Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009



I’m calling it quits for the year with our read alouds a few days early.  2014’s list is up and 2013’s list is finalized with a few geeky number-y bits.  I blame E. Nesbit’s “The Enchanted Castle” which on its face seems like such a wonderful book, but in practice is not easy to read aloud.  If it weren’t for the fact that Lou picked it out, I would have dropped it a month ago.  Here’s hoping 2014 likes it better!

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  • Kids Bowl Free – a summer of bowling at least once a week
  • Summer Camp – through the city rec department and College for Kids
  • Summer Reading Program – two different programs both completed and new books and passes in pocket
  • Camping – we only went once, but it was a blast
  • Summer Trimester – not technically finished until tomorrow, but we started homeschooling again July 1st and will finish up our Summer Trimester tomorrow.
  • Read Aloud – “The Mark of Athena” by Rick Riordan

Begun and In Progress

  • History – the Middle Ages through History Odyssey
  • Math Catch-up – multiplication, division, shoring up fractions, and geometry (all of the things they didn’t cover in school last year)
  • Read Aloud – “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo to go along with The Arrow by Brave Writer
  • Soccer
  • Fall Trimester (on the 7th)

Waiting (Soon)

  • Guitar Lessons
  • Homeschool Gym & Swim
  • 4-H
  • Tea & Art Tuesdays
  • Reading to Maggie May
  • Wisconsin Science Festival

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Quit Washing Your Chicken: It Just Sprays Germs Everywhere

Originally posted on Consumerist:

Generations of American cooks are wrong. They learned their wrongity wrongity wrong habits from their parents, or from public television’s Julia Child. Their terrible, filthy habit is rinsing poultry before cooking. Public health experts estimate that as many as 90% of Americans do it, and they want us to cut it out.

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Maker Supportive Parenting


My good reminder for the day.

Originally posted on MAKE:


Shopping cart solar collector on the roof of house – Image created in Inkscape by Ata Amrullah (Indonesia)

Even as a young child, I knew that I lived in a maker supportive house. My parents encouraged me to tinker and they were exceedingly patient and tolerant of the “tinkering process” at our house. Did the kitchen look like a tornado blew through it? “Fine. Just clean it up,” they’d say. Did the garage resemble a garbage dump when I was working on a project? “Fine. Just clean it up when you’re done with your project.”

Even our living room was fair game. My siblings and I would do gymnastics in the living room, using the sofa as a mini trampoline. When I visited a friend who lived three houses away, I was aghast to hear that children were not allowed in the living room. You don’t get to choose your…

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Bill Maher takes apart Reagan

Originally posted on Why Evolution Is True:

Since Ronald Reagan died nine years ago, I’ve watched him transmogrified into something of a saint. Even Democrats like Obama don’t dare say a bad word about this bigoted right-wing, demagogue. All he had going for him was a faux affability, which was a thin veneer on deeply dangerous ideas.

Two weeks ago Bob Dole, in a critique of the Republican Party on Fox News Sunday, argued that the GOP had moved so far right that Reagan couldn’t even make it as a Republican candidate were he to run today.

While it’s good that Dole points out how crazily conservative the GOP has become, I didn’t buy for a second his view that Reagan wouldn’t be a comfortable fit with today’s Republicans. Reagan was a right wing-nut, and his beatification is mystifying.

I see that Bill Maher agrees with me. Here’s a clip from a recent show in which he…

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I guess I still like writing after all…

Back in April, Jerimi over at My Antidepressant Life wrote about her pen-pal through the Letter Writer’s Alliance.  First off, Jerimi has a great blog if you’re looking for something to read.  Secondly, letter writing?  An entire group of folks devoted to writing letters and absolutely yummy paper related items?

I joined right away even though I had a backlog of thank you cards waiting to go out and am spotty at best when it comes to sending out holiday cards be they for anniversaries, birthdays, or other appropriate occasions.  In my defense, cards are freaking expensive for what you get and signing a card really never feels like “enough.”

But….letters?  I love letters.  Even better?  While writing my very first penpal letter, I discovered that I still like writing after all.  Just not blogging.


Here’s the deal, if you’re a regular here and you’d still like to keep in touch, I’d love to hear from you.  Want a handwritten letter in return?  Drop me an email with your snail mail address (maplecanopy [at] gmail [dot] com) and I’ll send one your way!  :0)


Finished Since Last Time…

We’ve finished three books in the last two weeks and are very close to finishing a fourth. Books #8, 9, and 10 were “Stuart Little” by EB White, “Bartleby of the Mighty Mississippi” by Phyllis Shalan,t and “A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning” by Lemony Snicket. Book #10 is E.L. Konigsburg’s “From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler” which has been equally as delicious to read as #s 9 and 10.

From there, we’ll be on to #12, “The Son of Neptune” by Rick Riordan.

Another thing that I have settled on declaring finished lately is this here blog. I’m not done writing (seeing as writing is a lifelong process), but my writing ambitions are definitely finished. My apologies to those who have commented within the last month or so. I really did mean to get back to you, but the reality is that I won’t. I do feel the tiniest bit sorry about that. Only the tiniest bit, though. Much as I meant to get back to writing here, as time went on I found that what seemed so urgent or necessary before didn’t any longer.

The short version? I still have plenty to say, but I have no desire to say it here.

So, dear reader, my deepest appreciation to all of you for reading along with me. You are certainly welcome to continue, but know that I’m going to be shifting focus and what will follow in this space will primarily be a personal record of next year’s homeschooling. In other words, less blog, more record keeping. Read alouds, units I have created myself, resource lists, etc.

I won’t begrudge you if a litany of lists and records does not thrill you. :0) You have my permission to go therefore and read someone else.

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Book #7 is Finished!

lostheroIn what feels a bit like a whirlwind of reading, tonight we finished book #7 for the year, Rick Riordan’s “The Lost Hero.”  The kids loved this book to pieces and can’t wait for the next one in the series.  We’d actually start the next one right away…except that I discovered that we don’t actually own it.  Oops!

So…rather than try and wait for it to arrive from inter-library loan or buy it at Target for full price (perish the thought!), the kids are just going to have to wait.  In the meantime, book #8 is E.B. White’s “Stuart Little.”

A quick read with a movie on the other side?  Yup, they’ll get over it.


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