Weekly Report: Week Fourteen (days 066-070)

This week was… odd. I suppose you could say it had its roots in the weekend. Normally, introvert that I am, I'm careful not to be busybusybusy all weekend. This past weekend, though, I had Stuff Friday afternoon & evening, all day Saturday, and all day Sunday. The result was school prep not getting done, so I had to restructure what I had planned for the week to make it all as much "do the next thing" as possible. I learned that we do not do well without written plans.

Purple Child and I have a cold. For me, it's manifested as a really awful sore, scratchy throat, and some congestion. PC nods when I ask her if her throat hurts, but she's really got the upper respiratory thing going on. Poor bub put herself to sleep on the couch this morning after being up for just two and a half hours.

I didn't keep a list of literature for FB this week, and we didn't do OPGTR. He did do two-three pages in ETC each day, and we reviewed pronouns instead of going forward in FLL. He did all of week fifteen in WWE 1, and finished his first SWO A lesson with an actual list of words. Once PC wakes up, I'll go upstairs and give him his "test."

FB also did one to three pages in Miquon each day, and we pressed forward in SOTW 1, reading about the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

EG got more done, since more of her stuff does fall into the "do the next thing" category. She did five lessons in Advanced Algebra and completed the first unit of PLATO Earth & Space Science. She's also started working through a big "for Dummies" book about the computer. We've deliberately had her not use the computer for, well, anything until a little over a year ago, and now it's time for her to learn about all the nifty tools the computer can be. Speaking of the computer, her critical thinking class is going well; they're having a mock trial next Friday and EG's very excited about that.

I assigned Oedipus as her reading, and had two weeks for her to finish it, but she zoomed through it in just two days. We're going to spend next week discussing it. She did complete lesson eight in CE II, and chapter four in EV. I substituted an essay about a topic in history for one of the options (she chose Sparta), and a paragraph about "what is the earth made of?" for another option. She's still reading all about ancient Greece for history.

She read about icons for art appreciation, and we did skip music appreciation this week.

All of their outside the house stuff went well. EG has band this afternoon and is going to attempt to pass off some of the second semester pass offs. We are hoping she can finish the entire year's worth well before the end of the year approaches in the spring, which means fewer times we have to go for two hours.


Thankfulness, Day Four

Miso soup & milkshakes.

I've managed to acquire my first infectious agent of the season, and so far its primary goal is to make my throat as miserable as possible.

Luckily, there's miso in my house, so I had a lovely cup of steaming miso soup. When my throat still didn't relent, the Spousal Unit went to the nearest Steak 'N' Shake (and somehow got lost, so I suppose I should say I'm thankful he returned!) and got me a milkshake.



Thankfulness, Day Three

Song & Stride

The stride is everything.

I should rewind a bit. As a child and a teenager, I liked to run. One day, my knee began to hurt. Badly. I was poked and prodded, x-rayed and otherwise imaged. No discrete cause was ever found. I was told once that if I could ever build up the muscles around my knee, perhaps that would help.

I decided around this time last year that I was going to run again. I missed it. I missed the stride; running is meditation, for me. I decided to use the Couch to 5K program. I did the first few weeks, and had to stop. I started going to my chiropractor regularly again. I rewound, though not to the beginning, and did it a few weeks. I added back in visits for massages. Finally, around the end of August, I returned to it, to finish it. I finished it two weeks ago, just shy of my birthday.

It is, and was, such a gift. Every time I let my legs unfold and go, I'm thankful. I don't enjoy most forms of exercise. Running, though - there's my joy.

And song. The beat that carries me when I run.


Thankfulness, Day Two

Today, I am thankful for...

• Serendipity. Specifically, the serendipity that lead us to such a wonderful trumpet instructor for EG. Our initial selection was based on nothing more than location, a two-paragraph biography, and available days and times. EG has a real gem, a professional musician and composer who refuses to give into her pleas of "it's hard," and pushes her for excellence.

• Security. Not necessarily in the manner that immediately comes to mind, but I am secure in knowing that there are some things my children will not have to face, and for that, I will always and forever be grateful.

• Stew. I love beef stew.


Thankfulness, Day One

Yesterday, Daisy suggested using the month leading to Thanksgiving as an opportunity to find gratitude and thanks in each day. I thought that was a great idea, so I'm joining in (that sounds so much nicer than "stealing the idea," doesn't it?! :D)

What am I thankful for today?

