Saturday, January 26, 2013

Week of January 25, 2013

In My Life This Week:  Growing up in Massachusetts, I remember coming home from school, rushing to get my ice skates, grabbing a thermos of hot chocolate and racing across the street to the frozen pond where a battle would ensue between my friends who wanted to skate and the boys who wanted to play hockey.  Eventually we would settle on our designated space but inevitably the puck would sail by us followed by boys who had no consideration for our need to practice spins and twirls.

My girls have very few memories of pond skating.  We live just a few houses away from two ponds but we have never skated on them.  They never look safe to me.  We are keeping our eye on another pond in our neighborhood....that one must be safe by now.  Not that I want to skate in this frigid weather!  

I know I should not complain that it is 20 degrees in Connecticut in January.  Not after the relatively mild winter we have had so far.  But man it is cold!  So cold, I have not been getting up early to write.  So cold, I stay tucked in until at least 7:00 which makes our day get off to a late start and seems to affect all we do.  I feel like not enough was accomplished this week.  What we did, we did well, but I am left feeling like we could have done more......

In My Homeschool This Week:  We dove into to Zoology 2.  The girls love the notebooking journal I purchased for them.  To do the accompanying activities takes longer of course, and a chapter that would normally be completed in one week now takes two.  I am fine with that because I feel the activities are worth the extra time and reinforce their understanding of the text.  

Math is going well.  Grace is working on scale.  She is mapping a floor plan of a room in our house and then drawing it to scale on graph paper.  The next step for her is to work in our yard.  I explained that when we applied for a variance to install the pool, we had to map our yard to scale.  We had to show where the pool would be, where our house is and the dimensions of the lot.  I would like Grace and Greg to create a scaled layout of our garden.  This spring we will be constructing several raised beds and it would be helpful to have a plan before we begin ordering seeds.   Lilah is continuing along with Fred.  This book deals with fuctions.  I love that it lays the foundations for higher math, but I am a bit disappointed that this book has not inspired her to research and create.  Last book she researched tigers, flags and obligate carnivores.  This book has not inspired any of this inquiry......She is almost done and perhaps the next one will be better.  

Art Journaling happened Thursday and it was one of my favorite sessions.  You can read more here.

Writing group also took place Friday.  Having time set aside every week for writing with peers is so invigorating.  I have discovered that I really do not like writing fiction.  At all.  I wrote a piece that I think is just fair and it gave me a glimpse into how Grace feels about writing. I understand why she likes to write historical fiction, the history gives your story a guideline to follow.  I am looking forward to reading her story, which focuses on Super Storm Sandy through a dog’s point of view.  Lilah is writing a story with Leprauchans, other worlds, and a girl who is on a quest.  So different are my two girls....

Minecrafting is on hold this week.  We left books at my Aunt’s house in Massachusetts Monday when we went to visit.  She kindly mailed them back to us so we would not have to wait until our next visit.

Places We Are Going and People We are Seeing:  It was a busy week for the girls.  Monday we traveled to Massachusetts to spend the day with my Aunt.  Tuesday we took time to visit friends we don’t get to see often.  Grace spent hours in the “woods” working on a fort.  I am glad she has two friends who share this interest.  This is something she does not have the opportunity to do in her own backyard.  She also had the opportunity to discover a musical instrument that was made in Madagascar.  I have not researched the name of it, but it works much like a guitar.  By sliding the pieces of wood up or down, she can get the note she wants.  Wednesday was piano day.  Thrusday art journaling day and basketball practice.  Friday was writing group and basketball games. It was a full week.  

