Category Archives: homeschool

A Day In the Life…

I’ve tried to write a “day in the Life” post before, but my days are so busy I usually forget to keep writing things down after only a couple of hours. Thanks to Moment Diary on my phone, I managed to actually take notes for almost the entire day last Tuesday. I tried not to make any out-of-the-ordinary plans. I know that a lot of homeschoolers feel pressure to only post good days and not giant failures. I decided I’d post whatever actually happened. Happily, it ended up being a pretty good day anyway.

8:30 am
Up at 8:30 and woke up the baby. We’re having a problem with the kids staying up really late and sleeping in so I’m trying to get them up a bit earlier each day. The boy happened to get up at the same time (yay!). He starts to heat up leftover pizza for him and baby while I catch up on FaceBook, twitter, email, and order xmas presents from woot kids.

9:00 am
The girl gets up and also eats pizza.

9:15 am
The girl continues to eat, the boy empties out the dishwasher, and the baby opens the fridge and starts chugging chocolate syrup.

9:30 am
Went down to start laundry and get clothes. They haven’t been put away in a month. We’ll pretend that’s just because of my injury and not a regular occurrence. 😉

9:45 am
Baby and I took a bath, followed by the girl. This involved a lot of grumpiness while the baby ran around and made me chase her. At the same time, the boy gets some computer time before school and he chooses to play some minecraft.

10:00 am
Aaaaand.. the baby still isn’t dressed. Maybe I can tell the boy that’s his first assignment for school….

10:10 am
Vocabulary for the boy! I read about the word grotesque while he draws with our new fine tip prang markers (they are quite inspiring. 36 colors, lots of control. I hope the baby doesn’t eat them.) Meanwhile, the girl plays minecraft and the baby wanders around grabbing markers and harassing everyone.

10:20 am
Grammar for the boy — review verb tenses, learn perfect vs imperfect, review adverbs.

10:25 am
The boy does a couple logic problems in Logic Safari while I clean up markers from the baby.

10:33 am
Girls still playing minecraft. The boy practices writing numbers. I order a new, harder logic book…

10:37 am
Switch! The boy plays “everybody edits”, the baby is sort of on the DS. The girl starts drawing while I read kidpower about checking first with your adult before you go places, pet things, and accept things from strangers.

10:56 am
Trying to read a book, but the baby likes it and is offended that someone else is holding it. We end up giving up.

11:08 am
The 
girl goes back to minecraft. School breaks for my first breakfast and their second. I make vanilla milk, sausage, and chicken nuggets for various people.

11:15 am
Field call from husband about amazon special on something to give baby. Accidentally pour way too much vanilla in milk so we mix all together and repour. I continue to cook sausage…. son is serving vanilla milk while the baby drags around a bucket calling it a potty and the boy fields questions (from his sister halfway across the house) about minecraft. Then the kids take out the trash and recyclables and I rescue another baby mantis from the pizza box and put him in the herb garden. The choas is palpable.

11:30 am
Wednesday is a “day off” of activities usually, even when I can drive, so it’s usually our house cleaning day and we do more school than other days. The kids watch TV while they eat and I try to finish taking out recycling, eat sausage,  do the dishes, and rescue another mantis!

12:00 pm
Had to stop repeatedly to get baby unstuck from chair, to stop eating paper, etc.. whew! Now for a couple minutes rest while I make a grocery list.

12:30 pm
Made two little books with the girl while the boy plays on the computer. Baby tries to eat and choke on stickers. Might be plans for the girl to play with her cousin! whee!

12:45 pm
The sun is out and so are we!

1:00 pm
The kids make obstacle courses for each other. The wind chill is about 34. The girl is wearing a dress and for some crazy reason the baby takes her jacket off. I find gloves.

1:15 pm
The baby decide we’re going inside and nurses to sleep while I check facebook stuff and kids played on computer.

1:45 pm
Help the girl pack for a sleepover at her cousin’s house

2:00 pm
Eating popcorn, drinking tea, coloring with the girl, sending grocery list to the husband, check amazon deals, color some more. Boy still on computer, baby still sleeping. Wow! I get to spend time with the 5 year old for a change!

