Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Journal 12/1/10

Woke up early. Rick left at 6:00 a.m. to get to airport.

Really windy and rainy out. Dozens of stinkbugs driven in by weather. Yuck. Spent morning catching and flushing.

Everyone slept in except S. He spent time scanning, photoshopping Garfield comics into his deviantart page.

Made gingerbread and read two chapters of Little Apostles on Crutches.

B and S played upstairs.

J read Church history and took Ch. 4 chapter test.

Read The Erlkonig by Goethe to the S and B and then we listened to Shubert's and Loewe's interpretations of the poem. B asked to hear it again. They had fun huddling under a blanket during all this pretending to be frightened.

Watched next lecture in Discovering Music on Opera. Very long lecture. First time B watched with us. She was bored silly.

Took B to VT.

J played on computer then did a little math, then went outside. The temp has dropped from 60's to 42 degrees.

W practiced lots of music then went off to his music lesson.

J did some drawing. He and his friend at CLC are trying to challenge each other to draw more. Joe came over to play with S. They were making music in the basement and then sitting out on the screen porch writing a parody of a Pokemon show.

B played a lot on Webkinz. She designed several T-shirts. She was doing this on Thanksgiving as well with her cousin.

I made latkes and we said the Baruchas and lit the candles. After dinner the kids all played dreidel.

Took J to CLC

W came home from his music lesson and then later left to p/u J for me. While W was here though B and I got really into singing Chanukah oh Chanukah while W accompanied us on guitar.
Joe didn't go home until almost 9 o'clock!

Read next ch. of The Story of Rome about Lucretia to S and B. The put euphemistically described her as being 'insulted.'

Didn't want to read David Copperfield without R here. And R has been reading Westmark to B and S at night. So in lieu of other read alouds I read a story from Tales from a Korean Grandmother. I was falling asleep as I read.

J was stilling working on math when I went to bed.

B listened to a new story cd from the library (not sure which one) I think S was reading Dilbert comics.

Journal 11/30/10

Forgot to mention S doing Sudokus at bedtime 11/29.

Tuesday - S and B went to Art class, J and I went to Latin. Magistra read Horatius at the Bridge. I've heard about that poem for ages but never actually heard it before.

Took J to Biology class. Can't remember what B and S did just then.. . .

W woke very late. He spent the day practicing music for hours and hours.

After J came home from Biology @ 2:30 he basically was on the computer playing games and reading web comics for most of the rest of the day.

S, B and I went to Target to various and sundry things. Then we hit the library. S brought along the Suduko book and instead of looking at books, worked on those. He's done 8 so far, he pointed out to me.

After the library we hit the grocery store to pick up necessary supplies for S's 4H cooking project. We also picked up dinner since I realized I wasn't going to be able to cook the dinner I had planned and get to 4H on time.

I don't know what B did at home while S and I were at 4H. S was only so-so into it. We were making a marinated veggie salad. Everybody brought veggies and oil and vinegar. Another lady in our group who is just wonderful at this kind of stuff. Had the kids mixing different amounts of oil and vinegar to test what the best ratio was for making a vinegrette. She had them close their eyes and then smell olive oil and canola oil to see if they could tell the difference. The kids all agreed olive oils smells good! They then compared different types of vinegar: malt, red wine, balsamic, apple cider, white vinegar. Some of kids really hated the vinegars. It took so long to clean up the mess we'd made that we didn't get home until after 9.

Rick read aloud to B and S (Westmark by Lloyd Alexander). J did read some more of Augustine's Confessions. Almost done!

W was a sweetie and hand washed a huge sink load of dishes (our dishwasher has been broken for a week).

B was still in gift making mode. She made something for S. R was up late doing work and said B was still awake at 1 a.m!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Journal 11/29/10

People slept in quite a bit. Recovering from Thanksgiving holidays!

S got up and went to watch Fred Newman videos on youtube. Perfecting his trumpet sounds!

B got up and immediately opened up two Advent calendars. The Latin words for today is Nox - night.

I started new read aloud Little Apostle on Crutches - only got a couple pages in.

J got up took a shower and did laundry and ate breakfast.

For morning reading time - Becky read the whole Mini page from the Wash Post. This was amazing as she just started independently reading last week! She even did the word search, an activity she's avoided up until now! J helped a bit with the word search.

S - read next chapter in Li Lun.

S - read next chapter in St. Patrick's Summer Catechism about Abraham and Isaac

B played on funbrain for a little bit.

J read Church history but he was reading it in bed and fell asleep!

S drew a little then practiced beatboxing and mouth sounds on the microphone downstairs.

I read B some of the ideas from the Unjournaling book. She liked the sentence that was the same forwards and backwards and copied that over on her own initiative and then showed it to S.

W came upstairs and practiced on the piano for quite some time.

I put on Christian Heritage Art Curriculum dvd to look at lesson on Medieval Illuminations. I had wanted to do that for a few weeks, ever since we saw that movie on the Book of Kells. But I suddenly remember to do it this morning. S came in and watched a bit. Then asked me to go to the modern art lesson. It was on Cezanne and seeing geometric shapes in landscapes.

B has been obsessing on the Toys R Us flyers from the Sunday newspaper. S and B spent a long time during lunch poring over them. They were playing their gurgle twins game. They pretend they are twins and speak to each other in their 'gurgle twin' voices. They were pretending that dollar symbols were really cents symbols and that they only had a 50 cent budget. Then they were comparing prices of toys this way and doing all kinds of addition and multiplication problems in their heads while playing. If you were going to look up 'unschooling math' in some guidebook somewhere, you'd have seen their picture there!!!!!

B and I started looking through the book How Math Works. I got this book off the shelf where it has been for a few years! We looked at various projects most of which we didn't really understand or we recognized from watching Zoom and Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, (we concluded these shows are very educational!) B got inspired to make a paper doll chain from the project on symmetry.

B and S went to play on their bikes.

J still working on Church History. I believe he's been very half-hearted about this all day!

W had call with Collegeplus @ 2:45.

I've been trying to do Latin homework but having a terrible time concentrating. What is wrong with me. It is not sticking at all!

B and S listened to songs on computer.

J and I studied Latin. J worked diligently on that. We can't remember if we are having a test! Ahg!

W, S, B and I decide to go to the Holiday stroll our little town has. We've never been before. J elects to stay home. They close off the little street that parallels the main street. All the shops are open late. They had a mini petting zoo which S and b liked: mostly mother and child, like mamma llama, baby llama, mamma cow, baby calf, mamma goat with two of the most darling baby goats ever. A donkey and two sheep, some rabbits and a hen with two baby chicks.

They also had a stage with a bunch of kids up on it singing pseudo 'holiday' songs. People had little grills fired up and you could go toast marshmellows over them. Lots of free coffee and popcorn. We went into the toy store (our very favorite toystore which we frequent anyway) and S bought a little gift for his friend and B bought a little gift for J. W disappeared long before this to go eat dinner. Santa came down the street on a fire engine. We didn't really complete the stroll, there may have been more to see but we got hungry and decided to look for a place to eat a real dinner. We cut through an alley and discovered a Cornish Pasty shop, brand new! I thought they were delicious but B didn't like hers. I got a cheese, potato and onion one.

B got really into wrapping her present for J and then making presents. She mad something for H (more paper dolls) and then something else for W (though I don't think I know what that was).

Came home and read some more David Copperfield out loud to everyone. J and I did more Latin. R read more Westmark to B and S.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Daily Journal 11/11

Got up with headache. Nursed headache til it went away.

