Week in the Life (You Better Put On A Coat)

January 21, 2017

Well, this was our first week officially back to school, and the start of a new school year. I have tried to follow a regular school schedule starting in July and ending in May (Indiana’s school schedule) , it just doesn’t work for us.

While on break, I was looking back over our previous year to see if I felt we needed to change anything. I am actually really happy with our progress. Knowledge builds upon knowledge, do I think the girls’ knowledge has grown in the past year? Yes, very much so, and I don’t need yearly testing to see it. I was so caught up in learning about educating high school, making sure that I was doing everything right, that I forgot my original reasons for homeschooling; to become independent learners. To understand how knowledge is obtained, to be able to come to your own conclusions and form opinions, to be able to think for yourself. To understand that learning never ends.

It really is amazing when you are able to stand back and just observe your children actually doing what you worked so hard to instill. These past few weeks, I did exactly that.

Sky has been researching how to properly take care of sea monkeys.

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She had them once before, but I killed them while trying to clean out their tank. This time around, she is in complete control (as well as taking care of her Betta fish, which she has been doing a great job with). When she has trouble spelling a word, or understanding what a word means, she looks it up on her tablet. Thanks to technology, we now have traveling calculators and dictionaries at out fingertips. Both girls research purchases, google anything they might not know, or are confused with, and ask for help when needed. The same exact thing that I do. They know how to learn. They literally do not need me anymore, and you know what? It feels great.

I feel like a mother polar bear that has taught her cubs how to survive and are now ready to go out on their own. I can honestly say that I have no regrets, and nothing that I wished I would have done differently (except to not stress so much, they are learning). I am excited to see their journey unfold.

I am no longer worried about getting everything done, because we never will, and life isn’t a race. You can’t force learning, and as long as we are moving forward I am content.

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

The girls copied and we discussed the poem: It Sifts from Leaden Sieves by Emily Dickinson.

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(Little Sis)

I do plan to focus more on American Literature this year.

Vocabulary words:

leaden, sieves (which they actually remembered from Edward Lear), alabaster, celestial, ruffles, artisans

The girls worked in their root word workbooks, and Sky is continuing with her grammar book.

Creative Writing

Reading: I read Neil Gaiman’s version of Hansel and Gretel.

We watched: The History of Hansel & Gretel | Fairy Tales With Jen -YouTube

and Sky and I watched the movie Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. I actually liked it, and thought it was a clever steam punk adaptation of the fairy tale.

 

Independent Reading:

Little Sis is reading: Wicked, book 6 from the Pretty Little Liar series.

Sky started the graphic novel series: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples.

Mama’s reads:

So Far, I am on my 4th book of 2017.

After finishing Mystic River, the last book that I read in 2016, I started reading: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. I loved it. It reminded me so much of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (one of my favorite television shows). The writing was great, the character development was great, the plot twists, though I saw one coming, was great. It was a wonderful start to the new year.

Next, was Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon. This was another wonderful read. I really, really liked it. It will probably be one of my 2017 favorites. This is what Girl on the Train should have been. There was no surprising plot twists, I pretty much figured it out early on. That didn’t matter. I felt that this was more of a story about character growth than an actual thriller. Though the characters were flawed, the writer really made you care about what happened to them. The writing was beautiful, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

After that, I picked up I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Okay, I am honestly going to say that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. This book is a little like Shutter Island in that the author lays everything out for you, it just depends on your perception. This was just okay. It held my attention, and I wanted to see how it ended. The abuse though, was incredibly hard to get through, which should be. I read horror and this was a really tough read. So, I will leave you with a warning, if you don’t think you can handle reading physical or mental abuse skip this one.

I am halfway through Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson now. I was a bit disappointed with this after reading The Kind Worth Killing. It took me several chapters to get into it, I actually put it aside for awhile. About 1/3 of the way through it does pick up. I am not going to lie, this book is giving me the creeps. I think I may need to take a break from thrillers after this one. 🙂

 

Mathematics

The girls warmed up with XtraMath.

Little Sis is almost done with her division workbook. We will continue with Kumon’s fractions and decimals. I actually like the building of math skills instead of learning some division, or some decimals one year, then some a bit harder the next year and so on. That actually doesn’t make sense to me.

I actually plan on sticking with Danica McKeller’s math series. I really like how she builds each skill onto the next. I plan starting Math Doesn’t Suck with Little Sis after she finishes Kumon’s 4th grade geometry and measurement workbook.

Sky learned how to multiply variables from Kiss My Math. I printed off worksheets for her to practice from homeschoolmath.net. I am excited that she has finally made it to Algebra.

We also played all kinds of games that I didn’t keep track of while on break.

Science

Reading: We read: Magic Tree House Polar Bear’s Past Bedtime and the Nonfiction Polar Bear Guide.

We watched: PBS Nature Snowbound:Animals of Winter

Animals’s with Winter Coats- Scishow Kids – YouTube

How do Whales, Penguins, and Polar Bears Keep Warm?…Scishow Kids- YouTube

I printed off a map of the arctic circle and the girls took notes.

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abcteach Printable Worksheet: Maps: Arctic Region

We also read: January’s issue Year in Review Science in the News A-Z.

 

Health:

We watched: How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist…TedEd -YouTube

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym. We started working out during the week again with Walk Away the Pounds the 3 mile and Yoga Walk.

Little Sis has been practicing her tryout routine for cheerleading that starts back up next week. I am also meeting with someone this week about getting Sky signed up for horseback riding lessons. She showed interest after watching Victoria on PBS.

