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This Week in Homeschooling #3

Okay, maybe I can handle posting once a week… The baby is more mobile and less nap-prone, and I can’t find time.  This is what we did the week of 1/16-1/22.

I started each day by reading a poem out of our new poem book:

  •  Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost — because of the snow!
  • The Destruction of Sennacherib, Lord Byron — The Boy was pleased to learn poems can also be about war.
  • The Red Wheelbarrow, William Carlos Williams — They liked this one best! The chickens stuck in their heads.
  • Sonnet 18, Shakespeare
  • The Raven, Edgar Allen Poe

The boy spent the week reviewing his basic math facts, which apparently all fell out of his head. He also started learning about averages, which for some reason he doesn’t like.

The Girl started her science classes. This week we talked about categorizing things, and I pulled out the button bag and had the kids organize them into different piles based on whatever characteristics they wanted. After some time, they realized they had some buttons that fit into multiple piles, so I introduced the idea of Venn Diagrams. We also discussed how vending machines sort coins by size.

We went to a local homeschoolers Game Day for the first time, and played a fun game about a sinking island and met new people.

We finished our lesson about diffusion and Brownian motion and began delving into cells. The pond water grandma gave us is full of all sorts of things that are still alive, so we looked at them and some onion skin. Also, we put a  chicken bone in vinegar to see what would happen, and I made The Boy posit a hypothesis (he thought the bone would “dissolve into chunks” and discussed diffusion).

In language arts, he’s really excited about diagramming sentences — we learned all about linking verbs and the subject complement and practiced finding the direct object of our action verb.

For history, we studied Peter the Great. Grandma sent pictures of Peterhof and the kids drew what a city would look like if they built it from scratch.

I finally put together all of the parts of All About Spelling, so The Girl began learning phonograms their way. We read more in her High Five magazine and she actually drew a square! She’s had some weird mental block about squares for ever and ever, so it’s nice to know she’s gotten over that. And she’s very good at simple addition and subtraction.

In cub scouts, they worked on their art belt loops, which involved learning about texture and tint/shade, making clay sculptures, and using stamps and things to make cards for people. He used one card for his sister’s birthday card, which I thought was very sweet. He even wrote her name and address on it. He also played chess against me and the Nintendo DS to work on his chess belt loop. He is also working on finishing up all his Wolf requirements, so he’s charting his hygiene habits, his household chores, and we discussed respect, the environment, and recycling.

He video chatted with a friend in California, and they apparently enjoy doing Madlibs together. (Yay!) Plus, he got to listen to his cousin’s band concert.

And that’s all I can remember. 🙂

Hot and Sour Soup

I wish I had a picture of today’s invention, but I was so excited to have it, that I ate it in a hurry.

I haven’t had hot and sour soup in several years, since I discovered I was gluten-intolerant. That means I can’t eat wheat, barley, rye or anything made with them — including soy sauce! So I’ve had to re-invent and adapt and scrounge for gluten-free versions of everything I used to love to eat. Especially when it comes to Chinese and Japanese food because so much of it is based on soy sauce.

Writing recipes doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t like to eat the same thing over and over, and I tend to just throw in whatever strikes my fancy or whatever I have laying around the kitchen. For example, I had some excellent chili oil from Chile (thanks mom!), so I used that, but skipped the scallions because I didn’t have any. We had carrots, and that sounded good. So, take this as a suggestion and go wild. Remember to taste often and adjust to the way
you like it!

Hot and Sour Soup

Servings: 2-4
Cook Time: prep: 10 min / cook: 10 min / total: 20 min


  • 4 cups chicken broth (make your own! It’s easy!)
  • 3 small carrots, grated
  • 8 medium shiitake mushrooms, chopped into thin strips
  • 2 inch piece of pepperoni or chinese sausage, chopped
  • 1/2 block tofu, chopped into small cubes
  • 2 Tbs mirin (or red wine vinegar, or chinese cooking wine)
  • 1-2 Tbs rice wine vinegar (depends on how sour you like it)
  • 1-2 Tbs soy sauce (I use reduced sodium, gluten free — use as much as tastes good. If you have saltier broth or soy sauce, it could get too salty)
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1.5 tsp pepper (white is better, but black works)
  • 0.5 tsp chili oil (or more!)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger (or more!)
  • 1 tsp grated garlic (or more!)
  • 1 egg, beaten


  • cilantro
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • garlic powder
  • ginger powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • additional salt (taste first!)


