Week In The Life (” To Thine Own Self Be True”)

October 4, 2015

Happy October!

The first week of October actually felt like fall. Overnight we went from shorts to flash fires. Today, the sun is back out and the windows are open again. The garden is tilled and the garlic is planted for next spring’s crop.

Slowly, I’ve been getting back into my routine, thank goodness. I did discover one thing while recovering from back surgery. I am the backbone of our home. Papa has his responsibilities outside of the home, no money, no eat. My responsibility is to make sure everything else keeps running smoothly. Papa and I are partners, and we definitely felt the difference with one partner down. The pantry is a mess, my kitchen is a mess. I am more than ready to get back in there and get everything organized again.

The girls really stepped it up, and I am proud of them. Dishes, dinners, cleaning, they’ve really been busy. I saw all our training paying off. The Little one especially, she is very comfortable in the kitchen. She reminds me of myself is so many ways. It really is such an amazing gift to be able see your children flourish.There really isn’t a better reflection of yourself than through your children, and I mean the good, bad, and the downright ugly.


Language Arts


This week we finished our Shakespeare study (until we study the Romans anyway) with Hamlet.

First, I read the story from Tales from Shakespeare while they read along on their tablets. Then, we read the play while listening along.


We also finished the Sonnets (where the girls learned how to read roman numerals).

Reading Comprehension

The girls took the Hamlet quiz at SparkNotes.


Personal reading

Little Sis is almost done with The Hunger Games (book 1). Sky is reading the second graphic novel of Game of Thrones, and I am 100 pages from being done with Clash of Kings (Should have it finished by this week).

I’m still going to wait until I finish the whole series before I give my overall rating. One thing I do like about George R.R. Martin’s writing is his use of language. I’ve recognized several words in Shakespeare because of the Game of Thrones series. I love that he has invented his own world, but still uses words from an early time period. One thing I don’t like, is getting invested in so many characters that will eventually die. There will need to be a point to it all in the end, or I will not like it.

Spelling/ Vocabulary

So, how do I do spelling and vocabulary without curricula? This is the first year I’ve started a spelling program with Little Sis, and is the first year for Sky using Quizlet (that I am really happy with). Before, I would pull words from the stories we would read that they might have had trouble with, and then have the girls look them up in the dictionary and write out the definition.

The girls played lots of on-line games, Animal Jam being their favorite, and learned to spell while talking with other players. If there was a word they needed help with they would ask, and I would spell it for them. Eventually, they stopped asking and started using the dictionary on-line. There’s the games Bananagrams, Word Shout, and Scribblenauts they like to play too. Little Sis is an excellent speller, she spells better than me, and honestly doesn’t need a word list. Basically, we are just going through the motions.

I started Sky at Quizlet to help expand her spelling and vocabulary beyond what she would normally be exposed to since she is in high school now. Though, I am constantly amazed at how much both girls actually know and learn from their interests. For example, one of Sky’s words this week from Hamlet was discord, she learned what it meant from watching My Little Pony.

I am a firm believer in the more you are exposed to, the more you will learn. Sometimes, this means stepping out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, this means not being so quick to dismiss a child’s interest. Sometimes, it means having an open mind. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I hear parents say, “all my child does is play video games all day.” Having played lots of video games myself, I can see all that is learned from playing them. I can see what my visual learner loves about video games. They are interacting virtual storybooks.

I will admit that I was very cynical toward technology, and I still believe it has the ability to make us lazy, just like anything when used too much. By stepping outside my comfort zone, I found out how much I love Kindle. We have a very small house, and books take up a lot of space. Technology has solved that problem for us. I love the built in dictionary the Kindle has. While reading, the girls will come to a word and can find out what it means, or how it is pronounced and we can keep right on reading. I love that I can borrow, or purchase one book and all of us can read along together on different devices. The Kindle has changed our read aloud time, only for the better.

Again, I am not putting curriculum down. If you love it, and it works for you, great. Just showing there are other ways to learn besides using one. :)

Speaking of spelling words, I am trying a new site for Little Sis.


I think she will like playing the games there much better, and the words seem a bit more challenging.

I am very happy with Quizlet for Sky. Her words from Hamlet this week were,

epitaph, perdition. afflict, contrive, expostulate, ambiguous, malicious, conjuration, aloof, discord, carnal, extolment, scourge, churlish.


In honor of Little Sis finishing the Twilight series, the girls copied the poem Fire and Ice by Robert Frost in cursive.


Kumon Pre-Algebra for Sky, Math Made Easy 3rd grade for Little Sis.



Yes, we watched the supermoon lunar eclipse, and discussed what was happening (NASA.com).

Then, there was the discovery of water on Mars.


We watched part 2 of Gorongosa National Park.

I do F***ing Love Science! :)



We started the new PBS series Indian Summer. This fits in perfectly after studying England’s Industrial Revolution and Victorian Imperialism.


We watched Crash Course episodes 26-29, learning about America’s imperialism, and Hughes’ History about the Spanish American War (YouTube).

I also printed a picture of President Taft for the girls history timeline, and we discussed his presidency.



We watched CNN’s 2015 Republican GOP debates (YouTube).

Little Sis’s STEAM class this week was all about engineering. I learned that this was something we need to work on, so I am thinking of breaking out the Zome this week.




(Gear erasers)


The Arts

We finished our Shakespeare study by watching the Hamlet movie starring Mel Gibson (Netflix).


We finally paid a visit to our local art museum. It is SO big we were only able to see half of it, and that took us 3 and 1/2 hours to do that.




We were able to see two of my favorite artists. Norman Rockwell


and Georgia O’ Keeffe


We didn’t even make it to the 100 acre outdoor garden, it’s no joke that we will be visiting again. Sky came away with lots of new inspiration.

We also finished the movie saga of the Twilight series.

Halloween, here we come. Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Why Must Your Name Be That Of Romeo?)

September 27, 2015

Happy Fall!

Honestly, I can’t believe it’s time already. I think it’s because summer felt more like spring. So far, fall is still feeling like summer. Anyway, I have managed to get all the bedding washed and hung outside to dry at least one more time. Now to take stock in our fall clothing. Both girls are in need of new clothes. It wouldn’t be bad if they weren’t so picky. Neither like to wear jeans. This is fine for the little one right now, finding pants for her age isn’t much of a problem yet. The bigger one however, well it seems all that teens like to wear are jeans (at least that is what stores think). Besides sweats, or leggings, selection is sparse. Not to mention she is not much of a shopper. I need to take the girls shopping on different days. One likes to make a day of it, the other wants to just get in and out (takes after her dad).

