Tuesday, June 25, 2013


This is just a test to check posting ability from my iPad. Ignore it. 

More text after the image.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Taco Tuesday & Lesson Journal...

I'm typing this while The Teen is making tacos for dinner tonight. Well, cooking up the meat & chopping the tomatoes. (We've since eaten dinner since I started typing up this blog post. Update to say the tacos were YUMMY! Especially so since I didn't have to cook!)

Today was Day Two.
  • The Teen woke up with a full-fledged cold but still managed to squeak out her day's yoga. 
  • She seems more methodical in her Algebra right now ("Yes, just day two." I remind myself.) But, she isn't hating it right now so that is good. 
  • She finally finished up the preface of Birth of Britain. Not much else to say on that. 
  • Biology reading continued. She should be finishing up the chapter's reading tomorrow.
  • She wasn't happy about the review (for the umpteenth year in a row) of geographical terms today. I'm sure she'll thank me when the test comes around, though. LOL
  • Finished reading & her typed narration for her English Lit. book. 
  • Bust of Pericles
  • We got through lesson #1 of Plutarch's Life of Pericles. It made for a good discussion and comparison. We referenced Proverbs 31:4-7 and Colossians 3:23-24. Good discussion, indeed! We giggled a bit at the idea of Pericles being a squillhead. LOL

  • A couple dates were jotted down for the Book of Centuries. We'll work on the BOC together later this week.

  • While we're not doing any formal grammar program this year she is "keeping up her knowledge" with a 9th grade grammar review book (see our Curriculum Choices page.) Anyway, gerunds and gerund phrases came up today. A quick skim of a lesson was in order. I found these two web pages. Easy peasy.
  • She didn't get to today's reading in Foxe's Book of Martyrs, so that will be bumped to tomorrow, thus also bumping the week's Saints & Heroes to the End of the Middle Ages. That's okay, though, since this year I've tried to BUILD IN time for catching up on things as needed.
  • We'll be starting tomorrow (after her yoga & Bible reading) with IEW's Teaching the Classics DVD course. I was supposed to facilitate that today but, well, it slipped off my radar. 
  • I haven't heard her pick up her guitar yet this week. We'll see if she remembers she's supposed to keep practicing.

After lunch, Baby G and I went for a walk around the neighborhood, taking advantage of the slightly cooler weather and NO rain! We found really big leaf that she just had to have so we carried that around.

Stopping at one of the neighborhood playgrounds, she climbed up and slid down the slides too many times for me to count. She really enjoyed when I helped her manage the monkey bars and climb the rock wall up to the slide.

We collected more leaves as we made our way home as well as a piece of tree bark I found lying on the sidewalk. All was well and good until she fell and skinned her knee right before we reached our house. *sigh* After that was cleaned & bandaged we got out the block crayons and did leaf (and bark) rubbings galore. They now decorate the front of the fridge.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of Highschool

Our new school year started bright and early today!

The teen is officially a Freshman this year. It seems kind of odd to say that since she's been doing various aspects of highschool work for a while now. But, for the record-keeping school government, she is a Freshman.

The morning greeting.

It was a Great first day.Heart

DD15 even said she liked Churchill's  Birth of Britain. (Granted, she's only read the preface so far!LOL) Brendan Voyage was another favorite.  She didn't seem too keen reading Watership Down (she's not at all fond of "animal stories" any more) but...

Morning squeezes before starting with lessons.

We didn't get our Plutarch reading/lesson started for the week like we were "supposed" to today, but I bumped it to tomorrow. The Teen also didn't get her Greek & Latin roots review done for the day but again, just bumped it to tomorrow. No biggie.

Hard at work, reading Watership Down

 The little one (nearly 38mos) continues to love making her oatmeal in the morning for breakfast. Baby G enjoyed listening to our new folksong Gypsy Rover today while we ate lunch all together. After lunch we read a few of our current library books together on my chair. She helped sissy fold the towels today (she folds the washcloths and puts them away in the drawer) and enjoyed a bit of sissy time with her after her lessons were done. Oh, she enjoyed splashing in puddles when we went to the grocery this morning in POURING RAIN while sissy did her biology.

We're learning to "smile at the camera" (it's a work in progress!LOL)

Speaking of biology, I think we're going to have to increase The Teen's biology work time a bit since she's got a heavy load with Honors Biology this year, but I won't make a decision on that until the week is over. Otherwise, we stayed on schedule. I'm happy to report the teen was even up & in the downward dog yoga position when I went downstairs at 6:15, something I wasn't too sure she'd manage (rising early & exercising straight away.)

Our Freshman.

The Teen even commented that Algebra I didn't seem toooo horrible today and that it was nice having a definite "stopping point" now. (Using a timer, working for two sessions... one 45 minutes, one 40 minutes.) That in itself is THE BIG DEAL of the day!

