Saturday, January 19, 2013

Week of January 19, 2013:

In My Life This Week
There is a particular person that I follow on Instagram that always posts pictures of cozy little nooks of her home.  There is never any dust or clutter.  There are always fresh flowers in vases and blankets lined up just so on the couch.  Part of me wonders if this is for real or if the camera were to span just a little to the left would we see a pile of books and the remnants of the Sunday paper........Life is not always what we present it to be on social media.  However, these photographs are beautiful, which is why I follow.  They inspire me to declutter my home.  Now is the perfect time to work on this never ending project.  

Our Christmas Village takes up an entire room.  It spans the length of my mantle, encompasses my entire hutch and a chest of drawers.  It takes more than one day to get every house and every accessory packed up and moved back into the attic.  I am not putting back every little pottery piece, every plate, every picture frame and every empty vase that used to take up this space.  I am only putting out my very favorite pieces, the ones that hold the most meaning to me.  I love having the village out because it is our family tradition.  But I also love to see it go.  My mantle has been washed with my favorite wood cleaner so that it shines.  My porch is begging for someone to sit with a cup of tea and knit or read.  It may even have a throw blanket lined up just so on the corner of the couch....

So far I have two giant moving boxes of village pieces packed....only 4 more to go!

In Our Homeschool This Week:
Projects took center stage this week over book lessons.  We did get some of our book work done, just not as much as we would during a typical week.

Lilah is working on Life of Fred and Grace continued to work on measurement, using floor plans to find perimeter.  This is still review, but it came up in real life this week.

During our trip to Joanne’s the girls were sitting at a table flipping through pattern books while I was people watching.  A woman came to the fabric cutting counter and asked the  store staff how much ribbon she would need to trim a 9 inch pillow.  The employee took out a calculator and told the woman 36 inches.  The woman continued to explain that she was making two pillows.  More calculator work followed until the answer of 72 inches was determined.

After the woman received her ribbon, I told Grace about this exchange.  I asked her to calculate.  After confirming the pillow was square, she quickly answered.  When I told her the woman had two pillows, she just doubled the answer in her head.  Sewing and crafting provides plenty of opportunity to use the math she has learned already.  Area, perimeter, square foot, volume are all applicable to sewing, and home decorating. 

I knew that Lilah likes to sew.  She had weekly lessons with my neighbor and friend for a few months when she first came home from school.  Recently she has fallen in love with clothing design.  I took out my machine, dusted it off, and Grace learned how to use it.  So far the girls have each made a drawstring bag and Grace is working with a pattern for flannel pajama pants.  I have a feeling there are many more trips to Joanne’s in my near future.  Actually I want to go to IKEA, because I have always wanted to buy fabric there.  Perhaps I will sew up some pillows......

History intersected with Minecraft this week.  We finished up chapter 18 in Story of the World with narration, mapwork and some notebooking.  I thought it would be interesting to challenge the girls to pick a country that sent Knights on the Crusades and research castles in that country.  Using Minecraft, they would create a historically accurate castle.  This project is going to take hours to complete.  We spent three hours in the library just finding books with good cross sections of castles!  Grace told me it is not as easy as she thought it would be.  I will post their completed “world” when they are finished.  

Places We’re Going and People We’re Seeing:
Lilah’s Cupcake Club delivered homemade puppy truffles to our local animal shelter.
Grace got a sewing lesson from our friend Amy and some guidance from her grandmother.
We had a tech-free afternoon at Sunday dinner at my parents.  We watched the Patriots game and I worked on my poker skills.  I am proud of the girls for leaving their iPads at home and honoring their Grandfather’s request for good old fashioned conversation.

What We Are Reading:
We finished listening to How To Train Your Dragon, Book 1.  What a wonderful audiobook!  I loved it.  I loved the characters, the descriptions of the dragons, the humor, and the names.  I love that what makes the main character different and unique is what also makes him a hero.  It is his intelligence, his knowledge and his courage that saves the day.  I hope to start book 2 soon.  We listened to this on our Tales 2 Go app.

Questions/Thoughts I Have:
I am wondering how families, especially those that unschool, make a portfolio for college applications.  I am collecting everything from what we are doing now.  Piano recital programs, bits of video of sports and music, work samples, field trips, volunteer work, etc.  So much has changed with applying to colleges from when I had to write an essay and attach my SAT scores and high school transcript....  Not to mention being homeschooled!  Even though Grace is only in 7th grade, I want to figure this out now, rather than be left scrambling for something at the last minute.  I think it will be easier to maintain throughout her high school years if we have something in place before she beings.  

After speaking with a friend about this, we may reach out to our local community in the hopes that families with older children will share what they are doing. 

Quote to Share:

“If you change the world, the world will change.” There is so much going on in our world that I could go on and on about. Our government is systematically taking away the very things that make our country great and nothing is being done to stop it.   Another sports “hero” just admitted to cheating after lying over and over and over again.  Greg pointed out that it is hypocritical that we are so quick to react and demand retribution from Lance Armstrong for lying and bullying when corporations like Monsanto do this every day (with the food we ingest) and we all just look the other way.  At times I wonder who my children are supposed to look up to?

