November 19, 2012

Middle Earth Musings: Legos and Listening

by Wonder Mom

Hello Peeps!

I PROMISE I have not forgotten about y’all- life has just been a tad busy.

I am SO SORRY I have not finished up my “Middle Earth Musings” posts, but with the movie QUICKLY approaching, I wanted to make certain to get them all done…

In the last post, I teased about giving some info about a lesson with Dwarf Runes.

Well, I need to tease you a little bit longer.

I will get to that post soon- I PROMISE!

In today’s post, I would like to show you what my kiddos like to do when I read aloud from The Hobbit

They create characters with their Legos.

My Little Wild Man decided to fashion up Smaug the Dragon while we were reading through Chapters 12 and 13 of The Hobbit.

He and his sister also created…

…Smaug’s lair.

I find that in a read aloud as detailed as The Hobbit, my kiddos need to do something while I am reading to keep them focused on the story.  Creating images with their Legos is a popular option for all of them, but they also enjoy…

…illustrating the images they hear about from the read aloud.

Instead of creating a lair with Legos, Baby Girl drew a very fetching portrait…

…of old Mr. Smaug.

Giving your kiddos a creative outlet while they listen will only add to their vivid picture of the story at hand.


Only two more “Middle Earth Musings” posts left after this one!  Keep checking back in for more hobbit-tastic learning fun…

September 24, 2012

Middle Earth Musings Part III: Quiz Time!

by Wonder Mom

I wanted to guide you today to some EXCELLENT resources that you could use with your kiddos to “quiz” them…

…as you journey through The Hobbit together.

You could “test” them with these quizzes in a traditional sense, of you could just use the questions to guide discussions about the novel.

Just click on the Chapter numbers below to gain access to the corresponding quizzes:

Chapters 1 & 2

Chapters 3 & 4

Chapters 5 & 6

Chapters 7 & 8

Chapters 9 & 10

Chapters 11 & 12

Chapters 13, 14, & 15

Chapters 16 & 17

Chapters 18 & 19

What’s up for next week?  Dwarf Runes…

September 18, 2012

Middle Earth Musings, Part II: Hobbit Day

by Wonder Mom

This Saturday, September 22nd, is Hobbit Day– when all of us Shire-fans can celebrate the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

My family will be observing this holiday a bit later, since our schedule is jam-packed this weekend.  Therefore, I would like to provide a “party recipe” today to get your creative juices flowing in case you choose to celebrate Hobbit Day with your loved ones…

In my humble opinion, all parties need the following “ingredients” to be a success:

  • Decorations
  • Food
  • Games/Activities
  • Party Favors

Hobbit Party Decor for a Homey Hobbit Hole

To set the mood for a hobbit celebration, having the party outside would be a good start.  I could just picture an old tree stump surrounded by…


these little toadstools.

If you do not have a suitable outdoor party space, bring the outdoors inside.  Decorate with vases full of wildflowers and leaves.  You could even make the vase outdoorsy by…


…making a twig one like THIS.

Food Fit for Hobbit

Now we all know the importance of refreshments for any hobbit gathering, but a birthday party for two hobbits is in definite need of some special eats!  A birthday cake (or cupcakes) are a MUST for this party, and they can be simple and sweet.  If you wish, you can get much more involved and detailed with your cake by checking out Squiddo’s host of Hobbit cake ideas


…like these Gandalf’s Wizard Hat cupcakes.

Oh, and don’t forget the scones!  Check out…

THIS recipe for your “second breakfast.”

Serve other tasty Hobbit treats at your party, such as mushrooms, fish and chips, blackberries, honey cakes, and tea (of course!).  You can even eat like a hobbit throughout the day, if you wish, by have up to 7 different meals- just don’t expect this diet to be conducive to a trim waistline!  :0)

Hobbit Games and Activities

I believe Hobbits are playful creatures, so a game of horseshoes would be quite fun at the party.  (You can get a set of plastic horseshoes at retailers like Wal-Mart if you think your kiddos might injure themselves with a “real” set!) :0)

Or how about making a…

Smaug Pinata to bust open?  It could be filled with chocolate golden coins and fake jewels to represent the Dwarves’ treasure.

If you have any left over sparklers or fireworks from the 4th of July, these would add an extra special touch to the day’s festivities.  Gandalf was an expert in this field, remember?

I think a “Precious Ring Hunt” would be fun for the kiddos too.  You could hide several fake silver rings around the party area and one golden ring.  Whomever finds the golden “Precious” is the winner!

I would also have a riddle telling time, and include the riddles from The Hobbit.  Most kiddos enjoy a good guessing game- just don’t let them guess what is in your pocket!

Party Favors

You can’t leave a party without some sort of goody bag!  I am planning on getting my kiddos some type of …

…bubble pipe so they can blow “smoke rings” like Gandalf and Bilbo.  You can buy cheap sets at places like Party City or even make your own by using THIS tutorial.

