The Road Ahead: Curriculum for 2016-17 Year

20160815_080425 (640x480)Choosing curriculum is time-consuming, sometimes fun and always hard. I usually end up doubting myself and wondering if something would work better. This year was a little different . I didn’t have the big “What have I done?” moment this time around and feel happy with the choices the kids and I made together. I guess that is the difference this year…the kids helped pick their books. Grade level gets harder to pinpoint each year too. The longer we homeschool the wonkier our grade levels turn out and I’m not sure the distinction is necessary in home education. But for those who need to know– Oldest is in seventh and Sparkles is in fifth. The younger two are straddling grade levels with Middle Boy a fourth-ish fifth grader and Littlest a Kinder-first grader.

BFB guides

BFB guides

Naturally, we chose to stick with Beautiful Feet Books for our history, literature selections and writing projects. We love BFB and the family behind the company. The guides and the books always lead to “big juicy conversations” (a Brave Writer term). We may be discussing history but we also talk about choices, morals, character, religion, politics and the struggles within human nature. The guides and the chosen books always inspire me to come up with projects. I build plenty of margin space for these history inspired

lots of BFB books

lots of BFB books

projects into the yearly calendar. Littlest will use Primary Early American History and the middle two will work through Intermediate Early American History. Oldest is using Early American and World History and next summer the older three will study through the Western Expansion guide. Littlest will take a couple of years to complete the primary guides for American History and Character.

some of our history projects for this year

some of our history projects for this year

Language Arts was absolute drudgery last year. This year they will all begin IEW’s Fix It for grammar. The kids all approved of this curriculum and since we started at the beginning we could fly through the first few books…if we wanted to. But we do not and there really isn’t a need to do so. On occasion we’ll pick up an Arrow or Boomerang from Brave Writer during the year for fun and a little

first day of school

first day of school

change of pace. We’ll continue with Poetry Tea Time and freewriting from Brave Writer as well and I plan to enroll them in another online class in January. This year Littlest joined in with the freewriting topics by dictating his thoughts to me. He loves to see his own words on paper. The older three are continuing the poetry and composition courses from Blackbird and Company. Littlest is using Foundations from Logic of English to learn to read. I could not be happier with this curriculum for reading instruction. The crew is also working through MENSA’s Year of Living Poetically. This was started last month and they are already memorizing their second poem.

first day candy bars

first day candy bars

Everyone has their own math. Littlest is still working through MUS’s Primer. He also has geo boards, tangrams and other geometric manipulatives to keep his hands busy during read aloud time. Middle Boy is using Christian Light Education and supplementing with Beast Academy. Sparkles is using Math Mammoth and Oldest is finishing up Christian Light Education sixth grade math. He is ready for pre-algebra and is trying to decide between MUS or Math Mammoth. I’m considering Math Without Boarders for the high school years. Everyone will need a new level of math by December.

20160815_183139 (640x480)I had a hard time finding science curriculum. I just wasn’t happy with most of the available selections. I do like Dr. Wile and ended up sticking with his books. The younger crew love his elementary science books and Oldest started with General Science. We’ll also watch a ton of science documentaries and I plan to get Curiosity Stream on ROKU too.

For Christian studies we are working through Pilgrim’s Progress but I haven’t decided what we should do after we finish toward the end of September…

20160815_183000 (640x480)We added art and music appreciation studies from Simply Charlotte Mason. We’re listening to Bach and studying the art work of Botticelli, Giotto and Van Gogh. We’re still working through Barry Stebbing’s Nature Drawing and Journaling course but will finish it up soon and move onto ArtAchieve.

projects

projects

At certain points during the year we will set all academics aside and work through projects together. Oldest is going to make a stop motion movie and possibly move on to robotics afterward. Middle Boy found a Minecraft STEM and art project book that he plans to use and Sparkles is going to learn to sew. Our group project is knitting and we will all be making hats, scarves and socks this year. I’ve

art

art

been on YouTube learning all of the various knitting stitches by making coffee cozies. That way I’ll already have a clue when the kids pick up knitting needles for the first time.

Everyone will work on their keyboarding skills and Littlest will be introduced to the computer. The older three are still taking piano lessons and Littlest is showing a bit of interest in learning piano too. He’s working on a little song right now and trying to remember the location of middle C. Once he does that he’ll be way ahead of me…

That’s our year in a nutshell. I’ve left white space in our schedule for bunny trails and whispered moments of inspiration from the homeschooling muses.

