Archive for the ‘Homeschool’ Category

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

April 22, 2017

First, some good news following my last post.

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

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

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

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

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

Homeschooling

Language Arts

World Literature/ Handwriting:

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

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Vocabulary / Grammar:

The girls edited: A Sentence a Day.

Mad Libs

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

Creative Writing:

Reading: East of the Sun and West of the Moon

Seize the Story

Ten minutes of free writing.

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

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

*Mama’s Reads*

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mathematics

Warming up with XtraMath.

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions workbook.

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

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

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

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

Science

Microbiology:

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

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

Insights into cell membranes TedEd-YouTube.

The Wacky History of Cell Theory-YouTube

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P.E.

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

History

European History/ Geography:

We watched: Rick Steves’ European Easter.

Film:

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

The Arts

Drawing:

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

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Extracurricular activities:

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

Peace for the journey.

Week In The Life ( Scandinavia )

April 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Homeschool

Language Arts

English:

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

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

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

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

Creative Writing:

Writing:

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

Reading:

Seize the Story

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

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

 

World Literature/Handwriting:

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

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(Little Sis)

Vocabulary Words :

observatory, nebula, naivety, majesty

 

*Mama’s Reads*

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

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

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

 

Mathematics:

Both girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Little Sis: Decimals and Fractions- Kumon

Sky: Solving algebra word problems, Kiss My Math

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

 

Science

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

Basher Microbiology

 

Watched:

Injecting Yourself with Killer Bacteria – SciShow-YouTube

Mozart’s Mysterious Death – SciShow YouTube

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

 

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

 

P.E.

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

 

History

European History/ Geography:

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

Reading:The Magic Tree House Vikings Fact Tracker.

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

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One good thing, we have learned about Denmark.

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The Arts

Drawing:

We made Easter Baskets from Draw So Cute -YouTube.

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Extracurricular Activities:

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

Peace for the journey.

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

April 8, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

*Mama’s Reads*

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

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

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

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

“Dear Colleen,

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

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

 

*Mama and Papa’s Shows*

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

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

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

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

 

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

Grammar/Vocabulary:

Both girls: A Sentence a Day and Mad Libs

Words: oath, graft, stealth, telemarketer

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

Little Sis: Word Roots Beginning

 

American Literature/ Handwriting:

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

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

 

Creative Writing:

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

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

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

 

Mathematics

Both girls: XtraMath.

Sky: reviewed combining like terms at Khan Academy.

Little Sis :Kumon Decimals and Fractions workbook.

 

 

History

World/Geography:

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

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

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

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Science

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

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

The girls made notes.

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*Short tangent*

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

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

*End of tangent*

 

Microbiology

Reading: Basher Microbiology.

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

Prokaryotic Cell Model – YouTube

Fungi: Death Becomes Them – CrashCourse Biology

10 Fantastic Fungi Superpowers SciShow- YouTube

Fairy Rings – SciShow YouTube

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

 

P.E.

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

 

The Arts

Drawing:

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

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

Peace for the journey.

Spring Break (2017)

March 16, 2017

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

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Peace for the journey.

Week(s) in the Life (Microbes Beware)

March 4, 2017

I have been struggling with finding time to write. The older the girls get, the less time I seem to have. My poor unsocialized homeschool children have been extremely busy.  If we are not out and about, the girls have friends over.

I actually need to make sure we are getting all our lessons in. There has been several things I have been wanting to watch with the girls that’s been given the boot. We really don’t have time to watch many documentaries anymore. I am so glad I got the majority of our theater productions in last year, and thank goodness for YouTube.

Homeschooling has many stages. In the beginning, you want to make sure you are not ruining your child’s education by homeschooling. You start out by doing what you know, school at home, and realize that it’s just not going to work in a homeschool environment. So, you read any and everything you can get your hands on trying to find your groove. You start to see learning everywhere.

If there is one thing I would want to share here with newbies just starting out with younger children, please do not buy curricula. Younger children need to play, and discover.kids 502

Imagination is the first skill they need to unlock. Read, color, go on outings, do chores, bake, sing, make crafts, play games, and watch their favorite shows with them. I promise, they will learn to read, add and subtract, and write. They learn through imitation. When they reach about middle school age, then worry about curricula. You will not regret it. 🙂

Once you find your groove, everything seems to fall into place. Before you know it, they are ready for high school. This is when documentation becomes important. I spent way too much time worrying about checking off boxes. High school feels like you are starting the homeschooling journey all over again, and so the cycle begins. You start by doing what you know, school at home, once you realize this isn’t going to work, you start reading any and everything you can get your hands on…………

It wasn’t until I stopped worrying, when things started to fall into place. It was when I stopped looking, that things literally started falling into my lap.