Still a good morning:

Read about St. Martin of Tours to B and S.

B and S did cursive

B did two addition problems and an expanded notation.

S did page in Ch. 26 review of imp. present, future to be translation.

B did lesson 22 in GWL - D.O. in Latin nauta or nautam.

S and B also looked at videos of foxes and their sounds on youtube (we've got foxes out back) and also some pampaloosa youtube videos.

J got himself up and finished up his math homework. Took a couple hours.

W practiced lots of piano and guitar.

W read Gilbert! magazine.

B read the text of a long game on One More Level called the The Red Button. It's a silly game where you keep clicking the red button while text pops up telling you not to click it. It gets sillier and sillier. B read A LOT of it with some help from me.

Took W to metro to go to piano lesson and J to Algebra tutor.

S did his math while I was gone!!!! I'm amazed!

B and S also got really into reading the Guiness Book of World records.

Sent them outside to play on this beautiful fall day.

S and W left after early dinner to go see Steve Reich in concert.

B played computers games on PBS kids.

J did his Biology homework.

Read B more Jo's Boys.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Daily Journal 11/10

Got up too early. Whiled away morning doing a little bits of business type stuff and a lot of unnecessary stuff! Very tired!

S remixed theme song of comic his friend came up with.

B played with her dolls and stuff animals. There was a wedding and for some reason B was the one dressing up in a white veil with bouquet of flowers.

Both watched an episode of Phineas and Ferb.

W got up early and went to Mass. He also at some point in the morning came up with a plan for what he is going to do every day between now and audition day.

J took his church history test and read Confessions.


On most Wednesdays, another teen comes over to study history and lit with Josh and me. She hadn't gotten much done though over the past week so we just reviewed the study questions in Ch 3 of The History of the Church. We also went through Einnarsson's Classical Language Art section of phrases other than prepositional, that is participial and infinitive phrases. We also planned what to do for the next few classes. The kids are going to write a short research paper based on suggestion in study guide.

B and S played outside a lot. Beautiful fall day.

Talked to H on phone. She got all her packages. It is her birthday today!

W went to music tutor.

B went to VT I ran to library to get out books to possibly entice S into reading more. Got two audios for B.

Brought back S's friend Joe. They've been riding bikes. I take friend home after dinner when taking J to CLC.

J is working on math.

B is having fun playing computer games.

After dinner took Joe home and J too his CLC.

W saw a mouse in his room!

Read next ch. of Story of the Romans about road building to S and B

R is reading Lloyd Alexander book to S.

Read more Jo's Boys to B.

J came home and did more math.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Daily Journal 11/9/10

Got up, got breakfast

Went to Latin with Josh

B and S went to art class - learned about drawing cubes!

Lunch at chick fil a.

Took J to Biology lab where he dissected a cow's eyeball!

B did two problems on adding with lists of double digit numbers.

S did long division with answer with mixed numbers

B and S went play at friends house. B and her friend ran around a lot outside and played with dolls. S and his friend sat outside on picnic table and made up and drew cartoons.

J read from new quote book.


J read more Church history

R came home for dinner early to pick up car from shop.

W finished listening to The Man Who Was Thursday on audio.

Had sloppy Joes for dinner.

Watched Jeopardy after dinner and then next unit in Discovering Music on Salons, Poetry and the Power of Song. Neat stuff.

Read the story of Tarquin and the Eagle to B and S.

J worked more on history.

W and R went to get car

B likes playing with etch a sketch on R's ipad.

Read more Jo's Boys to B.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Daily Journal 11/8/10

Woke really early because of time change, did laundry, ran dishwasher, fed pets, surfed net, made coffee, worked on NaNoWriMo novel.

S woke at 7, played on computer (what tho????)

B woke, B and R had breakfast together (R had bagel and oj, B just some hot cocoa I made her.)

Cajoled S into taking shower.

R got W up to take car to shop.

B asked me to read Jo's Boys to her. Read a ch.

J woke up still had cold and his eyes are all red and goopy.

Took shower while B and S were working on cursive handwriting from their books.


W came back and practiced guitar

Read Bible History about Joel and Micah to B and S

S read next ch. in St. Patrick's Catechism

Cajoled J into taking shower.

J did his laundry then read some Church history

Did some math with B Saxon 5/4 lesson 16

S did p. in Latin workbook reviewing preposition vocabulary and present, imp. and future tenses of esse.

S did mixed practice in Lesson 25 in 7/6. Slow going, she was getting hungry.

B and I did Lesson 22 in GSWL on direct objects. She got it!

W made himself a ham & cheese sub, J ate leftover pizza (his favorite!), S had tuna w/crackers, B had fried baloney. I ate leftover chicken and mashed potatoes. Mealtime is like herding cats!

B has been playing with paper airplanes since All Saints Party, making different ones and seeing which flew the best. She and S had a contest and declared winners.

B has been busy making nice little homes for a particular baby doll and just generally playing doll and making her clothes out of old dolls clothes or hand me downs or rags.

S found a cool website that has a complicated drum machine that he's been exploring.

J and I did more Latin homework. Still have one more paragraph to translate but this has been fun!

Cleaners are here. I love my cleaners!

B got herself ready for American Heritage Girls 2 hours early!

B found a pretty card for H and wrote Happy Birthday to her in it in cursive.

S was fooling around on the guitar

B and S started playing around on the computer. We all kind of run and hide when the cleaners get here

J is really into tvtropes website which he's been reading a lot lately.

W worked on his Life Purpose workbook for CollegePlus. He kind of finds it bogus so he's been dragging his feet on it.

W watched Talking Heads live in Rome video.

W had call with counselor from CollegePlus @ 2:45

Made chicken Parmesan, ran off to American Heritage Girls with B. J took out of oven for me.

AHG was so much fun, nature study, learning the oath and creed, singing, playing games.

J worked on math and read more church history

W read this new book of quotes granddad's friend gave him this weekend.

S chatted with his friend Jack.

W and S watched the Simpsons.

during dinner S and W gave us history of different videogames and different creators like Tim Schaeffer and Dave Grossman. This segued into S giving the other kids acting lessons he learned from his acting camp this summer.

J dismissed himself from the melee and went back to work on either math or history.

I read about the Horatii and Curiatii from The Story of the Romans to B and S

Read Jo's Boys to B.

J stayed up to 11:45 doing Biology.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

American West Book List

I love books and I love lists, so I like book lists! I like to forage through Amazon lists to get ideas for new reads. I love those memes where you have lists of books you've read. You get the idea. Right now I'm reading Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey. I've heard about Zane Grey for ages and ages and have never gotten around to reading anything by him until now. The book is good though the whole premise is based on the evil Mormons. What was it with Mormons? Were they really that bad? Another book I've read, The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters, also depicted Mormons as ruthless, greedy, twisted people. However, if you can get over this premise, Grey's writing is top notch. Very realistic, lean, builds tension right away.

This got me thinking about the many books this East Coast girl has enjoyed about America's West. And last night as I was falling asleep I started to make a list, starting from the books I read as a child:

1. Old Yeller by Fred Gipson - set in Texas, boy and his dog story. Classic.

2. By The Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman - funny account of a boy's adventure during the California Gold Rush.

3. Lotta Crabtree; Gold Rush Girl by Marian T. Place - this book is one of the Childhood of Famous Americans books. I think this one is out of print now. I actually remember being sick and home from school in fourth grade and being completely entranced by this book. I recently found it at a used book store and bought it again for my kids! It's about a girl who took to the stage during the California Gold Rush.

