Homeschool Mother’s Journal… 11.11.11


The Homeschool Mother's Journal


Happy 11.11.11 This is such a cool day.† Kei and I started off talking about how unique it is.† Hope yours is amazing!
In my life this weekÖcalmer, slower, less frantic.† Our new schedule is amazing.† We are both so much happier without a huge amount of check lists to get through each day.† We are exploring things in greater detail.† I have wanted to do this basically ëone subject a dayí for years.

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to shareÖfound so many wonderful sites.† How did people do this before the internet?† The resources are incredible.† A few of our new favs: Many simulations with free lesson plans to go along with them.† We did one Wednesday on Physics and we both loved it. Great science resources.† You do have to register but it is completely FREE!

I am inspired byÖJessica at Teachable Moments.† Thank you Jess for talking me through our new schedule.

What made me smile… While searching for a video to show the difference between potential and kinetic energy I found this.† What better example than that crazy Wile E. Coyote and RoadRunner!!

Places weíre going and people weíre seeingÖWe mainly hung out at home this week.† Kei did go to her Space and Rocket class and learned to build a fire and construct shelter from a parachute. Because of course every one carries one of those suckers around!

My favorite thing this week wasÖCurling up on the couch and Kei and I taking turns reading aloud from ìKing Arthur and the Knights of the Round Tableî. Also we are watching ìMerlinî on Netflix streaming and loving it.

Questions/thoughts I haveÖ why is bullying acceptable behavior?† Who make that something that just happens.† Feeling blessed that Kei doesn’t HAVE to live with these kinds of people and can walk away from anyone who doesnít treat her with respect.

Things Iím working onÖbeing fine with Kei not wanted to jump out of bed and start ëworkí.† It is ok to do other things first Mom! Really it is.

We are readingÖ

I am reading ìLove Walked Inî by Marisa de los Santos [thank you Theresa] and really enjoying it.

We are reading ìKing Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtableî together.†

Kei is reading ìCelia and the Fairiesî

We are both reading poetry to each other.† Rereading Shel Silverstein ìWhere the Sidewalk Endsî.

Iím cookingÖchili and chicken tortillas and baked chicken and homemade bread!

Iím grateful forÖmy silly dog, who taught me it is possible to love a furry canine who chews up everything in sight, licks my mouth and nose, whines if he isn’t petted, gets dog hair EVERYWHERE, breathes his stinky breath all over me and is the highest maintenance thing in our house!

†What’s working for us...We have cut out TV by 80%.† Let me clarify….we still watch shows and movies but not regular TV.† We are watching things that we feel enrich our lives instead of waste time.† We are also sitting on the couch together talking, knitting, reading, doing crosswords, etc at night instead of just mindlessly watching television.† So far neither one of us have gone insane. 😉

Iím thankful forÖa job that is steady enough to splurge on beautiful yarn for my girl and not have to worry about it.

A photo, video, link, or quote to shareÖ Kei took this picture of herself with her iPhone and I loved the way it turned out.

Homeschooling Rocks!


“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.“† ~Hans Hofmann

Scheduling, Art Cards, Knitting and BFF News…

In our homeschool this weekÖ we shook it all up.† I was tired of doing lesson plans that never got completed because fun stuff came along or we wanted to spend an extra hour on Science.† So I called Jessica and chatted to her about it and after going to her post at Three Thinking Moms, I pretty much borrowed her schedule.† Of course I changed a few things, but I am doing ONE subject a day except for Math, journaling and reading which we do 4 days a week.† So far we are loving it.† We can spend hours on History instead of freaking out because we have 3 more subjects to do. †

New Weekly

The weather has been cool and crisp and autumny which we have loved.† Kei worked on Art Cards and had so much fun doing them.† She used magazines to make hers but you can use ANY medium; chalk, pencil, markers, paint, feathers, anything.† We were doing a Swap† Day at Skate Day and she made about 11 of them.† Fun fun.† If you aren’t familiar with Art Cards, google it.† Resources GALORE!

