Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sketch Tuesday: Arms!

Sketch Tuesday's assignment: Draw something with arms. We're getting into this now...I just wish my iPhone took better pictures!

I loved watching this picture of Ginger's develop. The sketching, the inking, the colored pencil...the text was added via Photoshop Elements.

Momo decided last minute to draw something. I was expecting something cuter.

My sketch is a realistic one...

Only I participated in last week's Snow Sport sketch.

If your family participates, let me know!

Monday, November 10, 2008

A dragon, an elf and wolves

My girls and I decided to participate in Sketch Tuesday's Brr! It's Cold! Assignment this week.

Frost Dragon, by Momo

Snow Elf, by Ginger

Timber Wolves, by Lee

Monday, October 6, 2008

Arizona Morning, a poem by me

Arizona Morning

The sky is blue, the leaves are green.
The air is deliciously cool.

Now that it's fall, put on your shoes!
Let's go to the park before school.

While walking at the park this morning, I composed this poem in my head. It isn't easy to write good poetry while aerobic walking to songs like Josh Weldon's "Big Time Rocker" or "Sunny Days" by Jars of Clay. But it sure feels good!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Out of the House Schedule

I like being at home. I'm a home birthing, homeschooling, stay-at-home mom. Still, I seem to be out of the house a lot these days. I was sharing with my mom about what we did last week and it sounded SO busy. I decided to make a little chart. It looks better on paper.

Green is morning activities, blue is afternoon activities, and red is evening activities. Basically we're on a 2 week rotating schedule. One busy week, one not-so-busy week. I like that.

I feel our out-of-the house schedule is full but manageable. We're certainly doing a lot more then last year!

To use an analogy, this amount of activity is like a 3/4 full cup of water. Safe enough for a preschooler to carry to the table, but if they drop it -- big mess to clean up!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Five in a Row Art: How to Make an Apple Pie...

This weeks Five in a Row book is How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. Instead of writing reports, we're all going to do apple art in different media each day! We started with painting. I said "We're going to paint apples!" And Beanie age 3 took me literally. The apples go in age order from the left Lee (that's me!), Ginger 13, Momo 11, ds 8, ds 6, and Beanie 3.

Last week it was history reports...my 13 stayed up until after midnight on Friday night doing hers. Not making it perfect or beautiful but just getting the words on paper. Not worth taking a picture of, that's for sure! And how like her mother all through school! On a positive note, she did not hesitate to stand up in front of the family to read it (like last week)!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reports: Five in a Row, Papa Piccolo

We just finished our 4th Five in a Row book, Papa Piccolo! Dad sat in on the first reading of the book and decided all the children should write a report on something about cats or Venice.
Ginger (13) wrote about Siamese cats and Momo (11) wrote about the Egyptian Mau. Momo drew a picture on the back of her report (see below).

My 8yo ds (current nickname Honda) did his on gondoliers. I did assist him in arranging his sentences into 2 focused paragraphs. My 6yo ds (current nickname Bakura) copied a sentence I typed out. I drew the cat picture and he & Momo colored it together.

This week Dad assigned a report on anything we've covered in Story of the World 2 (we're on Chapter 11). No one has picked a topic yet...but it is only Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Study (before pictures)

Since I last posted, I have

1. Been washing my hair with baking soda. I love it! No conditioner needed and my hair is so soft!
2. Lost 12 lbs through SparkPeople. If you're a member, let me know! I'm 5wolfcubs there also.
3. Had a large portion of the interior of my house painted a light, neutral color. It turned out beautiful. Plus I love how I've rearrange the furniture.

However, emptying several rooms into one while painting has left a serious problem in The Study.

Care for the tour?

Standing in the doorway -- the closet is blocked by boxes of new blinds waiting to be installed (on Friday). The futon is covered in boxes, the floor is covered in boxes... Boxes of what? Stuff. Stuff with a capital S.

Looking to the left we see the rest of the futon, but not the rest of the Stuff. Oh, no, there is more.

In front of my lovely IKEA cabinet is more Stuff. The cabinet is fairly full also, but it all neat & orderly inside.

And last we come to the desk of Momo (age 11, 6th grade).

Where are the rest of her books? Why they are on the kitchen table waiting to be checked by the teacher...who is apparently on a blogging break.

So, what am I going to do with all the Stuff? And where did it all come from?!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sometimes I even impress myself!


As a 1930s wife, I am
Very Superior

Take the test!

Thanks, Lisa, for sharing this! 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Poems for the broken hearted

I came across some Psalms and poems I had copied during a time of great grief years ago. I'm putting my 3 favorite here.  Maybe you know someone who needs to hear one today.

