Archive for the ‘10 year old’ Category

Week In The Life (I Declare )

October 29, 2016

Well, we didn’t exactly take a break. However, I did discover the problem and attempted to fix it. Normally when I begin to feel overwhelmed, it is because I am trying to squeeze in more information than our brains can handle (if I’m overwhelmed by information, so are the girls).

I also realized, I have been trying to schedule our year to be more in line with our school district. In doing so, I messed up our whole rhythm. Winter is the time we usually get down to business, not fall because birthdays and holidays interrupt our learning flow. The girls have called me on this too. “Mom, we have hardly watched any Halloween movies this year!” “Yeah, last year we read Dracula, where are the spooky stories?”

Sometimes, it takes hanging around a few school children to set my mind at ease. I think that is one downside to homeschooling, which hardly compares to all the upsides; not being able to use public school as a guide to see if we are doing enough. I don’t get to see other teacher’s lessons to compare notes with.

I mean, I tailor our lessons around where the girls are academically, which is one of those upsides, but where do they stand academically with other children? Are we doing enough, or too much? I guess what I’m trying to say is, I add a lot of stress to myself worrying that we are not doing enough. The majority of children the girls hang out with are homeschooled, so I can only use them as guides. Little Sis, reading 500 page books at 9 is considered “normal” around other homeschool children her age. I know several homeschool teens that have skipped high school all together to go to college. It is easy to get caught up in that race (that I don’t even like to begin with).

Then, you meet an A honors public school student that uses Crash Course videos for AP high school courses, and think: really, for AP? Or while hanging out at Little Sis’s cheerleading practice, you overhear a mom helping their middle school child with their homework and realize: what the hell am I stressing for?

Okay, so I want to make one thing perfectly clear, I am not trying to make it sound like one education is better than the other. I think most parents want what is best for their children. (No guilt trip intended.) No matter which path you may choose, it all comes down to the effort the student puts in. If a student does not want to be present, learning will not happen. Which is why it is pointless for me to attempt a full load of lessons until after the holidays. ( I already knew this, WTF!)

Sometimes, I just need to be reassured every now and again. Sometimes, I need a pat on the back.



Language Arts



This week, we started reading: Insanity (Mad in Wonderland) series by Cameron Jace. So far, so good. Little Sis is hoping for romance, Sky hopes it sticks with the “mad” theme without a romance getting in the way. These girls are night and day I tell you. It is extremely hard to find a book that pleases them both.

We continued reading D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths and more Aesop Fables.

We also watched:The History of Cinderella | Fairy Tales with Jen – YouTube


Mama’s Reads:

I finished: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters. Okay, I can see why people really like this book, and why it was recommended to me. It just dragged too much for me. It was a little over 500 pages and could have been edited down, in my opinion. I think The Haunting of Hill House was written much better. (Short and to the point.) Maybe, I am spoiled by too many plot twists; so I was disappointed by this story. Or maybe, I have read a better version of this type of story already. The writing style reminds me of Sunday afternoons, relaxed with not a whole lot going on. Sometimes though, if I am too relaxed I will fall asleep. That is what my problem was with this novel, it was too relaxing for me.

I am reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn now. At first, I didn’t think I was going to like her writing style. It reminds me of Joe Hill’s where it can’t be YA because they like to drop the F bomb, but the story is still written like a YA. I think a few authors are trying to appeal to those that have outgrown YA, the in your “20s” age range. Which I think is great. I, however am no longer in my 20s. This type of writing style is lost on me. I will say though, her writing style did get better as the book progressed. Now, I am interested. 🙂


The girls finished discussing, and copying the poem:Iron Horse by Jame Whitcomb Riley.





This was a fun one to dissect and discuss.

Writing/ Grammar:

We finished chapter 2 of Basher’s Creative Writing. This too has been fun to discuss, the girls know more than what I give them credit for.

Next month is National Novel Writing Month, so the girls will be writing a bit more then.

Little Sis is almost finished with her writing workbook, and Sky continued working in her English book.


Both girls are continuing to work in their Root Word workbooks, and their words were:

gallant, steed (thanks Shrek),pilgrim, shrine, prosper, gleams, exultant



The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis worked in her Division workbook, and Sky moved on in the Kiss My Math book. She has adding and subtracting negative numbers down(Yay!). She is actually caught back up in her Kumon workbook, but I think we will continue with Kiss My Math. The book covers a lot more detail.




We watched: Ted-Ed What causes cavities? – Mel Rosenberg – YouTube


Walks around the block (which helped my anxiety to level out).




We read: The Declaration of Independence, and continued reading Barron’s American Government book ( with lots of discussion).

We watched: Ted Education Why do Americans vote on Tuesdays? – Jacob Soboroff


We listened to: Ancient Greek Music – The Lyre of Classical Antiquity…YouTube


The Arts:

Comics: Art in Relationship:

Sky worked on the last assignment of the on-line class. She needed to come up with the thumbnail to a comic that needed to include: a child, park, and a balloon that comes to life.


She will finish the comic this week. She really enjoyed this class, and we both learned a lot. There is much, much more to comics than meets the eye, and it uses more of the brain than it gets credit for.


We watched a lot this week.

Disney’s Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella

Black Beauty (1994)- Amazon

We really liked this movie a lot, it has been added to the favorite movies from the year list.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Another hit with the girls. Sky loved the special effects; she says they still hold up.

Silly Symphonies – King Neptune (1932)  and Goddess of Spring (1934)- YouTube

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween.

Peace for the journey.



Week In The Life (What A Beauty)

October 22, 2016

I am finding it hard to want to write today. I am actually pushing myself though, because I’ve found that when I don’t want to write, it usually means that I need to.

I am just not feeling our lessons right now, my head is extremely cluttered. Honestly, I think it is because of this whole presidential mess.

I also find myself feeling this way when I’m trying to take on more than what the girls can handle. This is why, I can not plan a whole school year out in advance, because I start to panic about how I am going to fit everything in, and leave no time for detours. Then, I start becoming all drill Sargent only making things worse; real learning happens naturally, it can not be forced.

Next, I usually find myself frustrated with the system, I can only imagine how school teachers must feel. I mean, my whole daughter’s future relies on whether or not she completes all her math credits in time. Which pisses me off, because children’s futures are basically set on how our brains are wired, which is an evolutionary process we have no control over. Some brains have evolved to understand physics, thank goodness. However, just because my daughter can’t, does not make her (and all the other children like her) a failure.  Yuck, sometimes I don’t have anything nice to say; which is why I don’t feel like writing in the first place.

Though, I do think it is important to share the bad stuff too. I mean, I’ve been at the homeschooling thing now for awhile, and I still have bad moments. I still question myself.

As always, I usually find what is behind my funk by writing it all out, and I think I just discovered the root of the problem. I feel powerless. My hands have been tied, tied over the candidates running for office( all of them), tied over the system ever changing, tied of anything ever changing. We don’t have time for four more years of doing the exact same things, and we sure as hell can’t afford moving backwards.We have deep, seeping wounds that need immediate attention (another company, members of Papa’s union went to Mexico) .

Gloom and doom. Yes, I think it is safe to say my anxiety is back. I am extremely sensitive, and the last few weeks have been torture. Add all this along with a very emotional documentary, it is no wonder I am feeling down (hormones, and lack of exercise this week are probably not helping matters).

So, where does this leave us? I have been on this train long enough to understand when a break is needed. With the Presidential debates over, I think a week of holiday fun is just what the doctor ordered.



Language Arts


We finished Black Beauty. This story will be added to our favorite stories from the year list. We highly recommend it.

We attempted: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury, but gave it the ax. We just couldn’t get in with his writing style. Sky takes a lot after me in this way: “Too much description, I am all about straight forward prose. There is setting the atmosphere, and just plain beating the heck out of you with it.”.   🙂

I guess this is another one of those novels where we will watch the movie instead. It’s very odd for me to have two novels in a row like this.

We also started D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Mythology.

Mama’s reads:

Speaking of movies, I loved the movie adaption of the novel: Carol by Patricia Highsmith. The acting was wonderful, and the cinematography was beautiful. This movie has been added to my favorites list of the year.

As far as the novel: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters goes, it is okay. I am almost done, probably will finish it this weekend. The story just drags for me in parts. I keep waiting for the plot twist, and I guess there is one, only to be disappointed. Maybe, that is my problem, but if I were to judge the novel right now as it stands, I think it could have been better. So far, these last few months my novel choices have been mediocre. I am due for an “amazing” one soon.


The girls copied the next 1/3 of the poem: Iron Horse in cursive.

Grammar/ Vocabulary:

The girls worked in their Root Word workbooks and had the words:

gait, burnished, mettle, smolders, rapture, palpitated, ire, reel, sublime.

Sky continued working in her Barron’s English book.

Creative writing/ Writing:

We discussed chapter 2 of Basher’s creative writing book, and Little Sis continued working in her Kumon writing workbook.



Girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis worked in her workbook, and Sky has grasped adding and subtracting negative integers. Time to move on.

More Fortune Street.




Netflix added the television show: Startalk for streaming. I have been listening to the podcast for years, (I am a big fan of Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins, and Lawrence Krauss.) and am glad to be able to watch the show with the girls (also, a much better example of what deep discussions look like).




We watched Indian Summers.


We watched: the last Presidential and our Governor debate,

State Legislatures and ALEC,

and Third Parties: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. YouTube

You can find you state representatives by zip code at Project Vote Smart, to see where they stand on issues.

