Tuesday, July 17, 2012


This past year has been a time of transition for our family and school.  Actually, our entire Homeschooling journey has been one of many transitions.  High School has proven to be a walk of faith and perseverance.   We have chosen to use Ambleside Online as a core, or a main direction for our school work.  The schedules have greatly helped with planning the year out for multiple students.  The challenging selections will hopefully help with, well, challenging us all!  Of course, we are adapting it for us... but all in all, it is helping us get those good books read that I do not want the children to 'miss'.  

Friday, October 28, 2011

Easy Civil War Hairstyle Tutorial

The Supplies: plastic hair pins that look like tortiose shell (I by ours at Sally's Beauty Supply), little black rubberbands....
Pomade, this is modern bought at a salon.. for our living history events we use authentic pomade that friends made from a 'recipe' from the 1860's.
 First Step: Part the hair.. down the center, then a line to the back of the ears... like a 'T' or 'Y' shape.  Pull the front sections forward for now...
Step Two: take the back hair and divide in sections, tie with rubber-bands.  Tie them low, near the base of the neck.. but not TOO low! Amelia's hair is quite thick, so we usually do four braids.  My hair is thin and (when it is long enough) I only make two.
 Step Three: Twist the front sections of hair.  This is a good way to 'work in' and hide modern bangs and layers.  If you have short hair and bangs, pomade will help bond them together.
 Step Four: Attach the twisted front sections to the first pony-tail on each side, just add another rubber-band.
Step Five: Braid pony-tails as far to the end as possible and tie off with another rubber-band. 
 Step Six: Wrap the braids into a bun.. and you're done!
(Please excuse the elbows! When your wrap, tuck the spraying ends underneath the 'bun')


Monday, October 3, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Another Active Week!

*just a note: I am starting this post Wednesday and will continue it short moments through out the week.. so the 'be' verbs will be all mixed up! We are, we did, we will! I find it easier to document as the week goes along... instead of asking the children Saturday night "What did we do Monday?" Our lives are so full that we are always looking at the here and now, or the what comes next.  This blog helps us to remember and enjoy the yesterdays!*

In our homeschool this week…This week is shaping up to be a packed full week of learning, work, family, and fun.  As of Wednesday morning, we have accomplished very much.. the only thing we haven't fit in (that was planned, so far!) was Geography drill (something we used to do and got out of the habit.. once the habit is gone, it is difficult to get back in the saddle!) and we skipped 4-H because of questionable weather and a sore throat.

Daniel and Amelia are not crazy about Health and Civics, but they are getting it done.  Those are a couple of subjects that should be on their transcripts and we cover them by portions with other activities and studies, but just to 'be sure' we picked up a small text book for each and they are just going through them this semester so we can 'check it off the list'.  After years of homeschooling with out 'text books' this is what I heard: Amelia said "This Civics book is very redundant" and Daniel said "Mom, I already know most of this stuff in this Health book".   There are new concepts for them and new facts as well, still they are relatively easy for them. I am sure they will be glad when the books are completed.. for more than one reason!  They will feel a sense of accomplishment and I will be glad that they persevered to completion of a commitment made.  On a side note, they both really enjoy the Apologia Science textbooks.. weird?

Alex and I are going through a fun science book together.. just because he has always been interested in 'spies'.  All of the children went through a 'spy stage' and with Alex.. it stuck.  We decided to re-vive our old, seldom ever used YouTube account... with a smart phone it will be easy to load videos of some of our antics projects.  The suggested 'extra' activities for project #2 in Detective Science was our first loaded video... well, that is, after the trial upload of Alex's new kitty, Walter, being too cute and playful!

For Five in a Row, Alex is so much enjoying The Glorious Flight.  He is an airplane history-buff-in-the-making.. so this book and the history of flight we are studying along with it, are such a joy to Alex!  We pulled out a book of Bradley's to read together (100 Years of Aviation; A history of humankind's conquest of the skies... it was published by Barnes and Nobles and I guess is out of print.. too bad, it had the best drawing and concise information)..it will be a doosey to accomplish, but his interest is so keen I would never forgive myself for not doing our best.

