Archive for November, 2015

A Week In The Life (It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas)

November 29, 2015

Which is why, I need to post our lessons from last week ,before we start Christmas school.

I hope everyone, in the states ,had a Happy Thanksgiving. Something, that I’ve learned on this homeschooling journey of ours, is to not even attempt our regular school schedule during the holidays. The girls are distracted, I’m distracted, it just doesn’t work for us. Thus, Christmas school was created. All “lessons” are geared toward the holidays, and we focus more on having fun.

Usually, St. Nicholas brings a new game, Christmas puzzle, Christmas movie, and Christmas story on December 5, but the girls are getting older and stories are getting longer. So, St. Nick visited us a bit early. 🙂

For us, Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving. Papa gets the tree before the girls wake up, we eat Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast, then decorate the tree. We watch our city’s Circle of Lights celebration on television (Indianapolis, decorates our war monument with lights in the shape of a Christmas tree, then turns them on the day after Thanksgiving.). Then, we usually kick the Christmas movies off,  by watching the movie A Christmas Story.

I am getting a head of myself though.


Language Arts:


We finished both the Bridge to Terabithia and the Song of Hiawathia.

The girls took the quiz for the Bridge to Terabithia at SparkNotes.

We discussed the conflicts from the story, and the elements of flashback, and foreshadowing.

I decided to cut their last essay assignment. It seamed pointless. Instead, I am waiting until the new year. We will be digging into writing composition a little more.

The assignment will still be about character change, but they get to pick which story, and character. Little Sis chose the Hunger Games series, and Sky chose the Fire and Ice series (Game of Thrones).

I dislike pointless writing assignments. I do understand why certain assignments are given. You’re building writing skills. You learn to write by jumping in and writing. Since, that is the case, it doesn’t really matter what topic the girls are writing about. It’s about them learning those skills. At least, they can chose what they want to write about, for now.

Not to sway too off subject again, this was part of my point, from my last post. I want the girls, to enjoy learning. I want the girls, to want to read. If I instill a dislike for reading and writing now, they will always associate those feeling with those tasks. There will be plenty of time for them to detest writing later.

Learning, can happen from anything, anywhere, at anytime. From the good or bad.

I could easily come up with a study using the My Little Pony television series. There are tons of connections in that show. Why, I “preach” so much, about not being negative toward your child’s interests.

For example, the girls and I watched a video of the story, ‘Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving.

They found it hilarious. They understood the comedic symbolism. I am sure, at one time The Marx Brothers were not considered a magnificent means of entertainment. Hell, even Shakespeare wasn’t considered suitable during his time.


The girls copied the poem I Dream A World, by Langston Hughes in cursive.




The girls made a bar graph of their television hours, from last week.


(Little Sis)

Both girls discovered, they watch the most television on Fridays.

I found an article in the newspaper using a line graph as an example, showing the statistics collected, that I showed to the girls. (Working along with the book by Basher, Math, A Book You Can Count On, The Data Gang.)

We also watched the documentary, The Beauty of Diagrams episode 4 – about Florence Nightingale’s pie chart (YouTube).

Little Sis finished her 3rd grade math workbook. I’ve decided, instead of doing the 4th grade mathematics at Khan Academy first, she is going to work through Kumon’s 4th grade workbooks. Then, I will use Khan as an assessment of what she might need help with.( I love the Kumon series. I would love for them to include high school level books.)

We also tried solving a bridge riddle from TED Ed. You know, with the whole bridge theme and all.

A game I absolutely love, and highly recommend, that fits in perfectly with bridge building, is World of Goo.

And speaking of games, this year’s new game was a huge hit. We’ve been playing it all holiday weekend.


Labyrinth by Ravensburger. It’s a maze/puzzle game that constantly changes.



We watched the episode of How Stuff Works, about Turkeys.



This week was all about Thanksgiving. There was a video going around on Facebook, about everything that is wrong with what we know about Thanksgiving. I shared it with the girls. That’s another thing about homeschooling I love, I can cut out all the bullshit history and science propaganda taught in school. The girls learn, that there in more than just one point of view. What is truth for the U.S., might not be the truth for someone else.

We watched the Crash Course American History video, Colonizing America (YouTube), and PBS American Experience, The Pilgrims, where the girls learned the difference between the pilgrims and the puritans.

The Arts:

We watched and discussed the Bridge to Terabithia movie. We all agree, there are parts we like from the book best, and parts we like in the movie best.

