Wednesday, April 30, 2014

School Plans for Thursday (Dollygirl's Grade Seven)

Gospel of Mark: independent reading

First History of France, and Century Chart.

Saxon Math: go over the homework questions and work on one or two of the harder problems left in the lesson.  Do problem set questions 27-30 on your own.

Poems for the First of May.

The Easy Grammar Plus: review and winding up the Nouns unit (this will finish formal grammar for this school year)

Science: quick review of yesterday's lesson, and a couple of further points about carbohydrates.  As an analogy for simple vs. complex carbohydrates, why wouldn't you just make a fire from newspapers or loose straw?  Why did Pa and Laura twist hay into tight bundles when they were short on other fuel during The Long Winter?  How does that compare with the explanation of how human bodies react to large doses of sugar?  Play "concentration" with some of our recent science vocabulary.

Money Matters for Teens

Music History: Franz Liszt.

Writing Time.

If it's nice enough for a walk (it's been rainy all week), go look and see if any trees are budding.
'Siker this morrow, no longer ago,
I saw a shole of shepherds outgo
With singing, and shouting, and jolly cheer;
Before them rode a lusty Tabrere,
That to the many a horn-pipe play'd,
Where to they dance each one with his maid.
To see these folks make such jouissance,
Made my heart after the pipe to dance.
Then to the greenwood they speeden them all,
To fetchen home May with their musical:
And home they bring him in a royal throne
Crowned as king; and his queen attone
Was Lady Flora, on whom did attend
A fair flock of fairies, and a fresh bend
Of lovely nymphs—O that I were there
To helpen the ladies their May-bush to bear!
                                                   Spenser, Shepherd's Calendar, Eclogue 5.

What's for supper, after the science experiment?

Tonight's dinner menu:

Skillet casserole made from ground chicken, noodles, and leftover broccoli-cheese sauce from yesterday (I made it to go over baked potatoes)

Instant Red Cabbage Slaw

Chocolate Mini Muffins, made with last night's chocolate pudding as the liquid

How to make Instant Red Cabbage Slaw: Buy a small head of red cabbage for science class.  Pull two leaves from it and use them for cabbage water in a carbon dioxide demonstration.  Think of things to do with the rest of the cabbage that people will actually eat.  Rinse a few more of the leaves and run them through the food processor with some carrot.  Mix with bottled Caesar dressing (or other slaw dressing of your choice).  Eat with enjoyment.

What will we talk about in science today? Carbon, macronutrients, and carbohydrates

The next section of General Science is about macronutrients, starting with carbohydrates.  However, I would like to back up a little bit, and talk about carbon.  Look at the double-spread page "The chemistry of carbon" in DK Chemistry.  Think about carbon paper, eggshells, diamonds, and chalk. (Do you remember learning about coal last year? Updated link)  Where does the name "carbohydrate" come from?

Now turn the page and look at "The chemistry of life" in the same book.  See the diagram/photograph of the carbon cycle?  What is metabolism?

Now let's read from General Science, starting on page 304, and discussing the different forms of carbohydrates (studying the diagrams there).  Work out the names for the simple and complex carbohydrates.

So where do we get carbohydrates?

Sugar - fruit, fruit juice, table sugar, honey, soft drinks, and other sweets
Starch - bread, cereal, potatoes, pasta, rice, and legumes (dried peas and beans)
Fiber - bran, whole-grain foods, raw vegetables and fruit (especially the seeds and skins), legumes, nuts, seeds and popcorn
(This list and other ideas taken from a lesson plan at Utah Education Network.)
Make a list of your ten favourite "carbohydrate" foods.  Mark down which ones are simple and which ones are complex.  (Use the chart provided.)  Does it matter to us if we eat more simple or more complex carbohydrates?  Why?  Here's one answer.
Cartoon found here.

Wednesday School Plans (Dollygirl's Grade Seven)

In the workboxes today:

1.  Old Testament:  finish the chapter of the Book of Numbers.

2.  Key to Geometry:  work several pages on your own.

3.  Ivanhoe.  Written narration.

4.  Architecture Shown to the Children:  continue the term's chapter (Gothic Architecture), reading about gargoyles and flying buttresses.  Make a drawing in your Book of Centuries.