Daniel has started Weightlifting again after a three week break because of Driver's Education.
We chose a new artist to study.. John James Audobon.  Our sources:
The Boy Who Drew Birds by Jacqueline Davies
Into the Woods by Robert Burleigh
The Birds of America by Audobon
and a fun little extra book that gives a musical score for birds songs.... Field Birds of Wild Birds and Their Music by P. Schuyler

We interrupt this regularly scheduled program!
Alex was feeling 'tired' Tuesday, I thought it was lingering tiredness from our full weekend and his cold last week... I began this blog post early Wednesday before the children awoke.  But, Wednesday when Alex sat at the table for Five in a Row.. (after devotion and some read aloud..about 10am) he couldn't hold his little head up!  So, I told him to go rest.. and he snoozed for quite a while.  By the end of the day he had a 102 fever and Wednesday night he was up with hallucinations.. that is how a fever effects Alex.  We had about two hours of sleep... Thursday, the fever was broken and he was on the mend.. but the week, as far as school, was history!  So, I became a one woman sewing maniac and took this mandatory off school time (while Alex recuperated) to sew a complete new set of historical clothing for Alex and finish Kaylee's for our event on Saturday.  Alex did a lot of reading and the older children continued with Math and Science, Health and Civics... while I sewed like MAD!  We had a wonderful event and because of the historical significance of the roles they were portraying and because the children share history with the visiting public (public speaking), we count Saturday as a school day.  Monday is 'off' school to wash, organize and put our living history supplies away and launder our dirty historical clothing. 
I am inspired by…
God.. Who gave me the superhuman strength to accomplish so much this week in the midst of the trials we faced with sickness and lack of rest.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…

We went to our favorite, and closest to home Civil War site... and saw dear friends.. and met very interesting people!
My favorite thing this week was…My ABSOLUTE FAVORITE thing this week was meeting a WWII/Korean War Veteran.  He was a visitor at Bentonville, I believe he said he was 84 years old.  He could not hear me, even when I raised my voice a bit.. but he understood every word of his soft spoken wife!  I believe he has learned how to read her lips. When I asked him where he served, and he didn't hear me and his wife translated, his eyes grew wide and he began telling me so much about where he served, what he did.. he was so willing to share.  From experience, I know that some War Veterans are reluctant to relive their experiences by telling others about them.  So, within a minute of hearing his continuing story I KNEW that I needed to get my boys.  I reluctantly interrupted him to ask if I could bring my boys over to hear his tale, and when his wife translated and he understood he was delighted.  Daniel's voice must have been low enough for him to hear (some people who are loosing their hearing can hear a man's voice, and not a woman's) and they were able to carry on a nice conversation. 
His name was Shelton.  He and his wife tell me there are not many men 'left' named Shelton.  I am thinking there are not many WWII Veteran's 'left'.. and I can't keep the tears from welling up.. I am an emotional sap about these brave men and women.
Mr. Shelton was with the amphibious forces at Guadalcanal and other places the boys have only read about.  He was a gunner.  He told the boys that each time, before he pulled the trigger on his gun, he prayed for those men that he may kill.. that he knew they were some one's son, brother, father...
You just don't get that opportunity sitting behind a desk.  I am so thankful for the opportunity my boys had to hear real living history.
What’s working/not working for us… 
Living History is defintely working for us.  Amelia and I are considering making Regency clothing.. just because.  Learning about the changes of fashions in history is mind boggling, but oh so exciting!
Questions/thoughts I have… 

Will we ever have a full week again? sigh.
Things I’m working on…Amelia and I are sewing a complete new set of Civil War historical clothing for Kaylee.. she has grown so much!  I am working on the chemise, stays, corded petticoat, over petticoat, and dress.  Amelia is making the drawers and pinafore.  Crazy amount of sewing to attempt in one week while having full school days.. but this is a crazy hobby!
*we finished! And a jacket for her! Wow!*I’m reading…Still reading The Bloddy Field and reading the 'other stories' after Cranford. Thinking of reading a Civil War biography or personal journal from the time period next.. just to brush up on my history.  It helps to read and re-read first hand accounts when you are trying to portray an era well.
I’m cooking…Well, Daniel is the cook again!  For his Culinary Arts class, he is cooking supper occasionally.  Last night we had baked porkchops and potatoes with 'a secret sauce'.  Yummy.
I’m grateful for…
Here is is Monday.. October 3rd.. and it seems as if we are relatively healthy!  Our sniffuls and sneezed are almost non-exsistent. 
I’m praying for…
My Momma.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
We had a wonderful, learning, social, event at Bentonville Historic State Park Saturday.  Here is the link to our photos we posted on Facebook.  One of the ways we use Facebook to keep in touch with fellow living historians, so we post our event pictures there often.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal.. what week is it?

The Homeschool Mother's Journal
In my life this week…

My life has been mostly about recovering... And determining... And proclaiming. 
Recovering from a crazy, fun, hard work weekend and a sore throat runny nose that is still trying to linger in the household.
Determining to get all loose ends (like 'historical' laundry, dust bunnies, and other common household chores that have been overlooked and we don't want them to become MOUNTAINS instead of the mole hills they are) taken care of THIS week and to have next week orderly planned before Sunday rolls around. Proclaiming to the entire household that the NEXT three weeks will be full schedule, full school weeks so that we may enjoy no schedule days.. even no school days... when Bradley comes home for a much awaited visit at the end of October.
(If you don't know us, Bradley is our son in the Air Force and he just returned to the States from yet another deployment. I will link to a post of his graduation at basic..)
In our homeschool this week…
The only 'book work' we have accomplished this week has been math everyday, science everyday (except for Alex) with occasional Spanish (Amelia) and typing (Daniel) thrown in.. with a small few hours of reading (all of us!).  The least amount of 'school' we have done for the first five weeks!  We needed TIME... and REST.
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were Daniel's last days of the 'classroom' portion of Driver's Education.. he made a 92% on the final exam.. Yay!  So glad that is done with.. now for the driving part.. it may not be until February, though, 2 months after his 15th birthday.  We learned that he will need to keep a driving log while he has a permit.  That will be new to us as a family, he will be our fourth child to drive.. one to go!
By Thursday, we had some kinks out of our systems as far as sickness and taking care of 'extra' chores facing us from our camping weekend and organizing a new sewing room....so the boys and I were ready for the first History Club meeting of the year. (It was actually the second, but because of Driver's Ed., we couldn't make the first one which was a field trip to Ft. Macon! Bummer.) 
Our group is a part of Tarheel Junior Historians, and we are aptly named HUH which stands for Homeschoolers Unfolding History.  That is just the high school group.  There is also HUNCH for middle school (Homeschoolers Unfolding North Carolina History), and HUSH for elementary school (Homeschoolers Unfolding State History). Our children's librarian is the wonderful lady who put this group together 13 years ago! It is a wonderful group, and we are very thankful for the opportunity.  The boys are excited about the projects, only in the planning stages now.
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Take time off when you need it.  Have a well known priority list for each child.  If you need days off, have the children still do SOMETHING in their most 'needed' subject.  Each of my children have different 'top needs' for different reasons.  One needs to WRITE everyday, one MATH everyday (just to graduate on time!) and one READ and everyday.. no matter what!  If you can address those priorities on the days off, even in a very small scale...continuing on instead of one step forward, one step back will probably happen.
I am inspired by…
My children.  They were going with the flow of our crazy rest/work life this past week! We were all fighting the temptation to be lazy because we were not doing our 'school schedule'.  We all enjoy movies and old TV shows... we could easily turn into a family of half baked couch potatoes if we didn't have PURPOSE driving us! They were very understanding of my re-directing and enouraging (all of us!) to do something thoughtful, meaningful or constructive with any down time we had. 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Well, we didn't go here.. and we didn't see anyone from here... but we received a package from here!  Mexico!  I have a dear friend from childhood, that I recently reconnected with via Facebook, who moved to Mexico and is beginning to homeschool her oldest son.  She asked if we would like a scorpion for nature study.. we said of course! She sent along a few more goodies, like hot chocolate and a beautiful wooden tool to stir it with.. and we are so thankful! We will take a little time next week to talk about Mexico and enjoy the gifts!
My favorite thing this week was…
Feeling better... and planning for next week!  Receiving packages in the mail (I'm just a big kid about mail!) And actually vacuuming! (that means the living history stuff was put away from the middle of the floor! yay!)
What’s working/not working for us…
We need the schedule and lessons planned.. even if we don't follow it to the letter.. just having the plans made in advance always insure we get more accomplished! 
Questions/thoughts I have…
So many ideas from the children in History Club.. we have some researching to do!  We are having a lot of rain.. wonder if we include a rain study in our nature journals? A good time to talk about the weather with Alex.  Maybe I will print a weather chart.. he is the only one who hasn't done much science so far this year. That's my rambling thoughts... at the moment.
Things I’m working on…
I re-organized my 'teacher notebook'.. and there are a few items 'wanting' (I think of the line in A Knight's Tale.. You have been weighed, measured and found wanting!) I have never written up a syllabus for the student's courses, but I believe it would be a good thing to have on hand... instead of just in my head!
Also.. I am working on the push to get up in my sewing room!  I just can't let myself go with severe loose ends with school and housework.. so I am hoping next week we will be in the groove again and I will have a couple of free hours in the afternoons.
I’m reading…
The Bloody Field  by: Edith Pargeter  a historical fiction set in the time of our current history studies.
From the book jacket:  "Here is that rarity, a historical novel that brings real figures back from the royal tombs and the scrolls of history, renders them utterly human and important to us, and yet remains wholly faithful to the known record.  It is the story of the three English Henrys: he of Lancaster, the grim and haunted Henry IV; his son the teen-age Prince of a restive Wales, the shining Hal; and Hal's beloved mentor, the magnetic and chivalrous Henry Percy, whom men and history duvved Hotspur. All three are here as palpably as if they strode the earth today."
I am enjoying it so far.. this is the only way I can take 'boyish' history.. in a rousing novel. (I found a very nice hardback copy at a thrift store)
I’m cooking…
Every year when the weather cools, I want hot food.. nostalgic food.. like tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.  A couple of times I have made the side dish our exchange student, Magda, from Poland taught us to make.  Boil some potatoes in water with a little salt and drain when finished.  Cut up some cucumber, salt them.. then dollop plain yogurt and sour cream and dill on top and chill.  Dish up the warm, steamy potatoes and top with cucumber concoction.  Yummy goodness.  Cold and Hot together.
I’m grateful for…
Bradley making it safely back to the States.  Somehow I breathe a little easier.  We have only had one short phone call, just letting us know he was on USA soil, but can expect more soon!
I’m praying for…
Strength.  Understanding.  The wisdom to choose what is best for each day and season for our school.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

