Archive for June, 2015

Week In The Life (“Because The World Is Round”)

June 19, 2015

Well, this week we brought our regular school schedule to a close, finishing up any loose ends and planting the seeds for our next block of studies. The ironic part is that I had no plans to take the direction in which we a heading, it just kind of happened.

This is why I am not big on planning out our whole school year at once, because I am never fully sure where we may journey to next. I am more of a needing to see the whole picture first type of person, then I am able to start filling in the pieces. It reminds me of my grandmother showing me how to put puzzles together. She would tell me, ” first, we find all the straight edge pieces to put the boarder together, then we can add the middle pieces”. I know what each of the girls need to know before high school, and what they need to know after, which is my boarder, or the foundation. Then I start building, or filling in our blocks, or pieces. I loosely keep track of what is covered each year in school, if ever the need should arise, but stick more closely to the girls’ abilities (like a one room schoolhouse).

I’ve mentioned before how we school year round, 4 days a week leaving Friday as a catch up day as well as my planning day. If we attend something over the weekend, like the SCA gathering last week, I count that day as a school day too. We never stop learning, and if we do something “school looking”, I count it. Homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just something we do.

Our schedule leans more towards a seasonal one starting each new year in January, having a lighter schedule during summer, picking back up during the Autumnal Equinox, and gearing our lessons towards preparing for winter solstice and Christmas to close out the year. I do use a monthly planner, a cheap drugstore one, to help keep me on track of how many weeks we have for each seasonal block, and for our attendance.

I am also not a buy everything at once type of gal. At the beginning of each year, I put aside our budget for homeschooling and buy items as we need them. This way, I have the funds ready to take advantage of “back to school sales”, as well as what we need when the times comes. This also helps me to stay focused on only purchasing items we really need instead of ones I might just want. (There are lots of things I would love to have, but we just don’t have room in our small house.) I discovered when first starting out homeschooling, that we wouldn’t use half of what I thought we would, or interests would change and our studies would take a completely different turn, or I would find what we needed for free on-line or at the library. (If you have internet access and a library card, you can homeschool.)

I’ve also mentioned before how I am a bit radical. So, my choice to homeschool is different than most. I understand why historically schools came to be. After the Industrial Revolution, factories needed workers. Eventually, workers needed to be able to read and write. School is where you went to gain knowledge. Most homes only had 1 book, which more than likely was a Bible.

In 2015, school is not the only place to learn from anymore and here in the United States, factories are not much of an option. We are a different society. I have readers, of my blog, from all over the world, and I can translate a blog from another country into English. In my opinion, schools are outdated and there are way too many hands holding the reins. (I also understand, that there will always be a need for schools. Not everyone can or will want to homeschool.)

We know more today than we did then, but like with any new idea or thought it’s automatically considered bad or wrong, at first. We see it time and again throughout history with all the thinkers who were ahead of their time. My heart saddens thinking of all the scientists, artists, and writers never given the chance to see their impact.”You’ve been given a great gifGeorge. A chance to see what the world would be like without you.”

I, myself am so very thankful for the many people that risked their necks to help get us where we are today, and I have a pretty good feeling about the future of homeschooling.

“If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Language Arts

We finished the Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum, and I read both poems, The Sea Fairies and The Mermaid by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

https://archive.org/details/seafairiesotherp00tenn

I “tested” the girls spelling and vocabulary of all the words they had this year (words of the week) and we went over the list of Words Every Freshman and 3rd grader should know.

http://blog.writeathome.com/index.php/2013/06/100-words-every-high-school-freshman-should-know/

https://www.flocabulary.com/3rd-grade-vocabulary-word-list/

Mathematics

Little Sis managed to block the fox in the game Fox and Geese,

DSCF7412

and has taken interest in Chess (which pleases Papa tremendously).

She also did the 3 and 4 times tables and mixed tables worksheets from Math Made Easy 3rd grade.

I enrolled both girls at Xtramath.

https://xtramath.org/

Sky continued working on dividing decimals at Khan Academy, and a worksheet from Ecucation.com.

http://www.education.com/worksheet/article/dividing-decimals/

Right now, as I type this they are playing the Sims video game. It is so funny listening to them argue over spending money to purchase items for their home. I remember when they first started playing the game that they never cared about the money part, just what their characters looked liked.

