Archive for the ‘11 years old’ Category

Easing Back In (Not Back To School)

July 26, 2017

So, in honor of the children starting back to school today:

Still lots of the same.

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Tumbling,

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drawing, writing, creating,

late night texting with BFF about upcoming park photo shoot,

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swimming has taken over bowling (for now),

flexibility, and practice (always practice).

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Our year supply of corn is ready for winter and spring.

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As always, reading for mama (and the papa now having his own Kindle, reading about Deadwood, gearing up to start a new television series).

I finished: You by Caroline Kepnes, (Loved it, and no I do not understand all the Joe fan girls.) and Dark Saturday by Nicci French (Loved this one too.).

Wish I can say the same about: Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Sheddon (I had really high hopes for this one) and Bring Her Home by David Bell (Actually gave up on it. Okay, his wife died. I am still reading about it 10 chapters later when the plot has nothing to do with her. Maybe, it does but I am not reading anymore to find out.).

 

As for school, I ordered the first two math books in the Learn Math Fast curricula series.

Sky took a crafting notes webinar through Beasley College (learning about the KISS elements).

Sky has been keeping track of the wolf pups’ progress through the Wolf Park blog too. She will be writing one of her essays about this.

I made both Little Sis and Sky’s book list out for the year.

After we wrap up Scandinavia, we will finish up American history, literature, and government this year.

I thought I would make things easier on myself this year and just order curricula. However, the more I read over the book lists, the more discouraged and mad I became. Not one bloody diverse book. Not one Mexican-American, Native American, or person of color author. NONE! No LGBTQ authors, hell there was barely any females on the list. This is supposed to be secular?? Thank goodness for Harper Lee. I mean, I guess she is the only American female to write a novel.

I will share the list I came up with as we go (Don’t want a longer waiting list from our library.).

This is why I have always put together my own resources, to begin with. Might as well finish it out this way.

Only two more years to go for one child.

Last, I decided to use a portfolio as my high-school grading system (which is another reason I started this blog).

Yes, I will have the 4-A, 3-B, 2-C GPA for colleges. However, I refuse to start giving the girls grades now. They have gone all this time without being graded, I am not going to change to be like some dog jumping through a hoop.

Grades mean nothing. I can study for a test to get an A, but what did I retain? I am raising learners here in this little private school of mine. 🙂

Homeschooling has always been my own little experiment. If a child did not retain information over the summer, then just maybe they never learned it in the first place.

Peace for the journey.

Summer Break (Part Deux)

July 11, 2017

Alright, how about another quick update?

Little Sis made it to cheer camp (150 miles away) and came back with her team’s spirit flag. Only 6 out of 300 girls were awarded this honor.

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Unsocialized homeschoolers, say what?

She had a blast and can not wait until next year.

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Swimming, bowling ( both girls getting strikes), tumbling and flexibility classes for a certain cheerleader.

Finishing touches to Little Sis’s room.

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Fourth of July celebration, food and fireworks.

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Garlic curing.

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Batman, Batman, Joker (Movies and Animated series).

Drive-In summer movies. Spider-man Homecoming and Despicable Me 3 being huge hits.

Breaks fixed on our van

and lots of drawing.

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I’ve finished several books. The Child by Fiona Barton being the latest. I really enjoyed it, until I figured it all out. Then, I became frustrated that no one else could. It was still a good read though.

 

Indiana’s children are gearing up to start school in the next couple of weeks (Yes, they go back in July here). This means less crowds at the pool for us.

I have been thinking about our next school year. I think it is time to readjust our schedule again. I really didn’t realize how much all of us needed this break from academics, myself included.

I need an open and go math program for the girls. I think I may have found it (Learn Math Fast). Fingers crossed.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Summer)

June 17, 2017

So, I am going to see if I can write a blog post in under 10 minutes. Summer is crazy busy for us. So busy, even the girls are getting burned out of pizza for dinner. :0

So, here we go.

Garden planted. Great strawberry harvest.

I read the book: Baby Doll by Hollie Overton in 2 days. I just couldn’t put it down. The same can be said about: A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. I love, loved the movie. I am reading: Howards End now.

Yes, going to the movies. Still talking about Wonder Woman.

Swimming, swimming, swimming.

Kids Bowl Free and a family pass.

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Walks in the park.

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A visit to the wolf park to see the new pups.

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Summer, is that you? (Game of Thrones.)

