Some Important Changes

Hello All!  It has been a really LONG time.

I am at the limit for free blogging on WordPress.  Since I no longer have the time to keep this going and it doesn’t benefit me to pay for WordPress to blog, I am stepping down.   The blog will remain open for anyone to view and glean any goodies from it. 😀  I will also continue to answer any questions.    I have gotten a lot of emails regarding Biology and Physical Science lately.  I hope that I have kept up with them.

I have gotten a lot of emails regarding Biology and Physical Science lately.  I hope that I have kept up with them. That has brought to my mind that many still like the information and find it helpful.  A few years ago I started a science page on Facebook.  It went nowhere because I did not advertise and I was doing the blog.  I didn’t want to do both.  Would it be helpful, if I offered the Facebook page as a place to join and help each other?  Please let me know.  Of course, there will be rules. Always rules!!

Also, I no longer have the Etsy shop open for my little quizzes and whatever else is in there.  I had fully intended to add more but didn’t get to it.  Anyhoo, Etsy now requires payment through charge cards options and I just didn’t want to mess with that.  If anyone is interested in my Etsy shop items, please let me know and I will send you an invoice, when payment is received I will send the pdf to you.

For the “sample” quizzes on the blog, I have lifted the password.  They are now available to all.  I did enjoy getting the emails for the password.  That made me feel good.  LOL  These quizzes are not perfect and I do not have quizzes for all 16 modules.   The paid for ones cover all modules, plus an extra one.

Any helpful suggestions with me continue to help people, please speak out.  This year I am stepping away from Apologia and doing Friendly Chemistry.

Happy Homeschool!

What I have been doing…

It has been over a month since my last post.  Today we will be starting Module 4 in Biology and I have one new student.  That makes a whopping total of FOUR.  LOL  Love having a small class. 😀

Besides schooling, the playground wall is what keeps me busy.  Last week I had to go there four days.  Monday we prepped the third wall to be sketched and continued painting the first wall.  Wednesday we sketched the third wall and discovered we made a HUGE mistake with the grid.  Took another hour erasing what we sketched and fixed the grid.  Thursday we resketched and continued painting the first wall.  Thanks to my super awesome Mother-In-Law, Jan, the third was sketched in just a couple of hours on Thursday.  She was also the one to figure out what was wrong with our grid.  🙂


Saturday was Volunteer Day!

Joanna, Nicholas (volunteer), and I arrived bright and early; a few hours before the volunteers arrive.   Joanna mixes paints, fixes our sketch mistakes, and does touch ups.




This day we had 15 volunteers.

Some were friends from another County.wp-1474754286323.jpg

Some were from the Navy and the Army.wp-1474754267902.jpg

Some were employees of the Salvation Army and United Way.wp-1474754319260.jpg

We have enjoyed working on the playground wall and meeting all the volunteers. This project could not have been done without the volunteers help.  It is hard work, especially with the hot sun and no shade.  Lots of water and sunscreen are needed!  It is well worth it.  🙂  Hopefully, this will all be done in about a month.

Biology Lab Questions

This will be linked to the FAQ question post.

Reader’s question:  Could you explain what you require in a formal lab report and if you feel that all labs lend themselves to a formal write up?

I have my students write (type) a semi-formal lab report. I do not have them write a hypothesis for Biology, but I do require it for Physical Science and Chemistry.  For the conclusion, the students are to write a paragraph (high school level) describing the object they are looking at.   For example for the worm, they should write how it breathes, eats, crawls, explain the different systems, etc.  Students opinions are not acceptable.   I use to say write what you learned and all I would get was, “This was a fun experiment.”  or “The worm really stinks.”  or nothing at all because the student said he didn’t learn anything new.

Here are links to my handout for each student.

How to write a lab report

How to set up your lab notebook.

The labs in the textbook are written as if Dr. Wile is talking directly to the student.  Therefore; they get a little wordy.  I tell my students to write the labs in their own words and cut out the wordiness.  For example: Experiment 1.2 Part C

“Step 4:  If you were to look at the cells under the microscope right now, it would be hard to find them, because they are almost transparent.  To help make them easier to see, you will add a dye to them.  This dye is called a stain, and it will help contrast the cells against the light, making them much easier to see. Place a drop of methylene blue stain on the area where you placed the cells. (This stain will not come out of most fabric, so use it with care.)”  From Exploring Creation with Biology, 2nd Edition, page 32.

