Tuesday, March 28, 2017

When Our Blender Exploded..

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 It all started last week, or maybe the week before that. You'd think I’d remember the exact date because it's not every day kids blow up a blender full of smoothie in your kitchen. In fact it's a first for us. 

It was a mess of epic proportions, the stuff legends & movies are made of. I’d just sat down to ice my knees when a child flipped on the blender & I heard the unmistakable sound of a metal spoon in it. We have this crazy high powered blender so a spoon just gets eaten up, but it’s loud & horrid sounding. The child didn’t turn off the blender, so I dropped the ice & started running for the kitchen, & seconds before I skidded across the tea towel laying in the doorway the lid to the blender flew off & the large metal spoon, the one surely no one would miss sitting in the blender, came flying out. 

People ducked, someone shouted, “TURN IT OFF!” & the noise came to an abrupt halt. Everyone surfaced from the places they were hiding, under counters, behind chairs, I picked myself up off the floor & as the mess came into focus my mouth fell open. Then as my eyes roved the kitchen wall I saw the smoothie all over the window, the horrid blind I’ve been meaning to replace for a year now, the cupboards. All the cupboards. Not a single one missed out, including the ones on the opposite side of the room. And as I started to chuckle I slipped on smoothie on the floor & as I went crashing into a cupboard I looked up, who knows why! Perhaps I expected a miraculous hand to reach out & save me, what I saw was a ceiling covered in more smoothie. 
We spent an hour scrubbing & thought we’d gotten it all, but it was a few days later I noticed more smoothie.. on more cupboards. I had a pitiful headache a few days later & wanted to go back to bed. We are on term break after all, but messing up my normal sleep schedule can actually give me pretty intense headaches. I decided on the distraction method.

I went into the kitchen, sighed, grabbed some fancy pants DoTerra cleaner & a few rags to begin the task at hand. I mean, if I have to scrub up week old smoothie at least the kitchen will smell nice afterwards, right? Essential oils are one of the fewest smells in the world that don’t give me migraines. 

So there I sat, sprawled, in a most unladylike manner, across the floor. I was scrubbing the baseboard of the baking pan cupboard. I was dreaming of autumn weather, Tropical Storm Lawrence dissipating, & what on earth I might fix for dinner when the eldest wandered in.

“Do you want any help?”
“I dunno, I mean I’d love help because who knew smoothie could go so far, but you don’t really have to stop what you’re doing to scrub smoothie.”
“Well, I wanted a shower, but I just realised I might have an underpants shortage.”
“That’s peculiar isn’t it?”
“Not really, I forgot to watch my laundry.”
“Oh, if you’re running a load would you wash Dad’s grey t-shirt. He was incredibly forlorn about it not being clean this morning.”
“Forlorn? Really Mom, I doubt that.”
“He was! He looked everywhere for it, apparently he owns more than one grey shirt & I thought it was clean. He said wearing a Party Mad t-shirt to work was inappropriate.”
“He has a point.”
“I guess.”

He ran off to start laundry, including the infamous shirt. I really wasn’t sure I’d see him again until I was done. But the youngest was sleeping, soundly. In the middle of the living room floor. He looked so peaceful we left him alone, but it also meant the eldest was feeling a little lopsided. Funny how that happens.

So he wandered back into the kitchen, “I guess I could help. I don’t really mind.”
“Whatever you want to do. I have to move, my knee might be locked up now.”
“Maybe you should ice it some more.”
“I can’t, if I look at one more curriculum catalog my poor head might explode.”
“I’ve been thinking about that..”

We’ve all been thinking about curriculum Our eldest’s final years in our homeschool can be counted on one hand. I don’t even need all those fingers to count them actually. It’s this mixture of excitement & pity. It’s kinda scary realising the one thing you’ve done for the past 11 and a half years is nearly at a close. Anyway, it’s the time of year when we’re looking ahead to what we’ll use next year.

I thought we had it all sorted out with the changes the youngest was making, the choices the older had made. Now we were just waiting on the date circled 6 times in bright neon yellow on the calendar to arrive so we could place our orders. Those words, “I’ve been thinking..” cause my knees to go weak, which isn’t saying much because my knees are weak enough that I have to constantly wear tape on them anyway.

“What have you been thinking?”
“Well, I’ve really loved all the books I’ve been reading for school.”
“You have read a lot, 42 or some such oddness at last count.”
“Yeah, anyway the one thing I really hate in a book is when there’s cursing. It just makes me so angry. I dunno, has the author forgotten how to use a thesaurus of something?”

It’s a hard world we live in when words that were once taboo & crass are now second nature. A few days prior to this conversation I’d been left alone in the lounge room of an evening, I flipped to a sitcom that was entirely new to me, which is pretty much everything on tv because we really only watch sport on our tv. I was shocked by the common place language on a network channel. My son has struggled with groups of teens who fall back on crass language often, but he takes to heart the words of the Psalmist who said, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock, my redeemer.” 

My son often weighs his actions against his interpretation of the Bible & when he’s unsure he comes to ask. This statement, therefore, didn’t really surprise me, but it did give me pause to think.

