Archive for the ‘8 Years Old’ Category

Year In The Life 2014 (It Started With A Big Bang)

January 10, 2015

Thank You Cosmos! What could I possibly add that has not already been said about this show?

This was our year for science, for sure. After we finished the television series I decided to start our lessons from the beginning bringing science and history together the way it should be.


I couldn’t believe how lucky I got that The Big History Project thought to do the same. So many wonderful discussions emerged from this year. All I know to do really is jump right in and get started.

We touched on so many topics this year that I’ve tried to organize them the best way I could.

Earth Science:

We learned about the big bang and formation of the Earth by watching Discovery’s How the Universe Works and BBC’s Earth, The Biography. We also watched Stephen Hawking’s Did God Create the Universe and let’s not forget those Green brothers and their Big History Crash Course videos.

We talked about Earth’s gravity and rotation, structure of layers, and magnetic field. Thanks to Magic Tree House’s Tsunamis Research Guide we discussed Pangaea, plate tectonics, volcanoes, hot spots,  the ring of fire, and earthquakes. We also watched NOVA’s Killer Typhoon episode. This led to discussions on the formation of mountains, Earth’s crust, the rock cycle, and we did a little cave exploring.


Which led us to discussions on weathering and erosion,


ice and glaciers. We did a jellybean erosion experiment


where the girls discovered 7 up eroded the jellybean fastest.

We had discussions on fossils, fossil fuels, coal and oil, the geological column, and read the Magic Tree House Research Guide about Dinosaurs.

Thanks to our garden we learned about soil, tested our soil’s acidity,


and did an experiment to see if our soil had more sand, clay or silt.


We also watched Dirt, The Movie. We learned about the water cycle (the Ziplock bag representing Earth),


measured how fast 4 cups of water poured on the driveway would evaporate,


and traced the water flow and evaporation from our peonies.


Speaking of evaporation, we discovered we could use it to separate solutions too.






We also learned about filtration.


Before I move too far away from Earth science and our garden we made a bug hotel


and identified many insects like the praying mantis, grasshoppers, crickets, katydids, and stink bugs. We discussed the lifecycle of ladybugs, and aphids.

We watched PBS Nature episodes about the Private Life of Deer, Ireland’s Wild River, and the Coywolf. We also watched Pure Nature Special, Camel’s Empire, Animal Atlas, Zoo Clue ,and visited our local zoo.


We also watched NOVA’s The Last Great Ape and discussed evolution. Which brought us to the Ice Age and reading The Magic Tree House Research Guide.

We touched briefly on space with Cosmos , NOVA’s Detecting Life On Other Planets episode, spotting Jupiter and 2014’s Friday the 13th honey moon.

Other shows that played a part in our homeschool were Bill Nye the Science Guy episodes and watching him and Ken Ham debate. We also watched the movie Life of Pi again from a science vs. religion point of view and caught a few spectrum of light shows.


Chemistry, Matter and Reactions:

We discussed the states of matter,


atoms, molecules, mixtures and solutions,


solids, liquids or both.



We made a chemical indicator using purple cabbage,


created carbon dioxide by making a CO2 sandwich in a bag, a volcano,


and chocolate cake.



Last but not least we mummified an apple.


Books (not already mentioned):

The Dorling Kindersley Science Encyclopedia, this was one of the best book investments and Goodwill finds ever! I also love our painless learning placemats. There is one for almost everything. We live in a small house (under 1000 square feet) so I am very cautious of what we bring in. These fit perfect in the little corner nook of our kitchen table making them easily assessable at all times and are laminated.

Science for Fun experiments and the DK encyclopedia of Cat Breeds came in handy this year. Honestly though, Little Sis wanted the  painless placemat of popular cats anyway which gets pulled out way more than the book and I’m pretty sure most all these experiments can be found by doing a search on-line.

Alright, 2014 you were a great year but I am ready to see what awaits us in 2015.









Year In The Life 2014 (Nourishment For The Soul)

January 9, 2015

When we first began our homeschooling journey, I had all these great plans of craft projects lined up and ready to go. While studying pioneers, when Miss Sky was 8, we made covered wagons out of Go-Gurt boxes. While learning about the ocean we turned our then classroom into an underwater haven right down to paper bag whales hanging from the ceiling. Actually, it was a pretty fun and successful year, for me.

Don’t get me wrong, we did have a lot of fun that year. It was back before I started listening to other people’s opinions on how to homeschool my children. 🙂

I have since learned that what I think might be considered fun may not be that much fun for someone else. I like to call this my experimental time period. So, we backed off the crafts, we backed off a lot of things. I had fun getting to know my children, what they enjoyed and what they didn’t. I discovered that though both girls are very creative, their artistic interests are much different.

