Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Snapshot- the Family Cemetery

After spending a lovely day lake-side in WI this past week-end, we ventured up to Dr. dh's family's point of origin. Walked the family cemetery with Aunt Carol and took pictures of great-grand-parents and grand-parents headstones. Old headstones, some unreadable and around 150 years old, including  the A's, M's and N's that we are related to; German and Prussian with lots of Albert's and Wilhemina's. The weather was delightful, warm; the sunlight dappled by north woods pine and  old oak. Carol had lots of stories and history to share, of Grandpa N's hardware store and family that lived near, who moved away and who married whom.
We spend an hour at the bottom of the cemetery with Carol talking about our own history and God's redemption in our lives. Sweet memories of family and faith shared.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seeing Green!

We are trying to cram as much summer in a possible. The kids are reading; Usborne's Shakespeare has been the carry-along book of the month, interest ignited by the High Schoolers performance of The Tempest.
photo courtesy of Ana

Grimm's Fairy Tales has been the newest acquisition, and Flower is a little shocked at just how different they are from the Disney versions. I don't think she expected them to be quite so glibly sanitized as the aforementioned Disney versions, but neither did she expect toe amputation.
Road trip to WI to rendezvous with extended family to celebrate my f-i-l's sister's 50th wedding anniversary. He is the oldest of 5 and they are all alive and well, which just amazes me. My s-i-l and I agree that we married into a great gene pool. Last time we all got together was at my in-laws 50th almost 3 years ago, just weeks before the house fire. It's been a wild ride between parties.

The drive to WI just got better and better. We are in severe drought in SD- we've lost some trees and bushes (even took to watering our 80 yo lilac) and the corn in our area is being harvested for bedding and silage. It was wonderful to drive into lush, beautiful green. MN was greener than SD and WI greener still. Love that color!

Have His Carcase
I spent the drive deep into Sayer's Have His Carcase. It's not as deep as Nine Tailors or Gaudy Night, but still a very satisfying Wimsey/Vane mystery.

Feeche is almost done with Alg. II. This is big news as his freshman year got a bit de-railed with the fire/ funeral/moves, etc. and by the end of this summer he will be back on track with math. I think we'll be switching from LoF after this book- more math angst- checking out MUS. Any other suggestions, besides Saxon?

Horse Camp was terrifically fun this week because Patty came and shared about her child-hood riding and jumping and winning ribbons on horses, along with how she meet Misty of Chincoteague irl! So fun!
Next up is Brighty and then we'll call it a summer. The BF guide was a bit hard to do as a once a week study but it was a good enough jumping off point. I think the strength of what we did this summer had more to do with geography than horses or lit, but they enjoyed the map and flag study so it's all good.

We drug our saddle upstairs and the big fun was everyone taking a turn sitting on it and posing. Simple pleasures!

Winners for the MP give-away posted later today!
How was your week?

Memoria Press Give-Away Winners!

Memoria Press is coming to a Golden Grasses friend near you!!
Thanks to everyone who participated in the MP Give-away!! The winners are:
All you have to do to claim your new MP curriculum is to email me with your snail mail address. I 'll get it in the mail early next week. I'd love to hear what you think of the curriculum after you've had a chance to use it.

Stick around, cause you'll be hearing about how we like Core 6 this coming year!

I have more reviews and give-aways coming up: Stobough's World History, Crystal Creek Media (they have an entire media arts (think film-making) program on DVD- can't wait to look at it and tell you all about it!) and Vision Forum's Entrepreneurial Bootcamp (how to fit that in to Feeche's schedule?!).

Thank- you for reading and commenting on GG!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fall Planning- Curriculum

Friday begins the "Not Back to School Hop" over at the Post and Week 1 is on Curriculum.

I am knee deep in decisions. First of all Feeche will be a rising Sr. We have a ton to cram in before it's all said and done, and he'll be gone 10 -12 days in October. Do you think 9 classes this fall is over-kill? hahaha.

Cub has some awesomely great choices at TC but Math is still the big question.

Flower is ready for more- lots more, as long as it involves social interaction. Intellecutally she's ahead but temprament style..let's just say if I dish up more advanced work within a social context, it goes down a whole lot easier.
The good news is that MP Core 6 is sitting here waiting to be made use of- YIPPee!

All of that to say, I'm mid-plan, not ordered, and the school year is looming. ACK! We'll be out of pocket this week-end but I hope to have something ready to post by Monday for the hop!

