Sunday, August 28, 2016


I feel super accomplished.  Just finished setting up assignments for next week via PBS Learning Media.  This site really is brilliant.  There are many ready made lesson plans as well as media resources to build your own.  I really like the Lesson Builder, it makes everything a snap.  Chase is enjoying the ease of it as well.  It is way more interesting than Scootpad or any other lesson resources we've used in the past.  I can export all his handed in work to Google Drive.  So grading his work should be a snap.

I still need to come up with the DIY project and an art project, but otherwise, the next week has been prepared.  Last week we did storyboarding and character portraits.  I want to keep everything related to his gaming project for now.  Perhaps we will do some pixel art for art class, I know he'll really enjoy that.  I'll probably have the two assignments be relevant to each other.

Here's my PBS Learning Media Dashboard.  It is looking pretty spiffy.  I have assignments, a puzzle, a quiz and a storyboarding assignment readied.  For the storyboard, he'll be making a pictorial of things we have learned so far.  I'm only asking for one key feature of each topic.  Just to familiarize him with the storyboarding mechanics.

Real Math

I have gestational diabetes and have to keep track of my blood sugar levels.  Chase is, of course, aware of this, so it is something he can feel more a part of helping me keep myself in my goals.  I've created an assignment with my real data in it for him to plot on a graph, and calculate my averages and use reason to determine if my numbers are improving or getting worse or staying the same.

This assignment is still marked Private, as it does have more personal information in it.  But I wanted to share it here as it may be useful to others to either create their own lesson plan based off of it by customizing it, or do something similar with their own data that their student(s) can track.

I think real world information is more effective than random numbers from some questionnaire.  This is something he sees me checking every day.  I poke my fingers 4 times a day and send my numbers to my doctor every week.  So, he knows it is important and we have discussed carb counts of food and what is in my allowance and what foods still spike my numbers even though they are in my allowance.  So, he can help me be aware that my numbers are not as good as they were a month ago, closer to when I first started tracking.  I think I've been doing this for about 2 1/2 months now.  I have been slipping lately and allowing myself to get out of the range and eat foods I know will spike it.  Tonight, I had a banana mashed with peanut butter as my fruit side.  Bananas are really high, but since I had a low main course, I thought it would be okay.  Nope, it rocketed my numbers to 140.

So, here are my numbers and my graphs.  Check out the lesson "Blood Sugar Graph" on PBS Learning Media.  I think it is under the CCSS Math 4.MD.B - Represent and interpret data.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Watercolor Zen Doodle Printable

Free Download on TpT
Finished scanning and uploading my watercolor doodle from last night.  This was a great way to wind down after boning up on lesson plans for Chase.  I stayed up way too late.  This seems to be every night.  These are now available both the freebie and the complete set of full resolution images as clip art with permissions for personal and commercial use.

I've also made the download for the entire set available to my Patrons on Patreon who pledge $1 or more per month.  I have about a year's worth of free download content exclusive to my Patrons, and access to all of that is only $1.  Patreon is a crowdfunded platform where people subscribe to creators at a pay-what-you -want model.  Some creators offer rewards.  I offer all my digital downloads to various levels of my Patronage.  Higher tiers have access to everything.  I also offer more rewards, like Artist Trading Cards.   I mostly have artwork there, but will also be sharing my teaching resources.

Join me on Patreon

The complete Zip set of files on TpT

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Top Hat Dude Storyboard

Overall, today was a great day of school.  He got a little behind on worksheets, but made up for it by doing his 'homework' (finishing anything he didn't complete before he is allowed on the computer) and doing an excellent job with everything else.

We did the PBS Learning Media lesson I made on the Pledge of Allegiance.  He followed directions and wrote down his notes and vocabulary and made his own conclusions at the end.  I'm pretty happy with how that lesson went and he liked using the website.  Found it easy to use and likes it more than other sites we've tried.

So, I used their Lesson tool to create an assignment for his challenge for the week.  I chose storyboarding as his topic, as it falls in line with his school project.  He will need to know how to storyboard as he plans out his game.  It will also help him take notes and visualize the D&D sessions.

I had him do a practice storyboard for fun.  He made this little day in the life of type of story for one of his stick men characters, "Top Hat Dude".  Yes, that is his name and he is rather dapper.  He is a hero sporting a rather fancy top hat and has no super powers, just a good guy.  Without further ado...