I don’t want to write too much about the things that could keep me awake at night if I let them. This is not the place for that.  I don’t want my girls to read my blog and worry.  Instead I would like to use my blog and this space to honor those people, especially young people, who are using their lives to make change happen.  On my sidebar I added a spot to highlight people changing the world.  I asked Karen at Homeschool Girls for permission to post a video made by her 13 year old daughter, who used her birthday to brighten the lives of 13 strangers.   She inspires me.

Homegrown Learners


Mary Prather said...

Jess, I agree with you. I love your blog because it is a positive place full of ideas and possibility! I try to do that with my blog, too -- there is enough negativity and worry in the blogosphere without me contributing to it. :-_

Now, I know you're just talking about me on Instagram, right? HA! That's a big laugh. I do think that social media allows people to only portray one side of their lives, and sometimes it's usually only the pretty one.

We are also thinking about portfolios for college and things like that. I went to a meeting last week about transcripting and keeping records for your 7th-12th grader. It was very enlightening.

I hope you have a great weekend, Jess. Thanks for always linking.

Jessica said...

Are you going to do a post about what you learned? I have been researching and there is not that much out there to find. I am using Evernote as an e-portfolio but there are very few tutorials on how homeschooling families put together a portfolio that colleges are interested in seeing. We all know that colleges are seeking homeschooled kids and I wish that there were more examples out there to look at.......

Karen said...

Love the Neil Gaiman quote! De-cluttering is something I need so badly to do. We have 20 bookcases and still books everywhere. I am horrible about not getting rid of books...2nd grade Math book? I MAY need it someday. I always love reading your blog because it is so positive among many other things. I know you ARE NOT talking about me on IG but I do know what you mean. I don't know any good sites, let me know if you find any. I do know there are some good Homeschooling HS sites out there.

I LOVE the History through Minecraft idea. I LOVE things like that. What Greg said was right huh? I never really thought of it like that.

Kirsten @ homeschool discoveries said...

I love the Minecraft castle! My DH just intalled the free version of Minecraft available for the iPad. Only my oldest really "gets" how to do anything with it...but it's cool to see how the game can really develop into something...even something educational! Right now my kids just like building simple shelters and seeing the zombies come out. :-)

8)(8 said...

Interesting about Minecraft.

Who wants to take photos of the mess and post it! LOL Maybe a snippet of a pile to work on.

It all sounds lovely.

Jenn said...

Love all the project based learning! My girls would definitely be at home at your house;)

I also like the quote you shared and the fact that you highlighted Keilee. One of the reasons we gave up our television coverage is that I don't want the girls to emulate pop culture (we still use the tv for Netflix, dvds, and/or the wii, but we are intentional about what we watch). I want my girls to have real heroes! I'm reading about Mother Theresa now:)

I really don't have much advice about creating a portfolio for college, but I do teach at a small Christian work college. Admissions weighs prospective students by their transcripts, grades, ACT/SAT scores, and writing skills. However, they also look to see that students are well-rounded and involved in different activities within the community (volunteer opportunities, church, sports, work, the arts...) Homeschoolers typically have no problem in these areas, but for many students we recommend that they enroll as concurrent students while high school juniors or seniors. That way they can earn dual credit (high school and college) for a class like American History while testing the waters in college. Students who are successful as concurrent students have no trouble being admitted later as full time students. They've already proven that they can do the work:) Just a thought!

Jessica said...

Thank you! I am keeping an "official" transcript now so that it will be easy for high school. I have included her volunteer work, and internships. My hope is that come high school she will either take classes where she is interning, or at a local community college that is very homeschool friendly. It is too soon to start thinking about the SAT/ACT.....

Jessica said...

Thank you. This is the first time I have merged Minecraft with our "curriculum". I have always limited it to when their work was done. This is a win/win. They got to play and I watched them play while reading and researching! It will be interesting to see what they come up with.

Jessica said...

That is how my two began! Then they learn more and their worlds become more complex. My youngest spent hours and hours making an elaborate chinese pagoda-style building. She found a sample on Minecraft images and copied it block by block into her world.

So far through this historical application we have talked about area, perimeter, they have had to justify their choice of topography to build on from a tactical viewpoint, and decide what material to build with. I am sure I will have an update with next weeks wrap up!

Jessica said...

Sometimes it just feels so hard to lead our children down the right path. There are so many negative outside influences constantly influencing us. It was mentioned in our church this evening, about keeping your light strong and keeping the evil away.

Thank you for letting me share Keilee's video. You do amazing things that help many people. By sharing the positives, the light shines a bit brighter!

Susan Getty said...

This sounds like such a great week, Jess... I love all the project-based learning that is going on at your house!

Wow, that is some Christmas village set...whew! Good luck with the de-cluttering. I hate clutter and I strive very hard to reduce it in every aspect of our lives.

The "How To Train Your Dragon" series is on our audio book list for the future. Right now we are listening to "The Lost Hero" by Rick Riordan.

Christina @ Interest-Led Learning said...

I haven't listened or read through the materials of this course yet by Diane Flynn Keith, but I know several homeschoolers who have teens who unschool who have found it very useful. Diane also talks about creating unschooling portfolios. Unschool Your Teen Resource Guide

I really love reading these weekly wrap up posts. Thanks so much for sharing!

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