Dec 30, 2011

What I am Reading - December - Music Kid

I have been really enjoying drawing Manga characters the last few weeks. I picked this book up at the library to help me work on the eyes. I will post some of my work here soon.

What I am Reading - Fairie Mom - December

I had read the Well Trained Mind, but after hearing the interview with Susan Wise Bauer on Unplugged Mom I decided to pick up The Well Educated Mind at my library and take a gander through it. I will post a full review when I am done with it! 

Dec 28, 2011

Unplug from “Holiday Stress” - That is JUST what we did!

Unplug from “Holiday Stress” and… memorize your children…

Really REALLY liked this post from Laurette. We had a really great holiday long weekend and enjoyed it just the way we wanted to!
Here are some of my favorite pics from the weekend -

Dec 24, 2011

Dec 22, 2011

Merry Yule to One and All!!!

Our yule was a bit different this year because CJ had to make a deliver and we decided to each open one present on Wednesday before he left. KM was rather estatic when she found out that she would be getting her room made over. We will be heading to our local hardware store to pick out paint next week. This is going to be a bit of an ongoing project since she has a lot of stuff that will need to be jostled and gone through and CJ will have to find a stretch when he is home to do the painting. She has been waiting for this for quite some time as she felt she had outgrown the shades of pink that adorn her walls a few years ago.

This morning I slept much later than usual - CJ calling to check in at 9:20 is actually what finally got me out of bed - but I felt SOOOO good when I woke up. I don't remember the last time I slept that well without CJ here so I must finally be adjusting. After a late breakfast I began the delightful task of baking, baking and more baking. I really enjoy baking especially when I know we will be bring things to our family friends that will put a smile on their faces! KM jumped right in to help out and got very creative with the cookie frosting. We made two different types of chocolate chunk cookies, prepared the Brioche dough from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, cranberry bread from scratch and gingerbread cookies. The house smelled so good!!! 

Also when I was preparing the Brioche dough I needed to double check the recipe and came across this fabulous recipe for sufganiyot - HERE - a fried doughnut that you make with the brioche dough that was INCREDIBLE and is going to be our new fried dough!! We didn't do the jelly filling, but just dusted them with powdered sugar --- good! 

Hope that you had a very Merry Yule today and celebrated the solstice in a way that befits your family!

Get ready to track santa!!!

We used to have so much fun with this when KM was little and now they have a very neat Santa's Countdown Village to keep the kids entertained. 

Dec 20, 2011

Winter Session Outlined and Ready to Go

I have the majority of our lesson plans ready and outlined for the winter session - PPPHHEEWWWW!!!! As always there is room for change, but I need the guidelines so that I can feel comfortable and ready to go. With DN being here and learning with us now, it really is essential as he wants to know what is going on and when it is going to happen. As I have seen with many deschooling teens, he needs room to find his interests, but if left completely to his own devices I truly believe - and have seen - he would flounder. He has been so set in the path of following orders and completing tasks that are given, that he truly has no idea what to do when he is told he can do whatever he wants. I have heard it said time and time again that they will eventually snap out of it, but I don't always think that is true. I feel it is very dependent on the child and would rather ease him into it, allowing more and more choices as we go rather than to just pitch him into the pool and hope he figures out how to swim.

So anyway....they are covering almost all the same subjects, just at different levels. I have an outline of all our curriculum choices on this page along with our weekly schedule. These are just guidelines and we often swap things around, but again having a plan helps. We will continue to tweak and monitor, especially with DN as he progresses to ensure the proper fit in all areas.  In addition to the outlines and basic curriculum choices, I picked up a few extras to make things fun and fresh!   

Dec 19, 2011

You Tube Monday - Holiday Edition - Snow Miser Song

This is one of my favorite Christmas movie songs. I can't stop myself from bopping whenever I hear it! babum bum bum badum, babum bum bum badum....

Dec 15, 2011

Week 4 - Deschooling and Book Break Update

So our week is running a bit differently this week, as we are not doing "lessons" again until after the new year, instead we are working on some projects, getting ready for the holidays and trying to help DN understand that learning is a part of life and not just something you do on certain days, at certain times, and on specific predetermined topics set out by someone else. So he spent the weekend at home and we met up with him on Sunday evening so that he could join KM at the Smash Brothers Tournament at the Library on Monday. Since we didn't need to be there until later in the afternoon the kids had the day to do what they wanted.

KM choose to be on the computer, work on some Snap Circuits Projects, play on the computer and used some of the turkey bones that were leftover from soup making this weekend to try out a bendy bone experiment that she has been meaning to do for a while, but always seemed to think of AFTER I had disposed of the carcass. DN choose to read, read, watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer at lunch, read and read some more. KM tried to get him into some of the things that she was working on, but he was really into Battle of the Labyrinth - book 4 in the Percy Jackson Series, he read the first 3 in record time and was really glad I was able to get the 4th through our library network and even happier that I grabbed the final volume while they were in the tournament - luckily thing too since he finished the 4th within minutes of us returning home.

