Saturday, November 16, 2013

Catching Up

Where does the time go?

We have been so busy lately!
I have not been taking photos lately, so here is a photo from our recent trip to CA--sea lions, I think this is on 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, CA

My parents are back from the lake and their Monday sewing-soldering-building lessons with the girls are well underway.  This year, they decided to add cooking to their list of skills to impart to the girls.  They are working their way through family recipes for marinara and gaumpke, chicken cacciatore and Poppy's Famous (to my girls) macaroni and cheese, among other family recipes.  Piper is photographing it all and Allie is transcribing the recipes into Shutterfly for a family cookbook, which I am sure will become a lifelong treasure for both girls!  Jason and I get to look forward to dinner at my mom's house when we get out of work on Monday (not having to cook + not having to clean up + being with family= AWESOME START TO THE WEEK)!  This is shaping up to be a great new tradition!

The girls have joined ANOTHER co-op on Tuesdays while I am at work.  My friends, their friends' mom is kind enough to drive them back and forth to this co-op while I am at work.

On Wednesdays we have started working with an SPCA group in testing therapy dogs and Piper also has choir.  The SPCA group happens to be near the pottery studio and sometimes we manage to fit a class in---our pottery studio allows us to buy coupons for 10 classes and they punch them when we take a class (me included!) which is nice since it's not that close to home and we don't feel like we HAVE to do a class every week, we can just do it when we fit it in.  I almost forgot--most Wednesdays the girls tutor my friend's third grade daughter so we have to be home by 3pm!

Thursday is our day at home, but between Halloween and the beautiful fall colors, I have been saying yes more than no to hikes with friends.  The girls are able to do a lot of their academics independently now at night or in their spare time.  As long as we sit in the morning and go over our notecards and meet and discuss what they are working on and I take the time to go over what they are doing, they can pretty much stay on task and do what they need to do to get stuff done, which allows us more freedom to go on hikes and playdates!

And Friday we are at co-op ALL DAY.

We have started doing some "school stuff" on weekends just because it is the only time we can fit it in, but Sundays are reserved for family time.  But if that means watching a documentary together or working on a project be it!


We have been using notecards for the last two years for our Latin Roots study.  Over the summer, as we learned about events in the last 100 years, I had the girls write notecards with facts about The Korean War or The Cuban Missile Crisis.  As has been our habit over the last few years, every morning  after we watch CNN Student News, we take 10-15 minutes to review the notecards.  I expect the girls to be able to tell me the definition of the Latin root or the events that lead up to WWII or what the somatic nervous system is.  We will keep cycling through these cards.  Any that they miss, they have to study that day and are asked about that card again the next day.  I hope to keep these events and explanations fresh in their mind by constantly reviewing the cards.

Science (Writing, too!)

Allie has an interest in possibly being a veterinarian or a vet tech, she is working through this Unit Study independently.

We are also working through bodily systems.  I had the girls make a list of all of the body systems, I made sure they got them right and we made a notecard with the list and put it in our box.  Now we are going through each system, the girls research the system using books and websites, then they write a paper showing they have an understanding of the system.  I look over the papers to make sure they have an understanding and also correct for grammar and spelling and have the girls re-write the paper.  Then we write a two or three sentence summary on the paper on a notecard and put it in our box.  Then we look for more activities to do with the bodily system, the girls have drawn and labeled diagrams of the layers of skin, brain and spinal cord and have found different experiments on-line and in books to do to learn more about the two systems we have covered so far, the Integumentary System and the Nervous System.  We broke the nervous system down into Central Nervous System and Peripheral Nervous System and then further down to Autonomic and Somatic Nervous Systems, each of which got its own card and two or three sentence explanation.


Teaching Textbooks is working out AWESOME!  Every couple of days I look at their grade book and make them re-do any questions they got wrong if their score was less than 80% on a given lesson.

Sign Language

Last year when we watched Switched at Birth, the girls had an interest in learning sign language.  We bought a couple of books and between them and websites, the girls have been independently teaching themselves sign language.  One of the moms at co-op is a former teacher of the deaf who has agreed to work with them in the new year!


Piper is really interested in galaxies and finding out if there are other galaxies and what is going on with them.  She researches this independently and oftentimes at dinner tells us what she is learning.


The girls are also both hard at work writing stories that they hope to have bound into books to give their little cousins as Christmas gifts.

In my spare time…

Back when the girls were little and the scrapbooking craze was in full swing, I used to get together almost weekly with friends and scrapbook.  My girls each have a birth to 3 scrapbook and I even made scrapbooks for Jason and I when we were kids and dating!  Around Piper's 3rd birthday, I switched to making Yearly Scrapbooks where each month had a two page spread.  In 2009 I switched from scrapbooking to making photo books on Shutterfly….and then I started blogging and other than making a photo book of our Savannah, Charleston, Tybee Island trip I neglected making annual photo books… I have had my blogs printed out, but I really like the visual look of a book that is mostly photos with some journaling and not mostly journal with some photos.  So, I have spent the last few weeks loading photos from 2010, 2011 and 2012 on to Shutterfly and creating photo books!  I also created a photo book for our recent trip to California.  The 2011, 2012 and California trip books are completed and ordered and I am working on the 2010 book--then I will be caught up.  I have not opened any of the books yet…my plan is to wrap them and put them under the Christmas tree and open them Christmas morning with my family!  it will be so nice knowing all of our memories are preserved in books we can easily look at and we can always order additional copies of the books from the shutterfly website!

I wanted to include some photos but I didn't have any recent photos, so here is one of us in Big Sur last month.

17 Mile Drive, Monterey, Ca

Pebble Beach

Point Lobos, Carmel, CA