These are our goodies from Mexico! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Fairy Invasion!

We recently had some very peculiar visitors to our school room... fairies.  Yes, I said fairies!  They were mesmerized by our beautiful big world map and came to plan their next flying fancies to places all over this wide world!

Reviewing a bit of this past summer... Amelia went on a road trip to compete nationally with her youth choir and ensemble!  She traveled by bus with several friends and parent chaperones to Tennesse.  We were able to watch her compete and see the other choirs through live streaming on the Internet.  I was so happy! I cried buckets, just like I would have if I was REALLY there with her.  Isn't technology great?

Alex had a chance to spend some time with his cousin's (Amanda Joy) dogs Marley and Shopie.. something we don't have room for here in 'town'!
An old family favorite brought back out for a younger generation to learn... "Pass the Pigs"!

Another Week.. has it been a month already?

In my life this week…

Wondering what do do and what to put off.  Juggling.  And asking for much Grace.

In our homeschool this week…
Our homeschool this week was so different than what I had PLANNED.  Well, we actually ditched all plans (except for 4-H club, Yearbook club, band practice, and Driver's Ed. Class!) because it made more sense to tackle the inevitable, than to push through our well thought out and scheduled school days and squeeze the interferences in.  The interferences took over this week!  However, they would good ones.  (except for the sore throats and sneezes and stuffy heads we were enduring!)  Not laziness, or sloth, or frivolity, or mis-placed priorities.. not this time.  Because of the cold we were fighting, we all needed a little extra rest!  Couch time with a good book, or vegging out on old movies.  We did however, manage to get the basics done with the boys each day.  Alex and I even finished up his second Five in a Row lapbook.. for Who Owns the Sun?.  Monday through Wednesday, Amelia was too busy sorting and moving sewing supplies.  I was helping her.  Thursday was spent.. the entire day.. planning and packing for our weekend and taking care of household chores.  Friday was loading and traveling and the start of our first living history weekend of the season!
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
If you, our your children happen to love history.. consider becoming a living historian.  It is a great adventure!  Or at least, search your state's sites for events and go on a great field trip!

