Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Homeschool Review

I wasn't sure what would happen in September with our trip and review and other activities. I guess overall I'm pretty happy with where we are so far. My record keeping system is going well for me, although I think I want to change our daily worklist. It is taking up too much time for me each evening.

  • KhanAcademy - kids are mostly working through this on their own
  • Calculadder - Jack is still on Level 4, Kate on Level 10
  • Life of Fred - finished Farming, started Goldfish
  • MathUSee - late getting going, Kate is through Delta Unit 3 (long division sucks!), Jack is still reviewing lessons from last year
Language Arts 
  • Scribblers online writing class (Kate) - yup
  • Tutoring (Jack) - yup
  • Increasing Fluency (Jack) - nope
  • First Language Lessons Level 4 - started just last week, through Lesson 8 already
  • SpellingUSee - I think I started both kids a little too low, so we've been working through lessons pretty quickly. Kate is on week 6 already and Jack is on week 3
  • AlphaBetter drills - Jack is on Level 4, Kate is on Level 6
  • Using Picture Books to Teach Writing With Traits - finished Chapter one
  • Reading - Kate read 8 chapter books last month (Spirit Animals #2, Summer of the Monkeys, Spirit Animals #3 Blood Ties, Wolf Stalker, Guardians of Ga'Hoole The Journey, Spirit Animals #4 Fire and Ice, Esperanza Rising and Number the Stars); Jack read 4 Magic Tree House books plus some shorter independent reads that I assigned him
  • Gratitude Journal - eh, we are doing it here and there. At least once a week.
History/Social Studies/Geography/Biography/Religion/Literature/Art
  • Story of the World Vol I - through ch 24
  • The Old Testament - through the patriarchs
  • Wild West - skipped this since we skipped visiting Cody, WY. Have thoughts of going back up there in the spring, but we'll see how that pans out...
  • EHM's Storybook Artists - Quentin Blake - didn't even start
  • Rascal audiobook- Done
  • Summer of the Monkeys Kate finished this but we never started the RA to Jack. Waiting for it to become available from the library again
  • Listen to Call of the Wild audiobook as a family on trip - started but haven't finished. Will finish on upcoming road trip
Science - I have discovered that I am mostly an unschooler when it comes to science (and even history). There is so much I don't record. So many books we read. We pretty much study whatever comes up, so that means we get off plan an awful lot...
  • Physics - finish What's Physics All About? book, continue to work through experiments in physics workbook - nope!
  • Planet Earth test worksheets from Enchanted Homeschool Mom that we started last year - nope!
  • Wolves - we now know A LOT about wolves. Especially their reintroduction to Yellowstone. 
  • Photosynthesis, geysers, bison, elk, all things Yellowstone
  • Speech therapy (Jack) - yup
  • Keyboarding Without Tears - Level 3 - going well
  • The Story of Stuff curriculum program - saving for later
  • HTML programming class online - almost done with this
  • Cursive Without Tears (Jack) - eh...
  • Latin (Kate) - through Lesson 7
  • Homeschool Enrichment Program - weekly
  • Swim Team - yup
  • Volleyball - Kate - yup
  • Lego Class - Jack - yup
  • C25K program - nope!
  • Field Trips - Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone NP, Jackson Hole WY, Cody WY, McAllister House, Trolley Museum, Elk viewing
  • CNN Student news - started this just last week. I was nervous that the subject matter might be too advanced, but the kids love it!
  • Wonderoplis.org - a website I came across that has new info and a short quiz every day. Kids really like this, so it has become part of our daily routine

Monday, September 29, 2014

DayBook 9.29.14


Outside my window... sunny, cool and the clouds look to be building over the mountains. I should check the weather forecast.

I am hearing... kitchen clock ticking and some birds tweeting outside. Other than that it is blissfully quiet. Ah!

I am feeling... a bit disappointed. But that won't last long.