“You know, we always skip a book or two with the programme because I find that there is always one or two that I find in appropriate for our home.”

Which in fairness is saying something, because I don’t police books. I find that my children are very good judges of character, but I do prefer to lead by example.

“We skipped
Betsy & The Emperor because I felt the author made Napoleon out to act like a child predator. Not to mention Betsy was incredibly fool hardy. Which is kinda true about her. Did you know her family returned to England in disgrace for some of what happened with Napoleon & they were banished to Australia.”

“Really?”

“Yes. There’s a book in our library about it..”


And so the conversation went, round & round about books we’d read & loved. Books we’d skipped due to some reason that made perfect sense to him now, but wouldn’t have when he was younger. To a questionable book that has been added into the curriculum, to a rather questionable one scheduled in this years curriculum. Which brought us full circle.

“I dunno, you’re going to find that if you stick with the curriculum you are using you may find a progression of books that are like that.”

“No, don’t say that! They can’t all be like that.”

“They won’t be, but some will.”

We were quite a while, I was on the other side of the kitchen now, wondering if the red muck I was scrubbing up was strawberry jam, ketchup, or blood. I was leaning towards the jam but in this house anything is possible.

“So maybe I could do a mix. You could pick out the best books that I will love, & we’ll mix those with the other curriculum. I kinda like that idea, I really loved the look of that Bible study.”

“I could do that, I mean we haven’t ordered anything yet.”

“Nothing? wait, I thought you ordered my math book? I hope you ordered my math book, I really really need to get started on that.”

“Yes, I ordered the math book, I meant I hadn’t ordered anything else.”

“Mom, are you just laying on the floor or are you actually doing something?”

“I need water. You should go wake your brother up.”

It wasn’t until after he left the room I realised he’d never actually helped with any of the cupboards. Not that I mind, I enjoyed listening to his thought process.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

That Time Of Year

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It seems like each school year we make a few changes somewhere along the line. This year as we wrap up our second term & look ahead at purchasing curriculum for the new year we’ve discovered a few changes we’ll be making.

The majority of things will stay the same, but Jayden will be easing into the Hearts Of Dakota Resurrection to Reformation. He’s not really thriving with our current curriculum choice & I’d like to see him do more then survive. This boy thrives on non-fiction books, fact filled fun reads. He finds it delightful to curl up with the encyclopedia & spend ages reading away in it.

As I was looking ahead to the new year & the various other curriculums available I found myself on the HOD website & wouldn’t you know that was the same day our catalog arrived. Jayden & I sat down & compared the two curriculums he could choose from to use in the new year. He admitted that he doesn’t enjoy Sonlight or Bookshark because of all the fictional stories {which the rest of us love}, but he was scared of a change for fear of finding himself in something else he didn’t like.

I really appreciated his honestly & the mature side he showed in this situation. He took 24 hours to think it over & I spent that time reading up on the curriculum & praying about the choice ahead to be made. And just like that, the decision was made to switch.

There’s a small bit of an overlap between where he is & the programme he’d move into, so rather then stress about that we’ll pick the programme that picks up where he currently left off & begin it when it arrives. Rather than stress over finishing it between then & the end of our year, we’ll just take our time with it.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Middle Ages

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We’re gearing up to start Middle Ages in the new term, & as I was sorting through resources I thought I’d share some of our favourites here. We’ve used many over the years at varying levels, but this is likely our last trance through this time period & so this trip through the choices are based on the resources I know will best appeal to this particular child.

My goal is to limit this time period to the 9-10 weeks scheduled with our Sonlight Curriculum, so we can meld it right into Renaissance in our final term of the year. However, we’ll be adding in bits & bobs to help aide us along.


I have a couple of new resources to use this go around as well, which I’m pretty excited about! We also have a few fun things which I hope will be right up my World Traveler’s alley so I’m excited to move into this new time period. Not to mention, I find the Middle Ages far more enjoyable than Ancients.


Below is the list of everything we’ll be planning to use this trip through:

We will not be reading this entire book in 10 weeks! We’ll read about half, maybe a little more, depending on the schedule in our curriculum. We’ll roughly be aiming to get through Chapter 25 in either case.

Again, our goal wont’ be to get through all of this, but we will be aiming for roughly half. Last time through we only used MOH2 through the period of the New Church, but our last time through we had a great amount of other things going too. This time our aim is to follow it through, we’ll see what happens. We'll be using the MP3 Audio version.

We own a fair amount of books in this series & used most of them on our last trip through world history. The current world study traveler isn’t as much into all the hands on projects the last one did, so while this has been pulled out I’m not sure if we’ll use it in full. There are a few topics in the book we may read about if they aren’t covered in any of our other selections.

This series has been well loved by everyone in the house, & I was really excited to pull the Middle Ages title off the shelf again. This may cover a few of the topics from the above book that I want to be sure our world traveler grasps as these books are really incredibly thorough, but if not we have the other book to fall back on.

