Thursday, May 31, 2012

High Drama on the Plains

We have a rich theatrical life in our homeschooling community, thanks to a couple of dedicated families. A summer back-yard drama camp has turned into a yearly week-long drama camp, complete with costumes, props, a stage, music and around 80 participants and this year includes a 2 week musical, with choroegraphy.

It's usually pretty busy during drama camp and this week was no exception- 2 hours of rehersals in the a.m.- the kids are each in a different play and I'm directing the 3rd graders. Then park time for lunch and playing, and, since everyone's hanging out together anyway, we've had lots of kids coming and going, and even a birthday party thrown in. Today is dress rehearsal and photo ops, with all casts in full costume. Tomorrow the play's the thing. Except for the musical, which will rehearse for another week.

In January, around 50 homeschooling high schoolers head over to a university stage to participate in a One Act Play competition. Loads of fun. Another result of the backyard drama camp- the kids wanted more competition, and another reason to perform. It started out with 1 play and has evolved into 3-5 plays each year, with a theater full of supporting characters.

And in July, approximatly 40 high schoolers, a group of creative Moms and our fearless leader, Enak, do Shakespeare in the Park. It's 2 hours of high drama. We L.O.V.E. this almost more than the all of the other dramatic possiblities. My kid(s) get their drama fix while perfecting all sorts of rhetorical skills, under the skilled leadership of a real lit nerd and educator par excellence. Can't get much better than that!

I'll be back later today to post pictures!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top 10 Items for Homeschooling

Homeschool Mug
What are your top 10 items needed for homeschooling? Here's mine. When you're done, write yours and go link up!
1 -Belief in something bigger than ourselves, that His plans and purposes for us and our children are good and that homeschooling is part of His plan. Otherwise, why go through the trial, turmoil and expense  of homeschooling?
ordinary people

2- Vision. We've homeschooled long enough (finishing up year 21) to have gone through some highs and lows as we've gone thorugh this little academic adventure. Without a clear reason about WHAT we are doing and WHY, we wouldn't have made it this far!

tymn armstrong
3- Imagination. Without the ability to be envisioning what's next, what else is out there, I would go slowly mad. I mean, if math fact sheets were all there were to homeschooling....I like math fact sheets, but they are rather limited in scope. Gotta move beyond the page.
pixie dust
4- Curiosity. Who else is working the program, creating things, formulating ideas, putting things together? How can I glean from them, learn from them, grow and develop as an educator.

I believe in magic.

5- A husband that believe in homeschooling and creating an educational environment to the point of working double time so that I can stay home and educated our kids. Even when that mean financial and emotional sacrifice for him.

6- The Library. Yours, mine, ours. One of the joys of homeschooling is discovering other bibliophiles who are only too happy to loan you one of their favorite books, CD's or DVD's series. I love saying and hearing these words, "Have you seen/read/discovered X yet? Ohhh! I have a book (CD, DVD) of theirs to loan you!"
7- Writing instruments. Tools of the trade. Pens, pencils, paper, sharpeners, erasers, paper cutters, clips, notebooks, clip boards. Love the stuff. Office supplies stores make me happy. Having the proper tools around, ready to go- priceless.

8- Curriculum that works. I no longer buy curriculum that will be "fun." I buy curriculum based on my educational pedagogy, because I believe that hard work is reward, that my pedagogy is timeless and will work, that my kids need to learn the value of something bigger than fun. I limit myself to a few tried and true curriculum suppliers and L.O.V.E. their stuff. It's like aspirin. "Take two, give it time, works every time."

9- Time. Time to study, think, mull. This is the reason we've unplugged and limited electronics. I'd much rather my kids spent time field walking and tramp jumping and gardening and reading than having their brains filled with someone else's shallow idea of a thought.
♥  i absolutely LOVE this.
10- Like-minded homeschooling families.Invaluable. Homeschooling is a lonely road. Having friends to walk the path with you is worth it's weight in gold.

The birth of a friendship (C.S. Lewis). Lewis is the man.

