Under the Maple Canopy

Singing Union Songs Since 2009


2014’s Year in Books

I finalized our Read Aloud Project book list for 2014.  The kids and I doubled our book total this year for a grand total of 52 books.  At least half of the books were audiobooks which the kids vastly prefer to the radio these days.  I can’t say as I blame them and we even converted Daddy over to the audiobook side.

I completed my Book a Week (BAW) challenge in October with double my original goal of 104. Since October I managed to finish three additional new books and seven re-reads for a total of 114 books this year. I also have three books I’m currently working on – two of which I could conceivably finish before the end of the year.  114 is a pretty decent finish all things considered.

If I add the 52 read alouds from the kids’ list to my list, I’ve read 166 books in 2014 (not including those we’ve read for school subjects or picture books with the girls).  Not a bad way to spend a year!

2014 Book a Week

107 – “Letters from Skye” by Jessica Brockmole
106 – “I Remember Nothing” by Nora Ephron
105 – “10% Happier” by Dan Harris
104 – “Bento Box in the Heartland” by Linda Furiya
103 – “Written in My Own Heart’s Blood” by Diana Gabaldon
102 – “An Echo in the Bone” by Diana Gabaldon
101 – “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” by Diana Gabaldon
100 – “The Fiery Cross” by Diana Gabaldon
99 – “Drums of Autumn” by Diana Gabaldon
98 – “Voyager” by Diana Gabaldon
97 – “Dragonfly in Amber” by Diana Gabaldon
96 – “Outlander” by Diana Gabaldon
95 – “Beyond Band of Brothers” by Dick Winters
94 – “Mad About the Boy” by Helen Fielding
93 – “Band of Brothers” by Stephen E. Ambrose
92 – “The Edge of Reason (Bridget Jones, #2) by Helen Fielding”
91 – “Paris Letters” by Janice Macleod
90 – “Next to Love” by Ellen Feldman
89 – “Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher #20)” by Kerry Greenwood
88 – “Unnatural Habits (Phryne Fisher #19)” by Kerry Greenwood
87 – “Dead Man’s Chest (Phryne Fisher, #18)” by Kerry Greenwood
86 – “Murder On A Midsummer Night (Phryne Fisher, #17)” by Kerry Greenwood
85 – “Nemesis” by Agatha Christie
84 – “Murder In The Dark (Phryne Fisher, #16)” by Kerry Greenwood
83 – “At Bertram’s Hotel (Miss Marple, #11)” by Agatha Christie
82 – “The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple #2)” by Agatha Christie
81 – “A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple, #10)” by Agatha Christie
80 – “Death by Water (Phryne Fisher, #15)” by Kerry Greenwood
79 – “Queen Of The Flowers (Phryne Fisher, #14)” by Kerry Greenwood
78 – “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (Miss Marple, #9)” by Agatha Christie
77 – “Murder in Montparnasse (Phryne Fisher, #12)” by Kerry Greenwood
76 – “4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple #8)” by Agatha Christie
75 – “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt
74 – “The Castlemaine Murders (Phryne Fisher, #13)” by Kerry Greenwood
73 – “A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple, #7)” by Agatha Christie
72 – “Away With the Fairies” by Kerry Greenwood
71 – “They Do It with Mirrors (Miss Marple, #6)” by Agatha Christie
70 – “So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading” by Sara Nelson
69 – “Call The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times” by Jennifer Worth
68 – “Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones, #1) by Helen Fielding”
67 – “Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10)” by Kerry Greenwood
66 – “A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple, #5)” by Agatha Christie
65 – “Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)” by Kerry Greenwood
64 – “The Moving Finger (Miss Marple, #4)” by Agatha Christie
63 – “Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)” by Kerry Greenwood
62 – “The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)” by Agatha Christie
61 – “Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher, #7)” by Kerry Greenwood
60 – “Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)” by Kerry Greenwood
59 – “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie
58 – “The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)” by Kerry Greenwood
57 – “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
56 – “Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)” by Kerry Greenwood
55 – “On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta” by Jen Lin-Liu
54 – “Marshlands” by Matthew Olshan
53 – “Quilt Trip: A Southern Quilting Mystery” by Elizabeth Spann Craig
52 – “Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste” by Luke Barr
51 – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling
50 – “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by JK Rowling
49 – “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by JK Rowling
48 – “Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)” by Kerry Greenwood
47 – “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by JK Rowling
46 – “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by JK Rowling
45 – “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” by Robert M. Edsel
44 – “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by JK Rowling
43 – “The Language of Baklava: A Memoir” by Diana Abu-Jaber
42 – “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by JK Rowling
41 – “Flying too High” by Kerry Greenwood
40 – “A Bad Day for Mercy” by Sophie Littlefield
39 – “A Bad Day for Romance” by Sophie Littlefield
38 – “How Reading Changed My Life” by Ana Quindlen
37 – “A Bad Day for Scandal” by Sophie Littlefield
36 – “A Bad Day for Sorry” by Sophie Littlefield
35 – “A Bad Day for Pretty” by Sophie Littlefield
34 – “Sizzling Sixteen” by Janet Evanovich
33 – “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” by Janet Evanovich
32 – “Plum Spooky” by Janet Evanovich
31 – “Fearless Fourteen” by Janet Evanovich
30 – “Plum Lucky” by Janet Evanovich
29 – “Lean Mean Thirteen” by Janet Evanovich
28 – “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich
27 – “One for the Money” by Janet Evanovich
26 – “Plum Lovin'” by Janet Evanovich
25 – “Twelve Sharp” by Janet Evanovich
24 – “Eleven on Top” by Janet Evanovich
23 – “Ten Big Ones” by Janet Evanovich
22 – “To the Nines” by Janet Evanovich
21 – “Visions of Sugar Plums” by Janet Evanovich
20 – “Hard Eight” by Janet Evanovich
19 – “Seven Up” by Janet Evanovich
18 – “Hot Six” by Janet Evanovich
17 – “High Five” by Janet Evanovich
16 – “Four to Score” by Janet Evanovich
15 – “Cocaine Blues” by Kerry Greenwood
14 – “Notorious Nineteen” by Janet Evanovich
13 – “Explosive Eighteen” by Janet Evanovich
12 – “Smokin’ Seventeen” by Janet Evanovich
11 – “If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion” by Paige Shelton
10 – “The Violets of March” by Sarah Jio
9 – “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese
8 – “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini
7 – “The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel” by Jennifer Chiaverini
6 – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
5 – “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
4 – “From the Top: Brief Transmissions from Tent Show Radio” by Michael Perry
3 – “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey
2 – “On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan
1 – “Letters From Home” by Kristina McMorris


Working Ahead

Latin Declensions – first and second

The Kids’ Readalouds

2014 Book a Week

93 – “Band of Brothers” by Stephen E. Ambrose
92 – “The Edge of Reason (Bridget Jones, #2) by Helen Fielding”
91 – “Paris Letters” by Janice Macleod
90 – “Next to Love” by Ellen Feldman
89 – “Murder and Mendelssohn (Phryne Fisher #20)” by Kerry Greenwood
88 – “Unnatural Habits (Phryne Fisher #19)” by Kerry Greenwood
87 – “Dead Man’s Chest (Phryne Fisher, #18)” by Kerry Greenwood
86 – “Murder On A Midsummer Night (Phryne Fisher, #17)” by Kerry Greenwood
85 – “Nemesis” by Agatha Christie
84 – “Murder In The Dark (Phryne Fisher, #16)” by Kerry Greenwood
83 – “At Bertram’s Hotel (Miss Marple, #11)” by Agatha Christie
82 – “The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple #2)” by Agatha Christie
81 – “A Caribbean Mystery (Miss Marple, #10)” by Agatha Christie
80 – “Death by Water (Phryne Fisher, #15)” by Kerry Greenwood
79 – “Queen Of The Flowers (Phryne Fisher, #14)” by Kerry Greenwood
78 – “The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side (Miss Marple, #9)” by Agatha Christie
77 – “Murder in Montparnasse (Phryne Fisher, #12)” by Kerry Greenwood
76 – “4:50 from Paddington (Miss Marple #8)” by Agatha Christie
75 – “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt
74 – “The Castlemaine Murders (Phryne Fisher, #13)” by Kerry Greenwood
73 – “A Pocket Full of Rye (Miss Marple, #7)” by Agatha Christie
72 – “Away With the Fairies” by Kerry Greenwood
71 – “They Do It with Mirrors (Miss Marple, #6)” by Agatha Christie
70 – “So Many Books, So Little Time: A Year of Passionate Reading” by Sara Nelson
69 – “Call The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times” by Jennifer Worth
68 – “Bridget Jones’s Diary (Bridget Jones, #1) by Helen Fielding”
67 – “Death Before Wicket (Phryne Fisher, #10)” by Kerry Greenwood
66 – “A Murder Is Announced (Miss Marple, #5)” by Agatha Christie
65 – “Raisins and Almonds (Phryne Fisher, #9)” by Kerry Greenwood
64 – “The Moving Finger (Miss Marple, #4)” by Agatha Christie
63 – “Urn Burial (Phryne Fisher, #8)” by Kerry Greenwood
62 – “The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)” by Agatha Christie
61 – “Ruddy Gore (Phryne Fisher, #7)” by Kerry Greenwood
60 – “Blood and Circuses (Phryne Fisher, #6)” by Kerry Greenwood
59 – “The Murder at the Vicarage” by Agatha Christie
58 – “The Green Mill Murder (Phryne Fisher, #5)” by Kerry Greenwood
57 – “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak
56 – “Death at Victoria Dock (Phryne Fisher, #4)” by Kerry Greenwood
55 – “On the Noodle Road: From Beijing to Rome, with Love and Pasta” by Jen Lin-Liu
54 – “Marshlands” by Matthew Olshan
53 – “Quilt Trip: A Southern Quilting Mystery” by Elizabeth Spann Craig
52 – “Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste” by Luke Barr
51 – “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling
50 – “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” by JK Rowling
49 – “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” by JK Rowling
48 – “Murder on the Ballarat Train (Phryne Fisher, #3)” by Kerry Greenwood
47 – “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” by JK Rowling
46 – “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” by JK Rowling
45 – “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” by Robert M. Edsel
44 – “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” by JK Rowling
43 – “The Language of Baklava: A Memoir” by Diana Abu-Jaber
42 – “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by JK Rowling
41 – “Flying too High” by Kerry Greenwood
40 – “A Bad Day for Mercy” by Sophie Littlefield
39 – “A Bad Day for Romance” by Sophie Littlefield
38 – “How Reading Changed My Life” by Ana Quindlen
37 – “A Bad Day for Scandal” by Sophie Littlefield
36 – “A Bad Day for Sorry” by Sophie Littlefield
35 – “A Bad Day for Pretty” by Sophie Littlefield
34 – “Sizzling Sixteen” by Janet Evanovich
33 – “Finger Lickin’ Fifteen” by Janet Evanovich
32 – “Plum Spooky” by Janet Evanovich
31 – “Fearless Fourteen” by Janet Evanovich
30 – “Plum Lucky” by Janet Evanovich
29 – “Lean Mean Thirteen” by Janet Evanovich
28 – “Takedown Twenty” by Janet Evanovich
27 – “One for the Money” by Janet Evanovich
26 – “Plum Lovin'” by Janet Evanovich
25 – “Twelve Sharp” by Janet Evanovich
24 – “Eleven on Top” by Janet Evanovich
23 – “Ten Big Ones” by Janet Evanovich
22 – “To the Nines” by Janet Evanovich
21 – “Visions of Sugar Plums” by Janet Evanovich
20 – “Hard Eight” by Janet Evanovich
19 – “Seven Up” by Janet Evanovich
18 – “Hot Six” by Janet Evanovich
17 – “High Five” by Janet Evanovich
16 – “Four to Score” by Janet Evanovich
15 – “Cocaine Blues” by Kerry Greenwood
14 – “Notorious Nineteen” by Janet Evanovich
13 – “Explosive Eighteen” by Janet Evanovich
12 – “Smokin’ Seventeen” by Janet Evanovich
11 – “If Bread Could Rise to the Occasion” by Paige Shelton
10 – “The Violets of March” by Sarah Jio
9 – “Cutting for Stone” by Abraham Verghese
8 – “And the Mountains Echoed” by Khaled Hosseini
7 – “The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel” by Jennifer Chiaverini
6 – “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens
5 – “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot
4 – “From the Top: Brief Transmissions from Tent Show Radio” by Michael Perry
3 – “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey
2 – “On Chesil Beach” by Ian McEwan
1 – “Letters From Home” by Kristina McMorris


2 Comments

Updated

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!


Update

Completed

  • 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


2 Comments

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.


5 Comments

Book #5 is Finished!

cwYesterday we finished book #5 of our 2013 Read Aloud Project, “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White.  A fast read, a cute story, Garth William’s wonderful illustrations.  Yup!  Loved it all around!

We’ve already started book #6, “The Trumpet of the Swan” by E.B. White.  It’s the second of three E.B. White books I have planned for this year.  On to the next!

Looking for more reasons to read aloud to your children?  Patricia Zaballos of wonderfarm had a fantastic blog post last week that talks a bit about the link between reading aloud and a child’s development as a writer.  It’s also the third part of a three-part series on how homeschooling parents can become their children’s writing mentor.  Not a homeschooling parent?  Still oodles to read there for anyone with children in their lives.

Here’s to more language rich homes!


8 Comments

Great(er) Expectations

So, the kid had a birthday party recently – a first – and he was really excited about it. He carefully wrote out his invitations and picked his guest list. He talked about little else in the days leading up to the party and it seemed, at least on the surface to be a very good thing.

The turn out was small, but I tend to judge the success of an event, not by the number of people there, but the quality of the interactions that take place. Herein lies the sticky wicket.

Small numbers I can handle, but a guest coming to a party in order to spend time with the other kids who came while excluding the kid? Who does this and at this young age. Snotty pre-teens? Too cool for anyone teenagers? Totally expected.

The kid would suggest something to do only to be met with resistance and at times an uncomfortable bit of exclusivity in the whispers among the party guests.

We’re not even going to talk about the fact that these kids could not settle into and stick with any one thing. Instead they’d flit from one thing to the next before rapidly losing interest. I get that I raise my children differently. Is it the (lack of) TV? Our insistence on the kids cultivating the ability to entertain themselves? Reading?

How do you resist the urge to tell your kid to not continue in a friendship with a certain person, even though the child is generally nice and on their own rather friendly? It’s not that they’re a bad friend (party behavior not-withstanding), it’s just that the all-encompassing focus by the kid on this one person seems increasingly to be one-sided and to the kid’s detriment.

But, perhaps most uncomfortably, if you had hoped that the public school would solve the issue of socialization, what do you do when even then it falls flat?

This, dear reader, is what they call a no-win proposition.


5 Comments

The State of Things

If you will indulge me ever so slightly, I thought that I’d go through a little “State of Things” post. I figure if politicians can do so with gusto, then little old me could too. Shhhh….no need to point out the differences in the two. I’m not vain enough to think that the state of things for me is anywhere near as important as the state of a State. It’s still a useful exercise, though, yes?

School – We’re about a little more than half way through things as far as the public school is concerned and I continue to be pleased with Groceries’ social opportunities. Seeing as this was one of our primary reasons for enrolling him in public school, this is a very good thing. The adjustment period was, contrary to a certain person’s opinion, rather smooth. After a rough couple of weeks at the start, he became a model student and an asset to the class by the first parent teacher conference. This surprised me even though it shouldn’t have, but at that point I was just so uncertain about me, my abilities as a mother, and my fears that I was causing him irreparable harm by not putting him in school. Because really, in spite of knowing that my kid was doing just fine, I let too many other people (with their own baggage and assumptions) drown out my gut feelings on the matter. I let that particular person rattle me and I hate that.

Academically, however? I continue to be underwhelmed. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly, but before enrolling him in school I was under the impression that we were behind academically because all homeschoolers are, at least according to the prevailing cultural narrative. Yes, I knew cognitively that this isn’t the case for every homeschooler out there and that homeschoolers, like every human being, everywhere, lie on a continuum from better to worse. Deep down, though, I should have been far more confident about how we were doing. We made academics our focus and pushed through our material. I was methodical, well planned, and driven to keep moving.

As a result, he’s above grade level in everything (except the practical skills part in art and music as we focused much more on appreciation and history rather than doing) and it seems to us that he’s basically repeating a year. The things that most stick out in conferences? Yeah, I taught him those things. His ability to participate in book discussions more than capably? I didn’t spend all that time on the Read Aloud Project for nothing. His penchant for random facts? We had time to follow rabbit trails and didn’t just limit ourselves to “at grade level” resources. Oh, and his beautiful handwriting that his teacher fawns all over? Yeah, that was me too. I admit I might have been a bit obsessive on penmanship and probably annoyed the kid to no end, but compared to the rest of his class (and his father) I think it was worth it.

Still, it doesn’t seem like he’s being challenged in his class work or moving forward in his knowledge base. I had plans on working with him some after school (because that what all anti-homeschooling liberals tell us we should be doing), but I could never get past the conflict in my values. Yes, additional work in math, science, and history would be helpful, but what about play? In the end, play has won out because that seems important (and he’s still a kid), but I wonder about that. He still tells me he doesn’t get to play enough and complains when other parts of life get in the way, like grocery shopping. It’s much the same refrain I got when we were homeschooling and I’d say his playtime was double then what it is now.

And so I’m torn. It was a good thing for him to go to school because I had never been able to figure out the social aspect because it’s just too damn hard to find opportunities that don’t come along with a side of conservative Christianity. There are certain homeschoolers who will not let that go one little bit. Either they’re in control and their beliefs rule everything or they take their toys and go home. I hate that. Anything I did find was simply not of sufficient quantity to help him get what he needed. Mostly, I hated that he didn’t have friends that he could see often enough or invite over to play or for a birthday party. Also? He blossomed into a writer at school in ways that I only dreamed of. He’d fight me tooth and nail to write a handful of sentences at home, but at school he willingly sits down to write and excels at it.

Did I mention that I had really great lesson plans for this year?

Deep within me I struggle with the missed opportunities. History! Real history! Staying up late reading! Science! Evolution! Museums! Oh, the hours of reading we have missed! *sigh*

On the other hand? I stunk at taking care of myself. I was overwhelmed, overstressed, and stretched way too thinly. I was never able to find the balance necessary to get done what needed to get done while also taking time to let go. All my free time was spent taking care of things and getting ready for the next school day. Something had to give and sadly, there was no option to give any of it over to the husband. Simply put, he’d have to be home more often and the kids and I have this silly little habit of eating and needing a place to live. I’m the one who makes the husband’s hours possible and he’s the one who keeps working so that we have a house and cars and food and can do something fun every so often. Then there’s that little hitch that if I went back to work, the husband and I would hardly ever share a day off.

What would I do differently? I would drop the workbooks and worry less about grammar, writing, and logic. I’d go with copy work and dictation on a weekly basis. I’d focus on workshop-y writers stuff and creating a family writing habit. I’d let the rest lie until he was much older. I’d take any money I might have spent on English workbooks and buy that expensive spelling program I always dreamed about. I’d sign the kids up for a foreign language class, try out that group down in Rockford, and travel to the Aldo Leopold Nature Center for every homeschool class they offered. I’d have signed him up for sports at the YMCA sooner. I would have focused on history, science, math, art (every day!), and read alouds. We would have finally gotten around to nature study.

I can’t rewind time to change any of those things, but there’s something comforting in knowing it never-the-less.

Currently reading aloud – We’re still plodding along with “The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate” by Jacqueline Kelly. It was a slow starter, but the kids have since really grown to love the story. Reading it make me a bit itchy, though, because I can totally see how you could have structured an entire unit study around the book. You could cover history (the Alamo, slavery, the Civil War, Texas, gender roles, prejudice, the spread of technology) and science (the scientific method, nature study, female scientists, evolution, Darwin). It’s been a nice change of pace from Rick Riordan and JK Rowling. After this I’m thinking of switching gears to lighter and more traditional kid fare. Oh, and shorter books because I’d love it if we could make quicker progress down the list which I’ll admit seems like a silly way to pick books.

As for me – I’m learning how to speak up, say no, and ask for help more. I have three or four new works in progress in my sewing room. I’m enjoying the quiet hours in my life more. I love it that the husband and I have more time to spend together when two of the three children are at school. I’m feeling (somewhat) less stressed. I’m making myself branch out into more adult focused spaces and there’s a part of me that is secretly looking forward to the day that all three children are in school (especially if we can avoid me going back to work). Oh, the husband’s looking forward to that as well. He’s got day trips planned. I’m also trying to leave the house, the kids, and the dog under my husband’s sole supervision more often. See you later dears, mom’s out of here!

Going forward – That whole Governor Crazy Pants business really set us back quite a bit hence the crazy number of hours the husband works. The level of uncertainty and animosity still continues, though, and I wonder how we’ll ever un-break things. I hesitate to talk about the things that are looking up because I’m afraid something else is going to fall and wreck any semblance of hope I might feel. So I keep tiny bits of hope to myself.

What about you, dear reader? Does hope spring eternal or go tumbling down the stairs?


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Movie Wednesday – “The Revisionaries”

On account of a most wonderful upper respiratory…thing going through the family WIP Wednesday has been cancelled because we’ve been watching our fair share of movies.  Or at least I have.  My kids have been reenacting the battle of the Titans from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series which I take as a sign that they’re feeling better.  Since it’s a bit difficult to recreate the battle of the Titans on a blog, I thought I’d instead share a movie with you instead.

Many Public Television stations have been airing this documentary lately (and may still be airing it in your area).  For those of us (like me) who don’t have access to broadcast television or cable, I’m happy to report that you can watch it online at the Independent Lens’ website.  It’s available until February 27th and will play on iOS devices.  I can’t remember if there’s an Airplay option, but it should work with mirroring if you’re so equipped.