Sky has never been one that enjoyed being told what to do. Following instructions has never been a strength of hers. She always has and still likes to do things her way. She is constantly questioning authority and the why behind everything. This characteristic comes through in everything she creates.

Little Sis is more of the quiet, doesn’t want to rock the boat type. Though she is quiet on the outside, I know that on the inside her mind is in constant motion.  She likes to do everything by the book. She likes to have everything in order. In fact, this is why she needed to have her own room. You can see this in her creations as well.

When it comes to the arts, I just go with the flow and follow wherever it takes us. I did set up a Pinterest Earth, Art, Eh board that contains paintings related to what we might be learning about. For instance, when we watched the rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, I added and we discussed the painting The Last Supper. Other paintings we discussed this year was Mona Lisa, The Swing, Colossus of Rhodes, Samson and Delilah by both Rubens and Rembrandt, At the Moulin Rouge, Hushed, Found Drowned, and The Outcast.

I already mentioned the ballets we watched in my social studies post.

2014 was all about musicals as we watched quite a few, some I have already posted about. Andrew Lloyd Webber was pretty big this year thanks to The Phantom of the Opera (that we watched both the stage and movie version of) and I just mentioned Jesus Christ Superstar. We also watched Cats, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Everything we learn about has some sort of impact on the girls’ creations. After watching the PBS Nature episode, The Private Life of Deer, Sky decided to do her own study on the physical features of deer then practiced drawing them.


The Phantom was huge,


(Little Sis)

and My Little Pony.




(Miss Sky)


(Little Sis Minecraft )

Anime played big in our year, besides Miyazaki’s animation ( I have changed my favorite to Spirited Away and love his son’s From Up On Poppy Hill. So many great movies, so little time. I feel the same way about books), we watched Death Note, Yu-Gi-Oh, Attack on Titian, Elfen Lied, and Pokémon.



(Little Sis, and she loves her 3DS Pokémon Art Academy game.)

I mentioned how Don Bluth’s Anastasia and An American Tail influenced our studies, we also watched The Secret of NIHM and Small One. The Nostalgia Critic does some fun reviews of his not so big hits that we also watched.

I brought in Bjork’s Biophilia album to show how science can be artistic too (Everything connects, do I sound like a parrot yet?). The app for the album looks pretty amazing and we watched a few of Ray Harryhausen’s Sinbad movies learning about his “Dynamation” animation.

We made diyas,


and the girls painted Nutcrackers.


For Home Economics: The girls are creating their own cookbooks, kind of like Betty Crocker’s “red” cookbook.


This year their focus was on desserts, mostly cookies. Their first recipe of the year was flourless peanut butter cookies, a recipe we bake often.



We plan on moving into more solid dishes this year. Little Sis wants to learn how to make her favorite quiche recipe and she really likes the Cooking Mama video games (and Kitchen Princess manga).

The girls got in a little sewing.



(Sky loves working with felt. Everything she makes is her own creation and never from a pattern.)


(Little Sis)

This is something I am really wanting to try and work in more time for, this and we really need to work in a foreign language.

(Let’s Get) Physical Education and Health: Sky and I started an exercise routine this year. It was something she wanted to do and I sure needed one. Eventually, Little Sis joined in. Sky is not that great in the coordination department and hates to dance (yes, hates). That is how I knew Walking Away the Pounds would be a great fit for her. She has always enjoyed our hikes and walks and this program is basically just walking indoors.

We started with the 1 mile and ended the year with the 3 miles. This year Sky will be adding 1 pound weights and I will conquer the 4 miles. Sky learned what aerobic and muscle toning means as well as recovery heart rate and finding her resting heart rate. She learned about calories and now understands what “burning calories” means. We also hit a bit on nutrition by watching the movie Fed Up.

I saved the best for last, Science.






Year In The Life 2014 (Every Problem Has A Solution)

January 8, 2015

One thing I learned this past year is learning mathematics during winter works best for us, the girls are less distracted. Then reviewing new concepts throughout the year. I also discovered science works best for us during the spring. Of course we are always using math, and science is all around us. It just works out better to tackle a new lesson during these times. Math alone for Sky can take hours let alone trying to add in several different subjects.

I feel sorry for school children (in more ways than one). Just when you start getting the hang of one subject the bell rings and it is time for another one. Time to pack up your work to try and remember for later when doing homework. I remember how frustrating it was myself.

I guess one thing children do have going for them now is the internet. So many awesome websites available today. I would know too because we use a lot of them ourselves. 🙂

There really are not too many homeschoolers that do not know about Khan Academy. I know it has been a huge help to Sky this year. Little Sis on the other hand would rather do a worksheet. She isn’t that interested in understanding why you need to regroup, just when. Sky however wants to know the why to everything. She needs to see the big picture in order to understand, and in my own way so do I.

