A homeschooling blog we created to share our stories and adventures as we live and learn as a family.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I've been thinking this week about the current rhythm of our daily life. If there were a soundtrack to match our life these past few weeks, it might be something like Rimsky-Korsakov's Flight of the Bumblebee. In short, life is feeling a bit rushed, a bit frenetic, and a bit chaotic lately, which is never a great way to feel. Full to the tipping point is fine, but full to the point at which the cup runeth over and spills onto the floor so that you are standing in ankle deep muck is not so great. Am I even making sense? I am feeling so very tired tonight. Anyway, some things will need to change around here for next year if not before, like limiting the kids activities to a few things during the week, no matter how much they love their artmusictheaterskatinghockeygymnasticsviolinpercussionlessons, we need more down time at home together, more time to truly investigate and explore our interests, and more time to recharge, relax, or just be together as a family and see where the day takes us. I've also been thinking about the way in which we homeschool, the curriculum we follow, and our educational philosophy - which could sort of be summed up as relaxed classical homeschooling with a love of Waldorf and Charlotte Mason-inspired learning. And as we go through each year I find myself letting go more and more, discarding ideas that I once thought were so vital to learning - moving away from worksheets and more toward projects and unstructured learning. And I find myself taking on a different role with D and facilitating his learning, rather than actually teaching him.

So this week D worked with Math U See, focusing on word problems with division, and writing remainders as fractions. Bleh. I feel bored even writing that sentence. Next week we'll be working with estimating and rounding, which will be a welcome change as I feel math has become a bit redundant and repetitive the past few weeks. Of course, repetition is a good thing, but too much can start make one start to feel stagnant. He did some creative writing in his journal, and worked a bit in our language arts book. He finished the first part of his science project and learned about the Belgian Congo and Argentina post World War Two. Lately D has begun to really question things he's learning in history, rather than just absorbing the information. Last week he asked me why the Israelis and Palestinians couldn't find a way to share the land they both wanted. Good question buddy, good question. And why the Danish people were the only ones, by and large, to help the Jews escape the Nazis? I love to hear his deep thoughts these days. He also drew a beautiful owl picture this week in art.

J has had an explosion of reading this week. Suddenly she is reading everything she picks up, all the time. It's great. She's decoding words I never thought she would be able to read at this point. She also worked with her Math-U-See blocks quite a bit, and had fun making place value houses. We read some stories about Africa from Around the World in 80 Tales, read about amphibians, and worked on her science project on dolphins. She learned the very final notes of Suzuki Violin Book 1 today!

K continues to be my wonderful, feisty red head. She wants to be outside all the time. I just want it to warm up around here!

To hear the current soundtrack of our life click here:

Friday, March 25, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by http://www.soulemama.com/

Sunday, March 20, 2011

This Week

We had a fun-filled, action packed, whirlwind of a week. Here it is in pictures:
We spent Tuesday at the New England Aquarium

We celebrated St. Patrick's Day with one of our favorite books, Tales from Old Ireland, and by cooking some Irish yummies. We made Roasted Cauliflower with Cheese and Irish Soda Bread. They were both quite delicious. You can find the Irish Soda Bread recipe at my friend Marissa's blog http://greenroommag.com/spoonful/?p=833

The kids worked on their science projects all morning on Friday and played outside all afternoon, enjoying some spring-like weather! We read some great books this week, and Dylan began listening to Number the Stars by Lois Lowry on CD. We are all drawn in to the story, including me. We listen to books on CD a lot in the car, and the girls requested Saint Saens's Carnival of the Animals to listen to this week. We have a great recording with the poems narrated by many wonderful actors, including James Earl Jones and Audrey Hepburn. Before I knew it the weekend was upon us, as well as a big hockey tournament in Hyannis on Saturday and Sunday for D! I don't have any pics, unfortunately, because I was in Boston with J at the Massachusetts Suzuki Festival. It was awesome! She had a great time playing her violin with lots of other kids from Massachusetts.
We also heard a concert by local folk musician and Suzuki violin teacher Susan Reed. She is amazing. You can check her out at http://susanreed.com/

Here and there we did some math and language arts, but by and large spent the week very much involved with some of the kids' favorite things - science, cooking, sports, and music. What a great way to spend the week.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Maple Girls

The girls and I had a great time maple sugaring over the weekend. We took a walk through the woods, learned how to tap the tree, saw the sap drain into buckets, and watched it boil and turn into maple sugar! On the walk J and K found what they claim to be the perfect sticks! It's funny how you can plan an educational field trip, only to get there and realize that your kids would have been just as happy picking up sticks in our own backyard. I think next year we will try to identify some maple trees in our yard and see if we can tap them ourselves.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Not a Scarf

