Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mom's Bday

My birthday was last week and the kids did some nice things to celebrate. Suzy made me some tasty cookies - Rolo-stuffed Snickerdoodles. She also soaked my feet and polished my toenails. James gave me a hug. lol Emily made me a slideshow on the computer - loved it! David gave me a neckrub and drew me a couple cool pictures. His team also won his soccer game on my birthday, which I thought was kind of them.

I also got a new phone - an Android smartphone! YAY!

Monday, September 10, 2012

"It's hard to draw on a grapefruit."

To illustrate the difficulties of translating the realities of a spherical world into a flat 2D map, Mapping the World by Heart suggests drawing a map on a grapefruit and then trying to peel the grapefruit in one big piece and laying it flat. Here are some photos of our experience trying out this lesson.

I think they managed to comprehend the basic concept - a sphere doesn't translate to a flat map.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day of Lessons

The first day of lessons begins like every other day, with cereal. But earlier.

Traditionally we have a treasure hunt to find our new school supplies. However, only my 5th grader was interested in a hunt. My senior didn't even WANT an Avengers or Corvette folder! Can you believe it? So Suzy did the hunt by herself. I've been using pre-made clues from The Treasure Hunt Book (Klutz) for years now.

New school supplies are a tradition too. Apparently 7th grade (and even 10th!) is not too old for neat folders. Heck, I like them myself!
David is listening to Huckleberry Finn. I think. 

Here are what our monthly lesson sheets look like.

And here are Emily and Suzanne working on the laptops.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"Night Before Lessons" Ice Cream Sundaes!

Our First Day of Lessons tradition is to have ice cream sundaes for lunch! But this year we broke with tradition and had "Night Before Lessons" ice cream sundaes.

Why? Because 3 of the kids had soccer that night, including David's 1st game, we decided that ice cream would not be a satisfying lunch.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Suzy Learns to Sew

Suzy wanted me to show her how to mend the strap on her book bag with the sewing machine. I thought it was a bit tough for a beginner, so I did the actual mending, but showed her what I was doing.

Then I showed her how to:

  • thread the machine
  • insert the bobbin
  • bring up the bobbin thread
  • sew along a straight line
  • sew in reverse to end your stitches
  • turn a corner while sewing
  • pin two pieces of fabric together
  • hand sew an opening 

She was very motivated to learn and went on to create a simple shoulder bag, a doll pillow and most of a doll comforter which I think is going to end up as a sleeping bag instead.

And now she's ahead of Emily! LOL

The Other Stuff

Suzy and Emily are going to learn to sew. I might look for a curriculum or I might just teach them what I know. Which isn't everything, but it is enough to mend and follow a pattern.

David is going to do a half-credit of Psychology using a free online course from He will also write papers to flesh out the class. He is fascinated with psychology so this will interest him.

He is also going to continue his programming study at Code Academy online - again FREE. I am not sure where he left off, but once he is back to it, I'll post about it. He also applied to learn virus removal at so if he is able to join that program, I will post about that too.

We will continue studying karate twice a week on Monday and Thursday afternoons. We have been learning for a year and a half now and have achieved green 2 (4th gup). Looks like we are on track for testing for black belt near the beginning of 2015. David does plan to continue after he graduates from high school.

And then, there's soccer. Three of the kids are on teams this fall, two of which are travel teams.

The Other Language Arts Plans

I wrote about our literature choices: American Literature, 7th grade5th grade. But there is so much more to Language Arts than literature - composition and writing, grammar, vocabulary, spelling, penmanship, etc...

So, here is my tentative plan. We'll try it for September.

Communication Journal - Tuesdays
Spelling – Mon, Tues, Wed (James and Suzy)
Vocab – Mon, Tues, Wed (David and Emily)
Write a letter - Wednesday
Typing – Mon, Thurs
Penmanship – Tues, Fri

What will each of these entail?

Communication Journals entail writing back and forth between me and the child. I've been doing this for years and it works well for us.

Spelling Power is our curriculum for spelling. Three days a week is all I can manage. 

Vocabulary study will start using through September. Rummy Roots game will be integrated at some point and maybe we will do a more formal study, but I doubt it. Both David and Emily have good vocabularies.

Write a letter is just what it sounds like. So family and friends, if you get a letter from us, please write back!

Typing - not sure what program we will use. I let them go at their own pace and we have several choices of programs - from Mavis Beacon to Dance Mat Typing online.
Penmanship - I want to focus on cursive for everyone.

What's missing? GRAMMAR. I left it off the list unintentionally, so it will be added in October and will be stressed quite a bit. I am looking at Grammarlogues. Anyone use that program?

WRITING also is missing, other than the communication journal. The literature portion of our language arts program has a good bit of writing included. I have the kids write chapter summaries and literature responses just about daily. However, this year I decided to try a DVD-based writing program that is graded. The program is called Essentials in Writing and is very affordable at $40 per level which includes both the DVD's and a .pdf file of the workbook.

Each Essentials in Writing DVD includes instruction for each lesson and then assignments to complete. Sometimes there is one assignment per video lesson, sometimes more than one. However, the only level I have right now is Suzanne's. Because Suzy's reading is below grade level, I ordered her a writing program two years below grade level. I did NOT want her to struggle because of her reading and end up hating writing too! If it ends up being too easy, I'll get her the next level up.

I had planned to share the Grade 7 with a friend but then decided to order my own (which I have not done yet). The curriculum is so new that the high school levels are still being completed. Grade 10 is due out on September 15 and sadly Grade 12 won't be shipped until October 15. This means that David will either be doubling up on writing lessons or will skip some - not sure which until I see the curriculum. He can probably easily skip some of the essay writing lessons since he has taken my essay writing class twice. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Lisa's Logbook - September 2

1 - balancing the soccer schedule - two boys on different travel teams this fall + Suzy's games are all local
2- Gotta make some decisions about church

1 - Finished four weeks of Body for Life - doing pretty well! Lost 7 lbs so far
3 - waterproofed the camper and got it cleaned out

1 - Lesson plans - almost done
2 - Making sure everything is ready for co-op to begin
3 - Writing lesson plans and promotional materials for the writing classes
4 - Redoing the chore lists

From the Library: wanted some movies for the weekend but library was closed for the holiday weekend :-(
Rollicking: The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Wow, the audio book is great!
Netflix: more MI-5 - now it's Rupert Penry-Jones. :-)
On my Kindle: several Regency romances 

Rupert Penry-Jones as MI-5's Adam Carter
Tasty:  Heath bar - considering having one tomorrow on my Free Day
What's New: bought a recliner second-hand. Not sure I like it though.
Obsession: still pretty much MI-5 :-) I watch 2 episodes almost every night.
Disappointment: We were not allowed pictures with Richard Armitage. :-(
Serendipity: Was given tickets to the Renaissance Festival! YAY! We will go September 14.
Fun Times: water park with friends on Friday
Anticipating: the first day of lessons for my firstborn's senior year, the first soccer games of the season (I LOVE watching the kids play soccer); also REALLY looking forward to my "free day" (Labor Day) in which I can eat whatever I want!
Fitness: I've completed all but 1 of the Body-for-Life workouts which alternates a weight training day (either upper or lower body) with a cardio day. One day off per week. The weight training is making a difference and I've been doing running for my cardio and I am doing great with that!