Archive for the ‘A Week in the Life’ 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 (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.

A Week in the Life (Anger)

November 4, 2017

Well, after this weekend Little Sis will officially be a preteen. Only one year left until my baby will be a teenager. :0 It just doesn’t seem possible to me that all my children will be teenagers. I knew it would only be a matter of time before the sleepover invites would start to appear. After all, she loved cheer camp.

I have been lucky with Sky in that she is a homebody. I mean she has friends, it is just that she is okay with talking to them online. She doesn’t need them to be with her in person all the time.

Little Sis, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. The more in person friends she has, the better. She is a very popular child. The fact that she is homeschooled has not affected this in any way.

I will be honest though, you may see a tiny smile appear at the corner of my mouth when I drop the homeschool bomb and get the shocked look on people’s faces back in return. Yes, this extremely outgoing, confident child is a homeschooler, never once having set foot inside of a school building. Then, more shock once I reveal how terribly shy she was. Little Sis was attached to my hip the first six years of her life.

Don’t get me wrong, I have seen, first hand, terrible examples of homeschoolers not being properly “socialized” (I really dislike the word socialized. It makes me feel like I am talking about dogs or something.). However, I have also seen, first hand, terrible examples of school children not being properly “socialized” as well.

Maybe, just maybe that’s because schools do not “socialize” society. Schools are meant to educate society (As well as training them to be obedient little workers, but I digress.).  I just decided to educate my children at home. It is what works best for us. My girls are still apart of society just because they don’t go to school. We don’t live on an isolated island.

Sky, is Sky. Little Sis, is Little Sis. Where they receive their education does not change that. Being raised in a healthy, loving, nurtured, accepting environment does.


Since Halloween was this week, I tried to focus our lessons around it. Sky decorated our pumpkin this year.


Little Sis didn’t want to go trick or treating this year, she went to a party over the weekend, but wanted to help pass out candy instead. So, I busted out a few of our Halloween favorites and we all dressed up.


It was a fun night.

It was my turn to pick out our meal to prepare this week (I made it to my recipe plan page in my mom journal.). I chose cilantro lime shrimp with garlic parmesan roasted potatoes and asparagus for dinner.


I learned that when you add lime to shrimp it makes sort of a buttery sauce. The recipe is literally just shrimp tossed with a little salt, cumin, and cilantro. Then squeeze the juice of half a lime over the top once the shrimp is cooked. That is it. This meal was a huge hit with the family.

Breakfast was blueberry pancakes,


and dessert was chocolate chip dunkers.


Both recipes were from the Mom Files book. The dunkers are delicious with coffee. The pancakes were really good too, I just have a vegan pancake recipe that I already make.

Lunch was just apple slices dipped in peanut butter.

I also made vegan teriyaki tofu and broccoli this week for dinner that was a hit with everyone, including Papa.

We read the biography of Edgar Allan Poe from Lives of the Writers and watched the PBS Amerian Master’s documentary Buried Alive. It was nice to discover that the author of Lives of the Writers is correct with her research. There is a lot of information packed into this little book.


The girls chose their spelling/vocabulary words from the biography.


We also watched the Edgar Allan Poe special from Overly Sarcastic Productions (Where Sky found out that the movie Saw was inspired by Poe’s short story The Pit and the Pendulum.),

How to Make Your Writing Suspenseful from TED-Ed on YouTube,

and NOVA’s Why We Like Being Scared.

We created haunted houses inspired from Draw So Cute,


and read October’s issue of Kids Science in the News A-Z.

We listened to Erhu music while journaling and learned about Egypt from Geography Now.



Then as if it was planned (this week airing on PBS Nature was the episode H is for Hawk), one of the sparrowhawks that live in our neighborhood decided to perch on our backyard fence. Boy, it was huge. Like, almost the size of our dog huge, but beautiful. It stayed there a good 20 minutes until a squirrel, of all things, chased it away.

So, we ended up watching H is for Hawk and learning more about hawks this week.


Drawing inspired by Art for Kids Hub on YouTube.