We picked this up on our last trip through Middle Ages when one of the boys had a huge fascination with knights. They perused the book thoroughly, but I’m not sure how much of that was for the photo eye candy or the actual content. Either way I pulled it back off the shelf & added it to my pile. It discusses the many levels of training a knight went through & the life they lived there after.

You can’t study Middle Ages & not enjoy a book about a castle, right? We picked this one up a while back thinking it was scheduled last time through, only to discover it wasn’t. We’ll enjoy it all the same as we watch the planning & building of a castle come to life in this book.

This title is probably just a pinch behind time wise, but it’s such a great read that we can’t leave it off. It tells the story of Stephen’s stoning & those who were brought to Christ through Stephen prior to that moment. While we know the ending of Stephen’s story, it’s still a beautiful book to bring to life & remind us of the struggles those who first called themselves Christians endured.

This book starts out a little rough around the edges with an incredibly abusive grandfather who is the legal guardian the young protagonist in the story. But once you move past that small portion of the first chapter it’s all adventure & intrigue something that I think my world traveler will eat up.

Last trip through this time period we read Adam Of The Road & found it to be one of the most boring books we’d encountered. Don’t hate us if you love the book, but honestly it was a little happily ever after for it’s time period. I was delighted to have this book on the shelf to pull off & show another side of the traveling minstrel. The Puppeteer’s Apprentice is much more full of action & shows the good & bad side of life on the road during the Middle Ages. Beware, there’s a tear jerker ending though!

This is a new title to us, but we’ve heard many wonderful things about the book & have decided to give it a go. I was debating having my world traveler do this one solo as it can be picked up in audio fashion from Audible, but as it’s not one I’ve read yet I’d like to read it with him, so we’ll see what transpires there.

We own this book both in paperback form & audio form so we may listen to this one vs reading it as our schedule will be pretty full with all the lovely books we have & I really don’t want to rush through our various books & plans.

I picked this book up just a few days ago while I was out & about. I spotted it it on a clearance table at a local toy shop. The book discusses the various types of catapults that were used during this time frame & then has supplies for reader to build one as well as a few cardboard castles to use as your targets. It’s right up my current World Traveler’s alley! 

My dad sent the boys one or two of these books many years ago & it has inspired many fun crafting sessions as they’ve invented varying weapons from time to time. I thought I’d challenge my  boy to make a “weapon” or two per week from the book. A quick note about this book: The projects within can be built from general supplies around the house, but most should be done with parent supervision.

We own many of the Drive Thru DVDs & had a great time watching them through Ancients, so I pulled our next set off the shelf for the next time period. I noticed our DVDs are still sealed, which is peculiar, because I was certain we had previously watched them. Perhaps we watched them off the tv instead!?

I was actually scanning our movie shelf for Robin Hood, but couldn’t find a single copy which baffeled me as I’m certain we own the old Disney cartoon version. Ahh well, I stumbled upon this one which I pulled off to watch at some point. We’ll likely scan Netflix, YouTube, & iTunes for other titles as we immerse ourselves in the time period.


In fairness we own a few games that would be classified as Middle Ages, but I stumbled upon Cathedral while in that afore-mentioned toy shop this week. It was on special for a really great price {for our area} & I snatched it up. I can’t comment on how exciting or not it is as we haven’t dug in to play it yet, but my World Traveler is already intrigued by it because the pieces are beautifully carved wooden castles. Can’t wait to give it a go!  {Aussie readers, you can also find it here, but I promise I didn't pay even close to that price. Check your local ToyWorld.}

We own several different versions of this came, all loads of fun to play! Any excuse to indulge in a round is a good one, right? The funny part is I'm not sure we own the origional as it was out of stock the day we picked up our very first copy which was playable without the origional version. We've been trying for ages to obtain the origional. Ahh, but that's okay we have the winter edition which is just as fun & fits the Middle Ages theme, some of our other versions are better suited to other periods of history.

Also not pictures, but a fun card game. We kept in the car for a while to pull out at picnics & other outings where we'd be for a while. I'm not sure my current World Traveler has played this one, as he was considerably younger when we obtained it & may have needed a buddy each time. It's funny how games where they needed a buddy became new all over again when they are able to play it on their own.

We have a few different version of Chess around too. The ultimate favourite that often comes out is the first version we ever purchased the kids, a funny little Sesame Street version. My boys may be teens these days, but this one still gets pulled out to be used. We've had to glue a few of them back together over time, but it's still holding up.


We picked up this nifty lego set a few years back on a deep deep discount at our local lego shop. Some of it is still put together, some isn't, so I may challenge my World Traveler to put it back together while he listens to some of the lovely books ahead.


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 17

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We're at that point in our term where we are counting down until Term Break. This break will also mark the halfway point of our year, which means we're also discussing what will be used next year for each child.

The upside of using programmes like MUS, Sonlight, IEW, & Apologia Sciences is that it's pretty simple to just get the next book or level. Which is basically what will be happening here; there was some debate about the next SL level for Morgan, but that was quickly sorted.

