You can find it here. Again, I welcome any input!
I’m working on documentation that I teach my kids health. This documentation is for the purpose of adding to their mandatory portfolios. In the past, I’ve documented our studies of the systems of the human body, colors of produce and what those colors mean, various nutrients and how they benefit the body, among other things. This is all in addition to the seemingly endless discussion of hygiene, human sexuality, nutrition, illnesses, first aid, safety, ETC and BLAH BLAH BLAH.
I decided to do something a little more hands-on and document our healthy cooking and baking efforts in hopes that it would motivate me to include the children in those efforts more frequently. I mean, what I really want is for them to know how to take care of themselves when they leave here. As it is, I don’t include them all that much because, well, it gets a little annoying if I’m not in the right mood or I’m in a hurry. Right? You know what I mean? If you don’t, you’re better than me.
Okay, so here is the worksheet I made:
The recipe is on the first page, just typed out. Nothing fancy. It’s this cookie recipe. I called them Yummy Cookies because I wasn’t about to sugar the kids up more by adding jam, and I didn’t want people grilling me about where the jam was.
On page two, I made a chart, which–let’s just talk about my lack of computer chops for a second. I don’t have computer chops. Also, I don’t care that I don’t have computer chops. I hate computers. Always have, always will. If you’re good at that stuff, your chart can look all slick. Mine is ugly, and we like it like that.
Anyway, on page two I put this (ugly) chart and each ingredient has a place in the first column. Along the top I made spots for fat, energy, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other. Okay, what really happened was that I wrote fiber twice and my son wrote FAT really darkly over the top of it. But I MEANT to write fat there. Then, the kids gave each ingredient a row and went across the row filling in the information. It went really well. We made the food and they filled out the chart while they ate it. Perfect.
I’m hoping this helps them get a better idea of how ingredients function in a recipe, how to quickly identify nourishing recipes, and that over time the repetition will help them remember what nutrients are in different foods.
POW. Health done for the week and I got some cookies.
This will be a quick post from within the throes of Trying Desperately To Establish Routine in our school days. I am terrible at establishing and maintaining routine, so this has been a huge challenge for me lo these three years. You’d think I’d have figured it out by now, but here we are.
I feel like I’m doing a little better this year, but the routine is so small and delicate and new that it could easily be starved out. It’s not that I don’t like routine, as a matter of fact, I like it very much, and thrive on it. I really need someone else to impose it, though, which is not possible in this situation. It’s a huge undertaking, is what I’m saying, and contrary to my nature. Or nurture. One of those. I’ve never lived in a home with real, solid Routine (note the cap), so I guess I don’t know which it is.
Okay, so what I want to tell you today is that I made these balls of food, and I think they’re really good. I’m going to tell you a few facts: (1) I eat two or three Larabars a day. (2) Larabars are expensive. (3) I eat the Larabars because I like them and also they are easier than actually preparing food. The balls of food I made today don’t have fruit like Larabars do, but they are made out of actual food, and I think they can take the place of Larabars very nicely if I eat fruit along with the food balls. I’ll still use Larabars for a snack when I’m out of the house, but on days when I’m home I’ll eat these instead. I especially appreciate these now because since we’ve started school, I’m finding it very difficult to find time to prepare and eat my usual breakfast and mid-morning snack, which has been terrible for my energy level.
In conclusion, balls of food! Highly recommended if you can stomach the health food store kinds of foodstuffs. I’m thinking of making them with peanut butter, too. Also, I used spoons to stir and shape the mixture, so that is totally possible if it squicks you out to do all that with your hands (I was getting little shivers at the thought of it).
Do you have a favorite easy, quick to grab healthy snack? I’d love to hear about it.
PS The kids hate the food balls, FYI.
I’m taking a quick break from teaching to post this because it’s on my mind right now. I’m still in the middle section of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, and it’s inspiring me to spend a year of our literature studies on Scandinavian …um…literature? Myth? Sagas? Lays? I’ve got the idea to look at some of the old stories, songs, and poems, as well as modern retellings of them, and maybe even more modern work done in that style. I’m still figuring out what exactly to include. This will probably have to wait a few years, but I’m excited about gathering materials. Right now, I’m trying to make a list of which resources I want to preview, and that’s where I’d love some help.