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History

World/Geography:

We watched: PBS Masterpiece Theater’s Victoria.

Civics/Government:

Sky and I watched Donald Trumps’s first press conference, and PBS Charlie Rose’s interview of House Speaker Paul Ryan. We all watched Donald Trumps’s presidential inauguration.

 

The Arts

Drawing:

We learned how to draw a polar bear from Draw So Cute-YouTube.

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Peace for the journey.

A Year In The Life (Let’s Talk About Books Baby)

January 5, 2017

Happy New Year!

If 2016 can be remembered for anything, homeschooling wise, it probably will be known as the year of reading.

I just had back surgery toward the end of 2015, so 2016 was my year of recovery. Besides adding in more physical activities like: yoga, walking, and swimming,  I discovered booktube.

Since the girls are older now, and able to discover their own interests without help from me, frees up all kinds of time to devote to my own interests, like reading. Yes, I love big books and I can not lie. Don’t believe me, the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series alone, so far totals about 4223 pages. That is not including A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms short stories either. When it comes to books, size does not matter (sorry, I am on a roll, and maybe a bit of a sugar rush from over the holidays).

Before I start going into my favorites reads from 2016 though, I want to write about our favorite homeschooling reads first. (Papa has a pretty interesting list too.) This list does not include the girls’ favorite independent reads like: the Pretty Little Liar series or the Monstress graphic novel. This post would be way too long if I included everything.

What I will add though, Sky is my visual reader. Her favorites are geared more toward graphic novels and movie scripts (visual art). She has her favorite movie review tubers like I have book review tubers. Little Sis is my romantic/ thriller reader. Though our preferences differ, we both enjoy the written word. We internally visualize. I am actually going to hold my tongue about how one is not better than the other, or how unfair the “one size fits all” education only benefits one type of learner. I have written lots about this already, and honestly I am going to try being a little bit more positive this year. We, are homeschoolers. 🙂

With all that being said, in 2016 we read a total of 63 stories (9 of them being non fiction), 25 individual poems and 1 book collection of poems. So, what were our favorites, what stories do we wished we never read, and what stories were just okay?

First up, is our favorites as a whole. If you have read any of my posts before, you already know how hard it is for me to find a book that both girls agree on. So when it does happen, I literally dance a little jig which the girls have labeled as my happy dance.

The first book that we all enjoyed reading was: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. Others were: The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the Princess Dairy: Marie Antoinette, the Dear America Diary: A Picture of Freedom, The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and the short story: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Favorite folktale/fairy tales were: Beauty and the Beast and The Song of Tam Lin.

Sky’s favorites (16): The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, The Ogre of Olglefort by Eva Ibbotson, “This was a different story in a sea of same.”, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Little Sis’s favorites (11): Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and she loved all the fairy tales we read. *Note to self* I need to include more stories that Little Sis will enjoy this year.

There were lots of “okays”, and the “I don’t ever want to see these books again” goes to: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and The Jungle Book by Kipling.

Favorite poems (We read poems from: World, British, and American literature): How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Little Sis, she enjoyed learning about the true love story of Elizabeth and Robert Browning too, she is such a romantic.), Ghosts by Emily Dickinson (Sky’s favorite), both girls enjoyed the Poisoned Apple collection by Christine Happermann, poems by Langston Hughes,  and Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl.

 

Mama’s Reads

At the start of 2016, I was still reading from: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. I read a total of 30 books. I added 3 new authors to my all time favorites list, one of them being a complete surprise.

I love the Game of Thrones book series, the show is just “okay” to me. I am glad that they made it, and I enjoy watching it, but it is the books that I love. I talked about them so much, that Sky decided to pick them up and read them too. Little Sis, is to the point of eye rolls and leaving the room whenever the topic is brought up, because she knows we will discuss them for hours. Thank you George R.R. Martin, for making medieval history interesting and for the hours of discussions between my teenage daughter and me.

After finishing, and waiting for the next book in the series to come out, I didn’t know what the heck I was going to read. I mean, where does one even start after reading a series like Game of Thrones? Then, I discovered The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. She made me eat all my negative opinions about the YA genre. I loved this series, at times I could feel goosebumps rising on the back of my neck. After being so disappointed in the horror genre, she gave me hope and the creeps. This was probably the spookiest series/ story I read all year ,without shedding one ounce of gore.

Other favorite reads of 2016: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Room by  Emma Donoghue, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (even though I didn’t care much for The Shining), Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin, and Shutter Island  by Dennis Lehane.

Honorable mention: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. Though this book wasn’t a favorite, I am glad to have read it overall.

Books that I would have liked, if not for the ending: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I mention them only because, though I didn’t like them, they still made me think. I will never forget characters from these books (Amy, may be the most terrifying villain ever.), and whether or not they were favorites, that makes reading them worthwhile. They entertained me, and sometimes happy endings can get predictable.

I read a lot of: “they were okay” books, even started to worry if I would find another “great” one before the end of the year. However, I did read some that I just didn’t like. Whether it be the writing style/ prose, or the plot, they were just not for me. Nightwoods by Charles Frazier, Horns by Joe Hill (sorry Joe), and Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

So, that wraps up our year of reading. I would love to know what your favorite reads of the year were. I could talk books for hours.

Peace for the journey.

Week In the Life (“A Few Of My Favorite Things*)

December 28, 2016

The last post of 2016.