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Medieval Study: The End of an Age

Intermediate Medieval books and guide from Beautiful Feet Books

Intermediate Medieval books and guide from Beautiful Feet Books

Sadly, all things must end and so has our current study of medieval times. We spent the last five weeks reading The World of Columbus and Sons from Genevieve Foster; the final required book in the study. The guide is set up to go through this book in four weeks but due to some unforeseen events going on at home we needed an extra week to get through the text and all of the rich discussions.

Box Day!! Always a happy day in a book loving homeschool!

Box Day!! Always a happy day in a book loving homeschool!

Oldest started this session marking locations from Spain, Portugal, Italy and Africa on his map. As we read about the explorations of the Portuguese he marked their routes. We also read some extra books on exploration about Prince Henry the Navigator (A Sea Route to Asia: The Adventures of the Portuguese Exploration by David Rutsala), Magellan, De Balboa and Cortez. We read about Timbuktu and the beginnings of the slave trade.

globe project for medieval history

globe project for medieval history

We read about the fall of Constantinople and the ironic (considering today’s news stories) welcoming of the Jewish population into the Ottoman Empire following their expulsion from Spain. We watched a documentary called The Story of the Jews which covers the various diasporas of the Jewish people throughout the centuries. We were both saddened and encouraged by the documentary. My daughter was particularly moved and wondered aloud when people would “get over hating each other before even meeting?”

20160525_105350 (640x480)

All of our books for the study…that we could find.

My son enjoyed learning all about Columbus, Martin Luther (Martin Luther by Mary McNeer and Lynd Ward), William Tyndale (The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day by Scott O’Dell), the Vatican’s Swiss Guard, Michelangelo and Leonardo DaVinci (both by Diane Stanley). He did not enjoy anything about the royal troubles of Spain, France, England, the Holy Roman Empire or the Medici family. Of all the

with books and a few projects

with books and a few projects

books we read that mentioned the plague the death of Captain Jack in The Hawk that Dare Not Hunt by Day had the most emotional impact on us. He was certainly a rogue but we liked him anyway. The lack of respect shown toward his corpse was unsettling. We ended up discussing the impact of so much death on a society…kinda hard to wrap one’s mind around really.

Ember Day Feast ingredients

Ember Day Feast ingredients

Our final discussion for the study was to compare the ideas of Machiavelli and Erasmus. We’ll likely dive into this a little deeper during his high school years. He liked Erasmus’ idealized views of governing and thought that Machiavelli was just plain crazy.

the feast

the feast

We followed up our study with a medieval Ember Day feast. We had come across the term a few times in our readings and looked up the meaning. These are days of fasting (no meat) and prayer that occur at the beginning of each season. Originally the Catholic Church instituted the celebration of these days in Rome to coincide with pagan agricultural celebrations. Beginning in the fifth century the practice spread throughout the West. The days are still celebrated in some rural areas of Europe.

20160524_124132 (640x472)Our feast included an Ember Day Tart, Hungarian Cheese Soup, Brown Rye Bread, Pottage, Apple Cider, Almond Milk and grapes. Pottage is vegetable soup with oats (I used instant oats) and I thought the kids would be reluctant to eat it. To keep them from being too picky I ran it through the food processor so it was more like a bisque than a stew. I am happy to live in times that include a crock pot and a food processor! (I will admit to wishing for those replicators on Star Trek: The Next Generation!!!) The food was good and we enjoyed our feast. Our favorite recipe was dipping the rye bread into the cheese soup. Yum!

20160524_124126 (640x480)We loved this study. All of the books were excellent and Oldest had a hard time choosing his favorite book from the study. He found it impossible to choose just one of the books. From the required books he chose Crispin: The Cross of Lead and The Trumpeter of Krakow. His favorite book from the recommended reading list was A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg.

20160524_124144 (640x480)I could not pick a favorite book; my emotional attachment to them is directly related to warm memories of snuggling with my children while reading aloud. We wept bitterly together over Robin Hood’s death, we loved the audacity of Eleanor of Aquitaine, we were angry at Crispin’s inhuman treatment…I could go on. The read aloud experience this curriculum provides is so precious. I cannot possibly imagine continuing in the home education lifestyle without Beautiful Feet Books.

up next

up next

So what’s next? Well, we still have a longbow to make. Every single weekend that my husband has been available to help us with this project the sky has rained. We have all of the components and sometime in the near future I’ll share our experience at the making of a long bow. Our next academic year begins in July. I’ve already started the planning process. Oldest will study the Early American and World History Jr. High pack. My middle two will work through the Early American History Intermediate study and Littlest will begin the Primary Early American study sometime in the fall or early winter. We are all looking forward to our history studies and this mama can’t wait to introduce Littlest to Benjamin West and his Cat Grimalkin.

Posts related to this series:

Introduction

Augustine to Arabian Nights

Eleanor to Robin Hood

Weeks 12-18  Wow! I got sooo creative with that title!

Minstrels, the Black Death and Chaucer

Joan of Arc to the Philosopher’s Stone

Medieval Fig Tarts

Thank you to the very wonderful and generous people of Beautiful Feet Books who have blessed my family!

Medieval Study: Joan of Arc to the Philosopher’s Stone

the catapult

the catapult

After our delightful study of the Canterbury Tales with Beautiful Feet Books we started studying Joan of Arc and The One Hundred Years’ War between France and England. The story of St. Joan is so very sad. My children were not familiar with her at all and so had no idea of the amazing and heartbreaking story they were about to embark. As we read her story the kids bombarded me with questions…hard questions too! I had to explain the veneration of relics, asking saints for prayers and the nature of visions. As we continued to read her story the kids struggled to understand why she was abandoned by her king, condemned by the church and burned alive.

cats and catapults...

cats and catapults…

Of course, the kids really wanted to know if I believed the Maid of Orleans. Did she really have visions? Did God send her to save France from the English? I cannot have an answer for every question and someday they will make up their own minds on such mysteries. I choose to simply accept Joan of Arc at her word.

“Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years.”  –Winston Churchill

“She is the Wonder of the Ages. And when we consider her origin, her early circumstances, her sex, and that she did all the things upon which her renown rests while she was still a young girl, we recognize that while our race continues she will be also the Riddle of the Ages.” –Mark Twain 

required books from the study

required books from the study

While we studied about Joan we built a catapult and looked through a picture book (from the library and I forgot to note the title or take a picture of it!) of medieval warfare tactics and siege engines. The boys built some Lego models (I didn’t take pictures again) and we watched several documentaries on YouTube and Netflix about castles and medieval warfare. Currently Netflix has a series called “Secrets of Great British Castles” that the family enjoys watching together.

We moved on to the study of the printing press, movable type and Johannes Gutenberg. We enjoyed both the book for this section and the recommended Stephen Fry documentary from the guide. We spent time discussing the importance of this moment in history. This invention laid the corner-stone of the Reformation, Renaissance, the scientific revolution and the spread of learning to nearly all people. For this part of the study I bought a paper making kit. We plan to make paper later this week and try our hands at making a homemade book.

20160410_131541 (640x480)Our last read aloud for these past six weeks was The Trumpeter of Krakow. Oh wow did we love this book!!! It follows the story of a family in the Ukraine that has to travel to Krakow as refugees (a topic still relevant on the news today) and they just happen to be in possession of the philosopher’s stone. Of course the kids were shocked to discover that JK Rowling didn’t come up with the idea all her own!!! We discussed alchemy and the theory that the whomever possessed the stone could turn other metals into gold. While we were reading about the alchemists in the story I pulled out The Mystery of the Periodic Table (by Benjamin D Wiker) and read the couple of chapters on alchemy to my crew.

We are currently working through a felting project to go along with our studies of the Mongols. Making your very own felt sheets from wool roving is a bit messy! We finally have a nice sunny weekend coming up so that we can work on our paper making and felting projects outside.

We only have four weeks left and our medieval study will be all finished! We’re in the process of making our Robin Hood hats, choosing recipes and other projects for our final feast. We are looking forward to sharing the end of our study celebration with you soon!

 

Sunday Journal: Adventures in Travel

Cincinnati in the morning

Cincinnati in the morning

The last couple of weeks were busy. We traveled to western Kentucky last weekend for the kid’s Hymn Fest piano recital. We visited with friends and some family members during our stay. Visiting our former church was a highlight for me. The Easter service was beautiful but left me feeling lonely for a church family where we felt safe.