3:00 pm
Baby demands I help her nap. I inwardly groan — bedtime will be late again…

4:30 pm
The girl went to her cousin’s and the boy makes brownies!

5:30 pm
Husband comes home, we put away groceries, brownies cool, I make dinner — meatballs, bok choi, and pineapple from the 6 lb can.

6:00 pm
Nurse baby (again?!), dinner is done, boy playing with paper airplanes, the husband is making fractal art.

6:30 pm
m=’=’=()!””#!(#<
(the baby got my phone…)

7:00 pm
Watching Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Does this count as history?

9:00 pm
Winding down for bed. The husband is checking email, I’m on the floor being body slammed by the baby, the boy is on the computer while we all watch Psych.

…and I didn’t manage to take any more notes. Baby fell asleep around 11pm…. An amazingly quiet evening since the girl was gone. Bedtime with her is usually a lot of extra work….

In School This Week

When you’re homeschooling, not all learning is contained in books, or at a table, or even between the hours of 8-5. Sometimes it’s at night, or running in the backyard, or rolling around on the floor. So I find it hard to really capture *everything* we do for school in a week. On Tuesday, I’m going to put up a post documenting a day in our life (for heathenhomeschooler.com). But of course, no two homeschoolers days look the same, and no two of my days ever look the same, either!

For a little while, the perfectionist list maker in me just stopped recording what we did, because it was just too much pressure to remember every last thing we discussed or learned, or whatever, but now I don’t care. Just realize, science (especially) or history, government, philosophy, or any numbers of things that just come up in conversation might not be listed here. I say this realizing that yes, school kids also have conversations all day where they also learn things. But those conversations are an intentional part of our school, so I really feel like I should list them sometimes.
Not to mention, it often feels like planning the lessons plus writing about them afterwards actually takes longer than the lessons themselves!

Anyway… on to this week!

Math
The boy really loves doing logic problems, so he completed about 7 of them this week. I even had to order him a new book! (Logic Countdown — it even introduces syllogisms, deduction, inference, etc!) He also spent some time at Khan Academy, where his favorite lesson is about identifying conic sections. But this week he worked on angles, subtracting large numbers, fractions, and whatever else seemed like fun at the time. Does anyone know a good way to export information about the past 4-6 months from the site suitable for a portfolio review?

The girl really loves having addition and subtraction problems drawn out of cute things like hearts, apples, and ponies. She also did several pages in her Singapore Math 1A book about sequence, ordinal vs. cardinal numbers, position, and subtraction.

The baby really likes to count two of things. Last night she even pointed to each of four chicken nuggets while we both counted them.

Science
With the baby around and my leg wound, science is a little harder to do. I can’t do anything physically difficult, and the baby is dangerous to have around chemicals. But still, I continued to build on what we were doing to talk about flight with the boy (BFSU II: C-8). We watched a show about the future of flight, involving making flexible wings on planes more like bird wings. We read (in books and on the web) about Bernoulli’s principle, plane anatomy, helicopters, and even wandered off to look at submarines (which ties in nicely to last month’s lessons about buoyancy!). He remembered learning about terms like yaw and pitch at Space Camp, and got to play with a toy helicopter around the house.

The girl played with our globe and we discussed what North, South, East and West actually mean, as well as day and night (BFSU I: D-3a).

The baby is continuing to scientifically investigate everything, mostly with the extra sensitive devices in her mouth. Like her tongue. She enjoys identifying animals and describing their color and their size.


Language Arts
The boy is still working on All About Spelling 2 — he really doesn’t like spelling that much. Really, he learns more from reading and writing (well, typing). But I think some of the rules are still handy to know. We keep the lessons to five words twice a week tops. This week was lessons 2-15, 2-16, and 2-17, words with “er”, “ar” and “or”. We did the next chapter in his vocabulary book, Caesar’s English — serene, acute, grotesque, condescend, and odious. In his grammar book we reviewed adverbs and linking and action verbs, and learned about perfect verb tenses. The most important thing about adverbs? They aren’t your friends.

