Week(s) In The Life (“Just Keep Swimming” *)

July 15, 2016

So, why does our family need to have a lighter summer homeschooling schedule?  Because, we are SO freaking busy, that’s why.

I think, I am just going to jump right in, like when first arriving at a swimming pool, and see where my brain takes me.

I think I will start with reading, since that is what much of my last post was about.

Language Arts

Reading:

For starters, we finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth. Both of the girls really enjoyed this one a lot. Then, we read Through the Looking Glass.

The girls really liked Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass, not so much. I can kind of see why Disney combined the two stories for the animated movie, taking the best from both. We have yet to see Burton’s version of Through the Looking Glass.

I finished reading both The Shining, and its sequel Doctor Sleep. I actually enjoyed Doctor Sleep better. I am reading Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates now.

Reading The Shining, lead us to watching the movie. Sky enjoyed it for its artistic atmosphere. I agree with Stephen King though, that it was a horrible adaptation of the book. I think the movie had every horror movie cliche possible, and I didn’t even find it scary.

We did however, enjoy the Nostalgia Critic’s review of Stephen King’s Miniseries of the same movie. (YouTube)

Since on the subject of films, we also watched the new Poltergeist movie, which we didn’t care too much for either. Sky did really like the movie of the Haunting though.

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Theater Appreciation

Small Screen:

We watched, The Shirley Temple Show: The Little Mermaid. (YouTube)

History

American:

Our local PBS station is airing a 4 part series, Hoosiers: The Story of Indiana, that we have been enjoying.

Science/ Health and Nutrition/ Culinary Arts:

Food! Where to even begin. I guess, I will start with the foods of summer.

We harvested our crop of garlic and have it curing.

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We also have started harvesting some of our broccoli.

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So far, everything is doing really good. If I am reading our plants right, we will soon have tomatoes growing out of our ears. Which is a good thing, because last year we didn’t get a very good crop, from all the rain we had. Which means, I didn’t get to jar much tomato sauce.

Speaking of food that is coming out of our ears,

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I bet you thought it was going to be corn. Well, that will be soon, very soon.

Anyway, for now it’s peaches.

We made jam,

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and peach crisp with pecans.

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Peach Pecan Crisp.

(I did cut the sugar and butter from the recipe in half.)

Perfect timing for the 4th of July, where it rained and spoiled our local fireworks, but it did not stop the people on our street from having a dueling show.

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We just sat back, and enjoyed.:)

Peaches, I was writing about peaches. After the crisp and jam, we still had plenty left to freeze for smoothies come winter, or more crisp.

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I’ve been adding the pecans to our granola; I’ve been adding my new favorite egg substitute, chia seeds too. I also lowered the fat in the recipe, from Feeding the Whole Family, by using half the butter, and using apple sauce instead.

Little sis used the recipe from her vegetarian cookbook, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian, to make vegan pancakes, with chia seed eggs. They are now my favorite go to pancake recipe. We were excited to discover that the author has a blog too.

http://www.smartgirlveg.com/

I have been mixing King Arthur’s unbleached flour with their white wheat flour to add more fiber to Papa’s diet. No one has even noticed the difference.:)

Moving on to blueberries.

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The freezer is stocked. We also made Vegan blueberry flax muffins, they are gluten-free too (I love using oat flour).

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We used our local maple syrup as a sweetener, and they were delicious.

Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

P.E.

I purchased 3 month swimming passes from one of our local park’s indoor swimming pools, and I have not been able to keep the girls away. Today, is actually the first day we have not been swimming all week, and that’s because they have a friend over.

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Come evening, we pretty much have the pool to ourselves; perfect for me to get in a few laps, which has been great for strengthening my back.

We also took advantage of a few beautiful days at the park, and walking the trails.

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Believe it or not, Sky has even managed to sneak in some drawing time.

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Well, I think that about does it. I guess if I miss any more weeks of posting, you can probably guess where we will be.

Peace for the journey.

*Finding Nemo.

Week In The Life (Not, Taking Its Toll)

June 24, 2016

Ahh….summer.

I did this crazy thing last year while recovering from back surgery, I added boards on Pinterest for every subject Sky will need credits for to graduate. Then, I added tons of resources for each one, more than I will ever be able to use. In other words, I have high school pretty much planned out. So, what am I now to do with all this free time on my hands? Read, of course.

I do want to say something about homeschooling high school, especially to those that might be new to homeschooling. I absolutely love it!

I will not lie though, it scared the crap out of me, still kind off does. It did take me a while to figure it out, but now our days flow really well.

In all honest truth, I think the hardest part about homeschooling, besides finding your groove, is getting younger children to cooperate. I promise you, it does get easier as they get older.

I love having the in-depth conversations that Sky and I have. All those learning trails we followed, and allowing her the space to come to her own conclusions, have really paid off. She is such a deep-thinking young lady.

Reading though, that is what I wanted to write about.

I finished Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. I enjoyed it alright. It is based off the real murder of Jenny Bonnet, a cross dressing woman from San Francisco during the late 1800s. I didn’t care too much for the protagonist, I just couldn’t relate to her at all. I did love the historical setting of the novel though, and think it was worth the read, just for that reason alone.

Then, I read the Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This novel, literally left me speechless. I read it in two days, because I could not put it down. Jackson’s writing is hypnotizing, absolutely beautiful. This novel, now holds second place, under Frankenstein, on my top 5 favorite books list. There are very few books, that I want to read over and over, this is, by far, one of those books.

I loved this story so much, that I had to buy the ’63 movie version. I can’t wait to watch it this weekend with the girls, and I am happy to add it to our Halloween movie collection.

So, this has lead me on a haunted house, reading kick. I am already halfway through The Shining by King. I’m not really sure why I’ve never read this one before, but I am really enjoying it (I have not seen the movie). I’ve already read: The House by Bentley Little, and The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson, any other recommendations?