My life is but a weaving
Between the Lord and me
I do not choose the colors
He worketh steadily.

Oftimes he weaveth sorrow
And I in foolish pride
Forget he sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not till the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the Weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.

- Author Unknown

I walked a mile with Pleasure,
She chattered all the way;
But left me none the wiser,
For all she had to say.
I walked a mile with Sorrow
And ne'er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her
When Sorrow walked with me!

-- Robert Browning Hamilton

A Confederate Soldier's Prayer
I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do greater things.
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.
I asked for riches, that I might be happy.
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.
I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for but got everything I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all people, most richly blessed.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

You get what you ask for

Okay, you don't always get what you ask for...but if you don't ask, it is certainly less likely that you'll get what you want.

The other night my husband told me I'd spent two times as much as he did last month on the credit card.  And if he hadn't bought a piece of software, his only charges would have been gas.  So I asked to see what I'd spent (I normally don't do this...I don't like seeing all those charges).  In looking over the list and at the history, I discovered that I had 3 ALEKS (online math) charges, even though we'd only used it one month.  

I'd thought that signing up monthly billing meant that I'd pay by the month, not I'd be automatically billed every month.  Apparently, I didn't read the fine print.   I had chosen not to cancel the account because when you do, all records are wiped...and I'd been hoping we might use ALEKS over the summer, picking up where we left off, since my dd enjoyed it as review. But yesterday, I cancelled the account and complained by in my "exit survey" and in an email to customer support that it wasn't clear that monthly billing and automatic billing were the same thing.

And, this is the important part of this post, I requested a refund.  I didn't just complain (as I so often due when dealing with a company).  I stated exactly what outcome I wanted.  And guess what?  I'm getting a refund for those two months!  I did have to call customer support, explaining my situation and my request again.  But I'm getting a refund for the months we didn't use.  

I'm impressed, both with myself for actually doing this, and with ALEKS for giving me the refund.  My husband is also impressed with me for making the phone call...he knows how much I dislike do that sort of thing. 

So remember, don't just complain...tell the other party what you want.  They can say no, they can counter offer, or they can say yes! 

Friday, June 20, 2008

Week 1: 2008-9

We started our new school year this week!  My plan is to have 10 months of school to go with the 10 Christian Light Education (CLE) LightUnit workbooks.
The first 5 month semester of 2008 is as follows:
1. June/July
2. August
3. September
4. October
5. November/December

The second 5 month semester in 2oo9 will simply be January - May.

I printed out a monthly assignment sheet for each child, 2 weeks on the front & 2 on the back.  That way, when the assignment sheet is complete, the month is done and you're on vacation.

8th Grade
Amazingly, Ginger was done with everything from "Week 1" by Wednesday and has done some of next week's work already!  Apparently an independent workbook approach is what she needs now...this was not the case for her in 1st grade and I've been trying to stay away from workbooks ever since.

She is using CLE for Language Arts, Reading, Math & Social Studies.  In math she has passed 6 pre-tests (meaning she doesn't have to do the lesson).  At some point she'll get to new material but this is encouraging for both of us!  And yesterday I gave her the first section spelling test in Language Arts -- she got them all right.  That has never, ever happened before. 

For science she is using Total Health and for writing, Wordsmith.  So far, so good on both of those!  In fact, she stayed up until 11pm last night working on this coming Monday's Wordsmith assignment with Momo!

6th Grade
Momo only has 4 subjects right now as I haven't been able to order the rest (waiting for the next billing cycle!).  She is using CLE for Language Arts, Reading and Science.  Yesterday as a part of the science lesson she had to make 10 observations about a tree using as many senses as she could.  I never thought that kind of lesson would be in a workbook.  I'm learning new stuff this week myself! :) 
Momo is also using Famous Men of the Middle Ages with the excellent Student Book and reading Story of the World 2.  I still have to order Lively Latin 2, Sentence Composing for Middle School and a few other things to complete her year.

3rd Grade
My 8yo (he needs a new "name") started Minimus for Latin and is loving that.  His CLE subjects are Language Arts & Reading -- I'm making him (and his older sisters) write everything in the workbooks in cursive.  I can't believe the improvement in all of their cursive in a few short days!  He's done a review pages from each MUS Delta chapter he did last year and will start Lesson 5 on Monday.  For SOTW we only read, no projects.  I still need to buy his My Pals are Here 3 for science and Writing Tales 1.

