A Week in the Life (Origami)

February 26, 2018

Last week was a busy week for us socially. The girls had homeschool gym, then afterward we went to see the movie, Black Panther. Oh, My Goodness! What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this movie. Absolutely, by far, the best movie I have seen in a long time. Hollywood, please take notes.

There is so much I could write about, but one, of the many, things that I loved was the way the sibling relationship was portrayed. I mean, the family unit was very strong, but I loved watching the interaction between brother and sister. I feel like this is something that has been lacking in a lot of films lately. It is about time we start breaking stereotypes, and this movie did that in so many (awesome) ways.

This is the movie I am using to end Sky’s Film History course with. I feel like it is an appropriate conclusion being that the first full-length movie that started her course was The Birth of A Nation.



Then, the girls had a sushi date with their Big Sis.

Next up was our annual day trip to the Maple Syrup Festival. We purchase gallons of fresh maple syrup to last us all year. I use it as our sweetener in nearly everything from pancakes to granola and muffins. Unopened, the gallons last for a long time (we never have them around long enough to find out exactly how long). Once opened, I store the rest of the unused syrup in freezer safe Mason jars. Then when I need more, I just pull out a jar from our freezer.

This year we brown bagged it with homemade vegan blueberry muffins and roasted chickpea pita bread sandwiches. Little Sis appreciated the muffins since we headed out right after her morning tumbling practice.

If that was not enough, before Little Sis’s cheer practice she had a friend over for a few hours.

I never thought I would need a separate planner just for the girls’ social conflicts.

We were able to get almost all of our lessons completed, thankfully (thanks to The Thinking Tree and Learn Math Fast).

The girls took notes from Who Was Charlie Chaplin and about Murasaki Shikibu from Lives of the Writes.



Instead of their spelling journals this week, I read another short story from The Haunted Looking Glass. They found their own spelling/ vocabulary words from the story.


They had the usual. Warming up with XtraMath…..


We also made easy origami dogs


and watched Geography Now’s episode of  Japan and Flag Friday.


The girls pretty much already knew everything he mentioned in the episode thanks to their anime and manga interests. It is a fun country to get lost in.


(Little Sis’s Thinking Tree journals)

Sky took notes from the next episode of Two Cents and the Crash Course Sociology episode number 9. She also watched School of Life’s episode about Max Weber. We had lots and lots of discussion from these episodes.


We also watched Crash Course Fim History episode 9 and Film Production episode 4.

The girls have been raised watching Charlie Chaplin, but one movie we had never watched before was The Great Dictator. I am sorry that I waited so long to do so. I was able to see the origin of every comedian from Dick Van Dyke, Mel Brooks, and Monty Python all from this one movie. I can also see the birth of satire and dark comedy. He truly was a genius.


We watched episodes of The Keystone Cops too.


(Sky’s Thinking Tree journals)

Peace for the journey.


A Week in the Life (We Studied Japan)

February 18, 2018

We studied Japan

We have studied this before

We will not stay long


We also learned how to write a basic haiku and limerick. 😉



We watched the TED-Ed video: What Makes a Poem a Poem?

We read Who Was Charlie Chaplin and The Magic Tree House Fact Guide about Ninjas this week.

The girls started volume 2 of Learn Math fast. This volume starts with a basic review of fractions. Here is where the girls will begin to split up during lessons. Sky, thankfully, remembers everything about adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing fractions. This will be a quick review for her. Little Sis, on the other hand, has not learned how to find the common denominator yet. Volume 3 puts Sky right back up there with pre-algebra.

I am crossing my fingers Sky gets through the next 3 volumes by the end of next year. 2019 is her last year of high school. If not, she will have all the rest of her credits to graduate and can continue working on the volumes finishing her math credit as needed.



We watched the movie Kubo and the Two Strings and PBS: Origins of Everything: The Origin of the Heart Symbol episode.

We made our usual Valentines sugar cookies.


I have been experimenting with using cooked lentils to replace most of my ground beef recipes. I made BBQ lentil balls with roasted potatoes for dinner this week. The girls and I agreed this would make an awesome breakfast dish. So, I tried making lentil “sausage” patties.


I think lentils are my new favorite food to cook with. I made a bunch of patties to freeze so we will have them ready for a quick side or breakfast. I can’t wait to try them in our roasted cauliflower and potato taco wraps.

This week Little Sis’s spelling words started with the letter J. So, we learned about jaguars, and we watched episodes of Andy Griffith that featured the Darlings to learn about playing the jug.

She also came to another object lesson


and graph paper in her core journal.


So, I had the girls come up with their own object they wanted to build on Minecraft.

These are some more of Little Sis’s projects she has made.





(I forgot to add Little Sis’s spelling journal to the photo.)