Update 1/16/2013: I’ve added some items to the list. As I’ve read The Sagas of Icelanders, I’ve noticed that the stories of various nations in this part of the world seem to be intertwined. For instance, in the Sagas, there are references made to the Scandinavian countries, of course, but also to England
(which I understand to mean Wales)* and Ireland, as well. For that reason, I’ve expanded my list accordingly. I suppose as I continue to read I’ll see what is peripheral, and what fits together nicely.
*Incorrect! I misunderstood a footnote.
My list is as follows:
D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths –I thought starting with a children’s book would be good, just to get our feet wet.
Beowulf –Seamus Heaney’s translation, because I like it.
The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun –Tolkien’s version.
Ragnarok — A. S. Byatt’s version
The Saga of King Hrolf Kraki – Jesse Byock’s translation. I checked out his translation of The Saga of the Volsungs and liked it. It was easy to read.
The Prose Edda — another Jesse Byock
The Poetic Edda — I can’t decide between this version, or this set of them (link 1) (link 2) . Or? OR this one (this one appeals to me the most): link. I may get the Patricia Terry and then one other.
The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales — Patrick K. Ford’s translation.
So! Suggestions? Anybody? Even if you stumble upon this post two or three years from now, I will still welcome your comments because I expect to be collecting books for this purpose for quite some time.
The long, holiday weekend is over, and so is the summer, I guess. We’ll start our school year tomorrow, and our homeschooling co-op starts meeting this week, as well. We’ve never done a homeschooling co-op before, and I’ve read the manual, and I’ve gotten the supplies prepared, but I still don’t know quite what to expect. I hope we like it.
I’m a little nervous to start the new school year, too. I’ve decided to step it up a little this year. This is Abel’s first year of middle school, and I’m starting to feel that we need to make sure he’s prepared for high school and testing and blah blah blah. It’s not that I don’t think I can do it. It’s just that I haven’t done it before. Sometimes it feels like a great challenge, and other times it just makes my guts feel a little funny.
I suppose the answer to this is support. Support from other parents who have walked this road. Sometimes that’s kind of an iffy thing, though. Like, I want support, but I don’t want someone telling me what to do about things, then checking that I’ve done it. So I guess what I really want is a cheerleader…
Enough of that for now.
We just got Netflix, um, last week, I think. I’m kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Now? Watching Season 1 of Sherlock like, a lot of times. I love that show, and I love love the Moriarty character. Such a perfectly wonderful villain. Not that I don’t enjoy Sherlock and Watson, too, because of course. Do you watch?
Is it obvious that I’m trying to distract myself from thinking about this school year?
Okay, well. I guess we’ll just see what happens.
I wanted to tell a little bit about my experience with homeschooling: what it took to start, what we’ve done so far, and tell what happens as it happens. This is the kind of information I was looking for when I was considering homeschooling. I wanted to know just how difficult it was going to be to begin, how many hoops I would need to jump through, etc. Thankfully, I knew homeschooling moms who could guide me, because it was just a little confusing here and there.
In this post, I’m going to discuss what I had to do to get started. We’ve been homeschooling for two full years now. My children were in elementary school when we started. Now, one is in sixth grade and one is in fourth grade.
Laws vary by state, so I’ll remind you that I am in Maryland. I live in Cecil County, and that’s the only place I have experience homeschooling. My understanding is that laws are state-wide, and that individual counties cannot impose further restrictions or requirements on homeschooling families. If I am wrong, please let me know. It’s good to know these things!
Here is what I did:
(1) Decided that I really wanted to homeschool. Right. Duh. But, this was a process in itself, and took lots of time for me. Like, years.
(2) Started poking around, looking at the laws. Got confused. Got paranoid. Found out it wasn’t actually that big of a deal.
(3) Called the school district, informed them I wanted to homeschool. They said they’d send a form for me to fill out. This form took a while to get to me. This may be the first helpful thing I’ll say in this post: Allow plenty of time. Call for the form well in advance of when you need it. Don’t wait until the last minute. If you know you want to homeschool early enough, call the district in June to register as homeschoolers for the next year. It won’t take that long for them to get the form to you, but then you won’t have to worry about it. Don’t put off calling the school district because you’re nervous. They will not give you a hard time. No one is going to be mean to you. They have a liason-type person who is in charge of dealing with homeschooling families and families with kids in the hospital and situations like that. His name is Dr. Jackson and he is mellow and very nice. So don’t put it off. According to state law, you have to notify the district of your intention to homeschool 15 days prior to beginning home instruction. I don’t know how strictly they enforce this, because I don’t know…why not just do it? So, I did it.
