All posts by Katie

This Week in Homeschooling #2 (2011)

Our illnesses finally broke this past week, so posting was delayed while we actually went out and saw people and did things. It is so wonderful to finally get out of the house!

So, for the week of January 8th through the 14th, this is what we did:


  • The Boy learned about dividing by 4 and reviewed multiplying 2-digit numbers… which he forgot he ever learned. I had to show him papers from a few months ago to prove he did. I guess we’ll take a little detour to review that and firm up his addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts.
  • The Girl is working on simple addition and subtraction, practicing counting larger groups of things, and just beginning telling time. They also played together with a Reader rabbit math game and did a few puzzles.

Language Arts

  • The Boy reviewed the grammar we were working on before we all got sick, including: action vs. linking verbs, subject and predicate, the direct object, and subject vs. object pronouns. He also diagrammed two sentences.
  • He also practiced writing by sending email and chat messages to friends and family. He read some Calvin and Hobbes to himself and listened to me read The Mysterious Benedict Society.
  • The Girl is starting All About Spelling to learn the sounds the letters make and played a lot of Starfall. They both played a lot of Madlibs.
  • The Girl enjoyed whatever books her dad read to her, a High Five magazine, and an audio recording of Just So Stories.

Social Studies

  • We finished Story of the World (part 3) Chapter 16, and learned about the new scientific farming. Yay Jethro Tull! Seed drills and crop rotation.
  • We also talked about the “Tragedy of the Commons” and how that relates to the agricultural revolution.
  • We watched two episodes of “Engineering an Empire” which covered some history of ancient Greece and the Aztecs.
  • Plus we talked about how in different cultures, colors have different meanings.


  • We’re finally beginning our new Science book, with a lesson about Brownian motion and diffusion.
  • We watched an episode of Rough Science about panning for gold, making a scale, and making a metal detector (and, of course, “Engineering an Empire” had a lot of science and engineering content).
  • We built a fire in the fireplace and talked about the chemistry of fires.


  • Still taking it slow, but we did play outside in the snow and went to gymnastics. We talked about the importance of stretching, safe stretching, and tried out the exercise balls we got for Christmas.


  • Thanks to our illnesses, we talked (again!) a lot about hygiene of washing hands, how viruses spread and things like that.
  • Also, the importance of brushing our teeth when we eat candy all day long to make our sore throats feel better.
  • We talked some more about how babies are made, chronic illnesses, and fire safety.


  • Just free-form singing around the house and listening to whatever was on the radio or iTunes, mostly. Sore throats and coughing don’t work well with music.


  • We read two books about different sorts of art (Paintings and Landscapes)
  • Did a lot of coloring and stickers and making paper snowflakes
  • Talked a bit about why artists pick this color instead of that color (which ties in with how different cultures use color).
  • The Girl followed the instructions in her magazine to make a crown (with some help).


The Girl did some worksheets about tools people in different jobs use, matching things that go together, and most importantly the different seasons and which clothes you wear in those seasons. The Boy learned about fixing things, especially the plumbing, and practiced with his drill and hacksaw.

Whew! Next week we’ll have better lesson plans and really get back to school.

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. 🙂