It’s not just clothes that can be a problem. Little Sis finished Breaking Dawn and is on the look out of what to read next. She really wasn’t into the whole vampire/ werewolf angle of the story, as she was with the love triangle (The Phantom of the Opera is her favorite story). This is where I fall short because I detest romance stories. It doesn’t help matters that she reads well above her grade level, and since this is for independent reading, and not school related, makes it even more challenging. Thanks to some great friends’ recommendations, she is 6 chapters into the Hunger Games trilogy. Hopefully this keeps her busy awhile. I could always use more recommendations though. I pretty much have our school reading list made, so books like The Princess Bride and Anne of Green Gables have already been chosen.

Is is just me, or do other homeschoolers face this dilemma too? We read SO much here as a part of school, what is left for entertainment? Do you have children above grade level and struggle with finding resources that interest them? Little Sis has problems fitting in with groups, though she is 9, 10 November, she is very mature for her age.

For instance reading clubs, for her age, focus on Magic Tree House reading level books, which I use for our history jumping off point (so school related). She would not choose to read this on her own for “entertainment”, and is well past this level.

She gets board with stories like Clementine, that are geared toward her age, and longs for more intellectual conversations. She would love to discuss Twilight, but children her age don’t really know what it is, or parents don’t allow their children to read it yet. (I have no doubt this child will graduate early). Well, she is the child that never really “played” with toys. She beats us at all our games and is constantly looking for more challenges (why, the girls are combined together for school lessons). “You were born older George.” I would love suggestions. :)


Language Arts


The girls copied So Oft As I Her Beauty Do Behold by Edmund Spenser in cursive.



(Little Sis)

So, how did I do handwriting? I purchased a cursive Painless Learning Place mat, before that I wrote the cursive letters on the chalkboard, for the girls to copy from. I picked seasonal poems for the girls to copy and practice. The same for handwriting. They would copy sentences off the board to practice. It could be from anything, stories you’re reading, or famous quotes, but I always tied it to lessons. You learn to print and write by practicing printing and writing.


I do have a few books we will start using in 2016 to help with the girls writing and punctuation, but for now I am just having them practice writing book reviews, poems, and essays. This week’s assignment was continued from last week. First, they needed to take notes while watching PBS’s American Experience documentary on Theodore Roosevelt. Then, they needed to use those notes to write an essay about him. Last, they practiced typing by putting them on my blog. I wasn’t really concerned about what they wrote as much as learning how to do it.

I printed a picture of Theodore Roosevelt, then printed their essay on the back. Little Sis’s was 2 1/2 pages. Sky’s was 2 pages. I didn’t give them a page length.


Spelling/ Vocabulary

Little Sis did the fourth grade list 3 at Homeschool Spelling Words.com. Right now she is flying through the lists and she has asked for harder words, but I think I will continue to see if the words get more challenging.

Sky’s words came from our story this week, Romeo and Juliet. She uses Quizlet.

procure, intercession, transgression, waverer, pensive, grievance, predominate, cunning, fickle, vial, heretics, sallow, fray.


More Shakespeare Sonnets.

We read Romeo and Juliet from Tales from Shakespeare, then read along with the play.



This has been their favorite Shakespeare story so far, and Little Sis caught the similarities between the story and the Twilight series. Edward right away reminded her of Romeo.

Reading Comprehension

They took the quiz from SparkNotes.




Basher Math A Book You Can Count On


Warming up with XtraMath.

Little Sis continuing with Grade 3 Math Made Easy.

Sky, Kumon Pre-Algebra.


Sky requested we watch PBS documentary about Gorongosa National Park. It’s basically showing how the ecology of the park changed after the civil war in Africa, and what they are doing to restore it and why.



We finished the music history of the Tudors from BBC’s radio Podcast. I am hoping to add penny (tin) whistle lessons into our lessons soon.


I read about Elizabeth the first from Lives of Extraordinary Women by Kathleen Krull, and we watched the Kings and Queens documentary about her (YouTube).

I printed a picture of her and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about her. (I print lines on the back of the pictures for them to write on.)




I took advantage of Amazon’s Prime deal Friday for $65. We were going to try it next year anyway, so why not save a few bucks too. We have been watching Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons that spoof the serial and melodrama. I am impressed with how ahead of their time the humor was. Very pre Simpsons adult cartoon humor.


The Arts

So far, we’ve seen one Shakespeare play live and one on YouTube, so this time I picked a ballet of Romeo and Juliet to watch (YouTube Prokofiev’s music and Allessandra Ferri as Juliet was a perfect.combination).

We finished PBS Mystery, Auther and George. The girls really liked the series and can’t wait to read Sherlock Holmes. We also watched one of my favorite Disney movies, The Great Mouse Detective.


We took advantage of fall with a visit to a local pumpkin patch.




The real challenge was the corn maze.


It took us over an hour to find the 24 hidden trivia posts. We all slept good that night. :)


Well, Fall we welcome you! Peace for the journey.

Theodore Roosevelt (Sky)

September 24, 2015

In New York, 1858 on October 4, a baby boy named Theodore Roosevelt was born. He would later go through many hardships, and at the age of 42 he would become the youngest person to ever become President.

Theodore was a sickly child raised in a fairly well off family, he had asthma that was so strong it almost stopped him from breathing. However, his father would hold him close while riding in a carriage throughout the night, so Theodore could get break from his asthma. Theodore loved his father, who was nicknamed “Great Heart”. Though sometimes his father could be scary, he considered his father to be his best friend through his childhood. (His mother was a pretty woman from the south.)  Sadly, his father died of stomach cancer on February 9, 1878.

Later in Theodore’s life, he went through hard training and healed his asthma by strengthening his immune system. During this time, he had a crush on a beautiful woman named Alice Lee (whom he was very protective of). After some time, Alice was married to Theodore and was now Mrs. Roosevelt. The house they lived in was named: Lee Home. However, at the age of 25 Theodore faced tragedy. While Alice was in child labor ,dying of kidney disease, his mother was also dying. Within hours they both died. Alice was only 22, and Theodore’s mother 48.