KM has been feeling a bit under the weather, sniffly and coughing at night, so we decided to put skating off until later in the week to not subject her to the cold and hit the movies instead to see Arthur Christmas. I had heard mixed reviews, but was really happy that we decided to go. It was super funny and both the kids really liked it. I was glad to see that it was rated PG as there were a few parts that I would think could be a bit disturbing to little ones. After the movies we dropped KM off at home to rest while DN and I went to run some errands. The beans we had setup last week to determine if direction of helium mattered needed to be transplanted and DN got to see how the bean transforms into the leaves. We spent the evening making ornaments with Sculpey and then at 9ish I had a surge of energy and decided we NEEDED to clean the fridge. Glad I did though because it took just less than an hour to scrub down everything, with the kids helping and they got to sleep in the next morning while I went grocery shopping. Teamwork and cooperation went a long way on this one!

Wednesday was shopping and chore day - I went grocery shopping and the kids needed to get their rooms organized and tidied up before the holiday.  They also spent some time painting the ornaments they had made the night before. We were hoping to get to the BSU observatory for their last public viewing before winter break, but the clouds just didn't cooperate. We did get to the discount store so that KM could pick up the fabulous dress for the formal New Years Eve party she will be attending with some of her youth group friends. She is VERY excited as this is her first formal. She picked a gorgeous flowing gown. We got the dress, shoes, and  shawl all for under $35! WOOHOOO for bargain shopping! The kids finished up their christmas shopping online, since CJ got stuck out on the road longer than expected this week. DN learned how to play Wii Music, set up his profile on Wii Fit Plus and played the new Zelda game he got from the library.

We made it to skating Thursday and they had a great time. We met up with DN's Uncle so he could spend the rest of the week home with them. Then KM went to a jewelry making class at the library - I just love how many activities she is getting involved with over there! I managed to find some time to get the last of the footage edited from KMs theater group and to finalize the majority of their winter session lesson plans. I always feel so much more at ease when I know they are all set. I am open to tweaking and twisting them around and I have a few more things to iron out, but just knowing they are there and ready makes me feel organized and ready to go. I will post about our upcoming plans next week!

All and all it was a really great week. We got a lot completed and had a really good time. DN seemed to really catch on with what we do around here, he was interested in most of the things, but passed on a few, which is to be expected - don't we all want to pass on some things.  It is weeks like this that remind me of why I started this blog in the first place - it is just a great way to see what it is that we have done. Even when it seems like it wasn't very much. Hope you all had as much fun this week as we did!

Dec 14, 2011

Empty Promises and Hope - A Poem

Empty Promises and Hope
By  Gckstudent

I live in a World.
A World full of Empty Promises.
I get Promised so many Things...
They never come true.
I fear that Nothing
That is Promised to me
Will come True.
But I have a dear Friend...
Hope shows me that some
Things can come true.
That not all Things are Terrible.
So...even though the Promises
Made to me may not come True
I Hope that the Promises I make

Dec 12, 2011

You Tube Monday - Holiday Edition - The Smurfs Christmas Special part 1

This is one of my all time favorites!!! I love that I find them all on You Tube to share with the kids!

See Part 2 - HERE
See Part 3 - HERE

Dec 6, 2011

Deschooling Update - Week 3

As I sit here typing DN is sitting across from me on the laptop excitedly blasting his way through spaceships with prime numbers playing Sigma Prime on Manga High. This is a kid who has said he hated math over and over and over again, yet he has become obsessed with beating these levels and getting a gold medal. I think I have found a key.

We had a really great week. We finished up a ton of lessons and are taking the next three weeks off from regular book work in order to enjoy the season. Saturday we finished up the bio experiments from last week and set up some interesting bean ones for this week -

We also had a lot of fun and enjoyed the beautiful weather before it is gone - of course I keep saying that and we keep having it, so I will just KEEP SAYING IT!!! On Monday we headed over to the courts and played some tennis, before we went to the local herring run to have a picnic, do some nature sketching and play some pooh sticks!

Today (Tuesday) we went to a local DCR ice rink for FREE public skate. DN is building his confidence and doing great. KM has begun skating backward, but thinks we need to go to a rink that skates clockwise so that she can turn to the left better. We also check in on one of the bean experiments and it seems to be coming along nicely.

All and all I would say it was quite the educational, entertaining and enjoyable week! If you want to check out some funny highlights from our day out see KM's you tube channel for - Rock Sliding and Other Silly Stuff and Playing Tennis