Top Hat Dude by Chase C. 2016

These aren't posted on the website yet, but will be soon.  This is under the 'animation' category, though it is also under 'filmmaking'.  There seemed to be more things he is planning to do for his project under the animation challenges.  Perhaps he can animate his scenes next week.  :D

Tomorrow's agenda is some epic Bill Nye in the morning and D&D in the afternoon.  I have some flats to color for Kevin's inks and need to upload all my plans to PBS Learning Media before school starts.  I was up too late working on it last night.  :B

Watercolor Doodling

It's late and just finished doodling.  Planning to make some digital graphics from this as a freebie.  Maybe as cut outs and as a whole.  It measures 2.5" x 5".  So, not even a proper bookmark size.  ;P  Wishing I had a paper punch to make some awesome circles or something out of it.

This was inspired by a Pin on Pinterest.  Shared it to my homeschool board.  Think we might do this next week.  I like to do paint doodles.  Ultra fun.

I'll scan these up tomorrow.  In the meantime, enjoy the preview ;D

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Character Portrait - Kai by Chase

Kai - Human Fighter
After computer lab and worksheets in the morning, we got to do a much more fun art class in the afternoon.  Chase got to design his character portrait for D&D.  We demonstrated how to use a stencil template that Kevin had made to speed up character sketches.  Then we measured out proportions of where all the facial features would be.  Kevin drew a few variances of character design using the same template.

My cell phone cannot handle the lighting.

Kevin demonstrating different characteristics added to same template.  The template was made from a plastic container, he cut it, ironed, cut out forms, sanded it smooth.  Originally from a peppermints bucket.
So, we had Chase start with some preliminary sketches until he was happy with his character.  Then he redrew that using the template, and inked it.  He's not really into coloring much, but we'll get him a program on his computer so he can color digitally if he likes.  

Five Day Lunch Plan!

I saw a brilliant idea to take the argument out of lunch.  Every day it is, "What do you want for lunch?" "What do we have?"  *list every item in the house* "I don't want that!"...  It gets so frustrating to make him pick a lunch and eat it too.  So, the solution?  Let's see if this works.  This is our first trial of it.

If I can find the link again, I'll share the original idea. (cannot find original blog, searched my history all the way to the 9th and it is just too much)  But it's pretty simple.  Chase will have a grocery budget, which he will plan his meals for school days for breakfast and lunches.  It must meet all the food group requirements and be within his week's budget.

He has made his list, and I must say, I'm pretty impressed by it.  He even has a dessert for the week, a pre-made cake!  lols!

We're a bit behind schedule for school today.  He took to long getting ready so lost his computer privileges for after school.  So, that sets his tone for the day.  Wah wah wah...  :B  Well, he cooperated writing his list after a bit of prodding.  Then, took too long with his busy work.  Now, he's taking an eon to have his lunch...  Sigh.

The afternoon plan was to do his RPG Maker VX Ace tutorial for the school project.  But it looks like we may not have time for it.  It was going to be some computer time for him as part of school.  Maybe tomorrow will see better behavior.  We have no time to dilly dally.  I have an ultrasound around 11 and he has to be all the ball for getting ready.  And Kevin wants to do gym class with him afterwards.  I suggested at the park.  We'll see how that goes.

*Update*  Ultrasound in the AM went very well.

Chase had just a half day's lessons, Gym class and daily worksheets.  He had reading time while he waited with Kevin at the Doctor's office.

But Wednesday, I've got a full lesson plan readied for him and made another for Thursday!  Wednesday will be an ELA assignment on Peacocks using this lesson plan shared on PBS Learning Media.

Using the same tool, I created my own lesson on the Pledge of Allegiance.  It even includes a crossword puzzle that was generated using their puzzle tool.  My lesson isn't shared publicly, when I'm ready to do that with materials that meet all community guidelines, I will share the public links here.  From there, teachers can "quick assign" to get a student link to track the answers and assign to their own students.  As I'm still learning these tools, I'm not ready to make public lessons.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Watercolor Borders for TeachersPayTeachers

Three new borders for TeachersPayTeachers.  All are hand painted with watercolor.  Available in my store, "Watercolor Borders".  

Patrons who pledge +$3 per month will receive these as part of their rewards, as well as everything in my Patrons only feed.  Monday, August, 22nd is the One-Day Sale on TpT.  All my items will be 20% off, including these!