I was just thinking: what a year, when I read the news about Carrie Fisher. I was just thinking: how this post was going to wrap up our school year, and I would share some of my favorite presents from the holidays.

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Yep, we just saw Rogue One yesterday. We were still discussing the movie right up until we went to bed. I read the news today while uploading my photos.

Did I mention my favorite gifts from the holidays?

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(From Little Sis)

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(From Sky)

Guess which ones are mine. 🙂

After the movie, we came home and took down our Star Wars tree. We wrapped each ornament and placed them in their proper boxes, ready to be pulled out next year.

I’m not just a Star Wars fan though, Carrie Fisher was a very talented writer. Postcards From the Edge is one of the first books I’ve ever laughed out loud reading. She was also one of the first famous people to ever speak out openly about Bipolar depression.  She made mental illness famous, and helped give me the courage to open up about my anxiety and depresion, Thank you. RIP

2017, we could sure use some cheer.

 

Homeschooling

I am going to try to categorize our last week of school for the year. After a long talk from the girls, our last week resembled the essence of what our Christmas school should look like; a little of this, and a little of that, and lots more fun.

Language Arts

Reading:

We read: The Nutcracker. This is one of the girls’ favorite Christmas stories. While trying to find a new story to read this year, I didn’t realize how much the girls would prefer to read their favorites; lesson learned.

 

Independent reading:

Little Sis, is almost done with Unbelievable. She will probably finish it up today or tomorrow and start reading the next one while on break. I am sure we will be watching lots of episodes of the show while on break too.

Sky, is almost finished with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. We will probably watch the movie soon. She received some graphic novels for Christmas that she is interested in starting too.

Mama’s reads:

I finished Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I am sorry I finished it, honestly. It took my rating from 2 stars, down to 1. I give the novel 1 star, because the author’s writing isn’t bad, and he did manage to bring closure to the plot. I understood where the plot was heading pretty early on. “It’s not the creature that is evil, but humanity.” This wouldn’t have been so bad if: one, I hadn’t read this theme 100 times already; or two, the plot was actually scary.

When I explained to Sky, how the plot was about a witch from the Salem witch trial era putting a curse on the town before being burned at the stake, she said:” I wish people wouldn’t write stories about witches having powers, it takes away from all the innocent people that were murdered during that time for supposedly being witches.” Though the ending was kind of trying to portray this, I agree with Sky.

I am a little disappointed Stephen King recommended this.

I am about halfway through: Mystic River by by Dennis Lehane, and enjoying it very much. At least my reading will end on a good note in 2016.

 

Handwriting:

The girls copied the last stanza of :A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti.

 

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(Little Sis)

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at Xtramath, and continued working on review.

Winter Solstice brought us a new game.

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Deer in the Headlights. This is a great game for adding, and learning odd and even. You roll three dice, and what you roll determines the action you take with your cards. The first person to get rid of all your cards wins the round. The one with the less points wins after 10 rounds or when a person reaches 150.

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P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym.

 

Science:

We watched : What Is Tinsel Made Of? Speaking of Chemistry Ep. 12…by CEN Online

Excellent Evergreens by Scishowkids-both found on YouTube.

 

The Arts

Theater Appreciation (Small Screen ): We watched parts two and three of: PBS The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses.

Drawing:

Besides chalkboard art,

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we made Santa, Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.

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We watched: 1933 “The Night Before Christmas” Walt Disney CLASSIC-  YouTube.

Our homeschooling group took a trip to a local small town candy store where the girls learned how to make candy canes.

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Last but not least, the girls have already been working on some of their new gifts.

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(Little Sis)

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(Sky)

Time to put 2016 to bed. Fingers crossed, for 2017.

Peace for the journey.

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*My Favorite Things: Sound of Music

Week In the Life “Baby, It’s Cold Outside*”

December 18, 2016

If you live in the Midwest, or up north, I’m sure you are aware it is cold out. Though we’ve had commitments, the majority of our week was spent cuddled up around the wood stove.

For the most part, we are ready for the holidays.

 

Homeschooling

This coming week will be our last week of “school”. Then, the girls will get two weeks off. One of those weeks, I will be working on Sky’s transcript for her first two years of high-school.

Indiana requires a core 40 diploma, which basically means Sky will need 40 credits to get a general diploma. You earn one credit for each semester completed.

To graduate with an honors diploma, she must complete a minimum of 47 credits; which will need to include AP exams. You do not need to complete an AP course to take the exam.

These past two years, I have stressed over learning how to homeschool high-school. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to understand what is needed to graduate a homeschooled child. However, looking back I can honestly say I worried way too much, and ended up stressing both Sky and myself out. I got caught up in preparing her for college, and I forgot the whole reason I was homeschooling in the first place.

Homeschooling for me, has always been an individual process. Sky, has always been a bit behind. Everyone keeps asking her about getting her drivers license, and she keeps telling them that she does not feel ready to get behind the wheel of a vehicle yet. I can honestly answer that she is not mentally ready. She already suffers from anxiety/panic disorder, driving is the last thing she needs right now. However, I would almost put money down that she will be ready next year. That is just how it has always been with her.  If I could have just one more year to graduate her, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, society does not work like that. Five years to graduate does not look good on a college application, and I’m pretty sure will not attract any scholarships.

This year, I have accepted the fact that Sky probably will not be going to university. Don’t get me wrong, we will still be working towards an honors diploma. I’ve just decided, I not going to work my daughter into panic attacks to get her there. My daughter’s mental health comes first. My daughter comes first, period. That, was the whole point of homeschooling.