What We Are Reading:  I was made aware that a children’s book that has been picked as Fairfield, Connecticut’s One Town, One Book reading selection.  It is titled Wonder by first time author, R.J. Palacio.  The library has many interesting activities planned around this book, including an Instagram contest to capture images of acts of kindness.  I began this book and was instantly pulled into the main character’s story.  He is a 5th grade boy who has been homeschooled due to his need for multiple surgeries to deal with a severe facial deformity and other health issues.  His parents would like him to go to school so that he can learn to handle being part of a larger social group and learn to function within that  group while being labeled as "different".  Two things:

  • I don’t think this author ever homeschooled, because home schooled kids get to connect with children of various ages, in various settings, all the time.  They are out and about in the REAL world every day.  The setting of this book is New York City.   It would be impossible to homeschool there and not have to face dealing with people and people’s reactions every single day.
  • The mother tells August that she wants him to go to school to learn things that she cannot teach him, like fractions.  Ugh.  This is such a stereotype of homeschooling.  That parents are incapable of teaching their children anything harder than 2+2=4 or 150 / 3 = 50.  Seriously.  I do not claim to be an expert in math.  If and when I encounter a level of math that I am not comfortable with, there are a million places I can turn to to find someone who is better suited to teach it than me and only one of those places is school.    

I addressed these two issues with Grace and Lilah before they began reading.  From the comments on Amazon, this book makes a lasting impact on its reader, not for debating the merits of homeschooling, but for how a boy changes the lives of those he encounters.  

Questions/Thoughts I Have:  Any advice/tips for travel with older children to Montana?  We are seriously considering a trip to Helena in late spring/early summer......  It is on Greg’s bucket list and the more I reasearch the more excited I become about the possibility!

Quote To Share:   When I am poking around Pinterest I come across many quotes and depending on what is occupying space in my mind at the moment, I pin them.  This was my inspiration quote for art journaling this week.  I do not know the original source for this picture, the link is to a Tumbler account who admits that she does not know the original source so I will credit this picture to Pinterest. 

This struck me because I have struggled a bit this week with good thoughts.  I am so frustrated with how our culture focuses on the negative. I can’t watch much news anymore.  I cannot hear about another murder/subway attack/death from a fire or a about a hit and run.  I just can’t.  I can’t hear all this talk about gun control when there is no talk about mental health.  Has anyone noticed that many of the young men who have committed mass acts of violence with a gun over the past several years was either on, or coming off, an anti-depressant or medication for “diseases” like ADHD?  Why are we not seeking information from big Pharma? Probably because our politicians are in bed with every major industry from banking, to agriculture, to pharmaceuticals, and they won’t bite the hand that feeds them.  

Good thoughts.  I want to focus my energy on good thoughts.  The child that creates a beautiful piece of art.  The person who does something extraordinary with his or her ordinary life.  The person who has not fallen from grace but rather given the gift of grace.  

I want to do things that inspire me to be a better person.  As much as I grumble about teaching Religious Education, it inspires me to be better, to learn more and to be more faithful.  As much as I detest getting up on these cold winter days, I am going to begin again and work yoga into my daily routine.  I am going to spend time with people who make me feel good.  I am going to hug my children, play with my dogs and enjoy the time I spend with my husband.  I am going to read good books.  I am going to create my own little bubble of good thoughts!

Homegrown Learners


Andrea said...

I can't wait for it to be 20! Here in VT we didn't get into the double digits all week. I had trouble getting out of bed as well, 'cause
-15 is chilly!!!! Your week sounds quite full, even if you don't feel it. There was variety, getting out of the house, and creativity, everything sounds just perfect. I've never done a weekly wrap-up, I may consider doing it just once.....

Jessica said...

I can't imagine what -15 feels like. I would never leave the house and I would bribe my children to bring in wood for the stove! I got away from doing weekly wrap ups but I find that they make me stop once a week and reflect on our week and evaluate what is working and what is not. They are time consuming, but for me, worth it.

Stay warm!!!!

Mary Prather said...

Jess -- a trip to Montana sounds wonderful! When we did our trip to Wyoming (check one off the bucket list!), I used a site called Roadside America ( It had some out of the way things for us to do that turned out to be WONDERFUL and not crowded. We also always look for National Parks and Junior Ranger Programs. I'm jealous!!

It's been in the 30s here this week and I think that's cold -- stay warm, my friend!

Theresa Novak said...

