Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

October 2017 Snapshot Summary

October 2017 Snapshot Summary
October began with the first chilly weather we have had this year.

(I wrote this seven years but as it was the first cold morning after a warm fall, I was reminded of it.)

And since it was The First 54 Degree Morning, I had to look at this poem I wrote a long time ago, which I do every year on the first chilly morning. It still makes me smile because it depicts my husband and one of my sons perfectly.


The First 54 Degree Morning

"It's the first day of Fall," I say,
wrapping the blanket tighter.
"No, it's not," says he, flipping a page and
pointing to the box with the 22 in it.
"I thought it started when the yellow buses started rolling,"
says the diminutive one, flipping the page back and pointing to the box with the 24.
So much like him and yet he would never admit it.
"No, " says he. He begins to draw spheres bisected with lines to explain.
Diminutive one shrugs, both an acknowledgement and dismissal
I could never understand.
"It's the first day of Fall," I say again,
thinking of days before ticking and boxes,
thinking of silence, smelling smoke and following buffalo on the move.
He shrugs, with both an acknowledgement and dismissal.
I was the only one who noticed.


Alex and Lewis enjoying each other's company.
 We all caught Infectious Mononucleosis and so were sick off and on all month...
"No, I want to read it first!" says Midas.
 and so, we did not do a lot of things out of the house. 


There were a lot of quiet moments around the house instead.



We were able to celebrate Halloween with a pumpkin carving party, complete with a monster meatloaf.

Quentin made cupcakes with orange and yellow layers and white icing to look like candy corn. Sorry, but I don't have a picture of what they looked like inside.
I also bought a kit to make mad scientist petri dishes, which are edible because they are made of gelatin, decorator's icing and sprinkles. Pretty fun even for the older kids.

We had a Creature from the Black Lagoon, a Renaissance Swordsman and a Lich for Halloween...
and Eddie accompanied us, but I can't remember what he said he was...some person from a video game.

I had a great Halloween because the kids do the trick-or-treating on their own and Steven and I can sit in the backyard with a fire in the fire-pit and wait for the trick-or-treaters to follow the signs I posted on the door and fence and give them candy. 
We put apple cider in our Dutch Oven and put it over the fire to warm. When it began to boil, it really did look like a witch's cauldron. Next year I think we will make it easier on them and just move the fire-pit to the front yard. 
When my kids got back from trick-or-treating, they toasted marshmallows and made s'mores and drank what was left of the hot cider before we retired to the house.

Happy Halloween!

Our 22nd Year of Homeschooling, October 2017: Art Lessons Using The Art Sherpa

Homeschooling, October 2017
Acrylic Art Lessons Using The Art Sherpa

We have enjoyed learning how to paint with acrylics using Cinnamon Cooney's (The Art Sherpa) tutorials. She shows and describes how to complete any of a whole list of gorgeous paintings. Even if you have no experience and feel you have little talent, you can still create beautiful pieces of art. As she teaches, she is constantly telling you why or how she creates the effects she is showing and her tutorials are filled with so much information, it is almost like taking a college-level art course! I am taking this information and making quizzes to complete their art classes. I cannot recommend these tutorials enough, as they can transform your student that feels as if he cannot create art into confidant artists. Alex has created several beautiful pieces even with his language difficulties, so it is also very helpful in teaching art to  people with special needs.

The College Kids


The college kids are doing well and enjoying their classes. They have adapted to their new college and all the driving that Sam has to do to get to them (it is an hour and a half away). Katie has particularly fallen in love with ceramics and believes that she has found her calling. These are some of the pieces she has created (a couple of her best pieces I cannot show as she is giving them away as Christmas presents) in her Ceramics I class. She is looking forward to taking Ceramics II and III. 
Both Sam and Katie have also learned a lot in their First Aid course and now know how to perform lots of live-saving measures, including mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and using a defibrillator.

Sam is also enjoying his Political Theory class and I am enjoying hearing about one of my favorite professors from when I went to the same college many years ago.

Statistics is probably their most difficult class and seems to be the course that requires the most homework.