We watched Rankin and Bass, A Mouse on the Mayflower, and listened to Family Theater’s radio show of The Courtship of Miles Standish (YouTube). We’ve read Longfellow’s poem before. We joke, that this was Little Sis’s first introduction to love triangles. She liked the poem when we read it.

Our new Christmas puzzle, was of The Nutcracker Ballet.


Little Sis, made Papa’s and my Thanksgiving/Christmas present.


She even added my hair up in the back. 🙂


We walked away the Pounds, 2 miles.


Happy holidays, and wishing everyone peace for the journey.




Week In The Life (Don’t Worry, Be Hopi)

November 20, 2015

When taking a break from our regular school lessons, the girls artistic side really emerges.

I still cringe when I hear parents comment about, “All my child wants to do is……”, or, “All my child does is…..” It signals, to me, that the parent disapproves what their child is doing, and if I can hear it, so does your child. Maybe, the parents think it’s not “educational” enough.

If there is one thing, as a “veteran” homeschooler (Yes, I think I can call myself that now 🙂 ), that I want to say (scream really, but I don’t think that would be well received) to all new homeschoolers, is why recreate a broken system that you’re choosing not to participate in, at home?

I understand, that homeschooling is a personal choice, and there are many different reasons why we do it. Some homeschool, because they don’t like what is being taught today in school. They want to homeschool recreating a broken system, but under their beliefs. I understand that.

I understand, some parents don’t have time to sit down and plan out what their children might want to learn, and that a ready made curriculum can come in handy. Hey, I understand life gets busy, but you do not need one to homeschool.

What does irritate me, is when parents put their children’s interests down in front of others. When they see no value in what their child is doing, because to them, it doesn’t look like learning.

I have shared the difference in my children’s learning style here multiple times. I have a 10 year old that reads teen fiction, and completed two years of math this year. There is no doubt in my mind, she will probably graduate high school early.

I also have a 15 year old, who struggles through her math lessons, has a hard time with spelling, and doesn’t read long 500 page novels on her own time. She is a visual learner, and learns best by watching something, over reading about it.

If I were to say, “All my 15 year old wants to do, is watch television.” I would be putting down the way she learns. And you know you’ll never hear, “All my 10 year old wants to do, is read 500 page novels.” because that seems more educational, than “just watching television”.

Sky will tell you herself, that she would love to be able to learn like Little Sis. She would love to be able to do 2 years of math in one year. As her parent, I can tell you how hard she is trying. I can’t force her to learn though. I can not change her, nor do I want to. She is not broken.

Homeschooling, allows for us to tailor our child’s education to fit their personal needs. That was the driving force behind why I started homeschooling in the first place. If Sky was in school, she would fail.(I have several reasons for knowing this too, trust me. 🙂 )

Sky gets visual ideas from watching television, no different than if she was observing a painting (which she gets ideas from too). My job as her facilitator, is to expand those ideas, and interests beyond her knowledge. (Now, the girls are able to connect Iago from Disney’s Aladdin with Iago from Othello ,and think it’s funny. “Patience, Iago.” )  You know what else? I’ve learned a whole lot from her too. 🙂

So, lets get caught up with projects the girls worked on while “off” from school.

When not reading Life and Death, by Stephenie Meyer, Little Sis worked on her art skills.



When not discussing the book A Storm of Swords, from the Game of Thrones Fire and Ice series, with me, (which I am now 60% of the way through, by the way. Woohoo!) Sky worked on a bit of drawing,






and read the short story Children of the Corn, by Stephen King (thanks Nostalgia Critic 🙂 ).


Language Arts:


Little Sis requested reading The Bridge to Terabithia. We read chapters 1-8.

I am using a combination of resources for this story, to help them learn about plot conflict, and foreshadowing (they actually have learned these topics from watching Nostalgia Critic, but Sky needs 180 hours for a composition credit.)

Library (Jan. 07 issue, Bridge to Terabithia )

Their vocabulary and spelling words came from THE GLENCOE LITERATURE LIBRARY study guide of the story.

Their final essay for the year will be from here.

We also read chapters 1-12 from The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.


The girls copied the poem After the Rains, by Ramsom Lomatewama.


(Miss Sky)


Warming up at

Little Sis will finish her Math Made Easy, grade 3, math workbook next week. I decided to wait until after the holidays to start grade 4 mathematics from Khan Academy. I gave her a bar graph assignment instead. First, she made the bar graph from the worksheet. Both girls have been keeping track of how much television they watch this week to make their own bar graph. We also read about bar graphs from the book, Math, A Book you can count on.

