The Land of All Things Lewis

When I see birches bend to left and right…I like to think some boy's been swinging from them. -Robert Frost

Around the World in 80 Days

We just started reading this book. My oldest really wants to do some more fun activities, so I’m going to make a mini-unit study on it. Then we can turn it into a notebook to show at his next progress meeting.

We are using The Whole Story Series edition. I love these books.

Here are the ideas, so far. I would love some input and more suggestions please, please, please.

1. Make a compass (Take pictures, include captions, and make a perty page about it. I might include a lab sheet as well. Basically you list the supplies and such. Then you list what you think will happen. And, finally what really happened.)
2. Track the route on a map
3. Discuss Time Zones and do some kind of map when it comes up
4. Study any people that come up along the way. The Whole Story books have information in the margins about historical figures and such.
5. I reserved the older version of the movie from the library
6. Figure out the cost of the trip today and how long it will take. I was thinking perhaps we could use one of the trip planner things for tickets and such. This might be a bit much though.
7. Report on Jules Verne. Something like a picture on the top of the page and a few sentences about him on the bottom.
8. Here is a cool online travel journal at Global Trek travel journal.

9.  I got a reply from a fellow homeschool mom who will be using Around the World…, but her link isn’t quite right.  So, is what she is working on including the rules to whist.

Here are some more directions for Whist.


Snow starts our December

We started our first day of December with snow.  It’s still here today albeit the drizzle of freezing rain is doing it’s best to clear it away.

We went for a walk to the store for hot chocolate.  It started Merry enough, but with three boys and a dog there were a few tears shed and a vicious snowball fight in the middle of the  doorway  of our market.

A realization came about this previous two weeks.  I’m not sure if I shared yet, but I know firmly believe there can be too many worksheets.  Gasp…I mean didn’t you know this about me already.  But, I guess somewhere in my wee little mama mind I really hoped this would be the year my sweet children would wake up with a love of workbooks and worksheets and order.  But, alas  I need to step back.  Curriculum in this house has to have an open ended componaent.

Take Math U See for example.  This works well for us and the boys balk at all other curriculums.  We can work for Mastery with this program.  We do not need to do all six pages of student work.  It doesn’t take an hour to explain the lessons.  It works!

And, I am overwhelmed. We have to do lessons together or I’m going to explode.

So, two steps forward and two steps back.

More Charlotte Mason.

Less Worry.

More together.

More reading.  We have been really lax with reading here.  I miss our snuggly reading and discussions.  Our reading times together have always been so good for our minds and hearts.  They fuel learning in unexpected ways.  So, somehow they have to come back.

We returned almost all of the library books we had and picked up a fresh new stack.  One liberated of lessons or instructions.  Just different topics and new authors…and some old beloved ones too.

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The Golden Goblet

So, The Golden Goblet as suggested by Sonlight was a bomb with my Grade 5 student.  He really did put some effort into it.  We really were able to come up with some well-versed educational conversing…but I’m just not going to pressure him to finish it.  Some books are worth it.  Some books are not.

So far, I’m not impressed with Sonlight .  There is a lot of busy work and running around.  There is a lot of hurrying through the really good stuff.  Anyone want it?  I think it’s going on Ebay soon.  I really want to love Sonlight, but I just don’t.   This is the second time I’ve tried their curriculum.  But, it’s not a good fit.

Still sticking with The Story of the World for History though.  And, I’m so happy I purchased the preprinted student pages.  They really help us keep in line and give a nice landing pad for our History days.

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Reading post…ABC’s, geography, Stanley, and Bedtime books

I’m going to lump some of these books all together today or I will never get everything I would like posted. We read a lot. But, my children are just as picky as I am. They know that you can’t read all books. Not all books are beautiful. Not all books are appealing. So, we go through a lot to find the little treasures. Not as defined by me…but as defined by my children. Books that make you laugh, books with beautiful art, and my favorite books that contain words and pictures in just the right rhythm to make you sleepy.

Books that help you learn the ABC’s

Books to help you find your place

Books that help you sleep

Books for lazy afternoons

Books for Brothers

Books for Stanley

My boys love the Stanley books. All three of them have checked them out over time. They are sweet and simple. The art is really beautiful. Sometimes having boys mean the sweet and simple stuff is tooooo boringgggg or girlie. But, these books are perfect.

I really hope you enjoy these books. These are some of favorites this month.



Weekly Update, Rabbit Trails, and Personal Ramblings #2

I really enjoyed sharing all my finds last week. So, here we go again.

The question is…will I stick to this weekly? I think I might do a weekly update for education in addition to a Rabbit Trail one. I seem to read one blog and then order a book and then remember a book or another blog post…then I do some research through the library database or catalog and then well it’s a really long rabbit trail.