I am going to be completely honest, I hated mathematics in school. Partly because of bad teachers, yes there are some out there, partly because it felt so separated from real life. I always loved playing games, just like another child I know. I was playing rummy before I was even old enough to go to school (thanks grandma). It was through games that I learned to love mathematics as an adult. Numbers became a puzzle that I enjoy trying to solve, and I do love puzzles.

That is the mistake I made with Sky, I tried to teach her the same boring way that I had learned (you can read about our struggles and tears if you want). So we backed off for a while. Instead we began playing games and we focused on baking together. I started giving her an allowance and she started saving her money for things she wanted. Before she knew it I explained how she was learning mathematics. This is how Little Sis learned, she doesn’t have the dislike of mathematics like Sky does.

So, yes Sky is not at grade level mathematics like she should be but she does have an understanding of the basics and I can honestly say there are “no more tears”.

We are slowly catching back up and this year she learned triple digit multiplication, reading ordered pairs, graphing, decimals, turning decimals into fractions, equivalent fractions, reducing fractions, adding and subtracting same denominators, adding mixed fractions, prime numbers, and prime factorization. She also learned to count change back without a calculator, long division, mean, median, mode, averaging, probability, ratios, greatest common factor, and less common multiple.

Little Sis began learning her multiplication and division tables, 3 digit subtraction regrouping with zeros, measurement of time working whole to parts starting with the 4 seasons working all the way down to seconds, measurement of money, greater and less than. I mentioned how she rather use worksheets, she really likes the ones from coloring squared.

We enjoy playing lots of games, these were in addition to our usual favorites.

The girls love Roblox and Minecraft. They played the money master


and make change game from math is, and LCR with quarters.


They played the grocery store game,


and picked out a complete meal from a circular on a budget.


The girls graphed a bag of jellybeans and found the bag had more purple


then found the mean, medium, mode.

They worked puzzles,


played Nintendogs plus cats on the 3DS, Blink, Multiplication War, Pass the Pigs, and the Table Tree game.


How about some electives next.

Year In The Life 2014 (Talk Language Arts To Me)

January 7, 2015

Something I have learned along the way on this homeschooling journey of mine is that you can’t force language arts. Well, you can’t force learning period. Unless the person on the receiving end is truly interested in the topic at hand, learning goes in one ear and out the other. Okay, yay you passed the test but did you retain anything?  Why I know my children are learning without the need of being tested. When a conversation lasts for hours, and I mean hours I know they understand. I know we are able to move on.

I have written posts before of my journey to letting go of what I considered “appropriate” reading material. It has also been no secret of Sky’s and my troubles in this department. It wasn’t until she discovered her own interests that our journey of learning truly began. It wasn’t until I opened my mind and journeyed into her world that I could understand where she was coming from. As I said before I had a lot to learn.

It wasn’t that she didn’t enjoy reading, she just didn’t enjoy what I thought was good reading. Once my mind opened I could never view reading the same again. She still doesn’t completely enjoy everything we read but she has learned to find something to make it worth while. So when we do come across a story that obtains her curiosity it is all the more sweeter, and we actually came across a few this year.

Reading: While looking back over my posts for the year I noticed January began with us listening to the dramatic reading of the Phantom of the Opera, I also noticed winter and summer seems to be the best time for us to curl up into a story.

It was actually Little Sis’s interest in the Phantom musical that had us listening to the story to begin with. Both girls loved it and have actually requested it again. The same can be said for the Ramona series. We have already read them more than once and I see them again in our near future, Coraline too. Coraline is actually Sky’s most favorite story.

So these are the best read alouds of 2014 in the girls’ opinion. Other stories I read out loud are Socks, Old Possum’s Book Of Practical Cats, Peter Cottontail, The Pippi Longstocking series (another favorite of Little Sis), and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.

Read alouds from LibriVox  and Storynory: Mrs. Peter Rabbit (The Old Mother West Wind series is another family favorite and this is Little Sis’s favorite. Miss Sky loves Reddy Fox.), The Snow Queen, The Arabian Nights, Gilgamesh (YouTube), The Courtship of Miles Standish, An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving, Old Testament Stories, A Christmas Carol, and A Christmas Nutcracker.

Sky’s read alouds: The Junie B. Jones series, American Girl Rebecca Series, and the Jessie Tree.

Little Sis’s read alouds: The Violet Mackerel books 1-4 (another family favorite), Jenny the Cat series (yep, you guessed it), the Jewel Kingdom books 1-4, Owl At Home, Grasshopper on the Road, The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, and Magic Tree House books 1, 3, 7, 27, 28, 34, and 44.

Writing: For handwriting, as well as bringing poetry into our homeschool, I write a poem on the chalkboard that the girls copy in cursive.





