Previous month:
October 2015
Next month:
January 2016

November 2015

Handmade market day

This past week, our homeschool group held a handmade market day for the kids. There was some miscommunication in the group and the planning was left until the last minute. There was a lot of debate over how to handle the market, payment, etc. We have held one in the past in which some of the items were priced incredibly high and wanted to avoid that scenario.  A few days before the market we got some details on how we could run it, but in the end the kids decided that they just wanted to trade items anyways. 

Jack made perler bead items and also did origami by request.



Here are some of the items other children brought:


tic-tac-toe bag games.


Homemade cookies and custom lego sets.


Popsicle stick and q-tip bow and arrow set.


Pool noodle nunchucks.



Fabric belts, popsicle stick boxes and bent popsicle stick bracelets.


foam stamps.


handmade greeting cards.

Looking forward to doing this again!

The Hobbit book club meeting

This past week we had our book club get together to discuss The Hobbit. The general plan was to have the kids dress up if they wanted, have each child prepare a project based on their favorite part of the book, have each child tell everyone their favorite quote, and then move on to a Hobbit tea and discussion of the literary elements of the book.


First we had to set the stage. A quick quote on the chalkboard by the front door, excuse the sloppy writing, and The Hobbit soundtrack on Pandora.


Jack did some perler bead projects.  Bilbo's sword, the dragon's eye, Smaug, and a hobbit door. He also made a hobbit sign which I didn't get a picture of.


Here is sampling of projects from a few of the other kids.


A sample of the food for tea.  There was a lot more than this and like true hobbits they ate it all.


For our last book club, we introduced a simple plot map, for this one we introduced the hero's journey and talked about how it correlated with the plot map.  I know, why would we introduce the hero's journey to kids so young?  Because it's awesome and we think they can understand it if it is explained and we take the time to make sure they understand it.  And I think they all did learn something from it, even if it was only "without the trials and tests the book would have been boring and Bilbo wouldn't have changed" which was what they said when I asked them about taking out the middle part of the hero's journey.

After the discussion, the boy who made dragon's head also brought a bow and arrow to shoot it with, so they all took turns with that.


As everyone left, I gave them a small little treat bag with a ring pop, gold coins and a blue glow stick.


The outside of the treat bags.  The kids all loved the treats.

We also took a vote to decide our next book. The Black Stallion won.  I wonder what activities we will think up for that one.


Currently I am:

Listening to: Pandora Christmas

Creating: I have a few stitching projects underway. Hopefully I actually finish them!

Planning: Book Club party this week, Thanksgiving next week, December plans- birthdays, Christmas parties, Nutcracker dates, etc.

Wishing: I wasn't so cold. I have not been able to warm up the past two days.

Wearing: Flannel, sweatshirts, sweats, wool socks, anything that will add warmth.

Feeling: Like I am not getting enough done.

Watching: Nothing. Not until Blacklist is on later this week.

Eating: Tonight we had breakfast for dinner. Eggs. Lots of eggs.

Wondering: When the dryer parts will arrive so the house can stop looking like a laundromat.

Reading: The Hobbit, Rising Strong, The Man With a Thousand Faces.

Drinking: Anything warm.

Loving: Time with my family and friends.


^^Warming up after nature study.^^


We had a wonderful time with our homeschool group today visiting the dinosaur tracks and hunting for fossils. The weather ended up being perfect for a day in the desert.


We found this little guy right on the trail to the dinosaur tracks.


One of the tracks.


One of the best fossils we found. We found a lot of partial negative fossils.

It was a great day with great friends.  The kids easily spent an hour sliding down a sand hill. Then all the boys young and old set up rock targets and then tried to throw rocks and knock them over. We look forward to doing it again soon!



Morning meeting

A few weeks ago we added morning time to our homeschool routine. We are still tweaking it and making it ours, but here is what we have right now.


I like having a checklist to keep in our basket and mark off.  Right now this all takes us about an hour. The top rows of books have chapters that stand alone, which is why we rotate through them. I find on chapter books we do better if we read them daily instead of rotating through them. We both have a hard time if the story continues and we take too many days off between readings.

We usually start by reading from our astronomy book, 365 Starry Nights, then I continue to read while he adds a drawing to his astronomy notebook. After he is finished with that he works on a geography project- pin it map, coloring book or map puzzle. If I am still reading after he gets finished with his geography then he has a coloring book that he can color in either botany or Pixel Power.


Don't worry, Moby Dick was put aside for now and replaced with Peter Pan.

He also has the option to work on a handicraft while I read. I expect that will be used more as we approach the holidays. 

For memorization right now he is working on learning the poem Invictus.

Overall, we are loving our morning meeting. It has given our read aloud time priority and we are really enjoying all of our books. I love how much we learn in such a short period. It really packs a punch.


What I'm reading


The Hobbit for the book club.

Rising Strong- has anyone else read this? I love Brene's work, but this one tops them all. It is so powerful. I am reading straight through right now, but will be going back through it slower and doing the activities she suggests.

What are you reading right now?

Mini maker fair

Saturday we went to our local Barnes and Noble for their mini maker fair.


First up were the bristlebots.  This was a quick, fun easy activity. In fact they were so easy I was wondering why we hadn't made one before or made them for a homeschool group activity.


Next up we made paper flashlights. These were easy and very cool. You squeeze the box and the led lights up.


Most of our time was spent at the Ozobot table. He really enjoyed this activity. Ozobot is a robot that you can code using different colored markers.  He follows the black marker line you make, and then you can make him turn, speed up or slow down by adding in different colored marker patterns. I think this might make the Christmas wish list. I think it would be fun to play with!


We were also able to see some 3-d printers in action, watch some robots, use some virtual technology, use and learn about Little Bits, and use a 3-d scribbler pen.

It was a lot of fun seeing new technology, making some fun projects and being able to see some of his wish list items in action.


Week 14 wrap up


Some highlights of our last week.


  • memorized and recited The Man in the Arena excerpt by Teddy Roosevelt.


  • The Hobbit
  • Moby Dick (morning time)
  • Peter Pan (morning time)
  • Farmer Boy (morning time)


  • hiking with nature group
  • Barnes and Noble Maker Fair



  • Robert Louis Stevenson



  • basketball
  • pickleball
  • park time teaching the dog to go down the slide
  • riding bikes
  • fruit ninja on the kinect
  • origami



Weekend hike


We've been trying to get out on a good hike as a family at least once a week. This time we went to a trail that we haven't been on in years. It was nice to be back there and visit some of our favorite places again.



We were able to collect quite a few items for the latest nature pal exchange. We also saw many Native American pottery pieces and chips from flintknapping.


Just a sample of what we found.

Halloween 2015


Jack dresses as his favorite character from the anime series Bleach. 




Our bones display.


Even Cairo got in on dressing up.  Anytime we put a backpack or clothing on her, it makes her behave 10 times better than usual.


My oldest daughter did an awesome job painting her boyfriends face.

We had a wonderful time hanging out with friends old and new. The kids went trick or treating and then held the great candy trade. We are looking forward to doing it again next year.