If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead ~ Adlai Stevenson

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Week Already!

Another year simply zipping by far too quickly.

On the Agenda...
Well, Thanksgiving, of course! The kids and I will be at my mom's for dinner, M will be at work. Usually I bring desserts -- pumpkin pie, an apple-cranberry tart, and a apple-quince-mince pie, plus whipping cream.

The kids and I have started making a little money on the side through sewing catnip toys for a local cat-grass/toy provider. Cyrus cuts, I sew and pink, and Cassia stuffs the toys! Since they have a rush order needed for Christmas, we're planning a few blocks of sewing mania this week.

Of course there is fencing on the agenda. Cyrus participated in a team tournament on Saturday, and while he had a lot of fun, his team lost badly. At least they all enjoyed themselves!

I work two days this week, and have one class to go to, as well as one tutoring session to provide. I'll be glad tomorrow afternoon when I am officially off the rest of the week!

In Our Homeschooling...
Yes, we are homeschooling for Thanksgiving week, as we did not get a lot done, book-wise, last week. There will be math, geography, writing, and reading, as well as some science. Cyrus did build several virtual roller coasters yesterday as part of science, using what he had learned in Conceptual Physics as far as velocity, acceleration, etc. Cassia will work on geometry this week, while Cyrus continues in algebra, learning and reviewing division with variables.

What We're Reading...
Cyrus is reading The Scorch Trials, book two in the Maze Runner series, while Cassia is still working on Black Beauty. I wrote last Monday that I'm having trouble keeping her reading, so now we all have a half hour or so a day when we sip tea while reading quietly. I love it, since it gives me a chance to read my own books (currently Gentian Hill, having just re-read a bunch of Maeve Binchy books, and in the mood for something different)! I'll also read aloud from The Marvellous Land of the Snergs, and maybe some more of Edward Lear's poetry. We'll tackle another chapter or two of Poop Happened, start reading about Europe, and try to get to the other books in our Afternoon Basket.

What We're Watching...
We did watch The Golden Compass last night, and we still really wish they had made movies for the other books in the trilogy. We've also watched half of Amadeus so far, and plan to finish it this week. So far, the kids see Antonio Salieri as both a victim and villain (and yes, they are aware that much of this movie is supposition). We're also watching, as a family, The 100, though we haven't gotten very far. Cyrus plans to watch another episode of Cosmos, and Cassia will be about halfway through Life in the Undergrowth this week. I am starting to think ahead to Christmas movies -- what are some of your favorites?

I finally started knitting regularly again! I still have a gift certificate from my birthday last year to a lovely little yarn store, so I am trying to finish up the scarves I had started for Cassia and myself before treating myself to a little "spending spree". The kids made and decorated beeswax candles at the library last week, and they smell wonderful.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving week!

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Week of Service...

This wasn't a week of math, science, and writing/reading. Instead, it ended up being a week of work and service, which I think was an ideal thing to happen the week before we give thanks for everything we are lucky enough to have.

On Tuesday, the kids helped my mom at the food bank, setting up Thanksgiving food bags for those who need them. Cyrus said it was a lot of hard work, but both kids assured me it was worthwhile. They helped cart around flats of cans, boxes of dried goods, bags of fresh produce, and so on, getting everything set up so that the volunteers could all fill bags easily for Sunday's donation slot.

And yesterday, they assisted my sister's class with ice skating. You see, my sister is a teacher for a small class of severely disabled kids (medically fragile), and as part of her approach to teaching, she loves to take them out to enjoy various activities, one of them being ice skating. We are fortunate that the local ice skating rink is willing to set aside some special time for them to enjoy this activity. This time, my kids went, and helped push some of the students around on the ice, getting a free skating session in return...

As you see, many of the students are in wheelchairs, so classroom assistants (and my kids) pushed them around the rink! The students love it. Cyrus and Cassia loved it too. They said they genuinely liked hanging out with all these (older) kids, and they'd love to help my sister again. Plus, a student's mom bought everyone lunch from In-n-Out Burger, and my kids almost never get fast food, so that was a bit of a treat for them!

And this morning, my kids are back at the food bank, finishing sorting/moving produce for the Thanksgiving bags. Then, this afternoon, Cassia has her orientation for puppy petting!

While we may have gotten very little book work done this week, I think what my kids have accomplished is just as good and important. And we did get a little schooling done -- we read Andrew Lang's version of the story of Sigurd and Brynhild, as well as East O' the Sun, West O' the Moon for our cultural/geography studies. We read about the Renaissance period and Revolutionary times in Poop Happened, and got through another good chunk of The Marvellous Land of the Snergs. Cyrus [re]watched the first episode of Cosmos, and Cassia watched another episode of Life in the Undergrowth. We did math one day (yes, one).

And this weekend, Cassia will help me make Swedish meatballs, a cucumber salad, and an almond cake, to enjoy while we watch The Golden Compass (okay, I know it is not truly a "Scandinavian" film, but it has many aspects of Scandinavian fairy tales and folk lore). Cassia at least, if not all of us, will watch Families of Sweden too. And the kids are ready to settle down to a few days of book work in the upcoming week!