I've partially updated our Curriculum Choices page for this school year-- click on over.

One day down. Only one hundred seventy-nine left to go!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Change on the Horizon

We're wrapping up the final bits of 8th grade and will be taking August off completely except for Algebra I and an online World Music college class offered by University of Pennsylvania via coursera.org that starts Monday. (By the way, it is free--- AND, it's not too late to sign up!)

**You can read my final assessments and thoughts about our 8th grade year over at the Curriculum Choices page**

As I prepare for this coming school year and look over the past year (and a couple years earlier,) I see an image that isn't what I'd imagined. An image of our homeschooling that has changed direction and course without me even truly noticing. And. Not. For. The. Better.

Homeschooling used to be enjoyable, even so much as being fun. I don't believe that just because your student is climbing in grade level and level of understanding that his or her education needs to become a matter of torture, a daily headache, nor dry and boring.  It doesn't have to be so crammed-packed as to not leave time to pursue that which brings enjoyment and builds interests and passions. I'm not saying our homeschooling had become all those things but there certainly were days where various pieces of those presented itself. I've had to take a look back and remember what we were doing before the path started to truly shift. I think I found that fork in the road.

For this coming school year, via a myriad of talks with the teen and my husband, I've decided to make a change. Changes really. To return to a practice and a philosophy that worked for us in the past, one that has always had a hold on us as a homeschooling family, on me as a teacher, and on my homeschooler regardless of how much dust gathered on us all.

What's that you ask?

Well, it's dear Charlotte Mason.
It's time to return back to that which we once loved and enjoyed. Fully.

I won't drone on about what wasn't working in our homeschooling. A lot was working and a lot wasn't working. As our teenage daughter assignment load has grown so has her feedback on it...both good and bad. I've spent a good long while thinking on all of this and it just makes sense to apply some changes. So, I'm putting away the giant Tapestry of Grace binders, relocating the computer shortcuts to the Digital Editions of the year plans, creating new directories on our computers to hold new content, loading up the Kindles with many free resources, and shifting our mindsets in general. This need for change didn't happen over night, or even in the course of this past 8th grade year. It truly has been rumbling in the far recesses of my mind for quite some time. Only when I started to focus on the upcoming school year did I find myself truly sleepless at night about *something* that just wasn't right for us. I'm thankful that an answer has been found. The weight and burden feels like its been lifted from my shoulders- a new light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.

Well, I'm sure I'll ramble on more about this over the course of implementing these new changes. I just wanted to share openly and honestly here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Object Lesson...with a little one

I've found my patience for the minutia has lessened in my old age. Yes, even with my little one(now 3). It's an area that could use some improvement. While reading a Parents Review article I came across this passage that spoke volumes to me. It shows *me* how important the minutia is to one so young. Her world is ever-growing, detail by detail. Here's the passage:
A little boy--we will say about four years old--runs from the garden to his mother, "Oh! Mother, do come and look at this beautiful thing on the rose-tree; I want to know what it is." "I am busy now, Charles; tell me what it is like. What colour is it?" "Red, I think." "Oh, I suppose it is a ladybird." "Oh no, it is a great deal bigger than a ladybird." "Well, perhaps it is a tiger-moth-- that has two red wings. Look, like this"--and the mother slightly sketches the tiger-moth on the slate. "Oh, no, it is not at all like that." "Perhaps it is the colour of this mahogany chair?" "No, not just like that." "Perhaps like this nut?" "Yes, it is very much like that." "Well, this is light brown, not red. But what shape is this beautiful creature?" "Oh, I think it is round." The mother draws a round figure on the slate. "Is it like this?" "No, not so round." The mother makes a long thing in the form of a long caterpillar. "No, it is not so long." The mother then draws an oval. "Yes, it is very much like that." "And has it no feet?" "I think it has some feet." "How many--I suppose two feet, like the birds? Are they like these?" "Oh no! I am sure they are not like those." "You had better go and look at it again, and come and tell me." "Mother, it has six legs." The mother draws two on one side and four on the other. "Is that right?" "No, it has three on each side." The mother corrects it. "Is that right?" "Yes, that is really right."
This comes from this PR article. it is a lovely article in itself, but that portion hit me in the head. I needed it this week. Though this example is nature related it certainly doesn't only apply to that area of learning. Little ones. Growing daily. Time flitting by. Minutia makes up the larger pictures. The pictures make up the life.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In the Kitchen