These can be used in personal/commercial art projects as well as your TpT products and class materials.  Full permissions is granted, for everything other than redistribution as is.  Hi-res scans and png images are included of each.  These can be enlarged by 200-300% without loss of quality.  May be suitable for poster sized printing.

For art class, try printing these on watercolor paper if you are able.  Test your printer ink for smudging once it is completely dry.  Sometimes, heat setting will prevent printer ink from bleeding.  It may have a desirable effect.

Possible uses: Class fliers and worksheets, classroom posters, bookmarks or hall passes (add text and laminate), task cards, use online for digital layouts, and more.  These can be printed at smaller sizes to be used as digital stamps in your art projects.  Just reduce the print sizes and add text/etc you like, print, cut out and add to your collages and greeting card embellishments.

Available on TpT or Patreon

Saturday, August 20, 2016

D&D School Has Begun!

The first day of D&D homeschool sessions has begun.  The hardest part, character creation.  Chase's character is a human fighter named Kai.  We started with character rolls, using 4 six-sided dice and taking away the lowest.  The other three numbers are added up for your Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence and Wisdom stats.  Looking at the Player's Handbook, we check the recommended builds for Fighter class, Strength and Constitution being the most important traits.  Chase chose to put his highest roll into Constitution to give his character more fortitude in combat.

Each roll is given a modifier, for example +3 on the roll of 17 for Constitution checks.

He did all the math himself.  Adding and modifying, customizing his character.  Moving on, we have Inventory after rolling for gold.  Our DM gave us some basic items to start with, but we bought the rest of our items, weapons and armor with our currency.  The Player's Handbook has a guide for the cost of each item.  Some items are only silver or copper, so the conversion works like this:  1 gp = 10 sp, and 1 sp = 10 cp.  Chase only bought his weapons and armor, but I spent nearly every coin my rogue had on adventuring trinkets to fill her pack.

Choosing skills and feats is the most time consuming part.  For this sets your character's abilities and will affect game play as we go on our adventures.  All told, the complete character creation process and a little bit of intro narration to place us in our setting, this took approximately 3 hours.  And he wasn't bored for a single second of it.  He sat in rapt attention as he did basic math, came up with creative stories for his character's personality and background and had quite a lot of writing to do.  He hates writing, but this was not something he hated at all.

Besides his character sheet, he also has a notebook, where he will be keeping track of his numbers, writing in notes about our adventures and adding background story for himself and other characters we encounter.  We're going to use his notes when we work on his school project, to build his own Role Playing Game (RPG) via RPG Maker VX Ace.  The story and characters from our D&D sessions will be featured in our game.

Not sure how long this will take us or how much we can finish, but perhaps we'll release the game for free at the end of it.  We'll be following tutorials to begin with.  RPG Maker Web has enough posted to give us about 11 weeks worth of lessons.  He can also earn badges for his progress via, they have several categories for game design, character creation, and table top gaming.

I may make resources for this game engine, releasing content for others to use.  He may be doing a lot of the pixel art characters, but I may work on portraits and tile sets.  He should have no difficulty with the character sprites.  He really enjoys that style of art and can do it with most basic programs.  I think we have GIMP 2 on his computer, which he can use to work on this.  Any support for this project is appreciated.  I will be releasing content here and exclusives on Patreon.  Some resources may be released in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

We didn't unroll the map yet, that will be revealed next Friday.  Kevin made the map via Pyromancers, and simplified the textures for ease on our printer.  He had to use a program to do poster printing so the pieces would print actual size as our game mat.  Each square in the grid is 1"x1".  Then, he added texture with a crayon and I helped taping map pages together.

He made the cover for his notebook.  And he'll be adding pages in the Table of Contents as we go, just like all his other subject interactive journals.  Hopefully, his handwriting will improve.  It is pretty rough and we struggle getting him to write in proper case with legible spacing.  He loathes writing, though he loves to read.

This summer, he read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy after having read The Hobbit.  Currently, he is reading the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 'trilogy'.  I think he just started book 3.  I believe I own all 5 books, 4 are in a collection along with the short story Young Zaphod Plays it Safe.  His reading is on a high school level, but his maturity is on a juvenile level.  So, finding appropriate books is becoming a challenge.  Suggestions are always welcomed.  Our limits are on sexually mature content and darker themes.  A bit of violence is okay, but not too graphic or cruel.