Where are you in the process.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Force

My kids and I have way too much fun sitting around the computer looking at Star Wars jokes on Pinterest. I have a whole board dedicated to "May the Force Be With You." I am not a Star Wars lover. I never got into them when they first came out and I don't love them now. Episodes 1-3 have serious holes in both the story line and the acting, imho. That being said, it is excellent fodder for the humor mill.
Pinned Image
find it here.

Pinned Image

Pinned Image
find it here.

See what I mean? What are you doing while it's blazing outside?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Element83 Review and Give-Away!

What does a creative homeschooling family do when they are studying the periodic table? One family collected the elements, which turned in to a fascination with Element 83- Bismuth!

Some of the beautiful jewlery available at Element 83 Etsy shop!
"My husband's fascination with bismuth (the 83rd element) began when he and our son started collecting the elements on the periodic table as a science project. When he got to element 83, he was impressed with the sample crystal he was able to create. He bought a couple of pounds of the raw metal online and melted it in a soup can. As it slowly cooled, crystals began to form beneath the surface.  When he poured out the bismuth that had not returned to a solid state, beautiful crystals in all different colors were revealed.  It is truly amazing to watch the bismuth transform into something so beautiful and unique!"
I love how this family took a science experiment and created, not only wear-able art, but an entire business out of what they were learning! 

I have been wearing a gorgeous, unique pendant from Element 83 for several days. It is the pefect addition to a summer tan. The colors are iridescent and subtle, and match anything.  I've actually had women come up to me, cradle it in their hand and ask with awe, "What is this?" Few people know what Bismuth is,  but when I say it's the 83rd Elements, there is usually some small spark of recognition. Let me tell you, this jewlery is eye-catching, unique, affordable and comment producing. I LOVE the pendant Mary (beauitful homescholing Momma and wife to the artist that makes all of this lovely jewlery) sent me and it's going to be hard to part with the gorgeous one I have to give-away.
But I'm gonna do it.

Contrapposto in Blues FREE SHIPPING and BOX,   Iridescent Bismuth Crystal Pendant, Jewelry

Because each piece of jewlery is unique, the winner will recieve a pendant that is similar, but not the same as the one show above.
Added bonus,  it comes in this fragrant, beautiful, cedar box!

FREE SHIPPING,  Large Cedar Box for your Crystal Jewelry

All you have to do to enter to win is
1. Follow Golden Grasses, through Google, Networked Blogs, or via email.
2. "Favorite" Element 83 at thier Etsy Store (go here and cllick on the heart wtih the word "favorite" beside it on the top right corner)
3. Leave a comment, letting me know you are a friend, and what you love most at the Element 83 Etsy store!
4. Enter more than once by utilizing other social networks: One entry for every mention on FB, Twitter, Pinterest, or your blog! Leave a comment, and lmk about it!
5. The winner will be announced on August 15 and they will have 5 days to get their snail mail addy to me.

One blessed Golden Grasses reader will have a lovely new pendant to start the school year off with!!

How Homeschooling has Changed.

When our older kids were homeschooling we had very different options. Park Days were what homeschoolers "did" together- picnic lunch, kids play, and Mom’s talk. We didn't have co-ops or class days or virtual schools. We had our kids and the park.

In the past decade co-ops and academic days have sprung up all over, some of which have morphed into UMS's, traditional school and even colleges. Virtual Schooling has exploded in the past couple of years and you can find anything on line now- some of it free.
When we started homeschooling the inter-net barely existed. I remember when homeschool phone trees went from actual home phones (before cells) to email lists. Believe me, there was plenty of complaining about it, too! Not everyone checked their email every week - (seriously).
Curriculum has changed too. When we started we had a couple of choices: ABeka, Bob Jones, Sunlight (it's 2nd year of existence) and encyclopedia's. Now there is so much to choose from it's mind-boggling.

With our older kids we did math, unit studies, read and did a whole bunch of outside activities: Awanas, horseback riding lessons, piano lessons, soccer, scouts and a zillion field trips. We also traveled the countrIn a 2 year time span we went coast to coast 3 times. Our older kids have seen tons of the country- national parks, wild-life, living history museums. The girls flew to Florida every summer (thanks Grandma and Grandpa!) (pre 911) they were seasoned travelers by the time they were 12. The 2nd co-op we joined, we started. The first Academic Class Day we joined, we started. The first TeenPact program, we invited (read, worked out tails off) to the state. There were options, but it usually entailed work to make them happen (read: they didn't exist where we lived).