Science

We watched 3. The Universe, Early Man’s View,

5 The Universe Nikolaus Copernicus, and Copernicus, The Beauty of Diagrams (YouTube)

The girls added notes to their timeline.

DSCF7417

(Sky)

We watched 6 The Universe Johannes Kepler -( YouTube), and the girls added more notes to their timeline.

DSCF7420

(Little Sis)

We watched 8 The Universe Isaac Newton, The Beauty of Diagrams 3 – Newton’s Prism (YouTube), and Cosmos episode, Hiding in the Light.

The Arts

Music

We listened to the History Teacher’s version of Because.

Then listened to Abbey Road by the Beatles.

Artist Study

I meant to add Paul Klee in with our Switzerland block but at the time it just didn’t fit in, this week it did. The girls picked out which painting they wanted to learn about. Sky picked Heroic Roses, Little Sis picked Cat and Bird.

DSCF7413

http://www.thecolor.com/Category/Coloring/Famous-Paintings/6.aspx

We watched a video of his paintings

and Art with Mati and Dada, Paul Klee (YouTube).

Movies

We watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind movie

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0087544/

and a Trip to the Moon.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000417/

It was interesting to learn this movie was influenced by Jules Verne’s writings and considered to be one of the first science fiction films.

Culinary Arts

The girls have taken major interest in mug baking. After copying the recipes from last week into their cookbooks, they have made the chocolate cake in a mug daily. They were excited when I told them I found more mug recipes. So, they made a chocolate chip cookie in a mug.

DSCF7415

http://www.number-2-pencil.com/2012/03/06/chocolate-chip-cookie-in-cup/

They both give it a thumbs up.

They also made pudding pops.

DSCF7424

Follow the directions on how to make pudding from the box, add to popsicle molds and freeze.

P.E.

This week the girls had homeschool gym, and they Walked Away the Pounds.

DSCF7422

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (“Breaking The Law, Breaking The Law”)

June 12, 2015

Another pretty busy week, and I already have the feeling that I’m forgetting something before I even start my post. I hate those feelings. Since turning 40 they have taken a turn for the worst. I am constantly asking the girls, “Why I am going to the bedroom?”, “Do you know why I’m getting in the refrigerator?”. Even worse, “Mom, you left the burner on!” Then there is trying to remember which way to go to get to a certain store that we’ve been to a thousand times. Luckily, I’m still able to locate our vehicle in a parking lot. I guess it’s all just a matter of time.

Well, the warmth of summer has finally arrived. Temperatures have been crazy these last few weeks. Windows open, shorts out one moment. Then the next day truing the heat back on and wondering if plants need to be covered. I think I’ve washed our living room blankets 5 times already to put them up for the season. Honestly, I’m not complaining. I’ve noticed something else about aging is my low tolerance for hot humid and cold temperatures. Migrating south for the winter is beginning to make much more sense.

I have been enjoying watching the bats in our area take flight come sundown. It’s like clockwork, around 9 in the evening out they come communicating back and forth to each other. They are close to our home too, which is great. I’ve always admired bats and never thought them ugly or scary. The way they snuggle their young closely to their bodies is precious. I’m feeling very optimistic about our garden this year, and keeping a lookout for our praying mantis and ladybug friends.

Language Arts

We have started the Sea Fairies by L. Frank Baum as our read aloud.

https://archive.org/details/Sea_Fairies

L. Frank Baum is probably my favorite author and even his most boring story can bring a smile to my face. Don’t get me wrong, I have a long, long list of authors I enjoy. I’ve always been fascinated with words and the mind they come from. They can tell you a lot about a person. They can start and end wars, hurt and heal, and I love that. Though, being someone that can be a little too serious at times, most times, I need silly and for things to not make sense. I need to have my imagination stretched and that is what Baum does. He brings both nostalgia and comfort through his stories, and will always get top billing on my bookshelf. 🙂

The girls copied The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

http://poetry.eserver.org/light-brigade.html

DSCF7411

(Little Sis)

This will be their last poem until we start our normal routine back in the fall. They had the choice of poems to pick , from the year, to memorize. Little Sis picked The Song of Wondering Agnes and Sky picked Old Ireland.

