Archive for February, 2017

Week(s) in the Life ( How We Science)

February 18, 2017

Here we are again, the middle of February, and we have the windows open. I feel like winter is over before it even began.

The robins have been gathering around our crabapple tree, helping themselves. We have named it our tree of life because it maintains its own ecosystem. The crabapples feed the birds and squirrels, and the flower blossoms feed the bees. The bees help our garden, which helps feed us. The tree absorbs our carbon dioxide and releases us its precious oxygen. That is the beauty of science for you.

We had a light bulb moment this week while watching our science videos. While our videos were discussing the positive and negative attractions of protons and electrons, Sky exclaimed: “just like in math”. What a great moment to discuss how mathematics is the language of the universe; to finally understand its necessity.

This was the breakthrough I very much needed to boost my confidence. I still hold firm to my belief that not everyone is meant to be a scientist, mathematician, or an artist, but for her to finally understand why learning mathematics is so important, was big.

I feel like this is another positive aspect of homeschooling. School separates learning into “subjects”. I mean, I understand why. It is hard to find a teacher that is an expert in everything. In homeschooling, you don’t need to be an expert; you just need to have the desire to want to learn.

Earth¬†isn’t separated into subjects, everything connects. This is what real learning looks like. It is hard to understand art and literature if you don’t understand the history of what was happening at the time. History influences movements, movements influence change, change influences art. It is a never-ending cycle, and I am very close to busting out the lyrics to the song: The Circle of Life from Disney’s The Lion King right now. ūüôā


Language Arts


We finished Julie of the Wolves. I’m sure this will be added to our favorite reads from the year list. Lots of discussion from this little gem.

We watched Julie of the Wolves Mini-Documentary РYouTube

We started: The Call of the Wild by Jack London but ditched it. After the first two chapters, both girls, in unison started arguing with me. “I do not need to read about animal abuse, I know it exists.” “I’m just letting you know, I am not going to pay attention to this book if we continue to read it.” Nothing like keeping it real. So, I read the biography of Jack London from The Lives of Writers by Kathleen Krull, and we discussed the historic significance of his novels instead.

The girls understand the novel’s place, they even appreciate them being written. “I am for anyone that gets the word out about animal cruelty, I just don’t need to read about it myself.” This lead to a wonderful conversation about how well the novel Black Beauty was written. “There was a balance of good and bad.”

This goes to show you why it is important to know your children’s sensitivities when picking out stories. Sky can watch someone getting their throat cut in the Game of Thrones series, but she cannot tolerate bullying or animal cruelty. This is why Little Sis became a vegetarian. She can not tolerate the treatment of animals in the meat industry. Even though we support small farmers and know how the animals are treated.

We are reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman instead.


*Mama’s Reads*

I finished: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. I liked it all right. I could see the influence of King’s Pet Sematary. I really liked the historical aspect of the novel. The ending wasn’t bad, I just think it could have been a little bit better. I gave it 4 stars.

I read: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough next. I really liked this one. I wasn’t really sure where it was going until the end. It held my interest, and I finished it in 3 days. It was a fun read, but will it be memorable? No, the characters were kind of bland. I really didn’t care what happened to them, the ending proves that. Still, I am glad to have read it. I gave it 4 stars too.

I am rereading: The Gunslinger by Stephen King now. I am excited to see the movie, so I am going to try and reread the entire series before I go see it in theaters.



The girls copied the next stanza from Let America Be America Again.




The girls worked in their Word Root workbooks. Sky worked in her English workbook, and both girls played Mad Libs.

Words from the week were:

bondsman and bartered

The girls corrected a sentence a day.

Creative Writing:

We continued reading Seize the Story, and during free writing, the girls came up with some character names.



Violet worked on the review from her workbook. Sky learned about the distributed property.

The girls made hearts using the pattern blocks.


(Connecting art and mathematics.)



The girls had homeschool gym. We took advantage of warmer weather and went for a walk around the block, and Yoga Walked indoors.

Sky had equestrian lessons, and Little Sis had cheerleading practice.



We watched and discussed:

How Soap and Water Make Us Clean? SciShow Kids

Are Hand Dryers Sanitary? SciShow

The Best Way to Fight the Flu – Scishow

The New Superbug! -SciShow

Attack of the Super Bugs -SciShow

Honey: Bacteria’s Worst Enemy SciShow

Metal vs. Bacteria -SciShow

all found on YouTube.