Our younger kids have had more structure in many ways; we go to co-op (someone else started it- whew!), we go to class day (someone else started it -whew), we participate in Drama Camp, Shakespeare Camp (both of which other rocking Mom's started- love that!). The kids have scheduled homework with due dates, other teacher's besides me, outside accountability. They have taken on-line classes. We have done a ton of field trips, and continue to travel, but not quite as extensively. We haven't participated in scouts or Awanas in the past decade, though we did own and ride our own horse for a while. The condo in Florida is sold. We've been re-building a house, so instead of playing in the Gulf Coast surf, our kids have learned to dry-wall and grout.
Some things don't change. Mom's still get together at the park while the kids play. We still talk curriculum, but it's expanded to, "Has anyone used the OCW at MIT?" It's still homeschooling but the definitions are expanding and changing. I am a co-coordinator of the many options, a guidance counselor, as well as a teacher. And for my rising 12th grader, I am basically the mentor, as the majority of his classes will be taught by someone other than me. Our older kids are still traveling but it's not with family, it's with other homeschooling friends/ associates they have met along the way.

It's not better, or worse. Homeschooling years ago, was good; it was something new and fresh and whatever we made of it.  We spent hours in CA and NM, exploring, reading, learning together; sweet memories! And it's good now, too.  The zillion options make it easier, and more complex, less isolated, with the ability to draw on other’s expertise and experience.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

More Summer Needed

This is the picture on NOAA for our area for the next several days along with
Hazardous Weather Conditions
The heat and drought continue to be un-real. We taken to watering bushes and trees because they are on the verge of going to the great nursery in the sky.

Looking at lots of options for teaching a media class for high schoolers. Ran in to this new company: Crystal Creek Media. Their newest production, Creed of Gold looks good; It was fun to see our aquaintance, Jay Wile,  author of the Apologia Textbooks (his wife was good friends of dh's roomie at Purdue, we all went to the same undergrad school together- small world, eh?) perform.

Are you done with hoemschool planning for fall? Everything ready and purchased and labeled? I still have to figure out what we are doing, and get stuff ordered. We'll definilty be using Memoria Press Core 6 (*don't forget to sign up for the  give-away!), but high school is the big angst. There are 2 many options. Which is a nice delimma and one we haven't always faced.

Flower has us all playing plenty of Monopoly and Settlers of Catan as a method of beating the heat. I have a sweet little monopoly, complete with houses on Boardwalk and Parkplace when I switched out with someone and they lost the farm.
My little writing project is cooking along. I am at 110 pages, 54,000 words. KB keeps making off-handed comments about how she wanted another younger sibling but she's gonna have to settle for a book. It's been fun, and hard work, and Annie Lamott's advice about a sh*tty first draft (her words) have been very helpful and very accurate. That being said, my first self-imposed dead-line is looming and I think I'm gonna make it. Feeche is at 49,000 words for his novel, and we are in a Cold War Race for the most words written before school starts....
Virtual Schooling: A Guide to Optimzing Your Child's Education by Kanna and Gillis has been the current Ed read. Interesting stuff; there is a LOT out there. I like the take of these authors, that there are so many options now days that it's possible to create a personalized educational package that includes private tutoring, real time irl classes, virtual classes, etc.
Technopoly by Postman talks about how T.V. and the traditional learning environments have come to a reasonable alliance. The new computer age is creating a whole new world.
Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology

Our  horse unit study continues to be fun. The girls are currenlty reading Misty of Chincoteague. Our friend, Patty, actually met Misty and she'll be our guest speaker on Monday. Feeche continues to finish up Math along with getting books read and P.T. done for Challenge Staff Training. KB is taking on the P.T. challenge and they are both doing beaucoup push-ups, including Diamonds. Flower got in on the act and did 8 push ups yesterday and Cub bested that. I'm counting and cheering them on and grateful for the elliptical!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer Snapshots- Our Viewing Habits


The kids and I ventured down to the river this evening to see how low it can go, and it's the lowest it's been since we've lived here. (It's dry out here, folks. Bone dry). For fun, the kids created waterworks, moving rocks and getting the stream sort of flowing. The minnows didn't appreciate it so much because instead of their safe and secure little pool under the bridge, they started getting swept away. A painted turtle came out to see the fun (and have a minnow power snack) and then the real show began. We saw a mouse. Or we thought we did. It ended up being a weasel. And it jumped and scampered and played at the river's edge, holding us all mesmerized for a good half an hour. We think there might have been 2 of them. It was a sweet time, shushing each other and reveling in the playtime of a weasel kit.
(True Confessions: we don't watch t.v. Our viewing habits are limited to DVD's and the great outdoors).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012



Read Illusions by Frank Peretti this week. It is a time out of place book- 19 yo chicklet from the 70's is "transported" to 2010, still 19, has no idea how she got there, etc. The odd thing is that she has just died as a 59 yo, after a rich and fulfilling life and wife, as a Christian magician. I like the time out of place idea- Kate and Leopold is a fav movie- which is what pulled me in in the first place.

The mechanics of how this was done were hokey and cumbersome; unbelievable; a sci-fi scenario gone wrong- which throws it into fantasy. I'd rather read true sci-fi and be wowed by the what could be. On top of it all, Peretti cheated the end. It was intriguing enough that I read through the whole 400+ pages of it, but honestly, the escape scene at the end lost me. I mean, I got it, but again, the premise wasn't believable (read Time Machine) and so no matter what beautiful escape hatches and scenarios Peretti put together, it just wasn't a true "go" imho, it was a writer writing himself out a situation he didn’t buy himself.

That being said, it was a sweet look at marriage and how the soul of a person remains the same despite decades and situations. Peretti's "note" at the end of the book is what really tied it all together- more than the actual book itself. I love the theme- the hope of all of us that are in a marriage where we truly love and are loved, rather than just exist and mark time- that our spouse would "know" us, the essence of ourselves, despite never having met us before.

My husband and I often joke that in heaven we'll be un-married (we'll have to be 'cause he'll be in the intellectual area punning with the other nerds and I'll be in the library overlooking the garden). We like being married and all of that- truly, I mean, we still are. But you know, it takes intentionality and purpose to be in a relationship that is fulfilling and honest and kind and about creating something better together than apart.

My young and recently widowed friend was sharing about the value and importance of family and how she takes deep comfort in the fact that she and her husband got family, treasured it without idolizing it, and lived out that value. That despite his early and untimely death, he left a legacy of love and joy and hope behind in the lives of the people he loved. The art of his life and soul continues despite the fact that he is in a different time and place.
I'd like to think my husband and I would know each other, even if we were separated by time and space. I'd like to think that I know the art in him, and he knows the art in me, enough.
And I think, that was really the gist of Perretti’s book, despite the awkward mechanics of how he got there. Are we living lives that are just smoke and mirrors – illusions, or are we living transparently enough to be known? Are we living with enough curiosity to know others?

Garden Update

Depsite the heat and drought we've had a couple of good crops. The basil has been amazing. Very mild this year, but prolific and gorgeous, providing my pesto-loving husband with lots of sauce.
We are still getting a steady stream of Chard.
The cabbage- beautiful, sweet and delicious last year just didn't like the heat.
The broccoli was harvested on Sunday-12 heads of it.

Blanched and freezer ready.
We have been eating it like mad for dinner, lightly steamed; sweet and tender.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Tempest Roars

It's the 4th Annual Shakespeare Festival for Homeschool Thespians in our neck of the woods. And while we are experiencing a drought by day, at night the Tempest Roars.

The cast and crew. Ana (green shirt, back left), is the trouble maker brilliant Momma Producer whose idea it was in the first place. Enak (front right in skirt and sunglasses), is the Directress extraordinaire. Everybody else makes up the happy, happy cast and crew.
6 days, 6 hours a day, crazy high temps, picnic dinners and a 2 hours performance at the end of it all.
They were amazing.

The hard working and amazing Mom crew-
Ana and Jannell, who made the costumes, ordered T-shirts, got sound and props and ironed and laughed.

The crew fights to survive the Tempest that Ariel has created, at the behest of Prospero.

Sailors try to stay afloat as the storm rages. (complete with sound effects and waves)

Prospero and Calliban.

Stephano, Truncullo, Caliban, and Ariel.

Our beautiful friend, Laura, playing Ariel. She sang, she danced, she acted for an hour and 50 minutes!

Prospero encourages the King's men to straighten up.

Great on-stage movement. Caliban spent the entire hour and 50 minutes moving about stage on his hands and feet- rapid and fluid- Channelled his inner Gollum he has, precious. He has.