(4) Form arrived, filled out form. (There are not uncomfortable questions and you will not be visited by social workers or anything scary.) Sent back the form.
(5) In a while, got a letter from the school district acknowledging that I’d be homeschooling my children. They send a separate letter for each child.
(6) That’s it! Then I had to figure out what in the world I was going to teach people. Haa. See, dealing with the district is the easy part! But seriously, at this time (and all other times that I’ve heard about), they’re easy-going about the whole thing. I mean, you have to meet your obligations, but as long as you do what you’re supposed to do, everything is pleasant. Who knows? It may also be pleasant if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, but I have no experience with that, so I can’t say.
(7) What do you mean “do what I’m supposed to do”? WHAT DO THEY MAKE YOU DO???!!1! (Um, this is me doing my me impression. You may not freak out in the same way about floopy, nonspecific statements about things that could be very important.) What I mean is: turn in adequate portfolios for each child when requested and make sure you respond at the end of each year when they send you the paper asking if your child is going to continue homeschooling. There are also spots you need to fill in if your child wasn’t participating in an umbrella program, and then is…that kind of thing. Status changes, basically. They all seem to me like reasonable things for the district to ask because those factors change whether they need to be expecting portfolios from you, or not.
—-A note on portfolios: so far, these have been requested twice a year, every year. I always freak out, apparently needlessly. I worry that I won’t have enough work to satisfy the district. I always do. I think the important thing is to turn it in on time, date everything, and have a reasonable amount of stuff to document each required subject. If you’re like me, your brain is screaming, “WHAT IS A ‘REASONABLE AMOUNT OF STUFF’??!!!” In order to help with that, I’ll do another post on portfolios.
Some people sign up for umbrella programs. They monitor your progress and you deal with them instead of the school district. I don’t know much about those since I don’t use one, but I’ll do a little asking around and try to include some information in another post.
Here are links I’ve found helpful:
School supply deals at Target! Did you know? I didn’t. Here’s what I found:
The poly folders were 50 cents each, the colored composition books and heart notebook (they have other colors and patterns) were also 50 cents each. The other spiral-bound notebooks were 17 cents each (!).
The poly-covered composition books and spiral-bound notebooks were 75 cents each.
Okay, and these little things are so cute, I think:
They’re little ring-bound blank cards. I photographed them next to regular 3 x 5 cards to show scale. The kids like the bright colors and I like how they’re small and have a poly cover thingy to keep them all together. They’re perfect for writing and carrying around all the little things kids need to memorize. $1.99 each.
Also found but not shown: good deals on scissors ($2.69 for Fiskars student size–the big kid ones), rulers (50 cents each for nice plastic ones), and fun colored glue sticks that weren’t on sale but were in a set of rainbow colors and therefore necessary.
I’m glad I got there when I did! It was definitely a popular spot.
I finished reading this book this morning:
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick. This is one of the books I bought for the upcoming school year. I thought it would work well for us because the story seemed well written and engaging enough to keep the boys’ attention. The illustrations also appealed to me. I thought they’d be a nice inspiration for the sort of drawing work we try to do.
By the time I finished the book, I had a few thoughts:
(1) Despite the fact that it is (obviously) a thick book, it can be read very quickly. As a matter of fact, an adult–and maybe older children, but I don’t know yet–would be able to read it in about the time it would take to watch a movie. Maybe in less time. This seems fitting, considering the subject matter.
(2) I enjoyed the black background of the pages, which also make reading the book much like watching a movie in book form.
(3) I enjoyed that the author presented a story which I have not seen covered in other children’s books. As a matter of fact, I haven’t encountered any other children’s books that deal with the subject of film in its early days at all, much less with a specific filmmaker. I suspect children’s books prominently featuring automata are in short supply, as well, but I can’t be sure.
(4) I thought the book raised interesting questions about the nature of theft and of rights to creative work. Many characters in the book were thieves in one way or another, and I felt that fit into the story in a way that is not quite the norm for children’s books.
(5) We can also discuss the different things “invention” meant in the story–who and what were invented.
(6) I think this book is ideal for helping my sons learn to make an outline of a book. It can be read quickly, so the story will be fresh in their minds in its entirety, and the story can be broken down easily into chunks. A good beginning-of-the-school-year book.
