Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Break

Yep, we've taken a week off! Believe it!

G#1 did a wonderful job at his part in the church play! He also enjoyed another birthday.
Everyone joined in for serving the neighborhood and nearby villages with our fellow BCJesus dudes. G#2 and I sang carols in nursing homes. The boys enjoyed other fun activities that evening. 
G#3 finally got a rc helicopter and loves it. His Christmas was thoroughly fulfilling, until
we saw TinTin last night with paternal grandparents and a few friends. #3 is becoming such an insightful fellow and continues to challenge me as well as the Daddy.
The Gs and I finally got to the pool for a second time this month and it was good.
The house got a facelift and it is much tighter, trimmer and a different color on the outside.
I'm enjoying the IEW 12 Days of Christmas. Thank you to IEW

Not much snow yet, but my kids are outside playing and inside playing. There was a moment for finishing the children's version of the Iliad story by Mrs. Sutcliff called Black Ships Before Troy.  Now the same author's children's version of the Odyssey is open and being read here too (The Wanderings of Odysseus).  G#1 finished Saxon 5/4 math triumphantly and is ready to dive into Saxon Math 6/5 when we get back to studies on Monday, January 2nd for week 19 of our school year.

Good bye 2011 - It was a fun visit.  Hello 2012 - I'm looking forward to what's ahead.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today's Status

Every lamp shade is off kilter. Isn't it time for a grandparent to visit?

The outside of this house is turning from worn brown/orange to blue. Is it time to clean inside for a grandparent visit?

Such trivial things to worry about cleaning and lamp shades when a friend in Omaha is having heart surgery today. I know their family is in that house caring for them and nobody cares about the lamp shades or cleaning or color of the siding.

My sister is interviewing for a job with insurance and other benefits today.  She is more worried about how she appears, her answers to their questions and her performance at the temp job for them than some lamp shade or siding color.

Friends both here and in Kansas are dealing daily with CANCER, and they REALLY don't care about lamp shades or siding color.

So, we pray for the heart surgeon and their teams to do their job.
...We pray for the interview to be the best she has ever done.
...We pray that the friends ENJOY a day with the struggle, because it's a new day.
...We pray that the people we don't even know will find the invitation to our church's Christmas service and come and be blessed by a joy UNDENIABLE with goose bumps for reasons that we certainly understand.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Caught Reading

Black Ships Before Troy, The Librarian Who Measured the Earth, and Highlights Magazine; it's ALL GOOD!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fourth Travel Thanksgiving

Daddy took the job. We moved to Chicagoland. Kids went into the classroom. Everything was normal. Then, the classroom wasn't working for the exploration of what's available in the area. For example, one day I was late traveling from an expedition with the twins to pick up the oldest from the classroom. It was terrifying to be that far away and not trust where G#1 was in the classroom. So, we pulled the kids from the classroom, and began traveling space available on the largest airline in the United States. Regularly.

Why travel over Thanksgiving? That's the holiday all about family and food and gathering. Well, that's the holiday when the most seats are available for space available travelers like us. First, we traveled with the Daddy's folks to Munich and Salzburg. Then a year later, we got on with the paternal, adventurous Grandmother to Rome. Last year the five of us got to see Berlin and Prague. It was truly life-changing for me. This year, the five of us traveled leisurely, if not a little bit early in the morning, to Montreal. Yes, Thanksgiving is a travel holiday for us because there are people who are more willing to save the money and drive instead of buying the plane tickets. 

Yep, it means we home-school for the maximum flexibility. So far, that's working.  It was fun, FUN, F-U-N to go to a foreign culture and still be able to find English letters that were somewhat decipherable. The food was an adventure as well. By the way, all these four years in a row, we've eaten Turkish food where ever we've traveled on the Thursday of Thanksgiving. You know, eat Turkish on turkey day. The Turks call the bird most citizens of these United States eat hindi. It stands for sub-continental Indian. So, why can't I find a play on words and eat too? You only live once and we definitely live within our means to do so. Travel is a benefit like the trips to the dentist or emergent care. Once we realized how blessed we were to be placed in this life stage, we committed to developing it to the best of our knowledge and ability.

Our education is ongoing and it's not all about travel. It's about language study, grammar and vocabulary. It's about history and science, math and life lessons.  We've taught lessons to each other that we are blessed to share here on the blog. We are blessed to have dear friends and some dear relatives reading about our expeditions, because they love us enough to find us. Encourage us and work with us when we aren't "home" for family or friend gatherings. That's what I'm thankful for... blessed with... everyday of the year.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cargo Exhibit

  Fascinating lesson on transportation at a port on St Lawrence Seaway. Also saw some strange architecture of cargo containers made into high rise condos.

idTV exhibit

G#3 was all about dinosaurs, but G#2 enjoyed the survey about various "issues" at this site.