It's always a relief to be at that halfway point in our year & be able to breathe a little easier. Mind you, we only breath easier if people are on point with their studies & for the most part everyone is. We had a stall with math in waiting for new curriculum to arrive {our fault} & so there's a small hiccup there, but we're not too worried about it. We've also made a small change to science {again} for Jayden, but that'll be okay too.


We wrapped up our current poet, Emily Dickinson in the poetry book we've been reading. We really enjoyed her poetry & the biography in this book has sparked ongoing chatter about this poet. The only downside we had with her poems were that they don't have titles & so at times we had a bit of confusion as the reader plunged from one poem right into the other thinking they were connected & just different stanzas.


We're still enjoying Anne Shirley's story. Oh the memories reading this book with my boys brings back. I still remember all the fuss & bother when the origional movie was on tv & how my father diligently recorded it so we could watch it over & over again.. As I read I hear those very voices all though I cannot mimic them. Morgan was dissapointed we didn't get to read as much of Anne's story this week as we would have liked, but we had a few late mornings & when that happens Anne's story is put on the back burner. 


The Animal Whisperer has nearly wrapped up Ancient Rome in history. He's enjoyed aspects of this time period, but is really at that point in our term where he's ready for a break. He wrapped up the 1st volume of SOTW & is due to start the second one on Monday. He'll only read a couple of chapters before we'll have him lay it aside for the term. He's reading more chapters of MOH in order to wrap up Volume 1 before the end of term. That way he can jump into Volume 2 & enjoy hearing about the new church as he starts in on the middle ages. I also have a few books for that time period I'd like to pull out & read with him.


Morgan wrapped up Volume 5 with HUS this week & is eager to jump right into Volume 6. That's the last one to read before term break. He is, however, really missing hearing more than one view for his spine this year. In previous years we've always had a couple of spines going at a time so he can hear the same stories from different view points, allowing him to draw his own conclusions. One year, I think we had 3 spines going, which was crazy, but he absolutely loved it. He asked if we happened to have MOH IV on hand so he could read corresponding lessons. Unfortunately we don't, as it's still quite pricey, but I told him I'd pick up the MP3 Audios for him.

Yes, I mark up my IGs. I tend to sit down & highlight various sections for the weeks ahead. Yellow are discussion points, Green is vocabulary & Key people or times. Blue is geography. All though I think all you can see in the photo above is green & yellow.


Jayden's timeline is still rapidly growing. He's still adding to BC all thanks to MOH, while SOTW is up to AD. It's funny to be adding both at the same time! We're now up to 4 lines. We had 3, but he really wanted a fresh line for the AD pieces. We'll have to give an updated picture/video at the end of term. We have a few BC pieces out of place as the count down vs up causes a few hiccups when pieces are added at times. 


Morgan's new math book arrived this week, hoorah hoorah! Yes, he was excited too, no seriously he was! However, it arrived late enough int he week that I suggested he wait to dig in until the weekend. He starts new lessons on the weekend so that if he needs any guidance Mr S is there to work with him. I suspect he'll breeze through the first lesson, but I guess we'll wait & see. He's relieved to have his new book, this kid takes his school pretty seriously. Yes, he's laying inside a pizza; his USA Gram crocheted that for him for Christmas. Isn't it awesome?


Jayden wrapped up another math lesson this week as well. He should finish his current math book in 2 weeks unless he gets hung up on any upcoming lessons, which I doubt. Despite his nervousness with math at the beginning of this term he's doing really well. I wasn't sure how the last few lessons in the book would go, but I'm delighted to see they've been a breeze. It never fails that the lessons that trip him tend to be the easier ones & the more complicated lessons are "no big deal" for him.


Morgan finally hit the point in Cover Story where he's been given some writing assignments, we'll see how that goes. Previous to hitting that point I'd suggested that if he didn't get some writing assignments soon we'd need to move into another writing curriculum & he was rather aggrieved at the mere thought! He has a large assignment that will be due next week, but he's pretty excited about it so I can't wait to see how it goes for him.

Jayden's writing {IEW} showed up this week, so he'll jump in with that in the new week. We're new to IEW, but we've had various people recommend it for the reluctant writer & our boy certainly fits that name to a T. I'm excited & leery to see how it goes for him, & totally delighted that they have video lessons.


Jayden wrapped up nearly all of the Chemistry in BkSk Science 6, & we've decided to shelve the remainder of this science programme. We ran into the same problems using it a second time as we did using it the first time. While we love this book the various sections are written for different age groups & the Chemistry section is actually quite thick. When I noticed my boys eyes were glazing over & he was no longer paying attention it was time to decide what to do next. It doesn't help that the experiments are limited & once you wrap up the chemistry section the experiments still only focus on chemistry. He'll return to his Science In The Beginning book for the remainder of this year & then we'll give BkSk Science 7 a whirl.


Morgan moved into Module 4 in Marine Biology & enjoyed kicking off the week with a lab. It was pretty simplistic in that he just needed to cut open sponge & determine what type he had, with the beach next door we were able to collect more than one sample for him to check out & he after the lecture he was quickly able to tell us which types of sponge he had. The postal satchel was just what he pulled out of the bin to cut open the sponge on as we had no newspaper on hand.