Sky did more worksheets on finding percents.



We discussed Diwali,

watched another video about Dracula’s castle,

and watched PBS, Indian Summers.


We watched the Scholastic video from the book Giving Thanks, by Chief Jake Swamp.


We listened to the songs mentioned in the book Bridge to Terabithia. Up, Up and Away, This Land Is Your Land, Free to Be You and Me, Blowing in the Wind, and the big 70’s hit, when I was a child, You Light Up My Life.


We learned about glass blowing from Ramsom Lomatewama,

and Navajo sand painting.


The girls had homeschool gym.

The Arts

The girls made Christmas cards and ornaments for a nearby nursing home.








We watched the 1931 version of Dracula,

and saw a sneak peak of the Children Ballet’s Nutcracker.




Tomorrow we are going to see Mockinjay part 2 in theaters, Little Sis can’t wait.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life ( Clearance Racked )

November 11, 2015

What a crazy year it has been. My unexpected back surgery, strike worries at Papa’s work, and now having part of our main sewer line replaced. I’ve been trying really hard to look on the bright side, but damn!

I am pretty lucky that Papa and I usually are able to do most home repairs ourselves. We have needed to replace, upgrade almost everything in our home, that’s kind of normal owning an older house. What is not normal, is everything in this house was half-assed, and nothing is standard size. So, were we surprised to learn that our sewer clean out wasn’t even attached to our sewer line? Nope, of course we weren’t.

We’ve had minor plumbing problems before, but over the weekend water started to back up through our bath tub. Well, long story short, because the sewer clean out wasn’t attached to the main sewer line, roots from our hedges grew in between the clean out and the main line blocking the water from going through. Looks like I’m not getting those 24 carat diamond earrings again this year for Christmas.

On top of everything else, my yearly cholesterol test didn’t come back as good as I wanted. My bad cholesterol was 117, and they would like it to be 99 or less. We made the switch to egg beaters, low fat dairy products and my numbers didn’t budge much. So, I am wondering that if mine didn’t budge, that maybe Papa’s might not have. He goes in for his test next month. Heart disease is horrible in his family. Most of the men in his family haven’t lived to see 60. I am wondering if it’s because our primary source of protein is beef. So, this year I don’t think we will be purchasing our 1/2 steer of beef (Which really sucks, because we love our cattle farmers). I am very thankful the girls love fish, and that Big Sis works behind a meat counter. She has already brought us some fresh sea bass and salmon they had on sale. I hate the American diet!


We had a shorter week because of Little Sis’s birthday. The girls always get their birthday off.

Language Arts


We finished Dracula. We read Dracula’s Guest, The Judge’s House by Stoker, and The Red Room by Lucy M. Montgomery.

The girls took the Dracula quiz from SparkNotes.


The girls finished the poem, The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe.




(Little Sis)

The girls silently read along while we listened to the poem being read.


Little Sis completed the 4th grade spelling List 5. Sky’s vocabulary came from The Bells poem.

paean, expostulation, beguiling, tintinnabulation, alarum, euphony, monody, voluminously, rapture, Runic


Warming up with XtraMath.

Little Sis, 3rd grade Math Made Easy workbook.

Sky did a couple worksheets finding the percent of a number. For starters, Fat Brain Toys sent me an e-mail celebrating their 13th year with 13% off merchandise. Sky “pretend” shopped for 3 items and calculated the total of her items and how much 13% off was. She added in shipping and handling, and 7% sales tax.

She pretended to be an accountant helping two imaginary people figure out their taxes, and shopped with coupons.



We watched Otis Art History’s video on Gothic art. I meant to watch both Gothic art videos together but forgot. (YouTube)


We watched a documentary about Vlad, Prince of Wallachia (YouTube), and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about him.



We also learned about Día De Los Muertos.

We watched a bunch of short videos from Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know, and How Stuff Works about vampires. (YouTube)

Thirst of the Vampire –  Monster Science

The Origin of Halloween Traditions

What was the New England vampire panic?

Lilith and Vampire Myths: Stuff You Should Know Animated

And of course, the PBS series Indian Summer. There is so much to discus from this series. It’s leading us into next year’s big block on India.


Besides voting, we had discussions on what this election meant for our little town and city, and watched the results.


