In honor of St. Andrew Kim and the Korean martyrs, we’re pleased to present..hacky sacks!

Very popular in Korea, hacky sacks can be tossed or kicked between friends or kept in the air by one person.  Here’s how to make a simple hacky sack.

For each hacky sack, you will need:

2 8” squares of lightweight stretchy fabric, any color (contrasting is nice, and very Korean – the yin/yang concept is important there)

A rubber band

A palmful of uncooked rice


Hacky Sack Supplies


Using your scissors, cut fringes all around the edges of both fabric squares.  They should be about two inches long, but perfection isn’t necessary.  You’ll probably need to help younger children with this part.

Stack the fabric squares together.  Place the rice in the center of the top square. 


 Gather the squares together around the rice and secure with the rubber band.  Be sure the rubber band is tightly wrapped around the fabric so the rice doesn’t come out.  The fringe will make a nice decorative “tail” on the hacky sack.


Step 3, Secure With Rubber BandMake Sure It’s TightAll Done!

Hat tip: My Korean friend, Lee, who taught her Girl Scout troop to make these for Thinking Day.  Lee wrote all the girls’ names on the hacky sacks in Hanbo (Korean writing), using a Sharpee marker, too.


Dissection, Yes or No?

Kacky on the 4Real message boards provided a resource along with a really interesting question.  Should we dissect? 

I took a look at the National Anti-Vivisection Society’s website and was amazed at the number of dissection alternatives they offer, simply for the price of return shipping.  I’m sure I will be contacting them to borrow some CD’s.

I went to Catholic school and we dissected all kinds of things.  I was fascinated when I discovered how an eye was really put together and how beautiful the retina is (shimmery blues and greens in a cow’s eye).  I realized then that God places beauty everywhere, even where we can’t see it, simply because He wants it there.  Certainly I think doctors-to-be and other science professionals benefit from the dissection process; you can’t learn to be a vet, for example, without working with real animals.

My son absolutely refuses to dissect anything.  I’ll be lucky if he takes up a scalpel to slice a plant stem.  He’s studying biology this year, and enjoys looking at microscope slides, even of animal tissue.  For him, the process of dissection is the difficulty.  We’ve agreed as a family that we don’t need to dissect, given the availability of alternatives such as websites and, now, loaner CD’s and models.  He will sketch from other materials and learn about animal systems that way.  He already knows, as a teen, that he has no interest in a health care profession, so we’re all OK with his “no dissection” decision.

In its own way, this topic is as controversial as animal testing, or perhaps even stem cell research.  One of my old colleagues successfully sued the Virginia Beach school system because she didn’t want to dissect in high school – she proposed sketching from CD-ROM’s instead – and she won.  I was amazed that she had to go to court over this issue, but she did.

Personally, I’m glad there are so many dissection alternatives out there.  I’d hate to slice open any of God’s creatures “just because,” and now we don’t have to.

Routine Advice

I woke up Monday and realized that I have been home educating for five years.  We began our sixth school year last week.  Five years?!?!?  I’ve been doing this for half a decade and didn’t even notice.  Well, I did notice, especially that first year when we bought several math books that didn’t quite work, and last year when we did the same thing with German books…but, in reality, the time has flown by.  My daughter is now in the same “grade” that my son was when we began this adventure.

Why, then, can’t I fall into a predictable routine this year?  Is it too hot outside?  Are my writing projects (all incomplete) getting in the way?  How do those other moms write while their children are learning geometric construction?  I have no idea.

Just as I struggled with this summer’s mission of hospitality for several weeks, I’m sure I’ll wrestle with the calendar and finally figure out what the real plan for the school year is.  It’s never my plan, that is for sure.  It’s God’s plan.  Sometimes He takes a long time to let us know what the journey’s all about, doesn’t He?

Meanwhile, I’ll prepare my lessons and hope for the best. 

It’s Monday Night!

My friend, Elizabeth, has this great idea for combining geography lessons with Monday Night Football.  For those of us who are sports fans or married to sports fans, Elizabeth’s brainstorm is a brilliant way to tie weekly sporting events to social studies.

Go, Ravens!!!

Third Time’s a Charm

With an unexpected lull in my writing schedule, I’ve decided to move my homeschooling blog to WordPress.  With luck, I’ll easily figure out this process and get my archives transferred over some time soon.

We started our school year (the sixth!) last week, kicking things off with two cool field trips.  We live near so many amazing historical sites, museums and parks that we could do a field trip a week and never run out.  We fulfilled my daughter’s long-cherished desire to revisit the National Aquarium in Baltimore.  The next day, we hit Historic St. Mary’s City (read about it here).

We’ve added a new learning opportunity to my son’s high school curriculum – auto mechanics.  He’s been helping Dad fix our old-but-repairable cars.  As my menfolk returned home Friday after several hours at the Auto Hobby Shop, it dawned on me that I should be logging this time on our weekly record sheets.  (Homer Simpson moment!)

My daughter picked up a hand loom at St. Mary’s City and has been weaving every day since.  Art!