The question is…can I check off every single one of my categories?

Our School

I thought I would update the general, oh so large public audience we have watching our every move. This was our first week with a resource center that is supported by public funds. It’s been great so far. They have a nice big family room where you can hang out, little ones can play, big kids can hang out, school work can be worked on, and snacks can be prepared and eaten.

Language Arts

This is one I’ve been working on. I read The Well Trained Mind earlier this summer and got a bit overwhelmed with their suggestions. I really, really think I can do this one without a bunch of formal studies. So, I am relying on Charlotte Mason to lay this one out for me. For a lot of my answers I go to Ambleside Online. These women are all such lovely and giving woman. If all I can give back right now are some links now and then…then so be it. Here is the very simple Ambleside Scope and Sequence. I have a mommy notebook and this is the first page of my Language Arts section. If you dig around the Modern English version of the CM series you can find out some more in depth explanations of Language Arts as a whole. My second section is here, along with the actual print out of pages 199-247 from volume 1. Print it out, mark it up, and make notes.

For more Charlotte Mason inspired Language Art study you can check out these explanations of different aspects of study including twaddle, memorization, and Shakespeare study brought to you buy Charlotte Mason & Home Education wordpress blog. There is a twaddle free list of literature by grade level to add to your list or get you started. Print it out, start reading, and let me know when you finish. I’m just sure we can find you a whole lot more.

Nature Study

I really wanted to introduce Nature Study this year. So, it’s perfect timing to read

Why Nature Study? at Yielded Heart.


I had just received Nature in the City from our local library and it set me to remembering the following book…


After reading, Last Child in the Woods (check out this interview with the author) quite a while back and writing a Essay for one of my classes under a similar subject line I realize Nature is indeed everywhere and those who live in the “sticks” do not have a monopoly on our great outdoors. That’s not an insult it’s just something I’ve been wondering about and worrying about since we moved here. Could I still find nature here? Would it be the same for my children?

This post from Catherine Levison gives some practical ideas for those in city areas or rural areas. BUT, please note it’s illegal to pick plants in some areas. You can’t even pick a cherry blossom on the UW campus.


Shiver me timbers…it’s time for a new name. My new pirate name is…..



Cheatin’ Amora Hornigold

What’s yours? And, really could I have gotten a better name than that?


My dear sweet husband bought me personal size and family size bento boxes for my birthday last month. Finally today I took my personal one for a test drive. It was perfect. I had previously been on a plastic boycott. But, I really, really love Japanese anything. I wrapped it up in a sweet little kitchen towel and it worked perfectly. I carried it in my bag and there was no problem with spillage. I figure I can use my thermos for anything runny. But, there was plenty of room for a few extra snacks for my boys, too.

Waldorf Education

I, like many other moms, have been drawn to Waldorf education. I like the beauty, lack of tv, appreciation of nature and “her” rhythms. I found this article on Ancient History pretty interesting. This is pretty much how we “study” together. I did this naturally when the kids were younger. Then we got some KONOS studies to replenish our imagination banks when we petered out. Now we are going through The Story of the World and hoping to keep this up at a reasonable level. I still let my children do a lot of the leading though…


And, last but not least is Grammar Stage Memorization by Hannah Wilson.  These is one of those free gems from a woman who just shares her blessings.  It helps you realize that if you want to homeschool for nearly free, you can.   I’ve been searching for poetry readings and a list of memorization requirements…ugh is that word overloaded or what…not only do none of the boys knows their new address, but they don’t know my phone number. My oldest is 10 and he said (with that numbfounded digital age mentality) “don’t you just have a shortcut number I can call? Like when you call Dad?” He was referring to the fact that his parents have cell phones. No regular phone, just cell phones. If you want Dad you press and hold 2 on my phone. Now wouldn’t he be so lucky to have the short cut of 2 on everyone’s phone. The prophet was clearly surprised and overwhelmed at the thought that he would need to memorize two phone numbers.



The Heart of Learning by Oak Meadow

I’m reading an slighter water logged version of this text. I thought I should share what I find. I’m finding as I drift farther into this journey that I’m attracted to so many different aspects of different styles. Oak Meadow is a Waldorf Inspired version of Homeschooling. This is one of the books for the younger years. It’s actually a parent guide.

Chapter 2 asks What is a child and then helps you figure out how to find that out. Pretty smart cookies I tell ya. They give you three ways. To find them all out you have to read the book, but I will share the one I think is the best. It’s to look into oneself. Not only remember what it was like to be a child, but really look at yourself and see what makes you just as human as the next person. Your feelings, thoughts, spirit.