The New Colossus

Both girls keep a journal


and love writing stories.


Little Sis


Miss Sky, Sky actually translated many of her stories into Latin.


In fact, both girls wrote several stories while on break.

Spelling, Vocabulary, and Grammar: This year since many of the stories they write are private I started story starters or writing prompts to see where they are with their spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Their spelling is good but I do notice they need to work on their grammar. So, this year I do plan on working with them more in that area. They also did word searches.

Little Sis invented a descriptive word game, I plan to use it more when studying the parts of speech. She also had a word of the week,


and she learned about antonyms and synonyms. She likes her Highlights magazine subscription.

Sky learned about prefixes, suffixes, and started a root word notebook. She also had a word of the week, learned about analogies, idioms, onomatopoeic words, newspaper jargon, oxymoron, coined words, clipped words, and she enjoys OtakuUSA magazine.

Though I was saving Nostalgia Critic for The Arts post, I can not tell you how much we have learned about writing from his show. Thanks to him Sky understands exposition and many other elements in script writing. She understands the 3 Acts layout, fourth wall jokes and is able to point them out during a movie. We absolutely love him around these parts but I must warn you, if profanity is not your thing I’d give him a pass.

Tomorrow, mathematics.






Year In The Life ( Social Responsibility )

January 6, 2015

Happy 2015!

Well, it is time for me to put another year to bed. I started these year in the life posts as guidelines (as well as reassurance) to prove to myself that we are indeed homeschooling. I wanted to “see” everything we did.

Sometimes I will find myself in a rut and it feels like we are running around in circles not accomplishing anything. By looking back I always amaze myself at how much we actually do.

Now, I not only enjoy looking back on our year, these posts help me spot our weaknesses as well as strengths and this helps me plan out the next upcoming year.  This year I give the girls all the credit, I am really proud of them.  They worked really hard and boy does it show.

There is only one thing I want to mention before I start. We didn’t just arrive where we are in our homeschooling journey. It has taken lots of stops and restarts on my part. I, me, myself had *a lot* to learn. I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated if you are not where we are. Instead I want these posts to inspire that yes, you too can do it. It can be done. If we can do it, if we can get here, so can you.

Also, though I have separated our lessons into “subjects” to make it easier for me to sort out, our day isn’t divided up that way. I don’t say “time for social studies” or “let’s do some science”. It is more like “Mom, I would like to get the movie Anastasia.” or me discovering my favorite astrophysicist is updating the television show Cosmos and following all the many trails. Everything connects.

So, with that being said I am starting 2014’s year in review with social studies. We had two really huge studies thanks to Sky’s interest in Don Bluth’s animation with the movies Anastasia and An American Tail.

World History: The movie Anastasia took us to Russia and introduced us to the Romanov’s. Watching the movie brought up Anna Anderson and her claims to being the long lost Anastasia. “What really happened to the Romanov family?” which led to us watching the movie Nicholas and Alexandra. However, I believe there is always more than one side to every story so I brought in one of my favorite musicals, Fiddler on the Roof to show another side of the Romanov family. This brought up emigration and led us to watching An American Tail which brought us to New York.

Before we left Russia though we watched a PBS documentary on Catherine the Great and Rudy Maxa’s travels to St. Petersburg. Which brings me to Pinterest and my What About Earth and Her(story) boards. I use these boards to help connect the dots of what we are learning about by pinning pictures or maps related to these topics. The pictures of Russia and its culture helped bring it even more alive.

We touched briefly on World War 1 and watched the movie War Horse.

We brought in the arts by studying the Russian ballet and watching Coppélia, The Nutcracker, The Swan Princess, and Sleeping Beauty. We listened to Tchaikovsky and Peter and the Wolf. I brought in language arts with the Russian fairy tales The Mitten and The Littlest Matryoshka and we watched an animated version of Peter and the Wolf that originally aired on PBS.

We even touched a little on current events with what was, is happening in Russia, Crimea, and the US.

Fiddler on the Roof led us into Passover and Jewish culture by watching the 10 Commandments and Prince of Egypt.


Which led us to watching Globe Trekker Egypt, which led us to Ancient Egypt


and Ancient Civilizations. We learned about the agricultural revolution, Mesopotamia, Babylon, Assyria, Sumer, and the Indus Valley civilizations.

This took us into the Middle East


and watching Globe Trekker about the Arab Gulf States, Israel, Sinai, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordon. We left our studies of ancient civilizations with Ancient Persia and Bible stories with watching the History Channel’s Bible miniseries episodes 1-5 and DreamWorks Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.

This led us into Christmas School and watching the movie The Nativity and listening to the history of King Herod at Storynory. Which led us to Victorian London where we currently are now.

