All posts by madon

Keep America Beautiful – Monday, November 15

   “I Recycle” is the theme of Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day. This nationally-recognized initiative, which takes place on November 15, is dedicated to encouraging people to recycle more at home, at work, and on the go. Read more>

Autumn is the perfect time to observe Nature recycling and reusing resources. Every leaf that falls replenishes and enriches the ground. New life will spring from this nourishment. Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost. It’s a perfect balance. In our progress and lifestyles, we’ve tipped the scales. We all own a part of this problem, so let’s own a part of the solution.

Next Monday is the day to begin and to practice creating more beauty and less waste. What’s going on in your community? The Keep America Beautiful site has examples of projects large and small to give you ideas. There’s a special page for kids with hints, games and tips to keep your community clean.  This week I spoke to Philicia, our local affiliate, to see what’s happening.

Philicia explained that our county is reviving a moneymaking idea that worked forty years ago to build a better zoo and combining that with recycling—Operation Noah’s Ark. Children and families are bringing their aluminum cans to the zoo parking lot this weekend. Our zoo, County Recycling and Keep America Beautiful have partnered together so all proceeds will go directly to benefit the zoo. When they originally collected soup labels for Operation Noah’s Ark, the children collected enough labels to purchase several lions. Wow, that’s a lot of labels and dedicated children. Let’s see what our aluminum cans can do now.

“Zoos are doing more—much more—than simply exhibiting animals for educational purposes, conserving wildlife around the world, or propagating endangered species for the future. Zoos are creating memories.” — Gary K. Clarke, first president, AAZPA

If you’ve ever wondered how you can get your family excited about recycling, tie it to something that helps everyone. Tie it to the animals. Homeschool families are voices of influence. You have a dedication and visible commitment to your family and community. Extend that and see what partners you have.

The Joy of Families Learning Together

Are you new to homeschooling? Take heart. I received this wonderful note from Cindy L in Colorado. She’s like so many homeschool moms, but she also has some unique opportunities with her children. Please read on.

Hi Madon! Nice to meet you! We are new to homeschooling this year, and taking a lot of flack I might add, as the first child we pulled from public school was the one doing the best. But the poor thing was bored to tears and needed freedom, as well as to escape the influences of the vast majority of kids heading down the wrong path. I admit I am at moments both excited and terrified with the prospect of teaching all of these extraordinary children and their needs…and yet I am so grateful for each and every one of them and want the very best. With their situations, home is really the best…if I can manage to pull it together myself!

My only concern at all is that my older son, who is quite advanced but admitted he has had little true science exposure other than hit and miss in public school, might find it too low level. I hope not, and I also hope that having him learn how to teach some of the material might prove engaging as well, and be a great opportunity for him to grow too. He looked at every sample online in depth, and thinks it will still work well for him, so letting him be the guide in this we will give it a shot.

I do have one question though…where are the online materials I saw mentioned a couple of times? Is it referring to what was on the disk that is included, or other links contained somewhere else? (The materials are both on the included CD and online at for Students and for Teaching Parents.)

I will definitely stay in touch, as it might be a great tool for you to know how this works for older language learners. I have quickly discovered that many international adoptive families homeschool, especially if like us they adopt older children, in order to give them the opportunity to catch up in all areas in a stress free environment. If this works as I think it might, it could be a great tool for families like ours.

I have a blog I write, which has garnered over 160,000 hits during the past 3 years,

Of course, our kids are really enjoying having a subject they can all do together. We started the trees unit yesterday and traipsed around our yard and decided to make rubbings of the leaves we collected, then compared them with the chart in the front of the guide, looking at the edges, etc.  They had a great time and even my extremely bright (reading at 9th grade, tests science at 7th grade) 6th grader is gaining a lot from it. I add a bit in for him with our discussions veering a bit off the script to make him think deeper. I am surprised that he can test out above grade level on state tests and yet actually tell me he has never learned any of this stuff, which to me is pretty basic (as it should be for introduction to concepts). Makes me wonder what in the world they actually cover in elementary science in public school. Not much, as he said almost none of this material for the whole year was more than touched on in his previous 5 years in public education.