Our afternoons have been take up with a daily 2 hour chess class!  8yo & Momo both want to join the chess club in the fall.  Ginger is enjoying the class but isn't interested in the club.  I told her we'd find her something else that involves people.  Our family has a serious lack of social interaction and I'm looking to change that in a positive way.  We do volunteer weekly at a local dairy.  Ginger with the petting zoo animals and I in the organic garden, with the other kids helping us both as we're able.  But often it is just our family working alone...which, while pleasant & easy, doesn't develop the ability to interact with others!

My 5yo (who also needs a new "name") is using The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading and doing excellently.  We've just gotten to blending 2 - 3 letter words and he has to work at it.  But work he is and I am being 100% positive.  No tears over learning to read allowed in this house ever again!  Still, it is hard not to compare him to my 8yo who taught himself to read at 4.  5yo is also using Earlybird Math 2A (he did 1A/1B last year) and HWT My Printing Book.  His printing is actually quite nice, even though he isn't able to read anything he writes!  In August we'll start Five in a Row with 3 other families.  I'm very pleased with what I've chosen for his school year.  Technically, he would be eligible for 1st grade (late July birthday) this fall but I know I've got great materials for right where he is developmentally!

3 year old
Beanie is just kind of hanging out, nothing formal scheduled for him...yet!  He is a talker & a drawer though...he likes to do his "homework" and "reads" to his stuffed animals.   This week he and 5yo played a lot of Playmobil together.

He also likes to "play" chess.  The other day we had the board set up and were playing...well, I was reading something and occasionally moving one of my pieces.  At one point I looked up and all my pawns were lying down on the board.  I asked him what happened.  He said, "Your pawns got offended and they all died. I win!"  

I'm mentally gearing up to potty train him, but keep saying "I'll do it next week."  

All in all, it was a relaxed, great start to the new year.  And we still have 5 more weeks to complete month 1!  Now, I've just got to order the rest of the schoolbooks...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Daily Schedule 2008-9, First Idealist attempt!

Click on the pictures to see them clearly.

This is my plan...the first of many idealistic attempts at corralling the students into a structured learning routine.

My new & improved scheduling idea for the coming year involves actual time slots (something I've tried to avoid in the past).  Although I wish it was more, each child will get 2 individual half hours slots with me in the following order:

3rd grader
3 yo
6th grader
8th grader

Then we'll all break for a snack.  This will be repeated, then we'll break for lunch.  The idea is that each child will work on their independent stuff until finished or they reach a point of not understanding/frustration.  Then that work will be set aside and the next subject picked up. When they meet with me, I will help them through the trouble spot and give assignments as necessary.  

After lunch will be two group times -- one for the K & 3rd grader for history & literature reading.  And one will be for the 6th & 8th grader for a discussion of their literature reading. 

I think this will accomplish several positive things in our homeschool:  

1.  allow independence without frustration (or simply lack of working because "I didn't know how to do it")
2.  insure dedicated time with mom (something the easy-going students get short changed on)
3.  create time off at the end of the week/month because of finishing early!

What this schedule doesn't account for is what exactly the 3yo & K'er are going to be doing for those blank hours each day!  

I do plan to do a test run in June, which will help work out some kinks and bring realism, I'm sure!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Chocolate Deluxe Zucchini Cake

On Friday, we harvest a lot of zucchini from the little organic garden we've been volunteering at lately. Every meal (save breakfasts) has included zucchini -- and I haven't served the same thing twice yet! The favorite so far has been the Chocolate Deluxe Zucchini Cake that my 8yo ds found. I told him to find a recipe for zucchini bread and this is what he came up with!

Chocolate Deluxe Zucchini Cake

9 TBSP unsweetened cocoa
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
4 eggs
3 cups sugar
3 TBSP melted butter
1 1/2 cups cooking oil
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups grated zucchini

In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar. Add, oil, melted butter and vanilla. Mix.
Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt & cinnamon into the wet ingredients. Mix.
Squeeze moisture from zucchini. Add zucchini to batter and mix well.
Pour into 2 greased round 9" pans or a greased 10" tube pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cake will be moist. Let stand 20 minutes before removing from pans.
Frost when cool if desired!

We frosted it with chocolate frosting. It turned out moist, rich and chocolaty, way better then a box mix! And there was no trace of zucchini in color, texture or taste. I'm not sure why it disappeared completely, perhaps because of the cocoa.

Now, I must go find a new zucchini recipe to serve tonight! Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

2008-2009 Plan

I've been away longer then I intended -- real life and all, you know: the school year ended, curriculum was ordered, several out-of-state family members visited, children lost teeth, more curriculum was ordered, we hit 100 degrees F here in AZ, my "baby" turned 3, more curriculum was ordered...

