A Week In The Life (“Sugar, Sugar”*)

September 16, 2016

This week, we were able to take advantage of being home to squeeze in some lessons. I think all of us needed the break too.

Papa, will get to have his time off this coming week (though, adults never really get time off ). Perfect timing, for getting everything in order for winter: getting wood, planting garlic, and caulking up windows.

I feel like I have so much catching up to do myself. Little Sis is in need of new pants (all of a sudden she has noticed jeans). Then there is, organizing the closets, getting rid of any outgrown clothes, and it’s not just clothes the girls have outgrown (Junie B. Jones, has officially been removed from the bookshelf. Disney movies, are quickly being replaced by Twilight, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, and The Shining.); the house is needing an all around deep cleansing.

Not to mention, I need to organize all of Sky’s credits, and her reading list for the completion of 9th grade.

Indiana is weird in that, semesters equal whole credits; which is good I guess, if one would need to transfer midyear. So, I will need to see how many actual credits she already has, even though she has only completed a semester in some classes.

Sometimes, I think that I have made things much harder on myself by us trying to learn everything as a whole; instead of separating lessons into their proper “titles”. I can’t help it. I see everything as connected, and once you see it, you can never not see it.

It seems ridiculous, to learn about the Medieval time period in history, without also learning about writing, art, music, theater, culinary arts, and science. They all connect. One movement, influenced another. Cause and effect.

Maybe, it is just how my brain works, and since the girls are genetically connected to Papa and myself, it is how the girls’ brains function too. I mean, it is working, and to me, that’s all that matters.

Here is to hoping, all of my hard work pays off in the end.🙂

Homeschooling

Language Arts

Reading:

We finally finished The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. All of us,  liked the story a lot. The characters are interesting, and the ending, though could have been predictable, wasn’t; it was very satisfying.

Stiefvater, does an amazing job breaking stereotypes. I think it is because, she, herself, breaks them. I love her writing style. I can see myself, reading this story again. It was that good. It for sure, will be on the girls’ end of the year favorites, my list as well.

I wish, I could say the same about The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin. I really had to push myself to finish it, because I pretty much knew how it would end. At the time when this novel was written, I can see how the plot twist might have been a bit frightening. I just don’t think the story holds up now.

I am still wanting to see the movie though. Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier in one movie, yeah, I’m going to watch it.

I am halfway through Carol, or The Price of Salt, by  Patricia Highsmith now. It has been on my TBR list, and I have been waiting for it to become available at the library for awhile.

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Health:

This week was all about sugar, but first we watched a few more videos on the sun and skincare.

Why do we have to wear sunscreen? – TedED-Kevin P. Boyd – YouTube

Repelling The Rays: The Chemistry of Sunscreen~ Bytesize Science-YouTube.

Where Does Sugar Come From? – SciShow Kids-YouTube

The Spangler Effect – Sugar Science – YouTube

SciShow: Sugar Compilation- YouTube

The Science of Sugar Addiction & The Fifth Taste…SciShow-YouTube

How Does Sugar Affect the Brain TedED-YouTube

The Sugary Truth – The Tremendousness Collective- YouTube

Sugar addiction is not anything new to us. We’ve actually been through it before, when Sky was little. Before Little Sis was born, Papa and I decided we would start making our own sweets instead of buying them at the store (baked goods kill your grocery budget); so I could control how much sugar went into the recipe (I still cut out, at least 1/3 of the amount of sugar from all recipes; most times 1/2.). That is when, we also started replacing sugar with real maple syrup.

We joke about it now, but it is not funny that Sky became furious when we didn’t come home with cookies; she threw a major tantrum. She was use to Pop Tarts, pancakes on a stick, donuts, and cereal for breakfast, on top of the sugary snacks. I don’t care what anyone wants to say, my daughter was suffering from sugar withdraw. Now, there is scientific proof.

I have wrote here before, how I struggle with obesity. I eat my way through stress, and dealing with depression, and not getting proper exercise didn’t help. Thank goodness, it was my overeating, and not an addiction to sugar that was killing me (literally).

We have made huge changes in the way we eat, and we move a lot more now. Little Sis becoming a vegetarian, probably saved Papa and me. Now when I feel stressed and want a snack, I air-pop a bowl of popcorn. I don’t even pop it on top of the stove anymore. Sometimes though, chocolate will only do.

I still have a ways to go, watching my proportions and exercising are not quick fixes; but I am determined.🙂

 

Science:

We watched PBS Nature: A Sloth Named Velcro, and Little Sis wrote her report. Both in cursive,

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and typed on my blog.

We also watched: Bytesize Science: A new weapon in the chemical arsenal of Amazonian poison frogs- YouTube.

 

History

World/ Geography

We watched PBS Masterpiece Theater: Indian Summers.

We also watched: BBC Planet Earth: episode Jungles -Netflix

BBC Human Planet: episode Jungles-Netflix

We read: The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Soccer.

 

The Arts

Drawing:

Sky finished her first assignment from her on-line comics course.

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Her next assignment, is to make a dairy from the week incorporating comics language that she learned from the class.

