Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Musings...A Meeting of Minds...

Sorry for the lower quality of the picture, but here is Cyrus meeting Richard Dawkins! We attended a lecture and book signing on the beautiful Dominican University campus yesterday, taking my dad, a long-time Dawkins fan, with us. We listened to about an hour of anecdotes and side notes, then lined up to get our books signed. Unfortunately, my dad, due to mobility issues, could not go up on stage to get his book Richard Dawkins came to him! (He's sitting behind Cyrus in this picture) We got to chat for a couple of minutes, and then Dawkins was off to an evening engagement. Still, it isn't every day that we get to meet a great scientific mind and Nobel Peace Prize winner!

Outside My Window...
Temperatures are moving into the seventies more often, though we are expecting some higher eighties late in the week. We had tremendous wind over Saturday night, and saw dry (sheet) lightning miles away. The winds blew almost all the leaves off the cherry and maple trees, though the olive tree is still looking quite good, and the olives are almost ready for picking.

In Our Kitchen...
Both M and Cassia requested a "vegetarian experiment", so I've happily been re-exploring favorite vegetarian recipes (I was a vegetarian for 6 years, then vegan for two). My mom gave me a plenitude of zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, and onions, so over the weekend, I made a favorite roasted eggplant and tomato soup, and a giant pot of ratatouille. I then made a ratatouille lasagna as well, which was a big hit! Also on the menu this week are a vegetarian pot-pie (with mushrooms, peas, carrots, celery, onion, red potatoes, and a homemade onion-mushroom-veg broth gravy), and my own version of Japanese noodle bowls, with miso broth.

Around the House...
Our cleaning routine needs work. Enough said.

In Our Homeschooling...
I know we're doing math and writing/language arts. Cyrus will be doing at least 4 lessons from Teaching Textbooks, and 1-2 sections in the Lively Art of Writing. Cassia will be working on spelling, and will do at least 4 lessons from Math Mammoth. I know I wrote a glowing review here about the language arts book I had gotten for her, but the writing prompts actually frustrated her to tears, so I have set it aside for the moment. Not sure where we're going with writing for her from here. She wants to focus on reading more fluently -- she can read fairly well now, but still on the slower side, and it worries and frustrates her, so we're going to buzz through a review of Reading Pathways, from which I will also be pulling her spelling words.

As for history, science, etc., I'm leaving those looser this week (though please see reading and watching below). I know the kids want to complete at least another project or two from the free Tinker Crate we had gotten.

Reading and Watching...
We'll be reading more of The Shakespeare Stealer. We may start re-reading The Magic of Reality this week, and I have put the first volume of Howard Zinn's A Young People's History of the United States on hold at the library. Cyrus is reading Douglas Adams and Richard Dawkins on his own, and Cassia is still working through Ballet Shoes. I'm cramming my way through Bleak House for my class, and am eager to read the Dawkins biography I got yesterday. Cassia and I are reading various Cinderella books together, and that's lots of fun!

As for watching, we viewed Sahara on Saturday (which led to a discussion on refugees and the current Syrian crisis), and I'm going to try to talk the kids into watching the first episode of Human Planet tonight. Or we'll watch an episode of Once Upon a Time! Movie night this week will be something from my growing October list...maybe Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, or Beetlejuice.

Also on the Agenda...
Both kids are (temporarily) down to one practice session a week (fencing, derby), though Cassia says that this Sunday's practice might be the only missed one. I have on-campus hours, school, and work, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. We plan to get in some physical activity every day, and make some time for cuddled-up-on-couch read alouds.

Update on the Meltdown from Last Week...
So we had the almost meltdown last week. Cyrus has agreed to come with me to campus on Thursday afternoons, for two solid and quiet hours of study time. We are making an effort to start out our Monday mornings (he has classes at the junior college, I have work) with breakfast together, which was really nice today. He's chosen one day of the week for fencing - one that generally has a high attendance rate, so lots of people to fence. We talked about setting aside some time every day to study or work on his art projects as well, and maybe heading to bed half an hour earlier for some relaxed reading time. He has not decided yet of he wants to move forward with the Big History Project. He says he's very interested in it, but wants to get in a better routine for math, and writing, and homework first.

Have a good week!

Friday, October 2, 2015

End of the Week...

This week, we...

...played You've Been Sentenced (which, by the way, is a great, and fun, way to work with language).

...laughed our way through an episode of Drunk History, learning about scientist Percy Julian; the [teenage] woman behind Rosa Parks—Claudette Colvin; and fighting champion Joe Louis. The first two parts were the best—our sides were aching from laughing!

...did some math. Cyrus is doing very well with Teaching Textbooks, and Cassia is plugging away with Math Mammoth. I plan to break out Totally Tut over the weekend for some operations review with both. some more of The Shakespeare Stealer.

...watched the eclipse as the moon rose.

...spent a while gazing at the moon through binoculars the following night, and talking about how the moon influences the tide.

...decided we miss hanging out on the couch reading together

...started making a list of October movies to watch, among them The Addams Family (the first one is best), Sleepy Hollow, The Corpse Bride, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Hocus Pocus, Beetlejuice, Arsenic & Old Lace, Edward Scissorhands, and maybe Sweeney Todd. (Do you see the awesome Depp theme running through there? What does that say about us, or him?)


...worked on his 3D art project, which is a pop-up book he is making about...CARS (surprise!)!

...finally got to use some power (and hand) tools in his Machine Tool Technology class.

...worked on some video editing.

...detailed the inside of my car. It hasn't been this clean in years!


...worked on a lovely art project with her dad (I'll post pictures soon), as well as about 5 or 6 other art projects. Smoky Mountain Rose for her Cinderella studies.

...finished her spelling for the week, with 100% on her test. 

...devoured a few episodes of The Life of Mammals, as well as a couple of shows on undersea creatures.

..helped cook a couple of dinners, and made some fantastic black-bean brownies. I'll share the recipe soon!

Linked up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers