May 21, 2011

Bird's-Eye View of the Week: There's Smart , and then There's Smartphone Smart

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

In my life this week…
There is a strange, round, yellow thing in the sky. We have heard of other parts of the world that see it daily, but it's been hidden behind dark, thick clouds for so long we forget what they call it. 
In some ways I didn't miss it because the rain excused me from weeding. But it's okay. I still have my plantar fasciitis to keep me sitting. (Won't help the way I look in a bathing suit though.) It IS nice to see Father R chasing Mei around the yard in the lawn tractor!

In our homeschool this week…
We are really pushing to complete the Marco Polo and Ancient China lapbooks in time for our homeschool group's Closing Program.  Which is in just 10 days. And we will be spending five of them away celebrating Memorial Weekend. Looks like more School-on-Wheels!

Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Several roadtrips to the lake house to prepare for the summer season.  Therefore, LOTS of School-on-Wheels.  
This Tuesday, we are bidding farewell to Tai as she departs on a four-month domestic deployment to Miami to work with their local law enforcement.  Wasn't too sorry to hear that the Defense Department is nixing the remaining deploys--which could include less scenic places like Afghanistan--due to budget cuts. The government does get SOME things right.

My favorite thing this week was…
Mei finding a nest of robins (how apropos for me!) in her tree house/swingset! They had just hatched! Now to keep her and the cats away. 
My other fav thing was discovering a homeschool group right in my backyard that provides more coops, field trips, enrichment, and support than I thought I would ever find. Can't wait to get involved!

What's working/not working for us...
Motorola DROID X Android Phone (Verizon Wireless)My new smartphone (the Droid X by Motorola) is definitely working and I'm still mining its applications for productivity in the home and school. It is cutting WAAAAYY down on the amount of books we stuff into the backseat for School on Wheels. Thanks to the many books on the Ambleside Online curriculum list that are free online, I can use my phone to read our daily selections right from the screen while we tool down the highway. Even Father R enjoys listening to something else than radio.
This is a subject I plan to get into deeper in another post. Stay tuned.

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have…
Foreign language next year?  Latin, Spanish, or French? Anything?
And whether declining teaching in our Pioneer Girls Club next year is selfishness or protectiveness. (So much time and energy being taken away from schooling. Wah.)

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Cutest ugliness you ever saw. 

Got any smartphone ideas to share? Share them! Thanks for stopping by and thanks to The Homeschool Chick for hosting the Homeschool Mother's Journal!

May 14, 2011

Bird's-Eye View of the Week: School on Wheels

  Time for the Weekly-Wrap-up!   Now that Spring has sprung in the frozen tundra of North Central PA, we are spending more weekends going to our lake house and getting it ready for another fun-filled summer of swimming, sailing, and sunning. (In order of preferences by Mei Wei, Father R, and Mother R.) With a four-hour drive required, we usually leave on a Thursday and return on a Sunday, so to keep up with school, we take it on the road!

The early 1700's. Do you know how the Union Jack got its name and look. ? A combo of the English and Scottish flags made up its design and gave the United Kingdom its ensign by an edict of Queen Anne in 1703. The name comes partly from the "union" of these countries under the new British Parliament (Ireland being added later) and the spelling of Anne's Francophile father, James II, who preferred to be called Jacques. Get it? 
   There are other times in reading An Island Story when you really  just have to skip bits that may mean something to little British students but leave Yankee kids clueless. The following, from the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie's battle against Sir John Cope, is an example:
"Now Johnnie, troth ye were na blate,
To come wi' the news o' your ain defeat,
And leave your men in sic a strait
So early in the morning."

Justification for skipping made.

On we march with Marco Polo and all things Ancient China. This week: the Terra Cotta Soldiers of the first emperor, Qin Shihuang. We happened upon a viewing that really helped flesh out our understanding and greatly enhance our awe of this monumental task. It was part of a series, called "Secrets of the Dead."  Mei added this subject to her lapbook about Ancient China 
Here is the whole episode! (Don't mind the commercial: it's benign.:-)  )

Watch the full episode. See more Secrets of the Dead.

Math-U-See Delta now has Mei learning formulas! For a fourth-grader it sounds so High School, doesn't it? Here's one:                                                                     
                                               lh = area of a triangle

I'm sure I didn't remember that!

The Story of Inventions covered Alexander Graham Bell. Mei's narration of the Centennial Exposition of 1876 in Philadelphia went like this:
"The judges were going to quit judging early and start the next day but Alexander Graham Bell could only stay that day. :-( Then the Emperor Dom Pedro of Brazil, who was a judge and knew him from Boston, saw his exhibit and said "We need to judge this one right now!" His exhibit was saved! :-D"
    While reading Bell's prior invention of the "phonautograph", which recorded soundwaves of speech in visual form to help the mute learn to talk, Mother R realized we had an example of one right in her smartphone: the text-to-speech feature. Mei dictated a message into the speaker and watched as her words turned into waves. "Imagine," said Mother, "doing it the other way around and having to imitate those waves to re-create sounds!" Talk about determination.

So we're back in the mountains on a Saturday finishing our week as I type while Father R plays golf in the rain and fog. I think I'd rather be doing anything, including school on Saturday, than that.

All homeschoolers educate in vehicles sometimes. What about you? Got tips?

May 8, 2011

Menu Plan: The Lovely Month of May

Time for  menu flexing as we leave our options open for traveling to our mountain home. So weekends might be more of "What does Father R feel like making? Or maybe nobody wants to cook at all!"

This is a dish I had on the plan a couple of weeks ago, but I never got it made due to life's litle curveballs. Fortunately the only ingredient that spoiled was the cuke.
Moroccan Style Acorn Squash
Cucumber Yogurt Salad

Grilled Chicken Thighs
sliced tomatoes with balsamic dressing

Wednesday. One of my favorites. An excuse to bake a ham for its leftovers. Not a lo-fat recipe, but that's probably why it tastes so good.
Ham and Asparagus Fettucine   
Sugar snap peas

Take-out pizza for the road trip

Lemon Rosemary Salmon
New potatoes
Green beans

Probably dining out while away from home

Frozen Chicken Canneloni 
Crusty rolls 

"May" you find more recipe ideas at Organized . But use good table manners before you leave here: say "thanks" with a comment! :-)



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