Sunday Journal: Girl’s Night Adventure and Ramblings

poetry breakfast

poetry breakfast

Currently my chest has that awful tight congested feeling. My ears feel stuffed with warm cotton. The back of my throat burns. Tomorrow the coughing will start. Most likely this week’s schooling will only be bare bones but maybe with several cups of hot soothing tea and honey I’ll be able to get through the read-alouds…or not. I supposed I could declare us “unschoolers” for the week, see what happens.

Sparkles found her skooter this week

Sparkles found her skooter this week

Actually, we could never be unschoolers…not purely anyway. I’ve tried following classical and Charlotte Mason methods over the past few years. I’ve found that anytime I try to enforce the rules of some method or philosophy over another we are all miserable. I have this vision in my heart of how home education should look and feel. But I lost the confidence to implement it as I read books by “experts”. I’m glad that I read those books, knowledge is good.

fried chicken feast

fried chicken feast

But I should not have accepted them as gospel. I intend to clarify and return our school to my original vision. For us this return will bring more hands-on and group projects, less workbooks and text books. More mess, more freedom, and more work.

I’m hoping to have a game-plan in place after Christmas break.

Littlest being himself at church

Littlest being himself at church

School was a little different this week since we started working on a little unit study on the Appalachian Trail. We picked out several books from the library and then everyone chose a project. We’ve read some wonderful books and learned about the book women of Appalachia. So far our favorite books have been from Jesse Stuart. I’ll have a separate post about it later this week and share all of our book titles and projects.

Middle Boy enjoying poetry tea time

Middle Boy enjoying poetry tea time

Math and Latin were our tricky subjects this week. Middle Boy hates his math because it is so boring. He generally likes math and rarely makes mistakes but is bored to tears-quite literally! I took his math workbook from him on Friday and gave him the placement test for Beast Academy. The exam was tough and even I had to think through a few of the questions! This math will be a good fit for him and I bet the rest of the crew will be curious enough to read the text and try their hand at some of the problems.

wrestling math on the new area rug

wrestling math on the new area rug

Latin has become grammar intensive! I’m not sure we even need our grammar workbooks anymore. The Latin course does a much better job of teaching language arts anyway. This is definitely the last year we will use grammar workbooks.

Littlest hates getting his hair cut

Littlest hates getting his hair cut

We will also finish our science course this week. We’re gonna take a break from science until our restart after the holiday break. We were all really disappointed in the Sonlight science course. After quite a bit of research we are going to use Dr. J Wile’s elementary science series. Middle Boy looked over several science programs with me and helped with all the research (hopefully he appreciates all the work I put into researching their education!!). He is super excited about all of the experiments involved with the course and he loved-loved-loved!!! reading the sample chapters available. Oldest decided to

shopping with Sparkles

shopping with Sparkles

put off middle school science for a few months because he wants to be in the same science program with Littlest for a while. After Christmas break Littlest will join us in the school room full-time and Oldest wants to be his “helper”.

Yep, I’ll be rocking Kindergarten through middle school in January!!!

On Friday night Sparkles and I went shopping. She had no winter clothing in her closet. After my husband got home from work we abandoned him with the boys and enjoyed a nice girl’s night out. I

my Sparkles...looking so grown-up

my Sparkles…looking so grown-up

really should do that more often with her. We had so much fun! Her clothing choices made me a little sad…no bows or princesses. My baby girl is growing up!!! We found some jeans and a few plain tops. She even picked out a hoodie because The Doctor (Who) wears hoodies these days. She cracked me up at Cracker Barrel because she couldn’t figure out how to get past “just plain dumb” on the table game. I told her she could order anything she wanted for dinner so she chose the Coca-Cola cake! I thought that was great! Our waiter thought she was adorable and decided to adopt me as his mom. I’m pretty sure it was because I let her have chocolate cake for dinner.

brain-freeze!!!

brain-freeze!!!

