Friday, September 28, 2012

2012-2013 Weekly Report: Week 10
From Stinky Plague to Rose Water & Versailles

Another week come and gone.  More assignments completed.  The weather is quite lovely right now, which makes it hard to stay inside--until we step outside and get blasted by the chilly morning wind.  Autumn is definitely upon us, yippee!

We kept going.  I'm not sure we had any memorable experiences, although Bluebird had a lot of fun learning how to write checks and being allowed to pick which of her neighbors she made fake checks out to.  (In case you're wondering, it was her best friend down the street, her latin tutor, and Carly.)  Penguin had an easy time with math this week as well.  No complaints here.  It would have been nice to move ahead like we did last week, but at least we didn't fall behind.

Working on math "all by themselves."

Language Arts
I think Bluebird will finish up Level 1 of All About Spelling next week.  They're both kicking butt in spelling.  Have I already mentioned that I lurve All About Spelling?  LURVE!

I decided to video each of them reciting their memorization poems so we could post them to the blog.  It was very exciting, and I was going to embed the videos here, but am suffering from some technical difficulties at the moment.  If you'd like to watch them, they are available here.  Penguin's recitation of "Work" is kind of fun to watch, and both Bluebird's videos are entertaining--she really got into her recitation of "A Tragic Story," and her look of sheer horror when she forgets a section of "The Land of Nod" cracks us all up every time we watch.
Bluebird finished reading The Old Man Mad About Drawing, and started reading the all-time favorite Pippi Longstocking.  Apparently, it's an entertaining read, because I can't keep her nose out of the book:

Penguin read some Dr. Seuss books out loud to me, and she also read Bad Kitty to me today.  I cannot believe how far she has jumped ahead in her reading in the few weeks.  I tested her reading level this week (because I was curious to see if I was just imagining that she had improved), and found that she's now reading 3.5 grade levels ahead of where she tested at the end of the last school year.  What a big girl!

We're still working away on At the Sign of the Sugared Plum, but only have one more reading session to put in with it before we're completely finished.  I was trying to have that happen this week, but the sky won't fall if we spend a day on it next week.

We read You Wouldn't Want to Be Sick in the 16th Century, which is a touch revolting; and we also read about Louis XIV, of Versailles-building fame.  Bluebird ooh-ed and ah-ed over pictures we pulled up online of the Versailles palace and gardens, and now wonders aloud when we'll be able to visit the grounds.  Someday, my little Francophile, someday.

In association with our study of the Plague, and going along with reading Sugared Plum, we started making some rose water:

In the back of Sugared Plum, there are recipes for various 17th-century sweetmeats--and nearly all of them require the use of rose water.  The girls are eagerly anticipating our sweetmeat-making session, which can take place as early as next Saturday, after our rose petals have sat in their water for nine days, as our rose water recipe dictates.

Foreign Language
More latin review.  Bluebird doesn't quite have the whole conjugation idea figured out, so I figured another week to work it wouldn't hurt.  We'll move on next week, and hopefully it will come to her with repeated practice.

Not a bad week!


  • Bluebird coughed a little uncontrollably for a moment and I chuckled and said, "Uh oh, better hope you haven't caught the plague!'  She scoffed loudly and replied, "Do you see any lumps on me?!"  Touché.
  • Quesnel was especially in-your-face with her feelings about us doing school and ignoring her:

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


If this was Sesame Street, today's Letter of the Day would be "Z."

Bluebird, while procrastinating completing her penmanship assignment, was looking up at the Periodic Table of Elements we have posted on the wall and asked how old I was (30).  She then informed me that I was zinc, because its atomic number is thirty.

"Awesome," I said, "I just wiped a bunch of zinc all over Monkeyboy's bunky to help get rid of his diaper rash.  I'm butt cream!"

Bluebird squealed, "Yeah you are!"

A few minutes later, Junebug came tearing into the kitchen and exclaimed, "Mama!  Did you know that the thing that starts with 'zebra' is the same thing that starts with 'zucchini?!?!'  IT'S THE SAME THING!!!"

"I did know that, but I'm glad that you know it now, too."

"I KNOW!!!"

