21 January 2008


The kids want to get another cat. MrV feels we should wait until one of the current cats dies (not that outlandish, since Geriatric Cat has had some close calls in the past few months).

So I suggested that they have Pet Deer.

They hang out in our yard for hours at a time. They eat the acorns and the saplings and the cotoneasters there.

In the evening they hunker down on the lawn, folding those graceful slender legs under them.

And when it's quite dark out, they invite the buck over to, ahem, "make Bambis".

They also potty all over the yard.

And move out of the sunlight as soon as I try to take a picture of them, and generally glare at me like I'm invading their space (which, as a cat owner, I'm pretty used to).

15 January 2008

I'm sharing this mostly because I like the picture

You Are 74% Creative

You are beyond creative. You are a true artist - even if it's not in the conventional sense of the word.
You love creating for its own sake, and you find yourself quite inspired at times.

Except I don't much like the white pencils in the center -- too much white.

(There's a question on the quiz about appreciating input from others. My answer was definitely "no" on that. And I was apparently right, since other people do things like put the white pencils in the wrong place.)

I found the quiz at Good Yarns.

By the way, I'm also sharing this because I've been up since about 5am and have a vague sense that I should be doing something more productive than looking at sewing patterns online. Actually sewing the fabric that's over there on the table, for example, would be more productive. But I'm not quite ready to commit to being that awake yet. So I'm writing. It's easier to erase/delete bad writing than it is to rip bad seams.

11 January 2008

Absurd Math

SInce we are currently operating without a 6th/7th grade math program, Kid1 is spending her time playing Absurd Math.

Except she wants to do it All. The. Time. And she does it on the computer I use to read blogs and check email and load pictures.

If you don't hear from me, it's due to massive math practice sessions.

08 January 2008

Ordinary Time

I love that we're in "Ordinary Time" now. It has such a cool sound to it, don't you think? Like maybe we've been wandering around in a temporal rift for the past few months, but now we've found our way out to Ordinary Time.

And, yes, I know that it's about ordinal numbers (link is to wikipedia article on what "ordinary time" means). But I still like the play on words.

So, since we're back to the ordinary, it's time to get back to homeschooling, right? Actually we started back last week, although on a light schedule. Since there were only three days we schooled, our subjects that fit neatly into 4-day-weeks didn't happen. Here's our homeschool check-in:

Kid1 had taken a long break from Rosetta Stone Spanish, mostly because the computer decided it no longer cared to mess with the CD. I called Rosetta Stone for help. "My disk is dead! Wah!" The service person spent 2 hours on the phone trying to get it to run. He was quite willing to go the distance and spend however many hours it took, but I was getting antsy and suggested that perhaps the problem was with the computer rather than the disk, and I would call back if I felt the need. Believe me, Rosetta Stone may cost a lot, but they really supported the product that day.

Now we have a shiny new computer, and the disk is working quite well, thank you. Except she likes to spend 4 days on each Rosetta Stone unit, so she couldn't start back with it until this week.

And her approach to Latin for Children generally takes 4 days per chapter, so she also took a break from that. Instead, she played around with my Lingua Latina book and disk. I had ordered it way back when, but was afraid to put the disk in the old computer, what with it getting all touchy about disks. We had fun messing around with it last week on the new computer. She's almost done with the first level of Latin for Children -- I think we'll discuss alternating Latin for Children with Lingua Latina.

And for math.... Um. Well. Kid1 has completed all of RightStart, and I had this vague idea that Teaching Textbooks would be a good next step. Except Teaching Textbooks is a computer-based program, and we were having computer issues. Last week, once we had a viable computer up and running I had her take the placement test for pre-Algebra. Alas, she decided she didn't feel confident about multiplying and dividing fractions -- she can do it once I remind her how, but she doesn't come up with the "how" on her own. So she doesn't feel ready to plunge into pre-Algebra, and I'm okay with that considering she's in 6th grade. But Teaching Textbooks middle school math programs don't run on a Mac. And the shiny new computer is a Mac. Sigh. So we're sort of operating without a math program at the moment, which is sort of tough when you're trying to center your curriculum on Latin and math.

Science will probably continue to be rather ad hoc. We go to the Science Center for classes. We go to the zoo for classes. We go on nature walks. We work on science-related Scout badges.

History has been rather disjoint. We have Sonlight Core 6, and have been reading the books on an erratic basis. It has some fun books, we've just been too busy with other stuff to read many of them.

Kid1 continues to enjoy the Bravewriter Boomerang forums. I like having all of the dictation laid out for me, as well as notes on the current book (right now they're reading Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank). I also like that she's getting a chance to discuss books with other kids her age -- we haven't hooked up with a local book club, and this seems to fill that gap. Plus Julie (Mrs. Bravewriter) does a great job of leading the discussion (I peek at the forum sometimes, but don't tell Kid1, okay? because she wants this to be her thing, not mine).

Edited to add: Julie has a blog post about her online classes here that offers some insight into some of the advantages of an online book discussion. I always feel so apologetic about having Kid1 do this stuff online instead of in a class. I think I need to get over that.

And we are poised to start Classical Writing Homer now that life has returned to ordinary, and we no longer are running around like crazed maniacs with too much to do in too little time.

Kid2 has been chugging along in RightStart C. So far it's been easy and enjoyable for her.

We also work on First Language Lessons, and are somewhere in the second year. I think we've just about gotten to the part where it gets dreadfully dull and becomes a matter of surviving until the end of the book.

Kid2 works on Prima Latina, which I also feel is dreadfully dull. But she wants to do Latin. I'm so glazed over by this program I'm unable to see how to liven it up.

She follows along with science and history with her older sister.

We have no grand plans to overhaul our system, nor thoughts of adding exciting new subjects (other than coming up with an actual math program for Kid1 so we don't have to wing it each day). We have about 2 months of calm before the craziness of life explodes again all over our calm little homeschool days. March is going to be a doozy; I'm already dreading it.

03 January 2008


Time to put up a new calendar!

This year we purchased the Fairy Tale Moons calendar from the Biodynamic Farming Assoc., and, oh, it is gorgeous. We're all quite smitten with it.

It has lovely pictures. It has snippets of fairy tales -- just enough to whet your interest so you want to run to the library and check out the full version. It has all sorts of interesting information written on the dates -- today is the 10th Holy Night, and the Earth is at perihelion, meaning it is closest to the Sun on its path. Yesterday's snippet told about Thoth and Osiris, and Egyptian mythology about the first 5 days of the year; other days have quotes or historical events.

In the back we have information about, let's see, pole stars, and Gregorian vs. Julian calendar, and Copernican system vs, Tychonic system, and other items of this ilk ... a star map of constellations mentioned in the calendar ... suggestions of how to use the calendar (I aspire to be a Milky Way Master, but admit that we'll probably end up as Big Dipper Basics).

There's no room on this calendar to write appointments and such. That business belongs on the planner, not this beauty. This calendar hangs on the wall, and we stop and look at it every day, gaze at the picture, discuss what we read.

The calendar is also available from Bob and Nancy's Waldorf Bookshop, but if I go there I will end up clicking to go to Colorsong Yarn and then end up wasting an hour scrolling my mouse over hanks of yarn so I can see the pretty colors show up on my screen, all the while debating whether I should get a Goldilocks shawl kit. So, it's best for me to avoid putting items in a cart at that particular website, since I get a little too enthusiastic.

02 January 2008

The Joyce Country Ceili Sweater

We loaded up in the car to go visit Mom and Dad. We took plenty of CDs to listen to, and I took Twist to work on.

And, for some obscure reason, all the way there we listened to The Saw Doctors, and I knit away on my cabled Twist. I felt very Celtic.

Well, I say we listened to The Saw Doctors. Mostly we listened to The Joyce Country Ceili Band:

Although we also liked "Will It Ever Stop Raining" plenty. It's nearly as much fun. I can't find a clip for it, which is a shame. You should really go buy the CD so you can hear it.

After about 4-5 hours of this, we emerged from the car with Irish accents and a tendency to interject "Boomshakalakalaka" into conversations. And Twist had become a Ceili sweater.

I continued to knit on Twist all weekend (while humming to myself a random assortment of Saw Doctor tunes). I finished the back, we got in the car to head home, we turned on the CD, I reached in my knitting bag to start the left front....

OH NO! I didn't bring the needles I needed to cast on the front ribbing! Five hours in the car, and no knitting!

So I amused myself by loading various CDs in the player. No more of The Saw Doctors (well, not as much as in the original trip).

We got home, unloaded the car, put everything away, and sat down to take a breather. And the knitting gods smiled upon me, because Star Trek TNG "First Contact" was on, so we all HAD to sit and watch it. That left front is just flying along:

Okay, confession: it was also knit during Monty Python and the Holy Grail on New Year's Eve. And I think there's some Marx Brothers in there, too. Is it any wonder I'm thinking this is a fun knit? Fun things happen when I knit it!