  1. Put everything but the egg in a saucepan on high.
  2. When it boils, turn it down to medium.
  3. Simmer until carrots and mushrooms are as tender as desired.
  4. Take off heat, slowly dribble in beaten egg while you stir, to “feather” the egg out into the soup.
  5. Eat!

This week in Homeschooling #1 (2011)

There are a few reasons to write up what we do every week here. First, it’s a good way to record it for later — for portfolio reviews, for next time I’m teaching the same things, for the kids once they are older and maybe want to read a few things about what we used to do. Also, new homeschoolers are always looking for a little peek into what life as a homeschooler is — and while I’m by no means “typical”, it’s always interesting to see what other people do. The kids can also use this as their own publishing platform, as they like. Plus, I like to do the week’s planning on Sunday, so Saturday is a great time to figure out what we did this week, so I know what to work on next week. And finally, it’s a way for family and friends to see what we’re up to, so they can feel connected, or so they can offer any sort of tie-ins they might have with our lessons. For example, grandma can often contribute pictures of important monuments and museums in Europe.

Moving on, this week was on the slow side. Everyone’s had fevers and coughs, so they have mostly been hibernating, not doing a lot of “official” learning.

We watched a show about flying dinosaurs! The Boy worked on division a little, and we all enjoyed looking at some fractal snowflakes (I made a few, but the kids seemed a bit daunted by the idea). He also wrote countless emails to friends and family. He used his new drill and hacksaw to build things, and he’s currently at Home Depot to buy more PVC and wood while his dad gets some tools to help the two of them fix the plumbing. We talked more about hygiene and sickness, two issues that come up a whole lot around here. 😉

It’s a New Year!

And what’s a new year without a resolution? So, I am resolving to get back to writing, just like a million other people. I miss it. I used to write a lot more than I do now. I’ve written manuals, help screens, tutorials, essay-style emails, blog posts,animal care guides, game instructions, real-time role-played stories, and countless other things… until recently. Something about three kids just sucks up way more time than you might think.

Anyway, I had a previous “Home is Possible” blog that I ran out of time for, but what the heck, let’s try again. Maybe this one won’t sink into the swamp.

The original Home Is Possible began just after I quit my full time job, pulled the kids out of daycare and decided to homeschool them. I was completely stressed out and decided that being home — not at work, not at school — was possible. It wasn’t something I ever expected to do growing up. I thought I’d be a judge or a scientist or something. But I wasn’t. And kids change everything.

Anyway, I was gardening, baking bread, and doing it all… at home. So that’s what this one will be about, too. Hopefully I’ll know what I’m talking about, even.

I expect to post about:

  • cooking — now with gluten-free baking, too!
  • gardening — I’m starting my new garden soon, easily the largest I’ve ever had, since we now have a yard!
  • homeschooling — I’m just about to put together our first portfolio (here in MD, they do two portfolio reviews per year. Bleh. Oh well, it’s nice to make a list of everything you’ve accomplished. Makes you feel like something actually got done!) and it sure would be nice to have some blog posts to look back on to put it together. Also, the kids are welcome to post things here, too.
  • crafting — I like crochet, knitting, and sewing. When I have time.
  • building — hopefully we’ll have our wood shop together soon! (We moved 3000 miles this summer, and with the baby and kids and stuff unpacking is taking forever!)
  • geeky things — we’re all geeks. So video games, interesting programs, gadgets, space, chemistry….
  • anything else that strikes my fancy. But probably mostly about not-school and not-work. 

 Welcome. 🙂