Sunday Journal: Thanksgiving Week Adventures

Oldest learned to fry eggs this week

Oldest learned to fry eggs this week

Since I was still suffering from my chest cold and this was Thanksgiving week very little schooling happened. We did work on some math and read in our History of Medicine text for science. This week we’ll get back to a full schedule, wrapping up a few subjects, and prepping for a new start in January. Mostly, I am planning fun things to do between now and Christmas.

he made this face every time he broke an egg

he made this face every time he broke an egg

One of my favorite moments this week involved Oldest. He learned to fry eggs last week. One day this week he chose to make himself a bird’s nest for breakfast. When he finished the first one Middle Boy asked for it so Oldest gave it to him and started another one for himself. Every single time he finished his egg another sibling would ask him to make them one too!!! And every single time he handed them his breakfast and started again. I think he expected me to ask for one too but I just smiled and said, “Welcome to motherhood!”

learning to make gravy

learning to make gravy

This Tuesday I helped the crew make our breakfast for Poetry Tea and Breakfast time. I taught them to make biscuits and bacon gravy this week. We’re enjoying cooking together every Tuesday morning. Poetry appreciation has also morphed into cooking classes and it is very good…my favorite morning of the week. These sorts of mornings remind me why I love homeschooling my children.

playing on the swingset at the old house

playing on the swingset at the old house

We drove to Paducah to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s family as we do every year. I would have been fine staying home and just resting. We’ve been on the go since the move and could just use some down time as a family. But it was also good to go in and see family and friends. We stayed at our old house and it was kinda

Sparkles and cousin at Thanksgiving

Sparkles and cousin at Thanksgiving

sad to see it empty. I refused to go to our old school room because I knew I would cry. On Friday we visited with friends. My bestie and I hung out at McDonald’s for breakfast and chatted about everything while the kids played at the Playplace. We’ve been gone less than two months and the McDonald’s in town was already remodeled. I know things change when you move but that was a bit quicker than expected!!!

our fortunes: husband, mine, Oldest, Sparkles, Middle Boy, Littlest

our fortunes: husband, mine, Oldest, Sparkles, Middle Boy, Littlest

For lunch we drove out to our favorite Chinese buffet. We had a great time laughing over our fortunes. Oldest’s reaction to his was hilarious because his fortune was something about exploring his feminine side! Later in the evening we went to visit with Suzann and her husband. The kids and I all missed her and we had a wonderful time at her place. I am a little mad at myself because I didn’t take any pictures of her with the kids!!! We are also officially adopting the kitten that was stranded at her house this year. The kitten will come back with us on our next trip west.

Boots will join us soon

Boots will join us soon

Sparkles has been begging for a kitten for over a year. She is over the moon and cannot wait to go shopping for kitty supplies. Our new kitty is named Boots.

On the drive home I listened to Julie Bogart’s last scope. I had missed it the night before and had to catch the replay since it wasn’t saved to Katch. I admire this woman so much. Her courage is infectious! I haven’t had a mentor in a long time and am glad to have someone willing to invest her wisdom and time. She is also

The crew at Suzann's

The crew at Suzann’s

going to do a live writing workshop this week for the kids!!!! You can find the information for the workshop on the Brave Writer site here. The whole experience is free and will give you some insight into the Brave Writer lifestyle. I am excited and plan to participate along with the kids.

We are thankfully finished with our current science curriculum. The kids and I are definitely ready for something new to read. Instead of choosing the curriculum myself this year I let the kids pick. I showed them several different books based on the

laughing over our fortunes

laughing over our fortunes

criteria they gave me (lots of experiments, mostly science with no overly pro-creation or pro-evolution talk.) They chose Dr. J Wile’s Science in the Beginning. We’ll also order the lab kit because I am terrible at getting all those little things ahead of time. Middle Boy read the entire free sample online and loved it. He responded with delight to the conversational tone and the assignments.

Math will be receiving a major overhaul. I’ve been reading books and articles by mathematicians and have all of these ideas swimming in my head. All four of my children are in separate math curriculums based on their learning styles or comfort needs.

