Jan 31, 2011

Journey North Mystery Class: A study of sunlight and the seasons

Starts today, but it is not too late to get in on the learning!!!

Journey North Mystery Class: A study of sunlight and the seasons

So I have gotten a few emails and many comments on the yahoo group lists about this site being difficult to understand. We have done it a few times now and I have never had a problem with it, but I figured I would post the description that I sent along to one of our local lists -


Ok here is the premise of the program - 
There are 10 mystery class locations that over the next few months you are trying to locate on the globe based on their photoperiods. 
So every Monday the student writes down their sunrise and sunset time and calculate the photoperiod for your location, to obtain a base point. 
You then go onto the site on Friday and get the sunrise and sunset times for the 10 mystery class locations. You enter them into your log, calculate their photoperiod, and then plot them onto a line graph. 
In March they start giving out additional clues that help you to locate the cities. 
The teacher guides - Packet 1 - http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/mclass/PracticePacket1_Latitude.pdf
Packet 2 - http://www.learner.org/jnorth/tm/mclass/PracticePacket2_Longitude.pdf
explain the background info on the photoperiods, longitudinal and latitudinal clues, the earth's pattern of rotations and more. 
Hope that makes it a bit more clear.

Jan 28, 2011

Regulation in Home Education


I had to share this incredible installment of the Unplugged Mom Radio show on Regulation in Home Education. CLICK HERE FOR THE 1/28 BROADCAST.
Here is an excerpt from my email that she speaks of during the show - 

I have been meaning to contact you about something I heard on one of the archive shows and I keep forgetting to do it, but after hearing about your speaker for next week, I wanted to be sure to get a question in ahead of time as I am not sure I can be up that early...we are just not morning people in the winter. 
So anyway, I was listening to the archives and I heard Desiree's comment about Massachusetts laws being so strict. As a board member of our state homeschooling organization I hear from people all the time who are concerned because they are moving here or are thinking about homeschooling here. We are constantly listed as a "very difficult state to homeschool in", so I am curious why people feel that our state is such a difficult one. I have heard from some that it is just the fact that we are an "approval" state, but the thing that a lot of people don't seem to realize is that though this is true, there are no "laws" or "homeschooling regulations" here. The guidelines that are followed are based on case laws and therefore are up for interpretation. I also think it has a lot to do with people's intimidation of authority figures and a lack of willingness to bump the system, even if only by standing up for their own rights. So my question for the constitutional expert would be "From a constitutional standpoint, why would Massachusetts be considered a strict homeschooling state?"

I was very impressed with this show and the connections that were made for me are profound! 

Jan 25, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy, but not too much to report!

Things have been going very smoothly around here lately. KM has been keeping up with her lessons and staying very busy with ice skating, theater, sketching and spending time with her friends. We are enjoying the flow of things lately and the occasional snowstorm to keep us in the house for the day is a wonderful winter bonus!

We have been starting our days off with household responsibilities, yoga and meditation. Then after lunch we work on lessons and this leaves the late afternoon and evenings free for her to spend however she likes. It seems to have worked out that Tuesday and Thursdays are VERY light lesson days, to accommodate for ice skating - and spending the rest of the afternoon with one of her very best friends - and theater. When CJ is home he has been taking her skating at a more local place on Wednesday afternoons. This leaves a lot of the main lesson times to Monday and Friday which seems to be giving a natural flow to our week.

She has chosen to do her research report for this session on owls - BIG SURPRISE to those who have seen her lately! We have decided that she will follow the outline form that the writing mentor used with her in the fall. This method focuses on researching, getting the info down, and then editing and cleaning up the content. As I have written what feels like hundreds of posts on our thoughts about writing and the writing process, I will not go into length about it again. I will say though that I have noticed a huge improvement in her open responses now that she has no writing "guidelines" and just has to present the information clearly.

Other than that, there is not much else to report as it is pretty much status quo around here - Just enjoying our family, home and learning - all together! Hope you can find some time to do the same!