This class, has inspired her to work on her own story (Warning, there is nudity in some of her drawings.).

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If you couldn’t tell, Gustav Klimt is one of her favorite artists.

Culinary:

After all my talk about sugar, the girls made November cakes from the novel: The Scorpio Races. It was a wonderful finish to the book.

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http://maggiestiefvater.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-name-is-maggie-im-perfectionist-and.html

They were delicious. Even in this recipe, we were able to cut 1/3 of the fat, sodium, and sugar out. They were still plenty sweet.

They taste even better the next day.

Let’s see, Sky is on chapter 2 of Monstress , Little Sis had cheerleading practice and wrote several posts for her blog, and we watched the animated movie Rio.

We will be off for fall break these next two weeks,

peace for the journey.

*Sugar Sugar The Archies

 

Sloths (Little Sis)

September 14, 2016

Sloths live in the rain forests of Central and South America. Their skeletons are the same shape as primates, but they walk upside down along the tree branches. Their main diet is plants, but they do eat some insects for protein. Though thought to be non-active mammals, sloths actually only sleep about 9 hours a day. They need a great deal of sunlight to keep their bodies warm like reptiles. Sloths live in the Canopies of the rain forests. Their trees are being cut down for wood. They’re losing their homes. While looking for a new place to to live, they end up in the streets where some don’t make it across. Sloths, are not the only ones living in the rain forests losing their homes. It’s important to make sure we do not destroy the rain forests.

 

 

 

Resource: PBS Nature: A Sloth named Velcro.

A Week In The Life (“Here Comes The Rain Again”*)

September 10, 2016

Trying to start this post, without sounding like a broken record. Does anyone even understand the symbolism of what a broken record means anymore? Yeah, my age is beginning to show. I do however, think I am beginning to get the feel of our new normal. I have never been a: fly by the seat of your pants, type of gal.

When I first started out homeschooling, I needed to have every minor detail planned out. I was a very rigid person. (I have since discovered, that it is just part of my personality, made worse by a very chaotic childhood.) I quickly found myself burned out everyday. Bumping heads with a very energetic daughter became excruciatingly tiresome, and led to many nights of the both of us in tears. I knew something needed to change.

The beginnings of homeschooling, kind of remind me of that first year of marriage. You need to work out all those kinks, before you can start working together. Since, I am not one to force change onto others, I needed to understand the workings of my child first; I needed to step inside of her head.

This literally, changed everything. I stopped listening to outside advice on how to educate my child, and started listening to my child. I mean, after all it is her life, not mine. I think this has to be one of the hardest concepts of parenting to learn, it was for me anyway.

In order for our homeschooling to be considered successful though, my daughter needed to understand where I was coming from too. One-sided relationships don’t usually work out very well. This, is a continual dance of give and take.

I still need to have a plan. My brain needs to know what it’s going to be doing in order to focus. I have since learned though, how to go more with the flow of things.

So for the time being, I am embracing this new chapter of our lives; one, that finds us more out and about. That’s one of the many awesome things about homeschooling, learning does not need to be contained to the inside of a building.

 

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

Reading:

I was really hoping to have The Scorpio Races finished by now. I can’t believe it has taken us a whole month to read it, but then again, I think that is our average for an almost 500 page book. It took us awhile to read Oliver Twist too. I guess, I am use to finishing a book in about a weeks time. I can’t remember the last time we did read a book that was this long. I mean, we are enjoying it. The girls agree, it is one of the better ones we’ve read this year.

We also read: The Great Kopok Tree by Lynne Cherry.

I should have The Boys From Brazil finished by this weekend.

Writing:

Little Sis, has been working away on her blog. Her blog, is becoming more popular than mine.

 

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P.E.

Swimming, Little Sis’s cheerleading practice, and the girls had homeschool gym.

 

Heath/Nutrition:

This week was all about fat. We discussed and watched:

What is Obesity-TedED

Obesity ~ SciShow- YouTube

The Science of Fat – Spangler Classic Friday! – YouTube

The Deal with Fat~ SciShow – YouTube

What is Trans Fat? – Everyday Chemistry – YouTube

When You Burn Fat, Where Does it Go?~ SciShow – YouTube

 

Science:

We read The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Rain Forests.

We discussed some questions,

http://smithlifescience.com/ExpertRainForest.htm

and I assigned Little Sis to write a report about one of the rain forest’s animals; she chose sloths.

We also read the latest addition of Science in the News A-Z about the telescope Juno.

We watched:Breaking News: There’s an Earth-like Planet Next Door…SciShow Space.

 

The Arts

Drawing:

I signed Sky up for the free: Comics: Art in Relationship | Kadenze’s on-line course, and she loves it.

https://www.kadenze.com/courses/comics-art-in-relationship-ii/info

Her first assignment is to draw a double page comic spread, about herself.

She will be working her way through the book: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, and I assigned her first reading: Monstress by Marjorie Liu.

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Keeping a blog, has inspired Little Sis into making all kinds of DIY projects.

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I am just trying to keep up with the both of them.