Working on Art Cards
"The Eyes Have It"

She woke up really early Tuesday morning and started reading a knitting book that Ami had sent her over a year ago.† She then told me “I can KNIT”.† Now she finger knits and crochets her little heart out but she couldn’t knit.† Now she can!† She knitted for about 10 hours straight.† She would knit, take it all out, start something else and rinse and repeat.† She said she was just ‘learning’.† Argh this is why I don’t knit.† I like FAST projects.† We also rented a DVD that Susan told us about called†No-Rules Knitting at the Teen Knit Cafe.† We loved watching it and Kei got some great ideas.† Thanks Susan!† I just love the give and take of Homeschool Moms.† I have learned so much from my blog friends!


Friday was Skate Day and Kei took all her Knit Wits Kreations that she had been working on all month.† She had orders for 5 scarves, hair extensions and bows.† I am just so proud of her.† She loves making the price tags and order sheets and arranging them just so in her basket.

Getting Ready
Skate Day

Saturday Liv spent the night with us and they stayed up until 3:30 AM!† Laura if you read this, it was NOT my fault. ;)† We also found out the best news.† Liv is going to be homeschooled again!† Kei and I are both so excited we were giddy.† Kei and Liv spend so much time together in the summer but when school starts Liv is at school all day, then doing homework and they don’t get to see each other.† Laura and I are already making plans Lucy!

Dress Up Angel Style

Kei had her 4th Aviation class last Thursday.† It was pouring down rain so they didn’t get to do the Surviving in the Wilderness class.† She is just loving those classes so much.† I hope they will do more.

So another great week in Bama.†

Hope your weeks are lovely and filled with beauty and learning and laughter.† Isn’t homeschooling the best?

Homeschooling Rocks!


“…knitters just can’t watch TV without doing something else. Knitters just can’t wait in line, knitters just can’t sit waiting at the doctor’s office. Knitters need knitting to add a layer of interest in other, less constructive ways.î† ~Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

Bonfires, Boos and Kats…..

What a positively Halloweeny few days. We love Halloween around here. Now, living in the same house I grew up in, it holds so many memories that I can share with Kei.† We love to decorate inside and outside.

Ahhh Halloween

We went to my brother’s house Saturday night for a bonfire.†† Kei and I brought acorn snacks we got from Phyllis’s site.† While Kei was making them Nomad was waiting to clean up the messes!† Yes he has an apron on.† What??† Don’t your pets wear aprons while cooking?

Nomad with his apron

We had such a good time. †We toasted and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.† He had a dry ice cauldron bubbling and the makings for S’mores! It was really chilly outside so the fire felt great!


Eddie had bought pumpkins for Kei and Katherine to carve.† Seth bailed on us and went to the Auburn game!† Kei was so proud of her Dragon Pumpkin.† While they were carving Eddie, Heather and I watched “Walking Dead”.† We LOVE that series.† It is about zombies. †

About to begin
Dragon Pumpkin

It was a great night with family.

Monday was Halloween and we had so much to do!† We were having our friends over to eat and then go trick or treating, then come back here.† I made Taco Soup, which is something you MUST try if you haven’t.† I used turkey because several of our friends do not eat red meat.† I follow the linked recipe almost exactly except we don’t use olives.† It was so good.† I make it in the crock pot and it cooks all day. †

Then Kei and I got ready for our Halloween adventures.† She was going to be Katniss Everdeen from “The Hunger Games” so I decided to be a cat.† Get it?† Cat and Kat? :)† We had been working on her costume for a few days and thought it turned out really well.† We spray painted the bow silver, made a quiver out of leather and made a pouch for her belt and even put berries in it.† [For those of you who have read the book]† She wore a black one piece suit, a black sweater we bought at a thrift shop and cut the sleeves out of, a brown leather belt with fringe and brown boots.† She had leather wrapped all over her wrists and her hair in a side braid and wrapped with leather.† We put dark eyeshadow on her face for bruises and ‘blood’ by her ear for her injury in the arena.† She looked so cool!

Katniss Everdeen
Katniss ready for the games
I love this picture
Homemade Quiver
Ready, Set, FIRE!

And the Mommy CAT

Mommy Cat

We had the house semi cleaned, candles lit everywhere, pumpkin smells wafting all around the house.† The Taco Soup was in the pot, Kei had made cookies, chips, sour cream, cheese and drinks were ready to go.† And of course Nomad was dressed in his Halloween finery.