5.  Apologia General Science.  The first of several lessons on macro- and micro-nutrients, beginning with carbohydrates.  (Coming up in another post.)

6.  Balance Benders Level 3.

7.  Shakespeare's King John: continue Act III.

8.  Handwriting practice from Fix It...Write.

9.  Map drills:  10 minutes with Seterra Online.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Stamping with fabric paint: a handicraft I'd like to try

Found on Dollar Store Crafts: looks like a great way to decorate dish towels and other fabric items.

Dollygirl's Grade Seven: Plans for Tuesday (Updated)

New Testament: Gospel of Mark:  continue reading at your own pace, making notes as you go.

Citizenship Part One: Current events.(This is what we talked about.)

Geography Game: Brainbox "The World."  We added our own variation to the game: if you roll a 5, instead of answering the question for that number, you have to find your country on a map of the world.

Citizenship Part Two: Plutarch: Cicero, Lesson 4 
"If so many people suspected Catiline of conspiring to overthrow the government, why couldn't they just arrest him?"
"Why did the Romans "mislike" to see Cicero wearing armour under his outer clothing? Weren't they glad to see he was protected?'
"When the Senators heard the proof of the conspiracy, how did they react? How did Catiline "thumb his nose," so to speak, on his way out of town?"
Transcription (Copywork):

WE should not mind so small a flower,
Except it quiet bring
Our little garden that we lost
Back to the lawn again.
So spicy her Carnations red,      
So drunken reel her Bees,
So silver steal a hundred Flutes
From out a hundred trees,
That whoso sees this little flower,
By faith may clear behold      
The Bobolinks around the throne,
And Dandelions gold.  (Emily Dickinson)

Natural History: The Spring of the Year: bobolinks, bird coverings, crows, and broken feathers.  Look up bobolinks online (I like  this site) and find out why you may not have seen any yourself.  The book has a "note to students" at the back suggesting that you could look for diagrams of bird feathers in a dictionary or bird reference book; we have the DK Guide to Birds which has good illustrations.

Math:  Saxon Algebra 1/2, Lesson 44.  Review any problems with questions 1-5.  Make up your own word problem based on question 6.  Solve questions 8-11 "on the board."   Homework: questions 12-15, 25, 26. (Re question 26: there are 5,280 feet in a mile.)

English History: "Personal Liberty and Trial by Jury."  "No man shall be punished in any way except by Law, and that whenever he be charged with any crime, he shall have the right to be tried before a jury of his countrymen before he is found guilty."  Read independently, and narrate, maybe with.a dramatization?

Poems and metre practice: "The Solitary Reaper," by William Wordsworth

French (review recent work)

Citizenship Part ThreeOurselves Book II: pages 70-73.  'But most of us have little chance of seeing men and things on a wide scale, and our way to an instructed conscience is to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest."  Some thoughts on poetry, novels, and essays.
"...this is the line that influences our living, if it speak only-- 'Of old, unhappy, far-off things, / And battles long ago.'  A couplet such as this, though it appear to carry no moral weight, iinstructs our conscience more effectually than many wise saws."  ~~ Charlotte Mason, Ourselves Book II, page 71

Ducks Like Rain (Back Yard Nature)

Or front yard, in this case.  It's a rainy morning.  Mrs. Mallard is sitting on our lawn to the left of the driveway.  Mr. Mallard is sitting on the other side.

Or they were there up till a few minutes ago.  The van pulling out of the driveway frightened them and they moved somewhere safer.  But maybe they'll be back later.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dollygirl's Grade Seven: Plans for Monday

Opening time (hymn, prayer)

Old Testament: Book of Numbers 14:1-25  (Read and narrate)

Math:  Saxon Algebra 1/2. Review order of operations and the different ways to indicate multiplication (Lesson 43). Look at new work in Lesson 44; do practice problems a-d and problem set questions 1-7.
Picture Study: Jan Vermeer, "A Lady Writing"
What do you remember about Jan Vermeer? What were his most common subjects? Read paragraph on page 126 of The World of Vermeer, that "the substance of Vermeer's paint seems as if it were made of crushed pearls melted together."