4. The Red Pony by John Steinbeck - When I was little this book was in my bookcase in my bedroom. It was a hand-me-down so I think it was an edition printed in the 1940's. I loved the illustrations. I loved the story. I read it over and over again. This was set in the California mountains maybe in the 1920's or thereabouts?

5. Brighty of the Grand Canyon - Marguerite Henry - I went through a M. Henry phase where I read pretty much everything she wrote. I've never been to the Grand Canyon but this book sure made me feel like I had.

6. Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West by Marguerite Henry - another horse book. A great read!

7. The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald - I know I read some of these as a child, because when I picked them up at the library to read aloud to my oldest kids when they were little, they rang a bell, though I didn't remember much. We read the whole series and enjoyed them immensely. These books are very affectionate towards Mormons!. A good antidote to some other books listed here!

8. The Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I read and reread these books every year for years.

9. My Friend Flicka, Thunderhead and The Green Hills of Wyoming by Mary O'Hara - My Friend, Flicka has gotten short shrift at the movies. All these books really could be considered adult books. Thunderhead portrays with poignant detail a marriage going through a hard time. The Green Hills of Wyoming are about Ken moving into adulthood. They all paint a vivid picture of Wyoming and ranching. So well written. I reread these many times too.

10. Shane by Jack Schaefer - I also remember reading this book. I was in high school, it was a Sunday and I was lying on the living room couch, all curled up and completely absorbed in this book.

11. True Grit by Charles Portis - I think I might have read this book about the same time as Shane. Gripping! The whole snake pit was horrifying! The kind of book that haunts you for days afterward. They are making a new movie about this! Can they top John Wayne???

12. My Antonia by Willa Cather - about Bohemian settlers in Nebraska. Searingly beautiful and sad. I've read it several times again since that first encounter back in high school.

13. A Lantern in Her Hand by Bess Streeter Aldrich - I just remember reading this at the insistence of a friend. I remember thinking it wasn't as good as The Little House books. That's all I can remember! Maybe I'll have to reread it.

14. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck - this isn't really about how the West was won but since it was about a family's odyssey from Oklahoma to California, it felt very western to me.

15. Giants of the Earth by Ole Rolvaag - I read this on Christmas break during my 2nd year of college, if I am remembering correctly. Finished reading it and then immediately started it over again. I tried to read the sequel but found it too depressing. About Norwegian settlers in Minnesota. It was originally written in Norwegian by an immigrant. It was a best seller in Norway before it was translated into English and sold here in the U.S.

16. The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor - I don't know why this book isn't more popular (except for the prejudice against Mormons) but it is a rip-roaring tale of a boy and his father as they travel across America to get to the Gold Rush in California. It's got some hair-raising scenes. Rollicking would be a good adjective for this book!

17. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry - a classic. So well written, the characters are like real people. And they made an excellent mini-series out of it, but the book is still better.

18. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather - another searingly beautiful and moving novel (based on a true person). I love the sparse, evocative writing style. This one is set in New Mexico in the 1800s.

19. Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald - this is by the same author who wrote The Great Brain and it is very similar except it is written for adults (it is very clean, just he was aiming at a different audience!)and is about his own family. Very enjoyable. What is remarkable about it is how much affection he has for the Mormons even though he followed his father's faith and became Catholic.

20. Little Britches series by Ralph Moody - I didn't learn about this series until I had children. I've only read the first book. I've always intended to read more of these.

21. The Virginian by Owen Wister - I just read this classic this past summer. Such great, complex characters and a noble American sense of virtue made this thoroughly enjoyable.

One thing I notice as I list these books is the lack of stories told about or from the Native American points of view. I did go through a period when I was interested in Native Americans. My family went to see the Cherokee Indian Reservation in the Smoky Mountains one summer when I was young. We learned about the Trail of Tears and Andrew Jackson. I know I read Scott O'Dell books and various biographies about American Indians. I remember in particular reading a book about Chief Joseph which inspired me to recite his famous surrender speech in 8th grade when we were required to memorize and recite something in front of the class. I remember reading A Light in the Forest by Conrad Richter, though that isn't set in the West. Maybe I should try to read up some history and literature written from the Native American perspective to balance out my reading.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

It's Been a Quiet Week Here. . . .

at St. John Bosco Academy. I stole that opening line that from Garrison Keillor!

It was a very unschoolish week with lots of learning going on. Well, it was unschoolish for the youngest two. Josh kept plodding along through his high school subjects. Unfortunately, I left the little memory card in my laptop and not in my camera and so I don't have many pictures.

The weekend was busy: Saturday, Sean and Becky helped sell baked goods at the 4H booth at the town Fall Festival. The money went to two charities: one to rescue lost pets and the other to the children's wing of the local hospital. Josh went to an overnight retreat on Friday and came back Sat. evening.

Sunday was more 4H with our first Dog Obedience project meeting. Our Sheltie, Tillie, is rather reserved and she did not like the vulgar and overly excited hound/lab mixes two of the other kids had. She was totally freaked out. She is very sensitive. We'll have to gradually break her in. We also went to our parish's first Youth Mass of the year which was at 6 pm. Following the Mass they always have some kind of service project. Since October is Respect Life month it was an activity to raise money for a local crisis pregnancy center.

Monday, being Columbus Day, was kind of a pseudo-holiday though Rick went to work. I got lots of errands done. Josh had to work on Latin and Biology and he read more of Augustine's Confessions. Becky and I went on a hike with American Heritage Girls troop. Will had a phone call with his College Plus coach. Poor Sean went over to his friend's house but came home feeling really lousy.

Tuesday I was afraid I would have to cajole Becky and Sean to attend the art class but, miracle of miracles, they've decided to stick with it! However, Sean woke up with a chest cold so only Becky went. Josh went to Latin early to retake his test. Got 1oo%. Then he was off to a Biology field study on primitive plants. He enjoyed it greatly! Becky played in the muddy Potomac and saw a huge eel!

Wed - I got 2.5 hours sleep! Was I draaaggggiiiinnnngggg! Got Josh up @ 6 to get him to the PSAT by 7. Read aloud to Becky about St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Sean was still under the weather as was Will. Becky and I went to our homeschool group's 1st monthly meeting, something I am coordinating. We had a good first meeting. I'm excited about it. Took Becky to VT, then home again. Made spaghetti carbonara for dinner. Rick was home all day working, yippee, love it when he's home because he is so infrequently! Will had picked Josh up from PSAT. Josh thought he did okay. Will skipped his music lesson. Josh did a lesson in math and then went to his teen group at church. Becky was really into showing her dad everything about Webkinz which she's has been very into lately. She says she's learning a lot of math that way!

Thursday was our only formal studies day and what a good learning day! Surprisingly, Becky and Sean worked quite diligently without any complaint. They actually seemed to be enjoying themselves! Can it be???? Becky and I decided to try to do a lapbook for St. Elizabeth that she could show off at the All Saints Party. She and Sean worked in cursive, Latin and math. Becky read me some comics from Sunday's newspaper (still floating around the house due to my sloppy housekeeping). Sean wrote a letter to his friend, addressed it and mailed it off. I did an impromtu spelling lesson the kids actually enjoyed. Josh worked on history a lot. He didn't go to his math tutor as she has sick kiddos. W canceled his piano lesson but did lots of CLEP prep. It was rainy all day. I had been fishing around for a good movie set in the middle ages because we are kind of going down that rabbit trail with the St. Elizabeth book. Someone suggested The Secret of Kells so we watched that. Excellent movie! Wonderful animation and the story is interesting. I thought scenes went so fast, I felt I was missing things. I think we'll watch it again.