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Foxes too.

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Learning about Piet Hein and Grooks.

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Movie History (Crash Course), discussions.

Sweden

Carl Larsson

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The Tomten

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Nails, art, and one getting ready for cheer camp.

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I wish I could say no current events. 😦

Well, think I did it. Did I forget stuff? Yes. Enjoy your summer/ winter. Live, laugh and love.

Peace for the journey.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Homeschool

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.

Handwriting/Vocabulary:

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

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

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(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.

*Fin*

 

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, walks around the block.

Science

Microbiology:

We watched: xenophyophores -SciShow- YouTube

 

History

European/Geography:

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.

 

Movie:

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.

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

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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 quick 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

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

 

 

Homeschool

 

Language Arts

World Literature

Reading:

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.

Handwriting:

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

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(Sky)

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 .

 

Mathematics

Both girls warmed up with XtraMath

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

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

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Science

Microbiology

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 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.

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Instructions @:

https://www.childrensmuseum.org/blog/saturday-science-homemade-plant-cell-pizza

 

History

European/Geography:

We watched:

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

Estonia

Flag Friday- Estonia

Researching Estonia

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

 

Film

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

Since on the subject of illusions, we made thaumatropes.

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You can find some great examples of ideas on YouTube.

 

P.E.

We walked around the block.

 

The Arts

Drawing:

Sky has been drawing up a storm.

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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)

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

 

Homeschool

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.

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(Sky)

Reading:

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.

 

Mathematics

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 MathDrills.com.

 

Science

 

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.

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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.

Microbiology

Reading: Basher Microbiology

 

P.E.

Walks around the block and Yoga Walk

 

History

European/Geography:

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.

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Film:

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.

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The Arts

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

Drawing:

We made Thumper from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.

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Week 2

 

Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwriting

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

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(Little Sis)

Reading:

We started reading: Comet in Moominland and The Kalevala.

 

Grammar/Spelling

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.

 

Mathematics

Warming up at XtraMath

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

Sky: Continued working on simplifying linear equations algebra worksheets from MathDrill.com.

 

Science:

We watched:

March for Science- SciShow- YouTube

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

 

Microbiology

Reading: Basher Microbiology.

Watched:

Do You Own Your Cells -BrainCraft- YouTube

Slime Mold Time Lapse BBC One- YouTube

 

Health:

We Watched: Allergies SciShow Kids -YouTube

 

P.E.

Yoga Walk and the girls had homeschool gym.

 

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History

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.

 

Film

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

 

The Arts

Drawing:

We made Moomin from Kids Mirror- YouTube.

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Extracurricular activities:

Little Sis had cheerleading practice and Sky had equestrian lessons.

 

Peace for the journey.

Week in the Life (Cells, Cells, Everywhere Cells)

April 22, 2017

First, some good news following my last post.

Thanks to some great information shared in a Facebook homeschooling high school group I belong to, Sky and I talked some more about her graduating goals. I don’t know why I never thought about it before, probably because I was too busy checking off University acceptance boxes, but Sky can work part-time while taking a couple community college classes her senior year.

To enter community college, Sky would just need to take a placement test. Once she has all the basics covered, she could then transfer into art school. Our community college does not need a transcript to be able to take classes. So, instead of finishing her senior year homeschooling or needing to get a GED, she can enroll in a class or two. We both feel like a huge load has been lifted off our shoulders.

Which is a good thing, because I now have a pinched nerve in my neck (the bad news). Just like my back, where I first started noticing pain radiating around my hip, I noticed my shoulder throbbing a little more than usual lately. I just tossed it off as age. Then, I woke up Saturday not being able to lift my arm above my head.

September will be two years since my back surgery. I have been doing all my exercises to help keep my spine healthy, as I do not want to go through that ever again. Well, I guess my body didn’t receive the memo.

Not messing around this time, I’ve started doing the recommended neck exercises to relieve pressure off the nerve, and they have been helping. Keeping my fingers crossed it is not another herniated disk and I can heal without the need of surgery.

Homeschooling

Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwriting:

The girls finished the last two stanzas of Visit to the Observatory by Harry Martinson.

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Vocabulary / Grammar:

The girls edited: A Sentence a Day.

Mad Libs

Words: hearth, resound, plenitude, pulsates, unfathomable, abound

Creative Writing:

Reading: East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Seize the Story

Ten minutes of free writing.