For the girl, I created little booklets with simple pictures and words for her to read. Sure, there are a million readers out there, but it’s nice to write ones that have all the things they love that just never happen together in a published book. (Like pink worms swinging at the park). She spent some time on Starfall and we read Curious George together (and who knows what else, I didn’t keep track. HAH!). She is in All About Spelling I, and worked on reviewing old words plus lesson 1-23 which is about plurals.

The baby continues to add words to her vocabulary, attempt to add a few more consonants (like the occasional “l”!), and love reading. She also pretends to read words, and likes to play with letter magnets while saying random letter names.  And the draws in books. A lot. Grr.

History/Social Studies
We’re all over the place here, but usually everyone does this together. For The Boy, I read Story of the World III Chapter 36 about the abolitionist movement of the early 19th century. For the girl’s study of ancient history, we read about ancient Mesopotamian clay seals and tried making some. The baby crushed my seal, turned it into a snake, and declared that his name was Psych. (She is obsessed with that show. It’s weird.)

Health
Often for us, health is just about me reminding them to eat, drink, and wash their hands after they go potty. What foods are good, why we need sleep, go drink more water, etc.. But we also use a workbook made by the folks at Kid Power that talks about staying safe, strangers, bullies, and so forth. The boy had pages about what a stranger is and how strangers get to be people we know. The girl learned about how you need to check first with your adult before you pet strange animals, accept food, etc..

The baby resists all attempts at wearing a diaper, clothes, not peeing on the floor, not picking her nose, weaning, eating decent food, going to bed early, or following any health recommendations at all.

Art
This is often free-form. They often make things, draw things, color things. We made things out of clay. We didn’t have any historical art other than beautiful clay seals. Or art techniques, really. The baby drew inside of many books, including library books…

Music
I started The Boy on some Music Theory lessons. This week was about clefs and the staff. The girl and the baby sing songs almost non-stop.

PE
Not much we can do there while I’m hurt. The kids played outside and the girl went to gymnastics.

And that’s our week! Or what I remember of it.

Gluten Free Fractal Cookies

 It’s math. It’s baking. It’s gluten free, egg free, and soy free! It’s homeschooling, unschooling, and really quite tasty. It has chocolate and chemistry! It’s just the most perfect activity ever.

Inspired by Evil Mad Scientist,  who we met a few years ago at the SF Area Maker Faire (and enjoyed their bristle bots quite a lot too), we decided to tackle them. I’d put it off, since I wasn’t so confident in my gluten free baking. But the Gluten Free ratio rally fixed that!

First, we used the master recipe for 1-2-3 shortbread cookies (that’s 1 sugar : 2 fat : 3 flour) from Ratio, using GF ingredients:

1-2-3 Cookies

  • 100 g sugar (we used white, but you could mix with brown or honey for other flavors and textures)
  • 200 g butter (we used salted)
  • 300 g flour — I used 50g tapioca flour, 50 g corn starch, and 200 g rice flour
  • a tiny amount of xanthan gun (to avoid my donut disaster)
  • a dash of vanilla (double strength, from Penzeys)
  • HALF the dough also gets enough chocolate powder to make it nice and brown (also from Penzeys)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

We kept putting the dough in and out of the freezer to help it not get too squishy, but if it was in there too long it got brittle and hard to roll. So…. yeah, this was challenging!

Anyway, you break the vanilla dough into 8 equal parts and roll into snakes. Break the chocolate dough into similarly sized pieces and roll into similarly sized snakes. Then, make the snakes all square.

Then, build the first pattern, with the 8 vanilla pieces arrange around the chocolate in a square shape — imagine a phone dial pad, where 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, and 9 are vanilla, and 5 is chocolate. Cut a few squares from this roll.

Next, cut the remaining log into 8 equal pieces, roll out, and make square snakes trying to keep the pattern the same! Sort of the way they make hard candy with shapes in it… Arrange those 8 around a new chocolate snake. Cut more cookies, this time with a big chocolate square, and many tiny squares with a chocolate dot in them.

