Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dear Friend Who Celebrates Halloween

Dear Friend Who Celebrates Halloween,

You might be a relative, a friend from Church, a childhood friend, or a new friend. Either way, it's an honor to call you my friend.

Each of us has had to make decisions about Halloween. Will we decorate? Will we go trick or treating? Will we dress up? Will we give out treats? Will we acknowledge Halloween at all?

We have made different choices. You've chosen to celebrate Halloween your way, I've chosen to handle it my way. Different factors have prompted us in our decisions, but one thing guides us both: we want to do what's best for us.

You don't have to explain your reasons to me and I don't have to explain my reasons to you, but if you want to talk about it, I'm open to do that. I don't judge you for your decision. That's not my call. I ask that you offer me the same courtesy.

I just want you to know if you overhear me talking about Halloween, see me share links on Facebook about Halloween, or writing on my blog about Halloween, it's not directed at you or about you.

When I say we don't go big into halloween because that's what we believe God is calling our family to do, I'm not suggesting that people that celebrate halloween are living in sin or that we're more spiritual than others.

Celebrating halloween is the normal thing to do. Not celebrating halloween is not the normal thing to do. Things that aren't normal make people uncomfortable. No one likes to be uncomfortable. But sometimes you have to do what you think is right, even if it does make you or others feel uncomfortable.

I've read lots of different arguments for, and lots of different arguments against, Halloween, and I'm sure you have to. I agree, and disagree, with lots of different arguments on both sides. I've come to my decision and you've come to yours.

I'm thankful that we both have the freedom to do what we believe is right. My favourite article about the whole issue this year is this one - . That's the key, and the challenge, - Love and respect one another, even if we've chosen differently.



And for the record, though we did not decorate and will not be going trick or treating ourselves, this beautiful ballerina will be giving out treats at our door tonight.

Inspired by this great post -

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekly wrap-up - cuddles are the highlight

One of the great things about homeschooling is being able to get cuddles whenever you need them. The weather is getting colder and we like to cuddle as much as we can. We spend a good portion of the day sitting on the couch cuddling while we read through whatever material we have to cover for the day. If Anna gets frustrated or upset trying to do some of her work, she will often request that we cuddle for a bit when she's done, before she goes on to the next thing. We really enjoyed the privilege of cuddling during school this week.


Anna decided to start the Courageous Kids Bible reading plan from YouVersion as her morning reading this week. She's still working on the Book of Daniel with Kids reading plan as her night time reading.

There are now 14 verses in Anna's mastered list on ScriptureTyper. In reality, I wouldn't say she has these verses mastered, but according to the app she has. She still needs prompting to do each verse but she's doing good.


To be perfectly truthful, I was feeling so swamped trying to get everything else done that I let art go by the wayside in my planning. This did not go over well with Anna and she came up with her own plans for two days this week. One day she insisted that we both get a piece of paper and simply fill it with colour by doing broad strokes with pencil leads all over the paper, first with one colour and then with another, and another, until the paper was filled with colour. She did all her strokes in the one direction, while I did my strokes in a different direction each time. Here's the end result -

Another day she set up the table with a plastic bag to protect it and laid out the paper and chalk pastels and insisted we both just do something with them. I decided to do a quick sketch of a fallen log in our back yard while Anna just filled the page with colour. I was so busy working on my piece that I didn't see hers til we were both done and I was pretty impressed.

The one day I did plan something for art we went to visit Lorne Bishop's exhibition Ephemeral Femininity at the J.L. Gallery. We were quite taken with the paintings and discussed how he managed to make the eyes, nose, and hair so lifelike. Inspired by the portraits, on the way home Anna attempted to draw a portrait.


Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar)

We did lessons 27-31 in First Language Lessons this week. This had us finding contractions in a fable, finding verbs in a poem, and using nouns and adjectives to write sentences. Anna finished making a booklet for an adaption by Sarah Buffington of a poem called The Year, written by Sarah Coleridge. We will be working on memorizing that poem over the next little while.