She has also been practicing with different hairstyles.



(Sky’s Minecraft creation.)

Sky and I watched Crash Course: Sociology episode number 8 about Harriet Martineau.


We also watched Crash Course: Film History episode number 8 and Film Production number 3. Then we watched the movie The BattleShip Platomkia and read the excerpt from The Movie Book.



Friday we decided to go see The Maze Runner: The Death Cure movie. I am very excited to see the Black Panther movie (He is my favorite Marvel hero along with Thor 🙂 ) but Little Sis has been wanting to see the final installment of the Maze Runner movie first. We all really enjoyed it. Lots of action, I thought it was a satisfying ending to a pretty good series.

Peace for the journey.

Film History (Credits 2)

February 15, 2018

During this two-semester study, the student will look at the history of one of our most powerful mediums. Film has the ability to communicate with images, entertain, move us, frighten us, and so much more. From A Trip to the Moon to Marvel’s Black Panther, the history of film is really a history of humanity.

If you have a love of film, then this course will help you learn more about film analysis, film reviews and discussions, period genres and movements in film style, and more.

Over the course of this study, the student will learn,

  • How you can get real enjoyment from the films you watch, and why you should care
  • Early film-history
  • The process of film-making and how it relates to understanding the films you watch
  • A look at 100 years of film-styles, genres, and movements
  • A discussion of film-psychology, and some fascinating aspects of the perception of films
  • A review of ‘films to watch’, taken in 20-year periods starting in 1900, and moving through 2018, featuring all the classics from each era
  • General ideas about film and art-theory as a consumer habit
  • Film composers to know
  • Film directors to know


Crash Course: Film History


(Movies, a list in progress)

A Trip to the Moon

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

The Passion of Joan of Arc

Battleship Potemkin

The Keystone Cops

The Great Dictator

The Jazz Singer

The Wizard of Oz

It’s A Wonderful Life

Diabolique 1954

A Hard Day’s Night

Bonnie and Clyde

Blade Runner

Pan’s Labyrinth


Blade Runner 2049

Marvel’s Black Panther




(This list is ongoing)

Who Was Charlie Chaplin by Patricia Brennan Demuth

A Week in the Life (“I Am the Wilderness”*)

February 10, 2018

*from Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Sky and I finally finished Braving the Wilderness this week. What an emotional and educational journey reading this book together was. The first thing Sky said after we finished reading it was:”Mom, I want a physical copy of this book for myself.” I purchased it for my Kindle, which means we can share, but she wants to highlight her own favorite passages. The conversations we shared is well worth the price.

As a homeschooler, I have found myself in the wilderness more than once in my life. In fact, you could say I was born there. It has taken many years for me to make peace with that.

I have never been good at conforming. “Because”, was never a good enough answer for me. That gene has been passed down to my girls. One of the worst things you could say to them is:”because that is how it has always been”. As proud as I am of them, it saddens me too. The wilderness can be a lonely place. They do, however, at least have loving and supportive parents. 😉


The girls took their final exam for volume 1 of Learn Math Fast this week. They did really good. They are both ready for volume 2.

Volume 1 starts out fairly easy, however, the problems do get harder. Though each lesson is short and to the point, the problems are challenging, and I like that. My goal is to be finished with volume 2 before summer starts.

I did something different for spelling this week too. Instead of their usual spelling journals, I had the girls pick out their own words from our reading this week.


They looked up the definitions too.

Since Sky was researching pet mice this week, I thought I would pull out the Handbook of Nature Study. I read about the house mouse and we watched a video explaining the difference in having a pet hamster or a mouse.



We also read this month’s issue of Science in the News and watched the Space X Falcon rocket launch (Awesome!).

The girls had homeschool gym this week as well as yoga and we watched the movie: The Lion in Winter.


I know I’ve seen this movie before, but I didn’t really remember much about it. What a shame, because I loved it. I want to add it to our Christmas/holiday movie collection. The writing and acting are amazing. Katharine Hepburn is one of my most favorite actresses.

We also watched PBS Masterpiece Theatre’s The Diary of Anne Frank. It was interesting to see some familiar Game of Throne faces.




(Little Sis’s Thinking Tree Journals used this week.)


Sky and I watched the next episode of PBS: Two Cents about whether college is financially worth it and episode 7 of Crash Course Sociology. We also watched a short biography of W.E.B. De Bois.

Sky has been working on a lot of drawing projects for her social media movie group.






(Sky’s Thinking Tree Journals from the week.)

Peace for the journey.

A Week in the Life (Wild Hearts)

February 3, 2018

Welcome, February!

It is hard to believe that a month has already passed by since Christmas. It is about this time, that I am ready for winter to be over with. Especially, this warm, then freezing temperatures we keep having. Hurry up spring.

