Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Works For Me Wednesday – 3/30/2011


It’s springtime, and I’m itchy to get our house decluttered and simplified.  Not only that, we are actively looking for a building downtown where we can open a yarn shop on the main floor and live in another portion of the building.  That means we’ll be in a much smaller space.  To get started, yesterday I cleaned off some bookshelves and made piles of books to be given away.  I think the give-away piles include about 40% of our books.  We’re going to take them to our local library, but there are lots of other places you can give books.

1. Library – check and see if your library is interested in your books.  Our library puts what they can into circulation and then sells the rest at their annual book sale.

2. Used bookstores – We gave our last bunch of books to the local used bookstore.  They price the books at 50% of the retail price.  They give us credit for all the books that we bring in and then we can use our credits for up to 50% of the cost of our next purchase.

3. Jail – A friend suggested this on Facebook.  They are also happy to take some of the easier-to-read books because the inmates have varying levels of literacy.

4. Goodwill or local thrift store – I’ve bought some of my favorite books at Goodwill.

5. Homeschool group or convention – Many homeschool groups have used book sales near the end of the school year where we can sell our old books and get used books for next year.  Our state’s homeschool convention also has a used book sale where people can buy and sell books.

Any other ideas?  Where do you take your old books when you are Spring Cleaning?

Check out Works For Me Wednesday for more great ideas!!

Top Shot – 3/30/2011

We don’t watch a lot of TV around here, but the shows that we do watch regularly are reality competition shows: Top Chef, The Amazing Race, Next Food Network Star, and Top Shot.  Top Shot is a History Channel show that starts out with 16 shooters and has weekly competitions to eliminate one shooter each week until they are down to a winner.  So far, they have shot .22 pistols and rifles, bows and arrows, tomahawks, and other firearms.  The 16 participants are from various backgrounds: military, recreational shooting, and competitive shooting.

Last night’s show was particularly interesting for a couple of reasons.

1. I noticed in the last two shows that they show the guys (both women were eliminated rather early – blah) holding hands and praying before meals.  It’s really cool so see a bunch of men doing this.  I don’t presume to think that they are all practicing Protestant Christians, but at least any who might not be believers are very respectful of those who are.

2. Last night’s show was apparently filmed on November 10th, the birthday of the U.S. Marine Corps.  The men made a nice dinner and then a birthday cake.  They then did a little ceremony where the oldest Marine in the room got the first piece and the youngest Marine got the second piece of cake.  Of the final 8 competitors, there were 4 Marines, 3 members of other branches of the Armed Forces, and 1 civilian.  The majority of the final competitors had much of their training in the military, and I think this says good things about military training.  My brother was in the Marine Corps for six years, so this kind of thing is very meaningful to me.

I’m not a big firearms person.  I support strong enforcement of the right to bear arms, but I’ve never been all that interested in shooting (although I did enjoy archery at Family Camp for a few years).  Nonetheless, Top Shot is a very interesting show to watch.

Do you watch reality shows?  What kinds do you like?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Our Week In Review – 3/26/2011


Actually, it should be our “weeks” in review since I haven’t updated our school situation in quite a while.  For one thing, I’m starting to think longingly of Summer – and we’ve got 10 more weeks to go!!  But, we will press on!

We did take a week off to go on a trip to Florida as a gift from Grandma.  Yippee!!  Unfortunately, since we’ve been back, both Rosie Girl and Wild Man have been sick.  Wild Man was diagnosed last week with tonsillitis and sinusitis.  Rosie Girl will probably go to the doctor on Monday because I think she’s got sinusitis.  Between their illnesses and my migraines, it’s a wonder anything has been getting done!

As a family, we read almost every night.  Right now, we’re reading The Hobbit.  Generally, we read one of Wild Man’s read-alouds from his curriculum, but I haven’t ruled out reading some of Rosie Girl’s literature selections.

Rosie Girl

History/Literature – She continues with Core 200 History and seems to be learning, even though she’s not thrilled about it.  Part of me wishes that she enjoyed school more than she does, but then I remember how I felt about Physics classes.  She’s not a fan of History, even though I love it, so I just have to deal with that.

Math – Rosie Girl is about 2/3 done with ALEKS Geometry.  PWM works with her every morning for a little while on it.

Chemistry – PWM is doing most of the work with Rosie Girl in Chemistry.  The online textbook that she’s using is a much better “fit” for her.  This last week, they discussed atomic structure, including electron orbital structure.  Again, she’s not fond of it, but she’s learning.

Writing – We took a break from the biweekly essay for her to take a Research Paper class through Write At Home.  Again, I was very pleased with the instruction.  However, Rosie Girl wasn’t too happy with her grade.  Since this is the first time she did a full research paper, I’m not distressed about the grade.  I’m definitely having her do it again next year, though.  She continues to write fan fiction and occasional poetry as well as being part of the Writing Club at the high school.

Music – Piano Festival is next month.  Rosie Girl still needs to work on memorizing her music (!), but it’s otherwise sounding good.  Last week, we got her a double ocarina which allows her a wider range of tones.

Art – I am continually blown away at the projects that Rosie Girl makes in Art Class at the local high school.  I’ll post pictures soon if she agrees.

Japanese – Rosie Girl is halfway through her first semester.

Driving – She’s completely done with the classroom portion of Driver’s Education.  Now she has to drive with her instructor and with me and PWM.  She’s driving quite well and significantly less nervous behind the wheel.

Community Service – Rosie Girl is very comfortable now helping our Worship Arts Director get music and music packets ready for the worship team each week.  She also does some transposing and other fun things.