We read February’s issue of Science A-Z – Multilevel Science News Articles for Kids.

We watched and discussed:

Why Does Cilantro Taste Like Soap? SciShow

Wolverines Are the Honey Badgers of the North -Animalogic

Relationship Advice From the Animal Kingdom -It’s Okay To Be Smart

The Arctic Canary in the Coal Mine- TedEd

Ice Caves ShiShow Kids

The 17+ Different Kinds of Ice! SciShow

Inside the Tiny Ecosystems Hiding in Glaciers SciShow

We celebrated Charles Darwin’s birthday and watched:¬†Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin! SciShow Kids

all found on YouTube.





We watched and discussed Masterpiece Theater’s Victoria.

Civics/ Government:

We watched and discussed:

Trump vs. Truth: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

What Does it Mean to be A Refugee? TedEd

all found on YouTube.


The Arts

Music Appreciation:

We watched:  Coolest Concert Ever? Hear Ice Instruments-National Geographic -YouTube

(Combining art and science.)


We made lovebirds from Draw So Cute-YouTube


Peace for the journey.



Week in the Life (Patterns)

February 4, 2017

Surprisingly enough, even with all the current events swirling around in my head, I am feeling really positive about the start of our school year. I feel like, even though we were going through our same homeschooling routine, that I was extremely distracted by making sure we were covering all of our bases for high school. Somewhere along the way, we lost all our joy in learning. I found myself more interested in the novels I was reading instead of doing our lessons. My lack of enthusiasm was not lost on the girls. How many times have I written that if interest is not there, learning will not happen? Well, homeschooling parents are not excluded from that.

Though I am not one to break laws, actually I am a huge nerd (if you couldn’t already tell), I do tend to question arbitrary rules a lot. Just because everyone else might have done it a certain way, does not mean that I have to. I have never been much of a follower.

Homeschooling Kindergarten through 8th grade was great, you basically just need to cover all the basics. Can they read? Can they write? Are they building onto their mathematical skills? No problem. Then high school comes around with thoughts on college, scholarships, and competition (oh my). The stress of my child’s future rests upon my shoulders. I was not only making myself physically ill, I was impacting my daughter’s mental health. Creating your own path can be scary at times. Everything that I had observed of my daughter, over all these years of homeschooling, no longer mattered anymore; it was time for her to become another cog in the wheel. Over winter break, I realized that I could care less about the wheel anymore, and we focused more on our interests again.

All the times I tried to force activities (“got to list extracurricular activities on a transcript, no one likes a loner, especially if they are homeschooled”); in the end, it was the girls that told me what they wanted to do. Little Sis loves cheerleading, and Sky is loving her equestrian lessons. They both are interested in taking a self-defense class as well. If I had just listened to my instincts, and followed their lead in the first place (like I had been doing before the high school madness began), I could have spared the both of us a lot of stress.

Something else that I witnessed over winter break, was that the girls were going to be alright. They are¬†fully capable of managing on their own. They have been listening and making their own observations too. They are both incredibly smart girls, with a good head on their shoulders, a solid foundation beneath their feet, and have grown a fondness of questioning arbitrary rules themselves. ūüôā

I guess, it is all just part of my learning journey.




Language Arts


We continued reading Julie of the Wolves.

There is so much in this little story to discuss. I may have already mentioned this, but I read this story when I was younger. I remember liking it, but I can’t really remember why. I guess when reading reviews, there is a little controversy over an attempted rape scene halfway into the book. I sure didn’t remember any of that from reading it when I was younger. However, one difference is we read for discussion purposes. The girls know they can talk to Papa and me about anything, and we have and do. Second, Little Sis has read and watched the Hunger Games series, and Sky has read and watched the Game of Thrones series, so this wasn’t anything worse than what they have already read. In other words, you know your children best.

*Mama’s reads*

I finished The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon. I give it 4 stars. (5 stars being I absolutely loved it, 4 stars being it was okay, I liked it enough, 3 stars being I didn’t like it, 2 stars, I have yet to give a novel 2 stars, complete rubbish.)

I could see the influences from The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House. The characters were well developed. The prose was nicely written. I think the pace just dragged a bit for me, which kept it from being a page turner, and 5-star novel.