Sky finished Monstress (and is ready for volume 3) and we finally finished chapter 4 of Braving the Wilderness.


Peace for the Journey.

A Week in the Life (Pain)

October 28, 2017

I think after all this year’s changes, we finally have found our groove again. I knew it was only a matter of time. I still catch myself adding on extra work. Now the girls are not afraid to call me out on it though.

I don’t understand my need to keep adding on resources. I look at my notes and think, how many resources does one truly need to learn about dogs. This is why I love being able to journal alongside the girls. It gets me away from the internet. They are learning.

One thing I really like about using The Thinking Tree journals is that it holds me accountable for the resources we use. It basically tells you to find 4 -8 resources you want to use to research your subject. These are the resources you will use for the year.

I think a lot of my problem is that I want to learn every bloody thing there is to learn about something (my OCD). This would not necessarily be a bad thing if I had an endless amount of time. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This is another reason I decided to use curricula this year. If there is a subject that the girls want to dive deeper into, they now have the time to do so on their own.

Little Sis has no problem finding new nail ideas to try out. Sky has no problem finding new film YouTubers or art ideas. Sky watched all of the Crash Course psychology videos on her own because she wanted to. The majority of Sky’s film study videos are ones that she found and shared with me. I still believe that a child learns best by following their interests.

Something that the girls have shown interest in lately is trying out more vegan recipes. Little Sis is almost a vegetarian, with the exception of eating seafood occasionally. I have mostly given up dairy with the exception of cheese once in awhile. We rarely eat beef or pork because of Papa’s heart disease anyway. It just feels like it is time to take the next step.

So this week, all our meals were either vegetarian or vegan. Some were major hits (I’m talking about you veggie enchilada rice and black bean dip) with the girls fighting over the leftovers. Others, like the vegan bbq pineapple pizza, were hits for some but not for the Papa.


We will still eat poultry and fish every now and then, Papa loves them too much, but more as a special treat than the everyday meal.


I purchased another Thinking Tree book, while it was on sale, that we will be using for culinary arts (along with the Teen Cooks book). As a secular family, I will say this book is not secular in any way. It is written from a Christain perspective and contains many verses from the bible. However, it makes for a great conversation starter. I’ve never agreed with the one-sided learning of any kind. Society is not one-sided. In fact, this is exactly the point of the book Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown.

This has also been my beef with the whole “socialization” argument. Just because you go, or went to school, does not make you properly socialized.

Anyway, what I do like about Mom Files is that the topics are listed in alphabetical order. It fits in perfectly with the girls spelling journals. This week, the girls made the apple pie recipe. The pie crust recipe is from the Feeding the Whole Family cookbook. It would have been vegan if not for the honey used in the recipe. We don’t use much honey anymore, just once in awhile as a treat purchased from farmers. However, I want to make each of these recipes exactly as printed before tweaking them myself. The girls have really enjoyed our baking days. They don’t even consider them a part of our school. Like yoga, or drawing,


(From Teach Yourself to Draw, The Thinking Tree)


(From Draw So Cute YouTube)

or fashion design, or cheer,


(Little Sis, inspired by her favorite actress Audrey Hepburn’s classic black dress.)

or film study.


(Sky wanted to add a Stanely Kubrick film to her study. This is her favorite section of the Portfolio, The Thinking Tree.)

We also learned about dogs by watching 9 Scishow videos on YouTube,

Cats from reading the Handbook of Nature Study,


and Charles Wheatstone and his invention of the polar clock.


We watched a couple of Djembe videos,

learned about Djibouti,


as well as some of the same.


Sky and I are still in chapter 4 of Braving the Wilderness. It is a very meaty chapter. So many discussions.

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween.

Peace for the journey.


A Week in the Life (Fear)

October 20, 2017

Well, so far my plan is working. My goal was to have a set amount of time put aside for lessons, allowing for plenty of free time to explore interests.

Little Sis has been busy making slime. She is wanting to start selling it to earn money for cheer camp this summer. She is getting really good at making it too. She has also been playing around with designing her nails so that they look good in her slime videos. If she was not given the freedom to explore these interests, look at all the learning she would have been missing out on. She is mastering skills, learning what matters to her.


