Friday, September 28, 2007

Week 12 Report & more Neopian Fables

We are one third of our way through 2nd quarter! We'll be taking next week off school -- Ginger (12) has eye surgery on Tuesday. In fact, I have decided to take the entire week off the internet. That way I'll be focused on being mom and nurse. I do plan to dedicate some time moving all my "stuff" from my old eMac to a newer, faster, better Mac...I think it is a G5. So, see you all in a week!

This week we finally mastered the days of the week in Latin! We all made flash cards. Ginger's are first with elves on every card, then mine, then Tullius's, then Momo's in pink -- written both in Dragon and in Latin.

And we studied the Ancient Maya people. They believed the world was flat with a giant tree growing in the middle. The root of the tree went into the underworld. Four jaguars in the four courners of the earth held up the sky. Ginger had fun creating this representation of their "compass." The white jaguar is in the north corner.

Our last week of re-writing Aesop's Neopian Fables! I tried to convice the kids they could use a different theme, but no...Neopia it is!
The Skree and the Bracelet, by Ginger (12)

The Lupe and the Miamouse, by Momo (10)

The Fighting Whoots and the Horus, by Tullius (7)

A few other notes for the record: Ginger finished Book 1 of Key to Decimals! She'll do Books 2 & 3 in the next 6 school weeks, Book 4 in January and then the Key to Percents series. We did not get to the cool leaf project I had planned from Masterpiece Art Instruction. Maybe tomorrow!

Hope you have a wonderful, wonderful week! Let the countdown to NaNoWriMo begin!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

ABC Muffins & Broccoli Soup recipes

I love Cream of Broccoli soup -- this is as good or better then what you can get as the soup of the day at a restaurant!
This recipe feeds our family of 7 with no left overs. And even the kids who don't liked cooked broccoli, love the soup.

I make these muffins once a week or so -- using up whatever slightly mushy apples or bananas I have. You can also add raisins or nuts. If I have apple sauce I'll substitute 1/2 cup oil for 1/2 cup applesauce. They're moister then.
I usually make these in a 9x9 pan & bread pan, I burn muffins too often.

Click on the recipes to see a larger copy. I hope they print out okay for those of you who want to try them!

Oh, to make popsicles, I use a can of pineapple and a banana or two. If we have orange juice, I'll use some of that also. Sometimes I put in a little Vitamin C powder also. I have a couple plastic popsicle molds I got at the grocery store. Mmmm!

Comment troubles

Are these cute checkboxes the cause of my comment troubles?
No, apparently not.

Maybe it was using a different browser to upload the kids' Neopian fables as pictures...

A Test Post

Are comments enabled?

Apparently on this post they are! But not on my Weekly Report below! Hmmm, could it be the checkboxes? Or are the blogger gods punishing me for the lateness of my report... Did you know that the Maya people of Mesoamerica had at least 166 gods? I can't wait to move on to the Ancient Greeks!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Week 11 Report & more Neopian Fables

Ah, the weekly report...the belated weekly report. I love the idea, but I'd rather read about what everyone else has been doing that write up my own.

Look at this great check box Local Homeschooler taught me!! Actually, it looks cute in Safari but not in Firefox. I'm not sure what it looks like in Internet Explorer.

Several of you have asked about the blender. It still works. It never occured to me that it might be ruined or the blades dulled. My blender doesn't get much use -- making bread crumbs, creaming cooked broccoli & potatoes to make my delicious broccoli soup, mixing bananas and a can of pineapple to freeze for popsicles...this is not strenuous use of a blender. But perhaps we won't make more paper until we come back to TOG Yr 1 again!

So what did we do last week...well, we studied Ancient China and um, did school, and the kids wrote their next fables. Click on them to see the text larger!
The Eizzil and the Turtum, by Momo (10):

The Beakadoodle and the Veespa, by Ginger (12):

Two Petpets and Balthazar, by Tullius (7):

Can you guess what the original fable for each of these was? Last weeks winners were: Lisa at Koninonia Academy and The Genie Bottle! I wish I had a prize for you...ummm, I could draw you a picture! :)

To see the kids first attempt at Fable writings, check out the previous blog entry: Aesop's Neopian Fables

Monday, September 24, 2007

Mathmagical Monday: How many seconds old are you?

I got a book at the library yesterday called Men of Mathematics: The Lives and Achievements of the Great Mathematicians from Zeno to Poincare, by E.T. Bell. I doubt I'll finish all 580 pages of it. However, I did start it...which is more than I can say for some books I spontaneously pick off the library shelf!