Theodore had a daughter, who he named Alice after her mother, but he never mentioned her mother to her, and he showed little interest in her due to his mourning. Through time, Theodore remarried his childhood sweetheart Edith Carow on December 2, 1886, even though he didn’t want to remarry. He had his first child with Edith, a son that he named Theodore Jr. Theodore had a total of 6 children, the youngest a son he named Quentin.

In 1895, he became the commissioner for the police department, and fought against the laziness there at the time. He also invested in navy ship building. During the time, while McKinley was president, Theodore was a lieutenant in the army that was fighting Spain. He called his army The Rough Riders. Theodore led them into battle, winning the war and not fearing death. In 1900, Theodore became McKinley’s Vice President. Theodore was not happy with the idea, but continued to be Vice President anyway. In September 14, 1901 McKinley was assassinated,Theodore became President. Theodore was one of the few vice Presidents, and the youngest, to become President.

In 1904, Theodore was elected President of the United States, it would have been his father’s birthday. Theodore moved in a place called “The Executive Mansion” that was in very poor condition, however Theodore and Edith cleaned it up and renamed it “The White House”.

While president, Theodore fought big corporations and fought for miners due to his fear of a revolution. Theodore also made the Panama Canal.  He was given the nickname “Teddy”, much to his distaste, for refusing to shoot a bear cub. This is how the stuffed bear became known as the  “Teddy Bear”. Theodore was the first President to travel outside America, and was cousins with Franklin Roosevelt (who would later become President). Roosevelt made a mistake by saying he wouldn’t run for President after his term was over, so sadly he was only elected President for 4 years. At the age 50, he retired.

When times in America got hard Roosevelt tried running for President again and made his own party called The Progressive Party, also known as Bull Moose Party, because Taft was running for re-election in the Republican party . Though Roosevelt got more votes from citizens, he sadly lost to the Democrat Woodrow Wilson and left for a South American expedition.

At the age of 55 in 1914, Roosevelt went down a dangerous unknown river and was wounded with a broken leg that got infected, and then contracted a tropical fever. His son luckily rescued him, and Theodore along with his son returned to America. Sadly, Theodore was blind in one eye and never fully recovered from his illness.

Back in America, World War 1 was starting and Roosevelt wanted to have an army prepared to fight, but Wilson wouldn’t allow it and Theodore thought of him as a coward. Theodore wanted to fight in the war, but sadly couldn’t. His sons fought in the war, all but his youngest son survived. Theodore went into a depression and became sickly. In 1919 Roosevelt died in his sleep at the age of 60 years old. He was buried at Sycamore Hill.

Theodore made the child-labor rules in America we know today. He created the FDA, and was a naturalist. He also believed immigrants should follow the American way if you planned on living here. To this day we are still familiar with many of Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quotes like: “My hat is in the ring.”, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.” , and his face is one of the four Presidents engraved on Mount Rushmore.  He is one of my personal heroes for the bravery and wisdom he showed America.


PBS American Experience TR

Theodore Roosevelt (Little Sis)

September 22, 2015

Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest man to be president at the age of forty-two. He became president after the assassination of William McKinley. In his life, he experienced many things including sadness, happiness, and madness.

One October day, 1858, in New York City a baby boy was born. As a child, he loved his father very much. His father was his best friend. Theodore suffered from terrible asthma, and some nights he didn’t even know if he was going to live the next morning. Since his lungs were very weak from asthma, his father would take him to go hiking and to get some exercise to make his body healthier. He did actually recover from his asthma by exercising everyday.

When he turned seventeen, he decided to move out and attend college. Two years later, while Theodore was still in college, his father passed away from stomach cancer at the age of forty-six. Theodore suffered from depression after receiving the sad news.

While still in college, Theodore encountered a young women named Alice Lee. He claimed he would marry her one day. Theodore, at first was shy to ask for her proposal but when he did, she accepted.
In 1880, Theodore and Alice’s wedding was prepared and set. When Theodore graduated, they moved into a house they named “Lee Home”.

When Theodore was twenty-three, he got involved with politics and chose the republican side. The years quickly passed. In 1884 Alice was pregnant with a baby girl. After Alice had the baby, two days later she died from bright’s disease ( a disease involving chronic inflammation of the kidneys). After Alice’s death, Theodore named the first baby girl Alice. But, once he had named her, and being overcome with grief from his wife’s death, he rejected Alice and gave her over to live with his sister.

While still grieving, Theodore spent time as a Rough Rider cowboy. The Rough Riders made fun of the way he talked very fancy and the way he wore leather boots. He declared he wouldn’t marry again, but after seeing his childhood friend, Edith Kermit Carow, he changed his mind. In 1886, Edith and Theodore were married. Soon after the marriage, Edith and Theodore had a baby boy named Theodore Junior. After Theodore Junior, the children piled up all the way to six (with Alice returning to live them).

Theodore joined in the war against Spain when he heard that the United States was fighting against the Spanish. The reason he went to war was because he wanted his six children to think of him as a hero. The war ended almost as soon as it started, and the United States had won over Spain. Soon after fighting with Spain, Theodore went into another war against Cuba.

In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became vice president under William McKinley. One day, William McKinley was assassinated  by Leon Czolgosz, and Theodore then became President. His first day in the White House was September, his fathers birthday. While he was president, he declared to fight against the rich, who were getting too much, and the poor, who were getting too little. People were scared of him because they thought of him as a time bomb, they didn’t know if or when he was going to blow his fuse.

When he was forty-six years old, he was elected president of the United States for the first time. While Theodore was president, he had miners dig coal for winters and helped settle their coal strike. He negotiated the Panama Canal, he started the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), he was the first president ever be shot in film, first president to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and helped save thousands of acres for national parks. Once, he couldn’t bring himself to shoot a bear cub ,so they named the Teddy Bear after him (though he did not like to be called Teddy).

Whenever he was stressed, he would write. He wrote over thirty-six books. In one of his journals he wrote, “I have tried and failed”. One day he made the great mistake by saying he wouldn’t run for president again, this stayed with him for the rest of his life. He was fifty years old when his presidential term came to an end in 1909.