• My chiropractor. Yesterday was a wonderful day (see below), but moving tables, standing, and walking on a concrete floor for most of the day was hard on my hips. Worse, the pain referred down my leg to my knee and ankle. Serendipitously, my monthly appointment with my chiropractor was today! He fixed me right up; I could distinctly feel my SI joint move into its correct position. Dr. Dan is awesome!

• Yesterday was our non-profit's* big Red Tent event. A Red Tent is a safe space for women to tell their birth stories, resurrecting the oral traditions around birth. Additionally, we had a potluck meal, twenty-four vendors, and charity raffles that raised $300 for our designated charity, which is a "comprehensive housing program providing shelter, mentorship, resources, and guidance to homeless expectant mothers." It was a huge success, and I'm thankful both for the success of the day, and for the four women with whom this was planned. They knock my socks off in the best ways, and I'm so glad to know them!

*We aren't officially a non-profit yet, but we're working in that direction.


Weekly Report: Week Thirteen (days 061-065)

This has been an incredibly busy week. In addition to all of our usual activities, we went to a rally for one of Georgia's gubernatorial candidates on Wednesday morning, and I have been busy making lists, getting ready, and talking Smrt Mama off her ledge, all with regards to our Big Event on Sunday.

FB learned about to, too, and two this week, as well as the hard and soft sounds of 'c.' He's zooming through Book 2 of Explode the Code, and I'm continuing to use EG's AAS phonogram cards with him. The combination of all these things seems to be helping. Of course, nothing can provide the impetus to want to synthesize it into "reading," which is in fact the ingredient that I suspect is lacking. Oh, he wants to read, in a half-hearted sort of way. Not in a "Yes! I want to read!" way, though.

In First Language Lessons, we've at last left behind nouns and moved to pronouns. FB finished week fourteen in Writing With Ease, and in Spelling Workout A, he moved into the first lesson with an actual list of words to spell. Handwriting this week was practice with lowercase 'i' and 'e.'

FB's literature this week ranged widely. Australia, Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Perfect the Pig, Because a Little Bug Went Ka-Choo, Stranger in the Woods, If You Give A Pig A Party, Lost in the Woods, Guess How Much I Love You, Love You Forever, Caps for Sale, All Things Bright and Beautiful, Baby Bear, Baby Bear, What Do You See, The Runaway Bunny, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and The Witch Who Was Afraid of Witches.

FB continues to tear through Miquon Orange. My original plan was to start Right Start B next week, but due to Extreme Busyness this weekend on my part, and therefore lack of time to even pull the B materials out, I think I'll let FB have one more week with just Miquon before we start combining the two.

In history this week, we talked about the Phoenicians. There's not a whole lot of extra stuff to do with regards to the Phoenicians; the one book recommended in the AG isn't carried by our library system, and it's nearly $30 on amazon. I can't even get Borders or Barnes & Noble to order it so I could get a teacher discount – ouch. So no supplemental reading.

FB had a good time at Master's Academy. They're teaching them to play recorder, except he calls it flute! :) We listened to the Classics for Kids episodes on Vivaldi, and FB moved to the "every other one" schedule for level one of IEW's poetry memorization program. At this point, I don't plan to start level two with him before March or April – just let him have plenty of time for the level one poems to soak in, and also give him plenty of time for our other memory work. This week was the last week of autumn homeschool soccer, which FB thoroughly enjoyed, and the first week of the new session of his oceanography class. Last week was the first week of gymnastics for this session (we skipped the first autumn session), which he is still enjoying. He's eager to turn six, though, and move into the sex-segregated classes where they learn about the various apparati.

EG had a good week. She finished five lessons in Advanced Algebra, plus read through some of Real World Algebra. She's getting very close to beating her drill times, but not quite yet. Language arts this week was four sentences in Practice Voyage, a lesson in Caesar's English II, and chapter four in Essay Voyage. She didn't have a formal literature assignment this week, but read through two or three books in her spare time.

This is the last week of her 'break' from PLATO; she read The Double Helix, watched two lectures from The Teaching Company's Joy of Science, and read chapter ten in Science Matters. Next week, she'll dive into PLATO Earth & Space Science. History this week was more on the Greeks; she read a biography of Alexander the Great (one of the Sterling Point books, by John Gunther) and wrote her summary about slavery in ancient Greece.

