Weekly Wrap-up: Spring Dreams and Turkey Dinner

Littlest examining the daffodils

Littlest examining the daffodils

Warm spring-like weather arrived this week beckoning us to wander outside, ride bikes, and search for emerging blooms. Once again, due to nice weather and a few other interruptions our week did not go as planned. Not really a big deal…we’ve only got about four weeks left of school work to finish up for our academic year.

I pulled out my flip-flops on Sunday. It was fifty degrees and warm enough in my opinion. Several people at church questioned my choice of footwear. Snow was still on the ground but it was fifty degrees and that is warm enough for flip-flops. I simply refuse to acknowledge winter’s presence. I’m tired of wearing shoes and am looking forward to barefoot weather. I think a few of my Sunday School classmates question my sanity.

with my dear friend

with my dear friend

On Tuesday I got a call from my sweet friend (and homeschooling mentor). She and her youngest spend a good part of the day with us. Normally, we homeschooling moms try not to call or visit each other during “school” hours. So when she asked to come over I knew she needed a friend. We cancelled school for the day and spent our day with friends. Anytime someone needs to talk it usually isn’t good and this was no exception. She moved to the top of my prayer request list by the end of the afternoon. If you are the praying sort please pray for my friend…she needs prayers.

Wednesday the colder temperatures returned and I refused to abandon my flip-flops…confirming my tentative hold on reality. Thursday the weather was warm enough for the kids to ride their bikes and have their first crashes of the season. Sparkles skinned her arm up when she collided with Oldest. Middle Boy gave me visions of the ER room when he dumped his bike and completed a spectacular flip landing on his side. He quickly jumped up and declared the moment “Awesome!” I would not be surprised if he decided on some sort of life threatening career someday…

I’ve spent my little free time this week either planning for the upcoming school year or researching speakers for the homeschool convention in Cincinnati. I’ve never been to a convention before and most likely will not attend again for a few years. I’ve already got a good idea of the vendors to visit and have a price list made up. Now I am just working out which speakers to attend. I will definitely see Susan Wise Bauer but I am not sure who else to see yet. In order to help figure out who to listen to I decided to cross out all of the political speakers. My main purpose for going to the convention is to learn to be a better teacher and parent. I then marked out anyone talking about creation and evolution (I just can’t listen to these arguments anymore). Surprisingly, once I marked these two categories out there wasn’t an overwhelming number of session descriptions to read through.

enjoying the warm weather

enjoying the warm weather

Our education plans are coming together for the year. Working out a skeleton plan for the logic (5th-8th) and rhetoric (9th-12th) years helped to solidify the plans for the next academic year. (Tonia at The Sunny Patch here’s my plans for the logic stage…subject to change.) My current plans are:

Fifth grade: We will return to ancient history and use Beautiful Feet Books intermediate collection. When we return to ancient history in the rhetoric years I will use Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World as our spine book (that means main history textbook for my many non-homeschool readers). Oldest will also assemble his own timeline and keep a narrative notebook and draw out his own maps. My middle two will follow along with The Story of the World: Ancient Times (also by Susan Wise Bauer) and will keep a simple written narration. Our art projects will parallel our history studies and we will do a few projects from Art in History.

Our language arts, reading and Bible curriculum will continue with Christian Light Education. Math will continue with MathUSee and Math Mammoth. I really, really wish we had went with Christian Light Education for our math curriculum but the kids love MathUSee and since they are doing well I see no reason to change. We’ll also continue with our current writing curriculum also from Susan Wise Bauer (now you know why I plan to see her at the convention!). The middle two will continue with Writing with Ease and the oldest is moving up to Writing With Skill.

Our science will change for this year. I’ve never been able to find a science that I am happy with. We’ve used REAL Science Odyssey and found it too easy. Our past two books from Apologia have been really good. This year, for a change of pace, we are going to use Beautiful Feet Books: History of Science. I’ve added several scientists to the study and the Thames and Kosmos’ Milestones in Science experiment kit. I’ve started collecting the books for this study and several times have already caught the kids reading the books. We are all excited about this study.