Friday - well Becky woke up with the sore throat/fatigue/congestion thing that seems to be moving through the house. Sean had an appointment with the eye doctor/vision therapist. He's been complaining so much of his eyes hurting. He had those dilation drops so even if he were recovered enough from his cold, he wasn't up to tennis lessons. Josh made it to both his Biology class and tennis which was good. It's a beautiful fall day but 3 out of the 4 children living here aren't feeling great enough to go out. What a shame. Then I discovered that my kitchen sink was leaking and dripping into the basement! So between sick kids and waiting for the plumber I doubt very much that I'll get to the opera with Rick tonight. We were supposed to see Salome. This happened once before though and they let us switch our tickets for another night. Ah well, we'll see.

To end on a lighter note! Here's a picture of Rick flying his birthday present to himself. He bought some new-fangled, computerized remote control hovercraft to play with.
See that thing in the middle of the picture? That's this weird noisy fan like thing that you can move around the room using a remote.

I don't get it, either.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Before & After Clutter - 1 hour challenge

I've always loved those before and after pictures that people post on their blogs where they shoot a picture of a perfectly horrible closet or desk, clean it out, and then take another picture of the very satisfying result! A nice clean, organized desk/closet.

Clutter is my enemy. And it has nearly won the battle! I, like Pigpen with his cloud of dust, generate clutter where ever I go. I do it. The Mom. My children have taken after me. And my husband, well, unfortunately we are very similar in this respect. So I feel like I am always swimming upstream when it comes to clutter.

One of my favorite shows is Clean House.

Often on Saturday mornings I come down to a completely ruined kitchen/family room. And often on Saturday mornings I set the timer to one hour and I declutter and tidy as much as I can in those 60 minutes. It really only touches the surface but it does make the main living area look fairly nice for maybe half a day. It gets untidy at a very rapid pace. Yesterday morning, I thought, now I can put photos on my blog! I, too, can show those nifty before and after pictures!

So here goes. I give you the kitchen table.

Even worse is the kitchen island.
I also took a picture of our 'jacket chair' where all the jackets and other sundry stuff gets dumped (the red sweater is mine!).

So here are the after pictures. The kitchen island:

You can see that after an hour, I've cleaned lots of the surface but there is still a stack of mail and a little pile of odds and ends, mostly little toys. Ideally, there should only be the three glass canisters of flour and sugar. And then there is the box of pink tissues. . . But still it looks better than before! You can see more surface!

Here's my desk before:
And here it is after:

I have this long kitchen counter under my windows which is a terrible clutter trap. Here it is before:

After:Alas, the jacket chair became the stuffed animal chair, though it still looks a little neater than before.

I forgot to take an after picture for the kitchen table. Oh well.

I decluttered other areas too, like the corner by the stove and the top of the old fashioned ice box, but I am running out of time so I'll just finish with our mantle. Usually there is not line up of crosses on the mantle, but we put them up there for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, and I kind of like them, so I'm not ready to put them away yet.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Week in Review 10/4/10-10/8/10

Monday, Will and I participated in 40 Days for Life by praying for an hour in front of an abortion clinic. This is the 3rd time we've done this together.

Here's the academic stuff we accomplished this week:

Sean - Discovering music - unit 5 or 6? how the church and the Reformation effected development of music history. Very interesting.
Becky - I'm reading her Elizabeth and the Three Crowns - about St. Eliz of Hungary. We looked up Wartburg Castle and Thuringia. She's decided to be St. Elizabeth at our All Saints Party 11/1.
Josh -we are now meeting with another teen to study Church History together. Josh just completed 1/3 of Ch. 1

Sean is up to Lesson 17 in Saxon 7/6
Becky - Lesson 11 in Saxon 5/4
Josh - Lesson 93 and test 23 in Saxon Algebra II

Becky just learned about plurals in the first declension
Sean started Lesson 24 in LfCa; more vocab and future tense of esse
Josh and I are learning the passive tense for 4th conjugation

Becky and Sean are both working on cursive; Becky finished Week 11 in WWE. She's complaining it isn't challenging enough. I think she's right! We might bump her up.
Sean did little creative writing this week, :(
Josh wrote a short essay in history; also little creative writing :(
However, Sean, Josh and Will all decided to participate in NaNoWriMo next month.
I also did some informal spelling with Sean and Becky this week.

Nada for Becky and Sean - yikes, it is falling through the cracks again as it always does!!!!! Gotta get on the ball!
Josh did Bio. homework, attended both Biology classes and took a Biology test this week.

Josh is reading St. Augustine's Confessions - we did the study questions through book 3.
Sean is reading a Series of Unfortunate Events and he just started reading St. Patrick's Summer Catechism.
Becky is still working on her chapter book. I continue to read aloud Little Men with Sean occasionally listening in.

Sean and Becky attended their art class and enjoyed it, but they still don't seem to be clicking with the teacher. So I don't know if I am going to continue paying for something that I have to cajole them into attending. This has become a point of dismay and frustration with my dearly beloved children!

Sean's is the top painting. You can see Becky's signature on hers.

Sean's back to playing a lot of piano this week. He sort of had lost interest for a few months there. He's also taken to playing the ocarina. He played happy birthday to Rick on it, but it doesn't have quite the octave range he needed!
Will attended both his sight reading, etc class and his piano lesson. He's coming along wonderfully. Very hard working. He's been practicing a lovely Bach piece this week.

The kids put on a show for Rick (except Josh who was off doing math). His birthday was Tuesday. Unfortunately, the camera chose that time to run out of batteries so I don't have any pics! Here's Becky icing his cake.She insisted on putting 48 candles on the cake as well as the numerals. I thought it looked very Seussian!

Josh had lots of varying experiences with tests this week. He took a preliminary drivers ed test on line and passed. He got 74%. He was kind of tickled since he hasn't studied anything at all. On Tuesday he got back the test he took in Latin last week and got an F. He was pretty shocked. The teacher pulled a fast one on us! She said that from now on she is counting macrons. Before she'd say, try to remember where the macrons go, but only take of 1/10 or 1/4th of a point. Now you get a full point off! So the stakes are higher! Hopefully, he'll retake the test next week. Then Josh took a Biology test on Tuesday. The teacher graded it very quickly, except for the essay and said he'd gotten a 91 but he wouldn't know his final score til she'd read the essay. Well, he got his test back and he'd really gotten an 83%. Turns out she had miscalculated before and he didn't do very well on his essay. So that was a bit of a bummer. But he did do very well on his Algebra II test. The tutor didn't grade it but she said he got everything right except for one little aspect of something. She said he had done very well.

We don't do tests at all in the lower grades, except for the California Achievement Tests and it is always a long, hard learning curve when the kids get up into high school level and start having to deal with testing. Here's a photo of Josh's 10th grade school books.

Friday was unschooling. Will slept in (he'd had a nasty headache the night before), Josh went to Biology in the a.m., Sean read A Series of Unfortunate Events and Becky helped me bake stuff for the 4H Bake Sale this weekend. Then we had tennis in the afternoon.

