class

If you've been a homeschooler for very long, you might find yourself in the position to teach a class in your local homeschool group or co-op. Although some folks come by this skill naturally, for others, teaching a group of students can be a daunting prospect.

Teaching a homeschool co-op class can be an extremely rewarding and enriching experience, though, and seeing you take on the challenge can inspire your children to tackle opportunities of their own as they get older. So, here are a few simple and easy tips to help you plan the perfect co-op class, your way!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

When love is the only thing under the tree

Today I read a post from a mom who just wanted to turn off her computer and stay offline until the new year. The joy and expectation of Christmas had simply become too much for her to handle when her own family was broke and there was no money to spend on gifts for the kids.

Her post was only one of dozens of similar threads I saw on Facebook this week, and they broke my heart because this time last year, I could have written the same thing myself.

At the beginning of last December, my husband lost his job. He is an engineer, and had been working in the hard hit oil and gas industry. It was the beginning of a long, hard time for us, as it was for many in the same industry. Christmas came just weeks after he cleared out his desk. With uncertainty looming, we had no money to spend on gifts whatsoever.

Like so many families, at one time or another in their lives, we had to face a not-so-merry Christmas, where the only thing under our tree and in our stockings was the love we had for one another. But we were fortunate, because we still had our home, the power was still on, and our kids had coats that fit and food to eat. We knew some families had things much worse than ours.

At the time, though, I was terribly depressed, and I will admit I had a hard time getting over the feeling that we were unable to give our kids a "good Christmas" because we couldn't afford to give them gifts. But looking back, I realize that they might have received the best gifts we could have possibly given them, even though things weren't working out at all the way any of us had wanted.

The gift of fortitude

By pulling together during our greatest financial struggle, and leaning on one another, we drew strength. We worked hard to find my husband a new job and to stay on track with the kids' schooling, all while scrimping and saving in whatever ways we could. We got through the hard time together, and if later in their lives, our kids face struggles of their own, they will know they can make it, too.

The gift of humility

Our kids saw us reach out to our bank to save our home. They saw us apply for assistance when my husband's unemployment lasted longer than a few weeks. They learned that humbly and graciously accepting help from those who love you can be hard to do, but is a blessing not only to your own need, but to the ones who give you aid.

The gift of faith

As the weeks of unemployment stretched into months - something we'd never experienced before - and it became tempting to give in to feelings of despair, our children watched as we continued to place our faith in God to see us through. We continued to be thankful that we never went hungry, we never became homeless, and although many wants were unfulfilled, our basic needs were always met.

The gift of perspective

There are much worse things than not getting the toys on your Christmas list. Our kids were never really greedy, and we'd done our best to teach them the difference between wants and needs over the years. But going through a Christmas of financial hardship taught them in a very concrete way that missing out on the things you want is not the end of the world.

This year, we're doing much better. My husband returned to work a few months ago, and this Christmas, although our belts are still tightened, there are a few packages under the Christmas tree. But the best gift this year is the renewed spirit of gratitude and helpfulness that each of my children are filled with, having spent a Christmas with nothing under the tree but love.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Fun Fact Friday: How to store leftover onions

Don't onions make your home cooking taste delicious? I love them, but sometimes recipes call for a little less than a whole onion, or a little more. What do you do with the leftover onions?

Well, this is a perfect opportunity for you and your kids to research the veracity of a popular internet meme. As it turns out, contrary to widely circulated internet rumors, cut onions are not dangerous to store and use later. They aren't bacterial super-magnets, and you aren't going to die if you eat them, as long as you store them properly.

According to the National Onion Association, an organization chock full of helpful onion-related knowledge, you can store cut onions in your refrigerator in a sealed container, like a bowl with a lid or a storage bag, for up to a week to 10 days. 

So go ahead and make some Tex-Mex, a batch of your favorite soup, or whatever onion masterpiece you're craving, and save the leftover onion for later in the week!