Homeschool

We ditched reading the Gregor series. None of us, was in the mood for another “go on a quest” type of story. I have a problem with adult authors that try to write  “21st century” child characters. I understand exactly how Little Sis feels about books “talking down” to you. It insults our intelligence.

So, we are reading, and enjoying,  The Phantom Tollbooth instead.

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The girls continued working in their english and mathematics workbooks.

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We practiced Yoga, and the girls have made several of the cakes now from the mug cake recipe book. My favorite, so far, is the strawberry shortcake.

For father’s day, the girls surprised Papa with chocolate cupcakes.

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They found the recipe on-line for the cupcakes, the icing, and baked them all by themselves. They were delicious.

We watched: Beauty and the Beast (With Some Jerk with a Camera!) – Brows Held High – YouTube. This was a wonderful critic of the differences between Cocteau’s and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Again, they do use some profanity, so use your own judgement.

The girls have had a friend over for the majority of the week, so not too many individual projects have been started as of yet. Not a bad start though.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“It Was the Worst of Times*)

June 18, 2016

I’m going to be honest, I have no idea how to start this post.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, America has taken another blow straight to the heart this week. As someone that suffers from depression, I don’t want to add to the sadness; yet, I find myself having trouble writing anything positive at the same time. It feels awkward writing about trivial things that happened to our family this week, when so many are mourning.It feels awkward, yet again, to just go on with our lives as if nothing has happened. Is this the new normal? “Someone has senselessly gunned down more innocent victims today, please pass the carrots.”

I don’t want to write about politics, or religion. I don’t want to write about gun rights. I don’t want to write about homosexuality, or transgenders. I don’t want to write about gorillas, or alligators, or perfect parenting. There is already enough of that noise.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many song lyrics that daily pass through my mind. The one song that has constantly been stuck in my head these last few days is: Seasons of Love from the musical Rent. I think that is what my soul, and our country, needs right now, a season of love.

I am not exactly sure how to accomplish this yet, but I am thankful we were able to complete our last week of long lessons, just in time for a much needed break.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We started Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. Little Sis, has been curious to check out this series, since she loved The Hunger Games. We are on part 2 in the story, and are still not quite sure what to think about it yet.

We watched:The History of Sleeping Beauty | Fairy Tales with Jen – YouTube. One of my favorite BookTubers,

and the TedEd video: The Evolution of the Book-YouTube.

Handwriting:

The girls copied the first paragraph from: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

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(Sky)

I thought I would explain why I, usually, pick poetry to use for handwriting practice.

In the beginning, I would pick fun seasonal poems for the girls to copy just for practice. Now, not only does Sky get to practice her cursive, which she still struggles with, we also analyze what she is copying. This counts toward her literature credits (world, British, and American).

Vocabulary:

epoch, incredulity, superlative

Grammar:

The girls started new workbooks this week. Sky, started Barron’s E-Z English. When she completes this book, she will have completed her language arts credits for English 1 and 2.

Little Sis, started Kumon’s grade 4 writing workbook.

We also watched: English Grammar videos videos 1-6 from Socratica for a review. YouTube

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Heath:

We continued reading chapter 3 of: The Way We Work.

P.E.

We Yoga Walked indoors.

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.org, and worked in their Kumon workbook.

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For our lighter summer schedule, the girls will continue working on math, grammar, reading, and P.E. Everything else, we will pick back up in the fall.

This allows more time for us to spend outdoors, gardening, time to have their friends over for Friday nights pizza, games and movies, and closer friends over even more, swimming, and more time for the girls to work on their own projects.

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(Sky)

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(Little Sis, Dover Seashore Life coloring book)

In my opinion, this is just as important as academics.

Science:

We watched: Scishow Kids What’s the Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables? – YouTube,

The Dirt on Decomposers Crash Course Kids-YouTube,

New Ancient Human Fossils from SciShow-YouTube,

and listened to podcast 011: Fossils and Rocks with Duncan Findlay by The Show About Science | Free Listening on SoundCloud.

Garden update: Everything is doing really good so far. We’ve harvested the last of our strawberries, and I made strawberry jam.

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History

World/Geography:

We watched lots of videos this week.

For starters, we watched: Geography More! Austria, Geography Now! Denmark, and latitude and longitude from Dig Into History -YouTube.

We finished the French Revolution series from Tom Richey. YouTube

6. Women and the French Revolution

7. Marie Antoinette

8. Oylmpe de Gouges

9. Mary Wollstonecraft vs. Edmund Burke

10. Charlotte Corday and the Death of Marat

11. Concluding Remarks

This was a very well done series, and I highly recommend it. He also has free curriculum to go along with his videos on his website, that you can find linked on his YouTube page.

We watched: The French Revolution: Crash Course World History #29 – YouTube, and The French Revolution for Dummies: World History Review – YouTube Keith Hughes.

Sky took a quiz, and the girls copied notes in their notebook.

http://www.studenthandouts.com/Games-03/MC-The-French-Revolution-42-Questions.html

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We watched the BBC series: The Rise and Fall of Versailles parts 1-3-YouTube. Being this was made by BBC, there is brief nudity, mostly in episode 2, so use your own judgement. The documentary plays like a movie, and Sky found it very interesting.

We also watched: A Tale of Two Cities (1935).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027075/

Oh my, what a touching story, to add to an already heartbreaking week. I loved that Charles Dickens told the story from both the aristocrat’s and the common people’s point of view. This book has been added to my TBR.

Art:

We learned about Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and watched Pierre-Auguste Renoir Biography – Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube.

I printed off a By the Seashore coloring page, and the girls copied notes.

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We read about the Impressionist movement from: DK Art That Changed the World, the other book we are using for art history.

 

Well, that is about it. Now that my brain can take a much-needed break from school lessons, I am ready to get out and spend some unplugged time with mother nature and my family this weekend. Wishing all the Papas out there a very happy father’s day.