We are excited for the next season of Indian Summers to start this weekend; can’t wait to see where this will lead us to next.🙂

Peace for the journey.

*The Eurythmics

A Week In The Life (Get Out)

September 7, 2016

What a crazy busy week we’ve had.

I guess for starters, I can’t remember if I had already posted this, we’ve put our garden to bed for the winter. I was able to get 10 more jars of tomato sauce out of our crop, and know we will have plenty to use throughout the year. I am also glad to have an abundant supply of blueberries this year, to use to make muffins and pancakes. Usually, we only have enough for smoothies. I love adding blueberries to my vegan, gluten-free banana bread, to shake things up once in awhile.

It is kind of weird how once September hits, it’s all about pumpkin. Right now, I am all about apples. We have already been to the orchard several times. I would have made apple crisp over the holiday weekend, but I didn’t have time. This week is just as booked, so I guess it will need to wait until the weekend.

Our state has really stepped it up with homeschooling activities. Where it was once like trying to find a needle in a haystack for activities, now we actually need to figure out how to squeeze in our lessons at home.

Earlier in the week, I took the girls and a friend to the homeschool day at our interactive history museum. I couldn’t believe how many homeschoolers were there. If that wasn’t surprising enough, while at Benjamin Harrison’s house, the president reenactor asked the girls what school they went to. Both girls replied simultaneously, that they were homeschooled. He said: how great that was, and how he has gotten to know many homeschoolers from programs they host at the home; a long way from: “What about socialization?”. Even the girls from Little Sis’s cheerleading practice were all like: “really?”. They couldn’t believe it.

I guess, corporations are finally beginning to take notice that there is money to be made off of homeschooling.🙂

Homeschooling

Language Arts

Reading:

Besides the fact we are still reading The Scorpio Races, we read: The Magic Tree House Afternoon on the Amazon.

I really wasn’t planning on staying in Brazil this long, but I am like: since we are here, I might as well toss in some lessons on rainforests for Little Sis.

I finished reading: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. It was good. I didn’t really care for the whole love triangle plot-line, but since it was historical fiction, I found it entertaining enough. I learned a lot about a forgotten historical figure, that pushed barriers before it became a thing.

I am reading: The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin now, because after reading about a strong, plays by her own rules type of heroine, Nazis and cloning sounded interesting.

Mathematics

Besides the usual, I thought it was time for a new Wii game.

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Fortune Street, is a little like the game Monopoly, with the addition of buying and selling stocks, playing the stock market, and building up the equity in your property purchases. In other words, lots of living math. This isn’t a fast paced game, just like the board game Monopoly isn’t. You can save it to play later if needed. We are gamers, so long games don’t bother us. This isn’t Mario Party either. It is basically a board game made into a video game, but we love it. It is a perfect addition to our collection.

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Heath

We discussed, and watched:

Vitamins and Minerals by Nancy O’Sullivan- YouTube

10 surprising chemicals your body makes~SciShow

5 Chemicals That Are in (Almost) Everything You Eat…SciShow

Are Multivitamins Really Good For You? ~ SciShow – YouTube

P.E.

Swimming, Little Sis’s cheerleading practice,

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and bowling.

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A bowling alley near by was running a dollar per game special, so Papa and I decided to take the girls. We ended up bowling 6 games. The girls had a lot of fun, and can’t wait to do it again.

History

World/ Geography:

We watched: Apartheid Explained: Global History Review ~from Hip Hughes History-YouTube

The summer Olympics book we read touched briefly on Apartheid, so I decided that an explanation might help the girls understand exactly what that meant.

I also printed off some sheets on South America, and Rainforests for the girls to add to their history timeline binders.

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We watched: Exploring life within each of the Rainforest layers -YouTube

Why is biodiversity so important? TedEd-YouTube.

American:

I mentioned a visit to our local living history museum.

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The Arts

Theater Appreciation (Stage):

We went to see a production of Romeo and Juliet.

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I was proud of Sky, Papa asked her if she new how the play ended. Of course she should know, because we have already covered it. Well, Sky explained to him what happens, and I was the one that couldn’t remember if Romeo stabbed himself or if it was Juliet; Sky said: “Mom, Romeo went to the apothecary and purchased the poison. Apothecary was one of my vocabulary words that you gave me.”. That is how you know if your child is learning, without the need of tests.🙂

We also watched: Disney’s Watcher in the Woods. This was one of my favorite movies as a child. It is funny how we remember things differently when we are children. I can’t believe how horrible the acting was. This movie is one that could actually stand to be remade. The family was extremely disappointed with the ending. I guess, we will not be adding it to our movie collection any time soon.

Peace for the journey.

A Week In The Life (Give Me A.. T)

August 28, 2016

T for tornadoes.

Indiana was hit hard this week, we had 5 tornadoes touch down pretty much all at the same time in different places spread out through our state. If that wasn’t enough, we were awoken to the sound of sirens going off yet again the next morning; thankfully, no tornadoes this time, but major flooding instead. It was crazy, and lots of homes and businesses were destroyed, but no deaths; if you’ve seen any footage,that is an amazing thing.