Propero(s) deliver the final soliloquy.
Feeche and Jo split the role. Fantastic job by both!

Talented musicians, Miss H and Jo wrote the music.; haunting and melodic.

Enak the magnificent!!
(Can you believe this lady is old enough to have 6 kids?!)
"You look terrific in black, darling. Have I told you that before?"

All work and no play...they had plenty of both!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mid-Summer Week in Review

photo courtesy of Ana.

*1* It's Shakespeare Camp week! Homeschool high scholars meet at a local park, memorize a Dover edition of a Shakespeare play, laugh, goof-off, get costumed, bossed around and have a blast. On Saturday evening, they perform. It’s usually amazing. Feeche is Prospero from Act III on of the Tempest.
*2* Our Monday Horse Camp for Girls has been a lot of fun; based very loosely on the Beautiful Feet Guide to the Horse. We are on Book 4- Misty of Chincoteague. We’ve also covered White Stallion of Lipizzaner, Justin Morgan Had a Horse and King of the Wind. Marguerite Henry is an excellent word-smith and we are enjoying our jaunt as she shares her passion for horses and people.
We’ve been creating notebooks with sections in Geography, glossary, horse breeds, horse information, copy work, and art. I saw a book time-line on Pinterest last week and am thinking about how to coordinate that with what we are doing…

And don't forget the swimming. Some of the girls come  just to swim. Our younger kids are so brown and blond they are almost beyond recognition!
*3* Finally, finally, got Memoria Press Core review up here. Sign up to win one of the literature guides, (TM+ SM) or Christian Studies I.
*4* The guinea fowl have been set free. They ended up roosting our “garage” (billed as 2-car garages in the realtor’s listing- for Model “A” fords, maybe- it was clearly built for cars 90 years ago). They are out an about early and have done their duty by the fowl flying hoppers. Our garden is flowering again and the insect population no longer feels of plague proportions.
*5* Had fresh broccoli last night. Sweet and clean and the most gorgeous green after being lightly steamed. Perfection.
*6* KB is not starting the R.N. program in the fall. Due to a medical snafu, she can’t start clinicals and because it’s a 2 yr program, that adds another semester of outrageous tuition costs to her bill. Re-assessing everything as her job is an hour away (based on going to the R.N. program). Also, the non-stop people interaction is cooking her introverted grits. Back to re-assessing and re-thinking what's next.
*7* Flower has been devouring the American Girl books- she’s gone through the Kit, Addy and ½ way through the Kirsten series. Cub has read several Alex Rider’s, along with USborne’s WWI and WWII and “Warrior” (stealing my thunder for history this year- I can’t decide if it is fun to teach history to kids who clearly know more than me about it or not).  I’ve been muddling along, having finished Dick Van Dyke’s My Lucky Life, I find myself reading celebrity comedienne books bout once a year. It intrigues me to know what makes funny people tick. I finally finished 5 Red Herrings. It’s my least fav Sayers book- too many fine details about train schedules and painterly things- it was downright confusing. I’ve just picked up Accordion Families- another look at the world wide phenomenon of ”adultesence”.
For more classically inpsiration check out Living and Learning at Home

Thursday, July 12, 2012

10 Reasons I’m Excited for Next School Year/ Year 22

It will be our 22nd year of homeschooling. Homeschooling has taken on a life of it's own in our family- instead of being the elephant in the middle of the room, it's the bookshelves that line most rooms, the crazy ideas, the wondering where it will take us next. We've past the legal age of drinking as homeschoolers and while we rarely indulge I'll raise my Mike's to the coming year:

10 Reasons I 'm Excited for Next School Year

1. Memoria Press. There's lots to love and we plan to jump in feet first. Not only will we have lots to dive into at home but MP's Geography will be a class offered at Tutoring Center. Two-fer.

2. Flower has taken off in reading this summer. She is devouring American Girl books and is on her 4th series for the summer, along with read-alouds.

3. Feeche is a Senior. We are both wondering how we're going to get it all done this year. There is still so much more we both want to do.

4. Feeche will be participating in Challenge again- this year as staff. He loves this program. We love it for him.

5. Tutoring Center continues with some great offerings. For Cub, pre-physics, geography, writing, art. For Feeche- government, literature, math tutoring.

6. Cub and Flower and dh and I are seriously considering another jaunt through Lego League. What a fantastic program. I so want my kids to love it.