I also plan to use Zeezok’s Music Appreciation set this year. I’ve read many good reviews and I think my crew will really enjoy the study and hopefully deepen their enjoyment of their current music studies.

Penmanship and spelling continue to be a struggle for some of my crew. I am considering several penmanship books and plan to make a final decision at the convention. Oldest is the only one struggling with spelling. We discovered through the IOWA tests he has gaps in his early phonics education (thanks to you government schools!) Oldest is begging for the new spelling curriculum from the MathUSee company. I really wanted to go with Sequential Spelling but since he is begging for this other program…how can I say no.

Since we will finish up our current studies in a few weeks we will study geography and weather science until our regular year starts up in July. I plan to switch to a four-day school week next year so we do not have this large three month gap between the academic years. My husband is going to help us build a weather station so we can study forecasting for the next year. I think that will be a fun and informative year long project.

Today, we are looking forward to a yummy turkey dinner at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s home. Her turkeys are rude and I am looking forward to feasting on one of them!

Linking up with The Weekly Wrap-up at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Thank You Mrs. Fulbright and Apologia

proud builders

proud builders

Finally the Homeschool Science Share and Tell is back hosted by TheHomeschoolScientist.com and Apologia! Yeah!! I’ve missed the event over the break and the loads of amazing science lab ideas from fellow homeschool families. Since the last link up we have finished Astronomy from Apologia and are into our second chapter of Botany. We enjoyed our studies thoroughly with astronomy and always looked forward to science.  For our family the notebooking journals made all the difference and we will always use them with our future Apologia science studies.

I was going to share our favorite chapter and lab from the book with you but my little scholars could not agree on a group favorite. So here is a list of our favorites:

IMG_4631

moon phase activity

The Moon: This was a popular chapter. The crew continue to use terminology from this chapter even now…so naturally it is one of my favorite chapters. My brother was living with us while we studied this chapter and he helped them to build the Galilean telescope. I ended up just getting a simple kit on Amazon because it was cheaper than getting all the parts…this isn’t usually the case with the lab exercises. To help my crew learn the name of the moon phases I made some moon phase cards. First I cut some white construction paper up into smaller rectangles. Then I used a white crayon to

Uncle John lends a helping hand

Uncle John lends a helping hand

draw the different moon phases. My little scientists then used black watercolor to reveal the moon phase and we compared the card to a website with a moon phase chart. We then used these as flash cards and I think this activity helped my kids to remember the names of the moon phases. We also enjoyed decorating some cookies with moon phases…yum!

 

Volcano

Volcano

The Venus and Mars Mishap: I got ahead of my self and we did the volcano experiment with the Venus chapter when it was supposed to go with the Mars chapter…it helps to look more than one chapter ahead sometimes. Who doesn’t like making a volcano?! You can read all about our volcano fun here.  So when we got to the Mars chapter we used the legos to build a Mars colony. Our colony took some time to build (about a week). The kids spent a lot of time brainstorming items and food the colonists would need to survive on Mars. I was really impressed with their list of necessities and the work that went into building the Mars station. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture…but it was really cool.

IMG_4345

working in their notebooking journals

Reader’s Favorite: One of my most popular posts on this blog is the Lego Stonehenge . It was my first post to be “pinned” and it held the number one most read post until recently. (My top posts are now the Beautiful Feet history posts.) I now use legos every chance I get for learning opportunities and projects.

 

We were sad to close the book on astronomy but are now looking forward to exploring botany with Apologia. Thank you Jeannie K. Fulbright and the team at Apologia for providing us with great science to study and teaching my kids that the beauty of science points us all to our Creator. Faith and science are not enemies but complement one another in building faith and helping my children just to see how amazing and creative is our God.

Thanks for the memories!

Weekly Wrap-up: Apples, Dried Corn and Manhood

Littlest entertaining himself during guitar lessons

Littlest entertaining himself during guitar lessons

Tomorrow is Littlest’s birthday party (actually birthday is Monday). We will be celebrating three years of his life. He wants a Batman birthday cake. Later today I will bake a cake and make buttercream icing in various colors. Then I will turn over the project to my amazing husband and he will make Littlest’s dream for a Batman cake come true. The guys at work tell my husband he has to surrender his “man card” because he decorates the childrens’ birthday cakes. Well, I am not sure exactly what that means…I am a woman and will never truly grasp why men speak to each other as they do…nor do I really need to. My husband is an attentive and playful father to his children and my very precious unmerited and undeserved blessing from God. I honestly believe Jesus placed me in my husbands arms and chose him to be my knight in shining armor on this earth. He is my everything and I often pray that when it comes time to meet Jesus we can do so together. I cannot imagine the pain of leaving him in the arms of Jesus and having to live in this world without him. He is my man and that is all the “man card” he shall ever need.

Yeah…I got a little off topic there.

Middle Boy playing in the corn pit

Middle Boy playing in the corn pit

Our church celebrated 120 years of ministry this past weekend. The kids had a great time playing games and running all around the church property. I enjoyed listening to the singing and  blue-grass music. Middle Boy’s front tooth has been ready to come out the past couple of weeks…he’s had that snaggle-tooth look. He played in the inflatables with such abandon that I was pretty sure the tooth was going to come out at church. But no, it did not. Then I was certain his tooth would get lost in the corn pit as he cannonballed himself into it…but no…didn’t happen. Instead his tooth came out when we stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home. Now he can wish for his two front teeth for Christmas this year. Middle Boy thinks it is pretty cool that a Dum-dum sucker fits perfectly in the spot his former front teeth occupied…for some reason his stunt makes my skin crawl.

at the church 120 year celebration

at the church 120 year celebration

I’ve slowly worked on the apples this week. I put up about sixty apples in storage. I picked the most perfect apples and wrapped them in paper towels and then in a plastic grocery bag and stored them in the fridge. I am hoping they will at least last us through February. The imperfect apples I made in to a gallon of applesauce and we’ve been munching on the others. I still have more apples to process and they may just become applesauce too. I can make a half gallon in my crockpot at a time so I could likely finish up this weekend. I’ve also have a dehydrator on hand…dried fried apple pies are good.

sick day

sick day

Wednesday night Littlest fell asleep at church and ended up sleeping in the nursery the entire time. My friend Mrs. Cuddle-me (Littlest gave her that nick name for the blog) carried him to the van for me. When we got home I realized he had a little fever which made me feel bad. Hopefully, no one else will catch his cold. Yesterday Oldest wasn’t feeling well either so I called it a sick day. We did watch a couple of educational shows on Amazon and Netflix so the day wasn’t a total washout. If you happen to be studying the Pilgrims right now the documentary called Mayflower Pilgrims on Amazon (free if you have Amazon Prime) is pretty good and goes nicely with the book Pilgrim Stories. I spent the time making applesauce muffins and apple chips.

Apple Chip Recipe

Slice apples really thin or think if you like chewy apple chips. I then simmered them in simple syrup until translucent. (Simple syrup is one cup of water and one cup of sugar brought to a boil.) I put the apples in the pot when the syrup boiled and then turned it down to a simmer. I simmered the apples about ten minutes (but that will depend on your apples and how thick you cut them) and then drained them a bit before arranging them on a cookie sheet. Bake until golden for crisp apple chips or take out of the oven when first starting to color for chewy chips. Mine baked for about twenty minutes. The chips are soft when they first come out of the oven but crisp up nicely as they cool. I salted the second batch before putting them in the oven and we liked those a bit better.

Last week we finished our study of astronomy from Apologia. We celebrated our accomplishment by snacking on astronaut food during game time. I can’t say it was something I’d ever want to eat again but it wasn’t horrible. The kids loved the dried ice cream and it did taste good but I could not get over the texture. I feel so sorry for the scientist who have to live on this stuff in the space station.

kris_weekly-wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up: Apples, Caffeine and Astronomy

Apple time!!!

Apple time!!!

My family’s “busy season” is about to start. This weekend is the Pig Roast. Harley Man (one of my brother-in-law’s) spends several days roasting an entire pig the old-fashioned way. Family and friends from the area and a few states away will come by for the weekend bringing food and fun times. For me this is the start of my own anticipation for Christmas. I’m not putting up decorations or anything but I start thinking about family and begin praying and planning for the year ahead. October is always a sad month for me…tears come easy this time of year. I enjoy the fall colors and the brisk air but to me there is a tinge of sadness to the earth.

working on our See The Light art review

working on our See The Light art review

Anyway, I am so humbled by the many notes I received this week from y’all asking how I am enduring the caffeine withdrawal. Thank you for the prayers so very much!! My first few days were kinda rough and yesterday was my first headache free day. Despite my pain we were able to get school accomplished this week with my scholars and a massive art project completed with our friends for an upcoming review. School went well and we finished our study of astronomy with Apologia this week. Today we will be snacking on Astronaut food during our game time. We loved the course and I plan to blog about our experiences with it in the next couple of weeks.

Yesterday, my order of two bushels of apples arrived…so I will be busy making applesauce and other apple-y goodness. I am also going to try just storing some of them whole. The kids and I love fresh apples so we will see if some of these tips I’ve read work. I promise to share what worked for us.

I miss my Granny and this month marks her five years in the arms of Jesus. She used to make this wonderful apple recipe for breakfast sometimes. She usually made this when the earliest apples were ripe in June. The fall crop were used for drying or canning applesauce, apple butter, and apple pie filling. I do not remember the name of the apples…she called them June or first apples and they were a light yellow color…This recipe is mostly from memory, when she did write a recipe down it was not for a novice cook!

Pan Fried Apples

Heat about 2 tablespoons bacon drippings in skillet (I use cast iron just like Granny) and toss in sliced apples (about four or five apples). She did not peel the apples but I do. Stir in one to one and a half cup sugar, one-half teaspoon cinnamon, and one-half teaspoon of salt. Cover and cook until the sugar melts a bit about five minutes but not over. Then remove the lid and let fry, stirring on occasion until apples are tender and liquid is cooked away.

I highly encourage you to serve these apples with fresh hot biscuits and butter. If she did not have regular sugar on hand she would use brown sugar. I like to prepare it with a mix of both sugars. Enjoy!

kris_weekly-wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up: The Week with the Twitch

Littlest and Oldest find some bonding time

Littlest and Oldest find some bonding time

I was a little worried about getting all of our lessons in this week when I decided to add homeschool physical education. I was afraid our day would be longer but on the days we do our exercises we actually get done just as quickly. I’m not sure that I am down any weight yet but having a set routine is helpful. Right now I am working on losing the four pounds I gained during my mother’s visit.

I also developed a twitch in my left thumb during my mother’s visit. Sometimes it would twitch all night long…well I was sleeping so I can’t say for sure…but my arm would feel tired all the next day. I’ve learned it is a response to stress, Benadryl, and caffeine. From what I understand it is a response that will most likely remain for the rest of my days. I’ve experimented with my caffeine intake this week and there is a definite correlation (insert sorrowful wailing here). So I will give up coffee and chocolate. Please, please pray for my poor family! The new exercise routine should help me to deal with stress some but I will also have to find something else to help me. I’ve noticed over the past couple of years that my ability to endure stress has decreased. I can’t watch the news anymore. Just thinking about seeing certain people or being in certain situations makes me feel anxious. There are days I want to move far, far away from society.

