Expressions from our Youngest

Expressions from our Youngest
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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Eileen is Grateful

It's great to be alive today as yesterday here in Maryland, it was very cloudy, foggy, rainy, and dreary.  I was beginning to feel like the weather looked - kind of sluggish.  Today is a little more bearable.  What a great way to break through the fog by participating in Judy's blog at A Thankful Woman's Book of Blessings.  Just list five things you are thankful for this past week.

1)  I am so grateful to have been able to participate in the Mothers Mass and Brunch at my daughter's high school.  I met some wonderful mothers - all devoted to faith and family.  Some of these moms have ten and eleven children and I am in awe at what they accomplish.  My daughter's school appreciates parents and families as it shows in the work ethic valued by all at the school.  We are so fortunate to be part of this wonderful place.

2)  I am ecstatic that I was able to see my two college sons home over the Thanksgiving holidays.  They are so handsome and really strive to live for the Lord.  I am so proud of them.

3)  I am relieved  and thankful that my five year old finally went to his little religion class.  I had to attend and help out, but it was well worth it.  He kept telling me he didn't want to go.  I wasn't doing a good job getting him out the door.  He finally came with me and did a good job in class.  It was rewarding to see him doing a new pasting work of the 'Good Shepherd.'

4)  I am grateful for the physical therapy I've received for the past two weeks on my back and legs.  I don't have pain all the time but the new exercises are helping me.  I'm too young to have this pain.

5)  Yes - today I'm thankful for transformers for little boys.  In presenting the fourth Luminous Mystery to the children today (Transfiguration), I compared it to transformers.  Well, it is probably better if I'm thankful for the Transformation first - before the transformers.  It is much more important.  Nevertheless, the analogy was very effective in showing that Christ underwent a miraculous change on the mountain.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mustard Seed Planting

SOAP: Scripture verse, Observation, Application, and Prayer.

S - "My son, if you wish, you can be taught; if you apply yourself, you will be shrewd.  If you are willing to listen, you will learn; if you give heed, you will be wise.  Frequent the company of the elders; whoever is wise, stay close to him.  Be eager to hear every Godly discourse; let no wise saying escape you.  If you see a man of prudence, seek him out; let your feet wear away his doorstep!  Reflect on the precepts of the Lord, let his commandments be your constant meditation; Then he will enlighten your mind, and the wisdom you desire he will grant." (Sirach 6: 32-37)

O - One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is to have a love for the learning process.  Especially on this Thanksgiving holiday, we can be thankful to God for sending us graces to see his ways better.  Wisdom is greatly needed and, through out all of history, many leaders have come up with a short supply.  Our children need to know that their parents have the authority to direct them in the way of truth.  It is God who is the author of life and has the final say in what is good and what is bad.  We need to teach our children the ways of the Lord and instill in them the discipline needed to be good listeners and to develop the skills needed to complete their assignments in a neat and joyful manner.  This does not happen over night.  It is a process that takes patience and time.  Let's teach our children to be eager to hear God's word and to be cheerful and diligent in their work and service to others.  Let Christ infuse a goal of searching for Christian truth and reaching out to help those in need into the mindsets of our children.

- I have found that the younger the child, the more work goes into instilling an attitude of cheerfulness while they work.  By the time they reach a certain age, children become conditioned to perform exceptional work with great attitudes if we persevere.  It is a gradual process to gently discipline a child to see the value in having a good work ethic and pleasing God at the same time.  Christ can become the supreme motivator and inspiration for our actions.  When this happens, God will enlighten our minds to pursue virtue.  Everything seems to be created in systems.  Therefore, your family is a system of life and love which should be spread throughout the world.  The input into your familial system should consist of God's word and prayer every day if possible.  It is the most vital part of our days.  Let your 'feet wear away the doorstep of God.'  These items can be spiritually, mentally, and physically processed in your familial system through out the day. This process will produce the greatest output known to mankind.

- I pray that all Christian parents take time to turn to the Lord to direct their footsteps as they go through out their days.  Especially on this day of Thanksgiving for all the blessings the Lord has bestowed upon our country.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yam Bake for Thanksgiving

3 large sweet potatoes
1 1/2 c. mini marshmallows
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. melted margarine
1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Cook potatoes.  I boil them.  Cut potatoes in half length wise.  Place half of cooked sliced potatoes in 1/2 quart casserole.  Layer half of the marshmallow (3/4 cup) over potatoes.  Then layer second half of potatoes over marshmallows.

Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over potatoes (except marshmallows).  Bake 350 for 20 minutes.  Remove and top with remaining marshmallows.  Return to oven and brown 10 minutes.

Eileen is Grateful

It is time for A Thankful Woman's Blessings over at Judy's blog where we list five things we are thankful for during our week.  What a great time of year to be thankful!  Just click on this link to participate.

1)  I am so grateful for the Thanksgiving holiday.  Families all over the country will be coming together in prayer and fellowship to thank God for all the blessings He bestows on them.  It is such a wonderful holiday.

2)  I am thankful that my two college sons will be coming home today to spend the holiday with us.  (Although I'm afraid to see my son's hair.-just kidding)  They are both getting their hair cuts on Friday.  I haven't seen them since September and it will be such a joy to see them again.

3) It is so wonderful that my daughter (sophomore in high school) made the National Honor Society this past week.  I am grateful that she applies herself to her work and tries her best.  This will help her tremendously when she tries to apply for colleges.

4)  I am thankful that I was able to make my Thanksgiving stuffing ahead of time.  My husband makes the turkey and mashed potatoes.  Mounds and mounds of mashed potatoes will be made for my sons.  Two cooks in the kitchen for too long bump elbows you know.  On Thanksgiving I will just need to make candied sweet potatoes (Yam Bake) and vegetables.  The stuffing was time consuming because of all the chopping involved with it.

5)  I am grateful that our little homeschool co-op for the kindergarteners is taking a winter break.  We will have time to do some simple fun things together but not worry about any lesson planning for a while.  In the cold weather all I want to do is stay home near the fire place anyway.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Grandma Bette's Thanksgiving Stuffing

Last night I made my mom's Thanksgiving stuffing ahead of time.  It is very easy but takes time because you have to chop a lot of celery and onions up.  This is what I did:

1)  Put 2 large frying pans on the stove to brown 2 lbs. of sage ground sausage in each pan.  1 lb. sausage in one pan and 1 lb. sausage in the other pan.  (Turn burner off when browned)

2)  While that was browning, I washed to bunches of celery in the sink and then proceeded to chop it up and put it in a large bowl.

3)  Afterwards, I chopped 5 medium onions up and put that into the bowl and mixed the celery and onions up.

4)  Then I divided the celery and onion in half - putting each half into one of the frying pans with the ground up sausage.

5)  I turned the frying pans back on to cook and soften the onions and celery also adding some poultry seasoning to taste.  Remember to put a good amount of margarine on top of the mixtures to melt and help cook.

6)  Once the onions and celery shrink down, it simmers for an hour or so.

7)  Immediately after it was done simmering, I added the desired amount of breadcrumbs.

8)  All the flavors are melding together in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving day.  You can reheat this stuffing in the bird, on the stove, a double boiler, or gradual heat in the microwave.

This is a very tasty recipe.  Later, I will try to post a picture of it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Homeschool Week

It is time for the Homeschool Mother's Journal which is a wonderful way to keep track of our weeks while we homeschool our children.  Just click on the link to participate.

In my life this week...I was able to attend my 30th high school reunion with a good friend this week.  It really was a blessing to see some faces I haven't seen in years.  I was worried that I was going to feel uncomfortable, but people were very friendly and we all had a good time.

We are also gearing up for Thanksgiving.  My two college sons will be home this week to celebrate with us.  I am really looking forward to seeing them.  My mother-in-law will also be with us after she had a mild stroke.  Therefore, we need to really clean this week because she is on blood thinner, and we don't want her cutting herself by tripping over toys, etc.  It is harder to stop the bleeding when one is on this medicine.

In our homeschool week...

***Math - (Middle School) - Number Lines, Fractions, and Mixed Numbers; Averages and Line Graphs; Factors and Prime Numbers; and Corrections (Kindergarten)  -  Adding and Subtracting; Money; Telling Time (new concept: knows there are 60 minutes in an hour).

***English - (Middle School)  -  Conjunctive Adverbs with Diagramming; Prepositional Phrases with Diagramming (Kindergarten)  -  Created and wrote two sentences for journals, initially choosing nouns and verbs and then expanded our sentence afterward; MCP Phonics.

***Religion - Discussed two religious articles on "Removing Blinders" and "Augustine's Searh for the Truth" and came up with 25 points to think about and how these points can change the world.  Instead of listing them all here, here is one example:  Something To Think About:  Reading the Old Testament wasn't enough to convert Augustine.  He came to know Jesus through the Church.  How it Can Change the World:  All people can have a relationship with the Lord!  The Church is here to welcome all.  (Kindergarten)  -   Read two Bible stories (Joseph's Dream and The Proclamation of the Kingdom) and recorded them in journals.

***Vocabulary - (Middle School) - Took written quiz on ten vocabulary words and their meanings.

***History - (Middle School)  -  Read Text and completed Workbook on Spanish-American War.  Noticed discrepancy in number of casualties reported in two different sources.  The Spanish-American War was probably the easiest war America has fought as there were hardly any casualties for the Americans.

***Science (Middle School)  -  Read Lesson on 'Change in States of Matter.' Also studied vocabulary and completed workbook.   (Kindergarten)  -  Conducted three experiments on 'Cold Air being Denser than Warm Air.'  Also discovered that this is also how airplanes can fly.  1) Piece of cardboard did not fall off the top of a glass filled with water when we turned it upside down because the cooler air was pushing up against it.  2)  Strip of paper was pushed up toward the faster moving warm air when we blew on it. This occurred from the denser air underneath the paper pushing upward.  3)  Blowing through a straw pushed an item forward better than blowing without the straw.

***Writing (Middle School)  -  Completed first draft of Religion paper.  (Kindergarten)  -  Wrote sentences in journals.

***Latin (Middle School)  -  Worked on syllabication and accents.  Also added new Latin nouns to vocabulary index cards.

***Reading  -  (Middle School)  -  Read and finished novel "Escape from Warsaw" for History.  Completed all draft chapter summaries.  (Kindergarten)  -  Read library books, We Both Read books, and stories from CSC.

***Art - Drew and colored pictures in journals.  (Middle School) - Analyzed two dramatic paintings by John Singleton Copley and Peter Paul Rubens.  Painted a picture of something dramatic in her own life.  (Kindergarten) - Painted

***Music and Phys. Ed. - Piano Lesson and Ballet Lesson.

I am inspired by...all the friends I saw again this week.  Every week they inspire me at our homeschool co-op.  I was also inspired by my good friend that went to my reunion with me.  I'm also inspired by my husband who has a tremendous amount of discipline and self-control.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...High school friends and co-op friends.

My favorite thing this week...was being able to see the children at the co-op learning so much about their faith, writing, and science.  We discussed the Kingdom Parables in the bible and started understanding what it means to compare things.  As you know, Jesus uses many analogies in His parables.  We discussed the 'Mustard Seed' and 'Pearl of Great Price.'

Questions/thoughts I have...How do you stay organized?  I do by keeping track of a laid out proposed plan every week and recording what we actually do beside this plan.  It takes two columns:  Planned and Actual to record our homeschool efforts.  We seldom accomplish everything that is planned.  Nevertheless, I can go back and compare from week to week what we need more or less of during the current week.  If there is an area we missed one week, the following week we will pick up on it.

Also, why do my children say that we are not homeschoolers but that we were homeschooled (up until ninth grade).  Is it more grammatically correct?  Is the word 'homeschool' in the dictionary yet?  People say, "I'm a ninth grader."  There is nothing wrong with saying, "I'm a homeschooler?"  I think my kids just want to stress that homeschooling happened in the past, and they weren't homeschooled all life-long.  They did have a positive experience in the private high schools they attended.  I don't think we would be as fortunate had they attended a public high school.

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

"Learn the wisdom of compromise, for it is better to bend a little than to break." Jane Wells (not when it comes to principal though)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Eileen is Grateful

I am able to take some time to list what I am thankful for this week at Judy's blog.  It is so heart warming to share what we are thankful for with each other.  Judy's list always makes me want to go visit her.  She is a wonderful host who is always inspiring and encouraging.

1)  It was a wonderful experience to attend a 30th high school reunion with a good friend this past weekend.  I am thankful to be able to reconnect with some of my friends.  We had a wonderful time.  I was there for about 3 hours reminiscing with old friends.  It was good to see them.

2)  I am thankful that I haven't gone crazy yet this week because I've had to carpool my daughter to her high school a little more than usual.  Her carpool is on her junior retreat.  The traffic has cooperated so far.

3)  I am so grateful for a great homeschooling family my daughter spent time with this weekend.  She had a sleepover with her friend.  They had one of her favorite meals - tacos.  They are too nice because I know my daughter probably requested this.  I am going to have to tell the mom that she should have put the girls to work in making the tacos.

4)  I am grateful for the Holy Spirit to give me a new idea in teaching the kindergarten co-op class.  It is really a simple thing that I never thought of before.  I love to get good ideas.

5)  I am so thankful for our Catholic Faith.  I owe everything I have to Jesus Christ.  He has been the center of our homeschooling efforts.  From here, my children have carried on His ways out into the big world.  This is so good in this day and age.  Sometimes, we hear too much drama and it is nice to know fellow followers live in the same country as other followers do.  All followers have good things to share.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

2011/2012 Homeschool Course Plans

I wanted to take the opportunity to record the Course of Studies for my two children this year.  In my family's education, time management plays an important role.  As a result, we may engage in more activities that take less planning time on my part.  Although we do get creative, we often break large projects into manageable chunks to accomplish the task, learn skills, or gain knowledge.  My children do remind me that we are not homeschoolers but were homeschooled (up until ninth grade).  Go figure!  Whatever you say.

It was much more manageable, as a Christian family, to let my children attend Catholic high schools because they were showing great strides in maturity.  We have greatly benefitted from two different private high school communities because it has allowed me to devote more time educating the elementary and middle school aged children.  Thus, you can see how time managment plays a role in our lives.  It has also propelled my older children to meet the demands of college life.  In fact, my two college children tell me that college is easier than high school was for them.

You will note that a couple classes are with our homeschool Co-op (HFA) where they do not have an accelerated program.  I do request that my own children are pushed, ever so gently, to go beyond what they are capable of.  Therefore, I require a certain level of progression with them.  This does require some mild form of acceleration or 'bringing about certain skills at an earlier time' with the instillation of additional knowledge gained through inspiration, not force. A great deal of this inspiration also comes from establishing a strong relationship with Jesus Christ.  The Lord has become the one who inspires us.

With younger children, I have found that there may possibly be more of a gentle coaxing in the learning process.  Thus, I have to manage a certain level of differentiation or 'modification of the parts' to my curriculum to achieve performance of particular skills and gain certain knowledge.  You can view my other blog to see some of this differentiation at  I also use some supplemental resources.  The materials I utilize permit me to be creative in teaching when it is required for the kids to advance.

My five year old sometimes would rather be entertained than learn.  There is more motivation involved with him to do his work.  My four older children are all inspired by the learning process and understand the requirements needed for gaining knowledge and applying their skills to the task at hand.  There was a process to go through in mastering this virtue that required a gentle teaching of important skills and occasionally a motivational aspect (like taking away a priviledge if the work does not get done) to accomplish tasks while the child was still young.  Working people are inspired and motivated by a good paycheck.  So too can children learn when priviledges that inspire and motivate them are attained through good work and good behavior.

Let's face it, we are born with weaknesses that we have to overcome and we can't just learn by osmosis.  Therefore, it is this younger age that sometimes needs more assistance to perform some of the work and gain additional knowledge.  I believe mothers are the best educators of young children because of this reality.  I often stress this point on my website at

What it really boils down to is that our children need to have a good attitude and work ethic in seeing and knowing the value of learning to enjoy the process.  Much of this comes from within us rather than outside of us.  This is why I stress, as a requirement in education, to know the Faith.  As a result, our children do not have to be shown extravagant and beautiful things to catch their attention in every single lesson that is taught to them.  Occasionally though, I will resort to a more extravagent approach that can instill more in their memory in the learning process.  My homeschooling methods and high school experience of my children seem to achieve a good balance and exposure which brings out their talents and God given gifts.


I.  Middle School Daughter - 7th Grade
Course of Study

Language Arts:

English - Voyages in English 8 Text (Kolbe Syllabus, Course Plans, and Tests).  We follow the Kolbe syllabus which is very thorough.  It carries my daughter through the assignments in the Voyages Text which I also get from Kolbe.  Voyages comes with a good teacher's answer key too.  There is even a place on the syllabus to record and calculate your child's grades each week.  The syllabus does not go through the paragraph development in the Voyages Text.  Therefore, we will do this ourselves as time permits because we use a separate program for writing (see below).  

Reading - Setons Reading 6 and 7 for Young Catholics - Comprehension and Setons 6 and 7 for Young Catholics - Thinking Skills.  These are wonderful workbooks that teach you about the lives of various Saints.  The stories really interest my daughter and I can tell she is learning from the readings.  She often gives me verbal feedback from the readings when she learns something new.  My daughter is very independent when she works in these books. (Literature - see below)

Vocabulary / Spelling - Vocabulary for Achievement, Introductory and First Courses by Great Source.  I love these Vocabulary books.  They group the list of words each week by having something similar in meaning.  For example, one week her vocabulary list dealt with all the words similar in meaning to honest, fairness, and openness - like 'genuine and fabricate.'  There is also a short story included where the student has to show she understands how the words are used in paragraphs and sentences.  We try to have a weekly exam which my daughter writes the correct spelling of the word in her Vocabulary Notebook and also uses the word in a sentence of her own.  Occasionally, the workbook has a writing project where the student needs to use five vocabulary words in their own paragraph.

Write/Speak/Draw - IEW or Institute for Excellence in Writing - Student Writing Intensive, Group B (1/2 the year - Concepts learned can be applied to work the entire year) and Write at Home - Eighth Grade Level (the other 1/2 of the year).  IEW is a wonderful way to teach kids how to write because it helps them remember patterns in sentence development that can be recalled easily.  The Student Writing Intensive, Group B has a series of actual classroom sessions conducted on videos that teach your child the lesson.  Anthony Padewa is the great teacher on the videos and I highly recommend his materials.  I will be utilizing Write At Home come January.  The skills learned from IEW will still be in play while we tackle more writing assignments in the future.  As for drawing, every week my daughter assists my younger son in sketching a bible picture for his journal and he colors it afterward.

Religion: St. Francis Parish's Religious Education Program and Following Jesus by Loyola Press.  This local parish has a wonderful R.E. program run by a good director who is devoted to using Loyola Press materials - which I love.  Next year will be my daughter's sacramental year for Confirmation.  'Following Jesus' actually directs the student to analyze different religious articles with a partner (me or another student) and choosing and recording the main topics.  The articles are all very good and informative.  I highly recommend Loyola Press.  I believe their new series is called 'Finding God' which is just as good.

Science: HFA Co-Op:  Christian Kids Explore Physics by Bright Idea Press (Co-Op Teacher: (Z.B.) and Health Activity Book:  Developing Life Skills by Mark Twain/Carson-Dellosa.  My good friend is teaching this class once a month and the kids follow a weekly syllabus.  The book is very user friendly but does not seem to stick to the subject of Physics in every chapter.  We are finding that Chemistry is mixed in with it.  Therefore, my friend is supplementing this book with her high school Physics book which is working out well.  

Developing Life Skills is a great book with good summaries to learn many practical life skills.  They include Understanding Yourself, Relationships, Consumer Skills, Nutrition and Fitness, Food Preparation, Grooming, and Careers.  It is a great book to use if you have to have a Health requirement for your state.

Literature: I received a Reading List of 15 novels from Totally Tailored Reading.  I like the books Totally Tailored picked out for my daughter because they analyzed her reading skills and History curriculum to choose the proper fit for her.  We also read various library books like those written by Mary Downing Hahn.

Math:  Finished Saxon Math 6/5 Home Study Kit and Started Saxon Math 7/6 Home Study Kit.  I love Saxon Math because it establishes an excellent 'work ethic' into your child.  I do not start Saxon until 4th grade though.  My daughter is extremely independent because each chapter explains the concept to be learned in a very clear and understandable way.  Some people have trouble with it because it skips around at times.  To help in this area, we are recording different concepts in a notebook to try to commit to memory some computational procedures.   Once a child begins Saxon and gets conditioned to its process, other programs just don't seem as thorough.

History:  HFA Co-Op: All American History, Volume 2 by Bright Idea Press supplemented by Christ and the Americas by Anne Carroll (Co-Op Teacher: Eileen Miller).  All American History is very good for middle school age because it covers important areas without analyzing every detail so that the student can gain a broader perspective for the entire year.  I love the workbook because it lets you record important information onto various forms that could be used for study purposes. Although I do create my own tests to instill information to memory in the children better, the material is summarized in a way that covers the most important topics for this age and is very manageable for the homeschool mom..  

I do supplement the book with Christ and the Americas.  This is an excellent text.  For example, the 'All American History' left out an important point that the slavery issue surfaced at the Constitutional Convention and a compromise was made to satisfy all. This point set the stage for further development of the issue.  Therefore, if 'All American History' leaves out something important, we pick it up in the supplemental resource by Anne Carroll.  I am the only one reading Christ and the Americas though.  I will verbally tell my students any important points this text covers that should also be known.  History is like this because their are various opinions and much research that can be done to uncover the truth.

I would recommend Christ and the Americas to every middle school or high high school student at some point in their education.  It is well written and really takes in the consideration of a Christian point of view toward politics without getting too in depth as to opinion.  It diplomatically points out injustices from a Christian perspective.

Geography:  World Geography and You by Vivian Bernstein and Map Skills Level G.  World Geography can even be used for children with learning disabilities but challenges each child enough to be able to work independently while the teacher supplements information from a teachers manual which may include important questions to consider and short writing assignments.  It also includes simple forms to outline or lay out the writing assignment for the child before it is composed.  I believe that to understand History you have to have a  flavor of  some Geography too.  Therefore, I wanted to incorporate this into my daughter's curriculum.  

Map Skills is a great way to familiarize students with reading maps and using an Atlas occasionally.  For example, my daughter just did an exercise on understanding map grids.  Reading maps is a valuable tool because we have to be able to navigate our way around in this big world.

Art:  National Gallery of Art Activity Book, 25 Adventures with Art and Kids Guide to Digital Photography by Jenni Bidner.  The National Gallery of Art book is great for introducing my daughter to important techniques of  famous artists.  Each lesson has a famous artists painting to analyze a specific technique taught and a simple assignment to practice the technique in their own creation.  We went through 12 lessons last year and will finish up the book this year with the other half of the book.  So it has helped us for two years.  Art is not one of my strong skills.  

Also, Kids Guide to Digital Photography is good but you need a camera and computer.  My daughter is  just reading it to get a flavor of the process.  Next year, I would like to enroll in a photography class with her.  As you can see from my blog, I do not have many pictures.  This is not one of my strengths either.

Latin:  Latin Alive! by Karen Moore and Gaylan Dubose.  This book is so user friendly I can scream!  I am actually learning right along side my daughter.  I even have a notebook for myself to do the lessons.  We are really enjoying completing short manageable assignments together.  Each chapter introduces the student to five or so new vocabulary words and we make new index cards to quiz eachother and study.  The lessons introduce new concepts in verb conjugation so far in a step by step process with easy access to refer back to previous concepts when necessary.  We have learned to conjugate present tense, future tense, and Imperfect tense thus far.

Music:  Piano Lessons from a fellow parishioner.  We need to practice more.

Physical Education:  Ballet in the winter months from a local dance studio with an excellent teacher and swim team every summer with a great coach. My daughter's ballet instructor used to be a rocket!  She is very strict and serious in teaching the girls but also often weaves in some good humor.  Can't beat her approach.  She is a master.  Our swim team coach is like a big teddy bear you want to give a big hug to.  The whole team has a lot of  fun together, and we become like a big family.  My husband is heavily involved with the swim team which helps me tremendously.  Go dads!

II.  Kindergarten Son - Course of Study

English:  Kolbe Academy's English 1 - Ignatius Speaks and Writes Series by Dianne Muth .  This is a wonderful book but my son is helping lead the way on what he can do in this book so far.  I do not want to overwhelm him too soon.  Some of this book will have to be utilized in first grade too.  Nevertheless, he already knows the four different types of sentences and how they are punctuated.  Pretty good for five years old.

Writing and Drawing:  See

Reading:  Many library picture books, Early Readers, We Both Read Series, Little Stories for Little Folks from CHC - Catholic Heritage Curricula, and Anything that perks our interest, etc.

Science:  HFA Co-Op: Funtastic Frogs by McGraw-Hill featuring Light and Color, Air, Water, Force and Motion, Sound, and Magnets; MCP Science Level A; and Health, Safety and Manners - 2 (Co-op teacher: A. H.).  These are all older books which may be out of print.  The Funtastic Frogs is wonderful as it permits us to conduct fun and simple science experiments for these young boys in the class.  My sons have always loved Science, and I see much value in teaching it to them at this age.  Some programs do not even teach Science in Kindergarten.  

MCP Science is awesome.  We just supplement reading the Level A book to understand some important items.  For example, my son learned about the solar system already.  This lesson gives him a broader view of our position in the larger scale of things at an early age.  The pictures in this series are excellent visuals! 

The Health, Safety, and Manners book is just something I read to my son to ensure a good requirement for the county/state which is also beneficial for his development at this age.

Math:  MCP Math.  This is pretty basic material and I - once in a blue moon - will skip a page if it does too much drill.  This age can take some drill but in small quantities.  Sometimes I will divide the page to do 1/2 of the page one day and the other half a second day.  The book has some great visuals to help with understanding simple concepts.  Later in the year, he will begin telling time and learn place value.  Right now he is doing simple addition and subtraction.  I do not feel the need to use a manipulative right now.  Although we have used pennies or simple objects for counting purposes in the past, he prefers to use his fingers to count now.  He does like legos and is pretty good at putting some of the pieces together on his own just from looking at diagrams.

History:  The Story of the World, Vol. 1 by Susan Wise Bauer and Bible History by Most Rev. F.J. Knecht (part of the year).  This is something I haven't started yet but as soon as he begins to show more interest and ability - I will begin.  The materials will also be used for first grade. 

Geography:  Map Skills B (part of the year) and Road Trip USA CD - A Journey Across America (part of the year).  These subjects will also phase into first grade when he is ready.  I have experience with Map Skills from my older children, and it has been very good in teaching many concepts for reading maps.  The Road Trip USA just sounds like a fun and interactive way to learn about our country but I need help figuring out how to get it to work on our computer.  I will tell you more later is we can figure this out.

Art:  Drawing and Coloring included with Religion Journaling.

Music:  HFA Co-Op:  Dance and Movement (Teacher:  Eileen Miller/Cancelled - maybe a spring activity to look forward to).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oreo Truffles

1 package of Oreos (take out a few and crush the rest)
1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 package of semi-sweet chocolate, melted

Mix the crushed cookies and cream cheese, roll into 1" balls, dip in the chocolate.  You can lay out a sheet of parchment paper for them to cool on and take one of the cookies I didn't crush and with a cheese grater - shave some cookie crumbs over the truffles.  Then place them in the fridge to harden.  This will make a little over 3 dozen.

Grandma Bette's Apple Pie

7 to 8 peeled and sliced apples
1/2 cup - 3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Four (optional)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Mix all ingredients.  Put a small amount of butter on apples to brown.  Place in pie shell (pre-made dough) and cover with top of shell.  Vent pie shell with fork.  Bake 20 minutes and 400 F.  Change temperature to 350 F and continue baking for 30 minutes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Homeschool Week

The Homeschool Mother's Journal is a great place to keep track of our homeschool weeks and share ideas with each other.

In my life this week...we've been totally blessed with beautiful Autumn weather this week in Maryland.  The leaves have fallen off many trees and today there is a breeze that blows leaves in a swirling motion through out our town.  The only rainy week day we had this week was Thursday.  All the other days were gorgeous.  Therefore, we took time to play outdoors in the yard whenever we got the chance.

In our homeschool week...

***Math - (Middle School) - Problems about Equal Groups, Math Test, Corrections and Writing Equation Patterns, Rounding Whole Numbers and Estimating. (Kindergarten)  -  Adding and Subtracting

***English - (Middle School)  -  Exam, Singular and Plural Possessive with Diagramming, Verb Conjugation with Diagramming.  (Kindergarten)  -  Created and wrote two sentences for journals choosing nouns and verbs initially and MCP Phonics.

***Religion - Discussed John 9:1-38 where Jesus cures the man born blind and John 12:46 which tells us that Jesus came as light into the world.  We discussed what it means to have Faith (entrusting, believing, relying on Holy Spirit's help, and responding.  Also how following Jesus helps those walking in spiritual darkness).  Also prayed decade of rosary and devotion every day.  (Kindergarten)  -   Read two Bible stories and recorded them in journals.

***Vocabulary - (Middle School) - Completed Lesson on words meaning usual and unusual.

***History - (Middle School)  -  Read Text and completed Workbook on Presidents of the Gilded Age (1876-1901/after Reconstruction)  Also took exam on Civil War Era.  I have found that quizing my daughter for her History Exam has shown us a very important lesson in her verbal skills and instilled a lesson in an effective way to communicate to others.

***Science - (Middle School)  -  Read Lesson on Gases. Also completed vocabulary and workbook.   (Kindergarten)  -  Conducted two experiments on 'How Air Expands when it is Heated' and recorded findings.  They involved putting a large empty juice bottle with a balloon attached over the opening into a bowl of boiling water.  The balloon was floppy and rose after it was inserted into the water.  We also cut a snake-like long strip of paper out and taped a string to one end.  We held it over a light bulb, candle, and near the fire place (supervision please) to see the paper swirl around near heated air.

***Writing - (Middle School)  -  Completed Final Drafts on Geography and Writing papers.  (Kindergarten)  -  Wrote sentences in journals.

***Latin - (Middle School)  -  Work on Person, Tense, and Translation.

***Reading  -  (Middle School)  -  Read and complete more Lessons on St. Francis Xavier and St. Cyril.  Also reading novel "Escape from Warsaw" for History.  (Kindergarten)  -  Read Early Readers and stories from CSC.

***Art - Drew and colored pictures in journals.

***Music and Phys. Ed. - Piano Lesson and Ballet Lesson.

***Geography - Map Skills - Understanding and Using Road Maps, Map Indexes and Map Grids

I am inspired by...all the friends I saw this week.  They are all such wonderful people.  I always feel 'at home' with them because we go through similar situations during our weeks.  If is fun to share and discuss areas of concern with all of them.  I am also inspired by my middle schooled child who volunteered to read my five year old a story along with his 'Resurrection Eggs' the other night when I was too tired to do it.

Places we're going and people we're seeing...On Friday we were able to attend the play at my daughter's Catholic high school.  Don't worry - I homeschooled her up until ninth grade.  She is now doing very well at this private school that is unlike the conveyor belt schools.  The play was called "The Little Princess" and was very well done.

My favorite thing this week...Spending time with my two daughters before the play.  We went to the mall (which doesn't happen often) and walked around window shopping.  We were also able to eat dinner out (which doesn't happen often) together while hubby was home with my five year old son.  It was a nice change.  The play was awesome and very enjoyable.  We are truly fortunate to be part of this 'diamond in the rough.'

Questions/thoughts I have...How do you keep a prepared environment for your homeschool efforts?  I make space and it often disappears!  Are there simple ideas you can share?

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

"You can't pour out what doesn't get poured in." 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Eileen is Grateful

It is really a beautiful fall day here in Maryland and there is so much to be thankful for today.  Visit Judy's blog to participate in this great meme to share what you are grateful for in your life this week. 

1)  I am especially grateful that I was able to witness the sunrise this morning while I dropped off a book at the library that was due.  The sunrise covered the whole sky with pastels.  After I turned the corner, bright pink spread all across the horizon.  By the way, I'm also glad I turned in my book before it was over due.  If you've read any of my previous posts to Thankful Woman, you will remember that I've had trouble with this in the past!  Yea!

2)  I am thankful that my husband and his two sisters have eachother to support while my mother-in-law is in the hospital.  My husband just happened to call her while she was having a mild (TIA) stroke and took her into the ER.  They are coming together to make decisions on how to care for my mother-in-law.  The kiddies and I are praying quite a bit for everyone.  Keep them in your prayers.

3)  I am thankful for the gift of BAPTISM in the first Luminous Mystery.  Yes, we are born again and it is a life long journey.  It doesn't happen one time but is a marvelous process that we go through to become beautiful in the eyes of God.  We become cleaner, little by little, to enter the Kingdom.  Baptism brings the reality of our life long journey to little ones in a much more tangible and understandable way.  God knows what we need!  Oh joy of my heart!

4)  I'm grateful for some of the easy recipes I thought of to make this week.  I just bought enough chicken to cut up for two simple recipes.  They are:

I.  One Dish Chicken and Rice

Ingredients:  1 (10-ounce) can cream of chicken soup, 1/2 cup milk, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. pepper, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 cups chopped cooked chicken, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 cup frozen peas, 1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper, 2 cups cooked white rice, 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided.

a) Preheat oven to 350F.  Blend soup, milk, salt, pepper, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl.  Combine chicken, onion, peas, bell pepper and rice in a large bowl; mix gently.

b) Gently fold soup mixture into chicken mixture to combine.  Fold in half the Cheddar.

c) Spray a medium casserole dish with cooking spray.  Spoon in chicken mixture.

d) Sprinkle top of casserole with remaining Cheddar.  Bake until top is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

II.  Noodles, Gravy, and Chicken - gravy and chicken on top of egg noodles.  My family loves it.

5)  The Holy Trinity is one of the Great Mysteries of our Faith.  When we are out in public, we should not be ashamed to mark ourselves with the Sign of the Cross.  Too many young people are marking themselves with tatoos.  I say phooey to that - mark yourselve with the loving FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT!  Thank you for this Wonderful Mystery.