Read 'The Sea Hath its Pearls" by Heinrich Heine, translated by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The Sea Hath Its Pearls
The sea hath its pearls,
The heaven hath its stars;
But my heart, my heart,
My heart hath its love.

Great are the sea, and the heaven;
Yet greater is my heart,
And fairer than pearls or stars
Flashes and beams my love.

Thou little, youthful maiden,
Come unto my great heart;
My heart, and the sea and the heaven
Are melting away with love! 

Study the picture for several minutes and describe it in as much detail as you can. Read the paragraphs on page 127, about how "Vermeer shaded a blue area not by painting brown over blue as most of his contemporaries did, but by using another tone of blue, and then another—each minutely different." Also read the descriptive paragraph on page 154 (beside the painting), about light and pearls. Draw the chief lines of the composition. 
Easy Grammar Plus:  continue review of nouns.

English History: "The Judges of Assize"

Introduction: How did the barons become strong enough to force King John to sign the Magna Charta? What did the Magna Charta promise? (Justice to all men) What was the biggest problem with that?
Read the first paragraphs of the chapter, explaining how justice was carried out prior to this time, and what the problems were (why the justice system did not work well).
Look online at some pictures of Westminster Hall, part of the Palace of Westminster.  Why are these buildings so important in England?  What famous clock is at the end of the North Tower of the Palace of Westminster?

Read the paragraph starting, "A few years ago, anyone who went to Westminster.."   Narrate.
Read the paragraph starting, "But if everyone had to come to London to get justice..."  Continue to the end of the chapter.  Narrate.

(If you want to know where the word "assize" came from, it is related to the Latin/French words for "to sit," and to the word "session."  The courts of assize were sort of sessional courts, in the same way that some college instructors are sessional lecturers.)

General Science, Module 12
Introduction: Tell about the experiments you did last week with the candle. What did that show? What two things does combustion require? Why do we need oxygen?
Today's question: does combustion produce anything besides energy? We will perform two experiments to find out the other products of combustion.
(Follow the instructions in the textbook)
Describe what you saw in the first experiment. What product of combustion was formed? (Read the paragraph on page 302)
Describe what you saw in the second experiment. Read the explanation on pages 302-303. What product of combustion was formed?
Narration; explain what we inhale (and why) and what we exhale (and why).
Question 12.3, about carbon dioxide fire extinguishers (why they work).

Literature:  Ivanhoe

Friday, April 25, 2014

Big Book Sale

The University Women's annual book sale is having its fiftieth anniversary, so in honour of that, the prices were half what they normally charge.  Which was already pretty low, but that's even better.

So for under ten dollars, I brought home:

Oxford Book of English Verse, 1961 edition (different from the older one I have)

Fowler's Modern English Usage, with a 1939 inscription

Gods, Graves, and Scholars, 1953 hardcover

The Australia Book, by Eve Pownall, illustrated by Margaret Senior

The Wrong Box, by Robert Louis Stevenson & Lloyd Osbourne, The World's Classics Series, small hardcover with dust jacket, 1954 printing...with an inscription by one of my own poetry professors...easily my favourite find tonight.

Froissart's Chronicles, Everyman's Edition

The Golden Book of the Renaissance, adapted for young readers by Irwin Shapiro

Feeding Wild Birds in Winter, by Clive Dobson

Hands on Nature: Introducing Flowers, Ferns, Fungi, & More

Secret Laughter, by Walter de la Mare (Puffin paperback)

Fanny and the Monsters, by Penelope Lively

Rebecca's Nancy, by Joan Reimer Goman.  It's a cute little storybook about an Old Order Mennonite girl who can't find her rag doll.

For the Scholastic shelf:
Is This You?, by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson
Questions and Answers About Ants, by Milicent E. Selsam
Kid Power, by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Bad, bad marketing, or, we hope you are feeling better soon.

In the category of somewhat understated business promotion:  we received the following printout in our mailbox.

Summer Landscape

Professional Trained since [year]

Lawn care

Spring cleaning

Sod removal...[etc.]