Besides being a stormy week, we did manage to add a bit more lessons into our days. Especially, now that our garden is about done. As Sky likes to say:”winter is coming”. So that means, so are more lessons.🙂

Little Sis started her own blog this week, which I will write more about under language arts, and inspired me to want to write my first monthly book wrap-up for the month of August. There really is so much more to me than being a homeschooling mom.

It is kind of funny though, while helping Little Sis edit her blog posts, I discovered we really do have a lot more in common that what I thought. She writes a lot like I do, and loves lists, even though her interests differ from mine. I can write all day about books the same way she can write about makeup, and how Sky can talk about movies (Maybe, she should start her own YouTube channel.).

Anyway, I read 6 books in the month of August, well one I will have finished before the beginning of September; I’m halfway through it as of now.

I read: Rebecca by  Daphne du Maurier, Horns by Joe Hill, Room by Emma Donoghue, At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen, Nightwoods by Charles Frazier, and Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (at least I am far enough to know how I feel about this book).

I’ve already wrote details about what I thought of each of these books in other posts from this month, so I won’t really go into a whole lot more here. I will say which ones were my favorites though, if you could not already guess.

I do like to shake up my reading by choosing books from different authors and genres. I like to glean from various writing styles. You can learn from all of them, even if they are bad. I do tend to stay far away from romance though. It’s just not me.

So, my favorites books from the month are: Rebecca and Room. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy both of these stories, I thought the writing was brilliant. These are not just my favorite August reads, but will most likely be added to my favorites list from the year, as well as to my all time favorite reads list. It will be interesting to read Room again farther down the road, to see if the writing will still hold up for me over time.

In second place is: At the Water’s Edge, and Circling the Sun. Both of these stories are really good, and I have enjoyed learning about Beryl Markham. I probably will not read them again, but I am interested in reading more from these authors. I do recommend them.

Lastly is: Horns and Nightwoods. I really don’t want to write more negative complaints about these stories. I didn’t like them, some people might. Unless, you can really tell someone didn’t give their best effort (I have read books like this before too), I don’t like to put other people’s work down (if you don’t like 50 Shades of Grey, then don’t read it). These authors worked hard on these stories, their writing style just isn’t for me.

Homeschooling

Language Arts

Reading:

Yes, we are still reading: The Scorpio Races. We also read: What Are the Summer Olympics? This was a really good summery about the history of the Summer Olympic games. I actually learned a lot from it.

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Writing:

I mentioned Little Sis’s blog up above. She asked me if I would help her start one, and I said sure. It’s called Glitter N Glam and is all about Little Sis’s favorite things. She takes all the pictures and writes it all herself. I just help with minor editing.

https://vftblog.wordpress.com/blog/

So here is the thing, a lot of parents ask: “How can I get my child to write?”. The number one answer, is to not make them.

Writing does not become that important until high school. Then, they will need to learn how to write essays. Until then, let them write about whatever they want.

Sky writes fan fiction, and she leaves comments on YouTube videos. Before that, the girls played Animal Jam and Minecraft. At some point, there will come a time when they will want to know how to write, especially if they want to text. That is when you pull out your resources on grammar and punctuation. That is when you help them learn how to write.

One of the things that I have learned as a homeschooling mom, is spelling will either come naturally, or not. We have done spelling tests, I add subtitles on the television, and we read a lot. I have one excellent speller, and one not so much, regardless of what I do. However, by letting the one use the computer or tablet to look up words on her own, because *she* really wants to learn, has helped a lot. She wants to go to college, she understands what she needs to do to get there. I don’t need to push her. I need to help her find what way works best for her.

I am better at expressing myself through writing, writing comes naturally to me. I have one child that is better expressing herself orally. Only society has chosen one to be the superior. Expecting everyone to be good at everything will eventually take its toll. I mean, even presidents need speech writers.

Health/ Nutrition

We watched and discussed: How the food you eat affects your brain – Mia Nacamulli…TED-Ed~ YouTube,

The Five Food Groups- SicShow Kids~ YouTube,

The Deal with Carbs – SciShow~ YouTube,

The Deal with Protein – SciShow~ YouTube,

and What Makes Muscles Grow- TED-Ed~ YouTube.

P.E.

Besides swimming, which we had to cut short because of the storms, Little Sis started Cheer this week. She really likes it a lot. This is not a homeschooling league. The school girls in her division, doesn’t even know she is homeschooled.

History/ Geography

American:

I printed off Indiana cover sheets for their American history timeline notebooks,

 

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and a color page of President Benjamin Harrison.

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We watched two short videos about him, and the girls added notes.

Disney The American Presidents: Benjamin Harrison – YouTube,

and #23 Benjamin Harrison YouTube.

We also watched: Geography Now! Brazil – YouTube.

The Arts

We watched Disney’s animated movie:Snow White,

and Sky is illustrating a version of Little Red Riding Hood.

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Hoping for a less stormy week.

Peace for the journey.

A Week In The Life (Hoosier Hospitality)

August 24, 2016

I really miss writing my blog on Fridays. That usually was our free day, and I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to write about.