Darth Vader Doggie

We had such a blast.† There was laughter and food and talking and kids everywhere.† Then we all went trick or treating and there were HUGE numbers of people out.† They even had the police and a firetruck to make sure everything went smoothly.† We take our Halloween seriously here!

Loved this house

Photo by Esther Crawford because my picture of the kids was horrible!

The kids

After loading up with candy and fun, we headed back over here where more food was consumed.† Trick or Treating is hungry work!† The kids all did their annual ‘candy trading’.† I think they like this part more than the collecting.

Candy Trading

It was a great night.† And here it is November 1st!† I can’t wait to see what amazing things await us this month.

Hope everyone’s October was as lovely as ours.

Homeschooling Rocks!


Nothing on Earth so beautiful as the final haul on Halloween night.† ~Steve Almond

I don’t know that there are real ghosts and goblins, but there are always more trick-or-treaters than neighborhood kids.† ~Robert Brault



Search, Rescue and Renaissance….

I was about to type my first sentence and stopped.† Seems like each time I post I start out, ‘We had the best week!”. † I started thinking…is every week really that great?† And you know, for the most part they are.† Of course we have our bad days, days I want to drag Kei by her cute little head back to public school, days that my job demands time and I am trying to teach Physics and the dog is barking in my ear and the clothes are piled up to the sky and the house is covered with dog hair and I am overwhelmed.† Days that Kei hates Math and “Why do I have to read” and complains and her room is a disaster zone.

But this is not the norm.† Most weeks ARE great.† They are ‘our’ definition of great, which may not be everyone’s.

Kei working on Teaching Textboooks

We learned a lot this past week, history and physics and grammar and more.† We are reading “Devotions for the God Girl” together and loving it.† We are also getting to preview an exciting new product that I will write more about later.†

Kei has been very busy.† Not ‘Show Week’ busy but busy.† She has been knitting a lot.† On Friday we had to go get the oil changed.† While we were there they discovered I had a V Belt [?] that was about to break.† So we ended up being there 2 hours.† We met the coolest lady who sat there and taught Kei a crochet stitch she didn’t know.† She will now know how to make hats.† Kei didn’t have† her yarn with her so she isn’t sure about a couple of steps but Misty said to call her and she would meet us somewhere and she would show Kei.

Kei has also been making clothes for her Monster High Dolls.† She LOVES these dolls.† They are totally cool.† She started a blog called The Real Life of Monster High and she has been developing stories and taking pictures to add to it.† She has spent tons of time on there.

Monster High Photo Shoot

Thursday she had her Space and Rocket Class.† The one thing I hate about it is that I can’t take pictures!!!† This week was called “Search and Rescue”.†† Kei dictated to me what happened:

They got them in a room and told them all the positions; Lead pointer, second pointer, first in call, and first in call 2.† They you have a SWAT team of Alpha Swat, DC who are the Danger Crossing people, BS which is Beta Swat and the back position.† They voted and picked Kei for the Lead Pointer which is like the leader.† Then they practiced signals, danger crossing, dropping down quickly on the ground, duck and cover and more.† Then they were told their mission.

They had a bomb and about 2 miles away there was an enemy plane with their secret documents.† They had to destroy the plane along with the documents.† They had to avoid the gate people and cars coming down the road.† They could not be seen or heard from any staff members.† They accomplished this by sending hand signals to the SWAT teams and coordinating their moves.† When they got to the plane they dropped the bomb on the wing and ran away as fast as they could.†

While she was doing all of that I went with some friends to a model shop and then watched the son race a Bandit model car around a dirt track.† It was pretty cool too!† When I picked her up she was excited, jabbering like crazy and had GRASS stains on her new jeans. Next week is rope training.

On Saturday we went to Florence to the Renaissance Faire.† This is one of our favorite festivals!† I would love to take a year and just travel around from faire to faire.† We had so much fun!† We met some friends there and walked around.† It was a beautiful day for it!

The King and Queen
Kei took this picture of the King's boot. Isn't this amazing?
Pink Fairy
Kei found a Ferret! These are cute little things.
A Dog Jester! We loved it.
This is what I wanted. I LOVED these goggles. They remind me of goggles in World of Warcraft!
She ended up buying one of these. Aren't they lovely?

One of the funniest things was a Jack Sparrow impersonator.† Now anyone who knows Kei knows that Johnny Depp is† her future husband.† Girls were following him around, giggling and acting silly.† I told her I wanted a picture, she rolled her eyes, muttered ‘imposter’ under her breath and stood beside him.†

Kei and the "Imposter"

It was a wonderful day.† Kei ended up getting a crown, a bow and arrow [for her Halloween costume which has changed AGAIN] and a jingle belt.

Kei and her goodies

On the way home we passed so many cotton fields.† We decided to stop and take pictures because, while cotton fields are very common to us, we thought some people may not have seen one before.

Alabama Cotton Girls

We also finished “Catching Fire” on the way home and are about to start the final book, ‘Mockingjay‘. † We have LOVED these books so much.† The movie comes out in March and we are looking forward to that too. Seriously we have enjoyed these books as much as anything in a long time.† We work “Hunger Games” conversation into every day life. :)

Another great week and here is it Monday.† What happened to October???

Homeschooling Rocks!


ìHappy Hunger Games! And may the odds be ever in your favor!î ~Effie Trinket

ìHereís some advice. Stay alive.î ~Haymitch Abernathy


At Skate Day a couple of weeks ago someone had some FREE magazines.† I picked up a copy of Mother Earth News to take home.† I would pick it up and glance through it at different times of the day.† Then I saw an article called ìWabi-Sabiî and started reading.

You can find the article online I am sure if you search for it.

Wabi-sabi is the Japanese philosophy of appreciating things that are imperfect, primitive and incomplete. ††It means finding beauty in things that at first glance, arenít beautiful.† It is old not new, antiques not mass market, old quilts ragged but still beautiful.† It is walking down a old street and seeing beauty in things most people would walk on past.

The strange thing about this wonderful word is that my Mother and Daddy have embraced this their whole lives.† How many times growing up did I long to have a brand new dresser, not one that was made 100 years ago.† Everything in our house was antique, and while my brother soaked this up, learned and appreciated, I did not.† How sad for me.† When I first got married years ago, Mother and Daddy almost completely furnished out house with ëold thingsí.† I had beautiful oil lamps, old furniture, a sleigh bed, churns and quilts and so much more.† I figured they would do until I could get better.† After a few years we were able to buy our ëdreamí house.† A totally modern 2 story with rounded walls, aqua and pink and black throughout.† Of course none of my furniture and things would match so we had a garage sale.† Everything must go!

We sold it all and bought all new, all modern, lots of glass and black and Mother told me, ìOne day you will come back to the beauty of old things.î† ìBahî I said.

As with most things she was right.† I do love old things now, old chest of drawers with pegs instead of nails, quilts made lovingly by hand, churns that were used to make butter so long ago, chairs that were made on front porches, aprons hand stitched, old jewelry that hides secrets of long ago events, old gloves, hats and purses.

I read the article to Kei and we have been finding Wabi-Sabi all around us.† It is our new philosophy.† I love it.† And NO Kei, leaving your bed unmade and messy is NOT Wabi-Sabi.

Here are 12 ways you can Wabi-Sabi† [Taken from the article in ‘Mother Earth News’]

1. Cultivate Slowness. Rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to a loved one and ask him or her to dry dishes while you rinse. Take 10 minutes to sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom rather than filling your space with the roar of the vacuum.

2. Cultivate Vision. Start with the container you use to hold your morning beverage. Treat yourself to pottery that feels solid and heavy in your hand. Admire your mugís shape, textures and colors every morning to strengthen your ability to find beauty in the rest of the day.

3. Cultivate Craft. Making and growing things yourself is a gentle rebellion against globalized mass production. Spinning wool, making pottery and weaving baskets provides a tactile meditation almost impossible to experience by any other means.

4. Cultivate Cleanliness. An ancient tea master described wabi-sabi as ìputting oneís whole heart to cleaning and repeating it several times.î Every time we sweep, dust or wash, weíre creating clean, sacred space.

5. Cultivate Solitude. Find a space in the attic or a spare bedroom that you can dedicate to solitude and meditation. In tight quarters, designate a quiet corner in your bedroom or even living room as your meditation space.

6. Cultivate Space. Clutter smudges clarity, physically and psychologically. In wabi-sabi, space and light are the most desirable ornaments.