Jan 17, 2011

Opera Preview for Hansel and Gretel

We are going to be going to the Boston Lyric Opera's Hansel & Gretel performance in March, so Monday we went to an incredible preview performance. This is such a fantastic opportunity for the kids to get to see professional performers up close and personal. The kids had a great time and they had such fabulous questions for the performers. We can't wait to go to the show!



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Jan 12, 2011

Winter is my favorite season!

I know that most people probably think that I am crazy! Who loves winter? It's cold, dark, boring, there is less to do, you are cooped up inside, blah, blah, blah....well I do!
I love looking out my window and seeing the earth covered in a blank of white. I love marveling at the beauty and strength of nature. I love cozying up in front of a fire. I love scarves, hats, and fuzzy mittens. I love staying in my PJs all day and listening to books on tape. I love the crisp frigid freshness in the air. I love to watch the dogs romp around and catch snowballs. I love the desolate quiet when the power goes out. I love to watch the joy on the face of a child as they go swooshing down the hill. I love that CJ gets to be home more. I love that we are able to spend more time together as a family.
As a home learning family we spend a good deal of time together, but it is different in the winter. During the other seasons we are out doing things, going places and being active. However for us winter is a time to come together with those that you love and enjoy each other's company in close quarters. It is a time to really embrace our family.

Jan 9, 2011

Another Busy Week Gone By

We got back to book work over this last week and all went well for the most part, although we have decided to do away with the Music Alive Classical Connections to U.S. History, as she thinks it is rather dry and I can't disagree with her on that one. Instead she will be using the Annenberg Media lectures Exploring the World of Music and selecting a composer, musician or group to do a biography on each month. I think this will be much more suited to her interests and style.

Other than that everything else went smoothly... Mon KM got the rest of her top wire on her braces attached and we got some shopping done. Tues KM went skating, visited with a good friend, and in the evening we went to see Gulliver's Travels - CJ even came along! Wed was ice skating again. Thur SC came to visit, as she wasn't feeling up to daycare that day and the afternoon was taken up by Theater. Fri we finished up the bookwork and KM got a LOT of reading done! Saturday KM had bowling, we had to pick up the truck from the shop, and DN got to visit AG's reptiles. Then Sunday was CJ's birthday party- He will be 36 on Wed!!!

As we come off of another super busy week it seems we are all paying for it -
  • KM has a wretched cough and I am worried that her asthma might be rearing its' head again, so we will be off to the doctor's first thing in the morning
  • CJ is stressed and exhausted from regular work slowing down, the weird hours plowing and the anxiety over his truck being fixed - which has went much better than we expected!
  • I just can't get rid of this weird postnasal cough thing and I have begun having some sleep issues because of it.
I feel the need to remind myself that we do truly NEED more rest in the winter and that we NEED to recognize the body's signals to nature's cues. Here is a really good article on some reasons why we need more sleep in winter. So this week I am cutting back A TON and listening to our bodies. For real! I swear we are going to!!!

Here are some pics from the week -

Jan 6, 2011

Jan 4th -10th Free Kaplan Ebooks!!!

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There are over 130 free books available include: SAT test prep, ACT strategies, college prep, classical, ASVAB for those interested in the military, and much more.
If you don't have an eReader, there are plenty of free apps available to use!

Jan 2, 2011

Prepping for our winter session to begin tomorrow!

I spent the afternoon finishing up the prep that I needed to so that we can begin our winter session tomorrow. There aren't a ton of new additions this time, as most of what we have been doing is working out really well. The only changes are -

  • Continuing with the Straight Forward Math Series Algebra and moving onto Book 2
  • In literature we will be reading The Giver by Lois Lowry and using the online quizzes here
  • KM is very excited to start The Story of Science Volume 3: Einstein Adds a New Dimension
  • We will be doing the Annenberg Media Project - Mystery Class Journey North as our elective this session and it looks like it is going to be really interesting
  • Ice Skating will be two days a week
  • Keyboard will be back to daily
  • Theater will be every week instead of bi-weekly
  • KM will be taking a break from Spanish
I have updated our Current Curriculum & Schedule Page if you are interested in checking it out!
What are you doing differently after your break?