Like most writers, I carry a lot of information around inside my mind, and I need to write it out or I will dwell on it to death. My insomnia has gotten worse since perimenopause, so I don’t need added thoughts lingering around in my mind. Writing my blog on Friday, also allowed for me to put our school week , along with any other thoughts, to bed.

Now, we go swimming on Fridays, which we enjoy very much, but leaves me no time for writing. The weekends are busy catching up with Papa, and I have a hard time writing on Monday, because my brain has switched over to a whole new week, and I’ve forgotten everything I wanted to write about (because, I needed to put all my focus on the new week).

I like keeping a blog for several reasons. One, it helps me to stay focused, or holds me accountable. What did we do all week? Well, I’ll show you.

This also helps me to see if we are doing enough, and points out any weaknesses. Every year, when I look at past posts, I am constantly amazed at how much we accomplish. I also like the idea, especially when we first started out homeschooling, of having a record of our lessons if ever the need should arise. Before WordPress, I used Myspace (does that give away how long I’ve been homeschooling.🙂 ).

Two, I will be using my blog posts to write Sky’s transcript. Since I’ve chosen to educate Sky differently than traditional school (because, I can never do anything that is “normal”), I need to keep track of what she has completed to give her credits.

So in other words, not writing, is not an option. I’m sure I will figure something out, I usually do.

Did I mention Little Sis starts cheer this week?

In other news, we harvested the rest of our garden. We actually had to go buy more Ball jars to hold all our tomato sauce. I think we had a good year. Honestly though, I am kind of glad it is all coming to an end (with the exception of apples, and pumpkins); I am ready to reap the rewards.

Home-school

Language Arts

Reading:

We are still reading: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, and are really enjoying it. Sky loves her writing. “I can visually see everything she is writing about. I also like how real the characters are.” I really wish I waited to read the Raven Cycle with them; maybe we can fit it in next summer. I don’t mind reading them again.

Sky has been writing and illustrating her own story. Using mythology, it is about a fallen angel.

As for myself, I finished: At the Water’s Edge by by Sara Gruen. I really liked this book. It kept my interest, and I was truly interested in the characters. I love historical fiction anyway. If the plot line doesn’t hold my interest so much (kind of like Frog Music), the historical aspects usually keep me reading. This story was a win, win.

I wish I could say the same for Nightwoods by Charles Frazier. I will say, this is my first time reading Frazier; I have not read, nor seen Cold Mountain.

Okay, I am all for beautifully written prose; one of the reasons why I like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. However, when it takes two pages to explain tomatoes, or a tree, or anything that is not relevant to the plot development , my mind wonders. I caught myself several times watching television instead of reading the book. I literally had to force myself to finish it, because it was under 300 pages and I was already halfway through the book; it was not worth it. I was so disappointed with the ending. The characters were bland, everything was bland, except the prose. I don’t know if I want to give Cold Mountain a try. My “to be read” list, is already longer than my lifespan.🙂

I am reading Circling the Sun by Paula McLain now.

 

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(Yes, this is the same photo as last week. Well, because nothing changed.)

Heath/Nutrition:

We finished chapter four of: The Way We Work. Sky took a test on the digestive system, and everyone is glad to be done with that.🙂

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(Using What’s Inside You for Little Sis)

We watched:

The Digestive System (National Geographic 5 mins video) from Inside the Human Body- YouTube

Why Is My Poop Green?, and What’s the Best Position for Pooping? from SciShow- YouTube.

Yes, we went there.

P.E.:

Besides swimming, the girls had homeschool gym.

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(Little Sis’s team deciding where to hide the flag, for capture the flag.)

American History/ Geography:

We watched: Indiana Weekend – Episode 20 “Hoosier Roadtrips” – YouTube

Then, in honor of it being Benjamin Harrison’s birthday, they gave free tours of his home and birthday cake.

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(Photo of Harrison by T.C. Steele)

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We also watched Disney’s Frozen and The Nanny movies(because, I am on a Bette Davis kick).

Peace for the journey.

Week In the Life (Sixty Pounds of Tomatoes, and What Do You Get?)

August 15, 2016

A stiff back, that’s what.

Over the weekend, Papa and I gathered all the ripe Roma tomatoes off their vines and made sauce. If you are interested, 60 pounds of tomatoes makes about 13 jars of tomato sauce.

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If everything goes right, we should be able to get at least 30 jars from our plants this year (judging by the rest of the crop that is left). That should last us until next year. So note to self, 20 Roma tomato plants are the perfect amount.

We also harvested most of our potatoes.

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Not bad, Papa was hoping for more. They did however, fill a 25 pound box.

We are trying to decide if we want to add a few raised beds to grow our broccoli and peppers in, and plant only potatoes at the top of the hill next year. Our broccoli is not quite finished yet, but getting close. So far, we’ve managed to fill 4 gallon size bags. We would like to plant twice as much next year; which would be about 14 plants. To plant more would mean, we would need more space.

We are for sure, going to add one raised bed to grow raspberries next year. So, I guess we will just figure it out then.

So let’s see, that makes: garlic, tomato sauce, frozen strawberries, strawberry jam, frozen broccoli, potatoes, green and jalapeno peppers from our garden to help get us through the winter. Check.

From the help of local farmers: frozen corn, frozen peaches, peach jam, frozen blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries to get us through the winter. Check.

I think all that’s left is apples; which we just happened to purchase our first 5 pound bag of Ginger Gold over the weekend. I see applesauce and apple butter in our near future.

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We are still reading: The Scorpio Races. The girls are enjoying it so far; it is another perfect novel for summer.

We also watched The Little Prince animated movie on Netflix. We liked it okay. I thought the first half of the movie was great; the second half went a little off track for me. Though, I actually was thinking about why the creators of this movie might have taken the story in the direction they did. I have always thought that The Little Prince was a fairy-tale for grown-ups to read. I think the message can get lost on children. Maybe, the creators wanted to make the message clear for all ages. It will still always be one of my favorite stories.

I finished Room by Emma Donoghue. Wow, is all I can say about this novel. I have read some complaints, that people don’t like that the story is told from a five-year-old’s point of view, I beg to differ. I thought, telling the story from Jack’s perspective was brilliant.

I think it would have been too easy to relate to Ma’s struggle from her point of view. In fact, many of us have battled our own demons and understand quite well how that feels; but to experience Ma’s struggles through a five-year-old, gave me a completely different perspective. One that, we are not able to see when going through those same struggles. Sometimes, I wish we were able to see things from a child’s point of view.

I also watched the movie, heart-wrenching.

So, to read something completely different, Room is one of those novels that will stay with you a very long time, I am reading: At the Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen. I am not usually big on historical romance stories, but I needed cheese. However, this story really surprised me. I wouldn’t really call it a romance story, but more of a historical coming-of-age story. I will probably finish it tonight. I mean, I don’t need sleep.

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Health/Nutrition :

We watched:What Really Causes Sunburns by PBS Gross Science- YouTube.

P.E.

More swimming.

The girls created their own movie theatre.

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Not to sound like a broken record, but this is why children need to have time for themselves. Yes, academics, and even real socialization ( not forced assimilation) are extremely important, but so is creativity.

We’ve pretty much had the whole swimming pool to ourselves these last couple of weeks, and they open after school hours. Which is cool, my laps have been getting faster. I also find this a bit sad too, I mean it is still summer. If you didn’t know, a heatwave hit the Midwest. Yet, instead of being able to cool down in the pool, the children here have been stuck at school.

Then, while walking to the pool, from the parking lot, we can see the children having football practice. After this, I’m sure it is dinner, homework, and to bed, just to get up and do it all over again tomorrow. Oh, and I’m not talking about high school students here.

When do children ever get to be bored? It is no wonder when children do have a little free time, they want to spend it on-line or watching television. ( I am not anti “screen-time” by the way.) It would drive me insane, and I’m an adult.

Oh well, the only thing I can do, is give my children a little time to grow in.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Bicentennial)

August 9, 2016

I had something that I was going to start my post with; whatever it was, it’s gone now. That pretty much sums up perimenopause for me. That, and lots of hot flashes.

The girls get frustrated that they can’t interrupt me when I’m on a mission. This morning while making granola, Little Sis asked if I could cut her bangs; while talking with her, I put the peanut butter in the refrigerator, then couldn’t find it later.  Quite frankly, it stinks.

So, I guess I will just start writing about our garden and see where that goes.

Our Roma tomatoes are really starting to turn red now.

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I’ve already made my first batch of tomato sauce. From now until all the tomatoes have been harvested, I pretty much will have a pot on the stove simmering making sauce, weekly. I’ve already made some spaghetti and pizza sauce to store. I am also thinking of making some tomato soup for the winter. I already have some homemade chicken noodle soup put back.

I was able to harvest some more broccoli too.

My neighbor asked how I make my tomato sauce, so I thought I would post how to do it here, and who knows I may need to refer to it some day.

Step one: cut a small x with a sharp knife at the bottom of the tomatoes.

Step 2: in a large stockpot, add water (about 2/3’s full) and bring it to a rolling boil.

Step 3: fill a large bowl with ice water.

Step 4: add tomatoes, about 6 at a time, into the boiling water. When you see the tomato skin start to split, after about 30 seconds, take the tomatoes out, and place them in the ice water. After a few seconds, skins should peel right off.

Step 5: cut tomatoes in half and remove seeds, this doesn’t need to be perfect.

Step 6: place skinned, and seeded tomatoes into another pan, along with a little salt and pepper.

Step 7: once all the tomatoes are ready, place pan on the burner and bring it to a boil. Once the tomatoes come to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer, about medium low, and cook until the water, from the tomatoes has evaporated, and the sauce has begun to thicken. This will take a few hours. Once sauce is condensed to your liking, turn off burner and allow it to cool.

Step 8: add cooled sauce to a blender, blend until smooth.

Step 9: pour sauce into freezer safe jars and freeze until ready to use.