After he left the White House, Theodore Roosevelt didn’t know what he was going to do with his life. After awhile, he decided to visit Africa. In Africa, he sent letters to Edith and she would write him back. He hunted a lot of wild animals including lions, elephants, zebras, rhinos, and water buffalo. After almost a year of Theodore and Edith being apart, Edith decided to visit Roosevelt in Africa. After Theodore got bored in Africa, he decided to go to Europe before returning home. When he came back to the United States, the Wright Brothers asked him to take a trip with them on the airplane that they invented.

One day in 1912, while Theodore was trying to run for president again, on his way to make a speech he was shot near the heart by John Schrank. He was hurt by the assault but refused to seek a hospital and continued to give his speech.

World War 1 started in 1914, Theodore wanted to join in the war but being older,overweight, and partly blind he couldn’t. However, all four of his sons did go. Sadly his youngest son didn’t come home from the war. Theodore and Edith found out  he had been killed. Theodore loved his youngest son very much and was heart broken when he found out. His son was only nineteen. World War 1 ended in 1918. Theodore died a year later in 1919 at the age of sixty.

I personally thought Theodore had a good heart and was strong spirited and full of wisdom. His words spoke the truth and he lived to be a descent age. He lived a long adventurous life.


PBS American Experience TR


Week In The Life ( “The Nest of the Devil” )

September 20, 2015

Well, it has been four weeks since my surgery and I am finally getting out and about. I can honestly say this has been, by far the hardest thing I have ever gone through. Pain and mental wise. Your mind feels the same, so you think you’re able to just get up and do something. However, your body tells you different. You would think I would love being waited on, and having everyone else doing the things I would usually do. The first week was nice. By the second week I was ready to do something, anything!

I’ve been able to cut my pain medication down to once a night, then just two Advil come morning. This week, I was finally able to get behind the wheel and take the girls to a few homeschooling events. The real test was Saturday.

We went to a local art fair, where they had several streets blocked off filled with art vendors. I was SO ready to get out there. I woke up this morning a little sore, but no more sore than any other morning.

How easy it is to take our back for granted. You don’t realize how much we use it until you can’t. This week I plan on adding walks around the block back into our days. I am also adding Yoga back into my mornings. We are near an indoor pool, and I am thinking of adding swimming on the weeks we don’t have homeschool gym just shake things up a bit.

From the garden:

Papa was able, on top of everything else he was doing, to get the garden all ready for next year. We still need to plant garlic though. This will be the second year planting with our garlic.

From the kitchen:

During all that has been going on, I have really been getting good at cooking with a crock-pot. I’ve cooked a whole chicken, baked potatoes, meatloaf cooked over the baked potatoes, even lasagna. I’m actually having a hard time not wanting to use my crock-pot now. I love the time I am saving by using it. With our school hours getting longer, my time spent cooking meals needs to get shorter. There are very picky eaters in this family of mine. When you are spoiled on eating fresh foods, processed foods just don’t cut it. One child would rather starve than eat frozen types of dinners (think pizza, chicken nuggets, even french fries). My crock-pot has been the perfect solution.

From the school front:

Language Arts


This week the girls tackled A Midsummer Night’s Dream.


We read along with our e-readers (book free at Amazon).

Since seeing Othello, the girls have been curious about Shakespeare. I loved English Literature class back in high school. Actually, I always had stories, or books read way before we as a class did. So, I never understood the big deal about Shakespeare being hard. Maybe ,it’s from all the silent movies I’ve watched, but when something is acted well, you really don’t need to understand what is being said. I really didn’t see Shakespeare being harder than anything else I might have been reading at the time. So, I wondered what the girls would think about him.

The only thing I read to them before seeing the play, was a summary of the story from Tales of Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb. While at the play, I asked them if they were following what was going on. They both gave me a look like they couldn’t believe I had asked. “What is there not to follow?” That came from Little Sis, 9 soon to been 10. On the way home, I explained that some think Shakespeare to be a bit hard. Neither of them could believe it.

Maybe, it’s all the Dickens we’ve read lately, or all the PBS we’ve watched. Maybe, it’s the fact I’ve never “dumbed-down” anything with them. I’ve never looked at “maturity” as something that occurs at a certain age. I know people older than myself that I would never call mature. I’ve never forced the girls to watch anything they didn’t want too. Little Sis still does not like watching nature programs showing animals as the prey, and I will never force her to watch either. What I do know, is our Shakespeare study is moving right along.

After we finished reading the play, they took the test from Sparknotes.


We read the summary from the Tales of Shakespeare, the girls following along with me on their e-reader. I read about Shakespeare from Lives of Writers by Kathleen Krull, and we read more Sonnets. I am still continuing Beatrix Potter stories too (by request).

Spelling/ Vocabulary

Little Sis did list 2 of the 4th grade spelling words. Sky took her test at Quizlet.com. Her words were,

tarry, beguile, progeny, enamor, officious, condole, visage, pomp, abjure, sovereignty, tempest, dowager.


The girls copied the poem The House on the Hill by Edwin Arlington Robinson.



We went over how to write an essay with Essay Mama’s essay writing guide,


and the girls wrote their rough rafts for their Theodore Roosevelt essay.

Reading Independently

Little Sis is 3/4 of the way through Breaking Dawn. I am 60% through Clash of Kings. The book is really picking up for me now. Sky started reading the graphic novels of Game of Thrones (there are 4 graphic novels for the first book).



Math A Book You Can Count On

Working on

Warming up at Xtramath.com

Sky, Kumon Pre-Algebra workbook.

Little Sis, 3rd Grade Made Easy.



Science in the News about Pluto.


The girls took a science quiz, and only missed 1.


We compared the size of North America with the size of Jupiter from IFLS.



NOVA Dawn of Humanity documentary.



We listened to The Tudors Drama part of the radio podcast.

The girls came up with 10 facts they learned about Shakespeare.



We watched a video from YouTube about Elizabethan Theater,

and the girls came up with 10 facts they learned about The Globe.



We watched the American Experience documentary about Walt Disney, and learned a lot about him I never knew.

The Arts

I mentioned the art fair that we went to.


We came home with some new interesting items (my favorite being a new Santa Clause clay painted ornament, for my Santa collection), and Sky observed and asked the artists lots of questions.

Our local library is starting a homeschool STEAM class (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) for Little Sis’s age (9-12). Their first project was a Minecraft project.


