Archive for May, 2017

Week(s) in the Life (Now You See Me, Now You Don’t)

May 26, 2017

Papa has been on vacation this week. So, we took the week off to catch up on some projects around the house.

For starters, we gave the girls a much-needed room makeover. Note to self, don’t ever stencil butterflies on walls again. We pretty much needed to prime Little Sis’s whole room, twice. Good thing it is a small room.

childrens museum 146

You can kind of see the butterflies pictured above, just imagine those all over the room.  She also had one huge painted butterfly that took up most of one wall.


This is her room now. Both girls chose pink for their room color. We plan on adding a few cheer decorations for the finishing touch.

Sky’s room was light blue with clouds painted on the walls. White clouds, thank goodness.



This is her room now. Her room will have more places to showcase her artwork without the need for tape. 😉

Garden update.

We have strawberries.


I’ve made a strawberry pie, strawberry pancakes, strawberries with frozen yogurt, and still had enough to freeze and fill a gallon freezer bag for smoothies.


Mama’s reads:

I finished: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon. Though this novel was a tad different, I liked it. Any book that has me staying up way past my bedtime because I can’t put it down, is a winner. I finished it in 3 days. It is all about the character development in her novels. 4 out of 5 stars.

I wish I could say the same with: Into the Water by Paula Hawkins. I just could not get into it. When it takes me a whole week to read 20% of a book, something is wrong. I liked Girl on the Train enough, to give her second novel a try. Even though I didn’t think it was great.

I really like novels written from different points of view, like the Game of Thrones series. However, we are introduced to new characters through the point of view characters. So, when a new character gets their own point of view chapter, we already know who they are. In: Into the Water, we are introduced to new characters in each chapter. I couldn’t keep them straight. This ruined the pace of the novel for me. Sorry to add my second “did not finish” book this month to the pile.

Fingers crossed that: It’s Always the Husband by Michele Campbell is better.



With Little Sis’s state competition, that was an hour away and we needed to be there by 6:30 A.M., and with mother’s day happening, I didn’t get much of a lesson planned out. So, last week was all about finishing up any loose ends so we could take this week off.


Language Arts

World Literature:

We finished: The Kalevala.

In Sky’s words: “I can see how this story was told around a fire during a time when oral storytelling was a thing. It is very poetic, but it’s a bit dated for my taste. I had a hard time figuring what the heck was going on half the time.” and these girls understand Shakespeare.

I kind of agree with her. I have always been a “straight to the point” type of girl myself. What I did get out of it, is the influence it had on other stories. Overall, I am glad we read it.


Words: twinflower, devotion, demon’s mountain, vane

The girls finished and we discussed: Nocturne by Eino Leino.


(Little Sis on the left and Sky on the right)

Sky really liked this poem. Little Sis told her to be careful, that I might make her memorize it. This was just the wake-up call I needed that I was killing natural learning. I decided to do away with “requiring” memorization for the sake of checking off a damn box. The girls have no problem memorizing information that is important to them.

As far as handwriting practice, Sky asked to work on her cursive when she got embarrassed she couldn’t sign her name to get a library card. So to kill 2 birds with one stone, I started having them copy poems we would go over for literature credits. The handwriting was their request.

*I feel a tangent coming on.*

While getting our hair cut the other day, my technician noticed I had a daughter in high school. She asked what school she went to, and I explained that I homeschool. She kind of went: “oh” and kept cutting my hair. A bit later, she asked: if the girls were excited about summer. I said: Yes, very. She went on to explain how her high school son needed to go to summer school because he was having trouble passing algebra 2. I could so completely relate to this with our oldest (soon to be 27. Damn where does the time go?). I started telling her how I thought it was bullshit that kids couldn’t graduate with an alternative to passing algebra 2. How not every child is meant to be a scientist. She went on to explain, how she was worried he would drop out, and in Indiana, it is a law you can’t get your drivers license if you drop out at 16.

This woman is probably a single mom working to raise her kids. There was no way she would be able to homeschool, let alone afford a tutor for her son. It really pisses me off, that because children can’t fit into a certain box, they are left to fend for themselves. I am thankful every day, that I am able to homeschool.

I told her, that she was not alone. I hear stories like hers all the time. It did make her smile a little.

I went to a private school and graduated from a public school. I have family and friends in public education, one being a principle. I completely understand the need. However, this is why I fight so hard for homeschooling. There needs to be another option. Parents need to know, there is another way.




The girls had homeschool gym, walks around the block.



We watched: xenophyophores -SciShow- YouTube




This week was all about Denmark. We already covered Denmark’s history when we learned about Hans Christian Anderson. So, we kind of just did a quick review by watching:

Geography Now: Denmark and Flag Friday- YouTube.

We also learned about Thomas Dam and the history of Trolls.



We watched the films: The Prestige and Hugo-Netflix.

I loved the movie: Hugo. I can’t believe I had not heard of it sooner. It is beautifully shot and would make a great family movie. It is about the magic of how films were originally made. Perfect for movie history.


The Arts

We watched: Trolls.

Drawing: We made Poppy from the movie Trolls ~ Draw So Cute-YouTube.


