Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Week In Review: Weeks 36-38/6-8

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Wow, where has the time gone? We have mere days left to wrap up our school year in & I haven't updated our week in review posts in a while. I hate when I get behind on them & tend to drag my feet about getting them updated, but it's just so nice to have the record to look back on in the years to come. Mr S & I often get lost looking over old blog posts & revelling in how far we've come in our journey. If you're in the early baby pains of homeschooling, may I just say hang tough you'll make it!

As is normal when I fall behind my WIR posts I'm going to lump the various weeks into one & scrounge through the photos & hope I have a few. One child has decided he's photo-phobic of late. I tell him, & often, that I don't honestly care & snap a photo anyway. I've got a lot of photos with his hands covering his face, or some other silly thing happening. Funny thing is, he went through this phase a while back & was gutted when we were looking through old photos & he saw very few of himself, so this time around Mamma puts the camera on silent & moves on anyway respecting his wishes if he prefers me not to share photos.

Educational wise, we've been on a downward roll we never thought we'd reach! It's been exciting & crazy, & frazzling, but above all we've had to push each other to keep the pace. One morning a child asked how many more days to go & when I told him there was much cheering as he spent the morning hours working reminding himself of how many days he had left. Ahh, 40 weeks of school can do that to a person, right?


Both boys are on pace to lay their history aside after this week. Jayde cleared week 6 in BkSk Level 6 which is enough to give him breathing room in the New Year & easily finish the remaining 30 weeks of the curriculum in the 30 scheduled weeks of school ahead. Having said that he'll likely double up on some readings {because my kids are nerdy} & allow himself a bit more wiggle room when we resume our history lessons.

Morgan is still fully loving Core 100 & will wrap up his final reading of HUS Volume 3 next Monday. He got wrapped up in a few projects last week & will have just that one day hanging over him. He's still using the Study Guides to fill in after we review his reading for the day & then feels prepared to take the quiz after each book. It's been a great experience for him to get in the habit of taking notes, studying, & then taking his quizzes.


Morgan wrapped up Module 2 with Marine Biology. That particular module got really dragged out for whatever reason. While he's enjoyed the information he's learning & tells us all about it, he's really starting to run on empty. Thankfully that was all he needed to accomplish to put science away & concentrate on that final week of history I mentioned above.

Math is an ongoing process. Both boys will continue with math until the books are done despite being "officially" on school holidays on the 23rd. They'll have a few lessons left to wrap up which will be nice so they don't lose any steam in their progress. It's hard to imagine that after teaching math for the past 12 years I'm officially retiring as the math teacher in the New Year. My kids hit a point in math when I hand the teaching over to my husband who is very very capable & loves being involved. I'm far more hesitant & reluctant in certain mathematical areas so I prefer him to take over at that point so my hesitance doesn't pass on to the kids.


We wrapped up our lovely fun Election Unit from HSITW the week before the election took place. We really really enjoyed the unit & it helped answer many of the questions both kids had about how the process works. They had the opportunity to discuss how they'd make certain aspects work if they were president & quickly learned it's not as easy as they thought. Many fun discussions & debates too place before the study was wrapped up & slipped into notebooks.


Thus they entered into Election Week prepared & ready to watch history unfold. We spent much of Wednesday {time difference} watching things unfold, feeling the tensions build  It was a crazy crazy day & one I doubt my children will forget for a long time to come. We discussed the pros & cons of each candidate & they each cast a vote for their preferred choice. I think there was a collective sigh of relief when victory we declared so we could finally move around the house freely after watching the speech of the winning candidate. It's an interesting thing being an Expat & watching events like this unfold from another country...


Election Day also happened to be my birthday so we celebrated with what's becoming our traditional ice cream pie. It was an entirely unpatriotic, but wholly delicious desert to consume, & the gang made it all the better by singing a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.


There were a few hockey games in there, all though we skipped one week due to utter exhaustion around here. The summer games are considerably more lax then the winter season, not that we mind entirely. The summer session is casual with a "show up if you want to play & pay if you do.." type thing happening. Somehow our boy has landed on a team, each week, where the rest of his teammates from the winter session are against him. It's caused him to pause a few times when going in for a tackle. He's really enjoying himself though, & we've enjoyed the banter between all the kids each week.


Their final assigned books of the year are still being read, all though a bit more slowly then normal as the warmer weather calls our names & beckons us to come enjoy it. We had a wild, wet, & windy spring & now that we are flying towards summer the weather is finally cheering up a bit & it's incredibly difficult to find ourselves indoors when the sun is shining & the birds are calling.

Next week will be short & simple, just wrapping up a few final overlapping things along with some math as we prepare ourselves for our annual Thanksgiving Celebrations. The gang has been debating pie flavours for weeks now.. I'm pretty sure if I only served turkey & pie they'd all be pretty ecstatic.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

An Election Unit

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This week the boys & I detoured from our normal Book Basket to indulge in an Election Study. We had grand plans for Term 4 in which we'd indulge in an election unit & a government unit, but life happened & we had to jump into a new school year. I wasn't sure we'd actually get to the extras we normally save for our 4th term when many subjects have been cleared away & we have a little more space on our table, & I put the idea on the back burner.

However, as the kids watched the insane hoops I had to jump through in order to from vote overseas & the inundation of news reports we get even from afar they had an awful lot of questions. Not all could be cleared up with a nifty little election unit, but many could. While workloads are heavier with highs school levels I debated how we could make it work.

The eldest really didn't want to detour from his normal routine knowing that, down the line, it may mean he'd have more on his place then he wanted or might even possibly be able to manage. As the workload, especially in high school, is totally the child's responsibility I do everything I can to respect those lines in order to allow them to accomplish the work & manage their time as dutifully as they can.


Which is when I realised that if we just dropped our plethora of extra books for the week we'd have more then enough space/time to fit it in. Now, I'm not going to say they met this with joy, because we're in the middle of a pretty good sciencey book right now in which a young boy is attempting to collect elements & we left off in a pretty crazy spot, but once assured that we'd get right back into them after our Election Unit things calmed considerably.

I purchased, a few months ago, Homeschool In The Woods awesome Election Lap-Pak. HSITW has expanded their product line with several new types of products & this is just one of them. With this being an election year I really didn't want to pass up the opportunity to expand on it, & in the end I'm really glad we didn't.

We loved listening to the narration & tackling some of the hands on components afterwards before moving into our regular studies. We ended up with quite the stash of little booklets of information too. I love having a tangible line of proof that my kids actually did work, this is fantastic for showing to our home moderator. My kids loving having something to look back on & being able to refer to it so it tends to be a win-win situation.


With this product we opted not to make it into a lapbook but to simply glue the components onto coloured paper which they can then file into their timeline notebooks. Being a government type unit & not entirely time sensitive it could be filed in many different sections, but they'll file it under 2016 {or as close as they can to that timeframe} as some of the information included was specific to 2016.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Our Ancient History Book List & Reviews

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As we roam through Ancient History one more time I wanted to make a list of all the books we've used & leave quick snippets about them. The idea being that it's there to look back on, a solid firm list of books! This is always fun when, years down the track someone says, "Hey do you remember the story about.." Generally we do, but now & again the little quote or snippet is so random that we need a little help in aiding ourselves along.

Leaving lists & reviews is also a fun way for us to look back on our homeschooling years & say, "Wow, that was so much fun.." or "Wow, what on earth was I thinking?!"  or "No wonder we really hated that!" Have you ever cleaned out an old notebook or file folder & stumbled across the funny notes, schedules, & projects you outlined? Oh my, what a trip down memory lane that can be, right?

We'll be adding to this list as we go along considering we're in the early throws of Ancient Egypt in our current trek in time. While the list will grow & expand as we spend a year traipsing through remote villages, climbing sandy dunes, peering in aqueducts, & meandering through castles understand that while each book added to our list will have been read, it doesn't mean that each one was read every time we passed through this time period in history.

Sometimes a book is so amazing we read it over & over, other times I know a book will appeal to one child, but not to the other. The eldest child has the {mis}fortune of being the guinea pig in many areas of life, & the homeschool world is no different. So there may be books we forced ourselves to get through when he embarked on this journey that we won't waste time with this go-around. That doesn't happen often, but the mere mention of Charlemagne will elicit groans, hisses, & grumblings in this house.

Please, also note that at this time we currently buy all our books {if possible} through Book Depository who ships free to us even all the way over here in Australia. Its a blessing considering the vast amount of books we devour each year. Due to shopping with Book D {as they are called in our home} all the book links in this post {unless not possible} will be through our beloved Book D. This means the links will also have an affiliate code in them. This simply means that if you buy a book through our affiliate link we'll be blessed with a tiny bit of profit from the sale.

Ancient History Book List:


Story Of The World Volume 1 has been the spine we've used with both kids as they begin their voyage through time. This volume is written in story form & doesn't begin with Creation or Evolution but begins with a place in time where people are all ready wandering earth. The author has skill fully avoided the topic that brings the most angst to many homeschoolers. We use the audio version The new audios use the terms BCE & CE which my children are aware of their meanings all though in our own personal dating we prefer to stick with BC & AD.

It took 2 of us a little time to grow accustomed to the voice narrating these books without finding the voice droll & boring. I hate admitting that because I know the narrator is well loved amongst many, but over time we found that we didn't mind at all. The other person never had an issue with the narration & has always sat enraptured when these stories come out.

Mystery Of History Volume 1 is another spine we use. The thing about history is that there is always bias. Mind you, that tends to be true of many subjects.. Having said that I really love to have more then one spine going for my children so that they can get the view of more then one side of any given situation. It brings about lively discussions & many questions that we each have to pause to consider.

In this case our second spine is written from a Christian view point so it begins with Creation & weaves in many familiar faces & stories the children have heard about since they were very very little. I really love that they get the opportunity to see where each of these stories fit into history & understand that what happens in the Bible is not some seperate time in history, but a true unfolding of the world. I must note that the author has written this book from a young earth perspective, you can adjust dates as needed if you need/want.

Again we've opted to use the audio version of this particular book, & again some of us have really struggled with the narrator. In this case the author has narrated her own audio books & her love for both Christ & her topic are very evident, but unfortunately there are many other noises that are evident & for those of us with hyper sensitive hearing they are equally nerve grating to hear. Like the other spine, we also purchase these audios in MP3 format directly from the author's own website.

Kings & Carpenters is part of the 100 Ancient Job series that my kids have really loved. We own all the but one of the lovely books in this series, & this particular one covers jobs that are considered Biblical land jobs. Basically discussing the life & cultural times from being King or Queen to yoghurt maker. All the jobs are broken down to where you'd have lived or worked & put into fun little chapters.

The cartoon style drawings & comic bubble speech give some humour to some pretty nitty gritty jobs. We love reading the various jobs & at the end of each chapter we pick the job we'd take out of all the options available. Sometimes it's not too hard to pick, I mean who might not relish being king or queen for a day? On the other hand, sometimes it's really hard because you'll be stuck picking between jobs like urine collector or urine provider. 

A Child's Geography Of The World Vol 2: Explore The Holy Land is a book I picked up in a scratch & dent sale a few years ago in hopes of using it alongside our last voyage through Ancients, but our plates were full with plenty of other things & we never got to it. I pulled it back out in hopes of using this time through, & we've been a little hit or miss with it. The idea was that we'd read half a chapter a week, but we've only gotten to it once so far.

The book is very simplistically written, but then I think it may be the way the author is writing to the child. It was written for a wide range of ages so that may explain the feeling of simplicity in some areas. We're not using it as written, just reading through the chapters & mapping the locations that are mentioned in the books. The idea being really to help give a little more cultural relevance to the times & places we are studying.

Timna is a story about the life of Noah, his sons, & their wives. Timna is the wife of Hamm, & the youngest of all to enter the ark. She struggles prior to boarding the ark with the family that she knows will be left behind & the fact that they won't believe that God has spoken to Noah. She also battles the poor relationship she has with a sibling who finds the whole situation foolish.

The story is told from the view of Timna & has a feminine flair to it. By this, I mean that Timna is an outspoken women in the story who is both strong willed & full of questions. While this may be a modern day norm, I find it hard to imagine it would have been the case in Timna's time. There's also a point in the story where Noah's own wife seems to lose faith during the 40 days & nights of rain which I found a little odd. It's hard to imagine that any family who found such favour in God's eyes would lose their faith. Stressed? Yes, absolutely, but doubtful? No.

Having said that, we did enjoy this book & the perspective it gave us for both cooking & living on the ark. The author covered ideas for how she felt the women would have cooked, their daily duties, the worship the family would have participated in, & even how the toilets would have worked. Note: We read the Kindle version of this book.

The Golden Goblet is the first book I've given each child when we embark into Ancients. Generally because it's often the first book scheduled in the various curriculums we used, & for good reason! Ranofer's story is wrought with danger & intrigue as we follow his journey.

I found that this book was hard for both of my kids to put down & they were each eager to get to it each day. It's not always an easy reader, Ranofer's older brother, Gebu, is abusive both physically & mentally to him. Ranofer has no parents to fall back to during this situation & must find his own way to seek truth, courage, & justice to upset the evil that his own brother is plotting.

The final few chapters are edge of your seat reads & each time through we lose a child until they reach the conclusion & breathe a sigh of relief.

Lamps, Scrolls, & Goatskin Bottles is one we've had on the shelf for a while. It's used in the Winter Promise Ancient's curriculum which we used, in part at least, with Morgan. This was one of those many books that we had great intentions about with him, but didn't get to.

It was first on our list this go around with Jayde who is often far more interested in the cultures & non-fiction books then his older brother. This book has been a lot of fun to read through. Each chapter covers a different cultural view point of the Near Middle East {I believe the author dubs it} & references things that are true both now & back in Ancient times.

There are plenty of pictures of items, scriptural references, & even cultural explanations of why certain verses make the references they do. Each chapter has a list of crafts or recipes, & some worksheets you could copy if you were so inclined. We're just enjoying reading the book at this point & haven't indulged in the fun extras.

Pharaohs & Foot Soldiers is another title in the Ancient Job series. This book starts out with an explanation on how timelines work & why the terms BCE & CE are used as well as how the terms BC & AD were formerly used. From there it dives into a quick explanation of Ancient Egypt that spans a few pages & discusses both the pecking order of things as well as some of the gods the Ancient Egyptians would have known about. There's a quick glossary & a timeline that expands over a few pages as well to give you a bird's eye glimpse of life during this time frame.

Then the real fun begins with the various chapters based on the many jobs you could have in Ancient Egypt. Again, we tend to read these books at the pace of 2 pages per day until we are done. As we read through the chapters we often select which job we would have least minded & which job we would have really hated.

We likely won't use this book with Jayden as he remembers it quite well from the last time through. That kids memory is amazing! As he remembers it so well, I'll put it on display & he can pursue it at his leisure & we'll have room for other books that he's less familiar with.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

2016 WEEK IN REVIEW: WEEK 34-35/4-5

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Last week passed us by in a bit of a crazy blur. I was fighting what I thought was the umpteenth week of a cold & when I came down with a fever I decided it was time to book in & see the Dr. I limped through the week to get to my appointment & then spent the next several days sleeping. I'm still not 100%, but I was much more coherent & with it this week to get things done. Rather then try to post 2 back-to-back recaps I thought I'd combine them to some degree in one post.