Exciting times, exciting times...all brought to you by the letter "Z."


I complained last week about how everything I was working on was pink or purple, and realized that the exact opposite of said colors was yellow-green.  As luck would have it, I had purchased a skein of very yellow-green yarn only a few weeks ago, and figured it was a great time make use of its much-desired colorway.

The original intention was to make Penguin a new hat, but the girl owns numerous hats AND she is bumping up into number of Bluebird's outgrown hats this year as well.  Penguin doesn't need another hat.  I asked her what she did want and she suggested mittens.

I'm not much of a mitten knitter.

However, the yarn was a bulky-weight (Lamb's Pride Bulky--85% Wool, 15% Mohair), and a quick pattern search pulled up Susan B. Anderson's Outsider Mittens, which looked pretty cute (and free!).

Once I cast on, I was a woman possessed.  I finished the pair in less than twenty-four hours, and I'd really like to some more of these quick little cuties.
What's analogous to yellow-green?
Oh.  That would be

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012-2013 Weekly Report: Week 9

I was so not gung-ho about doing school this week, but we got it done anyway.  I'm proud of that perseverance.

These girls have worked hard this week!  We're trying to catch up to where we are supposed to be lesson-wise, and so we've had a few double lessons throughout the week in a effort to accomplish that goal.  They each completed EIGHT math lessons this week, and I'm so proud of them!

Language Arts
Both of them finished up their respective penmanship books.  Bluebird has now started the Level 3 book and Penguin is embarking upon Level 2M.

Penguin's right on track and doing a great job with her memorization.  Bluebird is catching up (one extra lesson this week) and is working on diagramming sentences with both adjectives and adverbs.  She's working to memorize "A Tragic Story," by William Thackeray.

Bluebird is almost done reading The Old Man Mad About Drawing, and Penguin read a few of the _____ Bear, _____ Bear, What Do You See? books out loud to me this week.  We're working on reading At the Sign of the Sugared Plum as our group read aloud.  We should finish it up next week.  The girls love all the candy-making descriptions and are slightly horrified about how dirty London was during the period.

Sugared Plum goes along with our study of Charles I's England in history.  We learned about his beheading, the Cromwell Protectorate, and finished up with reading some more about The Plague and the London Fire of 1666.

Foreign Language
Bluebird took another week to review the first five lessons of latin. She loves her "tutoring sessions" with our neighbor down the street, and I'm so thankful for my friend being so willing to spend time with Bluebird each week and provide an extra incentive to learn more about the subject. (Bluebird is a very social girl and loves any excuse to have some one over to our house, or to go visiting at someone's house herself.)

A productive week.  Hopefully we can be more excited about school next week and remember to break out the camera every now and then.  :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Purple and Pink

It's all I see right now:

Lavender Baby Hat--finished and gifted away.

Junebug's Cardigan--pretty near completion, just waiting for me to locate my 16-inch circulars
so I can decrease the neck.
Then it'll be a quick steek and some button bands, and we'll be done.

Echo Flower Shawl for ME--This grows here a little, there a little.

Hat for Bluebird--Because I wanted to make a cabled hat.
Waiting for me to purchase 10.5 DPNs so I can finish decreasing.

Fingerless Mittens for Denise--Because she asked, and she had already bought the yarn,
originally intending it to be a beret.
However, the beret pattern and I did not get along.
It's looking like the fingerless mitt pattern and I do not get along either.
Somewhat ironic, considering I get along with Denise better than almost anyone else in the world.
You know how you just get tired of every single one of your projects en masse?  I am totally there.  Everything is either waiting for new needles or I just kind of don't want to look at them anymore. 

What's the opposite of pink and purpleGreenYellowYellow-green?  :)

I have some yellow-green yarn...but need the aforementioned 10.5 DPNs in order to finish the project I have planned for the yarn.  :)


Saturday, September 15, 2012

2012-2013 Weekly Report: Week 8
A Bumpy Start to the New Quarter

We were attacked by stomach bugs, allergies, and new additions to our extended family, but we still managed to complete three full days of school.

After having no school on Monday and Wednesday, and staying up a bunch in the wee hours of Thursday morning to celebrate the arrival of Shaun and Carly's little baby boy, I was pretty much resigned to the idea that Thursday was going to be a wash as well, but then I wrote that blog post about how unproductive a week we were having and it proved very cathartic.  I whipped us through our morning routine shortly thereafter and we charged through an entire day of school despite the fact that we didn't even get started until 10:30am.  Friday started late as well, but we persevered and were able to claim the day an academic success as well.  Whew!

Alright, here's the rundown:

Language Arts

Penmanship:  These girls have fought penmanship time all week.  Frustrated, I informed Bluebird of my plan to put her through a calligraphy course once she completes the "Cursive Mastery" book, which is two books after the one she is currently working in.  This tidbit of information served to motivate them a little and we had far fewer disagreements about the necessity of completing penmanship assignments.

Spelling:  Love, adore, appreciate--take your pick, that's how I feel about All About Spelling.  Bluebird completed Lesson 1-19 and Penguin finished Lesson 1-12.

Phonics:  Penguin moved into the nastily confusing world of long vowels and all the different ways you can spell each pronounciation.  She handled it well.

Grammar:  Penguin's right on track, Bluebird is four lessons behind.  Bluebird learned how to diagram adverbs in sentences and has begun memorizing a new poem.

Writing:  I had them each write a letter to our new family member, who I have decided to assign the pseudonym of "Baby Moose."  Baby Moose will be receiving some letters from his cousins in the next couple of weeks.

Literature:  Didn't get to it.  I had planned to read The Cat That Went to Heaven, but it just didn't happen.  I may assign it as independent reading to Bluebird in the following weeks.

I did read Gingerbread Man Loose in the School to Junebug this week for "preschool."  She enjoyed it immensely.  I had plans for some activities relating to the book, but then my week got all shot to snot.


Moving along.Bluebird is twelve lessons behind, Penguin is seven lessons behind.  On Friday, Bluebird had the longest math lesson EVAH, in which we had to look up the daily highs and lows of cities in the U.S. and write them down, then round them, then graph them.  (And may I just take a moment here and express my annoyance at the fact that the National Weather Service doesn't seem to find it necessary to list the cities in alphabetical order?  Seriously?  Seriously?!?!  Way to make science enjoyable and easily accessible for the young...)

Foreign Language

Review week for Latin, and I finally discovered the reproducible quizzes and tests in the back of the book.  I'm going to have us do another week of review next week, just to make sure everything is gelling and to administer the missed quizzes and tests.


Fast and dirty.  We caught up to where we were supposed to be at the beginning of this week, and just read through the chapters and did our narrations and called it good.  It worked out rather nicely, as we started with The Thirty Years' War, then read about the closing of Japan, the rise of the Manchu dynasty, and the Moghul Empire of India, all of which happened about the same time.  I hope to have some fun next week with actual activities to go along with our studies.


Michael bought some dry ice and they had a lot of fun discussing phases of matter and various related topics:

Oh, it's so much fun to play with dry ice gas!

Oh, yay!  Daddy's going to add more dry ice!


Bluebird diligently practiced piano.  All the other stuff:  Nope.

Here's hoping that next week will be a little more relaxed and not marked by random illness.  I also don't foresee the births of any new family members, so we should be good on that front.  :)

And I saw this on the stairs one day, and it cracked me up:

I think I know who wrote it, but I'm actually not sure...regardless, I think it's awesome.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Week Where I am Getting Very Little Done and I Kind of Don't Care

Monday:  I procrastinated something and had to get it done or else suffer the consequences of being a person who didn't keep their word.  We ran errands for most of the day to accomplish this. 
Lesson:  Stop committing to extra stuff.  I homeschool and that needs to be enough for this chapter of my life.

Tuesday:  Not a bad day.  All school completed and I folded and put away four loads of laundry.  Felt good.
Lesson:  Fold laundry while teaching school rather than knit.  I feel way more productive at the end of the day and it makes getting ready for the next day so much easier when I have clean clothes readily available.  (Duh.)

