Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2013


Wednesday was set aside in our schedule as a day to go on field trips, take enrichment classes, visit with friends and travel to see family.   In September we: visited our friends on their farm/attended the last beach night of the summerattended the World Peace Orchestra at Lincoln Centermarveled at the play Peter and the Starcatcherlearned about aviation at the New England Air and Space Museum

In this class the girls learned the physics of flight as well as the mathematics involved in balancing the plane’s weight, determining flying altitude and flight speed vs. ground speed. They learned that angle degrees are used to set direction (N = 360 degrees) and certain degreed regulate if you fly at odd or even altitudes.  

There was hands on collaboration between students to chart a flight pattern using proper instrumentation and record it on a flight log.  Their hypothetical flight was from New London to Brainard Airport in Hartford.  They hand to find landmarks and calculate the distance be…

Where I am now

This is a weird phase for my blogging.  I look back on previous posts that are well written and filled with honest emotion and I can place myself in the very spot in my house where the post was written and remember with perfect clarity the issue/adventure/opportunity I was writing about.  
Lately my posts are a scrapbook of how we are home educating, where we are traveling, and what we are doing as a family.  More often than not, I catch grammatical or spelling errors, or Grace catches them when she is reading my posts and alerts me that I did a sloppy job with my editing.  Editing? What editing?  This is my life right now, unedited.
I am committed to keeping this blog going.  I began it years ago as a way to share our adventures with homeschooling to my family members and turned into a record of our family memories.  I am often asked if the girls will go to high school either at the public school or an arts magnet, or Catholic school.  We are planning to homeschool through high school.…

Science on Saturdays

The girls and their friends are participating in a series of classes offered by Yale University.  Saturday they attended a “Science on Saturdays” free family class, which just happened to be on Grace’s favorite topic: natural disasters.  Unfortunately her two favorite disasters are hurricanes and tornadoes.  This lecture focused on the geological disasters, earthquakes and the possible resulting tsunami, and volcanoes.  Not her favorites, but still fascinating.  

There were a few things that struck me about this visit. #1 - homeschoolers are not immune from competition in academics, sports, music and social activities.  While I hear very little competitive talk among the children, there has been a lot of chatter lately among parents about whose child is involved in music or which sport they excel at or which curriculum their are using to help place into a top tiered college.  It is everywhere... I know.  I had just hoped that we would be a bit removed from it.  It is so phony and dull. 


I love the flow of our week.I love the thought and consideration that has gone into every program, class, activity and daily schedule.Thursday we begin our day with “study hall” at the library.We meet up with a friend and the girls bring their homework from outside classes.This year, unlike others, the girls have official work to be done at home.Grace has music theory homework, and both girls have sign language and bible study work that must be completed.Every Thursday they have a two hour block of time in which to complete as much as possible.

The weekly visit to the library also ensures that we are checking out, reading and returning books.I don’t have to “find” time to grab a new audiobook or rush to get to the drop box before I start accruing fines.It is a little thing, but one less stressor to my week.
After study hall we venture to the beach for lunch.  It is a quick visit, about 20 minutes or so, but it gives us time to relax, soak up some sun, look for sea glass, turn some cartw…

Herb Fairies: Violet Leaf

One of my goals with Herb Fairies is to let the girls explore making organic, holistic self care products using the herbs they are learning about.  Since they range in age from 11-14, this curriculum needs to be modified to keep their interest and challenge them to apply their knowledge in a meaningful way.  If they simply learn about the herb’s healing properties but never incorporate them into their daily lives, then I have missed an opportunity to make this program relevant.
Violet’s healing properties include: treatment ofeye disordersconstipationskin ailmentscongestionregulate blood pressureexpectorant, cough reliefpain killer, anti-inflammatoryhigh in Vitamin C (one dose = 4 oranges)

Two ways to incorporate violet (in our case, dried organic violet leaf purchased from Mountain Rose Herbs) into the girls’ lives is to make violet leaf tea and violet leaf salve.
Tea: We steeped for 2 hours and sweetened with honey.

Salve: We used a macerated oil by heating organic olive oil and violet lea…

Peter and the Starcatcher

I am falling further and further behind in my blogging.  Now I understand why there are so few middle school/high school bloggers.....the parents simply don’t have time anymore to keep up with a blog!  I have been posting more of what we do on my Instagram account, so if you are looking for real time updates on what our homeschool days look like, check there first!
Like all weeks, last one was busy.  Our Wednesday field trip day involved another trip into New York and like the previous week, this one also involved a bit of drama.  Lilah was sick.  Normally I am not one to give over the counter medication but she really wanted to go to see Peter and The Star Catcher and I really wanted her to go, so I gave her a dose of Pediacare and off we went.

I have seen many Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals.  Some I have  loved, like Miss Saigon, some I thought were okay, like Phantom of the Opera and some I did not care for, like Sweet Charity.  Peter and the Star Catcher is my favorite…

Dear America

This year a change happened in our study of history without me even realizing it.  Grace and I were talking about reading and what I could do to encourage her to do more of it.  I know she enjoys historical fiction best.  I asked her if she could read whatever she wanted, and have it count as a lesson, what would it be?  She ran upstairs into the attic where we store our books and returned with several of the Dear America books that she has wanted to read for some time.

Dear America.  Historical Fiction.  US History.  8th Grade.  The pieces just fell into place in my mind but I kept my thoughts to myself.  I asked if she would like to read to me while I knit.  Grace does not like to sit still for very long and because of this reading has always been a challenge.  She likes to read before bed and I always fall asleep trying to listen.  But during the day?  I am all ears.  She began reading So Far From Home: The Diary of Mary Driscoll, An Irish Mill Girl, Lowell, Massachusetts, 1847.  My…

Beach Night

Mother Nature has been playing some tricks on us lately.  This week she sent us hot, humid weather.  The kind of weather that takes your breath away, wears you down, and makes you feel like you are walking through mud.  
What better time for a beach night?  A night to gather together with friends and enjoy the ocean breeze that makes it just a little bit easier to breath.  A time to see friends before our schedules scatter us in different directions across the state.  A night to count our blessings and appreciate our friendships.  

I love these nights.  I will miss them when Mother Nature showers us with falling leaves and blankets us with snow.   

World Peace Orchestra, 134 Young Musicians, One Mission

I joined this amazing discount ticket site, Goldstar which offers us great opportunities to discover the arts in New York in ways that I either would never have heard of, or, not been able to afford.

One of these opportunities was to see the World Peace Orchestra perform at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center.  This is an orchestra made up of 134 young musicians from 50 countries.  Most played instruments you would expect to see at an orchestra, like the violin, flute, drums and clarinet.  But others played lesser known instruments native to their culture, like the salamuri panduri and the kirar, angling, and dombira.
It was another one of those moments where learning intertwines with life when I discovered that one of the pieces played would be a montage of songs by Leonard Bernstein from West Side Story.  How serendipitous that we saw this musical a few months ago.
Getting to this event was not easy however.  What should have been a 90 minute train ride, turned into a ride twice as lon…


Every now and then I scan Pinterest for creative educational ideas for middle school.  Every now and then I stumble upon pure brilliance.  Like this:
Personification Vocabulary
I don’t want to give my girls a list of words to look up and memorize.  I want them to find joy in words and be able to do more than simply memorize and recite them or use them in a sentence to score a grade on a vocabulary test.  My goal is to make these words part of their daily vocabulary.  
Last year we began a vocabulary journal using the personification method.  The words come Word Smart, published by the Princeton Review.   
Here is a peek into Lilah’s journal:

*I am aware that there are spelling and grammatical errors in her journal.  We have addressed this and her  journal entries for 2013-2014 are error free!