Dinosaurs Unearthed

Montreal Science Centre on Old Port Quay is a kid's museum and a warm inside find today.

TinTin en Francais

We read all these books at a nearby library at home already. We are very ready for the movie release later in December. But, we didn't know that Montreal was a special place for Tin Tin, and we found these books and plaques in French! It was brilliant! 

A very animated naturalist at the Biodome

This man advised us about microscopes and even got G#2 to touch a thorny stick leg insect.

Montreal Biodome at Olympic Stadium

G#1 in the Laurentian Maple Forest observing a porcupine that had climbed to the highest point of a tree.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Uh Oh

I was putting away my school materials for the Thanksgiving week of travel, and found this. I have been starting seeds and buying flowers for science lessons.  But as I looked at the next lessons in order to prepare for what comes next in science, I found the need for earthworms and a optional dissection of a sea star. GREAT! I said to myself, I have those in the box from the vendor. Except, as I opened the box I see these pieces are not individually packaged. I don't need all of these specimens in the same week. Thus, I now need formaldehyde and a storage solution for those that are not used immediately. YIKES! Did I mention that I was a GEOGRAPHY/GEOLOGY MAJOR!!! My confidence level just took a dive... and now I'm ready to give up. But there is hope of some dissection expert in my future. I just have to find the means to preserve the specimens for my 4th and 5th graders to OBSERVE for Elemental Science Biology.

Happy Thanksgiving this week and I'll gladly post some pictures if we make it to Montreal and Quebec City, but just remember me in December managing this dissection conundrum.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 10 Flowers & Seeds

Lilies and Elemental Science Logic Stage Biology

Corn seed and bean seed in the dicot/monocot experiment plus the lilies makes for a colorful growing kitchen as it gets colder and darker outside.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Messy morning drive to CBS

G#2 took this picture as we drive past IKEA this morning on our way to community Bible study. About 10 degrees cooler and this would have been an even more stressful drive.  But as it was, two people were practicing their multiplication facts while the other was helping me take this picture. 

And, did you know that it takes 29 cents to send a postcard by USPS? Well, I'll definitely change how we get the Christmas greetings out to our friends in the next month by sending those with proper postage.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"Following the Plan" Success in Grammar This Week

Grammar count for this week was very high after our quarterly report discussions on Monday.  We even got one fourth grader through the chapter two test.  All is not lost, and this is an encouragement for ALL language learning! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Great Free Resource for Ancients

The British Museum for Young People by Frances Epps  would be a FREE, brilliant source to have on the Kindle while romping through on your next visit.  I used Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum while visiting last September 2010.  Or just explore the Museum's website from where ever you are.

Not That Cold

Practicing flute, even though it's difficult, builds character. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quarterly Reports for 4th and 5th Grade

We don't have report cards. That would be kinda too much like the classroom. But, the three Gs here each got a separate and personal discussion with me about how each are doing really well with school, but not so well with grammar lessons. They pursue math with a vengeance, and hang back until the last minute to try the grammar lessons even when the topic isn't that challenging.  Maybe my grammar aversions are rubbing off on them.  Spelling, History, Science, Forest Habitats, Asian Flags and Band are right on par with the schedule. Superb!

Latin with the Daddy is falling to the wayside maybe due to the swimming 3 times a week, 2 trips a week to Bible study or the Lego building projects. Any other foreign language gets left on the to-do list also.  Art is always fun when we get organized and don't let ANYTHING detour us, but focus wanes.

Microscope fun with fungi and ferns

Logic stage biology delved superficially into the discussion of fungi last week and ferns this week. The fungi came from pond water the kids collected at Busse Woods while sailing with the daddy.  We followed along one of the youtube video links and remembered the ferns we'd seen in Hawaii recently. 

Next we explore flowering plants with corn and bean seeds which will be fun as the trees loose their leaves and the temperature drops. I wonder if there will be time for a garden this next summer after the house changes are done. The yard is cleaned off for this winter and we're starting garden seeds for science.

Sewing with G#2

I didn't best learn to sew from my mom.  We are very much alike.  I did value the time I spent with Dad's Aunt Ruth who patiently guided me through many of the 4H sewing projects I tried. When I waited too late and the county fair approached too soon, then I had to sew with my mom's supervision. That wasn't much fun for either of us. 

