Archive for December, 2016

Week In the Life (“A Few Of My Favorite Things*)

December 28, 2016

The last post of 2016.

I was just thinking: what a year when I read the news about Carrie Fisher. I was just thinking: how this post was going to wrap up our school year, and I would share some of my favorite presents from the holidays.


Yep, we just saw Rogue One yesterday. We were still discussing the movie right up until we went to bed. I read the news today while uploading my photos.

Did I mention my favorite gifts from the holidays?


(From Little Sis)


(From Sky)

Guess which ones are mine. 🙂

After the movie, we came home and took down our Star Wars tree. We wrapped each ornament and placed them in their proper boxes, ready to be pulled out next year.

I’m not just a Star Wars fan though, Carrie Fisher was a very talented writer. Postcards From the Edge is one of the first books I’ve ever laughed out loud reading. She was also one of the first famous people to ever speak out openly about Bipolar depression.  She made mental illness famous and helped give me the courage to open up about my anxiety and depression, Thank you. RIP

2017, we could sure use some cheer.



I am going to try to categorize our last week of school for the year. After a long talk with the girls, our last week resembled the essence of what our Christmas school should look like; a little of this, and a little of that, and lots more fun.

Language Arts


We read The Nutcracker. This is one of the girls’ favorite Christmas stories. While trying to find a new story to read this year, I didn’t realize how much the girls would prefer to read their favorites; lesson learned.


Independent reading:

Little Sis, is almost done with Unbelievable. She will probably finish it up today or tomorrow and start reading the next one while on break. I am sure we will be watching lots of episodes of the show while on break too.

Sky, is almost finished with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. We will probably watch the movie soon. She received some graphic novels for Christmas that she is interested in starting too.

Mama’s reads:

I finished Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I am sorry I finished it, honestly. It took my rating from 2 stars, down to 1. I give the novel 1 star, because the author’s writing isn’t bad, and he did manage to bring closure to the plot. I understood where the plot was heading pretty early on. “It’s not the creature that is evil, but humanity.” This wouldn’t have been so bad if one, I hadn’t read this theme 100 times already; or two, the plot was actually scary.

When I explained to Sky, how the plot was a witch from the Salem witch trial era putting a curse on the town before being burned at the stake, she said:” I wish people wouldn’t write stories about witches having powers, it takes away from all the innocent people that were murdered during that time for supposedly being witches.” Though the ending was kind of trying to portray this, I agree with Sky.

I am a little disappointed Stephen King recommended this.

I am about halfway through Mystic River by Dennis Lehane and enjoying it very much. At least my reading will end on a good note in 2016.



The girls copied the last stanza of A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti.



(Little Sis)



The girls warmed up at Xtramath and continued working on a review.

Winter Solstice brought us a new game.


Deer in the Headlights. This is a great game for adding, and learning odd and even. You roll three dice, and what you roll determines the action you take with your cards. The first person to get rid of all your cards wins the round. The one with the fewer points wins after 10 rounds or when a person reaches 150.




The girls had homeschool gym.



We watched: What Is Tinsel Made Of? Speaking of Chemistry Ep. 12…by CEN Online

Excellent Evergreens by Scishowkids-both found on YouTube.


The Arts

Theater Appreciation (Small Screen ): We watched parts two and three of PBS The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses.


Besides chalkboard art,


we made Santa, Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.



We watched: 1933 “The Night Before Christmas” Walt Disney CLASSIC-  YouTube.

Our homeschooling group took a trip to a local small town candy store where the girls learned how to make candy canes.



Last but not least, the girls have already been working on some of their new gifts.



(Little Sis)



Time to put 2016 to bed. Fingers crossed, for 2017.

Peace for the journey.


*My Favorite Things: Sound of Music


Week In the Life “Baby, It’s Cold Outside*”

December 18, 2016

If you live in the Midwest, or up north, I’m sure you are aware it is cold out. Though we’ve had commitments, the majority of our week was spent cuddled up around the wood stove.

For the most part, we are ready for the holidays.



This coming week will be our last week of “school”. Then, the girls will get two weeks off. One of those weeks, I will be working on Sky’s transcript for her first two years of high-school.

Indiana requires a core 40 diploma, which basically means Sky will need 40 credits to get a general diploma. You earn one credit for each semester completed.

To graduate with an honors diploma, she must complete a minimum of 47 credits; which will need to include AP exams. You do not need to complete an AP course to take the exam.

These past two years, I have stressed over learning how to homeschool high school. Don’t get me wrong, it is very important to understand what is needed to graduate a homeschooled child. However, looking back I can honestly say I worried way too much, and ended up stressing both Sky and myself out. I got caught up in preparing her for college, and I forgot the whole reason I was homeschooling in the first place.