I am thinking... that maybe I shouldn't think so much.
I am thankful for... my cleaning lady. She's been away, and while I am perfectly able to clean my own house, I really prefer someone else doing it!
From the kitchen... homemade chicken noodle soup, taquitos, and leftover birthday cake over the weekend. Pumpkin waffles for breakfast - yum! We've also started apples and cheese (drunken goat last week) for snacks. It's my favorite snack but somehow feels wrong other times of the year. I want/need to make muffins today for our trip. And pull some things from the freezer to come along with us.
I am wearing... my old Patagonia PJ bottoms (that are starting to get too short but I love them) with a blue tshirt that I always pair with them and my oh-s0-horribly-bad-but-so-warm-and-comfy slippers.
I am creating... I am *thinking* about creating many things. I am mostly only creating messes.
I am going... on a road trip! I love road trips! So excited! Only 2 weeks this time, but we are going to see and do a lot in that short time.
I am reading... The Sports Gene which offers a differing view of the "10,000 hours of practice" model that has been written about so much. Interesting stuff. Just finished Take Me With You which I really loved. Not sure it is for everyone. I think the reason I liked it so much is that the setting is often in national parks so I could really picture the story. Also reading book #3 in the Vampire Academy series... sorta embarrassed to admit that...
I am hoping... that all puppies from the litter are already spoken for! Jack listened to Where the Red Fern Grows (and then we listened as a family), and since then has wanted a coon dog. You know, for all the coon hunting we do... :) Matt has wanted a second dog for years but I've always resisted since Nina Sprinkles is so darn easy. Even before the subject of coon dogs came up, I've been coming around to the idea of a dog that could handle more rough and tumble with Jack. After much research I decided that I love wire haired vizslas, but they don't seem easy to find. That's fine. Until Kate searched the internet this weekend and found a litter. Still not certain I'm ready for another dog, but we are going to inquire. We'll see...

Around the house... I've been changing around some of the decor. Pulled out some fall decorations, but I'll wait to decorate for Halloween until we get back from our trip. Went to buy a couch this weekend, but the furniture store has gone out of business. Not sure what we'll do now.

In the homeschool room... I don't know if we are doing too much or if we are being too lazy about getting work done, but we've gotten back into the "checklist" routine. I'm not going to worry about that until we get back from our trip. 

How I'm exercising... I did a hike/trail run this weekend with a friend that was great and made me feel motivated to start running again. I've been playing tennis multiple times a week. I've gone for a few runs, and it feels better but not yet great. I need to stretch! Everything from my belly button to my big toe is tight right now.
Something that irks me... gnats in the mouth while running
One of my favorite things... autumn!

A few plans for the next week: I have a tennis match and a haircut. Kids have there normal stuff the next few days. Then miles and miles in the car followed by a tour of Mammoth Cave, a few ranger programs in the Smoky Mountains, some hiking, some sightseeing, and whatever else comes our way!

Here is a picture I am sharing: Obvious sibling response to Kate's chalkboard quote...

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

New running shoes! #glowinthedark
ETA: No fewer than 3 comments about my shoes from strangers on the trail while on my first run in them!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

This Makes Me Happy

Actually this made me laugh out loud & roll my eyes!
Discovered on our blackboard wall this evening

Thursday, September 18, 2014


After our moose encounter, we started making moose antlers in photos. The biggest fun was trying to "moose" someone else without them realizing it. Made for some fun photos!
This might have been the one that started the trend
Shootin' the moose

Caught moose handed!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

National Park Wildlife

I already showed you photos of the moose - by far our best animal encounter of the trip. We really wanted to see a wolf, but didn't get so lucky (may have been our early to bed/late to rise schedule). Also saw no bear which was okay since we see them in Colorado regularly. We also saw very few elk which was not only disappointing, but apparently they are usually difficult to avoid! We are fairly convinced it is because Matt almost hit one our first night in the Tetons… word got around to the herds to avoid us…

A few favorite photos. Be grateful that I'm not posting all bazillion that we took!
This friendly little guy was pretty funny!
He even hopped in my lap!
But we followed the rules, and did not feed him.
Supposed to be marmots living here.
Must have been too cold this day!
Loved the snow-dusted bison!
Three bison that we watched cross the river.
That was cool!
Then they came charging straight at us.
We got back in the car really quickly,
but we were amazed at the people who stayed out!
Kids watching a coyote stalk grasshoppers with
a gracious visitor's telescope
She even took a photo for us!
Coyotes aren't uncommon around home, but somehow
it felt more interesting in the park.
This is a bison herd fording the river. They are barely
visible in the photo, but it felt so close!