Sky and I also watched the documentary: 13th on Netflix. I highly recommend everyone to watch it. It is an extremely touching documentary that left the both of us speechless (and in tears). I feel the content is best for high school level and up, not only are some parts graphic, but I think the topic itself might be a bit hard for younger viewers to comprehend.

We continued our way through Barron’s American Government book.


The Arts

Theater Appreciation (Small Screen):

I tried to lighten the emotional mood of the week a bit by watching Fox’s Rocky Horror Picture Show. Yes, I am one of them. This musical is a Halloween tradition that predates me “married with children”. The girls have had the soundtrack pounded into their heads, and have known about transsexuals long before Obama. So, to say I was disappointed is an understatement. I think I will have Sky write one of her theater critiques from this production.

Comics: Art in Relationship

This week Sky’s assignment was to take assigned script and choose three different comic grid templates to create a visual story.






The girls had homeschool gym.

As always, peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (It’s All Greek To Me)

October 16, 2016

What a week it has been in America. We could have easily spent the week discussing current events, but there was a birthday to plan.

Besides, unless certain members of this country are ready to grow up, and start having real conversations about the mess we are in, it’s all just a bunch of pointless noise. I for one, have better ways to spend my time (like the release of a new Green Day album, for one.)

Mama’s reads:

I finished: The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer. I’m just not a fan of this story. The prose is beautifully written, the plot fell through though. Once the supernatural elements were introduced, the story no longer felt real to me anymore. However, I pushed through hoping the outcome would make it, at least worthwhile. Nope, you are rubbed raw from an emotional roller coaster ride of having a child abducted, with no closure (emotional closure, no spoilers here. ). This is why the novel Room, in my opinion, works.

I am reading: The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters now. So far, it reminds me of a Gothic Downton Abbey. It was recommended because I liked Rebecca so much; we shall see.




Language Arts


We are a little over halfway through Black Beauty. The girls are really enjoying this story. I am sorry we waited so long to read it. This story, literally has changed my view of animals (and I’ve always been against animal cruelty). I know this was the author’s point, which makes me respect the story even more (There is a special place in my heart for rebel rousers.). I highly recommend it.

We also started reading Aesop Fables, and discussed the structure of fables.


The girls started: The Critical Thinking Co.’s Word Roots workbooks. Little Sis is working in the Beginning book, Sky is working in Level 1.

Words this week:

steed, fleeter, canter, dervish, sheikh, pastern-joint


The girls copied the first 1/3rd of the poem: Iron Horse by James Whitcomb Riley in cursive.


We finished chapter one of: Basher Basics Creative Writing.

Little Sis continued working in Kumon’s grade 4 Writing workbook.


Sky continued working in: Barron’s E-Z English.



The girls warmed up at

Little Sis worked in: Kumon’s grade 4 Division workbook.

Sky worked on Integer Addition and Subtraction worksheets I printed off from

She is still having a hard time comprehending that (-2)-5 is the same as (-2)+(-5). She does fine, if the problem is written like the second example. She even understands how to solve 2-(-10). (Which in my opinion is more complicated.)  It’s the first example that just keeps tripping her up. So, I am pushing my anxiety of ever getting her math credits fulfilled in time down, and going to keep working on this until it clicks ( FU, system!).

More, Wii Fortune Street.



We read, and discussed October’s issue of:Science in the News (from Science A-Z).


Health/ Nutrition:

We watched: Is Sugar A Drug from: It’s Okay To Be Smart- YouTube,

and the documentary: Super Size Me.- Netflix.



Walks around the block.



World/ Geography:

We read: The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Ancient Greece and the Olympics.

We left off in ancient history with the Persians, so transitioning into ancient Greece went pretty well. I printed off a map of both ancient and modern day Greece, and the girls added Greece onto their blank map of Europe.

We watched:

History: Ancient Greece ~ by School of Life – YouTube

What The Ancients Did For Us: The Greeks History Documentary – YouTube

Founders of Europe: The Greeks – YouTube


There was the second Presidential debate.

We watched and discussed: Guantánamo: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) – YouTube.

We finished chapter 1 of: Barron’s Painless American Government.

We will also be using The Critical Thinking Co.’s: You Decide: Applying the Bill of Rights to Real Cases workbook, as part of Sky’s civics credit.



The Arts

Comics: Art in Relationship

We are halfway through chapter three of Understanding Comics, and Sky completed her assignments:

Finding comics in the everyday,


(From Barron’s American Government book.)

and capturing time.


(One second)


(One hour)


(One day)

We watched:

Disney’s Silly Symphony: The Grasshoppers and the Ants (my favorite Aesop Fable), Country Cousin, and The Tortoise and the Hare  – YouTube.