I sit here and write about how our children are not us, and yet when it came to high-school and college, I pushed my child to be something she is not.

Like I mentioned, we will still aim for the honors diploma. More than likely though, Sky will graduate with the Core 40 diploma and attend community college, if she wants. She is a very intelligent child, much more so than I was at her age. We’ve talked about life, and the way it works. She gets it, she understands. In the end though, this is her life, and the choices are for her to make, not me.

So for these next two years, I am back to following her lead, meeting her where she is. Life, and my time with her is way too short to not be enjoying it.

 

Language Arts

Reading:

We ditched Dodger. Not because it wasn’t good, it actually is, but because this week I was reminded what Christmas school, for us, is about. Little Sis wants to read: The Nutcracker, so that is our plan for this week.

Note to self: Allow the children to chose what we do for Christmas school.

Little Sis is still reading: Unbelievable. Sky is still listening to: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

 

Mama’s Reads:

I am a little over halfway through: Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I’m not really sure what to think about this novel. For me, it starts out really slow. I think, I might know where the plot is heading; I guess I will just need to keep reading to find out. If I had to rate it now, or wasn’t already over halfway through, I would probably give it 2 out of 5 stars. I am really struggling with wanting to finish it. Like I mentioned, I find the plot boring and not the least bit scary for a horror novel.

I have been a little disappointed with the horror genre lately. I have found myself being drawn more towards psychological thrillers; which is why I enjoyed: The Haunting of Hill House and Shutter Island so much. I think Stephen King might have been trying to attempt this with The Shining, but that novel fell through for me as well.

I can’t wait to count up how many books I actually read this year, but I feel like it has been a very disappointing year as far as my book choices go. Besides the Game of Thrones series, only three other novels have really stood out as great reads. That is a terrible ratio, in my opinion.

I will say, between reading Hex, discussing what the girls have been getting in with, and watching the Pretty Little Lairs series, my dreams have been very interesting lately. 🙂

*Updated* to add, I can not believe I forgot about The Raven Cycle series. This was probably my favorite read of the year. Thank goodness for Maggie Stiefvater. This series alone, makes up for all the other mediocre stories that I read this year. I just wish I had not read it so early in the year, because everything after that has just been okay. I am extremely excited to read what she comes out with next.

Handwriting:

The girls copied the next stanza of: A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti in cursive. This has been another fun poem to discuss, and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

 

Grammar/Vocabulary:

The girls continued working in their root word workbooks.

Vocabulary words this week were:

seraphim, thronged, maiden, bliss, beloved

I love it when the girls inform me that they already know what some of these words are. It means I am doing my job.

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up with XrtaMath.

Little Sis continued with long division.

Sky learned how to simplify algebraic expressions. This is what she will continue working on the rest of the year. No since in learning something new and forgetting it over break.

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Science:

We watched and discussed:

Is Santa Real? (A Scientific Analysis) – It’s Okay To Be Smart- YouTube

Why is Ice Slippery? – SciShow-YouTube

4 Reindeer Facts-SciShow kids-YouTube

 

History

World History/ Geography :

We watched and discussed: The wars that inspired Game of Thrones – Alex Gendler TedEd-YouTube.

 

The Arts

Culinary:

Little Sis made white and chocolate chip cookies,

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and the girls made bread to go along with dinner this week.

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Drawing:

We made The Grinch. Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.

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Theater Appreciation (Small Screen):

We watched: PBS Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/hollow-crown-wars-roses-miniseries/5109/

The girls love Sophie Okonedo, especially as Nancy in BBC’s Oliver Twist. They were so surprised that her character was not good in this series. “Just goes to show you how great of an actress she is.”

 

Little Sis had her award ceremony this week for cheerleading.

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They start back up again at the end of January. Until then, she will just have to practice her  toe touches around the house, and she does too.

Peace for the journey.

*Neptune’s Daughter

Week(s) In the Life (It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Winter)

December 10, 2016

 

The wood stove is in use full time now. My body yearns to stay indoors while waiting out the cold; that just isn’t an option for me anymore. The girls are older now and have more commitments. I sometimes long for those days when the girls were younger and we cut and pasted instead of doing long division and algebra.

Papa and I celebrated our anniversary Monday. One of the perks to having older children is that Papa and I are able to go out more alone. So, we went out to eat and then shopping for presents. Now that the girls are older, their wish lists are more precise. They have outgrown some of my favorite shopping spots. I did have an interesting conversation with a sweet kid, working at the comic shop, about his favorite horror graphic novels though. He did mention that he wished his parents would buy him the rest of the series I was purchasing for Sky, so I am taking that as a compliment.

It doesn’t help that the girls are complete opposites. So, shopping this year took longer than normal because we needed to go into different kinds of stores. Where clothes and make-up may be a great gift for one child, it would totally suck for the other one. Then there is the oldest (26, and reading this) that fits somewhere in between. 🙂

It was nice to return home to a warm house, where Sky had a fire burning in the wood stove that she was able to start all on her own, and the smell of my favorite cookies lingering in the air that Little Sis had baked.

I guess I am pretty lucky and shouldn’t complain. Not much longer, the house will be empty and I will be yearning to have children to run around. For now, I will savor these moments. Besides, there will be time for cutting and pasting with my grandchildren.