Little Sis could not be happier in cheerleading. I couldn’t believe how she wasn’t nervous at her first competition. She had never performed in front of a large audience before. She will be attending cheer camp this summer. She is very excited, this will be her first time away from home. She is ready.

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Sky loves her western equestrian lessons.

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They have helped so much with her anxiety. She cantered for the first time at her last lesson. She has always loved animals.

Though both girls have started later than most of their peers, they are quick learners. They know it is a lot of hard work, but they want to be there.

Keep following your gut instinct , but keep following your children’s lead too. It will all work out in the end.(Note to self, remember this moment.)  🙂

 

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We finished Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. For me, this book came out at the perfect time. I mean, we were just wrapping up our winter lessons of the arctic, and like the sun shining down upon me from up above, Neil Gaiman releases a new book. So Scandinavia, here we come.

As far as the book goes, I really liked it. However, if you already have Norse Mythology resources this probably will not be anything new for you. I mean, the stories don’t really change.

 

*Mama’s reads*

I finished: The Gunslinger by Stephen King. This was never my favorite book from the series. It kind of reminds me of the movie The Phantom Menace , it is not the best movie from the Star Wars series but it is important to the story as a whole.

I started: The Rook by Daniel O’Malley but just could not get into it. I really wanted to like this story; there was just too much information being thrown at me all at once. I thought it really hurt the flow of the story.

Thank goodness I received an e-mail letting me know that: I See You by Clare Mackintosh was ready to be checked out. I am already over halfway through, and I just started it two days ago.

 

Handwriting:

The girls are still working on the poem: Let America Be America Again. I don’t think I could have picked a better poem to copy at this point in time. We’ve had so many wonderful discussions.

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(Sky)

Grammar/Spelling/ Vocabulary

Little Sis: Beginners Word Roots, Mad Libs, Sentence of the Day.

Sky: Word Roots Level One, Mad Libs, Sentence of the Day, Barron’s E-Z English.

Words:

adorned, serf, furrow, lea, ambled, vamoosed, caboose

Creative Writing:

Reading: Seize the Story. The girls free write 10 minutes a day adding to their story what they’ve learned from the chapters we read. By the time we finish this book, they should have the rough draft of their fairy tale adaptation done.

 

Mathematics:

Warming up at XtraMath.

Little Sis: She finished her Kumon Division workbook and started Fractions and Decimals.

Sky: Worked in Kiss My Math and practiced with worksheets from Tree of Math.

http://onemathematicalcat.org/

I was so excited to find this website. I love the Kiss My Math book but sometimes Sky needs more practice grasping some of the concepts. Finding algebra worksheets for what she needs to practice is almost impossible. Then I find the math site above. It is all about the little things I tell you.

 

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym, we Walked Away the Pounds (3 miles), Yoga Walked, and walked around the block.

 

Health:

We watched:

Why Do We Eat Raw Fish But Not Raw Chicken? – SciShow YouTube

Should I refrigerate my eggs -SciShow

Why Did The FDA Ban Antibacterial Soap?-SciShow

Squeaks Caught A Cold-SciShow Kids

How Do Germs Spread -TedEd

Learning from smallpox: How to eradicate a disease- TedEd

Why Vaccines Work- It’s Okay to be Smart

How Vaccines Work-TedEd

Is the Five-Second Rule Real? SciShow

How mucus keeps us healthy-TedEd

All found on YouTube.

 

Science:

We watched:

The Life and Death (and Life Again) of Dire Wolves -Animalogic

Living With Wolves Documentary – YouTube

 

Microbiology:

All the videos about illness lead us into a microbiology block.

Reading: Basher Science Microbiology .

Watching:

Germ History from NPR (all 3 videos found on YouTube).

Chapter 1 Introduction to Microbiology –  Edward Kerscsen -YouTube.

 

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History:

World/Geography:

Watched:

It’s Not the Size of the Month that Matters- It’s Okay to be Smart- YouTube

PBS Victoria

 

The Arts

We watched: How It’s Made  Ice Sculptures-YouTube,

and the girls made chocolate chip cookies for movie night with friends. They are watching the Star Wars series. 🙂

On a side note, because I like to know what parents are watching too. Papa and I watched the movie Victor Frankenstein. Frankenstein is one of my favorite books, and I wanted to see this at theaters but never did. It was all right. I would add it to my Frankenstein movie collection, but nothing fantastic (besides the actors). We are also watching BBC The Last Kingdom series on Netflix. We are really enjoying it. Papa and I are history big nerds. I am really glad Netflix picked this series up.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) in the Life ( How We Science)

February 18, 2017

Here we are again, the middle of February, and we have the windows open. I feel like winter is over, before it even began.

The robins have been gathering around our crabapple tree, helping themselves. We have named it our tree of life, because it maintains its own ecosystem. The crabapples feed the birds and squirrels, and the flower blossoms feed the bees. The bees help our garden, which helps feed us. The tree absorbs our carbon dioxide and releases us its precious oxygen. That, is the beauty of science for you.

We had a light bulb moment this week while watching our science videos. While our videos were discussing the positive and negative attractions of protons and electrons, Sky exclaimed: “just like in math”. What a great moment to discuss how mathematics is the language of the universe; to finally understand its necessity.

This, was the breakthrough I very much needed to boost my confidence. I still hold firm to my belief that not everyone is meant to be a scientist, mathematician, or an artist, but for her to finally understand why learning mathematics is so important, was big.

I feel like this is another positive aspect of homeschooling. School separates learning into “subjects”. I mean, I understand why. It is hard to find a teacher that is an expert in everything. In homeschooling, you don’t need to be an expert; you just need to have the desire to want to learn.

Earth isn’t separated into subjects, everything connects. This, is what real learning looks like. It is hard to understand art and literature, if you don’t understand the history of what was happening at the time. History influences movements, movements influence change, change influences art. It is a never ending cycle, and I am very close to busting out the lyrics to the song: The Circle of Life from Disney’s The Lion King right now. 🙂

Homeschooling

Language Arts

Reading:

We finished Julie of the Wolves. I’m sure this will be added to our favorite reads from the year list. Lots of discussion from this little gem.

We watched Julie of the Wolves Mini-Documentary – YouTube

We started: The Call of the Wild by Jack London but ditched it. After the first two chapters, both girls, in unison started arguing with me. “I do not need to read about animal abuse, I know it exists.” “I’m just letting you know, I am not going to pay attention to this book if we continue to read it.” Nothing like keeping it real. So, I read the biography of Jack London from: The Lives of Writers by Kathleen Krull, and we discussed the historic significance of his novels instead.

The girls understand the novels place, they even appreciate them being written. “I am for anyone that gets the word out about animal cruelty, I just don’t need to read about it myself.” This lead to a wonderful conversation about how well the novel Black Beauty was written. “There was a balance of good and bad.”

This goes to show you why it is important to know your children’s sensitivities when picking out stories. Sky can watch someone getting their throat cut in the Game of Thrones series, but she can not tolerate bullying or animal cruelty. This is why Little Sis became a vegetarian. She can not tolerate the treatment of animals in the meat industry. Even though we support small farmers and know how the animals are treated.

We are reading: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman instead.

 

*Mama’s Reads*

I finished: The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon. I liked it all right. I could see the influence of King’s Pet Sematary. I really liked the historical aspect of the novel. The ending wasn’t bad, I just think it could have been a little bit better. I gave it 4 stars.

I read: Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough next. I really liked this one. I wasn’t really sure where it was going until the end. It held my interest, and I finished it in 3 days. It was a fun read, but will it be memorable? No, the characters were kind of bland. I really didn’t care what happened to them, the ending proves that. Still, I am glad to have read it. I gave it 4 stars too.

I am rereading: The Gunslinger by Stephen King now. I am excited to see the movie, so I am going to try and reread the entire series before I go see it in theaters.

 

Handwriting:

The girls copied the next stanza from: Let America Be America Again.

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(Sky)

Grammar/Vocabulary:

The girls worked in their Word Root workbooks. Sky worked in her English workbook, and both girls played Mad Libs.

Words from the week were:

bondsman and bartered

The girls corrected a sentence a day.

Creative Writing:

We continued reading Seize the Story, and during free writing, the girls came up with some character names.

 

Mathematics:

Violet worked on the review from her workbook. Sky learned about distributed property.

The girls made hearts using the pattern blocks.

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(Connecting art and mathematics.)

 

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym. We took advantage of warmer weather and went for a walk around the block, and Yoga Walked indoors.

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

 

Health:

We watched and discussed:

How Soap and Water Makes Us Clean? SciShow Kids

Are Hand Dryers Sanitary? SciShow

The Best Way to Fight the Flu – Scishow

The New Superbug! -SciShow

Attack of the Super Bugs -SciShow

Honey: Bacteria’s Worst Enemy SciShow

Metal vs. Bacteria -SciShow

all found on YouTube.

 

Science

Reading:

We read February’s issue of Science A-Z – Multilevel Science News Articles for Kids.

We watched and discussed:

Why Does Cilantro Taste Like Soap? SciShow

Wolverines Are the Honey Badgers of the North -Animalogic

Relationship Advice From the Animal Kingdom -It’s Okay To Be Smart

The Arctic Canary in the Coal Mine- TedEd

Ice Caves ShiShow Kids

The 17+ Different Kinds of Ice! SciShow

Inside the Tiny Ecosystems Hiding in Glaciers SciShow

We celebrated Charles Darwin’s birthday and watched: Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin! SciShow Kids

all found on YouTube.

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History

World/Geography:

We watched and discussed Masterpiece Theater’s Victoria.

Civics/ Government:

We watched and discussed:

Trump vs. Truth: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

What Does it Mean to be A Refugee? TedEd

all found on YouTube.

 

The Arts

Music Appreciation:

We watched:  Coolest Concert Ever? Hear Ice Instruments-National Geographic -YouTube

(Combining art and science.)

Drawing:

We made love birds from Draw So Cute-YouTube

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Peace for the journey.

 

Week in the Life (Patterns)

February 4, 2017

Surprisingly enough, even with all the current events swirling around in my head, I am feeling really positive about the start of our school year. I feel like, even though we were going through our same homeschooling routine, that I was extremely distracted with making sure we were covering all of our bases for high school. Somewhere along the way, we lost all our joy in learning. I found myself more interested in the novels I was reading than in our lessons. My lack of enthusiasm was not lost on the girls. How many times have I wrote that if interest is not there, learning will not happen? Well, homeschooling parents are not excluded from that.

Though I am not one to break laws, actually I am a huge nerd (if you couldn’t already tell), I do tend to question arbitrary rules a lot. Just because everyone else might have done it a certain way, does not mean that I have to. I have never been much of a follower.

Homeschooling Kindergarten through 8th grade was great, you basically just need to cover all the basics. Can they read? Can they write? Are they building onto their mathematical skills? No problem. Then high school comes around with thoughts of college, scholarships, and competition (oh my). The stress of my child’s future rests upon my shoulders. I was not only making myself physically ill, I was impacting my daughter’s mental health. Creating your own path, can be scary at times. Everything that I had observed of my daughter, over all these years of homeschooling, no longer mattered anymore; it was time for her to become another cog in the wheel. Over winter break, I realized that I could care less about the wheel anymore, and we focused more on our interests again.

All the times I tried to force activities (“got to list extracurricular activities on a transcript, no one likes a loner, especially if they are homeschooled”); in the end, it was the girls that told me what they wanted to do. Little Sis loves cheerleading, and Sky is loving her equestrian lessons. They both are interested in taking a self defense class as well. If I had just listened to my instincts, and followed their led  in the first place (like I had been doing, before the high school madness began), I could have spared the both of us a lot of stress.

Something else that I witnessed over winter break, was that the girls were going to be alright. They are fully capable of managing on their own. They have been listening, and making their own observations too. They are both incredibly smart girls, with a good head on their shoulders, a solid foundation beneath their feet, and have grown a fondness of questioning arbitrary rules themselves. 🙂

I guess, it is all just part of my learning journey.

 

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

Reading:

We continued reading Julie of the Wolves.

There is so much in this little story to discuss. I may have already mentioned this, but I read this story when I was younger. I remember liking it, but I can’t really remember why. I guess when reading reviews, there is a little controversy over an attempted rape scene halfway into the book. I sure didn’t remember any of that from reading it when I was younger. However, one difference is we read for discussion purposes. The girls know they can talk to Papa and me about anything, and we have and do. Second, Little Sis has read and watched the Hunger Games series, and Sky has read and watched the Game of Thrones series, so this wasn’t anything worse than what they have already read. In other words, you know your children best.

*Mama’s reads*

I finished The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon. I give it 4 stars. (5 stars being I absolutely loved it, 4 stars being it was okay, I liked it enough, 3 stars being I didn’t like it, 2 stars, I have yet to give a novel 2 stars, complete rubbish.)

I could see the influences from The Shining and The Haunting of Hill House. The characters were well developed. The prose was nicely written. I think the pace just dragged a bit for me, which kept it from being a page turner, and 5 star novel.

I tried reading The Trap by Melanie Raabe but dnf it. I really tried to give it a chance, the prose is beautiful, and the plot sounded like it would have been a good read. However, the repetition was just to much.

I am reading The Winter people by Jennifer McMahon now.

 

Vocabulary Words:

This week, the girls had words from both the poem we are discussing, and from Julie of the Wolves.

Poem: liberty, patriotic, mumbles

Novel: sedge, nomadic, peat, carrion, soliciting, ambrosia, undulating, bayed, vaulting, monotony, tundra, regal, cosmos

They also worked in their root word workbooks.

Grammar:

Sky worked in her workbook. Netflix had added mad libs to their DVD envelopes, so the girls took turns asking each other the questions. They had so much fun, that they asked if I would order them some more, so I did.