7. Cultivate Silence. To cultivate what Quakers call the ìstill, small voice within,î slowly reduce the noise sources in your life. Less is more.

  • Leave the television off for one night each week.
  • Turn off the radio during your morning or evening commute.
  • Practice a few moments of silence before eating a shared meal.
  • Make time in the afternoon for a quiet cup of tea.

8. Cultivate Sabi (the beauty that comes with age). Antique doorknobs and radiator grates give your home soul. Building with salvaged materials gives a new house depth and history it couldnít otherwise have.

9. Cultivate Soul. A piece made by hand holds the steady, solid vibrations of its maker rather than those of the jarring, impersonal machine. Surrounding yourself with things made by real people invites a tiny piece of each craftsman into your space.

10. Cultivate Imperfection. Real people leave mail piled in the entry, let the flowers go a little too long in the vase (if they have them at all), allow the dog on the bed and have unpredictable cats. Wabi-sabi embraces these flaws.

11. Cultivate Hospitality. Give every room in your house a soft seat, a blanket to curl up with, gentle lighting and a deep, delicious rug. Invite people to stay, curled up in afghans and sipping tea.

12. Cultivate Simplicity. Less stuff means more time to spend with family, friends and nature ó a philosophy simple enough for even the most complicated lives.

I honestly think the homeschooling families I have gotten to know over the years practice Wabi-Sabi much more than other people I have known in my life.† They know that simple is so often better, that there is beauty all around, that imperfection can be so perfect.†

So find Wabi-Sabi in your daysÖEmbrace it.

Homeschooling Rocks!


ìAny intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent.† It takes a touch of genius – and a lot of courage – to move in the opposite directionî.† ~E.F. Schumacher

ìEverything has its beauty, but not everyone sees itî† ~ Confucius

‘To Kill A Mockinbird’ and Flight…

Scout on her Front Porch

What an experience.† Each play that Kei does is special for different reasons.† This one had some hiccups from the beginning.† Kei and I were both much more stressed than we usually are.† ButÖit was an amazing play.† I know it sounds like ëoh yeah youíre her Motherí but she shined.† I had so many people come up to me and tell me how great she did and she had even more.† Kei worked very hard on her role as Scout.† Memorizing comes a little easy for her.† But ëactingí takes work.† She worked long hours on perfecting this role, understanding Scout, understanding 1935 Alabama and the things that were going on at the time.† A couple of people told me I should get her a talent agent!† I just said thank you and laughed.† I want Kei to be everything she wants to be, but I want her most of all to have a childhood.

Scout, Maudie and Stephanie
Scout and Atticus
Tom Robinson's Trial
Scout and Miss Maudie
Scout Finally Meeting Boo Radley

We didnít do a lot of ëschool workí last week.† But let me tell you what she got out of this play.† First of all, she read the book; a requirement in Alabama for 9th graders.† Second of all we discussed every aspect of the story.† I doubt there are many 11 year olds with as much knowledge of ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî.† We learned about Harper Lee, who is from Alabama for all you non ëBama readers. :)† She was a childhood friend of Truman Capote and ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî was the only book she ever wrote.† Many aspects of the novel were autobiographical.

Scout, Jem and Dill
Scout and Dill
Scout and Jem

We also discussed protagonists and antagonists and who we thought each was in this story.† We discussed Atticusís parenting style.† We talked about how different the outcome would have been if it took place now, the role of Calpurnia and so much more.† She has such an amazing understanding of the novel now.† I am hoping to soon visit Monroeville, Alabama and the Heritage Museum.†

Scout and Boo Radley

Usually there are mainly children in the plays Kei does.† This play had 3 children roles; Scout, Jem and Dill.† She worked with some super talented adults.† The oldest was 71 and Kei loved her, as well as all the adults she worked with.† The woman who played Miss Maudie gave her a Mockingbird necklace.† It was so beautiful and will always mean so much to Kei.

At the Friday night show there were about 25 people there to see just her.† Our family and friends.† I felt like I was just going to burst right open with pride and happiness.†† Saturday my Motherís best friend, her neighbor for 40 years and her sister all came.† I felt like a little piece of my Mother was there.† My daddy told me he was blown away by the job Kei did and that Mother would be so proud of her.† My Mother never got to see Kei in a play.† When she did her first play, Mother was not walking so she never saw it live.† I always showed her the DVDís.