 

Homeschooling

Language Arts

 

Reading:

Christmas school:

I chose: Dodger by Terry Pratchett.

It isn’t really a Christmas story, but to us Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Charles Dickens, and since the girls loved Oliver Twist so much, I thought why not give this story a try.  I am really glad we did. The writing style is spot on, and the plot gives off all the same cozy-warm feelings that Christmas stories do.

 

American Literature:

Since I had The Lottery and Other Short Stories by Shirley Jackson already checked out, I went ahead and read The Lottery out loud to the girls (even though we are kind of in the Colonial time period right now).

This story is a perfect example of how a short story should be written. Sky and I had so many wonderful discussions on how a short story could arise so many feelings in just a few pages. How the author could make you feel for characters you just met. Of course the story is a little dated now, and Sky predicted the ending, but the next day she said: “You know, that story really sticks with you.” There is much substance in this little story, I highly recommend it.

 

Creative Writing:

We finished Book 1 of the Insanity series. We are interested enough to read book 2. I won’t say it is the best writing ever, it definitely has room for improvement; it does have a good plot line though. I am willing to give the next book a chance.

I think it is good for teens to read all kinds of literature, good and bad. If you don’t read anything that is poorly written, you might not be able to appreciate something that is written really well. If you only read works that are written really well, you might not be able to form opinions on why something is written poorly. In order to form opinions or write an analysis, you need to have been exposed to lots of choices to gather information from.

It is not just reading either, the same can be said for movies, music, art, theater, food, everything.

 

Independent Reading:

Little Sis finished: Perfect by Sara Shepard and started Unbelievable. We are almost done with season 1 of the show.

Sky has been listening to the audio of: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. She chose to read this herself. I am only familiar with the movie.

Between the two girls, we’ve been having some very interesting conversations. 🙂

Homeschooling has two parts, it is kind of like slow dancing with a partner. Sometimes as the facilitator, I lead. This is where all those must learn subjects fit it. However, sometimes the girls lead. This is where all their interests fit in. It is important, to make time for both. It is important, the we don’t keep doing all the leading.

Mama’s Reading:

I finished: The Lottery and Other Short Stories by Shirley Jackson. I have a hard time reading short stories like a novel. So, I read one story every night. The Lottery was by far  the best story in this collection. However, I was really impressed with some of the subject matter she was writing about during the time period. Shirley Jackson has become one of my all time favorite authors. I can’t wait to read her other works.

I also read: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. I am not really sure what made me originally add this novel to my reading list, but it sounded interesting so I went ahead and checked it out. I didn’t really know what to think about it at first. Its writing reminds me of a puzzle. The plot is given to you in pieces that you must keep tract of in order to follow the story. At first I was like: ‘WTF’. About halfway through, the story began to pick up. Then it became an: ‘Oh, I see’ kind of novel.

I liked it; it was different in a sea of same. I wouldn’t add it to my list of favorites, nor add it to my least favorites either. I enjoyed it more than Horns but not as much as Shutter Island. So, if you are looking for something completely different than what you’ve been reading, and enjoy horror with a science fiction twist, I would give this novel a try.

 

Handwriting:

The girls copied, and we discussed the first half of A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti in cursive.

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(Sky)

Vocabulary/Grammar:

Besides working in their root word workbooks, their words were:

carol, bleak, reign, sufficed, cherubim

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis worked in Kumon 4th grade divsion. She learned how to divide 2-digits from 3-digits.

Sky learned about: terms, variables, constants, and coefficients from: Kiss My Math. She practiced what she learned with a worksheet.

http://www.bath.k12.ky.us/userfiles/87/Classes/4180/Terms%20Coefficients%20and%20Constants%20worksheet%20PDF%20Website.pdf

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Science:

We read November’s Science in the News issue from: Science A-Z – Multilevel Science News Articles for Kids.

 

History

World/Geography:

We watched: Globe Trekker’s Greece episodes.

 

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym. Little Sis had cheerleading.

 

The Arts

Theater Appreciation (small screen):

We watched: Hairspray Live. I thought they did a really good job. This is actually one of my favorite musicals.

 

Culinary:

The girls made gingerbread cookies,

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Little Sis made Peanut Butter Blossoms,

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and I made vegan snowman pancakes.

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Drawing:

We made Frosty,

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and Rudolf from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.

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The Christmas puzzles have been brought out, along with a new one,

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as well as the collection of Christmas movies, and music.

We also watched Christmas of Many Colors. I don’t know what it is about Dolly Parton ( I think it is because she writes from her heart), but she always makes me cry. This movie, cheese and all, did not fail.

Happy Holidays,

and peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (The Thirteen Colonies, and Giving Thanks)

November 27, 2016

We had our first fire of the season this week. It seems like it never fails; 70 degrees and shorts one day, 30 degrees and winter coats the next. I for one, am happy about the cooler temperatures. Papa on the other hand, walks around freezing.

It is kind of funny, it use to be the other way around. Before perimenopause, I would be the one walking around freezing. Papa needed to sleep with a fan on year round because he would get too hot; I would need to sleep with five extra blankets piled on top of the bed. What can I say, except crazy hormones I guess. It is going to be an interesting winter.

 

Homeschool

 

Creative Writing: Fairy Tale Adaptations

Reading:

We are more than halfway through Insanity. I was hoping to have it finished before Christmas school, but that is what happens when we get sick.