Peace for the journey.

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Week In the Life (“You Say You Want A Revolution.”*)

June 11, 2016

In the last seven years I have been writing, I don’t think I have ever been nominated for the Liebster Award. Thank you Natural Homeschooling Mom.

Liebster Award Nominees

I really didn’t start writing my blog to gain readers, it is more for me to help sort out my thoughts, help out-of-state family keep up with what the girls are doing, and to document our homeschooling in case I would ever need to prove it. If my jumbled, opinionated thoughts can help anyone else that has chosen to homeschool their children, even better. I won’t lie, it is nice to read comments how a post may have helped someone, and I am incredibly thankful for the shout-out.

I am sorry to say, that since I’ve started homeschooling high school, I don’t read as many blogs as I would like. Sometimes, I’ll leave a comment here or there, if I liked a post. I think it’s nice when homeschoolers help each other out, and give encouragement.

Most of the bloggers that started writing when I did, have since moved on. So, I don’t really have a list of other bloggers to nominate. There are SO many new ones from when I first started mine. Then, I always get this guilty feeling that I might have left someone out, or hurt someone’s feelings if they were not mentioned. I think anyone that takes time out of their day to write, and helps others should be nominated.

I do think that it might be fun to answer a few questions though, since I keep myself so mysterious and all.:)

1. What is the strangest thing you have ever eaten?

My family has never been afraid to give  new foods a try. Big sis, is always bringing over weird things for the girls to taste, and thanks to her, last summer we went to an annual bug fest held at our local park. Can you see where this is going? Yes, we indulged in eating crickets. There was bbq covered crickets, all the way to chocolate covered ones. Sky, loves them; I would need to be really hungry to want eat any more, but hey, at least I tried them.

2. If you could read only one book for a year, what would it be?

Wow, this is going to take a lot of thought. Have I mentioned that I love books?

Since it can only be one book, and not a series (because I would want to read the whole series), it would need to be a big one. Since, there are very few books on my read it again list, it would probably need to be one I have not read yet. So, I am thinking either Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, War and Peace, or Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. All three of these are on my TBR (to be read) list. Then, one of my favorite books, that I could read over and over, is The Stand by Stephen King. Oh decisions, decisions.

Well, since it can only be one, I choose Anna Karenina.

3. What is your favorite charity and why?

Wow, another tough one. I am going to keep it local though, and say Riley’s Children Hospital. I believe everyone deserves a chance at life whatever your annual income happens to be, but especially children.

4. What person present day or history would you most like to have a conversation with?

Okay, I think it is safe for me to say that all of these questions are pretty tough.

There are lots of people I would love to have a conversation with. Honestly though, all of their knowledge would be dated, and I have learned what I’ve needed from them already. So, for me it would be my grandfather. I lost him way before I was prepared to. His death, was the first tragic death I was old enough to understand. His death was not a surprise, it was a slow decline from terminal brain cancer. His death, literally changed the way I perceive life, one that I’ve carried with me into adulthood.

I would love to sit and just listen to every story he had to tell; ones about his childhood, World War 2, parenting, gardening, home maintenance, any and everything.

5 .Why did you start blogging?

I kind of already answered this. I will  add, that I view my blog like a journal. Writing, helps to sort my many thoughts. Sometimes, I don’t even know what I’m going to write; before I know it, I’ve filled the page and I am like wow, where did that come from?

I guess you could call my decision to homeschool, my experiment with education and how children learn. This is our learning journey.

6. What would be your dream occupation?

Anything, besides being a teacher (I couldn’t teach the same subjects every year without getting bored),  that has to do with working with children. I use to watch children before I started homeschooling, and I really liked it. There is something about preserving innocence, and allowing every child a safe haven to grow into their true self, that just makes my heart sing.

7. If you could do anything to make this world a better place, what would it be?

This kind of goes with my answer to question 6. I believe, that when you raise happy, confident children, ones that understand their strengths and weaknesses (instead of pride, hatred, and greed), *they* will have the knowledge and power to change the world.

It must start at home, for everyone, not just children. This is why I am completely open and honest with my struggles here. My childhood was far from perfect, and it takes lots of work to jump off the merry-go-round we were brought up on. I suffer from anxiety and depression, but I am also compassionate and empathetic. I embrace my strengths and weaknesses. They make me, me.

8. What is the one thing that will always make you feel better?

Music, music, and more music. I love music! That, and my husband’s shoulder, while listening to music together.:)

9.What do you most admire about yourself?

My ability to grow and evolve. I don’t have all the answers, and don’t pretend that I do. I am not scared to admit to being wrong. I have been wrong lots of times, but I’ve learned not to make the same mistake twice.

10.What is your favorite childhood memory?

Anything involving my grandparents. The best thing my parents ever did for me, was allow my paternal grandparents to watch me while they went to work.

11. Do you have a bucket list?

I view them more as goals. Papa and I worked very hard to get out of debt. Our next goal is to have our house paid off in the next 5 years.

We split the money we are saving, from paying off our debt, into savings, and matching our mortgage principal payment with the rest. We are also trying to update our home to be ready for when we are older. That has not been an easy task.

I know this is kind of boring, but we are setting our home up where we would want to vacation at. Indiana has beaches, city, country, hills, hiking, canoeing, skiing, and caves. It has everything we want for a day trip.

Whew, that was a lot of pondering. Thanks again for the nomination.

Instead of asking questions, I would love to hear answers in the comments to some of these great questions. What book would you choose? I could talk books, film, and music all day folks.:)

Speaking of: I finished Agnes Grey, and really liked it. It wasn’t the best story ever, but I wanted to continue reading it. I was truly interested in the characters. I still think Anne was the better writer out of her sisters. Even her simplest book held my attention. I even like her poetry the best.

I think this story would make a great read aloud, or a study of governesses and their place in Victorian society.