7. As the kids get older and we finish more space(s) in our house from the re-build, the house stays cleaner. It might be shallow of me, but it makes homeschooling so much easier to have things neat and clutter free.

8. The kids are older and there are fewer of them to school, they take on bigger responsibilities for things. It's more manageable, less complicated than a full house with little people.

9. I am spending more time writing. I have more time to write. I get what I'm doing. The kids are cool with my writing while they hang with me. Love that.

10. We have a yearly schedule that we love- Tutoring Center for 32 weeks, with Co-op overlapping for 24. Challenge in the fall, Tantara in January (Festival of One Act Plays), Drama Camp and high school formal in late May, Shakespeare Camp in July, with ballroom dancing, Teen Nights and Ultimate thrown in for good measure. Lego League fitting in, along with working out and play dates. 3 1/2 days at home of focused working.

It's going to be a good year. How 'bout you?
Link up at My Little Blessings to read more.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Memoria Press Delivers- Core 6 Review

I am a long time fan and user of Memoria Press. In the past I’ve reviewed Famous Men of Modern Times and have an on-going love affair with Highlands Latin School. Needless to say I was happy, happy, happy to get the chance to review one of MP’s new Core Packages. As always, MP delivers.  

 I chose to review Core 6 with a few modifications which I’ll explain as I go.
The Lesson Plans are good; it’s a 2 page spread per week divided by days of the week on top and subject areas down the side: Latin, math, spelling/grammar/composition, American Studies/Science, Classical Christian Studies, and Literature. Before each assignment there is a small box to check if you want to keep track that way. Then the book and lesson or pages assigned; neat, well laid-out and very functional. Furthermore it’s comb-bound so it lays flat (love that!). The program is based on a 33 week year.
The Getting Started portion of the book is a great overview and gives the teacher basic, but excellent helps in Latin Recitation, Latin, Math, Spelling, Grammar, Literature, Poetry, Classical Studies, American Studies, Christian Studies, and Science/Nature Studies.
For instance, under Christian Studies, “The goal of Christian Studies in 6th grade is to provide the students with an overview of what is in the Bible- like a map that they can carry with them in their heads.” Basic but clear, straightforward and simple, but perhaps not easy.
By Subject
Literature Guides focus on vocabulary, spelling, comprehension, composition skills and developing active readers. We’ve used the Iliad, Odyssey and Trojan Horse in beta form and Feeche and I loved the time we spent together going over these great pieces.  The guides are excellent and address difficult concepts in literature; each workbook section draws out vocabulary, comprehension questions, quotations, discussion questions, enrichment exercises and reading notes.
Classical Composition. I’ve taught writing to groups for almost a decade and really love good writing curriculum. This one is new to me, and definitely on my list of writing curriculum to love. “Fable” starts with the reading of a fable. Then 3 plot components are understood (recognition, reversal and suffering – don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense, it’s all in the teacher’s guide and explained in detail). Then the student does a Variation, giving synonyms for words, and creates a 3 level outline. The kids are going to learn tons of Figures of Description, how to outline, re-write, and really grab a hold of good language. I am jazzed about this program, especially since Writing With Skill II won’t be out in the fall. Writing Geeks, unite, it’s another writing program to LOVE.
Famous Men of Greece
Classical Studies What’s not to love here?!  Famous Men of Greece, with MP’s lavishly illustrated text and excellent study guide which includes facts to know, comprehension questions, vocabulary, activates (including map work) and flashcards for memory work. (I’m a flash card junkie so this makes me happy-it’s neat, type written and done for me).   As if that wasn’t enough you get “The Trojan War”, complete with literature guide. Feeche and I did this together 3 years ago when it was being beta tested. It was a blast then and it will be fun to be doing it again with my younger kids. Not done yet: add in “Horatius at the Bridge”. 6th Graders at Highlands can work to earn the prestigious “Churchill Award” by memorized Horatius at the Bridge. It is a beautiful and epic tale and one we’ll be adding to our repertoire this year.
Science We switched out Bird study for Trees and will also be doing Exploring the History of Medicine this year. The guide is simple: 7 weeks on “Meet the Bird”, 5 weeks on “How birds live” and 7 weeks on “The Wider World of Birds.” It includes lots of observation and getting to know 2 specific birds a week. I think we’re going to be doing some note booking along with this, and adding in some cool projects from a couple of nature catalogs we’ve been enjoying.
American/Modern Studies Students read Guerbers’s “The story of the 13 Colonies” and “The Story of the Great Republic” along with). The study guide includes facts, vocabulary, questions, map work, drawings, research, writing assignments and time-line. I think we’ll be doing a notebook for this as well.
Second Form Latin
Latin First Form is the best Latin we’ve found for our family (Meaning neither parent has anything beyond the most basic proficiency in Latin). It’s straight forward, clear, focuses on a limited but growing vocabulary, extensive grammar, derivatives, Latin Saying, charts and form drills. The Core comes complete with the DVD’s, TM, SM, tests and answer key, and my beloved flashcards. First Form was one of our BIG wins last year and we look forward to another successful year with it.