We arrived home to a neighborhood with no power. While we were out a meth-lab was busted and one of the “chemists” escaped arrest, crashed into an electric pole, and fled into a nearby field. Helicopters searched the skies and police officers searched through our neighborhood! I don’t know, but maybe we picked the wrong neighborhood?!?! Anyway, once the power returned later in the evening we learned more about tragedy. Paris reminded me deeply of 911. I was horrified but not surprised. I was saddened to learn that many churches remained closed for worship on Sunday morning. When our pastor announced this I couldn’t help but feel that Apocalyptic Islam had won. I do not know where this world of ours is going. I am frightened for my children and for yours. Despite my own fears I trust my Savior.

In the pictures below you will find links to the Brave Writer Periscope group on Facebook for the Holiday Season. A support group for those who follow Julie Bogart on Periscope. The second picture is to the free gift for a gratitude journal she made. The last pictures in the gallery are from our church’s display of 225 years of history in the Frankfort area. The display will be taken down this week so my husband and I skipped Sunday School (again!!) to look over the history. Sadly, the lovely couch will be moved from the foyer area and returned to one of the building on sire. Oldest loves the couch and it has served as our designated meeting spot the past few weeks.

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

 

 

 

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Sunday Journal: Cracking Twelve

peek-a-boo fall colors

peek-a-boo fall colors

Last week only a hint of autumn was noticeable. A wee bit of yellow and orange peeked through the green trees. This week the brilliant and glorious fall colors are everywhere. This town is gorgeous right now. Other than a couple of rainy days the weather was perfect for getting outside. I even went for a mile walk this week! I need to do more than one mile in a week but one is better than none…

We did enjoy one afternoon exploring another park in town. Littlest insisted we find one with a playground this time. Even the older kids had a fun time playing on the slides, swings and climbing wall…well, almost. Oldest was bored after about ten minutes. He is all of twelve now and the things that delight his younger siblings do not hold his interest long.

I wasn’t ready for Oldest to turn twelve. I wasn’t ready to never hear his little boy voice ever again. I’ve been so busy with this move that I didn’t see the changes. I failed to realize his voice

Oldest going on his first youth group adventure

Oldest going on his first youth group adventure

was cracking. I’ve either told him to quick making silly voices or asking him if he was okay…because I thought he was trying to keep from crying. Call me oblivious to reality!!! I didn’t know what was happening with him until my husband asked me if I had noticed the voice cracks this week. Instantly I felt like an idiot…just gonna hang my head in mommy shame. I missed it somehow. Oldest also went on his first outing with the church youth group this week to some indoor trampoline place. Not sure that I am financially ready for him to be in the youth group! He had a great time and found a friend that also likes Minecraft and Doctor Who and hates ketchup too.

We managed to unpack a few more boxes. We finally found our kitchen garbage can this week! Woohoo!!! We celebrated that finding. A little silly perhaps but we were happy to have a garbage can again! It really is the little things that make such a difference! Our homeschool room is starting to come together. We need to get our maps on the wall. My husband unboxed those today. Everytime we do mapwork Sparkles complains about our missing world map. My husband also put up another book shelf

getting there...

getting there…

for us. Sometime in the spring we are going to move the bookcases we have into the kid’s rooms. He is working on plans for built-in cabinetry and shelves along the back wall. I think I have most of our books on the shelves. I know we are still missing a few things since I cannot find the pencil sharpener. I’ve unpacked all of the boxes marked “school”. Who knows where we will find it?!

We added a few more subjects back into our school this week. The crew reviewed their Latin lessons this week instead of jumping into where they left off. Littlest even watches “the Latin show” with them and has started reciting some of the sentences too. This coming week we will

swing time

swing time

have all of our subjects going for the first time since…early August I suppose. Littlest is the only one not schooling for now. I decided to wait until after Christmas. He does a few things on the iPad on his own but only when he wants to. For now I just want to read to him. We are working through our library’s selection of fifty books to read before Kindergarten.

