Thursday, February 11, 2016

Virtual Refrigerator - Chocolate and Valentines

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you!

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine. And a simple Matisse inspired Valentine card idea too!


The Virtual Refrigerator is an art post link-up hosted by Every Bed of Roses, Homeschool Coffee Break, Raventhreads, and This Day Has Great Potential #VirtualFridge #art

Welcome to the Valentine's Day edition of the Virtual Refrigerator! This weekly art link-up is co-hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break, Every Bed of Roses, Raventhreadsand This Day Has Great Potential. We all cordially invite you to add your link sharing the art that's on your Virtual Refrigerator and then hop over to the other blogs and admire what's on their Fridges!

Virtual Fridge - Happy Valentine's Day @kympossibleblog.blogspot.com
Valentine Hearts by KAT, 2015

Valentine's Day is just a couple of days away, and I kind of wanted to feature something related on my Fridge today. I think this is more 'crafts' than 'art' but it was easy and will make some cute little gifts over the next couple weeks.

I've been featuring an idea from the Cross Country Cafe blog recently, because I didn't want to forget to try it myself - these Sweet Chocolate Covered Spoons. Here's the Cross Country Cafe picture and link to their super-easy instructions:

Homemade Valentines gifts

And here's my version. Why didn't I think of sticking it in a mug like they did for the picture?

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine.

I used semi-sweet chocolate chips, a cup at a time in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 30 seconds, stir; then 30 seconds more and stir again. Mine still weren't completely melted and smooth, so I did another 10 seconds at a time until they were. Then I dipped plastic spoons into the melted chocolate and used a little spatula to make sure the bowl of the spoon was filled and kind of smoothed. Let them cool and harden on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, with the handle of the spoon resting on the edge so the chocolate doesn't run out. While the chocolate was still warm I sprinkled a little candy confetti on each one.

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine.

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine.


Now all I need is some little treat bags, or perhaps colored cellophane to wrap them before we give them away. Well, maybe not all of them. We'll keep a stash for our own hot chocolates, because it is COLD here this week!

Chocolate and Valentines on the Virtual Refrigerator, an art link-up hosted by Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - How to make these pretty chocolate covered spoons for your coffee or hot cocoa loving Valentine.


From my archives, here's a DIY Valentine's card idea Kennady came up with several years ago. See the how-to in my post Matisse Inspired Cut Paper.

Matisse inspired Valentines - how-to on Homeschool Coffee Break @ http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/2013/07/virtual-refrigerator-matisse-inspired.html
Matisse Inspired Valentine by KAT, 2012

Join us by sharing your art posts here on the Virtual Fridge!

The Virtual Refrigerator is an art post link-up hosted by Every Bed of Roses, Homeschool Coffee Break, Raventhreads, and This Day Has Great Potential #VirtualFridge #art


Every Bed of Roses  &#34Raventhreads

Grab a virtual magnet and add your link here to share your child's art or your arts and crafts how-to posts. Please visit the other blogs and admire what's on their Virtual Refrigerators!






Donut House Collection Chocolate Glazed Donut   Swiss Miss Keurig Kcup Hot Cocoa

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 ©2006-2016 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Other Homeschool Moms - We Need Each Other!


Other Homeschool Moms - We Need Each Other! I believe that one important need of homeschool families - and moms in particular - remains the same. We need the friendship of other homeschool moms! We need the understanding and support of moms who are or who have been walking a very similar road. I also believe that the support is best found in real life. --- Read more on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

 Over the last few weeks, I've had a couple of conversations with some of the other moms in my homeschool group in which we've discussed how the group has changed over the years. One of the moms had recently found an old issue of the group's newsletter - about 15 years old or so - and was struck by how many activities we had for moms and students then compared to what we have now. The number of activities on our monthly calendar now is only a fraction of what it was then. And the attendance at some of the activities has dwindled dramatically as well.

I think there are a number of factors in play. For one thing, homeschooling is so much more mainstream now than it was even fifteen years ago. Although I don't recall it happening anywhere in my county, there really was a legitimate concern that children would be reported as truant, or that some government agency would 'investigate' homeschoolers. We tended to do things as groups in order to deflect that kind of interest. 

Another factor is certainly the internet. When I started homeschooling (about 18 years ago), we did have a home computer and internet, but it was really limited. Blogging? I don't think I'd even heard of that, and never mind homeschool blogs! I found an online forum for moms that did have a message board specifically for homeschool moms, but that was IT. That was the extent of online support. And downloadable curriculum? Streaming video tutorials? Websites devoted to homeschool learning? Unheard of. I'm pretty sure I didn't even order curriculum through websites for my first several years.

So now homeschooling is seen as fairly normal, and there are homeschoolers of all stripes everywhere. In general, homeschooling is well-accepted and even admired. It certainly isn't considered fanatical or strange by most people. There are lots of local homeschool groups of various kinds, in contrast to when I started. At that time, there were the oversight groups that provided some level of accountability; and there was basically one fellowship group. Little wonder that fellowship group had so many member families, and so many activities on our calendar - we were the only game in town! Not that many years ago, that local fellowship group was pretty much the only place where homeschool moms could get together in a like-minded and supportive group. No wonder our monthly Encouragement Group was so well-attended - most of us weren't getting much encouragement from anywhere else!