On the way to western Kentucky we met The Joseph Sisters in Leitchfield at Subway. We were all there for dinner and extended our stay a bit to let a nasty storm pass through before hitting the road again. They were returning home to West Virginia after a

poetry tea time

poetry tea time

“long radio tour”. The young ladies were really sweet and chatted with the kids about music, math and Angry Birds. I really should have taken a picture because it turns out they are a sweet all sisters country music band. You never know who is at the next table…

This past week is a bit of a blur. I attempted to prep and clean the house for our next trip and squeeze in a bit of schooling. Our co-op voted on classes they would like to have the next semester and so I had to admit we would not be returning…blah.

Russ and Josh setting up the booth

Russ and Josh setting up the booth

Thursday afternoon Oldest and I left for Cincinnati to work with Russ and Josh Berg of Beautiful Feet Books at the homeschooling convention. Oldest road shotgun (for the first time ever with me!) and read the directions off to me. We stopped at the monastery where we were staying and visited with the nuns a bit before heading to Cincinnati. The sky stormed most of the day! Fortunately, the rain let up during the times I was on the road…someone was praying for me.

Oldest and customer

Oldest and customer

I enjoyed working at the booth this year and chatting with a few of you who stopped to say “hello!” I also met a few fellow Brave Writer fans, sweet friends from our Lexington days, my neighbor (I was so shocked to see her that I couldn’t place her for a moment!), and my roommate for the retreat in July. Oldest did his best to help at the booth and talked with parents. Some people were not sure what to think of a twelve-year old boy working the convention and other’s took advantage and asked him for book recommendations for their

with Mr. Demme from MathUSee

with Mr. Demme from MathUSee

own children. I was both surprised and pleased by his performance. I wasn’t sure how things would turn out and I know he was very nervous too.

Oldest looked up to Josh like a hero and missed him terribly during his lunch breaks. He felt very accepted even with his twelve-year old antics which the Berg’s graciously found amusing and I found sooo exasperating…boys. I did nick-name Russ “Houdini” since he possessed the amazing skill to completely vanish from view in the time it would take to just greet someone. I would turn to finish a comment and he was simply gone! He’s like

Josh, Oldest and Russ with Middle Boy and Littlest in background

Josh, Oldest and Russ with Middle Boy and Littlest in background

a genie, cross his arms, nod his head and poof–vanished. There are moments I could benefit from such a talent.

On Saturday my husband and the rest of the crew came up to see the convention. They wondered the vendor hall a bit and then invaded the booth. Littlest and Middle Boy took turns playing the iPad, making a nuisance of themselves and using Russ as a prop for their Lego dinosaurs. I should have taken a picture of the moment. My children do not have a grandfather. In those rare instances when an older gentleman interacts so naturally with my children I find the moment wistful.

Littlest is glad I am home

Littlest is glad I am home

Anyway, a few people have asked what I brought home from the convention. Not much, since most of it had to be ordered. I purchased The Dangerous Journey and study guides from Memoria Press, Fix It from IEW, some movies study guides from Zeezok, Foundations from Logic of English and Early American history for both intermediate and junior high grades from Beautiful Feet Books. Now, I just have to wait for all of my goodies to arrive…

Today, I took Littlest out for ice cream. He missed me so much while I was away. I asked him what he did and he said, “Wore Daddy out. But now I can go back to wearing you out.” Sounds about right…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

This Week in Books

this week's selections

this week’s selections

The heart and soul of our homeschool is literature and poetry. We spend two hours every morning immersed in books followed by another half hour of free-read time. We also devote one afternoon a week to the study and appreciation of poetry.

We devour books.

I’ve received a steady trickle of requests since I started sharing our weekly read-alouds on Instagram a few months ago. Some people want to know how I get my kids to sit still and listen. Others want to know how our books are chosen or if the children like them. Do we quit books that are horrible? (We haven’t found one that bad just yet…close though.) Do the children give oral or written narrations? Book reports? How do I know they comprehend the material? Are they even listening?

20160205_074520 (480x640)No, I do not make the kids sit still during our morning time. They usually curl up with a pillow and favorite blanket but will also play with the cat. Our kitty uses read-aloud time to pounce on the children and play. She also will drag her favorite string over and beg quite vocally until someone plays with her. The five-year old has also been known to pounce on someone hoping for a pillow fight…homeschool life y’all!