I am allowing Sky to combine her Comic Relationship class she took, with her creative writing lessons. By the time we finish Seize the Story, she should be able to write and draw a story. The both use the same elements but in different ways.

Honestly, as someone that enjoys writing, I think drawing a story (graphic novels) is a lot harder. I have so much respect for comic authors after Sky took that class.

*Mama’s Reads*

I finished: The Women Next Door by Cass Green. I have mixed feelings about this book.

First, it is written very well. My problem is not with the writing. I just don’t really think this is a psychological thriller. Psychological, yes. Thriller, no. There were no thrills for me, no action. The plot pretty much centers around how two characters handle a certain situation, think Thelma and Louise. I honestly didn’t care for any of the characters; I didn’t even feel sorry for the victim. There is nothing memorable here.

I didn’t care for Gone Girl either, but I will probably never forget it. That is what makes it such a great story.

Okay, so why the mixed feelings? If I were to rate this book as a psychological thriller, I would give it 3 stars (which is the lowest I will go, unless a story is a complete rubbish. I respect the work it takes to write a novel, good or bad.).

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean this is a terrible novel. It just wasn’t for me. I do think this would be a great starting point for readers that want to read this genre but dislike all the gore that comes along with reading these types of books. I am interested in reading some of her YA novels, and I will more than likely read her next book.

I am reading: Gone Without A Trace by Mary Torjussen now.

Mathematics

Warming up with XtraMath.

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

Sky learned how to solve for x (one variable) from Kiss My Math.

Just like she had a hard time grasping subtraction, division, and negative numbers, she is struggling with inverse operations. So, we will practice a bit more before moving on.

I, on the other hand, am enjoying algebra. So many people have asked me when they learn I am homeschooling high school: “What about algebra?”.  I mean, I didn’t exactly enjoy it the first time around, not until I had the most awesome intermediate algebra teacher that is, but I really like Danica McKellar’s way of explaining it. If only all these resources were available when I was in school.

I have always liked puzzles anyway. I often think what I might do once my homeschooling journey has ended. I mean, all this knowledge should be good for something, right? Maybe tutoring. There are lots of up and coming homeschoolers in our state. They don’t even need to be homeschoolers, I have been hanging around lots of school children lately with all my girls’ activities. 🙂

Science

Microbiology:

I do have labs planned to go along with this course, but for now, we are reading through Basher Science Microbiology, The Way We Work by David Macaulay, and watching videos. This week was all about cells.

Flu VS. Human Cells The Kitchen Scientist (NPR) -YouTube.

Insights into cell membranes TedEd-YouTube.

The Wacky History of Cell Theory-YouTube

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P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym and we walked around the block.

History

European History/ Geography:

We watched: Rick Steves’ European Easter.

Film:

We watched: Crash Course’s newest installment of film history videos. Sky is so excited about this credit. I am too, I finally have a place to add all her favorite YouTubers, like the Nostalgia Critic, because she has learned SO much from them. Not to mention all the films she watches and critiques from an artistic point of view. I’ve mentioned several times that she should write reviews for movies.

The Arts

Drawing:

In honor of Little Sis’s cheerleading competition this weekend, we drew a cheerleader from Draw So Cute- YouTube.

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Extracurricular activities:

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

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life ( Scandinavia )

April 15, 2017

It never seems to fail, I write a post on how well our lessons are going, then something happens to change all that.

I mean, it is not like I didn’t see it coming or anything. Sky will turn 17 this year, 17! She will officially start 11 grade in the fall. Only one more year of school left.

When she turned 16, lots of people would ask when she would be getting her drivers license. At the time, she wasn’t interested in driving. Sky, has always been about a year “behind” her peers. I hate explaining it like that because of course, she is not behind, she is right where she needs to be. However, I will use it as an example for the sake of comparison.

Well, I made a prediction that Sky becomes 17, she will be ready, and guess what?  I was right. She informed me this week, over algebra word problems, that she wanted to get her drivers license and a part time job. There were other things as well, something along the lines of: “I’m not a baby anymore, mom”. So, we made a list of all the things that need to happen in order for it all to happen.

All this time, I have been planning to write Sky a transcript and issue her diploma, and I still hope to, but for the first time, we talked about getting her GED instead. After all, I did just write a post about how their choices were not mine to make.