Here are some quotes I liked from the beginning of the book:

A mathematical truth is neither simple nor complicated in itself, it is. -- Emile Lemoine

It is easier to square the circle than to get round a mathematician. -- Augustus de Morgan

It is a safe rule to apply that, when a mathematical or philosophical author writes with a misty profundity, he is talking nonsense. -- A.N. Whitehead (1911)

I didn't understand all the quotes, and I probably should have looked up profundity before saying I liked the quote!

Now for a fun challenge for those learning to multiply large numbers: How many seconds old are you?
This is VERY approximate!

The formula is:
Age in years x 365 days x 24 hours x 60 minutes x 60 seconds

If you want to be a little more accuate, you can use a decimal after your age (for example 10.75) and 365.25 for the days in a year.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm approximately 1,072,224,000 seconds old. To me, that is a meaningless number. However, when I look at days and hours (12,410 and 297,840 respectively), I feel like I could
a) DO something in an hour...I have so many! and b) like I've wasted a lot of time!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Paper Making

This week's history study focused on Ancient China. In looking through some craft books from the library, the kids picked paper making for their project. I tried to dissuade looked difficult and messy. Turns out, it was fun and simple! And hardly messy at all!

This, of course, is not how the Ancient Chinese made paper. They used things such as old rags, mulberry bark, used hemp fishing line, and eventually, bamboo. We started with scraps of paper. We have lots of scraps of paper in this house.

1. Make a screen. Ours was a piece of old window screen, stapled to a styrofoam tray.

2. Put 1-2 cups of hot water in the blender. Add a large handful of small paper scraps.

3. Blend! Add more scraps if you think it looks too thin. Definitely a trial and error recipe.

4. Pour the mixture onto your screen. The screen must be over a container or in the sink. Lots of water runs out!

5. Press down on the mix with a spoon to remove more of the water. Fill in any holes. See all the paper scraps?

6. Flip the screen onto several folded paper towels.

7. Roll the paper to flatten it and remove more of the water.

8. Carefully transfer the paper to something for drying. We used parchement paper on a cookie sheet at first. After we filled that tray, we went to directly putting the paper onto the tray.

9. Wait. And wait some more. Even in the Arizona sun at 95 degrees, this still took over an hour for the thinnest pieces. I didn't get a picture of this step in the process, but I did come up with a new Chinese proverb: Watched paper never dries.

10. Marvel at your paper! The very white piece in the upper left is the first one we made. The others were made with a more colored scraps. The one in the lower right is supposed to be an ice cream cone...

We haven't attempted to paint Chinese characters onto the paper yet. If we get to that, I'll be sure to post a picture in our History Project Pictures!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Mathmagical Monday: Random 5 from our shelves

We have lots of children's books about math. Well, lots is a relative term.
To put it mathematically here are two equations:

Math books > Poetry books

Math books < Dragon books

And since it is actually already Tuesday morning, I will simply give you 5 math-related books I grabbed this morning. The first two will appeal to the younger ones and the rest to older kids. Check your library! Oh, and if you have any fun math books to recommend, please share!

*More M&M's Math, Barbara Barbieri McGrath
*Millions to Measure, David M. Schwartz, pictures by Steven Kellogg
*The Adventures of Penrose the Mathematical Cat, Theoni Pappas
*Mathematicians are People, Too: Stories from the Lives of Great Mathematicians, by Luetta Reimer
*Math Trek 2: A Mathematical Space Odyssey, by Ivars Peterson

Friday, September 14, 2007

Aesop's Neopian Fables

Ever been to ? My kids love it! I even have an account...although I can't say I've played recently.

Writing this past week was done progymnasmata-style: Read a fable, write 3 or so key words per sentence and then re-write the fable in your own words. The kids all enjoyed this, especially the "own words" part. All the illustrations and the names too are Copyright 2000-2007 Neopets, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Used With Permission.

Click on each story to read it! Can you guess what each original fable was called?

Illusen & the Xweetok, by Ginger

The Weewoo & the Vase, by Momo

The Gnorbu & the Load of Salt, by Tullius

I can't wait to see what they write this week!

Holy Day Slideshows

A few weeks ago, when we studied the Ancient Israelites with Tapestry of Grace, we learned about some of their Holy Days.

The kids made slideshows using Mac's awesome Keynote program.