Little Sis’s interest in the Jenny the Cat series led us to reading Jenny Goes To Sea and learning about South Africa, Zanzibar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, and the Panama Canal (thanks to my What About Earth Board).


We also learned about India’s celebration of Diwali.

Favorite resources: I can’t say enough about the Green brothers and their Crash YouTube video series. They are the base of our studies. I also really like The Magic Tree House Research and Fact Tracker guides.

Television shows and movies (other than the ones already mentioned): Downton Abbey season 4, On the Spot, Where On Earth is Carmen Sandiego, PBS Hawking, BBC Creation, Persepolis, and the original Boris Karloff’s The Mummy.

American History: Continuing the Russian trail with An American Tail movie and immigration led us to New York, the American Girl, Rebecca series, and the year 1914. It was 2 years after the sinking of the Titanic and 4 years after my great-grandparents immigrated to the United States.

This led us to learning about Ellis Island, Coney Island, and Silent movies. We listened to the songs Animal Fair, Take Me Out To the Ball Game, and The Grand Old Flag. Papa and I are already huge Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy fans so silent movies aren’t anything new to the girls. However, Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford, and Pearl White are. We enjoyed watching The Perils of Pauline serial, Arbuckle and Keaton shorts, and Mary Pickford’s Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. This led us to watching the original and new versions of King Kong, the musicals Annie, Newsies, and West Side Story.

It wasn’t all fun though as we learned about the importance of unions, striking, and women’s rights. We watched a PBS documentary about the Triangle Fire and learned about Clara Lemlich. We watched the Dear America episodes of Dreams in the Golden Country and A Journey to A New World which brings us into the holidays, Thanksgiving and Pilgrims, where we left off in American History.

We watched documentaries on the Founding of Jamestown, Roanoke Island, and Episode 1 of the We Shall Remain Series, After the Mayflower.

Civics, economics, what’s left of geography, and history related field trips:


Monopoly isn’t just for math but great for helping explain capitalism, with the exception that not everyone starts life out with the same amount of money.

Sky requested the movie What Would Jesus Buy, we watched the series That 70s Show as a family, and while learning about Tsunamis studied the state of Hawaii with an episode of Discovery Atlas.

We also watched the Presidential State of the Union Address and had midterm elections.

We visited our local living history museum during Civil War days




and the annual Maple Syrup Festival.


Whew, now that I have put last year’s social studies to bed I can start focusing on 2015, but first I think I will make my next post about Language Arts. Our stories played a huge part of our year too.


Week In The Life (Rock ‘N’ Roll)

November 2, 2014

What a quick change in weather this week. Monday was beautiful with high temps in the 70s. Windows were open and the girls had on shorts. Halloween was cold and rainy with snow flurries, snow! Man I am not quite ready for snow yet.

Well while the temperatures were still nice, I organized our deep freezers according to cuts of meat and took inventory. Now I know exactly where everything is. I also have my Fall and Winter recipe rotation ready.

I have about 4 recipes for each cut of meat (As well as meatless and fish recipes. Papa works with someone who goes fishing in Michigan during the salmon run and we purchase about 15lbs of fresh salmon. ), 2  using stovetop, crockpot, or grill during late Spring and Summer and 2 using more of the oven during Fall and Winter. I use a calendar as my homeschool planner, not just to keep attendance but I keep track of our weekly meals on it too. This way we never have repeat meals unless requested. The girls would eat chicken and salmon all the time if they could.

We also finally spotted the first ladybugs of the season. Once temperatures began to drop, I moved my organization indoors to the girls closets. Their winter wardrobe is ready and this time I made sure to purchase boots ahead of time. Why do stores not sell boots during winter?

From the kitchen: I have been enjoying snacking on popcorn popped in Earth Balance with just a sprinkle of salt. I am trying to limit my coconut oil intake, which was my favorite way to pop corn, and experimented with Earth Balance. Unlike butter, Earth Balance doesn’t burn allowing it to be used with high heat temperatures.

The girls made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies which they devoured.


They used this recipe.

The girls love all things pumpkin and apples.

From the study: Language Arts: We are still listening to the Arabian Nights. Little Sis started Magic Tree House, Season of the Sandstorms. The word of the week was sediments and Sky worked on paraphrasing about sedimentary rocks and Little Sis wrote a story about a volcanic eruption.

They also did a geology word search.

I’ve stopped our daily grammar lessons for now as I noticed a bit of confusion between verbs and adjectives. I think I will wait until next year and listen to Grammarland again to reintroduce all the parts of speech first then pick up the daily grammar lessons again.

Mathematics: I signed both girls up in Khan Academy continuing with Sky practicing greatest common factoring. She prefers the multiplying monkey method, from Math Doesn’t Suck, but sometimes forgets to list all the prime factors getting the answer wrong. So I think we will continue one more week.