I’ve always been open about my reasons for homeschooling. Sky, has always been my square peg. I’ve written here over the years about the tears I’ve shed because of that damned round hole society seems to want everyone to fit. My goal was always to do whatever necessary for her to get an education. I think this is how most parents feel, no matter which educational path chose. Well, my feelings haven’t changed just because she is older now.

So, our lessons may take a bit of a different turn to free up more time for driving lessons, making a resume, and job interviews. I mean, all the basics will still be there. I am just not worried so much about what colleges want anymore, like AP, ACT, SAT scores and writing college essays. At least, for this child. 🙂

Sky is a very smart girl quite capable of making her own decisions. After all, I should know.

 

 

Homeschool

Language Arts

English:

This is one of those areas I will be cutting back on as far as using “curricula”. Instead of Sky working in the Barron’s E-Z English and Word Root workbooks, which bored the hell out of her just to have resources to spice up her transcript, I will continue her grammar, spelling, and vocabulary lessons like I did before she started high school, through what we are reading and writing.

We will continue using Mad Libs though because the girls like them.

Sky writes fan fiction every day. When she is not sure how to spell or what the definition of a word is, she looks it up on her tablet. We now carry a dictionary and calculator around with us everywhere. Both girls have learned how to spell by writing on their own. While reading aloud on the Kindle, if the girls come to a word they don’t understand, they tap on it to bring up the definition. Sky has learned more about analyzing literature or the structure of a story from watching her favorite YouTubers.  She is constantly bringing stuff to my attention. She loves analyzing films. This is something she does in her free time.

So, the girls will stick with editing A Sentence a Day and freewriting for 10 minutes, working on whatever story they want to write. Which brings me to–

Creative Writing:

Writing:

I’ve dropped the fairy-tale assignment. Both girls have mentioned that they didn’t want to write a fairy-tale. What a better way to get someone to hate writing then by making them write something they don’t want to. Especially when studying creative writing.

Reading:

Seize the Story

We also started: East of the Sun and West and of the Moon and other tales by Asbjornsen and Moe.

We watched and had a wonderful discussion about Villains and Deformity from Jen Campbell -YouTube. This is a subject that none of us had ever even thought about before. I can’t wait for the rest of the series.

 

World Literature/Handwriting:

The girls copied and we discussed the first two stanzas of Visit to the Observatory by Harry Martinson.

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(Little Sis)

Vocabulary Words :

observatory, Nebula, naivety, majesty

 

*Mama’s Reads*

I finished: The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood. Though I liked The Killer Next Door more, I absolutely love Alex Marwood’s writing. She just has a way of writing memorable characters, both good and bad. Which makes her stories realistic, naturally scary and horrific. Besides, The Killer Next Door has the best story ending ever. Not only is this novel a favorite of the year, but it has also been added to my all-time favorite books list. There are very few psychological thrillers I would read more than once. Actually, this may be the only one.

However, The Darkest Secret was a bit hard to get through. Without giving away any spoilers, the story centers around a missing toddler twin. It is not that the story was gory or anything, but the topic itself. Besides a few, the characters in this story are not nice, or lovable. In fact, the character’s behaviors in this story sickened me. The fact that the author could arise such emotion in the first place, is why I enjoy her writing so much. This, in my opinion, is what Gone Girl should have been. Though Amy will probably go down as one of the scariest villains of all time, the story itself is unrealistic and frustrating. This has a bit of the same, but much more realistic.  4 out of 5 stars.

I am reading: The Woman Next Door by Cass Green now.

 

Mathematics:

Both girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions- Kumon

Sky: Solving algebra word problems, Kiss My Math

Watched: Can you solve the virus riddle? – Lisa Winer – TedED YouTube

 

Science

Reading: Science In The News A-Z  April Issue.

Basher Microbiology

 

Watched:

Injecting Yourself with Killer Bacteria – SciShow-YouTube

Mozart’s Mysterious Death – SciShow YouTube

What Happens If You Don’t Take out a Splinter? – SciShow YouTube

 

*I listened to an another amazing podcast by Sam Harris and Lawrence Krauss entitled: Beauty and Terror- YouTube.  I could write a whole post on Krauss’s quote: “The scientific method is a natural filter for fake news.” Yes! That is the whole foundation of our homeschool.

 

P.E.

The weather was beautiful this week to walk around the block.

 

History

European History/ Geography:

This is another change, I just don’t think we will be able to get through all of world history in time. We still have several European countries to get through, as well as American history and civics to even think about getting into Asian or African history (which makes me sad). So, if I can’t give it all the attention those countries deserve, I’m not even going to worry about it.