So, when our junior me decided she wanted to wear an outfit that resembled Ahsoka Tano from the Clone War episodes which occur somewhere in the Star Wars continuum before Anakin Skywalker turns rotten.  I offered her the opportunity to buy the costume on-line, but she asked if she could make it. Well, she picked out the fabric, the shirt, stockings and tapes. I found the face paint that helped finish it off. The one thing that didn't go as well as I'd tried was my first attempt at paper mache for the head piece. 

The paper mache head piece was pitched into oblivion on Monday the 31st at 3pm, and the muslin do-rag with blue paint tape and shiny beads was found an acceptable substitute.  After the face paint was applied, she was satisfied with the production and we commenced to visit the neighbors for treats. 

This will always be her first sewing project, and it was a memory for me of a cooperative, patient mommy. I hope she wants to sew again soon and that it becomes something she does with all her creativity and independence. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Saturday, October 8, 2011

G#1 and Gilgamesh the Hero

Our oldest is a fifth grade student who is studying Logic Stage History along with his brother and sister, but to a different degree by reading materials and discussing questions that are aimed at his older capabilities.  Gilgamesh the Hero is one of those pieces that he studied.  Because we are covering the time before the Minoans and the Greeks, Gilgamesh was a wonderful story that he devoured.  The questions from Laura at Classical House of Learning covered vocabulary and literature aspects of the story.  He gladly completed a notebook page for this book and a sketch (best of all to me) and promised to compare this story aloud while reading Zeman's Gilgamesh the King Trilogy aloud with his siblings so they wouldn't miss out on the character's adventures.

Medieval Archery Birthday Party

Both boys thoroughly enjoyed a friend's birthday party because it involved sword play and archery with friends and the DuPage County Forest Preserve archery experts. Hereare pictures of each boy after only a few hours of rest and 5 days in Hawaii because Papa needed to see molten lava. What an ADVENTURE!

More about Hawaii soon.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Excellent Opportunities

 We accepted an invitation to preview this movie with two of our Gs and were completely satisfied with its content and storyline.  The humor was appreciated by the audience of close to 300 home educated children and their parents. A true story is valuable, and this presentation was well done.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Egypt in Ancient History

Ok, I tried to encourage the children to read this book by Mrs. McGraw, but the language wasn't very easy to get past.  It's not King James Version, but it is different from their normal historical fiction reading.  So, I've been reading it and narrating the story to the kids. They are listening to the Cat of Bubastes by Henty and are enjoying the tale, but they also like my telling the what is happening to Ranofer too.
We've read about the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone also. There are many notebook pages with photographs from our field trips to the British Museum to see the ancient relics up close and personal. But more about their notebook pages later (mommy does the happy dance).  I've not built the Nile River suggested activity from Story of the World, but it may still happen over the long weekend.

Everyone is getting along better with brief sentences about our history sources.  On the Shores of the Great Sea is a favorite.  Story of Mankind is ok for them.  Of course, SOTW is a repeat, but they still are getting a well rounded perspective. A Little History of the World may be lagging behind, but it may be because I scheduled the chapters in the wrong order. Mine is not an exact science, but I did try to keep everything coordinated.

The book called Prehistoric Art by Susie Hodges was a good add for us and we look forward to a later one of her books, but the Eyewitness book on Ancient Egypt is scheduled by the Harmony Fine Arts plans and that's what we use to discuss the next phase of ancient art.

Trying to get to the end of and the challenges involved.
Ok, time to read more about the Golden Goblet.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Finally Getting a Grip on GRAMMAR

First of all, I didn't get along well with the script of FLL, so I rarely pursued grammar lessons with my kids and we took FOREVER to get it done.  My solution was to jump ship after G#1 finished FLL3 and try R&S English grade 5 with him.  I still didn't do well to make the lessons happen UNTIL... I read about the Table of Contents clue.  Victory! Now that I know each lesson must be done with the teacher/student pair is in bold, I am scheduling and grading lessons on a regular basis.  The plain text titles in the TOC are done by the student individually (G#2 below left).  I do a quick run through oral exercises with each person three times a week. The Bold-faced lesson titles in the TOC are done with me and a G elbow to elbow. 