"Probably because our politicians are in bed with every major industry from banking, to agriculture, to pharmaceuticals, and they won’t bite the hand that feeds them. "--Sometimes I think you and I are so different and then I read something like this and think, not so much. I could not agree more. I am not a fan of guns, but I support our right to bear arms and I know a lot of very responsible gun owners. The issue here is not guns, it's mental health. I don't want to live with armed guards at movie theaters and libraries, shopping malls and post offices...because it can not stop at would terrify me, quite frankly, to see armed guards everywhere.

I have become aware of a lot of hatred in the Christian blog world. Not that I ever identified as a Christian blogger by these people's terms, but some of what I was reading had me very upset and agitated. For the last few months I felt like I wanted no part of blogging. I wrote a post Thursday addressing a lot of how I feel about it.

What are you doing with books and Minecrafting?

Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

It has been down right cold! However, it's supposed to reach 50 in MI on Tuesday. What the heck?! Then back to freezing cold again. We have never been to Montana, but sounds like fun. I never watch the news, I haven't for a long time. Recently, since the election really, I have made the decision to stop listening to pretty much all talk radio. I can't change much of what is going on in the world, so I have decided to focus on what I can control. I can't even begin to say what a big difference it has made. Your blog always inspires me!

Jessica said...

Theresa, I read your blog post this week. We are different on some issues, but not as many as you think. In my opinion, you are conservative on some issues, like a fiscally responsible government and a secure nation. We differ on the remaining two: a limited government, and the preservation of life and social issues. I feel strongly that we should not be spreading hate in this world, political hate, religious hate, social hate, no matter what our opinions are and how strongly we hold them.

Your blog has been a place to be who you are and you have kept it honest and honorable. Not every blog I read shares my same fact many I read don't, but as long as we are coexisting in this world and in this blogging world peacefully, I keep reading, and enjoying, and learning.

I hope you can work through what has made you feel so strongly. It would be a shame for the blog world to lose your voice!

Jessica said...

Oh....forgot to mention Minecraft. I asked the girls to create a world that is a historical representation of the late middle ages. They are researching castles and their locations in order to locate a strategic plot of land and construct a castle! Lilah is loving it, Grace not so much!

Jessica said...

I stopped listening too. I thought I might like Glen Beck but I listen to him and my anxiety builds. All we can do is what is best for our families and I learn so much from what you are doing. Right now I barely watch the local news unless it is to hear the weather and with Grace around I don't need to do that often!

Jessica said...

I am bookmarking Roadside America and I will use that next time we visit my in-laws in TN! Thank you!!!

Karen said...

I honestly wish I was right next door and we could pop in and out of each other's houses. I wish that Keilee could do Art Journaling and Writing with you and the girls and be in Lilah's LLC. Jess you are such an inspiration to me. Seriously I love the way you educate your girls so very much.

I love reading all your posts but your Weekly Wrapups are my favorites. I am so glad you are doing them again.

Frogcreek said...

Montana is our our list! When Ev is about 11 we are doing a cross country road trip and we are hitting the major national parks from Cali up and across, next summer we are doing Grand Canyon and the Arizona/New Mexico parks. So much awesomeness out there!. I have found a lot of info just googling the place you want to go and teens, Be sure to include in your search, blogs and forums and the like and you will get so much great info!

Jessica said...

I think we should try Skype. I will plan an art journaling page and we can give it a try. We can talk about what would be a good time! Ask Kei if she would be interested......

Jessica said...

We found a company, two sisters who plan itineraries. They have a trip to Wyoming that looks absolutely magical. Right now we are leaning towards that. I have to call them today. When you say "vacation" I think tropical weather, book on the beach and frozen drink. I almost fell over when Greg said Montana and he already had ordered info from the Tourism Bureau. We are going to the Cape in August so that will be my relaxing trip and this one will be more like MSC, something to do and see every day!

Post a Comment

Don't You Just Stay Home All Day?

It’s funny because last night at youth group some of the kids friends were discussing homeschooling and really truly felt that we stay home...