Monday, October 29, 2012

Happening at Our House

Tomato sauce canning- 22 pounds of tomatoes made 7 quart jars.

Remembering my older brother on what would have been his 38th birthday. He use to jump to touch the frame of every doorway he went through.

Making potassium broth to counteract the extreme potassium dificiency I've been battling.

Carving pumpkins

Math, math, and more math

Pigeon drawings- In this case, Pigeon wants a hydra.

Playing Tetris Link

Pigeon wants to ply Tetris Link. (All drawings by Dominic)

A note: Pigeon Books by Mo Willems are some of Dominic's favorite books. He's way beyond their reading level, but still loves the humor involved.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thigh-High Stripes and Little Oak

I haven't gotten much further on my thigh-high stripes

That's okay because I needed to work on a Little Oak sweater for this adorable little guy. It's only as overdue as his one year pictures were.

I've gotten a lot done on it in the little amount of time I've had to knit. I'm at the sleeves, which I absolutely hate knitting. I'm glad they're not the last thing I knit on this project. I can't wait to get to the pattern at the top. Hopefully, I'll have time to finish it this week. I am using Ella Rae Lace Merino, which is my absolute favorite yarn to knit with. I'm using it extensively in my socks. I also plan to make Xavier a pair of TARDIS socks out of it.

I just started reading Christina Dodd's "That Scandalous Evening." I am a big fan of historical romance, especially from the regency period. This one has been on my shelf long enough that I don't remember it. I love it when that happens.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Homeschooling Ambassador

Several times each year, I get asked questions by people I know, or barely know, about homeschooling. They want to know my opinion. They want advice. They want me to help them along the path of homeschooling.

And every single time, I want to say, "Run away. Run away!" It's not that I don't like homeschooling. I do. I love homeschooling. Except when I don't. When I don't love homeschooling, I hate it.

Being a stay-at-home mom is very different from being a homeschool mom, at least for me. For example, if my children were in school, I could do my housework, then weave, knit, paint, sleep, blog. I miss being able to do my grocery shopping during the day. I wouldn't be solely responsible for the outcome of their education. Were they in school, I could blame the school system on anything that went wrong with their education. Ah, the bliss of being able to blame others for results you don't like!

But here's the deal. Those are all selfish reasons for not wanting to homeschool. I have just as many selfish reasons for enjoying homeschooling. I get to spend time with my kids, time I would not have with them otherwise. I don't have to help my kids with homework (shudder). I know exactly what my children are learning. I know when my children are struggling and when they're excelling. If we want to take a vacation at an odd time of year and avoid the crowds, we can. I don't have to advocate for my child with anyone but myself.

Homeschooling isn't all roses and ice cream for the students, either. You have to be with your mom all. Day. Long. If that weren't enough, your mom knows exactly what you're doing all the time! It can be harder to make friends since you're not consistently with other children. There's no competitiveness like there is in school. (This was from Gabriel, who apparently feels the need to compete with other students.) The parents and children will be together all the time, which can be detrimental to their relationship if they get in an argument. (Again from Gabriel.) You're with your family more often.

On the other side of the fence, homeschooling is wicked good. You get to stay at home during the day. You get to be with your family more often. You get to pet your cat. You can learn as fast or as slow as you need to. You have some freedom with what you can do for school. Although there are the basics that homeschoolers have to do, they can choose what they want to add on. You can set an end goal as to what you want to accomplish at the end of the year, then go about it the way that works best for you. Some students respond to more structure, others respond best to less structure, and you can find what works for your student. (This portion of the post was written by Gabriel.) The child has the opportunity to learn so much more than they would in school. After all, they aren't weighed down with things they've already learned, discipline problems, and rules that seem odd to them. If they have to have a late night out, they can sleep later the next day without it interfering with their learning. They can truly learn instead of memorizing a bunch of facts to spit out on a test. They don't have to worry about standardized tests. Oh, the pressure of those standardized tests. But, that's a completely separate post.

Let's face it. The benefits my children and family get from homeschooling far outweigh the cons. There's very little chance of me wanting to stop homeschooling. But, if you catch me in the middle of wanting to do mom stuff instead of teacher stuff, or me stuff instead of kid stuff, or agonizing over lack of friendships for my children, you won't get the homeschool ambassador. Come back the next day and you might get to talk to the ambassador instead of the guard.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thigh-High Stripes

Look how far I've gotten on my Thigh-high Stripes! This is what happens when your child is in a play and it's tech week. You have loads of down time during which to knit. Of course, I'm only on row 51 of 176 rows, but I am having so much fun with these! It's getting close to a bit of even stitching, which will go faster than all the pattern, but I have to admit that the pattern has been a lot of fun. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tunneling Under the Alps Part 2

Day 2 of the week sees an illustration of the week's topic. This is Dominic's illustration of the tunnel under the Alps.
A= water drainage pipe
B= concrete reinforcement

Monday, October 1, 2012

Tunneling Under the Alps

The boys wanted to study engineering this year. Sadly, I couldn't find a good engineering curriculum for them. Happily, we made our own curriculum. Each week, they watch a video about engineering. Right now, we're watching Extreme Engineering. After watching the video, they write a narration about the video. Throughout the week, they draw something for the subject, read books about the subject, and where applicable, make a model of the subject. This is Dominic's narration for this week.


Tunneling Under the Alps

There were a lot of traffic jams in the streets of Switzerland. The reason for this is because Switzerland is practically in the middle of Europe. It has trucks from Germany, England, everywhere, flowing in and out of Switzerland. They decided to make the streets less crowded by tunneling under the Alps. To do this, they had to use huge TBMs, also called Tunnel Boring Machines. Their main enemy was the rock. The enemy changed. Sometimes it was the rock, changing from hard to soft rock. The TBMs were meant for tunneling through hard rock, so they had to tunnel through the soft rock the old fashioned way, drilling and blowing it up. Another enemy was water because they had to place concrete to make the shelling of the tunnels. They had to do this because the water pressure could get so great it could crack the concrete and start flowing into the tunnel. So, they designed a drain sequence with one shell of plastic, where the water fell around it into the draining sequence, and a second shell of plastic to seal off any other water left from the first layer. Then, they put huge metal molds and poured the concrete behind them. They kept some water running over the concrete as it dried so that the concrete didn't crack. When the concrete was dry, they removed the metal molds, making the walls of the tunnel.


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