Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Little Man Who Wasn't There by Hughes Mearns

As I was going up the stair,
I met a man who wasn't there;
He wasn't there again today!
I wish, I wish, he'd stay away.

After reading this poem, E-R matter-of-factly declared, "I think Hughes Mearns is crazy."

I believe she's correct.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Constitution Day is September 17th

Constitution Day commemorates the day our national government-as we know it today-began.    This is the day that the delegates to the Philadelphia Convention completed and signed the U.S. Constitution.   Here are some really neat online resources to help in the study of the Constitution.  

United Government Archives

Online activities at The Constitution Center Website

Living Books has also put together an awesome study of the Constitution.   It includes a history of the Constitution, artwork, poetry, and much more.   Check it out here.

Living Books Constitution Study

Happy Constitution Day a bit early.   Enjoy.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Week in Review September 10, 2010

Three day short week, but we managed to do okay.   Since we slept in on Monday and Thursday, getting up was so hard the other days.   We are actually looking forward to our full weeks coming up so the routine will kick in.  

Memory Work is going wonderfully!     We've memorized the first four poems in Linguistic Development,  worked through the first chapter in Lyrical Life Science Human Body, learned the definitions of the first nine words in Vocabulary Cartoons, reviewed our seven times tables, and retained Moses 1:39.

Literature is going well.   E practiced annotating with The Ransom of Red Chief.   Together for fun, we annotated Marginalia by Billy Collins.    And for free-reading, E read Inkheart.  E-R and I-E are finishing The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler over the weekend.    E-R's free-read Titan's Curse, and I-E's was the sixth book in The Series of Unfortuntant Events.   

Rod and Staff covered more information on sentences---clauses, fragments, and prepositional phrases within the subject.   Easy peasey so far!

Math reviewed dividing by double digit numbers for E-R and I-E.   E is almost finished with his pre-algebra.   Algebra is waiting for him next week!

In History we studied the government of the Roman Republic.   We added info to our timelines, outlined sections of our book, and rewrote those sections.

Art this week was about balance.   First we measured our own faces and where our features fell on our faces.  Then we practiced drawing those same dimensions.   Next,  we experimented with different dimensions.   It was quite enjoyable.  

Science was a blast  this week and earned its own post for YES! We did Science! Friday. 

How was your week?

Feel free to check out what other homeschoolers did this week!

YES! We did Science! Friday

We did Science this Week!   

We took turns reading chapter 2 of The Story of Science:  Newton at the Center.   This chapter covered the black death, introduced the Renaissance, and mentioned Christopher Columbus, Leonardo da Vinci, and Copernicus. The main idea was the change in science from thinking to experimenting .    Everyone chose a different interest box to read and fill out a worksheet summarizing the main idea.   

Our art tie-in this week was of course Leonardo da Vinci.  We studied The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.   We also learned that Leonardo da Vinci had a hard time finishing projects.   One year he started 17 different projects; he finished six.    Evidently procrastination is not a recent phenomenon!  

I assigned Leonardo Da Vinci : The Genius Who Defined the Renaissance as extra credit.  

Anyone who reads this book and turns in a list of twenty facts from the book will receive a voucher to turn in which will excuse them from one science homework assignment.   What a scramble to be the first one to grab the book!

We also enjoyed browsed Amazing Leonardo da Vinci Inventions You Can Build Yourself

E-R decided to build Walk on Water Shoes.  

The adventure began at the hardware store.   We bought the needed Styrofoam, but unfortunately it did not fit in the car for the trip home.    A return trip was in store---this time with the tools needed to cute the Styrofoam to a size that fit in the car.  

Next, a LOT of cutting and measuring. 

And then LOTS and LOTS of duct tape!

After a day of hard work---time to test the masterpieces out.

Well, we're sure not Remy Bricka !

But we did have fun!

What did you do for science this week?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Homeschool find of the Week


what the heck is that white rectangle? you may be wondering!

Why,  it is one of the greatest inventions of mankind!  

The whiteboard. 

Lots of homeschoolers have whiteboards.   Some have made an art of making them on the cheap and including them in their decor. 

This particular model, described here., is a bit different.

This is the lap whiteboard.   It is meant to be held by one student.

If you value peace in your home, one per student will be percurred!

Students can doodle all through-out the day and still have fresh clean books.

Working on math problems become fun.

Spelling words suddenly appear in multi-colors and multi-fonts.

Perhaps, your homeschool could use some lap whiteboards,

I know mine has improved for having some around.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Week in Review September 2, 2010

Disclaimer---I have lost my camera battery charger---I distinctly remember putting it somewhere--when I figure out where that is I will be back with pictures!