I have a plan for the new year. A great plan. A mostly-purchased-for plan... And yet, my copy of The Latin-Centered Curriculum is on it's way and just last week I brought up to my husband the possibility of putting at least one of our children into a local prep school. So many avenues, so many options, so many choices! A blessing to be sure, but a weighty one, indeed.

As of today the plan for 2008-2009 is as follows:

8th grade
Math: CLE
English: CLE
Reading: CLE
Social Studies: CLE
Literature: Logic Stage Middle Ages WTM list
Writing: Wordsmith
Science: Total Health (Middle School)

6th grade
Math: MUS Pre-Alg
English: CLE
Reading: CLE
Latin: Lively Latin 2
Science: CLE
Literature: Logic Stage Middle Ages WTM list
Writing: Sentence Composing for Middle School
History: Famous Men of the Middle Ages & SOTW 2

3rd grade
Math: MUS Delta & CWP 3
English: CLE
Reading: CLE
Latin: Minimus
Writing: Happy Scribe and narrations from history OR WT 1
Logic: Building Thinking Skills 1
Literature: Middle Ages (SOTW AG) and FIAR Vol 1 go-alongs
Science: Science Through Children's Literature & My Pals are Here 3
History: SOTW 2 & AG

1st grade
Phonics: OPGTR
Handwriting: HWT
Math: Earlybird 2a & b
Five in a Row, Vol 1

Tagging along & nipping at everyone's heels
Listening to lots of stories

As a family:
Daily: Homeschool PE
Friday: Artists and Composers from Middle Ages (WTM lists)
Saturday: Phonics of Drawing CD from Masterpiece Art Instruction
One or two weeknights: Mind Benders & Fallacy Detective

I have been refining a list for Artist & Composers -- trying to choose 8 of each from about 400-1600 AD. I might just buy Harmony Fine Arts 5th grade.
My 1st & 3rd graders will do a FIAR co-op with 3 other families every other Monday. I have been looking through the manual and deciding what we'll cover. I used FIAR Vol 1 when my girls were little and am so glad to be able to do it with my boys now! The off Mondays are going to be for library/nature walks (the library backs up to a Riparian Preserve). I signed the 3 older kids up for a 2 week chess class in June and hope to have them all enjoy it so much that they'll continue w/ the homeschool club in the fall. Also my oldest is volunteering at a nearby organic dairy farm one morning a week.

Oh, and when do I plan to start all this? Maybe all the CLE subjects in June and everything else in July...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Poem for the Spring: God Help the Boy

My 8 year old is reading to me from The Christian Liberty Nature Reader Book 1. He reads aloud a section, I narrate. My narrations are getting better -- I no longer say "um, and, um, and..." quite so much. And I'm appreciating insects a wee bit more.

This evening I flipped through the book and came across a poem in the back entitled "The Boy the Never Sees" listed as Author Unknown. I did a Google Book Search and found the poem in a book called Public School Methods, orginially published in 1918 with the title as "God Help the Boy" by Nixon Waterman.



God help the boy who never sees
The butterflies, the birds, the bees,
Nor hears the music of the breeze
When zephyrs soft are blowing.

Who can not in sweet comfort lie
Where clover blooms are thick and high,
And hear the gentle murmur nigh
Of brooklets softly flowing.

God help the boy who does not know
Where all the woodland berries grow,
Who never sees the forests glow
When leaves are red and yellow.

Whose childish feet can never stray
When nature does her charms display--
For such a hapless boy, I say
God help the little fellow.

Nixon Waterman.

I really need a message board/blog break (not that I've been posting or commenting much lately, but I need an actual, physical break). Leave a comment if you like and I'll come visit you in a month or so!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Charlotte Mason & the Well-Trained Mind: elementary hours compared

This is a comparison of The Well Trained Mind's recommend weekly hours for 1-3 grade (averaged) and Charlotte Mason's Parents' Union School schedules for the same. It was more difficult then the comparison I did for eighth grade.

I had to make some judgements in order to compare and even then, they just don't line up neatly. Which is, of course, okay, because they are different methods/theories -- but I'm interested in both!

Charlotte Mason advocated hours of outdoor nature study, which is science not shown on the school schedule. Also, the Parents Union School students studied French from the beginning, whereas the WTM starts Latin in 3rd grade. Oh, another thing -- Language Arts for the WTM is comprised of grammar, spelling, penmanship, structured reading, and writing. Language Arts for the Parents Union School schedule were called only reading and writing.