Homeschooling for me has always been an individual process. Sky has always been a bit behind. Everyone keeps asking her about getting her drivers license, and she keeps telling them that she does not feel ready to get behind the wheel of a vehicle yet. I can honestly answer that she is not mentally ready. She already suffers from anxiety/panic disorder, driving is the last thing she needs right now. However, I would almost put money down that she will be ready next year. That is just how it has always been with her.  If I could have just one more year to graduate her, it would be perfect. Unfortunately, society does not work like that. Five years to graduate does not look good on a college application, and I’m pretty sure will not attract any scholarships.

This year, I have accepted the fact that Sky probably will not be going to university. Don’t get me wrong, we will still be working towards an honors diploma. I’ve just decided, I not going to work my daughter into panic attacks to get her there. My daughter’s mental health comes first. My daughter comes first, period. That was the whole point of homeschooling.

I sit here and write about how our children are not us, and yet when it came to high-school and college, I pushed my child to be something she is not.

Like I mentioned, we will still aim for the honors diploma. More than likely though, Sky will graduate with the Core 40 diploma and attend community college if she wants. She is a very intelligent child, much more so than I was at her age. We’ve talked about life and the way it works. She gets it, she understands. In the end, though, this is her life, and the choices are for her to make, not me.

So for these next two years, I am back to following her lead, meeting her where she is. Life and my time with her are way too short to not be enjoying it.


Language Arts


We ditched Dodger. Not because it wasn’t good, it actually is, but because this week I was reminded what Christmas school, for us, is about. Little Sis wants to read: The Nutcracker, so that is our plan for this week.

Note to self: Allow the children to choose what we do for Christmas school.

Little Sis is still reading: Unbelievable. Sky is still listening to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.


Mama’s Reads:

I am a little over halfway through Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. I’m not really sure what to think about this novel. For me, it starts out really slow. I think I might know where the plot is heading; I guess I will just need to keep reading to find out. If I had to rate it now or wasn’t already over halfway through, I would probably give it 2 out of 5 stars. I am really struggling with wanting to finish it. Like I mentioned, I find the plot boring and not the least bit scary for a horror novel.

I have been a little disappointed with the horror genre lately. I have found myself being drawn more towards psychological thrillers; which is why I enjoyed: The Haunting of Hill House and Shutter Island so much. I think Stephen King might have been trying to attempt this with The Shining, but that novel fell through for me as well.

I can’t wait to count up how many books I actually read this year, but I feel like it has been a very disappointing year as far as my book choices go. Besides the Game of Thrones series, only three other novels have really stood out as great reads. That is a terrible ratio, in my opinion.

I will say, between reading Hex, discussing what the girls have been getting in with, and watching the Pretty Little Liars series, my dreams have been very interesting lately. 🙂

*Updated* to add, I can not believe I forgot about The Raven Cycle series. This was probably my favorite read of the year. Thank goodness for Maggie Stiefvater. This series alone makes up for all the other mediocre stories that I read this year. I just wish I had not read it so early in the year because everything after that has just been okay. I am extremely excited to read what she comes out with next.


The girls copied the next stanza of A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti in cursive. This has been another fun poem to discuss, and I can’t wait to read more of her work.



The girls continued working in their root word workbooks.

Vocabulary words this week were:

Seraphim, thronged, maiden, bliss, beloved

I love it when the girls inform me that they already know what some of these words are. It means I am doing my job.



The girls warmed up with XrtaMath.

Little Sis continued with long division.

Sky learned how to simplify algebraic expressions. This is what she will continue working on the rest of the year. No sense in learning something new and forgetting it over break.




We watched and discussed:

Is Santa Real? (A Scientific Analysis) – It’s Okay To Be Smart- YouTube

Why is Ice Slippery? – SciShow-YouTube

4 Reindeer Facts-SciShow kids-YouTube



World History/ Geography :

We watched and discussed: The wars that inspired Game of Thrones – Alex Gendler TedEd-YouTube.


The Arts


Little Sis made white and chocolate chip cookies,


and the girls made bread to go along with dinner this week.




We made The Grinch. Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.



Theater Appreciation (Small Screen):

We watched: PBS Great Performances: The Hollow Crown: The War of the Roses.

The girls love Sophie Okonedo, especially as Nancy in BBC’s Oliver Twist. They were so surprised that her character was not good in this series. “Just goes to show you how great of an actress she is.”


Little Sis had her award ceremony this week for cheerleading.


They start back up again at the end of January. Until then, she will just have to practice her toe touches around the house, and she does too.

Peace for the journey.

*Neptune’s Daughter

Week(s) In the Life (It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Winter)

December 10, 2016


The wood stove is in use full time now. My body yearns to stay indoors while waiting out the cold; that just isn’t an option for me anymore. The girls are older now and have more commitments. I sometimes long for those days when the girls were younger and we cut and pasted instead of doing long division and algebra.

Papa and I celebrated our anniversary Monday. One of the perks to having older children is that Papa and I are able to go out more alone. So, we went out to eat and then shopping for presents. Now that the girls are older, their wish lists are more precise. They have outgrown some of my favorite shopping spots. I did have an interesting conversation with a sweet kid, working at the comic shop, about his favorite horror graphic novels though. He did mention that he wished his parents would buy him the rest of the series I was purchasing for Sky, so I am taking that as a compliment.