EG took a week to do a lot of review for Latin, and wrote a couple of exercises that we had previously done orally. She studied four pages in Art and wrote down dates on her timeline from chapter fourteen in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music History. Her listening selection this week was Turath. Band is this afternoon, where she's going to attempt to get her hands on a list of the second semester pass-offs; she passed all the songs for first semester last week! Trumpet and piano are both going very well for her.

This was obviously her last week of homeschool soccer for the autumn, too. She also had a lot of fun doing it, and is looking forward to the spring. The next session of her history of science class began. Master's Academy continues to go well, including her public speaking course in the mornings before Master's Academy starts. Finally, she seems to love logic and her online class; they're making speedy progress through the book and she's eager to do her assignments early in the week so she can participate in the online discussions the rest of the week, before Friday's webinar.

I discovered that part of PC's reluctance to be fully potty-trained is that she really likes the Target training pants I've been buying. They have a cat on them, you see, and she thought I just wouldn't let her keep wearing them if she were actually fully potty-trained. Bizarre child.

And now I hear my children coming back up the stairs to, horror of horrors, finish the schooldays. Don't they know I wanted a longer session of peace and quiet? ;)


Weekly Report: Week Twelve (days 056-060)

We had an abbreviated schoolweek for this week, for several reasons. On Sunday and Monday, the kids spent time with their grandmother, and we also took them to get Christmas pictures taken. The pictures turned out fairly well, though the photographer wouldn't honor the coupon we had as it was written. Minor aggravation, since we've already decided we need to find a different way to get the kids' pictures taken. And today is my birthday, so we're not officially doing school. EG is finishing her literature book (it was abandoned on Wednesday in favor of The Lost Hero), and FB decided he wanted to do a page or two of Miquon today. We did make up the lost schoolwork as far as EG was concerned, at least, so I could continue being even with my days and weeks matching up. Yep, I'm obsessive complusive (though not, officially, disordered, so that's something I suppose).

EG's aforementioned literature book this week was Green's Tales of the Greek Heroes, and she read all about Athens in history. She outlined from The Ancient City, but her writing assignment was modified from Essay Voyage, so I didn't require a separate summary.

EG worked in Practice Voyage & Caesar's English II, and worked on a writing assignment for Chapter 3. I merged two of the options (the structure of one, something of the topic from the other), and then modified it to apply to Athens. The result was a essay – "Athens: The Place of Learning." Her micro-language was "learning," as you may have guessed. Her statement of the thesis could use a little clarity, and it has gems of phrases like "where there was stuff to study," but overall I was very pleased with her effort.

In mathematics, EG worked through four lessons in Advanced Algebra, and continued to work on drill. She didn't conquer any drill levels this week, but with the shortened week, that's less surprising.

She also didn't do as much Latin work (only scheduled for two days), and continues to go through chapter five in Latin Prep. I'm trying to decide if I'll have her move on to the second half of the book immediately when she finishes, or if I'll instead let her take a week or two for more extensive review before going on.

Since this was a shortened week, and we're between PLATO's Life Science and Earth & Space Science, EG read Silent Spring, as well as reading chapter nine in Science Matters. She also watched two lectures from The Joy of Science Teaching Company course.

Music appreciation this week was listening to Traditional Arabic Music and making a one point outline of chapter fourteen in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Music History. Art appreciation this week covered Ancient Rome, with Art supplemented by Art in Ancient Rome.

EG's logic class moved on to chapter three in Critical Thinking 1 this week. The next to last week of soccer was held in near-perfect weather (perfect, with an extra side of wind). Master's Academy was off this week, as was EG's History of Science class.

FB had a good week as well. I added Spelling Workout A to his language arts line up, at his request. He also seems to be enjoying Miquon; we'll do one more week of just Miquon, and then add Right Start back into the mix.

FB's history this week was about Moses & the Israelites leaving Egypt. I intended to get Wildsmith's Exodus from the library, but we never made it over there (despite the fact that it's just up the road a ways).

FB's books this week included Equal Schmequal, Mister Seahorse, Owl Babies, Africa, Make Way for Ducklings, Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See?, Bad News for Outlaws, The Very Busy Spider, and two Bob books.

Purple Child has been constructing obstacle course for herself all week long. I just looked to my left and realized one of the Billy bookcases has a shelf that is going to fall without intervention in the next twenty-four hours. Guess I know what I'll be having Spousal Unit do tonight.


The Book Pile

I had an entire shelf of a small bookcase devoted to books I owned but had not yet read. Some of them were from paperbackswap. A few were loaners. The rest were books that looked really good, but had gotten pushed to the bottom of the pile over time, as newer, shinier titles took the coveted "next to be read" spot.

Two weeks ago, I mercilessly went through the entire shelf. I kept one fiction book, and consigned the rest to the box. I culled the remaining books, as well, and the culled books in their box have been sent to the storage building, to await their eventual freedom when I live in a new abode.

Naturally, of course, I immediately began the cycle anew, and soon found myself with additional books to the now smaller pile on my bedside table. Someday, I'll catch up. Until that day, I'll bemoan the lack of time I possess to read.

Currently in the to be read pile, I have...

01. The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods, A. G. Sertillanges.
02. 365 Manners Kids Should Know, Sheryl Eberly.
03. The Calculus Diaries, Jennifer Ouellette. (There's an interview with the author from Science Friday available online here.)
04. A Disturbance of Fate, Mitchell Freedman, the lone fiction book I spared.
05. Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends, Sarah, Stephen, and Grace Mally.
06. The Digital Pandemic, Mack Hicks.
07. Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, Daniel G. Amen, M.D.
08. Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, Kate Bornstein & S. Bear Bergman.
09. The Mabinogion, translated by Sioned Davies.
10. Deadly Decisions, Kathy Reichs, also fiction, but spared by being in another room at the time of culling.
11. Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction, Barry C. Lynn.
and finally, I'm in the middle of
12. The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell.

This sounds reasonable, given I read quickly, read at least 30 minutes a day (and often much more), and in theory won't be buying any books for at least another ten days or so (I refuse to commit beyond that point. Some women buy shoes, some women buy purses; I buy books.). In practice, though, I'm sure that some new, shiny book will once again leap to the top of the pile...

ETA, 10/16/10: Hooray! I've managed to finish four of the books listed above. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...

ETA, 10/27/10: I finished two more, and started a third, but then I went and added four more books. Oops.

ETA, 12/09/10: I finished two more, am not sure where number one nor number seven are(!), read all but one of the four I added in October, added four more in November, and read two of those. And now I feel like reading nothing that I already own. Hmph.


Weekly Report: Week Eleven (days 051-055)

The important discovery of the week is that long vowels agree with FB much more so than blends and digraphs. The second most important discovery this week is that using EG's AAS phonogram cards to drill FB on said digraphs is much more effective than any other review. Apparently it makes it that much easier for him to grasp the idea of the digraph as one 'unit' of sound, just as a single letter is one 'unit' of sound. Go figure.

FB blazed into ETC 2, which covers said blends and digraphs. He also did two lessons in FLL and week twelve in WWE. He worked on magic c lowercase letters and 'u.' He listened to His Majesty Queen Hatshepsut, as well as Sally Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind Crockett, Blueberries for Sal, Asia, The Magic Fish, and Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm. He read several books to me as well - Floppy Mop & Lolly-Pops from Bob books, plus Dancing Dinos on the Beach and Berenstain Bears Ride the Thunderbolt.

FB finished RS A! We're going to take a couple of weeks and just do Miquon, then transition to doing both RS and Miquon. He did six pages in Miquon Orange.

History this week was all about the New Kingdom of Egypt. FB also listened to You Wouldn't Want to be Tutankhamen and Tut's Mummy Lost and Found. I still hope we'll get to some science experiments today or this weekend, but we did read The Four Oceans and What's So Bad About Gasoline?. Now I've been admonished that we need to ride our bikes everywhere. Not a bad idea in theory, but in practice, I'm not riding a bike on the 120 loop.

Finally, we listened to Classics for Kids, and FB had a good time at Master's Academy, as usual.

For language arts this week, EG did four sentences in Practice Voyage, lesson five in Caesar's English II, and started chapter 3 in Essay Voyage. Her literature this week was Colum's The Golden Fleece. She wrote a book summary about The Egypt Game.

EG finished up Chapter 4 1/2 in Advanced Algebra, and also did review work through chapter four in Real World Algebra.

EG finished PLATO Life Science! We'll take a couple of weeks to read a few books, and then delve into PLATO Earth & Space Science. She also started the Young Readers' Edition of Our Choice, finished The Cartoon Guide to the Environment, and finished Ocean. This week in history, EG delved into Ancient Greece, where she'll stay for several weeks. She read in Famous Men of Greece, as well two primary sources. In Latin, she continued moving through chapter 5 of Latin Prep.

Art appreciation this week was about "Themes in Art," specifically "Nudes." She read about middle eastern music for music appreciation, and we listened to Arabic Groove. Logic focused on the last portions of chapter two in CT1.

This was the last week of the current session for their Wednesday classes, but they'll resume in two weeks. The weather was actually perfect for soccer this week – 74°F and no rain.


Weekly Report: Week Ten (days 046-050)

Fabulous Boy made his first foray in the world of long vowels, and seems to appreciate them much more than the digraphs and blends that had been the topic du jour in OPGTR. He also finished ETC 1, so I need to find the second book for him over the weekend. We only did two lessons in FLL this week, but he did complete week eleven from WWE 1. Learning about lowercase 'g' and other homework practice rounded out language arts this week.

This week, we read One Morning in Maine, Pecos Bill, Europe, Mike Fink, The Year at Maple Hill Farm, Why Are the Ice Caps Melting?, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Adventures in Ancient Egypt, and Pumpkin Pumpkin, amongst others.

FB is nearly done with RS A; just two lessons next week, and then we'll take a week or two to just do Miquon before picking up RS B. In fact, FB did four pages in Miquon this week.

History this week covered the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. FB gave me a great narration of each section, he did the mapwork and coloring page, and then listened to You Wouldn't Want to Be An Egyptian Mummy, which EG enjoyed reading to him.

FB continues to whiz through the IEW poetry program – he's now memorized eighteen of the poems in the first level, in addition to his other memory work. I'm trying to decide if we should press forward with level two immediately, or wait until at least after Christmas. If we wait, I'll still move to the every-other-day pattern after a week or two of doing the full level daily.

FB had a good time at Master's Academy and is looking forward to the end of the session "Beach Party" next week in his oceanography class. Soccer was held mostly in the rain this week!

Eclectic Girl had a full language arts week: lesson four in Caesar's English II, sentences 17-20 in Practice Voyage, and two writing assignments from the "options" at the end of chapter two of Essay Voyage. We modified the options to fit with what she has been studying in history and science. She also did two exercises from the diagramming workbook we have, and read Heroes and Heroines, Monsters and Magic for her assigned reading. She wrote a book summary for Mandy, and also finished reading Outliers.

In math this week, she finished four lessons in Life of Fred Advanced Algebra, beat one of her two drills, and worked on chapter four in Real World Algebra.

EG has nearly finished PLATO Life Science! I have a few supplementary books for her to read, so she'll probably take one to two weeks to do that and a few more experiments/projects before starting PLATO Earth & Space Science. This week, she started re-reading the Young Reader's Edition of An Inconvenient Truth, and reading The Cartoon Guide to the Environment. She also worked on completing chapter seven in Science Matters. One of her Essay Voyage assignments was to write a paragraph about the similarities between communities and ecosystems, and a second paragraph detailing the differences.

History this week was wide-ranging, covering ancient peoples on the steppes of Asia and ancient people of the American continents. She read In the Land of the Jaguar and The Ancient American World, and outlined from the former. Her other Essay Voyage assignment was to write a paragraph about the people of the Asian steppes.

EG redid her translation from last week for Latin, then forged forward into chapter five, which initially has much to do with numbers. Logic this week covered the second half of chapter two of Critical Thinking One, and she also had to complete a quiz online. Webinar later today!

Music appreciation this week was to read a Venezia biography of one of the composers features in Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra and then write a one paragraph summary. She chose Bach and did a good job summarizing his life. She also listened to the Classics for Kids episodes on Copland. Art appreciation moved on this week to ancient Greek art, and EG also read Ancient Greek Art.

Like her brother, EG played soccer in the rain this week. We skipped Math Olympiad because I was feeling bad, and EG was moving slowly through her work yesterday. She had a good week at Master's Academy, and finished the last book of the old level of piano books. Trumpet lessons went well and her instructor thinks she'll be able to pass off three or four songs at testing this afternoon. Finally, EG had a good time in history of science.

Purple Child has finally deigned to poop in the potty, though it's still more sporadic than peeing.
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