Nearly all of the books we read aloud have corresponding work during our table time so it becomes really obvious if someone did not pay attention. Discussion follows everything we read. I also started pointing out interesting word choices or phrases to the kids while reading aloud. They are starting to do the same as well and I enjoy hearing words and phrases that stand out to them.

they get cozy during read aloud time

they get cozy during read aloud time

We begin our read aloud time in the morning right after breakfast. Seriously, who wants to tackle scientific laws, mathematical equations or, worst of all–grammar at eight in the morning? Well, I’m sure someone reading does but not this family. I have a basket near the fireplace that holds all of our read-aloud books for the week. I usually prep the books and magazines we will go through sometime on Sunday.

We begin with our Beautiful Feet Books history selection. I generally read all of these books aloud as well as any extra recommendations within the guide. The guide usually has some questions for us to discuss and other assignments that kids will work on during our table time. Our next book is from the Brave Writer Arrow selections. These books are part of our grammar

first part of extra-curricular book haul

first part of extra-curricular book haul

curriculum and also have a simple literary element based writing assignment. I choose ten books each school year and we take about four weeks to go through each book. We all take turns reading theses books aloud. I keep a pad near by and write down any words they have trouble pronouncing for vocabulary work. I also instruct them on reading aloud clearly and with grammatical correctness for their listeners. No mumbling or rushing through!

poetry tea time

poetry tea time

I try to round out the rest of our books with rotations from science, art, natural history, geography, Shakespeare or whatever we currently find interesting. At the moment we are reading about the America’s before the arrival of Columbus and Native American’s local to Kentucky for the beginning of our national and state histories.

Our books this week:

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly is from our Beautiful Feet Books curriculum. We are only the first few chapters in but it is excellent! The kids always beg to read just one more chapter…

Redwall by Brian Jacques is a Brave Writer Arrow title. This book bores me to tears…so predictable I can hardly stand it. This is the first Arrow selection we did not like. So far the rest of the books have been enjoyable. One more week and we will finish this book…

Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491 by Charles C. Mann. This is a spine book for our Native American/Early American History/State History studies. Our history curriculum begins the study of American history with Vikings and Columbus but I believe it is important to study the culture and civilizations that already existed prior to the arrival of Europeans. Anyway, this book is fascinating and we all enjoy it. I will likely look for the adult version of this book for my own reading.

The Legend of Blue Jacket, The Cherokees: A First Americans Book, In a sacred Manner I Live and Myths and Civilization of the Native Americans all go with our unit study. I’m just going through the shelf at the library and picking these as I go.

Dinosaurs: The Grand Tour by Keiron Pim and Jack Horner is pretty good if you love dinosaurs. I don’t but Middle Boy finds them fascinating. We read about one dinosaur a day and we’ll be reading it for a long while.

Your Visit to the Louvre My husband brought this book back from his visit to the museum years before he met me! We look through a two page spread each day and I give the kids a freewrite assignment out of it on occasion. This is a very informal art appreciation…

National Geographic and Archeology are magazines that we enjoy reading together. I usually just read one or two main articles from the magazines and the kids will finish reading them on their own. My mom usually brings us these magazines from yard sales and sometimes the library has a stack of free magazines. We like the variety of subjects and historical tidbits found in these.

books for this session

books for this session

Once our Native American studies are concluded we will begin reading about math. I’m putting together a little overview of the history of mathematics as well as some literature that includes solving math and puzzles. I noticed last year that my kids interest in science increased when we went through a literature based history of science. They were inspired by the stories of the scientists. I saw the same thing happen this winter when we studied Shakespeare through literature. They fell in love with Shakespeare and were then eager to study and watch a play. I hope to light a little spark for math. My kids love read aloud time and I have found it to be the easiest way to introduce them to some topics that they may not explore on their own.

Here is a great read from the Beautiful Feet Books’ blog on How Stories Create Us.