With three short days, this week was a perfect way to slide back into the school schedule.   We've made our way through everything planned for the week.   And so far this year I seem to have more down time--I guess that means I won't have an excuse for not cleaning!   I am ex-specially proud that we were able to get up at 5 everyday except for one day. 

The kids put together their schedules last week and for the most part they worked.   Some things they realized they had scheduled for way too long.   E realized he hadn't scheduled LA at all on Friday!    All realized more independent time is going to be needed.   

Math--E worked with negative numbers this week.   He is working towards finishing his pre-algebra textbook and soon will start algebra with ALEKS online.   E-R and I-E continued on in Singapore Math working on mental math and word problems.   I-E was quite frustrated working on mental math.   I've discovered her method actually  takes longer than writing out the problem.   So I worked on taking her step through step through each problem.  Child melt-down ensued.  And then mother melt-down ensued!   I should have replied to her declaration of I'M NO GOOD AT THIS with a that's okay---we all have things we're better at and things we need to work on.   And that's why we're working on this.   You will get better with practice.   But--sigh--I didn't.    There is next week!

English--Everyone began a new Rod and Staff English book.   Subjects and Predicates began the books.   And the first writing assignments --- a short story.   

History--Found us finishing up the Ancient Greeks with Alexander the Great and moving on to the founding of Rome.   E-R and I-E began a lap book on the Greeks.   This year, E will be researching two history topics each week and then picking one to write a paper on.  I'm slowly easing him into the process by starting out with filling in his research sheets.   This week he choose to study Alexander the Great.

Spelling---some of our words: fiendish, Spanish, Danish, British, tongues, accomplishments, decompress, kiss, dismiss, truss

Art---We started art off with a cool interview of Joyce Scott.   Her bead work (scroll down to see an awesome beaded teapot) was a favorite.   She also works in paper which inspired us to pull out our papermill kit.   Unfortunately our blender needs a new part to work, so we couldn't get to work right away.  BUT,  I finally ordered that  $4 blender part that I've needed for about 5 months!  Hopefully, next week we will make some paper.   For now,  the kids made some collages with pasta.   I was wondering what the burning smell was wafting from the dining room.   They got creative and used candles to burn their pasta so it be a different color!    The finished creations ranged from cat faces to car races.  

Memory---scriptures, poetry, seven times tables, and cells.

I made it through the week!   The kids made it through the week!    Now off for a long four day weekend!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

What not to do when the teacher stays out too late celebrating her birthday!

She should not hit snooze over and over again. 

She should not call her students into her bedroom an hour after the official breakfast time to tell them breakfast is a piece of chocolate cake.

She should not skip her morning grooming in favor of dirty sweats.

She should not "rest" her eyes in between calling out the words of the spelling test.

She should not get frustrated during mental math and raise her voice.

She should not ignore the laundry.

She SHOULD just take a nap and call it a day!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Past Days of My life-----I have a few posts from the past waiting to be finished. This is the first in my series of Past Days of My LIfe.

This week went better than weeks past, and yet not quite where we need to be.   Wednesday we slept in because J got in from out of town late.   He left for work a few minutes before 10 and I left to pick up N.   Five minutes from home, the phone dinged to let me know something came up on my calendar.

 Hmmm, I thought.   I don't remember having anything on the calendar for today.  Curious, I checked my calendar at the next stop sign.

 AAAAHHHHHHH, it's the day of E's PE test.   He's suppose to be at the college running a mile along with his other PE tests!  Okay, so I u-turn and speed back home (not an exaggeration for effect in this instance!).   HONK, HONK, HONK!  Out comes E to see what's up.   I tell him its time for his PE test and he, along with his two sisters, need to be in the car now!   He runs in for his shoes and sisters.   After getting in the car, decides he needs a water bottle runs in and gets it.

Okay, we're off-- it's only 10!   We will swing by N's school (which is on the college campus) and pick him up on the way to E's test.  Of course, on the way, I'm scanning my mind for the info about where the test is being held on the college campus.  I remember reading about signs and special parking.  I also remember thinking I don't need this info for a couple of weeks.  I'll worry about it closer to the actual date.   Ack!  Why didn't I pay more attention?.   Driving slowly by N's miniature campus,  I don't see him.   We give each other 15 minutes past pick-up time, so I think he took longer on his test than expected.  No problem--I'll figure out where E is suppose to be and come back for him.   Driving over towards the athletic area of campus I see hoards of young kids and adults walking.

E-R asks me, " why  didn't  you park and pick up N."

 I tell her, " he wasn't there".

 "Yes, he was," she says.   "He was sitting right out front with one of his friends!"

 Aaahhhhh!   So, now I'm worried that N saw me and  started walking the 5 miles home thinking that I left him behind.