Link up

Monday, May 28, 2012

Summer List of Fun Stuff

I've been collecting ideas for some kind of activity list for summer. It's not that we don't all enjoy "free" days, but we live, as I've said before, 5 miles past the end of the boon-docks and so driving in to town for "something to do" isn't always feasible and we have no, as in zero, neighbors. Day after day of unscheduled nothingness can = serious boredom, which those of you with more than 1 child know equals bickering and whining. So, here's my plan.  I have stuff divided into "activities", projects (art/science) and food and challenges. I'm going to print the ideas on to paper, glue them to the end of Popsicle sticks and put them into appropriately marked buckets. On Friday the kids draw 1-3 sticks for the following week. That way if we need materials or supplies we'll be able to get them on our weekly shopping trip. The stuff that's just "on the calendar" (50th anniversary party, county fair, etc) will go on the appropriate week and we'll evaluate if we have time to do other things as well. Items with an * can be found on my Pinterest boards.

The kids can pick a couple on their own, but everyone has to participate in the Reading Challenge. Completion of 3 Challenges =a day at the water park with Dad in August.

Frank Gilbreath Challenge: Read Cheaper by the Dozen and Bells on Their Toes, learn Morse code; learn to do 10 things more economically (Expert's Guide to Doing Things Faster).

Reach for the Sky Challenge: Read The Stargazers Guide: How to read our night sky; read "Summer Solstice" print-out, be able to I.D. 12 summer constellations you didn't know before, pick 3 units from NASA's Summer of Innovation site and do them.

Wide Open Prairie Challenge: Read Jean Craighead George's Prairie Animals book. Create a Prairie notebook; draw/write 1-3 paragraphs about 10 Prairie animals.

Reading Challenge: Read a book and write out who is the protagonist, antagonist, conflict, hero, villain? Reading lists from VP and others. # of books /summer depending on age of kid and difficulty of book.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Challenge: curls, push-ups, aerobics, etc. for each kid depending on age.

Feed Thyself Challenge Learn to bake bread, make it 3 times from scratch. Make a main dish, salad, side dish you haven't made before. Help Mom make 5 items from the garden for winter storage (sauerkraut, grape juice, dried apples, etc).  Clean up after yourself.

 (some are seasonal and we do them every year; 4th of July, going to the county fair for a day, etc)
Sculpture Walk
ultimate Frisbee
sponge ball fight *
Water gun fight
PVC water hose sprinkler
County Fair!
K & R's 50th anniversary

Sculpture from duct tape
Paint rocks (owls, ladybugs)
write sayings on rocks
batik crayon hanging *
glow in dark rocks *
glow in dark slime
create a collage
mini journal
pizza round weaving
tin can wind chimes
tie-dye T-shirts *
friendship bracelets
 God's eyes
glowing fireflies
make a compass
home-made geodes *
bridge building *
fireworks in a jar *
safety pin bracelet *
ice sculpture*

frozen slushy
red/white/blue drink
root beer floats
sun cupcake *
tropical fruit "trees" *
fruit kabobs
watermelon pops
yogurt drops *

And, as always, we'll be gardening and doing house re-build projects (stairs, closets, trim, doors and bookshelves top the list),  the boys are working on Latin and Flower will be doing the Horse study this summer which will result in the creation of a notebook. The season will fly by!

lmk what you think and what great ideas you have in mind for summer!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Changing it Up


Murder Must Advertise

Read Murder Must Advertise by Sayers. Sayers worked in the world of copy (marketing) before turning to Lord Peter for her bread and butter and her commentary on the deception of the profession is an interesting and subtle one.  I'm running out of Lord Peter Wimsey books to read; Sayers only produced 11 of them before she turned her intellect and skill to more theological pursuits. Cruel punishment, that. I love how Sayers captures the period. It's much like reading Potok- I am familiar enough with the culture and the language that they write about, but unfamiliar enough that it stretches, challenges and intrigues.
Cub read through Treasure Island and has moved on to Tom Sawyer. Flower has been enthralled with the antics of Wilbur in Charlotte's Web and has declared Garth Williams her favorite illustrator ever! We are all enjoying Cheaper by the Dozen. I had a PaxRoMama moment and decided we'll all learn Morse code while we're at it, inspired by the intrepid Mr. Gilbreath.


