Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Peak at Our Week: The One with Treats, Dots and Boxes, and Mold

In My Life This Week
What DID I do this week? Sometimes the days just all blend together! I've been feeling a bit run down lately. Early mornings and busier days are taking time for me to adjust to. Being a single Mom, I'm doing it all...and getting it done. But I'm SUPER EXCITED to be heading to see family this weekend as it's APPLE PICKING TIME (and the kids will have plenty to keep them busy while I have some lazy quiet time).

In the Kitchen
We had a craving for Rice Krispy Treats...with M&Ms. (Recipe here.) Such an easy treat that the kids went and made them.

High School Happenings
Jake and 3 other students (and several other groups) walked to a small city park (in the rain) slated to be rezoned into commercial buildings. They interviewed nearby workers and visitors about the rezoning. Jake was in charge of recording responses on his CELL PHONE. (Ah, technology!) This coming week they will create a presentation to share with the student body.  I think it's pretty cool that they're learning in the community, dealing with local issues, and developing "people" and speaking skills.

He's learning strategy skills in Game Theory....with Tic Tac Toe, Rock, Paper, Scissors, and Dots and Boxes. Dots and Boxes is a cool game that you might want to check out here. (Just print out a grid of dots from here and grab some pencils.) Anyway, such a hard, hard class, wouldn't you say? :wink: 

Photo Credit  has FREE on-line versions of Dots and Boxes if you prefer. I'm kind of "old school" though, and the paper-and-pencil version is so NOSTALGIC (and a game can be played anywhere).

Oh, and he built a time pendulum with string and "whatever he could find" in Engineering, tested friction in Physics (along with some long, complicated formulas), created a slide show on his school Chromebook for Social Studies, and designed his own on-line portfolio website in Graphic Design.

I'm Grateful For
I really wasn't excited to drive Jake to and from his friend's house or the bus stop for a ride into school every weekday. It's turned out to be a very special time of day where Jake and I can talk, uninterrupted about his goings-on. These 30 minutes are some of my favorite!

Homeschool Happenings
Sam did it! Sam read his VERY FIRST Magic Tree House book from cover-to-cover. *I* have been waiting 2 years for him to read one of these books, watching him struggle (and grumble) through easier, shorter chapter books. Reading is finally clinking for him. Exciting times are ahead!

I spotted a cool "Soar with Reading" Magic Tree House booklet at JetBlue while we were traveling to Alaska last month. Oh, did I share this collage of Alaska?

The booklet...It's like a passport! There's stickers at the end that can be added to an area in the front after the books are read. (The MTH website here has a neat version too.) Sam was proud to add the first sticker!

We have MOLD! We had different types of mold growing in our Life Sci experiment, testing moist bread in either sunlight or darkness with controls. The bread in the dark grew fuzzy green-yellow surface mold over the entire top whereas the bread in the sunlight had a black mold spots that grew through to the other side. The kiddos concluded that molds like moist best, and light conditions encourage growth of specific types of molds. 

Unfortunately the new co-op is a no-go. :sigh: The Moms organizing the co-op did not have enough families interested in participating to keep costs affordable. But, on the other hand, I was feeling anxious about yet another crazy day, and feel relieved to knock something off our BURSTING CALENDAR. (Oh, have you seen Google Calendar on-line? You can COLOR-CODE! You know I'm happy-happy about that!) Cati is also happy that she doesn't have to miss 1 of the 2 concert band practices each week.

And she started our first review over here on our new blog: Girl of American History using the American Girl book series. More on that later though!

