Counting to 1000: Gifts #71 - 80



Squeezing in some time on the computer while my husband takes a break, so that I can give thanks for:

71. gap-toothed smiles

72. flowers carried home from a "guys' trip" to the mountains, now wilted, more beautiful for making it all the way home

73. a call from the son of the woman who we visited for the years before her death - he's found the funny papers she saved for the boys

74. alone time, praise music, updated lesson plans

75. a full bird feeder and a growing 2011 backyard bird list

76. Bach, tea, and poetry with the boys

77. clean counters

78. dermatology (we are a family with skin issues)

79. good tumor marker numbers and spirits in a precious pastor with cancer

80. a job for my husband!!

Check out A Holy Experience for a lot more gratitude.

Counting to 1000: Gifts #61 - 70



61. the early spring garden

62. my husband doing all of the work on the early spring garden

63. eavesdropping on kindergarten playmates playing "I Spy"

64. miniature garden tools, muddy hands

65. mild, overcast, calm days

66. enough coolness at night to merit a cup of hot tea

67. new school room posters

68. sandalwood candles when the house smells like dog...or anytime

69. my kids eating the baking soda-missing-pumpkin-chocolate-chip "muffins" (hockey pucks) without complaining (the chocolate makes them bearable?)

70. a whole week without school!

Others are sharing their reasons to be thankful at A Holy Experience.

Weekly Wrap-Up: Week 21


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I am not a writer, but my guess is that even the most gifted writers don't necessarily relish the task of choosing a title. Some are really good at it, though, and their little summary catches our attention, draws us to read the article, blog post, book. I have never been one to summarize what I need to say in a few choice words. Ask my husband.

So I'm switching to week numbers as titles for my wrap-ups. It's not creative or original, but it will keep me from staring at my screen with the empty "title" bar for 20 minutes before I even begin a wrap-up.

This week's history studies educated me as much as the children. I knew almost nothing about the history of Australia or New Zealand before this week, nor had I read anything about Captain James Cook's exploration of the South Pacific. I still miss the American Revolution, but the boys preferred this. Aye!

Bearclaw is reading Treasure Island. He also completed his literature project (the hybrid school likes projects more than I) for The Sign of the Beaver. He chose to make a story-mobile, which looks great on the branch he picked for it.

We've had sickness in the house, so Shortbread and I have fallen off of our readings. It's onto Mm next week.

The literature project has taken up the time usually allotted to writing, so nothing new there. Meanwhile, Bearclaw's grammar is still keeping him busy with prepositions. They must be important.

Bearclaw has had to do some random assignments in cursive, so that's been fun. I've also had him redo a few assignments when I couldn't read his printing.

As for Shortbread's printing, he seems to be doing well. He is remembering to start his letters at the top of line more frequently. Yea!

We've completed Primary Mathematics 2A, and we'll do some reviewing next week before moving on to 3A. (Which happens to be PINK, so Bearclaw is skeptical.) Shortbread seems to fly through his math lessons, leaving me wondering if I should have started him on a different level. I'm wondering but not particularly worried about it. We can move ahead later if we need too.

The boys participated in a poetry recital this week, with Shortbread's Kindergarten class reciting "The Mitten in the Snow" and Bearclaw reciting "Hope is the Thing with Feathers" by Emily Dickinson. All of the students did such a wonderful job, and a few even brought tears to my eyes. Shortbread just made me smile looking like such a little man (minus a couple of teeth).

To see all the interesting and exciting things other folks are up to, check out more Weekly Wrap-ups at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

Counting to 1000: Valentine's Day Gifts



Although I don't really know my husband's full feelings about Valentine's day, he has always recognized it (well) for my sake. Also, I'm still in that phase when my boys (especially the little one) think I'm their Valentine. Regular girls are not gross yet, but they are inconsequential in terms of love. I'm the girl in all their lives, and I'm thankful for that especially.

Some other Valentine's Day gifts:

51. Tulips from my two boys

52. Comte Gruyere at a bargain from Costco

53. Homemade jewelry from Shortbread

54. A homemade valentine from Shortbread

55. St. Andre' cheese; also a bargain from Trader Joe's

56. Just enough leftover pancake batter to make impromptu heart pancakes this morning

57. The ultimate gift from my sweetie - running to Costco for me

58. A new one to love...Charlie! (still quaking if we bring out the camera, so this one's through a window)

59. An at-home date night, which can still be romantic with my guy and good cheese

60. That he's my husband AND my Valentine (even if he's not a real cowboy)

So many more gifts at A Holy Experience...