Maybe we’ll find the Halloween stuff before Saturday…

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Monkeys and Monty Python

monopoly fun

monopoly fun

Over the weekend we had the brilliant notion to let he kids watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They have been re-enacting scenes from the film all week. After six days or so I’m not much of a fan anymore. Well, that’s not quite true…knights with silly boy humor is far more preferable than most shows for children their age. They have also pretended to be Native American friends of Father Marquette and Minn the turtle from H.C. Hollings’ Minn of the Mississippi.  We’ve spent the week studying the history and geography of the Mississippi River. I rather enjoy

Littlest filling the empty spaces with letters

Littlest filling the empty spaces with letters

watching them when their play mixes with their studies. Usually these things end when Littlest decides to pretend to be a Dalek and attacks everyone. Then one of them will run off and build a sonic screwdriver out of Lego’s and blow-up the Dalek. Or Oldest will just declare that the Doctor no longer needs his sonic screwdriver to blow-up Daleks since he has attack eyebrows now. None of that makes any sense unless you watch Doctor Who.

the sad sunflowers

the sad sunflowers

Other than the imaginative play of the children the week has been rather quiet. Littlest has insisted on having some school papers of his own to work on. He is now an expert at the shape puzzles one of his aunts got for him and asked for something “more mathy” to work with during the school day. At what point did he realize that working with shapes is mathematics?! This week he started joining us for read aloud time on his own. I’ve always just let him play near us during school hours but he is wanting to join in now. Instead of trying to drag someone off to go play with him he is asking me for math and writing lessons. He also likes to dance and sing. This week his favorite is Five Little Monkey’s.  Littlest is also still concerned about the sunflowers in the yard. He pointed to the flowers this week and said they were still sad searching for their seeds and wished they would look at the sun again. I showed him where the seeds were growing but he didn’t believe me because the sunflowers were “not smiling at the sun.”

Oldest walking on his own this week

Oldest walking on his own this week

Oldest is just about to wrap-up his studies of ancient Egypt. We have nearly completed The Golden Goblet by E.J. McGraw and are nearly finished with the book. Even though the middle two are not studying ancient history they have stuck around to listen to the story. In the next few weeks Oldest will be working on his first proper essay on ancient Egypt. He is a little nervous and really wants to do a good job. I told him he could take a week off from his writing lessons so long as he applied the techniques from his writing curriculum toward his history paper. I plan to help him with his first essay but I doubt he’ll need me all that much.

I will not be writing a wrap-up next week. We’ll be on break for a week and I might fit in a field trip. The following week Littlest will begin preschool and that will be a major change for us…we’ll have to follow an actual schedule…horrors!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Promotion Day and Pythagoras

first day of school

first day of school

We celebrated the beginning of our new academic year with our second annual promotion party. I officially now have a fifth grader, two third graders, and a little preschooler. Over the long weekend we went to the park, a family July fourth cookout, to Dairy Queen for ice-cream and a Chinese restaurant. We made tie-dyed t-shirts and blackberry syllabubs. The crew also enjoyed double video game time which is a big deal to them.

Littlest asleep in his hiding place

Littlest asleep in his hiding place

Littlest likes to amuse himself these days by hiding our shoes or even himself! I could not find my favorite flip-flops for two days! We really have to watch him outside because if you do not have your eye on him he will hide. The first time he hid while we were outside really frightened me! We know where most of his hiding spots are now and can find our missing shoes. One of his hiding spots is in the master bathroom. My husband is often amused by the variety of items he finds in there when he gets home from work. On a few occasions I’ve even found Littlest asleep in his hiding places.

Doctor Who craziness...

