Tuesday, December 21, 2010


The Shortest Day
Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Week#17~Lookin' Like Christmas

Long time no blog. Frankly we took the week of Thanksgiving off and everything else was rather a long trudge. Nothing to take pictures of and I'm sure you don't want a list of tests/quizzes/readings. Now I've got some fun pictures!
Fman~He is finishing up math right on time and will start the 400 level after Christmas. He's moving nicely through LA and Reading.
Miss Mel~She hit the half way point in CLE math early so we're using some MEP and Rightstart until the 'new' semester. She is in the last unit of Learn to Read. She's excited that she'll get to move to a 'big book' with a hard cover. Oh joy, LOL.

It's been unusually cold so far this month. We still get out but when it's 7 degrees you don't stay long. The Wii is filling in for activity we're missing.
Spanish~We finished up co-op for the year. We had a little fiesta that was fun. The kiddoes will be practicing with BBC spanish games and Tumblebooks read to them in Spanish. (Thanks to the library, oh yea!)

We made a trip to see Santa of course.
We even hung out with the elves. Note the one on the right is her sister. She was thrilled to find out her sister knew Santa personally.
History~We finished with the New England and Middle Colonies. Hopefully we can finish the Southern Colonies next week. I plan on watching The Liberty Kids over Christmas for history.

We took an evening to go to a local church that had A Night in Bethlehem. One of the very nice people let Mel try to weave. Miss Ads was worried about the tax collectors and kept telling people to stay away from "the bad man who wants your golden coin."
Science~We did a quick unit study on bears and animals that aren't really bears that we call bears. Fman decided he liked polar bears best and Miss Mel liked pandas.

Yesterday was the best part of the week, at least for mom. We went to the I like the ballet and the girls were liking it but Fman wasn't as impressed.
We also got a new Life Scout. The Court of Honor was followed by a gag gift Christmas party. Here he is with his friends goofing off with their presents.

Tonight friends are coming over and we're scheduled to go to a swimming party. I sincerely hope it makes them very, very tired. Mama must get some gifts wrapped and cookies baked or the festivities may stop here.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

And Now For Something Completely Different

I just wanted to share this free movie list. There's great stuff on here if you (like me) have eclectic taste in movies. Film noir, French films, early German films, short films, Oscar winners and Cary Grant (which is always a good thing.) Oh, and Monty Python!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Week #14~We Need A Break Addition

Four more weeks to the half way point! Yeah! Though we work all year but technically you get what I mean. This week just seemed to be a slog. Nothing horrible but a grumpy mom and poky children resulted in something like this

F-man~He got a 98 on a LA test which is awesome. LA is, well let's say it's far from his favorite subject. We're at the halfway point in his LA books so right on schedule there. Math is going well. He totally has his multiplication/division down. We're finishing up a reading book he started last summer and then we'll go back to his CLE reading.

Miss Mel~We're pushing to get her LTR books done so we can start her reading textbook in Jan. That is my fault because I think they cram an awful lot into one lesson. Of course if we're not right on target it's not a crisis. How many PS teachers are off their syllabus too? Math is fine though I'm trying to add in more math games for fun.

History~We're still working with the Pilgrims. We've spent a lot of time on day to day life so they get a better sense of what things were like and not so much time on dates. This site has really given us fun stuff to do and a quiz to boot. We've also been watching videos from various places and doing the Magic Treehouse study guide. This was the favorite book of the week

Of course we've done umpteen art projects and crafts and a thankfulness tree.

Science~Insects were the topic of the week. Along with our science book we used this site from the University of Illinois. There's lots of other stuff there. We also watched
We finished up insects and watched the Magic Schoolbus Bugs and played this game.

In addition to our co-op Spanish we've been watching these programs from GA public television. They are extremely well done and are a nice complement. Of course there were lots more art projects and walks and read alouds but I'm to tired to remember them or go take pictures now. Here's to next week and only having two days in the schedule.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Week #13

We spent last weekend at Pokagon State Park camping with my older boys Boy Scout Troop (thus no time to post last week's review). We had a great if chilly time. We totally enjoyed their bird watching window and nature center full of interesting things to touch and lots of animals. Of course we also hiked (PE) , cooked s'mores (home ec) and played games (taking care of that negelcted socialization).

We've used this handout this week to research all the birds that come to the nature center window.

On the academic front
F-man~He finished another LU and began math 309. We started in 305 so he's moving right along and will be ready for 402 after Christmas. He also started a new LA LU. FOr reading we've been using a vintage Open Court Reader A Trip Around the World which is full of good literature bits and geography to boot. He also completed a 5 paragraph report on praying mantids. I hope to do a report on something weekly to build his shaky writing skills. He rocks the history and science so I hope to make those the topics to make the writing palatable.
Miss Mel~She finished CLE 105 math and is ready to start 106 so she's basically done with her first semester of 1st grade. She's way ahead in Learn to Read too. I think she would be bored in public school but I know she misses the kids. She goes to Daisies, Kid's Klub, HS Spanish and PE and goes to Boys&Girls club afterschool programming and she still wants more kid contact. I think unless she lived in a dorm she would feel it wasn't enough. Quite the people person Miss Mel.