As with my previous comparison, I very well may have a miscalculation in my addition. Adding hours is tricky!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Project 2008 March: The Garden

The first couple years we lived in this house, I tried to "grow a garden." We did harvest a few things, but then I had a baby (who is now 2 1/2) and gardening fell by the wayside. It is a place for the the children to dig. To get muddy. To create elaborate tunnels and houses for their little Scupley creations. And, on the day I took this photo, to store their not-in-use toys.

My goal for March is get all the stuff out of the garden and work on the soil. To make it look like it could be a garden...even if I don't plant anything this year!

If you want to join in, go to New Mercies Every Day and sign up!
And, if you want to see my previous months projects:
January: Sewing Room
February: Master Bedroom

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What's on your desk?

Audrey @ Opus Dei Academy tagged me with

"What's on your desk?

You can tell a lot about a person by the state of their desk and what they keep on it. So, share what's on your desk. You can take pictures, take an inventory, or do both. Don't have a desk? That's okay, just give us a glimpse into the space where you pay bills, write letters, grade papers, study, or work on the computer.

When you've finished your photos or inventory, post it on your blog and tag five more people to do the same. Don't forget to share the rules with those you tag and ask them to share their posts with you when they are done."

Well, my desk is remarkable tidy! I cleaned it about 2 weeks ago and have been keeping it that way.

I have a tissue box, my beloved eMac, a router, a new Apple modem, a watering can pen cup, an ink drinking printer, my iPhone, a paper on Greek columns, and the following books: The Well-Trained Mind (revised edition from the library), A Charlotte Mason Education, and The Chemy Called Al. That is it!

Oh, what is that box under the desk? Well, that is where I put everything that was "homeless" from my desk when I cleaned it. I've gotten exactly ONE thing out of the box since I cleaned off my desk. Which means, I really don't need all that stuff. I just can't part with it...yet. So if I was to take the box and dump it on the desk, you'd have a pretty good idea of what my desk would look like normally.

Hmm, whose desk do I want to see a picture of??

Sugar at I Like Pi
Michelle at Our Trio of Children
Jean at Quiver's House
Kel at Voyager Learning Center
Mama Peep at Classical Education Our Way

Come on, girls, let's see those desks!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Got Chemistry?

We're using The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe by Ellen McHenry and loving it! This is a one semester course designed for grades 4-8, but my 2nd grader is tagging along with ease.
As a read aloud, we have The Chemy Called Al by Wendy Isdell. Not especially well written, this book does have an interesting premise: the Land of Science is inhabited by the "former periodics" such as Aurum (Gold) and Kalium (Potassium) in the form of horses.
Here are some websites we've come across:
Chem 4 Kids
Periodic Table in Pictures & Words
Interactive Chemical Elements
The Wooden Periodic Table
Period Table of Comic Books
Wizzy Periodic Table
Fun Brain Period Table
Science is Fun
Periodic Table ADventure
Visual Interpretation of the Elements

I'm going to try to post a little about each of our curriculum choices this year. This will serve as both records for myself (I'm a terrible record keeper!) and as a mini-reviews. I need a review-system. How about paw prints?
The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe gets 5 out of 5 paw prints! I just need a little picture now...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Project 2008 February: The Master Bedroom

At then end of January, when I took these photos, my bedroom was Playmobil Central. What you see below on the dresser was the Playmobil Knights Advent Calendar (open a little box a day). The rest of the Playmobil was in a large plastic tub under my dresser. It has all since been moved to the clean sewing room, where there is space to spread out and set up and mom doesn't make you put it away before bed.

This first picture is standing in the doorway, looking straight into the room. Notice no curtains on the window, no pictures on the wall, and laundry in the foreground. That is where the clean laundry goes until it is folded. This is Ginger & Momo's job, which they can't seem to do every single day.
This is standing in the doorway, looking to the right across the room. No curtains, no picture...pile of computer related books on my husband's nightstand, and my ironing board. Usually the ironing board has a pile of clean dress shirts on the end. See that yellow thing on the tree? It's a sunflake! We like the poem "Sunflakes" by Frank Ashe.

This final picture is looking into the master bathroom/closet, with a good view of the TV and its paraphernalia. Oh, and there is some baby stuff there on the floor -- car seat, walker, etc. Stuff that I'm planning to give away.

I'd like to say that by the end of February, the room will be painted, curtains hung, pictures mounted, an entertainment center purchased. But no, I know those things won't be done. I am going to try to get back to ironing all my husband's shirts once a week and then putting the ironing board in the closet. I think I'm ready to move on to March!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Charlotte Mason & the Well-Trained Mind: hours compared

Tonight, I decided to do a little chart to compare the hourly recommendations for 8th grade age in Susan Wise Bauer's The Well-Trained Mind's to those in A Charlotte Mason Education by Catherine Levison. This little chart doesn't include Logic (only mentioned in the WTM), music, art, or nature study. I found it interesting that at this level, the time involved was almost identical.
It is possible that my figures are slightly off -- adding such big numbers in my head is challenging.