 Okay, are all these kids I see walking doing the mile run?   I park at the first spot I see and find an official looking lady with an official looking  badge.  " Okay, we're just here---I'm sorry we're late.   What do we need to do?"

" Well, first you need to park on the other side of the campus and walk over here and then down this way to the athletic field."   Ack, I decide to chance it with the parking spot!   We hurry over to the field, joking as we half run, half walk, that this is a good warm-up for the mile run.  We sign in.   No problem, it is a do it at your own pace.  No pressure, no one cares that we are 20 minutes late!   :)

So, we first do height and weight and then it is time for E to do the mile run.  I watch him start his mile.   And instead of being one of the moms armed with a video camera taping this 7th-grade milestone, I run out of the stadium dragging two littles with me, hoping to be able to figure out where N might be!   He's not at his campus; he's not walking home--as far as I can tell.   At this point I figure it must be time for E to be finishing his mile run.   So, I (again) speed back to campus and find a spot in the 30 minute parking.   Littles and I run back to the athletic field!  Perfect timing---E is just finishing up!    We stay with him while he finishes his other tests and head back to the car.    I sit and take a few breathes and think  where might he be, where might he be.  Where would my kid go after thinking his mom abandoned him.       E-R says, I bet N is at the library.    So, we circle around the campus again to re-park in five minute parking.    We calmly walk up to the library and sure enough---there is N---without a care in the world.   He says, what happened, mom?   End of story.

You know--Perhaps its time to begin using that calendar hanging up in the kitchen..

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Beginning of School 2010/2011 School Year

 N started school two weeks ago with his trig class at the college.   And then we met with our beloved Mrs. Stout who helped set up a plan for the year that puts N on track to graduate at the end of this school year.   He went home with his packet of work for his first high school class of the school year, 11th-grade english.   This last Tuesday A-M started her second year of school at Foothill.   She's taking drama, dance, honors english, algebra II, honors world history, honors chemistry, and honors spanish.   Busyiness has already filled her world.

Today began our homeschool.   In the past, I've taken great pleasure in planning our schedule and fitting together like a puzzle how we would use each minute of the day.  You know what?   I must be tired, because this year I turned this aspect of our school over to my cute not-so-littles.  

Most of our first day consisted of them planning out next week and fitting in when they would work on each subject.  

We'll start out our days with Memory Time (from 7-7:45) all together. 

E-R's schedule

8:00-9:00----Read Lit book and free reading
9:00--9:30---Math lesson
9:30--10:15---Language arts with I-E and mom
10:15--11:00---Thinking skills
12:00-12:30---Homework time*

* Homework is anything she is assigned such as math and english lessons.

Next week science isn't scheduled but in future weeks will alternate with history time.

This planning was very stressful for E-R, but I am sure that is will be much become much easier for her in future weeks.   I also think she will have much more time during her day than she thinks to work on her math and english. 

E's schedule

6:00-7:00---Free time or math
7:00-7:45---Memory Time
8:00-9:00---Work with Mom on Language Arts
9:00-10:00---Homework for Language Arts

On Fiday--Instead of History, Art

I-E's schedule

6:00-7:00---Building Thinking Skills
7:00-7:45---Memory Work
8:00-8:30---Lit reading
9:00-9:30---Math Lesson
9:30-10:15---Language Arts with Mom
10:15-11:00---Monday The Story of Western Civilazation, Tuesday through Friday Homework
Then on Monday, Wednesday,and Friday---shower!

Over-all our scheduling time was a bit stressful, but E did say that he enjoyed planning out his time.   I-E said that now she realizes why I spent those three weeks hunkered down with the computer planning out our year.    Isn't a little stress worth-it, when it brings about some gratitude for mom and her work?

We did complete some math and history, but the highlight of the day was our Dig! Discover!Display! Kit.   It has become a tradition to start out our school year with one of these kits.   This year E picked the crystal mine kit for us to kick off the school year.

The kids have exspecially been looking forward to this Friday for a reason that has nothing to do with school.   Papa will be home after a long two weeks working in Europe!   They plan to take him to Jamba Juice when he gets back into town!    

How was your school experience this week?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Not Back to School A Day in the Life

Up at 6:00 AM--soon to be 5:00 AM
Oh, MY!!!!

