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Showing posts from December, 2013

What I am Reading

It is a bit ironic that at this point in my life I feel very distant from the church I once considered my second home.  Yet, at this very same point in my life I feel like I am learning and growing more in my faith than ever before.  

Things led me to distance myself from my church (not the church).  Decisions were made that breached our goal of living the faith.  New people brought on with visions that differ from mine and little snippets of conversations overhead here and there that were mean and spiteful.  I realize that these reasons have to do with me.  What I feel.  How I feel.  They are not even rooted in my faith practice.  I know that faith is not about me.  

I have never understood why if you enter a Baptist church, you will find Bibles under every chair but if you enter a Catholic church there is not a Bible to be found, only misselettes, with little snippets of Bible scripture for each mass.  They are not in context.  They are not chronological.  It is up to the Priest to co…

more than the subject at hand

We are really not a lapbooking family.  I have always loved the look of a lapbook, where everything you have learned about a particular subject is summarized and housed between the covers of file folders, but there is just so much printing and cutting and pasting.....

That said, we are really enjoying our Periodic Table lapbook.  Perhaps because the girls are doing it with a friend.  We are not rushing through it. There is no “due date”.  We have been working on it at home and taking it on the road.  We worked on it at Yale’s Peabody Museum and this week we worked on it at the UCONN Library, after a failed visit to UCONN’s Museum of Natural History.  I was shocked at how tiny this museum is and how misrepresented it is based on the university’s website.  I was bitterly disappointed I rescheduled a trip to NYC due to the snow and ice, cold temps and crowded subways.  We should have just braved it and went....

...However, learning in a university library is a cool experience in itself.  M…


James J Peters VA Medical Center

You can’t teach compassion and you can’t teach empathy.  You can’t make your child volunteer.  You can’t force them to do small things with great love. All you can do is offer them the opportunity to serve over and over and over again and hope that someday the profound effects of their efforts will be realized and they will understand the true meaning of compassion.

A homeschooling family in New York organizes a yearly trip to James J Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx, New York through the husband’s organization, The Nam Knights, whose mission is “to honor the memory of American Veterans and Police Officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty, to assist Veterans and Police Officers in their time of need and to promote community awareness through sponsorship and participation in various fundraising events.”

This year the coordinator’s wife Michele, a homeschooling Mom, posted an invitation on our Connecticut homeschooling yahoo site.  After askin…

Periodic Table Part 2

My girls have become quite intrigued by chemistry.  Not being tied to a curriculum allows us to follow the interests of the girls.  We have hit the pause button on oceanography for a few weeks to pursue a study of the periodic table.  Actually, it is not so much a pause, as a “look how these two areas of science fit together so perfectly” moment.  The study of the ocean’s water will make more sense when the girls understand what elements and compounds actually make up the water samples we are testing.
In a recent post about our construction of the periodic table, a blog reader commented on the resources she used with her sons when introducing the periodic table.  She provided the link to a free lapbook and recommended several books as well!  This is why I keep blogging.  This is why I share how we are approaching education.   I was not aware of these resources and with a few clicks, the books were sent to me via Amazon, and the lapbook was downloaded and ready to print.
I love these boo…

Doodle Draw Art

Through the magic of Instagram, my girls have discovered the YouTube channel Doodle Draw Art.  Simple, short drawing tutorials.  I used the snowflake tutorial with my writing group Friday.  Six girls ranging in age from 8 to 13 all created the most beautiful snowflakes in their writing notebooks.  This became their prompt.  I always give them “invitations” to write.  What is your ideal snow day?  Write about a favorite winter storm.  Does your family have any winter traditions? Describe the first snow of the season.  

I love combining art and writing.  I ask the girls to pay close attention to their internal dialogue when they are drawing.  What are you thinking about?  What does the drawing remind you of?

Our writing “warm ups” can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes on average.  We then move on to our core writing projects.  The older girls are working on finishing up an epic collaborate piece, and Grace has just a few edits left on her longest writing project to date, a fictional story …

Don't Ask Me What I Want to Be, Ask Me Who I Am

Why do we ask kids “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, especially if what they want to be is something that they already are.  Lilah had a dream to operate an Etsy shop.  At first she thought she would sell baked goods.  However, I was a bit leery about selling food, dealing with the health department, and catering issues, etc.  Plus, selling fresh food would mean that our lives could possibly revolve around orders and that could be problematic.  She then came up with the idea of selling her handmade bows online.  This I could say Yes to!

Last summer Lilah became an entrepreneur.  Like most entrepreneurs, capital was required to start her business.  She was gifted many of the supplies needed and she used some of her own savings to purchase others.  She turned the back room (my former art studio) into her workshop.  There are many nights when I am getting ready for bed and she is still at her table, glue gun in hand.  

She made several sales this fall.  Some to other Etsy crafter…

Periodic Table

I learned a long time ago not to plan too rigidly and to allow for the possibility of spontaneous wonder.  When our SoundWaters science program ended we decided to stick with the theme of science Mondays.  Our friend joins us for the day and we spend the morning working on Discovery Works Oceanography and the afternoon doing something out of Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study.  

The first investigation, or experiment, involved testing water samples from Long Island Sound to determine how ocean water differs from tap water.  They tested the pH levels of each, the salinity of each, evaporated water samples, and examined the salt crystals under a microscope, and wrote a formal lab report.  
It was during the salinity test that the definition of parts per thousand (PPT) was discussed.  We used a online site from San Jose State University Geology 105 class - General Oceanography, to help us understand this concept. This definition reiterated what our book showed graphically as…