I am inspired by…
This homeschool momma blogger... I have really enjoyed reading other momma's blogs and getting a peek into other moms making it work! 
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Averasboro Battlefield Historic Site.. and seeing old friends who are crazy enough to try so much to portray history accurately... and have a blast doing it!
My favorite thing this week was…
Being with my family.

What’s working/not working for us…
What's not working for us, is our organization system for our involved hobby.  We are working on building a trailer that will permanently house our camping supplies.  Then, hopefully, our home will not be turned upside down one day before an event and at least two days following! (laundry and dishes to wash.. and supplies to be tucked here and there all over this big old house!  We do not have an entire room to spare for storage!

Questions/thoughts I have…
When will be get back to normal days? So early in the school year we are in danger of loosing our 'vibe'!  I am determined.. next week will be a turning point in the battle ground for diligent full school days.. will we prevail!?!

Things I’m working on…
Laundry. Dishes. Making sure the children stay in the mindset for learning through these temporary distractions.

I’m reading…
Two World War II books from the library, both we have seen movies about!  Pre-reading them for Daniel and Alex.
I’m cooking…
Soup from a Colonial cookbook to feed Civil War soldiers!
I’m grateful for…
A quick recovery from our colds.. we are all in stages of repaired heatlh.. so thankful the sickness did not become severe.. even if it was very annoying and trying to endure.. it seems to be passing!
I’m praying for…
Wisdom.  Strength.  Patience.  And an outlook for the positive!  There is so much to be joyful about!
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…

I posted many pictures from our weekend on our new family blog, Married to a Manriquez.  Our living history hobby that began as a school project has grown into a family hobby, so I will no longer post entire entries of our events here on the Promise blog.  When the children experience anything new or learn a new skill, I will still post here for documentation and sharing. As far as what they learned this week? I am not sure if they learned anything NEW about history.. except that checkers was called 'draughts' during the Civil War!  But, they did talk to spectators and explain some things they had learned.  Daniel played a new role on the battlefield.  And Alex learned a lot from the Doctor who drilled him on history and vocabulary.. really.. it was great!  We meet a lot of very intelligent people, and they are usually very willing to share their knowledge when the children show interest!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: Week Three in our School Year!

In my life this week…
This week we are having so many thunderstorms come through... I must confess something:  I love a good thunderstorm!  I don't know why, maybe because I feel so close to God ...seeing His awesome display!
Plus, I am trying to stay focused.. having a week like I explain in a minute can be difficult.. for me, it takes great effort to have an 'off schedule' week and still ACCOMPLISH enough!  I Love Lucy that airs at 9:00 am here really drags me to the couch for an hour full of laughter.. can I squeeze that in with out putting something important 'off'?

In our homeschool this week…
This week began with a holiday.  Monday was Labor Day.. the children had asked for the day 'off' school, and I complied.  There were so many projects that needed my attention, plus Daniel had homework he wanted to complete for his new Driver's Education class over at the public school... PLUS both older children had plans to visit with and be visited by.. friends.  And on top of all that, my poor husband developed a mean case of poison oak.. and he was off Monday. 

SO.. with Monday a holiday,
AND knowing that Daniel would be transitioning to a class at the school (the first day he was moaning about how he doesn't know how those kids at that school can STAND it sitting there ALL day long! and even said he needs a seat cushion for the hard uncomfortable chairs! and how exhausted he was from just three hours! how funny)..
AND having an unexpected, yet welcome, project in my lap... science study equipment that now needs to be organized in to a new home in my already crowded science cabinet......(a dear friend passed along some valuable.. not so much monetary value but 'we need this in biology and no we will not have to find it to buy' value! Yay!)
AND hearing that 'one day this week'.. which day we didn't know... our neighbor's son would be coming to give Amelia her inheritance from our dear friend... which translates to a lot of stuff brought into our home that needs to be organized into Amelia's new sewing room (AKA upstairs foyer)
WITH ALL THAT...we decided to make this entire week a 'no schedule' but 'no television' week. 