To kick off Halloween, we took the girls to the drive-in to see Psycho and The Birds. We were able to take our dog, Harvey, with us; it was a lot of fun. Sky thought it a little spooky to be out in the middle of nowhere, watching a movie about a motel in the middle of nowhere. 🙂


Peace for the journey.

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

October 7, 2016

(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.

A Week In The Life (“Sugar, Sugar”*)

September 16, 2016

This week, we were able to take advantage of being home to squeeze in some lessons. I think all of us needed the break too.

Papa, will get to have his time off this coming week (though, adults never really get time off ). Perfect timing, for getting everything in order for winter: getting wood, planting garlic, and caulking up windows.

I feel like I have so much catching up to do myself. Little Sis is in need of new pants (all of a sudden she has noticed jeans). Then there is, organizing the closets, getting rid of any outgrown clothes, and it’s not just clothes the girls have outgrown (Junie B. Jones, has officially been removed from the bookshelf. Disney movies, are quickly being replaced by Twilight, Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, and The Shining.); the house is needing an all around deep cleansing.

Not to mention, I need to organize all of Sky’s credits, and her reading list for the completion of 9th grade.

Indiana is weird in that, semesters equal whole credits; which is good I guess, if one would need to transfer midyear. So, I will need to see how many actual credits she already has, even though she has only completed a semester in some classes.

Sometimes, I think that I have made things much harder on myself by us trying to learn everything as a whole; instead of separating lessons into their proper “titles”. I can’t help it. I see everything as connected, and once you see it, you can never not see it.

It seems ridiculous, to learn about the Medieval time period in history, without also learning about writing, art, music, theater, culinary arts, and science. They all connect. One movement, influenced another. Cause and effect.

Maybe, it is just how my brain works, and since the girls are genetically connected to Papa and me, it is how the girls’ brains function too. I mean, it is working, and to me, that’s all that matters.

Here is to hoping, all of my hard work pays off in the end. 🙂


Language Arts


We finally finished The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. All of us,  liked the story a lot. The characters are interesting, and the ending, though could have been predictable, wasn’t; it was very satisfying.

Stiefvater, does an amazing job breaking stereotypes. I think it is because, she, herself, breaks them. I love her writing style. I can see myself, reading this story again. It was that good. It for sure, will be on the girls’ end of the year favorites, my list as well.

I wish, I could say the same about The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin. I really had to push myself to finish it, because I pretty much knew how it would end. At the time when this novel was written, I can see how the plot twist might have been a bit frightening. I just don’t think the story holds up now.

I am still wanting to see the movie though. Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier in one movie, yeah, I’m going to watch it.

I am halfway through Carol, or The Price of Salt, by  Patricia Highsmith now. It has been on my TBR list, and I have been waiting for it to become available at the library for awhile.




This week was all about sugar, but first we watched a few more videos on the sun and skincare.

Why do we have to wear sunscreen? – TedED-Kevin P. Boyd – YouTube

Repelling The Rays: The Chemistry of Sunscreen~ Bytesize Science-YouTube.

Where Does Sugar Come From? – SciShow Kids-YouTube

The Spangler Effect – Sugar Science – YouTube

SciShow: Sugar Compilation- YouTube

The Science of Sugar Addiction & The Fifth Taste…SciShow-YouTube

How Does Sugar Affect the Brain TedED-YouTube

The Sugary Truth – The Tremendousness Collective- YouTube

Sugar addiction is not anything new to us. We’ve actually been through it before, when Sky was little. Before Little Sis was born, Papa and I decided we would start making our own sweets instead of buying them at the store (baked goods kill your grocery budget); so I could control how much sugar went into the recipe (I still cut out, at least 1/3 of the amount of sugar from all recipes; most times 1/2.). That is when, we also started replacing sugar with real maple syrup.

We joke about it now, but it is not funny that Sky became furious when we didn’t come home with cookies; she threw a major tantrum. She was use to Pop Tarts, pancakes on a stick, donuts, and cereal for breakfast, on top of the sugary snacks. I don’t care what anyone wants to say, my daughter was suffering from sugar withdraw. Now, there is scientific proof.

I have wrote here before, how I struggle with obesity. I eat my way through stress, and dealing with depression, and not getting proper exercise didn’t help. Thank goodness, it was my overeating, and not an addiction to sugar that was killing me (literally).

We have made huge changes in the way we eat, and we move a lot more now. Little Sis becoming a vegetarian, probably saved Papa and me. Now when I feel stressed and want a snack, I air-pop a bowl of popcorn. I don’t even pop it on top of the stove anymore. Sometimes though, chocolate will only do.

I still have a ways to go, watching my proportions and exercising are not quick fixes; but I am determined. 🙂



We watched PBS Nature: A Sloth Named Velcro, and Little Sis wrote her report. Both in cursive,


and typed on my blog.

