August’s Making the Days Count Activity Calendar

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“Whilst August yet wears her golden crown,
Ripening fields lush–bright with promise;
Summer waxes long, then wanes, quietly passing
Her fading green glory on to riotous Autumn.”

–  Michelle L. Thieme, August’s Crown



August . . . the last full month of summer . . . time to squeeze in some more summertime fun before school starts full-swing.


August is National Parks Month. If you live close enough to one, visit it!  My family got to visit Mammoth Cave National Park recently and had a great time. We read Journey to the Bottomless Pit on the way there, and then got to see many of the places that we had read about!

August is also National Inventors Month….a great time to kick off a study of inventors!    Celebrate Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole’s birthday and you can sneak in some science!   And you could learn so much Holling C. Holling‘s books if you want to celebrate his birthday!

One of our favorite traditions for August is watching the Perseid meteor shower.  It’s become tradition kick-off our new school year by reading Call Me Ahnighito, and watching for meteors.  If it’s not cloudy, we always see lots of them during the peak night!  (You can see a few here and there any night this month, but on the peak night you see LOTS.)

So, pick some fun activities from the calendar and make your days count!  Don’t forget to continue with your summer bucket list!  (And if you haven’t started, it’s not too late . . . create a personalized one for your family today!)



The Homeschool Experiment

Usually we focus on children’s books here, but it’s summer now and time for mom to get in a little fun reading! A confession: When I get to read for fun I pretty much always choose a mystery. Every so often I’ll throw in a biography or something like that, but 98% of the time I’ve got a paperback mystery with me. A book like The Homeschool Experiment isn’t normally what I’d choose, but I got a copy (signed by the author herself!) at my local convention in May and thought it would be an okay read. A few days ago I picked it up off the shelf, started reading, and kept reading until I finished it that same night. It’s that good!

This book is real. For me, it was really real because I live in the Tulsa area and have been to the places the characters visit. Even if you’re homeschooling in Timbuktu, though, you are going to see yourself in The Homeschool Experiment. The main character, Julianne, is struggling to survive her son’s first grade year as she also tries to teach her younger daughter and care for her toddler son. The book starts in May as Julianne attends the homeschool convention and follows her troubles and triumphs throughout the year. You will nod as she faces so many of the stereotypical situations we’ve all experienced—questions from family, struggles with children, doubts from within. You’ll laugh—often. Out of sheer vanity I don’t want to tell you which parts of this book were just like my life, but Hawkins tells the stories with such humor that you’ll find yourself literally laughing out loud. You may even find yourself tearing up a bit as Julianne ponders and prays over her homeschooling days. (And she doesn’t find a single body or solve any crimes, either, so this is automatically much more realistic than 98% of what I usually read!)

This book is full of great advice. While Julianne is relatively new to the homeschool experience, she has friends who have been doing this for a while and offer great advice. What’s great is that they don’t automatically tell her to buy something new or offer some super-complicated ideas. Instead, they offer her practical solutions to help her days flow more smoothly. I like that Hawkins has woven these discussions into the story because even though I don’t think there was anything I hadn’t heard of before, it was good to hear those ideas again and see how Julianne applied them in her own life. It made me think of sitting back and listening to other homeschool moms talk at the park!

This book is encouraging. Yes, Julianne struggles, as we all do. Her kids argue, her family eats too much fast food, and her house is messy. Sound familiar? (Please don’t tell me if this is completely foreign to you!) She doesn’t just sit and complain, though; she goes out and seeks solutions and makes changes. There are many scriptures and hymns throughout the book and you witness friends praying for each other and encouraging each other as they go about their daily lives. When I finished the book I felt like I had just had a good, long conversation with a friend!

This book has extras! At the back of the book is a study guide in case you want to have a book group with friends. (Probably homeschool moms are going to enjoy this book the most, but it might be an interesting glimpse into a different world for those who don’t homeschool!) Also included is information about the different homeschooling resources Julianne and her friends discuss in the story, so you may pick up some useful information while you’re being entertained. If you visit you can read more posts by Charity Hawkins and download the first three chapters!

Let’s face it: If you’re homeschooling, you’re living a lifestyle that only a tiny fraction of society ever experiences and that very few people really understand. I loved this story because it’s the first fiction book I’ve ever read that has a main character that is like me—but not in a crazy-lady-down-the-street kind of way. Take a day or two off from chores and planning and give The Homeschool Experiment a try. It’s one of the few experiments I can almost guarantee will give you great results!