Medieval Study: Minstrels, the Black Death and Chaucer

books for this session

books for this session

We’ve just wrapped up weeks nineteen through twenty-four of Beautiful Feet Books’ Intermediate Medieval History covering from the 1290’s to 1400 or so. The book selections for this session were some of our very favorite of the study so far. The books are so wonderful, in fact, that my younger crew abandoned their history studies and insisted on listening in with their older brother. I just modified a few of the assignments to suit the younger kids so they could participate with their older brother. This is what happens when you read quality books aloud! Everyone joins in the fun…

In the first book, Adam of the Road, we learned about minstrels, heraldry and even more about medieval society. I found a fun heraldry prompt on Pinterest for my crew to dive into. The kids enjoyed making their own symbolic shields and I was so pleased with the results that I put their projects in a safe place. So safe, that I cannot remember where…(please tell me that I am not the only one who does this!)

The European World resource book

The European World resource book

At this time Oldest came up with his own history project for the rest of the study. He is using Minecraft to build a medieval city. For the past six weeks he has been building locations from the books. He even added one of the medieval Robin Hood ballads to the tavern he built to represent the Canterbury Tales. I wasn’t sold on this Minecraft build since the BFB guide includes several projects as well. It seemed more like an excuse to play video games to me at first. However, after watching how much research he put into each addition to his city I lost my skepticism. After the first week the middle two joined him on the project. The three of them are working together, checking out medieval history books from the library and learning so much on their own just so they can build their city. I’m pretty sure this is

illustration from Canterbury Tales

illustration from Canterbury Tales

what is referred to as “delight-directed learning”…the sweet-spot of home education. I sincerely believe the quality literature and discussions prompted by the guide led to my children’s curiosity to learn more on their own.

The next part of the study was on The Black Death and John Wycliffe through the book Morning Star of the Reformation. We found this book to be just a wee bit preachy in favor of Fundamentalism. For us it sparked a discussion on world views, respecting other’s beliefs and the importance of reading and understanding the Scriptures in our own language. The book does provide a rich portrait of a clergyman’s life and the description of The Plague and its aftermath on a culture is vivid. Oldest then gave us a presentation on The Plague aided by a nice map and website references in the guide.

they get cozy during read aloud time

they get cozy during read aloud time

In our next book, Crispin: The Cross of Lead, we learned just how difficult and harsh life could be for the common people. Thus far into the study this is probably my favorite book. It really captured the importance and hold the Catholic Church had on the medieval mind. We could feel the beginnings of political and religious unrest unfolding in society. The kids were just heart broken over the unjust cruelty shown toward Crispin and his mother.

the Minecraft tavern

the Minecraft tavern

Our last two weeks for this section of the guide was on Chaucer and The Canterbury Tales. The book provided by BFB is beautiful! The illustrations are just gorgeous! We also read Chaucer: Celebrated Poet and Author, Life on a Medieval Pilgrimage and another Canterbury Tales adapted by Geraldine McCaughrean. All three books were recommended by BFB. The kids, to my surprise, really enjoyed the Canterbury Tales and the Chaucer biography. The guide gives several websites on pilgrimages and suggests the student write a report. Since we were reading a book together on the subject I did not give Oldest the assignment. After we read the book I told the kids about the two pilgrimages I went on many years ago. My first pilgrimage was to the Ava Maria Grotto in

horse from Adam of the Road

horse from Adam of the Road

Cullman, Alabama. My second pilgrimage was to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows during my time with the Franciscan Order. I’m pretty sure that my kids think I’m weird…

We’ve been studying Shakespeare this term as well. We wrapped up our Shakespeare unit by reading and watching Hamlet since the story occurs during the late Middle Ages (1300-1499 or so). Hamlet is not a part of the BFB study at all but it does fit in nicely. We watched the Mel Gibson movie. It was pretty good and on Netflix.

20160225_161731

Hamlet

Right now Oldest is writing his own Canterbury Tale. For most of the written assignments in this study I have accepted first or second drafts with oral discussion. For this assignment we will be going through the entire revision and editing process which takes about a month for us. Once his story is completed and if he gives permission I will share it here in the blog.

We spent a great deal of time discussing religion, justice, the unfairness of the feudal system and the breakdown of society due to the plague and the Little Ice Age. These conversations led

church

church

to the kids understanding the importance in literacy and the ability to think critically as a defense against tyranny. If only it were so simple as their sweet idealistic hearts believe. Oldest then made a comparison of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages to Sharia Law today. Now that, is a chilling thought…

We have about nine weeks remaining for this study. Our tradition with history studies is to have a feast. In the next few weeks we will be researching recipes and final projects to share.

