Archive for the ‘12 years old’ Category

Week(s) in the Life (Easing Back In)

January 12, 2018

Welcome, 2018!

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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




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

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






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


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

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

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

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

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

Well, I think that about sums things up.

Peace for the journey.



Christmas School 2017 (The Final Countdown)

December 23, 2017

Before we got sick, one of the lessons I had planned on doing was reading the November/December issue of Science in the News. One of the projects was to make a bar graph of the fastest bullet trains from around the world. This week we were able to complete the lesson.


We watched the video of How to Draw a Bar Graph by Dan Calder on YouTube.

The girls had the last homeschool gym of this year.

We read book 3 of the Kirsten from the American Girl series about St. Lucia.

We watched Melissa Wiley reads Hannah’s Christmas and Santa Lucia Christmas on YouTube.

We also watched a member of Silver Strings (MI) perform In the Bleak Midwinter on an instrument called a Scandinavian Psalmodicon on YouTube.

The girls learned about Fika,


and they made Swedish almond cake.

We decided to make a “Swedish” meal (the best way a non-Swedish American can) to add to the meal plan page in The Thinking Tree journal.

So, we made Swedish pancakes for breakfast.


I didn’t realize how thin these would be. To me, they are more like crepes than pancakes. Though I guess technically, any kind of batter cooked in a pan could be called a “pancake” The girls didn’t really care much for them.

For dinner, the girls made Baked Salmon, dilled potatoes, and roasted red cabbage wedges.


This was a huge hit and has been asked to be added to our regular menu rotation.


Continuing with our Christmas baking, the girls made peanut butter blossoms and peanut butter and chocolate fudge.


All that is left is making our traditional pretzels (and I guess we aren’t the only ones because they were out of pretzels at the store).

The girls copied the poem Little Snowflake by Hannah More Kahaus in cursive.


We made Borax crystal candy canes from Go Science Girls


and Snow Slime from No Time For Flashcards.


I couldn’t find snowflake confetti, so I purchased sequins instead. The gold stars were too sharp to add to the slime. Thank goodness someone was nice enough to comment, letting us know on Little Sis’s slime account.

We also made glitter unicorn and


fox ornaments.


Wishing everyone Happy Holidays, a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Peace for the journey.

Christmas School (Sweden)

December 17, 2017

Week two of Christmas school consisted of homeschool gym, crafts, and sleepovers. We circled back around to finish our study of Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle from last winter, learning about Sweden this week.


We read the first two books in the American Girl: Kirsten series. We watched Rick Steves’ Stockholm episode and the poem: Only the Tomten is Awake on YouTube.  We also watched the Ted-Ed video: Why Do We Kiss Under the Mistletoe?

We made our version of an Elf on a Shelf orTomten/gnome from the book All Year Round.




(There is an awesome tutorial from Living HandMade on Youtube as well.)


We are counting down the days to Christmas by reading The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike and Edward Gorey. This has been a fun little read, but it’s the drawings that have taken center stage.

The first, of lots, of baking, started with the girls making gingerbread cookies.


We made paper snowflakes


and a snowstorm in a jar.


One of Little Sis’s slime videos was showcased on the Instagram Explore page and has received over 4,000 views (so far). She has been experimenting with lighting and backgrounds and is getting rather good. She is wanting to invest in a microphone for better sound.

The Christmas music and movies are still in rotation.

I have been keeping busy reading and listening to podcasts.

I am pushing through: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt.


It is an interpretation of the Lizzy Borden murders. It is okay, I found a documentary on the History channel a bit more informative. The author did a great job incorporating the facts into the story. I just am having trouble getting past all the descriptions of smells. If I read one more version of how someone smells, I am going to scream.  It is beginning to feel like I am reading olfactory porn.

I don’t like the whole flashback and flash forwarding pacing of the story either. I think it would have been much better to start the story from the few days leading up to the murders and continuing it from there. So, interesting enough to finish, but it’s not going to be added to my favorites list anytime soon.

I did listen to two great podcasts from Alanis Morrisette.


She is unschooling her children and interviewed Howard Gardner about his theory of multiple intelligences. I loved her interview with Dr. Elaine Aron about highly sensitive people too.

I am trying my damnedest to keep our holidays positive with all the current events swirling around us lately. I am beginning to hate turning on any media at all. In fact, this last week before Christmas, I just might keep it off. Sky has compared it to a surreal painting or waking up in Wonderland. I think she may be right.

Peace for the journey.

Christmas School (Sick Days)

December 8, 2017

Well, so much for wrapping up lessons before Christmas school. During Thanksgiving weekend, we all came down with some kind of viral infection that lasted for several days. I think we are all finally past the worst of it.

So instead of lessons, I brought out the Christmas movies, books, and puzzles. There was also a lot of Wii play and Sky watched too many YouTube documentaries to even list (thank goodness for the film section of her portfolio).



Before Papa got sick, we both managed to celebrate our anniversary with our usual Christmas shopping/ lunch date. The girls were able to fill out their wishlists in the nick of time and with shopping done, I can enjoy the rest of the holiday season.



I was able to get back into my reading groove, kind of stuck after Sleeping Beauties,  with some pretty powerful and triggering reads.

It started with the reading of Colleen Hoover’s new book Without Merit which then lead to The Way I Used to Be and Faking Normal. Not exactly the best holiday reads if you are already stuck in the Bell Jar during this time of year. However, I found them to be quite healing and perfect timing for the current events surrounding us at the moment.


Last night was Little Sis’s awards night for the fall cheer season. I was approached by the elite team’s coach (she was there scouting) that she would like Little Sis to join her team. Little Sis is beyond excited. This is what she has been working so hard toward.

It means contracts, more traveling, and 4-hour practices but she is ready. I am so proud of her.

Sky has been working on a little goal of her own that involves California. I can’t believe she will be 18 next fall. It feels like just yesterday I journeyed down the homeschooling path; best decision I have ever made (besides marrying Papa 😉 ). Both girls are determined and focused on their future goals.

Well, that about brings us up to date. Happy Holidays,

and peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life (Connection)

November 20, 2017

Well, Little Sis had her regional cheer competition over the weekend. Her team didn’t place this season. She is in division 4 and the competition is tough. There literally is no room for error. Her team did amazing and they did receive a club zero (no flyers were dropped). She is ready for the next season to start. I am ready for the holidays.

With cheer over and done for the season, my brain can start focusing on our holiday “school” lessons. I found an inner reflective journaling project that Sky and I will be working on. I also think this year we will do more craft projects. The girls are excited about baking their favorite holiday cookies.

The girls helped me prepare last year’s Thanksgiving meal. They will be helping me again this year. So, this week’s lessons will basically be wrapping up any loose ends we may have so we will be ready to start our holiday countdown.


This week Little Sis came to another meal plan page in her journal. So, it was Sky’s turn to pick out what she wanted to make. She chose vegetarian chili macaroni and cheese (one of the girls’ favorite meals) for dinner,


(This is the Papa’s dinner for work.)

vegan pancakes with faux (tofu) bacon for breakfast,


a monkey platter for lunch (which included leftover spicy roasted chickpea gyros, another huge hit with the girls. They ate the roasted chickpeas like chips. They were delicious. ).


For dessert Sky chose to make November Cakes from the novel Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvator.


They copied their favorite recipe in their core Thinking Tree journals.


I read the biography of Cleopatra from the book Lives of Extraordinary Women and they took notes.


We watched History versus Cleopatra from TED-Ed and Shakespeare Summarized: Antony and Cleopatra from Overly Sarcastic Productions on YouTube.

I also read the next short story from The Haunted Looking Glass.

There was A Sentence a Day, Mad Libs, Spelling journals, Teach Yourself to Draw,

and I wrote a few grammar rules on our chalkboard for the girls to copy from The Absolutely Essential Grammar Guide for Kids.


The girls had XtraMath and worked on dividing decimals from Learn Math Fast.

Sky and I started chapter 6 of Braving the Wilderness and we watched episode 4 of Crash Course Sociology. We also watched the biography of Auguste Comte from School of Life on Youtube and Sky took notes in her journal.

Little Sis and I watched a video on Giraffes from Free School on YouTube.