It’s been a few years now that we have moved away from store bought canned foods. Now, with me making my own granola ,and pancake mix we hardly buy boxed foods. I even make my own Balsamic vinaigrette for salads.

Since we’ve changed our diet for Papa’s heart, we’ve cut our red meat consumption down to once a week. Now, we eat lots of grilled or baked fish and chicken.

Besides salads, our other favorite summer meals are tuna burgers, and grilled chicken sandwiches. I always make a double batch of both, and freeze them individually to have on hand for quick meals. This also makes it handy for Little Sis, when she might need a substitute for dinner (the tuna burgers).

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(Grilled chicken marinade: 1/4 cup water, 1 TBSP olive oil, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup low sodium tamari. Place 3-4 pounded, skinless chicken breast halves in marinade for at least 1 hour. Grill until no longer pink. Place grilled chicken on a cookie sheet, that has been covered with wax paper, and freeze overnight. Store in freezer bags for quick sandwiches. These are also great for salads. You can do the same with cooked tuna burgers.

Another favorite summer snack is a mozzarella cheese stick, or a sliver of mozzarella cheese, and grape tomatoes.🙂

Homeschool

Language Arts:

Reading:

We started The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. So far, we are enjoying it.

I found Little Sis a pen pal. Sky had twins for her pen pals, and actually got to meet them, about this age and I thought it would be fun for Little Sis to have some.

I finished the book Rebecca and loved it. Even though I knew the plot twist from watching the movie, the book was a bit different and still held an element of surprise. I give this novel 5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend it.

I read Horns by Joe Hill next. I was curious how good of a writer Stephen King’s son was. I am not one to compare styles; I judge the artist as an individual, and how their work appeals to me. With that being said, I can see how Hill could appeal to the younger audience. I am thinking a mature YA horror author. The story wasn’t bad, I personally just didn’t care for it.

At first, I thought the whole idea of the story was awesome. A boy grows horns to find out who killed his girlfriend (This isn’t spoilers, the story literally starts this way.). The first half held my attention; once the backstory started though, I started losing interest. I just didn’t like the novel’s pacing. We literally find out who the killer is fairly early, then need to tread through lots of flashbacks before the conclusion. I feel this interrupted the flow of the novel. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

I am reading Room now by Emma Donoghue, and am halfway through. Oh my, what a brilliant idea to tell the story from the 5- year-old boy’s perspective. I’ll give my final thoughts after I’ve finished. (So far, I am really enjoying it.)

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Health:

Continuing: The Way We Work, and we watched: How To Choose A Sunscreen from TedEd- YouTube.

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P.E. Besides swimming, the girls attended home-school gym.

American History:

Indiana is celebrating its bicentennial this year, and with our Governor Mike Pence running for Vice President, I thought it would be a good time to learn the history of our state. So, that will be our theme heading into our fall schedule, leading us into Sky’s Civics credit.

We finished the series: Hoosiers: The Story of Indiana that ran on our local PBS station.

Geography:

We have been watching the summer Olympics when we can. Yesterday’s women cycling was brutal (what a horrible tragedy), but the girls have been enjoying the swimming competitions. We also learned there is a northern country in Africa called Tunsia.

Sky went ahead and purchased The Shinning movie for her collection, she also bought the original Poltergeist movie that we watched. We watched Disney’s animated version of Alice in Wonderland too.

Well, I think that is about it. I am sure I’m missing something, but I didn’t write it down, so….

peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Summer, It Turns Me Upside Down” *)

July 26, 2016

Well, if you live along the east-coast, or in the Midwest, you are aware of the heatwave we are experiencing. Which sucks, yes; however, it is just the middle of summer, and summer here has been pretty mild thus far.

I do feel so sorry for all the children getting ready to head back to school this week. They don’t really get to experience much of the thrills of summer at all.

I could mention, again how this is another wonderful benefit of homeschooling; being able to set our own schedule, that works best for our family. How educating year-round, allows us time to enjoy the best each season has to offer. However, I’m just not feeling it right now.

My brain instead, is thinking about how little of childhood future generations will actually get to experience, and how this might end for them later on down the road. Mental illness is already a big problem right now, how will taking away more and more of children’s play time add to this problem?

When Sky was of age to start Kindergarten, a bill was passed in our district for mandatory all-day Kindergarten. Now, I have been following the fight for mandatory all-day preschool. “If we can just start educating them earlier……., Early education……..” As any homeschooler could tell you, early education is not the problem. Earlier, does not automatically mean better.

Personally, all I am hearing is how I am not capable of helping my child learn their ABCs, numbers, and colors, so I need the government to step in to do it for me. Which I then question, why would I want to send my children to the same system, that I graduated from, that left me incapable of helping my child learn those things?!

This blog alone, proves otherwise. Not only am I capable of helping my children learn to read, I am capable of educating them through high-school. However for the sake of argument, let us pretend this blog doesn’t exist.

My grandmother didn’t finish 8th grade. She took care of me while my parents worked, until I graduated from 8th grade. How she raised me, pretty much resembles what a Waldorf Kindergarten looks like.