Little Sis is working her way through third grade at Khan Academy and she has mastered many of the skills already. She continued the Table Tree game practicing 2, 4, 5, 9, 10, and 11 tables. She is catching on to the tables quick.

Games, I purchased 2 new games, Pass the Pigs and Zoom. Both are pretty much like Toss Up or Farkle. Toss Up is great for younger children helping them count by 10s. Pass the pigs is a step up having to add more than 10 but still simple as most of the points are by 5s. Zoom is a bit harder as it also includes multiplication. I am glad to have all 3 games but if had to choose only 1 I’d pick Pass the Pigs. I mean pig dice, not to mention it is a great travel game and is quick to play anywhere.

Science (fiction double feature): We learned about the rock cycle. We reviewed how the Earth’s crust is made from soil and rocks and discussed what we already learned from our soil experiments. We talked about the 3 groups rocks fall into and discussed how Indiana has lots of limestone and I showed them the picture from the maple syrup festival I took.


Sky had brought home some samples that we looked at. We also talked about our trip to the caves. This brought up erosion. We did a jellybean experiment around last Easter and reviewed the results. We also watched videos about plate tectonics, the rock cycle, Bill Nye’s Erosion, and a camel documentary.


We also did an experiment to make our own stalactites.


Social Studies, Geography:  I printed a blank map of the middle east and the girls filled in the countries they knew.


I helped them fill in the rest. They added this as well as the worksheets above to their timeline notes.

The Arts: We watched From Up On Poppy Hill directed by Goro Miyazaki. We loved it! We also busted out the Halloween movies. Besides our regular favorites, we watched Frankenweenie the stop motion and live action versions then compared. We all agreed we like the stop motion version best.

We also busted out our favorite soundtracks.


P.E.: 3 mile Walk Away the Pounds.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life ( Light For When All Other Lights Go Out)

October 25, 2014

Autumn is most definitely here, I can feel it in my bones. We can see it in our sleep pattern as well.

Our family doesn’t really have “normal” hours. Papa’s work hours are everywhere. Some days we are up early, mostly in spring and summer, some days you won’t find us in bed until the early morning hours, which I am beginning to see happens mostly come fall and especially winter. This use to bother me as most of the world seems to operate during the early morning hours (most homeschool groups always want to meet at 10 AM for some reason). I have since learned, living in a world where I’m sure it’s morning somewhere, being able to sleep when tired and wake up when rested has its benefits. Not to mention our family functions better at night. This has been a *huge* plus for us homeschooling. If the girls were in school, I would have to keep early hours for their sake and we would never see Papa.

I do however miss the sunlight come winter, why there is nothing better than having a fire in the woodstove and candles. Must have lots of candles burning. I think India may think so too celebrating their festival of lights, Diwali, during fall’s equinox.

From the study, Social Studies, World History: This was our first year learning about Diwali. First we watched 2 documentaries,

then listened to a story about Rama and Sita’s return from exile.

We also made diyas.


We plan on painting then once they have hardened. I love having the extra candlelight around in the evenings.

Geography: We finished The Middle Eastern Globe Trekker series learning about Israel, Sinai, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordon.

Language Arts: We are continuing our audio of the Arabian Nights. The girls have definitely changed their minds on ever wanting to meet a genie. They are not like what Disney taught them, that is for sure.

Their word of the week was hijab and their story starter was begin story with the first sentence, Yellow leaves crackled underfoot. Little Sis wrote hers about running into Yu-gi-oh character Seto and Miss Sky wrote hers about an apocalyptic battlefield. Sky’s story writing is really taking off. We do however need to work on punctuation, which is okay. That is why they are journal writing in the first place.

Speaking of Yu-Gi-Oh we finished season 2. Sky picked the anime out to watch because she thought it fit in perfectly with our ancient history studies, and she was right.

We also tried to watch the movie Pippi Longstocking and had to turn it off. Little Sis: “This in not Pippi from the books.” I guess the series had more of an impact than what they thought. 🙂


They also copied a Halloween poem in cursive.

Mathematics: Little sis continued the Table Tree game working on the 4 and 9 tables. Sky worked on finding the greatest common factor first watching the video from Kahn Academy then from chapter 2 of Math Doesn’t Suck. She learned how to find the GCF three ways, the crush factor method, multiplying monkeys, and the birthday cake.

We also learned, thanks to our middle eastern studies, where 60seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in an hour came from. Tying in nicely with our lessons on time from before our summer break. Showing once again how everything connects.

We played Super Smash Brothers Brawl on the Wii for family game night. Another awesome game added to our collection.