Cindy’s Children with Their Human Habitat Mural

This is a joy to teach, simple, engaging, providing a great jumping off point for further discussion. Now if I could only find a fantastic history program like this, I would be set! Please tell Nancy how much we appreciate her work in creating this…we use her Saxon program as well for two kids who are doing 2nd and 3rd grade work. With our unique situation I would never have thought I’d find something we could use so easily with all the kids.—Cindy L

We’d love to share your stories. Let us know how you are using Nancy Larson® Science with your children.

Food or Fantasy—Story Starters and a New Look at Plants

I admit there are vegetables that I’ve only met at the supermarket, seeing them arranged under the misters. To see them growing this summer was quite a treat. Before they are trimmed and preened for the grocer, vegetables can look like something quite different. So if you’re looking for creative writing ideas, look no farther than your garden and yard for story starters. Just look with an open mind and an eager eye to see what wonders are there .

What kind of mystical land would include these plants?

"Feed me, Seymour!"

Little Shop of Horrors understudies to the star?

Medusa's hair?

The Original Cabbage Patch Kids
Red Cabbage

Savoy Cabbage

Dancing with Trees – the tango
Is it a Pin Cushion?
Or a yucca?

Cotton Candy Tree

If cotton candy grew on trees, what kind of summer job would you have? (Forget the lemonade stand.)

Octopus Tree

Is it the guardian, the protector or the gate? Perhaps it is all three. What would it guard? Who would it protect? How would you open the gate? What would you find beyond?



Blooming Scientists is our homeschooling parent community where you’ll find suggestions to increase your child’s learning, ideas to get more out of your science lessons, and ways to build unit studies for other subjects from science lessons.

Why use science as the basis for other subjects? Science is all around us, in every invention and everything we see. It is us. Science is also what children naturally love doing: collecting bugs, planting flowers, watching clouds, training a puppy, or looking at rainbows. Our natural curiosity motivates us to learn about science. That motivation will move through other subjects, creating greater learning opportunities and making teaching easier. Isn’t that what we all want?

Over the next few months, you’ll see our community grow. The foundation is learning: understanding how children learn, how to increase creativity, adapt for learning styles, and develop critical thinking.

We believe the Nancy Larson® Science programs are the best homeschool curricula available for children 5–11. The programs provide both solid science content and reading strategies, with engaging activities. That’s the basis for developing other curricula areas. Why should each subject be isolated and separate? Our lives and world are integrated. We multi-task our learning and experiences everyday. So, we’ll create integrated learning for each science lesson.

Every community needs a town crier to announce the news, and Blooming Scientists is ours. We’ll let you know where you can meet us. Over the next six months, we’ll be exhibiting at many homeschool conferences. We’d love to visit with you at these. Please check the dates and locations.

With spring, Nancy’s Garden comes alive with color and fragrance. If you’d like help getting your garden blooming, let us know. The master gardener that created Nancy’s Garden is available to help.

Daisy and Maisy are our Cool and Curious Science Cats, full of ideas, knowledge and mischief. They are always in the middle of everything science. If you need specific science information or help understanding a concept, let the Science Cats help.

Great ideas bloom everywhere. We’d like to know what you’ve done. It’s all about sharing. Give someone a flower, they feel good. Give someone a great idea, and their children will bloom! We want to increase blooms and Blooming Scientists everywhere.

The architects of this community are the authors, scientists, teachers, and home school parents of Nancy Larson Publishers—the people who create Nancy Larson® Science programs. We want to build this community for you and with you. Good architects listen to the client. We want to listen to you. We invite your questions and your ideas. So please let us know how we can help your “blooming scientists.”

—Madon Dailey

Madon Dailey