*Slight detour ahead.*

I see so many new homeschoolers post questions (in one of my Facebook homeschooling groups) about schedules, and planning lessons out for the whole year. I try to answer when I can, but it does get a little frustrating typing the same answers out over and over again. This is one of the many reasons I hate Facebook. There is no way of storing previous answers to questions already asked. It is way to easy to ask a question and wait for the answers. Those of us that have been homeschooling for a long time, the ones that should be answering newbie’s questions, don’t have the time to answer repeat questions. This is the reason many homeschool veterans charge for their services, which I completely understand. Living on one income takes lots of budgeting. However, I do think that it is a bit unfair as well. Where would many of us “veterans” be without the help we were given when first starting out?

I for one, probably would not be able to afford to homeschool if I was a newbie now (It is becoming a business.) . I will say though, there was never a time in homeschooling where there was SO much available for free, as there is today either. You will need to do a little searching though (more than just asking a question in a Facebook group and waiting for the answers ). I have answered many of these questions here on my blog. I even have most of them saved in the About widget: Back to the Basics, found over on the left side for easier access.

Homeschooling, is not school at home. You literally need to pretend that school doesn’t exist. How would learning happen if school never existed? What would that look like? How did all those before us learn without school? This is called “deschooling”. Which is more beneficial for the parents than the children. Deschooling, took *me* a whole year. I blogged about it. All my posts are categorized under unschooling. 🙂

Once you understand and can “see”, that learning is everywhere (not contained to a brick and mortar building) and never ends, but is a continuing journey. Then, homeschooling can begin. Our homeschooling journey, will not look like yours. It is different for every family, and every child. Learning is so different, what works for Sky, does not work for Little Sis. Sky learns better visually, Little Sis is an auditory learner. They are both individuals with individual interests. There is no such thing as a one size fits all education. There is no such thing as a perfect curriculum.

Since society has already set standards for learning with a high school diploma, and as much as I think some of those standards are stupid, as a homeschooler, I still need to follow them. I believe in an educated society, now more than ever. However, I get to choose how we learn those standards, and I’m given twelve years to do so.

Sometimes, life has a way of changing your plans (like getting sick). Make sure your homeschooling schedule can accommodate those changes. 🙂

*End of detour.*

 

Grammar/Vocabulary:

Little Sis worked in her Word Roots Beginner workbook.

Sky worked in Barron’s E-Z Grammar and Level One Word Roots workbook.

 

Independent Reading:

Little Sis finished: Flawless and started reading: Perfect by Sara Shepard. We watched more of: Pretty Little Liars, season one together. I think I figured out the “big reveal”. I mean, I am a Hitchcock fan, but I am enjoying our time together.

I finished Shutter Island. Wow, I knew it was about time for an awesome novel. I love it, and this novel has been added to my favorites book list of the year. I like it so much, I place it right up there with House on Haunted Hill.

I knew about one of the plot twists, but even so, I did not know how the novel was going to end. The writing was great. The historic element alone made it a great read for me, add in the psychological thriller aspects, and I was hooked. To be able to write a story that draws, you as the reader into one point of view, and then manages to pull the rug out from under you is a very talented author. I can’t wait to read more of his work.

I am reading: The Lottery and Other Short Stories by Shirley Jackson, now.

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis worked in: Kumon 4th Grade Division workbook.

Sky worked on Chapter 5 (Mean, Median, Mode) of Kiss My Math. This was perfect timing for review, since we had a short week for Thanksgiving.

We also played lots of games that I forgot to take a picture off.

 

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History

World/Geography:

We watched the season two finale of Indian Summers. This was a brutal season, we had many discussions. It is a shame the show has been canceled, it was just getting good.

American:

Reading:

We finished: What is the Deceleration of Independence.

I printed off a map of the Thirteen Colonies, and we watched: Mr. Zoller’s Thirteen Colonies three part Series. – YouTube

http://www.calvarywilliamsport.com/4a34.html

The girls took notes and added them to their American History notebook binders.

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We also watched the conclusion of: PBS Black America: And Still I Rise.

 

The Arts

We watched Disney’s Mickey Mouse presents Walt Disney Silly Symphony -Little Hiawatha-YouTube

Sky is collecting the seasons of South Park and we have been watching episodes together.

Culinary:

I recently discovered one of my most favorite chefs has a YouTube Channel. Sara’s (Moulton )Weeknight Meals. Cooking Live was how I learned to cook. I loved that show. I watched it every night, then tried making the recipes the next week. Many of the recipes I still use today. I missed it so much when it went off of Food Network. I am so glad I am able to watch her new show with the girls. A new generation of chefs.

The girls helped prepare Thanksgiving dinner this year. This was kind of their year end exam. I figure if you can bake a turkey, and make: mashed potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, corn on the cob (frozen fresh from the farm over the summer), oyster dressing, dinner rolls, pumpkin pies, and homemade cinnamon rolls, you can make anything. They can too.

We watched: The Surprising Origin of Thanksgiving Foods – YouTube From It’s Okay to be Smart.

Little Sis also decided to bake peanut butter chocolate chip cookies all by herself. She said: “I know how to cook, wash dishes, and do my own laundry. I could live all on my own.” That is the goal child. 🙂

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(They didn’t last long.)

P.E.

I purchased a new Wii game: Just Dance 2016. We love it. Little Sis was surprised that I won. I beat her at all the songs but One Direction’s No Control. I wasn’t always old.

I hope everyone celebrating had a great Thanksgiving. The countdown to the holidays has officially started.