It doesn’t help that the girls are complete opposites. So, shopping this year took longer than normal because we needed to go into different kinds of stores. Where clothes and make-up may be a great gift for one child, it would totally suck for the other one. Then there is the oldest (26, and reading this) that fits somewhere in between. 🙂

It was nice to return home to a warm house, where Sky had a fire burning in the wood stove that she was able to start all on her own, and the smell of my favorite cookies lingering in the air that Little Sis had baked.

I guess I am pretty lucky and shouldn’t complain. Not much longer, the house will be empty and I will be yearning to have children to run around. For now, I will savor these moments. Besides, there will be time for cutting and pasting with my grandchildren.



Language Arts



Christmas school:

I chose: Dodger by Terry Pratchett.

It isn’t really a Christmas story, but to us, Christmas wouldn’t be the same without Charles Dickens, and since the girls loved Oliver Twist so much, I thought why not give this story a try.  I am really glad we did. The writing style is spot on, and the plot gives off all the same cozy-warm feelings that Christmas stories do.


American Literature:

Since I had The Lottery and Other Short Stories by Shirley Jackson already checked out, I went ahead and read The Lottery out loud to the girls (even though we are kind of in the Colonial time period right now).

This story is a perfect example of how a short story should be written. Sky and I had so many wonderful discussions on how a short story could arise so many feelings in just a few pages. How the author could make you feel for characters you just met. Of course, the story is a little dated now, and Sky predicted the ending, but the next day she said: “You know, that story really sticks with you.” There is much substance in this little story, I highly recommend it.


Creative Writing:

We finished Book 1 of the Insanity series. We are interested enough to read book 2. I won’t say it is the best writing ever, it definitely has room for improvement; it does have a good plot line though. I am willing to give the next book a chance.

I think it is good for teens to read all kinds of literature, good and bad. If you don’t read anything that is poorly written, you might not be able to appreciate something that is written really well. If you only read works that are written really well, you might not be able to form opinions on why something is written poorly. In order to form opinions or write an analysis, you need to have been exposed to lots of choices to gather information from.

It is not just reading either, the same can be said for movies, music, art, theater, food, everything.


Independent Reading:

Little Sis finished: Perfect by Sara Shepard and started Unbelievable. We are almost done with season 1 of the show.

Sky has been listening to the audio of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. She chose to read this herself. I am only familiar with the movie.

Between the two girls, we’ve been having some very interesting conversations. 🙂

Homeschooling has two parts, it is kind of like slow dancing with a partner. Sometimes as the facilitator, I lead. This is where all those must learn subjects fit it. However, sometimes the girls lead. This is where all their interests fit in. It is important, to make time for both. It is important that we don’t keep doing all the leading.

Mama’s Reading:

I finished: The Lottery and Other Short Stories by Shirley Jackson. I have a hard time reading short stories like a novel. So, I read one story every night. The Lottery was by far the best story in this collection. However, I was really impressed with some of the subject matter she was writing about during the time period. Shirley Jackson has become one of my all-time favorite authors. I can’t wait to read her other works.

I also read The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. I am not really sure what made me originally add this novel to my reading list, but it sounded interesting so I went ahead and checked it out. I didn’t really know what to think about it at first. Its writing reminds me of a puzzle. The plot is given to you in pieces that you must keep track of in order to follow the story. At first, I was like ‘WTF’. About halfway through, the story began to pick up. Then it became an: ‘Oh, I see’ kind of novel.

I liked it; it was different in a sea of same. I wouldn’t add it to my list of favorites, nor add it to my least favorites either. I enjoyed it more than Horns but not as much as Shutter Island. So, if you are looking for something completely different than what you’ve been reading, and enjoy horror with a science fiction twist, I would give this novel a try.



The girls copied, and we discussed the first half of A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti in cursive.




Besides working in their root word workbooks, their words were:

carol, bleak, reign, sufficed, cherubim



The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis worked in Kumon 4th grade division. She learned how to divide 2-digits from 3-digits.

Sky learned about: terms, variables, constants, and coefficients from: Kiss My Math. She practiced what she learned with a worksheet.





We read November’s Science in the News issue from Science A-Z – Multilevel Science News Articles for Kids.




We watched: Globe Trekker’s Greece episodes.



The girls had homeschool gym. Little Sis had cheerleading.


The Arts

Theater Appreciation (small screen):

We watched: Hairspray Live. I thought they did a really good job. This is actually one of my favorite musicals.



The girls made gingerbread cookies,


Little Sis made Peanut Butter Blossoms,


and I made vegan snowman pancakes.




We made Frosty,


and Rudolf from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.



The Christmas puzzles have been brought out, along with a new one,


as well as the collection of Christmas movies, and music.

We also watched Christmas of Many Colors. I don’t know what it is about Dolly Parton ( I think it is because she writes from her heart), but she always makes me cry. This movie, cheese and all, did not fail.

Happy Holidays,

and peace for the journey.