A better look at his awesome sponge. We'd gone to the beach last Sunday intentionally to pick up various pieces of sponge for him. There's always a bunch of it laying around the beach so we scouted out the three varieties we most often see on our beach. At the park on Friday he went down to the beach & found a magnificent specimen bigger than a human head! We use to find large chunks like that & the kids would wear them as hats when they were younger. Ahh, I don't miss all the sand in the hair. hehe


We should be wrapping our grammar book in another couple of weeks, just in time for the end of term break. I had to chuckle this week when my eldest grabbed the book off the table & said, "Wait, what? I didn't realise you meant the name of the story was really The Nose Tree! I thought you were just kidding." Ahh, that funny boy! 


Wednesday things were completely chaotic in the house & when Morgan realised how late it was he asked if I'd like him to make dinner. Who am I to decline an offer like that? Pasta alla matriciana with Peas, better known as Bacon Pasta in our home, was on the menu so he set himself to work. Mr S generally makes this meal around here so when he came in & saw what was being cooked he found it really hard not to "help".  As a note, we swap chicken broth for the wine & don't add chilli, I think when Mr S made it the first time he opted not to use chilli because the kids were younger & couldn't handle anything "hot". Due to dairy allergies cheese isn't mixed in the pot, but each person who can have cheese adds it on their own plate.


This funny blue blob was made from Jayde's thinking putty. He was using his putty during math, but had become distracted so I asked him to put it down so I could add a face to it.. Later he hid it in the hood of jacket to "surprise me", all though the surprise was on him because I didn't find it until the next day when it required extreme help to remove it from my jacket! Ha!

We had an outing on Friday, just the park, where the kids met up with a friend. We didn't stay incredibly long, but the boys still enjoyed themselves. Morgan has been attending to French & Piano during the week as well, but generally when I'm busy so no photos. His French is coming along well enough now that when I'm practicing mine of an evening & Mr S asks what on earth I'm saying Morgan can generally pick up the gist of it, or at least say, "Dad it's French, you wouldn't understand." All in all, another lovely week of school all wrapped up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 15-16

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Another week has flown by & we've officially crossed the halfway mark of our second term! Pretty amazing because for a while it felt like we were just treading water. We officially wrapped up week 5 & week 6 of our term over the past 2 weeks. Yep, one more "double-up" week in review post so that I can get caught up. Crazy as it sounds, I find I'm putting off my WIR posts when I'm behind because while we do a lot of work in a week {or rather the kids do} I find it harder to recall when I'm in the midst of a new week of happenings.

We celebrated a birthday in week 15, as Morgan turned 16. While most people are in shock that their child is turning 16, & it's not that we weren't, we were more impressed that for the first time in years upon years {or so it seemed} that Valentine's Day did not fall in the exact same week as our son's birthday. Yeah, it caused a bit of a stir in our home!


Morgan officially wrapped up his math book, & is currently awaiting the arrival of his new Algebra book. Exciting times, all though he feels a little stress as he'd hoped to wrap up the previous book a bit sooner then he did. It's all good though, & knowing this child he'll excel with the next book & be fine despite the small hiccup.

Jayden spent 2 weeks on Lesson 27 in his math book. For those looking for tips, Lesson #27 in Epsilon deals with both area & circumference of a circle all in one go. From previous experience I found this to be information overload for a student as they need time to practice each way without concern they are using the wrong method. So for Jayde we split it up over 2 weeks, & it worked really well for us. He's in the home stretch with his math book as well. I told him he can thank his brother for being the guinea pig which has made his own transition through the pre-algebra sections very simple.


Morgan buckled down with his science to get back into the swing of things. I was a little worried for him that having waiting so long to get back to it this term that he might find himself needing to do make-up time with it, but after surveying the schedule & the school calendar he'll be fine. Module 3 of Marine Biology was a tough one, but he did enjoy the information. He also realised he didn't take notes through the module like he normally does & he felt this greatly impacted his retention level. I love that he discovered this without any urging from me, it means he's more likely to apply the knowledge he gained.

Jayden is still humming along with the BkSk science that he's working on. Our goal is to get him through the chemistry portion before term break. We'll see if we meet that goal. Oddly enough all experiments for this entire year are based on Chemistry despite the fact that he'll touch on 2 other topics. We may have to scan our home shelves for experiment books or pull out some kits.


Both boys are still working away at their core work {history.} Morgan is in Volume 5 of HUS & still enjoying things. He has one more volume to finish & a total of 3 books to wrap up before Term Break. It's always fun to see the end in sight & we're all eager for a break!  Jayden has 2 books to wrap up before term break & is hoping to clear MOH 1 off his list before break as well.

We didn't line up MOH & SOTW, it wasn't my objective when we began things. Rather we've just read a chapter or two of MOH each time he sits down & reads from SOTW. I think if your goal is to finish them both at the same time you'd need to do 2-3 chapters of MOH for each chapter of SOTW. If you wanted to match them up there are many sources for that already from Winter Promise's curriculum to schedules over on RedShift.

