Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

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

High School Ancient History Lesson 12: The Roman Revolution: The Decline of the Republic and the Rise of the Empire

Note the decline of the ideals/constitution of the res publica but the rise of the Empire and the saving of the Roman Empire.

I. Growing Problems within the Republic
     A. Large landed estates (Latifundias)
     B. Tiberius Gracchus
     C. Gaius Gracchus
     D. Gaius Marius
     E. Lucius Cornelius Sulla
     F. Pompey, Crassus and Caesar -First Triumvirate
     G. Marcus Tullius Cicero
     H. The Ides of March

II. Roman Empire
     A. Mark Anthony and Octavian
     B. The Augustan Settlement

How to Host a Successful Christmas Cookie Baking Party

One of the activities we look forward to every advent is the Cookie Baking party with our local homeschool group. It is a fun time together with friends and in the end we have a lovely assortment of Christmas cookies to share with guests for the holiday season. Since everyone picks their own recipes, we always enjoy both sharing our favorite cookies recipes and also tasting new recipes from our friends. This year we enjoyed a Banana Spice Cookie that one of the families' made that I would never have thought of making. We have done this activity for a few years now and so I would like to share with you some hints and tips that we have discovered by trial and error that might make the idea of hosting a Cookie Baking party in this busy season a little easier.

1. Place First you need to local a place to have the Cookie Bake. We hold ours at the church hall in which we meet for our co-op, but it can be done at a home. You just have to be organized so that the oven can be shared so that everyone is not needed the oven at the same time.

2. Early Sign-Ups Have a sign up in which you ask how many from each family will be participating and what cookies each family will be making. The first year we did the Cookie Bake, we had ten families sign up with multiple children in the families, and it became a bit overwhelming. If you have more than five or six families, you might want to break the Cookie Bake into two parties to prevent this. One year we only had three families participating, so we had each family prepare two recipes, instead of just one so that there would be more variety. The recipe choices should be on a first-come, first-served-type basis, which means that if someone signs up to make chocolate chip cookies, for example, then the later people who sign up cannot also sign up to make chocolate chip cookies. 

3. What Cookie Should I Make? The bigger the variety of cookies, the better, so have each member look over the list so far when their family signs up, and choose a cookie that is different from the rest. Make sure that the recipe you choose makes enough cookies. Also, make sure you check the amount of cookies the recipe makes. The rule of thumb is that the recipe should make enough for the family that is making it can take home one dozen, and the other families can take a half-dozen, (with a few leftover for mistakes and for tasting for those kids who are unable to wait). This can be changed, however, to suit the needs of your group as long as everyone knows what the amount your group has chosen for each family to make.

3. Share the Responsibility Each family is responsible for purchasing and bringing everything that their cookie of choice needs to be made. Often times this means bowls, spatulas, baking sheets, cooling racks and the like.

3. The Choice of Cookies There never seems to be enough ovens to be able to bake the cookies all at the same time, but there are ways of making the baking times staggered.
  • Make up some of the cookie dough at home before you come so that some of the cookies will be ready to bake as soon as you get to the Cookie Bake. Doughs that have to be chilled, such as Slice and Bake, (such as Pinwheels) or no-bake cookies (such as Chocolate-Peanut Butter Oatmeal No Bake Cookies) are natural choices, but just about any cookie recipe can be made in advance and transported as dough.
  • Choose cookies that have alternative ways of cooking such as Welch Cookies, which uses an electric skillet for cooking rather than an oven.
  • Cookies that need to be rolled out, such a Sugar Cookie Cut-Outs or Gingerbread Men, take a little longer to be ready to bake and so are also a good recipe to stagger the cooking times. They also can be decorated (don't forget to bring the materials for that as well) once they come out of the oven, while other cookies are baking. If you decide to include decorating at the party, make sure you either have only older kids and adults decorating or lay something under the table to catch the mess for an easier clean-up. The first year we didn't do this and we were sorry.

4. Alternative Activities You might want to provide activities for the participants that have finished making their cookies or are waiting to use the oven(s), especially if you have younger children participating. A small craft project, have some games in mind, some coloring pages and crayons or a Christmas movie are some ideas for simple alternative activities. If possible, do not have very young children come, or have an older child or one of the adults plan to watch over or babysit the young children to keep them safe and not under foot.

5. Another Nice Touch You may want to ask each family to make copies of the recipes they are making and give them to each family participating so they can make them again if they like the cookie.
6. Cookie Tins Each family will need to bring cookie tins, plastic containers or bags to bring home the cookies in. Make sure you bring plenty, as it takes more than you might expect and you don't want to come up short.

Building Traditions and Memories I hope these tips and tricks will help you if you decide to host a Cookie Baking Party. If you have any more, please add your hint in the comments. Remember, a Cookie Baking Party isn't as hard as it might sound, and like I said, it is one of the Christmas traditions that my kids look forward to.

Good recipes for a Cookie Bake:

Do you have any favorite Christmas cookies recipes that would be good for a Cookie Bake Party?

Originally posted 12/7/16

High School Ancient History Lesson 11: The Grandeur That was Rome

Note that security is again the major goal of the Romans -security achieved with the ideals/constitution of the Roman res publica.

Complete the following outline using your notes.

I. Origins of Rome
     A. Dorians
     B. Etruscans
     C. Brutus the Liberator
     D. Res Publica
     E. The Roman Senate
     F. Consuls, "The history of Rome is the history of the ruling class."
     G. Plebians

II. Territorial Expansion
           A. Punic Wars

Hands-on Algebra: Polynomials

Just as we used tiles and cubes to learn basic math, we can use them for more advanced math.
For this lesson, you will need to have three sizes of tiles in two colors to represent tiles and their opposites. 
Notice that these are not perfect or measured exactly. How neat and perfect they are does not matter for older students. They get the idea. All you need is two colors of paper and it will just take a few minutes to cut out what you need. You do not need to spend anything on this as you can use whatever you have around the house and hands-on math should not take you much time to prepare.
Now here are the rules to this game:
  • Each tile has an opposite. For this post, white is positive and yellow is negative. It doesn't matter what colors you use, just so it is clear which is which. 
  • A zero-pair is formed by pairing one tile with its opposite. 
  • You can remove or add zero-pairs without changing the value of the polynomial. 
  • Like terms are represented by tiles that are the same shape and size.

Demonstrate how to use the tiles to show each monomial or polynomial.
 Start with 3x to the second power (sorry I don't have any superscript).
 Then demonstrate x to the second power - 2d.
Your student should now be able to do 
2x to the second power + x - 2.

Now use algebra tiles to simplify 2x to the second power + x to the second power + 2x.

Now combine like terms. In its simplest form, 2x to the second power = x to the second power= 2x = 3x to the second power + 2x.

Now use algebra tiles to simplify 3x + 2 - 5x +1. Rearrange the tiles so that like terms are next to each other.
Form zero-pairs, and then remove all zero-pairs.
In its simplest form, 3x + 2 - 5x +1 = 2x + 3.

Math Journal Activities

Now your student should be able to model and simplify any monomial or polynomial that you give him. He can even make up his own problems to solve in his math journal. For some of them, have him sketch a drawing to show how he got his answer. He could also include in his journal a sentence or two to explain how subtracting polynomials is related to adding polynomials.

Hands-on Algebra: Solving Multi-Step Equations

Just as we used cups and counters to solve one-step equations, they can also be used to solve equations with a variable on each side.
For the demonstration problem, 2x + 2 = -4, place 2 cups and two positive counters on one side of the mat. Place 4 negative counters on the other side of the mat. Notice it is not possible to remove the same kind of counters from each side. 
Add 2 negative counters to each side.
Group the counters to form zero-pairs and remove all zero-pairs. Separate the remaining counters into 2 equal groups to correspond to the 2 cups.
Each cup is matched with 3 negative counters. Therefore, x = -3.

Next, demonstrate solving w - 3 = 2w -1 with a cup and counters. Place 1 cup and 3 negative counters on one side of the mat. Place 2 cups and 1 negative counter on the other side of the mat. 

Remove 1 negative counter from each side of the mat.

Just as you can remove the same kind of counter from each side of the mat, you can remove cups from each side of the mat. In this case, you can remove 1 cup from each side.

The cup on the right, or the unknown, is matched with 2 negative counters. Therefore, the answer to the equation is w= -2.

Snapshot Summary November 2018

November 2018

We had a lot of hit and miss schooling this month because there was a lot of illness. Because of this, the boys mainly completed their basic lessons, such as English and Math, although James completed quite a bit of science and history as well.