History~I structured it so that this week and next we are studying the Pilgrims. Here are just some of the things we're using

Science~We've worked with the above mentioned birds and also studied insects. We've also experienced them as all the nasty Japanese Beetles have woken up in the Indian Summer we've been having. Of course that same Indian Summer has let us be outside at parks and the reservoir so I can live with a few insects.

What would first grade be without art projects too? F-man has no interest in this stuff, much preferring to go build something out of legos but Miss Mel has made turkeys galore and this pilgrim mouse and cornucopia. The mouse goes along with our viewing of The Mouse on the Mayflower.

We also went to L's Veteran's Day choir and band concert. For family viewing here's a very short video. She's the one with the dark hair right above the director's head.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You Veterans

In Flanders Fields
By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

Friday, October 29, 2010

Week #11~Pumpkin Fever

The week started off with my dad's 83rd birthday party on Sunday. That's a high point right there. I hope I'm as full of p*ss and vinegar as the old man is when I'm that age.Monday was our 24th anniversary. Phil's sister sent us these beautiful flowers.Monday and Tuesday were normal days. We did school, starting new light units for math and LA. Monday before the weather turned ugly we visited a local pond.
We continued through the week with our science unit on pond habitats and studied pond plants, the life cycle of dragon flys and mosquitoes and how beavers change an environment.
We also had Daisy and Cub Scouts and went swimming Monday night. Tuesday we had some kind of weird gale force winds (tornados in the area) and rain and so I was glad we went Monday.

When planning last week I totally forgot we had a field trip planned for Wednesday. We went to a pumpkin patch with a group of local homeschoolers. It was a very good trip. We had an explanation of how pumpkins are planted and grow along with some cute poems and finger plays for the littles along, a hay ride,
time to pet the donkeys and goats,
several games, a hay maze,
a corn maze, a pumpkin bounce house and oh yes, we got a pumpkin.

As much fun as that was it put us a day behind and then Thursday dawned with the dead. The tummy bug dead and that shot down Thursday. The only thing that got done was them listening listlessly to this

We are going to continue our study of Jamestown next week because we just didn't get it done this week.
Luckily today everyone felt better. We did our regular work (two days behind but oh well) along with some special Halloween/pumpkin activities.

They tested whether pumpkins, apples, lemons and grapes sunk or floated. They estimated circumference and length of pumpkin vines and then figured out how to measure those items with curves using yarn. They listed all the things they could think of that pumpkins can be used for and completed a Venn Diagram comparing apples and pumpkins. We also played Halloween matching game, wrote about our trip and created some paper mosaic art.

Tonight is our town's local Scarecrow Festival and we have three friends coming to spend the night. Saturday dh and I are going out with friends and we've also been invited to a Halloween party and Sunday is church, youth and trick-or-treats of course. I'm thinking I will need next Monday to recover.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Week #10~Birthday Fun

Last Saturday my kids participated in a homeschool science fair. There were 10 entries which isn't bad for the first year trying it. At least I exposed my kids to the scientific method.
Wednesday the big news was that Mel turned 7. SEVEN! Eeek! Here we are having her chosen supper of frozen pizza.
We also had cupcakes with our friends at Kid's Klub at church. We didn't have a real party because we'll be going to celebrate a combo grandpa/Mel birthday Sunday. Her big present is we are going to go see Cinderella on stage Saturday.
In school
Math~He worked with graphs and division and aced his math quiz.
LA~He did lots of sentence conventions, quotations and paragraph writing involving transition words and describing a process. He wrote on making a peanut butter sandwich and taking a shower.
History~We discussed LaSalle and Sir Walter Raleigh and Roanoke Island
Science~We did pond habitats. We studied cattails, dragonflys and beavers and did a dragonfly lapbook.
We worked on the world's ugliest Halloween House. The icing was too runny so
We ended up with something like this.

Miss Mel ~
Math~She took a LU 104 test and got a 94%. She missed two she knew. Not sure if she wasn't paying attention or what.
LA~She began primer 3 in LTR and worked on sentence ending punctuation
Science&History~She does the same thing as F-man
She also did a blue million crafts and played train with Miss Ads

Not to mention worked on her engineering skills.