We made giraffes from Draw So Cute,


and this week was all about the guitar.

We listened to Relaxing guitar music, Robert Johnson’s Kind Hearted Woman Blues, The Entertainer played by Chet Atkins, Johnny B. Goode by Chuck Berry, The Star-Spangled Banner played by Jimi Hendrix, and Purple Rain by Prince.

We also watched Geography Now’s Greece and Flag Friday videos on YouTube.


Wishing everyone in the states a very happy Thanksgiving.


Peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life (Truth)

November 11, 2017

At this moment, the house is completely quiet. Papa is at work, Little Sis is catching up on some sleep after staying overnight with friends, and Sky is in her room creating. For once, in I don’t even know how long, I am able to plan this week’s meals and lessons without someone interrupting me.

It is finally beginning to look and feel like November. Flash fires are becoming more of my evening routine again and I have been restocking candle supplies. I wouldn’t mind one bit if I could just hibernate the winter away. Unfortunately, Little Sis’s social schedule does not allow time for that. So if I am going to embrace winter’s darkness, I can at least be prepared.

This is the best time of year for us to work on school lessons. It is too cold for anyone wanting to be outdoors. I know once warmer weather starts to peak its head, I’ve lost all attention.

We are almost done with volume one of Learn Math Fast. My goal was to be done by the end of 2017, so we are right on track. I am so proud that Sky has been able to retain everything that she has learned thus far. She has not struggled with this volume at all. Little Sis, on the other hand, has needed a little extra help here and there.

What I really like about the Learn Math Fast curricula, so far,  is how it is written for either the student or parent to read and learn. Sky is capable of reading the lessons and doing the work herself. Little Sis needs me to help explain some of the examples. The examples are all laid out for you, explaining how the problems are solved. I also like how all the problems are all worked out for you in the back of the book. This allows you to see where you might have gone wrong at. I dislike describing the program this way, but it reminds me of plain old-fashioned math.

I would have loved to have something like this when I was in school. I had some pretty crappy math teachers, with the exception of my Intermediate Algebra teacher, she rocked. I learned Algebra myself just from reading the textbook, and that wasn’t exactly explained the best.


For writing, I am trying something a little bit different. I watched a great webinar over at Free Homeschooling 101 on Facebook. It was from Julie Bogart, creator of Brave Writer. She explained how we shouldn’t correct writing mechanics when children are first learning to write. I am SO guilty of this. Both girls have complained how I never see how good their story is, just all their mistakes.

So, I am not correcting their journal mistakes. Instead, I am reading their work and writing any mistakes that were made down for us to go over on writing days (without mentioning where I might have seen the mistakes at). For example, I have noticed some confusion with they’re and their, lately. So, I plan on going over homophones in our next lesson, with them copying down the notes into their journals. I will then keep an eye on their journals to check for improvements. Same with misspelled words. I will keep a running list of them to add to their journals.


The girls worked on their study and draw books. Little Sis’s kitten was a royal kitten and Sky’s pet was a rabbit.

We watched All Things Animals Cats, Dogs, and Rabbit videos on YouTube.

We also watched Pets 101 videos about Rabbits and Guinea Pigs-YouTube.

Sky and I watched Crash Course Sociology video number 3.

Little Sis and I watched the All Things Animals foxes video.

This week we listened to fiddle music, including Charlie Daniels The Devil Went Down To Georgia.

Little Sis read Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo and the girls came up with notes.


Sky and I read chapter 5 of Braving the Wilderness and she started reading the graphic novel Locke and Key by Joe Hill.

We watched the movie Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Little Sis has been wanting to see it for a while now.


We created some pixel art inspired by the movie


and drew a perfume bottle from Draw So Cute.


The girls attended Homeschool gym this week, Little Sis has one more cheer practice before her competition, and the girls made the no-bake cheesecake from the Mom Files book.



For Geography, we learned about France from Geography Now on YouTube.


Peace for the journey.

Happy Birthday, My Little Sunshine

November 5, 2017


With each passing year, I am amazed at how much you change. Once the shy little girl that clung to me everywhere we went is now spreading her wings of independence. When you set your mind to something, there is no stopping you. You know exactly what you want. Though your interests have challenged me tremendously (“Mom, do you know how to French braid?”), I’ve enjoyed every moment of our time together. You always find a way to make my heart smile.


