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Solar Smores

Solar S'mores

A solar oven is a box that traps some of the Sun’s energy to make the air inside that box hotter than the air outside the box. It is like a super greenhouse. 

Gather these items to Build your Oven

Here is what you need:

  • Cardboard box with attached lid. Lid should have flaps so that the box can be closed tightly. Box should be at least 3 inches deep and big enough to set a pie tin inside.
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear plastic wrap
  • Glue stick
  • Tape (transparent tape, duct tape, masking tape, or whatever you have)
  • Stick (about 1 foot long) to prop open reflector flap. (Use a skewer, knitting needle, ruler, or whatever you have.)
  • Ruler or straight-edge
  • Box cutter or Xacto knife (with adult help, please!)

How to Build the Solar Oven

**Take Caution, Adult Supervision, and help will be needed!**

Start by taking the flip top box, and cutting a three-sided flap out of the top of the box, right along the straight edge. Make sure to leave at least a 1-inch border around the three sides. Make sure to not cut all four sides. 

After you have the hole, grab the aluminum foil and cover the bottom inside of the flap, affixing it with the glue from the glue stick. Make sure to make the foil as smooth as possible. 

Then line the inside of the box with the aluminum foil, again using the glue to attach it and make it as smooth as possible.  

The foil will be used like a mirror, this is why you want it to be as smooth as possible. 

Next, grab the plastic wrap and tape two layers across the opening you cut in the lid. One layer should be on the top and one layer on the bottom side of the lid. This will help to keep the heat in, while still letting all the light shine through the plastic. 

Take the stick and fix the stick to the lid with tape so that it stays put. 


Preheat the Oven!

The best day to do this is when the temperature outside is 85 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter, on a very sunny day. 

Set the oven in the direct sun, propping the flap open to reflect the light into the box. Keep the tape close by as you may need to use extra tape to get the stick to help prop it in place. Once this is done, leave it for 30 minutes to preheat the oven. 

Let's make the S'mores

Grab these items to make the s’mores:

  • Graham crackers
  • Plain chocolate bars 
  • Large marshmallows
  • Aluminum pie pan
  • Napkins!

Once you have them gathered, take the graham crackers out of the package and break them into squares. Take four of these squares and place them into the aluminum pie pan. Then put a marshmallow on each of those squares. Don’t add the chocolate just yet, the marshmallow takes longer to melt than the chocolate so it will need more time to cook. 

Next, you will put the pie pan into the preheated solar oven.  Close the plastic part of the lid tightly, making sure to prop up the flap to reflect the sunlight into the box. Then you will have to wait about 30 to 60 minutes for the marshmallows to get squishy and gooey.


After the Wait

After 30 to 60 minutes check the marshmallows are squishy, if they are it is time to add the chocolate. 

You will need to open the plastic lid and place the chocolate on top of the marshmallows. Make sure the chocolate is half the size of the graham cracker square. After adding the chocolate place another graham cracker square and gently press down to squish the marshmallow. 

Then close the lid of the solar oven lid. Let the sun heat the oven back up for a few more minutes for the chocolate to melt. 

Once the chocolate has melted, open the plastic lid and remove the s’mores.

Keep the napkins or wipes close by, it’s going to get messy!!

Enjoy the ooey-gooey S'mores!!

Are you ready for a new (home) school year?

It’s that time of year, when many homeschoolers are busy preparing for a brand new school year.  Some of you may have already started your new year, and some of you may have never stopped!

Planning for a new school year and finalizing curriculum choices can sometimes be overwhelming and stressful, especially when you are trying to stick to a tight homeschool budget.

I’ve gotten together with a great group of bloggers to make getting ready for your new school year just a little bit easier and hopefully a little less stressful for you.  How does $200 sound in helping you buy curriculum, books, games, puzzles, and educational supplies. Three people will win a $200 gift card to Rainbow Resource Center!! 

Our hope is that we can bless a few homeschool families (although we wish we could bless many more) so they can buy the curriculum and supplies they need for their school year.