Weekly Wrap-Up: Three Weeks Later


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I haven't posted in about three weeks, including wrap-ups. With dh home and looking for a job, my ability to pop onto the computer has been reduced, and I've fallen behind with enough other things that I just didn't manage it.

As it happens, I popped over to Carol's blog when I sat down here, and her post included a self-admonishing comment about neglecting her blog. It applies here, too. Except that her blog has us hanging on waiting for more Scriptural insights and applications, hints for good reads, and lots of witty commentary. Here, you might just be hanging on to see what we made out of a paper plate last week.

I'm not even sure I can successfully write a wrap-up for three weeks; it will require me to remember stuff or look at our pictures. Apparently, I didn't take any pictures, so I'll have to rely on my brain. Don't expect much.

Our BIBLE time has left much to be desired lately, and I think it comes from trying to do too much. Hence, I do nothing. I need to spend the vacation week that's coming up mulling this over.

HISTORY actually lends itself well to a 3-week summary right now, as we just finished two weeks on the American Revolution and one week on the U.S. Constitution. It was a great unit, and offers so many book options that I can't possibly list them all. Of course, we read Longfellow's "Paul Revere's Ride," and began listening to the audiobook, Johnny Tremain. In the "not-so-classic" category, I allowed the kids to spend time watching School House Rock and PBS's Liberty's Kids (Liberty's Kids is available for instant play through Netflix.) I learned the preamble from School House Rock, and I know I'm not the only one.

Bearclaw has finished his LITERATURE novel, The Sign of the Beaver, last week. This was followed by both boys spending several days making their own bows and arrows. Unfortunately, I could not provide the "bear fat" requested by Bearclaw to treat the wood; they were forced to settle for Crisco. Anyone have a bear fat source?

Shortbread and I have been enjoying reading some or our favorite winter books before the warm weather gets here. He still loves A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, and I have a wonderfully illustrated version of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" by Robert Frost. We've also supplemented his phonics/handwriting by focusing on books that include words starting with B or R in the titles. The Runaway Bunny was the most perfect fit.

Third grade WRITING, as directed by our hybrid school, continues to impress me; Bearclaw can organize a 3-point paragraph with relative ease. The last assignment, though, was a descriptive paragraph; nine year-olds are really drawn to words like good and nice, so that one took a few, um, suggestions.

Both GRAMMAR programs that Bearclaw is using (the hybrid program we're in uses Shurley English AND Easy Grammar) are both focused on prepositions right now. He can even name/sing them all. I certainly can't. Of course, I don't really feel as if memorizing them is vital, but the grammar programs disagree. Shortbread has been singing the Shurley English jingles with us. I'm pretty sure he doesn't know all the prepositions yet, though, so he and I are in the same boat.

The boys' handwriting work is coming along. Shortbread is a lefty, but he is doing pretty well with avoiding the "left-handed hook" that his mama uses. Bearclaw's cursive is progressing, too, but his printing has been getting sloppier lately. I think he's rushing; maybe I'll post about this...

Bearclaw has just completed the last section in Singpore Math 2B. The unit covered geometry, which is apparently doesn't come naturally for him or me. Give us four triangles and ask us to make them into a variety of given shapes and watch us sit there. Next week we'll review the entire MATH book. I'm sort of dreading it, as I don't think I've been nearly diligent enough with math this year. Our hybrid school has pulled my focus entirely onto humanities, and I think it's showing.

On the other hand, Shortbread seems to be our natural math guy. We just switched to Singapore Math for him, and we've flown through the first four units. His biggest challenge is making his 2s and 3s go the right direction.

SCIENCE continues to be a favorite for everyone. We got together a couple of times with our friends to work on Real Science 4 Kids over these few weeks. The last chapter was on chemical reactions. It was messy, with lots of baking soda and vinegar, and the kids loved it.

We're plugging along in Spelling Workout C and Wordly Wise 3000/Book 3.

Other highlights included bonding with our new dog, Charlie and working on a new schedule (which I'll share at some point).

To check out some other, more regular wrap-ups, pop over to Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers.