Archive for March, 2015

Week(s) In The Life (I’ll Never Tell)

March 29, 2015

I really don’t like when I fall behind with my writing. When falling behind with anything, it always takes more time to get caught back up again. Papa had a few vacation days, due to his birthday, so writing just wasn’t a big priority. However, now I am left with this huge list of learning activities.

I actually had a few things to write about too, the most important being my weight loss update. Not only did I make it through the holidays sticking to my plan, I am now one pants size smaller. One more size and I reach my target weight. It is amazing how much my palate, as wells as the rest of the family’s, has changed, especially with the sugar and salt. Discovering Papa’s blood pressure is borderline has also been an added push. I have been weeding out can goods from our pantry little by little over the years, but this year they have been pretty much done away with.

The hardest part, is that most of my day is spent in the kitchen. I have always liked to cook, actually wanted to be a dietitian, but not continually. Then there are all those dishes. One bonus, is that our “schoolroom” is in the kitchen, and both girls are able to work, mostly, on their own now. It is my goal to get the girls helping out more in the kitchen this year too, with each of them picking up a side dish.

One of the best things, in my opinion, about homeschooling is the ability to combine so many topics together. You probably noticed I have been combining Literature (American, British, and World), English and Writing Composition, History (American, World, Geography, Music, and Art), together. My plan is to combine Health and Nutrition in with our baking too. I’ve already been keeping track of our hours in Sky’s high school binder. It just took me some time to figure out what was expected from each course. (Don’t worry, I think I’ve posted all my frustrations, at least for now, and I am feeling good about our decisions. No scheduled tangents planned for today. ūüôā )

Language Arts

We listened to William Tell Told Again, the first week (Little Sis really enjoyed this story). Little Sis read aloud the Magic Tree House book, Leprechauns in Late Winter and Sky read the Fact Tracker, Leprechauns and Irish Folklore. Then we started Celtic Folk and Fairy Tales by Joesph Jacobs.

Week 1 words of the week were pasteurization, linguistic, ethnicity, federalism, apprenticeship, and hospice. Week 2 words were prodded and glade.

Sky wrote her research report on Mary Seacole. We are just in the beginning stages of writing as we have not gone over grammar and punctuation yet. Right now is more about learning how to take notes, getting thoughts down on paper, writing rough drafts, and typing it up.

Little Sis has started writing a book, she is three chapters in. She has also finished book 2 in the Gallagher Girls series already.

They finished copying Santa Filomena by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


(Little Sis)


(Miss Sky)


Sky learned how to multiply and divide fractions.


We are using the Math Doesn’t Suck book again, I really like her Fractions chapter. Her instruction is great, which is worth the addition¬†to our home library, it’s the “fluff” that is a little nerve racking.

Little Sis is 86% through 3rd grade math from Khan Academy. She learned the meaning of division, properties of multiplication, math patterns, and telling time word problems.

The girls made area and perimeter graph paper animals,  a review for Sky and a better understanding of what they mean for Little Sis.


Social Studies

World History, Geography

We watched several documentaries, the first being Smart Travels, Switzerland and Switzerland Christmas.

I printed two pictures for the girls to add to their timeline, one of the Saint Bernard and they added notes about Saint Bernard of Menthon.

The other of William Tell.

I also found free notebooking pages for the inventors we learned about.

Then we watched the Ireland Travel Guide video (found on YouTube), I really like these videos as they give an overview of the whole country, as well a bit of history. We also watched Globe Trekker, Ireland.

We learned about Oliver Cromwell and his invasion into Ireland with the documentay,¬†Cromwell, God’s Executioner (found on YouTube) and the Potato Famine.

Keith Hughes has a bunch of wonderful history videos we will for sure be adding to our studies.


We visited our state museum. Both girls couldn’t wait to go with all their new knowledge under their belt.




(An added bonus for Papa)


We celebrated the annual Earth Hour.


As always lots of conversations of our families plans to cut our footprint even more.

The Arts

For starters we watched the classic television series, The Adventures of William Tell Episode 1, then listened to the William Tell Overture by Rossini (both found on YouTube).