Sparkles new hair color

Sparkles new hair color

Middle Boy is bored, bored, bored! He needs to have his mind challenged or he gets rebellious. In January he will be starting Beat Academy. He chose the curriculum after loving the placement exam. This math is “out-of-the-box”, tough, and will stretch all of our thinking skills. My mind may very well snap working with him! I also set up all of the kids some math courses on Kahn Academy this week. Oldest is determined to start pre-Algebra sometime next year so he will have time for advanced mathematics before graduation.

making cookies for Suzann

making cookies for Suzann

Sparkles will continue with Teaching Textbooks for now until her math phobia is behind her. Littlest is already shocking all of us with his addition and subtraction skills so I will start him with MathUSee’s Primer because I have it on my shelf. As his learning style unfolds we’ll place him into a suitable math curriculum.

Sometime this week I’ll have my next post about our journey through Intermediate Medieval History with Beautiful Feet Books. We are finishing up our study of Medieval China. I’ve also got a set of long overdue book reviews from Deborah Taylor-Hough. She sent me a couple of her books during the move and I’d like to share them.

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

Advertisements

Re: Poetry Tea Passion

tea time

tea time

I have had a slew of questions over Poetry Tea Time the past couple of weeks! One friend even declared me to be “an inspiration.” Well, that might be stretching the truth quite a bit too far. I’m no inspiration but I am passionate about how I spend life with my kids. I have cried (and so have my children) over some of our home education experiences. Bitter, bitter tears. My days with my children are short and far too precious to spend slaving over public school style workbooks. No more!

Brave Writer Lifestyle 101

Brave Writer Lifestyle 101

Over the past few months I have been slowly adding elements of the Brave Writer Lifestyle into our home (not just our school). Poetry Teatime is just one of those many elements. Brave Writer is a writing curriculum (but so much more than a curriculum) created by Julie Bogart (this link will take you to her Katch page).  The company website is huge and overwhelming. I ran away screaming the first couple of times I landed there! My advice is to approach the program as you would fine wine or divine chocolate-sips and nibbles (with the kids tucked in bed!). Listening to a few of her scopes on Katch will be

Tea Time with Julie Bogart

Tea Time with Julie Bogart

enlightening and help you to navigate the website. I recommend Time for Tea and Poetry, In Defense of the Disillusioned, Brain Based Learning parts 1&2, Enchanted Homeschooling, and…everything on the page!

Anyway, on to my approach to Poetry Teatime…

My kids love our Poetry Teatime. Even Littlest will choose a book and poems for reading and listen to everyone else read poems. My oldest has even shared his own limerick and haikus with us! He has gone from hating poetry (thanks to workbooks) to creating his own poetry! This week he even set the table for tea time. Okay, to be honest he did use a curtain for the table-cloth but I am thrilled with his newfound enthusiasm.

poetry tea time

poetry tea time

Our teatime used to be around 2:00 in the afternoon on Tuesday. I would usually make a home-made treat of some sort and the kids would have something special to drink in the teapot (except for tea). We always use the teapot (except for during the move) and teacups. I do let Littlest choose between using a sippy cup or a tea cup…he’s been known to choose both at once!

So what’s in the teapot? Warm Maple Cinnamon Milk. My grandmother would make this treat on Christmas morning. Just warm some milk (but do not let it boil!). Add cinnamon and maple syrup to suit your own taste. Super easy! My grandmother never measured ingredients and I usually do not either. My teapot holds about eight cups. I estimate that I use about half a teaspoon of cinnamon and about three tablespoons of maple syrup.

 

Sparkles kept reading long after tea time was over

Sparkles kept reading long after tea time was over

This past Tuesday I moved our tea time to breakfast. I loved seeing their faces as they came into the kitchen! They were delighted! Sparkles helped me serve breakfast, Middle Boy tackled the dishes, Oldest set the table and Littlest bounced around underfoot. The morning was glorious! We piled our plates with pumpkin waffles, brown butter syrup, and sausage. Once everyone settled into place Oldest lit the candle and we ate together. This time Middle Boy started reading poetry aloud since he finished eating first. I used to have to call on them to share poetry but it just happens organically now. We share poems we like, that leave us puzzled or sad, make us laugh, and occasionally even dislike. Sometimes we discuss the poem and sometimes not. I even cry sometimes and then one of the kids will take over for me.

 

our poetry breakfast

our poetry breakfast

We use a variety of poetry books. The kids love Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss. We’ve read poetry from the Bible and the Tao Te Ching. Mother Goose and nursery rhymes. Jesse Stuart and Robert Frost. Song lyrics from the radio. I’ve even found poetry inspired by Doctor Who and Legos.