Our Great Friends...
Kei, Aunt Betty, Billie and Patsy
Getting Ready ...

Kei also had her first class at Space and Rocket Center.† Now these classes sounded unbelievable but the 1st one was the one I thought she would like the least.† It was on Aviation and she has never shown an interest in planes.† She LOVED it.† I mean, it is about a 40 minute drive home and she did not stop talking about it.† All the different kinds of planes they actually saw; T-38 Falon, Tomcat, Phantom and several more.† They got to get in the cockpit and have hands on contact with the gear and equipment used.† They learned about lift, thrust, weight and drag.† I am so thankful that I signed her up for this.† Next weekís class is about Strategic Communication and Teamwork.† They will conduct a ìSearch and Rescue Missionî to retrieve a downed pilot and secure Top Secret documents!† How cool is that.† I wish homeschool MOMS could take the class.

So now I am a bit exhausted.† Kei is actually sick and I am afraid it may be strep throat.† Her throat is hurting so badly and she has a fever.† The doctor may be in our plans for tomorrow.

I am looking forward to a quieter week, less hectic but involving lots of learning!† I know I mention this every time but I just love homeschooling.† Feeling very blessed right now.

Homeschooling Rocks!

ìI didnít have to stand in Boo Radleyís shoes to know him. Just standing on his porch was enoughî. ~ Scout from ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî.

ìYou never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view–until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in itî. ~Atticus to Scout ëTo Kill A Mockingbirdí

Mockingbirds, Mockingjays, Skating and Fiddling…

Another great week here in ëBama.† Doncha’ just love Fall?† Even though as soon as we dragged all of our fall/winter clothes out and put up the sleeveless things a heat wave hit!† You would think after living here all my life I would realize that October does not mean COOL weather!†

Kei has been practicing so hard for ìTo Kill a Mockingbirdî.† This is the most line intensive play she has ever done.† She has 218 lines!† She knows them all but it is still nerve wracking.† Not knowing exactly what the actor is going to say that goes before each of her lines is making us a little stressed [yes probably ME more than her].† This is show week so it is going to be CRAZY.† These pictures are really bad because the lighting in there is horrible until the show.

Scout, Jem, Dill, Miss Stephanie and Atticus

We had been enjoying so many things in our homeschooling.† I found this site that teaches Life Skills. † It is mostly a little easy for Kei even though it is for High School kids but it may get harder.† It is different skills that Kei has already learned through osmosis I guess.† Things like ATM transactions, how to write a check, checking receipts and so much more.† We are doing Everyday Life right now.

We are loving Real Science 4 Kids Physics.† I had bought this last year and just started using it.† I have found some really good activities to go along with it here.††† We are using the ìForce and Motionî but there are tons of cool things.

We are on Chapter 9 in SOTW 2.† We love SOTW.† I know people have mixed feelings about it, but I am really glad I decided to use it.† She is still loving Teaching Textbooks.† I have used several different Math programs and this is her favorite so far.† Thanks again Theresa!

Friday we had our 2nd Skate Day of the year.† Kei has been working hard on her ìKnit Witsî.† She took about 15 items to sell; scarves, bracelets and hair extensions.† She sold everyone of them and got orders for 14 more things!† She was so excited.† She doesnít sell them for enough I think, but there is no way she can sell them for her ëtimeí.†† But she loves doing it so much and she just canít believe that people buy them.† I saw all these girls skating around with Keiís scarves and hair extensions.† It just tickled her to death.

Kei's Knit Wits Basket
Kei's Halloween Outfit for Skate Day
Girls at Skate Day

We spent Saturday at the Fiddlers Convention.† We have been going to this for years.† There are people who enter this from 30 states.† There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing.† It feels like you have stepped back in time to walk around and hear people playing fiddles and banjos and more.†† There was craft booths with everything imaginable.† We ate lunch under the trees and had a great day.† Helena, we thought of you and your family.† I wish I could have blinked you all there for the day.† It was so fun!

