Saturday, 10 December 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 17 and H.S. Unschool Week 5

This past week was filled with goodness! If you read our blog regularly, you might have read all about Andre's dinner and Adrienne's African dinner. They both cooked delicious meals for us. You can read more about them by clicking on the following links:
Dinner by Andre    
African Dinner by Adrienne.

The rest of the week was quite productive for Andre and Celeste. They  completed all their Math and Language Arts lessons. 

We completed our Mysteries of the Great Lakes study by visiting the teacher site , completed a couple of their worksheets, and reading several of the suggested books. 

I found a series of books at the library by Anne Ylviskaker. They are geared to elementary students, but we enjoyed them anyway as a brief introduction to all five Great Lakes. 

The girls visited the Island of Blue Dolphins site and completed the online activity and the quizz that followed. 

Adrienne's experiment is coming to a close. We talked about her unschooling experiment and both agreed that it was a good experience but that we couldn't go on in the same way. Adrienne decided to get back to her regular schedule right away, adding a few subjects at a time instead of all at once. I thought she might ask to take the rest of December off, but no, she started back this week by adding Literature Study again to her schedule. Next week, she will add more.

This week, she completed her Math every day besides Wednesday and Spanish on Monday only. She exercised every day, and worked on my Christmas present a few days too. She read a lot, watched a few movies, spent time painting and drawing. She wrote Christmas cards for Canadian soldiers overseas (Air Cadets were sending them). She also participated with us in the Great Lakes study and our history lessons. 

Celeste started doing some embroidery while she watched My Fair Lady, her new favourite musical! 

I will be taking some time off from the online world until the new year. At this time of the year, I enjoy spending even more time with my little family and feel the need to unplug. I wish you a Merry Christmas and will see you very soon! 

If you would like to read more weekly wrap-up posts, please visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers! 

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

African Dinner by Adrienne

One of Adrienne's projects for her unschooling experiment was to research and learn more about Africa and Australia. She also wanted to try some food from these two continents. She chose a couple of books from the library and selected three different recipes. Last night, she cooked everything for us for dinner. I helped her only a tiny bit, she did amazing! 

She made a Moroccan Carrot Salad as an appetizer. She found this recipe in "Cool African Cooking" by Lisa Wagner. I really don't like coriander, but I could handle it in this recipe. She boiled the sliced carrots for about 10 minutes until just tender and then let them cool. The dressing was made with 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tsp of paprika, 2 cloves of garlic minced, 1 tsp ground cumin. The dressing was whisked then mixed with the cooled carrots. Then she added the chopped cilantro, mixed everything and put in the fridge to chill for about 1 hour. 

The main dish was Palaver Chicken. The cookbook she used, The Complete Illustrated Food and Cooking of Africa and the Middle East, explained that there are many variations of this dish existing in Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Adrienne made hers with chicken, tomatoes, and spinach. She served it over brown rice. This stew had peanut butter in it, but we couldn't really taste it, it was delicious though and Celeste (my picky eater!) ate it and even said it was good!

Adrienne made a dessert too! I told my kids last night that if they wanted to be competitive with dinner, that was fine with me! Andre was already talking about what dessert he will be making next Tuesday to go with his dinner....

For dessert Adrienne made a Tropical Fruit Salad. The recipe is super simple and came from the little Cool African Cookbook. It was very refreshing and tasty. She mixed 3 sliced bananas, 2 cubed mangoes, and 2 cups of cubed pineapple (she used canned pineapple tidbits) with the juice from 1 lime. She made this salad first and put it in the fridge to cool. It was in there for a little over 1 hour. She took it out when we were eating the chicken and just before serving added unsweetened shredded coconut on top. Delicious! 

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dinner by Andre

A couple of weeks ago, Andre received a book he had been asking for a long time: The Usborne Cookbook for Boys. {That title seems to be out of stock/out of print through Usborne but I noticed it in a Scholastic Book Club flyer}. I think it's funny and so fitting that on the Usborne site, the review from Bookfest for that cookbook says "An excellent book for budding Jamie Olivers. We're big fans of his cooking! 

He spent a long time reading through the cookbook then announced that he would like to have one evening a week to cook dinner for all of us! I quickly agreed to this arrangement! We agreed that Tuesdays would work for us, then he planned out the two meals he would start with and I made sure he had the ingredients. 

Tonight was his first night cooking. He made pizza, including the pizza sauce and dough. He also made a green salad with a delicious French jam jar dressing from Jamie Oliver. There was a lot of chopping involved, mixing, measuring, etc...

Dinner was delicious and he was very pleased that everyone loved it. All my kids enjoy cooking, but it has been mostly baking in the past. In my opinion, cooking dinner is an important life skill! I think it's wonderful that he took the initiative and is learning about planning meals as well as cooking them. We are looking forward to more dinners by Andre! 

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 16 and H.S. Unschool Week 4

December is here! Celeste has been waiting for this time to come! We wait until December 1st to decorate our house for Christmas and she was counting down the days since Thanksgiving (our Canadian Thanksgiving!). We spent most of Thursday decorating our house and tree. This year, I had three very helpful elves! I think they did a great job on our tree. Clara agrees and is really happy to have the tree skirt as her personal blanket again!

The rest of our week was quite productive. We completed our Math and Language Arts lessons.

We also did Ancient History, learning about Ancient India and reading Buddha stories. We are continuing with the Classical House Learning Literature curriculum (free here) . It uses Story of the World as a spine and since I still have the Activity Book from SOTW, I also use it.

Celeste and I finished the dolphin lapbook we had been working on for the last few weeks. We used homeschool share for the mini books. We read many books about dolphins! We all enjoyed the Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. There is a great resource page for that novel here. Be sure to visit the Teacher's Page (link at the bottom of that page) for further instructions and resources. We haven't used this one yet, but we will on Monday.

On Wednesday evening, the kids and I attended a free presentation of the Mysteries of the Great Lakes documentary. This was an interesting documentary and even Celeste enjoyed it. We learned a lot about the Great Lakes, the lake sturgeon fish, and bald eagles. We were also shown how pollution and men affected the lakes. There are educational resources available at the Mysteries of the Great Lakes Educator Guide site. The guides are divided into primary, junior, and intermediate. They are available in English and French. All have printable worksheets, power point style presentations and suggested book lists. Next week, we will be doing a mini unit study on this subject with those guides. Our local library had most of the books suggested, what they didn't have I was able to find similar titles. I chose titles from all 3 levels since we will be doing this together. You can see a few of the books we will be reading in the photo below the video.

Adrienne's fourth week of her unschooling experiment went well. She is continuing to record her daily activities which really helps show her (and me!) what she spends her time doing. She completed three math and spanish lessons again this week, and continued with her makeup study. She started reading "Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry" by Stacy Malkan. She also found out about making her own makeup, in particular lip balm. We'll need to find the ingredients so she can try making some.

We worked together on her career counselling course with "What Colour is Your Parachute for Teens".  This week, we worked on identifying her transferable skills. She had to make an inventory, with the help of three charts as well as thinking back on five projects she has done, of her skills with things, with information, and with people.

She exerciced every day and also read every day. She spent time drawing for Sketch Tuesday. She also researched recipes for her Africa and Australia culture and food project.

I think she is doing well with her unschooling experiment, but I am not sure if we could do this all the time. I would be concerned about what she is not doing. I do love how she is taking initiative about what she does want to learn though, and she is very independent learner so I don't need to remind her or encourage to do things. My hope is to come to a nice balance for her when the experiment is done.

How was your week? Did you start decorating for Christmas as well? Are you taking a long break in December?

You can visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers to read more weekly wrap-up posts.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 15 and High School Unschooling Week 3

I am a little late with our wrap up! Last week was another good week, a bit mellow, but we still managed to get a lot of school work done...even when our pets have other plans! This happens regularly, Celeste is used to it!

Adrienne is continuing with her unschooling experiment. Week three was a little lighter for her on the reading and writing, but she still completed three math and spanish lessons, spent time drawing, sewing Christmas presents, and exercising.

Late for Sketch Tuesday, but Adrienne still wanted to sketch something with a logo.

Wednesday was a busy day for us. Nana and Papa came by in the morning on their way to Ohio. We also had a total of 19 kids (and their moms)over at our house for some homeschool board game fun!

Adrienne also babysat for our cousin for a couple of hours and she tutored math too. She spent some time on Friday afternoon watching cooking shows on the Food Network website.

Andre and Celeste completed all their math and language arts for the week. Andre is back to using Growing with Grammar and is very happy about it! We are also trying the Winning with Writing and the Soaring with Spelling and Vocabulary. You can read more about these at the main Growing with Grammar website.

We continued with our dolphin lapbook and unit study, working on the mini books this week. We watched the video at National Geographic Kids about Bottlenose Dolphin youngs and how they copy and learn from their mothers.

We spent a lot of time reading again this week. I love our reading time together! We finished reading all the Gilgamesh stories for Ancient History.

I also read Wonderstruck. Andre and I loved The Invention of Hugo Cabret a few years ago. I think we still prefer that one, but we did enjoy Wonderstruck very much. Scholastic has a nice website for this book, which could lead to more exploring into sign language and the stars. Just like the Invention of Hugo Cabret, I think Wonderstruck could lead to an interesting unit study on sign language, museums, "cabinets of wonders", New York City, wolves, and more (I don't want to give too much away from the story!).

Celeste and I have been checking out many Christmas picture books from the public libary and we got our Christmas movies, music cds, and books from storage as well! We have been collecting these over the years. What are your favourite Christmas movies? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 14 :: and High School "Unschool" Experiment Week 2

Last week was another nice week for us. It wasn't a "full" week again. Usually we tend to slow down in the winter, around February or March, but we are finding ourselves not as motivated right now. I think this is odd! Some of our curriculum is definitely not working as well as we hoped so I think that has a big part. More of that later on.

This week was week two of Adrienne's unschool experiment. I had asked her to keep better track of her activities in her agenda and she did just that. She wrote down pretty much every thing she did during the course of the day. This gave her a really good picture of where her time goes and for me too.

She spent many hours writing her NaNoWriMo novel last week. She also completed three math lessons and spanish lessons. She did a lot more reseach for her History of Makeup project. She researched main makeup companies and continued filling her notebook with her findings.
She spent an hour on Monday looking at makeup through our microscope! We hadn't used our microscope yet since we got last spring. She figured out how to control the settings and dials and then taught me how to use it. I love when my children teach me things!

She also spent time playing video games. I am not a big fan of video games, but the ones she plays I am ok with. She exercices with the Just Dance game for Wii. She loves Little Big Planet and planned out a whole level, designed it on paper, then created it on the game. She also likes to play Professor Layton and Ace Attorney. Both games include a lot of critical thinking. I wrote about these games before here.

From her notes, we also saw that she spent time playing outside with friends in the afternoon, read, took care of her cat, ironed her uniform for Cadets, joined in when I read aloud for geography, etc... It was interesting to see everything on paper! She also went out Wednesday morning with her dad!

Andre and Celeste completed all their Maths and Language Arts from Monday to Thursday. On Friday morning, Andre went out with his dad to do his Christmas shopping.

We continued our regular science this week with the digestive system and our senses.

I found at our local library Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes dvds. This came in a set of 6 dvds and we watched the Adalucia episode and the French Pyrenees one. We really enjoy watching Jamie Oliver's recipes and seeing the culture and the beautiful sights of Spain and France this way was wonderful, "brilliant" as he would say!

I found them on youtube for you, these have greek subtitles but better video quality than others without the subtitles. Both of these are part 1, the rest are available too:

Celeste and I had a playdate at one of our homeschool friends on Wednesday afternoon which was lovely! We both also have been working on some Christmas sewing, in particular adding sparkles and beads to an old Christmas tree skirt.

Celeste wrote her letter to Santa! Dad helped her with the spelling and I helped with the address, but she wrote it all herself and decorated the envelope too.

The rest of the week was filled with a lot of reading, especially reading aloud. We have several books on the go and also finished a few. We finished Free the Children by Craig Kielburger for world geography, Marie Curie by Kathleen Krull (another great book in the Giants of Science series) for science, and Gilgamesh the King for history. Ongoing is Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell, Dolphins at Daybreak, and Pippi Longstocking with Celeste. Andre and I also started Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick. We both loved the Invention of Hugo Cabret!

How was your week? Come and read other weekly wrap up posts at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 13 :: The High School "Unschool" Experiment Week 1

We started the week with a Remembrance Day Parade on Sunday (6th). Both Adrienne and Andre are part of the Royal Canadian Air Cadets. This is the entire parade coming up the main street.
Below is a photo of some of the Air Cadets marching back to the squadron building. There are about 170 cadets in their squadron, not all attended this event, but most!

Monday was back to our regular school routine for all of us, with a bit of a modified schedule for Adrienne. She has been asking me for the last few years to unschool, but I have been resistant. I have seen over the last couple of years that she is independent and recognizes what is important as well as what she is interested in. We talked about it over the weekend and decided to give this a try. She will continue working on certain subjects that I find are a must. The funny thing is that she told me she was planning on doing those anyway!

I also asked her to log in her agenda what she accomplished every day as well as think about some projects that she would like to work on. We decided we would meet at the end of the week and discuss what she had done.

She did well and completed every day her Math (one of my "must") and did two lessons of Spanish. She worked on her NaNoWriMo novel every day besides Friday. She worked on her homework for Air Cadets. She read a lot, for her own pleasure and also for research for her project. She is researching and writing about the history of makeup. We also started reading together What Colour is Your Parachute for Teens.

For this week, I asked her to continue what she is doing and log in a bit more of the "extra-curricular" activities that she is doing, like drawing, exercising, cooking, etc.

Andre, Celeste and I had a productive week too. Math and Language Arts were completed every day, even with a little bit of help from Clara, our cat!

We didn't do our regular science this week, instead we read about Marie Curie with Kathleen Krull. We love this Giants of Science series. I have talked about it here and here before!

Celeste and I also started our Dolphin Lapbook. We read several books and started with the mini books. She really loves working on lapbooks. I need to plan more of these in her studies! I am using this dolphin lapbook resource from homeschool share. I also found this Island of the Blue Dolphins lapbook resource, which we will use when we are done with reading the novel.

In World Geography, we finished studying Spain and watched a little bit of a bull fight as well as explored (virtually!) the Alhambra. We then moved on to France. We made a French Apple Tart. It was delicious bien sur!

Andre started learning about computer programming with Alice, actually Storytelling Alice. Both are free to download. I thought it might be better to start with the storytelling version since the full Alice is recommended for high school and college students. Here is a description: "Storytelling Alice is a programming environment designed to motivate a broad spectrum of middle school students (particularly girls) to learn to program computers through creating short 3D animated movies".

He really enjoyed this. Every time I looked his way, he was smiling!

We had a good week back. It was interesting to try something new with Adrienne. I am happy that she still joined us for World Geography and Science. Andre and Celeste didn't do their full schedule, but it was still good and we did manage to include Music Appreciation! We learned about the woodwinds instruments.

How was your week?

If you would like to read other wrap up posts, please visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


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