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(The only thing we buy on Black Friday, our Christmas tree.)

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Give Me Liberty, Or Give Me Death.”*)

November 19, 2016

Little Sis had her first regional cheerleading competition over the weekend. I had video taped her routine, so she could practice her non stunting moves at home. She was ready, and had them all down. Unfortunately, some of her team didn’t show up, so they had to change some of the stunts at the last minute. Then, the person in charge of their music turned it off before the end of their dance routine. So confused, half of them started their cheer, not really knowing what else to do. Sadly, they didn’t make it to state finals.

Considering the majority of the team, including Little Sis, was new to cheer this year, and with everything else that happened at competition, everyone did their best. I am really proud of Little Sis. This was her first major competition preforming, not only in front of judges, but a completely filled gymnasium, and she didn’t freeze up. I wasn’t even sure what to expect.

She still has another month of practice, this session ending with an awards ceremony. She is really enjoying it, and can’t wait for spring’s session. Now, she knows a little more of what to expect. It has been an interesting learning adventure for myself as well.

 

Homeschooling

I am trying to wrap up any loose ends we might have, before Thanksgiving. I am also trying to get us to a place where we can pick our lessons back up next year. At the end of September, our 180 days for the school year were “officially”  done. We will be finishing out the rest of the year with lessons leading us into the holidays, or what we like to call Christmas school. What an interesting journey 2016 has been. Oh 2017, what do you have in store for us?

I am pretty happy with where we are right now. I mean, I wish Sky was further along in mathematics, but she has made progress, real progress, and that makes me happy. After all, for us “winter is coming”.

 

Language Arts

Creative Writing:

Reading:

We finished reading and discussing: Basher’s Creative writing book.

We also finished reading: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Mythology and Fables by Arnold Lobel.

We started reading: Insanity by Cameron Jace again too.

We also watched the movie Pan’s Labyrinth (thanks Big Sis for the recommendation).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457430/

Wow, what a beautiful, dark movie. It is rated R, so far from your typical family friendly fairy tale. It is very graphic, and I do not recommend it for young children. With that being said, this movie deserves every award it did and didn’t receive. Sky really liked it, and it was a perfect example of how to create your own fairy tale.

Little Sis finished her Kumon writing workbook by writing a three paragraph essay about her favorite sport.

 

Independent Reads:

Little Sis is halfway through Flawless by Sara Shepard.

I am a quarter of a way through Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. Last week, I just didn’t feel much like reading, and honestly didn’t know if this was the right book to read next or not. The first chapter kind of dragged a bit for me (more likely because my heart just wasn’t into it) but once I got to the part of the disappearing inmate, I was hooked.

Sky finished volume one of Monstress by MARJORIE LIU, and is anxious for the next installment.

American Literature:

Reading:

The Declaration of Independence writen by Thomas Jefferson.

 

Handwriting:

The girls copied the first two paragraphs of The Declaration of Independence in cursive, adding them to their American history notebook.

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(Little Sis)

Grammar/ Vocabulary:

Sky continued working in Barron’s E-Z English book, and Word Roots Level one workbook.

Little Sis continued working in her Word Roots Beginning workbook.

Words from this week:

dissolve, unalienable, impel, institute

We also had fun learning about and playing Lewis Carroll’s invention of “word links”, or word ladders.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_ladder

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis continued working in 4th grade Kumon division workbook.

Sky learned about absolute value from Kiss My Math and worked on some worksheets.

http://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/absolute-value.php

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History

World/ Geography:

We watched Indian Summers.

American:

Reading:

We started reading: What is the Declaration of Independence by Michael C. Harris.

We watched:

The Declaration of Independence recited by Tom Richey

The Pursuit of Happiness – What Did Jefferson Mean?…

Road to Revolution (Boston Tea Party, Intolerable Acts…

The Declaration of Independence (US History EOC Review…

Parliament Verses the Colonies (US History EOC Review all by Tom Richey – YouTube

How Not to Confuse the Declaration, Articles, Constitution Mr. Bettes Class- YouTube

What you might not know about the Declaration of…TedED- YouTube

Battles of Lexington and Concord ~The Game Station-YouTube

 

We also discussed, watched: PBS Black America Since MLK and I Still Rise.

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise

This is a wonderful, eye-opening series. I highly recommend it.

Civics:

We watched and discussed:

The 13th Amendment Explained: The Constitution for Dummies… Hip Hughes History- YouTube

President-Elect Trump: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver -YouTube

 

The Arts

Drawing:

The girls and I made the Cheshire Cat ~ Dramatic Parrot -YouTube

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P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, and we walked around the block.

We have our miles down to 20 minutes each. I haven’t walked this fast since my back surgery last year. Swimming really helped strengthen my back and lungs (and worked wonders for my anxiey, I am beginning to miss it already), now I am back to walking like before my injury (woo-hoo).

Peace for the journey.

*Patrick Henry

My Favorite Sport (Little Sis)

November 16, 2016

My favorite sport to participate in is cheerleading. I like cheerleading because you get to Stunt, Jump, and Tumble.

In Stunting, I am the back spot. My job is to lift and catch the flyer from the back. My favorite stunts are: Pyramid, Pretty Sit, and Lib. Pyramid is where all of the stunt groups in your team join together to connect. Pretty Sit is where the flyer is sitting with her legs crossed, “looking pretty”, in the air. Last, is the stunt Lib. Lib is basically where the flyer is lifted into the air, standing with one leg folded back behind her while holding her arms in a high V.