To enter for your chance to win, simply use the Rafflecopter form below to enter.  Now I know this is quite a few entries, but each of these bloggers and I have generously chipped in their own money to make this giveaway possible, so I hope you will take the time to do all of the entries.  And hey, the more entries you do, the better your odds are of winning!

Giveaway ends July 22, 2022 at 11:59pm ET. Must be at least 18 years of age. Must be a resident of U.S. or Canada to enter. Selected winners will have 48 hours to respond to email notification to claim their prizes or another winner will be drawn. By entering this giveaway, you agree to be added to the email lists of the participating bloggers, (see the Terms & Conditions on the Rafflecopter form for the complete list).

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Questions to Ask Before You Buy Homeschool Curriculum

One of the biggest expenses while homeschooling is the curriculum. Well outside of the food, I mean at least in our house, the kitchen gets more traffic than rush hour. Especially having 4 boys. I feel like my boys are always hungry.

Our family for the longest time has been a one income family. My husband being the diligent handworker, he is, has been affording us the ability to homeschool, and take care of the needs that each our kids have. Led me to develop a list of questions that I use to make sure to ask when I am choosing curriculum for our boys.

Below I am providing you with these questions that use. I always make sure to ask these question as I want the curriculum to be a great fit to our family and that we can afford it.

I do want to make sure to point out that each child is unique, which I believe means that each child’s education needs to be unique. There really is not anything wrong with boxed curriculum, but knowing your child you need to make sure that it is something that your child will fit into.

Start by asking can I afford it? You need to set a budget. If you cannot afford it, it will not be worth the money, while this is a tough one, I can tell you there are other ways to teach your child that same curriculum.

For example ask yourself-Could you borrow it? Check if there are options like at your local library, or talk to another homeschool family to see if they may have it and that you could borrow it from them. There are also if places like Amazon rentals or that you could rent from.

Then I ask myself does the material focus the student on questions and significance? This was a hard lesson for our family, things I thought were fun, my kids didn’t, and it made things difficult. I later found answers are boring, puzzles to solve were not interesting, getting to the answer was difficult or didn’t make sense, and it usually ended in having someone else tell all the answers just to get it done.

The next question is, do I have time in the day to use this? Especially important to consider when buying extra supplemental materials. We want our children to learn it all but if you are trying to fit it all in you and your children will burn out.

Which leads to do the assignments stay focused on the meaning or lead the child down rabbit trails of distraction? Sometimes hands-on activities are just distractions in disguise. Will the activities keep your child thinking about the meaning/concept/fact you are trying to get into their long-term memory? Does the curriculum create thinking? If our students don’t actively think, they won’t remember, hence they aren’t learning.

My next question is, is the curriculum well-organized? With a wealth of information at our fingertips, we find the need to buy a curriculum to get something that is organized and put together, making life easier. Organization equals time and time equals money.

Which begs the question will it be easy to use? The truth is if it isn’t easy to use you probably won’t use it. Thus, don’t purchase it and keep that money. If you desire a curriculum that is hard to use, do your research and piece together some of the millions of free resources that allow you to carefully craft them together yourself for something you know your child/ren will learn from and use.

The next question to ask are the assignments interesting/engaging? Having varieties of input (auditory, visual, kinesthetic) can help keep things interesting, keeping the lessons short is important especially when your kids are young, and using a variety in types of thinking (convergent, divergent, analytical, creative, etc.) help ingrain things in their growing brains.

Which brings me to the last question I ask will it develop a child’s mind, body, and soul? Not every subject has to do all three, but the curriculum you choose should be considering all these areas. You are the director of education in your home, it is essential you keep all of these in mind when building your days. When you don’t schedule these aspects, they will become neglected, and you do want to be feeding each of these aspects.

The curriculum you choose should not make you feel like you have to break the bank to get the best education. You can educate your child and have a well rounded education whether you are teaching from a book that is free or $1000. It really comes down to how the child absorbs the information, learns from what is being put in front of him or her and how it fits the child. Homeschooling gives the opportunity to give your child/ren a unique opportunity to learn. Give them just that!!