Doctor Who craziness…

A couple of weeks ago I removed all of last years art work from around the room. Sparkles thought an empty art display board was a very sad sight to see. She filled the emptiness with drawings from Doctor Who. Our wall is covered with images of the 10th Doctor, Donna Noble (my favorite companion), Martha Jones, Daleks and Weeping Angels.  Middle Boy also wanted to get in on the fun and covered his math lesson with alien space craft, explosions and an Ood…yeah, that’s from Dr. Who as well.

On Monday we jumped into our new school books and schedule. Our days have been a bit long as we adjust to the new workload and subjects. Oldest is working on his own for history this year while the younger two continue with The Story of the World. He also  has typing and a critical thinking/pre-logic

first day of school

first day of school

workbook added to his studies. Oldest struggled this week under the weight of his studies and the heavy reading schedule and is already behind. I’m sure he’ll adjust and thrive very soon. The logic stage has hit him hard. Despite the volume of work he told me he liked everything.

We’ve only completed two lessons in science so far but I can tell my little scholars are going to really love the study. We spent an hour discussing the ancient Greeks and Archimedes’ inventions. They made their own scrolls in Greek, hand drew a map of the known world (to the Greeks around 500 BC). We spent our next lesson time discussing Pythagoras

Pythagorean Theorem notes

Pythagorean Theorem notes

and his theorem. The science guide does not give me the answers so I actually had to know the theorem or where to find it. I couldn’t believe that I was actually able to remember “a squared plus b squared equals c squared”! I remembered the formula but had no clue what it meant! The really wonky part is that my husband was thinking about the theorem on his nightly walk the evening before. If I had to guess what he was thinking about on his walks I never would have imagined calculating the hypotenuse of triangles…

Oldest tending the flowers

Oldest tending the flowers

Every morning we’ve been outside watering the garden and picking blackberries. I juiced the first batch of blackberries to make blackberry fizz and syllabubs. The next quart (all ready in the fridge) I’ll use to make honey-blackberry syrup for waffles and make a batch or two of muffins. The garden is still growing and I hope to harvest a tomato or two by this weekend’s end. Due to the continuous spring rains and then sudden dry spell the tomatoes ended up with flower end rot. The same thing happened last year. If

We like to wear tie-dye's on our first day of school

We like to wear tie-dye’s on our first day of school

we have a really rainy spring season next year then I am going to pick off all of the flowers. The rot is so discouraging. The jalapeno and bell pepper harvest is starting to pick up and hopefully I’ll be able to make some roasted tomato salsa soon…yum! I’m waiting for my cucumber plant to produce more fruit. We had some high winds a week or so ago and the plant has had a hard time recovering. It is covered in blooms now so hopefully I’ll have cucumbers again soon.

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers. Next week the some of the participating blogs in the Weekly Wrap-up will be sharing our curriculum choices for the year. I’ll post mine as well and I look forward to learning what everyone else will be using in their homeschools.

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Doctor Angry and Final Preparations

Littlest and Sprite enjoying some cuddle time

Littlest and Sprite enjoying some cuddle time

Last Friday we played in the pool with Mrs. Cuddle-me and boys. Later Makrothumia and kids also joined in the fun. A day with friends is always so very uplifting. After an entire year, Littlest finally accepted Sprite and played with her in the pool. He also let her cuddle him in a towel after swimming. He always wants cuddle time after getting out of the pool or even the bathtub. After a year of effort and possibly some hurt feelings, Sprite was rather pleased to have won over Littlest and he seems quite content with his new friend. He talked as much about her as Big E the past few days.

lunch with friends

lunch with friends

Sunday was a rough day at church. I usually have a pretty good time with my two-year Sunday School class. However, on this particular day I was vomited on by a sad little fellow who only wanted his mommy. Later, I was peed on twice! I was so glad to go home. Thankfully, I have July off from nursery duty but my group will graduate to their new classes by the time I return. I’ll miss them. I took a really nice long nap that day…after getting cleaned up.

decorating binders and organizing for the new academic year

decorating binders and organizing for the new academic year

We did very little school work this week. Most of our time was spent working in the school room getting ready for our new academic year…which begins on Monday. We did go shopping on Tuesday morning to get the rest of our school supplies. The crew decorated various folders and made little posters for the first day of school pictures. I printed out papers, ripped apart workbooks, and prepped the workboxes for the first day of school.