Ginger's Passover slide show:

Momo's Feast of Tabernacles slideshow:

Tullius' Day of Atonement slideshow:

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Week 10 Report & Pictures

Last week, our September break, didn't prove as restful or as productive as I had hoped! Still, onward!

Here is a page of MY schoolwork for the week! I started Latin Made Simple, making notes and doing the exercises. My goal is one handwritten page a day, which is is far less than a page of the book a day! This is my Martis dies (Tuesday) page.
We are studying flowers this week in God's Design Science Plants. Here is Momo's labelled diagram:

The kids made flowers from the pattern in GDS Plants. The sepals, leaves and petals are paper, the stem (and root) is a straw, the pistel and stamens are pipe cleaners, and the pollen is cornmeal. Behind the flowers are a bit of our Eygptian burial chamber, the My Book House series, and on the wall some elements of design from TOG that we worked on last quarter.

I found a Kumon workbook three pack at Costco with Numbers 1-30, Uppercase Letters, and Cutting. Zamakee already completed that last book and is working on Pasting, but I'll save Cutting for Beanie. This is from Numbers 1-30...I said each number in Latin and then Zamakee drew the connecting line. He does shout "Decem!" at the end every time.

Ginger & Momo started a once a month homeschool art class. Their first assignment was to make an oil pastel drawing showing "things that needed each other." Momo drew a mother bird & her babies and Ginger drew an elf & dragon (friendship).

***EDITED TO ADD*** A page from Tullius' Lively Latin! The dominus is Dr. Sloth and the servus is a pink meepit from his army...apparently, he's learning Latin Neopets-style!

For Tapestry of Grace we have been in the Indus Valley -- I hope to have some project pictures of that soon.

The winner of the week was writing! Instead of doing the TOG assignments, I had the kids re-write fables a la the progymnasmata. They are turning out SO cute. Of course, you probably have to be a Neopets fan to appreciate them fully, but I'll be posting them as they finish typing them up. We're going to re-write fables for three weeks, study/write poetry for three weeks and then all assigned writing (and grammar) will cease & desist for November while we participate in NaNoWriMo! See the left sidebar icon for a link!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Nice does matter

A couple weeks ago, Barb at Heart of Harmony gave me the Nice Matters Award.

I had thought I'd pass it on to Lisa at Koinonia Academy when I got the icon into my blog's sidebar. Alas, I still haven't discovered the secret to getting it there!

This morning I went to Trivium Academy to see what Jessica was up to...and saw that she had given it to Lisa! At first I thought "oh no!" and then I realized that "it's all good" and I'm going to give it to Lisa too! Because I want her to know that she is a blessing & encouragement to me.

Nice might be an overused word. It might be on some writers' banned word list. Still, nice does matter!

Thanks, Barb, for passing the award on to me!

And, Lisa, thanks for being nice! I pass this award on to you, too!

First Drawing in my Sketchbook

Here is the first drawing in the sketchbook I bought for myself last week! Are you wondering what it is?

It's a rabbit, drawn from the adorable bunny in the header of Mini Blessings!

Of course, now that I look at the original again, mine looks flattened & windblown.

But as my 7yo son says "It's still cute!"
And I still want one!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Welcome to the redecorated den!

The fabulous new header, 3 column format & overall new look you see here comes courtesy of the talents of Darcy at Life with My 3 Boybarians!

Isn't the snowshadow blue color lovely? Isn't the little wolf cub adorable?

Thank you all who left a comment before it was "officially" done -- just know that I didn't create this look, all the credit goes to Darcy!

Thank you, Darcy, it is beautiful!

PS I've been fiddling with the post & sidebar designer I am not!!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Top 10: Nature Journal Excuses Edition

Recently, I was mistaken for a nature journal girl! Doesn't that have a nice ring to it? Someday maybe it will even be true!

Afterall, I own such books as by Clare Walker Leslie's Keeping a Nature Journal, Karen Andreola's Pocketful of Pinecones, and Robert Louv's Last Child in the Woods. I've even read them. And my own sister is the Land Steward at a nature center in Iowa! Obviously, between my books and family relations, I should have notebooks full...

But instead of an inspiring photo of a page in my nature journal, I give you my Top 10 reasons why I haven't done "Nature Study."