I knit these cozy wrist warmers! It is spring in New England which means it is damp, cold, and wet. While I am dreaming of sunny days, of flowers poking their inquisitive heads up through frozen ground, and of leafy greens making their appearance in our garden, I know it will be some time before we actually see those things here in our neck of the woods. So I knit these wrist warmers to keep my hands cozy during springtime in-between weather. I couldn't find a pattern online or in a knitting book that I could actually feasibly knit, since I'm still very much a beginner, so I came up with this one on my own. It's basically a knit rectangle, with the seams sewed together, leaving a space for the thumb. So it's kind of like a sock, with no top, and a hole on the side. But for your hands. I love them so.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Wrapping up the week here in homeschooling land and here is what we did this week: We went to the opera! All of us! Together! This was truly a milestone for us as a family, as K was able to sit through the entire production, which was modified for school-age children, without threats, bribes or entreaties made on my behalf to justpleasesitstillandbequietstopwigglinganduseawhispervoicepleasepleaseplease. She truly enjoyed the production and was very excited to see the witch. The opera was Boston Lyric Opera's production of Engelbert Humperdink's Hansel and Gretel. We read the story earlier in the week, being such the care-free, happy-go-lucky children's story that it is - what with witches eating children and all, so that they would be familiar with the story. Everyone enjoyed it, no one seemed traumatized by the child-eating theme, and all mutually agreed that the best part was when Hansel and Gretel tricked the witch and pushed her into the oven. She was then carried off stage by hospital workers on a stretcher. I had to agree that this was indeed the best part.

In other areas, all three munchkins continued to learn about sea life this week, focusing on seals, sea-lions, walruses, and dolphins. D worked on his science project quite a bit, so it should start to come together next week. J and K's read alouds included Mr. Seahorse, A House for Hermit Crab, Listen, Listen, Ten Little Fish, One Morning in Maine, and Leprauchaun in Late Winter. DG brought each of the girls a watch from his last trip to Taiwan, so J worked diligently at learning to tell time all week. She decided to participate in the 30 Day Challenge, a program run through the Suzuki program at South Shore Conservatory. To participate, she needs to practice for thirty days in a row! She's doing well with it so far, and is up to 11 days of practice. She's working on learning Gossec Gavotte, and reviewing her other book one pieces. We also read stories from Around the World in 80 Tales, focusing on stories from France and added several European countries to her passport. She loves to read (yay!) and is working on reading stories from her new reader.

D worked on division and some word problems this week. We reviewed possesive pronouns and learned more about David Livingstone's travels through Africa, and did some map-work. He worked on persuasive writing with an essay entitled, Why Dylan Should Be Allowed to Have a Pet Chicken. He wrapped up his unit on American history, much to his delight, and learned about Zionism and the establishment of Israel following World War Two. He's reading Anne Frank, Life in Hiding, and one of the Guardians of G'Ahoole books.

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by http://www.soulemama.com/

Monday, March 7, 2011

Keva Creations

We are lucky to have a great group of homeschooling families in our area, many of whom get together every Monday at a local children's museum so that the kids can take classes and do some group learning. The classes are all taught by parents and this spring I am facilitating a Keva building class with some of the nine and ten year olds. There were only three kids in the class today, but we had a great time discussing some of the architecture and structures of ancient Egypt, and the kids recreated some of these landmarks with Keva blocks. I loved hearing them discuss their knowledge of Egyptian mythology - of mummies, tombs, and pyramids, and at one point they decided to make sure that they showed the Nile River flowing to the Mediterranean so that they could build Carthage. Carthage? Seriously, I had to look it up when I got home. I didn't 'teach' the kids how to build. We simply looked at pictures in books for a few minutes, and discussed some different Egyptian building techniques. They then created everything on their own. I was so impressed with their creativity and ability to work together and play off each other's ideas. As you check out the pictures be on the look out for the Great Sphinx, a lesser pyramid, some Egyptian temples, an obelisk, the Nile River, and an Egyptian galleon.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter Days are Art Days

"All children are artists. The challenge is to remain an artist once they grow up." -Pablo Picasso
I love that my children love art. For the past several years D has combined his love of birds with his love of drawing and I now have a house full of lovely bird drawings and paintings. My kids are soooooo lucky to have a wonderful art teacher right here on the south shore. She is gentle and patient and encouraging and all the things a good teacher should be. In her classes the children choose what they would like to work on and the medium they would like to use. They work at their own pace, picking up skills and ideas as they go. It's been truly amazing to watch D's art work evolve over the past two years in her classes. You can check out her website at http://www.bettinalesieur.com/

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Birthday Girls

We celebrated two birthdays on Monday. J turned 6 and K turned 3. Yes, they share a birthday! What a nice thing for sisters to share.