Once the kids started enjoying poetry I introduced Shakespeare into our poetry time. They were not sure they would like Shakespeare at first but since it was just once a week during tea time they were open to the idea. First, I read a short biography and then we started with Tales from Shakespeare by Charles Lamb. Later, we re-watched the Doctor Who episode with 004 (640x480)Shakespeare. Now that they are hooked I moved Shakespeare to our daily read aloud time…and no one complained!

At the end of our freewrite cycle (which is every ten weeks) I’ll have the kids select a poem for copywork and art. They’ll spend about fifteen minutes a day writing out their chosen poem in their best handwriting. Once the writing is complete they spend the rest of the week illustrating the page. I usually play some calm classical music in the background. It helps them to focus quietly…and I can call it music appreciation too.

For now, this is what poetry tea time looks like in our home. I’m sure it will grow and change over seasons in this homeschooling journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Caterpillars in the Kidneys

 

Littlest

Littlest

Last Thursday night my husband left for the 10th Annual Texas Frightmare Festival in Dallas, Texas. He had the opportunity to go with someone from work with an extra ticket. Though it isn’t the sort of event he would ever attend I encouraged him to accept the invitation. I figured he would come back with a few good stories. While there, he attended a lecture by Victoria Price the daughter of Vincent Price. He learned that Mr. Price’s grandfather invented cream of tartar ensuring the family’s financial success. Here is a neat link to Project Gutenberg with Dr. Price’s Cook Book. His daughter shared in her talk that her father ended up in horror movies because he was “gray listed” in Hollywood for not supporting the Nazi movement. It seems, in those days if you did not support the Nazis then you were a

Oldest likes to work on his writing with the bunnies

Oldest likes to work on his writing with the bunnies

communist…in Hollywood anyway. He was found innocent by the House Committee on un-American Activities but he found it hard to find acting work for a while. Anyway, if you are interested in more details here is a great article. My husband did manage to find a few small presents for the kids on his trip, including a Monty Python and the Holy Grail t-shirt for Oldest.

This week Oldest began his study of King Arthur. We are a few chapters into the book by R. L. Green. While reading the book aloud, Middle Boy decided to make himself some Lego coconut shells and run around singing about “Brave, Brave Sir Robin”. I’ve listened to calls of “bring out your dead” and “tis only a flesh wound” for days!  All week the kids have been

Sparkles

Sparkles

begging to watch that silly movie. Oldest even drew the killer rabbit on his Code of Chivalry copywork piece. Good times.

Everyday this week Oldest has gone outside to sit with the bunnies while working on his writing projects or literature readings. He has worked so hard on his writing curriculum this year. He finally finished up the poetry unit this week and now only has a final research paper to write. After several weeks of analyzing poetry he is looking forward to the paper. I really can’t blame him as I was delighted to have the instructor guide to walk me through the poetry chapters!

Sparkles and Middle Boy studied the Mexican Revolution so we made tacos for dinner with homemade tortillas and homemade tortilla chips. I’ve been forbidden to ever purchase tortillas or tortilla chips ever again. Homemade is definitely tastier but I have to learn to roll my tortillas a bit flatter. I thought they were too thick but the kids loved the thicker chips.

Our church meal this week was for the missions trip to Nicaragua. We ate the same meal the missionaries will be serving to the children…rice, beans and a tortilla. I really thought the kids

the meal

the meal

were going to complain but they all ate the meal except Littlest (but he did try everything) and thought everything was really good. Which it was.

This morning I had to go in for a health screening for our new insurance company. They pricked my finger with a little needle and blood flew out like they’d struck an artery! That was a new experience for me and it surprised the technician as well. Usually my blood has all the viscosity of cold molasses. Then they took me into a little room and told me that I was fat and my cholesterol was too high. Can’t tell you just how much I enjoy starting my day being humiliated!

This week in science we have been learning more about the digestive system. In good taste I cannot blog about most of our discussions this week. Studying the digestive system with boys is…unspeakable. Today we studied the functions of the kidneys. While the crew were working quietly (such a rare

Middle Boy

Middle Boy

thing to occur) on their worksheets Middle Boy expressed his confusion with one of the questions. He wanted to know why we had caterpillars in our kidneys. The visual image that popped into my head at that moment was absolutely horrifying. Some questions are easily anticipated and others…well they must come from some bizarre dimension. I was just dumbstruck by his question…the visual in my head momentarily halted my capacity to form a coherent thought let alone actually speak. Oldest then pointed out the word in question was “capillaries” and not caterpillars. We all then laughed…really laughed. I had tears poring out of my eyes and nearly fell out of my chair. Middle Boy did fall out of his chair.