We continued working out of A Sentence a Day (loving this!). This led to a conversation about appositives.

http://www.chompchomp.com/terms/appositive.htm

Handwriting:

The girls copied the next two stanzas from the Poem: Let America Be America Again, with lots of discussion of current events.

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(Little Sis)

Creative Writing:

We discussed creating characters from the book: Seize the Story (loving this too!). They continued free writing 10 minutes a day; this time focusing on developing their characters.

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at Xtramath.

Little Sis: continued working in her division workbook

Sky: learned how to divide using variables.

*Slight detour ahead*

Something I have discovered on this learning journey of mine, is it isn’t the algebra that is necessarily what’s so hard to grasp, but maybe that the steps leading up to algebra might not have been mastered well enough. I see this with Sky, granted she has just dipped her toes into algebra, she has been flying through her worksheets. Though Sky isn’t at grade level with mathematics, the fact that I have taken the time for her to master each step before moving on, has been extremely beneficial now. Another positive side effect from me letting go of the wheel. What do I want, an educated child that has mastered concepts? Or a failing child rushed through the process because of someone else’s timeline?

*End of detour*

We purchased a new board game: Rubber Road.

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I was wanting to purchase a geoboard for a project, but didn’t want it sitting around collecting dust when we were though. So, I saw this game and thought it would be a perfect solution. The object is to get your color of rubber bands across the opposite side of the board without crossing over your opponents and only using three pegs. It’s a lot harder than it looks, and a great time filler when the family is waiting on me for whatever reason.

It was perfect for our project too.

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I purchased a separate set of rubber bands to use the game as a geoboard. The girls took turns between the geoboard and the pattern blocks making snowflakes, snowmen, and other winter objects.

http://raebear.net/goodies/patternblocks/holiday.html

 

Science:

We watched :

See the Beauty of the Northern Lights From a Plane, and from Space -National Geographic

Why Seasons Make No Sense – It’s Okay to be Smart

Fun Facts About Groundhogs!- Scishow Kids

Lichen: Two Living Things In One -SciShow Kids

How does a jellyfish sting? – Neosha S Kashef -TedEd

(Where we took a detour and learned about lion’s mane jellyfish, holy crap!)

Giant Echizen jellyfish off Japan coast.BBC World News

All found on YouTube.

 

Health:

Colds, the Flu, and You- Scishow Kids

Cell vs. virus: A battle for health – Shannon Stiles…TedEd

The Surprising Reason You Feel Awful When You Are Sick…TedEd

Bacteria vs. Antibiotics….TedEd

All found on YouTube.

 

P.E.

We Walked Away the Pounds: 3 miles, Yoga walked, Little Sis had cheerleading practice, and Sky had her equestrian lessons where she learned how to run a pattern.

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History

World/Geography:

We watched PBS Masterpiece Theater: Victoria.

Snowflake Bentley Read Aloud

The myth behind the Chinese zodiac -TedEd (Which fit well with the video: Why Seasons Make No Sense.)

Take a Tour of a Soviet-Era Ghost Town-National Geographic

Found on YouTube.

American:

We watched PBS series Mercy Street.

 

The Arts

We watched Disney’s animated The Jungle Book movie. I waited a bit to watch this with the girls since we had seen the live-action version in the theater. I have to admit, even though I did not like the live-action version, it was way better than the animated movie. It really needed an update. I can see why it was never a favorite of mine.

Drawing:

We made Rapunzel from Dramatic Parrot-YouTube.

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The girls have been working in their adult coloring books they received for Christmas.

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This one is called: The Time Chamber by Daria Song.

(Little Sis)

Theater Appreciation (Small Screen):

We watched: Faerie Tale Theatre  – Rapunzel – YouTube.

Music Appreciation (Instrumental): We listened to George Winston:Winter (while making patterns)- YouTube

That about sums it up, peace for the journey.

Week in the Life (Do You Want To Build A Snowflake?)

January 28, 2017

What a crazy winter we’ve had. Over the weekend, I had all the windows open letting the house air out. Today, we are huddled around the wood stove. On top of that, I think I’ve spotted the sun twice so far this winter. I can deal with the cold alright, however I do need sunlight. It has not been cold enough to snow much, so it has been very rainy and gloomy. Even my little sunshine, Little Sis, has been getting a bit grouchy.  Hopefully, with the girls’activities starting back up this week will help manage our “doldrums”.

 

Homeschool

Language Arts

Reading:

We started reading Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George. The girls were a little bored at first, but gained interest as the story went on.

Grammar/ Vocabulary :

The girls worked in their workbooks and their words this week were:

pioneer, plain, connive, tyrants, scheme

It is interesting when going over vocabulary words with the girls. I pick words from either the story we are reading, or the poem we are dissecting. I choose words that I think they know, and some words that I think they don’t know. Sometimes, I am surprised by the words they do know, and question where they might have learned them from. Sometimes, I am surprised that they can’t define words I assumed they already knew.