We took it easy with our Book Basket because I spent more time coughing between reading sentences then actually reading. All though by the end of the week there was far less coughing which is nice. I'm still effected when the cold nights roll in. Why is it still snowing in Tasmania anyway?! Or when I burst out in laughter, or attempt to be active. It's all frustrating, but on the flip side sitting snuggled up under a blanket & reading away to my kids isn't such a bad way to spend time fighting off this yuck.

We officially reached our halfway mark in this term which is exciting in so many ways! Not only does it mark the typical halfway mark of a 10 week term for us, it marks the final hill we needed to climb before our summer holidays begin. 5 more weeks of school, & I'm pretty sure you'll hear the squeals of delight from my youngest in whatever part of the world you reside in! It also means 5 weeks of the new school year is under their belt as well which is kinda crazy to be thinking about.


We kicked this week off with a slight switch up for our youngest. I pulled out our BkSk 6 to scan over the book list & just felt inclined to have him use it. It's not that we're shelving MOH, but that we are beefing it up because it's really lacking in meat. I didn't announce this to Jayde, but just sprung it on him. Not something I generally do to my kids these days, but I did this time. I'm glad I did, because he was thoroughly immersed in his history this week & totally in love with it.

He'd started listening to SOTW last week alongside MOH so it wasn't really that big of a deal. BkSk uses SOTW & this gave me a firm schedule to work with & reminded me of the mapping & timeline pieces. Win-Win. My boy was giddy that he had an entire Markable Map all to himself & was delighted to start working on Egypt this week. While I love the markable maps, they are kinda lacking in space! We'll pull out a paper map of Egypt to mark up before we put Ancient Egypt to bed.

He wrapped up The Golden Goblet this week, wrapping himself up in his doona & not emerging until he'd finished the book. I know the feeling, those last few chapters are full steam ahead & I left him to it. He's really keen for his next book, mostly because it's an Heirloom Audio production & this kid hasn't met an Heirloom Audio Production that he hasn't loved yet.


We're still reading through our various additional books that we selected earlier this year, & have wrapped up the first official chapter in the Bible Jobs book. We've moved into the second chapter in Lamps, Scrolls, & Goatskin Bottles. We read about Joseph in SOTW & looked up the same story in Journey Through The Bible. Joseph's story is covered over 10 pages & we enjoyed reading snippets, & seeing artifacts from the time period. Jayde started reading from the KingFisher Encyclopedia this week which he really enjoys. Okay, true confession here, this kid just loves encyclopedias. One he reads what he was suppose to he peruses other sections for ages until I remind him he has more work to attend to.

We also started reading To Ride The Gods' Own Stallions. This is an Ancient Egypt book we didn't read last time through due to it's late arrival in our home, & I thought it might be fun to have something fresh to read this time. So far the story is enthralling, but I must confess I'm deeply taken aback by some of the language in this book. My child is completely unaware because I'm reading it aloud to him & simply edited on the fly.


He also started a wall-timeline this week much to his own delight. I left him with the option of doing a wall timeline or a book version {adding to the one he had} & he was keen for a wall version. Secretly, I'm super excited by this too because I've really really missed having a wall timeline up!


Morgan was busy with his own history these past 2 weeks. This year his history has tests after he wraps up his spines. He's working with a set of 12 US history books for spines & after each one he has a test. This is not a required part of the curriculum, but something we're adding in. Is it necessary? Absolutely not, but it's an easy way to come up with a solid grade for him, & it's great experience for him to get use to taking tests, studying for tests, & learning to work under pressure.

Admittedly, it's kinda hard to tell him he should study for tests when he managed to score a 94% on his first test without studying or taking advantage of the extra essay question worth 8pts. However, my kids are kinda funny & while they accept that you won't always score a 100%, they feel there is always room for improvement if they didn't reach that grade so he's totally open to studying.


He started filling in the US markable map. Actually one side of a markable map is USA the other is World. I purchased 2 over time so that we could always have one of each hanging up. While he is suppose ot mark a few "world" places I told him it's hands off the world map this year so Jayde can have it to himself. Besides, Morgan really hasn't done much US geography so it'll be good practice for him to focus on that map.

I was so miserable last week I didn't pull out the IG & ask him any questions about his studies & the kid never said a word about it. When I pulled out the IG this week to verify which sections he was suppose to map he got a little excited & said, "Oh good, are we finally going to get down to the business of discussing these books then?" Ahh, a boy after my own heart. Or as Mr S said, "Like Mother, like Son. You two are crazy!"

Morgan wrapped up Stink Alley which he thoroughly enjoyed. I was coherent enough to discuss his opinions on Wm Brewster before going down for the week. He started Amos Fortune this week as well as The Landing Of The Pilgrims. He was pretty pleased to see how much of the pilgrim book lined up with the information put forth in Stink Alley lined up with each other. I haven't heard much about his take on Amos yet, aside from a few small side chats that we had about slavery.


Jayden jumped ship on science as well this week. It's a bit of a crazy story, but the short version is he's not a huge fan of the elementary Apologia books & the one we'd purchased for him was frustrating him. He was keen to move back into his Dr Wile book which he hadn't entirely finished, but I wasn't keen for a lot of waffling between books & curriculum. So we sat down together & discussed the pros & cons of the two books. He's not keen on a single topic of science because he gets bored with it & feels that it's more difficult to concentrate on the topics at hand. I appreciated his openness on the topic & pulled out BkSk Science 6 & showed him how it tackles many topics over the year. We discussed how much time is spent on each topic & why.