Oldest's and Sparkles' workboxes

Oldest’s and Sparkles’ workboxes

Our year begins the first Monday in July (unless it happens to be the fourth of July, then we start on the first Tuesday). First I fill in our yearly calendar and mark off non-school days, holidays, vacations and my husband’s time off from work. Then I count off five sets of nine week terms and see that our year ends on June fifth. We are going with a four-day school week (mostly) this year which is why our year is forty-five weeks. Most curriculum doesn’t last forty-five weeks even with a four-day schedule so by the time nice spring days arrive we will begin finishing up our various curriculums. We will also take a week or so off when my mom visits sometime in April.

yearly overview sheets

yearly overview sheets

After getting our basic year figured out I then made yearly overviews for most of our courses. On these sheets I can see all five terms on one page and make very basic lesson plans. I will then journal our daily work into my lesson planner as it is completed. This year I am using A Simple Plan planner. I think this system will give me plenty of flexibility without a rigid schedule that makes me bonkers when I can’t keep up…and something always messes up the schedule.

Once the yearly overviews were completed I made folders for each week and placed them in my daily basket. Each folder contains all of the pintables and worksheets that need to be completed. I printed out all of them for the entire year. Last year I printed papers and

my daily basket

my daily basket

tore out worksheets on Sunday evenings. Now all I’ll have to do is fill the workboxes and I can even do that job on Friday mornings. Middle Boy didn’t want to use the workbox system this year. He hated the workboxes and just wanted to put all of his things in a crate. I like the workboxes (everything in its own drawer!) but not everything has to be done my way. I like my world “nice and tidy” and in its proper place. He needs to see everything at once which looks like a chaotic mess to me. He even plays the same way…Legos and such spread out all around him. He practices his piano the same way. He plays bits and pieces throughout the day and then experiments with the melody and changes things around. Every week I get frustrated and just want him to play the piece from

Middle Boy's crate

Middle Boy’s crate

beginning to end…Maybe I am wrong but it seems creative people do not see messes. Perhaps they thrive in disorder. Anyway, I am doing my best to see how he views the world and accommodate him. My daily basket also contains my attendance sheet, course of study sheets, answer keys, grade keepers, and books for the week. My year is planned and we are ready to begin on Monday.

Littlest woke me early Wednesday morning. I should say Doctor Angry (imagine Angry Birds combined with Doctor Who) woke me with his sonic screwdriver (made by Middle Boy out of Legos)! Littlest was saying, “Doctor Angry is sonicing you to wake up and make me chocolate milk and a peanut butter sandwich!” An Angry Bird stuffed animal was bouncing on my chest and the Lego sonic screwdriver was pressed into my cheek. What a fun way to start the day! After breakfast we prepared for another morning of swimming with friends at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s.

reading response binder by Sparkles

reading response binder by Sparkles

By Thursday we finished up all of our work in the school room. I put together their Reading Response binders. I wanted my crew to start keeping a reading log this year but I wanted more than a list of books. I happened to read this post on Scholastic and loved the idea! I adapted it for our needs and am looking forward to reading their entries. They will list the books they read during free reading time, graph them each month by genre, and then write up a short response (from a list of choices) for me. I plan to read through

log from reading binder

log from reading binder

their responses and write a note back. Even though I will not be grading their responses I will be watching for improvement in spelling and grammar or areas that need extra instruction. All of the forms I used in their binders can be found on the Scholastic post shared above from Beth Newingham.