We finally got through group 12 words in Spelling Power, and also managed to get through group 13 words and started group 14 words. The words are getting trickier but Anna is managing to keep a pretty good attitude.

The narration exercises, copy work and dictation in Writing With Ease this week were based on passages from Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Anna did great with them.

We have been working our way through parts of the Young Writers Program Workbook. We have discussed and made notes about the main character and supporting character and have started working on the villian. Anna seems to be getting excited with the idea of writing a story in November.

We also managed to write another couple of poems this week, inspired by poems we have been reading.

Inspired by the passages in Writing With Ease, we decided to listen to/read The Jungle Book from We downloaded the ebook into IBooks and we follow along with the audio files. We're almost half way through the book already. We love to cuddle together on the couch with the iPad set up on the table in front of us to follow along with the reading.

A friend recently introduced me to Donna Young's cursive animations and this week I introduced them to Anna. We book marked it on her IPad so that she could refer to it whenever she wants to. She incorporated some writing into her journaling this week.



We started the week doing the number walls and facts for the numbers 1-7. Because the walls got smaller, and the number of facts less with each number, we did all those in just two days, and then we made a huge number wall that showed all the number bonds. Anna thought that was pretty cool.


The rest of the week we had fun with a new game, the puzzle game, and reviewing subtraction facts in the process. I learned about the puzzle game from Education Unboxed, and of course we added our own touch to the game. I started by laying out 9 puzzles for Anna. While she was watching I recorded the corresponding equations when she was done. She then lay out 9 puzzles for me and I recorded the equations, minus the answers, while she was laying them out. I told her I could write the answers without using the blocks and suggested I do that and she correct my work while I used the rods to solve the puzzles. She thought that was pretty cool. Next I laid out six puzzles for her and wrote out the corresponding equations, minus the answers. I suggested she see if she could answer them without the rods and then use the rods to see if she was right. She thought that was a great idea and wrote her answers on the page before using the rods to check her answers. She only had one wrong and she quickly fixed it. And that's how we played the game from then on. She loves it, and it's helping review the subtraction facts. She's getting better and better at them.


Today Anna wanting to do something with food for math because she was hungry, so I told her to get a Joe Louis from the cupboard and we proceeded to discuss fractions while we cut it up into halves, quarters, and eighths before dividing it between us for a snack. :-)



I wanted Anna to learn a traditional Newfoundland song this week so I put a call out on Facebook for suggestions of what she should learn. I found YouTube videos of all the suggestions and let Anna listen to them all and choose which which one she wanted to learn. She loved them all but decided to concentrate on The Galway Shawl this week. I don't remember ever hearing the song before. I wouldn't necessarily think of it as a Newfoundland song as it is set in Ireland but Newfoundland does have a rich Irish heritage. We have been having great fun learning the song all week.

Anna is loving her piano lessons and is doing great with them.


Phys Ed

We went swimming three times this week. Anna has been working on her diving. She is doing great!


Finished chapter one in Exploring Creation With Zoology 1. We read and discussed extinction and extinction errors. Anna enjoyed doing the copywork, crossword puzzle, and classification booklet in her workbook.

Social Studies

We completed chapter six in Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages and learned about the Arabian peninsula, Muhammad, and the pillars of Islam. Anna was excited to do the chapter test today and did a great job with it.


And that was our week. Anna commented today at supper that it was a great week, and it really was.

Weekly Wrap-up Posts inspired by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-up Meme. Check out her wrap-up for this week and scroll down to see the links to check out weekly wrap-ups from others.


Friday, October 18, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up: Traveling makes week short

We were short two work days this week. Monday and Thursday we were traveling a good portion of the day.

I thought about doing some school work while we were traveling but changed my mind. We've been doing good so I figured we both deserved the break. We still managed to cover plenty in the three days we did work.