With all the baking this week, it was a terrible time to start Weight Watchers. I do believe I will weigh more than I did last week. It will be humilitating to get on the scale! I just can't have baked goods sitting around my house if I'm going to lose weight! Absolutely no will power, whatsoever! Next week, no sweets in the house, at all!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Mouse Named George

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess and she lived in a beautiful castle. There were many gardens and greenhouses in the castle. There were many courts and they had gardens in them too.

Once when she was enjoying these gardens immensely, a dragonfly flew into her garden. The dragonfly said to her,

“Good day, Princess.”

“What a strange dragonfly you are, that can speak!”

“But Princess, but Princess!” said the dragonfly.

“What is it, dragonfly?” said the princess.

“A big terrible troll is coming this way! There were tales for ages and ages that a troll would come some day. And I’m afraid now it will come true. It has come true!” said the dragonfly.

And soon the princess heard the tromp, tromp of immense boots.

“There it is! There it is!” said the dragonfly.

And before the princess knew what was happening the roof of the greenhouse was being taken off and she was in a very ugly hand. With fear, she fainted and the next thing she knew she was lying in a damp cave.

Meanwhile, in the princess’ kingdom, the dragonfly had warned the king what had happened to his daughter. The king sent out his soldiers to put up posters promising anyone who could find his daughter riches beyond his wildest dreams.

Meanwhile, in a small hole by the side of the road, a small mouse had just woken up from a nap. He lazily crawled out of his hole and looked astonished at a poster that had definitely not been there the day before. It read:

Any man who can find the princess, my daughter, will be given money, a good place to sleep and great favors from me. Any man, any man at all, I don’t care what man, I don’t care if it is a witch, anyone at all who can bring back my daughter.

The mouse asked his best friend the dragonfly why there were posters everywhere saying the same thing. The dragonfly explained the whole thing, for it was the same dragonfly who had flown into the princesses greenhouse.

“Well, George,” said the dragonfly, for the mouse’s name was George.

“I can tell you the exact place of the troll’s cave, if you promise to give me half the money you win, if you win it.”

The mouse said it was a deal.

The dragonfly told him the place which was miles upon miles away. But all these miles he traveled were miles of smiles because he couldn’t help thinking of all the money he would win when he rescued the princess.

He finally got to an immense cave after days and days of traveling. He knocked on the door but there was no reply. He knocked as hard as he could but hardly any noise came from the knocking.

I am a very small mouse, he said to himself. Not knowing what to do, he sat down in the mud despairingly. But then he saw a bit of vine hanging down from a tree. And then he saw some sticks lying about and a few pebbles. That gave him an idea. He nibbled off a bit of the vine, picked up a pebble and a stick and tied them together with the pebble in the center. He put it down and tested it. It worked remarkably and rocked back and forth for the pebble was very round.

He then balanced another larger pebble on one end of the stick. He positioned the catapult so that the pebble would shoot directly towards the door. Then he jumped on the other end of the stick. The pebble flew into the air and glanced off the door with a loud bump!

Now all I have to do is wait, said George to himself. And sure enough, very soon, he heard the tramping of big boots. A very, very ugly face popped out of the door.

The troll looked about and was about to close the door, not seeing anybody, when the mouse suddenly cried out as loud as he could:

“Excuse me, troll! Would you please let me in? I would like to challenge you to a battle.”

“Alright! Come in! We shall have the battle tomorrow.”

But please pause this story right now for I think I must tell you a little something about the troll. You see, when the troll popped his face out the door, it wasn’t just once face, it was many faces. For it was a many-faced troll. He had about a dozen faces. Each face wore a different expression. He never slept or at least he never closed all his faces’ eyes at the same time. You see, while he slept, his faces took turns opening their eyes and keeping watch.

The next day when they had their battle, all throughout the night, the mouse had been devising a plan. He had three sacks, each full of different things. The first sack was full of pepper. The second sack was full of salt and the third sack had a roasted chicken in it.

George came out onto the field carrying the first sack. The pepper made all the troll’s faces sneeze a great deal. Then he went back in, put the first sack down and took out the second sack.

He brought it out onto the field and the salt made all the troll’s faces cough a great deal. Then he went back in and put down sack number two and picked up sack number three.

He brought it out onto the field. The smell of the chicken made all of the troll’s mouths water a great deal. The troll couldn’t fight but just fell down with hunger. For his weakness was anything that made him sneeze and the hunger just made him collapse. He died right there on the battlefield.

Now the beautiful princess was saved from the cave. She came back with George and gave him a mouse-sized version of the castle and riches beyond his wildest dreams, as the posters had said. Of course, he gave half of his riches to the dragonfly, as was the deal.

And they all lived happily ever after.

The End

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Weekly Report 9/26/10-9/10/1/10

Because I can't walk and chew gum at the same time, we took off from academics on Monday and ran errands instead! Actually Josh and Will did their usual stuff, but Sean and Becky got the day off. I had promised my college-aged daughter a care package two weeks ago and had never gotten to the post office to mail it. Why is it that things other people seem to do effortlessly takes me soooo long??? We also went to Target to buy Halloween decorations. It turns out we are hosting our neighborhood Halloween party. Becky has big plans for decorating our front yard and I wanted to buy the stuff before it sold out. We also did more unsuccessful shopping for art supplies for Sean and Becky's art class. Strike number 2. I really should order this stuff on line, though the teacher said that was too expensive and assured me I'd be able to find the supplies at Michael's or Target. Lies! All lies!

We did buy a fun kit of paper bag Halloween puppets that Becky promptly made:

Monday was also a big day because Becky attended her first American Heritage Girls meeting.

They learned songs to sing when they visit nursing homes. Becky enjoyed herself immensely (as she would say!).

Tuesday - was chaotic! Josh and I did got to our Latin class, but Becky stayed home claiming she had an earache and Sean, who is not especially enamoured with the art class, stayed home too. Becky really did seem sick and I was all set to deal with a nasty ear infection, but she was greatly recovered by the next day and by the next evening seemed completely recovered. I am thinking she might have allergies and the rainy weather was doing funny things to her???? Does that make sense? My kids do tend to get these short lived (Thank God!) illnesses. Josh went to his Biology field trip, a river study. It stopped raining and the weather was beautiful for a few hours just in time for it!

I blogged about what I did Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday evening we had our first 4H meeting. Tuesday was a long day!

Wednesday - I actually did some lessons with Becky and Sean; the usual suspects: math, Latin and cursive. Will announced that he had finished reading (actually he's been listening on audio) the Penteteuch, so that completes his own self-styled study of the first 5 books of the Bible. He also finished reading The Phantom Tollbooth to Becky. I have the best 18 yo son in the world!

Becky wrote a story! She dictated it to me. Here it is. Wednesday is also our day for Vision Therapy in the afternoon and CLC (Catholic Teen group) in the evening for Josh. Also, I went and checked out our homeschool support groups new meeting place at a nearby church. Looks good! I finished reading Little Women to Becky and started on Little Men. We are having such fun with these books! Sean finally finished The Treasure Seekers and is now starting on A Series of Unfortunate Events. Josh has started reading the Dune series which I've never read but Rick loved back in high school. I wonder if it has anything objectionable in it. Rick never remembers that kind of stuff! Rick also started reading King's Solomon's Mine out loud to Sean.

Thursday - I had forgotten to have angel food cake for dessert on 9/29 in honor of Michaelmas or the Feast of the Archangels. So instead we had it for breakfast on 9/30.

Thursday we also read about St. Jerome from one of my favorite books. I've been reading this aloud to kids every year on his feast day for a while now. It's become a tradition.

