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Showing posts from January, 2016

OYAN Update

OYAN (One Year Adventure Novel) is moving along.  We slowed down dramatically over the holidays and are now revving back up to power through and complete this curriculum.   My girls approach writing very differently; one loves to write and one hates to write.  Their stories look very different.  Lilah has set a goal for 100 pages and at the close of chapter 5 she is at page 38.  Grace’s goal is simply to write the best story she has ever written and so far she is meeting that goal!  

OYAN’s video lessons keep up on track and moving ahead.  Because we are doing this as part of our writing group, there are four other girls to account for and because I am not their “teacher” it is up to them to find the motivation and perseverance to power through when writer’s block sets in.  If we were doing this solo, I’m not sure we would make it, but the group shares are powerful and transformative.  I have sat at my kitchen table and listened to stories come to life.  I have heard genuine, construct…

Wolf Conservation Center

Like I said in an earlier post, we are signing up for just about everything that includes the word teen so when a post came across my yahoo group for a once a month class at The Wolf Conservation Center in South Salem, NY, I jumped on it.  It is not enough for a stand alone class obviously, but it ties in beautifully to the girls' biology units on ecology.  Rather than worry about a lab for this module, they will have hands on experience with live wolves and learn from conservation experts about the environmental and human issues affecting their habitat and forest ecosystem.  

I found a free lapbook on and we went to the library and took out many books about wolves.  The great thing about lapbooks, is that information is information and you can customize lapbooks to meet the developmental needs of young children or teens.  For example, Grace used a photo she took and her favorite editing program to overlap a quote on the photo and this will be used as the cover …

Update: Dave Raymond's History

After taking a break from our history program to delve deeply into Civil Rights in preparation for our Alabama trip last November, we are back to our daily video lessons with Dave Raymond.  I love these lessons.  I love that they teach things not found in a classroom textbook, like who Cotton Mather was and why he matters.  Or that our country WAS founded on Christian values and why that matters.  Or that the Puritans had some really great values and perhaps that is why their communities were so much stronger than our current ones.

Living in New England allows us to take our lessons and bring them to life.  When I was searching for historical sites pertaining to the Puritans, I came across a Mather Homestead in Darien, Connecticut, just around the corner from piano lessons.  This is the family homestead of one of Cotton Mather’s nephews and is protected from developers by a land trust.  

I’m so looking forward to this spring.  As we continue to watch our lessons and create beautiful not…


For years and years my girls have asked to snowboard and every year I put it off.  First off, I hate to be cold.  Detest it really.  Once I am chilled, I am chilled all day.  No fire is warm enough to warm me back up.  There is no way I want to snowboard or ski.  

Last year we had bindings put on their snowboards and this year I came across a great rate for a homeschool group at a “mountain” in New York.  The package is for 6 weeks including a 90 minute lesson and full day lift ticket.  We were worried it would not get cold enough for the snowmakers to cover the hill but at the very last minute the weather changed and enough snow was made to open a few runs.  Our experience with homeschoolers is that they are a fickle bunch and the large group (including many teens) who expressed interest when this was initially offered in October, never registered, leaving us with no possible friend connections.  But that’s okay.  Our other classes are full of teens and in reality it is hard to talk d…

ASL at The Sign Language Center

This winter we have joined several new classes and activities with the hopes of making new connections and friendships.  Hands down, the hardest thing about homeschooling teens is maintaining friendships.  If you happen to be part of a hybrid program that automatically builds in social time (like school) then it's easy, but we haven not chosen that path and for us, social time is equally important to academic time.  We have signed up for pretty much everything that has the word “teen” in it and is in an hour radius from home!
Grace is signed up for a six week American Sign Language course in Manhattan at The Sign Language Center.  It is a hike, and an expense, but it will immerse her in the language with other learners her level and Deaf instructors.  We placed her in Level 2 and some of it is a review and some of it is an extension of her learning.  Along with 20 students (some teens) they work for 2.5 hours on basic components of the language and culture.  

Having a class from one…