Some new drawings from Little Sis.



We enjoyed watching episode 2 of Arthur and George on PBS and Rice University’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (found on YouTube).


The girls had homeschool gym this week (they have it twice a month).


For an hour and a half the girls, along with other homeschoolers, get to play in the gym. It is one of their favorite outings.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Tolerance)

September 11, 2015

On this day of remembrance I am feeling a bit disgusted. This morning, I’ve already encountered an argument over religion with “my way”, being the right way. Current events from the last couple of days, pick any really, doesn’t help matters. I’ve heard arguments of how “I see no color” upsets some, which I couldn’t possibly understand because I am not of color. Maybe I don’t get it.

Science has shown me, we are all human beings evolved (whatever your stance may be on evolution or religion, I think we can agree) from a common source. Yes, we have differences. We come from different backgrounds, different cultures, different countries (just like every living plant, animal, insect, thing). I get that, how boring it would be if we were all the same. However, we are still homo sapiens.

I guess I’ve never really been a “labeling” type of person. I mean I have used labels to describe where I was in my journey, but I feel labels hinder internal growth. Why do we feel the need to label ourselves anyway? (My opinion, or “theory” stripped to its core is acceptance.)

Which brings me to my point of all this. Being homeschoolers, sometime along the way the word socialization will be brought up. Honestly, I am so past this now I kind of just chuckle. Like many things, most times than not, it is repeated from something heard with no true understanding of what it really means. “School is more than education, you also learn how to work and communicate with others.” I saw how well this worked back in high school when a boy, that I sat next to in Spanish class, brought a machete to school stabbing the kids who were bulling him. My teen self would have called “socialization”, bullshit and I still do now.

History has shown me, that it will get worse before it gets better. I am hopeful for the better. 9/11 awakened in me not only what hatred looks like, but ignorance too. As a parent, my goal for the girls is to learn the opposite.

From the home-front:

With lots of new homeschoolers this year, and with lots of them starting school this week, I thought I would share a little bit more of how we homeschool. I see so many newbies asking questions about curriculum, repeating the same method used at school, at home. If curriculum is your thing and works for you, great. Really, there is no one right way to homeschool.

I’m personally not a big fan. I’m not the kind of person that likes to be told what to learn, and if I “have to” learn something, I need to know the real reason why. Mathematics, for instance, is Earth’s language.

Though there are “core” subjects everyone must learn in order to acquire a diploma, how we learn those subjects is totally up to us. Curriculum, is one of the ways. Now that we are in the 21st century, there are other methods besides literature and worksheets.

Don’t get my wrong, I love literature and we use it quite a bit. One of my children however, learns better visually. So, I’ve adapted how we homeschool to fit the needs of how my children learn best.

Language Arts

These last two weeks have been all about Shakespeare. Sky, 9th grade (15), is working on her British Literature credit, and Little Sis, 4th grade (10) though well above her grade level, requested Romeo and Juliet as our next read aloud.

Being there just happened to be a performance of Othello going on at the same time, that was what we read next.

First, I read a summery of the story from the book Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb (also found free at Amazon).


We downloaded the story for free on the tablet from Amazon to read along.

They took the quiz from SparkNotes.


We are also reading and listening to some of Shakespeare’s sonnets.



Little Sis read Magic Tree House, Haunted Castle on Hollows Eve out loud on the tablet (downloaded using OverDrive).

Lastly, I continued reading more of Beatrix Potter’s stories.


The girls copied Sonnet 2, from the above link, in cursive that I had wrote on our chalkboard.

Spelling/ Vocab

Little Sis practiced her spelling words from 4th grade list one, and took her test.


Her vocabulary words came form her story ( sentry, legions, impishly, anvil).

Sky’s words were from Othello she practiced at Quizlet ( imprudent, solicit, restitution, strumpet, reproach, mettle, discretion, imposition, disposition, trifles).


The girls warmed up at Xtramath.

Then, Little Sis took the 3rd grade quiz from Khan’s and I started Sky with 6th grade and she completed through the 7th grade quiz. This made me extremely happy because she passed everything except the algebra problems, which is where she is now. So, 9th grade math, for her, will be Pre-Algebra from Khan’s.

Little Sis worked from the 3rd grade Math Made Easy workbook. Sky from Kumon Pre-Algebra workbook 1.

We are also reading, from the Basher series, Math, A Book you can count on. There are mental math problems for each explanation (love this series).


We attended the annual Bug Fest at a local park, where Sky ate crickets. She actually did lots of research on how healthy crickets are for you before we went. Her big sister is the inspiration behind this new discovery, when she brought cheese flavored crickets with her during a visit. (Thanks Big Sis :) )




Continuing our study of bugs, we learned about how infected bumble bees self medicate themselves, and Brazilian wasp venom kills cancer cells but not healthy cells from IFLS.





Sticking with the 1900s, after reading the American Girl Samantha series, we watched the PBS American Experience documentary, TR (found on YouTube). The girls took notes for their reports they will start writing next week.

We also watched the Crash Course episode on Bush 43


We listened to part of the BBC radio series called The Tudors, (taking us to the late 1400s through the 1600s England) with Tudor sketches.


We also watched PBS’s new series Author and George. All of us can’t wait for episode 2.


I mentioned our outing to see Othello,


and Sky made some theater masks.



The Arts

We watched an artists interpretation of the poems Lenore and The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.

Then, we watched The Raven read by Christopher Lee (RIP).

We watched movies 1-3 of the Twilight series, now that Little Sis is more than halfway through book 4.

I was hoping to be halfway through Clash of Kings by now myself ,but am only 40%. This book is moving a bit slower for me, I think it is because when you take out so many characters from book 1, you need to spend more time introducing all new characters in book 2(and there are a lot new characters).

Sky made another felt animal to be the baby of her other one.


From the kitchen

Apples, yes it is that time of year already.


Gluten free pizza, crust made with my favorite flour, oat.


Papa loves this crust better than my original homemade crust. We used Egg Beaters instead of eggs and reduced fat cheese, so I like how heart healthy this crust is. (Toppings, steak, green peppers, hot peppers, onions, mushrooms.)


Also, my new favorite oatmeal.


It tastes just like cookie dough. I make mine in the microwave, heating for about 4 minutes.

I also found out I do not like sushi !