We also listened to and discussed the poem.

https://librivox.org/the-charge-of-the-light-brigade-by-alfred-lord-tennyson/

We listened to the story of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter too.

http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/72/japanese-fairy-tales/4834/the-bamboo-cutter-and-the-moon-child/

This is listed as the first “science fiction” story written. The girls really enjoyed it. At first we thought it to be like most fairy tales, then it takes a bit of a different twist.

The girls played Bananagrams and Little Sis’s new Word Shout word she learned this week was nix.

Mathematics

Sky worked on decimals at Khan Academy. Basically keeping it light until after our week off, no sense in starting a new topic yet.

Little Sis did the 2s, 5s, and 10s table worksheets from Math Made easy 3rd grade. The organization in the workbook stinks. It skips from one skill to another and I wouldn’t recommend it as an only math source. However, I do like it as a review after finishing 3rd grade at Khan’s Academy. Little Sis is already familiar with everything in this workbook, it helps her practice those skills  a bit more.

We have played the decimal place value game several times now, it’s actually being requested by both girls, and Papa has even joined in.

The girls played Multiplication Squares as a warm up this week, and thanks to Tennyson’s poem we discussed how much a league is.

http://www.games4gains.com/teaching-ideas/2015/1/20/weve-mathified-the-squares-game

World History

For starters, we went to a SCA gathering.

DSCF7383

DSCF7388

DSCF7389

They had reenactments, games, and crafts. It was a lot of fun. We learned a few new games, Fox and Geese,

DSCF7391

(they gave us this set to take home)

that the whole family enjoys,

and Nine Man’s Morris.

DSCF7393

Papa made a wooden board version for us to play to save wear and tear on the travel version.

DSCF7394

The geese have yet to win, but Little Sis came very, very close.

We watched the satire movie The Charge of the Light Brigade.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062790/

We had lots of discussion on what satire means, and Sky wants me to add if you are sensitive to horses dying,  give this movie a pass. She did not find those scenes funny at all. I have mix feelings about the movie, but do agree with Sky that the animated propaganda scenes made the movie worth watching and discussing.

The girls added notes of Hugh O’Donnell, The Nine Year War,

DSCF7407

and Edmund Halley to their timeline.

DSCF7405

Halley is fascinating to learn about, he carries a very impressive biography.

Science

I forgot to add in my last post our discussions from our non Newtonian Fluid experiment we did last year.

DSCF6803

We watched episode 4, A Sky Full Of Ghosts, from Cosmos and the PBS Nature episode Ireland’s Wild River.

We did a defying gravity experiment,

DSCF7400

http://www.turtlediary.com/kids-science-experiments/defying-gravity-experiment.html

and watched videos on Kepler’s Laws (found on YouTube).

The Arts

Art and Animation

We watched the movie The Tale of Princess Kaguya.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2576852/

The girls loved it and the hand drawn animation is beautiful.

Music

We listened to the Irish folk songs, Hugh O’Donnell, and Molly Malone and Danny Boy by Sinead O’Connor (found on YouTube).

Drawing

Both girls had their share of drawing.

DSCF7398

(Little Sis)

DSCF7397

(Sky)

Culinary Arts

The girls have been busy in the kitchen this week too.

Sky wanted to make chocolate covered strawberries,

DSCF7396

both girls made Vegan cookie dough for 1,

DSCF7402

http://theliveinkitchen.com/2014/03/03/vegan-cookie-dough-one/

and we made my, and little sis’s  favorite Best Ever No Bake Bars, and they are the best too.

DSCF7404

http://moneysavingmom.com/2013/06/best-ever-chocolate-oatmeal-no-bake-bars-clean-eating.html#_a5y_p=683205

We added 1/3 cup honey,  2/3 cup peanut butter, and used Earth Balance instead of coconut oil.

I love regular no bakes but they have way too much sugar in them. I’m actually going to try these next time with only 1/4 cup honey because the chocolate chips and peanut butter both contain sugar. We used unsweetened coconut too.

P.E.

