Friday, February 20, 2015

The one where I had too much caffeine...or was excited about leaving the house...

Allie, Piper and I shared the stomach virus last week.  It basically sucked.  Almost no school got done.  I did sit with them while they did Math, just to make sure Allie really was understanding Quadratic Equations, because you know if she had not...I would probably have cried.  No seriously, when I look at it with her, I kind of remember it and realize I actually remember more than I think, but thank heavens for Teaching Textbooks because there is no way I could teach Rational Expressions and Quadratic Equations.  We would definitely have to farm this out if Teaching Textbooks was not working for her.

We cancelled Writing Club this week because several of the girls were sick.  Must be a February thing.

But...the girls are going to NJ Homeschool Game Night tonight...woot!  It's hosted about once every three months and teen homeschoolers from all over come and play games and eat pizza and hang out. It's kind of like an Activity Night in school, only at an arcade so it's cooler.  Yeah, homeschoolers know how to Party!  Jason and I are taking advantage of the kid-free night and having a date night!  So needed at this point after a week of sickness and brutally cold temps!

I am in a slap happy mood in case you could not tell.  I think it is the promise of a date night and a fun weekend planned with friends!  Or maybe it's that I have been trying to drink green tea because of it's anti-oxidant reputed fat-burning goodness.  I am almost past the vile taste.  I found Tazo Green Ginger is the most palatable for me.  I love fruity herbal teas; but green tea...not so much.  So I make myself drink two cups and then I reward myself with some yummy Yogi Cinnamon and Vanilla (smells so good I want to bathe in it!) or Tazo Wild Sweet Orange (favorite!).

So, back to school stuff...

Science Research Papers

This week I asked the girls to each pick a topic to research and write a paper on.  Piper chose GPS and Allie chose bullet proof clothing.  We spent the week watching MythBusters and How Things Are Made (how did people homeschool before the internet?) episodes on GPS and bullet proof clothing.  The girls pored over websites and books on the topics.  I had them take notes and then we organized the notes into outlines.  Allie has used outlines before, but this was a first for Piper and she really liked it and found it streamlined things.  They both wrote excellent papers with a thorough Works Cited page.


Jason and the girls worked through American Chemical Society Middle School Chemistry Chapter 5 lessons 1 and 2 over the last two weeks.  He is definitely the man for the job, often finding things in our every day life that relate to something they learned and pointing it out.  I really need to slow down, stop and smell the roses and take time for this kind of thing.

We watched Gasland last weekend.  Well, Jason, Allie and I did, Piper was sick and slept most of that day.  As people who live not far from the Delaware River Basin (where tracking is occurring) who also have a family home on a lake in upstate New York, we can't afford to think maybe it's really as ok as the companies using these techniques and the government say it is.  I do find it interesting that the CEO of Exxon doesn't want fracking near where he lives.

Current Events

We used to watch CNN Student News, but ISIS terrifies and disgusts me and I really don't want to start my day or the girls' days in a state of terror and disgust, so we have stopped watching CNN Student News.  Instead, I share articles with the girls that I think they can learn something from.  Last week, I shared an article about the CEO of Cinnabon and how she started out and learned ALL of the different jobs at the companies she worked at and ended up being able to train employees and that was the kind of person the Board of Directors was looking for, someone who understood ALL aspects of the company.  I think that sense of work ethic is definitely something the girls should understand and know about.

We have also started watching Test Tube, which so far I like.  Test Tube explains some of the crisis and situations in the world.  They don't go through stuff as fast as Hank and John Green (love those guys and I know it's their schtick but they go so fast it makes my head spin!)  A lot of topics on Test Tube are about war, we have not watched a lot of those yet, so I am not sure how I feel about the whole thing.  But, from what we have seen, I have liked it so far.

Looking Ahead...

Next week we are going to start our new history and literature approaches.  I am excited.  I like change.  I get bored easily.  I get tired of doing the same thing.  Originally, I thought we could cover Ancient history in 6 weeks, Medieval in another 6 and Renaissance for the win before June--ha!  When I really got down to it with the plans, however, I realized it will probably take us the rest of the year to do the Ancient History project I spent the last two weeks coming up with.  And that is ok.  It's going to be writing intensive, with note-taking, list making, outline forming and work citing.  

Since we will be doing a lot of "formal" writing in history, while I want to finish Writing Strands 4 by June, we only have about 6 more exercises to do, which is about 6 weeks.  So, we are going to take a break from Writing Strands and do some journal writing that I am hoping will get the girls to dig deeper inside themselves.
One of my friends, whose daughter is in our Writing Club, is
a middle school teacher and she loaned me this book.  We use it for warm-ups
in writing club.  And I love it.  So I bought my own copy.


We keep on truckin' through Lesson 2, which is quite a long lesson.

Film Study

We have been discussing allegories.  I asked the girls to research movies that are known to be allegorical and pick one and put it on hold to watch together.  Then, we will discuss the theories of allegory within the movie and maybe I will have them write what about the film is allegorical.

Cooking & Baking

When I was sick, Allie made mac and cheese from scratch for the family.  Piper made Rice Krispies treats--kind of a big deal for Piper because she does not enjoy cooking.

More Stuff...

I read these books when I was sick.  I have to say that I did enjoy Celeste Ng's book and think it's probably a good book for parents of teens to read, really makes you think about the potential to put pressure on our kids for things we THINK they Like.  When I Found You is the first book by Catherine Ryan Hyde that I have read.  I love the simplicity of her writing style and I love the theme of the book, I keep thinking it is predictable but then something happens that I didn't predict.  I am enjoying it.

 And...we got kind of excited about this house on 28 acres.  Yes, 28 acres.  It has a newer peat moss septic (which is a good thing) and it's got some cool features to it.  No mold, the water is good.  But something just doesn't feel right with it for me.  I can't say what it is.  It needs work, yes, but that's not it because we have done that before and I don't mind that.  One of the things that is bothering me is how close it is to the neighbor.  We heard 28 acres and figured it would not be as close to neighbors as we are here...yet it is on one side.  you can see in the photo below, the white house with the stone foundation on the left is the house we are looking at and the green house on the right is basically on the other side of the driveway.  If that guy decides to play music all day long like our neighbor now does in the summer, we would most certainly hear it just like we do now.

You can see here that the land is to the left and behind the house.  Also, the house is very close to a gravel road.  It is way off the beaten path, which we like.  But if a car goes by on that road, we would hear it in our house.  

And so that is what is going on here, peeps.  
Hope you all have a great weekend!