Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homeschool Mother's Journal: Week of October 17

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In Our Home/School This Week: We convinced Greg to take two days off and spend some time at home.  It is so rare that he is able to tag along with us to the activities that take us from place to place throughout the week.  Having him join us on our Girl Scout hike to Kent Falls was like having a family day trip!  After the hike, we went to our friend’s house close by for some fire building and hot dog roasting. 

 Another perk of having Dad around, is that he can get involved in some of the lessons ‘round here.  These are never planned, they just occur.  Like when the girls asked about the protests in New York.  This led into a full discussion of the stock market.  We explained how the girls are actually shareholders of GE and receive quarterly dividends in their name, which we have always used towards their activities.  Grace was very intrigued by this.  Greg taught her how to track a stock online by its share name.  She looked at trends and learned that the key to making money is to buy low and sell high.  We explained how we Greg almost bought shares of a now-defunct bowling alley and if it were not for her mother’s infinite wisdom, that money would now be gone.  The role of a stock broker was explained and how very often people with this job get very wealthy if they are buying and selling large quantities of stocks.  I would love to have Greg, Grace and Lilah research dollar stocks and take a bit of their money and invest it.  It would turn into a phenomenal math lesson as we would cover money, graphing, percentages, and how market conditions affect business, which in turn affects stock prices.  So Greg, you up for it??
Then Friday, I asked Greg to hook up his iPad to the tv so we could watch an episode of an old 20/20, Appalachia: Children of the Mountain.  We are listening to Absolutely Normal Chaos on audiobook.  One of the characters, Carl Ray, comes to spend the summer from West Virginia.  When the main character, Mary Lou, spends a week there, she discovers what it is like to live with no running water, no electricity, and no plumbing.  I asked the girls if they realize that families in the United States are living in conditions like this and even though they said yes, I know they have no frame of reference for this kind of poverty.  The four of us watched this 20/20 episode together.  We had to stop and discuss what prescription medication addiction is and how people sell pills for money.  We had to discuss addiction, desertion and what it must be like not be able to count on your parents to care for you.  We got a glimpse inside a coal mine and discussed the dangers this job presents.  When the episode finished, we discussed why Carl Ray’s mother asked Mary Lou not to tell too much of her life in Ohio because she did not want the lure of money and a different kind of life to take her children away too quickly.  
I like having Greg around.  In addition to these two impromptu lessons, our other highlights of the week were:
  • field trip to Stew Leonard’s for math.  Grace is on March in math and Lilah began February.
  • We finished Beowulf!
  • Piano lessons - Grace began composing her own song.
  • Lilah had a fabulous drawing lesson at co-op.

Places We Are Going and People We Are Seeing:  Between Stew’s, Kent Falls, a trip to the orthodontist for a retainer tune up, co-op, dog walking, and piano lessons, we had our share of running around.  
What We Are Reading: I read a fantastic book this week that was a perfect ghostly read.  It is a YA book titled Chasing Brooklyn.  It is written in verse which is an unusual choice for me, but I found that it drew me in to the characters and their pain.  Lisa Schroeder (same author as last' week's read It's Raining Cupcakes) managed to make this book beautiful yet haunting.
Grace is trying to finish up The Seekers.
Lilah finished Now You See Me and has begun Fourth Grade Fairy and Miss Fortune.  Really.....I can’t keep up with her.  
Questions/Thoughts I am Pondering: Last week I stirred up a bit of discussion about the protests.  I even lost a reader over it.  Sigh.  I am not thinking about much this week honestly.  Well....if I am honest I am thinking of house projects Greg and I would like to tackle but we get caught up in other things that take us out of the house.  
We want to clean out the attic.  Hurricane Irene gave us the excuse, reason to empty the basement and we have kept it clean and organized.  Our attic needs the same TLC.
My porch is a disgrace.  When we remodeled the kitchen, we put everything in the porch.  It never recovered.  It was my gift for Mother’s Day a few years ago, my reading room, my oasis.  Now it is home to a college sized fridge, tons of books, a basket full of blankets and the like.  In order to clean out this room tough choices about keeping, storing and giving away need to be made.
The office.  This room is not so bad, it is just not used properly.  Years ago my sister in law gave us a desk her company was discarding.  It is a fabulous desk but too big for what we need.  We have taken away half of it and the half that remains still fills up the whole room.  I would love to downsize and streamline but again, tough choices.....

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