We also watched: Bytesize Science: A new weapon in the chemical arsenal of Amazonian poison frogs- YouTube.



World/ Geography

We watched PBS Masterpiece Theater: Indian Summers.

We also watched: BBC Planet Earth: episode Jungles -Netflix

BBC Human Planet: episode Jungles-Netflix

We read: The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Soccer.


The Arts


Sky finished her first assignment from her on-line comics course.


Her next assignment, is to make a diary from the week incorporating comics language that she learned from the class.

This class, has inspired her to work on her own story (Warning, there is nudity in some of her drawings.).



If you couldn’t tell, Gustav Klimt is one of her favorite artists.


After all my talk about sugar, the girls made November cakes from the novel: The Scorpio Races. It was a wonderful finish to the book.


They were delicious. Even in this recipe, we were able to cut 1/3 of the fat, sodium, and sugar out. They were still plenty sweet.

They taste even better the next day.

Let’s see, Sky is on chapter 2 of Monstress , Little Sis had cheerleading practice and wrote several posts for her blog, and we watched the animated movie Rio.

We will be off for fall break these next two weeks,

peace for the journey.

*Sugar Sugar The Archies


Sloths (Little Sis)

September 14, 2016

Sloths live in the rain forests of Central and South America. Their skeletons are the same shape as primates, but they walk upside down along the tree branches. Their main diet is plants, but they do eat some insects for protein. Though thought to be non-active mammals, sloths actually only sleep about 9 hours a day. They need a great deal of sunlight to keep their bodies warm like reptiles. Sloths live in the Canopies of the rain forests. Their trees are being cut down for wood. They’re losing their homes. While looking for a new place to to live, they end up in the streets where some don’t make it across. Sloths, are not the only ones living in the rain forests losing their homes. It’s important to make sure we do not destroy the rain forests.




Resource: PBS Nature: A Sloth named Velcro.

A Week In The Life (“Here Comes The Rain Again”*)

September 10, 2016

Trying to start this post, without sounding like a broken record. Does anyone even understand the symbolism of what a broken record means anymore? Yeah, my age is beginning to show. I do however, think I am beginning to get the feel of our new normal. I have never been a: fly by the seat of your pants, type of gal.

When I first started out homeschooling, I needed to have every minor detail planned out. I was a very rigid person. (I have since discovered, that it is just part of my personality, made worse by a very chaotic childhood.) I quickly found myself burned out everyday. Bumping heads with a very energetic daughter became excruciatingly tiresome, and led to many nights of the both of us in tears. I knew something needed to change.

The beginnings of homeschooling, kind of remind me of that first year of marriage. You need to work out all those kinks, before you can start working together. Since, I am not one to force change onto others, I needed to understand the workings of my child first; I needed to step inside of her head.

This literally, changed everything. I stopped listening to outside advice on how to educate my child, and started listening to my child. I mean, after all it is her life, not mine. I think this has to be one of the hardest concepts of parenting to learn, it was for me anyway.

In order for our homeschooling to be considered successful though, my daughter needed to understand where I was coming from too. One-sided relationships don’t usually work out very well. This, is a continual dance of give and take.

I still need to have a plan. My brain needs to know what it’s going to be doing in order to focus. I have since learned though, how to go more with the flow of things.

So for the time being, I am embracing this new chapter of our lives; one, that finds us more out and about. That’s one of the many awesome things about homeschooling, learning does not need to be contained to the inside of a building.




Language Arts


I was really hoping to have The Scorpio Races finished by now. I can’t believe it has taken us a whole month to read it, but then again, I think that is our average for an almost 500 page book. It took us awhile to read Oliver Twist too. I guess, I am use to finishing a book in about a weeks time. I can’t remember the last time we did read a book that was this long. I mean, we are enjoying it. The girls agree, it is one of the better ones we’ve read this year.

We also read: The Great Kopok Tree by Lynne Cherry.

I should have The Boys From Brazil finished by this weekend.


Little Sis, has been working away on her blog. Her blog, is becoming more popular than mine.





Swimming, Little Sis’s cheerleading practice, and the girls had homeschool gym.



This week was all about fat. We discussed and watched:

What is Obesity-TedED

Obesity ~ SciShow- YouTube

The Science of Fat – Spangler Classic Friday! – YouTube

The Deal with Fat~ SciShow – YouTube

What is Trans Fat? – Everyday Chemistry – YouTube

When You Burn Fat, Where Does it Go?~ SciShow – YouTube



We read The Magic Tree House Fact Tracker: Rain Forests.

We discussed some questions,

and I assigned Little Sis to write a report about one of the rain forest’s animals; she chose sloths.

We also read the latest addition of Science in the News A-Z about the telescope Juno.

We watched:Breaking News: There’s an Earth-like Planet Next Door…SciShow Space.


