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Last year, we did our Homeschooling with the assistance of K12.com.

Listening to his teachers on K12

We were excited for the opportunity for our first official year of  homeschooling to use a complete curriculum which we didn’t have to question or give much thought to.  The lessons were all planed out and scheduled, hence we could keep track each day using their Online Dashboard.

We got all the items we needed in the box except for a headset which we ordered online.

Classes started in August and we were told there would be some testing to asses the sons levels.  Once complete groups would be assigned to suit each students needs.  I was looking forward to getting some feedback and to see where he placed among his peers.  Unfortunately, our son tested out of all the groups and there was no “Advanced” group for him to be in.  This meant less sessions for him to take part in but it also meant he was bored to tears in the regular class sessions.

We asked what we should do since he finished his assignments very quickly because he already knew the material.  Their response was that we should give him extra assignments.  (Certainly, if I was going to go searching for extra assignments, I could search for a full curriculum that fit his needs!)

Because of this, the year became an endless battle.  Our son hated the exercise of doing the worksheets because nothing was new or challenging to him.

Pros and Cons of K12
PROS CONS
We didn’t have to think about the curriculum. The curriculum wasn’t a specific fit for our son.
We couldn’t move at our own pace.
We had to attend “Class Connect” classes at specific times of the day.

I was also not thrilled with the teachers skipping lessons, moving ahead or changing their minds.

What it boils down to is that K12 just is regular brick and mortar school at home.

It may be the right fit for some, but it is definitely not the right fit for us.

Ready for K12 Graduation

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Why We Will Not Be Using K12 in Our Homeschool appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 2M ago

This weekend, we found that the Mulberries started turning their delicious shade of purple-ly black.  As I happily picked the berries, I mentioned to the Hubby that we should definitely continue to propagate the Mulberries as they were  doing fantastically.  His response was that we should start Air Layering.

What is Air Layering?

I had to ask him, because I didn’t know.

Air layering is a propagation technique used to root plants quickly and effectively, he explained.  The stem is stripped of it’s bark while keeping it attached to the parent plant.  Then it wrapped with soil or damp moss encouraging roots to form.

We grabbed a few thicker than average bags and some electrical tape and got to working.

We found some good candidates and stripped off the top layer of bark.  He got all fancy using the actual name of the layer but I just called it bark.

He wrapped it up and applied some moist soil before wrapping the other side.

We did several sets and of Mulberries and plan to do a few more plants.

The Air Layers need to set for about 60 days before unwrapping and checking our handy work.

Stay tuned as the adventures continue!

RESOURCES:

American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques
The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation: From Seed to Tissue Culture, Second Edition
American Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers
Plant Propagation A to Z: Growing Plants for Free

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Air Layering Plants appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 6M ago

Last year, we visited a friends house who let us U-pick Blueberries and Mulberries. This year, we were finally able to harvest enough Mulberries from our own trees to match a batch of jelly.

Making Mulberry Jelly

It took me about 3 days to pick the two pounds of Mulberries, in short leisurely bursts as we gardened.


At the same time, I started a big pot of boiling water to sanitize the jars, tops and lids.

Once it reached a boil, I used a Food Mill to get out the rest of the juice and a fine mesh strainer.  This produces a silky thick juice to which I add the sugar and pectin.

The Recipe

Making Mulberry Jelly
 
A smooth Mulberry Jelly
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Wash and Rinse Mulberries
  2. Put water to a non-reactive pot and add berries
  3. With a potato masher, mash the berries as they heat up to a boil
  4. Separate ¼ cup of sugar and combine with 1 pkg of Sure-Jell.
  5. Stir into fruit.
  6. Bring mixture to full rolling boil on high heat, stirring constantly.
  7. Stir in remaining sugar.
  8. Return to a rolling boil and boil exactly 1 min., stirring constantly.
  9. Remove from heat.
  10. Skim off any foam with a metal spoon (Do not discard as it goes great on ice cream)
  11. Ladle into jars and can as desired.
3.5.3226

 

8 plus one in the fridge and enough leftovers for Ice Cream Taste tests

It is starting to become a tradition that any time we make jams or jellies, our first taste test is always on Vanilla Ice Cream.

Warm Mulberry Jam on Vanilla Ice Cream

Bacon Egg Cheese Mulberry Jelly Sandwich, a Breakfast take on the Elena Ruth

This morning, I made our son his favorite PBJ sandwich with Mulberry Jelly and Dad even added some to his Bacon Egg and Cheese sandwich for an extra Yum!