The girls made Halloween cut out cookies


and we continued walking away those pounds. Sky: “remember when we first started with the 1 mile, now 3 miles is like nothing.” 🙂

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Arabian Nights)

October 18, 2014

What a dreary week. I think we had one day of sun, which was today and I took full advantage of it as cooler temps near. The garlic is in the ground and the garden is ready for a winter’s rest. Due to a child’s birthday this week our lessons were a bit shorter and there really isn’t anything new coming out of the kitchen besides more apples and more apple crisp. Thoughts of maybe pumpkin butter this year but then I am also thinking that means more breading so what’s the point? I am very serious about reaching my weight goal.

I received my lab work, for cholesterol, thyroid, hormones, and sugar, and everything was “great”, their words. My cholesterol was 118 which is a little tiny bit elevated. 99 or less being excellent, so bye-bye coconut oil and butter(except for special occasions of course). I have made most of our meals using olive oil and Earth Balance this week, which I mostly did anyway. Being we purchase a whole hog, from a local farm, to last our family all year we have learned how to make our bacon and sausage last (bacon is a once a month treat) and we already incorporate a meatless night.  I am pretty sure my higher cholesterol is probably from the coconut oil which almost all my baking recipes call for. You don’t really realize our, Americans, dependence on baked goods until you no longer want to eat them. 🙂 I am very much in need of some new breakfast ideas.

The girls did make chocolate snack cake this week. I am really impressed with how they know their way around the kitchen. Sky cooks so much different than myself but she has always done things different, that is just her and it works and that is all that matters.

From the study: Language arts, We are listening to The Arabian Nights Entertainments from LibriVox.

We have found it to be very interesting. The girls continued the Daily Grammar lessons and took the first quiz. Their word of the week was bureaucracy.

Sky is still writing stories and trying to translate them into Latin.


Mathematics: Little Sis did 4 digit addition and subtraction with carrying and borrowing review from Math is fun and Sky continued working on prime factorization.

Social Studies: World History, Continuing with our Mesopotamia studies, the girls copied notes on the Babylonian, Assyrian Empires and we watched a short video about Hammurabi’s code of laws.



(Little Sis)

We also reviewed what we previously learned about ancient Egypt, watched the Crash Course video again and the girls added notes to their timelines.


(Miss Sky)

We Walked Away the Pounds and watched part 1 of Globe Trekker, The Arab Gulf States.

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life (Please Be Civil)

October 10, 2014

The thought has occurred to me that this will be my last post categorized under 13 for a certain child. Have you tired of my “where has the time gone” yet? Not only is one child about to become 14, another will soon be 9. It seems like yesterday she had just learned to read. Not only will she be 1 year away from double digits, only one more year for me to have a child in single digits, but what a major growth spurt she’s had. She has gone from size 7-8 to 10-12 in a matter of a few months. She has outgrown all of her clothes and with Autumn’s chill quickly approaching I am very aware of her need for some new pants. Thank goodness she has managed to find a few items of her big sister’s that will do for now.

New pants are not the only preparation for the upcoming cooler temps. Papa cleaned out our stovepipe and added the compost to our garden preparing our soil for planting next Spring’s crop of garlic. This year was our best compost ever, wonderful color, texture, and smell. I still get amazed at the process of composting. Earth’s own recycling system. All that is left in the garden to do is adding a cover of leaves when the time comes.

I am still leaving the sweet potatoes to pull last minute and we did manage a small harvest of radishes. Just like tomatoes, now that I’ve tasted a fresh radish store bought will never be the same. So yes, more radishes along with potatoes have been added to the list of what to plant next year.

This week I took advantage of the only sunny day to wash and hang all the sheets and blankets out for what looks to be the last time. I also made 3 (80 ounces) jars of sun tea. In the words of papa, “it’s going to be a long winter”. Time to bring our focus to some indoor projects and getting our home ready for winter’s hibernation (felt supply, check).

From the study: Lessons have been getting longer and I am reminding myself yet again (for future reference) just how perfect this rhythm has become for us.

Language Arts: I ended my post last week with Sky’s fan fiction inspiring her own stories. This week she has filled a whole notebook full of stories and poems.


She has even taken it upon herself to learn Latin, thanks to her interest in the anime Elfen Lied.

Miss Sky: “I keep hearing how Latin is a dead language yet so many of the words we use today originated from it.”

This week we added daily grammar lessons to our days starting with verbs.

First, the girls copied verb from the parts of speech poem in cursive then we watched the Schoolhouse Rock video before learning about action and state of being verbs.

Agriculture was their word of the week and their journal topic described in detail what you like most about the anime Yu-Gi-Oh.

Science: We watched and discussed Zoo Clue episodes Babies and Everyday Occurrences as well as Crash Course episodes Sun and Earth and Origin of Life.

Social Studies: World History, Moving on from the Ice Age we watched and discussed Crash Course videos The Agricultural Revolution, The Indus Valley Civilization, and Mesopotamia. We also discussed B.C.E and C.E and the girls added their notes to their timeline.