Medieval market square

Medieval market square

At the end of March and first of April Oldest and I will be hanging out at the Beautiful Feet Books’ booth at the Great Homeschool Convention in Cincinnati. If you are going then please stop by and say “Howdy!” We’d love to meet you! Beautiful Feet Books will also be at the Great Homeschool Conventions in Texas and California as well this year.

 

Sunday Journal: Birthday Week and Zoo Expedition

We spent most of the week waiting for the weekend. Middle Boy’s birthday was on Monday but we didn’t celebrate until this weekend with a trip to Cincinnati. Middle Boy requested a trip to the Lego store. All of the kids had saved some of their Christmas money for this trip. I’m glad they enjoyed the shop but I do get a little bored waiting for them to decide which set to purchase. Afterwards we explored downtown and ate lunch at a pizza shop. While waiting for our pizza my husband and I people-watched out the window. We

Sparkles at pizza shop

Sparkles at pizza shop

noticed two individuals who appeared to be homeless. I wondered about their lives and what sort of decisions led to their current existence while my own children munched on their pizza…oblivious to the people passing by outside. During our short walk downtown we encountered another woman who was clearly drugged out of her mind.

walking through downtown

walking through downtown

Large cities like Cincinnati are both fascinating and horrifying all at once. Each large city has a unique stench. My husband assures me that some foreign cities he has visited are for more offensive to the nose. I know I am spoiled and sheltered and am grateful for the life my husband provides for us. I feel so uncomfortable in cities…they are crushing, smothering. There is another feeling but I cannot put a name to it. Maybe I just don’t want to name it.

Painted Dogs

Painted Dogs

We left downtown and headed for the zoo. For Christmas we got a membership to the zoo. I prefer family experiences over material things for Christmas gifts. This was our first trip to the Cincinnati Zoo. Several of the exhibits were closed but we still had a wonderful time together and I forgot the uneasy feelings that downtown impressed upon my thoughts. Sparkles loved all of the wild cats and gushed over the white tigers. My favorite animal was the African Painted Dog. I loved their wild spotty colors and big ears. Those wild dogs were fascinating and so restless, with massive square jaws, powerful and deadly. Death in a pack. Scary but beautiful.

Oldest by the creek

Oldest by the creek

Today we stayed home. We didn’t go to church. After a busy day out around so many people I wasn’t up to a morning at church. My sensitivity to people and excessive stimulus is getting a bit difficult to endure lately. Sometimes people are so exhausting. Please don’t get me wrong, I like being social. People are interesting. However, I need more solitude than before so that I can endure the onslaught on my senses the being social brings. Wednesday was the worst day for me. We went to our first homeschool co-op meeting. For the most part the kids had a great time. Middle Boy hated being rushed in his art class and I can’t blame him for that. How can rushing art be justified? I was a nervous wretch before

found Littlest sleeping in our bed

found Littlest sleeping in our bed

we arrived. I worked in the nursery and truly enjoyed the little children. Afterwards we went to the library and then to the grocery store. By the time we got home my hands were shaking. I wanted to cry and curl up in a ball somewhere in the dark. The strain on my heart physically hurt. I just wanted my husband to come home and hold me. I was too emotionally exhausted to got to church that evening and ended up napping.

I will not be running any errands after co-op. No, no.

Lego Store

Lego Store

The rest of the week was just fine. I received my next two reviews for the TOS Review Crew in the mail: The Dragon and the Raven and the Faith Builders Bible. You can look for those two reviews by the end of the month. So far being part of the Crew has been nice and not too overwhelming.

The folks from Beautiful Feet Books asked me to work with them at the convention again this year. I am looking forward to the work and helping a company I truly believe in. If you attend the GHC in Cincinnati this year then stop by and say hello. I’d love to meet you!

Littlest working on math exercises

Littlest working on math exercises

This kids finished their first online class through Brave Writer this week. I am so happy with the class and will share all about our experience later this week. I highly recommend any of the online writing courses through Brave Writer.

Other than my social anxiety issues our week was fabulous. One of my friends told me that my reactions are completely normal for individuals considered to be “highly sensitive”. Something I pan to look into this week.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Parent Teacher Meet-up.