Bible – Rosie Girl is still reading through the Old Testament along with some background information from How To Read The Bible For All It’s Worth.

Wild Man

History – In the craziness of the last month, Wild Man has not done as much History/Social Science as I would have liked.  However, I consider it less important than his Language Arts and Math, so I’m not going to try to catch him up completely.  He has recently watched “Gandhi” and a documentary about Mother Theresa along with other documentaries about India.  I also had him watch “Bridge Over The River Kwai” just because it’s such a great movie set in southeast Asia.  It was also a springboard for a great discussion of the morality of the actions of the various characters.

Language Arts – We’re still using All About Spelling and Easy Grammar 5.  Every week (OK, every couple of weeks), I have him dictate a short paper on something he studied during the week.  We aren’t using IEW at the moment.  I’ve realized that Wild Man is reading well, but he is having real trouble with writing fluency, both handwriting and typing.  I’m not sure how much of this is purely mechanical and how much is related to his dyslexia.  In any case, I have him copy a paragraph from one of his schoolbooks to try to improve the mechanical side of writing.  He is also very slowed down in his writing by his difficulties with spelling.  He has trouble spelling words that he has been working on in his spelling book when they are in another context.  So, he has a hard time writing more than a couple of sentences before he’s asking for help spelling most of the words.  We’ll keep working on both spelling and writing and hope that he can improve his writing soon.  In the meantime, I am going to try skipping forward in IEW to outlining.  Having to write the words will still be a challenge for him, but most of what he will need to write will be in the work that he’s outlining.  We’ll see how it goes.

Math – He’s moving forward in ALEKS.

Science – We’ve been watching some documentaries about nature, specifically earthquakes and tsunamis, given the recent events in Japan.  Otherwise, we’ve been reading some about nutrition.  I’m going to sign him up for an online course that uses Legos to teach elementary engineering principles.  Wild Man is certainly looking forward to that!

Bible – He and PWM are still working through their Bible overview.

Music – Wild Man plays percussion with the 7th and 8th grade band.  He’s also been playing with the junior high “Youth Band” at church, alternating between drum kit and percussion since there’s another drum player in that band.  A few weeks ago, PWM started to teach him to play bass guitar, which Wild Man is picking up very, very quickly.

Community Service – It’s so cool to see Wild Man excited to go to the Nutrition Site every week to help with Meals on Wheels and the Senior Lunches.

Tae Kwon Do – PWM and Wild Man are both ready for their next belt test, but they missed the most recent opportunity when we were in Florida.  They’ll have to wait several more weeks for the next belt testing date.  In any case, both are doing well and practice their forms at home a couple of times a week.

So, that’s pretty much it.  The kids are learning a lot, even when they don’t realize it.  As they’re getting older, we’re able to have more discussions about world events and other important topics.

Check out Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to see what others are up to!



Friday, March 25, 2011

7 Quick Takes Friday – 3/25/2011


1. I still haven’t blogged about our trip to Universal Studios in Florida.  In summary, it was a total blast!!  More later.

2. Today was Day #4 of a migraine.  I start to get really crabby after about 2 days.  Thankfully, it appears to be a good  bit better.

3. We watched MegaMind tonight.  That is one of the best family films I’ve seen in a long time.  Entirely too often, my mind gets distracted because the plot is dragging, or there’s just a bunch of action animation.  This one, though, was entertaining to the end.

4. We got eight inches of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Unfortunately, it also rained, so there were layers of snow and ice.  I drove Wild Man to church last night, and he and I scraped/pushed/otherwise removed a good three inches of snow and ice from the top of the car.

5. However, my family is determined that it really is springtime, so we got a watermelon!!

6. Between the winter blahs and the colds/sinus infections in this house, we are ready for warmer weather and to open the windows!  Rosie Girl and PWM still have left-overs of their colds and Wild Man was diagnosed with sinusitis on Tuesday.  I’m the only one who hasn’t had an upper respiratory infection (fingers crossed, knock on wood!).

7. You know already that Rosie Girl plays piano and Wild Man plays percussion.  Rosie Girl also plays ocarina and got a double ocarina this week.  She is thrilled!!  The double ocarina gives here a much wider range to play.  Wild Man is now learning to play electric bass and doing quite well.

I’m not feeling terribly verbose today, so it’s a short post.  Check out what other people are up to at 7 Quick Takes Friday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Snow Day!

The winter storm started yesterday with mixed rain and sleet.  Then we had some snow, then more icy rain but this time with thunder and lightening.  And, of course, I had a migraine.  Let me tell you, though, listening to the sleet hit the windows while it was thundering and lightening last night was a strange experience.  I always think of snow storms as being generally quiet, or maybe having a little howling wind.  The thunder and lightening is supposed to come with rainstorms – and rain, not snow!

We took a snow day today like the public schools.  Normally, we continue with our regular work, but Rosie Girl is getting over a cold, Wild Man started yesterday on antibiotics for tonsillitis and sinusitis, PWM is on the tail end of a cold, and I have a migraine.  Yes, we’re quite the picture here.  Unfortunately, it’s going to be cold for several more days.  This is a problem because PWM and I feel like we need to open up the house, spray Lysol everywhere, and then leave for a few hours (or days).  We’re probably going to open up the house tomorrow anyway and just bundle up!

Today, PWM has read to us from The Hobbit.  Rosie Girl scanned one of her drawings into the computer and is working on it in Gimp (a graphics program).  Wild Man has been listening to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when I’ve had it on and has played Wii, even beating PWM at bowling.  PWM is working on some little projects around the house.  I’ve been working on some knitting.  At some point, PWM is going to deal with the snow, but it’s still coming down.

What do you do on bad weather days?