The upstairs bathroom is tiled and re-painted. I LOVE it! We still have light fixtures to put in, the medicine cupboard to assemble, the door and trim but the One of the last massive jobs to finish. The doors, trim and the stairs are really the last of the *&% jobs and from there on out, it's just cosmetic. The stairs, oy vey. It's the living room stairs that are going to be the most challenging, and that mainly because of the trim and spindles.

The boys learning to grout. Fun times!

Speaking of stairs, KB and I have started on the basement stairs. We are going for a "crate" stair look that is going to segeuway into the basement with subway signs and Americana decor. We're going to flip the seating arrangement down there and at some point build built in shelves under the T.V. (dh doesn't know that yet- maybe the kids and Ana White can get er' done before he notices I've added yet another project!). Anyway, the stairs are sanded and we've started graffiti-ing them with stencils and paint close at hand. They should end up looking something like this:

The boys continue to make their way through Latin. Feeche is plugging along in Math and 1/2 chapter away from finishing Anatomy and Physiology. Our WWS group meets once a week and papers continue to be written amidst lots of laughs and, to be honest, some fits of hysteria (at our house anyway). Drama camp is next week and then we'll start our "Horse Camp" (meeting once a week to go through History of the Horse by Beautiful Feet.
History of the Horse INTPRISG.jpg
I am finalizing the list of "fun things 2 do for summer" for the kids- check back later this week if you want to see it!


The garden is putzing (except for the lettuce, isn't it beautiful?) In the ground are potatoes, cabbage, green beans, lettuce, spinach, parsley and a few tomatoes. I have a couple beds just sitting there and tons of seeds but between the rain and the wet it's been slow growing. I'll be kicking myself later in the summer if I don't get seeds in the ground. This week-end, eggplant, more tomatoes and basil. Promise.

Charlie Brown

For Flower and Cub who can't get enough of good ol' Charlie Brown. Watterson is still on the table (literally).

Calvin and hobbes

From Taste of Awesome
Childhood speeds by so fast, doesn't it?

How was your week?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It's TILED!!

Our latest project in our little house re-build endeavor has been the upstairs bathroom. After a month + of week-ends it's finally done. The amazing, talented Dr. Tiler measured, laid it out, cut, cut again, measured and re-cut, hydro-bained, cemented, tiled and grouted, with a little help from the boys and I. The inspector came today and declared it, "Beautiful." Our non-conversant plumber also gave it a thumbs up, uttering an entire sentence in support.

Sorry for the window glare, but I wanted to give a good view of the shampoo inserts.

KB and I re-painted it already too- more of a putty color. Next up, light fixtures, the medicine cabinet needs assembled and the trim cut and affixed. Once the grout cures we'll be happily showering upstairs.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Season

We are into summer season, though it seems a bit early given the fact that it's still May. The boys are wrapping up a couple of classes: Feeche- Anatomy and Physiology and Algebra II; Cub Writing and both of them Latin. We have camps lined up and another family get-to-gether later on in the summer.

I've been making my list of summer projects, which include working on at least 2 of the 3 flights of stairs, lots of wood staining (see the Tear Down to Build Up posts for all the details on our house re-build) and some fun craft ideas from my Pinterest boards. As always, we'll be gardening- it's what we do. We've come  a long way since last year. Here was my list for last summer.

Here's the thing. I'm ready for summer projects N.O.W. I don't want to be wrapping up anything. I'm still teaching WWS for another 6 weeks, Flower is seriously advocating that I teach The History of the Horse to a group of girlies this summer and all I want to do is get the house finished (serious house project season once it's warm enough out to open windows- let the sanding and wood cutting begin!), read, lounge and take very little seriously. That being said, the long days of summer in the country, stretch way out when you are 9 and 12. Not having enough planned is almost as bad as having too much planned.

