Friday, October 31, 2008

Weekly Report -- Oct. 31

Here's an incident that really sort of sums up the week:

Wednesday AnnaBeth and I worked on school subjects in the morning. After lunch and read alouds, I mowed the yard (bagging the grass clipping and dead leaves, and dumping them in yard waste containers), cleaned out the chest freezer, exercised, and worked on my own Latin lessons for half an hour. I was feeling pretty triumphant as I started supper -- wow, we had accomplished a lot! And it suddenly hit me that AnnaBeth and I had forgotten to do math! Never even crossed our minds. And it was too late, as after supper was 2.5 hours of dance class.

So, what did we accomplish this week?

Thalia studied algebra, Latin, Spanish, finished Alice in Wonderland and discussed it with me (using prompts from Lightning Lit 7), Earth Science, watched a PBS show on fractals, danced, played piano, and continued to re-read Eldest as a run-up to reading Brsinger. Also, decorated the house for Halloween, and cleaned quite a bit of it in the process.

AnnaBeth worked on First Language Lessons (finally got to diagram conjunctions, which is always fun), Writing With Ease (still using Five Children and It; this week we tried a French dictation as per Bravewriter), French, Minimus Latin, learned about the nose/smell, danced, swam, and played piano. And 3 (not 4) lessons of RightStart D math.

I read aloud from The Little Duke, which is now FINISHED. Also read aloud Five Children and It, and started Little Farm in the Ozarks (Little House, the Rose Years, book 2). The kids discussed the fact that we've ditched several read alouds, most of which were from Ambleside Online. I was trying to quietly extricate ourselves from that reading program and start something else. Sometimes you just have to admit to yourself that you don't feel like reading all of Pilgrim's Progress aloud in dribs and drabs over the course of several months, which is where we were in Ambleside.

Today we'll finish up odds and ends -- maybe do some more science, definitely practice piano. We will avoid reciting Edgar Allen Poe's The Bells, as it's been an earworm for me the last few days. Last night I kept waking up with the thought, "the tintinnabulation that so musically wells". I supposed it's better than having, say, old ELO songs running through your head all day. At least it sounds classier to say that you have an earworm of Poe's poetry than one of 70s pop music.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


AnnaBeth started swimming lessons at the Fish level for this session at the Y. This is pretty exciting stuff -- it seems as though she's been a Minnow forever and ever.

Of course, beginning a new level meant going to the Y at a different time. And having a different teacher and different kids in the class.

Much is the same, though. Same routine of changing into the swimsuit, stowing stuff in lockers. I change into flip flops, same as before (no street shoes on deck). I take the same items with which to entertain myself -- my Latin and my knitting. My personal routine is 30 minutes of Latin, then the rest of the class knitting.

As I open up my notebook and my Henle Latin text another mom glances at me.

"Is that Henle?" said in that tone -- you know, the one with the subtext of "I can't imagine a sane person voluntarily lugging that around."

"Umm. Yeah. I never took it in school, so I'm trying to catch up now."

"Oh. I recognized it because my son had a class."

I reveal that my daughter is studying Latin, and I'm trying to keep up. She says that she tried to study it some, too, while her son took it. Although she admits that she's forgotten a lot of it now. Yes, I agree, while staring at the page wondering how I am expected to translate "on account of the welfare of the tribes" into Latin given that I have no memory whatsoever of seeing the Latin word for "welfare" before.

I give up on "welfare", and decide to fill my time writing propter at the beginning of every phrase that starts with the words "on account of", since that's sort of a gimme. A few moments pass.

Finally, she asks, "Do you homeschool?"

Ack. Do I look like some weirdo? Is that why she's asking? Well, of course I look like a weirdo -- we've already established that. I'm reading Henle, for pete's sake. But I had this faint hope that she'd think I was just a really, really involved public school parent. And not one of them. Because, you know, when someone asks if you homeschool they are likely to have an agenda. It's beyond a simple yes/no question. Way beyond. When a stranger asks you this question, they're likely to have strong views on the subject that they will feel compelled to share with you.

But, aha, it turns out her family homeschools. And the class her son took was simply a class in Latin he was taking while otherwise homeschooling.

I'm thinking, perhaps we can list this as another reason to study Latin -- carrying around Henle texts allows you to find other, sympathetic homeschoolers. It's sort of like our gang symbol.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Work in Progress Wednesday

The next set of sleeves has been lengthened.

(Action shot)

And I spent quite a bit of time examining the dress bag that dancer uses for her dress. Her mom made the bag herself. Without a pattern. I have a bazillion photos of it now, along with notes and measurements.

Here it is with Thalia's dress in it:

I'm inspired. But it will involve shopping for fabric, batting, long zippers, velcro, a dowel, plastic, and webbing for straps.

In the meantime, I'm still knitting the Basic Chic Hoodie. I have it back to the spot it was before I ripped it out -- ready to divide the body from the sleeves:

Check out those stitch markers! The pumpkins I was wanting!

Only 3 of them, though. I need to go get another ring from Hobby Lobby, as I broke one while twisting the wire pin around it. The pumpkin itself was unscathed, thankfully.

You too can join WIP Wednesday over at The Place of H. It's a great way to track your progress on all of those projects you've got simmering.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Weekend Recap

At some point Sunday afternoon Thalia commented that it was going to be really hard to deal with Monday because it had been such a different weekend.

She started out with a camping trip -- in the rain. And cold. She said she was toasty warm in the sleeping bag, though -- the long underwear, 2 pairs of flannel pants, nightshirt, 2 sweatshirts, socks, gloves, and wool hat, plus flannel sheet and fleece blanket might've helped. We do NOT own one of those fancy sleeping bags that keeps a person warm, but the sheer application of fleece, wool, and silk seems to have done the trick.

I picked her up Saturday evening. The camping trip was supposed to last until Sunday, but she needed to come home and put more tanner on her legs and generally get ready for the Oireachtas rehearsal that our Irish Dance studio was having on Sunday.

In the meantime, Rick spent Saturday painting the family room woodwork. If you've been in our family room you know what an undertaking this is. And yes, I do mean that panelling. Half of it is now antique white, and it looks fantastic.



The peeling wallpaper that is stapled to the wall will eventually be torn down, the old carpet replaced, and we'll have a pleasant room. Finally.

I ran errands Saturday, one of which was at Hancock Fabrics where I picked up some flannel on sale. I hate that store, but it was convenient and like I said, SALE. Anyway, with the onset of cold weather I realized that I'd thrown out all of my casual sweats, probably because they'd reached that level of skankiness that I didn't even want to wear them at home. And I needed something warm to wear around the house in the early morning while doing traffic control with the cats, who don't seem to understand that on weekends we're allowed to sleep later than 6a.m.

Saturday night I made flannel jammie pants for myself:

They're big and baggy, but I only washed the fabric once before I cut, and I think it has more to shrink. I picked the fabric because the groups of white Christmas trees sort of looked like Totoro. As a matter of fact, when Rick saw the finished pants he thought the images were ghosts or Totoro.

Rather than sewing flannel jammie pants, I should've been preparing for the Oireachtas rehearsal -- laying out all of our stuff. And reminding the kids to polish their shoes. Ah well.

The Oireachtas rehearsal Sunday was at a local hotel. It's a sort of dress rehearsal for the Big Competition that each region of the Irish Dance community holds in the fall. All the dancers from our school who are going to Oireachtas participated, and were judged as though they were in a real competition.

AnnaBeth had a chance to try dancing in a borrowed solo dress:

She loves this dress, and her teacher would really like her to wear it for Oireachtas.

(By the way, this was the only photo I got all day that didn't include people other than my kids, so it's the only one I'm comfortable sharing here.)

We were thrilled to get out of there earlier than expected -- about mid-afternoon. We loaded up all of our baggage -- dresses, wigs, shoes, snacks, an extra dress I'd offered to alter since I now know how to lengthen sleeves, etc. etc. -- and I had a nagging feeling that I'd be driving back there looking for something we'd left.

Later than evening I realized that what I'd left was my PURSE! Rick headed back to the hotel to retrieve it (we tried calling the hotel, but they said housekeeping was closed ... he thought he could at least look around). As soon as he walked out the door the phone rang -- one of the other moms had it. She'd been trying to call me on my cell phone, which had apparently gone on the blink and stopped receiving calls (really, we had to mess around with it for awhile afterwards and finally got it working again after a hard boot of taking out and replacing the battery) and finally decided to try our regular line. Rick was at the gas station filling up before he went to the hotel, so a quick call sent him over to their house instead. Wow. That's all I can say -- WOW.

So, the kids had planned to sleep in a bit, I was relieved that I wasn't going to be spending Monday cancelling credit cards and getting a new driver's license; and planned to spend a quiet morning doing yoga and puttering around ... too bad the smoke alarm decided to spazz out and go off at 7a.m. Thus we find ourselves hurtling into yet another week ....

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekly Report -- Oct. 24


This week AnnaBeth studied the ear. What we did: she read about it and made a little cut out model from a Scholastic book. That's all. Sigh. Most books have some interesting things to do regarding the ear, but we haven't gotten around to it. Maybe later today....

Thalia continues to answer every question and do every experiment in Prentice Hall Science Explorers. She wants the answer key so she can check her answers -- I need to figure out where to get that. She is disturbed by the inaccuracies of the maps in the book.

Also, she made Mt. Cardboard to illustrate the concept of contour lines:


AnnaBeth is learning about bathing customs in Minimus. I was surprised to discover what a font of knowledge Thalia is regarding Roman toilets. It was one of several occasions this week where I found myself sitting back and saying, "Where did you learn that?" Sort of reinforces the notion that I'm not so much teaching them stuff as I am facilitating their learning.

Thalia is in Chapter 20 of Latin for Children B -- 3rd declension. I hope she's learned it better than I did in Henle a couple of weeks ago. I don't think LfC requires you to learn all of those pesky rules about masculine = ERROR, feminine = SOX, and neuter = LANCET, etc. etc. My Henle grammar automatically falls open to that page now (actually, it's all the freaking exceptions -- crivens, it's as bad as English language spelling rules).

As for me, I once again determined that I would study Henle 30 minutes per day for at least 5 days this week. After 3 days I got distracted, so I didn't follow through. Also, I had planned to study last night during dance class -- honest. Except dance class was cancelled, so it's not really my fault.(Okay, I'd also wanted to watch House reruns on Hulu while the kids were at dance, but at least I considered studying Latin.)

Other Languages

French -- AnnaBeth is glad to be finished with the family unit of Ecoutez-Parlez, which she apparently hated. Now she's learning animals. She keeps changing the words of the sentences to reflect her personal preferences about various animals, refusing to say she doesn't like cats, etc.

Spanish -- Thalia has learned to ask Donde esta ...? and De quien es? -- handy phrases around the house, as she's constantly loosing track of stuff.

English -- AnnaBeth continues to practice narration, copywork, and dictation using models from Five Children and It, and suggestions from Writing With Ease. I love this program.

She also works in First Language Lessons. This week we've looked at adverbs that tell to what extent. We also discussed use of nominative pronouns in the predicate -- not a big deal since I'm one of those people who has a nerdy tendency to say "it is I" rather than "it is me". Really, sometimes I find myself hesitating when I talk or write forum posts/blog posts because I realize that it sounds so uppity to use the predicate nominative, and then I'm all flaked out about which to use -- what I know is right? what people want to hear? Feel free to explore the deep psychological meaning of that. In the meantime, AnnaBeth is also memorizing the first stanza of Poe's The Bells, which happens to be a poem I really like. If you don't know it, go find a copy and read it aloud.

Thalia is still working on Alice in Wonderland in Lightning Lit 7. I suggested that she might want to do another review week in Analytical Grammar. She apparently didn't feel the need. It's hard to push her on that, since she's so much better than I at grammar.


AnnaBeth has started RightStart D. This means we've entered the portion of the program that I've done before. And suddenly I hate the entire program and want to throw it out and do something else. It seemed so exciting when I went through RightStart D with Thalia; it's just dull to go through it again with AnnaBeth, particularly having done B and C.

We were discussing her math trajectory -- that she only has Level E, then Geometry, then she's finished with RightStart and can begin pre-Algebra. She asked it she could then start college once she's done Algebra. Thalia explained that, no, she'd still need Geometry, Trig, more Algebra ... then burst out with, "and I'm doing them ALL with Life of Fred!" So, a ringing endorsement for Life of Fred from Thalia.

And what is she doing this week in Algebra? Graphing equations. She loves graphing. Life is good.

Read Alouds

Understood Betsy is DONE. I love that book. AnnaBeth loves that book. Maybe we'll read it again. Oh, I know -- maybe we'll use it for models for Writing With Ease!

And we're about to finish Little House on Rocky Ridge. We should finish it up today.

Overall, though, I doubt much schoolwork will be done today. Thalia is leaving on a camping trip, and needs to pack. We also need to figure out if any of the long underwear in the house fits her, as it's cold and wet and generally not the sort of weather that makes you think, "hey, let's go camping!" (then again, I'm wimpy about such things -- I'm sure there are people who prefer camping in crappy weather). Anyway, I feel like our week has pretty much wound down. I think it's been one of our more productive weeks for autumn 2008.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Dance Class is Cancelled!

This throws the schedule for the entire day into a spin.

I had planned to drop of kids at dance, then go run errands. When I do errands by myself I tend to stick very closely to my list, not deviating.

When the kids go along they are easily distracted. They end up wanting to buy cat wigs

And have visions of putting little iridescent wings on the cat's back, and take her trick-or-treating

"People would just coo over her!" (We've obviously been reading too many British novels -- no one talks like that in real life, do they?)

Really, though, her personality is more suited to dressing up as a monster.

If they had cat costumes based on Sith Lords, that would be appropriate.

Please note that I had nothing to do with this entire affair. If she decides to kill everyone in the night maybe I'll be spared.

Really, though, she seems to have already forgotten the entire incident and is concentrating on her new obsession: trying to eat those little packing pellets that are corn based and dissolve in water.

Just another rainy day at our house.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Work in Progress Wednesday

The Basic Chic Hoodlie looks almost exactly the same as last week. This isn't due to lack of knitting. I'd progressed to where I needed to divide for the sleeves and body (knitting from the neck down), realized that I'd made a critical error way back there, and unraveled about 3 or 4 inches -- most of the first skein.

So, no picture.

On the sewing front, I'm supposed to be altering the sleeves of the girls' Irish Dance school dresses. We have a big whoopy-do rehearsal this Sunday, and everything needs to be just right, so I need to get the sleeves just right.

So far I've removed the cuff from the sleeve, and am starting to deconstruct the sleeve end:

Our Dressmaker Extraordinaire said I could do this myself. I didn't ask for this designation -- she just sort of said, "You know how to sew, you can do this yourself." Then she handed me fabric and gave me a 30 second tutorial. Part of me thinks this is very cool, and part of me is very nervous -- what if I blow it? what if I don't blow it, and she asks me to do progressively harder stuff?

AnnaBeth has been working on the Sculpey pumpkin stitch marker concept. She made the pumpkins from some Sculpey we already had, and I found the doodads we needed to make them into stitch markers at Hobby Lobby. Bonus: the doodads were 50% off this week.

I think I'll be in charge of bending the pins around the little rings on the toggle rings.

She also made some extra pumpkins

for use by the autumn fairies

that live amongst the Indian corn

in a village currently spread all over the family room floor, but sometimes appearing on the back porch.

Given the number of dead leaves used in this scene, perhaps you can see why I prefer the back porch -- less vacuuming of leaf-crumples.

There are some spring Flower Fairies in there, too, They're the pink ones. I used to be the type of person who made little Felt Wee Folk inspired by Sally Mavor's books, and so we have several sets for various seasons. They've spent quite a bit of time this week hurtling down the stairway in a shoebox. I think it's supposed to represent some sort of thriller amusement park ride. I know this is not how I pictured they would be played with -- good thing I've gotten over my inner vision of some cozy Waldorfy lifestyle, since my kids don't seem to conform to that vision.

Those days of making fairies are pretty much over for me, but I still have lots of little painted heads and pipe cleaners and embroidery floss around (the floss was from back when I used to be the type of person who did counted cross stitch, but then got transferred to the dollmaking box when that got to be my new interest).

AnnaBeth and Thalia decided to make some babies for their fairy families:

Not in autumn colors, but we are operating an integrated fairyland here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

October Sewing

Typically, if I get a chance to sew during October I'm feverishly making Halloween costumes. This year, though, the kids have decided to make their own. They're going to be Greek goddesses, by the way. And their costumes are really sharp. And, I've been informed, educational (I was informed of this when I suggested using, heaven forbid, the incorrect shape for Athena's shield: "Mooo-ooom, we're trying to be educational with this!").

Left to my own devices, I finally cut out and made that pair of pants I'd started several weeks ago. Not only did I manage to get some sewing done for myself, but I made cargo pants. Topstitching! Pockets all over the place! Fitting issues inherent in pants!

Ottobre Woman 5/2008 design #5 Cargo Crops. Made in black twill purchased at JoAnn's. Because black topstitching on black fabric is hard to see.

Before I started this project, I would've rated my skills at topstitching as Pretty Poor. After this extravaganza of sitting at the machine sewing miles upon miles of topstitching I'm upgrading them to Low Side of Mediocre.

To this day I still cannot find the place on the pattern that shows where to put those side leg pockets. I eventually just slapped them on where I felt like it.

On the bright side, I seem to be gaining skill in how to put into a fly front zipper.

Thalia thinks this means I'm ready to make a Solo Dress for her. I told her that might be true if the Solo Dress has topstitching and patch pockets. Also, I can bang out those buttonholes like nobody's business, so that would be okay, too. Also, it would probably work better if the entire dress is black. Matte black.

As far as alterations go, I added a bit of length to the crotch. I took in the back seam while cutting out, then added it back in while sewing.

Wow, I've never had a pair of pants that fit this well. It's an odd feeling, not having them baggy/too long there and too short/tight there. Sort of makes you want to dance around, know what I mean?

But not too much dancing around, since there are workers over doing something to the neighbor's porch, and they're beginning to wonder why you're repeatedly dragging your daughter and camera out into the back yard with instructions to "try to get the pants in focus, for pete's sake".

I think this makes me an official member of the I'd Rather Make My Own Pants Instead of Spending Hours in the Fitting Room club. You know the club I'm talking about, right? The crowd that hates to shop so much that they'll spend hours figuring out how to sew something wearable.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekly Report -- Oct. 17

We finally have a week in which we don't have to run out of town. Finally have a chance to get more done. The reality, though, was that after all of the hullabaloo of recent weeks, I mostly wanted to stare at the wall.

AnnaBeth took a week off of math. It seemed an appropriate break between RightStart C and D.

She forged ahead in First Language Lessons. One of the lessons heavily overlapped the type of lesson she's doing in Writing With Ease, so we skipped WWE that day.

In science we just finished up odds and ends about the eye and sight. She made another thaumatrope, this time out of index cards and rubber bands. I had originally found that website when we were putting together ourBrownie Try-It about the senses. She also made a paper model of the eye.

Thalia continued algebra without incident. She finished up the Lightning Lit unit on poetry and began reading Alice in Wonderland, which is the next unit. I have the impression that this isn't a very challenging curriculum for her. One of the advantages, though, is that she likes having everything laid out for her -- schedule (which she's working ahead of), assignments, worksheets. Speaking of which, she's also enjoying Prentice-Hall Science Explorers for much the same reason -- she can methodically work through all of the questions and experiments.

Read alouds included Five Children and It, Understood Betsy, Little House on Rocky Ridge, The Little Duke, and Burgess Animal Book.

Extracurricular activities included dance, piano, swimming, and Scouts. This week both troops went to Operation Food Search for a service project which involved organizing some of the food for distribution.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Work in Progress Wednesday


Basic Chic Hoodie in Cascade Sierra (a wool/cotton blend), color Sienna. And, yes, I did want to buy the blue Sierra instead of this color, but I already have 2 blue lightweight jackets. Also, I liked getting Sienna Sierra.

This got off to a slow start since I cast on away from home and had no stitch markers with me -- the pattern uses stitch markers starting in the first row. Digging through my bag I found 2 paperclips and a long narrow strip of grubby Hello Kitty fleece left from making AnnaBeth's current jammies; I managed to tug the strip in half to make 2 slightly shorter strips (no clue why that fabric was in my bag). When I got home I switched to regular markers. While driving home, though, my mind was on stitch markers, and I was seized by an overwhelming desire to have little Sculpey pumpkins as stitch markers. Obviously other people think along these lines since I found several sets on Etsy. Part of me wants to try making them myself (frugal! creative!) and part of me thinks I really have better things to do with my time then making tiny little sculptures and visiting shops to find jump rings, etc.

Here's the thing -- this is a wonderfully mindless knit, so I have plenty of time to think about things like whether or not to make stitch markers. Heck, I have time to read a book! After crocheting all those lace collars and knitting all those little cables on FiFi, it's a great change of pace.

Monday, October 13, 2008

FiFi Complete

And on the way home from Dayton I worked on finishing up FiFi:

Knit of Rowan Calmer that I had purchased for another sweater I decided not to knit -- pattern chosen mostly to use up the Calmer, as a matter of fact. I made it longer in the arm scythe, in the torso, and a bit longer in the sleeves. It was a fairly easy knit. The cables are done without a cable needle, so they zip along.

Today's probably the last day of 2008 that it's warm enough to wear it -- I'll put it away until next spring. I have some issues with the overall look of the sweater -- I think the yoke hits me weird, and it's a looks a little too overworked now that I see it in person (it didn't strike me that way in photos I've seen of it). Also, I'm not that thrilled with the color -- what was I thinking when I bought this yarn? Obviously purchased during my pink phase (I'm now in a blue phase, for the record -- I keep buying blue yarn). But, hey, it's wearable and it fits, and if you know my wardrobe you know that those are the 2 main criteria I have.

Gem City Feis

Friday afternoon we headed to Dayton for the Gem City Feis. Directions from here to Dayton: go east on Interstate 70. Pretty simple, eh?

When we got to the Interstate 75 we took a brief detour (about 2 miles) to stop at the Drury Inn and register for the feis. Then back on I70 to a Holiday Inn Express -- not on the feis list of hotels, but just as close to the feis, very new, very quiet, very nice.

The feis was at the airport, a bit north of I70 and just off of I75. It started at 9am with figures followed by Treble Reels, neither of which we were involved in. We arrived about 9, bypassed the long line waiting to check in (having done so at the night before), and dumped our stuff in the huge camping area in the middle of the building, which appeared to be a converted airplane hangar. We settled in and watched the other competitions, waiting for ours.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

It became apparent that AnnaBeth was once again on the Stage from Hell. By noon she had danced twice -- Thalia had finished all of her soft shoe in that time. We had lunch in the lobby (it seemed that most people didn't realize there were concessions in the lobby -- the selection there was a little nicer than inside the main room, although they could've easily sold dozens more fruit-and-cheese plates if they hadn't run out of them so soon). Small televisions had been set up, tuned to football -- we were in football country, so this was quite important. Really, you expect to see people at a feis decked out in all sorts of Irish garb; it's a little different to see them decked out in support of Ohio State (including one girl in a mini-cheerleader outfit).

After lunch the long slog of the afternoon began, when suddenly an announcement was made that all of the Under 8 and Under 9 Beginner 2 competitions were being taken to the now-empty OC stage. The entire group of 40 to 50 girls zipped down to the other end of the building, followed by parents. The 2 groups were lined up on the stage back to back -- under 8s facing one way, under 9s the other. One musician, 2 adjudicators. The musician started playing hornpipe; the girls danced 3 at a time (most of the competitions had been danced 2 at a time). It looked like a lesson in how to get 4 dozen dancers through a competition in 10 minutes. Then practically without pause they danced Traditional Set. Presto -- done! Rick's theory is that someone looked at the clock and realized that the Ohio State football game was going to start soon -- families involved in those particular groups were able to change clothes, collect results, and get out the door by kick-off.

Thalia's stage didn't have such dramatics going on (although 2 dancers did manage to run into each other while dancing -- I've said before that sometimes it looks like a game of chicken up there on stage, and that just proved my point).

In the end, AnnaBeth got the elusive win in her hornpipe, the only win she needed to start 2009 with all dances in Novice. Both of our dancers received a couple of medals and a few ribbons. Thalia had competed at Novice level in 4 of her dances, and was pleased to get anything in those dances.

Back into the car, back on I70, and point to the west for the long drive home. Will we go to this feis again next year? It's a long drive, but we liked the general atmosphere. It was a little weird to be at a feis where we didn't know anyone (at one point I started to remind AnnaBeth to make sure she didn't stand next to anyone else from our school during competition, then realized that the only way she could do that was to go find Thalia), but people were generally friendly. It's certainly easy to get to and to find a parking place, which is a plus. And we always love it when the organizers are flexible enough to move large groups around to speed up the competitions. Overall, we liked it and are likely to be back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Weekly Report -- Oct. 10

Annabeth finished RightStart C!

Action shot of this last week:

The warmups for the week were to mentally solve equations, then put a cube on the appropriate number on the 100 chart. By the way, I don't have an official RightStart 100 chart (is there such a thing? I never bought the RightStart manipulative pack because I figured I had most of the stuff anyway). I printed this one off of some math website I found by googling "100 chart".

And most of the week's work involved tangrams. We've been playing with tangrams for years here, so AnnaBeth zipped through the lessons. Favorite moment: I was reading aloud out of the RightStart book that she was to make a triangle using 5 pieces, but please realize that this is the most difficult triangle to figure out -- by the time I'd finished reading the sentence about how difficult it was she was asking, "Like this?" and showing me the 5-piece triangle she'd put together. Least favorite part: Some days the triangles on the worksheet were proportional to our tangrams and some days they were not. I suspect RightStart worksheets are shrunk/expanded while printed, which is really annoying.

Also, she continued Ecoutez/Parlez (workbooks in the background of that shot).

We are taking a break from prepositional phrases in First Language Lessons and are working on Dictionary Skills.

In Writing With Ease we've skipped ahead to the examples for Year 2 Weeks 20-27 -- I think we'll park it here for awhile, as this is more challenging for AnnaBeth. The examples in the book use Five Children and It, so that's our current read aloud (we finished 101 Dalmations last week; coincidentally, Thalia found a copy of the VHS cartoon version at a garage sale, so we need to watch that and compare plot).

We're studying the human body in science. That whole scenario is a post unto itself -- what we're using and why (featuring bonus comments on Noeo Science along the lines of "save your money -- don't bother buying").

And Latin still is a matter of reading through Minimus. The highlight of the week was playing Simo Dicit (Simon Says). Somehow I have an entire page printout of appropriate commands -- no idea where I got it, though.

Thalia's math-of-choice is still Life of Fred. The bad moment this week was when she asked me what an abscissa is, and I claimed I'd never heard the term before in my life. Umm, okay, I had, but obviously it hadn't made much of an impresson. Later that evening Rick remembered what it was and that it was paired with the ordinate, but had the two flipped insofar as which axes they belonged on. Fred laid it all out for her, though, so she needn't rely on her parents for extemporaneous explanations of Cartesian coordinates (good thing, that).

She zipped through Spanish for Children and Latin for Children, studied poetry in Lightning Lit 7, reviewed grammar in Analytical Grammar Reinforcement, read a bunch of books (who can keep track?) and worked on mapping in Prentice Hall Science Explorer -- Earth's Changing Surface:

Shown here drawing continents on a grapefruit in order to have a hands on experience that a 3D planet cannot be accurately portrayed on a 2D map -- the idea was to peel the grapefruit and then squish out the skin in order to see that it had to be torn in order to make it flat. Mostly, though, we started a discussion on whether it was better to cut various fruits along their equator or their prime meridian, which conversation has lasted all week.

Read alouds abounded. Still reading Little House on Rocky Ridge and Burgess Animal Book and Little Duke and Understood Betsy (wow, we set that last one aside for a couple of months before picking it back up, but we all remember the plot line). And, yes, we finally finished Tree in the Trail. I don't know why I found that book so annoying, but, gees, I was glad to be done with it.

We're taking today off to get ready for another feis, so it's another short week for us. But we've covered a lot of ground in just a few days.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Work in Progress Wednesday

The other day Mrs. Piano Teacher asked, "Are you in the mood to go to a yarn store?" And I knew exactly what she meant -- the air has that cool, crisp hint of autumn that drives knitters to the wool bins.

But, alas, I was still stuck in crochet-collar mode. Plus I don't have time to go to a yarn store.

Plus, I absolutely REFUSE to let Fifi languish over the winter, mostly because I know I'll totally forget where I was in the pattern if I set it down now:

I put it on waste yarn to try it on last night. I think it needs a couple of more pattern repeats, at least. And then the sleeves. And then jammed in a drawer until spring. And THEN I will find some wool and cast on something fall-like.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Road Trip

Thursday afternoon we took off to visit my parents in Indiana.

During the trip I crocheted a collar.

On Friday Grandma went to read to some people in Assisted Living. She does this 2 Fridays per month. Thalia and AnnaBeth went along, taking their Pat King CD. They danced a jig for the people -- no costumes or shoes, just in their regular clothes and socks. People really enjoyed it.

Then we went horseback riding.

It was AnnaBeth's first time to go on a ride. She's right behind the trail guide, wearing a pink poncho.

Thalia is riding the horse that I wanted. I ended up on Jericho -- you know, "Jericho" like the weapon in Ironman.

After the horseback ride we went to an apple orchard. They had just pressed apple cider.

We bought 5 gallons of fresh pressed, unpasteurized cider, shown here crammed into a cooler. Also, 2 cases of apple butter both the regular (ingredient list: apples, sugar, cinnamon) and sugar-free (ingredient list: perfectly ripe Yellow Delicious apples). If you are in driving distance of this place -- Skiles Orchard near Rossville -- you really need to go. They have all sorts of stuff in their shop, by the way, like painted gourds:

Then back to Grandma and Grandpa's to end the day watching Ironman. Again.

The next day was a fall festival that had all sorts of activities, like animals from the Humane Society,

and games, and a giant garage sale, and food for sale, and face painting, and, yes, entertainment, including a special guest performance by 2 dancers...

Yes, Thalia and AnnaBeth also took along their shoes and headbands (NO WIGS!), and put together a 15 minute show for the crowd. Grandpa was the sound man, Aunt E was in charge of filming it.

Then later in the afternoon we went swimming ...

and then bowling ...

Hmmm, the crowd is starting to look a little tired, don't you think? Rick is in his bumblebee shirt because he went to the Purdue game.

Sunday we got up bright and early and headed home, during which I crocheted another collar.

And, after attending to our usual Sunday activities (including listening to the cats tell us about the indignities of being home alone while we were wandering around doing not-much-important, at least not-much-important to felines), we're ready to relax.