The Arts


I signed Sky up for the free: Comics: Art in Relationship | Kadenze’s on-line course, and she loves it.

Her first assignment is to draw a double page comic spread, about herself.

She will be working her way through the book: Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, and I assigned her first reading: Monstress by Marjorie Liu.


Keeping a blog, has inspired Little Sis into making all kinds of DIY projects.


I am just trying to keep up with the both of them.

We are excited for the next season of Indian Summers to start this weekend; can’t wait to see where this will lead us to next. 🙂

Peace for the journey.

*The Eurythmics

A Week In The Life (Get Out)

September 7, 2016

What a crazy busy week we’ve had.

I guess for starters, I can’t remember if I had already posted this, we’ve put our garden to bed for the winter. I was able to get 10 more jars of tomato sauce out of our crop, and know we will have plenty to use throughout the year. I am also glad to have an abundant supply of blueberries this year, to use to make muffins and pancakes. Usually, we only have enough for smoothies. I love adding blueberries to my vegan, gluten-free banana bread, to shake things up once in awhile.

It is kind of weird how once September hits, it’s all about pumpkin. Right now, I am all about apples. We have already been to the orchard several times. I would have made apple crisp over the holiday weekend, but I didn’t have time. This week is just as booked, so I guess it will need to wait until the weekend.

Our state has really stepped it up with homeschooling activities. Where it was once like trying to find a needle in a haystack for activities, now we actually need to figure out how to squeeze in our lessons at home.

Earlier in the week, I took the girls and a friend to the homeschool day at our interactive history museum. I couldn’t believe how many homeschoolers were there. If that wasn’t surprising enough, while at Benjamin Harrison’s house, the president reenactor asked the girls what school they went to. Both girls replied simultaneously, that they were homeschooled. He said: how great that was, and how he has gotten to know many homeschoolers from programs they host at the home; a long way from: “What about socialization?”. Even the girls from Little Sis’s cheerleading practice were all like: “really?”. They couldn’t believe it.

I guess corporations are finally beginning to take notice that there is money to be made off of homeschooling. 🙂


Language Arts


Besides the fact we are still reading The Scorpio Races, we read The Magic Tree House Afternoon on the Amazon.

I really wasn’t planning on staying in Brazil this long, but I am like: since we are here, I might as well toss in some lessons on rainforests for Little Sis.

I finished reading: Circling the Sun by Paula McLain. It was good. I didn’t really care for the whole love triangle plot-line, but since it was historical fiction, I found it entertaining enough. I learned a lot about a forgotten historical figure, that pushed barriers before it became a thing.

I am reading: The Boys From Brazil by Ira Levin now, because after reading about a strong, plays by her own rules type of heroine, Nazis, and cloning sounded interesting.


Besides the usual, I thought it was time for a new Wii game.


Fortune Street, is a little like the game Monopoly, with the addition of buying and selling stocks, playing the stock market, and building up the equity in your property purchases. In other words, lots of living math. This isn’t a fast-paced game, just like the board game Monopoly isn’t. You can save it to play later if needed. We are gamers, so long games don’t bother us. This isn’t Mario Party either. It is basically a board game made into a video game, but we love it. It is a perfect addition to our collection.



We discussed, and watched:

Vitamins and Minerals by Nancy O’Sullivan- YouTube

10 surprising chemicals your body makes~SciShow

5 Chemicals That Are in (Almost) Everything You Eat…SciShow

Are Multivitamins Really Good For You? ~ SciShow – YouTube


Swimming, Little Sis’s cheerleading practice,


and bowling.


A bowling alley nearby was running a dollar per game special, so Papa and I decided to take the girls. We ended up bowling 6 games. The girls had a lot of fun, and can’t wait to do it again.


World/ Geography:

We watched: Apartheid Explained: Global History Review ~from Hip Hughes History-YouTube

The summer Olympics book we read touched briefly on Apartheid, so I decided that an explanation might help the girls understand exactly what that meant.

I also printed off some sheets on South America, and Rainforests for the girls to add to their history timeline binders.


We watched: Exploring life within each of the Rainforest layers -YouTube

Why is biodiversity so important? TedEd-YouTube.


I mentioned a visit to our local living history museum.


The Arts

Theater Appreciation (Stage):

We went to see a production of Romeo and Juliet.


I was proud of Sky, Papa asked her if she knew how the play ended. Of course, she should know, because we have already covered it. Well, Sky explained to him what happens, and I was the one that couldn’t remember if Romeo stabbed himself or if it was Juliet; Sky said: “Mom, Romeo went to the apothecary and purchased the poison. The apothecary was one of my vocabulary words that you gave me.”. That is how you know if your child is learning, without the need for tests. 🙂

We also watched: Disney’s Watcher in the Woods. This was one of my favorite movies as a child. It is funny how we remember things differently when we are children. I can’t believe how horrible the acting was. This movie is one that could actually stand to be remade. The family was extremely disappointed with the ending. I guess we will not be adding it to our movie collection anytime soon.