We may have walked around the block our last time for the summer earlier in the week, and both girls requested Walk Away the Pounds when temps hit in the 90s.

DSCF7410

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Lighten Up and Bend A Little)

June 5, 2015

So when does our summer school “officially” start? June 21st, Summer Solstice. Actually, the girls get that week completely off so, really we start the week after. That means 2 more weeks for me to try and finish our block. I think we are all getting antsy though because our calendar is filling up fast of summer activities, and the garden is growing like a weed, literally.

DSCF7373

Everything is looking good. Our pepper plants are finally starting to grow,

DSCF7374

and so are the strawberries.

Little Sis decided she was ready to get her ears pierced and wasn’t nervous about the piercing at all.

DSCF7379

She is the “trill seeker” child, and the one I fear is going to scare the pants off of me. She is the child that flew down our backyard hill siting in the back of a toy Tonka truck at 2, and laughed her head off on her first roller coaster ride.

I’ve never been much of a thrill seeker. I don’t even like to fly in an airplane. My problem is I think too much, I don’t like to be surprised. I need to know the why behind everything. It is one of the things about myself I needed to make peace with. Understanding it’s just who I am. This has helped me to understand that the girls are who they are too, and I do trust their decisions even if I am be biting my lip a little.

Language Arts

We finished Red Hugh, Prince of Donegal. We also listened and discussed The Vagabond by Robert Louis Stevenson.

There was a vagabond character in The Pickwick Papers.

The girls probably will not have any more words of the week until we start our fall school schedule, but Little Sis learned what gat means from playing Word Shout.

Mathematics

Sky practiced dividing into decimals and dividing by decimals from Math Doesn’t Suck. She also watched What is a decimal video (found on Youtube).

Little Sis practiced telling time, tables and graphs, necessary information word problems, number pairs, and the 2 times table from her Math Made Easy workbook.

Math is something I’ve found we need to continue all year.

We played a new game I found on-line called Decimal Place Value that the girls actually enjoyed playing. It helped both the girls (a review for Sky) understand how to compare decimals and all you need is a deck of cards.

http://www.games4gains.com/teaching-ideas/2015/3/4/decimal-place-value-with-playing-cards

Science

This week was all about making rainbows. Our first experiment was Splitting Light from our Science for Fun Experiments book. Then we played around with prisms for a bit and learned about reflection and refraction.

http://lifestyle.howstuffworks.com/crafts/other-arts-crafts/science-projects-for-kids-reflection-and-refraction1.htm

Next we created an optical illusion of a rainbow on the floor,

https://opticalillusion.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/how-to-make-a-rainbow-at-home/

then on the ceiling.

http://www.turtlediary.com/kids-science-experiments/rainbow-experiment.html

We watched Bill Nye’s episodes on Light Optics and Gravity.

We watched The Magic School Bus Makes a Rainbow and The Magic School Bus Gains Gravity.

Last but not least we watched Cosmos episode When Knowledge Conquered Fear about Sir Isaac Newton and Edmond Halley.

World History

We watched a short but sweet documentary about Isaac Newton called Great Scientist’s Isaac Newton (found on YouTube) and the girls added notes to their timeline.

http://www.homeschoolhelperonline.com/notebooking/biography/isaac_newton.shtml

DSCF7377

They added Donegal Bay to their maps of Europe and we watched Disney’s Fighting Prince of Donegal movie (found on YouTube).

The Arts

The girls made their Coat of Arms.

DSCF7378

http://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/97758

Culinary Arts (It’s no longer called Home Economics)

The girls made Chocolate Mug Cakes in the microwave.

DSCF7376

I mentioned my chocolate kick well, besides chocolate oatmeal I have been enjoying this brownie in a mug.

http://www.tablefortwoblog.com/the-moistest-chocolate-mug-cake/#.Uw0RgvTqeGI

To make mine gluten free and healthier, I substituted oat flour for all purpose flour, Splenda for the sugar, and apple sauce for the oil. It tastes exactly like my favorite gluten free brownies. Now I can enjoy them in the summer without using the oven. Add a dollop of frozen yogurt and dessert is served.

DSCF7372

P.E.

Still enjoying our walks around the block.

DSCF7382

Peace for the journey.