Yellowstone National Park - Geysers and Such

After Grand Teton, we drove to Yellowstone and camped for 5 nights in Canyon. Since we started homeschooling, I've wanted to do a fall trip to Yellowstone to avoid the crowds (and if what we experienced was "not crowded," I'd hate to be there peak season!). We expected cool nights and warmer days, but what we got was record breaking cold nights and really cold days! We stayed bundled up for much of the trip.

I knew that there were geysers and boiling mud pots and such at Yellowstone, but I didn't realize how extensive all the geological features are. We got to see many of the major geysers - Grand, Daisy and of course, Old Faithful (x4). What an experience!

Grand Geyser interlude

Warming up in the steam
Terraces in Mammoth. It was really too cold to appreciate these, so...
on the coldest day, we hiked to Boiling River
and sat in the hot springs!
It was really cool to strip out of all our coats, sweaters and
long underwear and soak where the HOT water hits
the cold mountain stream

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grand Teton National Park

So last week we took a trip to Wyoming. We drove to Jackson, rented a trailer camper (we sold our TrailManor right after Memorial Day), can spent 2 nights at the Gros Ventre campground.

I posted before that we woke up our first morning to four moose right next to our trailer. It was so exciting to have front row view from inside, but then it got CRAZY. One moose started rubbing his antlers on our picnic table, lifting the table from the ground, and kept getting the tablecloth stuck on those antlers! We were so relieved when the cloth ripped before he walked away. I just can't believe none of my snapshots caught the tablecloth stuck to the moose…
 That was probably the highlight of our stay in the Tetons, but we really enjoyed the hiking, views, and lakes. It wasn't enough. Will definitely go back to explore more.
Leigh Lake after a rainy hike

View from Signal Mountain

Inspiration Point

Monday, September 15, 2014

DayBook 9.15.14


Outside my window... crisp, cool morning. Clear sky. Going to be beautiful. Going to be difficult to stay inside and homeschool.

I am hearing... highway noise. We usually don't hear it much, but there must be something about today.

I am feeling... a bit tired. A bit overwhelmed. A bit motivated to get it all done.

I am thinking... a lot about the balance between supporting a child in reaching their potential and how much that should affect the rest of life or rather your vision for your life.
I am thankful for... almost 42 spins around the sun
From the kitchen... I have NO IDEA what we are going to eat this week. We need to use up some meat that defrosted during camping. Will probably keep it simple. Spaghetti, ham and peas with pesto pasta, grilled chicken, and a smoked salmon pasta.
I am wearing... haven't really gotten dressed for the day. Athletic pants, black wool t-shirt that I've worn for too many days, a black cardigan, and my ratty slippers. It's my I-might-look-homeles-but-I'm-comfy look.
I am creating... nothing! I feel like I might never make it back into my sewing room! Hoping it was just a summer break and that cooler weather will find me sewing more often.
I am going... to run errands today. Costco, library, grocery.
I am reading... #2 in the Vampire Academy series. These really aren't great books. And I'll probably read them all! I also have finished the first two books in the Fifty Shades series. I was NOT going to read them, but then I did. So trashy... and I'll finish that series also!
I am hoping... for beautiful autumn weather the next couple months.

Around the house... always in process. Still recovering from unloading the car yesterday. Laundry will probably take a week to catch up. And I think I'm ready to pull the trigger on a new couch. Might go take a look at fabric samples again this week.

In the homeschool room... back to the routine today. Still haven't started on some curriculum that I ordered through our homeschool program. Should get that Wednesday. Fun subjects include Old Testament, Wild West, wolves and illustrator Quentin Blake.

How I'm exercising... I think I over committed to tennis this fall. Oops! This week is back to running and strength training.
Something that irks me... kids. Love 'em, but sometimes...
One of my favorite things... cool weather camping

A few plans for the next week: did I mention I overcommitted to tennis? I have 5 matches this week! Kids start back with swim team practice. We have a homeschool outing to a historical house nearby. Plus I have a friends-with-birthdays-in-September dinner celebration. 

Here is a picture I am sharing: Kids on first day of homeschool program a couple weeks ago

Thursday, September 11, 2014