Little Sis had her awards ceremony for cheer, they didn’t make nationals, and she has been practicing her nail art.


She was inspired by a sweater she owns.

Wishing everyone a happy memorial day weekend and

peace for the journey.


Week in the Life (Master of Illusion)

May 12, 2017

Well, after a few weeks of doing exercises to help realign my neck and spine, I am beginning to feel better. So, in honor of this small victory, how about a couple of book reviews.

*Mama’s reads*

It is kind of funny really, not to the girls so much, while reading Seize the Story with them, just how much my current reads get discussed. When talking about voice, or writers style, I can’t help myself. There are SO many wonderful examples to choose from.

I ended up ditching: Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen. It probably is a good story and all, however, I just couldn’t get into it. It basically starts with the main protagonist returning home to find out her boyfriend has completely packed up all his belongings and disappears as if never existing. There could be some surprising plot twist as to why. Maybe, because of an unreliable point of view. Either way, I couldn’t relate to the protagonist enough to stick around to find out and the pacing was incredibly slow for my taste. If you can’t hook me within the first 10 chapters, I’m done.

I can’t say the same about One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline. It starts out with the reader knowing our main protagonist is not who everyone thinks he is. This novel was a bit different from what I would generally read. I don’t even know what made me put it on my “to be read” list. I am glad I did though. This is my first novel by this author, and I can’t wait to pick up more by her. Was this the best novel ever written? No. It did hold my interest though and I quickly became invested in the characters. That makes it a winner in my opinion. If I had to pick one thing that makes this novel stand out from all the other thrillers on the self, it is the way the author writes relationships. They feel very realistic. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Next, I read: The Widow by Fiona Barton. This too was a bit different from most psychological thrillers I’ve read. Not so much because of the subject, which by the way is a tough one (pedophilia), but because we get to read from the wife of the accused’s point of view. We get an inside view of how quickly someone’s life can be turned upside down by other people’s choices and how judgmental, we as a society can be. Like The Woman Next Door, this novel isn’t so much of a “thriller” but instead falls more in line with the psychological. I thought the pacing was just enough to move the plot along. I did find myself at times not wanting to pick it up to read, which could be because of the subject matter, but once I did, it was hard to put down. 4 out of 5 stars.

I am reading: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon and am already more than halfway through ( I started it yesterday). If I don’t finish it tonight, I will over the weekend for sure. Even though this isn’t the best story I’ve read by her, her writing is so hypnotic that it sucks me right into the story. She has a way of developing likable characters in a very short time. She reminds me of a young Stephen King; and like King, McMahon is one author I will always choose to read.


Garden update


Our Irises and Peonies are beginning to bloom. It has been nice having fresh flowers in the house.





Language Arts

World Literature


We finished: Comet in Moominland. I am glad we picked this one up. I have chosen to finish this series over summer school. I like to pick books a little more fun to read over the summer that we normally wouldn’t have time for during the year.

We are still reading the Kalevala.


The girls copied the first half of the poem: Nocturne by Eino Leino.



Vocabulary words:

nocturne, Corncrake (that was met with all kinds of “ahs” ), rye, dale


Grammar/ Spelling

Sentence a Day

Mad Libs


Creative Writing

Reading: Seize the Story (chapter 5, The Heart of A Writer), 10 minutes of freewriting.



Both girls warmed up with XtraMath

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

Sky: Algebra 1, solving linear equation worksheets from She is ready to move on to solving  2 variable equations.





Reading: Basher Microbiology.

Watched: Growing Lambs in Plastic Bags-SciShow- YouTube. This video launched a great discussion.

*Maybe, a Small Tangent*

Bill Nye “Saves the World” has been getting lots of negative feedback in the homeschooling community as to not being a television show for children. The show carries a TV-14 rating, which tells me it wasn’t intended for young children to begin with. As I stated last week, I think a lot of the problem with the show is that it’s not long enough, however that is all beside the point. If the show is not for you, I get it.

Our family had lots and lots of great discussions from the show, not all of them resulting in positive agreement. (I disagree with Nye’s GMO opinions and agree with the man that said we don’t need them to “feed the world”. I also understand, that unless there is scientific proof that has been tested, retested, getting the same results, with those results then becoming fact, a lot of science is opinions. I’m scientifically literate and shop at farmers markets, small business economics 😉 )

One member of this family is a vegetarian and both girls are against animal cruelty, even if it is in the “name of science”. My girls are also 11 and 16 years old, not children and know what they are capable of watching more than I do. When they were younger, I hid their eyes from violent scenes until they started knocking my hand away. I knew Little Sis hated watching animals hunt each other and I would never make her watch. I support my children’s right to form their own opinions. Even those that don’t always agree with mine. I know my children and follow what is best for them.

A lot of what I write here, might not be a good fit for your family. Only you would know that. This is our homeschooling journey.

*End of a longer tangent than I thought. 🙂


Getting back to science, ahem.

We also watched: Crash Course Animal Cells.

Biology: Cell Structure- Nucleus Medical Media- YouTube

The girls did their first lab to go along with this study. We made an animal cell pizza.