He was pretty excited by that so we agreed to do the three days of weekly readings during the week with oral discussions vs the worksheets {for now} & he'll tackle experiments with Mr S on the weekend, because frankly Mr S makes science cool. Together he & Jayde have decided they'll be using the chemistry kit, which should be interesting. I did tell them if anyone lost eyebrows I didn't want to know about it.

Morgan, on the other hand, loves the high school Apologia books & is still happily trucking along with his Marine Biology. He spent some time reviewing for his test & finished that up this week. I'm a little off-beat with the tests because I was spoiled over the past 2 years in which he could take his science test, & practice tests, over on VHSG. Unfortunately, they don't offer Marine Biology & Apologia doesn't offer a notebook to accompany this science either so we're running solo on that this year. However, we typed up & printed out the practice tests which he's always filled in a little bit each day after his lectures in order to have it as more of a notes/study guide to work with for his tests. He took his Mod #1 test in paper form, but really missed the computer method. I told him I'd work on trying to get one made on the computer for him for Mod #2.


We broke out the Simple Machines kit that came in our Timberdoodle order earlier this term & after a much frazzled start with got the slide scale put together. The instructions suggest you put a measure of 100g on it {anything that weighs that much} & mark off your tape with 100g markings. Word of warning, the scale can't handle 100g unless you extend the slide which alters the balance. We worked with 10g of gluten free gummi bears & worked our way up from there. The smaller markings were 5g markers. Then I suggested they find things to weigh, which resulted in their attempt at weighing the birds. Archimedes is younger, lighter, & actually smaller then Squeakers so they put him on the scale.

In typical Archimedes fashion he had no desire to be a part of anything he could not chew on so he jumped off the scale, ran across the floor, out the door, & up the hallway screaming the whole way. We laughed so hard at him, he came running back to give us the stink eye. That bird!! Squeakers, on the other hand was perfectly content to sit on the scale while we told her how lovely she was to be so well behaved compared to the insane Archimedes. Unfortunately Squeakers was about 10g too heavy to get a proper weight on our scale!


The summer hockey season started last week, despite the excessive cold nights we are still dealing with, & our boy was beside himself excited. The summer session is a bit more casual then the winter session & it's a show up & pay to play type situation. He had a blast while I sat rugged up under the thickest quilt I could find in the car. I can assure you it's not every day I sit wrapped up under such a colourfully bright quilt, but that cough! When the Dr found out I'd been sitting outside in the cold he banned me from hockey until this yuck passes. Alas..


Despite taking it easy with our Book Basket, we did wrap up Operation Yes! which resulted in everyone talking at once. To say the book was a hit would be a mild understatement. One of the kids summed it up pretty quickly with, "It just felt.. so real." We started Itch this week which came with many raving reviews, we'll see if it lives up to the hype. Itch is a teenage science enthusiasts out collecting the elements from the periodic table. Thankfully we found it in audio fashion so I can keep the coughing down while we listen away, the only downer is that the narrator reads like she's late for dinner!

We're still plucking away with Why Pray? which is our theology book for the term. We're debating dropping it & moving on to something else. I've felt, as I've read the book, that it's not really speaking to me, that I'm not feeling the vibe that the author is attempting to push & that the book is just very very flat. Today I mentioned that I felt the book was rather flat & my eldest piped up with, "Yeah, I didn't' want to say anything, but it's very uninspiring. Our last 2 books made me feel like I needed to get up & get moving NOW, but this one.. leave me kinda.. I dunno."

Most of our books in this category are ones that are used in our Sonlight curriculum, & this one is no different. I don't know, perhaps if your prayer life was in need of a wake-up call this book would really be inspiring, but we're just not feeling it. I also think that the stories the man shares aren't things that teens, at least mine, can relate to. Unfortunately, the next book we're suppose to read after this one isn't here yet, so we may just continue onward until it arrives.


Morgan finished off his last Cover Story DVD lesson for the year. That probably sounds like he finished the curriculum, but he didn't. Rather he knew how much he needed to work on this term in order to have an even keel for the terms following summer break & he reached that goal last week. Until summer break he'll work on the accompanying journal & has the option to dabble with Spilling Ink if he'd like.

Jayden, is nearly finished with his first module in Writer's In Residence. Its been a slow journey with me falling sick last week. He was quick to jump back up & get busy this week & had much fun writing a small story this week. He tends to be shy about sharing these things, so it'll be interesting to see how that works as part of this curriculum encourages him to share his work & ask for critiques on it. He was quick to show his work to Mr S the day he wrote it & the story is now being quoted around the house, much to our boys delight!


Math, spelling, & grammar continued forward as normal.. or as normal as possible when your mother is coughing like a mad woman & half asleep while trying to teach you. On the flip side they seem to be none the worse for ware over the whole situation & worked on their grammar while I was passed out on the sofa sleeping of this chest infection.

Friday, October 14, 2016

2016 WEEK IN REVIEW: WEEK 33/3

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Last week was a bit of a blur as we had so many projects going on at one time. On top of that I'm fighting some type of upper respiratory mess that knocked me out with a pretty nasty fever one evening. Thankfully the kids are pretty good at keeping the pace on their own.