We watched Disney’s Darby O’ Gill and the Little People, along with the making of.

Sky joined a Manga/ Anime teen club, her first meeting being last Monday. She really enjoyed it and is looking forward to her monthly meetings, and being around kids with her same interests. This is an after school club as we just haven’t had much luck in the homeschooling community for her.

Little Sis went to the first Once Upon A Time craft class and made a gnome. She also signed up for a homeschooling book club, though I think next month I’ll move her to the teens club as her reading level is more advanced. She was just born older.

Sky has been drawing


and painting.


Home Economics

One of Little Sis’s favorite cookies to make after our visit to the Maple Syrup festival is maple cookies


and she reminded me that we hadn’t made them yet.


We walked around the block before the cold front came back and Walked Away the Pounds when it did.


This week is Spring break for the kiddies, Spring cleaning catching up for the mama. Peace for the journey.


Mary Seacole (Miss Sky)

March 27, 2015

For years, Mary Seacole’s work in Crimea had been hidden by Florance Nightingale’s shadow, but finally, her story has been brought into the spotlight. Mary’s story begins in Jamaica, where she was born in 1805. She was raised by her mother who was a “doctoress”. Mary as a child soon started helping her mother make special remedies and would experiment on her dolls, and even her dog.

When Mary was a little older, she visited England and loved it. She always felt a strong connection there. This visit instilled a passion in Mary to¬†travel. Mary’s brother moved to Cruces, in Panama, during the California gold rush and ran a hotel there. During Mary’s¬†visit, the disease cholera struck. Mary began treating the sick with her remedies she had learned years ago. While in Panama, she also opened up her own hotel, restaurant, where she treated many who became ill. Here she gained her reputation as a “nurse”.

Mary read about the war in Crimea and decided to volunteer as a nurse. She traveled to England and tried to apply to be one of Florance Nightingale’s nurses, but was rejected. So, Mary decided to travel to Crimea and used her own money to build a hotel, that she named “The British Hotel”. Here she took care of the sick and wounded and was given the nickname “Mother Seacole”. The hotel was located on the battlefront where she saw many soldiers and dear friends perish. She was often seen on the battlefield bringing food, medicine, and treating the wounded. A newspaper reporter for the Times wrote, “Mrs. Seacole doctors and cures all manner of men with extraordinary success. She is always in attendants near the battlefield to aid the wounded, and has earned many a poor fellows blessings”. She was shot at and even dislocated her thumb in the process. When the war ended, she couldn’t sell The British Hotel or any of her goods so, she left for England destitute.

Back in England Mary Seacole was forgotten in Florance Nightingale’s shadow for many years. Mary’s story of troubles was printed in the British press, and many people helped donate money and set up a fund. A parade was held in her honor and drawled 40,000 people. She published her autobiography, “Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands”, the first written by a black woman in Britain. Mary Seacole died in 1881 at her home in London.

Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands, is a very powerful story and had my heart feeling so many emotions. If you like historical novels I recommend it.


Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands edited by W.J.S.

Mary Seacole Angel of the Crimea documentary.

Week In The Life (“It’s Electric” )

March 14, 2015

This week, the weather was beautiful. I actually was able to open the back door and let the fresh air in. Let the Spring cleaning begin!

I am really trying hard to wrap up¬†any loose ends we still might have to take the week before Easter off. SO many connections, SO much happened during the Industrial Revolution, everywhere. I’ve been debating, do I even attempt America and the Civil War yet? We are already here after all. Or do I wrap up and go back where we left off in Ancient times? I don’t want to “put the¬†cart before the horse” so to speak.

I mean, the girls do already have a really good understanding of humankind’s evolution. Papa and I have been laying that foundation from the start. We can pretty much jump in anywhere in history and they have connections¬†from that time period to pull from. It’s all the little details that¬†are missing, and there are SO many little details. Honestly,¬†this is when I begin questioning the “whys” of this detail being¬†more important to know than that one. Then I start questioning¬†why this person’s knowledge is better than that one, and who the hell has the right to measure in the first place?¬†¬†No one has all the answers.