From doing these 2 cores previously I'm not sure if we'll do all 4 levels of MOH along side it or not. In fairness the first 2 levels of MOH are much lighter in content & the lessons range from 2 minutes to 10 minutes. Where as Levels 3 & 4 have far meatier content.  In an ideal world it would be amazing to do them side by side, but reality tends to be a little different.


There were some major mapping assignments that happened. Morgan needed to map out what certain territories looked like "back in the day" in order to be well versed on that for an upcoming quiz he has. It's been quite interesting to watch the way the land unfolded to be honest! Yes, he uses the Hewitt Tests to go along with the HUS volumes.

Jayden's timeline continues to grow! It's been just as much fun watching that expand each week too. I'm actually a bit concerned about spacing issues by the time he's made it through 2 years of world history, but we're all enjoying seeing things unfolds on the timeline. There was a debate between kids the other day over what event happened first so they ran to the timeline to check it out. I wish Morgan was putting one up of US history to watch it unfold as well, because that would be equally interesting!


Morgan started using the videos over at You ARE an Artist! He's my very artsy child & really shines with things like this. We were delighted to be asked to try out the programme, & Morgan was smitten with his first project. For a child who can't see well on white paper & struggles with hues of red, yellow, & orange the fact that his apple looks like an apple is just so impressive to me! He was a little annoyed his chalk pastels were limited in colour because it meant he had to come up with some unusual colours for the next video or two. I told him if he was able to wait I'd purchase him a new set, which is currently somewhere between here & South Korea. I can't wait for them to arrive to see what he creates next.

What I will say is that because he loves to sketch in his sketch book we found that it might be wiser to cover your chalk pastel paintings with clear contact paper to keep the chalks from rubbing off onto other art work or blank pages. Of course this means I need to go buy some because the timeline has currently used up all we had!


There were, of course, birthday celebrations in our week. Due to gluten & dairy allergies I traditionally make an ice cream pie for birthdays. It's the most simplistic thing to make that everyone can enjoy a small bit of, but I really wanted to make something a bit more this year for the birthday cakes. The boys has been asking for a Black Forest cake for ages, but let's just say it's not a simple task with dairy issues. Over Christmas we'd tried out some lovely coconut whipping cream from our favourite Allergy Friendly shop & as it was a huge hit I decided to stock up on some & really surprised the birthday boy.

I used our normal chocolate cake recipe, but doubled it. Gluten free good don't rise as high as glutenous goods do. This simply means you need to make your pans nearly full when you bake cakes, muffins, & breads of you'll get the typical short gluten free baked goods. I subbed our normal dairy free milk for the milk & used a GF baking mix we buy in bulk. Once the cakes were cooked {this cake is super moist} I frozen the 2 layers until they were firm enough to cut in half with our electric knife. Then I doused them in cherry juice & covered the up for the night. From there it was pretty easy to make as normal. It was a HUGE hit all around & deemed "So delicious we have to have this again!" Mr S was a little bummed he only got two slices of that massive cake. Ha, I think I know what cake he'll get for his birthday.


We spent the afternoon of Morgan's birthday at the pool with the local homeschool group. Morgan opted in on the water slide as well & a grand time was had by all. They came home with massive appetites ready to indulge in the birthday burgers that were on the menu. There are no photos of the burgers, but there were a lot of laughs over them being too big to get into one's mouth.


Spelling has been a minor wash, these kids who don't spell much correctly outside of spelling tests have knocked the last several lists of words out of the park on the first try. Not that I'm complaining, but I did suggest that if they can do so well on the tests they might want to apply that to the notes they leave laying around.  We are on track with our IEW Fix-It grammar lessons which is a delight. We should wrap up the book by the end of our term & then we'll jump right into the next one.

Last week our Daikin was finally, at long last, repaired! This meant we grabbed as much of our work as we could & moved to the kitchen so the repairman wouldn't feel the need to keep quiet with his work. This also meant that the birds could see our every move & were not pleased to be left out of things. They generally join us for our morning basket time & then return to have their breakfast while seat work is accomplished. I find that they are very naughty if they join us for seat work & prefer to eat papers, pencils, & rip keys off the computer.


We hit the beach one weekend because we were suppose to collect some sponge for an upcoming lab Morgan had going on, but in our explorations we totally forgot the sponge. Much is still washing ashore from the floods we had last year & it's quite crazy what you can find along your walk. Of course the dog had to find himself a cow that had washed ashore {yuck!} It was actually at another portion of the beach & moved a few kilometres down, so we weren't expecting it. Crazy dog decided to make himself all gacky smelling & was most disgusted with us when we dragged him into the ocean for a wash. Once we let him go he went back to the shore & sat there barking at us while we had a splash in the waves.

We watched a video on Octopi eggs hatching a while back & when we stumbled upon this on our walk we were trying to decide if they were infertile eggs or not. One child decided to break one open & the contents that came out were thick like the white of an egg. We'll have to seek out someone in the know to find out what they were!

