Week(s) in the Life (“We the People”*)

(Warning, this is going to be a very long post.)

Well, this will be the last post filed under 15-year-old, at least until Little Sis reaches that age. It is hard to believe Miss Sky will be 16. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday when I posted about her turning 13?

Besides the fact of thinking about her somewhere out in the world driving, I actually am really enjoying these years of Sky being a teenager. I think teens sometimes get a bad rap.

Though those years of helping my child learn to read were fun, being able to see all the hard work you put into those early years pay off, is priceless. Honestly, I think it is one of the many wonderful benefits of homeschooling that school teachers don’t get to experience much; actually being able to grow along with your students; to witness them become critical-thinking adolescents. It truly is a very rewarding experience.

Our conversations have become longer, with more light-bulb moments; more dots being connected; all the puzzle pieces beginning to come together. As a homeschooling parent, these are the moments you’ve been waiting for. All the nail-biting, teeth-clinching, “did I make the right decision?” doubts finally answered. With the Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah as background noise, they were listening. 🙂


So much has happened these last few weeks, that the only thing I really know to do, is jump right in.

Language Arts


Mama’s Reading:

As my reading goes, I did not finish Carol. I got halfway through the book, and actually found myself not looking forward to reading (I know). The writing was just too dry for me. As the reader, I felt like a guest arriving at the party late, everyone else knew what was happening but me. Maybe, it is because of the subject matter during the time this novel was written (1952); maybe, that was the author’s intention; maybe, it was because I just couldn’t relate to the characters, but if a story just isn’t grabbing my attention, I won’t finish it. I do plan on watching the movie though. This is just one of those times, when I actually don’t want to read the novel before seeing the movie (it does occasionally happen).

So, what do I do after not finishing a novel? Pick out a novel that will hold my attention. The Girl on the Train, did just that. Did I figure out who the killer was early on? Yes (thank you George R.R. Martin for spoiling me with your wonderfully written foreshadowing.). Were the characters unrelatable? Yes, however sometimes people don’t always make wise decisions. That is what makes us human. Was the plot unbelievable? No more unbelievable than a soap opera, or drama (Downton Abbey, anyone?), and that is exactly what my brain was looking for. I enjoyed the story; I finished it in 4 days. I truly was hoping the main protagonist would get her act together. Will I be adding it to my 2016 favorites? No, but it won’t be on my worst list either.

I also finished The Hunger Games, and started Catching Fire. This was/is my physical book choice that I carry along with me everywhere. Even though Little Sis read it, and I saw the movies, I had not read the novels yet. I really enjoyed it. There is so much symbolism, and like the Game of Thrones (Fire and Ice) novel series, we have found ourselves, many times using it as an example.The novels are not as violent as the movies, and I do believe the series belongs on school reading lists. It is a wonderful conversation starter.

I am over halfway through: The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer now. This was recommended to me since I enjoyed the novel Room so much. I will finish the novel because I am interested in the outcome, but I am over all disappointed with the supernatural element of the plot. I really don’t like being deceived. I expect supernatural when reading Stephen King, but not from a thriller (unless marketed as such).



This week we started Black Beauty.

We are reading Black Beauty along with the audio book from Librivox. I found the reading to be better than the audio book choices from OverDrive. The Kindle version of the book can be found at Amazon for free.


We are using the GrAdeSaver study guide.




We are starting a creative writing course; actually, we started it last year by reading fairy tale adaptations, but this year we will be going into more depth.

For starters, we are reading Basher Basics: Creative Writing The Plot Thickens. This week we discussed the genres: adventure, horror,and science fiction. The girls came up with examples for each one from the books we’ve read over the years.

Sky’s continuing working through the book: E-Z English.

Little Sis is still working through Kumon’s grade 4 writing workbook, and writing her blog.



The girls copied the poem: September Dark by James Whitcomb Riley in cursive.


(Little Sis)

Vocabulary Words: dense, commence, eddying.



Both girls warmed up with XtraMath.

Little Sis is working through Kumon’s grade 4 division workbook, and we played the Wii game Fortune Street almost every night while on break; we really like this game. 🙂

Sky has hit a plateau in pre-algebra with negative integers. Subtracting was a hard concept for her to grasp, so it makes sense that she would struggle with this too. Since I am educating for mastery instead of grades, we are taking a slight detour.

We started working through: Kiss my Math by Danica McKellar. So far, I like this book much better than Math Doesn’t Suck. The visual examples she uses for negative integers are great. I didn’t even think of an elevator going below ground level. Sky really likes the below sea level example, whatever works.



We visited the apple orchard while on break, so we watched: Why are there so many types of apples? TedEd- YouTube.

We also watched the documentaries: PBS’s Earth’s Forces, and NOVA’s Great Human Odyssey. Sky thought GHO looked a little familiar, like we had seen it before. We kind of did, because we’ve seen BBC’s Human Planet, and this is a little bit similar.

On a side note, I harvested our sunflower seeds, and we’ve added horse manure to our garden’s soil.




This week was all about food labels.

We watched: The Food Label and You by the US Food and Drug Administration- YouTube.

We learned about the 5/20 rule and have been using it to read food labels all week.

We also watched: SciShow~What Happens When You Stop Eating? – YouTube

SciShow~Do Negative-Calorie Foods Exist? – YouTube

BytesizeScience~ChemMatters: The Science Behind Calories and Nutrition Facts



The girls had homeschool gym (twice),


we went swimming (probably for the last time until next summer), walks have been added back into our routine,


and we visited the park. Little Sis had cheerleading practice, and her first stunt clinic.


While Little Sis was at stunt clinic, the rest of us went bowling.


Sky really likes it, joining a league may be in her near future.




For starters, we watched Indian Summers.

We read: The Magic Tree House Hour of the Olympics.

We watched: What did democracy really mean in Athens? TedEd-YouTube



This year, Sky will earn her Civics/ Government credit. Boy, we could not have picked better timing. 🙂

We are using Barron’s Painless American Government book, as well as Crash Course Government and Politics videos.

We watched: Crash Course Government and Politics episodes 1 and 2,

both the presidential and vice presidential debates,

PBS Frontline: The Choice,

Scandals: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – YouTube,

and Police Accountability: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver(HBO)- YouTube.

We had lots and lots to discuss this week.




The Arts


We had a blast watching: A Brighter Day in Your Kitchen- 1949 educational documentary- YouTube.

We also learned how  Instant Ramen was invented.

The girls ordered a new cookbook, 250 Best Meals in a Mug,  to go along with their 5 Minute Mug Cakes cookbook. They have already made several recipes, I can’t keep track. We will be focusing more on cooking whole meals this year. By the time we are done, both girls should be able to cook all of my recipes by themselves. Thanksgiving, here we come.


Comics in Art:

We read chapter 2 from Understanding Comics.

Sky has been working hard in her comic class. She worked on her diary.





Sky is still working her way through Monstress by Marjorie Lui, and loving it.



We drew Shopkins, Apple Blossom from Draw So Cute-YouTube.




We attended our local Art Squared festival, where we picked up a few things.



You can read about Little Sis’s finds on her blog.



Sky had her first homeschool painting class at You Are the Artist.


She learned a lot.


Well, I think that catches us up.


Peace for the journey.

*The Preamble to The United States Constitution.


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