Archive for July, 2016

Week In The Life (“Summer, It Turns Me Upside Down” *)

July 26, 2016

Well, if you live along the east-coast, or in the Midwest, you are aware of the heatwave we are experiencing. Which sucks, yes; however, it is just the middle of summer, and summer here has been pretty mild thus far.

I do feel so sorry for all the children getting ready to head back to school this week. They don’t really get to experience much of the thrills of summer at all.

I could mention, again how this is another wonderful benefit of homeschooling; being able to set our own schedule, that works best for our family. How educating year-round, allows us time to enjoy the best each season has to offer. However, I’m just not feeling it right now.

My brain instead, is thinking about how little of childhood future generations will actually get to experience, and how this might end for them later on down the road. Mental illness is already a big problem right now, how will taking away more and more of children’s play time add to this problem?

When Sky was of age to start Kindergarten, a bill was passed in our district for mandatory all-day Kindergarten. Now, I have been following the fight for mandatory all-day preschool. “If we can just start educating them earlier……., Early education……..” As any homeschooler could tell you, early education is not the problem. Earlier, does not automatically mean better.

Personally, all I am hearing is how I am not capable of helping my child learn their ABCs, numbers, and colors, so I need the government to step in to do it for me. Which I then question, why would I want to send my children to the same system, that I graduated from, that left me incapable of helping my child learn those things?!

This blog alone, proves otherwise. Not only am I capable of helping my children learn to read, I am capable of educating them through high-school. However for the sake of argument, let us pretend this blog doesn’t exist.

My grandmother didn’t finish 8th grade. She took care of me while my parents worked, until I graduated from 8th grade. How she raised me, pretty much resembles what a Waldorf Kindergarten looks like.

Our days revolved around a “rhythm”, or a schedule. Through everyday play (she had very few toys, forcing me to use my imagination), watching Sesame Street, and my grandma spending time with me playing games, working puzzles, and answering any questions I might have had (before Google), I learned to read before I started Kindergarten. I remember, how I was one of a few in my class, that already knew how to spell my whole name (and my maiden name is not an easy one to spell. I’m of Belgian descent ). My grandmother, was capable of helping me learn my ABCs, numbers, and colors. Of course I should mention, my dad always read to me a lot too. 🙂

Maybe, instead of making preschool mandatory, and pushing early education, we should put more of our focus toward building up the family. Maybe, we should take a deeper look at why parents don’t have the time to raise their children. Maybe, the problem is a lot more complicated, and has nothing at all to do with education. Don’t get me wrong, there is plenty wrong with our school system, I just don’t think children needing to learn at an earlier age is going to be the solution.

Speaking of education,

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We have kind of been in a reading slump lately. I have a list of what we need to read, but during summer I like to pick out fun reads. The girls haven’t been to enthusiastic with the fairy-tale adaptation stories I’ve been picking out lately. They sure are tough critics.

My personal opinion, is that life is too short, and there are way too many books to keep reading one you’re not enjoying. I don’t hesitate for a second when giving a book the ax.

All this to explain that we just finished the right book, at the right time. We read the graphic novel: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. We loved it, and we highly recommend it.

As for myself, I didn’t read Mudwomen after all. Instead, I took advantage of Amazon Prime day and purchased on Kindle: Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (that I am halfway through now), and A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin, which I have already finished.

A Kiss Before Dying is the perfect “summer read”. Of course, it is a bit dated, and I was a bit peeved at the typical 50’s female stereotype. Other than that, it was a fun thriller to read.

Rebecca though, fits in perfectly with my “haunted” reads. I’ve seen the Hitchcock movie, so I know the surprise twist ending. I am, still enjoying all the foreshadowing that the movie just doesn’t quite capture. It has been added to my favorites list (that just keeps growing). I can’t wait to read The Birds.

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Science, Biology, Health and Nutrition, and Culinary Arts:

I think I will start with SciShow’s video:10 Things We Didn’t Know 100 Years Ago – YouTube. Which is a perfect example of how knowledge builds upon knowledge.

We read the summer issue: Glow-in-the-Dark Animals from Science A-Z – Multilevel Science News Articles for Kids. We tried the doodle art experiment, and was able to recall the whole list that we doodled, compared to the list we wrote out.

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Of course, this opens up a whole new can of worms for me, on how our evolving brain registers images, and remembers best. Which makes me wonder if right brain, visual learners are the majority. Yet again, out-dating our current school system. This is an experiment, I would love to dip my hands into.

We also watched an exclusive video: First “Glowing” Sea Turtle Found, over at National Geographic.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150928-sea-turtles-hawksbill-glowing-biofluorescence-coral-reef-ocean-animals-science150928-sea-turtles-hawksbill-glowing-biofluorescence-coral-reef-ocean-animals-science/

While reading along with: The Way We Work, we watched TedEd Videos:

What does the liver do? – Emma Bryce,

What does the pancreas do? – Emma Bryce,

How do your kidneys work? – Emma Bryce,

and What would happen if you didn’t drink water? – Mia Nacamulli – YouTube.

We also watched: SciShow’s How Much Water Should You Drink video-YouTube.

Little Sis and I made Chia Pudding from her vegetarian book, using chocolate almond milk. It was delicious. We plan on making more, trying different flavors of milk.

Since on the subject of making, we harvested more of our broccoli and blanched it to store in our freezer.

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We ended up with two and a half gallon freezer bags full.

We purchased our annual 60 ears of corn, to blanch and store in our freezer too.