I have started Frog Music by Emma Donoghue. This is my first story I’ve read by her. It has mixed reviews, I am glad I’m reading it before I read Room. I am enjoying it so far.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We finished The Ballet Shoes, and dropped Red. All of us agree The Ballet Shoes was boring. I’ve read it being compared with The Little Princess, the girls could not disagree more.

Handwriting:

The girls copied, and we discussed: The Poor Children by Victor Hugo.

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(Little Sis)

Vocabulary:

heed, hath, fleshy, stammer, sinless, minister, ragged

Grammar:

We finished the Basher book on Grammar.

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.org, and they continued working in their Kumon workbooks.

Health:

We continued reading: The Way We Work, and watched, Spit: Everything You Never Wanted To Know – YouTube from It’s Okay To Be Smart.

P.E.

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

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Science:

We watched: How Recycling Works – YouTube from SciShow, and Recycling, and Composting videos from SciShowKids -YouTube.

We listened to a podcast about recycling from: The Show About Science (on Dreamcloud), and learned how recycled potato chip bags, and Capri Sun containers get reused at Terracycle.

History

World/Geography:

We read both chapters about The French Revolution from French History for English Children.

We watched Tom Richey’s videos 1-5 about the French Revolution-YouTube

  1. The Old Regime
  2. The Estates General of 1789
  3. The National Assembly
  4. Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen
  5. Civil Constitution of the Clergy

Art:

We learned about Monet, and the girls colored La Promenade, and added notes to their notebooks.

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We will be using a couple of books for Art History, one being Art Explained by Robert Cumming, as well as videos, and we watched: Art with Mati and Dada – Edgar Degas, and Claude Monet Biography – Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube.

We also discussed the painting: Death of Murat by Jacques-Louis David.

The Arts

Culinary:

Little Sis has been reading: The Smart Girl’s Guide To Going Vegetarian, and we’ve tried a few recipes.

For starters, hamburgers have been turned into tuna or salmon burgers around here. I have been using flax egg substitute to replace the eggs, with great results for a healthier burger.

I’ve been adding Chia seeds where ever I can, and made vegan plain pancakes, and sweet potato pancakes for breakfast.

Little Sis and I are the only ones that will eat sweet potatoes; I love them, and can eat them  plain, baked, mashed or as french fries.

So, Little Sis and I loved the pancakes. The plain ones were a huge success by all, and this has become my go to pancake recipe (after my oat flour pancakes). They are super quick, and easy.

Allergy Friendly Friday: Sweet Potato Pancakes

Vegan Fluffy Pancakes

Drawing:

I haven’t updated the girls’ drawings for a while.

Sky, has been working on a story.

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Little Sis has been practicing drawing herself. This is her hand reaching for her door.

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We watched the movie: The Ballet Shoes. I thought, maybe it would be one of those times when the movie is actually better than the book, but no. They were equally bad.

We also watched Ponyo again, which we love!

Well, I see the lightening bugs are out and about; I think summer has hit Indy. We have one more week left until we switch to our summer schedule.

Peace for the journey.

* Revolution by the Beatles

 

Week In The Life (Seeing Red)

June 4, 2016

This week I started a new book after finishing The Knight of Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin. It took me a while to figure out what I was going to read next, since I am waiting to finish The Song of Ice and Fire series, and having finished The Raven Cycle series.

I am the kind of person that needs to change genre after reading from one. So, I can’t read fantasy while I am still reading a fantasy series, and I can’t read YA (though I can’t read much of YA anyway) because of just finishing a YA series. Crazy, right?

Actually it is kind of odd really, physically I am a creature of habit; I hate surprises, and I need to know in advance of any change to my routine. Sky, takes after me in this way. Mentally though, I need constant change. I think this is why I would never be able to plan out our school lessons a year in advance. My mind gets bored very easily. Little Sis, takes after me in this way.

I’ve never been one to read all the work of one writer before moving on to another writer, not that I think their other work wouldn’t be any good, it’s that I need to read from a different voice, and get a new perspective first. I am actually this way with everything, not just books. While I am typing this, I just realized why I need everything physically to be the same, and why I don’t like changes, because my mind is so chaotic . I need balance. Writing things out can be good like that.:)

Anyways, so I started thinking about the huge list of classics that I have been wanting to read, and picked out Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte. I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and it has been a while since I’ve read a Bronte, so why not. So far, I am enjoying it (she is still my favorite Bronte writer). It beats some of the YA choices out there anyway.

This got me thinking about the girls’ favorite authors and our reading choices (and my constant struggle to find stories they actually like). Though Little Sis loved the Twilight and Hunger Games series, she also loved Romeo and Juliet, Wuthering Heights, and Little Women. She is a romantic, and I can’t wait to read Jane Austin with her. She can’t stand literature that tries to be “cool”, or that uses slang, or what she calls: ” babyish”.

Sky, likes more of the darker psychological elements in literature, as well as graphic novels. Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, and The Little Princess (that both girls enjoyed) has been her favorite books we’ve read so far this year, besides Game of Thrones. She loves Death Note as well. Her favorite authors are Charles Dickens and Neil Gaiman.

Then it hit me, we are literary snobs, and it’s not because I’ve censored their reading choices either. I mean, the girls are free to read whatever they choose, and they naturally choose classics as their favorites. (Sky and I like Junie B. Jones, and we all love the Ramona series. Little Sis, on the other hand says Junie B. is too “babyish”, and she likes Ramona better ,because it doesn’t talk down to you. I am just happy they know what they like, and what they don’t).

So, this got me thinking about how much time I have wasted trying to read different fairy-tale adaptations, just for the sake of reading fairy-tale adaptations, that both girls have been bored with. I think the girls are quite capable of writing their own fairy-tale adaptations without needing to read other writers’ versions. I mean, if something is no longer enjoyable, that’s not mandatory that is, why continue?