Here's a final photo of Sean working on his Latin and Becky showing off an angel puppet she made while I was reading to her.

Today is Friday. If the weather clears enough, we'll have tennis this afternoon. Josh has his second Biology class this a.m. Hopefully I'll get some lessons in with Becky and Sean too.

Finally, Will has been practicing Eric Satie's Gnosseinne No. 1. (This video isn't Will playing it, I just found it on youtube) but this delicate, evocative melody has been floating around the house all week and seems to go well with the rainy weather and the dark clouds.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I saw Don Bosco!

I went to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. (I know that is a mouthful!). It is one of my favorite places on earth. It is in Washington D.C. right next to the Catholic University of America. I believe it is the largest church in North America.

Today they had the relic of St. John Bosco displayed for veneration. St. John Bosco is an incorruptible. That means that, miraculously, his corpse didn't decay. Here's a link to info about him.

I wanted to take my kids with me. But Becky woke up with an earache and the day was already very complicated with driving Josh to and fro to classes. At one point Will was supposed to go pick up Josh from a science field study but if I took Sean with me then Becky would be left alone for a while and I just wasn't comfortable with that. So I decided that I really, really wanted to venerate St. Don Bosco, so I was going. So I left the kids behind. I was very sad about that. There were lots of kids there and it really made me wish my kids were there with me too. At least the two youngest ones! The church was filled with reverent silence and there were many people lined up on either side of the casket, praying. I got there when the line was relatively short. I got up to the casket took one look and started crying. I tried to take a picture but felt shy about it. So I just hurriedly snapped this one.

After that I went and sat down and tried to get myself together (fished in my purse for kleenex!) and tried to calm down and pray a bit. I prayed a very heartfelt prayer for St. John Bosco to intercede for me. I want so much to emulate him in his devotion, compassion, patience and joyful energy! I said the little prayer they gave us on entering the Basilica:

St. John Bosco, full of confidence I turn to you, asking you to intercede for me. Help me to lead a good and happy life. May I always be a help to others, avoid sin and die a happy death. Bring down the blessings of God on all those in my thoughts and prayers now, and obtain for me the special graces which I now ask. . . . I trust in God's love and mercy to grant what God knows is best for me. Don Bosco, who on earth had such a great devotion to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and to Mary, Help of Christians, and who always had compassion for those who were suffering, obtain from Jesus and His Heavenly Mother the grace I now request and also a sincere acceptance to the Will of God. Amen. St. John Bosco, Father and Teacher of the young, pray for us. Recite the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory Be.

I walked around the beautiful church but still felt shy about taking pictures when so much praying was going on! I did take a shot of the little shrine to Mary Help of Christians

After that I went to the bookstore. I am sucker for bookstores! There was a Salesian priest in there wearing one of the very cool t-shirts I had seen the Basilica staff wearing. I asked him if they were for sale but he said he didn't know but that I could call the Salesian office and find out.

I didn't stay very long in the bookstore because I really felt I ought to be getting home to my sick child who'd I'd barely seen all day and also I wanted to avoid rush hour. So I ran back up to the sanctuary to bid St. John Bosco goodbye. The line had shortened again so I went up again to the casket. This time I took this photo:
It was a very moving experience. The incorruptibles just freak me out. In a good way!

Anyway, beloved John Bosco, thank you for your devotion to God and for being such a holy role model. Your heart was full of Christ's love for sinners. Pray for us!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My First Weekly Photo Journal

Here's Sean working on his music. He's learning to play the guitar. This week he got a new keyboard that plugs directly into the computer. He loves to write music and mix tracks. He and his friend Jack are working together. Jack is designing a video game and Sean is writing all the music.

Here are the books Sean is working in right now. We only do the history and science once a week but the math, handwriting and Latin are pretty much 4 or 5 times a week. Religion (the red book) is done about 2 or 3 times a week.

I'm writing about Sean first because he's the one who is teaching me how to post photos to my blog!
Here's miz Becky-boo using beads to help her do her Saxon math.
Here are the books we've been using for Becky. The only book you probably can't make out is an old, 1896 edition of James Baldwin's 50 Famous Stories Retold. I am a sucker for antique books. The McGuffey Reader dates from 1919. Wild Animals I Have Known is from 1961. That isn't antique because I was one year old at the time!
Becky is a hands on kind of gal. She likes to bake cookies.
She likes to make up her own arts and crafts projects. This one has a Halloween theme as you can tell. She LOVES Halloween!

She also had a lot of fun playing with pattern blocks this week. (I have no idea why the font keeps switching back and forth!)

Here's a picture Becky drew while I was reading out loud to her.

Here is my cool and groovy 18 year old son, Will, also known as Eli. I believe he was playing Daytripper by the Beatles in this shot.

Here he is playing the piano.
Here he is again, sitting on our screen porch working on his College Plus stuff.

But I can't forget my 15 year old, Josh. He is a quiet introvert, and the middle boy, so he often inadvertently gets overlooked, but he is so good natured, he doesn't care! Anyway, he's a great kid. He so introverted though, he likes to hide behind his hat. I am not kidding or exaggerating either!
He always wears this hat.

Well, surprisingly he isn't wearing it in this photo. He's working on history here.

Here's a photo of his Algebra II test. For some reason it came out sideways. I am novice at all this tech stuff. Really, I have no idea what I am doing!

Anyway, my last photo with be of the credits Sean-o, the 11 yo did for a little DVD he put together. As you can see he needs to work on spelling and capitalization!

I took this picture off the TV. Ron Stevenson is beloved bear puppet that practically an imaginary friend to Becky and Sean, only he's a puppet they love to play with. He's kind of the sixth child in the family! Bill Merry really is supposed to be Murray. Robben is supposed to be Robin.

That's all, folks!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Week in Review 9/13-9/17

I actually tried to keep a daily journal. It helps me see what's going on each week. I forget so much if I don't jot down everything soon after the fact.

We are still on our readjustment curve even though we are three weeks into being more formal with lessons. We've gradually been folding in more studies. Also, the boys keep modifying their schedules. They are finding that doing their 5 arts in the morning and leaving the academics their mother (c'est moi!) insists on their doing means they have to deal with trying to finish math and Latin while afternoon activities are going on or in the evening when they really aren't in the mood. I'm letting them come to the conclusion that perhaps it would be better to get the academic stuff over with in the morning and do the fun arts stuff in their free time or in the evening. And it's working! Slowly, and on their own, they are drawing that conclusion.

We are going through math very slowly. We are just up to Lesson 5 in Saxon 5/4. Concentrating has been excruciating and much occasion for out and out defiance. But between being firm (you may do your math or you may sit on your bed) and cajoling (How about after we spend 10 minutes on this, we make cookies?) we've started to get into the groove. She's also doing her WWE and getting more into the groove with that as well. We worked in some cursive penmanship and a little bit of phonics. She read some comics this week from her Magnifikid magazine as well as some Peanuts comics at night. We read about Jonah and about the prophet Amos, learned about the feast of the Holy Cross. We also learned some acronyms like INRE and J.M.J. and AMDG and what they mean. We learned about subject nouns and verbs and some Latin words in Getting Started with Latin. We read another story about King Alfred the Great. She attended her first art class Tuesday morning which she loved. She went to vision therapy on Wed pm Today, Friday, tennis lessons start up. We also are still enjoying Little Women as a read aloud.