WHAT that means is: Math- everyday, Amelia and Daniel- Science- everyday, Continue Civics, Health, Typing, Art and Spanish (these have 'textbooks' to follow and we want to finish them!)
AND Alex and I will have time to 'row' the Five in a Row book- "Who Owns the Sun". (We were told that another family is waiting for it from the library, so we want to complete it and pass it along!)
PLUS! I can sneak some time in with Kaylee to 'row' her Before Five in a Row selection- "Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?" She LOVED it, by the way.
AS WELL AS.. getting my best friend's belated birthday package in the mail.. sewing some.. cleaning some.. and errand running while Daniel is in Driver's Ed...
(in hind sight.. cleaning received the LEAST of my effort this week.. sigh)

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
With my blog looky-looing this week I came across a great inspiration to share the history of 9-11 with my youngest son.  It never dawned on me (I am embarrassed to say) that he doesn't KNOW.  For the rest of us, it is a memory.. part of us.  I had a 'light bulb' moment when I remembered he was here.. just securely in my belly at the time!  This blogger gives great recommendations for picture books to share with your children... I found three at the library, plus two more that looked interesting from one of the authors.. check it out...

I am inspired by…
The out of doors.  Fall is my absolute favorite season.  Fall motivates me.  Fall rejuvenates me.  Fall makes me drag my children outside and say "Take a deep breath. Enjoy God's creation!" Fall makes me focus on the beauty in my home.  Fall makes me want to make fabric pumpkins with vintage fabrics.  Fall makes me want to drink hot tea in the cool of the morning on my front porch swing.  Fall makes me happy.

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
This weekend, we have a great activity planned! 
First: seeing our first live performance of a Shakespeare play
(since I am not getting around to this until Monday.. I can say.. it was great! we really enjoyed it!  It had a definite Johnston County Redneck twist.. but it was still Shakespeare.  I hope we can find another opportunity this year to see a live performance of Shakespeare.. maybe at a college?

My favorite thing this week was…
Though emotional and upsetting... Remembering 9-11 with my family.  Sharing the memory together and taking time to reflect.. and realizing yet again that I am a helpless patriot!  I love America.  I am proud to be an American.  I am proud to have a son serving in the Armed Forces.  I am proud to have another son with hopes of joining in either the military or civil service when he becomes an adult.  It tears my heart to pieces.. but oh how proud I am!  I sincerely say, God Bless America land that I love.  Stand beside her, and guide her.
What’s working/not working for us…
Somehow, we fizzle out by Friday.  We are just in our third week.  Mondays are so difficult to get the ball rolling.  When we do get it rolling, it is top speed.  By Friday, we feel like Indiana Jones.. with the ball rolling after us.

Questions/thoughts I have…
I want to connect, really connect, with other homeschool families that whole heartily embrace the Charlotte Mason style of learning.  I want to meet other moms who love books as much as I do.  I feel like a fish lost at sea sometimes.  Not that I don't know who I am or what to do... but that the rest of my Charlotte Mason 'family' is floating around out there in the ocean together somewhere.. and I can't find them. In my local homeschool group...am I be the only real book nerd (besides my sister)? I ponder this.  I think I will post another call out to CM learners on our group's Yahoo page.  Baiting my hook?

Things I’m working on…
This blog!  Really wanting to build it so that it will serve a two-fold purpose:  connecting with family and encouraging other homeschool families.
AND, getting ready for next week... it will be a doosey!  A schedule week, PLUS our first living history event of the season next weekend! SEWING marathon, anyone?  Packing everyday? whew.  Not to mention planning meals for the weekend, cooked Civil War style.. over an open fire.

I’m reading…
Still reading Cranford.. taking it in small snatches when I need to decompress! 

I’m grateful for…
My husband.  Hands down, he is vital to our life, our school and my heart.