Littlest took several unexpected naps during school time

Littlest took several unexpected naps during school time

Personal troubles aside our school week was great. We started a very long study on the Pilgrims with Pilgrim Stories by Margaret Pumphrey. The kids just love the book so far and we are going to have a hard time putting it away for our science week. The kids will be sad to learn that next week is our last with Apologia’s Astronomy. They have loved the lessons and I am very pleased with their retention of the information. It is always sad for my scholars to end a study…so I am sure there will be a few tears next Friday.

kris_weekly-wrap-up

Weekly Wrap-up #5

Oldest taking care of Littlest

Oldest taking care of Littlest

cloud in a jar

cloud in a jar

Our science experiment this week was making a cloud in a jar. The experiment is from Apologia’s Astronomy book in the Uranus and Neptune chapter. Thankfully it is one of the easier experiments and I had everything on hand…that usually never happens. To do the experiment: Fill a glass clear jar half full with very hot water. Toss a lighted match into the jar and cover with a bag of ice. We covered ours with a lunch box ice pack. Wait a minute and watch the cloud form! Quick and easy! The kids had a lot of fun doing this several times and setting the cloud free.

Today my husband took a half day from work and went on a field trip with us. We went to see the Nina and Pinta. These are replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships. The ships are staffed by volunteers and are really amazing to see. I am glad we got to see them so soon after studying Columbus. One of the crewmen we met is a marine archaeologist. Oldest was impressed to meet an “actual” archeologist since it is (at this point in his life) one of two career choices he has made…the other being an engineer like his Dad. The question he had for the archaeologist was how Columbus’ crew went to the bathroom…sigh…I wonder if that made us the weird homeschool family for the day…Despite the awkward question we enjoyed a beautiful day out and ice cream.

kris_weekly-wrap-up

I also joined up with Atlantamomofthree!

Two Weeks: Wrap-up

 

Bristol speedway in all her night time glory.

Bristol speedway in all her night time glory.

Well I missed the weekly wrap-up last week. We had a date night last Friday and then on Saturday morning my husband left for Bristol. We were also celebrating his birthday last weekend and while we are out one of his friends calls with an invitation (and free ticket) to the NASCAR night race in Bristol…he’s always wanted to see a night race at the Bristol Speedway. With no help from me I think he had a pretty good birthday weekend…I even lost the cool Batman birthday card I got him (still lost) and had to give him one of the generic lame birthday cards I keep on hand for emergencies…

Their sunflowers planted during VBS finally bloomed!

Their sunflowers planted during VBS finally bloomed!

That was not the only cool thing that happened around here recently. Beautiful Feet Books recently had a notebook contest on their blog. As most of you know we love our Beautiful Feet Books curriculum. The kids all entered their favorite pieces they had completed in their notebooks and…We Got First Place!!! The kids were thrilled and way too excited to do their math so we went through the catalog and decided to spend our winnings on the maps for their geography study. We are going to be studying geography and Bible studies for our summer semester. Yes, I plan that far ahead…

Speaking of winnings…we came in third place in the Apologia contest I mentioned in my first weekly wrap-up. The nice folks at Apologia sent us a lab coat to wear during our experiments. Sparkles prefers to wear it while pretending to be a veterinarian. And I won a ten dollar gift card to Amazon from Math U See in a random drawing for answering some of their surveys. Normally, I do not win anything in contests…maybe I should buy a lottery ticket this week!

WPSD TV studio

WPSD TV studio

This week we went on a field trip to WPSD TV and Midwest Aviation in Paducah with a group of homeschooling friends. It was fun to see the news studio and learn a bit about broadcasting and local history. The studio is a lot smaller than I had imagined and so was the tiny closet they use as a dressing room. The tour was really interesting for older teenagers and adults but really boring for the younger crowd…Our next stop at Midwest Aviation was fun for my kids. They enjoyed a tour of the various planes and watching two planes take off as well as one plane land. Each kid also got a chance to sit in the pilot seat of one of the aircraft. I learned that Middle Boy is not a big fan of large group field trips and just tunes out. However, when he did get a chance to talk to our guide one-on-one he was full of questions and really animated. I think from now on we will avoid group field trips and just go exploring on our own…we’ll learn and enjoy the activity more.

In school this week we finished the Pocahontas book in our early American history studies and built the little film canister rocket (Apologia: Astronomy ) in our science studies. My husband ended up helping us with the rocket experiment and I’m glad he did…not so sure I could have done everything quick enough to make it work. I’ll post sometime soon about our Pocahontas unit.

kris_weekly-wrap-up