I also noticed at the end of the week I didn't have too many photos so you'll have to make do with a lot less photos this week. I snapped the photo to the left when I was reviewing the kids planners to see what they'd accomplished one day.

I made the Don't Forget stickers for the kids daily tasks that they often seem to state, "I forgot.." about. I leave blank spaces for them to add something of their own to. I was happily slurping away on a bottle of water when I spotted "Wii" in one child's planner. It was all I could do not to spit out the water.

He asked me what was so funny & when I pointed to it in his planner he gave me the scathing look of, "How dare you laugh at my seriousness.." So I moved on to ask what he was mapping. He told me it was a secret project he was working on & would be revealed in due time. Haha, I didn't ask if he was referring to the Civil War game he was making.


Morgan's week started on Sunday evening with math. He & Mr S usually tackle a new lesson on Saturday, but there was that pesky Grand Final that particular Saturday & pizza making to attend to. It was a bit later in the evening, but they managed whatever it was they were up to.

Jayden tackled a new math lesson as well, but we were so busy learning the new concept there's no photographic proof. This may be the first lesson in his book where he's really struggled to take the concept from his brain & put it on paper. He understands it, but often misrepresents it when he writes it down so we'll be staying here next week as well.


We're moving at a pretty good clip through Fix-It which I don't mind. I really wanted to move to the meatier portion of the programme to get the kids into new material or material they needed to review. We've had a few weeks where things have been tricky, but for the most part it's been smooth sailing for them.

We tackled spelling & writing this week for both as well. Again, no pictorial proof. Morgan is still fully in love with Cover Story & enjoying the slow methodical pace. He will only do one more lesson before laying it aside for the remainder of 2016. I hope when he picks it up in the new year he hits those meatier lesson.

Jayden is working at a slow pace through Writers In Residence Volume 1 which is okay with me. I had to chuckle with the notes he put aside for his first writing session because in the end he didn't use them for what he actually wrote about. That boy!


Both boys wrapped up another week in history. We didn't get to as many of the extras with Jayde as normal, which bummed me more then him. He enjoyed reading the encyclopedia on his own, but that was about all the "extra" he got in aside from the 3 main lessons of MOH last week.

Morgan is moving incredibly quickly through his SL Core right now. I'm impressed with his pace & curious to see if it will remain this fast throughout. He started Stink Alley, one of the few books I actually pre-read! I'm curious to hear how he likes it because it certainly is an interesting, all be it quick, read. He finished his first volume of HUS this week & needs to prep for a test to accompany it.

I am not big on testing in general, but I do feel it's important that my children can take tests, & take them well. I also feel it's important that they aren't intimidated by the idea of a test so we'll be using the Hewitt tests that accompany the HUS books for our boy this year.



Morgan is still loving his Marine Biology, & working away at his notebook with it. He had a few experiments to tackle last week & had help one day from his beloved Archimedes. Notice his alert manner in the photo above? He was most confused by the transferring of liquid from one cup to the other, but horrified by the turkey baster that was being used to accomplish the job. At least he wasn't attempting to eat the books or experiment this time around!!

Jayden did science on Sunday with Mr S & they had a blast. Unfortunately I forgot to snag photos from Mr S to post, & will have to find them later. However, despite the fun that was had Jayden asked to go back to the science boom from last year, which he hadn't fully completed. I have absolutely no issue with this, so we will return to the book by Dr Wile.


Wednesday afternoon I mentioned a harebrained scheme I had in regards to rearranging a few things. My kids suggested I not do this, & after doing some measuring & thinking I agreed that it was probably not a wise idea at the time. However, my youngest decided to go clear off one of the shelves & then expectedly waited for me to be delighted in his efforts & get the ball rolling for my plans.

Considering he & I had a rough morning {which is secret language for we had a spat} I really didn't want to crush his attempt at helping & being kind. So, the rearranging began.. It took all evening & well into Thursday. The kids attempted to work around towering piles of books asking where their notebooks or planners were. It was seriously insane, & of course we didn't have enough book space when all was said & done.

Friday afternoon I shouted road trip, much to Morgan's horror {he had school work he wasn't sure he should leave unattended} & whisked them away up the coast. We picked up a new cube shelf from a hardware shop up that way, then checked out the newly remodeled library up there. If you're curious, we hated it. It looks fresh & open & has plenty of room, but they seem to have gotten rid of half their books!

Then we hit a crafting store, which was a total bust for what I was after, & headed towards home. There were cries of ravenous hunger from the backseat & I debated taking the kids to the new American Diner in town, but decided that would be so cruel without Mr S in tow. So we pulled into a McDonalds instead where we can't even consume 98% of the menu & treated ourselves to the few things we could eat without getting sick.

As we piled back in the car & discussed what to pick up at the shop on the way home we got a txt from Mr S saying he was headed home. Home?! I was confused, it was a whole hour early, until I remembered no one had changed the clock in the car from the time change we'd endured on MONDAY! Whoops..


We told him where we were & that we were just popping into the shop for dinner supplies, which was when he informed us he hadn't taken the spare house key. Brilliant, "Just climb in the school room window, I think we left it ajar." Yeah, he wasn't having that. So the boys & I opted to make quick time in the grocery & got funny stares as we were running past people like our lives were at stake.. until we saw the American pumpkins. There were gasps of joy & delight, & whiel we didn't buy a large one that were listed for $3 a kilo {crazy!} we did pick up 2 minis. Then we remembered poor Mr S & made a break for it.


