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, November 29-December 5, week 14, How Material is Presented Makes a Difference

November 29-December 5

week 14
The race is on to balance advent activities with school work and to balance out-of-the-house activities with at-home activities.


Grammar: Personal Pronouns

A pronoun is a word used instead of, or in place of, a noun. Since pronouns replace nouns, they must refer to some noun(s) previously mentioned. Personal Pronouns act:
  • as subject or predicate nominatives 
  • as object of a verb or preposition
  • as possessives
Since pronouns are used in place of nouns, they may be used in the different ways a noun is used. 

Using the idea I saw at Homegrown Learners, we made charts for our personal pronouns on a rainbow template. I thought it was a wonderful idea for making an otherwise boring presentation much more engaging. What I didn't realize was that my student with visual learning disabilities would have difficulty with the arch-shape. He had a lot of trouble being able to write down the chart in the right places or even knowing spatially which was "in front of" and which was "behind." (For example, I asked him to abbreviate 1st Person Singular as 1st P.S., in the economy of saving room, and he kept wanting to put the periods before the letters instead of after.) He has been working on these type issues in his regular work for years now, but they have been getting better and so it was surprising to me that they resurfaced with a different type of writing template. It really goes to show how much our kids with learning disabilities work to accomplish what comes so easily to other students. My other son had no problems with accomplishing the chart and seemed to be refreshed by the change in venue. 


Math Review with Totally Tut

My son who normally puts math on the bottom of his list of school work to do has been begging to play this game. It is amazing to me how a change in how something is presented can totally transform the motivation factor. The game had been on my Amazon Wish List for some time, but I had in the back of my mind that I would get it once we began our Ancient Egypt unit simply because the graphics of the game are of that theme. The theme, however, has nothing to do with the game, except that the equations build in a pyramid shape, and is primarily there to add some interest to the
game. It works for my boys.

To begin the game, each player randomly draws five number tiles, and one solution tile. The solution tile is what all of your equations must add up to. We have played the game sticking to addition and subtraction and we have played it so that James and I used multiplication and division and Quentin used addition and subtraction. You can even work on Order of Operations with the game with the longer equations. You can use whatever you want to review, and the flexibility makes it useful for family play. My 16-year old even joined us for a game or two, and enjoyed it. Each person's turn begins with a spin the spinner in the middle of the board so that the player must do things like Steal a Tile, Draw a Tile or Trade a Tile in order to obtain more number tiles. Then with whatever tiles the player has, he tries to make an equation. The equations become longer as the pyramid goes down. The game is constantly changing as tiles are stolen or traded. 

James is also working on mixed operations problems and Quentin is working on division.


Ancient Egypt

Old Kingdom

The Old Kingdom: The Age of Pyramids

The 3th-6th Dynasties

Under King Djoser, the first king of the Third Dynasty of the Old Kingdom, the royal capital of Egypt was moved to Memphis, where Djoser established his court. A new era of building was initiated at Saqqara under his reign. King Djoser's architect, Imhotep is credited with the development of building with stone and with the conception of the new architectural form—the Step Pyramid.
The Old Kingdom is perhaps best known for the large number of pyramids constructed at this time as burial places for the Pharaohs. For this reason, the Old Kingdom is frequently referred to as "the Age of the Pyramids."

Power and Government

Worksheet from Remembering God's Awesome Acts, Susan Mortimer

The Pharaoh and Cartouches

Cartouches are hieroglyphics written in an oval with a line at one end and represent royal names, coming into use during the beginning of the Fourth Dynasty under Pharaoh Sneferu. We decided that we would like to make some in the form of necklaces, based on the ones we saw at The Sleepy Time Gal.
 We rolled out some golden Sculpy into rough oblong ovals. Then we made grooves around the edges to make a border. We also added a line at the bottom made from thin snakes of Sculpy.

 The boys then made the chosen hieroglyphics with a skewer into the Sculpy.

 Once the cartouches were baked, we added black into into the hieroglyph-grooves.

 A little more black ink around the border and a little here and there.


Northern Africa


We learned about Libya this week. We learned that Libyans are Arab-like and are mostly Islamic. We learned that they are agriculturally poor because of the desert terrain but that export oil. We learned that they eat couscous, 
Bazeen is dumpling-ilke, made of a mixture of 3 parts barley flour to 1 part wheat flour. The flour is cooked in salted water to make a hard dough, and then formed into a rounded, smooth dome, with the tomato sauce, potatoes, boiled eggs around it.
shurba leebiya (Libyan soup)
Source: Big Oven
Shurba Leebiya (Libyan Soup)
 and shurba soup.

Fine Arts

James' (age 12) chalk pastel, Swan Lake
We had the last day of our co-op for this session and we won't meet again until January. They will be performing their scenes next week for an audience, and so this week's rehearsal was as bad as is expected. The old saying among drama people is that the worse the dress rehearsal is, the better the performance is.
 They finished their swan chalk pastel pictures and will begin acrylic painting next session.
Pretty pinecone ornaments Quentin (age 9) made in his Nature Crafts class.


Put up outside decorations.

Make Christmas Cards

Baking Day
Last Co-op Day Pizza Party
This year for the eve of St. Nicholas day we read chapter 9 from Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge, entitled The Festival of Saint Nicholas. It gives a wonderful description of how it is celebrated in Holland, where it looks much more like our Christmas day.
Join me at...


  1. Oh, I keep being tempted by your King Tut game. I know how hard it is to balance everything, especially in December. Are you celebrating St Nick Day?

  2. The race is on indeed - I know exactly what you mean!

  3. I forgot to have the kids put out shoes for Saint Nicholas, and I was going to do that this year. Darn it. Of course the boys were sick today, and I think they've given it to me.

    Oh that race........

    I was equally disappointed by the King Tut game only being related in theme and shape.

  4. I love all your Christmas cards and especially James' Swan Lake picture.
    How interesting about the rainbow shape being challenging for your student with visual learning difficulties. It is indeed a good reminder of how much more is required of some of our children to do what at first sight seem simple activities. My son's inability to focus frustrates me sometimes but I need to remind myself quite how much is required of him (compared with the rest of us) just to present himself as calm and organised.
    I hope you enjoy the rest of your advent activities.

  5. Oy! It is St. Nick day. I knew I forgot something. Not sure I can fix it now! Your African food dish looks so good.
    Blessings, Dawn

  6. We put out shoes for St. Nicholas, too -- he delivered chocolate to my kids! :-)

    That is very interesting about the pronoun rainbow, Phyllis - what I love about homeschool is that you can do what works for EACH child. Thanks for the shout out!

  7. I love seeing all your wonderful start to Advent activities :-) This is such a fun time of year! I hope you have a happy weekend!

  8. The chalk pastel is lovely!!

  9. You use so many creative ideas in your homeschool - very inspiring! The chalk pastel is beautiful.

    visiting from the Weekly Wrap-Up - have a great week!

  10. I'm certain that in order for you to achieve so much all in one week, that your week must be made up of more days than ours? There must be a secret to it? Care to share?!
    I love James' art. I always love his drawings and paintings.

  11. It is always interesting and sometimes baffling to me to see how our kids learn. I often take for granted that they will perceive things in the same way that I do. Your post has reminded me that I need to pay more attention to my kids individual learning styles! My father worked over in Libya in the 70's. He said that the women can't walk alongside their husbands. They have to follow a few feet behind them and follow the exact path that their husband's take. No Short cuts allowed! We are really blessed to live in the USA!


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