Peter and the Wolf $5 Special and July Grand Giveaway!

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Would you like to start your school year off with some fun? You can try the  award-winning classic, Peter and the Wolf by Maestro Classics for just $5!

As you listen to the CD, your students will be delighted with the musical presentation. Other segments of the CD are dedicated to teaching your children about the music and the composer, Prokofiev.

The learning does not stop with the CD. With your $5 download, you will receive a PDF activity booklet. You will also find oodles of additional ideas in the free study guide found at the Maestro Classics website.

If you would like to continue to enhance and extend your learning, Homeschool Share offers many FREE units and lapbooks that match-up with the learning themes in Peter and the Wolf.

Russia Lapbook

Duck Lapbook

Wolf Lapbook

Cat Lapbook

Birds Lapbook

Maestro Classics Offer Details: Purchase Peter and the Wolf MP3 Digital Download for only $5 with discount code: HomeschoolShare. Limit one per family. Offer expires 7/31/12.

And now, for the GIVEAWAY! Value over $150!

You can win nine (yes, NINE!) of the fabulous Maestro Classics CDs including:

Peter and the Wolf

A young boy named Peter disobeys his grandfather and climbs over the garden wall. When he encounters a wolf, with quick thinking and the help of his friends – a bird, a duck and a cat – Peter captures the wolf and it is taken to the zoo.

The Story of Swan Lake

Swan Lake, Tchaikovsky’s greatest ballet score, is the tale of a prince who falls in love with a beautiful princess. The princess, however, has been turned into a swan by an evil magician, and only the prince’s love can break the spell. This narrated version of the classic tale for children is sure to delight all who love ballet and enchanting storytelling.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel

Virginia Lee Burton’s classic American storybook, a childhood favorite for generations, is brought to life with this beautiful new music for orchestra and Irish bagpipes. In the story, Mike Mulligan refuses to give up his aging steam shovel Mary Anne as they travel to find one last job together. A tale of loyalty and friendship, perseverance and good ideas, this musical CD won a Parents’ Choice GOLD award.

My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music

When Handel, the brilliant young German composer living in London, needed to get back into the king’s good graces, he had a brilliant idea.
He composed a suite of dances, hired a boat and 50 musicians, and headed down the River Thames to surprise King George I. The music became known as “Water Music,” one of Handel’s best-loved compositions.

The Tortoise and the Hare

Hare, certain that talent and new running shoes will win the race, stops for a little French onion soup at the bistro along the route. All the small animals in the forest cheer poor, slow Tortoise along, while Hare, who is far ahead, decides to take a nap. The charming musical score, complete with “The Pretzel Vendor of Paris” song, won a Parents’ Choice GOLD award.

Casey at the Bat

When the Mudville Nine are almost certain to lose the game, Mighty Casey takes his turn at bat, and the fans hold their breath as each pitch is thrown. The upbeat, jazzy music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra is highlighted by cheering crowds, vendors hawking their wares, the cheers of spectators and the sounds of the ball being hit, which bring the story to life.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice

The lazy apprentice, confident that he can use his master’s spell to do his chores, chants the magic spell and takes a nap. As the water swirls around the workshop getting ever higher, the apprentice awakens, only to discover that he does not know the spell to stop the brooms! A thrilling narration accompanies Paul Dukas’ dramatic musical score.

Juanita The Spanish Lobster

This new musical work from England combines flamenco guitar music with bel canto opera, poking fun at both, while telling a delightful story. The music of this tale invites you to not only have fun listening but also to learn and sing along. You’ll get a kick out of the high level of quality music performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the dynamic storytelling and the multifaceted tongue-in-cheek humor. Fun for all!

The Soldier’s Tale

Stravinsky’s greatest work for narrator and orchestra. It is the story of a soldier, on leave from the army, who trades his old violin for a magic book that can tell the future and make him rich. He soon discovers, however, that he has made a deal with the devil and that money does not bring happiness.

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$500 Cash Giveaway!

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Homeschool Share has teamed up with some fabulous bloggers across the world wide web to bring you a $500 CASH Giveaway. Yes. Seriously. $500 bucks. Or a $500 Amazon gift card. Or a $500 Target gift card. $500!

To enter this giveaway, you must  leave a comment on this blog post and tell us how you’d spend your winnings. Want extra entries? Like the sponsors’ Facebook pages and follow them on Twitter. Log all of your entries using Rafflecopter (at the bottom of this post). If you don’t use Facebook or Twitter, check out the other special options just for you!

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