Repeat until you can’t stand it. 🙂 Bake them all for 15-20 minutes. Enjoy while thinking about the recently departed Benoit Mandelbrot and consider growing some romanesco in his memory.

It’s just a great sensory activity that involves plenty of weighing and measuring, fine motor skills, and abstract math concepts that works for kids (and adults!) of just about any age.

Edited: Removed “dairy free” because, well, it has butter. You could use shortening or lard or any other solidish fat. Next time I’ll try cutting in a little cream cheese, I think.

Experiment: Can you make Gluten Free Donuts Without Xanthan Gum?

Objective: To attempt to make donuts without xanthan gum. It’s part of my attempt to understand gluten free baking chemistry, using Ratio and other handy cookbooks.

Hypothesis: It should work, since the hot oil should help gelatinize the starch and help hold it together.

Method: Use a gluten-free recipe without the xanthan gum. (Okay, I didn’t plan this very well and cobbled something together from two recipes….)

Results: As soon as the batter hit the oil, it split into many tiny droplets that looked a lot like rice crispies (or, more specifically, Spaetzle).

Conclusion: No. No, you cannot omit the xanthan gum. It needs it to hold the batter together long enough to cook.

I attempted adding xanthan gum to to batter at this point, and it did hold together while it cooked, but the failed batter had used up much of the oil and there wasn’t enough to cook the dough. (And the xanthan gum wasn’t mixed in all that well.)

2011-2012 Cirricula

Okay, so we don’t do school “years”. We school year-round. Except when we take a break. And really, I don’t try to finish up books in a year. We finish them when we are done, which could be sooner or later than that, depending. But still, people like to talk cirricula and school years, so this is at least what we plan on using, as of now. Until I change it. Or the kids whine. Or the martian death plague visits us.

History for 3rd Grade and Kindergarten will be the same general topics, with activities that vary based on their abilities:

  • Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of History – right now it’s our pre-history spine, and will supplement the other books for the next several years.
  • Story of the World Volume 1
  • History Odyssey level 1 Ancients
  • Gombrich’s Little History of the World
  • Various history pockets, historical coloring books, streaming videos, lap books!
  • Activities from other subjects that have historical content (see below)
  • Ancient literature, perhaps kid versions when necessary, such as The Odyssey.
  • Kid literature, such as picture books, Timewarp Trio, Magic Treehouse.
  • 3rd grade only: online Mythology class

 Language Arts 3rd Grade:

  • Michael Clay Thompson, Town level — this includes Grammar Town, Practice Town, Paragraph Town, Caesar’s English, Building Poetry.
  • All About Spelling 2 and hopefully 3.
  • Classic Literature as it comes up.

Language Arts Kindergarten:

  • All About Spelling 1 (will probably be done before fall), 2, probably even 3
  • Mad Libs
  • Reading simple books
  • Not much else — she listens to her brother’s lessons and absorbs a lot.

 Math 3rd Grade:

  • Using a combination of Math-U-See and Singapore Math:
    • Continue to work on +, -, X, and division math facts
    • Continue to work on independently doing multi-step math problems, including long division
    • Continue work on fractions
    • Start decimals?
  • Logic problems (Logic Safari and other workbooks)
  • Living Math books, history, and activities, synchronized with history work
  • Read Life of Fred Fractions, The Number Devil, Zaccaro’s Challenge Math

Math Kindergarten:

  • Using Math-U-See and Singapore Math:
    • Continue to work on subtraction and addition
    • Continue to work on understanding place value
    • Start skip counting
  • Living Math books and activities, as she is able to participate

Science 3rd Grade and Kindergarten:

  • Nebel’s Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding for K-2 and 3-5
  • Prehistory (see history above)
  • Science stuff that comes up — nature, farming, space, etc.
  • Lots of science videos about space and engineering and nature.
  • Hakim’s The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way, synchronized with history lessons

 PE 3rd Grade and Kindergarten:

  • This is still a little unsure. We have some ideas for classes and such, but many schedules aren’t finalized enough for us to figure out which we can go to. Possibilities include a homeschool PE class, dance, soccer, swimming, and gymnastics.
  • Cub scouts – includes activities for the little siblings

Health 3rd Grade and Kindergarten:

  • Focus on fitness, stretching, what to do in an emergency, eating well, and staying safe.
  • Kidpower coloring books for issues with bullies, socialization, strangers, and emergencies.
  • Cub scout book for 3rd grader, deals with cleanliness, character, etc.