For the jumps, my favorites are: Pike Jumps, Toe Touches, and Hurkie. The Pike Jumps are when you jump with both legs in front of you. Toe Touches are when you jump with your right and left leg out to the sides, but not completely to the side. Last, is a Hurkie. Hurkie jumps are when you do a toe touch, but one of your legs is bent back off to the side.

In Tumbling, my favorites are: Cartwheels, Forward Rolls, and Back Bends. I’m really good at my Forward Roll, and getting better at my Cartwheels. I hope to get my Back Bend down soon.

I really like cheerleading, because I get to combine some of my favorite things and make friends too.

Week(s) In The Life (Seeing Red, Feeling Blue)

November 12, 2016

We ended up taking the week of Halloween off. Between the holiday, dentist appointments, homeschool gym, cheerleading, a birthday, and getting sick, I knew I could kiss any planned lessons goodbye.

I feel like we have caught the same bloody virus four times now. This crazy Indiana weather has tomato plants growing in our garden, and election morning we woke to find this.

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It is kind of hard to get into fall while still surrounded by summer, tank-tops included. I can’t believe that in a little over two weeks, we will be decorating our Christmas tree. Throw in the time-change and an election, I am a mess. Not even candlelight seems to be helping.

Speaking of the election, that is what we dedicated the week to, but I am getting ahead of myself.

 

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

Reading:

Being we all had an upper respiratory tract infection (thank goodness for lotion tissues), it kind of put a damper on us reading out loud, so we listened to audio while reading along with D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Mythology and Fables by Arnold Lobel.

I hope we can continue reading Insanity next week.

Little Sis finished: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, and started Flawless. We also watched the first episode of the television show together too.

 

Mama’s Reading:

I finished Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I am torn on what I think about it.

As a reader, I didn’t like the book. I hated the ending. Was it entertaining? Yes, very much. Honestly, I didn’t know how it was going to end. It kept me guessing with each chapter. Would I ever read it again? No. I couldn’t stand any of the characters, and the ending was so disappointing.

As a writer, I thought it was great. In a time of predictable plot twists, I didn’t know how this story was going to end. I literally had to refrain myself from reading ahead or searching out reviews. That alone made the story worth it. I loved how the story was told from present day Nick’s point of view, and the flashbacks from Amy’s diary. I thought the pacing of the novel was really good. Just when I thought I might have it all figured out, surprise. Though I couldn’t stand the characters, they were well developed (and unforgettable), and I really liked the media theme throughout the book. There is lots to discuss with this novel, especially regarding human behavior.

So where does it stand? I am glad I read it. Will it go down as an all time favorite? No, and I would only recommend it if you are looking for a psychological page turner where endings are not that big of a deal to you. This book would make an awesome psychology discussion though.

I am reading Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane now.

 

Writing:

We started chapter 4 of Basher Basics: Creative Writing, and the girls worked in their workbooks.

Little Sis will be writing her final three paragraph essay from her Kumon writing workbook this coming week, and then she is done with the workbook.

I don’t think I will purchase grade 5. I was just looking for something to help her get an idea of how writing is structured. She is actually pretty good when it comes to writing, spelling, and punctuation. The workbook, in some ways was holding her back.

Little Sis does not need lots of repetition, yet anyway. She is also very advanced with her reading choices. She gets bored very easily. I need to make sure she is being challenged. She really enjoys writing her blog, and I don’t want to mess that up. So, I think that is what we will continue to focus on.

When she writes her blog, she decides everything. The writing process is still the same, whether the topic is about books, or make-up. She researches the subject she writes about (just like you would a paper). I am more of her editor, helping her out when she needs it.

Sky is the complete opposite. She expresses herself extremely well verbally, but has a hard time writing her thoughts down. She would do great speaking in public. So, we need to focus on writing more next year. She does great creating her own stories, which is why I wanted to start with a creative writing credit. Hopefully this will help boost her writing confidence.

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis continued working in her workbook, and Sky started chapter 3 of Kiss My Math.

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History

World:

We watched: Indian Summers

Civics:

Monday, we went over each (state and federal) candidate’s positions, then the girls cast their votes.

We watched and discussed the videos:

Electoral College (Walk With Me) – @MrBettsClass – YouTube

Election Basics Crash Course Government -YouTube

Does your vote count? The Electoral College explained…TedED – YouTube

Understanding the Primaries: Delegates, Democracy, and… VlogBrothers -YouTube

What is an Electorial College

https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

Tuesday, we watched coverage of the election and the girls kept track of the electoral votes. We watched all the way to the end with Donald Trump’s acceptance speech.

Wednesday, we discussed the results.

On a side note, Sky and I also watched: School Segregation: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)- YouTube.

 

The Arts:

Comics:

Sky finished her last comic assignment. It needed to include: a child, park, and balloon that comes to life at some point.

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We watched the movies: The Book of Life, and the original Halloween (on Halloween night).

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, and Little Sis is getting ready for her first cheerleading competition.

Peace for the journey. 🙂

Happy Birthday, My Little Sunshine

November 8, 2016

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What a difference a year has made. I must admit, you caught me off guard with your new stage of independence (yup, blue hair). Where you once trailed your sister like her shadow, you are quickly growing into yourself (though, I wish you would slow down a bit).

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Nevertheless, you still manage to brighten the gloomiest of days with just a smile. 🙂

(Yes, we are still wearing tank tops in November.)