Week(s) In The Life (Industrial Strength)

After my Year In The Life posts my brain needed a break from writing. 🙂 I never would have thought our next scheduled audiobook, The Cricket on the Hearth by Charles Dickens, would be exactly what I needed.

I have a confession to make, until listening to A Christmas Carol, I have never read Charles Dickens before. Yes, I’ve seen movies based off his writings, but to actually read his words, never. This last week I have been seriously asking myself, why not!? At the risk of driving the girls nuts I have been on a Dickens kick, A Tale of Two Cities, yes, yes. David Copperfield, yes, I know these stories, but Bleak House, Hard Times, and The Chimes? Where have I been?

Besides the girls thinking his exposition is a little long winded, which I kind of tend to agree with them, once the story gets going we have been quite enjoying them. I mentioned The Cricket on the Hearth being our latest and Ruth Golding’s reading is probably one of the best I’ve heard on LibriVox.


I didn’t plan on staying long in Victorian London honestly, but since we are already here we might as well learn about the Industrial Revolution, but I am getting ahead of myself.

I am using this year as a “test run” before Sky starts her freshman year of high school. We recently started learning about history from the beginning, starting with the big bang working our way into modern times, and I am seeing just how long this will probably take us. (We left off in world history with ancient Persia and American history in Colonial times.) So, I thought why not start logging the hours spent toward her credits now (No sense in spending all this time on it now to learn the same things again next year.). This gives me 5 years to cover it all instead of feeling like I need to cram it all into 1. This past week I have been researching just what that might look like.

Being we are in Victorian times, why not start with British literature. So my thoughts are to start logging the hours and keeping a list of the literature we will be covering during this time period starting with Dickens.

Language Arts:

I already mentioned Cricket on the Hearth as our read aloud (which all of us enjoyed very much), we also started discussions on the 5 parts of plot beginning with exposition using the story The Three Bears as an example. Their words of the week were revolution and capitalism. We also discussed Victorian slang like “bitch the pot”, meaning pour the tea already, courtesy of BuzzFeed.com.


We have been slowly getting back into our routine, after the girls break, with Miss Sky reviewing fractions at Khan Academy. She completed the understanding and visualizing equivalent fractions. Little Sis and I tossed the puffle around to the multiplication tables. She has 1-5, 9s, 10s, and 11s down. I think I will “test” her next week and just practice the 6, 7,8, and 12s.


We watched PBS Nature episodes 1 and 2 of Dogs That Changed the World. I mentioned Sky being a visual learner, this is a prime example. We had watched these episodes before when she was in “4th grade”. Not only did she remember the episodes as soon as they started but remembered the boy with diabetes pricking his finger showing blood. (She knows I don’t like these things. 🙂 ) Seeing an episode only once years ago and she told me I may want to hide my eyes because of this.

We also reviewed briefly evolution, natural and artificial selection. Sky explained in great detail what they mean and both girls understand. These Nature episodes fit perfectly in our lessons being it was during Victorian times when breeding dogs became very popular.

I asked the girls if I was moving too fast with the science material and both girls agreed, “no mom, actually I think you spend too much time on them. We got it the first time.” That coming from the little one.

Social Studies:

World History:

I think I will start with Downton Abbey season 5. The girls are able to follow along nicely being they already understand the Russian revolution and the changes it brought, and I like the new addition of the school teacher bringing in different opinions (Which is a good thing too because most of all my favorite characters are dead.).

The girls added a list of British Victorian authors , starting with Mary Shelley just before and ending with Beatrix Potter just after, to their timelines. I think I will save Jane Austen for another time.

We also watched the Crash Course video on the Industrial revolution and the girls added notes to their timeline.


We had already discussed bureaucracy in our ancient civilization study, this week we discussed British monarchy and its differences between a republic government and democracy. Which led us right into our Governor’s State of the State address and the President’s State of the Union address.

The Arts:

Why we didn’t watch Don Bluth’s Land Before Time movie when we studied dinosaurs, I don’t know but we finally watched it as a family. I can’t believe how much The Lion King took from this story. I mean right down to showing Mufasa in the clouds. I really like how Don Bluth didn’t play down to children in his movies, with the exception of A Troll in Central Park. I remember watching Secret of NIHM at the theater and being scared, but in a good way. It is still a favorite of mine today. Do we sugar coat too much for children today? Do we underestimate their intelligence?

We also watched Rankin/Bass’s version of Cricket on the Hearth. First off, I am not a big fan of their work, I know some of you have a nostalgia for them, but me no. Talented puppetry animation, yes but their storylines stink. Does anyone else think living in the North Pole, thinking of Rudolf, would suck? They are so mean, but I digress. The girls are glad we listened to the story first because the movie really didn’t stick to much of the plot.

Home Economics :

The girls discovered they didn’t have a brownie recipe in their books so we are trying different recipes.


This recipe gets thumbs up from the family, Sky is picky about texture, but I think they are too crumbly. Maybe we will try oil instead of butter next time. So far still holding on to my peanut butter, oat flour brownie recipe as my favorite. I guess the hunt will continue and the girls can pick their favorite. Sky wants this recipe, so we shall call them Brownie 1. 🙂



Continuing Walking  Away the Pounds, which I am proud to say I got through the holidays sticking to my goal. Freezing all those berries, during the summer, is working out perfect for smoothies keeping my cravings down. Monday I move on to the 4 mile challenge.


(Being this post is a bit long I will talk about our new game Aztack next week.)

I will end this post with what the girls have been doing while on break, besides writing.







(Little Sis)

Peace for the journey.






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