We are injured professionally trained and we make sure deliver excellent job.  [Phone]

Hildegard's Gift, by Megan Hoyt (book review)

Hildegard's Gift, by Megan Hoyt,, illustrated by David Hill. Paraclete Press, 2014.
"Consider this: For how many saints can you say that you have a playlist of audio files? But with St. Hildegard, [Pope] Benedict has amped up the ranks of Church Doctors who can teach us about what sacred music at its best sounds like." ~~ Christopher S. Morrissey, "A Beginner's Guide to the Music of St. Hildegard of Bingen," Catholic World Report 

To quote the back cover of this picture book, this is "the story of a girl who God wanted to sing." Those who know something about Hildegard of Bingen or who have heard her music will know that she is a fascinating individual in many ways.  She is included in the less than a dozen Christian saints and notables who have a planet named after them.  She also lived during the time of the fictional detective Brother Cadfael, and with their shared interest in medicine I can imagine the two of them meeting up and spending a delightful afternoon comparing notes on plants and remedies.

Megan Hoyt has also used her writer's imagination to give us a picture of Hildegard as a child and then as an adult nun, struggling with the physical pain of migraines, but daring to use her many gifts in God's service.  Her words and David Hill's illustrations are equally colourful and simple.  On first looking at the book, I actually wondered if the illustrations were a bit too childish and simple; as an adult, I see Hildegard as a very complex woman, and the somewhat random whirls and swirls of her "visions" didn't seem to respect that complexity.  However, my youngest daughter disagreed; she enjoyed the bright illustrations.  The pictures also incorporate quotations from Hildegard's own writings, such as "I sparkle the waters, I burn in the sun, and the moon, and the stars."

The book is aimed at the 4 to 8-year-old age range both in style and in reading level, although some vocabulary (such as "pallet") miight have to be explained to younger ones. (One note: my daughter also wasn't sure, after one reading, if Hildegard was a real person; that might have to be clarified for some children.) It could be a good introduction to a study of Hildegard's music, although the music itself might be best enjoyed by students already beyond the scope of this book.

There are not many picture books about female saints.  There are not many about medieval writers and composers.  And there are not many children's books about people who discover that their gift is meant to be given away.  For those reasons, I think Hildegard's Gift will earn a place of its own on many bookshelves.

"These visions weren’t fabricated by my own imagination nor are they anyone else’s. I saw these when I was in the heavenly places. They are God’s mysteries. These are God’s secrets. I wrote them down because a heavenly voice kept saying to me, 'See and speak! Hear and write!'"  ~~ St. Hildegard of Bingen

Disclaimer:  I was provided with a free copy of this book for review purposes, but did not receive other compensation.  

Well, WE liked it.

We have now finished the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Our sympathy to Helene Hanff, who reportedly was required to read the entire thing in one weekend.
"With success as a playwright still eluding her, Helene Hanff found a job in 1948 as a reader for a film studio. She had to pick up a novel or a screenplay from the studio offices at 4pm, take it home, read it, write a synopsis and return the manuscript to the studio at four the following day. She was paid $6 per synopsis, a figure which eventually rose to $10, and continued to work as a reader for the next five years. She later remembered her horror when asked to write a synopsis of J R R Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. 'I read the opening sentence of the first volume and phoned around several friends to say goodbye, because suicide seemed to obviously preferable to 500 more pages of the same.' When she handed in her invoice for reading the three volumes she added an extra $40 for 'mental torture'". (her Daily Telegraph obituary)
Mug cozy photo found on Etsy. 

Friday school plans (Dollygirl's Grade 7)


Basic Bible Studies:  beginning the study of the Holy Spirit

French History: what was going on in France during the reign of King John?

Key to Geometry

Shakespeare's King John: start Act III

Money Matters workbook

Picture Talk:  Jan Vermeer (make an entry in the Book of Centuries)


Ivanhoe:  finish the chapter about the Black Knight and the Clerk of Copmanhurst


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Only in homeschool...

Why is teaching Dollygirl such a unique experience?

Because only Dollygirl could take a science lesson on the food chain and spend most of it discussing the fact that cows eat producers
and lions eat consumers.