So, I think I will just continue with reading the original fairy-tales themselves, that the girls have actually been enjoying, and move on. I know there will be certain books that need to be read, that the girls will eventually find boring. Honestly though, I think it is because they’re not “forced” to read and dissect the novel to death , that they really do enjoy discussing them (A day does not go by where we do not discuss Game of Thrones. In fact, Sky uses Martin’s writing to judge character development in other stories.), and has kept their reading experience enjoyable. Sky still doesn’t understand why people would dislike Shakespeare, and that makes me happy.:)

This is why I keep a blog of our progress, instead of just records. Not only does writing things out help to clear my mind, reading back over our progress helps me stay focused, and on track. It helps me see where we might be lacking, and what changes I might need to make. It also holds me accountable.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We finished reading The Little Prince. This was a fun book to discuss with Sky. She completely understood the point the author was trying to make.

We are continuing with The Ballet Shoes. This is one of those stories I think we would have ditched if we were not so close to being done. All of us are finding it incredibly boring.

We also started Red by Liesl Shurtliff. This will probably be the last set of fairy-tale adaptations we read. So far, the girls are enjoying it, only time will tell though.

We listened to Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood at Storynory.com, and Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl -YouTube.

Grammar:

We read chapter 3 of Basher’s grammar book.

Vocabulary:

conventional, prominence

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Handwriting:

The girls copied a poem about punctuation to add to their English notebook.

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(Sky)

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up first at XtraMath.org, then worked in their Kumon workbooks.

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Science:

This week was all about food science. We watched videos: The Spangler Effect – Sugar Science – YouTube,

8 Cheesy Science Facts  from SciShow- YouTube, and

Top New Species for 2016, and a Perching Robot!  SciShow – YouTube (not about food).

We listened to: The Show About Science podcast, episode 3- Food Science – found at Soundcloud.com.

Health:

Still reading through chapter 4 from The Way We Work. It has been interesting to break digestion down bit by bit to see how everything works together. We’ve had lots of interesting conversations about the way we work.

P.E.

Walks around the block.

History

World/Geography:

We watched a video from The School of Life: What is History for? – YouTube

We learned about Louis the 16th from: French History for English Children, and the girls added notes to their history timeline notebooks.

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I’ve decided that we will start our fall school schedule with The Enlightenment, then move into American History with the American Revolution. It just seems to make more sense than covering the Civil War then backtracking. Besides, this is where we left off with in our American History lessons anyway.

Art:

We learned about the impressionism art period, and watched: Impressionism – Overview – Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube.

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This triggered lots of conversations about art, and artists. Sky has truly been enjoying learning about the art history movements; she actually knows more than I do.

The Arts

Theater Appreciation: (Small and Big Screen)

We watched Fairy-tale Theater’s version of Little Red Riding Hood. YouTube

We also watched 2012 musical of Les Miserables.

One of my favorite Nostalgia Critic’s reviews is of this movie (Found on YouTube, warning he does use profanity. Plus, it contains my favorite YouTuber, Kyle from Brows Held High). Sky has actually learned how to write a theater analysis just from watching the Nostalgia Critic. Soon, she will be writing her own reviews.

Well, another  week finished.

Peace for the journey.

 

Week In The Life (Blue Beards and Ballet Shoes)

May 28, 2016

We ended up having a very productive week while Papa was on vacation; sometimes I need to lighten up our school week in order to get stuff done around here. That’s okay, it’s just one of the many perks of homeschooling year round.

We discovered, like the majority of our neighborhood, that we have hail damage and will be getting a new roof. The bad part of that is, like every bloody thing else we’ve discovered about our home, whom ever put the roof on before we moved in our home didn’t add a run off into the gutters, so some of the boards under the roofing are rotted and need to be replaced. Financially, it doesn’t matter because our insurance is covering it. I just get a little peeved at being reduced to eye rolling when discovering everything that was constructed wrong in our home.

When we had central air conditioning added to our home, we found out our wiring, was not only dangerous and was known to cause fires (that has actually happened in our neighborhood), but also completely outdated to the point we would never be able to find breakers if the need ever arose. I question how the hell our house ever passed inspection.  I mean, our door entries are not even sized to where we could have doors replaced without them being custom made. Sometimes, I wonder if we even have a slab under our floor, and not just dirt. Our neighbor, that has lived here since our neighborhood was built, informed us that the contractor that designed these homes went bankrupt a couple of years later; I can kind of see why.

Enough grumbling though, I was able to go through the girls’ drawers and clean out all their outgrown summer clothes and replace them with new ones; just in time too, because summer sure has hit Indy.

Homeschool

Changing the line-up a bit.

Science:

Our garden is planted and ready to go.

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All the way on the left, our garlic is about ready to be harvested, and over on the right (growing down the hill) our strawberries have arrived.

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Our crop, so far has been large enough for me to make jam, however we can’t stop eating them. Little Sis goes out every morning to collect the berries and makes fruit salad for breakfast. Next year, we plan on planting raspberries.

Down at the bottom of the hill is our tomato plants. We planted 20 this year, the majority being Roma tomatoes that I use to make into sauce. At the top of the hill, we planted 30 potatoes, 2 rows of broccoli, and one row mixed with jalapeno and green peppers (for salsa). We also planted one watermelon plant. Last year we grew cantaloupe, without even trying, but I am the only one that will eat it. So for Little Sis’s sake, I hope we get a good watermelon harvest.

I will be counting our garden toward one of Sky’s science credits. We compost, test the acidity of our soil, and add fertilizer as needed. Our garden is completely organic, at least as organic as one can be in the 21 century. We plant sunflowers to help the bees pollinate (and help keep birds distracted), we use nature to fight nature (we love our Praying Mathis, and ladybugs). This, in my opinion, is an example of a “real”science project.