EDITED TO ADD: Thank you, Tami, for supplying me with an online version of Charlotte Mason's Parents Union School schedules located on the Ambleside Online site! These are identical to the schedules in the back of Levison's book. Although she calls Class III 7th-9th grades, I believe (the book is upstairs). When I was making my calculations, I eliminated the "10.20 - 10.50" period, which seems to serve as a break period and didn't fit neatly in my chart. I put Euclid as math and Old & New Testament as history. Another side note is CM's schools met Monday through Saturday...oh, yes, and the hours listed on my chart are weekly totals!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Break for (Neopian) Poetry

I left Momo & Ginger at home this morning to do their schoolwork while I took Tullius to his Charlotte's Web play rehearsal (he's a sheep). Not only did Momo get her book learning done, she had time to write poetry.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Peaceful, pajama morning in our homeschool

Time: 8:30am
Location: Family Room floor
Sound: melodious Yanni's Dare to Dream
Scene: Seated inside the Duplo railroad track he built with his 2yo brother, my dark-haired 8yo works a crossword puzzle in The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe. Already completed in this morning's 2nd grade: an egg-boiling experiment in Singapore Start-up Science, the final page in MUS Gamma, the conjugation of celo (I hide) in the future tense in Lively Latin...and breakfast.

Oh, if only the whole day were to be so serene...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Excellent, Dude!

Tonia at The Sunny Patch and Lisa at Koinonia Academy think I'm excellent. That makes my day! Thanks, ladies! The feeling is mutual.

Now, I'm supposed to pass this award on to 5 bloggers who I think are admirable, distinctive, exceptional, first-class, magnificent, notable, outstanding, priceless, sterling, wonderful...you know, excellent!

So, to
Karen...because I wish to school in a Magic Schoolhouse and
Skeller...because I wish I was Short on Words and
Isabella, Zadok, and Theo...because I wish I my kids had a Cattle Blog and
Paz...because I wish we were a WoW Academy and
Gardenschooler...because I wish I was In the Garden...

I want you to know that I think you're excellent! Now, please, pass it on to five more bloggers that you admire!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Homeschooling Only One

Yesterday, three of my four school-aged children were sick. Ginger, the oldest, was in day three of the flu, having missed getting it when the rest of us did, the week before. Tullius and Zamakee, in 2nd grade and kindergarten respectively, both had fevers. Not sure if it was a relapse, a repeat or something new... So my 5th grader Momo got to be an only student.

MATH Math-U-See Zeta, Lesson 21, Practice B Long division with decimals, rounding patterns, remainders as fractions, etc. Boring. Easy. 100% A+.

LATIN Lively Latin, Lesson 11.3 Forming the Future Tense I love Latin, so we did this together. Interesting. Easy. 100% A+.

LOGIC Building Thinking Skills 2, Chapter 10 Verbal Analogies A page of such things as marble:stone :: diamond:jewel. Not sure if it was easy or not, but she got them all right, as usual.

GRAMMAR Straight Forward English Series Verbs, p 13, Spelling Rules for Tense. Adding -s or -es to some verbs and then making sentences with them. Here are some of her sentences:
The eyrie tosses the yooyu ball to the jubjub.
The hissi drinks the morphing potion and changes into a cybunny.

Ah, good old Neopia! Easy. All correct...

CHEMISTRY The Elements: Ingredients of the Universe, Chapter 3 Activity #5 & #6 This involved finding the number of protons in 25 or so different elements and looking at a cool website called Dave's Wizzy Periodic Table This takes awhile to load, but is worth it for looking at how many electrons are in which S & P orbitals. I have a slightly difficult time understanding about the orbitals, but she doesn't. Chemistry really is fascinating! Maybe Momo will be a chemist.

HISTORY Tapestry of Grace Year 1, Week 24 Sigh. We could be doing SO MUCH...but we're not. Her reading is a 2 page spread in The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. Called "Battles and Battle Formations," it looks really unmemorable so I suggest we read it together. Everyone else is either sleeping or quietly playing.

We read the second page on formations first. Several times she mentions having "read about that" and goes back to find the page. Tomorrow, if everyone is well enough to go outside, we'll model the battle positions. We certainly have enough shields and sticks! Then we look at the list of battles on the first page. We decide to try to find them on our fold-out National Geographic Map of "The Historic Mediterranean 800 BC to AD 1500" that is on the kitchen table under the plastic table cloth.