That is what the student needs to hear/read, very important.  It is not what they need to write in their lab report.  Instead, write this or something like it:

Step 4:  Place a drop of methylene blue stain on the area where you placed the cells.


A reader’s question:  We will have 24 weeks, meeting weekly for about 45 minutes to an hour. The plan is to have the kids read and do the work outside of class and do the experiments during class. Are there any experiments you would skip or chapters that can be left out or gone over quickly?  This is probably my most asked question.  🙂 The list below is what I usually do and it is not meant as a replacement schedule for what is in the book.  You as the teacher know what you can and cannot do and what is best for your students.


I do not have students write a lab report for all experiments.  Here is what I usually do:

  • Experiment 1.1 – Lab was not written up.  I made a worksheet the kids filled out at home.
  • Experiment 1.2 – Write section C, the cheek cell section.  Students do play around with the microscopes to understand it and know the function of each part.    
  • Experiment 2.1 – written up.  
  • Experiment 2.2 – written up.   We also try to do experiment 3.1 at the same times as 2.2,  but only look for the specimens mentioned.  3.1 was not written up.  If anything was found it was written in the result section of Exp. 2.2
  • Experiment 4.4  – skipped.  Cheese is expensive and we couldn’t find anything on it anyway.
  • Experiment 5.3 – skipped because we never had time for it in class. We will be doing this for 2016.
  • Experiment 8.4 – skipped. I don’t remember why. LOL
  • Experiments 8.2 and 8.3 – not written up. Instead, the kids filled out a punnet square worksheet during class time.
  • I totally skipped Module 9- I didn’t have time.  Some students read this on their own at home.  No test or quiz.  I may do this module for 2016. 
  • Experiment 10.1 – skipped.  I can never get this one to work. 
  • Experiment 12.2 – skipped  Bug board was done instead.   Bugs will be sketched for 2016.
  • Experiment 14.1  No lab was written, but they had to make the book with the leaves.
  • Experiment 16.1 -skipped only because we cannot see the slide that came with this textbook.  I found a great video to watch instead and we just talked about it.
  • Experiment 16.2 – skipped because we went on a day-long field trip.  The students had a list of items they had to find and identify.    For 2016 year we will do the Great Backyard Bird Count in February.

How long does it take to complete the labs?  That depends on the lab.  A few labs take days and these are done at the students home.   Others are very quick, but I can’t think of a specific one at the moment.   The time consuming part is sketching and dissecting.  If you have a student who hates to sketch, it will be very quick.  If you have a student who loves sketching, it will take forever. LOL  I schedule at least an hour for the longer labs.

Tip to make labs go quickly and smoothly:  Have your students write the labs up through the procedure BEFORE coming to class.  This ensures the students have actually read the experiment and they know what to do.  The student can use their notes instead of the textbook, which takes up space on the table.  I take off points if the lab is not written in advance.

I’ll add more if I think of anything else.

Enjoy the experiments!

FAQ -Biology Class



Can you send me the Biology schedule in a format that I can change?  No. The Pdf format is all that I can give you.  If you need an editable schedule, please visit

Can you change the schedule form for me?  No.  See above

Is subscribing for worth it?  Yes! I get most of my forms from her site.


Where do you get your supplies?
Textbook and Solutions from  I do not buy the CD, Audio, or Flash Cards, but I do know they have helped some students.  It depends on your needs.
3-ring notebook
– 1″wide, for graded lab write-ups – Where ever it is cheapest.
Basic Lab Form – !  I’d rather use a Meade Composition book, but that doesn’t work when we meet only once a week. 2015 and beyond I have the students type them up.
Plain paper for sketches – Office Depot
Colored pencils – Cheapest place
Dissecting Tool Kits – HomeScienceTools has great prices on dissecting tool kits. They also have great prices on individual pieces.
Styrofoam Meat Trays   I prefer the meat trays you get in the meat department at the grocery store.  The only reason I like them better than the dissecting trays is because of the cleaning and after awhile they get really stinky.   We get the meat trays free from Winn-Dixie and Publix grocery stores.   I double the trays for the frog.


Where do you buy your specimens?  worm, crayfish, perch, frog ordered from   2016 – Carolina no longer ships the perch to your resident.  This year, we are going fishing. 🙂

Why don’t you buy your specimens from Home Science Tools?  You can find that answer  here.  Tools, I’ll buy.  Specimens, no way.

Do you reuse your scalpels or replace them with a new blade after each specimen?  We use new blades.  After breaking four “used” blades on the perch in previous years, I have decided we should use new blades for each specimen.

Isn’t that expensive? It only costs $2.00 for a package of ten. 

How do you dispose of the specimens when you are done?  Aren’t they harmful to the environment?  The specimens are not classifiable as federal hazardous wastes and do not represent a biohazard. After they have been displayed to the co-op members about to have lunch, the specimens go right into the dumpster.

Continue reading

Got Questions?

Hi Everyone!

This is the time of year I get a lot of questions regarding labs, schedules, equipment, etc….  To keep from repeating myself in individual emails I will be answering your questions in a post, Thursday morning.  😀

Now is a good time to ask your questions, if you haven’t done so already.


Today was our first day for 2016 school year. I only have these two lovely ladies, but I know we are going to have a lot of fun.  Unfortunately, I am a little off my game for the first day. Lots of activity going on at my house and it doesn’t look like it is going to quit anytime soon.

We got through half the module and Exp. 1.1 Classification.  I had planned to look at our cheek cells under the microscope, but I totally forgot to buy cover slips for the slides. Glad we have one more week for the module, so the cheek cells will have to wait until next Tuesday.

Hope everyone else has a great start with homeschooling.

See you on Thursday!


A Playground Wall

The Salvation Army asked participants to design a mural for their playground wall.   Joanna entered two designs. One of them was selected and they asked her to design the other two walls.  Around 1,300 square feet of wall!  It tells a story of transition and hope.

The first step was to grid the wall.  We are thankful Joanna’s art teachers, Children’s Art Classes, were there to help.

20160720_145906 (2)

Next step Joanna and I sketched out her work.  It was sunny and hot that day.


Step 2:  Time to paint!  Mixing and mixing and mixing of paint to get the colors just right.

20160806_075638 - Copy

Lots of wonderful volunteers showed up.  The girl sitting down was a huge help in mixing the colors.

20160806_081734 - Copy

More mixing of paints.  The lovely lady below, sitting with Joanna, is a co-worker of my husband.  She saw the story in the Salvation Army newsletter and volunteered herself and brought the smiling faces you see above.  🙂

20160806_081743 - Copy

Young volunteers!


Looking good!


Friends, co-workers, Salvation Army workers, art students, and residents came out to help.  The time went quickly and all had fun.


One more day and this wall will be done!  Then on to the next wall.

2016 – 2017 HS Biology Schedule

Here it is!  This is my final Biology schedule, since this will be my last year teaching this subject.  I am happy about that.

Click here for the schedule –> 2016-2017 Schedule
Click here for the Field Journal information –>  Field Nature Journal

The schedule is different this year:

  1.  In a  few of the modules, especially Module 1, I moved the reading schedule around. This was due to areas I want read prior to coming to class.  Some of the material needed to be read in order to do the experiment on a set day.
  2.  I also removed Module 9 from the schedule and gave Module 6 and 7 three weeks each.
  3. Module 16 was moved to after Module 13 and Modules 14-15 were moved to the end of the year.  I do not like having to go back to the animals after studying flowers.  I just want it done all at once.

Activities have changed:

Biggest change is lab sketches.  All sketches will be done in a Field Journal.  I bought three Canson Sketch Books at Michael’s when they had their 50% off one item coupon.  This is the book that all sketches will be done in.  The lab write up will have a “see page # in field journal” writing where the sketch should be.