Christian Studies We’ve done 1-3 and learned an amazing amount. In fact, I think it’s a great overview of the Bible. I especially like the fact that it is not denominational/doctrinally oriented and can be easily used by Catholics or Protestants. CS IV is a general survey study highlighting the Bible, reviewing drill questions, Scripture memory passages, and more.
My complaints are few. I wish that Christian Studies and American Studies had the reading listed at the top of the week in the study guides, rather then just in the Lesson Plan book. It’s so not a biggie I’m over it already. My second complaint is that I don’t have a group of MP junkies lined up to do Core 6 with us. This year is going to rock.
Now on to the Give-Away.
I love to share the wealth and I'm going to be giving away 3 sets to 3 different winners with this review:
The Teacher Guide and Student Guide for Treasure Island, The Teacher Guide and Student Guide for Anne of Green Gables, and the Teacher's Guide and Student Guide for Christian Studies I.
All you have to do to enter is
1. go to the Memoria Press FB page and "like" or go to the MP web-site and sign-up for their excellent Classical Teacher here.
2. Join Golden Grasses through Google friend, Networked Blogs or following by email. If you are already a "friend" just lmk.
3. Leave a comment that you've joined Golden Grasses and connected with Memoria Press.
4. Enter more times than one: mention this give-away on your blog, FB or Twitter and leave it in your comment, with an extra chance to win for each network utilized.
Give-Away ends and winners will be announced July 28. Winners have 5 days to send me their snail mail addy.

For more give-aways check out Hip Homeschool Moms

Hay Bale Lego Bricks

Cub had friends over at an opportune time- hay bales in the field. They all donned work gloves and proceeded to build. Fun in the sun, baby!

Ta-da! One fort complete.

\And then it all got hauled away!

Barn rat. Don't worry. We are in to catch and release.

We hayed the fields, we hayed the fields! Actually our friend Stan hayed the fields and we have some (more) work to do in them in order to be hayed again. But, it was a victory of sorts as the fields have been long and sorely neglected, full of metal, trash, barbed wire and downed trees. And the hay made a couple horse/goat folks happy as it's been dry as bones here; folks are already feeding their life-stock hay and hoarding for winter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Firing with Full Thrusters

N. Men, Buff, smart and funny, to a man. (dh is 2nd from left, ds 17 is far left).
My husband is the bomb.  When we were first married he could do push ups. Lots and lots of them (he still does btw), which is no biggie, right? But he could clap in between. You know, like when he pushed up he would actually CLAP his hands together, so that he was suspended in air. Pretty cool, but it gets better. While clapping  he could also balance me on his back, which is a testimony to how thin I used to be (but even then, at 5'9" I was no small person) and how strong he was. He could do 10 of those babies.

I watched my incredibly talented and buff 17 year old son do 7 clapping push-ups yesterday, sans person on his back, while he turned red with exertion and thought to myself a couple of things:
A) My husband is totally buff- love that in a husband.
B) I can't believe I let him do that-- he could have totally eaten dirt and it would have been a face alterating day and
C)  My husband is the MAN.

Which he continues to prove. Not only does he have incredible upper body strength, but he also fixed my blog. I can now do hyper links and post pictures again. Happy, happy, happy dance!! Major brownie points for the husband!

6th Grade Curriculum

So stay tuned because I have lots to catch up on, not the least of which is a Memoria Press Review and Give-Away (WOOT! WOOT!) and a Element 83 Review and Give-Away (Booyah, Baby!)

ON SALE:  (20% off) The Dangling Summer Sky, Bismuth Crystal Pendant

along with lots of summer pictures that include drama camp, guinea fowl, garden stuff, our horse study and just plain old (as my mil describes them) "everyday pictures."

