Happy Halloween!

Pumpkins- check

Snack with (ahem, store bought) Halloween cookies

Add two excited monkeys
Scoop out goop

carve it out

drawn on it (?!)

make assemble line to de-goop seeds

sort clean seeds

Place on tray in sun and wait for them to dry

Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween


Home Education Workshops

I have yet to officially join any 'homeschooling groups' I'm not there yet and the whole religious aspect scares me off.  I do however believe in workshops that are offered through a distance learning campus in our town.  Last week we went to a two hour class called "Writers Block-Not" which gave us lots of creative ideas on how to continue to practice our writing.  It was hands on, engaged both me and the monkeys and we even made some friends.  


Bill Nye

Bill Nye is my monkeys primary science teacher.  He is nice, has a great sense of humor (if you are under ten) and is knowledgeable about all science related subjects.  He loves doing experiments and has an easy going natural manner when explaining why things work the way they do.
He has a huge series of videos most of which are available at your local library.
The Science Guy videos are great for five and up- especially if your monkeys are into science. 
Stuff Happens are great videos for older kids and that the whole family can enjoy. 


Culinary Art- Helper Monkeys

One of the adjustments of home education is that the time I used to have to get things done is now occupied with the monkeys being around. From the beginning I have used this opportunity to make them step up to the plate and help out.  
Cooking is something that we always enjoyed doing together.  They love to look up recipes or be given jobs- certain tasks are always deferred to them.  Like peeling carrots or potatoes, chopping mushrooms, measuring liquids,  dicing, stirring etc. 
It is a great way to combine math with culinary art and get meals made. 
Peeling carrots

Making Oatmeal Cookies

Eating Oatmeal Cookies

spraying olive oil onto the Kale Chips

Kale Chips

cracking eggs

dicing the bread cubs for meat balls


Computer Based Curriculum

The lighter is a necessity as we love to burn incense while we work

We use a computer based program.  Although I am a believer of un-schooling in the sense that children learn in everyday events and through personal interests- because my boys were in an academic private school prior to this educational journey- I felt it was important to try and encourage maintaining a competitive 'level' of learning.  I am not big on levels but they have been programed to try and 'get a score' and 'pass a level'.  I also have little interest in trying to figure out what they need to know in the mathematics department.


Calendar, Countdown, Chain Link and Mathematics

A chain link count down is a classic tool to help kids anticipate exciting events.  It can be tailored to many age groups from pre-school and up.  Today I worked on this activity with my eight year old.  Because it is the beginning of the month we did a mini study of the calendar.  We talked about the holidays in the month- Halloween, Yom Kippor- How many days are in this month, other months and then I asked leading questions to focus on a specific date- October 15th- 
The Jewish equivalent of Christmas for the monkeys- 
The day that Meme and Zadie (grandma and grandpa) come to visit us from Florida

What we used:
I opted for a tape measure because he likes using them
We figured out we needed 12 links on our chain

We chose colors- in this case primary colors-
We calculated how many strips of paper we should divide each piece into
Measured them (just for fun and practice) 

Cut them slowly and carefully

Decided on a pattern- and started glueing them and holding them for a count of 30 seconds
Counting forward, counting backwards, counting by twos to…60, counting by fives, etc.

And now we have a visual count down chain


Traveling In Your Home Town

I am a big believer of exposing the monkeys to different cultures.  Traveling is a passion of mine that I hope to impart on my children.  Unfortunately we can't travel all the time.  One of the ways that I keep the travel experience alive in our home is by hosting 'friends we haven't met' via  Couch Surfing.  We have been actively hosting and surfing through this organization for over three years.
Another way that we expose our children to various cultures is through food.  We live in a large metropolitan city with a plethora of ethnic restaurants and markets.  I try and make it a point to use our trips to the market as an educational tool.  We'll talk about the food and what it is used for.  We look up recipes and recreate meals we like. We try foods that we've never heard of.
Sometimes the monkeys don't like the smell or the taste- but that is all part of the experience.

Indian Market:

Polish Market: 

Mexican Market:

And here is a post I wrote about a trip to the
Asian Market

Here is a sampler dish from our favorite Indian Market Restaurant-

 And sometimes it is just a matter of getting a different type of soda to make them happy

How do you expose your monkeys to different cultures?