Quentin is mainly working on writing papers and algebra in preparation for starting dual enrollment the year after next. He is also completing his history and science so that he can focus mainly on the basic English and Math courses that are required for college students.
James is working on deciding on his career path while he is finishing up his high school credits. He has so many learning disabilities that he has decided that he does not want to pursue going to college. He loves working with computers and electronics as is seen by all of the taken apart phones and computers we have around the house. He successfully transformed a laptop that had a cracked screen to a desktop by hooking up an old television screen to it.
The college kids are doing quite well and we think that they will graduate this May. 
Sam plans to go on to a four-year institution, but Katie plans to pursue a career in the arts. 
Just so you are not confused, this is something that in in progress in her sculpture class and not an example of her ceramics.

She knows that she will have to work another job while she is getting her ceramics career off the ground.
This is a set of ceramics Katie game me for my birthday.
I had a lovely birthday with friends and family. I am going through the paperwork to go back to college to get my Paralegal degree. It is rather fun to go back to school in my late 50's as one has a completely different perspective than in your late teens and early 20's.

photo by Sam
As always, the kids have enjoyed going down to our beach, even in the winter. 
photo by Sam
Sam is taking an Ecology course and it's focus has been the Chesapeake Bay, so it has been really relevant to him.
They also enjoy long walks around the neighborhood...
photo by James
...and I am pleasantly surprised to find lovely photographs in my photo gallery such as this one that I believe James took. He has a good artistic eye.
We had our first snow of this year. It was not a lot of snow, so it didn't cause any trouble.
We had a lovely Thanksgiving and was blessed to have the whole family here for it. 
I know it won't be too long before that will not always be the case. I am especially thankful for that this year.
I have written a few hands-on beginning algebra posts this month, and plan on writing a few more. Blogging, however, has taken a little bit of a back-seat lately, partially because the boys, now that they are in high school are not doing very many hands-on things. It is also because my spare time now is taken up with my latest project, which is a novel. This is going very slowly and will take years to complete, but I work on it any time I get. It will be a gift to my children.

 How was your November?

Food and Culture; Lesson 12: South Asians

Lesson 12: South Asians

List the countries that comprise South Asia.

List and briefly describe at least four religions practiced in this region. What are the similarities and differences in regard to religion between Pakistan and India?

A Southern Indian Vegetarian Dinner
Steamed Rice
Pineapple Pachadi
Mango Lassi or Chai Tea

Describe the vegetarian diet of the Hindus.  What are the staples of the diet? Which animal foods are allowed and which are not consumed? How would the Hindu diet differ from that of the Sikhs and Muslims?

Pakistani Midday Meal
Lamb Korma
Sambals: Imli Chutney, Rayta, Cholag

Are there regional differences in the staples used in India and Pakistan?

Describe at least three types of bread consumed in India.

What are masalas and when are they used in South Asian cooking? What is Curry?

Describe the regional variations in South Asian cuisine.

What is a metabolic syndrome? How does it affect Asian Indians and how may their diet contribute to its development?

High School Ancient History: Exam 1,


Pick one to write a thorough, well written and analytical essay. You will be evaluated on factual content (literally how much historical information is provided) (40 pts.), on grammar) (10 pts.), and analysis (evaluating the significance of the material, themes and learning objectives covered in the question) (20 pts.).
  1. There has been considerable controversy concerning what constitutes a civilization and when civilization first began. What do you feel makes up a civilization and when and why did it begin?
  2. In the Ancient Near East, religion is seen as the overwhelmingly dominant influence over all aspects of life. In light of this, focus on the Egyptian civilization and describe their religious philosophies that influenced both their life and their concept of the afterlife.
  3. With both Antigone and Socrates, the conflict between the state and the individual is easily seen. How did this conflict arise? Which, state or individual, do you think was right? In your analysis, relate such conflicts to our society. What do you think Socrates and Antigone represent, especially to a society like our own?
  4. Beginning with Achilles, and going to Alexander, it has been said that Greek individualism has gone full circle. Explain and illustrate.

Short Answer

Pick three and identify what or who the short question is, in two or three sentences. Make sure you also relate the answer to the theme or learning objectives of the applicable section. This should take an additional two or three sentences. Each short answer is worth a possible 10 points each.

Code of Hammurabi
Ten Commandments
Hymn to the Nile
Neolithic Revolution