I think that just about wraps things up, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something, but this is the bulk of it anyway.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life ( Musical Thrones)

August 29, 2015

I haven’t been feeling up to writing lately. However, I have found that usually means I should. My microlumbar discectomy went well. I still have major nerve pain. I guess I herniated my disk a long time ago (without knowing), because the surgeon said my disk was growing out over my spine. He had to cut through my bone in order to get to where the nerves were pinched.

Movement on my part has been slow. Call me crazy, but for some reason I had the idea I would be up and out walking around the block again within the next few days. I thought all my pain would be gone and could jump right back to where life left off before all this began.

Nope, my body needs time to heal, not just from the surgery itself ,but from the damage the herniated disk caused as well. I need time to retrain my leg muscles to do what they are meant to do instead of spasming to protect my nerves. I can’t even stand long enough to cook a meal without my muscles tightening up. It sucks!! I feel like my house is falling apart all around me and I can’t do anything about it.

I am a very organized type of person, I do not like surprises, I need to know plans ahead of time. I must feel secure in order to relax, and right now nothing in my life is secure.

I also suffer from anxiety that can cause panic attacks. I have never shared this here before. I didn’t even realize I suffered from anxiety until a few years ago when I had a massive, and I don’t use that word lightly, panic attack that landed me in the emergency room. In healing, or finally being able to accept me, I discovered I have suffered from anxiety my whole life. It really is amazing when you can finally forgive yourself, for being you, how much more clearly you are able to see. Life no longer has time for pettiness and games.

I no longer care for arguing or trying to prove one way being right over another. I no longer feel the need to try to be interested in things ,that in all honesty I could care less about, to be liked. I don’t feel embarrassed about what I do like either.

I guess that is why I am able to be open about my anxiety now.  Why I needed to write today even if I didn’t want to because I didn’t have anything positive to say. Life for me right now isn’t positive. Guess what, that happens while homeschooling too. Life for us doesn’t change just because we decide not to send our children to school.

So, what does someone recovering from surgery do? Read a lot. I finished Game of Thrones and started Clash of Kings (I am really loving my Kindle, and I honestly didn’t think I would as much as I do.) Sky and I have had SO many discussions from this series, like honor over loyalty. She keeps updated with what is going on so we can discuss the series together (She is my fantasy genre child, like her mama.).  I think when we start back to our fall schedule I will have her write some of her persuasive essays from this series.

Little Sis finished book 3 of Twilight and while waiting for book 4 started reading the series to Sky (She likes Jacob and the whole wolf story line).


Sky has been creating felt animals being inspired by Game of Thrones,


as well as her drawings.




Little Sis has been drawing too.



Okay, even though I consider all the above a part of home “school”……(For any newbies just starting homeschooling it can be hard at first to understand there is no separation between the two. However, for the sake of “school educators”, I’ve learned how to keep track of what they would be looking for as far as “academics” go. Which is a part of homeschooling too.)

From the schoolroom:

Language Arts

We finished Wuthering Heights. Both girls, especially Sky, enjoyed the book much better. I, myself enjoyed the movie better. After Cathy died the book kind of dragged for me. I am glad I read it, and we learn the back story of Catherine and Linton much more from the book, but that was why I found the story SO boring. The girls also found it interesting the mention of Michaelmas in the story.

The girls took the quiz from SparkNotes,


and Sky recited her poem, Old Ireland. Both girls had until the start up of our fall school schedule, and both girls memorized and recited them before time was up.

Little Sis read aloud Magic Tree House Stage Fright on a Summer Night and I continued with Beatrix Potter stories.


Nothing new to report except, Sky is finally getting the hang of fractions and decimals. Both girls work out of the workbooks by themselves and on come to me if they need help. Then they check their work. Most times I need to help Sky find where she went wrong, and most times it is a simple mistake. Lately, Sky has been finding what she did wrong herself and correcting it without my help.


The Arts

Since we watched Miyazaki’s last movie we also thought to watch his first, The Castle of Cagliostro.


It was so different than his other movies, having more comedy, and I actually really liked it. It would be really hard to pick a favorite, because I like all of them for different reasons. “Which of his movies would you recommend to watch first?” All of them. :)

We also watched a Little Women musical found on YouTube (It has adult and children actors). I actually liked the musical story line much better than the movie we watched.

I introduced the girls to Kate Bush with her Wuththering Heights video and we watched three songs from the musical, Up Here With You, Cathy, and I Belong To The Earth.

Culinary Arts

The girls made gluten free chocolate rice crispy treats.



We received our supply of wood (Hard to believe it is that time already). Both girls had to stack without my help this year, but are being rewarded  with a trip to their favorite restaurant.

We will be taking the next week off with Papa being on vacation, and then gradually get back into our fall schedule.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life ( Moors Please)

August 15, 2015

Well, this week proved to be a little less crazy. Sleeping has become a bit difficult for me. I already had a touch of insomnia, thanks again perimenopause, but with a herniated disk I can’t seem to get comfortable. Atleast it has made counting down the days until my surgery tolerable. Then out of nowhere, Little Sis came down with a 24 hour stomach bug. You never really know just how much you are needed until an injury takes you out of commission. I know one thing is for sure, both girls have a new respect for the role I play in this family. “Will the dishes ever stop!?” A question I have asked many a times. :)

Actually, I am ready to get things back to normal, fingers crossed. At first, besides the horrible pain, I was glad for “having a break”. That lasted about 2 days. I discovered something else out about myself. Though I am considered a homebody, I do like to keep busy. Yes, I like to kick back with a cup of tea and nice conversation, or a book. I need to keep my mind busy. Yes, I am a little bit slower to get my day started. After a while though, I need to move. I never really noticed this before, because, as many parents know, there is always something to do. Laundry, dishes, meals, dusting (seriously, something I don’t think I’ve seen mentioned much with homeschooling, is how dirty your house always seems to be.). “I swear, I just dusted.” Vacuumed, yes just yesterday.”

I am, however, 2/3s of the way through Games of Thrones. I know I will be able to finish it next week while I recover. Though I am reluctant, because I know one of my favorite characters is about to die. I am torn on how I feel about this. It is refreshing to read a story where everything doesn’t end picture perfect. Kind of like real life. Then again, I am like why!? I guess I will have to wait 6 more books to see if the pay off was worth it. (It better be worth it.)