Anna finished the Ten Commandments reading plan and the Heroes of the Old Testament reading plan from YouVersion and started the Book of Daniel with Kids reading plan.

Another verse has been added to Anna's mastered list in ScriptureTyper. She has been having fun this week playing with the recording feature in Scripture Typer. She can tape herself reading a verse and play it at different speeds to review the verse. She really likes doing this.


Inspired by a boat in Dr. Dolittle, Anna titled the sketch she did of her cousin's boat "Saucy Sally".


The YouTube Video How to Draw With Coloured Pencils - Cherries Experts by Virtual Instructor provided Anna with the inspiration for this sketch:

Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar)

Lessons 24-26 of First Language Lessons had us doing more work with adjectives and more review of nouns, pronouns, and action and helping verbs.

Introduced the different spellings for the /ur/ sound and started word list 12 in Spelling Power. Didn't get far in the list this week. Anna is struggling with many of the words in the list, but she's still keeping a pretty good attitude about it.

Week 7 lessons in Writing With Ease introduced us to passages from Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes. Anna did great with the narration and dictations exercises.

We finished listening to Dr. Dolittle this week and I downloaded the 1967 Dr. Dolittle movie for us to watch during our travels. The movie was very different from the book we read but there were parts of it that were similar.


We continued using rods to build number walls and review number bonds and facts. We concentrated on facts to 8, 9, and 10, a different one each day. This week I got her to write out the facts for the number walls rather than me writing them.

She grumbled a bit at first but then actually seemed to enjoy writing them out and I think it really helped her commit the facts to memory. This was evident as we played Race to Ten and Guess the Addends.


Inspired by the fact that her Bible Reading plan was about the Twn Commandments, Anna decided to learn the Ten Commandment Boogie song by Go Fish.



Our lessons in Exploring Creation With Zoology 1 involved doing an experiment, with gliders we made from straws and cardboard to observe the effect of drag, and learning about habitats and instinct.

Social Studies

We completed chapter 5 of Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages and learned about the Gupta dynasty in India and the Ajunta Caves. We watched a couple of YouTube videos about the Ajunta Caves


And that was our week. How was yours?


Weekly Wrap-up Posts inspired by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-up Meme. Check out her wrap-up for this week and scroll down to see the links to check out weekly wrap-ups from others.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekly Wrap-up - Fall is Getting Crazy

So far so good, but it is starting to get a little crazier. I feel like I'm constantly going with no time to stop. I'm falling behind on household duties, but homeschooling is going great! :-)

Here's what we've been up to this week -


Anna is continuing with the reading plans from YouVersion. She finished the Holy Week reading plan and started The Ten Commandments reading plan.

She added another two verses to her mastered list in ScriptureTyper this week so now has 12 verses mastered.


Anna has been having fun with a site a found this week, . On the site they give you step by step instructions on how to draw all kinds of things. She followed the How to draw a Puppy, How to draw a Boxer, and How to draw kittens instructions to do the following sketches:

She started colouring that last one before I got a good picture of it.

We had a couple of people ask how to make the card Anna made last week so this week we decided to do an instructional video for it.


Language Arts (Grammar, Reading, Spelling, Writing)

Doing lessons 19-23 in First Language Lessons had us discussing contractions most of the week, with an introduction to adjectives at the end of the week.

We continued listening to Dr. Dolittle from and made it as far as chapter 16. However, we are both a little frustrated with the fact that there are different readers for the chapters and some of the readers are hard to understand and listen too. We are still narrating each chapter as we go along. Anna has started a new library book, Dog Magic by Holly Webb, and is working her way through that during silent reading time. I decided to test Anna's familiarity and recognition of the dolch words so I printed off the alphabetical list of the 220 dolch words and gave them to Anna to read. She did excellent. She skipped through the words quickly and only misread four of them. When I pointed those four out to her to look closer at she read them correctly without any help at all.

We finally got through word list 10 in Spelling Power and moved on to review test 2, but there were a couple of words that Anna really struggled with so we were stuck on that most of the week until she finally mastered them. Today we did the first delayed recall test and I wondered how she'd make out, but she got 100%!

The narration and dictation exercises this week in Writing With Ease were taken from two poems, Robert Lewis Stevenson's My Shadow and Edward Lear's The Owl And the Pussy Cat. The timing for the poem's was perfect because late last week a friend had made me aware of the Young Writers Poetry Contest and I decided to discuss it with Anna and do a little poetry study with her. We talked about different kinds of poems and had some fun reading different kinds of poems. She tried her hand at a free verse poem one day and another day we worked together on some poems inspired by Giggle Poetry's How to Write a "Mary Had a Little Something" poem page. We also started some prep work for NaNoWriMo. I printed off some pages from the NaNoWriMo workbook for us to work through and discuss. We discussed what a novel is and did some work on developing a possible main character for a story. Anna also continued work on her cursive writing completing the Kidzone cursive writing worksheets for h, k, b, and f, but she was a little frustrated with the f and decided she wants to take a break for a while from cursive so I'm going to allow that.


Inspired by the Number Bonds Buildings and Walls Math Video from Education Unboxed, we had some fun reviewing addition facts by building number walls with cusinaire rods. The first day I asked Anna to build a number wall for each number but she found that a little frustrating and overwhelming. The next day I suggested she build walls for numbers 1-5 while I built walls for numbers 6-10. Both days I got her to dictate the equations in each wall while I wrote them out.

The next day I got her to do number walls for the odd numbers while I made number walls for the even numbers, and we switched it up the next day with her doing the even numbers and me doing the odd numbers. We also did the dictation of the equations both days.

Besides doing the number walls we also played other games each day - Guess the addends, Race to Ten, and I love to do addition. One day we did some free play with the rods after our lessons and games.

Anna liked the view from the other side of my creation and insisted she had to take a picture of it. I didn't realize how cool it looked from that side.


Anna decided she wanted to learn In Christ Alone this week. Everyday she listened to this YouTube version of the song and today I taped her singing it while she listened to it in her earphones, because she didn't feel confident enough in the tune to sing it without listening to it. All week she pretend to play along with it on an invisible piano as she sang. I was surprised she didn't do more of that today. She struggled a little with it because it was a hard key for her to sing but she refused to try any other one.

Thursday Anna had her first ever piano lesson, and we finally got our piano tuned (after probably 30 years) so this will be an added dimension to her music program.

Phys. Ed.

We went swimming three times this week. We've worked out a routine where we do a couple of laps across the pool and a lap up and down the pool and then Anna can have some free play time before we repeat the routine. We manage to get about three routines in each session. We are both really enjoying it and she is getting much more comfortable and confident in the water. It's hard to believe that less than a year ago she wouldn't even put her face in the water.


In our lessons in Exploring Creation With Zoology 1 we discussed lift and drag, air pressure, air foil and aerodynamic shapes. We had great fun doing an experiment that demonstrated the affects of air pressure.


Social Studies

I had completely forgotten about the test book that I had for the Story of the World Volume 2: The Middle Ages so we hadn't done any of the end of chapter tests so far. We finished chapter four Monday so I decided to take the rest of the week do the chapter tests. Each day we reviewed a different chapter and did the test together. I decided to do the tests together rather than have her do them on her own as a way of easing her into test taking skills. She ended up doing most of the work with little help from me and we had a great time doing the tests and reviewing the material.


And that's our weekly wrap-up. How was your week?

Weekly Wrap-up Posts inspired by Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers Weekly Wrap-up Meme. Check out her wrap-up for this week and scroll down to see the links to check out weekly wrap-ups from others.


Saturday, October 05, 2013

Weekly wrap-up

Bible - Anna finished the Walk With Jesus reading plan and started the Holy Week reading plan. It's just an 8 day plan so she will finish it next week. She's also been working on another reading plan in the night - the Hero's of the Old Testament plan. She's made it to day 13 of the 25 day plan. She mastered a couple of new verses in Scripture Typer this week and has 10 verses mastered now.

Art - We worked on a few different art projects. We used small strips of paper to make a beautiful card. This was a project I had to do with our ladies group and I decided to test it out on Anna. She was thrilled and did a great job.

She decided to sketch me again this week.

She also watched a YouTube video on How to Draw An Autumn Tree with Coloured Pencils and tried it out for herself.

Inspired by a picture narration exercise in First Language Lessons, we also browsed through the works of N.C. Wyeth.

Grammar - We did lessons 16-19 in First Language Lessons, which included reviewing nouns, verbs, abbreviations, and capitalization rules.

We also read and discussed the Robert Lewis Stevenson's poem The Wind and did a picture narration of N.C. Wyeth's painting "Dick and Lawless in the Holyrood Forest", an illustration for a scene from Robert Lewis Stevenson's story Black Arrow. We checked out the other illistrations N.C. Wyeth painted for The Black Arrow and read the synopsis of the book at and decided it wasn't an appropriate book for Anna to read for some time yet.

Math We're still having fun with Math. We uses cuisenaire rods to add two digit numbers and discussed tens and ones, regrouping, and carrying. We also uses the rods and a hundreds chart to discover and discuss odd and even numbers. I introduced a new game, which I called What's Hidden, which we played using the rods, some cards with plus and equal signs on them and a tub. While Anna closed her eyes I setup an addition equation with the rods and cards, but I hid the solution under the tub. Anna had to see if she could figure out the answer and then check it. Then she made up an equation for me. I recorded all the equations we made. She loved doing this but soon added her own flair and created a game that we decided to call Guess the Addends. Once again we took turns making up equations for each other but the guesser had to keep her eyes closed and ask questions, such as are the two addends the same, are the addends more or less than 5, etc. to try to figure out what the addends were before figuring out what the solution was. We had great fun playing this game and it covered reviewing addition facts and more/less concepts.

Music - Inspired by watching The Wizard of Oz last week, Anna decided to work on learning Somewhere Over the Rainbow. We found a YouTube video of Judy Garland singing the song and she listened to that each day and sang along with it until she was confident to sing it on her own. We checked out a couple of other versions of the song but this was the one Anna liked best. I got a kick out of how she tried so hard to sound like Judy Garland.

Phys. Ed. - We went swimming twice this week. Anna is getting more and more confident and strong in her swimming abilities. She's moving beyond the dog paddle and getting better at the breast stroke.

Reading - Anna finished the magic Kitten book she was reading. We started listening to Dr. Dolittle from and got so far as chapter 7. I decided to do a reading comprehension exercise with Anna and printed off a reading comprehension exercise from She did pretty good with it.

Science - We finally started our science book and added science to our schedule on a regular basis. We are doing Exploring Creation with Zoology 1. We discussed what zoology is and learned about taxonomy and binomial nomenclature.

Social studies - Continuing with our lessons in the Story of the World: Middle Ages, we learned about Justinian the Just Emperor and his wife Empress Theodora. Anna decides to take notes with the iPad during our history reading and took some great notes all on her own that really helped her answer the review questions after the reading.

Spelling - Continuing with our lessons in Spelling Power, we covered the spellings for the long o and long u sounds. Anna is still enjoying the program and doing good with it.

Writing - Continuing with our lessons in Writing With Ease, we narrated passages from Misty of Chincoteague and Anna did copy work and dictations from these narrations. She also did the cursive writing worksheets from Kidzone for letters t, e, and l. She is doing great with writing!

And that's our weekly wrap-up! You can check out some other weekly wrap-ups at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers blog. Read her's first and then scroll down to find links to others. If you haven't tried writing a weekly wrap-up yourself yet I encourage you to try it. You don't have to be as detailed as I am many aren't. I'm loving doing the wrap-ups.