Archive for January, 2018

Week in the Life (Community)

January 28, 2018

We had our first full day of lessons this week. We are still playing catch up from before holiday/Christmas “school”, so our days were a little long, and I am still tweaking our lessons trying to spread them out more since Little Sis has cheer practice on the weekends now. Other then that, I am happy with how our days flow. I did add a new language arts journal to both of the girls’ baskets that they started this week. So far, they are working out the way I’d hoped.

Since adding the Thinking Tree journals into our lessons, I noticed Little Sis really needed to work on her summarizing skills, and Sky still needed a poetry credit for Language Arts.




Little Sis has a poem or story to read aloud to me, then she fills out the following page. Since I rule the curricula, instead of having Little Sis copy her favorite part of the story. I am having her summarize the story in her own words. She needs some help with run-on sentences.

I have added poetry to our lessons since I started homeschooling. First, they were a part of our daily circle time, then I added them to help both girls practice their handwriting skills. Then, I started adding the words they didn’t understand as part of their vocabulary lessons and we discussed what we thought the poem was about. The only thing I need to complete Sky’s credit is to go over patterns.




Sky and I read and discuss the poem, then she fills in the rest of the journal throughout the week. By the time she is done with this journal, she should be able to write a few poems of her own.

I have read a few complaints about how some don’t think these journals are rigorous enough. I don’t agree, these journals are as rigorous as you decide to make them. Every journal that I have purchased through The Thinking Tree, I have used to suit our needs. I honestly think that this is why they are made so open-ended. This is why the age range is so broad. They have been a huge time-saver for me, and I love them.

Following on the tail of last week’s lessons, this week we read about Marie Curie.


We also watched Ted-Ed: The Genius of Marie Curie and History’s Deadliest Colors on YouTube.

We discussed current events,


and Little Sis had another object lesson in her core journal.


One of my children, ahem, thought this was a CD player. The girls had a laugh while listening to how music sounded on one of these. I, however, still remember trying to find the right place on a record to listen to certain songs. I still own a few of my original records. I am glad record sales are making a come back.

As “old school” as this may sound and being the music fan that I am, I have always viewed an album as a work of art that needs to be listened to in its entirety. I love being able to follow an artists journey.

We learned about Elenor of Aquitaine from Lives of Extraordinary Women.


The girls took a self-defense class.


The last baking project we made from The Thinking Tree: Mom Files book was a no-bake cheesecake. This week, we baked one from scratch, including the strawberry syrup (made with strawberries from our garden).


The girls added their mathematics lessons and XtraMath practice back into their day. I was hoping to be in volume two by now, darn viral infections. To be fair, the girls are working on the last chapter.


Little Sis’s spelling journal words this week started with the letter H. So, we watched Pets 101 about hamsters and harmonica videos from Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Shakira, and Alanis Morissette.

We learned about The Netherlands (Holland)


and watched Rick Steves.

We also made a Chibi hamster from Draw So Cute.



(Little Sis’s journals)

Sky and I finally finished chapter 6 of Braving the Wilderness. I love how sometimes our lessons all mesh together without even trying.

Sky and I watched Crash Course: Sociology episode 5 and learned about Emile Durkheim from The School of Life on YouTube. His study of capitalism, modernism, and suicide fit in perfectly with our chapter of Braving the Wilderness and current events.  I can not stress enough how much I love this book. How much Sky loves this book. She looks forward to reading it.



We watched Crash Course: Film History episode 8 and Film Production episode 1.

Sky has started an Instagram account/ group where she and other members share fan stories. I don’t want to call it fan fiction because it’s not erotica or anything, she is literally writing her own screenplays for her favorite movies. Right now, she is working on one for Blade Runner 2049 and The Last Jedi.

She didn’t like the new Star Wars movie. In fact, she is pretending that it didn’t even happen (Like me with Avengers: Age of Altron. WTF!?). Her argument (Yes, she wrote an argumentative essay about it.) is that Luke Skywalker would never abandon his family and friends. So, she is writing an alternative to how she thinks the movie should have been.  She started another online group to discuss movies and is in another one for 30 Seconds to Mars Fans.

We watched a new episode from a Facebook PBS series called Two Cents.


She added notes to the business section of her portfolio journal.

We also watched the Dogs 101 episode about Border Collies since she has been learning about them in her art journal.


(Sky’s Journals)

Whew, I think we had a pretty productive week.

Peace for the Journey.


Week in the Life (Loose Ends)

January 20, 2018

Before the holidays kicked off, we had just finished learning about the geography of France. The girls have already studied its history for Sky’s Wolrd History credit, but there were still a few people that I wanted the girls to learn about. So this week was about finishing up all those loose ends before getting back into our normal routine.

For starters, we finished reading the American Girl: Kirsten series.

We attempted to make yarn dolls,


though I think the girls had better success with making Snowball cookies.


The girls want to add these to our holiday cookie rotation. They are so easy to make that I can’t believe we had never made them before.

Our study of Sweden is officially done.


The girls had homeschool gym and their usual P.E. of aerobics and yoga.

This week’s PBS Nature episode just happened to be about Arctic wolves and since Sky loves learning about wolves I thought, why not.

We learned how to draw a Chibi wolf from Draw So Cute-YouTube.



We read about Coco Chanel from an Illustrated biography


and watched the movie Coco Before Chanel.


I first want to say that this movie is PG-13 (no nudity or cursing) and in French with English subtitles, but it was really interesting. I highly recommend it. I never really knew a whole lot about her, being a jeans and t-shirt type of gal myself, but she really was an amazing woman. I didn’t know she started out by making straw hats, out of all the things she is known for creating.  You could learn so much about history just by studying it through her eyes.

Little Sis created an outfit inspired by her.



We also watched The Passon of Joan of Arc for Sky’s History of Movies credit.


What an amazing job Maria Falconetti did playing as Joan. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for her. It was interesting to learn that the director of this film went on to make a horror movie next.

I read the short biography about her from The Lives of Extraordinary Women and the girls took notes.


I think we have found our new groove and are finally ready to get things back to normal around here.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) in the Life (Easing Back In)

January 12, 2018

Welcome, 2018!

Hope everyone enjoyed the holidays. We took a little break since Papa was on vacation. Good thing too, because it was cold outside! I guess it is time to get back into the swing of things though.

Well, Little Sis made it to division 5 of her cheer team. She is very excited, and a little sad because some of her friends did not make the team. With her new team, comes a new practice day and time. She now has tumbling practice along with cheer. So, this means a new homeschooling routine for us. This week, I decided instead of jumping right back into things, to work more on getting our schedule back in order. We worked more on getting back into our everyday routine while tying up some loose ends.

We finished up a few things that I had planned to go along with our “Christmas/holiday” school that got pushed aside. Reading was easy because we all were able to lounge around the woodstove.

We read the next two books (4 and 5) of the American Girl: Kirsten series and learned about the traditional Dala horse.


The girls had homeschool open gym, where Little Sis has been practicing her backbend kickover, and we got back into our aerobic/ yoga routine. We have added yoga to our everyday routine, not only because of the health benefits but it helps keep Little Sis limber through the week.


While on break, I gave the house a good deep cleaning. One of my favorite albums to listen to while cleaning is ABBA. The girls pretty much know all their songs by heart. So,  incorporating them into our Swedish lessons wasn’t hard to do. 😉

The girls made a Scandinavian Kringle recipe that was delicious (and dangerously good).


We read January’s issue of Science in the News and we did a few experiments too.

We tried making homemade litmus paper using Poinsettia leaves and a coffee filter




but, it pretty much was a fail. I guess we didn’t use enough leaves. My plant is still doing well and I didn’t want to pull too many of the leaves. We did do this once with red cabbage and had great results.

We did, however, manage to bend a candy cane and strip it of its stripes.






We watched the Globe Trekker: Sweden and Denmark episode on Amazon Prime and started watching season 2 of Bill Nye saves the world on Netflix.


I finished out my Goodreads reading challenge by reading a total of 50 books in 2017. Though, you could say I cheated a bit since I included the books we read for our school too. Hey, I mean I did read them after all.

I finished two new detective series books that I really enjoyed. Still Mine by Amy Stuart and The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka. I can’t wait for the next books in these series to come out.

I am trying to finish All Is Not Forgotten by Wendy Walker now. It had such high reviews, but it reads too much like a psychology textbook for me to enjoy it. I don’t like how the story is told from the psychologist’s point of view. It jumbles around too much for me to stay interested in what is going on. I think the idea of telling the story this way sounds interesting. In my opinion, it just wasn’t executed very well.

I think crime/ thriller novels will be my 2018 book theme this year as I am just not enjoying the psychological thrillers that much anymore. The characters are not interesting enough for me to stay invested. I feel the same with the horror genre.

I enjoyed Sleeping Beauties enough to finish it but it didn’t excite me like The Killer Next Door or The Library at Mount Char. They were different. I remember not sleeping for days after reading Watchers by Dean Koontz. However, I am interested to find out more from authors Nicci French, Kristen Lepionka, and Amy Stuart. Also, I never thought I would enjoy Colleen Hoover’s books as much as I do. I usually tend to pass on the romantic type of stuff. They have a therapeutic feel to them.

Well, I think that about sums things up.

Peace for the journey.