Littlest chasing bubbles

Littlest chasing bubbles

Interesting reads for the week: Slowly working my way through Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain. I’m still reading about his childhood so I’m not too far into the book. His language is lovely but requires careful attention from the reader because so much of his words are nuanced. Meaning…I can only read in the mornings before the kids are awake. For lighter reading in the afternoons I started reading Great Physicists by William H. Cropper. One of the many, many science books given to me by my friend. After studying Beautiful Feet Books’ The History of Science with the kids I’ve discovered that I really enjoy biographies about scientists.

How Christianity invented children from The Week. I was actually crying at the end of this and I must warn you that some of the language is explicit.

Parents reading to kids blasted as ‘unfair’ This post is a response to The Philospher’s Zone‘s recent article on the subject. Really?!?! Sounds like two steps backward to me.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up:

Middle Boy trying his hand at composing

Middle Boy trying his hand at composing

Thanks to Mrs. Melody my husband and I escaped the crew for a few hours and enjoyed an afternoon out by ourselves. We ate dinner and browsed a few shops. I also talked to my mother over the weekend and she told me to finish her Christmas shopping this week (I haven’t). I don’t mind selecting gifts for my husband and the kids from her but I find it a bit disheartening to pick out my own gift ( I usually just get curriculum). She also asked me to choose her gift for my brother. I’m having a real hard time with her request. Not only does he despise Christians (call me old fashioned but Christmas is a Christian holy day) but we haven’t even spoke in

school day

school day

over a year…he doesn’t want what I would pick out. I just cannot reconcile this and have decided to tell her she will have to take care of this one by herself.

We had a couple of half days of school this week. The weather was really nice the first part of the week so I sent them outside to play. Nice warm days are going to be hard to find as winter gets closer. I read on someone’s blog that they take the first day it snows off from school and have hot chocolate and

Are they done with school yet?

Are they done with school yet?

watch a holiday movie. Doesn’t that sound fun? I’m going to surprise the kids and do the same. According to the forecasters we could possibly enjoy that next week!!!

The crew is zipping along nicely in school. They are already at the half-way point in most of their studies. Since we still have more than half of the school year left we can slow some subjects down…maybe hop along a rabbit trail or two. Over the weekend the kids built a spectroscope from their science kit. They’ve had quite a bit of fun with it all week. I had a hard time focusing with it but bifocals would likely help. This week in science we started a book about Benjamin Franklin and electricity. I was so happy to see they had remembered so much about him and his many inventions from our American history studies.

Oldest needs a haircut

Oldest needs a haircut

My favorite moments from homeschooling this week were from Oldest. He really does not like writing. This week he finished all of his writing assignments without being prompted. He also wrote on a couple of his papers “this writing made possible by Writing With Skill”. I used to make him rewrite the papers after editing but a couple of weeks ago I just went over the spelling mistakes and editing issues orally. I told him we would pick out a few of his papers when we completed the book and work on editing skills since we would have about nine weeks to fill. He actually does a better job on his papers now that he knows he will not have to rewrite it after discussing it with me! I think he is slowly starting to like writing…but I’m not going to mention it to him.

Ellie's book!!!

Ellie’s book!!!

If anyone is interested I will be starting a new weekly blog series on making healthier lifestyle choices and weight loss. I’ll be sharing my ups and downs and a monthly weigh in. These posts will be on Tuesdays. I had tried to do them on the weekends in the past but my weekends are just too busy and I’ve let it slide (sorry for letting you down Claire). I also have a book that I will be going through written by one of my dear friends in the blogging world…Ellie at New Creations Ministries. Her book is called Life’s Too Short to Eat Bad Cheese..:Nutritional and Life Lessons God Teaches Us” . I think this weekly commitment will help me to stay focused. I’ve lost two sizes (from size 18 to a 14) since starting this journey and I am afraid I am starting to loose my momentum. On Tuesday I will share with you my anti-inflammatory smoothie that I drink most mornings and has made a big difference in how I feel.

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers