Friday, October 26, 2007

The Antithesis of the Weekly Report

I think I should just list all the things that did NOT get done this week, rather than all the things that did. That list would be longer. Also, you could see all my good intentions, and that should count for something, right? Right?

Yeah, I didn't think so, either.

Please excuse me. I'm working through some things right now. I think I'm finally getting my head on straight, though, so next week should be much, much better.

I hope.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Thy name is Halloween Candy.

Fall is Here!

Finally, after weeks of 90 degree weather, we've had a cold front come through. Highs are in the low 70's (yes, that's a cold front here!) and lows are in the 40's. We've actually turned on the heater! It's such a nice, refreshing change.

With cooler weather, I'm back to drinking my morning coffee. I miss it during the warmer weather, but I just can't bring myself to drink a hot drink when it's hot and humid. Blech.

Here's my favorite mug, parked beside the computer, filled with coffee and all sugared and creamed up. Yum! (and yes, I do like quite a bit of cream in my coffee, thank you very much)

Monday, October 22, 2007


This is dedicated to my sister, Liz, who moved to Nashville on Friday. I love you and will miss you!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Busy Days

Do you ever have a time in your life when you're so busy, you feel like you're meeting yourself coming? I am going through that right now. I feel that I am spending my days treading water, but never really getting my head above it.

Between school, church, orchestra (Griff's and the kids), cub scouts, girl scouts, and oh-yes-let's-not-forget-the-home, I am just about all done in. (Would somebody please remind me why the Arrow of Light is so important?)

I'm not complaining. Life is good. Busy, busy, but good. It does mean, however, that some things are going to have to slide. This blog is one of them. Oh, I'm not really going anywhere. I'll still be posting. But things, like this week's "weekly report", are not always going to happen. (believe me, you're not missing anything this week)

I am going to go to bed now. It's only 10:40. If I try very hard, I may actually get to bed before 11:00. Woo-hoo! :)

BTW, my back is better. I still get the occasional twinge, but it's greatly improved.

Free Mark Kistler Video Drawing Lessons

We are big Mark Kistler fans here. Ruthie took a week-long class with him this summer and had a blast. She had been wanting to learn how to draw 3-d and he was able to teach that to her. If you ever have the opportunity to send your children to one of his classes, I highly recommend it. He encourages parents to stay for the class, so you will get a free art lesson yourself. :)

The exciting news: Mark Kistler has put some drawing lessons on Youtube. There are 8 minutes long and FREE! He currently has 6 lessons available.

As we all know, Youtube can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a very scary place for children. Mark Kistler put these on Youtube for adults to have easy access to his drawing lessons. He strongly recommends (as do I) that you do not let your children have access to these without 100% parental supervision. So, can you take 8 minutes out of your day to have an art lesson with your child? I think so. :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm Going to be MIA for a Few Days

I've done something to my back. I don't know what, but it's causing a pinched feeling in my back and pain down my right arm. Being on the computer aggravates it, so I'm going to be off until it gets better. I'll be checking my email, but that's it.

See you soon.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Weekly Report - October 8-12

(A slideshow with pictures is at the end of this post.)


After having the kids work on a lapbook for the past few weeks, and listening to the grumbling, I have given them up. As much as I would love for my children to be interested in making those cute mini-books and assembling them into one overview of our science study, it's not going to happen. It was time for me to let go of the fantasy and return to what works - notebook pages. They actually like making these, so that's a good thing.

We made our first ocean animals for the ocean boxes. It was our first time using Sculpey clay and I helped them with shaping the animals. I plan on being more hands-off next time.

Robert made a killer whale and Ruth made a dolphin. Unfortunately, our dolphin had a tragic accident (AKA Robert dropping it) and lost its nose. We will be making a new dolphin soon.

Language Arts

I blogged in my previous post about switching to using the Arrow for our grammar, dictation, and writing. Grammar and dictation went well, but I'm not so sure about the writing. I may need something with more step-by-step instructions that I am getting with this. I'm going to stick with it through the month, so I'll have to see what the final result is.


We read about monks in history this week. For a project, we made illuminated letters. I have seen several versions of this project, but I liked the instructions in Hands-on History the best.

We also checked out the Leaves of Gold web-site. They have a lot of information about illuminated manuscripts and how they were made. When the kids made comments about how long it was taking to color their letters and borders, we talked about how their work compared to the work done in the middle ages. We also discussed that only the wealthy owned books, and even they only owned a few. Ruth mentioned that she can't imagine a home not filled with books. Nor can I, my dear.

Fine Arts

We listened to Polovtsian Dances by Borodin. This is a favorite piece of Griff's so we've heard it before, but I am trying to teach the kids the names of pieces and composers.

We have a new picture from our Cassatt study - Children Playing at the Beach. I've also seen it titled Two Children at the Seashore. Can I say again how much I love this artist?

Hymn and folk song didn't happen... again. I need to get all the music on one CD. I think that will make it easier.

Books Read

  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla

  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • She's also about half-way through Heidi. I loved that book as a child.
(Can anybody tell me how to underline text in html?)


