STEM Holidays to Celebrate This Fall

STEM Holidays to Celebrate This Fall

Fall is a time for pumpkins, sweaters, football, and apple cider. But it is also packed full of holidays to thrill the science lovers in your family.

Scroll to the bottom to download this list in a calendar form.

1. National Museum Day: September 24

What a perfect day for a field trip! Here is a massive list of science museums all over the world. Jump right to the section for science museums in the United States, or visit the website of THE greatest science museum on the planet…COSI in Columbus, Ohio.

2. Math Storytelling Day: September 25

Today is the perfect day to put away the math curriculum and have fun with real-world math and living math books. For some ideas,  check out the resources I wrote about in Teaching Middle School Math and Ten Math Books for Under $10.

3. Google’s Birthday: September 27

Google has switched its birthday around over the years, but it is now currently celebrated on the 27th.  2016 will mark the multinational technology company’s 18th birthday.

4. Right Brainers Rule! Month: the month of October

Math is a mostly left-brained function. But some research has shown that right-brain dominant people do better in engineering fields. While it is true that left-brained individual tend to be more logical, right-brained people tend to be more creative. Creativity is a must for a lot of engineering and technology fields.

5. World Day of Architecture: October 3

This event was set up by an International group of architects to remind the world of  the beauty of architecture and importance of architectural firms around the world.

6. Techie’s Day: October 3

The day was created to encourage more students to consider careers in technology. This is also a day to appreciate the techies in your life.


7. World Space Week: October 4-10

World Space Week is officially defined as “an international celebration of science and technology, and their contribution to the betterment of the human condition.”  It is the largest annual space event in the world. Learn more about World Space Week.

8. Earth Science Week: October 9-15

This international event was created to help people gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth Sciences and to encourage stewardship of the Earth. Learn more about Earth Science Week.

9. National Metric Week: October 9-15

While the United States is surprisingly only one of countries that does not use the metric system (maybe we like being different?) it is still very important for us to know the metric measurements.

10. National Chemistry Week: October 16-22

This week-long event aims to raise awareness of the importance of chemistry in everyday life. A whopping 10,000 individuals and members of businesses and schools volunteer their time, money and resources. Read more about National Chemistry Week.

11. Geography Awareness Week: November 13-19

This is a week-long celebration of all things geography and the powerful role it plays in our lives. Find more resources at National Geographic.


12. America Recycles Day: November 15

We all know how important recycling is and while the national recycling rate has increased every year for the past 30 years, the current recycling rate is still only 34%. This initiative is to encourage people to reduce waste by recycling. Learn more at Keep America Beautiful.

13. Fibonacci Day: November 23

This day honors Leonardo Fibonacci, an influential mathematician from the Middle Ages. Why November 23? Because when written as 11/23, the numbers form a short Fibonacci sequence (1,1,2,3).  In a Fibonacci sequence, a number is the sum of the two numbers before it.  In the sequence 1, 1, 2, 3…1+1=2; 1+2=3.

14. Computer Science Education Week: December 4-10

CSEdWeek is a week-long event, organized by, dedicated to inspiring students to take interest in computer science.  Read more about getting involved.

15. Christmas Bird Count: December 14 – January 5

This 3 week-long event is a winter bird census. Counters participate in a designated 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear all day.  You can read more and sign up at Audubon.
Fall Birthdays of Prominent Scientists, Technicians, Engineers, and Mathematicians

  • September 29, 1901 – Enrico Fermi, nuclear physicist
  • October 5, 1882 – Robert Hutchings Goddard, considered the father of the Space Age
  • October 6, 1846 – George Westinghouse, engineer and inventor who developed AC electric power
  • October 21, 1833 – Alfred Nobel, chemist and engineer who established the Nobel Prizes
  • October 28, 1914 – Jonas Salk, physician who developed polio vaccine
  • November 7, 1867 – Marie Curie, chemist and physicist
  • November 8, 1656 – Edmund Halley, astronomer and mathematician
  • November 9, 1934 – Carl Sagan, astronomer
  • November 14, 1765 – Robert Fulton, inventor of the steamboat
  • November 18, 1923 – Alan Shepard, first American astronaut in space
  • December 8, 1765 – Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin
  • December 15, 1832 – Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower

STEM Holidays to Celebrate This Fall: download a free, one-page calendar

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Oriental Trading and the High School Student

I am one of the many educators (probably hundreds of thousands) who simply adores Oriental Trading and eagerly takes advantage of their back to school sales for school supplies. I have been a fan of Oriental Trading for many, many, many years and I fondly remember the catalogs coming in the mail when I was a teenager. We ordered and stockpiled supplies for crafts and scrapbooking, I would circle everything I wanted for my birthday or Christmas wishlists, and I planned imaginary parties in my head.

