24 November 2014

Day 43 / 104 - Still Not Eating at the Table, Month 2


Last month, I wrote this post where I shared how I found such enjoyment in my messy dining room table.  This activity was therapeutic for me.  In fact, I shared with another how if I did not already have a plan for an annual portfolio, I would do this.  Weekly, I would take a picture of our educational journey from our dining room table, I would list five activities that were happening, I would print it out, and then at the end of the year, I would assemble a book of messy dining room table pictures.  Voila! 

However, since I already have a plan, I decided I will do this once a month.  It's good for me.  All this happened today.

1.  My daughter is mastering her first 12 weeks of memory work.  Here you see Geography and times tables.

2.  After spending all fall drawing North and South America and Europe, my son is now working on combining them by drawing the entire Western Hemisphere.

3.  My son made Latin Grammar flash cards.  Very helpful.

4.  Handmade duct tape wallet and letter prepared to be mailed to one of my daughter's BFFs.

5.  My husband was home today and cleaned the heck out of our patio sliders.  They are cleaner than they have ever been.  Good things happen when the patio sliders are clean.

We probably won't be eating at the table tonight, but we could possibly eat off the sliders.

Day 42 / 104 - Viva Las Vegas


Last week, my son and my husband journeyed to Vegas.  Their trip was two-fold.  First, they were volunteering on the pit-crew of the World's Toughest Mudder.  Tough Mudders have been something we've invested quite a bit of time and energy into over the past several years.  Second, my son had some sight-seeing to accomplish.  If you are unaware of our story, my husband and I lived in Las Vegas from 1999 - 2003.  Our son was born there.  My husband and I have returned to Vegas since our departure, but our son had not.  He was 20-months-old when we moved to the Portland, Oregon area in 2003.


They spent five days in Nevada.  Personally, I experienced quite the range of mixed emotions as they sent me updates.  The picture above shows the staircase to the condo we lived in when he was a baby.  My son sent me this picture from his own phone.  (Side notes:  The metal door to the patio used to always get stuck.  Our dog at the time was so well-behaved that we could let him out to descend the stairs unattended, and he would instantly return.  Our dog today would never do such a thing.)


Naturally, they enjoyed some sight-seeing in the desert.  We loved the desert scenery (still do!).  During our stint in Vegas, we always informed people that there was so much more to the area than the Strip.  The sky in the first picture of this post is what I remember the sky looking like everyday during the four years we lived there.  We played outside daily.


For an added adventure, one day they headed 83-miles northwest of the city to locate the infamous Area 51 Air Force Facility.  This was something my husband and I never did during our time there, despite our love for Mulder and Scully antics.  They spent the better part of a day out there and now my son has a few good stories to share.

Day 41 / 104 - Gertie's Quest


IEW's Writing From Pictures unit is something that has shown up multiple times on this blog (here, here, here, here, and here).  We love this assignment.  Working with three pictures, the student pens a three-paragraph story.  My daughter (almost 11) wrote this story last week.  For added fun, the pictures were illustrated by one of her classmates.


Gertie's Quest
Parmesan was a brown, chubby mouse who loved cheddar cheese. Because of his love of cheddar cheese, he was chubby even though he regularly exercised with his Mousercize DVDs. He pestered the owners of his house by sneaking into their refrigerator at night to eat all of their cheddar cheese. The Coles, who owned his home, told their cat, Gertie, to catch this mouse. Otherwise, Gertie would have to spend winter in the trashcan with Oscar.

Gertie, like any intelligent hunting carnivore, set a mouse trap with parmesan cheese. Patiently, he waited by the mouse trap reading the most recent issue of the American Cat magazine. He was so excited to try to make the toilet-paper roll snowman to hang on his Christmas tree later that afternoon. 

While pretending to concentrate on his magazine, Gertie spotted that blasted Parmesan sniffing the cheese in the mouse trap. Disgusted by the fetid scent of the parmesan cheese, Parmesan turned up his tail and quickly retreated back to his mouse hole.  Gertie was furious!! That mouse had escaped again. He growled at the thought of spending winter living in the trash can. What was he to do next!

As Parmesan entered his mouse hole, he turned to Gertie and squeaked, “You should have used cheddar.”

18 November 2014

Day 40 / 104 - Meet Kit


Kit Kittredge is the American Girl whose story is set in Cincinnati, Ohio during the Great Depression.  She is probably my favorite of all the American Girls mostly because I love her clothes, and it is nearly impossible to destroy her hair.  Last Friday, we studied the 1930's era surrounding Kit's life for week five of our American Girl class.


Kit is studious and resourceful.  In her stories, we often read about her encounters with those who have been displaced by the Great Depression.  We discussed the symbols hobos used during that time to notify each other of various opportunities.  For this reason, we opted to make chalkboards during our craft time.  It was an enjoyable class with a take-home craft that should last awhile.

Day 39 / 104 - Veterans Day 2014


My son, along with his Scout troop, volunteered their time to place flags at the Beckley VA Medical Center on Veteran's Day.


They align the road that enters the center with American flags.  This year, they had the added task of hanging larger ones from the parking garage.

15 November 2014

Day 38 / 104 - Natural Science Research


My son loves his Challenge A Science Research strand this semester!

This coursework is designed specifically to teach students how to research.  Each week, my son is assigned a topic.  Throughout the week, he is expected to research that topic, using at least two sources, and write a multi-paragraph report.  Included with each report is a labeled drawing of the topic and a bibliography citing his sources.  On the following seminar day, he presents his research to his Challenge A classmates.


Again, I will state that my son loves this strand.  He has owned his work, even more than I assumed he would.  He takes incredible care of his notebook, and each week he expects his drawing to be better than the previous one.  Independently, he practices his presentations at home so that he is prepared on class day.  My son is a typical 13-year-old boy, so all of this is somewhat out of character for him.  However,  I have enjoyed witnessing his newly discovered ownership.  More than once, he has mentioned how proud he is of the work that he has been producing.


Because of our past experience with Classical Conversations, we have been fully prepared for this research strand for two distinct reasons.  First, my son has a ridiculous number of science facts memorized from his past years in Foundations.  Researching any one of these topics has been a joy for him because he is already familiar with the vocabulary of that topic.  Second, he previously learned how to write a non-fiction report from multiple sources thanks to the Essentials class utilizing materials from IEW.  With ease we have transitioned into this strand, and as a result, we've greatly enjoyed our learning.

Day 37 / 104 - Meet Addy


Week four of American Girl History had us visiting the Civil War era with Addy.  Addy Walker is the American Girl whose story begins with slavery on a plantation in North Carolina and ends with freedom in Philadelphia. 

Of course, there is a large amount history that can be discussed surrounding the American Civil War.  We did our best to cover as much as possible in a short period of time.  One aspect of the war that is unique to West Virginia is West Virginia was one of two states (Nevada being the other) that entered statehood during the Civil War.  The western part of Virginia seceded from the Confederacy and formalized admittance into the Union in 1863.  West Virgina was pivotal because it was a border state during the Civil War.  We touched on this importance during our class time.

We finished our hour creating Civil War Handkerchief Dolls (pictured above).  Since money was sparse during the Civil War, dolls were made for young girls out of handkerchiefs.  If the handkerchief once belonged to a loved one that was away at war, it helped to ease the pain of separation.

If interested, you can find simple instructions for making handkerchief dolls here.