Sky is still uncertain about what she wants to do regarding her interests. That is okay. We had lots of talks this week, especially since starting Sociology, about how society adds the pressure of teens needing to know what they want to do right after high-school. Hell, I am still learning about myself.

I actually learned something these past two years of pushing  “college approved” transcript lessons. Even though the workload has gotten harder, they really are not learning to take responsibility for themselves. They still have a teacher telling them what to learn. They are still told what they need to do and if they don’t care about what they are learning, then what happens to them?

Then, if they do make it to college,  it’s like a whole new world. This is why I love the Thinking Tree Journals so much. It places the responsibility of learning back onto the children. I have seen a big difference in just two weeks.

Both girls can take as long as they need to figure out what they want to do with the rest of their life. There really is no hurry. It is a very big world with lots to see and do. So many choices and we never stop learning.

We are no longer the same society that existed when schools began. Where the school was once the only place to gain knowledge, I now am able to carry knowledge around with me in my back pocket. Now, schools are outdated.

I feel like Sky needs time to deschool all over again. We need time to build that trust back up. There is only so much that Papa and I can provide for them. They understand that. They both have future goals that they will need to eventually figure out. Little Sis is already doing that.

This year, I’ve decided that Sky will tag along with Little Sis’s learning journey, while she decides what she wants to do. Our lessons have always been the other way around. I have noticed in these last two weeks of journaling, Little Sis was beginning to get gaps in her learning. Things she never really learned how to do because my focus was more on Sky’s learning.

So, what are the most important topics one needs to learn? What topics will they both need to know that will help fuel those future interests? Reading, writing, and mathematics. All other interests branch off from these topics. Between The Thinking Tree journals and Learn Math Fast, we’ve got them covered. I honestly wish both had been created a whole lot sooner.

One thing I do want to mention when first flipping to fun-schooling, is to be prepared for your children to feel lost at first. Up until now, if you were like me, they have been spoon-fed their education. Fun-schooling places the responsibility back on them. Like when they first learned to eat using utensils; it was a little messy at first.

We are using the journals a bit different than how they are “intended”. Though, that is kind of the point of us ruling the curriculum. The girls don’t fill out a certain amount of pages in a day. We fill out the pages as we need to. Sometimes that is one page a day, sometimes it’s more. One day they might write out the notes. Then the next day they create the picture. It is all up to you, and this year I am joining them with a journal of my own.

So many times you will hear homeschooling parents mention how they are learning right along with their children. Now you can work right along beside them with your own Mom School journal. I have really enjoyed the time we share together. I know it won’t be long before the girls start going their own separate ways.



Besides their spelling journals, this week the girls added their own vocabulary words, from the short story that we read last week, to their core journal. The Thinking Tree Journals have a page that might say: find 10, 6 letter vocabulary words from the story you are currently reading. It is up to the girls to pick out their own words. So their lists are different. Yep, it’s their responsibility. 😉

I am really glad I purchased volume one of the Learn Math Fast books. I almost bought volume 2 on up. The author teaches you how to mentally figure out the answers to the problems, like 56×11. I learned a few tricks too. Yes, I can now figure out the product in my head. Sky is doing great. I am so proud of her. She has come such a long way. This is one area where I found Little Sis to have a few gaps.

Something else I am doing this year is Little Sis and I have a create a meal plan journal page. So, I thought why not let the girls create their own meal plan for the family one day. They are in charge of picking out the recipes and making sure that all the ingredients get added to the shopping list. Then, the girls help make the meals. Every other week we will take turns choosing the menu for that day.


(That is Sky’s Portfolio on the bottom.)

I purchased the book, Teens Cook by Megan Carle to help influence some of their choices. Little Sis’s journal page came up first, so she got the pick first.

She chose baked chili crusted tilapia with roasted asparagusus and oyster dressing for dinner.


Vegan coffee cake for breakfast.


Sandwiches with baked chips for lunch and apple crisp with frozen yogurt for dessert (the only recipe that actually came from the Teens Cook, book).