I’m praying for…
Wisdom.  Strength.  Understanding.  And maintaining a clear vision of where we are and where we are going.. not allowing the BIG PICTURE to be cluttered along the way.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Cooler weather... ahhhh!  I am looking forward to many hours reading to the children on the front porch again! It is cooling down here in the south just enough to make me want to drag our books and papers out of doors! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Elxporers 4-H

This year my youngest child is turning TEN! I have thought about this very much.  Yes, I already have two precious grand babies that are coming along right after him, so I am not feeling that 'your going to have an empty nest' feeling.  However, I am thinking about our time together as mother and son.  His older siblings still at home are homeschooling their high school years.. and need a lot of my attention!  Yet, they are old enough to do some independent learning at intervals to free my time... and how to use that time? I ponder.. on sewing? scrap booking? reading? cleaning this old house? ummm?  Absolutely not.  There will probably come a time in my life when I have more than ample time for my hobbies.. so I will just continue to squeeze time in for now.  So, this year I purposely searched out school related activities that would be both fun and educational for Alex.. that he and I could enjoy together.. just the two of us!

The first opportunity came in the form of Five in a Row.. but I've already blogged a bit a about that.
Then, I looked for outside of the home opportunities... I asked about karate? no.  Chemistry co-op? um maybe.  Choir? absolutely not, mom!  So, I kept checking our homeschool group Yahoo loop... everyday. 

And finally (Hallelujah Chorus) there was an invitation to 4-H.  Not just any regular 4-H.... but a 4-H with a main focus on hiking and nature walking (cha-ching!). And NO need to raise and care for animals (we live on a corner block in town.. no piggies are going to reside here! Although, we tried a bunny and may take that adventure again?). And the age range was just right for him.. 9-12 with older and younger siblings welcome if needed. 

Alex, how about 4-H? We see their cool stuff at the State Fair every year? and they will go hiking ?...
Sure, mom.  Sounds interesting. 
Oh, well, Alex.. it looks like there are mostly girls in this group.  Umm, you can be friends with girls just as easy as boys, right? Yeah, why not? I guess so.

So, we did.

Just look at the grin.  Alex managed to find the only other boy (that wasn't an older sibling tagging along) in the goup.  We are looking foward to our many new adventures.. together.. with this great 4-H group!

*Oh.. a side note.. this trip just happened to be on the day the earthquake his the East Coast.  Alex and I were able to experience that adventure, toghether.. sitting in our truck at a stop light.  I immediately looked in my rear view mirror to see WHO was in the back of my truck pulling a prank and rocking it!
In the mean time... Amelia and Daniel were home... alone.. each wondering what the other was doing to shake this old house!  (yes.. our house shakes... everytime the fast train goes by, the windows and light fixtures rattle.  Doors open by themselves.. the refrigerator door will open on it's own if you stomp across the kitchen just so... but that is all a whole other blog.. a whole other story!)*

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Weekly Wrap-Up

This is my first attempt to document one week of Promise schooling.... all in one post.  The idea came from recently reading other homeschool blogs.  I have enjoyed seeing what other schools are accomplishing, and have been truly inspired.  I am hoping a weekly wrap-up will be a good way to document our doings and for me to see and remember what we have accomplished.. as well as where we have missed the mark! 

 This past week was our second week of the 2011-2012 official school year.  For readers who know us in real life.. you know we never really stop schooling.. or learning! We continue as much as possible through the summers.. especially in history, literature, math and science.  There have been many real-life interuptions that resulted in the math cirriculum not being completed by end of year testing... plus, with math I find 'if you don't use it, you loose it'.  It is easier for the children to continue onto higher math with out a several week break.  However, we do have an official start date.. if never an official end date.. for each school year.  A day when we implement a well thought out and planned schedule of our days.  A day when we purposely study, discover, practice, listen and experience learning.  A day when we begin adding to our days more nature study, art appreciation, music appreciation, more language arts, planned electives and much much more!


Animal Tracks and Nature Walk

Earlier in the week.. after school... when we dropped Daniel off for his weightlifting.. we looked around the Woodard Homestead for animal tracks. With Hurricane Irene blessing us with a lot of rain, we hoped there would be a good chance to find decent tracks to cast a mold by.. A few years ago, when we first met the Woodards, we found a great opossum track and made a mold that was as good as any we found in any book or Internet site!

Daniel had completed an experiment in Apologia's General Science where he made a plaster of paris mold of a seashell, and was determined to make more.. "We have a lot of plaster of paris left, Mom!" So, to keep him from going in the yard and casting a mold of his size 14 boot print, I suggested looking for animal tracks!