A whirlwind end to our week, but one we're unlikely to forget anytime soon, that's for sure. If you look closely at the picture above you'll see two bundled up figures at the water's edge. One is bent in half collecting ocean water for the new weeks experiments while the other decided he'd keep an eye out for: sharks, whales, attacking birds, & anyone from unnamed political parties who might discourage the collecting of ocean water to better educate your mind.

Seriously, I'm just glad the nearest person was far enough away that they couldn't hear the maniacal laughter coming from the two of them!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Artist Of The Month: Andy Warhol

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A month or so ago, we met up with friends one of whom is an artsy Mamma who use to host a monthly art club for a few of the local home educators.

We really loved Art Club even though our boys were the oldest ones present. They still walked away having learned something fun & having tried out a new medium or era of art.

Times change & with that came the dissolving of Art Club for now. We were saddened by it, because honestly I'm really really bad about digging out anything artsy for the kids to do. Sure, they draw a lot & try out things, but that's the extent of it.

So, when we met up with friends a month ago the Mamma offered to do an art project with the kids. She'd had one ready to roll for Art Club but it never happened. We jumped on the chance & said we'd love to take part. The project was based on pop art, specifically one of Warhol's projects. We viewed some of his art, & heard about how much one of his famous paintings had recently sold for. Then the kids all set about making their projects. It was crazy & fun.

When we came home I checked the shelf thinking I might have had a book about Warhol, but I didn't. Bummer. Our library, however did. Getting To Know.. books are fun, all be them a little bit juvenal depending on the age range you are aiming for. It was a great over view for my guys though & they found the illustrators interpretation of the text rather amusing.

We read through the book last Thursday & then I pulled up my trusty Pinterest board of art projects I figured we might tackle one day, & showed the kids the ones based on Warhol's works. My projects were flagged ages about, but all pertain to the infamous Soup Can artwork. Which didn't bother the kids, because they found a considerable amount of Warhol's art a bit too out there for them.


They each chose a different project, but both projects came from Art Projects For Kids. You've checked out that website, right? I find it a huge blessing that the author shares so many of the projects she tries first hand right in her art classroom.

One of the boys wants to draw his can of soup from scratch, but he confessed that he's super picky about his art work so it might take him forever. I told him it didn't need to be perfect, but he disagreed. We've put all their former art projects from Art Club in a special notebook, so the idea was to attempt to continue on our own. Here's hoping he doesn't take the rest of the year to finish his soup can.. or end up with a huge one on canvas!

The other one decided he'd rather colour in a soup can that was all ready drawn. I printed out the Trading Cards from the APFK blog for him & said it was his choice to make them as actual trading cards or just to colour them in with vibrant colours & come up with crazy soup names, or you know.. semi-normal soups if he desires.

I did suggest they use markers for this project because I figured the colours would be more vibrant like the pop-art we looked at & read about, but in fairness art is a personal thing & I'll just have to wait to see what they come up with.

The project neither of them chose was a simple soup can label to colour in & then place on a tin of soup. On the bright side, it's probably best they didn't choose it because we couldn't have flattened the soup tin to put in their art portfolio, but on the other hand it would have been funny to see it sitting in the pantry.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

2016 Week In Review: Week 32/2

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Our weeks look kinda funny in these weekly wrap-ups right now, but there’s purpose to it & I like to keep them semi-organised so that when I’m looking for specific years I can easily locate them. Hopefully it’s not too confusing.

We had another busy week here, but this time it was more academic business then the outside stuff. We tend to be one of those weirder than normal homeschool families who prefer to keep the home in homeschool. Meaning, I’m not big on lots of days outside of the house unless they are after the normal learning hours, so while we were busy this week it was a calmer sense of business for us.

Mr S’ works schedule changed as his office moved out of the business district & into the industrial area for now. This means he can still bike to work without as many hazards & dangers he’d normally face. So thankful for such an awesome boss who didn’t mind the half hour change. It was a little strange for the rest of us, at first, to see Mr S join us in the library for smoothies & the beginning portion of our morning routine though. 


Our only outing this week was Hockey Clinic for Morgan. Most local youth sports run a clinic during school holidays & we’ve not always taken advantage of attending. I really debated signing him up for this one, & when I asked him if he was keen his only response was, “Yeah, but what about my school work?” I pointed out it would keep.

It turned out to be a beautiful day, but wouldn’t you know not a single person from his team or league even showed up! I was kinda bummed for him, but my boy took it all in stride. One of the refs from his league was there so when they asked people to partner up that’s who he partnered up with. He also quickly befriended the fellow running the clinic & was full of questions for him.


Jayden took school work with him & busily worked away. You know, it’s pretty amazing how much more this kid can accomplish in a very small time period when he’s out in public. You’d honestly think that being in a public setting would be a distraction for him, but he’s not really that into hockey so his only distraction was the fact that he hadn’t brought shorts & really wanted to go swimming. The hockey field is across the street from the beach, & the waves were calling his name.