Peace for the journey.

A Week In The Life (Give Me A.. T)

August 28, 2016

T for tornadoes.

Indiana was hit hard this week, we had 5 tornadoes touch down pretty much all at the same time in different places spread out through our state. If that wasn’t enough, we were awoken by the sound of sirens going off yet again the next morning; thankfully, no tornadoes this time, but major flooding instead. It was crazy, and lots of homes and businesses were destroyed, but no deaths; if you’ve seen any footage, that is an amazing thing.

Besides being a stormy week, we did manage to add a bit more lessons into our days. Especially, now that our garden is about done. As Sky likes to say:”winter is coming”. So that means, so are more lessons. 🙂

Little Sis started her own blog this week, which I will write more about under language arts, and inspired me to want to write my first monthly book wrap-up for the month of August. There really is so much more to me than being a homeschooling mom.

It is kind of funny though while helping Little Sis edit her blog posts, I discovered we really do have a lot more in common than what I thought. She writes a lot like I do, and loves lists, even though her interests differ from mine. I can write all day about books the same way she can write about makeup, and how Sky can talk about movies (Maybe, she should start her own YouTube channel.).

Anyway, I read 6 books in the month of August, well one I will have finished before the beginning of September; I’m halfway through it as of now.

I read Rebecca by  Daphne du Maurier, Horns by Joe Hill, Room by Emma Donoghue, At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen, Nightwoods by Charles Frazier, and Circling the Sun by Paula McLain (at least I am far enough to know how I feel about this book).

I’ve already written details about what I thought of each of these books in other posts from this month, so I won’t really go into a whole lot more here. I will say which ones were my favorites though if you could not already guess.

I do like to shake up my reading by choosing books from different authors and genres. I like to glean from various writing styles. You can learn from all of them, even if they are bad. I do tend to stay far away from romance though. It’s just not me.

So, my favorites books from the month are Rebecca and Room. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy both of these stories, I thought the writing was brilliant. These are not just my favorite August reads, but will most likely be added to my favorites list from the year, as well as to my all time favorite reads list. It will be interesting to read Room again farther down the road, to see if the writing will still hold up for me over time.

In second place is: At the Water’s Edge, and Circling the Sun. Both of these stories are really good, and I have enjoyed learning about Beryl Markham. I probably will not read them again, but I am interested in reading more from these authors. I do recommend them.

Lastly is Horns and Nightwoods. I really don’t want to write more negative complaints about these stories. I didn’t like them, some people might. Unless you can really tell someone didn’t give their best effort (I have read books like this before too), I don’t like to put other people’s work down (if you don’t like 50 Shades of Grey, then don’t read it). These authors worked hard on these stories, their writing style just isn’t for me.


Language Arts


Yes, we are still reading: The Scorpio Races. We also read: What Are the Summer Olympics? This was a really good summary of the history of the Summer Olympic games. I actually learned a lot from it.



I mentioned Little Sis’s blog up above. She asked me if I would help her start one, and I said sure. It’s called Glitter N Glam and is all about Little Sis’s favorite things. She takes all the pictures and writes it all herself. I just help with minor editing.

So here is the thing, a lot of parents ask: “How can I get my child to write?”. The number one answer is to not make them.

Writing does not become that important until high school. Then, they will need to learn how to write essays. Until then, let them write about whatever they want.

Sky writes fan fiction, and she leaves comments on YouTube videos. Before that, the girls played Animal Jam and Minecraft. At some point, there will come a time when they will want to know how to write, especially if they want to text. That is when you pull out your resources on grammar and punctuation. That is when you help them learn how to write.

One of the things that I have learned as a homeschooling mom is spelling will either come naturally or not. We have done spelling tests, I add subtitles on the television, and we read a lot. I have one excellent speller, and one not so much, regardless of what I do. However, by letting the one use the computer or tablet to look up words on her own because *she* really wants to learn, has helped a lot. She wants to go to college, she understands what she needs to do to get there. I don’t need to push her. I need to help her find what way works best for her.

I am better at expressing myself through writing, writing comes naturally to me. I have one child that is better expressing herself orally. Only society has chosen one to be the superior. Expecting everyone to be good at everything will eventually take its toll. I mean, even presidents need speech writers.

Health/ Nutrition

We watched and discussed: How the food you eat affects your brain – Mia Nacamulli…TED-Ed~ YouTube,

The Five Food Groups- SicShow Kids~ YouTube,

The Deal with Carbs – SciShow~ YouTube,

The Deal with Protein – SciShow~ YouTube,

and What Makes Muscles Grow- TED-Ed~ YouTube.


