Week In The Life (May I Call You Charles?)

Well, for a brief moment we had beautiful weather which lead us outdoors to feel the warmth of the sun on our skin. We went for a walk around the neighborhood breathing in the cool fresh air and I took advantage of the warmth to do a little inventory.

After several years of buying our meat from farmers I think I finally have our meal rotation down. This year I managed to use every cut evenly without running out of one. Being I do not use the oven during summer this took a bit of planning.

Using a binder I made an outline of all the cuts of meat we receive from purchasing 1/2 a steer, a hog, and chickens (we also purchase fresh caught salmon from a friend) then came up with about 2 to 4 recipes for each cut (ground beef has 8, 4 for winter like meatloaf, 4 for summer like tacos). I filed each recipe I need behind my outline.

Using my planner I make a menu for the week. It usually works out like this, 1 day meatless, 1 day pork, 1 day fish, 1 day beef, 1 day leftovers or free for all. The weekend is rotated between Coney dogs, hamburgers, pizza, or chicken.

We only get so many chickens a year and during winter use 2 chickens for the dark meat and grill the white meat during summer. So, this averages to about chicken once a month but since I also use the backs to make broth and the meat, we get more than 1 meal. For example this past weekend I made fried chicken Sunday, made broth Monday using some for minestrone soup (meatless meal), and made chicken and dumplings Tuesday with more of the broth and the meat from the backs.

When I go to make out the menu for the next week I use a different recipe from my list. This keeps our meal rotation from getting boring. Then come summer it is time for a new recipe rotation.

Speaking of broth I also make turkey broth, beef broth, and vegetable broth. We haven’t purchased broth from the store in so many years, actually this is all Little Sis knows. We haven’t purchased corn, apples, or tomato products either. This year we almost made it through the winter with our onions and have 3 heads of garlic left. Papa doubled our garlic already when he planted in the fall, so, my fingers are crossed this will be the perfect amount for next year. We are doubling our garden space this spring and hoping for a larger potato crop too.

It may seem like a lot of trouble but once I got my routine down it actually saves me tons of time now. I need to know what’s for dinner or what I need to pull out the night before, especially now that homeschooling is getting more challenging. I have SO much going through my mind all the time that not having to worry about meals is a huge relief.

Speaking of homeschooling,

Language Arts:

We finished Oliver Twist, and though I had seen the musical as a child there was a lot I had forgot. Actually I am wondering what made them want to make this story into a musical in the first place as it is rather dark. I do remember Bill Sikes scaring the dickens out of me though(I know, I know 🙂 ). The girls really loved it and can’t wait to watch the movie this weekend.

SparkNotes has a Quiz that I asked the girls once we were done. They got all the answers right.

http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/oliver/context.html

Sky’s spelling/ vocabulary words were indispensable, exonerate, bewail, prerogative, circumlocution,  repugnance, accede, retort, adjoin, wry, quixotic, and eccentric.

Next week, I will test her on all the words from her vocabulary lists, picking out 15 random ones,  to give her a final grade.

This I am hoping prepares her on how to study for exams.

Little Sis’s words were specimen, barren, billow, bewilder.

I read Magic Tree House Fact Finder, Dog Heroes and Charles Dickens biography from the Lives of the Writers by Kathleen Krull.

We discussed element number 4 of plot denouement, falling action, and 16 literary techniques explained by Disney from BuzzFeed.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/moerder/fancy-literary-techniques-explained-by-disney#.nwjMOYA20

Mathematics:

I don’t know why I had never thought before for Sky to make a math journal but this week she started one with how to compare fractions, solving improper fractions and mixed fractions.

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She masters how to solve the problem but when I try to review she forgets which way goes to which. This is frustrating to us both. I know it is because we are trying to do so much at once to get caught up but I can’t keep going over the same steps, we must move on. This is where the journal comes in. Now she has no excuse and can use her journal to help study later on. We are using the lessons from Coolmath.com and worksheets from softschool.com.

http://coolmath.com/

Little Sis is 50% through early math from Khan Academy moving right along mastering those word problems and she did the multiplication math drills from softschool.com.

Science:

We watched Cosmos episode 6 which was the perfect intro into Biology, which I plan to start come spring. We also watched Earth, The New Wild episode on forests. This show makes me very happy as someone who believes in learning to use nature to live along with nature. I am very passionate about the footprint our family leaves behind. I hope they add this series to Netflix so Papa can watch it with us. Sky wants to add it along with our BBC Earth collections, she too is very passionate about this topic.

I’ve never had to force “science” on the girls. Actually the only subject I need to force is mathematics (now with both girls, games are fun, word problems are not ), which saddens me. They are naturally curious about everything else we learn about. I know I am causing a dislike for mathematics as Sky, and Papa who uses measurements and fractions daily at his job, ask when will I need this?

Papa (who is a mathematical wizard and chess champion and again actually uses mathematics in his line of work daily) took the assessment math tests too and questioned why they were making mathematics so complicated, I don’t get it either. Not everyone is made to be a mathematician and saying “unless you can do this, you don’t get a diploma” is stupid. Yes, I said it.

Taxes, which I have always done myself, finances (which I am proud to say finally, with the exception of having our mortgage paid off in the next 7 years, we are debt free), civics, understanding how our government works, economics, knowing your history ( like why unions started in the first place or how I’m glad to not live in the “good ‘ol days”), grammar, being able to read and write, understanding how our universe functions, I get all that. Yes, I agree very important.  8 credits in mathematics to get an academic diploma (which the college requires where Sky wants to go), to go to art school, nope sorry.

Just because our days look more traditional does not mean my beliefs have changed. Sky wants to go to art school (and loves geometry  that she gets because she can visualize it) so, we are going through the motions, passing tests, getting grades but it still doesn’t change how I feel. I still think it’s bullshit and feel sorry for all the children who are made to feel like failures because of this. Could this be part of the reason why so many dropouts, and high crime rates? Just because of wiring in our brains? Knowledge has naturally built upon itself, whether they were properly “educated” or not.

Anyway,

Social Studies:

World History, We finished the BBC Radio of the Victorian times with famous Victorians. I printed off a color sheet of Charles Dickens

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and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about him. I forgot to mention they watched a short animated video about him and played a can you survive in Dickens’ London game.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/drama/bleakhouse/scenes.shtml

http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/multimedia/dickens/

Now that the girls have a good understanding of imperialism, capitalism, and monopolies, we played Monopoly again.

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I actually finally won. I called myself Mr. Potter as I bought out everyone’s property. 🙂

The Arts:

We watched The Sound of Music Live, with Carrie Underwood. Of course no one can replace Julie Andrews, but I wanted the girls to see it as a live show, not a movie. We probably will watch the movie eventually but this hit the spot for now.

Home Economics:

We made “Puppy Chow”, or Muddy Buddies using the recipe in the back of the Magic Tree House book.

P.E.

Besides our walk around the block, twice around, we also did Walk Away the Pound, 3 miles.

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Though I had a bit to get off my chest tonight, I still wish peace for the journey.

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