Writers In Resident arrived last week so we were able to dig into that this week. It’s incremental in steps, & comes with a schedule in the front in typical Apologia fashion. I’m so-so with the schedule, but I’ve always felt so-so about Apologia schedules. They tend to schedule really light days followed by really heavy days instead of even keel days across the board. Needless to say we’ll be altering the schedule so we can have an even pace. In the mean time, there were no complaints for his first week of writing. We’ll see how next week goes when we get into the actual writing sessions.


Morgan is still enjoying Cover Story & was cracking up so loudly one morning the rest of us came in to see what on earth was going on. Professor Schwabauer had himself one ripper of a video going on & admittedly we all hung out to check on the outcome. Speaking of scheduling, this course only requires video lessons three times per week, so our boy tends to do them every other day to give himself breathing room for the writing exercises as they arrive. All though thus far none have been very in-depth.

That’s not a complaint, as I know the curriculum is slowly building up to things, it’s more an observation. We’re coming from a year of a pretty intense writing course with a lot of writing each week. We didn’t dislike the programme, but it is nice to have a slightly slower pace this year.


It took a bit for Jaydie to full grab his math lesson this week. This kid is a funny one, we had the same disagreement each day when he’d start his lesson, & each day I’d draw a diagram of the fraction as though it were a pizza & then he’d be off & running. Ahh, my sweet little SWC. Ha! 


Morgan’s math this week was more geometry based & while he had the concepts down pat he kept making the same silly mistake in his equations. Mr S teaches math in our home at this level so while I was cooking dinner one evening I expressed my concern & how he may need to consider visual aids. Yes, I actually did, sometimes it’s hard to let go of things we’re so use to doing! Anyway, Mr S rose to the challenge & created some origami pyramids.


Jayden wrapped up another 3 lesson in MOH Vol. 1 this week. His lessons are still light in history at this stage, which is something I anticipated. My hope is that we’ll be able to work some projects & in-depth studies of various time frames in as we continue forward, but we’ll see. After he reads each lesson I review the challenge cards with him, basically using them to be sure he grasped the crux of his lessons. He also read 2-3 page in the Usborne Ancient World Encyclopedia after we do the challenge cards.

We finally wrapped up the introduction in Kings & Carpenters this week, wrapping up pages .. -.. We’re really enjoying reading Lamps, Scrolls, & Goatskin Bottles. This is one we had to read when Morgan did Ancients, but for some reason we never got to it. It’s more a cultural look, but very enjoyable. We didn’t read as many chapter sin The Ark, The Reed, & The Fire Cloud this week. Morgan loves to sit in on this one, so we held of reading it during his hockey clinic & never ended up getting to it later in the day.


Morgan is still loving his Sonlight Core. He’s run into a few unusual things this week that had him pulling more books off the shelf & googling things. Not to mention the constant, “Hey did you guys know..” that we get to hear. I really enjoy when they opt to share, especially when it’s because we’re doing or discussing something that has brought the lesson to mind. He’s nearly wrapped up the first volume of The History Of Us  & has 1 chapter or so to go of Before Columbus.


We ended up watching a few Drive-Thru history movies this week: Ancients Episode 1, which is very similiar, if not identical, to the Holy Land video we watched. Mind you, I wasn’t as tuned into this particular episode as it started out very much like one we’d seen previously so I was busy upgrading grades, filling in planners for the new week, & other such things. They also watched Us History Episode 2 which is fantastic timing considering the book Morgan will dig into next week.


Jayden isn’t feeling the love with his science book, & admittedly science is totally not my thing unless it’s zoology or oceanography based. However, I try not to allow my dislike for a subject brush off onto my kids. So we evaluated what he wasn’t liking which was, “The same introduction from the last book! Seriously, do they think there is anyone alive on earth who doesn’t know what matter or atoms are?” Ha! 


We also tackled a few fun experiments this week, all though he made me go out in the road to retrieve that stone because he was wearing a onesie & didn’t want the neighbours to think he forgot to get dressed. He didn’t, mind you, he purposefully pulled out a onesie to wear! Then declared that the best thing about homeschooling is not having to wear a uniform, as if he even knows what that is like!!!


Morgan dug into his Marine Biology this week. There is no notebook for Marine Biology available so he’s making his own this year copying down all the vocabulary words he comes across, the OYO questions, & some of the diagrams. He’s not up to the study test yet so I haven’t decided how we’ll handle that.  He also had some experiments this week, & came in to announce we needed to go to the beach. Mind you, it was pouring with rain out, sheep grazier warnings were being issued, & so were marine wind warnings. I asked how important it was, & we decided it could wait until the weather calmed.. We went down the following day & he collected a bottle of seawater which he promptly brought home & stuck a post-it on stating, “Drink at your own risk. May contain whale or other ocean life.” I promise, the bottle is not that big.


In our book basket this week we read from our new poetry book. We’re enjoying it, but had a chuckle at a few repeated poems all ready. We made it up to Day 8 in Why Pray & hit 1 Timothy in our Bible reading. We continued with Operation Yes!, Wile E. Coyote Science, & Fallacy Detective. We didn’t get to many of our other books this week due to the change in our morning routine, however, we did end up reading a book about Andy Warhol & the kids each picked a project to do based on the infamous soup can art.



We also tackled Spelling, Fix-It Grammar, & the laser maze this week. A much busier week, academically, then last but enjoyable all the same. The kids books showed up in the mail so next week they’ll get to dig into those as well!