We made a second trip to the beach & actually remembered the sponge, in fact we spotted a person who might have been able to help identify the "eggs", but alas he was in his truck & we felt it wrong to wave him down over a nature question.


I shocked the gang with some cut out cookies for Valentine's Day. Yep, gluten, egg, & dairy free. I even frosted a few of them! I'll have to share the recipe in another post for those who may be interested.


We're still working our way through Anne of Green Gables. In fact, a bit of a funny to share.. someone misspelled anoint the other day because they called out how to spell it I said, "You know it's an + oint!" So the child came back with Anneoint. We had ourselves a great laugh about it in the end! It felt like a bit of a slog at times with our last poet, but our current poet, Emily Dickinson, are very very enjoyable & we're very ahead of the proposed schedule. We're still reading through 2 Chronicles.

I'm sure I've forgotten something as we have Cover Story happening, are still reading about a president each week, working in Aussie History,  & other little things, but that's about the sum of it for the past 2 weeks of learning in our home. Pretty full weeks, but it's what makes those weeks off so much more enjoyable, isn't it?

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Week In Review 16/17: Week 13-14

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How can I be behind with our WIR posts all ready?! I hate when I fall behind because recalling some of the in-depth things we've done can be harder. Rather than fully back-track I'm going to cover the last 2 weeks for now, I might go back & fill in the missing weeks, but for now I don't want to miss out on what I do remember fully!

Week 13 was a little crazy as we had company here Sunday - Monday, a holiday on Thursday {Australia Day!}, & then attempted to fit in all our studies around everything. Morgan kept the pace, but Jayden faltered a bit & had a little make-up work to do the following week.

Week 14 was much much smoother with no interruptions, all though we did opt to try out our local Homeschool Group. Interesting experience, but we opted to do studies before going to hang out at the park so really not an interruption to our day.


We've had a slightly wobbly start with our book basket this term as we've been waiting for our new Bible books to arrive & deciding how we want to divide up the other stacks we intended to read through. With US History happening for Morgan, we also wanted to include some Australian history. The plan had been to do a year of it solo, but with the possibility of a move looming over us I decided to put those books in our book basket. Rather than attempt to rush through it in a year we'll dedicate one day a week to Australian History so we can delve in as deep as we'd like. We started Stowaway, one of the few books about Captain Cook's voyages we haven't read yet. We're using our normal Aussie spines, Australia, Her First 100 Years & The Ashton Scholastic Australian History book. We tend to read one or the other & a few chapters of our read aloud.


Morgan's covering US Presidents at an awfully fast rate with SL 100, & it's peeked many discussions about the various past leaders so I pulled some president books off the shelf & one day a week we read about 1 president. I was debating acquiring the PBS American Experience DVDs about each President, but it looks like most of the videos are available on YouTube so we may just watch it that way as we don't currently have a DVD player.


One of our new Bible books arrived somewhere in there, Jesus Freaks Vol. II. We finished up I Chronicles & moved into II, we also finally wrapped up Robert Frost in our poetry book & moved into Emily Dickinson. Her poems are much easier to read, especially aloud, & really roll off the tongue so nicely. After much discussion we've jumped into reading Anne Of Green Gables, & after reading a few chapters I was having a pretty rough morning. I declared that I might just be in the "depths of despair.." when one of the boys chuckled & said, "seriously Anne you're so dramatic."


Jayden started in on Archimedes but was quickly in dire straights with this book. I can't blame him, it was not one I enjoyed when Morgan used it, all though Morgan loved it. For Jayden, the bigger problem was that he remembered so much of it & the narrator for this book was so incredibly boring he was really struggling to pay any attention at all. Needless to say, we've put the book back on the shelf & got him going in others.


Jayden wrapped up The Book Of Greek Myths & Black Ships Before Troy, both of which he fully enjoyed. He's crossed the halfway point with Volume 1 of SOTW, which is always exciting. In fact, he's about 2 weeks or less away from finishing that one off! He's still really loves his daily readings in Kingfisher. He's also reading The Silver Branch & Theras & His Town. He much prefers the former over the later.


On his own he's reading An Elephant In The Garden still, while he's only telling us little bits about it, he disappears for large lengths of time to enjoy the book. He's a tough cookie & really doesn't like to show you how much he loves something, he's keen to tell you if he loathes it.. so we look for all the signs that mean he's enjoying something.


Morgan enjoyed The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer over the past 2 weeks. There were many chuckles a few, "Oh dears.." & lots of chatter about Tom & his antics. He really enjoyed this book & the small biography we read about Mark Twain to accompany the book. He can't wait to indulge in Huck's adventure!


Morgan listens to many of his audio books due to his VPD, but there are a few he reads for a variety of reasons. Sequoyah was one of the books he was reading recently from his Core. He's pretty caught up in the tale & enjoying the story too. I managed to snap a shot of him just before he realised I was in the room & decided to tell me a half dozen crazy things he'd just read.


We are still working our way through IEW's Fix-It Grammar, & are on target to finish this book at the end of the term. I'm so glad I snatched up the next few in the series prior to the Australian vendor closing it's doors, should keep us busy for a while! The boys are still enjoying it, but the progress has slowed down to lots of review at this point in the curriculum. Not too bad as we did have a break from our starting point & the review is nice to see how much they remembered from the start of the year.