The descriptions are short and not very specific, such as:
CHAERONEA A town in Central Greece, the site of Philip II of Macedon's decisive victory over the Greek cities in 338 BC. We struggle with the vagueness, but have fun trying to locate them. Not all are on the map.

And that was the school day. Not perfect, but peaceful and productive. I wish I could spend such time with her everyday. I wish I could spend such time with each of my children everyday.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- Kittens

Is it Wednesday already? Well, not quite...but close enough.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday -- Tattoo Artist in Training

Project 2008 January: The Sewing Room

This was my Project 2008 Room. The "Sewing Room" that has never been sewn it. YET. We've lived in this house for about 4 1/2 years. The room has been mainly a dumping ground, but Beanie slept here in a crib until he was 2. Now he sleeps in the crib in the "Boys' Room."

This room is about 10' x 7' if you include the closet. The previous owners used it as an office.

Yes, this is what is looks like AFTER I cleaned it. This is standing in the doorway looking into the closet (huge, doorless). The shelf is all boxes of STUFF I want to keep. Some worth keeping, most not...but I can't decide which is which. Hanging on hangers are large pieces of fabric. Waiting to be sewn into something. On the floor are several large, plastic storage bins of sewing stuff -- miscellaneous fabric, thread, stuffing, half-made fabric dolls and the like.

This is standing in the doorway looking to the left. Ah, ha! One of the closet doors. And lots more stuff -- mostly papers, folders, files, notebooks, school-type stuff that should probably be tossed. And a box or two of miscellaneous stuff. And several empty plastic bins. I really DID clean in this room.

This is standing at the far end of the room looking toward the doorway. Behind the door is the bookcase of homeschool books that I want to keep but am not currently using this year. Oh, and a porta-crib.

And that hanging on the wall is a life-sized Emperor penguin painted on posterboard. There are several species of penguins on the wall and some hiding behind the boxes of sewing stuff. I really do have a hard time throwing things away...

February's project will be the master bedroom! And I know you want to see pictures of that.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rest of the year: 5th grade & 2nd grade

Here is the rest of Momo's year. She's in 5th grade, using mostly the same curriculum as Ginger. The only differences are that she is in Math-U-See Epislon and is using Building Thinking Skills 2 instead of a formal spelling program. She does do spelling by using Tapestry of Grace's Vocabulary. I should post about that one day... I bought a poetry workbook and a test prep book for Momo, I just haven't started them with her yet.

I decided to edit this post & add 2nd grade since I just finished the sheet. This is for Tullius, who just turned 8. He really needs to be challenged...I just haven't found anything that does. Even multiplying a 3 digit by 4 digit number only confused him for a week or so. Oh, and he wrote down our milage on January 31st: 66,032 miles.

Thanks for the kind comments about my last spreadsheet. If you don't use/like Excel, a table in Word can be used to accomplish the same thing. I have to say that I did not come up with the idea on my own!! I've seen it on lovely blogs like Narrow Gate Academy and Trivium Academy.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Assessing where we are, so I can see where we're going...

When I drive some place new, I generally get lost the first few times. I think it might be a gap in my education, since my dad can still remember how to get places he went to years and years ago.

So, speaking of going places, and gaps, and education...I really need to assess where each child is at in their school year. And look ahead to the end of the year. And next year. And then...HIGH SCHOOL.

This 2007-2008 year, I have:

Ginger 7th grade
Momo 5th grade
Tullius 2nd grade
Zamakee Kindergarten

This is week 22 of 36 for us.

Today, while holding my feverish 2yo, I finally started making the colorful Excel spreadsheets that I've been meaning to do for weeks! Here is Gingers:

Clicking on it makes it huge, but readable.

I must buy something new for her for math, I didn't realize how close she was to being done with Key to Decimals! Math is definitely a difficult subject for her. Which makes it difficult for me.

And writing. I've really got to get something for writing. TOG's Writing Aids started out good for us, but I rearranged some things, dropped it for a month during NaNo, then we had 6 weeks off for Winter Break and I can't get back into Writing Aids. I've tried each week, and it has been a flop each time. I need something prepared, precise, and preferably written to the student. Maybe Jump Into Writing...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

123 Book Meme

Lisa at Koinonia Academy and Audrey at Home Learning Adventures tagged me!

Step one: Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

Well, The Boxcar Children is the closest.

Step two: Open the book to page 123.

Since, Tullius is sitting here, I'll have him find page 123.

Step three: Find the fifth sentence.

And I'll have him find the fifth sentence, which is not as easy as it sounds. Does the first sentence end with the first period? We'll go with the first complete sentence being number 1 for our counting purposes.