Friday is July the fourth, my nation’s birthday. The day we are supposed to celebrate our freedom. We usually spend the day at home and just enjoy being together. For the past few years we have sat on our porch and watched the neighbors fireworks. This year we will spend the evening at one of my sister-in-law’s home for a cookout. The kids were really excited when we told them.

Saturday is our promotion party, the day we promote the crew to their new grade level. We’ll have a fifth grader, two third graders and a preschooler. The kids have chosen to go out to a Chinese buffet for lunch. They will also enjoy double game time and we’ll make tie-dye t-shirts. We are ready for our new school year and a return to the much-needed routine!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

 

The Pilgrims with Beautiful Feet Books

Primary Early American History notebook pages and maps for our Pilgrim studies

Primary Early American History notebook pages and maps for our Pilgrim studies

We spent just over two months learning about the Pilgrims’ journey from England to America and then spent some time learning about their friend Squanto. Middle Boy and I are quite taken with Squanto and found his life story fascinating. I spent some time doing extra research and reading on this amazing man and actually wept when reading about his death and suspected poisoning at the hands of the local Native Americans. Our books mention that he became a Christian and asked for prayers as he died so that he could go to Heaven…I truly look forward to meeting him when my own pilgrimage in this world is over and I finally journey Home.

Our first book was Pilgrim Stories by Margaret Pumphrey. My scholars loved this book and constantly begged for one more chapter…just one more chapter. I think they liked that the focus of the book was mostly from the children’s viewpoint. They also loved all of the history facts added by Rea Berg. Sparkles actually squealed with happiness when Mrs. Berg mentioned Pocahontas’ visit to England. Sometimes we followed the rabbit trails these added notes took us on…because…that’s just what homeschoolers do.

hodge-podge soup

hodge-podge soup

In the book we learned that the pilgrim children ate a meal of hodgepodge stew and seed cakes when they first arrived in Holland. So, naturally, we had to make the meal ourselves. Food is just a great hands on project for history. I found this recipe for Nova Scotia Hodge Podge and made it for the crew. I have no idea if this is what was actually served in Holland in the early 1600’s but it seemed to fit the description from the book. The stew is delicious and will most likely go into our regular menu rotation. I didn’t have time to make the proper seed cakes (Littlest makes kitchen work a bit challenging) so we just made poppy-seed muffins. I think the proper seed cake was something like a sponge cake with caraway seeds. Recipes are our favorite history projects!!

Middle Boy's Mayflower map

Middle Boy’s Mayflower map

The lessons with Pilgrim Stories did have a few pictures with some copy work to put in the history notebook. The older two copied the Mayflower Compact into their notebooks and I let Middle Boy just paste a copy into his book and decorate the page. This assignment was not in the guide-book but they need the extra penmanship practice and I think it is a very important document to know. I had them copy it out on parchment paper and then we smoked the edges to give it an aged look…and I did set one of them on fire! ! Next time I decide to “age” a project we’ll work at the kitchen sink…After finishing the book the crew worked on drawing and painting a map of the Mayflower’s voyage to America. We also watch a program called Mayflower Pilgrims on Amazon Prime that went nicely with the book.

working on Squanto's map

working on Squanto’s map

Our second book was Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims by Clyde Robert Bulla. This book took us on an adventure with Squanto of the Patuxet’s. We all loved this book…it wasn’t long enough!! The kids were upset that Squanto was treated so badly by some Englishmen. They were offended when he was put on display in London and angry when he was captured by the slavers. We were overjoyed when he met Capt. John Smith who helped him get back to North America. And while reading of Squanto’s sad discovery that his people and family were gone…well I cried. I had to put the book down and we all wept for Squanto.

