Monthly Archives: December 2015

New Year

Y’all have a good Christmas? Ours isn’t quite over yet – part of it got rained out and is rescheduled to the coming weekend.

Ellie finished Gran’s scarf in time.

My sister's house has lots of trees.

My sister’s house has lots of trees.

She got a GIANT BARBIE HOUSE from Santa. Betty also likes it – she can walk right through the bottom floor like it’s a cat tunnel.

Anna and Elsa are still getting settled in their new place.

Anna and Elsa are still getting settled in their new place.

I’m trying something new.

Embroidery is REALLY FUN.  I have some ideas.

Embroidery is REALLY FUN. It also makes me need glasses. I have some project ideas.

I plan to have a constant caffein supply all day today. I’m typically asleep by 8:30pm – it’s dark then and time for sleeping – so New Year’s Eve is challenge for me.

Happy New Year!

People Tank is Full


Our social calendar generally has one or two events each week. If anyone feels that is sparse, this week should make you feel better about our “sociability*”: three separate friend visits (one is happening right now), a field trip with our homeschool group, Christmas Parade! (Girl Scouts), homeschool play group, and a birthday party.

Making the decorations for the side of the float.

Making the decorations for the side of the float. We thought it might be a World Record.

And a complete week of school work.

To carry or not to carry.  That is the question.

To carry or not to carry. That is the question.

I’m worn out.

*The lack of “socialization” is one of the biggest homeschool myths I’ve ever heard. A) Does every adult you know work/live/exist in an environment populated by people grouped by the sole virtue of their date of birth? B) If mainstream schools were better at socialization, they wouldn’t have to work as hard on anti-bullying programs. C) “Socialization” doesn’t mean what most people think it means.

Weekly Wrap Up: Catching Up to Lesson 14

We’d fallen into a nice comfortable pattern during our school weeks. Then came Thanksgiving. I am coming around to the opinion that there shouldn’t be school between Thanksgiving and New Year’s – there’s just way too much other stuff happening.

I put together a school schedule for the week ahead on Sunday afternoon when I make all of my notes and complete the lesson assessment for the week before. This is what next week looks like right now:

Click to embiggen.

Click to embiggen. My more detailed notes about the assignments are also on the clipboard but you can’t see them from here.

You’ve got no idea how much it bugs me that I couldn’t find a weekly calendar pad that starts with Sunday. Gah. Anyway, if you give that image a click and study it, you’ll see that it’s mostly neat and tidy. Crowded in places because we have a field trip on Wednesday and Play Group Friday afternoon, but generally well-sorted. I try to leave Friday afternoon light in case anything needs more time. If we have stuff to do on Saturday, I try to make it art.

For Reference, this is a Typical Day: Once everyone is up (around 7:30 – wake up times start with me at 4:30), we have breakfast, do chores and run errands if needed. Then Ellie and I head to school for an hour or so (10:00-11:00), and then come down for lunch. We take a break until around 1 (piano is practiced during this time) and then go back to school for a couple more hours.

There are no typical days right now. This is what last week’s schedule looked like by the end of the week:

Once again, click to embiggen.

Once again, click to embiggen.

So many changes (and you’ll notice that last week also had a field trip in it – the week before was a field trip to the maritime museum). It is my personal belief that starting with a Plan makes it easier (and less frustrating) to be flexible when the situation calls for it. Plus you still know what all you need to get done when the dust settles.

I keep old schedules in a three-ring binder with all of Ellie’s rough drafts and anything else (math pages) from the week that doesn’t end up in the main lesson books. I also keep all my completed lesson assessments and weekly checklists provided in the Oak Meadow curriculum, as well as the assessments and grades from her Oak Meadow teacher in the same binder.

Language Arts has continued the review of consonant blends, switching to word family review over the past couple weeks (I bet there’s more poetry soon). Reading comprehension, reading aloud, writing, and speaking/performance work continues as usual. Descriptive and opinion paragraphs are now included as writing assignments. Note: Ellie doesn’t particularly like the physical act of writing, so I spread the big assignments out as much as I can. I typically have her do the rough draft one day and then the final draft the next. She has been writing the rough drafts of her story summary paragraphs independently for a couple months now (that was one of me Secret Goals for before Christmas). I check for spelling and grammar before she rewrites them in her Language Arts Lesson Book. One of the things I’ve just started making is a word list of anything she might need to spell while she’s working (character names and words she doesn’t use regularly or can’t sound out). Since they are new and different, we’ve been planning the opinion paragraphs ahead on the white board – typically just a numbered list of pros and cons. She uses the notes to compose her paragraph.

She wrote 'likes' and 'dislikes' I took dictation for the notes.

She wrote ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’ I took dictation for the notes.

Math has focused on multiplication facts, place value (to the millions), and (after all the place value) carrying the one (regrouping) in addition. Carrying is a struggle for a lot of kids (according to the internet reading I did while looking for worksheets so I didn’t have to make problems up that week) – it’s hard to understand when to stick that one over there and when to not. I used Lego Duplo blocks so she could actually carry stacks of ten around. Ellie never had any doubt about when or why to regroup. In Ellie’s case, I don’t know that she actually needed the manipuatives to get it, she’s got a solid concept of numbers (but Legos are fun so whatever). Just to double check, I’ve got a to-group-or-not-to-group math sorting activity for Monday.

Carrying that 10 over to where it belongs.

Carrying that 10 over to where it belongs. Afterwards you can play with the Legos.

We covered cotyledons in Science (perfect timing since the fall garden stuff was just coming up) and Ellie designed a garden. After that it’s been all critters with squirrels, 20 different animal cards to complete, and the creation of a book about a particular animal. I love it when Oak Meadow does the little research projects! We took a trip to the library to check out everything they had about rabbits and then Ellie went through the books to answer the questions/requirements on the white board.

I love the white board.  Love it.

I love the white board. Love it.

Then she turned each category into an illustrated page for her book.

Some illustrations are more Complex than others.

Some illustrations are more Complex than others. These rabbits have an enormous pantry.

Social Studies has been map focused with an emphasis on climate as it relates to distance from the equator. Ellie loves maps, the globe, the atlas, the compass, all that stuff. We’ve revisited Africa to study the relationship between climate and culture (this lined up nicely with the Chocolate exhibit field trip last week), and have identified all the continents and oceans.

Art has been clay, choose your own adventure like the walnut boats (last week I helped her sew a simple skirt), and the creation of a wall calendar for 2016 (one month each week). Health’s emphasis is on nutrition so we spent some time with the vegetarian food pyramid and next week she gets to cook lunch on the stove top! Piano lessons continue in place of the recorder for music.

Full weeks but really good.


Merry Christmas!


Although acorns are really better for fall. Unless you like rustic – oohooh or use shiny gold yarn! Or make them as cat toys – just add a little catnip to the stuffing. Or embroider little stuff on the nut part. Or make them really tiny (and variegated) with sock yarn. Or make a REALLY BIG ONE and use it as a throw pillow. I’m totally going to do that for my sister! Nobody tell her.

You can make one in about an hour. I hope someone makes a garland.