Happy Tuesday! So after a morning at the Kia dealership to get two new tires on our Borrego, a brief trip to Target to do an exchange for the teen daughter, and an even briefer trip to the local grocer, I'm back home. Lunch is eaten. I've been working in the kitchen the last two hours or so. I've got about 30 boneless, skinless chicken thighs brining right now in the fridge. I will forego the spices and merely grill them up for future meals. I just finished browning up three pounds of lean, grass-fed ground beef along with two diced Vidalia onions, also to be used for upcoming meals. A dozen Oberweiss eggs found themselves boiled up as well...the beginnings of some ham salad and a container of peeled, hard-boiled eggs ready for snacking. Whew. Busy, busy...but will be so worth it. Throwing some sautéed, steamed, or roasted veggies together alongside a meat...fast, easy meals, HOT PLATES, if you will. **Updated to add that yes! I grilled! It was the first time (that I can remember) that I used the grill. Hubby is the grill-master at our house but he's at work the next few days, so grill I did!** I'll be blogging updates as to what we actually ate using the aforementioned bits and parts; so stay tuned.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Impromptu Road Trip

Weekends where my husband is completely off work are rare. This was one of those weekends. So today, he gathered us up, we piled into the car and off we went. Only he knew where we were headed. But by the time we were on 13 I had it figured out. After quick potty break, a gas tank top off, and buying a few snacks we headed up towards the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. He'd been on it/through it before but the girls and I never had.

The little one (turning 3 later this month!) really liked going through the tunnels and seeing all the boats that were out fishing. The teen (turning 15 next month) just wished she'd thought to bring her kindle.

The first place we stopped was the Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge. Once we were able to get out of the car and dodge the wasp that seemed to be majorly attracted to it, we went inside the quaint little visitors' center. Yippee! A guest book was right inside the door. I always like signing in to places we visit. LOL

There were various small displays and a couple of movie clips playing (nothing playing at the time in the auditorium, though.) The little one LOVED the bones & shells display of area wildlife. They were all numbered and a chart stated what each piece was. She liked using the little brush to brush away loose sand from the display.

While the little one and the teen looked out the birdwatching window with telescope and binoculars (provided,) hubby and I got our America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass (free for military.) The employee said that we were the first one they'd given away at their facility. LOL

Before leaving, the teen picked up a free poster they were giving out, the little one got a butterfly coloring sheet (to do in the car with her pipsqueak colored pencils which are perfect for the car since they don't melt like crayons), and each picked out a postcard to hang on their bedroom wall.

The drive was real nice. Again, I'd never been up that way so was surprised to see so much farm land! (said this Indiana girl.) We happened upon a sign for Tall Ships at Cape Charles, so hubby turned down that way, not knowing what to expect. We knew OpSail 2012 was going on, and knew what Tall Ships were... but we'd not been to Cape Charles before.

Cape Charles turned out to be a small beach front town with a nice long stretch of beach with close, street parking. Their Tall Ships festival was also quite small, but for the area, was nice. It was rather busy for being such a small festival. It was just the right size for us given the day's hot, clear, sunny day. LOL We managed to walk one loop through the entire festival (complete with pony rides, an children's activity area, a section of reinactors, craftwares tents (including yarn!), various eateries, and an entertainment tent with some gal singing. There was an actual restaurant there, too, but it looked much too busy (standing room only.)

We stopped by the harbor for the teen to snap some photos of the boats (I'll try to remember to upload her photos here soon.) The little one said she was hot  (said she, sitting in her shady stroller) so we located some bottled water being sold (wow, small town-- only charged $1.00!) and made our way back from which we came. We stopped at a food truck selling some overpriced wrap sandwiches (which weren't even WRAPS, but rather some meat scrunched up in a soft tortilla shell. LOL) I couldn't even eat all of mine as the meat was just too spicy!

Here are the less than wonderful pics I took at the festival with my phone. (I didn't know we were going anywhere good or I would have taken my camera!)

And one picture hubby took:

After that we were ready to head home... so we did!

It was a nice little impromptu trip. Good for hubby for thinking of it. He knows now though that next time, a TINY bit of a heads-up would be nice. Just need enough to know to pack some lunch for us all (and my camera!) Anyway, there ya have it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bethelem Walk 2011

Yesterday evening our family attended a wonderful "role play" event for this Christmas season. We went on a Bethlehem Walk put on by King's Grant Presbyterian Church & Saint Nicholas Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, Va.

As part of the "Jacob Tribe" originating from the town of Bethany, we journeyed through bazaar shops, were counted (and taxed), directed along by Roman soldiers, and welcomed in the temple. The kids her gifted with a necklace of stamped leather, clay coin, and a chocolate gold coin.

I'd seen information about it posted on an area homeschooling list and thought it might be something we'd enjoy. Boy, I sure am glad we went! We *ALL* enjoyed it; yes, even the toddler.  It was held mostly inside... right up until we met up with the three wise men. Outside were a couple of fires to warm up next to, a "camel," angels declaring the Good News, and of course... the Holy Family. The Nativity scene had some livestock there as well, the favorite of our toddler being the little sheep. After the walk we were directed back inside the church for a snack of cookies & cocoa.

Here are just a few of the photos from our lovely walk to Bethlehem.

It really was a VERY lovely time. And it was free.
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