I guess I need to ask myself, why did we start studying this time period in the first place? Well, because of Charles Dickens. This was never meant to be a history block, but more of a literature one. Then I guess my answer is to wrap up all the loose ends, closing the door on history for now, and to get back on track with my original goal.

Language Arts

We finished Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole In Many Lands. Again, this was such a hidden treasure and I am really glad to have found it.

The girls copied the first half of the poem Santa Filomena (Philomena) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in cursive and their word of the week was flit.


Sky continued practicing adding and subtracting, unlike denominator fractions. She has mastered the steps and we will be moving on.

Little Sis learned to compare area and perimeter at Khan Academy, and is 70% through third-grade math.

Social Studies

World and American History,

Continuing our study from the story Night of the Magicians, we listened, read, and watched biographies on the 4, plus 1, inventors.

First, we learned about¬† Samuel Finley Breese Morse, and the invention of the telegraph and Morse code, from the audiobook The Child’s Book of American Biography.

We also watched a short documentary about him on YouTube.

Next, we read about Gustave Eiffel.

I printed a picture of the Eiffel tower to add to the girls’ timeline and they added France to their map of Europe.

Then, Alexander Graham Bell. First reading his Bio from then watching the Animated Heroes Classics episode.

We did the same with Thomas Alva Edison, except we also added the audiobook biography from The Child’s Book of American Biography too.

We also discussed how the telephone and light bulb work.

We read about Louis Pasteur from and watched the Animated Heroes Classics episode too.

The girls added notes from each scientist to their timelines.


(Little Sis)


We did the science experiments from the Magic Tree House story as well. First, making a telephone learning how sound waves move


then watching static electricity spark a fluorescent light bulb.


We watched the Bill Nye Science guy episodes on Sound, Electricity, Static Electricity, and Germs.

Home Economics

Continuing with Biographies and chocolate we learned about Milton S. Hersey

and watched a short video about the school for orphans he created.

We made Peanut Butter Blossom cookies with Hershey Kisses.


Also, the girls made cornbread, or “corncake” as they call it, as a side dish¬†to go along with¬†dinner.


The Arts

The girls have both been on a drawing kick again.



(Miss Sky)





(Little Sis)


We Walked Away the Pounds when raining, and walked around the block while the sun was shining. I can’t wait to get outdoors for our walks again. It felt really good physically and mentally.

Peace for the journey.



Week In The Life ( Crimean’s Angels)

March 7, 2015

Finally feeling content with certain decisions, I’m ready to move on now. Though there is still snow on the ground, and temperatures remain below freezing, I heard the birds chirping this morning, Spring is near. This year, more than ever I am really looking forward to it too. The outdoors¬†is calling me. I need to dig my hands deep into mother nature and smell the sweet aromas of the earth. I need to feel the sun’s warm rays upon my skin. I need to hear the wind rustling through the tree branches and see the birds perched upon their¬†nests.

As anxious as I am about Spring, I still can’t believe it was time for our annual drive to pick up our year supply of maple syrup already.


We go through quite a bit of maple syrup in our home, as it is our primary sweetener source. They sell several types of grades, the lightest being more sweetness with less of a maple flavor. We like, and use them all. Last year our syrup was so fresh, the bottle was still warm where they had just made it. Of course, the girls already know all there is to know about the science, myths, and history of maple syrup but we still enjoy the drive and change of scenery each year. Not to mention getting to know the actual people responsible for our delicious liquid treasure.

Language Arts

You may have noticed Little Sis’s review of Heidi. Like Miss Sky’s review, we went over all the steps in writing a review. I did ask her some questions to help bring out more details and discussed her wording a little bit but other than that, she wrote the review herself.

She finished reading Night of the New Magicians aloud and I appointed Sky as her new reading buddy. Now Sky sits, looking over her shoulder making sure Little Sis is reading all the words properly. I am able to get meals started, or other chores are done and still enjoy the story. ūüôā

Little Sis also finished book 1 of the Gallagher Girls series,  book 2 is on its way.