I haven’t gotten much further yet..but I have to say this is of real value to all parents and those who work with children. We often get caught up in the end product. We believe children should just “get over it” because had to. We desire obedience the first time because we know we can do it. But, we forget what it’s like to be in those tiny little bodies who can’t keep up. We forget what it’s like to have so much energy we think we might actually explode. We forget what it’s like to have feelings which are so huge…so big …that when someone does something to us we actually believe it’s possible to die right then and there.

Children don’t know how hard life is yet. They don’t know about the pain yet. They haven’t been defeated yet. They haven’t been crushed into corners or told how worthless they are yet.

But, perhaps if we looked through our souls at our children and really felt what they felt we might stop and think before we make decisions about education, discipline, and all the other hard things parents have to deal with.


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Todays word is megalomania, n.

If you see a word you do not know then you look in the Oxford English Dictionary. Here you go!!

In Psychol.: delusions of power or self-importance, esp. resulting from mental illness; a passion for grandiose schemes. More generally: lust for power, a desire to control.

1887 Polit. Sci. Q. 2 157 Dr. François Roy of Quebec testified..that [Louis] Riel was..afflicted with a form of insanity known as megalomania, by which he labored under a delusion that he had a mission to perform for the Métis. 1890 J. S. BILLINGS National Med. Dict. II. 723 Monomania involving the idea of a divine or celestial origin or connection..[is] a species of megalomania. 1892 Contemp. Rev. Feb. 166 Here again megalomaniathe desire to ‘do the great’had the upper hand. 1897 LD. SALISBURY in Daily Chron. 17 Nov. 8/2 A common intellectual complaint..which I may name (as I see Mr. Gladstone has consecrated the word) megalomaniathe passion for big things simply because they are big. 1904 A. GRIFFITHS Fifty Years Public Service xiv. 222 Megalomania was strangely prevalent among these criminal lunatics. 1914 W. J. LOCKE Jaffery viii, This is absurd. It’s megalomaniala folie des grandeurs. 1959 Listener 17 Sept. 451/3 The later rake’s progress toward corruption, aggression, humiliating subjection to Hitler, pathological megalomania and final catastrophe. 1974 F. FORSYTH Dogs of War II. ix. 169 present in many people outside lunatic asylums and is usually..interpreted, at least when present in the rich and famous, as merely exaggerated egocentricity. 1993 Toronto Sun 17 June 12/1 The Tories reveal their megalomania, insecurity and arrogant intolerance for dissent.

Now I want to see if you are paying attention to everything I write…pardon my grammar. What am I reading?

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A story about “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen”

Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen

by Naomi Moriyama

I’m devouring this book. I think it’s a wonderful omage (or is that homage…I can’t remember) to a mother. I can’t agree with her thoughts about dairy milk. I think it’s horrible it could get into the Asian diet at all. It’s one of my favorite things about Asian food and dining is the safety of not having to worry about the dreaded cow milk. But, alas I really, really enjoy the helpful information about Japanese diet and love the story about her mother.

Would make a really nice Mother’s Day present especially if your mother wants to try Asian cooking.

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Preschool stuff

Escher is three years old now and won’t be going to preschool yet. But, I thought I would start a post to share some of the stuff he will be doing or enjoys reading. He really, really loves board books. He goes straight for them at the library! So, a lot of the books he gets are board books. He loves to carry them around and I guess they are just easier for him to handle. The older two didn’t care for them much, but Escher seems to have problems with keeping a hold on things.

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The Body Ecology Diet

I wanted to update on this book. It has some interesting points, but I won’t recommend it to anyone. I do think Candiasis and balance in the body is real. But, I think when you have so many obsessive rules about how you eat then you loose the joy of food. I believe that a lot of eating disorders can result because people do not know how to enjoy food anymore. They see everything as a diet or limit for themselves and then they just give up and eat whatever they want.

I have to admit something. I’m really not sure what I believe about the whole food balancing thing and the whole Candiasis thing. But, I am enjoying this book so far and I am really thinking it might be a good choice for me. I have a score of over 300.

Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity
The Body Ecology Diet : Recovering Your Health and Rebuilding Your Immunity

I am reading the 7th edition, but they just put out the 9th edition. I put it on my wishlist, but really it’s so long I cannot imagine getting the book before they come out with the 10th edition.

Today we are off to sell my books back to the bookstore. I hope they take my books back because I have no use for Math books in my house. I know I should, but really I have desire to even look at them.

The boys are watching Arthur and the Author just came on. He hides the names of his kids in the books. How fun is that? Eliza, Tucker and Tolon. Aren’t those cool names, too?

After the bookstore we are meeting Grammy (my mom) and going to the zoo with her and my niece! It’s going to be a full and crazy adventure day. But, it will be fun. Gibran really loves the zoo and he has been begging to go.

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