My goal was to create a summer bucket list for Cub and Flower but it turned into a project list. Projects and themes are kinda my special thang, and I inflict them on my offspring with regularity. My list includes the following categories: food, crafts, books, activities and "challenges." I've had a blast collecting ideas on Pinterest- so much to love there for us visual types. Putting it together in an engaging, cool, summer-ish way hasn't really happened yet, but by next week I hope to have something amazing put together.

What do you have planned and hoped for this summer?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"Placetne, Magistra? Placet."

US paperback edition cover

Gaudy Night  by Dorothy Sayers has been in my 2-b-read pile for a couple of years but I’ve been intimidated. Thankfully, I got over myself, with a little prompting from my friend Caitilin (thank-you, Girlfriend!) and it immediately soared to the best 5 books read in my lifetime list. The theme centers on women’s issues-is a woman fit for intellectual work, does focusing on the intellect pervert her fundamentally, or is a women’s job to stand by her man? Do fundamental principals such as truth, justice and honesty adhere regardless, or does the relationship to a man, her man, trump all other principals? One might think this dog has been whipped to death but Sayers has a profound way of getting to the heart of the matter. It’s a timeless question, as any educated women with a significant other knows (I mean, an educated woman understands the struggle if it's truly wrestled with, rather than cheated).
Not only does Sayers tackle a difficult subject matter, but she does so with wit and charm. Your intellect will be challenged as you glimpse a time long gone, an educational system that no longer exists (if you want to catch a glimpse of an educated intellectual, read Sayers. She was the first woman to graduate from Oxford; classical education, baby. Character development is fantastic and if you are a writer and want to understand how to use dialog, study the works of Sayers. She can do dialog. The mystery, as always, had enough foreshadowing to keep the reader on the trail, but not such a give-away that is was a cheesy. Sigh. My biggest regret in finishing the book is that it’s over.
 But the ending…majestic. We’ve already solved the mystery, but we still don’t know if Lord Peter wins the heart of Harriet. It’s an intellectual exercise in principal, because Harriet was saved from the gallows by Lord Peter in Strong Poison where she violated her own principals and for shame, and for honor she struggles with another relationship. A sweet resolution and one not easily come to. Sayers takes things to their logical conclusion; no cheesy cheat, no dues ex machina, just what it is; what you or I might have come to; or would have with Sayers guiding us. Good writing; a feast for your mind.   

Reading Round-Up

Product Details
The Lone Wolf by Piccolt.  Piccolt had interested me this year in the way she tells the story; first person, with each main character is given their own voice, chapters and type setting. It’s simplistic but very effective. Plus, though she used dues ex machine way too much, I’m fascinated by the social issues she tackles. In Lone Wolf, Luke, a national hero for his work among wolves, is the narrator, sharing with the reader the vast similarities and differences between wolves and humans. Luke spent 2 years in the wild observing and living with a wolf pack. Lots of issues resulted, including a divorce and the dis- affectation of his son. Piccolt doesn’t drum the specie-est drum too loudly, and for that I am grateful, though at the end of the book I was left wondering just what point she was trying to make. More beach reading, especially if you want to know about wolf behavior.
Product Details
Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore.  I ordered this book by serendipity (meaning it’s not the book I wanted but I’m so glad that I read it). It’s a touching testimony of 2 profoundly different men.  Ron is a Christian white boy who’s made it to the big leagues dealing art. Denver is a black man, who grew up in the south, share cropping for the Man, living in social, political, financial and emotional poverty. He finally breaks out and ends up living the streets as a way to escape the extreme prison he was born in to. A view into modern day slavery, culturally satisfied Christianity and the profound healing and changing life vision that a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ can affect.
Product Details
The Upper Zoo, a YA, coming of age novel by Michael Wolf. The protagonist is a Jewish boy who befriends an autistic Christian. During the course of the story he confronts infidelity, sexual abuse, bullying, social shunning, physical abuse, divorce and trauma. Not light reading, but a slice of what it was like growing up Jewish in the 1960’s. This is not a book I would give to my YA. It’s too dark and really rates as a tragedy.  The redemptive value is definitely present but somewhat lost in the cesspool of ungodly living.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Home Again

It was a week-end of partying. Graduations, birthdays and Mother's Day. Great presents (I'm hoping we hooked our newly turned 13yo niece onto the pleasures of Jane Austen : ),  good food and tons of laughs. Besides swimming the kids did a little shooting. Dead centers, baby. 


