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.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


Wow! I am so grateful and happy to be part of this again this year!

Canadian Home Learning was nominated in two categories this year:

"Favourite Homeschool Mom Blog"

and "Best Homeschooling Nature/Field Trip Blog".

If you have a moment, please go vote. If you have a little more than a moment, I advise you to check out all the other awesome  homeschooling blogs that were nominated too!

Here is the post to visit to find all the nominees by category and to cast your vote:Let Your Vote Be Counted!

Thank you!!!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Memory Monday :: Homeschooling Year One

We started homeschooling in the summer of 2005. We had a few different reasons why we started and it would be a long post if I explained all of them here. The main one was that we were not satisfied with the education and the attitude in the public school system. The system didn't work for my reserved quiet daughter and it didn't work for my very curious boy either.

After I spent months researching, reading books and also meeting other homeschool families, we decided to take the summer and try out homeschooling. After a month, we were confident that this would be the best for our family. We notified the school board and started our adventure.

For this Memory Monday, I wanted to share with you a few photos from that first year of homeschooling 2005-2006. The first year, we followed pretty closely the Well Trained Mind philosophy and also added many hands-on experiences.

When we started homeschooling, Adrienne was 8 years old, Andre was 6, and Celeste was 1!  

Adrienne working on language arts

Adrienne reading aloud

Andre working on his Math with Saxon 2 (which I am using this year with Celeste!).

Both Adrienne and Andre learned how to sew that year, by hand and with the machine.

Andre was fascinated with dinosaurs at the time and had an excavation kit.
He is holding the tiny head of the dinosaur in this photo.

Shelling green peas together. I always tried to include my kids in everything!

Adrienne and Celeste making a lemon cake. Their interest in baking and cooking came early!

More workbooks! Celeste always wanted to do what her big sister was doing (she still does now!).
They are both in their PJs. We discovered how nice it was that we could "do school" in our PJs!

Homeschooling was always fun with a silly toddler around!
She wanted to be part of everything we did.

I really enjoyed looking at these photos again. We all learned a lot during the first year of homeschooling! I think the biggest lesson I learned that year was to enjoy every moment and pay attention to what works and continue doing that!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Feeding my family :: homemade brown sugar

Look at that beautiful brown sugar! I have been wanting to make our own homemade brown sugar for a few weeks now and finally tried this morning. This turned out to me more of a golden sugar, but it is so delicious! The texture is perfect and it tastes fresh, so much more fresh than the brown sugar in the bags available in stores. 

Homemade brown sugar is very simple to make. You need molasses and white sugar. I used my KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment. You could do this by hand, but it would take longer.

Even with the mixer, it took a few minutes to get the right consistency and get the molasses mixed well with the sugar.

Still need a bit more...

Now it looks like brown sugar!

The final product! I got my family to taste test this with a little spoon and everyone agreed it was delicious! We use brown sugar when we bake and so often run out of it. We won't anymore and I am sure this will make our baked goods even more tasty.

Homemade Brown Sugar:
1 cup white sugar + 1 to 2 tablespoons of molasses (depending on how strong you want it to be).

I found several recipes online for brown sugar, all were the same. I particularly liked Bakergirl's post about this: How to Make Homemade Brown Sugar.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Weekly Wrap Up :: Week 12

This week was very quiet. We took a break! Lots of relaxation, reading, watching movies, playing outside, cooking... A great week off.

The week started off with Halloween. Only Celeste was interested in Halloween this year. Andre and Adrienne had planned on attending a fun night with the Air Cadets, but it was cancelled. Halloween was so different for us this year, no candy, no pumpkins, no unlike us! 

We met our homeschool friends on Wednesday and Thursday at two different parks. The rest of the days were filled with lots of playing and reading. I did a lot of that too!

This week was also the start of NaNoWriMo. I decided not to participate this year. At first, Adrienne and Andre didn't want to either but on Wednesday, they both decided to do NaNoWriMo's Young Writers Program again! Celeste didn't want to be left out, so she is doing copywork. I found her like this on the couch this morning (she got up when my husband was getting ready for work):

A nice quiet week off for us. How was your week? If you would like to read more weekly wrap-up posts, visit Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.


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