The older four continue to be busy. E is working three jobs and keeping up A's as of her college mid-term. The high school boys each had all A's for the 9 weeks. L had one B+. She sure got kidded about being the 'dumb' one in the family. She is going to a middle school dance tonight. Luckily she's in student council so will have to spend time taking tickets, thus cutting into possible boy time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Am This Crotchety Guy

Week 9~Break

After last week this week seems, well , anticlimactic. A tummy bug went through the house one at a time so that slowed us down. We finished up LU, took tests and are taking Friday off for 'Fall Break'. We completed our science fair project for tomorrow's science fair. Halleluja! We read tons. We finished Justin Morgan Had A Horse and read through some Ambleside Online selections. I think we've finally finished conquistadores and can move on to Roanoke and Jamestown next week. We did some picture study on this

The kids also did Spanish, PE and art class along with a boatload of crafts at home this week. That's it. A sort of slow, simple week but it left lot of time for being outside

Friday, October 08, 2010

Week #8~Memory Rich, Picture Poor

A busy week this week but I couldn't seem to remember to bring a camera anywhere.
Fman~ He worked on division which he felt like made perfect sense along with some geometry. We finished his second Light Unit (workbook) in Reading and he got a 95% on his test. He had a LA test too. He got a 93% and was darn happy with that. Grammar is not his friend.

Miss Mel~ Math was just more facts and reading graphs. She looked at me like I was stupid when I explained them. I could hear the mental "Well duh, mom" Reading moved on and she is really doing quite well. She still thinks phonics is boring though.

History~We continued to study the conquistadores and added in John Cabot. There's a lot to cover there.

Science~Not a very sciency (is that a word) week. Our mold is not growing well. We did a lot with hibernation/migration and why we have Fall and leaves.

In the afternoons we did a unit study on
We talked about the life cycle of a pumpkin, Fall, Indiana crops, who James Whitcomb Riley was, dialect, meter and all sorts of other things. We don't do many lapbooks but we did this time.
We worked with pastels and drew pumpkin patches too but they are too heavily pasteled to scan.

We spent today here

We crawled in wigwams and lean-tos, watched people skin animals, re-enact the battle, talked to trappers and pirates and used a two person saw. I just didn't think I could keep the three of them out of a fire or hatchet range and take pictures too.

L finished her cross country season. Sorry for the poor picture quality, I'm not sure what happened there.

C finished his high school soccer season. Suddenly it seems like we have loads
of time. It won't stay that way for long.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Week #7

What happened to week #6 you ask? Life. Lots and lots of life. But on to the past week.

Fman worked through diagramming sentences and paragraph writing. Make that good paragraph writing.
Miss Mel doesn't like it much but we continued with phonics. She thinks that the fact she can read well means she doesn't need it but I think she does. And I win!

Fman worked more with decimals. He is doing really well with CLE but we added in some MEP logic type problems and worked in RS too though D is seeming mostly like review.
Miss Mel catches on really fast to math so far. I'm thinking of adding some MEP stuff for her too just for fun.
History~We have been studying all of the early explorers, conquistadors and the people they found here. Here they are grinding corn ala the Aztecs.
If the Aztecs hunkered down in the shade with rocks that formerly lined the driveway. It gave us a chance to talk about grit and our teeth too when I refused to make said cornmeal into muffins.

We continued looking at cells and also worked hard on learning the scientific method. We began tentative work on our science fair projects. For fun we did nature walks since who knows when it will turn cold and ugly. Might be next week, might be in 8 weeks. Who knows? I say why miss a nice day.

Miss Ads kept arguing these aren't cat tails because there are no cats. Three year olds are very concrete. Or she's channeling Elton John.

This is the outfit she insisted on wearing everywhere. Spanish, PE, the grocery, Cub Scouts. Evidently this is her version of the little black dress.
A good week overall. Much quieter than last week when I spent all my time working at the Boy Scout Parking Lot during Street Fair. They better really like camp.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Week #5 Whew!

This week seemed really long. It wasn't just me, the kids keep saying they are tired too. Next week I have 'Fall Break' scheduled on Thursday and Friday. It can't get here soon enough. Ok, what have we done. Let's shorten this. The kids worked on in their LA, Reading and Math books and it's all good.

History~We read about Leif the Lucky and Vinland from several sources and made Viking shields.

Science~We continued working with cells and plants. We also spent a day on chemistry studying filtration, mixtures and evaporation. We mixed salt and sand in water.

We filtered it and low and behold the sand came out, but where's the salt? Look, it was there all the time.

We skipped ahead to Week #6 of our Weefolkart Harvest Time pre-school curriculum to read about Johnny Appleseed and apples in general. That's because we took a field trip to the orchard on Thursday. No pictures of the actual apple picking because older dd had my camera for her college lab class.

To finish the unit we made apple prints on fabric squares I hope to turn into a lap quilt. We'll see how that goes.