We are on lesson 3 of Prima Latina. Ruth is especially loving this. I'm not sure why, but she gets a real thrill out of it. They are also really picking up on the whole concept of Latin roots in our language. They are usually able to think of at least a couple of English words for each Latin word we learn. Since I want them to learn Latin for vocabulary purposes, I'm very happy about that.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A New Schedule

When we began this school year, we moved to a more Charlotte Mason approach. We are using a schedule combining Year 1 and 2 of Ambleside Online. However, even that schedule was not enough for me. I looked at the list of books we would be missing and started adding more to the schedule. Well, that has led to overload. So, I am letting go of my obsession with checking all the boxes and making some changes.

The biggest change (to me, at least) is dropping Rod and Staff English. It was taking too much time and I am not convinced we need to be hitting grammar that hard at this age. It was a difficult decision (I just love that program), but I finally decided to try something else for awhile. We will be using the sample lesson from Bravewriter's Arrow. It covers some grammar, literary elements, dictation, and a writing exercise. It is 4 weeks long. At the end of the lesson, I will decide what to do from there. We may stay with the Arrow or we may go back to Rod and Staff, but at a much more relaxed pace. We may try something else. I don't know yet.

I have also dropped Fifty Famous Stories Retold (an AO selection I added in) and Our Island Story (which is scheduled). Doing history 4 days a week (sometimes 5) was too much. We are enjoying both of these books, but I decided they weren't crucial to our school day. A Child's History of the World covers the parts of OIS that I don't want to miss (King Harald, William the Conqueror, etc.) at a much faster pace. Both of these books have been added to our book basket and I am pretty sure the kids will keep reading them on their own.

With everything that we dropped, I have been able to put aside a whole day each week for projects. Scheduling things in the morning makes it much more likely that it's going to be done. As much as I want the afternoons to be spent in projects and other enrichment activities, it doesn't usually happen. It always seems that we are either running behind, or something has come up (doctor appointments etc.).

Now that I have probably explained way too much about my thought processes, here's the unveiling. Ta-da!

(A big "thank you" to Tami for all her help and advice as I worked through this. She's a true gem.)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Mosaic Boxes

We finished our mosaic boxes this weekend and I wanted to show them off. I think the kids did a great job on them. (Please keep in mind that none of us have ever done any type of mosaic work before, unless you count construction paper.)

When I first showed the kids what we would be doing, Robert was not interested. However, when I mentioned he would get to break up the tiles into smaller pieces with a hammer, he was in.

We worked outside because the tile adhesive we were using said that we need to be in an area with cross-ventilation. I didn't want to take a chance, so we worked out on the back porch. This was definitely one of those times I wish we had some sort of table out there.

First, we divided up the tiles. I felt it would be best to decide on colors before beginning. (I'm smart that way.)

Then the hammering began. I think this was one of their favorite parts.

A practice run to get a feel for how many tiles would be needed...

Gluing... With all the warnings on the bottle, I was a little worried about this. No problems were encountered, however.

Both children lost patience with the small pieces after awhile, so we filled in the middle with whole tiles.

Gluing is finished. Now we just have to wait for them to dry before grouting.

I did the grouting. I think that's my own impatience coming through. :)

Here's a picture of the finished boxes. The kids were anxious for me to finish with the picture-taking so they could start using them. I think they are very proud of the work they did. I know I am.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Weekly Report - Oct. 1-5


I just had to share these photos of my children doing their math assignments this week.

Ruthie decided she needed to work under the table one day.

Having a kitty join you makes a torturous subject go much more smoothly.


Really, what can you say about grammar that is interesting? (no offense intended if it's the highlight of your day) However, I had to laugh at Ruthie's response to an assignment. She was to write 3 exclamatory sentences that would be said upon receiving a gift from a grandparent. (Don't you just love Rod & Staff?) Ever the quirky child, she wrote:

Grandmother, thank you for the lovely bucket of mud!

For the record, her grandmother has never given her a bucket of mud. She does, in fact, buy my children nice gifts, and too many of them.


We studied the Byzantine empire this week. This led very nicely into looking at Byzantine mosaics on the internet. This led to a natural choice of doing mosaics for art this week. I like for the children to do projects that are actually useful and/or decorative and not fodder for the trash can within a couple of weeks. So, I headed to Michael's and got the following supplies. This is still a work in progress, but I will post a picture when it's done. They are turning out great!


I bought this pretty basket yesterday and set up my book basket. I love how it looks. However, pretty is as pretty does, so let's see how useful it turns out to be. :)

In Other News

Ruthie found a good way to get out of cello practice and lesson this week. Have the fingerboard come off your instrument! It's currently in the shop.

Robert, after two weeks of his best viola lessons ever, was rewarded with 30 minutes of video game time (typically off limits during the school week). You will be happy to know that, after owning the game for 5 years, he has finally beaten Super Mario Sunshine. All is right with the world.


(Okay, I had to stop and go look up the lyrics because I couldn't remember the next line. For the record, it's "Turn and face the stranger", whatever that means.)

I am in the process of overhauling our schedule. Some things are not working. Others, while they are working, are taking too much time. I'm going to be adding some things and removing others. I'll post the final schedule when it's done.