(Little Sis)


(Miss Sky)

We watched a documentary about Mesopotamia

and listened to the epic story of Gilgamesh.

We also enjoyed David Christian’s TED talk about the history of our world.

Mathematics: Little Sis continued the Table Tree Game working on the 9s and 4 tables. Miss Sky worked on prime factorization first by watching Kahn’s videos on prime numbers and prime factorization then reading chapter 1 from the book Math Doesn’t Suck.

The girls made chocolate chip cookies and due to the rain, Walked Away the Pounds for P.E. indoors.


Peace for the journey.


Week(s) In The Life (Quite Quaternary)

October 3, 2014

Last week was interrupted by routine doctor visits where I discovered I was obese. Overweight I knew but I have been working hard and actually went down a whole pants and shirt size since changing my diet. To hear that word kind of shocked me. I am one of the millions of people you hear about in the news, me.

So this past week I have really been paying attention to my portions. I have always been the kind of cook that doesn’t really measure anything, well no more. I especially paid attention to how much oil and salt we use. I measured how much peanut butter is a serving and yep that extra spoon adds up. I wanted to *see* where my calories were coming from. Was I surprised? Actually, I was, it is amazing how much I do without even thinking about it and I consider myself a very mindful person.

I have also bumped up my workouts daily. It is the time that I put myself first for a change. There was some good news, my blood pressure is 112/ 65. I can honestly say I have noticed a huge change in the way I feel since losing the weight I have. I have already kicked the sugar and caffeine habit and eat lots more fresh fruits and veggies than before so I know it’s just a matter of time. I just need to stay positive and focused. Papa has been such a big support. He himself has lost weight too. His of course much faster and effortless than mine.

So I am writing my goal to lose 50 pounds (yep 50 big ones) here with the hopes I will be more inclined to stick with it. That will put me in the healthy weight range for my height.

From the kitchen: I made apple cinnamon walnut pancakes with my favorite oat pancake recipe and they turned out great just like the zucchini ones. I added 1 chopped apple, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts. Delish I tell you. The girls made Muddy Buddies.

From the garden: Papa pulled our tomato plants getting the garden ready for planting our garlic.


Here is the last of our crop. I should be able to get a few more jars of sauce out of them once they turn red. Not a bad crop this year it just seemed so short. Everything did good but our bell peppers.

From the study: Science and History, I was super excited, like more excited than a person should when I discovered Crash Course (found on YouTube) was making new videos starting history from the beginning with the Big Bang because that is exactly what I was doing. They are part of The Big History Project.

So we watched the first 2 videos The Big Bang and Exploring our Universe reviewing everything we had learned up to this point. We will be following along with The Big History project as well.


The girls made covers for their timeline and finished their notes on the geological column.


Which brought us to the Ice Age. Little Sis read Sunset of the Sabertooth and I read the Magic Tree House Research Guide. We watched the Bill Nye episodes Caves and Archeology and the documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams about the cave paintings from Chauvet Cave.

So many discussions from my art-loving children and their history-loving mama. How important music and art have been to humans.

The girls added their notes about the ice age to their timeline.


(Miss Sky)

Mathematics: Miss Sky continued review with Math is Fun worksheets and Little Sis continued multiplication practice with the Table Tree game.

Language Arts: The girls copied the Ghosts of Summer poem in cursive. Little Sis’s word of the week was frigid and Sky’s was radiation. I am starting journal topics this year and this week it was described in detail things about your mom you really like, which was really fun. 🙂

Both girls love writing stories and keep a journal but keep most of them private. This way I can see where they are spelling, punctuation, and grammar wise without violating their privacy. It also helps them get their thoughts about a certain topic down on paper that maybe they wouldn’t usually write about building those essay skills.

What I have learned on this homeschool journey of mine for children who don’t like to write, which was Miss Sky, is that they need time to discover for themselves something worth writing. In other words not forced into writing (same with reading).

It has been no secret I worried whether Sky would ever enjoy reading or writing anything on her own. Then she discovered manga, comic books, and fan fiction. Now I can’t get her head out from some sort of reading, including seeing her up in the middle of the night finishing a story. Her love of manga prompted her to create her own stories and illustrations. Her love of fan fiction inspired her to write her own stories and even character wiki pages. Now she enjoys writing and can come up with a journal topic in a matter of minutes.

The same for Little Sis. She has a journal she writes in daily. In fact, she is on her 5th one. With her, it was SO much easier because she was never forced to begin with. Now she too has no problems with writing.

I am going, to be honest I cringe when I hear a parent say “there will be no “twaddle” in our home” or ” I will never allow that junk in our house” because if it wasn’t for me opening *my* mind to my children’s choices we would not be where we are now.

Peace for the journey.