We love to watch the groups and their various instruments...
Awesome Metal Works. I would have loved some of these!
Kei had to have a Sock Monkey Hat. She even bought him a pair of earrings!
Kei and I at Fiddler's Convention

We also went to see “A Dolphin’s Tale” after church.† It is a wonderful movie.† I love the way it shows how kids learn so much when it is interest led.† We were so excited that the girl was homeschooled.† We still feel very privileged and lucky to homeschool.† We are proud to say “We homeschool”.

We are on the 2nd book in the Hunger Games.† To say we love it is an understatement. We go on rides just so we can listen.† Yes I know we can listen in the house but it is our CAR book. :)

The weeks are flying by and we are having such a blast.† Kei has decided to be either The Cheshire Cat or The Red Queen [punk version] for Halloween.† We love Halloween around here!†

Hope wherever you are, you are loving life, learning and giggling and having the times of your life.

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”†† ~George Eliot




We had the most magical, wonderful, FUNTASTIC day on Saturday.† We got invited to go on a train ride.† Our friends, Kathy and Sophie, had 4 tickets and shared with us!† We were seriously dancing Friday night we were so excited.

Saturday morning at 4:30 AM when the alarm went off there was still excitement but not much dancing.† Man that is early.† Dark early.† Middle of the night early.† “Why did we wake up this early” early.† But we stumbled around and got ready.† We were supposed to meet them at their house, about 30 minutes away, at 6:15.† We would have made it too however we got stopped by a TRAIN.† Ironic yes?† We got there about 5 minutes late, which is early for us. :)† Kathy and Sophie were waiting in the car and off we went.† We were headed to Chattanooga.† Now Chattanooga is one of my favorite cities but Kei has never been there.† I lived near there briefly in another life time and always loved it.† We were all raring to go!

Headed Out!

We had a blast on the trip up there.† We talked and laughed and listened to Mama Mia!† Hey we are all show girls!† We arrived right on time and went into the train station to join the group.† This was the Chickamauga Turn trip.† They have all sorts of ‘trips’.† We definitely want to go back soon.† We got our tickets and boarded the train.


It is an older train that has been restored.† It looks just like a …well, a TRAIN.† This was my first train trip and Kei’s too.

Our Train
Pulling Out of The Station
The Mommies

The trip took almost 2 hours.† Our destination was Chickamauga, Georgia.† We had a uniformed Civil War reenactor with us telling us interesting facts and pointing out the places we passed.

Old Bridge
We passed the Chattanooga Zoo and learned the first animals there were 2 Rhesus Monkeys

This cemetery was built in 1863. By 1870, more than 12,800 interments were complete: 8,685 known and 4,189 unknown. The dead included men who fell at the battles of Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and Lookout Mountain. There were also a number of reinterments from the surrounding area, including Athens, Charleston and locations along the line of Gen. Shermanís march to Atlanta. A large number of menó1,798 remainsówho died at the Battle of Chickamauga were relegated to unknowns during the reinterment process.† It was beautiful and I would have loved to get out and really explore it.

Chattanooga National Cemetery - 2nd in size to Arlington
We got a kick out of the bathroom sign... The girls went "EWWWW".
We passed some really cool Sculptures.

After the almost 2 hour trip we arrived in Chickamauga, Georgia.† This town was founded in 1891.† The 1863 Battle of Chickamauga occurred just east of the city and Gordon-Lee Mansion served as a hospital during that battle.† It is a lovely little town with shops, cafes and more.† We meandered down the streets and into the wonderful shops.

The first shop was filled with all things old and new. We loved this collection of "Opolys"
Some shops had food and drink set up for us.

We saw several really cool things.† A skirt that just screamed Kei, a pillow we both loved and paint cans for Trick or Treating.† They had Velcro fabric so you could change them out.


After looking all over town for a Diet Dr Pepper I finally found one and happily boarded the train. We went straight to the dining car for lunch.† It was so nice, linen tableclothes and so much silverware I had to laugh at Kei and Sophie’s questions.† In all honesty, we DON’T use settings like this EVER.

Decisions, Decisions

It was a yummy meal.† Nothing fancy, croissant sandwiches, potato salad, cole slaw, potato chips, fruit salad.† We enjoyed it so much and we were ON A TRAIN! That was something I can cross off my Bucket List!† Before we were able to eat dessert we had the 2nd stop on our trip.† We stopped at the†Wilder Tower in Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park.† I forgot my camera and had to run back to the train while the girls climbed the tower.