With the girls getting older, I feel like we are beginning to bust out of the seams of our small house. It feels like I can’t even turn around without bumping into someone. *Note to self, never buy a home with only one bathroom.* It feels like all I do anymore is clean, bake, have school, and sleep. How can one household accumulate so much dust!? Then, there are all those dishes. I am seriously thinking of keeping one side of the sink filled with hot soapy water at all times so everyone can wash their own dishes as they go. Don’t even get me started on groceries. I think it is time to downsize again. Now, if I could just find the time to do it.

On a more positive note, both girls are happy with their current lessons. Well, besides math. I don’t think either of the girls wants a career in science, sadly. They just do the minimum of what needs to be done.


Both girls will be taking the final test for the Learn Math Fast: volume 1 next week. Sky did really good. Hopefully, Little Sis will be ready to move on too. She had a few problems with decimals.

Since this week’s chapter was all about measurement, we watched 6 Weird Units of Measurement from SciShow- YouTube.


We had lots of discussions this week, so I guess it would be best to just jump right in.

We read Who Was Anne Frank.



Watched The State of the Union Address.

The girls had their everyday journaling work.


(Little Sis)

This week Little Sis had spelling words beginning with the letter I. So, we learned about Iguanas by watching:

Iguana care and set up video, from Snake dude 1814,

and How to Feed Your Dragon from Rolando Christina Pacheco on YouTube.

We also watched: Why Do Stink Bugs Stink? from SciShow. We have an overabundance in our garden.

We learned about the Inci,

and Indonesia from Geography Now.


We also watched The Little Travelers: Bali episode found on Amazon Prime.

We practiced our daily Yoga.

We watched the movie, Gigi


and learned about Vincent VanGogh.


We watched Ted-Ed Math and VanGogh’s Starry Night,

and Starry Night at the MoMA from Artrageous with Nate on YouTube.

We made the best vegan brownies ever. They went so fast I wasn’t even able to get a photo. They tasted just like the Little Debbie’s brownies.



We started chapter 7 of Braving the Wilderness.

Watched episode 6 of Crash Course Sociology and learned about Karl Marx.



We watched episode 2 of Two Cents, How to Start a Business from School of Life,


and episodes 2 and 3 of Crash Course Film Production.


Peace for the Journey.

Week in the Life (Community)

January 28, 2018

We had our first full day of lessons this week. We are still playing catch up from before holiday/Christmas “school”, so our days were a little long, and I am still tweaking our lessons trying to spread them out more since Little Sis has cheer practice on the weekends now. Other then that, I am happy with how our days flow. I did add a new language arts journal to both of the girls’ baskets that they started this week. So far, they are working out the way I’d hoped.

Since adding the Thinking Tree journals into our lessons, I noticed Little Sis really needed to work on her summarizing skills, and Sky still needed a poetry credit for Language Arts.




Little Sis has a poem or story to read aloud to me, then she fills out the following page. Since I rule the curricula, instead of having Little Sis copy her favorite part of the story. I am having her summarize the story in her own words. She needs some help with run-on sentences.

I have added poetry to our lessons since I started homeschooling. First, they were a part of our daily circle time, then I added them to help both girls practice their handwriting skills. Then, I started adding the words they didn’t understand as part of their vocabulary lessons and we discussed what we thought the poem was about. The only thing I need to complete Sky’s credit is to go over patterns.




Sky and I read and discuss the poem, then she fills in the rest of the journal throughout the week. By the time she is done with this journal, she should be able to write a few poems of her own.

I have read a few complaints about how some don’t think these journals are rigorous enough. I don’t agree, these journals are as rigorous as you decide to make them. Every journal that I have purchased through The Thinking Tree, I have used to suit our needs. I honestly think that this is why they are made so open-ended. This is why the age range is so broad. They have been a huge time-saver for me, and I love them.

Following on the tail of last week’s lessons, this week we read about Marie Curie.


We also watched Ted-Ed: The Genius of Marie Curie and History’s Deadliest Colors on YouTube.

We discussed current events,


and Little Sis had another object lesson in her core journal.


One of my children, ahem, thought this was a CD player. The girls had a laugh while listening to how music sounded on one of these. I, however, still remember trying to find the right place on a record to listen to certain songs. I still own a few of my original records. I am glad record sales are making a come back.

As “old school” as this may sound and being the music fan that I am, I have always viewed an album as a work of art that needs to be listened to in its entirety. I love being able to follow an artists journey.

We learned about Elenor of Aquitaine from Lives of Extraordinary Women.


The girls took a self-defense class.


The last baking project we made from The Thinking Tree: Mom Files book was a no-bake cheesecake. This week, we baked one from scratch, including the strawberry syrup (made with strawberries from our garden).