From the garden:


(Yes those are frozen yogurt containers that we have accumulated through the years. They make great all purpose containers, garden containers, but most of all we use them for our indoor compost scraps. Then they can be recycled. No waste. :) )

Looks like a pretty good crop, but considering how many plants we had it really wasn’t. We did manage several jars of tomato sauce, and salads have been daily.

We had another rain free weekend, and was able to enjoy eating outdoors. The girls decorated the table.


From the homeschool:

English Literature

We started Wuthering Heights as our next read along.



The girls agree that the story is better than the movie, and we liked the movie. They have been so immersed in the story, neither can believe the 30 minute chapter is over and have asked to keep reading.

I am continuing to read our Treasury of Beatrix Potter Stories. The girls have asked for them as gifts to have for their own libraries. They have been making a list of all their favorite stories.

American Literature

I have been trying to catch up with Little Sis and her reading series, thinking a 2 book start would be okay. She is more than halfway through book three in the Twilight series (She is taking my challenge seriously), and if that wasn’t enough, she is reading 2 series at once and is halfway through book 4 of the Gallagher Girls series too. (I know she is reading,because she gives me a chapter by chapter narration (all on her own).

She read Book 5 in the series of Violet Mackerel, Violet’s Possible Friend out loud. She flew right through this book.( Did I mention she picked Wuthering Heights as our next story? ) I really, really like this series. Most “girl” series are about quirky girls, like Sky. Little Sis is not “quirky”, she is quiet, does what she is told without me needing to say a word, and is way more mature than her age (she acts like she should be the older sister). Violet Mackerel is a quiet, and more mature kind of gal that she can relate to.


Nothing new to add here. I am really glad to have found the Kumon workbook for Sky as it contains a few things she didn’t learn from the Math Doesn’t Suck book.



Sky, on her own, watched the Hidden Kingdom series.


American History

We watched the American Girl Samantha movie, found on YouTube. We all agree the movie is much better than the books for once. It is what the book series should have been. I personally would bypass the series and just watch the movie.

I printed a Victorian paper doll to represent the 1900s in America for the girls to add to their history of Earth notebooks.


We also watched the Little Women movie.


Of course they had to make changes, I know. Overall, its not a bad movie. We all agree we would rather read the story.

The Arts

We also watched the Anime version of Little Women too. (YouTube). As much as we are fans of anime, we didn’t care much for this one. The added parts took away from the original story, and honestly, just didn’t fit well. If they stuck to the story it wouldn’t have been too bad. I guess we are spoiled with more adult like anime, not talking down to children to make for a more entertaining movie ( like needing to add fart noises just to get laughs). To their credit this anime was made in the early 80s.

Well, we will be taking it easy this week, probably continuing Wuthering Heights and maybe checking out the Little Women musical I found on YouTube. Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Immersed)

August 7, 2015

I’m trying to find the positive after my last post, but these past few weeks have been crazy.

For starters, I had my appointment with the specialist and my disk has herniated. So, in 2 weeks I will be having lumbar spinal surgery. (Tuning forty hasn’t been very kind to me.) To say I am a little nervous is an understatement. After all,  this is my spine we are talking about, and my first surgery. I have been put under before, but never cut on. :(

Oh, and I’ve yet to talk about perimenopause ,and walking around the grocery store with a bag of frozen broccoli, that I was purchasing, on the back of my neck, because hot flashes are NOT fun. I never, I mean never sweat before. Now, walking to our vehicle and I am drenched like I worked out for hours in the Sahara Desert.

If that wasn’t enough, our street has been hit with multiple break-ins during day light. If you happened to catch a Wal-Mart video in the news of 2 women fighting, that was just the beginning of a small town reputation going bad. Cops have been called out to this Wal-Mart over 500 times just this year, one ending in a car chase with innocent lives lost. Add this along with our state being number 1 in drug store robberies and a cheap hotel being located walking distance from this Wal-Mart, you can imagine the trash our town has been accumulating. I have lived here before the Wal-Mart and the change has not been a positive one. I am aware our town isn’t the only one dealing with break-ins. I realize it is a sign of the times. This is where I begin to get frustrated (Just Say No, “If we can reach children while they are young.” This IS the just say no generation.). You can only ignore the news so long, eventually it will come to you.

We happen to be lucky, being tucked in between awesome neighbors, we’ve always watched each others backs. Now another member on our street started a private Facebook street watch so, we are able to report anything suspicious. The one thing we do have going for us is our small town community.

All this to explain my need for tuning reality out, getting away from the internet and commercial television, and immersing myself into reading. The idea struck me while ordering book 3 of the Twilight series for Little Sis. Yes, she finished book 2 and is a fourth of a way through book 3. Since we have been home bound this summer, due to my injury, both girls found interests to keep them occupied. I realized I need to stop reading what other people are doing, seeing the happy summer vacation photos that just make me feel worse, and jump back into my love of reading. (And being inspired by Novels and Nonsense and her monthly book haul videos.)

I always keep a “paper” book going, for those times in waiting rooms, park days ext. Being we read SO much for school, I really don’t have much time to read “full time”. Just finishing a series, I was looking for a quick read and something outside of the fantasy genre. I decided on Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson, the whole cyberpunk thing catching my eye. Since the book was written in 1993, it’s fun seeing Stephenson’s take of the future. It was just what I was looking for.

I also have a book, or an audio book going on Kindle. Since finishing Tenet of Wildfell Hall, I was ready for a new one. I have been putting Game of Thrones off for a while. One, it being another fantasy series and 2, I wasn’t really wanting to get invested in many character deaths right now. (Trying to stay positive, kittens and puppies.)

Well, while searching for my next read I decided to check the series out,  before I knew it the sample was over and I was purchasing the Kindle version. I am a third of the way through the book, and I started 2 days ago. I have not seen the cable series, being we don’t have cable, but I have seen pictures of characters. I already know I’m not going to like the fate of some characters already. It’s been fun disusing the series with Sky, she’s been watching spoilers on YouTube, and I told her I don’t want to know anything. So, she is pushing me to get to certain parts for us to discuss.

Well with Little Sis immersed in Twilight, and myself in Game of Thrones, Sky, my reluctant reader, has picked up Fruits Basket again.