I’ve never been a been a big fan of science fairs (and I love science). I think it has to do with my personality, that everything I do needs to have a purpose. Making a volcano out of baking soda and vinegar is a fun way to explain chemical reactions, but I don’t really see it as an “experiment”; we already know what happens, it has been done before. Trying to figure out how to contain fire inside a bulb, or understanding how electricity works when it’s never been done before is an experiment.

Science is constantly evolving and changing. When you write something down in a textbook, it is already outdated. Past science, to me, is history. I do realize the laws of science never change, and how we need to be able to grasp certain concepts before learning others, but that is with anything.

Again, this just me.:)

We watched lots of videos this week.

For starters, we watched what happens when cracking an egg underwater from Tune Channel (Facebook).

Then, What Video Games Teach Us About the Aging Brain, Last Week In Science, and Science of Thrones from It’s Okay To Be Smart-YouTube.

Bees, Mosquitoes and Dragons with Joe Hanson

We listened to The Show About Science podcast interview with Joe Hanson, and Why do some people have seasonal allergies? – Ted ED- Eleanor Nelsen – YouTube

Health

Nutrition:

We are reading our way through chapter 4 of The Way We Work, and we watched: What Causes Food Cravings? – by SciShow- YouTube

I purchased: The Smart Girls Guide to Going Vegetarian for Little Sis, and we have been reading through it together.

P.E.

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

Mathematics:

The girls warmed with XtraMath.

Little Sis finished the Kumon multiplication workbook and is moving on to division. Sky is continuing with the Kumon pre-algebra book 2.

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Language Arts

Reading:

We finished The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Ogre of Olglefort. I liked both of these books. The Ogre of Olglefort was different from any book I’ve read. I am interested in reading more from this author and sad our library doesn’t have anymore of her novels. I loved the humor from the movie Stardust, and this book was kind of like that. This story fit in perfect with our fairy-tale theme. It is a great example of taking folklore creatures and creating your own unique story.

We started The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I love this story, and have waited until the girls were at the right age to share it. There is so much wisdom packed into this little novel that I don’t think small children can really grasp. I don’t think Little Sis really understands its message, and she is a mature 10.

We are listening to The Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, and read Bluebeard by Charles Perrault.

Handwriting:

The girls copied a part of speech poem to add to their grammar notes.

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(Little Sis)

Writing:

The girls learned how to write a book analysis, and wrote an analysis about the story: The Ogre of Oglefort.

http://classroom.synonym.com/write-book-analysis-paper-4574.html

The hardest part the girls are having trouble with, is not using I in writing about the  positive and negative attributes of the story. Of course when reviewing juvenile fiction, there’s really not much to analyze. I know the more they write, the better they will get at it.

Grammar:

We read from Basher’s Grammar book: Chapter 2, Team Sentence.

Vocabulary:

modify, maternal

Sky orally recited her poem: One Not Be A Chamber by Emily Dickinson.

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History

World/Geography:

We read chapter 46 from: French History for English Children about Louis the 15th. The girls added notes to their timeline notebook.

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We also watched:Versailles, France: Ultimate Royal Palace by Rick Steves. YouTube

Art:

We learned about Edgar DeGas, and watched:Degas Biography from Goodbye-Art Academy – YouTube

The girls took notes and colored Practicing at the Barre.

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The Arts

We got caught up with a few movies, and watched Shrek, Shrek 2, Puss in Boots, Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast.

We watched:Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics: Bluebeard and Briar Rose – animated YouTube

We also watched: The Nostalgia Critic’s Old vs. New Cinderella episode -YouTube

Theater Appreciation (Big Screen):

We watched: The 1934 movie of The Scarlet Pimpernel. -YouTube/Prime

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025748/

Now I am on a Leslie Howard movie kick.:)

I think that is about it, peace for the journey.

A Book Analysis (Sky)

May 25, 2016

This review will be about the novel: The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson published by  Puffin Books in 2011. This fantasy story is about an orphan boy, named Ivo, who is bored with life, and seeks adventure. When a hag allows him to be her familiar for a council meeting, together, along with some friends, they are given a quest to slay an ogre and rescue a princess named  Mirella. However once they arrive at the ogre’s castle, they discover that not everything is as they had expected. Ivo, and friends, soon learn the ogre is the least of their problems.

I thought this story was unique and funny, it didn’t turn out as I thought it would. The characters were all down to earth, and not stereotypical for your usual folklore creatures. Something that I really liked about this story, is how the characters’ personalities could have been switched around, and the flow of the story would have stayed the same.

Overall I liked the story. I would have liked it more, if the author would have just focused on the unique characters living together, without all the added subplots.

I give this book 4 1/2 stars out of five, and recommend it for anyone that likes fairy-tales, and is looking for something a bit different.

A Book Analysis (Little Sis)

May 24, 2016

Today, I will be reviewing the fantasy/ folklore novel: The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson, published by the Penguin Group in 2010.

The story starts off with an old Hag, from Dribble, needing to find a new familiar to replace her toad, Gladys. Gladys went on strike right before the summer meeting of unusual creatures was going to gather, finding out what this year’s summer project was going to be. While searching for a new familiar, she met an orphan boy named Ivo, and began telling him all her troubles. Ivo, bored with orphan life, volunteered to be the Hag’s new familiar, and they set off together for the summer meeting. At the summer meeting, three Norns interrupted the gathering, seeking volunteers to kill an ogre and rescue a princess named Mirella.  The Hag, Ivo, and friends, journey to the castle of Oglefort to slay the Ogre.

It is hard for me to pick out just one main character from this story. There are many characters that work together, using their special abilities to help rescue the princess. Themes that the author uses throughout this story is: that first impressions aren’t always what they seem, and that it’s best to work together to solve a problem than alone.

The story was okay. It wasn’t one of my favorites. It felt like the author was trying to write a fun, comical story, but I didn’t really find it fun, or funny. I found the story boring, and will not be reading it again. I liked the author’s use of folklore in the story, but I didn’t like the folklore creatures portrayed. Maybe, if it had mermaids I might have liked it more.

I give this novel 2 out of 5 stars.

 

 

Week In The Life (Here Comes The Sun, King)

May 14, 2016

So, Papa and I had our appointments this week. We found out that he has lost 17 pounds; I sure wish I could lose weight as easily as he can. Even with all the changes we have made to our diet, his triglycerides are still high. If that wasn’t enough, I found out my blood pressure is the highest it has ever been. I am kind of at a loss as to what to do next really.

I know my high blood pressure is because of my weight, and I have been working really hard at trying to lose it (excuse my language, but f**k the American diet!). I am really trying to remain positive, but it can be really hard when you see your husband dropping weight like nothing, and you are eating half of what he eats while busting your ass exercising.

I completely understand the science of how our body processes food. In fact, I actually wanted to be a dietitian. I understand, that in order for me to lose my stored fat, I need to eat less calories than what my body needs daily to function. I understand the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. I know the difference between saturated and polyunsaturated fat, but when you have completely changed your diet, lost weight, are taking prescribed medication, as in Papa’s case, and are doing everything the guidelines tell you to do to lower your triglycerides and it still doesn’t work, then what?

I’ve been a vegetarian before, I can take or leave eating meat. Papa, on the other hand is a carnivore; he has however, willingly made the switch to grilled chicken and fish.

You really don’t notice how bad Americans are constantly bombarded by corporations trying to sell you their product, until you need to change your diet( It has become a running joke for us, to point out what we see actors eating on television shows.). You really begin to understand just how messed up this country ‘s  food choices are, when you are trying to find a place to eat that doesn’t revolve around something fried.

As you probably have figured out by now, nutrition has pretty much been the running theme for us this week.:)

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We continued reading The Scarlet Pimpernel. I will confess, that the story started out really slow. Once the action started to pick up though, the girls and I have been hanging on every word.

We started The Ogre of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson. The girls have found this story to be an interesting read as well.

We listened, and read along with Fables in Rhyme for Little Folks by Jean de La Fontaine,

https://librivox.org/fables-in-rhyme-for-little-folks-by-william-trowbridge-larned/

and Shrek by William Steig.

We watched a few videos, two that I meant to watch while we were reading Alice in Wonderland, the Jabberwocky poem, and The Rather Curious History Of Alice. Both videos are by Mark Warner and found on YouTube. The other video was from one of my favorite booktubers, Novels and Nonsense’s 15 Facts on Frances Hodgson Burnett | Author Facts – also found on YouTube.

If you have not been introduced to BookTube, and you enjoy reading as much as I do, you are in for a treat. There are tons of video book reviews on YouTube. Some are better than others; it took me a while to discover my favorites, ones whom had similar tastes as myself. Ones that were being brutally honest.

Since on the subject of books, I have been at a loss as to what to read after finishing The Raven Cycle. My brother-in-law recommended I read the short story collection: The Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin. I have been enjoying it so far. I am not going to lie though, The Raven Cycle was pretty damn good. It has been really hard tying to move on from that series.

Handwriting:

We finished discussing, and the girls copied the rest of the poem: If by Rudyard Kipling.

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(Little Sis)

Vocabulary words:

heap, sinew, virtue, and foe

Grammar:

We started chapter 2, Team Sentence, from Basher’s book of grammar, discussing: simple sentence, syntax, clause, and phrase.

We watched videos from the YouTube channel Socratica about: the four types of sentences, subject, and predicate.

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Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.org, and continued working in their Kumon workbooks. Little Sis is multiplying 3 digits by 3 digits now.

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Science:

We watched John Oliver’s video on YouTube, about scientific studies, and how and why media outlets so often report untrue or incomplete information as science.

Health/Nutrition:

That video, lead us into our health and nutrition videos, first starting with Ted-Ed’s videos: How to spot a fad diet – Mia Nacamulli , and How do vitamins work? – Ginnie Trinh Nguyen – YouTube.

Other videos we watched were: What nutrients do our bodies need? – YouTube, Nutrition Basics: Why Food Matters-YouTube.

Buzz Feed’s videos:What 2000 Calories Look Like, and Serving sizes vs. what is usually consumed.-YouTube

Bill Nye’s video about digestion-Netflix,

and Crash Course’s A/P videos part 1 and 2 on digestion.-YouTube

We will be reading chapter 3 of David Macaulay’s Way We Work next week.

One of the perks of not spending lots of money on a curricula, is that it frees up our homeschooling budget to spend on building our home library.  Our home library only consists of books we will use multiple times.

If I had my way, our home would be nothing but books, however that wouldn’t quite fly with other members of the family. Reason number 200 of why I love e-readers.:)

History/Geography

We watched a video from Tom Richey’s YouTube channel, Louis XIV: Sun King of France – YouTube.

I also read about him from the DK Smithsonian World History book. The girls took notes, and added them to their notebooks.

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Dance:

We watched PBS American Masters documentary on the American Ballet Theatre- Prime

The girls added notes to their notebooks.

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The Arts

Drawing:

This week we learned how to draw a chibi cat from Draw So Cute-YouTube. We kind of improvised, and made it to look like Puss In Boots.

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We went to see The Jungle Book at the theater over the weekend. We all liked it all right. I was a little disappointed that it pretty much was the animated version, made CGI live- action. I mean it was a bit more action packed than the animated version; honestly, the songs ruined it for me. I can’t wait to see Andy Serkis’s version.

P.E.

We walked around the neighborhood.

Next week Papa is on vacation. We plan on doing more hands on work around the house, like getting our garden planted, and less “book work”.

We have about 6 weeks until we switch to our “summer school” schedule. Basically, I plan on finishing out the year with the French Revolution.