Well, I am a bit later writing this post than planned, because I have been trying to adjust to my new days!   A morning person I am not.    My two oldest children, A-M and N, attend early morning seminary at 6:30 AM.   Last year, A-M had perfect attendance.   Even when she was sick and didn't head off to school, she went to seminary and sat in the back.   N went every morning with the exception of a few sick days.  My beloved husband plays basketball in the mornings three days a week, so he drove them those days, and a friend drove them the other days.   My point---I didn't get up until after A-M and N were gone for the day.   This year, N has asked if we can all get up together and eat breakfast before they leave.  Not an unreasonable request and yet I HATE GETTING UP EARLY!!  But you know what?  N only has one more year before he leaves for college and then year by year my other kids will be gone.   So, I am working on getting up early.   This week has been 6:00 and next week we will all get up at 5:00.  The biggest problem---I don't like going to bed early. All has gone well this week, except I fell asleep on the couch this afternoon at 4:00! 

Monday through Thursday
5:00--up for breakfast, scriptures, and chores
6:00--free time
7:00--school time, mornings will be the basics, such as math, language arts, scriptures, and memory work-- 
11:00--lunch, garden, swimming, and/or park time
12:30--history or science time
4:00--swim team

We have a Shakespeare class at 9:30-11:00.   I think we will go to the park afterwards for lunch and then on to the library to work on our school work. 

I'm still not sure when we will fit in art.  In the past, we have worked on it Friday afternoons.  This year, I don't think that will work, so we'll see when it fits in. 

In past years, I have planned my school days down to 15 minute increments.  This year, I'm turning ownership of the day over to my kids.  Friday is our first day of school, and I am going to have the kids sit down and plan out the schedule.   I'll post our schedules after Friday.  

I keep telling my kids that we will get use to our new early schedule in a few weeks.  Perhaps, if I repeat it a few more times I'll believe it.  

I will get use to getting up early.  

I will get use to getting up early. 

I will     




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Awesome Art Curriculum

I recently attended a workshop sponsored by The Getty.   Although the young lady presenting the class was young and unfamiliar with homeschoolers in general,  I am very impressed that The Getty is reaching out to homeschoolers.   After a brief introduction to the layout and art galleries at The Getty, we looked at an unique piece of art.   Titled, Bust of a Man,  and created by Francis Harwood in 18th century Florence, Italy this piece really  blew me away.   It's unusualliness is not only in its material (black pietra da paragone--instead of a white marble), but also its subject.    The scar above his eye, the tilt of his head, and the gaze of his eyes, gave him an individuality that really set apart this piece of art for me.   Following our discussion, we created a bust of our own.   Our bust was to represent someone who normally wouldn't be put on a pedestal.   One of the participants represented her trashman.   You know what, trashmen should be on a pedestal!  I've never thought about trashmen like that before.    And that is the point of art.  A classic piece of art is universal and should make us think about our world in a different way.  Last but best of all was the curriculum.  

This curriculum is a gem.   Each of the 28 lessons includes plans for elementary, middle-school, and high-school levels.   These plans includes not only art, but also english and history.   And the timeline feature will make a classical homeschooler's heart beat just a bit faster!    Even though this curriculum is based on pieces found at The Getty, it is completely self-contained and can stand alone.

AND I've saved the best for last!   This and more wonderful curriculum is available to you for free!
A little bit of clicking around the education part of this website will reveal lots more neat resources.

Be sure to check out reviews from lots more homeschooling moms at

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Not Back to School Pics

Not Back to School Blog Hop

Time for our "Not Back to School" Pictures.

(okay, don't expect to see this mama in a bathing suit again in the near future!)

We'll also have some friends joining us.

We don't usually play poker during school time (really, we don't ;) )

This student has already started school.  She's learned that a source of food lives in this container and once a day this container opens.     She has just one chance each day to stick her little paw in there and grab it.   Opening  time is just minutes away!

Happy Not Back to School Time!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Our School Home

This week at Heart of the Matter the Not Back to School Blog Hop continues with School Room Week.   We don't have one room set aside for school instead we have a school home.   Here are some pictures to help you visual how we've set things up.  

Disclaimer:   Time was not had for cleaning before these pictures were taken--so what you see is how things really are at my house.  

Globe sits on the window seat next to my mail basket.   We use it at least once a day.

Corner of the living room with our couches and computer desk.  If you look closely, you can also the pull-up bar hanging from the kitchen doorway.  

This is our dining room table.  This summer it has been used for a Heroscape field.   In a few weeks, it will revert back to a dining/ school table.

This is the TV and you know what?   Some days this is a very important part of school.   Shark Week, anyone!?

Anyone else have a lego room?

Here comes the good stuff--what every homeschool home needs lots of:

SHELVES, of course!

Don't forget the ones in the garage.

And the sad, sad ones in the upstairs hallway that the kids takecare of

And the all important bins.

And last, but certainly not lest---the favorite place for a homeschool mom to find a math book

On the floor!  

What does your school space look like?   Do you have a room set aside just for school or do you spread out a bit more?!