We started the audiobook of Mary Seacole’s memoirs, The¬†Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.

What a hidden treasure, so much history here. Not just about her work in the Crimean War but also in South America during the gold rush. I love her honest opinions of Americans before the Civil War.

Sky and I discussed taking notes, and how to write a research paper.


Sky worked on adding and subtracting fractions with different denominators. I found it works best for her to write a step by step guide of how to solve a problem in her journal. For me, just an example is needed to understand. I take the “solve the puzzle” type approach. All the different steps we’ve worked on so far are confusing her on what to do when. So writing the problem out step by step, and adding the steps all the way down to simplifying seems to be working for her, and lots of repetition.

Little Sis is 60% through 3rd grade at Khan Academy. New skills she learned are finding the perimeter and placing fractions on a number line.


Social Studies

World History,

We watched a Mary Seacole documentary, found on YouTube, called Mary Seacole, Angel of the Crimea, and The Animated Hero Classics episode of Florence Nightingale also found on YouTube.  We also watched the 2008 BBC movie Florence Nightingale movie, yep YouTube.

The girls played a Florence Nightingale horrible hospital game,

and took the quiz.

Of course, there was the season 5 finale of Downton Abbey too.

With all the talk of scientists from the Magic Tree House story and our recent study of Switzerland, we learned the biography of Henri Nestle and his inventions.

We also discussed how large the Nestle company is today, and learned the history of the Nestle Toll House cookie along with the biography of Ruth Wakefield.

The Arts

We watched the 2005 Heidi movie as a family.

This version is very close to the original story. We have the Shirley Temple version, which like most of her movies was to draw attention to her incredible talent, and the girls like that version too. In Sky’s words, “It stands on its own”.

Home Economics

The girls copied the French and garlic bread recipes into their cookbooks, creating a new divider page.


(Miss Sky)

Sticking with side dish recipes,  we made one of my favorite winter fruit salads.


1 fresh pineapple sliced into chunks, 2 oranges, sliced into chunks, 2 bananas sliced in rounds, 1/2 cup walnuts. Since not everyone enjoys coconut, I leave it out to be sprinkled on individual servings if wanted.

Since learning the history of milk chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, the girls decided to¬†make them¬†too (but with Hershey’s chocolate chips ūüôā ).


No P.E. this week, we enjoyed having Papa home with us a few days.

Peace for the journey.

Heidi (Little Sis)

March 4, 2015

Heidi is a novel written by Johanna Spyri. The story takes place during the late 19th century in both, the Swiss Alps of Switzerland and the city of Frankfurt Germany. There is a religious theme, but not so much that would ruin the story for the nonreligious.

The story of Heidi starts with Dete, Heidi’s aunt, taking Heidi to go live with her grandfather, Alm-uncle, who lives in the Alps. Dete has been taking care of Heidi ever since her parents died, but has been offered a job in the city.¬†Heidi’s grandfather at first didn’t accept her, but there was no where else for Heidi to go. Heidi loves being free,¬†she helps her grandfather with the farm and becomes friends with a boy named Peter, a goat herder. Aunt Dete comes back to get Heidi from her grandfather¬†and takes her to the city as a playmate for a sickly child named Clara. Clara, who is glad¬†of Heidi’s¬†arrival, makes friends with her. Heidi wants to live back in the Swiss Alps with her grandfather and Peter, but doesn’t want to make her new friend Clara un-happy. Soon Heidi dreams about her grandfather, starts to sleepwalk, and gets home sick.¬†The doctor, a friend of Clara’s father,¬†checks her and¬†thinks Heidi should go back home. Clara is disappointed but knows it’s for the best. So Heidi goes back to live with her grandfather in the Alps. After awhile Heidi receives a letter from her friend Clara, saying she is coming to visit.

I really liked Heidi and Clara, they are my favorite characters from the story. I especially enjoyed how the story ends. I rate Heidi 8 out of 10 stars and probably will read it again.¬† ūüôā