We took turns reading aloud and discussed the latest Science in the News episode.


The Arts

We watched a short animated film about the Day of the Dead celebration.

There has been lots of excitement around these parts over a certain movie release.



The girls had homeschool gym this week, and walking for Papa and myself. The temperatures here have been pretty mild thus far. I think for the first year ever, Little Sis had on shorts for her birthday. 🙂

We are taking this week off from any “schoolwork”. It’s what I like most about homeschooling year round. We work hard throughout the year, then by the time the holidays roll in, we can lighten up a bit and have fun.

Peace for the journey.

Happy Birthday, My Little Sunshine

November 10, 2015

(I am actually posting this 5 days late, because we are still waiting on a couple books to arrive from Barnes and Noble. Little Sis did not want the mass market versions of The Host or Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer, otherwise she would have purchased them using Prime and would have them by now.)


It brings me such joy being able to watch your individuality emerge. Observing the changes in your interests, beliefs, and maturity.


My little optimist is growing up. Gloominess never stood a chance. 🙂

Week In The Life ( I Vant To Suck Your Blood, Blah, Blah)

November 1, 2015

Well, this will be my last post having a child in single digits. Little Sis will be 10 this week, 10 going on 18.

She will be as old as Big Sis was when I had Sky. Sky is as old as Big Sis was when I had Little Sis, and Big Sis is as old as I was when I had Sky. 🙂 Time sure does fly.

Last year, the girls did not go trick or treating because it was too darn cold and snowing. I think I made up for it this year. Friday, the girls attended a homeschooling Halloween party.

Then, we attended Scare in the Square.


The historic neighborhood of Fountain Square’s independent local businesses passes out candy. The girls got candy, while I discovered where I will be purchasing a few of this year’s Christmas presents.

Of course, they went trick or treating around our neighborhood too.

I don’t buy Halloween costumes, I think it is because of the whole commercialized thing. The girls have always been into “dress up”, and cos-play. When they see an outfit or accessory when out and about, they usually purchase it. It’s all up to them to come up with what they want to be. Most of the time than not, it is something they’ve been influenced by, or really like.

Little Sis, loves The Phantom of the Opera and went as someone from the Masquerade ball. Sky was influenced by the Pride and Prejudice and Zombie book series. Only, she did her parody off of Cathy from Wuthering Heights  (Heathcliff’s skull is in her pocket 🙂 ).

I based most of our school lessons this week off the holiday.

Language Arts


We read chapters 17-24 of Dracula this week. We all are really enjoying it.

Independent reading

Little Sis finished Mocking Jay from the Hunger Games series. We watched part 1 of the movie, and she is super excited that part 2 comes out after her birthday. She just put on her birthday book list order.

I’m a little over 20% of the way through A Storm of Swords, which is like 200 pages of 1200.


The girls copied part three of The Bells, from Edgar Allen Poe.


Little Sis, learned list 4 from her words. Sky had the last set of words from Dracula.

rapture, lethargic, emancipated, morbid, solicitor, primitive, vitality, insatiable, confide, repulsion, asylum, anguish, anticipation, loathe, crypt


Warm Up at XtraMath.

Reading the Data Gang from Math, A Book You Can Count On.

Little Sis, 3rd grade Math Made Easy workbook.

Sky finished percents from Khan Academy, did a few worksheets to make sure she really grasped the concept and learned how to find a percent of a number.



We discussed what untouchables meant by the PBS series Indian Summers.

We watched a documentary about Bram Stoker, and the girls came up with 10 things they learned about him.



We learned about the Romanian Căluşari dancers.


We learned all about the country of Romania. I printed a page of Bran’s castle in Transylvania to serve as the country’s cover, and they added Romania to their map of Europe in their timeline binders.

We watched the documentary Wild Carpathian │ Mountains of Transylvania (YouTube).


We watched the PBS series Secrets of the Dead episode about vampires.

We learned about vampire bats (they are so small),


and Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia.

We listened to Star Talk’s podcast, Monsters with Bill Nye,

and learned why so many people, including Sky, are afraid of clowns from IFLS.

Culinary Arts

We learned the history of Halloween treats.

The Arts

We went to see a youth theater group’s performance of Oliver Twist.


The girls picked out a Dracula color page to add to their timeline binder.


We also watched a few of our favorite Halloween movies.



Walk Away the Pounds is back. We are starting with 2 miles to ease our way back.

Hope everyone had a happy Halloween. Peace for the journey.