The nature journal “textbook” we will be working from is The Laws guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws.

The reason for this change is because I will only have two students and we will have plenty of time to stop and enjoy God’s creation.  I want us to slow down and really observe our surroundings.  The other reason is because one student is an artist and she wants to be a scientist.  🙂  My other student is not an artist, so she will probably just draw pencil stick figures.  This student is my youngest daughter.  Yes, she was in my class two years ago, but she didn’t do her work, so…..  yeah, round two coming up!

Second change is no Insect Board!  My daughter has already done it and the other young lady gets the hives just thinking about killing and pinning an insect. So….we (read that as I) will catch bugs to observe and they will be sketched in the journal.

Third change is, we are going fishing for a fish to dissect.  Since my all time favorite company cannot send a fish to my home, we will get it from the wilds of someones neighborhood pond.  Actually, my student will just step outside her backdoor and catch one for us. 😀

I am so looking forward to this year.  I know I will be able to share some of my students sketches; mine might not be worth showing. LOL

When I get my final list of supplies we are using, I’ll post them.

Any questions? 😀







Yes! I am still here.

Shocking I know!  :O

Last year was a little on the crazy side for me.  I won’t go into much detail, but I am no longer facilitating at two C0-ops or running a Co-op.  Yep, we closed our homeschool co-op due to a, strange to me, shift in homeschooling.  Enough of that, let’s get back to some good news. 🙂

I will be teaching Biology to two students at my home for the 2016-2017 school year.  I am so excited about this, because I am mixing things up!   This year we will work heavily in a Field Journal and using Nature Drawing and Journaling by John Muir Laws to inspire us.  I also have several nice Field Trips in the works.

This weekend,  I will be posting my 2016-2017 Biology Schedule along with the Field Journal Schedule.  In the meantime, I wanted to remind everyone that my schedules are only in a pdf format.  If you want the editable form that I use, please visit .  This website is now a subscription site and well worth it!  There is a TON of good homeschooling goodness in there and Donna is always quick to reply to questions or if you need help on her website.  So, splurge and sign up on her site.

I do not get any payment for mentioning these websites.  😀

The quizzes for biology on this blog are still free, but you must email me for the password.  However; if you want a a full set of quizzes, all corrected and sent as a download, please visit my Etsy Shop.  They are $8.00 for  a set of 16 and answers.

Hope everyone out there is doing well and still remembers me. LOL

Have a super day!


Love Post-it Notes!

Just finished printing a few extra Biology Post-it Notes for my class.  Always a fun way to write a note to students. 🙂

I used Sticky Note Printing Template  and added clip-art from Word.  Of course my name is always done in Chiller font.


I also printed on Post-It notes for my daughter’s math book.  You can find the blog post here.

Have you printed on Post-it Notes yet?

Module 1 – Physical Science

At the end of July and the first two weeks of August, the family went to Wisconsin for a vacation.  During that time, I missed the Kick Off Party at the co-op.  First time in nine years!   Then on the way home, I got sick and had to miss THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS!  Ug…first time in nine years.

The photos you see here today are not mine.  Thanks to  Jen Mauser at A Knitterary Life for stepping in on the first day of class and for taking pictures.

Experiment 1.1   Atoms and Molecules

The kids like this experiment because there are bubbles and change of color.  🙂

They used black electrical tape to attach the exposed copper wires to the battery.


Both terminals needed their own wires.


I have no photos of the actual experiment in progress, but here is a lovely sketch of what happened.  The sketch is not required, but some of the students love to do the sketches anyway.

You can see in the sketch how the wires were attached to the battery, change of color on one of the wire ends in the water, change of color in the water, and the bubbles.  I call this an awesome sketch!  To top off all this awesomeness, there are LABELS!


The students learned the electrical current through the water caused some of water molecules to break down into oxygen and hydrogen.  These two are gasses causing the bubbles.

The copper wire on the positive terminal interacted with the water molecules and baking soda molecules causing the copper wire to turn a blueish color.  The blueish/greenish color you see is called Hydroxycarbonate.

Hope you enjoyed this experiment as much as my students did.  Wish I had been there!