I tried reading The Trap by Melanie Raabe but dnf it. I really tried to give it a chance, the prose is beautiful, and the plot sounded like it would have been a good read. However, the repetition was just too much.

I am reading The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon now.


Vocabulary Words:

This week, the girls had words from both the poem we are discussing and from Julie of the Wolves.

Poem: liberty, patriotic, mumbles

Novel: sedge, nomadic, peat, carrion, soliciting, ambrosia, undulating, bayed, vaulting, monotony, tundra, regal, cosmos

They also worked in their root word workbooks.


Sky worked in her workbook. Netflix had added mad libs to their DVD envelopes, so the girls took turns asking each other the questions. They had so much fun, that they asked if I would order them some more, so I did.

We continued working out of A Sentence a Day (loving this!). This led to a conversation about appositives.


The girls copied the next two stanzas of the Poem: Let America Be America Again, with lots of discussion of current events.


(Little Sis)

Creative Writing:

We discussed creating characters from the book: Seize the Story (loving this too!). They continued free writing 10 minutes a day; this time focusing on developing their characters.



The girls warmed up at Xtramath.

Little Sis: continued working on her division workbook

Sky: learned how to divide using variables.

*Slight detour ahead*

Something I have discovered on this learning journey of mine is it isn’t the algebra that is necessarily what’s so hard to grasp, but maybe that the steps¬†leading up to algebra might not have been mastered well enough. I see this with Sky, granted she has just dipped her toes into algebra, she has been flying through her worksheets. Though Sky isn’t at grade level with mathematics, the fact that I have taken the time for her to master each step before moving on has been extremely¬†beneficial now. Another positive side effect from me letting go of the wheel. What do I want, an educated child that has mastered concepts? Or a failing child rushed through the process because of someone else’s timeline?

*End of detour*

We purchased a new board game: Rubber Road.


I was wanting to purchase a geoboard for a project but didn’t want it sitting around collecting dust when we were though. So, I saw this game and thought it would be a perfect solution. The object is to get your color of rubber bands on the opposite side of the board without crossing over your opponents and only using three pegs. It’s a lot harder than it looks, and a great time filler when the family is waiting for me for whatever reason.

It was perfect for our project too.


I purchased a separate set of rubber bands to use the game as a geoboard. The girls took turns between the geoboard and the pattern blocks making snowflakes, snowmen, and other winter objects.



We watched :

See the Beauty of the Northern Lights From a Plane, and from Space -National Geographic

Why Seasons Make No Sense – It’s Okay to be Smart

Fun Facts About Groundhogs!- Scishow Kids

Lichen: Two Living Things In One -SciShow Kids

How does a jellyfish sting? – Neosha S Kashef -TedEd

(Where we took a detour and learned about lion’s mane jellyfish, holy crap!)

Giant Echizen jellyfish off Japan coast.BBC World News

All found on YouTube.



Colds, the Flu, and You- Scishow Kids

Cell vs. virus: A battle for health РShannon Stiles…TedEd

The Surprising Reason You Feel Awful When You Are Sick…TedEd

Bacteria vs. Antibiotics….TedEd

All found on YouTube.



We Walked Away the Pounds: 3 miles, Yoga walked, Little Sis had cheerleading practice, and Sky had her equestrian lessons where she learned how to run a pattern.





We watched PBS Masterpiece Theater: Victoria.

Snowflake Bentley Read Aloud

The myth behind the Chinese zodiac -TedEd (Which fit well with the video: Why Seasons Make No Sense.)

Take a Tour of a Soviet-Era Ghost Town-National Geographic

Found on YouTube.


We watched PBS series Mercy Street.


The Arts

We watched Disney’s animated The Jungle Book movie. I waited a bit to watch this with the girls since we had seen the live-action version in the theater. I have to admit, even though I did not like the live-action version, it was way better than the animated movie. It really needed an update. I can see why it was never a favorite of mine.


We made Rapunzel from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.


The girls have been working in their adult coloring books they received for Christmas.


This one is called: The Time Chamber by Daria Song.

(Little Sis)

Theater Appreciation (Small Screen):

We watched: Faerie Tale Theatre  РRapunzel РYouTube.

Music Appreciation (Instrumental): We listened to George Winston: Winter (while making patterns)- YouTube

That about sums it up, peace for the journey.