Our days revolved around a “rhythm”, or a schedule. Through everyday play (she had very few toys, forcing me to use my imagination), watching Sesame Street, and my grandma spending time with me playing games, working puzzles, and answering any questions I might have had (before Google), I learned to read before I started Kindergarten. I remember, how I was one of a few in my class, that already knew how to spell my whole name (and my maiden name is not an easy one to spell. I’m of Belgian descent ). My grandmother, was capable of helping me learn my ABCs, numbers, and colors. Of course I should mention, my dad always read to me a lot too.🙂

Maybe, instead of making preschool mandatory, and pushing early education, we should put more of our focus toward building up the family. Maybe, we should take a deeper look at why parents don’t have the time to raise their children. Maybe, the problem is a lot more complicated, and has nothing at all to do with education. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty wrong with our school system, I just don’t think children needing to learn at an earlier age is going to be the solution.

Speaking of education,

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We have kind of been in a reading slump lately. I have a list of what we need to read, but during summer I like to pick out fun reads. The girls haven’t been to enthusiastic with the fairy-tale adaptation stories I’ve been picking out lately. They sure are tough critics.

My personal opinion, is that life is too short, and there are way too many books to keep reading one you’re not enjoying. I don’t hesitate for a second when giving a book the ax.

All this to explain that we just finished the right book, at the right time. We read the graphic novel: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. We loved it, and we highly recommend it.

As for myself, I didn’t read Mudwomen after all. Instead, I took advantage of Amazon Prime day and purchased on Kindle: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (that I am halfway through now), and A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin, which I have already finished.

A Kiss Before Dying is the perfect “summer read”. Of course, it is a bit dated, and I was a bit peeved at the typical 50’s female stereotype. Other than that, it was a fun thriller to read.

Rebecca though, fits in perfectly with my “haunted” reads. I’ve seen the Hitchcock movie, so I know the surprise twist ending. I am, still enjoying all the foreshadowing that the movie just doesn’t quite capture. It has been added to my favorites list (that just keeps growing). I can’t wait to read The Birds.

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Science, Biology, Health and Nutrition, and Culinary Arts:

I think I will start with SciShow’s video:10 Things We Didn’t Know 100 Years Ago – YouTube. Which is a perfect example of how knowledge builds upon knowledge.

We read the summer issue: Glow-in-the-Dark Animals from Science A-Z – Multilevel Science News Articles for Kids. We tried the doodle art experiment, and was able to recall the whole list that we doodled, compared to the list we wrote out.

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Of course, this opens up a whole new can of worms for me, on how our evolving brain registers images, and remembers best. Which makes me wonder if right brain, visual learners are the majority. Yet again, out-dating our current school system. This is an experiment, I would love to dip my hands into.

We also watched an exclusive video: First “Glowing” Sea Turtle Found, over at National Geographic.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150928-sea-turtles-hawksbill-glowing-biofluorescence-coral-reef-ocean-animals-science150928-sea-turtles-hawksbill-glowing-biofluorescence-coral-reef-ocean-animals-science/

While reading along with: The Way We Work, we watched TedEd Videos:

What does the liver do? – Emma Bryce,

What does the pancreas do? – Emma Bryce,

How do your kidneys work? – Emma Bryce,

and What would happen if you didn’t drink water? – Mia Nacamulli – YouTube.

We also watched: SciShow’s How Much Water Should You Drink video-YouTube.

Little Sis and I made Chia Pudding from her vegetarian book, using chocolate almond milk. It was delicious. We plan on making more, trying different flavors of milk.

Since on the subject of making, we harvested more of our broccoli and blanched it to store in our freezer.

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We ended up with two and a half gallon freezer bags full.

We purchased our annual 60 ears of corn, to blanch and store in our freezer too.

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Our grape tomatoes are beginning to ripen.

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Salads have moved from side dish status, to the main course.

We have been harvesting a few jalapeno, and green peppers as well.

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I made a big batch of tortillas, and scrambled eggs mixed with jalapeno, green peppers, and onions for quick breakfast burritos. With our days still being filled with lots of swimming (where Papa was able to join us this week, P.E.), quick, hardy breakfasts and dinners (salads topped with grilled chicken, boiled egg, or quinoa) have been required.

Theater Appreciation (Stage):

We saw the stage version of The Phantom Tollbooth. It was an amazing portrayal of the novel.

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Little Sis, has been keeping herself busy combining a few of her interests,

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and summer is the time to catch up on watching movies just for the fun of it. Which brings me to my next point, learning always happens (which fits in perfect if you celebrated Learn Nothing Day😉 ).

So far we’ve watched: The Good Dinosaur (wonderful!),

Big Hero 6 (another hit),

Ant-Man (another movie to add to our Marvel movie collection favorites),

Inside Out (Oh Disney/ Pixar, you’re killing me),

and The Bad Seed.

The last two movies triggered wonderful psychological conversations, where we discussed environmental verses genetic mental illness, along with human emotions and core memories.  Perfect to lead the way for Sky’s psychology course this fall. I think, I will use topics from both movies as ideas for her to write essays about.

Peace for the journey.

*Magic by The Cars

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.