Monday, March 30, 2009

Lack of blogging

I didn't blog at all last week, not even to record what we'd been doing in our homeschool, which was the purpose of this blog to begin with! The thing is I only have so much online time and facebook is far more interesting to me because I get to interact with others, as opposed to talking to myself in this empty room of a blog!

Last week felt hard. I wasn't feeling well most of the week due to headaches and rainy weather. Also, discipline issues seemed to rear their ugly heads and I didn't feel up to coping with them and instead just got grumpy and feeling sorry for myself. Some stuff that happened:

  • I became obssessed with the movie Gosford Park which I watched 5 times! (No I wasn't hiding from the world or anything!).
  • I had lots of reading to do in My Antonia, Merchant of Venice (which I can't seem to finish either because I keep mislaying my copy or falling asleep over it) and Jesus of Nazareth.
  • I went to the library and got out The Modern Scholar lecture cds entitled Hebrews, Greeks and Romans, the foundations of Western Civilization (something like that) which was very interesting to listen to. I also started watching The Teaching co. lectures on the Iliad; also really interesting.
  • Watched half of the movie Monsieur Vincent. I want to get the kids together to watch that one with me.
  • I actually walked twice last week. I need to get exercising big time! And occasionally it stops raining and is warm enough to actually go for a walk!

Okay, so that's the learning I did last week. What about the kids????? I don't remember! Random selection:

  • Josh had to write a letter to Father Pat asking to be confirmed. He finished reading Fabre's Book of Insects, he did some Algebra and some Latin, he spent the night at his friend's house. He played lots of videogames and watched lots of youtube clips about playing videogames, he read a joke book over and over again until he had memorized most of the jokes! He attended his running class twice last week.
  • Sean played lots of piano, made lots of Pivot III animations, is back to doing gymnastics with Becky, read lots of cartoons and the same joke book Josh is reading. He did a little Latin and a little copy work. He also went to the running class. On Sat he ate so much Turkish Delight he threw up, so we started calling Edmund but Rick said no Sean was only gluttonous while Edmund was treacherous. Big difference!
  • Becky played all the time. She played with her dolls, Tillie the puppy, she built various things out of cardboard and pillows such as playhouses, a dressing room, dog houses, puppet theaters. The house was wreck because of all this playing and I spent Friday and Saturday a.m. cleaning it.
  • Hannah worked many hours, much more than usual. We butted heads almost whenever we met because I wanted her to do school work and she wanted to socialize with friends.
  • Will played lots and lots of music, studied for the SAT and learned geometry, studied Latin, read My Antonia, walked into Vienna a couple of times to get exercise and hang out with friends.


I have to be fair to Hannah because she did something Friday afternoon that made up for everything! She cleaned our laundry room which was a putrid mess. She did tons of laundry, wiped everything down, organized all the shoes, boots, gloves, hats, snow pants, coats, etc. She washed the floor!!!!! She emptied the trash. It is now a real joy to walk into my laundry room. So this softened my heart and I realize that she is just an 18 yo girl, in love and bored to death with school. And I really shouldn't take it so personally!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Some reading I've been doing lately:

  • The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living by John Zmarik. I occasionally read this guy's stuff when he's linked to Mark Shea's blog. He is hysterically funny! This is a surprisingly educational book that had me hooting loudly quite freqently. But you learn a lot about Catholicism on the way. And he and his co-author (Stephanie somebody) have great suggestions for how to celebrate feast days. I give it two thumbs up!
  • Sylvester by Georgette Heyer. For some reason this particular novel didn't grab me the way other Heyer books have. I can't even remember the plot. Of course all her plots are very similiar anyway so they tend to fuse together in my very poor memory.
  • These Old Shades by George Heyer. Okay, this one had a very improbable plot with the same ole characters and yet it worked wonderfully. I think because the dialogue was so good and I really loved the character of Leonie. Read this once, as soon as I finished I read it again and have been picking it up and reading parts of it at random. Fun and touching book.
  • To Build a Fire by Jack London. We've read a couple of short stories for our literature class. I went through a Jack London phase in my younger years. He was a great story-teller. This is a gem of story. I enjoyed revisiting it very much. Hannah couldn't get over how depressing it was, but I thought it was so well-crafted that I enjoyed it just for the sheer power of its prose.
  • A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner. Creepy story. Until I discussed it with the teens I didn't realize how removed they are from any sense of Southern Culture. How did I intuit all that stuff about Southern class culture and manners, etc, myself, growing up? Must have been from reading Gone With the Wind and To Kill a Mockingbird and the like. So I had to explain the premise to them because it went right over their heads. Hannah made a connection between Miss Emily and the lady in Great Expectations who was jilted on her wedding day. I thought that was pretty astute; these fragile women, trapped and overprotected by their social status and the rigors of an artificial and highly formal way of dealing with others, become so brittle they can not break out of it once their hearts are crushed and instead resort to insanity.
  • We are just starting My Antonia which I am looking forward to.
  • I've started reading The Splendor of Home by Thomas Howard. I've only gotten a couple chapters in but it is very profound and inspirational. I need more of that lately!
  • Still chugging through Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict with my homeschooling moms book club. Need to finish reading Chapter 4 on The Sermon on the Mount.
  • Started reading Ignatius Schuster's Bible History, published by TAN books. This is a very old fashioned retelling of Bible stories with some Catholic theology thrown in. The language is rather antiquated and quaint with big, old-fashioned words and sentence structures. Sean has been writing a book with his friend Joseph and they quarrel (gently ) about writing styles. Sean is very taken with language suddenly and prefers a more poetic and vivid approach. Joseph is more modern and 'tell it like it is' in his style. So Sean is lapping up all the language. I can almost see him taking it in like a sponge just sucking up water! I think also the epic-like story telling in the Prydain Chronicles is also having an influence. Rick is up to Taran Wanderer now, the 4th book in the series of 5. Sean is thoroughly captivated by it.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Daily Journal 3/18

  • Woke up with another headache . . . .
  • Finally felt better around 10 a.m.
  • Read Devotional Stories and Bible History (Noah or Noe as the Bible History spells it).
  • Sean read a chapter in The Mouse and the Motorcycle and practiced his poem for tomorrow's St. Joseph's Talent Show
  • Becky did some reading out of This is Our Family. Also we team-read (sorta) Mouse Soup.
  • Becky copied over another line of Who Has Seen the Wind?
  • Josh dawdled over his Voyages in English, sneak reading Laughter is the Best Medicine II (compilations of those funny Reader's Digest anecdotes) instead of focusing on his grammar
  • Hannah supposedly read her Government stuff as did Will
  • Will also practiced guitar a lot
  • Sean and Becky are creating pivot cartoons
  • Hannah did laundry
  • Took Will and Sean to VT; read A Rose for Emily while waiting
  • Hannah and Becky played outside, Beckly climbed too high in the tree and had to stay there until Will came home and could get her down!
  • Josh played videogames while we were gone but is now wandering around in the backyard
  • Hannah goes to work at 5; wonder if she could drop Will off for band practice?????
  • Tillie is having a blast guarding her 'sheep.' Josh is in the woodsy part of the backyard beyond the fence. Becky and Sean are in the front. So Tillie makes a round by running to the backyard fence then racing into the house via the pet door into the screen porch, through the opened sliding door and then into the living room and study to peer through the windows at the front yard. Then she turns around and does the whole thing over again, over and over again. She's very happy!
  • Becky played outside very happily. The weather is lovely after days of rain. She played in the fort, decorating it and fixing it up.
  • I. and her dad came over and hung the beautiful ikon that she painted for me and that Rick gave me for Christmas. It is so gorgeous!!!!
  • Hannah took Will to his band practice and then went to work.
  • Made fish tacos which were absolutely delicious but which no one, save myself, would eat.
  • Becky is watching the Kit movie for the 100th time.
  • Rick read to Becky and Sean
  • Josh read Basher 5-2 about Capt. Scott O'Grady and is now rereading Swiss Family Robinson

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Daily Journal 3/17

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

  • Sean's fever seemed to break about midnight last night. He's feeling kind of tired today but no more fever.
  • Studied more for Latin test this a.m. before leaving for class.
  • Latin test was HARD!!!!! Messed up on one section, I know. Will probably messed up on the same section. Josh didn't finished and cried. It was a HARD test! Yikes! I see retakes in our future.
  • Hannah again slept in until noon. Good thing Becky and Sean were busy watching Singing in the Rain so they didn't disturb her beauty rest. I have now had it officially up to here with this slothful living. From now until Hannah graduates in May, I take her laptop and phone at 11:00 p.m. every night.
  • Came home, ate a quick pb&j and took Becky to her first Narnia book club meeting. It was so nice to see all the folks we knew from our fall co-op plus a new family. We had a great time talking about The Magician's Nephew. One clever mom and son made a cake that they decorated with round jello pools. All the kids got to put in green shamrock cookies on the cake to be the trees. Thus our own Woods Between the Worlds!
  • Sean and Josh played videogames while we were out.
  • Hannah took Will to his voice lessons and then shopping for new jeans. He wears his single pair almost every day. I think Hannah got sick of it!
  • Shoo-ed Josh, Sean and Becky outside to play. It has finally stopped raining and the sun is peeking out! It is a nice 55 degrees out and the birds are singing!
  • I'm making cornbeef for dinner and drinking a beer in the afternoon. Something I never, ever do! Also cleaning up and doing laundry while the kids play outside.
  • Made Irish soda bread! And watched The Best of Riverdance.
  • Rick is reading Taran Wanderer to Becky and Sean
  • Remembered to take laptop and phone away. So carried through with threat for at least one day. . . .

Monday, March 16, 2009

Daily Journal 3/16

  • Poor Seano was sick all night with a fever. None of my thermometers are working but I'd say it was rather high. He talked and shivered nonstop. I spent a good while digging through medicine cabinets not finding anything to bring down a fever. This was in the wee hours of the morning. Finally I found some liquid motrin hiding on a very cluttered bookshelf in Will and Becky's room! Eureka!
  • Since it was a sick day for Sean and a rainy day for us all, it was a rather laid back day. Seano felt a bit better midmorning and played piano. Then his fever went up again and he was miserable all afternoon. But now he's feeling better so he's making pivot animations on the computer.
  • The math tutor came. Josh for once was done all his homework last night! Will finished up his homework while the tutor worked with Josh.
  • I really needed to grocery shop so Hannah held down the fort while I shopped. Stocked up on fever reducers!
  • Cleaners came. My house is still incredibly cluttered but parts of it are now vacuumed, dusted and scrubbed!
  • Sean and Becky watched The Sound of Music and Fox and the Hound all afternoon and evening while Will, Josh and I studied for our Latin exam. I still feel like I need a couple hours more of study.
  • H went out in the afternoon to do I know not what, came home and probably did no schoolwork. I roped her into taking Will to his music theory class this evening so I could stay home with Sean.
  • Becky's currently taking a bath.
  • Rick's car got repaired and he just called from the dealership saying he's on his way home.
  • As soon as Will gets home I think we'll try to study some more for Latin.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Daily Journal 3/9

  • W and J got up early to do math homework they hadn't gotten done over the weekend.

  • W and J worked with math tutor

  • S practiced piano. He's been playing so many of his own songs or songs he's picked out that I didn't notice he wasn't actually practicing what the teacher had asked. So he worked on that a good bit this a.m.

  • H successfully slept until noon

  • Read from Bible History - Fall of Our First Parents

  • S reviewed 1st and 2nd declensions then we watched Chapter 11 dvd for Prima Latina. S then decided to go back and see all the funny puppet skits.

  • Did a little lesson on fractions with S and B

  • S started reading The Sword in the Tree by Bulla

  • B decided she's a librarian so she's reshelving books in our study and making herself a desk where she can check out books.

  • H took a shower

  • W is working on his history timeline

  • H slipped out of the house without me knowing

  • B watched Bugs Bunny cartoons

  • Took S to piano lesson

  • Came home B and J were watching Chicken Run. They've been watching in little bits and pieces for a few days now.

  • H was back home

  • W is wandering around talking about how beautiful it is outside and how he wants to go somewhere

  • B and S played outside. B has roller blades on

  • J did his grammar and a little math while I was gone

  • I wrote out all the 1st conjugations which I learned a while ago but have since forgotten.
  • Took W and S to music theory, read Sylvester by GH in the car. So far Sylvester isn't grabbing me like the other books.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Daily Journal 3/6

  • Sent clickschooling link to H, W and J's e-mails. New York Times stories/cartoons from history for each date. Sent them the 3/6 one. This e-mail thing is new!
  • Said the rosary, Sean joined me on the last decade
  • H and W went to 6:15 a.m. teen mass. H came home and went back to sleep.
  • W read To Build a Fire by Jack London which he pronounced 'cool'
  • S got up and started making a Pivot animation
  • S also played piano a lot; trying to pick out this very complex video game tune. Very dissonant. Gets on my nerves but I'm trying to stifle it!
  • J got up and took a shower
  • B slept in, she was so grumpy yesterday I just couldn't wake her up early.
  • J played Paper Mario some
  • W fell asleep on the couch. I guess getting up at 5:30 a.m. was a bit too early for him!
  • Read Sunday's Mass readings to B, S & J
  • J read more Fabre's Insects and studied a bit for the rest of his Latin test
  • W played guitar
  • S and B recited their poetry.
  • B did a free write in which she drew a comic strip of kids playing on a playground and wrote dialogue in the speech bubbles.
  • S copied over a Dilbert comic strip for copy work. He's decided he doesn't like freewrites anymore because he can't think of anything to write and he doesn't know how to spell.
  • W supposedly is studying for second half of his Latin test but I hear him now playing jazz on the piano.
  • Went to noon Mass with B, S and J. J read his Bartimeous (sp?) book on the way there and back.
  • B informed me after Mass she wanted to become a saint. She had some change and and wanted to help the poor. We search all over for the poor box but there wasn't any so she'll just have to wait for the collection basket at church on Sunday.
  • J told me he wants to become an altar server. I'll have to look into that. I'm afraid of scheduling constraints. Gosh, aren't I shallow!
  • W and J are taking the rest of the Latin exam
  • S is working on his Pivot. He's frustrated; he wants to be better at animation. He wants to get Pivot 3 now.
  • B is watching Inspector Gadget.
  • Took J to his friends house to play.
  • While I was gone B made an oragami bird and then taped it up over my desk so it looked like it was flying. Very sweet gift!
  • She and W played the Princess and the dried apricot. We've been munching on dried apricots all day and he apparently re-enacted the story of the Princess and the Pea by stacking up all the couch cushions in the house and putting an apricot underneath. It seems B is a real princess!
  • Took Tillie for a walk. W walked around out back, S and B played with the neighbors and walked a bit with me. H went out with friends.
  • Made dinner, shrimp stir fry and rice.
  • After dinner went to Barnes and Noble and picked up some Test Prep workbooks plus another Georgette Heyer novel. B got a Fancy Nancy book. S a Pearls Before Swine. W bought me a Djingo Reinherdt (sp?) cd of gypsy jazz from the 20's and 30's. Very cool!
  • J wound up spending the night at his friend's house.
  • R read more to S and B from The Castle of Llyr

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Daily Journal 3/5

  • Didn't get rosary said, boo hoo!
  • Rick taught Government to H, W and D
  • Read about creation of Man from Bible History to J, S and B
  • J read more of Fabre's Insects
  • S studied his declension paradigms and recited them for me
  • B copied over some more of her poem and wanted me to grade what she'd done so far like a 'real teacher'
  • J got on the computer
  • S and especially B played some with the geoboard
  • B and S are playing on the Wii, first Wiiplay and then Warioland
  • J, W and H watched another episode of The Civil War
  • Talked about papers, timelines and Jack London
  • S and I went to Blue Knights and practiced St. Patrick's skit
  • B went to Little Flowers - made little baskets and learned about St. Zita
  • J played with friend
  • W practiced guitar
  • H went to work (until closing)
  • Took W to guitar lessons
  • Took J and S to their running class (along with S's friend too. And B had to come along because there was no one at home to watch her)
  • Ate at the Blimpies at the health club
  • Was supposed to go to unschooling meeting but it was cancelled
  • Picked Will up from Starbucks. He was supposed to go to the VT's to work on his eye exercises but was having too much fun hanging out and lost track of the time. Grrrrr.
  • J, S and B watched the Kit movie again, set during the Depression.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Daily journal 3/4

  • Said Rosary with H, W, S and B
  • Josh was finishing up math homework
  • Have started reading Shuster's Bible History to B and S over breakfast
  • W and J did math homework
  • B and S did copy work - B more of her poem Who Has Seen the Wind? And S copied over 1st and 2nd declension paradigm
  • B and I played Blokus
  • S wandered around lonely looking for his lost DS
  • S played piano
  • Sent S some e-mails. He watched a youtube clip of theory of relativity which he has been asking about yesterday
  • B made white pizzas using tortillas and provolone cheese.
  • S started playing with the geo-board
  • Becky is make a sign out of cardboard from a box and stencils she found. It says Becky's Restaurant. She's planning on opening one in our tree fort when summer comes!
  • S has been so gloomy searching and searching for his missing DS. Now's he's planning to use his allowance/Christmas/Birthday/Hannukah money to buy a new one but he's a bit short.
  • H and W are finally taking the take home (!!!!) economics final.
  • Josh finished up a long session with the math tutor.
  • B and I played a game of Chinese checkers
  • B and S are watching old Bugs Bunny cartoons. I love the one with Wagner's Ring Cycle in it!
  • Finally called and asked about accomodations for Will. He wants to take the May SAT.
  • Started filling out Berklee Guitar Sessions application
  • Took W and S to Vision Therapy. W stayed so he could walk to his band practice.
  • S talked about destiny vs. free will. He was asking some hard questions. He decided that he no longer wants to be a philosopher when he grows up but a psychologist who studies human emotions.
  • Came home and B was doing yoga with her kids yoga dvds. Said she was on her second dvd.
  • J and now S are watching youtube videos about Sega and just recounted to me the whole history of their game systems and all kind of myriad details about costs, advertising, etc.
  • H is working on her history timeline
  • B, S and J took Tillie for a walk
  • I'm making vegetable soup.
  • Read from St. Katherine Drexel book
  • Read from Abraham Lincoln book
  • Josh went with Will to CLC, Hannah picked him up Will up from band pratice and took them there for me. She also ran to the grocery store to pick up bread and oj, two items a household can never be without!
  • Rick read more from the Castle of Llyr to S and B.
  • S is into reading Dilbert right now
  • W has been rereading The Princess Bride
  • H got W to update his facebook page. She said that he's got to get used to it so they can keep in touch once she's away at school.
  • H and R stayed up late watching Lost

Sunday, March 1, 2009

7 vignettes

  • Hannah was around much more this week than she has been. It was wonderful. She helped around the house, made a beef stew for a mom who'd just had baby number six or seven. She said prayers with us at night. Very nice! She also spent all of Friday applying to the University of Dallas.
  • Will has decided he wants to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston. We are going to try to get him into the week long guitar camp there in August. If this happens we might be spending our vacation on the Massachusetts shore! That'll be fun, if it comes to pass.
  • Will's song Rock n Roll, won the best of season performance for the PGSOR competition. I don't know how may schools competed but the judges said they were 'flawless' in both technical skill and stage presence. I didn't go to the competition but Rick and Hannah did and Rick said William was the best one there. Of course, he is his father!
  • I miss Joshua dreadfully. He is on his confirmation retreat right now. He'll be back this afternoon. I hope he had a great time. I'm worried because it is snowing. I'm about to say a rosary for their safe return home.
  • Josh has started reading the Bartemaeus Trilogy. I remember Will liked those books so much at that age.
  • Sean and his friend Joseph starting writing a book together. But Sean really took off with the idea. He dictated the first two chapters of it to me last night. I think it's about a boy who doesn't like to read and especially hates fables and fairy tales but I think he is going to be magically taken up into a fairy tale and have lots of adventures. I think that is where the story is going. . . .to be con't!
  • Becky and Sean spent a couple of hours last night making up their own sign language. They never really talked about the sign language they learned this fall in the co-op, but they used some of those signs they learned and made up a lot more and were completely engrossed in this activity for a long time.