Other ideas for party favors include chocolate golden coins (to represent the Dwarves’ treasure), plastic daggers (to represent “Sting”), handkerchiefs (something Bilbo is fond of), and…

Ring Pops (to represent the treasure and Gollum’s “Precious”).
The possibilities for a party like this are endless, so have fun, let your imagination run wild, and celebrate!

Next week, I should be POSTING ON TIME (sorry!) with Quiz and Discussion Questions you can use while reading The Hobbit.


You can read more about Wonder Mom and her homeschooling adventures with her three kiddos over on The Fantastic Five.

September 10, 2012

Middle Earth Musings, Part I: Hobbit Sketch

by Wonder Mom

Greetings everyone!

I will be hosting a six part series, Middle Earth Musings, every Monday, September 10th-October 15th,

on teaching ideas that go hand and hand with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Today we will be focusing on the central character in the book, Bilbo Baggins, who is a hobbit.

Before I began the activity with my own kiddos, I reread to them…

…Chapter 1, paragraph 4, which describes the characteristics of a hobbit.

After we went over the description…

…the kiddos used their imaginations…

…and drew their own version of a hobbit, in particularly Bilbo Baggins.

Here are their final results:

Little Wild Man made certain to include Bilbo’s sword, Sting, in his picture…

Baby Girl wanted to place Bilbo in his cozy hobbit hole…

…and Jungle Girl gave a comparison of a hobbit’s height to a human’s height in her picture.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless in this activity, and are only limited by your kiddo’s imagination.

Now, my kiddos are all elementary age, but I have done this activity with middle school aged students as well.

I just added a writing activity with the drawing activity:

In one paragraph, summarize the appearance/characteristics of a hobbit based upon J.R.R. Tolkien’s description.

If you would like to use the sheet we used with your own kiddos, just click HERE.

Please come back next week when I will be discussing ways to liven up your Hobbit study

by celebrating Hobbit Day…

You can read more about Wonder Mom and her homeschooling adventures with her three kiddos over on

The Fantastic Five.

June 5, 2012

East Tennessee Homeschool Co-op Info

by Shannon French

Just found this website, which lists some East Tennessee Homeschool Co-op resources.

It looks like The Edge co-op in Seymour, TN is doing a Summer registration.

Do you participate in a co-op?

Do you like co-ops?

My kids love co-op classes.  Me, not so much.  Because I’m an introvert.  And I have a hard time sticking to a five-day Sonlight program when one day a week is basically a divergence from schedule.  Maybe I should check into their four-day schedule.  But then I’d still be an introvert.  And I’d still not get any housework or much animal-care done on those days.  Oh yeah.  The farm thing.  That contributes to the being-away-from-the-house angst too.

An evening co-op would be cool.  Maybe.

May 31, 2012

Summer K-Town Lego Fun

by Shannon French

May 25, 2012

Whatcha Reading? Watching?

by Shannon French

We’re kind of on an unofficial schooling vacay right now.  Waiting on another grammar workbook, new science material, etc.  I have hereby decreed this Ye Summer of Grammar for the kids.  But I’ve also made similar decrees the past two summers and it ended up being ye summer of outdoor community center pools.

Anyhow, in the meantime, I’m just wanting to lay around with some good, purely entertaining “beach reads.”  Note I said good.  As in good like God-honoring.  Not.  An.  Easy.  Task.  These.  Days.  Sure, I love Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, but sometimes I just want something wholesome and written in the last, oh, thirty years or so.  And that’s not about Amish people.  And I’m totally not dissing Amish people.  I have totally been through the whole Amish people love story phase, I have.  If you are in that phase, you just keep doing that, keep on.  Maybe it’s a rite of passage.

Rambling now.  Some things I’ve read in the past half-year that I’ve enjoyed:

Blue Like Jazz  (I think this has become my favorite book of all time because it’s like a beat novel, only Christian.  I haven’t seen the new movie version, but from what reviews I’ve read, it is not a representation of the book; keep that in mind.  And I think a lot of people don’t have the time of day for this book, like a lot of people didn’t have the time of day for Eugene Peterson’s The Message, but, man, how many people have been reached by such?)

A lot of the Christian Heroes Then and Now books.  Ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, I would have thought reading these books made me a prude.  Now I am like an addict.  I love these books.  And my kids do too.  These people’s real lives are way better than any fictional movie.   My favorite is still the first one I read about Gladys Aylward; I cried at the end.

Now I’m reading Beauty and Kisses From Katie, both excellent so far.


Oh, and Beauty is a Sonlight Summer Reading book–that’s where I found out about that.  I know, I’m shameless, but I didn’t want to (and couldn’t afford to) buy all their Summer Reading Packages, so I got a few used (read: tattered) from Amazon.

Do you live in or around Sevier County, TN?  If so, you may want to check out the Family Book Outelt in Tanger Outlets in Sevierville.  I think all of their books (I think, please don’t drive an hour to this store based on my recollection alone) are $5 and under, and they have a good selection of kid’s books.  Last time I grabbed four for my son, thinking the total was going to be $18 + tax, and then the total was just over $13.  I was happy with that.  And it’s like that every time I go in there.  And these are contemporary, very decent if not overtly Christian novels.  I like to be able to shop someplace where I know that they’re not stocking trash, and I don’t feel this stress of having to preread stuff before I let my twelve-year-old read it.  So.

And then…what are you watching?  And when I say, “What are you reading?  What are you watching?”  I’m actually hopinghopinghoping for some actual comments and dialogue here.  I actually want to know!!!  And I’m sure that other peeps do to!!!  It’s Summer, for cryin’ out loud!  Entertainment, relaxation, refreshment, stat!   We watched this movie last year called Faith Like Potatoes, and I thought it was ok.  Kinda long, kinda just ok, but better than a lot of movies I’ve seen.  Then we put it up.  Several months went by and my sister borrowed it, but she actually watched the movie and the DVD bonus features, and then she informed me that the documentary about Angus Buchan was waaaaay better than the fictionalized movie about him.   She was so right.  So, so, so right.  What an amazing, inspiring man he is!!  Just get the movie, watch it or don’t, but watch the documentary “extra.”  And another movie I liked was October Baby, and there again, I think the best part was after the actual movie and one of the actors tells her story as the credits roll.  And then there was IndoctriNation, which was, well, have you seen it?  I’d be interested to hear what you think.  It appears to be circulating, hand-to-hand, around my husband’s workplace (thousands of employees)–which I find really, really interseting and slightly funny, considering I don’t even see the movie listed on Amazon, and that in and of itself is a bit scary and ironic, I find.

Well, there you have it.  Homepeeps post #2.  There’s really nowhere to go but up when it comes to writing quality here.

If you have an article you’d like published here, lemme know!  E-mail it to  Or, if you’d like to link to your homeschool blog, lemme know.  Or just anything you want to…get out there…lemme know.

The Smoky Mountain Home Educator’s Conference is coming up, you know.  Online registration begins June 1, 2012.  We’re going (huz and I).  Making a hot date of it.  We plan to maybe hold hands during the workshops, or maybe while we walk through the vendor fair?  Are you scandalized?  Will you be attending?  Going stag, or with a hot date?  Or in a big gaggle?  Sometimes big gaggles are fun too.

You’re going, right?





April 30, 2012

Welcome to Homepeeps!

by Shannon French

This is a true story.

Once upon a time a girl who thought she knew it all got a newsletter in the mail called Smoke Signals–a homeschooling publication put out by the SMHEA.    The girl thought she noticed some grammatical errors and so wrote a not very nice letter to the editor complaining about the grammar and the misrepresentation of the collective intelligence of the homeschblahblahblahblahblah.  The editor called the girl and thanked her for her letter and asked her if she could help edit the newsletter since she seemed to have an interest in that.

That wasn’t exactly what the girl had had in mind.  But she said oooookaaay and “helped” edit another newsletter, all the while making really stupid grammatical mistakes and embarrassing herself with her lack of intelligence.  She was glad for that phone call to end.  She felt very ashamed of herself.  She thought about putting herself in the corner.

And then the editor called back and asked if the girl would like to just, sort of, take over the newsletter and be the new editor, and the girl was like, Well, no, I’m not really good at that and other people are much better at this sort of thing, and better humans, and I really want to move to Israel, and blahblahblahblah.

And then the editor called back and said, “Well then, you’ve got the job!”

So the kind of confused girl prayed in the shower, where she does the vast majority of her praying, that God would bring forth writers and help her do whatever He wanted her to do and to please not prompt her or allow her to ever ever ever write a nasty note to anybody ever ever again.  Because she didn’t like feeling like a little dingbat.

Finally, well, no, not finally–I imagine this story is far from over, the girl tried to create a companion blog for the Smoke Signals newsletter by attempting to register, but it was already taken.

So she registered homepeeps instead, because it was the first thing that came into her little mind.  And now she’s writing this.

Oh, helllllo!!

Welcome to homepeeps!

This is a blog for all kinds of peeps who are involved in home education.  Mompeeps, Dadpeeps, Grandpeeps, Teenpeeps, Kidpeeps, Babypeeps, and of course all of the home educators out there who like birds.  Peeppeeps.

I pray that God will bless this blog, this collective.

I pray that whatever you are going through, that you will find encouragement here!  And good company!

Please pray for homepeeps and Smoke Signals and SMHEA (and home educators across our nation and world!)–that we will make God proud!

See ya round!