Thursday, October 29, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

It all comes down to decisions.  We have too many options, and it is difficult to make decisions.

Personally, I want to move to a farm, buy a couple cows, some chickens, a few sheep, maybe an alpaca or two, and a few pigs.  I want to open a bakery and sew all day long.

Where am I going to find time to homeschool?

Friday, October 23, 2009


"Calling someone a 'dorkwad' isn't bad, because it just means weird."  Sounds like someone is channeling Gabriel.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Dominic CAN Read

Dominic is stubborn.  Just don't tell him that.  His most recent thing to be stubborn about is his closely held belief that he cannot read.  He vociferously, adamantly, and loudly proclaims to everyone that he cannot read.  (He was also telling everyone at Tae Kwon Do that he cannot tie.  This is partially true.  He is not good at tying.  He only ties his shoes when he has to.  But, he can tie, under duress.)

A couple weeks ago, we sat down to read a bedtime story, My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems. Anything by Mo Willems is a favorite for both Xavier and Dominic. (Thank you, Aunt Sally!) This particular book, however, is Dominic's favorite. And, he does not think we know how to read it correctly. The voices must be done just so. It started out that he would read the parts he felt we were doing wrong, then we would have to reread them. Now, he just reads the entire book to us, without realizing it. Some of it is memorization. However, he reads along with what he has memorized and corrects himself when he messes up. So, he is reading.

Yesterday, he asked me to come read his word problems to him for math.  I went in the dining room, only to hear him reading them to himself.  Today, I told him to do his math while I took a shower.  He vociferously claimed that he couldn't, because he didn't know how to read.

I said, "Fine.  Do what you can.  When I get out, I'll read the word problems to you."

Suddenly, he looked up at me, got this goofy smirk on his face and replied, "Oh, wait.  I can read!  I can handle it."

Then, he happily skipped away to do his math.  And, yes, he read the word problems.  Apparently, Dominic can read.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

How to Bake an Apple Pie

As we all know, the first step in any baking day should be to put on your best '50s dress, heels, and apron.
Then, after the pictures are taken, take the heels off and throw them to the side for when the food is ready.
Recipe to follow pictures.
For the crust:

Combine all dry ingredients.

Cut in butter until crumbly.

Beat egg in cup. Add enough water to fill cup.
Add vinegar and mix.

Add wet ingredients to 'dry' ingredients and mix.
Roll pie crust out.

Put in pan and set aside.

Thinly slice apples.

Combine dry ingredients.

Toss apple slices with dry ingredients until well coated.

Add to pie crust.

Sprinkle crumb topping over pie.

Cover edges with foil and bake for 25 minutes, then remove.
Bake for an additional 25 minutes.

Throw off your apron, slip on your heels, and serve your pie!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Week 2, Day 1 2009-10

Today was the first day of the second week of school.  Wow!  Look at all those prepositional phrases.  I should have Gabriel diagram that sentence.  At any rate, it went pretty well.  Last week was not a smooth week.  It started and ended with me threatening to put the boys back in school.  This week, I have instituted a 10 strike policy.  If they get 10 strikes, they go back to school.  I know that these are just growing pains, but geez, they've had some major attitude problems going on.

Overview of today:

Gabriel started using a calculator for math.  I am trying to teach him how to use a calculator for simple computations when doing Algebra.  He is almost done with his pre-Algebra book.  He's been taking it slow.  I want to be sure he has a good base before he moves on.  He's also doing Life of Fred Fractions and Decimals and Percents on Fridays as a review.  It's going smoothly, so he hasn't forgotten as much as he thought he had.  After he finishes Pre-Algebra, I think we may change curriculums.  He likes his curriculum, but I'd like to see him challenged a bit more.  I may just add another one in there, though, to keep him happy.
Dominic enjoys learning, and is a joy to teach.  The break really helped him, because it gave his brain time to process the math he had been learning.  He is now flying through the same work he was struggling with before the break.  Someone gave me a bunch of math and phonics workbooks a long time ago (when Gabriel was young enough to use them!).  I really thought I would never have a chance to use them.  However, Dominic likes doing workbooks.  So, in addition to his normal work, he does workbooks that reinforce what he has learned.  I consider it review.  He considers it fun.    In addition to the improvement in his math skills, his reading skill have taken off by leaps and bounds.  He flies through phonics lessons that were a pain before.  He reads things to us constantly.  He seems to be using the 'Xavier' method to practice reading.  His favorite things to read are signs.  Since he finishes his work considerably earlier than the other two, he has plenty of time to explore and pursue his new favorite activities - riding his bike and walking on rocks.

Xavier has struggled to get back in the groove of working.  He enjoys reading the books we have for him.  In fact, he had already read his entire Latin book, several literature books, and a geography book, before we started school.  He does not like doing any writing.  His handwriting is terrible.  I have hope, though.  Gabriel's was terrible, right up until last week.  It has improved so much since June, the difference is almost unbelievable.  I will post an example later this week.  Back to Xavier.  The one thing that I have seen an improvement in Xavier is his ability to do his math.  He's always been good with math.  However, his recall of multiplication facts has been lacking.  Over the last couple months, his brain seems to have dealt with this.  He still doesn't have instant recall, but it is no longer slowing him down for division.  As a result, he can move much faster through a section of math than he was before.  He is also reading much better.  I am sure this is due to the vast amount of reading he did during our break.  Any time he was not playing with his brothers, he could be found with a book.  Since it was only a little over a year ago that he admitted he could read, I am extremely pleased with his progress.  A few of his books are online.  As you can see, it has gotten a little chillier here.  He spent a large part of his day over one of our heating vents.

I try to end the day with something fun.  This might mean science, geography, or art.  Today, we did art. We are restarting the book Drawing With Children.  I love this book and I'm looking forward to getting further in it, this time.  Here are our abstract drawings.


Gabriel's (meant to be viewed on the diagonal)

Monday, October 5, 2009


We're in the process of moving kids between rooms.  Dominic's and Xavier's room was a pit, as we slowly move things from their room to Xavier's new room.

Today, Xavier, Dominic, and I went to Lego League.  We just got home, and Dominic went in his room.  He immediately came back out and asked Gary if he had cleaned his room while we were gone.  After Gary's affirmative answer, Dominic said, "I love you more than I usually do, right now!"


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