For our upcoming art class, we will work on character portraits.  We plan to also select and paint miniatures.  Kevin plans to make tokens, which he may release on Roll20's marketplace.  So, there will be a lot of focus around gaming day this year.  Kevin isn't currently working, so we can maintain this for a while.  Plans will need to be adjusted once he does get a job and the baby is born.  For now, there will be plenty of motivation to keep school interesting.  Besides being cool, it is something we are all doing together.

I don't think we will be streaming game play.  One, our camera isn't very good and our lighting is awful.  The whole ceiling fixture doesn't work.  Secondly, Twitch has rules about underage persons appearing in a stream.  Even though I think there would be plenty of interest in D&D homeschooling, I agree that children should not be on that site.  We could use YouTube, but for the same reasons, moderation, etc...  Finally, there is Skype for the Classroom, however, we kinda hate Skype and it's a terrible program.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Homeschool DIY

This year, I want to focus more on project based learning.  Found a great website, that gave us a head start on that goal!  Chase is super enthusiastic about it, doing challenges on his free time.  We're on Day 2 of the school year and he already has 5 projects posted and is about to upload another.

Yesterday, for our first back to school day, we created gelli printed covers for his new notebooks.  I had him create his own foam roller stamp texture tool and demo'd how to use the gelli plate.  We bought the Student Kit which comes with 2 stencils and a brayer.

Gelli Arts Student Kit

I had a few different types of paper for him to try and Kevin's old craft paints.  He chose his colors and began rolling.

The project ran a little long as he had 5 notebooks to make.  Next time, we'll have to do something a bit smaller.  He started getting bored after the first hour!  hahaha, poor guy.  Art is boring!  So, he liked the change of pace by picking his layouts and gluing them to the faces of his notebooks.  Then he got to label them all.  I used his left over gelli prints for his two pocket folders, which we're using for daily worksheets and print outs as morning busy work.  This morning, he had a great attitude and I'm feeling pretty good about this school year.

Craft paper from a package filler, mini watercolor paper from his pad, and the purple stars in a printed cardstock from DCWV.  We also used tissue paper from my Spoonflower order, trying to reuse packaging.
Lunch's project was chocolate covered strawberries.  Well, they turned out to be a fail as the chocolate burned in the microwave.  But no worries, they still tasted great and the DIY site has a Chef Fails challenge!  Because we learn from our mistakes.  I think it was our bowl, actually, that thing got super hot.  But this is the first time we've used the new microwave for melting chocolate.

Today's DIY Challenge, I wanted to use up the scrap paper from the new printer, so I cut each sheet into quarters and pre-cut a cover, spine and back board for a mini note pad.  Of course there is a Bookbinding Badge to earn, found the challenge to match our project and sent him an e-mail with directions.  I did the straightening and clipping part for him and made sure his glue wasn't too bulky.  While the glue dried, we uploaded all his other projects and he did a quick Minecraft challenge.  Pixel art from blocks.  He made a Creeper house with TNT.

Here's the scratch notepad, which he is now busy filling up with doodles!

It has a target sight on it.

(for some reason, it dropped all the pictures in out of order and I really don't feel like fixing it)

Members can follow Chase's stream by adding him to their favorite creators.  All submissions, comments, etc are moderated before they go live on the site, very kid friendly/parent happy website.  So, not all of his current projects are publicly visible.


Tomorrow's project is D&D School with Daddy.  Kevin has an adventure school planned out, made a giant floor map, which he has a game mat to cover.  He's been taping all the pieces together and filling in the texture of the map with crayons.  Chase has wanted to play D&D with us since we had a small weekly online stream going last year.  So this has been in the works for a while.  Kevin has adjusted the rules a bit and simplified some numbers and attributes.  Of course, Chase already knows 3.5 pretty well, as he has read all of the Player Handbooks!  He loves strategy guides, reads them like they're stories.  He is a bit game obsessed.  

So, gaming is actually going to be a core focus of this school year.  Friday is D&D/board games.  Tuesday is game design using RPG Maker VX Ace and incorporating our D&D sessions into the story line of the game.  RPG Maker Web actually has a lot of great tutorials which we will be going through together as part of the curriculum.

Oh no, Kevin said he has no story yet, but he has a map!  hahaha, D&D is tomorrow!  lols.