A Year In Review 2013 (“Play 60”)

January 11, 2014

Oh and physical education?













Yeah I got that covered too. 🙂

Year In The Life 2013(“We Are Not Makers Of History…..)

January 11, 2014

We are made by history.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Yes, finally I am able to say good-by to 2013 with the last review post saving Social Studies for last. I love history! I am an origins person digging deeper and deeper into the past. I just can’t help myself. I get all geeky excited when making connections, when fitting another piece of the puzzle together (and there are SO many connections).

Social Studies consists of three topics, World History, American History, and Geography. So what did our year of Social Studies look like?

Being that my title contained a quote by Martin Luther King Jr. I think I will start with American History.


I mentioned in my Language Arts post how Little Sis and I enjoyed the Scholastic Storybook Treasures on Netflix, one of those was titled Amazing America and contained 5 stories about the history of our country. Our favorite was Martin’s Big Words and the storybook itself is collection worthy.

Since on the subject of Netflix I also want to mention the series Dear America. This series sparked lots of interesting conversations and was great to watch with both girls.

The Civil War played a big part in our year with visits to our local history museum with their new exhibit


and since I can no longer have gluten it was fun learning the history of how one of my new favorite “breads”, Johnny Cakes played a part in the Civil War too.


This coupled with Miss Sky and I watching PBS’s American Experience The Abolitionists brought the time period even more alive. I myself found it very interesting learning more about Harriet Beecher Stowe who’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin played such a huge role in changing peoples minds about slavery.

Another movie that sparked many conversations in our home was one of my top 5 most favorites, Fried Green Tomatoes. We had discussions about the KKK, racism, and segregation. Which then brought up discussions of Rosa Parks.

We read one my favorite Louisa May Alcott stories An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving and again thanks to our visits to the history museum the girls were able to visualize the time period.


Add to this another wonderful PBS American Masters special on the authors life (she is one of my most favorite writers).

I mentioned my Pinterest Herstory board already right? Yes SO many wonderful woman history makers.

Since on the subject of favorites I will end our American History studies with the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. If there ever was a movie to help explain socialism and capitalism this would be the one.

Since mentioning PBS so much I think I shall kick off our studies of World History with Downton Abbey.


Miss Sky has really taken a huge interest in this series so much while waiting for season 4 we watched the BBC series Lark Rise To Candleford (which I love), the Titanic miniseries (again that we love)and seasons 1,2, and 3 of Downton right thru. I love that these series took us through Victorian times leading right into the roaring 20s.

How could I mention the Victorian Times without bringing the anime Black Butler up. I mean this is what stirred Miss Sky’s interest in the first place. Thanks to this series we had many discussions about Jack the ripper and the movie A Christmas Carol with George C. Scott brought the period alive even more. Another great PBS documentary to go alone with this was Empires: Queen Victoria. This helped explain the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, which influenced Dickens to write the story.

Other influences was Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame which brought about conversations of religious differences, persecution, and burning at the stake. We also had conversations about the real ending, Victor Hugo and thanks to The Nostalgia Critic and Paw’s Movie Reviews we watched one of my most favorite reviews yet of the musical Les Miserables (and yes the movie has been added to our queue).

The year wasn’t all bleak though the girls had fun learning about the Terra Cotta Army from the first Emperor of China thanks to our visit to the Children’s Museum


and Little Sis and I enjoyed China’s Heroines in History series, with our favorite being The Legend of Mu Lan by Wei and Chen An Jiang, that is written in both English and Chinese. Thanks to the BBC Human planet series we were able to learn about how nomads from Mongolia live in yurts.

Speaking of Human Planet, which I was going to mention in geography, we learned what Tibetan sky burials are which lead to conversations about Buddhism and watching the PBS documentary, The Buddha.

We also had talks of Hinduism, cremation, reincarnation, and watched the movie Life Of Pi(which is on my top 10 list of all favorite movies).

We journeyed back into ancient Egypt with our Children’s museum visit


and had many more discussions about ancient Greece thanks to the movies Clash of the Titans and Wrath of the Titians where Miss Sky made the connection between the Hunchback’s song Hellfire and what a Siren is.

Wrapping up with geography we jumped ahead to present day Egypt while at the Children’s Museum,


thanks to Disney’s Lilo and Stitch and my What About Earth Pinterest board we learned about Hawaii. Thanks to Princess Tutu we learned about Germany and how the town of Nordlingen that the anime is set in was really built in a meteorite crater, called the Nördlinger Ries. Thanks to the story Family Under the Bridge we learned about Paris, France, and thanks to the Disney’s The Three Caballeros we learned about South America.

I mentioned BBC’s Human Planet series above already we also like the Globe Trekker series and playing the Wii Party Globe Trot game.

What a year!

I am going to be honest and say I am glad to finally be done with this because already 2014 has begun with gusto as we have watched the movie Anastasia. Russian history here we come.

A Year In The Life 2013(“This World Is But A Canvas To Our Imagination.”)

January 10, 2014

~Henry David Thoreau

I want to start this post off by saying how much Pinterest has helped with our homeschooling. I need organization. “A place for everything and everything in it’s place”, yep that is me. So to have a board to be able to organize everything in one place was the best invention ever.

I have boards that contain my favorite music, recipes, and sayings. I have one for science projects or videos, our favorite books, and art projects. By far my favorite boards are my Earth, Art, Eh, Herstory, and What About Earth boards. These are boards I put together to hold our favorite pieces of art, tidbits of woman’s history, and the many things we have learned through out the years about the world we live in. SO many conversations from these boards. The girls have also added their favorite pieces of art and what they find interesting too. It is “strewing” by way of the internet. 🙂

For instance this past year Miss Sky really was interested in Japanese artists and created an account at deviantART, through Pinterest she was able to share some of her favorite pieces of art work with me.

When Miss Sky took interest, thanks to Black Butler, in Jack the Ripper I pinned Walter Sickert’s “Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom” painting. Just recently we have been learning about Paris, again thanks to the story Family Under the Bride and the Phantom of the Opera, so naturally I began pinning paintings from impressionists like Cassatt and Monet. Princess Tutu influenced us learning about Degas and so on.

So in what other ways has “The Arts” influenced our learning this year.

I mentioned Japanese artists so I will start with Mr. Hayao Miyazaki. Miss Sky’s interest in anime quickly filled our Netflix queue full of Miyazaki’s animation. I instantly fell in love with his work and each of us have our favorite. My favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle, Miss Sky’s is Princess Mononoke and Little Sis loves Ponyo.

Since on the subject of anime, Princess Tutu played a huge role in learning the history of ballet, watching the commentary of the show the girls was introduced to the famous classical music pieces used as well as the stories which brought on viewings of Swan Lake. Not to mention the influence it played on their own creations.





(Little Sis)




(Miss Sky)

Speaking of classic music, Disney’s Fantasia ,along with watching Paw’s Music Movie review (they did a wonderful job with this review and it one of my favorites),Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, Saint Saens The Carnival Of The Animals, and Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra the girls was introduced the many different parts of the orchestra.

I mentioned Paw’s Music Movie Reviews as well as the Nostalgia Critic web series was HUGE this year and now musicals have filled up our queue. 🙂 (If you don’t mind bad language they really are a bunch of very talented young men and women)

Which brings me to our visit to the Children’s Museum and the showing of Rapunzel.


The Disney movie The Reluctant Dragon took us on a behind the scenes tour of the Disney movie studio and how their animated movies are made.

I mentioned Minecraft already but I can’t help it honestly it counts for everything but the girls also learned the art of architecture.


Miss Sky’s interest in Cosplay has influenced her own designs.



Oil pastels and Final Fantasy were other big influences in the girls art work




(Miss Sky)



(Little Sis)

as well as DC comics


and My Little Pony.



(Miss Sky)


(Little Sis)


Wii Music (this game is a great way to introduce instruments without having any)

Electroplankton DS game


Movie Maker

and the keyboard game at Girl


Last up Social Studies.