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Snapshots #10 - Delicious Summer Soup

For some reason we can grow amazing amounts of vegetables that no one really eats anymore and the more common ones barely make it. Chard is one veggie that we can grow and grow and grow. It's actually a beet, and it smells like one and tastes like one, no matter how beautiful the stalks are in yellow and pink. We eat it anyway. Chock full of good vitamins and minerals (it's smells like dirt, so it's got to be full of good stuff, right?!)

If you have chard you don't know what to do with, here is a very simple, and surprisingly delicious, summer soup.

Boil 6 cups of water, with 1 Tbs chicken bouillon added.
Add 1# very thinly sliced chard (stems and all) and let boil 8 -10 min.
Beat 2 eggs, drop with fork into boiling water, cook until stringy.
Add Parmesan and seasoning if you want.

You'll feel like superwoman eating this. It is clean and refreshing, and tastes good, too!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer Snapshot #10- It's a Fowl Business

Spent 4 hours in the garden last night. Moved eggplant and basil and weeded like a wild woman. The grasshoppers continue to wreck havoc, but I've noticed that where the sprinkler goes, the grasshoppers don't. Laura Ingalls Wilder's Plum Creek accounts of the 1870 Grasshopper invasion always did give me the willies but having an infestation of our own brings it to life. They are disgusting. And voracious. And crunch when stepped on. Ask me how I know.

Pesticide wasn't working and, crunchy that I am, I don't like using it. Enter....guinea fowl. We have 5, pearl grey adolescents, fully feathered and shy. We've kept them caged all week so they get clued in that this is their new happy home and somehow they have survived the heat and our moving the cage around the year (a huge one we hauled goats in way back before we chose trees over goats).

I have high hopes. Big fat pearl grey guinea fowl and a grasshopper free acreage. I'll keep you posted as to how my evil plan is working.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Summer Snapshot #8- Annual Pyro Party

Dh is a closet pyro. He had nothing to do with our house burning (believe me, the insurance company did a thorough investigation!). But he does love a good, (legal) reason to light things, burn things and blow things up. What better holiday than 4th of July? You'd think it was his birthday.
First of all,we gather a huge pile of stuff to blow up; luckily we live in a state where fireworks sales are encouraged (home of the free, land of the libertarian and all of that).
Then he lights the punks, loads the kids down with sparklers and proceeds to send rockets and bombs skyward to burst and show off their red glare. If he gets a strobe in the bunch he does a 70's dance for us- very entertaining.  The notsolittles follow him around begging to light stuff, too- little pyros in the making.
The older kids sit around and drink coffee and crack jokes.
The old dog whines, the young dog howls and the guinea fowl chirp and flap. Even the killdeer got in on the act and threw a fit after every.single. big bang.
O.k. that was just with the fam this week-end. Today is the actual 4th. On to bigger and better.

The bottom line is that we are proud to celebrate living in a country that has allowed a manner of freedom unbeknownest to most of the world, for most of it's history.
Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer Snapshot #8- Summer School

On Mondays we have a full house. I'm teaching a horse unit study to a group of 3rd/4th grade girlies, loosely following Beautiful Feet's Guide to the History of the Horse. It's  been a blast. The kids read through a Margarite Henry book during the week and then on Mondays we go over geography, literature, horse breeds and information, and drawing. Siblings and Moms come and chat and play and at some point Enak and the boys go study Latin, picking up where they left off in the spring (I love having smart friends ; )! Then the kids all swim and eat and the Mom's chat and usually longer play dates or sleep-overs are arranged. And, of course, books and ideas are shared. Enak brought over a whole bag of Dorothy Sayers books yesterday - happy, happy sigh. (I have committed to not start one more until I make ti through 5 Red Herrings. I will finish it, if only to say that I did!- did I mention I love having smart and generous friends?).

Yesterday we had 17 kids in the pool at one time with lots of splishing and splashing and uproarious laughter. Some of the quieter kids got out and made leather badges and bracelets or wandered about the yard playing with the cats and watching the Guinea Fowl (our latest acquisition -post worthy in and of themselves).

Last night we had a few extra kids spend the night and the girls were in the water until 8 p.m. I think the only reason they got out at the point was the promise of food. And now it's morning, they ate a bit and slept, only because I told them they could get up as early as they wanted, and they have jumped back in again.