We also started learning some Greek word roots using English From the Roots Up flashcards. This week it was these roots:

Language Arts - Bridge to Terabithia, The Red Pyramid and Meet Addy (C), Dinosaurs Before Dark and Knight at Dawn (S), Grammar - Prepositions, Daily Grams Days 6- ,Spelling Power: Lists 5 - 7 (C); Lists 4-6 (S), Thank You Notes, All About Me (scouts) (S), Greek Word Roots: Para/Photos
Math - Test 3 and Lessons 14- (C), Test 7/8 and Lessons 9A-B (S) 
Life Sci - Test 1 (Cells) and Chapter 2 (Cell Processes) - (C); Chapter 4 (Habitats) and Chapter 5 (Grasslands and Deciduous Forests) - (S), Lab: Diffusion
American History - Chapter 3-5: Age of Enlightenment, French and Indian War, John Locke, Ben Franklin, George Washington, Stamp Act, Revolutionary War, Declaration of Independence

I couldn't resist showing the kids the "No More Kings" video when we covered the Stamp Act. Do you remember Schoolhouse Rock growing up? or maybe I'm REALLY dating myself? Anyhoo...

Helpful Homeschool Hint
One of my favorite resources are individual white boards and dry erase markers (in different colors). Not only does it save trees, but the kids find them more fun to work with than regular ol' lined paper (for some subjects). I prefer dry erase markers because, being a leftie, I tend to smudge everything I write with the dry erase ones.

People and Places
✶ Hangin' with D_ (J) ✶ Scouts (J/S) ✶ Jazz and Concert Band (C) ✶

Something to Share

As ALWAYS, linking up to these WONDERFUL blogs:
Homegrown Learners photo 79396fe0-1f8b-44f8-a90e-f8ca7bfa801e_zpsa74bcc3b.jpgHip Homeschool Hop Button


  1. So much going on in your little home ... LOVE IT! First of all, kudos to Jake and his new school. It sounds so fun I wish I could go! And YAY, Sam! Way to go on your first book! I remember when Eli and Brynne each read their first chapter book. What a great day in the life of a reader! And Schoolhouse Rock?? I could probably still sing all the songs word-for-word. We are right now revisiting Liberty's Kids. My littles are loving it!! Great week, Jessy! Enjoy your time off!

  2. I just bought two of those dry erase boards the other day. The kids love them. I actually enjoyed that video, it was quite catchy.

  3. We love dry erase boards! And the mold experiment looks really interesting!

  4. I remember doing game theory in university. It is lots of fun but the math involved can get a little tricky. There is a cool map of all the optimal moves in Tic Tac Toe.

    Even though I am Canadian I know Schoolhouse Rock. As a kid we could get two stations, one of which was out of Bellingham,Wa. It had the good Saturday morning cartoons and of course Schoolhouse Rocks.

  5. Wow, what a great week. I love the variety of your homeschool...and so much fun. You have lots of great tips for me this week, too. Thanks.

  6. NOOO.. not dots and boxes. Amber loves that game and most of the restaurants around here have it in the children's menus. She has played it for years, always requesting me to play with her. I loathe that game. I make her dad play when he is with us. Big meanie that I am. ;-)

    Your mold experiment was great, if not a little disgusting :) Our mold experiment last year grew nothing... I wonder what that says about my house.

    Wonderful collage from Alaska. It's so beautiful.

  7. I smudge everything too, and then my hand is all black and blue.

    Hey that game class can get a lot of thinking in there soon :)

  8. So cool that the drive time with Jake has turned out to be such a good discussion time. Driving with kids/teens is one of the best times to talk with them.

  9. Love the Alaska pics! Seems like you are getting back into the school groove. we made rice crispy treats this week with coco krispies!

  10. Alaska is beautiful! Rice Krispy treats are just not complete without M&M's!
    I know what you mean about the drive to school. This summer my son, Nate had quite a few dental appointments 30 minutes away. I was dreading them, but actually ended up enjoying our one on one time! Now I miss it!

  11. What a great and busy week! I also prefer games like dots and boxes with pencils and paper :-) Thanks for sharing about the Magic Tree House passport. I can forsee an upcoming reading challenge with my 8 year old!

  12. My weeks seem to run together more often than not so I know how you feel!! The Alaska photos are beautiful and we love Magic Tree House around our home. Hope next week is great for you!


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