We added a new book into our lessons that I absolutely love: A Sentence a Day by Samantha Prust. Each day the girls are given an incorrect sentence to edit.

Handwriting:

The girls copied the first two stanzas of the poem: Let America Be America Again by Langston Hughes. He has become one of my favorite poets.

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(Sky)

Creative Writing:

Reading:

We read Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky.

We also started another book that I absolutely love: Seize the Story by Victoria Hanley. The girls learned about free writing and began writing, ten minutes a day, their first creative writing assignment of a fairy tale adaptation.

*Mama’s reads*

I finished Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson. I did not like this one as much as The Kind Worth Killing. Part one, gave me the creeps. As someone that actually suffers from anxiety, I could feel the main character’s anxiety which literally gave me nightmares. I was like: finally, a scary story. The kind of story, that had me scared to walk down the hall in the dark. Then, part two happened. Between constant repetition, and reading from the “stalkers” perspective, ruined the whole story for me. I forced myself to finish it because I had invested so much time into it already.

I have about 50 pages left in The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon. This story reminds me of the old monster movies. The ones that have an actual plot with character development, not just gore. I think I may have found another new favorite author.

 

Mathematics:

The girls warmed up at XtraMath.

Sky continued reviewing simplifying algebraic expressions. Little Sis worked in her workbook.

 

Science:

This week was all about snowflakes. We watched:

(Little Sis)

Save the Snowman- SciShow Kids

Where Do Snowflakes Come From? SciShow Kids

Snowflake Safari by SciFri: ~ YouTube

(Sky)

Science of Snow- It is Okay to be Smart

The science of snowflakes”…TedEd

Building a perfect igloo takes cool science! – It’s Okay to be Smart

8 Beautiful, Weird, and Scary Things Ice Can Do – SciShow ~YouTube

 

P.E.

We walked the 3 mile from Walk Away the Pounds, Just Danced (Wii), Little Sis made the division 4 cheer team, and Sky had her first horseback riding lesson.

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She loved it.

 

History

World/Geography:

We watched the PBS series Victoria. Both girls are loving this series. Being that we already studied this time period makes it even better. Both girls are cheering on Prince Albert, even though we know the ending.

American:

Reading:

We read The Magic Tree House: Balto of the Blue Dawn and the Fact Tracker guide: Dog sledding and other Extreme Sports.

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Watching:

We watched: the snowflake man – YouTube

We also watched the first episode of season two: Mercy Street. This is another series the girls love. They would want to watch both Victoria and Mercy Street even if it didn’t count as part of school. They enjoy them just as much as Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars.

Civics/Government:

We watched :5 Surprising Facts About U.S. Presidential Inaugurations…National Geographic- YouTube.

 

The Arts

First, we made paper snowflakes, video from Scishow Kids- YouTube.

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Then, we drew Olaf from Disney’s Frozen- Dramatic Parrot- YouTube.

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Peace for the journey.

Week in the Life (You Better Put On A Coat)

January 21, 2017

Well, this was our first week officially back to school, and the start of a new school year. I have tried to follow a regular school schedule starting in July and ending in May (Indiana’s school schedule) , it just doesn’t work for us.

While on break, I was looking back over our previous year to see if I felt we needed to change anything. I am actually really happy with our progress. Knowledge builds upon knowledge, do I think the girls’ knowledge has grown in the past year? Yes, very much so, and I don’t need yearly testing to see it. I was so caught up in learning about educating high school, making sure that I was doing everything right, that I forgot my original reasons for homeschooling; to become independent learners. To understand how knowledge is obtained, to be able to come to your own conclusions and form opinions, to be able to think for yourself. To understand that learning never ends.

It really is amazing when you are able to stand back and just observe your children actually doing what you worked so hard to instill. These past few weeks, I did exactly that.

Sky has been researching how to properly take care of sea monkeys.

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She had them once before, but I killed them while trying to clean out their tank. This time around, she is in complete control (as well as taking care of her Betta fish, which she has been doing a great job with). When she has trouble spelling a word, or understanding what a word means, she looks it up on her tablet. Thanks to technology, we now have traveling calculators and dictionaries at out fingertips. Both girls research purchases, google anything they might not know, or are confused with, and ask for help when needed. The same exact thing that I do. They know how to learn. They literally do not need me anymore, and you know what? It feels great.

I feel like a mother polar bear that has taught her cubs how to survive and are now ready to go out on their own. I can honestly say that I have no regrets, and nothing that I wished I would have done differently (except to not stress so much, they are learning). I am excited to see their journey unfold.