Speaking of reluctant readers, a few tips, I’m sure to have mentioned before, is watching movies with subtitles on, (We can’t watch a movie without them now.) and reading along with audio books. (Called immersion reading, and the reason we purchased tablets.)

From the homeschool:

Language Arts,

We just finished Little Women this way. I love how it brings the story alive, and Sky didn’t even realize she was reading and finishing a 500 page novel. :)  (She also gets intimidated by the size of books.)

After we finished they took the quiz from SparkNotes. (Reading Comprehension)


Sky finished the American Girl Samantha Series aloud. This wasn’t our favorite from the series. In Sky’s words “After reading Oliver Twist, this series is really boring.” I actually thought so myself ,but wasn’t going to be the first to say so. I thought book 1, and the story with Nellie was good but the other books were just filler. The girls take a lot more notice of how a story is set up and the character development now (Thank you Nostalgia Critic.), and agree this series just skipped around too much. For once ,I really felt like they just came up with something to sell the doll.

The girls have requested reading the Beatrix Potter stories again after watching the movie Miss Potter,


and I printed off a page for the girls to come up with 10 things they learned about her.


I love the dictionary built inside the Kindle and the girls learned what exactly a fortnight means.

Little Sis picked up on the similarities between Twilight and Wuthering Heights with the love triangle between Bella, Jacob, and Edward. She has requested we read Wuthering Heights next.

Sky has continued writing her story that is now 22 chapters in.



Both girls continue XtraMath and working in their workbooks. I have been collecting the Basher Book series for our home library and we have been going over the Math, A Book You Can Count On. I really like this series and though it is geared for elementary age children, it is perfect for my visual learner.




Since I have not been able to take the girls swimming, I thought at least I could hook up the sprinkler. It was fun to get outdoors again, without rain.


We enjoyed watching the golden finches eat from our neighbor’s sunflowers. This is the first time I’ve seen a family of them in our area.

The Arts

Being we love stop-motion animation, we watched The Fantastic Mr. Fox.


It was our first Wes Anderson film and Sky put in a request to see his other films.

Sky continues to draw.


Theater History

We watched Broadway Idiot (Netflix Instant).


It was interesting to learn about the Gypsy Robe tradition.


Being a huge Green Day fan, I would love to see this musical. I know we are going to have lots of fun with this course.

Not much is coming out of the kitchen these days, besides quick meals. I just don’t have the energy to cook big meals right now. I am pretty impressed with how much the girls can cook. At least, I know they will not starve.

From the garden:


Our first cantaloupe. Not bad for not planting them. :)

Peace for the journey

Week In The Life ( “……….Must Go, According to Plan”)

July 25, 2015

“And that’s why everything, every last little thing,
every single tiny microscopic little thing must go…
According to plan,” Corpse Bride lyrics.

I am pretty sure, I am not the only one that experiences things not always going according to plan. Well, that is exactly how our summer has been. Between all the rain, and my injury, you could say our summer has sucked. I feel sorry for the girls and Papa for having to pick up my slack. The girls made 3 dinners this week in the crock pot. That is about all the strength I have, crock pot meals. I could very easily start complaining about why I need to wait 4 weeks to see a specialist (I had to wait 3 weeks to get in to a gastroenterologist), and how backed up the health care in our country is, but I am really trying to make the best of it. It’s been hard though, there was SO much I wanted to do with the girls this year. We were just getting involved with homeschooling activities again.

From the garden:

Well, we did have another mystery crop this year. One child was hoping, fingers crossed and everything, for watermelon. It turned out to be cantaloupes instead.


I am the only one in the family that likes cantaloupes. Like before when we had a mystery crop, it must have been from our compost.

The tomatoes have finally began to ripen, and we have been enjoying the grape tomatoes on salads, not eating tomatoes all year makes for a very special treat when taking that first bite, Yum.

We have also been enjoying a crop of summer squash, which brings me to ..

From the kitchen:

My new favorite way to cook summer squash is sauteed in a pan with a little onion as a side dish. I have also been enjoying summer squash, walnut, and spice, gluten free oat pancakes. They taste just like zucchini bread and I can eat them plain.

It is also that time of year again,


60 ears of corn put back for the winter. We eat it as a side dish as well as add the kernels in soups, and stews. This family loves corn.

The girls made muddy buddies as their treat this week along with a few dinners. I do believe I will be in good hands if surgery is needed.

From the homeschool:


The girls are still working through their workbooks and warming up with Xtra Math.


We watched the video on Apollo 11 and discussed the moon landing, celebrating its anniversary this week.


American History:

I read Louisa May’s Battle by Kathleen Krull. It was interesting to learn Walt Whitman served as a nurse during the Civil War.

Language Arts:

English Literature:

We finished the Bronte Sisters’ book of poetry.

American Literature:

We finished part one of Little Women and started part two (Good Wives). The tablets are working out great for reading along.

Sky read book 4 of the American Girl, Samantha series aloud.

Little Sis finished book one of Twilight and has started on book 2.


Both girls have been inspired to write their own poems (I hope to have the girls post them soon), and both girls are writing their own novels.


The Arts:

Art History:

We watched The Wind Rises, Miyazaki’s last movie.


We really liked it, even Papa enjoyed this one.

Then we watched The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness documentary (Netflix) about Miyazaki making his last movie.


I too feel like a 20th century girl living in a 21st century world. Computers good, yes, SO much is available on-line for school. However, just because we can do CGI doesn’t mean ALL movies need to be made that way. I do like how we now have the ability to bring movies to life in a way that we couldn’t before, but  I also enjoy the artwork of 2D animation. I like watching Hitchcock’s different camera angles, or learning how Howard Hughes got some of his shots.

I believe computers have the ability to make us lazy. I get computers are a tool, and we can do so much now because of them, and do understand that television has the same ability as well as reading books. I am guilty of staying up all night because I couldn’t put the book I was reading down.

I also prefer to read an actual book. I enjoy the way they feel in my hand, the noise truing a page makes, how they can be used as security blanket, but am thankful for the convenience of having a tablet too. There will be some books we read for school, that I know the girls will not want to read again.

I guess the point I am trying to make is, why can’t we have the best of both worlds? Oh well, this is more than I intended to write on the subject honestly. :)


I guess I will just end this post by saying,

peace for the journey.


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