All of it was delicious. They did a great job.

Sky and I started chapter 4 of Braving the Wilderness. It started a conversation that lasted days.

We also watched a YouTube video from National Geographic titled, What Makes Us Happy.

Other videos we watched on Youtube this week,

6 videos about cats from SciShow,

Peripole Inc: How to play the cowbell,

Bill Bailey-Cowbells

Socratica US Geography: California



For a science project, I decided to finally make slime with the girls.


I can see why it is so addictive. I love it! We made blood plasma slime, which fit in perfectly as a lab project for Microbiology.


We used clear glue, Borax, red food coloring, white foam balls for the white blood cells, red foam balls for the red blood cells, and mini erasers for the platelets (probably could have used purple foam balls).


Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend. Peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life ( Loneliness)

October 13, 2017

Happy Friday the 13th!

This is my last post categorized under 16 (at least until Little Sis turns 16 anyway). Sky turns 17 this weekend. I am still in disbelief about her being 16. What a journey it has been. I have learned so much from her. Not only as a parent, but about myself as well.

What a bittersweet experience it has been to read Braving the Wilderness together just as she is beginning her journey from childhood into adulthood. I think between the two of us, we highlighted all of chapter 3.

I thought this week we could take a peek into what I keep in my Mom-schooling basket. We live in a small house. When I say small, I mean less than 1000 square feet. I keep my basket under the end table on my side of the couch in our front room. This is the spot where the majority of my thinking takes place.


(Minus the laptop and gel pens.)

I’ve mentioned previously how journaling helps to clear my thoughts. I think the most important item that I keep in my basket is a spiral notebook and pen along with my Dollar General planner. Anytime I get an idea about something that might be of interest or I discover a television show coming on that we might want to watch, I know exactly where to find my stuff. I need to write everything down or I will forget. Then while planning out our next week, I look to see if I wrote down anything that might be of use to our learning journey.


The next most important item in my basket is my Kindle Fire. I mentioned our small house, yes, our space is extremely limited and my book collection would take up a whole room in itself. (and this does not even include our music collection.) Don’t get me wrong, I love the feel of a book in my hand. The smell and sound it makes when turning a page are amazing. However, for the sake of maintaining peace with my husband, I purchased my Kindle Fire. Now, I use it for everything.

Books I am currently reading are Sleeping Beauties by Stephen and Owen King, which I am now over halfway through, and Braving the Wilderness By Brene Brown.

Other items include my adult coloring book, my Mom School journals,


(Mom-school journal, Braving the Wilderness notes.)


our resources we will be using during the week,

(I started reading aloud to the girls in the morning while they journal. We are reading The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories Chosen By Edward Gorey right now. They will be using this book as part of their copywork, spelling, and vocabulary words in their fun-schooling core journals. All these stories can be found in the public domain for free, minus Gorey’s amazing artwork, but I have been trying to not rely upon the internet as much for our lessons. Did I mention that it includes Edward Gorey’s artwork? 🙂 )


(Our Language Arts and Mathematics resources.)

and a few of my other favorite resources.



Sky’s basket (I keep the girls’ baskets in the kitchen by our table where they do the majority of their work.).


(Not pictured is her Monstress graphic novel that she is reading independently.)

Little Sis’s basket.


They each have their own Kindle too. We get the majority of our library books through Overdrive (no late fees).

(Not pictured is her Seventeen Magazine subscription that she reads independently.)

Lessons this week,


we learned about Miguel De Cervantes. Sky and I watched Thug Notes’ version of Don Quixote on YouTube. She added this to the film and tutorials page in her Portfolio journal.

We watched Tango videos on YouTube and learned about Eva Peron.



Little Sis had spelling words beginning with the letter B this week from her spelling journal. So, we watched a video about Black Bears from All Things Animal on YouTube together.

We listened to banjo and bluegrass music while journaling and learned about Belgium from Geography Now.


PBS Nature this week was all about Foxes. Sky’s second most favorite animal after the wolf. We were lucky enough to observe one while at Wolf Park this summer. So when I saw PBS was airing a documentary about them, I added the date to my planner so I would not forget.