Math, how it's going, and Heather's helpful math post

Heather at To Sow a Seed has a good homeschool math post this week.  That might not sound like enough to get you to click over there, but trust me, she has some important things to say both about math and about homeschooling.

Right now Dollygirl is doing a mixture of Saxon Algebra 1/2 (2nd edition), Key to Geometry, and Balance Benders; also Money Matters by Larry Burkett, but that is more consumer education and citizenship than math.

I know how you're supposed to do Saxon.  That's not how we're doing it.  That would be exactly how to make Dollygirl never want to do math again.  The closest comparison I can make is that I'm teaching it much like I did Miquon, minus the Cuisenaire rods.  There are topics that Dollygirl is already very good at; there are new things she needs practice with.  During a math lesson (which doesn't mean One Saxon Lesson), I try to go over something new or to expand on a concept we've been working on (right now it's rate problems and unit multipliers); we might do some sample problems together on that, or do a few other questions on more familiar topics, such as finding the lowest common multiple or changing improper fractions to mixed numbers.  She might do those orally (if they're that sort of question), might do them on scratch paper (the same idea as working at the blackboard).  I watch while she's working those out and offer a little direction if she needs it; we check the Solutions Manual and if everything lines up, we move on; if not, we go back to the point where she got off track.

Then I usually assign either a few word problems, or, depending on what's in the Saxon lesson, a certain number of the shorter-type questions such as "solve for x."  So it might take us a few days to get through one Saxon lesson, or we might stop partway through and move on, or we might do a whole problem set and then skip the next, or we might even go back to a very early lesson for some arithmetic review.

(I always took Ruth Beechick seriously when she said "teach the child, not the book.")

Back yard nature

It's gray and windy, but the wind isn't cold now, it's just spring wind.

The robin was back on our porch again, ready for attempt number two or three at building a nest over the light.  I watched him (I think it was a him) fly back and forth a few times with clumps of dried grass, messing around, kind of stomping and flapping the stuff down, flying off for more.  I hated to have to tell him that the eviction notice would be posted as soon as Mr. Fixit got home from his errands.

Just then a gust of wind blew the half-made nest to the ground, and the robin (intuitively?) did not return.

Also seen:  a very bad squirrel with his head inside our bird feeder, stuffing his face as fast as he could.  A chipmunk.  Lots of violets.

Monday, April 21, 2014

On the school menu this week (Dollygirl's Grade 7)

Tuesday (the lunchtime concerts are now over for the season)

Old Testament:  continue Numbers, about Miriam's punishment and the spies

Poems: This Crosse-Tree Here, a spacial poem by Robert Herrick

General Science:  begin Module 12, about food, energy, and combustion


Music history:  Robert and Clara Schumann


Saxon Algebra 1/2

Return of the King


New Testament:  continue the Gospel of Mark

Backyard Nature (notebooks)




English History:  The Magna Charta (use Century Chart)


Balance Benders Level 3

Saxon Algebra 1/2


Basic Bible Studies:  finish the study on God the Son, and/or begin the next one about the Holy Spirit

Composition:  watch the sampler DVD we didn't get to yet

Architecture:  more definitions of "Gothic," and Perpendicular Tracery


General Science:  continue the basic ideas of producers/consumers (and decomposers), and how combustion works

Plutarch:  do some catching up on Cicero, and use the Book of Centuries

Key to Geometry

Return of the King


Basic Bible Studies:  see Thursday

How to Read a Book:  continue the idea of "unity" in a story or a book


Money Matters workbook

Picture Talk:  Jan Vermeer (make an entry in the Book of Centuries)

History:  continue from Wednesday


Key to Geometry

Shakespeare's King John: start Act III

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Back yard nature: we like you, but go somewhere else

That title could apply to several things around here, including rabbits. However, in this case it's a male robin who was determined to build a nest right over the light on our back porch.  He spent all yesterday morning at it, and then Mr. Fixit spoiled everything (in the robin's opinion) by taking the broom to the avian handicrafts. It's not that we don't appreciate the up-close opportunity for bird study, but letting them build right there means that we can't use the porch till they've moved on--so, that would be a no.  We are happy to let them build on the drainpipes, just not right on the porch.