Yes, the terms are defined differently in Rod and Staff books, but we still recite the same definitions and qualifiers that Mrs. Wise and Mrs. Buffington used. We are simply practicing the grammar skills in a different way AND GETTING THEM DONE! So, needless to say, we are not using the new Logic Stage grammar materials from Peace Hill Press.  We don't use the writing materials either. Here is a picture of G#3 finishing writing with forest materials from Hands of a Child lapbook that I bought years ago and am finally using. They must answer comprehension questions about the reading in complete sentences and then report about the topics in the reading weekly.  We get other practice writing paragraphs that are placed on the history notebook pages about topics outlined in the Logic Stage history section of the Well Trained Mind.  Someday, we will study writing.  And from the research I've done so far, I'd use IEW materials, but I need to get past the cost of those first.

Monday, August 15, 2011

G#1 and Tales of Ancient Egypt

Oh the joy instilled in me as my oldest read without pain and suffering the first few stories of Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green.  I was able to discuss the stories with him because I bought the Kindle after Paige's advice pushed me over the edge.  I followed the direction of Laura Lund at Classical House of Learning Literature when she described mythology and various questions regarding the text.  Now my oldest actually thinks that I have a clue and it's so SWEET.

See what I'm referring to after you follow the links above.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Visit From Gramma

One can not partake of certain delicacies just anywhere, but to indulge is simple.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Ancient cave art and a hippo

Chapter One SOTW Logic Stage Ancients

This link to study about Catalhoyuk is cool.  I promised to take them there someday.   I've been missing Turkiye and desperately need practice in making kofte.

Synge is more interesting that vanLoon or Gombrich. Even listening to Dr. Bauer's SOTW chapter was better to G#2 than the evolution from vanLoon or Gombrich. I told her it'd get better when we got to more interesting stuff about Ancient Egypt in Tales of Ancient Egypt.

Mapwork for this chapter was fun because we got to add physical features to the trip that Abraham took along the Euphrates with Synge. Again, saves these people from having to work too hard on history.

Art history with Mrs. McCoy at Harmony Fine Arts is good for us because we got to check out Susie Hodge's book from the library. We visited the Lascaux cave website to learn more about the art. The project for last week was to draw on brown paper bags. This week we spray paint over our hands onto a brown surface. Somebody said that this kind of art resembles my directions to do stuff.

Monday, August 1, 2011

First Day of 4th and 5th Grade

What more can I say, but that we got started! It was a hot day and very nice to be inside and proceeding according to precedent. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday Homeschool Soccer

It's Peru and Besiktas Istanbul Club right out there with all the other home schooled kids each Friday afternoon in the SUMMER!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Chicago Scottish Highland Games Visit

It was a beautiful day in Chicagoland for a father's day weekend celebration of heritage. G#2 has the Scottish flag painted on her cheek and all of us were listening to a story being read about Hamish McHaggis and the Ghost of Glamis. I'd bought another of the Hamish stories for a niece's Christmas present last year and now it was fun to have the story read to us.

The festival had all the bells and whistles of a typical highland games including Piping and Drumming competition, Caber Toss, Hammer Throw, the Sheaf Toss, the Clachnert, Highland Dance competition, Rugby, soccer, Dogs of Scotland, mini golf, crafts, British Car Show, and musical performances on the Celtic Rock Stage.  I only wished I was allowed to help judge the shortbread contest.  We ate shepherd's pie and fish/chips. It was a brilliant way to end a busy week of travel and VBS events!

BTW, G#3 did get to SLC and will enjoy his week with extended family and plenty of pool and outdoor fun!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Quarry Visits and Fishing Nearby

Best part of the quarry visit was the bus ride!  Not only did one of the Gs catch a fish, another one caught a fish the next day. Busy summer days and vacation Bible school keep us hopping.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Delites

20 hours of driving I80 to I29 to I35 and back on I80 for visits with family and friends, and PAPA KENO's pizza.

AND Oklahoma Joe's BBQ, but you'll have to check that out for yourselves, b/c it's worth it.

Summer CRAZy schedule is begun!  And the kitchen is undergoing changes finally... Oh, follow me on twitter either at the bottom of this page or at twitter as g3mom

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Time to practice building what we've learned about during the year of Grammar Stage Physics and stay out of the way when the rocket goes off in the back yard! Quick: Who can name all three of Newton's Laws of Motion? Remember when we visited his gravesite at Westminster Abbey in September?  Pictures of rocket project coming soon!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Latin American countries cultural geography is complete with the aid of this coloring book, the World Flag database at and the notebook pages from Homeschooling with Index cards. Next year, Asia. Well, it only makes sense after we began with the United States, and continued with Canada, Europe, Africa. We will need to practice these place names and cultural information at Sheppard Software over the summer.