Now that I am older, I still get excited when the Oriental Trading catalog comes in the mail. I think I’ve passed that onto my son as well. He enjoys catalogs just as much as I do. For me, as a mom, catalogs in general are a handy way of getting ideas for Christmas and birthday presents. I carefully keep an eye on what he shows interest in as he flips the pages of whatever catalog he is browsing.

When it comes to the Oriental Trading catalog, he mostly drools over the insane amount of candy they sell. You know how teenage boys are. Everything revolves around food. When we were asked if we wanted to join in the back-to-school promotion of Oriental Trading, of course we said yes and it was my son’s idea to share with you the top 7 items from Oriental Trading that will help a busy high schooler get through the week.

Seven items to make your week easier (as chosen by my teen)


Of course candy and chocolate are high up on the list. A couple of Twizzlers or a mini bag of M&M’s or gummy bears are a perfect pick me up, or a self reward for finishing a task.

You might also be interested in: 10 Tips for Feeding a Teenage Boy


Huge pillows are a must when reading on the couch or working on your laptop. These pillow are 23″ x 18″, soft but firm and come in a variety of colors.

On top of the pillow you can see small globes that double as stress balls for my son. Stress balls are actually proven to help some people focus when reading or studying.


When you are a student who needs a dozen or more books for all of your classes, bookmarks are a must. Bookmarks vanish in my house worse than socks do. It is really sad. I have no idea where they go. There must be a fairy here that steals bookmarks, socks, and screwdrivers.

Oriental Trading sells a set of bookmarks that we love called Cultures of the World. The best part is that there are 48 of them!


This is one that I am adding to the list, simply because maps and globes make me happy.

Disclosure: we received these product free for a back-to-school promotion. 

Oriental Trading Back to School

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

How I Made *That* Doctor Who Background Screen

How to survive college as a high schooler (5 practical tips from my son)

Last week, I wrote a sponsored post on behalf of HP called 5 Tips for Surviving Dual Credit High School, in which I showed off the laptop they sent me. This laptop is now my son’s because it is newer, lighter and faster than his old one.

Lots of you were very impressed by his desktop background.


It is not an app or anything fancy schmancy, it is just an image I made myself. It was very easy to make in Photoshop and only took me a few minutes.

I came up with this idea for my own laptop because I have a very bad habit of throwing anything and everything onto my desktop and only organizing files into proper folders about once a month. There are documents, spreadsheets, images, shortcuts to programs…you name it. So now, at least with my little sections, I can be semi-organized until I decide to clean off my desktop and file things away properly.

Belle and TARDIS Laptop

This image of Belle and the TARDIS was created by the very talented Karen Hallion and she sells prints in her Etsy store

My son is like his father, he doesn’t do this, but he still wanted a background like mine. I used an image from the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special.

  1. Find the image you want to use.
  2. Crop it to match the resolution of your screen.
  3. Add a few colored boxes around the edges of your image. (I used the rounded rectangle tool.)
  4. Add the text that fits your interests or the things you most frequently save.
  5. Find the setting to personalize your desktop background.


*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

Our Favorite Literature: Win a Gift Basket

This giveaway is closed. Congratulations to Heidi G. in Iowa!


Every year around this time, the bloggers of iHomeschool Network come together to bless other homeschoolers by hosting a massive gift basket giveaway. Each blogger creates her own basket and gives it away on her own blog. This year we have a whopping 52 participants! Be sure to visit them all! Since each blogger is conducting her own giveaway, you never know…you may end up winning more than one!

My gift basket this year is full of my family’s favorite literature sets, along with a special book written by a friend. The photo above shows my well-loved and worn copies, but yours will come straight to you from Amazon.

This basket is valued at $115 and includes:


Harry Potter (7 Book Boxed Set)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (4 Book Boxed Set)

The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.


Chronicles of Narnia Box Set (7 Book Boxed Set)

The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, and The Last Battle.

Literature GB 8

Give Your Child the World

Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time is a new book by my friend Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool.

There are many ways to enter…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.

4 Reasons We Love These Historical Audio Stories

G.A. Henty is one of my favorite authors. Over a period of 39 years, he wrote a total of 122 works of historical fiction! We have read dozens of his stories throughout our 10 years of homeschooling, and even some more than once. Of course, the best way to learn history is to throw yourself in head first and immerse yourself in the world of whoever you are studying. One fun way to do that is to include movies or audio books.

Honestly, I am not a big fan of unabridged audio books, so we have used them sparingly. I guess my imagination and the voices I make up in my head are more exciting to me than listening to a dry narrator reading the story straight off the pages of a book. My son agrees that it is really challenging to find decent narratives of books that don’t put us to sleep.

That being said, these audio dramas that I am about to tell you about are far from boring. Heirloom Audio is a company from the former sound designers of Adventures In Odyssey™. They have taken the best of G.A. Henty and made it even better.