Art 3rd Grade and Kindergarten:

  • Meet the Masters – introduces a master artist and their style and has activties to try out that artist’s style
  • Art history synchronized with history class. May use Gombrich’s History of Art (filtered through me).
  • Drawing practice, a lot of practice painting and creating.

Music 3rd Grade and Kindergarten

  • Singing class? Unsure, due to schedule
  • Music history synchronized with history class
  • Trying out various instruments such as piano, violin, voice, recorder, etc.
  • Hopefully someone will learn to play something!!

Other:

  • Various life skills: cooking, cleaning!!, sewing, yardwork, camping
  • Foreign language?

 Anyway, that seems like a lot. And it probably is. But with more options and variety, everyone is happy!

My Whole World Is Changed

Ratio.

The day this book came, it promised to change my world. To expand my horizons. To let me finally understand baking and invent my own recipes, just as I’d always wanted. It’s like design patterns, but for baking!

There was just one problem — I had just gone gluten free.

So for two years, this book sat on my shelf, brutally mocking me. It was like seeing the holy grail, and watching it slip away from my grasp.

Thud.

Going gluten free was hard for me in a lot of ways. A lot of my favorite foods contain gluten. I was getting really into baking my own breads for the kids. Baking was sort of an essential part of the whole Home Is Possible experience — eating authentic, homemade recipes instead of mass produced junk. It was especially rough when I was pregnant with gestational diabetes and I couldn’t fall back on lite bread sandwiches or cheese and crackers. Piles of rice and rice noodles were right out.

Over time, I learned which gluten-free mixes I liked better. More companies started making their own gluten free versions of things — Bisquick and even Betty Crocker. But I really did not like using them. I never used the gluten versions. I didn’t use them even when I was a kid. Every summer as a teenager, I worked my way through the pastry cookbooks. The week I discovered pate a choux was especially tasty. Baking is like all the chemistry and biology labs I did in school, only instead of threatening me with acid burns and cancer, I got to eat the result! Box mixes were better than no bread or cookies at all, but it was a big step backwards from where I wanted to be.

I was mostly happy with the Gluten Free Baking Classics book, making decent scones and pancakes. But it required a lot of starches and rice and seemed devoid of any nutritional value, or even much taste. I wished I could bake with more interesting grains, like amaranth or teff. I could search for recipes on the internet, but it was like finding a needle in a haystack to find recipes I was really interested in — I’m picky. I don’t like cranberries, or sunflower seeds, or various other things people are always putting in gluten free foods. Or recipes would be gluten free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free… which is great if that’s what you need, but I wanted something more like what I made as a kid.

So, two nights ago, I discovered something amazing: The Gluten Free Ratio Rally.

Apparently, Ratio works for gluten free flours too. In fact, it works perfectly — the gluten free flours have a different density than wheat. That’s why you can’t just interchange them. I read the recipes for hours, hardly daring to believe it could be true. I could understand the secret of gluten free baking! And not just that, but apparently xanthan gum isn’t even really required for most of it!

I could hardly wait to try it myself. But it was midnight. And I didn’t have enough flour. But mostly the flour thing, I think.

So I let the kids help me, choosing which recipe to use (sponge cake), and weighing the flours and cracking the eggs. They even chose to color the glaze we put on top (isn’t it wonderfully ridiculous!)

The baking was forever. I tried a bit before it even cooled. I glzed it before it was cooled. Heck, we ate it before it even cooled, because I had to know if it could possibly be true!


The Boy wanted seconds. That is all the data required to know it was a resounding success.