I think when we start our regular schedule back this fall, or as Sky says when “Winter is coming”, we will dig into the Civil War.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“If I Only Had A Brain”)

May 7, 2016

Well, I have found myself yet again, another year older. I had a pretty good birthday, with the exception of Mother Nature sending a tornado warning storm that had us hunkered down in our neighbors basement (Got to love having great neighbors:) ). It all turned out good though in the end, besides being a year older that is.

As I age, I have began to realize how I really took being younger for granted. I didn’t realize I would need to spend so much time around doctors. Between Papa, myself, and the girls, it seems we are always needing to be at some kind of doctor’s office every month. Next week, Papa and I each have an appointment scheduled on the same day, at two different places. I guess, I just didn’t realize that once I turned 40, I would be so acquainted with our doctors, and their staff. I am thankful at least, we are able to do so.We will soon find out if all our dietary changes have helped bring down Papa’s triglycerides, and cholesterol.

Papa, doesn’t like eating oatmeal for breakfast, which has pretty much became our breakfast staple around here. So, I have come up with new ways of sneaking oats, and flax meal into our meals.

I love brownie oatmeal. I have found as I’ve aged, my craving for chocolate has intensified. I’m sure it’s because I need to increase my magnesium consumption.

Anyways, basically you fix oatmeal like you would normally; we fix ours stove-top. While the oats rest I add in 1 TBSP of flax meal per serving. Sweeten, according to taste, then stir in 1-2 over-flowing teaspoons of baking cocoa, and add 1 tsp. mini chocolate chips to the top (per serving), done.

Papa, actually really likes the granola Little Sis and I’ve been making. I’ve been adding flax meal in along with the regular ingredients. He also loves the vegan, gluten free carrot cake muffins (posted a few weeks ago), vegan, gluten-free banana bread,

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Vegan + Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Banana Bread

and gluten-free peanut butter brownies (can easily be made vegan) .

Skinny Peanut Butter Swirl Brownies.

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With berries soon in season, I will add overnight oats to the menu.

These have all been easy, and delicious ways to add flax meal, and oats into our diet. I substitute unsweetened applesauce for the oil, and usually use maple syrup as our sweetener. I’ve loved the challenge of substituting flax meal for eggs. Next, I am going to try making cookies.:)

We have actually had several discussions this week about nutrition for Sky’s health credit.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.

I am more of a fan of the book series, and the Return to Oz movie than the musical. I think everyone did an amazing job with the original musical, don’t get me wrong. I mean, the actress that played the wicked witch, defined wickedness in my opinion. I just prefer the more darker tone of the series. Little Sis on the other hand, thinks the series is boring, and prefers the musical.

We started The Scarlet Pimpernel to count toward Sky’s world literature credit. She almost has her British Literature credit completed, she just needs to add in some medieval literature. Unfortunately, the Game of Thrones series only counts toward leisure reading.

Speaking of leisure reading, I finished The Raven King. I am lost as to what to read now. The Raven Cycle, in my opinion, is a wonderful example of great YA writing. Maggie Stiefvater did an amazing job writing memorable characters. This series will stick with me for a long time.

We also listened to the fairy-tale: Puss in Boots at Storynory.

Handwriting:

We discussed, and the girls copied the first half of the poem: If by Rudyard Kipling.

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(Sky)

Grammar:

We finished Grammarland, and I read about conjunctions from the Basher Grammar book. We also watched the Schoolhouse Rock video-YouTube.

We discussed the Greek prefix homo, and homographs, thanks to this week’s poem.

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/homographs/

We also watched the Ted-ED videos: How to use a semicolon, and When to use an Apostrophe -YouTube.

Vocabulary words:

stoop, knave, aristocrat, sallies

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Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath, and continued working in their workbooks.

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Science:

We read May’s issue of Science in the News A-Z. The girls actually had already performed a surface tension experiment, and have made their own bubbles,so they were familiar with this month’s topics.

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It always makes me feel good when moments like these occur. Or, when we are at some kind of science fair, and the girls understand, or can answer questions about the topics being covered. It reassures me that we are on track.

Another topic in this month’s issue was about plant eating spiders; this also fit in perfectly with our nutrition lessons.

Health

Nutrition:

We watched: Why we eat the way we eat: Dr. Scott Kahan at TEDxManhattan – YouTube

Then, we watched Bill Nye’s episode on Nutrition (for Little Sis’s benefit). This episode can be found on YouTube, but it is not currently available on Netflix.

We watched: Crash Course A&P parts 1 and 2 on Metabolism & Nutrition, and Ted-Ed videos What is fat?, How do carbohydrates impact your health?, and What is a calorie? – all found on YouTube.

After watching these videos, we had lots of discussions. It just so happened that we received our weekly grocery circular in the mail. I had the girls look at the foods on sale, and then had them pick out which ones were actually good nutritious food choices. The only one they found was cheese. I explained how this was one reason why so many poor people are malnourished.

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, and thanks to lots of rain, they practiced yoga.

History

World/ Geography:

This week we learned about French King Louis the 14th. We read, and listened along to the chapters about him from: French History for English Children.

https://librivox.org/french-history-for-english-children-by-caroline-emelia-stephen/

Government:

Indiana had their primary this week. This election, is going to be very interesting.

Music:

We took a small detour and watched a PBS American Masters documentary about one of my favorite singers: Janis Joplin.

The Arts

Theater Appreciation

Stage:

We attended the full musical production of The Wizard of Oz  (with a living Toto).

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Small Screen:

We watched Fairy-tale theater’s Puss in Boots.

Drawing:

In honor of going to see the live-action version of The Jungle Book this weekend, we made Mowgli and Baloo (Dramatic Parrot- YouTube).

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On a side note, we watched The Peanuts movie, and we all really enjoyed it. They did a really good job with the story.

My brain feels like I am missing something, then again it always feels that way.

Peace for the journey.


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