Instructions @:




We watched:

Lindisfarne- An Age Born in Fire- Extra History from Extra Credits-YouTube


Flag Friday- Estonia

Researching Estonia

Let’s Talk to an Estonian – all from Geography Now YouTube.



We watched: Crash Course Film History – George Melies -Master of Illusion- YouTube.

Since on the subject of illusions, we made thaumatropes.




You can find some great examples of ideas on YouTube.



We walked around the block.


The Arts


Sky has been drawing up a storm.


I meant to take more pictures. (Note to self.)

Little Sis had her last cheerleading practice before state competition this weekend. If her team places, they move on to nationals. I think I am more nervous than she is.

Wishing all the Mamas out there a happy mother’s day.

Peace for the journey.


Week(s) In The Life (Nordic Moominvalley Cool)

May 6, 2017

For starters, I want to mention Little Sis’s team made it to state competition (Yay!). Her team has been busy working hard on their routine. If they place at state, they move on to Nationals.

As for an update on my pinched nerve, it has not healed 100 percent yet. Which is making it a bit hard for me to sit and type for certain periods of time. So, as for now my posts they will just contain my homeschooling notes from the week. Hopefully, I can resume writing more detailed posts once I have fully healed.


Garden Update

Our strawberries are beginning to bloom (they are 3 times the size of last year)


as well as our garlic. Papa has tilled the garden and we are ready to plant after mother’s day.



Week 1

Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwriting

We discussed and The girls copied the first 2 stanzas of the poem: The Great Trouble by Harry Martinson.




We finished East of the Sun and West of the Moon.


Vocabulary/ Grammar/ Spelling

Word: Evangel

A Sentence A Day


Mad Libs


Creative Writing:

We finished chapter 4: Setting, from Seize the Story.

The girls worked on writing their setting with 10 minutes of free writing every day.



Warming up with XtraMath

Little Sis: Fractions and Decimal workbook.

Sky: Watched Solving Equations podcasts 1-3 with Mr. Karaba- YouTube

She practiced solving simple linear equations algebra worksheets from




Watched: we binged watched: Bill Nye Saves the World on Netflix.

The only thing I really want to write about this show, because I have seen it getting lots of bad reviews in my homeschooling groups, is that my only complaint is that the show is not long enough. I have been a fan of StarTalk radio before Neil DeGrasse Tyson starred in Cosmos, and got his own show. His show is an hour long, giving plenty of time for discussing controversial topics. This, in my opinion, is why it works so well. I am hoping Netflix will make the show longer. Other than that, it leads to great jumping off points for many great discussions.

Oh, and the girls have jumped on the slime bandwagon.


It all started with a simple stocking stuffer of Aaron’s Thinking Putty that I thought would be fun. It turned into a new obsession.


Reading: Basher Microbiology



Walks around the block and Yoga Walk




We watched: The Vikings, Hip Hughes -YouTube

Crash Course: Vikings -YouTube

360 Viking Battle National Geographic -YouTube

The girls made notes for their timeline binder.




We watched: Crash Course episode 2: The First Camera.

The Great Dictator: The End of Silence from Brows Held High -YouTube

So, I want to write briefly that the girls have been raised with film history. They have been watching Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy since they were little.

We also did a brief study into vaudeville when we read: The American Girl: Rebecca series (and their mama being a George Burns and Gracie Allen fan). The girls understand the science behind the pinhole camera and how it was first invented by Mozi from watching Cosmos.

They know Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle, The Perils of Pauline, Mary Pickford, and we’ve watched the movie: A Trip to the Moon. So, there is no need for us to go over any of this again, but it might be informative to note if anyone else would be interested in this course.



The Arts

We watched: A Viking voyage made from paper, National Geographic -YouTube.


We made Thumper from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.




Week 2


Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwriting

The girls finished copying: The Great Trouble by Harry Martinson.




(Little Sis)


We started reading: Comet in Moominland and The Kalevala.



Sentence of the Day

Mad Libs


Creative Writing

We started chapter 5: The Heart of a Writer from Seize the Story.

The girls are working on finding their voice while free writing 10 minutes a day.



Warming up at XtraMath

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

Sky: Continued working on simplifying linear equations algebra worksheets from



We watched:

March for Science- SciShow- YouTube

Reading: May issue of Science in the News A-Z.



Reading: Basher Microbiology.


Do You Own Your Cells -BrainCraft- YouTube

Slime Mold Time Lapse BBC One- YouTube



We Watched: Allergies SciShow Kids -YouTube



Yoga Walk and the girls had homeschool gym.





European/ Geography

We learned all about Finland. The girls filled in the country on their blank map of Europe.

We watched:

Rick Steves’ Europe Helsinki and Estonia video-YouTube.

Geography Now Finland, Finland Flag Friday, and visiting Finland and Estonia-YouTube.

We listened to a few of my favorite Finland bands that the girls are already familiar with. Nightwish, Tarja Turunen, and Within Temptation.



We watched: Crash Course episode 3: The Lumiere Brothers.


The Arts


We made Moomin from Kids Mirror- YouTube.



Extracurricular activities:

Little Sis had cheerleading practice and Sky had equestrian lessons.


Peace for the journey.