But he was back this morning to try again.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What can you do with lemon chips?

In the aisle with the Easter jelly beans, Bulk Barn is selling lemon-flavored baking chips--that is, yellow "chocolate chips." What can you do with them?  Lemon-chip cookies somehow just don't sound right. But I think you could use them in the sort of fudge we make at Christmas (mostly melted chocolate and sweetened condensed milk), or in other baking recipes that use ingredients like coconut.  I bought only seven ounces, not enough to make fudge.  These no-bake cookies are what I came up with instead.

Lemon Macaroons for Easter

In a bowl, combine (amounts are approximate) 1 to 1 1/2 cups graham crumbs, 1 cup quick oats, 1 cup unsweetened coconut.  (The oats were because I was short on graham crumbs, but I think they gave some needed bulk to the cookies.)

In a small saucepan, heat 1/3 cup milk, but do not boil it.  When it is quite warm, stir in 6 or 7 ounces lemon chips and stir until melted.  Combine with the dry ingredients.  Let sit for a couple of minutes to thicken.  Push by teaspoonfuls onto waxed paper-covered tray.  Chill until set.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wednesday school plans (Dollygirl's Grade 7, Term 3)

Book of Numbers, Chapter 11: the Israelites complain about manna, manna, nothing but manna, so God sends them meat; but they are also punished for complaining.

Key to Geometry, booklet 1, about lines and line segments

Making a chart for the 13th century: still working out the details for that one.

The Spring of the Year: "An Old Apple Tree."  I really love the "tree toad" part of this chapter.  Here's a snippet, but you really should read the whole thing.
"Seating myself comfortably at the foot of the tree, I wait. The toad comes forth to the edge of his hole above me, settles himself comfortably, and waits. And the lesson begins. The quiet of the summer evening steals out with the wood-shadows and softly covers the fields. We do not stir. An hour passes. We do not stir. Not to stir is the lesson--one of the primary lessons in this course with the toad. 
"The dusk thickens. The grasshoppers begin to strum; the owl slips out and drifts away; a whip-poor-will drops on the bare knoll near me, clucks and shouts and shouts again, his rapid repetition a thousand times repeated by the voices that call to one another down the long empty aisles of the swamp; a big moth whirs about my head and is gone; a bat flits squeaking past; a firefly blazes, is blotted out by the darkness, blazes again, and so passes, his tiny lantern flashing into a night that seems the darker for his quick, unsteady glow. We do not stir. It is a hard lesson. By all my other teachers I had been taught every manner of stirring, and this strange exercise of being still takes me where my body is weakest, and puts me almost out of breath. 
"What! out of breath by keeping still? Yes, because I had been hurrying hither and thither, doing this and that--doing them so fast for so many years that I no longer understood how to sit down and keep still and do nothing inside of me as well as outside. Of course _you_ know how to keep still, for you are children. And so perhaps you do not need to take lessons of teacher Toad. But I do, for I am grown up, and a man, with a world of things to do, a great many of which I do not need to do at all--if only I would let the toad teach me all he knows."
Easy Grammar Plus: continue predicate nominatives

Handwriting practice

Ivanhoe: King John's nobles have a secret meeting. There's a good part coming up where the Black Knight makes a new friend (see picture below), but we may not get that far today.
Isn't that an awesome illustration? It's by George Cruikshank, 1837.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Reminder about the Carnival of Homeschooling

We are hosting this week's Carnival of Homeschooling, and the deadline is tomorrow night (Monday).  I don't have too many submissions yet, so I may have to come around asking some of you for help. If you have a post you'd like to submit, the directions are here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Term Three Week Four: Dollygirl's School Plans (a short week)

A four-day school week because of Good Friday.


Book of Numbers.  Use Book of Centuries.

Saxon Algebra 1/2 

Hair and Skin: A Nutritional Viewpoint (Text: Nutrition 101)

The Easy Grammar Plus

Fix It..Write

Map drills (online)


Music history:  after Schubert?


Gospel of Mark.  Keep notebook.