Reading: The Magic Tree House Vikings Fact Tracker.

I printed off a map of the Scandinavian countries to add into the girls’ timeline binder.

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One good thing, we have learned about Denmark.

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The Arts

Drawing:

We made Easter Baskets from Draw So Cute -YouTube.

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Extracurricular Activities:

Sky had equestrian lessons and Little Sis is getting ready for her cheerleading competition.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) In The Life (Are We Having Fun, Guys?)

April 8, 2017

Well, this was probably one of the longest breaks we have ever taken from our school. Of course, learning still continues whether we have lessons or not. I will even add, that some of the best lessons are learned outside of “school”.

The girls are growing up. I feel like so much has happened since I last sat down to write. I really don’t know where to even begin. I guess the best place to start, would be with myself.

I feel with the girls grow older, their story really isn’t mine to tell anymore. This space has always been mine to write and work out my problems surrounding our school, and to have a record that we really are learning (mostly to help ease my doubts). Right now, school feels good. I’ve made peace with my frustrations. I realized all I wanted was to have well educated, self-sufficient children, and I feel like I have succeeded in that department. Whether the girls go on to college or not, is not my decision to make. Their future does not belong to me. This journey was never about how successful they might become, but always that they were able to care and nurture themselves, and contentment.  As their partner, I will always try to give my most helpful advice, but it will always come back to what they decide. You can lead a horse to water…… All I can hope for is that I made them thirsty enough.

Sky and I have had a lot of wonderful conversations these last few weeks. I love hearing opinions she has formed. I have always believed in allowing the girls the freedom to question and think for themselves. I mean, that was one of my intentions for starting this blog, because of questions I had about education. I know for a fact, that I am not the same person I was when I first ventured out on this homeschooling journey. I am not the same person I was when starting this blog. I, like the girls, have grown.

I listened to an awesome podcast with one of my favorite scientists, Lawrence Krauss (Joe Rogan Experience #938 found on YouTube if anyone is interested) where he talked about how we outgrow our parents. In this case, he was talking about religion. However, the same can be said about education too.  We are not the same society when public education first began. School just doesn’t work for some children anymore. Homeschooling will not work for all children either. It should always be about what works best for them, and you.

This is our journey. Boy, what a journey it has been too. 🙂

 

*Mama’s Reads*

I sure have read a lot of books since I last wrote; 4 to be exact. Some good, some great.

For starters, I finished: I See You by Clare Mackintosh. I think I finished it in like 4 days. It was alright, it held my interest, obviously. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. I liked: I Let You Go much better. I could see the author was trying for something a bit different, and that is why I gave it 4 stars. However, it was a little too far fetched in my opinion, which never really made it scary to me. I would still recommend it if you enjoy thrillers though, and I Let You Go, for sure.

Next, I read: The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood. Oh my goodness, I loved this book so. 5 out of 5 stars, and it will be on my top favorites list of the year, for sure. It included everything that makes me enjoy reading. Great writing, great fleshed out characters, and some seriously dark humor. So for a quick review, horror, psychological thrillers, and historical fiction are my favorite genres. I realize, this book will not be for everyone. It does contain graphic descriptions of human decay. I feel like, if you enjoy Stephen King’s sense of humor, you would enjoy this novel. This is the story I have been waiting for. I am reading: The Darkest Secret by her now. Thank You, Alex Marwood.

What does one even pick up to read after finishing such a find as up above? A romance novel, at least that is what I thought. Boy, I was wrong. When I first started reading: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, I was questioning why I even had this title on my “To Be Read” list. I can not stand romance novels, but I guess I was trying to read outside my genre. I thought about ditching it several times (I caught myself eye rolling way too many times in the first few chapters.), I am so glad that I didn’t though. I really don’t want to say a whole lot about it. I feel like, the surprise is what made it such a great novel. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars as well, and for romance, that is saying a lot. Dare I even admit that this book made me cry, more than once.

“Dear Colleen,

Thank You for writing such a wonderful story.  It, for sure will be listed on my favorite reads of the year. ” 🙂

Last but not least, I read: He Will Be My Ruin by K.A. Tucker. This is another one, that I have no idea how it made it onto my list. I think I checked it out on a whim while waiting for: The Darkest Secret to come available. What a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars. Another page turning thriller that held my attention. I feel it too, is a bit different from all the thrillers that are being released this year. Though the ending was tied up well, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. I liked that.

 

*Mama and Papa’s Shows*

So, what have we been watching that has held our interests lately, while we wait for the next season of Game of Thrones to come out?

We finished: The Last Kingdom on Netflix. We really liked this show a lot (come on season 2). After finishing this series, and thanks to my sister for recommending it to us, we watched: Stranger Things. How in the world had I missed this show!? Papa and I can’t wait until season 2 for this show either.

After finishing that, we started watching the show: Vikings on Prime. Papa is hooked, he loves it, he says more than Game of Thrones (excuse me !?). We just started season 4, part 1. I am a little nervous as to what we will watch once we finish this show. Thank goodness, the weather is warming up, so our garden can keep us busy while waiting for all these new seasons to be released.

Well, I mentioned the podcast up above, so I think that just about wraps it up for us.

 

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

Grammar/Vocabulary:

Both girls: A Sentence a Day and Mad Libs

Words: oath, graft, stealth, telemarketer

Sky: Barron’s E-Z English, Word Roots level 1

Little Sis: Word Roots Beginning

 

American Literature/ Handwriting:

The girls finally finished copying: Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes.

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We finished by listening to the whole thing being read on YouTube. Lots of great discussion from this poem. It has become one of my favorites.

 

Creative Writing:

Reading: We Read Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman. This was a perfect follow-up story to read after finishing his book about Norse Mythology.

We continued reading: Seize the Story, where we learned about the importance of secondary characters. During their 10 minutes of free writing, the girls should be coming up with their secondary characters for their fairy tale adaptation.

We watched: The History of Beauty & The Beast | Fairy Tales with Jen Campbell- YouTube.

 

Mathematics

Both girls: XtraMath.

Sky: reviewed combining like terms at Khan Academy.

Little Sis: Kumon Decimals and Fractions workbook.

 

 

History

World/Geography:

Reading: We read The Magic Tree House Vikings Before Sunrise.

A great movie, that we have already watched, to go along with this block would be The Secret of Kells.

We also watched the PBS Masterpiece: The Walk Invisible about the Bronte Sisters. I was actually a little disappointed with this show. I really had been looking forward to it. I think I understand where the show was trying to go, with how the sisters couldn’t rely on their bother for any financial help, but I still feel they could have done with a little less him and more of them.

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Science

Reading: We read the March Issue of Science in the News A-Z.

We watched: Taxonomy: Life’s Filing System – Crash Course Biology-YouTube.

The girls made notes.

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*Short tangent*

Here is why I have a problem with using textbooks and curricula for science. Bacteria and Archaea are no longer classified as part of a kingdom. They now have their own domain, because they are the largest group of living things, not the animal kingdom as thought before. So, now there are only 4 kingdoms of living things, not 6.

Science lives, it grows and evolves the same as everything around us. Once you write knowledge down in a textbook, that textbook is already outdated. This is why I use the Basher books for my spine and supplement with videos and podcasts for our lessons. This is why I love using SciShow videos and Science in the News as a supplement for our science courses (and why it is so important to have them as resources), they stay up to date with all the new scientific information.

*End of tangent*

 

Microbiology

Reading: Basher Microbiology.

Watched: Old & Odd: Archaea, Bacteria & Protists…Crash Course

Prokaryotic Cell Model – YouTube

Fungi: Death Becomes Them – CrashCourse Biology

10 Fantastic Fungi Superpowers SciShow- YouTube

Fairy Rings – SciShow YouTube

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We were lucky enough to have fungi growing in our backyard on an old tree stump that we observed.

 

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, we walked around the block, did yoga, Sky had Equestrian lessons (she is cantering, yay), and Little Sis had cheerleading practice.

 

The Arts

Drawing:

We drew Disney’s Belle from Dramatic Parrot- YouTube.

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I guess that about gets us all caught up with for now.

Peace for the journey.

Spring Break (2017)

March 16, 2017

So, between getting sick (again, *sigh*), out-of-state company, the maple syrup festival, all day stunt clinic for a certain cheerleader, and being at the perfect stopping point in our lessons, we’ve decided to take two weeks off for spring break. Of course, I could have done without below freezing temperatures and the snow. Oh well, I guess beggars can’t be choosers. Come on summer. 🙂

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Peace for the journey.