The 30 hour round trip gave us plenty of time to read. Cub soared through 3 Alex Rider books and finished Socrates Meets Jesus, Flower devoured the Lego Bible (incredible artwork, a little thin on Biblical accuracy), KB The Sweet Gum Knit Lit Society, and Lone Wolf, Feeche is almost done with a bio of Madeline L'Engle along with Dragons in the Waters and we all listened to Focus on the Family radio theater version of The Screwtape Letters; which was terrific.   I made my way through Lone Wolf, The Upper Zoo, Same Kind of Different as Me and Gaudy Night. Which by the way, is the Sayers writing is exquisite, her character development divine (I'm in love with Lord Peter- sorry honey), and her dialog totally believable even if parts of it are in Latin and the rest in poetry long gone from the collective unconscious. Honestly, if you want to feel like our educational system has let you down, read a book by my friend Sayers. She's the woman with the mind I want to have. I'll be posting reviews tomorrow.

Driving in northern Iowa we hit a spot where the terrain switched from Midwest (you know, deciduous trees, humidity in the air) to the Great Plains. The moisture in the air dissipated (we've been slathering on the body lotion) and the trees thinned to practically nothing, like hair on the head of a balding man. Folks who call this here the Midwest need to drive east and get a feel for what it's really all about. I'm a  tree kinda gal. I miss it. And the winds been blowing since we got home. Not breezy wind. Gusty, great plains, wind. Change the terrain and intimidate tree growth wind. Home again, home again, jiggity jig.
Tuesday was a long drive day...long. We stopped and had breakfast with my uncle- which was great, but took us out of the way a bit.  Worth every minute.

Feeche and Cub have several weeks to finish First Form Latin so they cruised through another chapter. Feeche has been doing Science and Math everyday, along with as much writing as he can fit in. Feeche and Flower are doing Math worksheets and drill daily, along with reading. Ages of Empires has always been a fav around here, and Nucle Eil fanned the flames, but the deal is, 1 hour of reading to every 1/2 hour of computer, with a limit on comp time.


We're going to change the color of the upstairs bathroom to coordinate with the tile and grout this week-end, along with ordering the shower door- WOOT. We are getting it done! I'm thinking of stair ideas and this is the one I'm thinking going to the basement. I've got a whole board on Pinterest devoted to stairs. Thoughts, Ideas?

Summer, it's a coming.

Pinned Image

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dead Center

The kids went shooting with Uncle Neil and lookey what they got! 3 Dead centers, 2 by KB and 1 by Feeche from 30 feet. Not bad, eh?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


The summer before my freshman year in high school I had the incredible opportunity to spend a month backpacking through the High Uinta Wilderness area in Utah. It was a college run program and 30 of us braved August blizzards and extreme hiking in order to experience breathtaking views and a month that would define our  lives. We were divided into groups of 5 with the addition of a leader and co-leader for every group. Every 2 groups had a "mentor."  2 groups entered the mountain range from the south, and 2 from the north. After 2 weeks of hiking, orienteering, and a steep learning curve, groups rendezvoused at a previously agreed upon location for "re-supply." Here our food supplies were supplemented as was our need for a wider social circle. We spent the week-end having cook-offs, laughing, singing around camp-fires and living it up before the really challenging part of the month began.

My shrinking family of 6  just returned from a week of what feels like family "re-supply." The prompt was, of course, Miss.R's college graduation. Over the course of the last week we've seen parents, grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts. We've gone through significant losses in the past couple of years; maybe that's why we cherish the time- as few as those times are, due to distance and circumstances and life-  that we are together with our extended family.

On the way out of town, and out of state and out of region, we stopped by to see my uncle, my Dad's younger brother. I make sense to myself in context of my family. They are tall, big-boned, laugh out loud, are conservative, opinionated, funny and kind. It's a relief to know my people, to belong to them, to have a tribe. We've lived so long away that I sometimes forget I belong. One of the costs of moving from region to region.

Driving back, to a different town, a different state, a different region, I steel myself for disconnect. The part where we live without the extension of family- the gifts of family- not just the stuff that is shared (you know who you are LB!) but the gifts of time and living together, sharing the victories (like graduations) but also the ordinary everyday, like breakfast and soccer games.

We are "home" now- and it's good. There is no place like home. But my heart is divided because home is not just a place, no matter how comfy or grand, but it's where your people are, it's where they live, it's the sense of community and acceptance just cause you are part of a tribe. And by that definition we are far from home. And everyone felt the distance today. It will fade, that feeling of home-sickness, it won't be quite so bitter, but it will still twinge every now and then.

All of the laughs and love and friendship and joy shared this week have re-supplied us for the next haul of the journey. We've reconnected with our people, laughed together till our faces hurt, eaten way too much cheese (certain branches of the family believe it's a food group unto itself) and caught up on what every one's doing and where everyone is at. And it's good. We're full up. Enough to go another round.

Monday, May 14, 2012

She's Graduated!!

The week was consumed with a trip to KY to watch Miss R(on the right, with her good friend Amber) walk the aisle of academia to receive her diploma. The ceremony and party were fun, the weather gorgeous and the company delightful.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Apolgia Physics Winner!

The Apologia Physics Text and DVD give-away is ovah and we have a winner!

Physics 2nd Ed. Exploring Creation with 2-Book Set

 Congratulations MamaHen!!

Thanks to everyone who signed up. And stayed tuned for more reviews and give-aways ....

world history is up next!!

CC Lapbooks! Woot!

L1-4 lapbook photo copy

If you've followed my blog for long at all you know we do a certain amount of memory work. I really got ahold of memory work as a homeschooling tool when we delved into the world of Classical Conversations. We're not part of the program anymore, but we still ultize the material. The gal who writes the Wisdom and Righteousness blog has made some beautiful lap-books that correspond to the CC cycles. For those of you looking to contextualize the CC material, this is a great way to do it. The cool thing is that she is running a give-away right now, to introduce her new lapbook. Hurry on over and sign-up and maybe we'll both win on of the  2 lapbooks are currently up for grabs! See ya over there!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Bathroom Love

My amazing, creative, hard-working, info-gathering, rockin' husband has been at it again. The bathroom walls are almost tiled. This has required tons of cutting and organizing and re-cutting and laying and going back for more tile. It is looking so darn great, though. Check it out...

The block window above and the shampoo wells to the right. The decorative tile border in the middle.

Working the wall/ceiling fit.

Corner work.

And the shampoo wells, getting fit for bull nose. Whadya' think?

Sci-Fi Reads (and the King)

I've been a reading fool this week. Finished Robocopolypse, The Green Mile and Triggers.

First up (and the one I just finished) Triggers by Robert Sawyers. Thanks to my fellow bibliophile Robin, I've become aware of the Hugo and Nebula Awards (Awards for award winning sci-fi writing). Sawyer has won both (and much more), so I picked up Triggers. It's an apologetic for how singularity could spontaneously (think evolution) happen without the need for machine interference. As Sawyers states at the end of the book; "machines were not getting more intelligent as time went on; they had zero intelligence and no consciousness, and no matter how fast they got at crunching numbers, they were still empty."
O.k., so Sawyers found a way to circumvent the need for machines to create the reality of singularity His point is that folks are just fine letting their individuality go - that they embrace and thrive under the rubric.
Singularity ushers in a whole new utopia, where no one is racist or sexists, everyone is Christian, Muslim, Jew, and everyone's o.k. with that, kookookachew (religion, sex, race doesn’t mean anything anymore – a group “mind think”)
The problem with this whole line of thinking is that there is an underbelly to the human experience. Sawyers addresses this briefly, then ignores it later - when it's really important and totally ignores the idea that not only would folks be linked to the light side of each other’s existence but also to the dark side of the force. He glosses it all over insinuating that no one (one does not exist anymore) would hurt anyone else because it would harm the collective. It’s a post-modern dream come true and a logically conclusive nightmare. People become the “body” of whom they were, while their “selves” have evolved into a group.

One of Adam’s first tasks was to name. The elephant is different than the zebra, which is different than the woman, which is different than the baby, which is different than the gecko. It’s not all one big collective whole and there in lies the rub. As a Christian I am not called to become something else in order to understand it. I am called to become more Christ-like in order to gain wisdom and understanding. Singularity, no matter how it comes about, flies in the face of the Master of Universe.  "Un-naming" was also one of the antagonsists in L'Engle's Wrinkle Trilogy. The act of "un-naming" -undoing the personality of someone- or something was considered evil. An assult on their self. In Triggers, Sawyers makes a proposal that the un-naming of our very selves, or person-hood, would be to evolve to a greater sense of being. Don't think I agree with him on that, folks.

Robopocalypse- another sci-fi adventure where the computers/robots link-up and attack the humans. Creepy violence, but I had to see how it ended; interestingly enough, not without the help of other robots. I found myself thinking about this for the rest of the week, especially as I was driving. Watch for it in theaters- Speilberg is taking it to the big screen. I’ll sit it out. Creepy and violence is not my normal cuppa.
The Green Mile by King. I’ve been interested in King’s writing since I read his book on writing. He mentioned The Green Mile several times in that piece so it roused my curiosity.  I didn’t like this book at first- too vulgar and set on death row in the 30’s in the south. But the book grows on you. It’s actually a beautiful story of justice, mercy, racism, and religion. King caught me at the beginning with the characters. Love how he portrays Edgecombe and his wife- he does the same thing On Writing between himself and Tabitha. True love, baby.
And I love how the guards really guard Coffey at the end. Poignantly beautiful. King weaves a story. That’s what 2000 words on a day on the page will get you.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Wrap Up Week

It was a wrap up week. The high schoolers had their annual dinner/dance. Fun, fun, fun. Aren't they cute?

Tuesday was the last day of Tutoring Center. We are officially done with pre-chem, world history, Creative Writing and the 3rd grade writing class. It was a great year.

Thursday was the last day of Landry Academy's semester. We are officially done with Greek, Pre-Law and Copywriting. We had technical difficulties to the very end with Greek but other than that Cub loved the class. Copywriting was very simplistic. Pre-law was great.

Last day of co-op today.
After today we are down to Math, Latin, and WWS. Plus reading. It's good to be at the wind-down stage.

The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade
We finished Susan Wise Bauer's History of the Medieval World yesterday. It's a great time-line overview; detailed and thorough. In many ways it showcases the uniqueness of America- that a country could survive and thrive based on equality and justice (and yes, I know it's not a perfect system, but in the history of the world, it comes closer than most) rather than despotism.

Flower has finally really, truly taken off with reading. She's been enthralled with the American Girl books all year and is cruising through the Kit series this week.
Cub has been reading Shadow Hawk.
I read Green Mile by King. It didn't grab me at first, but a very unique book that touches on issues of race, religion, justice and mercy.


Starts on my porch are up: zucchini, tomatoes, basil, cabbage. Lettuce and spinach is up in the garden. I planted early, because of the unseasonably warm weather. We'll be spending some time in the garden this week-end.