Has settled down a little quicker than Becky. He's on Lesson 9 of Saxon 7/6. We are doing our chapter review for Ch. 19,20.21,22 of LfCa. He's been working on his penmanship. He's still reading The Treasure Seekers. He's been doing lots of art and music with Will. He taught himself to play When the Saints Go Marching In on the penny whistle! He also had his first art class, but since he is such an opinionated curmudgeon he didn't enjoy it as much as Becky. We watched Unit 3 of Discovering Music. I don't know how much he's getting out of it, but Will and I are sure enjoying it! Today he still needs to do Vocabulary and Science before tennis class.

Josh did several lessons and a test in Alg II. Not sure exactly where he is in it. We had our Latin class on Tuesday. We'll need to start doing homework over the weekend. How did the week go by so quickly???? He spends a lot of time on Biology both in class and out. Today he's got his first Bio test. He was up until 1:30 a.m. studying for it because he waited too long to begin. He doesn't seem to be getting how time consuming this is so he doesn't allot enough time. Hopefully, this too is a learning curve and he'll get better at estimating such things. We started up history and literature. He read the first book of St. Augustine's Confessions and the first lesson of The History of the Church. He answered the workbook questions. He still needs to write an essay. This will also have to happen over this weekend. He had his 6 month post surgery check up and he's cleared to play tennis! Hurrah!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Daily Journal 9/16/10

  • Boys went to Mass
  • Boys worked on writing for 30 minutes, still not sure exactly what they are doing when they say they are working on writing! Then Sean worked on animation, Josh on game design, Will on music
  • Becky - worked through mix practice of L 4 in Saxon(never got to it yesterday), read a little from her new Magnifikid mag (she read the comic to me and then we went through first section of Mass and read the OT reading and discussed it.)
  • Read story of King Alfred and the Beggar.
  • Did WWE - read passage from Charlotte's Web; she answered narration questions in complete sentences, then dictated to me the thing she remember the most, then she copied over that sentence.
  • Did Latin, reviewed vocab of nauta, sum, ego, argricola, et and also saying cogito ergo sum. Learned 'non'. Also reviewed what a subject noun is and what a verb is.
  • Took Will to metro to go to DC and his piano lesson - then picked him up 3 hours later.
  • Came home and took Josh to his 6 mo post surgery check up. Looks good! Cleared to play tennis tomorrow!
  • Josh and I read Book 1 of St. Augustine's Confessions.
  • Josh did first lesson in History of the Church
  • Sean - practiced some cursive, read ch 2 of his F&L book and also worked on memorizing those 10 Commandments some more.
  • Sean did 1/2 of Lesson 8 in Saxon 7/6.
  • Sean studied Latin vocabulary for a 4 ch. review, and I quizzed him orally.
  • Josh has LOTS of biology homework to do which he didn't start until 7:45 p.m. I think he'll be up working until 11 or so.
  • Read Becky a couple of chapters of Little Women. Beth is dying, Amy and Laurie have met up in Europe. Becky really didn't get a lot of it, so I had to keep stopping and explaining things to her. I am amazed that she is so into the book because a lot is going over her head.
  • Sean is supposed to read more Treasure Seekers before bed but it is 9:45 p.m. and I can hear him and Becky playing instead of reading!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daily Journal 9/14/10

  • another terrible sleeping night, for me and for Miss Becky boo.
  • got up, studied for Latin quiz, Josh got up early too, to study.
  • Made breakfast sandwiches, got everyone up.
  • Took Becky and Sean to their first art class. Sean has philosophical differences with the teacher on technique! I hope he wasn't difficult. I do wish he could learn the virtue of docility! Becky LOVED the class.
  • Josh and I got to the class late. Had to take the quiz in a rushed fashion. Neither of us did very well as a result. But it wasn't graded! I think the teacher was just using it to force us ot review and jog our memories.
  • After Latin class, took Josh to Biology. He studied for that quiz in the car on the way there.
  • Got home and worked on math with Sean and Becky.
  • Will had been working on his speed reading course which he is finding very interesting but basically thinks it is a crock!
  • Becky and Sean rode their bikes to the veg. stand and bought pears.
  • Picked up Josh from class. He'd won 4 little rubbery fake skeletons for something! He gave them to Becky and Sean who loved them.
  • Josh worked on math both before and after dinner.
  • After dinner, Becky and Sean both worked on Latin and penmanship.
  • Becky made us her version of apple cobbler.
  • Sean read a ch. in The Treasure Seekers
  • Watched next unit in Discovering Music - all about musical terms.
  • Read most of a chapter out of Little Women to Becky. Jo is in NY and fascinated with Professor Bhaer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Daily Journal 9/13/10

  • Everybody either stayed up way too late last night or couldn't sleep. As a result everybody except my poor husband who HAD to get up even though he was so tired, overslept.
  • Sean and Becky went bike riding for 1/2 hour before we tried to begin any academics.
  • Sean and Will worked on writing, drawing and acting.
  • Josh worked on Biology homework
  • Becky - read her the story of Jonah, she did a tiny bit of cursive, did her WWE
  • Had all kinds of distractions with pest control guys and cleaners in and out of the house.
  • In afternoon Josh and I did Latin homework
  • After dinner, Sean did a bit of math, Latin and cursive
  • Becky did L. 5 mixed practice, a little bit of Latin and cursive
  • Becky and Sean went on another bike ride over the the veggie stand; had fun.
  • Becky and Sean made chicken nuggets with the chicken I cooked for dinner.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Daily Journal 9/9/10

  • Boys went to Mass
  • Did 5 arts - acting (S- worked on memorizing The Orange, J- The Jabberwocky, W- Ecclesiastes). music, writing.
Becky was in an ornery mood this a.m.

  • Read about St. Peter Claver; today is his feast day. She was okay with that, sometimes being interested, sometimes feigning boredom.
  • She did a tiny bit of cursive work while listening
  • She wanted me to read her about Lobo from Wild Animals I Have Known. She's really started to enjoy the book. Just goes to show you have to give some things time.
  • After much dawdling and resistance (including stopping to trim her bangs which suddenly prevented her from doing copy work!) she printed out a very short sentence from WWE. (Charlotte's Web).
  • She also wanted to do Map Skills except she didn't want to write herself. So we compromised. She had to spell to me the names of all the oceans and I did the writing. Then we learned the difference between what a sea, a bay and gulf. Not quite clearcut if you ask me.
  • She decided she does not want to read from McGuffey's 2nd reader but wants to try the 3rd. So we started on the 3rd reader, reading two stanzas of a long poem. At this rate it will take two weeks to get through the first lesson.
  • Did math with Sean - corrected his mistakes and did mental math and practice set for L. 5.
  • Took Josh to his math tutor
  • Came home, collapse and read King Solomon's Mines (which I stole from Sean) and napped.
  • Josh went to library with Sean and Becky, Will and I went and got haircuts.
  • Didn't get any math done with Becky or Latin and penmanship done with Sean.
  • Josh did Biology homework
  • Sean read more The Treasure Seekers.
  • Read more Little Women to Becky.
  • Becky got the audio of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle out of the library plus several Baby Mouse graphic novels. She sequestered herself up in her room to enjoy those.
  • Josh finished reading the second book in Discworld at some point during the day. He got a ton of a new graphic novel series (don't know the name) and was reading them like they were potato chips.
  • Will started doing his CLEP prep course with College Plus (listening to audio cds on study skills, etc? Sounds boring!). He finished reading the Book of Numbers (Bible). How was it, I asked. Numerical, he replied! He is now listening to the Lord of the Rings.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Daily Journal 9/8/10 - Nativity of the Blessed Virgin/Rosh Hashana

  • Boys went to Mass
  • Did their 5 Arts in the a.m.
I worked with Becky:
  • Read more about Old Lobo in Wild Animals I have Known
  • Becky did a tiny bit of cursive practice
  • Read story about the Prophet Elisha or Eliseus as Bible History insists on calling him! Becky narrated well about Namaan, etc.
  • Becky and I practiced learning the hymn Holy God, We Praise Thy Name. Becky has such a good voice!
  • Did practice set for Lesson 3 in Saxon 5/4. Number Sequences
  • Did narration and copywork from WWE, Week 8. Caddy Woodlawn.
  • Reviewed a tiny bit of Latin and learned about what a subject of a sentence is.
  • Becky is all excited to sell T-shirts at the Blessed Virgin Mary's Birthday party which is always the opening event for our homeschool group. She's making a sign that says $5 per T-shirt and then drawing pictures of the t-shirts on the poster.
  • Went to BVM's Birthday and collected dues, etc. Had a good time. A sweet girl led us in a decade of the rosary and then the kids all sang happy birthday. Becky had great time selling those T-shirts!
  • Meanwhile, at home Sean finished his math lesson and then talked on line with his friend.
  • Josh did a lesson in Algebra II
  • Found out Hannah is getting severe flooding at Univ. of Dallas from Hermine.
  • Will went to his music lesson
  • VT appt for Becky @ 5:30.
After dinner:
  • Did 20 minutes of Latin with Sean - reviewed 1st and 2nd delcensions, parsed some sentences, talked about parts of speech.
  • Took Josh to CLC
  • Sean read more The Treasure Seekers
  • Becky read two paragraphs from McGuffey's. Then I read a ch. and 1/2 of Little Women to her.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Daily Journal 9/7/10

I am going to continue to journal daily until I feel we've gotten into a good groove for the autumn.

Yesterday, Labor Day, we didn't do much formally.

I did have Sean read another chapter of The Treasure Seekers and he, Will and I all watched the next unit of Discovering Music together in the evening.

Informally Sean spent lots of time creating music with garage band.

Josh, starting at about 8:15 p.m. did his Biology homework. He was still working on it at around 10 p.m. when I went to bed. But he said he only had a little bit left to do.

Today - Tuesday, 9/7/10

Josh and I had our first Latin class of the year. We reviewed conjugations and declensions. My rusty old brain was barely keeping up! Lots of homework to do for next class.

I then took Josh to his Biology field trip. They did a pond study at Riverbend. Josh says he enjoyed it.

Will was stuck at home with Becky and Sean, neither of whom behaved very well, as far as I can see. Sean read the first chapter in his Faith and Life book and started to memorize the 10 Commandments. He very halfheartedly started his math but hadn't gotten far (and got the first problem wrong anyway)by the time I got home at nearly 1 p.m.

Becky did a page of phonics but resisted doing math. She did a little for me when I got home.

This Tuesday was weird. Next Tuesday both Sean and Becky will be in an art class in the a.m. while Josh and I are at Latin. Will's on his own. I told him he needs to work somewhere on Tuesdays.

In the evening:

Read Becky another chapter of Little Women

Did 20 minutes of Latin review with Sean

Sean read another chapter of The Treasure Seekers

Josh finished an Alg. II test

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Last night I went to Vespers at a very nearby Melkite church. I had been meaning to go to this church for years and years now. And last night I finally made it. I feel like I fell in love. I am now filled with longing to be in THAT church, that liturgy, that community. I'm trying to sort out my feelings:

  • The first time I ever heard about the Melkites, I was attending a retreat given by Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy at a Pax Christi retreat. I could only stay for a day. He was a very powerful speaker. The thing that impressed me the most was his story about how his youngest daughter, Benedicta, named after Edith Stein or Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was miraculously saved by Tylenol poisoning by prayers to Edith Stein. This is the miracle that allowed St. Teresa Benedicta to be named a saint. I have a special tenderness for St. Edith Stein, since she was Jewish and converted to Catholicism by reading a book by St. Theresa of Avila. My husband is Jewish. I've struggled with atheism (as did Edith Stein) and my mother's favorite saint was St. Teresa of Avila. So all this resonated in my heart. Hannah even took the name St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross for her confirmation name. Since that retreat (and this retreat happened when Hannah was a baby, so probably about 18 years ago) I 've been wanting to visit a Melkite Church. Well, there is one about 5 minutes from my house. It only took me 18 years to get there!
  • I love the rich ritual, the ikons, the chanting, the ancient and profound reverence found in the church and its liturgy. So different from the dry, stripped down version of my parish church. Not that my parish doesn't try and isn't full of faithful people and a wonderful pastor, but it is not poetic, lyrical, moving, replete with so many symbols that raise one's spirit to God. I know I am not supposed to be entertained at Mass, that it depends on me and what I bring to the Mass, but in other liturgies the sheer beauty of the liturgy definitely helps one's soul long for union with God! Why do these other liturgies get to have this beauty, while I in my weakness must struggle against such spiritual dryness?
  • I have long been attracted to Orthodox Christianity but feel like I am being a traitor to the Roman Catholic faith. This is probably an unreasonable feeling. In the Melkite church both Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christian can partake of the Eucharist there.
  • I was very attracted to the Byzantine Catholic faith, however, they are all of a Slavic ethnicity. The liturgy was beautiful but the history and language are not my history and language. The Melkite however trace their origin to Antioch and to the first apostles. They are descended from the very first Christian tradition! They use both Greek and Arabic. The Arabic came later. But the Greek spoken by that first Christian community is the Koine Greek that the New Testament is written in. This makes me feel a connection even though Greek is not my native language. Also the Arabic is a Semitic language, similar to Hebrew.
  • I love that the Melkites really emphasize the Old Testament and the Prophets. These prophets are placed on the same plain with the saints of the New Testament. The connection to Judaism is much more palatable. The sound of the chants has a very Jewish sound. This speaks to me because of Rick's Judaism, our family celebrating Jewish holidays and also I love that that connection, that foundation of Judaism has been preserved for two thousand years in such a tangible way.
The problems I see in moving into the Melkite rite are many:

1. My family. Becky and Sean are not confirmed. Would they be able to receive the Eucharist there? I wonder if the priest confirms children coming from the Roman rite?
2. Do they follow the same liturgical year? I think so. But that would be really confusing if they didn't.
3. I think the Melkites are much stricter in fasting and other things like that. It would probably be good for us as a change. It is so easy to be lazy in the Roman rite.
4. Sunday school - this may not be a problem. But the Sunday school classes look much, much better than the one's offered at our parish which are of the most watered down variety. The kids really learn deeply about the faith. I've been looking at lesson plans and the expectations are much higher at Holy Transfiguration then at St. Mark. You expected to really read the Bible. Parents are held accountable. I was amazed at what was expected of a 4th grader to know and do.
5. Josh and CLC. We do love the Catholic Life Community at St. Mark and the Youth Group activites, like Workcamp. I don't know if we'd have to give those up though.
6. I'd feel like I was betraying our parish. I do have a sense of loyalty to it. I love that it works so hard to help the poor. I love Father Pat; for all his faults, he is a wonderful, godly man who tries his best.

While I sort through all this I thought I'd incorporate some Melkite lessons plans into our daily living. Here's a resource for that