So! I’d recommend it for children, and I don’t know what to say about adults. It’s not really my thing, but if you’re into film and/or graphic novel-type books, you may enjoy it.
Whew! Well, the crazy heat and humidity continued through the weekend. I haven’t been outside yet today, but yesterday it felt like you could swim in the air. I’ve been saving walks for late in the day, because wow, doing things in the middle of the day, with kids? It felt like trying to do those things in a hot bath. I think today is supposed to be a little cooler. I’m pretty excited.
I spent the weekend mostly holed up in the house with these guys:
My little boys. Who mostly raced around doing little boy things, which could mostly be defined by the phrase “making noise”.
In the meantime, I mostly read my way through this book, which I had NEVER READ (how, I don’t know), and which I have been really, really enjoying:
I got it for my boys to read this year for school, and I’ve been trying to pre-read all the things (it’s um…a lot). This book represents a huge bonus as far as I’m concerned, because it’s a good little boy story without making me feel like I am suffering through a little boy story. I mean, I don’t think it’s just for little boys. What I mean is that little boys would like it. As I read, I could see how, in movie form, this could be a little intense in places–I’m thinking too intense for my kids right now–but to read, it is completely acceptable, in my opinion. I know Abel will love it, but I’m not sure about Angel. Angel will be required to endure it, anyway. Forced Hobbit: choke it down.
I’m not as mean as I sound. Promise!
Actually, Angel doesn’t like fiction much at all. That’s why I take the attitude I do. My sense is that he really must read some fiction throughout the course of his schooling, or at the very least, listen to it being read to him. He does, however, love non-fiction, so I am not worried about his reading skills, particularly. I’m just saying, I’m totally ready to make him work on the skill of following a story, even if it’s not what interests him most.
Okay. BLAH BLAH BLAH.
Small stitches on the Blooming Stitch shawl.
And finally, late last night this came over the tubes. How could I not share it with you? My boys playing an outdoor event our church had. My husband sang with them, but the boys are working on doing their own singing. They’ve been writing their own, original material, but my husband wanted to do covers for this, their very first performance. They were sure to be nervous, and he wanted to see how they’d do. And they were nervous, but you wouldn’t guess, I don’t think.
I’m so proud of them, you guys.
On Monday, I finished reading The Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England, by Ian Mortimer. This is the sort of history book I love. It’s written for the average person and is easy to read. It contains plenty of interesting material, but not so much detail that it becomes overwhelming.
The book is broken up into chapters by category, including: What to Wear, Traveling, Health and Hygiene, and the Law, among others. The effect is a general overview of what life was like for people in different classes of society during the fourteenth century in England. This is not the book that is going to tell you everything you ever wanted to know about all the things that happened during the fourteenth century. It is the book you will want to read if you were the person sitting in school very much enjoying this period of history when you studied it, wishing the unit would last a little bit longer. With this book I was finally able to begin to satiate my appetite for crazy medical theories, tales of executions (WHY? AND WHEREFORE?), more (ALWAYS MORE!) information about plague years, details about what differences class & gender made at the time, and what daily life might have looked like. What I ended up thinking about as I read was something that I have realized but never applied to this time period, which is that people don’t often do stuff that doesn’t make sense. I never thought about why it made sense to behead people or boil puppies and use the liquid for medicine. I mean, those are not things I think are okay (let’s assume we’re all decidedly NOT okay with all of the above), but as I read I could begin to understand why they were done. And please let me make clear that the author did not argue that puppies and criminals with heads just have it too good these days and those medieval people really knew their stuff. He shared a bit of the thinking behind it all, is what I’m saying.
I use books like this in much the same way I use a compilation album. I think they’re a great entry point to further study–an easy way to get a general feel for things, organize my thoughts a bit, and get information about primary sources to flesh out any details that interest me.
I’m glad to have this on hand for homeschooling, also. We just finished up the medieval period this past year, but we’ll cover it again in a few years (we use Susan Wise Bauer’s schedule for our history studies, which I’ll discuss in another post). By that time, the boys should be ready for a little more detail and extra reading on the time period, and, while I doubt I’d have them read the whole book (they’ll be 14 and 12), I’ll probably share excerpts.
So! The book! I liked it. Definitely read it if you’re into that sort of thing.