The girls added their mathematics lessons and XtraMath practice back into their day. I was hoping to be in volume two by now, darn viral infections. To be fair, the girls are working on the last chapter.


Little Sis’s spelling journal words this week started with the letter H. So, we watched Pets 101 about hamsters and harmonica videos from Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter, Shakira, and Alanis Morissette.

We learned about The Netherlands (Holland)


and watched Rick Steves.

We also made a Chibi hamster from Draw So Cute.



(Little Sis’s journals)

Sky and I finally finished chapter 6 of Braving the Wilderness. I love how sometimes our lessons all mesh together without even trying.

Sky and I watched Crash Course: Sociology episode 5 and learned about Emile Durkheim from The School of Life on YouTube. His study of capitalism, modernism, and suicide fit in perfectly with our chapter of Braving the Wilderness and current events.  I can not stress enough how much I love this book. How much Sky loves this book. She looks forward to reading it.



We watched Crash Course: Film History episode 8 and Film Production episode 1.

Sky has started an Instagram account/ group where she and other members share fan stories. I don’t want to call it fan fiction because it’s not erotica or anything, she is literally writing her own screenplays for her favorite movies. Right now, she is working on one for Blade Runner 2049 and The Last Jedi.

She didn’t like the new Star Wars movie. In fact, she is pretending that it didn’t even happen (Like me with Avengers: Age of Altron. WTF!?). Her argument (Yes, she wrote an argumentative essay about it.) is that Luke Skywalker would never abandon his family and friends. So, she is writing an alternative to how she thinks the movie should have been.  She started another online group to discuss movies and is in another one for 30 Seconds to Mars Fans.

We watched a new episode from a Facebook PBS series called Two Cents.


She added notes to the business section of her portfolio journal.

We also watched the Dogs 101 episode about Border Collies since she has been learning about them in her art journal.


(Sky’s Journals)

Whew, I think we had a pretty productive week.

Peace for the Journey.

Week in the Life (Loose Ends)

January 20, 2018

Before the holidays kicked off, we had just finished learning about the geography of France. The girls have already studied its history for Sky’s Wolrd History credit, but there were still a few people that I wanted the girls to learn about. So this week was about finishing up all those loose ends before getting back into our normal routine.

For starters, we finished reading the American Girl: Kirsten series.

We attempted to make yarn dolls,


though I think the girls had better success with making Snowball cookies.


The girls want to add these to our holiday cookie rotation. They are so easy to make that I can’t believe we had never made them before.

Our study of Sweden is officially done.


The girls had homeschool gym and their usual P.E. of aerobics and yoga.

This week’s PBS Nature episode just happened to be about Arctic wolves and since Sky loves learning about wolves I thought, why not.

We learned how to draw a Chibi wolf from Draw So Cute-YouTube.



We read about Coco Chanel from an Illustrated biography


and watched the movie Coco Before Chanel.


I first want to say that this movie is PG-13 (no nudity or cursing) and in French with English subtitles, but it was really interesting. I highly recommend it. I never really knew a whole lot about her, being a jeans and t-shirt type of gal myself, but she really was an amazing woman. I didn’t know she started out by making straw hats, out of all the things she is known for creating.  You could learn so much about history just by studying it through her eyes.

Little Sis created an outfit inspired by her.



We also watched The Passon of Joan of Arc for Sky’s History of Movies credit.


What an amazing job Maria Falconetti did playing as Joan. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been for her. It was interesting to learn that the director of this film went on to make a horror movie next.

I read the short biography about her from The Lives of Extraordinary Women and the girls took notes.


I think we have found our new groove and are finally ready to get things back to normal around here.

Peace for the journey.

Week(s) in the Life (Easing Back In)

January 12, 2018

Welcome, 2018!

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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




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

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






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


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

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

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

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

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

Well, I think that about sums things up.

Peace for the journey.


Christmas School 2017 (The Final Countdown)

December 23, 2017

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


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

The girls had the last homeschool gym of this year.

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

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

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

The girls learned about Fika,


and they made Swedish almond cake.

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

So, we made Swedish pancakes for breakfast.


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

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


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


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


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

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


We made Borax crystal candy canes from Go Science Girls



and Snow Slime from No Time For Flashcards.


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


We also made glitter unicorn and


fox ornaments.


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

Peace for the journey.

Christmas School (Sweden)

December 17, 2017

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


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

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




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


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

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


We made paper snowflakes


and a snowstorm in a jar.



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

The Christmas music and movies are still in rotation.

I have been keeping busy reading and listening to podcasts.

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


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

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

I did listen to two great podcasts from Alanis Morrisette.


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


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

Peace for the journey.