Sparkles map of Squanto's Journey

Sparkles map of Squanto’s Journey

The guide for this book was mostly discussion. There was one or maybe two copy work assignments and a coloring page of the first Thanksgiving. While studying the life of Squanto we also looked through the DK North American Indians book and North American Indians by Marie and Douglas Gorsline (not part of Beautiful Feet Books study). The last book by the Gorsline’s was a book I had read as a child and loved. We made a couple of projects while learning about Native American’s. Our first project was a game called the “bowl game” and you can find the directions at NativeTech. We painted one side of six wooden disks for the rocks and we used a woven paper plate holder for the bowl. We also used little match like sticks with the game. I did a search on Google images to get ideas on how to make the game pieces inexpensively. The kids had a lot of fun with the game. Our second project was making Talking Sticks. I found a kit for making these and we talked about why it is important to listen when someone else is speaking. Not merely waiting for your chance to say something but really listening to what someone else has to say.

Talking Feather and books

Talking Feather and books

Our last book was The Pilgrims of Plimoth by Marcia Sewall. This book has beautiful illustrations and is told from the view-point of the Pilgrims…like they were really talking to you. The book also has a glossary in the back to help the reader understand some of the language and terminology…words such as vergi, pottles, pipkins, etc. My scholars were absolutely stunned to learn that if children misbehaved their father was but in stocks in front of the town as punishment. I wish I had my camera ready because the looks on their faces were horrified! I think they were imagining how much trouble those children would be in when their father returned home.

Sparkles painting her bowl game disks

Sparkles painting her bowl game disks

We also did two map projects with this study. First we charted the course of the Mayflower. We did these maps exactly the same as out Christopher Columbus maps. The second map was of Squanto’s amazing journey. I needed to change-up how we made our maps this time. I used this idea from Confessions of a Homeschooler to make our second map. These maps turned out beautifully…but I need more ideas for map making. If you have any ideas please share!!!

Middle Boys narration on Squanto

Middle Boys narration on Squanto

We wrapped this study up the day before Thanksgiving so out timing worked out perfectly. Next year we may try our hand at some authentic Pilgrim and Native American recipes. The guide-book ends this section with a suggestion on researching early American Christmas celebrations. The Pilgrims did not celebrate Christmas but the Virginia settlers did as well as the Moravians in Pennsylvania. So we will hunt for clues on the topic this week and see what we find out.

Everyone had to write a final paper at the end of our study. I gave them several prompts from which to choose. Sparkles chose to write a letter as a passenger aboard the Mayflower. Middle Boy did a narration on the life of Squanto and Oldest came up with his own writing prompt. He chose to write about the Doctor (Who) taking him to see the first Thanksgiving. I thought that was a fun idea and even found a Tardis picture on the internet for him to put in his notebook. He wants all of you to know that he travels with the Ninth Doctor.

I ended our study of the Pilgrims with a post from Rea Berg’s blog (she is the co-author of our guide-book and founder of Beautiful Feet Books). Her post helped us to understand God’s providential guidance in the lives of the Pilgrims and the founding of this country.

Weekly Wrap-up: Well…Monthly This Time

beautiful moment

beautiful moment

Time got away from me this month and I am very late getting the weekly wrap-ups posted. Turns out my husband likes to read them and misses hearing about our school week and my silly banter. I have been a bit quiet on the blog lately…maybe too quiet. I am just upset and troubled over a few things and couldn’t get the words out of my heart. Writing is a wrestling match for me but the process helps to calm my emotions in the long run. Sometimes I have a hard time controlling my feelings…those inner emotions that should be kept under lock and key…Most of those writings do not make it to the published page, but I do write them out and feel better and spent. A little wine can be helpful too.

Thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving day

I should have sat down at the keyboard before Thanksgiving. I was a bit pathetic and I am kinda cross at myself for losing control. OK…that sounds like I was horribly rude! I just had to get out of the house. While we were praying and thanking God for the food my skin just crawled, my heart went crazy, I had this panicky feeling come over me and I had to get out. So I did. The road was a nice place to hang out for a while. I then went inside and got Littlest and took him so my husband could get something to eat. Littlest and I went outside and I rocked him until he was sleepy. We went back in and I held him while he slept. After a while my husband suggested I get a bit to eat so I tried but couldn’t eat much. One of my brother-in-laws tried to talk to me about my departure but I told him to find something else to talk about. That went over well…I then returned to my husband to rescue him from being Littlest’s nap pad but he suggested I go see my friend at the end of the block.

playing in yard

playing in yard

So I did and had a wonderful time. I visited with her at her in-law’s. Most of the people were strangers to me but I puttered in the kitchen with the ladies and left feeling like I had spent a couple of hours with life long friends. I then returned to the family gathering. I was asked again about my “episode” and since I wasn’t exactly sure what to say I just said that the crowd made me feel anxious. Which was followed up with a statement about me staying home all the time and these things wouldn’t happen if my husband let me out more to socialize. I took that for what it was…criticism for being a homeschooler. That’s fine but the stab at my husband wasn’t nice…not at all and I felt angry and let down. I then found my husband, we rounded up the kids and left.

I’ll remember this as the awkward Thanksgiving but it is not my worst Thanksgiving.

horrible meal...for a review

horrible meal…for a review

The other struggle I’ve had the past few weeks is determining to stay with the review team. I like reviewing things but not being used for free advertisement. I’ve had to do a couple of things that made me uncomfortable and…well…I just need to pray over this concern. I’ve two more reviews due the early part of December and then I’ll need to make a decision.

Middle Boy working on his Squanto narration

Middle Boy working on his Squanto narration

We’ve been very busy this month at school. We finished up a two month study on the Pilgrims and Squanto from our favorite history curriculum…Beautiful Feet Books. We enjoyed the study and finished up the day before Thanksgiving. I had each of my scholars write-up a final paper and gave them several prompts from which to choose. Oldest wrote about Dr. Who taking him to the first Thanksgiving which I thought was fun and creative. Sparkles wrote a letter from the Mayflower and Middle Boy narrated the life of Squanto. I was very impressed with Middle Boy’s report since he wrote most of it without my help and his paper needed the least editing and input from me. I am working on another post about our Pilgrim studies and hopefully will get it up soon…

art project

art project

We also enjoyed Literature Club this month with one of the local homeschool groups. Oldest read A Christmas Carol and really enjoyed the book…he didn’t get it finished in time for the meeting but that happens sometimes. Littlest slept through his class…he is a tired boy these days. I’m constantly finding him asleep! We also enjoyed another art co-op with our friends this month and did a collage. The art class was at Mrs. Cuddle-me’s house again. My crew loves to go to her home and her boys are wonderful young men. My kids also like to chase her turkeys…and get chased by her turkeys. I’m going to have to get a picture of it sometime because it is absolutely hilarious!

International Fair

International Fair

Last week we went to the International Fair at Murray State. The kids enjoyed getting out for the day and we learned a few things from the international students at the university. The kids have papers with their names written in Chinese and we sampled a few goodies from the different countries. I liked the Chinese rice crackers and the kids liked the German gummy bears. I think they were most impressed that Angry Birds was created by the descendants of the Vikings! That is a funny statement but I am just glad they made the connection when they looked at the map!!

Last weekend I immersed myself in all things Dr. Who and totally loved the Day of the Doctor! I am looking forward to the next episode on Christmas Day and meeting the new Doctor!! I also learned that I am the only Whovian in my Sunday School class…so sad but true.

Thursday night I went Black Friday shopping with my friend and had a blast. I enjoyed hanging out with her and chatting with strangers in various lines. The only hard part was finding a place open to eat around midnight. Yesterday we put up the Christmas tree and had fun remembering all the places we got our ornaments for the tree.

Seems like there were a few other things that happened the past three weeks but I have misplaced my memories. For my praying friends out there please keep a friend of mine in your prayers. She went into the hospital to have a C-section on Wednesday. The baby boy is just fine but mama is still in critical care and her situation was life threatening at one point. Hold your family and friends tight.