Step four: Post the next three sentences.

He ran alone up to the boxcar. It seemed like magic that he knew where to go. When Dr. Moore came back, he was carrying Violet in his arms.

Step five: Tag five people.

Let see...whose blog do I enjoy & need to visit?

Twilight and Sunrise
Carr Homeschool
A Bit of Bubbly
Living, Loving, Learning
Redefining Normal

Let me know if you play along!

How many miles do you drive a month?

I had a brilliant math idea! It is possible that in my case, the pronoun "I" with brilliant and math should not occur in the same sentence. But this seems like a fun, real-life application of subtraction!

My almost 8yo son, whom I call by his Latin name Tullius here, loves to "check the milage" on our mini van whenever we arrive someplace. At the end of each month, I'm going to have him write the number down on a piece of paper and then he can subtract to see how much we've driven that month! I really don't think I drive too much. We've had the van about 10 1/2 years and haven't reached 70,000 miles yet.

So, how much do you drive a month? No calculators allowed!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Old Shoes, New Shoes

My word for the year is GRATITUDE. So I decided to show my hard working dh that I really am grateful for how well he provides for our family...by purchasing some new shoes. Yes, I've needed new shoes for awhile. Those old ones on the left I've had for about 3 years. They're comfortable, and I really don't enjoy shoe shopping at all.

However, this past week the toe finally burst on the left shoe. I even wore them to church like this. But my dh does not feel my gratitude for his provision when I'm wearing the only pair of shoes I have and there is a giant hole in the toe.

Actually, I do own a pair of sandals I got a resale shop awhile back (but I don't like the way they fit, so I haven't worn them in over a year) and I also own a pair of plain black dress shoes back from when I worked and our oldest was baby (but I probably haven't worn those in at least 2 years).

Hopefully I'll get my $14.99's worth over the next three years.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Quote and Confession

"A teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron."
-- Horace Mann

Today is only the first official day of 2nd semester and...um, I'm the teacher in the above quote.

I told my dh last week that I didn't like teaching. I enjoy reading aloud to my kids, I enjoy taking them places like the zoo, I enjoy playing with them in the backyard, I enjoy learning myself and watching them learn things themselves.

But I don't enjoy being the teacher and sitting at the table while then read the instructions aloud and fill out the worksheet, I don't like checking and rechecking math, I don't like saying "Is your schoolwork done?"

And that is my confession for the day.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

888 - A book in the hand...

When I first heard about 888 (reading 64 books, 8 books in 8 categories in 2008), I thought it was too much. But in looking at my shelves, I have so many books that I've bought and never finished...or worse, bought and never started! A book in the hand is worth two on the shelf and so, I'm challenging myself this new year! Here are the beginnings of my lists:

I. Christian
1. The Power of a Praying Wife, Stormie Omartian (30 days -- read daily starting January 1st)
2. The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life, Hannah Whitall Smith (20 chapters)
3. Stop Dating the Church, Joshua Harris (7 chapters)
4. The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis (31 chapters)
5. God's Sabbath for Mankind, Richard A. Wiedenheft (7 chapters)
6. The Mischief of Sin, Thomas Watson (7 chapters)
7. The Valley of Vision: A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions (223 pages, read daily starting February 1st)
8. Sister Wendy's Book of Meditations, Sister Wendy Beckett (74 meditations, start when I finish Valley of Vision)

II. Nature & Animals
1. Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv (23 chapters)
2. The Amateur Naturalist, Charles E. Roth
3. Stickeen, John Muir (74 pages)
4. Secrets of the Woods, William J. Long (10 chapters)
5. Keeping a Nature Journal, Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth (11 chapters)
6. All Creatures Great & Small, James Herriot (67 chapters)
7. All Things Bright & Beautiful, James Herriot (47 chapters)
8. All Things Wise & Wonderful, ames Herriot (48 chapters)

III. Parenting & Homeschooling
1. I Love You Rituals, Becky A. Bailey (10 chapters)
2. Heartfelt Discipline, Clay Clarkson (16 chapters)

IV. Historical Fiction

V. Fun Fiction

VI. Fantasy Fiction I've Never Read (but always meant too)

VII. Read Aloud or Read Together
1. Classic Myths to Read Aloud, William F. Russell (39 stories)

VIII. ???

These are all books on my shelves. Well, now they are in piles on the floor by my feet! I need to gather some more titles from the library...but what I have will sure keep me reading for a good while! If you have any recommendations for me or have a link to your own 888 reading list for 2008 (which, by the way, it IS!), please share!


Latin Motto

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