It’s moist on the inside with a delightful little crumb. The edges are a little chewy like a great pound cake gets (and like box mixes never do). It tastes… like cake. Like the birthday cake my mom always made when we were kids. I can imagine adding all sorts of things to this cake. Nutmeg or cinnamon. A citrus glaze. Chocolate. Layers. The possibilities are endless. Just like I always wanted.

Even better — I now have the tools to convert my favorite old recipes, such as the families treasured Christmas cookies. It’s traditional! 

Home Is Possible’s First Gluten Free Ratio Cake
1:1:1:1 ratio, just like pound cake

8 oz eggs (4, plus a yolk if they are small)
8 oz sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs lime juice (the recipe called for lemon, but we didn’t have one)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder (the recipe said 2 tsp, but optional. We added 1 to make sure it rose enough)
3 oz sorghum flour
2.5 oz brown rice flour
1.5 oz tapioca starch
1 oz potato starch
8 oz melted, cooled butter

Preheat oven to 350F
Whisk eggs, sugar, salt, lime juice, and vanilla until eggs are 3 times original size (a few minutes).
Fold in dry ingredients, gently.
Fold in melted butter.
Pour into 9″ round cake pan and bake 30-45 minutes.

We iced it was confectioners sugar mixed with water until it was just the right consistency and added a little food coloring. (I was so excited, I forgot to add vanilla!)

Story By the Girl

The angel wanted to buy a sword, so the angel went in the sword shop. And the angel flew into it. And the angel was sad because she didn’t have any money. And then she generated money. And then she bought a dagger with a pink hilt and pink celestial bronze. And then she generated tape. And the angel said, “Hmmm. Maybe I should fix all the broken swords over there.” And fixed them. And then the angel went back home.

This week in Homeschooling #9 and #10

The past week is a blur of tiredness and illness. We all came down with the infamous rotavirus, and had fevers and horribleness. (And just as I’m publishing this, looks like the baby has roseola on top of everything. Wow. What a bad week.)

Math practice

World maths Day!

The Boy participated in World Maths Day, competing against kids from around the world in doing addition and subtraction problems against each other in real time. He was so delighted he declared his two favorite subjects to be “math and competition”. So I signed him up for spring soccer — but I’m sure this is one of those teams you’re not supposed to be too competitive on. Whatever. Like you can stop kids.

We also are moving our facts memorization to a cabinet. If you open the right door you can quiz yourself! Plus, it’s right next to where he eats, so he’ll get it by osmosis. The girl is enjoying quizzing us on math and doing simple addition and subtraction still.

Baby plants!

Science

We played with acids and bases and red cabbage
indicator, planted plants, and saw the tulips start coming up in the
backyard. We talked about spring and signs of spring, too. In the past
few days they’ve learned a lot more about earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear reactors, as well. 🙁

Health

We learned a lot about electrolytes, dehydration, and ways your body fights disease. Hands on!

A guy with a urine-based laser gun

Art

A lot of our sick time we’ve been doodling and drawing things.

Social Studies

We started re-watching Liberty’s Kids since we’re about to read the chapter of our book about the American Revolution. We’ve also been talking about all the uprisings going on around northern Africa right now and discussing different sorts of governments.

English

The boy has been typing emails and text messages to me, family and friends a lot lately. He’s also started reading Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke. He’s heard it read to him twice, but it’s an enormous book written somewhere in the 4th-5th grade level, and he’s already about 50 pages into it, I think. I’m proud of him just for trying! The girl has been doing a lot of writing of letters, and trying to sound out small words. The baby is using more and more words and has started playing with consonants. Which should help us be able to understand her. (Right now, she mostly talks in vowels, which makes me slightly crazy.)

Painting with dirt

PE

We went to PE class right before we came down with the evil
illness. With spring just about here, it was impossible to keep the
kids happy playing in a gym. So we adjourned to the park. 😀 Also, we
went to gymnastics class last week (but not this week).

Music

The kids went to their cousin’s band concept and enjoyed it thoroughly! Excellent band. We also listened to some Irish music in the lead up to St. Patrick’s Day. Plus, they listened to their dad work on a song he’s been composing for, um, 10 years or so. The boy went to a singing class where they talked a bit about harmony, chords, and rests.

Scrubbing dishes

Other

While they weren’t sick, they did some cooking and enjoyed cleaning. They both suddenly like mopping (which is a good thing, since they keep tracking mud everywhere) and the girl constantly begs to help scrub dishes!

This Week in Homeschooling #7 and #8

What an odd pair of weeks! February 12 – 25, 2010.

Week 7 ended with May weather, in the 70s and sunny. Week 8 had a snowstorm in the middle and ended with a lot of wind. This update will now include what the baby is working on, too!

Math
The boy has nearly made his way through the addition and multiplication tables. It’s tough work, but he gets a prize at the end. I’d say “mastered” except that I’m sure he’ll forget it all again. Also, he worked on logic problems in his Professor Layton DS game.

The girl is working on addition, and her brother makes problems for her to work on.

The baby worked on puzzles like “how can I use this key to open the locked cabinet”.

Science
The boy finished our investigations of fungi and bacteria.

The Girl was introduced to energy, forms of energy, and energy transfer. We made sundials, though we never managed to take them outside to try them out.

We performed taste tests of apples and bread, and calculated the average score for each one.

We also delved into maps and globes. We worked out map grid systems, and then turned a red cabbage into the earth and marked the equator, poles, and lines of latitude and longitude. Then The Girl placed a grain of rice (named Joe) on her world, shined a light on him, and had him watch the sun come up and go down while we rotated the cabbage.

We ordered (and received — thank you Amazon Prime!) an excellent book about Prehistoric life, and The Girl and I read about the evolution of humans and she started writing her own journal about things her mysterious secret friend discovered. The Boy enjoyed seeing pictures of life from hundreds of years ago, including a wide variety of ammonites and nautiloids. He then started working on a poster for his cub scouts Blue and Gold banquet about his favorite sea animals.

The baby tasted dirt.

Language Arts
The Boy practiced writing letters in professor Layton (if he doesn’t make them look good enough, the DS won’t recognize it!). We read a lot of books. Lots. Tons. Many. We also read a chapter of Sentence Island.

The Girl continued practicing with All About Spelling, and she’s starting to form short words pretty well. And more and more books.

The baby tried out some new words and phrases, such as “lizard”, and “oh yeah!”. And we read a lot of books.

Social Studies
The Boy read about the Indian empire falling apart, and the rise of the English shopkeepers. Also, tying up some ends in the Far East. Then we started leading up to the revolutionary war with a chapter about the French and Indian War, Seven Years war, and other fun wars in the mid 18th century.

The Girl’s history is currently just learning about pre-history, early earth, and such, though she also listens in on what her brother is doing.

The baby learned that being shy sometimes gets your more attention.

PE
We went to a park day! With people! It was great! We also did gymnastics both weeks. The PE class found a nice indoor location for the days that weren’t good weather, and the kids played dodge ball, capture the flag, and other games like that. We also measured the backyard so we could run back and forth and know how fast and how far we went. We also went sledding and had a snowball fight with their grandmother.

The baby is almost walking and can stretch and reach things on just about any table.

Health
To finish the boy’s wolf badge, we learned about safety at home and on the street. This included what to do in the case of a fire, and bike-riding rules. Also, the ever on-going “is this a square meal?” conversation.

The baby is getting teeth and crying and eating everything in sight and is somehow still healthy!

Art
Lots of coloring, drawing, and such. No real “formal” stuff other than what came along with some other studies.

The baby has painted herself with yogurt and used markers on everything. And ate markers.

Music
We went to music class both weeks, learned new songs, and practiced old ones.

The baby even joined in on class! She likes to bounce and clap along.

Other
We cooked all sorts of things, including mini pigs in blankets, grilled cheese, cheese sauce for pasta, gluten free bread, and whipped cream.

The Girl did even more cooking practice on Cooking Mama (a video game).

The baby, well, she’s found all sorts of ways to make me crazy with food!