It's tempting now for those of us who remember those days to be discouraged, and wonder why our group's membership is static (or maybe even shrinking) even while the homeschooling movement is growing dramatically. Tempting to wonder what we should be doing differently in order to get our members to attend the activities we do have, or to participate in planning activities. Don't get me wrong - I think we should be doing our best to grow our support groups and to encourage involvement from all our members. And we may need to adjust our expectations or how we operate in order to better serve the changing homeschool community, because the homeschool community and some of its needs are changing.

However, I also believe that one important need of homeschool families - and moms in particular - remains the same. We need the friendship of other homeschool moms. We need the understanding and support of moms who are or who have been walking a very similar road. I also believe that the support is best found in real life. Not that online message boards, Facebook groups, and blogging communities aren't valuable sources of information and encouragement - of course they are, or I wouldn't be involved in them! - but I don't think virtual "interaction" should completely replace real world interactions. 

Homeschooling is Hard for Extroverts on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

So what do we do about it?

Well, if you have a local support or fellowship group for homeschoolers, get involved. If you're not already a member of a group, see what's available in your local area, and join a group that seems like a good fit. If there's not a group, consider starting one. It doesn't have to be full co-op or something huge; maybe just a monthly meet and greet at a local coffee shop, library, or playground.

Other Homeschool Moms - We Need Each Other! I believe that one important need of homeschool families - and moms in particular - remains the same. We need the friendship of other homeschool moms! We need the understanding and support of moms who are or who have been walking a very similar road. I also believe that the support is best found in real life. --- Read more on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Get involved in the group, at whatever level you can. Are you a newbie homeschooler? I bet there are more experienced moms in the group that would love to answer your questions or soothe your worries. Are you a veteran homeschooler? I bet there are some rookies that need to be encouraged that their kids will turn out okay and that they will survive. Whether we are just starting out on the homeschool adventure, or whether we've got graduation of our youngest in our sights, we all need to be encouraged and even challenged. Some of us need other homeschool moms to understand our worries and calm us down. Some of us need to be refreshed and energized when we have slid into a homeschool rut. And then we switch places and do it all over again.

We do need each other. So get together with some Other Homeschool Moms and encourage each other!

“Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It's splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”  ~ Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

See also: Homeschooling is Hard for Extroverts because I think we all need some personal interaction, whether we're introverts or extroverts!

Homeschooling is Hard for Extroverts on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Do you have a great group of supportive homeschool moms you get together with regularly? Leave a comment and let me know!

This post is linked at Blogging Through the Alphabet, hosted by Cristi at Through the Calm and Through the Storm and Meg at Adventures with Jude. This week participating bloggers are featuring the letter O.

Blogging Through the Alphabet” style=

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 ©2006-2016 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition

This post contains affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you!

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

In our homeschool . . . we did our best to have a normal week, defining normal as staying busy with schoolwork throughout each day! That said, I neglected to work on Grammar with either kid, but that was my fault rather than theirs. And related - I do wish that we had a written-in-stone kind of time to work on their Student Writing Intensive course, because it is tough to be consistent with it when we seem to do it on a different day every week.

Everything else seems to be going quite well though, and both kids are making good progress in all subjects! I love being able to make a short, sweet report like that.

I've been hunting up worksheets and other resources from the website we're reviewing, Help Teaching, and we'll also be working on a review of the latest audio adventure from Heirloom Audio Adventures, The Dragon and The Raven. The day it arrived, Kennady and I were both SO excited! She immediately saved the entire thing to her iPod and has been listening to it by herself. I'm hoping to listen together with Landon this week.

In other news . . . Last Saturday the hubster and I drove up to Duncannon to browse an antique mall there and then had dinner at a barbecue place we'd been wanting to try. We were sort of disappointed - but not really - that the old fire watchtower was not open for us to climb. We had climbed it a few years ago when we last visited, but that was in the fall. It made sense that the tower was closed, as I'm sure the stairs would have been icy and potentially dangerous.

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

all our other activities returned to normal schedules this week as well, with one exception.Due to flooding and very foggy condition on Wednesday evening church activities were cancelled. So we spent yet another evening at home, and had to reschedule our worship team practice for a different night.

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Today Kennady and I went on a shopping spree to a thrift store, and only realized when we got there that it was dollar days. We've had some pretty good luck shopping at that store in the past, but today we got everything for a dollar apiece! The downside is that they don't have the dressing rooms open during dollar days, so we weren't able to try anything on. Well, let's hope for the best!

And right now I am in need of a nap, so I am going to keep this short and get it posted quickly!

I recommend . . . visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see Crew members' thoughts on homeschooling through various situations in the How Do I Homeschool When . . . Round-up.


How Do I Homeschool When ... ?

On the bookshelf . . .

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
White Nights and Other Stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
David and Bathsheba by Roberta Kells Dorr
The Coffee Trader: A Novel by David Liss

Finished Worship Changes Everything by Darlene Zschech and Undaunted Hope (Beacons of Hope) by Jody Hedlund. I reviewed both on my book blog, Just A Secondand you can also find other reviews and book-related things there.

