Home School Life Journal

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

Our Homeschool Weekly Report, February 1-7, week 16

We are all very happy to be back home where we can spread out a bit, make lots of noise and have our books and toys to enjoy. We are all having a lot of gratitude and good cheer, which is really good since we have had some difficulties with our sudden return; getting the furnace fixed, having to buy necessary furniture and fixing the leaking faucet in the kitchen, among others. 
James playing some sort of  combat game with Quentin.
James and Quentin enjoyed decorating Valentine's Day cookies.
We have started our tea time back again in which we enjoy hot beverages in a snack in the afternoon while I read them books or poetry. It is lovely.


We learned about money and the methods that are used to prevent counterfeiting.
This week our learning has taken many paths, sometimes looking back at what we did before, adding it to what we are now learning.
Alex's time line a map of how the United States progressed in terms of states added to the Union. These are from Homeschool in the Woods.
We are still looking at the Business Tycoons of the Gilded Age. We learned about money and the methods that are used to prevent counterfeiting.
The Toothpaste Millionaire and Making Your Own Toothpaste
This led us to reading The Toothpaste Millionaire, a story about two young kids who develop a simple recipe for toothpaste, manufacture, market, and sell their product and make millions, which reminded us of when we made our own toothpaste.
Quentin had the decorating part of the assembly line to make make mailboxes.

 We also learned about Innovators and Inventors of the late 1800's- early 1900's. We learned about Edison, the Wright brothers and Henry Ford. We experienced what it was like to do an assembly line while we made mail boxes for Valentine's Day. Each person had his task to do and we made them all very quickly. We also looked at the building of suspension bridges.
James made a suspension bridge from a kit I came across when going through stuff.
It didn't have any instructions with it, but he figured it out.

Quite a sense of accomplishment.

This lead us to looking at other building lessons and projects we have done in the past.
Building, Part 3: Triangles and Paper Dowel Geodesic Dome

We also learned about Alexander Graham Bell
Mark Twain
Rutherford Hayes, the 19th President
Battle of Little Big Horn, 1876
Thomas Edison
Woolworth opens his first five and dime, 1979
Carnegie opens his first steel plant, 1875


We reviewed what we knew about cells by making pizza cells.
First Sam made a triple-batch of Greek yogurt-SR Flour (equal amounts of each) pizza dough (we didn't care for the recipe, BTW) and then I rolled them out into individual pizzas
and Quentin and James made models of cells with their toppings.
We made a different type of cell model to show that cells are spiracle in shape, not a flat circle like many other models show. It also show the parts that hold the cell together, microtubules, actin filaments and intemediate filament.
We also made edible DNA double helix models.

Our biology studies reminded us of a simulation we did some years ago, Zooland, in which they try to save a fictional local zoo from shutting down while they learn their biology facts. Since the material for this simulation can be modified to fit any age group, we decided to do it again, with new material. 
Sam and Alex are learning about Invertebrates. This is what Alex has done so far on his notebook page on worms. I was so pleased with his sketch of the parts of an earthworm!

Quentin, my bones-loving boy (he says he wants to be a bone doctor when he grows up, as well as an actor) made a skeleton out of pipe cleaners.


I gave my boys the task of helping the (imaginary) Rosada family who are opening a new restaurant, La Tostada Sabrosa (The Delicious Tostada) that will feature, you guessed it, tostadas. The boys had to figure out how many combinations could be made with different amounts of toppings.
We will be doing a whole series of posts around this topic in the next few weeks, including some work on averaging and geometry.

Later on I gave them a spy mission to solve just for fun and I was pleased that they used a similar chart to organize the clues they were given to solve the case.

Unstandardized Measurement
Now that I am not always well enough to give assignments orally, I am writing them more in their journals for them to follow. Using only one body measurement; in this case, the wrist, I got him to get measurements from everyone in the family. This exercise showed James very quickly that it is hard to make sure that the measurements were consistent.  He developed a way of making sure that the wrist on each person was in the same place by placing the string between the wrist bone and the hand. It was the beginning of thinking of all the factors that must be considered if two people are to measure an object and get the same results. 

"Students may find they know less about measuring at the end of this lesson than they thought they did at the start. The confusion they face now, however will eventually lead them to a fuller understanding of measurement."- Mathematics, A Way of Thinking 

Next, I had him take his own wrist measurement and measure his neck, his arm and his first finger. The purpose of this exercise is for him to find ratios of length that exist between the various parts of the body.  Most human bodies have similar proportions. Not every neck will be exactly two wrists around, but most do. James and Quentin will find the the ratios between their own body parts will be similar.

Subtraction with Borrowing
We hadn't done living math for some time, so when I was at the library I picked up a few math stories. Quentin reviewed double-digit subtraction with borrowing, while reading Shark Swimathon.

  • The Toothpaste Millionaire, Jean Merrill; Rufus Mayflower and Kate MacKinstrey prove that you are never too young to have good ideas or succeed in business. Together they develop a simple recipe for toothpaste, manufacture, market, and sell their product and make millions -all before the eighth grade!
  • Shark Swimathon!, Stuart Murphy; A story that features double-digit subtraction with borrowing.

On The Menu:
These went over well, which surprised me because my boys always want spiced meat and not beans on their tacos.
Hawaiian Meatballs and Rice
.Hawaiian Meatballs  by Ready, Set, Eat were liked by everyone!

Pork Carnitas from Riches to Rags by Dori
I made these in the slow cooker, draining the slower cooker before the last half-hour rather than the complicated directions of the original recipe. These did not go over well, (some refused to even try them) but all who ate them, liked them. I am going to try them again as my gang is very moody.

Two Timin' Pasta Bake - pasta, alfredo sauce, marinara sauce, 2 cups moz, 1 cup parm - like olive garden baked ziti!
Made from a package of pasta (of your choice, reduce cooking time to the minimum), 1 jar of Alfredo sauce, 1 jar of marinara sauce, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, 1 cup Parmasean cheese. Mix together and bake.

Pasta Fagioli Soup and salad from Mommy's Kitchen.
We had a wonderfully warm and tasty vegetarian meal of Pasta Fagioli Soup, salad and crusty bread.

What better way to top your veggie sandwich, hoagie or panini?! Olives, of course! #easylunch #greek
Using some of the leftover ingredients, I made a vegetarian sub for lunch. I had Italian sub meat available for the boys to add to theirs.
related posts:
Join me at...


  1. Oh, I LOVE your cellular pizzas!! Sarah has really started to be interested in cells as well as the periodic table, so I feel like we're going to be delving into chemistry and biology much more than we ever have in the next few weeks. And I will DEFINITELY be revisiting that pizza idea!!

  2. Quentin is SOOOOO happy!

    I love the MathStart books. I need to check our library for them again.

  3. You guys always have such great projects! I love to read your posts and see all the creative things you've been up to!

  4. Holy cow -- how do you get so much done, Phyllis?

    We love the Math Start books - have several of them.

    I'm glad you are getting settled at home more and more now. Were your ears burning last weekend? Tricia Hodges and I were talking about you!

  5. What wonderful, wonderful things you all did. I love the cell pizzas. What a clever idea.
    Blessings, Dawn

  6. So many great activities! Quentin did a great job putting together the suspension bridge without instructions, and the spy missions photos are awesome!

    Thank you for sharing.

  7. Oh welcome back home!! I love your tea time habit - a warm beverage,a snack and poetry. Lovely indeed. And your learning took several paths for sure. So much goodness.

  8. Every single week I am amazed by all you do Phyllis! Love the suspension bridge, how cool is that? Business tycoons, money, cells, Spy Missions! Oh my. :) I also love how you showed all the things you were cooking.

  9. The Toothpaste Millionaire is sitting on my desk just waiting to be read.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means so much.