I read about Foxes from the Handbook of Nature Study and we watched What the Fox Says from Scishow on YouTube. We looked at images of their prints observing their difference from dogs, and the girls added notes to their core journals.

We drew a fox from Draw So Cute on YouTube.


Little Sis learned about Liz Claiborne.


Then there was Yoga,


and Sky finally was able to see IT at the Drive-In. She loved it. They had a clown going around to the cars scaring everyone with red balloons. We had a lot of fun. She is looking forward to seeing Blade Runner this weekend. I am just trying to absorb as much of it while I still can.

Peace for the journey.


Week in the Life (Athenticity)

October 7, 2017

So, after a week of trying to make my own journal pages and making sure that I had everything printed and ready for the week, I decided to go ahead and purchase the fun-schooling journals. I just have too much on my plate as it is right now.

Honestly, one of the biggest needs that I had this year was an open and go curricula. Something that would help to keep me on track. I couldn’t believe my luck of discovering The Thinking Tree and their journals. They have the structure I need but allow for the freedom to still do things our way.

I purchased (Yes purchased, not received. I did win the Mom School journal from Free Homeschooling 101. The rest of the journals I purchased myself because I truly love them.  ) the 12 Subject Portfolio for Sky as her core journal. She has always been the child that wanted to do things her own way in her own time. If you couldn’t already tell that from her artwork. She would despise the structure of the other library based journals.

Some great advice that I learned from Homeschooling 101 is “We rule the curriculum, the curriculum does not rule us”. The journals work for us, not the other way around. That is exactly why I like the 12 Subject Portfolio for Sky.



(Sky’s Fun-schooling journals)

Little Sis, on the other hand, needs structure. She needs to open her journal and know exactly what to do. That is why I purchased the Autumn Homeschooling and the Spelling Time: Animals and Instruments level C journals.


(Little Sis’s Fun-schooling journals)

Okay, what I liked about the Autumn journal for Little is that there was no circle the date pages. This way we can use the pages however we want to. Not necessarily in any specific order. I still print out calendar pages for them to take their own attendance.


After we finish our travel study of Spain, I plan on using the Fashion Journal for learning about American History. So, Science through art (two for one) and History through fashion (Yep, you guessed it. Two for one.).

Then there is the spelling journal that brings in geography and music.


(The spelling journal is on the right. The 12 Subject Portfolio is on the left.)

Some of Little Sis’s spelling words this week were Argentina and accordion. So while working in our journals (mine too) we listened to accordion music on YouTube.


We listened to The Beer Barrel Polka and Roll out the Barrel. We also listened to traditional French accordion music so that the girls could hear how one instrument can be used to produce different styles of music.

We watched Geography Now on YouTube to learn about Argentina.

Speaking of journals, besides the Mom School one that I won, I purchased the Homeschooling Handbook for Moms journal so that I can also work right along with the girls.


I love the discussions ( not to mention just being able to get away from the internet for awhile)  that journaling has allowed time for.

Unfortunately, this week we had a lot to discuss.  What a year the United States has had.  😦

Sky and I read and discussed chapter 2 of Braving the Wilderness.


She is journaling about this book in her portfolio under Social Studies, or what we are calling Social Science. Sky and I watched episode 2 of Crash Course Sociology.

As part of Sky’s film study this week, we learned about Evanghelos Odysseas Papathanassiou, or Vangelis, and listened to the Blade Runner soundtrack.

We watched another Rick Steves episode about Spain


and the girls added Christopher Columbus notes to their history timeline binder.




We also watched the Origin of Everything episode about Columbus and cannibals.


We learned about the Dada, Surrealism movement and Salvador Dali.

We watched: Why Melted Clocks from Artrageous with Nate.


Little Sis and I watched How Jeans were Invented from Ted-ED on YouTube and she learned about Calvin Klein.


She also made butter, glitter, and peach slime.

Sky started Monstress volume 2: Blood, as her independent read.


Language Arts







The first attempt at solo drawing.

Peace, love, and healing.