We wrapped up several more spelling weeks in our book as well. I find that some weeks are harder & some weeks we should just advance after making sure the kids know what they are spelling. Something I need to keep in mind for future lessons. Yes, my child is in a homemade crocheted snuggly. It's some type of Star Wars ship his Gram made for Christmas, notice the pizza one in the background? We had a few crisp mornings here recently & this kid was hopping all over the house in his spaceship.


Morgan moves past his angst with Mr Schwabauer's distaste for adverbs. There was some serious frustration with that lesson, but it's all good. I've had some fun reading through the journal entries he's made that go with this programme, but I'm still waiting for some meaty writing lessons vs the grammar focused lessons that he's encountered this far.


Jayden's timeline has exploded across the chimney! It's been so much fun to watch his timeline fill in & expand. He's up to two strings worth now & won't be long before he needs to expand to a third string as well. It's hard to get a proper photo of this from a distance, but I did snag a video of it recently just to give an idea of how big it is. You can view it here if you're interested.


We had a small, but fun, BBQ for Australia day & pulled out our Aussie games to go along with desert. We played our own version of Australian Dictionary before the BBQ, in which there are no teams, we rarely keep points beyond someone reaching 5 & we generally find ourselves in hysterics. This year was no different. After dinner, however, we pulled out this lovely trivia game. We picked it up a few years ago & haven't used it much or we may have noticed a few of the questions having wrong answers before this year! It was still good for a lot of laughs & much fun. Poor Nana, she had such a hard time not blurting our answers, & let me tell you guys.. she may struggle to remember the name for a tea kettle or an ear of corn, but this woman's ability to answer Australian Trivia questions is just incredible!


We pulled this book out after our trivia game. It's another lovely second hand book we picked up. A questions came up asking why a woman had been arrested, & the answer was for wearing a 2 piece swim suit. The boys thought it was weird she'd been arrested & so we had a quick chat about the whys behind it, but then I pointed out that it was likely her 2 piece was much more conservative than the underpant & bra version our eyes assaulted with these days. We decided to look in the above book to see if we could find some information or even a photo. The book is a coloberation of newspaper articles & photos from Australia & it spans a few hundred years. We did not find what we were looking for, but we sure had some giggles about other things we found.


Morgan is still working through the BFG, but much more slowly as he had some library holds come in as well as reading the book about Sequoyah. I'm really not that fussed about what he's reading as long as he is reading.


Both boys are still on a roll with math. Morgan wrapped up his current book & moves into the next level of MUS, a bit later {5 weeks} than we'd intended, but better to be solidly firm in his previous knowledge than rush into the new book & find you've not fully cemented previous knowledge.

Jayden is still a few weeks away from moving into his new book. I told him the other day he can thank his brother for that.. & then had to explain that the oldest always end up being the poor guinea pig. I'd made notes of a few lessons Morgan had done where Mr Demme introduces several topics that are nearly identical & managed to cause some confusion, so we had the foresight to seperate those lessons into smaller chunks for the next one in line & it's made the progression so much smoother. Jayden is still not fond of math & got really excited the other day when he realised he could count the remaining math books in the series on one hand. Oh that silly boy!!


Somehow this is the only science photo I have for several weeks worth of science.. Morgan is still working on Marine Biology, but put off returning to things another week. I did express he couldnt' afford to wait much longer or he might find that he would be doing it on the weekends to finish it in time.. Jayden is still working through science 6 with BookShark.

As was the case last time around, we find the experiments a bit flat. I think this is because in previous year when my kids were younger science WAS experiments. We did so many experiments & then disused the whys behind them & thus my children have a lot of experiments under their belts. It's caused a few issues at other times too, including the time we went to the science museum & each time the curator asked what we thought would happen my boys could tell her the what & why. When she got to the very end she had this rocket full of water she was going to send soaring into the air, she snarkily {I'm sure she was frustrated at that point} told my kids they didn't know what that was for. My eldest said, "We do! Our Poppy made us one of these!" & he's right, all though the curator didn't believe him.

I've been flagging experiments as I find them & sending them to Mr S as he's the science professor around here. The one above was simplistic but got a bit of a wow out of the youngest. He drew a stick figure {don't use heavy pressure} on the bottom of a glass pie plate, slowly pour in cold water & the drawing will lift up off the bottom of the pan & you can make it dance.


We decided to try out the local homeschool group this year. Many changes have taken place & the kids were keen to give it a go.. or one was, the other wasn't at all as his previous experience was quite ugly. We did our morning work & showed up around 11:45 & by 12:45 we were sitting at a picnic table.. alone. Everyone else had left for the day. So, we had a grand conversation all to ourselves about a few things, enjoyed our picnic lunch, chatted with Mr S on his lunch break, who was utterly shocked we were sitting there alone, & then proceeded to check out the library. We tend to avoid it when the local kids are out of school.

All in all a few busy weeks for our family.