4 Reasons We Love Historical Audio Stories

1.  Non-stop Action

Time is precious, to adults and children, so when an audio book is putting you to sleep, should you waste your time trying to force yourself to get through it? Of course not. But you won’t have to worry about falling asleep through these. I am not exaggerating when I say these are 2+ hours of on-the-edge-of-your-seat fun.

There are currently 5 audio dramas available on either CD or immediate download.

Under Drake’s Flag

Ned Hawkshaw is about to take the greatest adventure a boy could ever imagine…with one of the most celebrated heroes in history—Sir Francis Drake! Ned fights off a shark attack, survives a shipwreck, engages in fierce battles on sea and land, and comes face to face with the Spanish Inquisition. Experience the swashbuckling tale that pits faith against fear, and helps Ned grow from a boy into a man. Live the Adventure® and board The Golden Hinde for an epic quest of courage on the high seas!

Beric The Briton

This tale of the Roman invasion of ancient Britannia remains one of G.A. Henty’s most popular novels of all time. Join Beric and his best friend Bodouc as they live the adventure of a lifetime – captured by the Romans, trained as gladiators, and placed in the service of Emperor Nero himself! When the story of a mysterious “Christus” begins to circulate the Roman Empire, Beric and Bodouc are forced to confront their pagan past. Will the two young prisoners be able to overcome their thirst for revenge and discover the source of true forgiveness?

The Dragon And The Raven

The Danes have swept over every kingdom in England, laying waste to everything in their path. Join Edmund and the one man who is willing to stand against the invaders – the young King Alfred of Wessex. From standing in the shield-wall to sailing on the whale-road, Alfred and Edmund realize the nation’s only hope is to turn back to the God they have abandoned. Can the two young warriors turn the tide of the war and save their world?

With Lee In Virginia

Fifteen-year old Vincent Wingfield finds himself in a thrilling adventure when he joins the cavalry of the Army of Northern Virginia. He is soon fighting alongside many of the most famous Confederate generals, including Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E. Lee. General Lee’s steadfast sense of duty and his dauntless devotion to God inspire Vincent to take a stand for his country and his fellow man that could save his life.

In Freedom’s Cause

Can one man’s faith and vision inspire a group of farmers, shepherds, and merchants to defeat the mightiest military force on the planet? William Wallace, by his undaunted courage and strength of character, forever changed the history of Scotland. His stand against oppression—despite overwhelming odds—inspired the heroic leader who would eventually gain Scotland’s freedom, King Robert the Bruce. The source of Wallace’s fire was his faith in God. He loved the Psalms and meditated on them daily. At his execution, Wallace had his psalter placed before him so he could read the Psalms as King Edward’s men tortured him. This is the untold account of Wallace and “The Bruce”— a story that continues to stir our hearts even today. A story that teaches us that true freedom is worth fighting for.

2.  Story Guides

There are also very helpful study guides available. These study guides can help you turn each audio drama into a unit study. Each chapter contains these three sections:

  • Listening Well: asks simple questions about the story content.
  • Thinking Further: asks more in-depth, open-ended questions…perfect as conversation starters.
  • Defining Words: vocabulary words from the chapter.


3.  True Stories With a Christian Focus

Heirloom Audio prides itself on providing wholesome entertainment with a powerful Christian message. As a Christian family, this is such a treasure. All 5 of these audio dramas teach important values like determination, godly commitment, and honor.

As the company founders state: “Our mission, simply stated… is to engage our listener’s imagination by taking them back in time and immersing them in the story.”

At Heirloom Audio Productions, we are especially passionate about bringing real history to life. This inevitably means a bit of detective work as we try to figure out what actually happened in the story we’re attempting to tell. Our task is further complicated by the fact that so much of what passes for any type of history today has been “sanitized” by secularists and is often beyond the point of historical recognition. That said, our passion and love of history takes us to some amazing places and allows us to do some pretty unusual things as we sort out the details of a sometimes murky past.

Doesn’t that make you fall in love with the company?

4.  Professional Actors

I am SO impressed by the actors and actresses involved in the Heirloom Audio stories. Several stars from Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, Downton Abbey, Call the Midwife, and even two Doctors (4 and 7) from Doctor Who! 

Dragon cast Freedom cast Lee cast Beric cast

Ready to order?

This special link will give you a very special discount! You can use the coupon code MAC1 to receive a stunning 67% off. There is also a “double your order offer” so click over and read more. And there is a 100% money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied, but I can’t imagine anyone taking them up on that offer.

Disclaimer: I received a set of audio CDs from Heirloom Audio and was compensated for my time in writing this review. However, all opinions are entirely my own and I would never mislead my readers and friends into buying something that I was not 100% happy with. 

*Disclosure: this post may contain affiliate links.