James, 9th grade

James is doing really well since we switched to Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum for his entire school program (I will be writing more about the curriculum in next month's post.) It is very much a read-the-text-and-answer-the-questions program, which is not my style of learning but it works for him, so we are sticking with it. 
This month he went over American Indians, reviewing their foods, family and home life and communication in People, Places and Principles of America, The DiscoveringHe reviewed pronouns in English I: Language SkillsHe reviewed graphs and signed numbers in Basic Math Skills. He learned about atomic weights, heat, measuring temperature, Galileo and the Pendulum,, Galileo and motion: speed and acceleration in Integrated Physics and Chemistry.

Quentin, 8th grade
Quentin has completed his study of Exodus this month (Picture Smart Bible Curriculum).  He is studying the chemistry of life in Biology, and the basics in Physical Science (Exploring Creation with Physical Science). He is studying fractions using Math on the Level. He is working on Greek (Basic Greek in Thirty Minutes a Day: New Testament Greek Workbook) and Latin (Latin's Not So Tough, Level 3). He is working his way through How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare. Although he did not attending Fencing lessons this month due to illness, we did manage to go to some Voice lessons, and he is progressing nicely with that. He has been working on Billy Joel's Piano Man and Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence. Next month we plan to focus on his writing history papers.

Halloween Week History: The History of Halloween and Turnip Jack O' Lanterns

“Oh!—fruit loved of boyhood!—the old days recalling,
When wood-grapes were purpling and brown nuts were falling!
When wild, ugly faces we carved in its skin,
Glaring out through the dark with a candle within!” 
-John Greenleaf Whittier, "The Pumpkin" (1850)
Pumpkin carving is thought to come from the British Isles, where turnips, mangelwurzel or beets were used.



Turnip lanterns, sometimes with faces carved into them, were made on the Gaelic festival of Samhain (31 October–1 November) in the 19th century in parts of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. Samhain was a time when fairies and spirits were said to be active.
The purpose of these lanterns may have been to light one's way while outside on Samhain night or to protect oneself and one's home from the spirits and otherworldly beings,
Comparison of a small pumpkin (back) and a carved turnip (foreground).
 although I can't imagine too much light being produced by a turnip with a candle.

Immigrants from Britain and Ireland brought the tradition to North America. There, the pumpkin replaced the turnip as pumpkins were more readily available, bigger, and easier to carve, which Sam can attest to this being a fact.
In keeping with this tradition, Sam decided to carve a turnip this year instead of a pumpkin.
Some tips in case you ever decide to try it. 
Begin with the largest turnip you can find.
Start by slicing a little off the bottom to make it sit evenly, and slice a bit off the top to make a surface to begin digging out.
Use a melon baller or a heavy ice cream scoop to dig out the center of the turnip.
You don't have much surface to make a face with, so keep that in mind when you decide on the design you will make.
Sam's Owl lantern made from a turnip, 2012


Source: Wikipedia
This post was originally posted October 31, 2012

Monster Meatloaf for Halloween


Halloween 2016
This has quickly become our Halloween dinner tradition. You can use any meatloaf recipe you wish, but make it slightly more soft to make it easier to sculpt. You can do this by adding a bit more liquid in the form of an extra egg or additional ketchup or barbecue sauce or even milk. I used this recipe this year, from Fabulessly Frugal but the kids thought the texture was too soft, so I will add a bit less barbecue sauce or egg next year.


Basic BBQ Meatloaf Recipe
3/4 cup BBQ Sauce
1 pound of ground Beef/Turkey
1/2 cup Italian flavored bread crumbs
1 Egg
Salt & Pepper
Or, maybe I will try this recipe from The Food Network (which I slightly modified): 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and garlic, saute until softened, about 5 minutes; set aside to cool.
Mix eggs with thyme, salt, pepper, mustard, Worchestershire, pepper sauce, and milk or yogurt. Add egg mixture to meat in a large bowl, along with crackers, oatmeal or bread crumbs, parsley and cook onions and garlic; mix with a fork until evenly blended and meat mixture does not stick to bowl. (If mixture does stick, add additional milk, a couple tablespoons at a time, and continue stirring until mixture stops sticking.)
Turn meat mixture onto a work surface. With wet hands, pat mixture into desired shaped meatloaf. Brush loaf with all of glaze, then arrange bacon slices around the meatloaf, crosswise, over loaf, overlapping them slightly and tucking them under to prevent curling.
Bake loaf until bacon is crisp and loaf registers 160 degrees, about 1 hour. Cool for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve
Halloween 2017

The general instructions for making your meatloaf into a monster meatloaf is to sculpt the meatloaf into a skull shape. Cut an onion into vaguely tooth shaped pieces and place in the mouth area of your monster meatloaf. If you wish to make your eyes like the meatloaf above, you will need a hard-boiled egg. Cut it in half and place into the eye socket that you have made into the meatloaf flat side down. Carefully carve out a round hole in the center of each eye egg so that it will fit a green olive, which you place so that the pimiento can form the pupil. Wrap bacon around the exposed areas of the meatloaf. Bake as your meatloaf recipe says, or until the bacon crisps.

It goes fast!

Martin Luther and his 95 Theses

There is no issue that is more at the heart of the Catholic-Protestant separation than that of Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. Some shy away from it in fear of this confrontation. Others say it is undeniably one of the most important historical moments in history. Regardless of one's stand, most have only read a modern translation or a condensed version which tells the reader what Luther meant by the things he has said.

I have found it best to have my students, once they reach high school, to actually read all of the 95 Theses. Whatever you and your students take from it, and however personal it is, I can almost guarantee that you will get something from reading it. Before you or your student sits down to read them, however, regardless of where you stand on the Catholic-Protestant issue, try to clear your mind of anything you have ever read or heard of about them, because it is important to approach them with a fresh, open mind. This is why I do not spend much time on the issue, only stating the facts that this was a point in history when there was a separation in the Christian church, until my students are old enough to be able to do this assignment. They need to be old enough to read the Theses with as little help as possible, (preferably no help) in understanding what is written. It would be best if it could be read in its original Latin, but we have not been able to learn sufficient Latin in order to do this assignment in Latin. A good translation of the Theses can be found at the Georgetown site.  I like it because it is a more direct translation than most, which try to clean up his writing. For example, it has his original numbering and it has Luther's repetition of "again" as his theses 82-85 (translation numbering), which often gets cut in translations (example of this can be found here.)

The assignment is quite simple really. As your student goes through the readings (more than one reading is preferable) have him make notes on what Luther is saying, writing down these in the student's own words. Have your student make a notation on where the concept he is noting is stated in Luther's text. If Luther says the same concept more than once, have your student write down where the concept is written each time it is stated. Although simple, this assignment is difficult and so you will need to give your student as much time as he needs to do this thoroughly, or it is not worth doing at all.  Other aspects that could be explored include seeing if your student can draw from Luther's word choices what he was feeling as he was writing them? What was his emotional state? Why do you think this? 

It is a good idea for you, as their teacher, to do this assignment yourself before you give the assignment to your student so that you can have a better understanding of how difficult it is to accomplish. Besides, I believe that it is an important thing to do for everyone as this topic is mentioned so much and talked about so much, but few have actually read them thoroughly, preferring to take another's assessment of them. (By the way, I also do a similar assignment with regards to Charles Darwin's works, but that is another post...)

My son Sam found getting through the assignment too tedious to complete, (he does have ADHD) but by the time he had finished, had had gain enough insight for the assignment to accomplish its goals, so we stopped. I encourage you to assess this yourself as you know your student better than anyone else. 


Snapshot Summary: September 2017

I try to write two posts a month which summarize all that we have done that month. One focuses on the school activities we do and the other covers the other things we have done throughout the month. I, however, sometimes find it hard to decide which category things that we do fit in, as so many things can be considered learning experiences.
 Our annual Young Eagles flight is one of them. The boys get a little lesson in flight from the pilot before take-off. 
 They get in the plane.

Notice the yellow plane, which takes off at about the same time as the boys' plane.
photo by James
They have about a 15-minute flight. 
See the yellow plane below?

Of course there has been lots of time at the beach. Can you see the smoke coming from the far shore?
Someone made a bonfire on the beach.
 One evening you could see at the same time the sun setting and...
the moon rising.

We have played lots of The Fury of Dracula.

Katie celebrated her 26th birthday. I made her a pair of beach themed cakes.

If you would like to paint one, too, go to the Art Sherpa's video tutorial series.
I am working on a new painting, a still life this time. It is quite a challenge and, with being so busy, it will take some time for me to complete it.

For those of you who have been following us for some time, Hope is still in a lot of pain from her broken collarbone and is now seeking a second opinion.

How was your September?