Saxon Algebra 1/2

Hair and Skin:  see Monday

Balance Benders Level 3

History of England: "John and Arthur"

Fix It...Write

Poetry: "find the metre"

Return of the King


Book of Numbers.  Use Book of Centuries.

Key to Geometry

Something new in history:  Beginning a Century Chart

The Spring of the Year: "The Apple Tree"

The Easy Grammar Plus

Ourselves Book II: continue with the perils of the uninstructed conscience

Fix It...Write

Poetry: "find the metre"



Basic Bible Studies: "God the Son"

History of England:  what charters are

Picture study:  Jan Vermeer, painting #3.  Use Book of Centuries.

Key to Geometry

Gothic Architecture: more distinguishing features

Money Matters workbook

Shakespeare's King John:  continue Act II

Friday, April 11, 2014

What's for supper? (Cleaning out the fridge and cupboard)

Tonight's what's-in-your-hand dinner menu:

Chicken Cacciatore (chicken breasts, onions, and canned sauce)
Egg noodles
Three small frozen panzerotti (call them hors d'oeuvres)
Odds and ends of green things
Pickles and olives

Oranges, cut up
Cottage pudding made with the end of a jar of jam
And (for snacks)
A small pan of Rice Krispie Squares, made with the end of a box of cereal

Tomorrow: groceries.

The many uses of homeschooling

I did a conference workshop last weekend and mentioned that reading Architecture Shown to the Children can improve your ability at crosswords (words like APSE).  They thought I was joking.

A couple of days ago I posted about Gothic architecture and ogees.

The crossword in today's paper has the clue, "Pointed arch."  Which has come up before, but this time I didn't have to look it up:  OGEE.

So there you go.  Homeschooling has its advantages.

A bird we hear a lot here: Cardinals

A well done three-minute video that also explains how birds sing:

Back yard nature: Sparrows

Outside the window this morning:  sparrows, up close and personal.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Dollygirl's Nature Walk Photos

(From yesterday's nature walk)

Winterberry holly bush with berries.

All photos by Dollygirl. Copyright 2014 Dewey's Treehouse.

Linked from Nature Study Q&A and April Link-Up at Fisher Academy International.

A walk by the pond (our nature outing)

A short drive away from us, there's an old fieldstone farmhouse that is now part of a university campus. Behind the farmhouse, there's a nature trail around a large pond.  That's where we went this afternoon.  It's still pretty cold, and not much is sprouting or hatching or moving much around the pond, but we did have a good (although muddy) very-early-spring walk.  We saw several things to note down, and things we'd like to come back and look at again in a couple of weeks:
Tamarack (larch) trees, with cones but no needles. (More about them here.)

Winterberry holly--at least, we're pretty sure that's what it was.  Bright red juicy berries still on the bush from last fall, but no spring growth on it yet--maybe some buds.

A muskrat swam up to the edge of the water and then disappeared, probably into a hole in the bank.  Mr. Fixit and Dollygirl disagreed on whether it had a tail like a beaver or like a muskrat, but it was acting more like a muskrat.

Lots of ducks and geese, and robins, and a blue heron further out.

A few daffodils coming up at the front of the farmhouse.

There were a few little bits of green here and there, but it was a hard winter and I think spring is having a struggle.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

End-of-the-week school plans (Dollygirl's Grade Seven)


The Age of Chivalry: "Taliesin"

Key to Geometry

Grammar of Poetry:  scanning practice (take bits of two poems and identify their meter)

General Science:  Skin and Hair

Fix It...Write (penmanship practice)

Plutarch's Life of Cicero, finish lesson 2 (very short) and start lesson 3

Map drills (Seterra, online)

King John, continue Act II

Afternoon Activities:  see the term's extra activities such as homemaking and crafts


Basic Bible Studies #15, A New Relationship with God the Son

BrainBox Game: The World

Key to Geometry

The Easy Grammar Plus

Picture Study:  Jan Vermeer, #2

Grammar of Poetry:  scanning practice (take bits of two poems and identify their meter)

History of England: The Crusade (continuing with Richard). Draw something in the Book of Centuries.

Money Matters

Composition time  (if you want, use the demo disk from One Year Adventure Novel that we picked up at the homeschool conference)

What's for supper?