I am no longer worried about getting everything done, because we never will, and life isn’t a race. You can’t force learning, and as long as we are moving forward I am content.

Homeschooling

 

Language Arts

The girls copied and we discussed the poem: It Sifts from Leaden Sieves by Emily Dickinson.

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(Little Sis)

I do plan to focus more on American Literature this year.

Vocabulary words:

leaden, sieves (which they actually remembered from Edward Lear), alabaster, celestial, ruffles, artisans

The girls worked in their root word workbooks, and Sky is continuing with her grammar book.

Creative Writing

Reading: I read Neil Gaiman’s version of Hansel and Gretel.

We watched: The History of Hansel & Gretel | Fairy Tales With Jen -YouTube

and Sky and I watched the movie Hansel and Gretel Witch Hunters. I actually liked it, and thought it was a clever steam punk adaptation of the fairy tale.

 

Independent Reading:

Little Sis is reading: Wicked, book 6 from the Pretty Little Liar series.

Sky started the graphic novel series: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples.

Mama’s reads:

So Far, I am on my 4th book of 2017.

After finishing Mystic River, the last book that I read in 2016, I started reading: The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson. I loved it. It reminded me so much of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (one of my favorite television shows). The writing was great, the character development was great, the plot twists, though I saw one coming, was great. It was a wonderful start to the new year.

Next, was Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon. This was another wonderful read. I really, really liked it. It will probably be one of my 2017 favorites. This is what Girl on the Train should have been. There was no surprising plot twists, I pretty much figured it out early on. That didn’t matter. I felt that this was more of a story about character growth than an actual thriller. Though the characters were flawed, the writer really made you care about what happened to them. The writing was beautiful, and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

After that, I picked up I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. Okay, I am honestly going to say that I didn’t see the plot twist coming. This book is a little like Shutter Island in that the author lays everything out for you, it just depends on your perception. This was just okay. It held my attention, and I wanted to see how it ended. The abuse though, was incredibly hard to get through, which should be. I read horror and this was a really tough read. So, I will leave you with a warning, if you don’t think you can handle reading physical or mental abuse skip this one.

I am halfway through Her Every Fear by Peter Swanson now. I was a bit disappointed with this after reading The Kind Worth Killing. It took me several chapters to get into it, I actually put it aside for awhile. About 1/3 of the way through it does pick up. I am not going to lie, this book is giving me the creeps. I think I may need to take a break from thrillers after this one. 🙂

 

Mathematics

The girls warmed up with XtraMath.

Little Sis is almost done with her division workbook. We will continue with Kumon’s fractions and decimals. I actually like the building of math skills instead of learning some division, or some decimals one year, then some a bit harder the next year and so on. That actually doesn’t make sense to me.

I actually plan on sticking with Danica McKeller’s math series. I really like how she builds each skill onto the next. I plan starting Math Doesn’t Suck with Little Sis after she finishes Kumon’s 4th grade geometry and measurement workbook.

Sky learned how to multiply variables from Kiss My Math. I printed off worksheets for her to practice from homeschoolmath.net. I am excited that she has finally made it to Algebra.

We also played all kinds of games that I didn’t keep track of while on break.

Science

Reading: We read: Magic Tree House Polar Bear’s Past Bedtime and the Nonfiction Polar Bear Guide.

We watched: PBS Nature Snowbound:Animals of Winter

Animals’s with Winter Coats- Scishow Kids – YouTube

How do Whales, Penguins, and Polar Bears Keep Warm?…Scishow Kids- YouTube

I printed off a map of the arctic circle and the girls took notes.

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abcteach Printable Worksheet: Maps: Arctic Region

We also read: January’s issue Year in Review Science in the News A-Z.

 

Health:

We watched: How stress affects your body – Sharon Horesh Bergquist…TedEd -YouTube

P.E.

The girls had homeschool gym. We started working out during the week again with Walk Away the Pounds the 3 mile and Yoga Walk.

Little Sis has been practicing her tryout routine for cheerleading that starts back up next week. I am also meeting with someone this week about getting Sky signed up for horseback riding lessons. She showed interest after watching Victoria on PBS.

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History

World/Geography:

We watched: PBS Masterpiece Theater’s Victoria.

Civics/Government:

Sky and I watched Donald Trumps’s first press conference, and PBS Charlie Rose’s interview of House Speaker Paul Ryan. We all watched Donald Trumps’s presidential inauguration.

 

The Arts

Drawing:

We learned how to draw a polar bear from Draw So Cute-YouTube.

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Peace for the journey.

A Year In The Life (Let’s Talk About Books Baby)

January 5, 2017

Happy New Year!

If 2016 can be remembered for anything, homeschooling wise, it probably will be known as the year of reading.

I just had back surgery toward the end of 2015, so 2016 was my year of recovery. Besides adding in more physical activities like: yoga, walking, and swimming,  I discovered booktube.

Since the girls are older now, and able to discover their own interests without help from me, frees up all kinds of time to devote to my own interests, like reading. Yes, I love big books and I can not lie. Don’t believe me, the Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series alone, so far totals about 4223 pages. That is not including A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms short stories either. When it comes to books, size does not matter (sorry, I am on a roll, and maybe a bit of a sugar rush from over the holidays).

Before I start going into my favorites reads from 2016 though, I want to write about our favorite homeschooling reads first. (Papa has a pretty interesting list too.) This list does not include the girls’ favorite independent reads like: the Pretty Little Liar series or the Monstress graphic novel. This post would be way too long if I included everything.

What I will add though, Sky is my visual reader. Her favorites are geared more toward graphic novels and movie scripts (visual art). She has her favorite movie review tubers like I have book review tubers. Little Sis is my romantic/ thriller reader. Though our preferences differ, we both enjoy the written word. We internally visualize. I am actually going to hold my tongue about how one is not better than the other, or how unfair the “one size fits all” education only benefits one type of learner. I have written lots about this already, and honestly I am going to try being a little bit more positive this year. We, are homeschoolers. 🙂

With all that being said, in 2016 we read a total of 63 stories (9 of them being non fiction), 25 individual poems and 1 book collection of poems. So, what were our favorites, what stories do we wished we never read, and what stories were just okay?

First up, is our favorites as a whole. If you have read any of my posts before, you already know how hard it is for me to find a book that both girls agree on. So when it does happen, I literally dance a little jig which the girls have labeled as my happy dance.

The first book that we all enjoyed reading was: Through the Woods by Emily Carroll. Others were: The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, the Princess Dairy: Marie Antoinette, the Dear America Diary: A Picture of Freedom, The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and the short story: The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Favorite folktale/fairy tales were: Beauty and the Beast and The Song of Tam Lin.

Sky’s favorites (16): The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, The Ogre of Olglefort by Eva Ibbotson, “This was a different story in a sea of same.”, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater.

Little Sis’s favorites (11): Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and she loved all the fairy tales we read. *Note to self* I need to include more stories that Little Sis will enjoy this year.

There were lots of “okays”, and the “I don’t ever want to see these books again” goes to: The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and The Jungle Book by Kipling.

Favorite poems (We read poems from: World, British, and American literature): How Do I Love Thee by Elizabeth Barrett Browning (Little Sis, she enjoyed learning about the true love story of Elizabeth and Robert Browning too, she is such a romantic.), Ghosts by Emily Dickinson (Sky’s favorite), both girls enjoyed the Poisoned Apple collection by Christine Happermann, poems by Langston Hughes,  and Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl.

 

Mama’s Reads

At the start of 2016, I was still reading from: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series. I read a total of 30 books. I added 3 new authors to my all time favorites list, one of them being a complete surprise.

I love the Game of Thrones book series, the show is just “okay” to me. I am glad that they made it, and I enjoy watching it, but it is the books that I love. I talked about them so much, that Sky decided to pick them up and read them too. Little Sis, is to the point of eye rolls and leaving the room whenever the topic is brought up, because she knows we will discuss them for hours. Thank you George R.R. Martin, for making medieval history interesting and for the hours of discussions between my teenage daughter and me.

After finishing, and waiting for the next book in the series to come out, I didn’t know what the heck I was going to read. I mean, where does one even start after reading a series like Game of Thrones? Then, I discovered The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. She made me eat all my negative opinions about the YA genre. I loved this series, at times I could feel goosebumps rising on the back of my neck. After being so disappointed in the horror genre, she gave me hope and the creeps. This was probably the spookiest series/ story I read all year ,without shedding one ounce of gore.

Other favorite reads of 2016: Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson, Room by  Emma Donoghue, Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (even though I didn’t care much for The Shining), Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin, and Shutter Island  by Dennis Lehane.

Honorable mention: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins. Though this book wasn’t a favorite, I am glad to have read it overall.

Books that I would have liked, if not for the ending: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. I mention them only because, though I didn’t like them, they still made me think. I will never forget characters from these books (Amy, may be the most terrifying villain ever.), and whether or not they were favorites, that makes reading them worthwhile. They entertained me, and sometimes happy endings can get predictable.

I read a lot of: “they were okay” books, even started to worry if I would find another “great” one before the end of the year. However, I did read some that I just didn’t like. Whether it be the writing style/ prose, or the plot, they were just not for me. Nightwoods by Charles Frazier, Horns by Joe Hill (sorry Joe), and Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt.

So, that wraps up our year of reading. I would love to know what your favorite reads of the year were. I could talk books for hours.

Peace for the journey.