10. With photo stories like The Robin's Nest who needs to go outside anyway?
9. I don't live near any cool nature places, just hot-desert-scorpion types.
8. Paper taken outside gets crumply, windblown, dirty, bugs land on it, etc.
7. I never know what to draw, there are just too many choices.
6. I can't draw things from life anyway, especially moving things.
5. Many of those moving choices are bugs...
4. I never know what things are English or Latin.
3. I don't enjoy trailing 5 children on a nature journal hike anymore than I enjoy taking them all to the library (now that could be a post in itself).
2. I don't have a sketchbook of my own.
1. It is too HOT to be outside.

Fortunately, reason #1 will be removed within 2 months or so. And surely by then I'll have bought a sketchbook and #2 will be gone also. Perhaps I'll be able to whittle away at the rest as well...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

This is the year we learn Latin

Here are some of the Latin materials we own...the binder is Lively Latin, which is currently a pdf download. The Help Your Child with a Foreign Language is from the library. As a side note, the first chapter of this book reads like a how-to homeschool manual, giving all the reasons that parents can make good teachers for their own children.


1. Complete Lively Latin (in Lesson 4 & so far, so good)
2. Learn Numbers, Colors, Days, Months, Greetings, Commands, etc
3. Use Before You Know It Lite to review
4. Complete Minimus (start in January)

And specifically for the magistra (that would be me):

5. Begin Latin Made Simple
6. Create a compilation for #2 that could be shared with other homeschoolers

That is the current plan. Lingua Anglica will be saved for next year when we are studying the Middle Ages. Latin Primer (as well as Latina Christiana I & Latin for Children A, which I also own) will be resources for seeing just what is taught in beginning Latin programs.

I'm excited about all this -- I'm a student, too!

Oh, I must give credit to My Two Blessings for reminding me about Before You Know It!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Mathmagical Monday: Make 10!

First a funny from my 10 yo, Momo--

Math-U-See Zeta, Lesson 7:
Casey had a piece of string one meter long. Because she was very bored, she cut it into 1,000 pieces. If the pieces were of equal length, how long was each piece?

Momo's answer? Very small and then she had to vacuum.

Pyramid or Make Ten
This is a simple (despite the length it took me to explain) and fun math card game that we've been playing for years. It helps children learn to "make 10" which is a useful skill when adding.

Using a regular card deck, take out the face cards and jokers.

Lay out a pyramid shape with the cards face down. One card at the top, two on the next row, slightly overlapping the first on the bottom corners. Repeat this until you have five cards face down at the bottom of your pyramid. Finally, lay a sixth row, face up.

Can you make any tens? If your child is just learning their addition math facts, it is helpful to have a little chart with 1+9, 2+8, etc on it for reference. Oh, 10s count as ten too. Remove any 10s and any pairs that make ten. Put them aside in a discard pile.

Now turn over any face down cards that have both lower corners empty (no cards on the row below covering them). Can you make any tens? If yes, set those cards aside in the discard pile. Check the next face up card in your hand. Also, turn over any card that has been uncovered in your pyramid.

Once you can't make anymore tens, turn over another set of three from your draw pile. Once you've gone through your draw pile, you can do it again, turning over three cards each time. At the very end we go through it one card at a time.

The game ends when you can no longer make ten. You actually "win" if you no cards left in the pyramid.

We would've played this today, in Latin, but I can't find a deck of regular cards! Yesterday we played Uno (Unus!) and Phase 10 -- in Latin, of course. It naturally led to talking about color words...but that is a post for another day!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sir Douglas Mawson, Antarctic Explorer

A while back we learned about Antarctica as part of our "Expeditions" study with Konos. I read the book After the Last Dog Died : the true-life, hair-raising adventure of Douglas Mawson and his 1911-1914 Antarctic Expedition by Carmen Bredeson.

I was so moved by the courage of Mawson and his men, that I decided to do my own report at our Konos co-op. Normally, the kids did presentations of something they'd learned and then the moms led group activities. But I just had to share what I'd learned!

So, I drew this sketch and packed a shoebox with the sledge rations allotted to each man. My voice got a little thick while reading my report to the kids. And when I got the part about the soles of his feet peeling off, I had tears running down my face. I get choked up looking even looking at his portrait.

Why post this now (and it is even already on my defunct Stonewall Academy blog)? Well, I just saw the picture in one of Ginger's sketchbooks. My two bird pictures are in another of her sketchooks. I've got to get my own!

Latin Motto

Non scholae sed vitae discimus ~ Seneca. We learn not for school, but for life.