A parting shot . . . some of the Lightning Guider sleds displayed at the Old Sled Works in Duncannon. The building that had once house the manufacture of these popular sleds is now a large antique mall.

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com

Homeschool Weekly - Back to Normal Edition on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com


Homemade Valentines gifts


 Weekly Wrap-Up   

I am linking up at the Weekly Wrap-Up hosted by Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, and the Homeschool Mother's Journal hosted by NextGenHomeschool.

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 ©2006-2016 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 5, 2016

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport


From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory


The lesson about the so-called 'Era of Good Feelings' in the Notgrass Exploring America textbook taught us about some of the developments in transportation in America following the War of 1812. Congress developed a three-point plan to encourage economic growth - a tariff to protect American industries from cheaper foreign competition; an effort to stabilize national currency and have a source for loans by creating the Second Bank of the United States; and an aggressive program to improve transportation. This final program involved building roads, canals, and eventually railroads. Better transportation was needed to encourage settlement in the western regions and to more efficiently bring farm products to market. At the time, only a few roads crossed the Appalachians, and they weren't much more than paths cleared through the forest. Roads in the well-settled east weren't a great deal better. City streets were dirt, and country roads were muddy ruts. River transportation was somewhat more reliable, but the varying conditions caused problems.

The Federally-funded National or Cumberland Road was constructed from Cumberland, Maryland west to Wheeling, Virginia; and eventually completed all the way to Vandalia, Illinois. This was the first major federal roads project, and it was debated whether it was constitutional for the federal government to fund transportation projects! My, how times have changed. States took on road and canal projects during these years as well. By the way, did you know why some of our highways in the eastern US are called "turnpikes"? Roads were originally given that name because at certain places along the route, travelers would need to pay a toll which would allow a pike or stake to turn and allow them to pass by the toll station and continue.

The canal projects are what I want to focus on though. Over 3000 miles of canals were built in the USA by 1837. The best known was the Erie Canal in New York. This 350-mile waterway was begun in 1817 and completed in 1825. It was an engineering marvel that connected Buffalo on Lake Erie to Albany on the Hudson River, and cut travel time between the two cities from 20 days to just 6 days. The cost of transporting freight also dropped dramatically and the Erie Canal turned a handsome profit.

Closer to where we live, the C&O Canal was begun in 1828, just west of Washington, DC. The canal finally reached Cumberland, Maryland 22 years later, after delays caused by difficult construction, high costs, labor unrest, and legal battles. The original plan to extend the canal to the headwaters of the Ohio River in Pittsburg had been abandoned by that time. Nevertheless, the canal was another engineering marvel that included 11 multi-arched aqueducts, seven dams, and a 3118-foot long brick-lined tunnel. A total of 74 locks raised and lowered water levels to adjust for the 605-foot difference in elevation between Georgetown and Cumberland.

Thousands of laborers and immigrants constructed the canal, and sadly it meant low wages, poor living conditions, and other hardships for many of them. However, the canal offered many opportunities as well. The operation of canal boats and locks were often family businesses. Also, many business and communities grew up along the banks of the Potomac and people certainly benefited greatly from the increased traffic and commerce along the route. Great Falls Tavern, still standing as a visitor center in the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historic Park , is one such business. This hotel opened in 1831, just three years after ground was broken for the canal and original lockhouse. The locktender asked for the hotel in response to travelers' requests for meals and shelter.

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory
Great Falls Tavern in summer
From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory
Great Falls Tavern in autumn
From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

Locktenders lived in rent-free houses and were always on duty to respond to the boatman's horn. 

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory
closing the lock gates
From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

 The families or crews that operated the boats often worked 18-hour days and lived in the 12' by 12' cabin space of the boats. They traveled about 360 miles per week in a round trip, and a crew member would earn about $15 per trip, roughly 5 cents per mile. The canal boats were towed by mules.

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

From the High School Lesson Book - Canal Transport on Homeschool Coffee Break @ kympossibleblog.blogspot.com - Learn about transportation advances in America following the War of 1812, with a focus on the C&O Canal in Maryland #homeschool #highschool #UShistory

The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, first in the nation, began operations in Cumberland in 1842. The railroad eventually continued westward, but the canal company gave up plans to continue expansion of the waterway. In 1889 a flood destroyed the canal, completely halting the boats for 18 months. The canal company went bankrupt and the B&O took over. As the years went by, the canal folk lost their independent ownership of the boats and the locks no longer needed tending as the railroad became the main transport.

Another flood in 1924 further devastated the canal, and in the 1930s the Civilian Conservation Corps began repairs of the locks and aqueducts. A group formed to preserve and protect the canal's resources and develop the area as a park, and finally in 1971 the Chesapeake & Ohio became a National Historic Park. You can find out more about the park and its history here. 


Have you visited the C & O Canal or another historic canal site? Leave a comment and let me know, and link up your posts about homeschooling high school here. Visit your neighbors and leave some encouraging comments!

If you're homeschooling through high school and have not yet joined the Blog Roll, please take a moment to do that as well.

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 ©2006-2016 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/