Don't forget to check out the Carnival of Homeschooling, the Pioneer Edition.  And today is the last day to sign up for the Apologia Give-Away!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Homeschool Carnival Pioneer Edition

Welcome to the Pioneer Edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling! If you are new to ‘blog carnivals’, please read the link at the bottom of this post to find out more. This post has many links that take you off-site to other homeschool blogs where you can read their ‘showcased’ article submission. If you would like to submit an article for a future carnival or host the carnival on your site, please see the bottom section to find out how.
Each carnival writer has the option to put their compilation to a ‘theme’ if they so choose. I’ve chosen the on a Pioneer theme for 2 reasons. First, I live in the Territories and have some great pictures to share (I’m shallow like that). Secondly, because those of us who homeschool, chose, by intention or default, to Pioneer.  One of the definitions for Pioneer is one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress. Love that. And the synonyms for Pioneer are just as rich:  leader, trailblazer, forerunner, pathfinder. Homeschooling is pioneering a new educational landscape and one that is and will change the face of the future. It takes a hardy soul to pioneer. And while each of us has our own unique hopes and dreams of what homeschooling might afford, we do so with the common effort of providing well for our children.
Below you will find a variety of interesting thoughts and ideas from Pioneers in the homeschool blogosphere, all of whom share one thing in common...the willingness to Pioneer a new way of educating!

Pioneers affect politics
After seeing a terrible story in the news, Joe at the Homeschool Hub got to thinking how the system itself shares some of the responsibility for the incident. While the media always thinks there is an easy answer the truth is often  much more complex.
Pioneers ponder and plan
Joesph shares some great questions to think through as you consider educational options for your own families at NerdWallet
Mindy shares another attempt at planning out a homeschool schedule for a bunch of children DenSchool.
Linda presents Solutions to Midnight Panic Attacks and Other Fun When You Start Homeschooling

Caroline details the choices they’ve made over the last few years in how to educate our daughters, both of whom have ADHD and other learning issues at  Life, Unfocused.  
Pioneers research and discover cool ways to do things
Jessica Jackson presents 10 Simple Ways to Teach Math in the Kitchen. Simple and effective!
 Elena talks about unique exercises that have helped her child to read in Reading Improvement with Diana Craft
David Leonhardt addresses the problem of what do you do when you are coughing too much to go to singing lessons at The Happy Guy?  An excellent reminder for those of us that teach that the lessons are usually multi-layered.  
Denise explains that mathematics is a language and a way of thinking. Early exposure is enormously beneficial. Here is her most recent post in her blog series on how to teach homeschool mathematics at Lets Play Math.
Our children will eventually move out of  our homes and establish their own places. Teaching them how to cook well, cheaply, and with healthy food will empower them to do better with their finances! Chris gives some great ideas on How to Save Money on Food.
Liz shares her joy as her children gain mastery in swimming and reading at Homeschooling Buffalo

Nancy at Sage Parnassus shares a great literture find: A Peeble in a Pool.

Pioneers delight in simple pleasures
Shannon talks about homeschooling plans and adventures When Dad is Home at Mountain Country Woman.  
Shirley Ann  shares her  musings on the joy of being able to follow 'rabbit trails' in our home education at Under an English Sky
Victoria presents the Fun of an Unplanned Day
Pioneers notice the world around them
Tiger’s Mom shares the joy of restarting their Nature Journals at The Tiger Chronicles.
Nirvana Homeschooling shares pictures of their latest field trip.

Pamela shares how field trips make history come alive at Escape is Possible.

Kristen at Teaching Stars shares a lovely post from when her daughter was small.

And then there's High School. Homeschooling High School can feel like such a huge leap into unknown territory that you've just jumped off a tower going face first. Not to worry, there's others who are learning the ropes as well!

Every homeschool parent faces the final years with a little trepidation. Jamie shares a few ideas to help you get your child prepared for one of the biggest tests they will ever take at MomSchool.
Janine explores various options for how to celebrate a daughter "graduating" from high school and asks for recommendations at Why Homeschool .

Thanks for visiting this week's edition of the Carnival of Homeschooling. I hope you were inspired and encouraged as you Pioneer a new way of doing things in your own home!

Want to learn more about The Carnival of Homeschooling? Click the links below:

- What is it all about?
- Where can I find it in the future?
- Where do I submit an article for the Carnival of Homeschooling?

Carnival of Homeschooling

If you participate in the carnival, we encourage you to use the carnival button and link back to the Cate’s blog. We honor their diligence at making the Carnival of Homeschooling a great success, and appreciate all of their support to the homeschool community.