Tonight's dinner menu:

2 Hungarian smoked sausages, baked with a casserole of brown rice and barley  (Whoah, that sausage turned out to be spicy.)
Spinach and feta perogies
Carrot sticks

Homemade butterscotch pudding...and here's the recipe.

Butterscotch Pudding (Source: Food to Grow On, by Susan Mendelson and Rena Mendelson, 1994)

1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
2 cups whole or 2% milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium saucepan.  Whisk in milk, and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly.  (Keep stirring so it doesn't stick or burn.).  Stir 1/2 cup pudding mixture into the egg yolks, then stir that mixture back into the pot and cook for two more minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.  Pour into serving bowl or Pyrex pan, and cover with plastic wrap to keep skin from forming, unless you just like skin.  Chill for an hour before serving.

(Note: this recipe makes only about three servings, or four quite small ones.  But you can increase the amounts.)

Wednesday school plans

Opening hymn

Old Testament:  Book of Numbers, chapter 9: The Second Passover; The Fiery Cloud

Fix It...Write workpage

Architecture Shown to the Children: Introduction to Gothic architecture...did you ever notice that an ogee looks a lot like the top of a Dairy Queen cone?

Work in Saxon Algebra 1/2 (orally and do a problem with Mom--finish the lesson for homework)

Finish painting cardboard bunkbed for the dolls (with Mr. Fixit)

Easy Grammar Plus: introduce predicate nominatives

Balance Benders Book 3


The Grammar of Poetry: a bit of review

Nature Afternoon!

Monday, April 07, 2014

Some news from The Apprentice

Our Apprentice had not even started high school when we started this blog.  We have posts following her through ninth grade at home, her move to public high school, her hairstyling apprenticeship (yes, we thought it was funny too, because the nickname came before the real thing), and her moving on (and out) to university.  Apprentice would have had another year of school to go yet for the Honours program, but she has decided that enough is enough, for now anyway, and she will be graduating with her B.Sc. in June.

And after that?

The Apprentice (who we should probably rename The Graduate, except that Dustin Hoffman already did that) is already set up with her housemates and her mini slow cooker, so she's going to stay where she is and look for a job there.  And enjoy having absolutely no homework, at least after final exams.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Monday School Plans, and a new game (Dollygirl's Grade Seven)

Old Testament: continue Book of Numbers

New game we bought at the homeschool conference:  BrainBox "The World" (you can sample it here)

General Science: Skin and hair

Balance Benders Level 3

Saxon Algebra 1/2:  begin new lesson

Picture Study : intro to Vermeer, postponed from last week

The Easy Grammar Plus: continue nouns

History of England: The Pope's Gift; The Crescent and the Cross (intro to Richard)

How to Read a Book

French lesson


(One day this week, when the weather's good, Mr. Fixit is going to take us out in nature somewhere so we can look for spring flowers.)

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Nature in our back yard, and a lot of others right now

Gray or speckled snow mold, proper name Typhula Blight.  (Or mould. Canadians can't decide how to spell that one.)  It's a mycelium that appears when the snow's been on the ground too long.  It's showing on a lot of lawns right now, as the snow disappears.
It's sort of pretty, in a weird, Spanish-moss sort of way.  It doesn't kill the grass, just damages the blades (and then hides for the summer).

Are you seeing this where you live?

(Photo found here)

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

What's for supper? Skillet Spaghetti

Tonight's dinner menu:

Skillet Spaghetti, made from celery, mushrooms, a bit of pepperoni, a bit of leftover homemade lentil burger, a can of pizza sauce, and some broken-up spaghetti.  Black olives for those who like them.  Cheese on top or on the side.

Steamed spinach

Slow-cooker chocolate dessert for those who eat their spinach.

Nature in our backyard

It's staying above freezing this week, which means the snow banks are shrinking and what's underneath is reappearing.  Dollygirl found her small shovel that had disappeared under a drift.

On the strange-wildlife side, a very corpulent raccoon waddled across our yard this morning.  We do get raccoons here (that's why we lock up the garbage), but not usually in the daytime.  We wondered if this one might be a mama-to-be.