Wednesday:  Got up, felt sick, got sick.  Watched a documentary with the kids, complained on Facebook about how crummy I felt and how I wished a package would arrive in the mail.  My sister-in-law, Carly, commented that their "package" should be delivered later in the day.
Lesson:  Complaining on Facebook keeps me in touch with the rest of the world.

Thursday, 3am:  My brother phoned to tell me that their SON had been born.  I phone various relatives to let them know as well, and then I'm too excited to sleep, so I clean the house for an hour.
Lesson:  More people should phone me at 3am with good news.

Thursday, 8:16am:  I'm still in my pajamas after sleeping in, the kids are watching TV while I muster up the energy to go take a shower.  Part of this mustering includes writing a blog post.  Now I can say that I have completed something today.
Lesson:  Whatever, I have a new nephew!

(And Michael took the car to work, so I can't justify cancelling school to go out and buy cute baby boy stuff to send to my new nephew.  Boo.)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

2012-2013 Quarterly Report: Summer Quarter

People, we are on an End-of-the-Quarter school break!  END OF THE QUARTER!  My neighbors are posting "First Day of School" pictures all over Facebook and we're already done with a quarter.  I was so busy getting ready for Labor Day weekend that it completely escaped my attention that this week is also about having a quarter completed.  It's a great feeling.

Moment of truth here:  Summer Quarter is a short quarter, only seven weeks.  (I don't know if it should actually count as a quarter, but it technically does, so we're happy.  Autumn quarter will be much longer, don't worry.)

Summer Quarter Accomplishments:

Book of Mormon:  We've read through 2 Nephi 15.  We're supposed to be done with 2 Nephi 30.
History:  We are through Chapter 7 in Story of the World 3.  I had hoped to be done with Chapter 9, but only through herculean efforts, so I'm happy with this milestone.
Literature:  We are kicking butt.  We read Don Quixote, Our Strange New Land, Pocahontas, Three Young Pilgrims, The Pilgrims of Plimouth, The Village That Vanished, and various Grimm Fairy Tales.
Science:  I do not know.  Perhaps Michael will let me know how it's going in the Chemistry Department?  I know they've memorized the elements through Calcium (20).

Math:  14 lessons...out of a projected 27.  Yeah, we're behind.
Language Arts:  Ahead in Spelling.  Behind in Penmanship and Grammar.  Handling Writing very well.
Latin:  Right on schedule.
Piano:  Doing good.

Math:  17 lessons.  Yeah, she's a little behind as well.  I foresee some serious Saturday Math sessions over the next few months.
Language Arts:  Ahead in Spelling, a week behind in Penmanship and Phonics, right on track in Grammar and Writing.

Goals for Autumn Quarter:

Book of Mormon:  Alma 26
History:  Chapter 23
Nature Study:  Learn about trees.
Literature:  Read:
  1. The Cat Who Went to Heaven
  2. At the Sign of the Sugar Plum
  3. The Jungle Book
  4. Indian Captive:  Mary Jemmison
  5. Johnny Tremain
  6. Ben and Me
Science:  Memorize the elements through Barium (56), and...something that Michael will plan for them.
Math:  Through Lesson 123 in Saxon 3
Language Arts:
  • Spelling:  Halfway through Level 2
  • Penmanship:  Halfway through Level 3
  • Grammar:  Lesson 53
  • Writing:  Handling the material in Week #18 of Writing with Ease, Level 3
  • Latin:  Finish Lesson 15
Piano:  I don't really have a set goal for her here.  I think her teacher is planning a Christmas recital in December, so I guess we'll just set our sights on being prepared for that event.

Math:  Through Lesson 103 in Saxon 1
Language Arts:
  • Spelling:  Through Lesson 16 in Level 1
  • Penmanship:  Halfway through Level 2M
  • Grammar:  Lesson 53
  • Writing:  Handling the material in Week #18 in Writing with Ease, Level 1
  • Phonics:  Finish Phonics Pathways
  • Preschool for Junebug
  • Weekly nature hikes
  • More history activities
  • Individual literature assignments for Bluebird and Penguin
  • Art
  • (And I'm limiting myself to only five teaching goals, otherwise I'll get overwhelmed.  Let's get these down and move onto other things at that point.)