Besides swimming, which we had to cut short because of the storms, Little Sis started Cheer this week. She really likes it a lot. This is not a homeschooling league. The schoolgirls in her division do not even know she is homeschooled.

History/ Geography


I printed off Indiana cover sheets for their American history timeline notebooks,



and a color page of President Benjamin Harrison.


We watched two short videos about him, and the girls added notes.

Disney The American Presidents: Benjamin Harrison – YouTube,

and #23 Benjamin Harrison YouTube.

We also watched: Geography Now! Brazil – YouTube.

The Arts

We watched Disney’s animated movie: Snow White,

and Sky is illustrating a version of Little Red Riding Hood.



Hoping for a less stormy week.

Peace for the journey.

A Week In The Life (Hoosier Hospitality)

August 24, 2016

I really miss writing my blog on Fridays. That usually was our free day, and I had plenty of time to think about what I wanted to write about.

Like most writers, I carry a lot of information around inside my mind, and I need to write it out or I will dwell on it to death. My insomnia has gotten worse since perimenopause, so I don’t need added thoughts lingering around in my mind. Writing my blog on Friday, also allowed for me to put our school week, along with any other thoughts, to bed.

Now, we go swimming on Fridays, which we enjoy very much, but leaves me no time for writing. The weekends are busy catching up with Papa, and I have a hard time writing on Monday, because my brain has switched over to a whole new week, and I’ve forgotten everything I wanted to write about (because I needed to put all my focus on the new week).

I like keeping a blog for several reasons. One, it helps me to stay focused or holds me accountable. What did we do all week? Well, I’ll show you.

This also helps me to see if we are doing enough and points out any weaknesses. Every year, when I look at past posts, I am constantly amazed at how much we accomplish. I also like the idea, especially when we first started out homeschooling, of having a record of our lessons if ever the need should arise. Before WordPress, I used Myspace (does that give away how long I’ve been homeschooling. 🙂 ).

Two, I will be using my blog posts to write Sky’s transcript. Since I’ve chosen to educate Sky differently than traditional school (because I can never do anything that is “normal”), I need to keep track of what she has completed giving her credits.

So in other words, not writing, is not an option. I’m sure I will figure something out, I usually do.

Did I mention Little Sis starts cheer practice this week?

In other news, we harvested the rest of our garden. We actually had to go buy more Ball jars to hold all our tomato sauce. I think we had a good year. Honestly, though, I am kind of glad it is all coming to an end (with the exception of apples, and pumpkins); I am ready to reap the rewards.


Language Arts


We are still reading: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, and are really enjoying it. Sky loves her writing. “I can visually see everything she is writing about. I also like how real the characters are.” I really wish I waited to read the Raven Cycle with them; maybe we can fit it in next summer. I don’t mind reading them again.

Sky has been writing and illustrating her own story. Using mythology, it is about a fallen angel.

As for myself, I finished: At the Water’s Edge by by Sara Gruen. I really liked this book. It kept my interest, and I was truly interested in the characters. I love historical fiction anyway. If the plot line doesn’t hold my interest so much (kind of like Frog Music), the historical aspects usually keep me reading. This story was a win, win.

I wish I could say the same for Nightwoods by Charles Frazier. I will say, this is my first time reading Frazier; I have not read, nor seen Cold Mountain.

Okay, I am all for beautifully written prose; one of the reasons why I like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing. However, when it takes two pages to explain tomatoes, or a tree, or anything that is not relevant to the plot development, my mind wonders. I caught myself several times watching television instead of reading the book. I literally had to force myself to finish it, because it was under 300 pages and I was already halfway through the book; it was not worth it. I was so disappointed with the ending. The characters were bland, everything was bland, except the prose. I don’t know if I want to give Cold Mountain a try. My “to be read” list, is already longer than my lifespan. 🙂

I am reading Circling the Sun by Paula McLain now.



(Yes, this is the same photo as last week. Well, because nothing changed.)


We finished chapter four of The Way We Work. Sky took a test on the digestive system, and everyone is glad to be done with that. 🙂


(Using What’s Inside You for Little Sis)

We watched:

The Digestive System (National Geographic 5 mins video) from Inside the Human Body- YouTube

Why Is My Poop Green?, and What’s the Best Position for Pooping? from SciShow- YouTube.

Yes, we went there.


Besides swimming, the girls had homeschool gym.


(Little Sis’s team deciding where to hide the flag, for capture the flag.)

American History/ Geography:

We watched: Indiana Weekend – Episode 20 “Hoosier Roadtrips” – YouTube

Then, in honor of it being Benjamin Harrison’s birthday, they gave free tours of his home and birthday cake.





(Photo of Harrison by T.C. Steele)


We also watched Disney’s Frozen and The Nanny movies(because I am on a Bette Davis kick).

Peace for the journey.