Have you ever tried Mulberry Jam? Bough or Made it? Drop us a comment!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Making Mulberry Jelly appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 6M ago

Making and keeping a Science Nature journal is a fun way for kids of all ages to study nature.  I did one in College as part of my Ecology of South Florida class and I always promised myself I would make sure to create one with my kids.

The Purpose Science Nature Journal

A nature journal is a place to jot down thoughts, ideas, observations, and experiences with nature. It is an opportunity to reinforce and expand on learning.  It can also be handy to keep a record of outdoor learning lessons we complete each week as part of our homeschooling requirements.

Our focus is to learn about the weeds and edible plants that grow on our homestead, the animals that come to visit/call this area home and the environment and ecosystems around us.

A Good Start

This week we started keeping one as a way to keep notes on all the opportunities to study the natural world around us and we are on a roll.

Yesterday, we learned about Dragonflies and their purpose, Spanish Needles and how to identify American Nightshade.  We also talked about how the berries are toxic and being careful about what we eat when we are in nature.

Today we went to visit a friend and while we played outside, we found an unusual caterpillar.  We talked about how some are dangerous and can sting as a form of protecting themselves.

Learned about Moss and pet a friendly chicken.

We also found another plant to learn more about.  These look like, Spanish Needles (Bidens Alba) but we found that these are actually a type of Daisy, and learned that their scientific name is Erigeron annuus.

We also ran into a Monarch Butterfly that was probably just hatching and drying its wings to get ready to fly.  This gave us the opportunity to learn about their life cycles and how they grow.

When we got home, we jotted it all down in our K-2 Primary Journal with extra large lines and space for drawings.  Not only are we learning about Science and Nature but also practicing penmanship, vocabulary and grammar.

For now we are just keeping track of Names, Scientific Names and Descriptions (in our own words).  We posted the picture of the Daisy’s to a plant identification group, and searched the rest on Wikipedia and Youtube.  I am also using Google Images for Coloring book type illustrations and gluing them into our notebook.  Then our son color’s them in and writes his descriptions.

So far we are off to a good start and our son is enjoying it.

Stay tuned as the journey continues!

RESOURCES:
The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
The Curious Nature Guide: Explore the Natural Wonders All Around You

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Creating a Science Nature Journal with Kids appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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The Tattooed Homestead by The Tattooed Beekeeper's Wife - 6M ago

When my husband and I got married we were on the same page on so many things that a few people joked we were separated at birth.   We agreed on every important issue and Homeschooling was a big one for us.

So it came to us as a surprise when we found out that so much of our family was totally against it.  For the last five years we have had to defend our position and explain every decision when it comes to our child’s education.  This is aggravated by the fact that to us it is such a no brain-er.

Learning about Circuits

My husband and I are children of the digital age.  Xennials is the new term of choice.  We are star crossed somewhere between GenX and Millennial, only children and Nerds/Geeks/Dorks to boot.

Homeschooling in a Digital Age

So to us, in this age of customized learning, we think it would be foolish not to take advantage of all the education opportunities on offer.  We can find the right class at the exact level and pace that fits our needs. If we want our son to learn Literature from Malcolm Gladwell, there is a class for that.  Programming at MIT, yep, there is one for that too, that one is even free!  We are not limited by the resources that a brick and mortar school can muster.  We are free to customize the education we always dreamed of.

It’s not for everyone, I know that.  But it is for us!

This year, we tested out K12.com and it wasn’t quite the right fit.  It wasn’t bad, just not for us.  We are finishing up Kindergarten but will not be returning.  It does help to keep you accountable and on task but it’s a little too rigid for us as it did not allow us to move forward in the lessons and our son got bored with the Math and Language Arts and they did not allow us to move him up a grade (even though he was doing way above grade level on both).

Plans for the Future

Right now, I am currently testing out Time4Learning.com.  They offered a free Groupon and I took them up on the trial.  We are a week in and so far we are really liking it.  It puts me in drivers seat and allows me to slow down and speed up as we feel we need.   Right now we are working on 2nd Grade level work.   We are not hitting anything too far above his level but I want to try it out a bit longer before making any decisions.  I do plan on doing an in depth review once we can form a much fuller opinion about the program as a whole.  

For now, the journey continues ….

Stay tuned for updates!

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see our disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting The Tattooed Homestead.

The post Homeschooling in the New Millennium appeared first on The Tattooed Homestead.

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