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Our grape tomatoes are beginning to ripen.

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Salads have moved from side dish status, to the main course.

We have been harvesting a few jalapeno, and green peppers as well.

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I made a big batch of tortillas, and scrambled eggs mixed with jalapeno, green peppers, and onions for quick breakfast burritos. With our days still being filled with lots of swimming (where Papa was able to join us this week, P.E.), quick, hardy breakfasts and dinners (salads topped with grilled chicken, boiled egg, or quinoa) have been required.

Theater Appreciation (Stage):

We saw the stage version of The Phantom Tollbooth. It was an amazing portrayal of the novel.

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Little Sis, has been keeping herself busy combining a few of her interests,

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and summer is the time to catch up on watching movies just for the fun of it. Which brings me to my next point, learning always happens (which fits in perfect if you celebrated Learn Nothing Day 😉 ).

So far we’ve watched: The Good Dinosaur (wonderful!),

Big Hero 6 (another hit),

Ant-Man (another movie to add to our Marvel movie collection favorites),

Inside Out (Oh Disney/ Pixar, you’re killing me),

and The Bad Seed.

The last two movies triggered wonderful psychological conversations, where we discussed environmental verses genetic mental illness, along with human emotions and core memories.  Perfect to lead the way for Sky’s psychology course this fall. I think, I will use topics from both movies as ideas for her to write essays about.

Peace for the journey.

*Magic by The Cars

Week(s) In The Life (“Just Keep Swimming” *)

July 15, 2016

So, why does our family need to have a lighter summer homeschooling schedule?  Because, we are SO freaking busy, that’s why.

I think, I am just going to jump right in, like when first arriving at a swimming pool, and see where my brain takes me.

I think I will start with reading, since that is what much of my last post was about.

Language Arts

Reading:

For starters, we finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth. Both of the girls really enjoyed this one a lot. Then, we read Through the Looking Glass.

The girls really liked Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking Glass, not so much. I can kind of see why Disney combined the two stories for the animated movie, taking the best from both. We have yet to see Burton’s version of Through the Looking Glass.

I finished reading both The Shining, and its sequel Doctor Sleep. I actually enjoyed Doctor Sleep better. I am reading Mudwoman by Joyce Carol Oates now.

Reading The Shining, lead us to watching the movie. Sky enjoyed it for its artistic atmosphere. I agree with Stephen King though, that it was a horrible adaptation of the book. I think the movie had every horror movie cliche possible, and I didn’t even find it scary.

We did however, enjoy the Nostalgia Critic’s review of Stephen King’s Miniseries of the same movie. (YouTube)

Since on the subject of films, we also watched the new Poltergeist movie, which we didn’t care too much for either. Sky did really like the movie of the Haunting though.

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Theater Appreciation

Small Screen:

We watched, The Shirley Temple Show: The Little Mermaid. (YouTube)

History

American:

Our local PBS station is airing a 4 part series, Hoosiers: The Story of Indiana, that we have been enjoying.

Science/ Health and Nutrition/ Culinary Arts:

Food! Where to even begin. I guess, I will start with the foods of summer.

We harvested our crop of garlic and have it curing.

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We also have started harvesting some of our broccoli.

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So far, everything is doing really good. If I am reading our plants right, we will soon have tomatoes growing out of our ears. Which is a good thing, because last year we didn’t get a very good crop, from all the rain we had. Which means, I didn’t get to jar much tomato sauce.

Speaking of food that is coming out of our ears,

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I bet you thought it was going to be corn. Well, that will be soon, very soon.

Anyway, for now it’s peaches.

We made jam,

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and peach crisp with pecans.

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Peach Pecan Crisp.

(I did cut the sugar and butter from the recipe in half.)

Perfect timing for the 4th of July, where it rained and spoiled our local fireworks, but it did not stop the people on our street from having a dueling show.

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We just sat back, and enjoyed. 🙂

Peaches, I was writing about peaches. After the crisp and jam, we still had plenty left to freeze for smoothies come winter, or more crisp.

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I’ve been adding the pecans to our granola; I’ve been adding my new favorite egg substitute, chia seeds too. I also lowered the fat in the recipe, from Feeding the Whole Family, by using half the butter, and using apple sauce instead.

Little sis used the recipe from her vegetarian cookbook, The Smart Girl’s Guide to Going Vegetarian, to make vegan pancakes, with chia seed eggs. They are now my favorite go to pancake recipe. We were excited to discover that the author has a blog too.

http://www.smartgirlveg.com/

I have been mixing King Arthur’s unbleached flour with their white wheat flour to add more fiber to Papa’s diet. No one has even noticed the difference. 🙂

Moving on to blueberries.

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The freezer is stocked. We also made Vegan blueberry flax muffins, they are gluten-free too (I love using oat flour).

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We used our local maple syrup as a sweetener, and they were delicious.

Vegan Blueberry Flax Breakfast Muffins

P.E.

I purchased 3 month swimming passes from one of our local park’s indoor swimming pools, and I have not been able to keep the girls away. Today, is actually the first day we have not been swimming all week, and that’s because they have a friend over.

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Come evening, we pretty much have the pool to ourselves; perfect for me to get in a few laps, which has been great for strengthening my back.

We also took advantage of a few beautiful days at the park, and walking the trails.

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Believe it or not, Sky has even managed to sneak in some drawing time.

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Well, I think that about does it. I guess if I miss any more weeks of posting, you can probably guess where we will be.

Peace for the journey.

*Finding Nemo.