See Kei and Sophie up there?
See them now?

I was about to climb up there….got about 90 steps up and they passed me coming down.† I decided I had gone far enough!† Our guide was doing a speech about the battle that took place here.† He was very dramatic.


And of course Kei found a dog.† Kei ALWAYS finds a dog.

Doggie Spotting

When we got back on the train it was time for dessert.† There were 3 to choose from and we each got a different kind.† Yummy!

What would YOU choose?

Kei and Soph decided to be silly.† They do silly well.

Theater Girls

We went back to our seats and the girls wanted to explore the train, so off they went.† They saw some graffiti that they liked.

Graffiti everywhere
Some Graffiti is just ART!

We saw the bane of the South’s existence – kudzu.† I love kudzu but I have never had to deal with it.†


We all went to the back of the train and stayed for about 30 minutes.† It was so very cool.

Waving at Passerbys
I just knew she was going to FALL out the back!
Train Girl
We had the BEST time!

There is a tunnel we had to go through.† On the way back we were outside when it was coming up.† It is such a tight fit, they tell you to NOT stick your hands out or they will hit the sides of the tunnel.

Dark in the Tunnel!
Leaving the Tunnel
I felt just like a Hobo...riding the rails

It was almost time to return to the station.† None of us were ready for it to end.† I can’t believe this was a 6 1/2 hour trip.† It just sped by.

What a day!
Kei with our Guide who refused to smile!
Back at the Station

This was seriously one of the best days we have ever had.† We are still talking about it days later.† We want to go back.† Thank you so much Kathy and Sophie for letting us come with you.† I want to take everyone and go again!† It was that amazing.

I love our life.† Right now, this minute in time…it is so perfect† I love that I finally get it.† I finally understand what is important.† It is all the things I have right now.†

Homeschooling Rocks!


“Life is just like an old time rail journey … delays, sidetracks, smoke, dust, cinders, and jolts, interspersed only occasionally by beautiful vistas and thrilling bursts of speed. The trick is to thank the Lord for letting you have the ride.” ~Gordon B. Hinckley

Dams, Doughnuts and SPACE…

Another great week last week for these Homeschool Girls.† We did lots of fun learning things and took some amazing field trips.

Kei is loving Teaching Textbooks.† She has always liked Math but less and less as the years go by.† She is really liking TT though.† She doesn’t complain at all, just does it every day.

She is writing in her journal daily too.† I wish she would blog but she just doesn’t do that with any regularity.† We are using mainly this site for Grammar.† Kei doesn’t love grammar but I never did either.† Really, who does?†

†We are learning tons in SOTW.† We finished Islam and Muhammad last week.† She used a resource in the activity book and put on a play about Sinbad.† We also watched a video about Sinbad.

Monday she had her first Life Group at church called “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”.† It is for middle schoolers and she loved it.

Sinbad and Valley of the Snakes

We have also been using Stossel in the Classroom for Current Events.† It is a great DVD that is FREE.† There is also lesson plans on the website.† Check it out if you haven’t!

We have had “To Kill A Mockingbird” practice twice a week.† Kei knows all her lines and I am so proud of her.† It is such an inspiring, sad, poignant play.† I am so happy she has this great opportunity.

Kei with Jem and Dill

We went on a great field trip Friday. We got to tour Wilson Dam. This is the FIRST time they have allowed this since 9/11. We learned so much. We got to see a barge actually enter the lock and exit on the other side. The barge was carrying metal, sand and rock. It was actually 3 barges locked together. With a little tug pushing the entire thing.

Tug and Barge 100 feet down

The tug boat had to move in beside the barge in order for the gates to swing close.

Tug Beside Barge and Gates slowly Closing

The gates are 118 ‘ tall and there is almost 20’ of water under them. As soon as the gates closed the lock filled up with 50,000,000 gallons of water! It took about 20 minutes. That is a lot of water!!

Dam Girls ;)

After the water levels are even, the bridge on the other end closes and the barge is pushed out into the river. It takes about 45 minutes total. It was really amazing to see this in action. The Tennessee River is a huge water highway. There are 14 dams scattered all over the river.

See how high the Barge is?

The barge was finally on its way. The captain even tooted at us and came out to wave.

On the Way...

Someone, I am NOT mentioning any names [cough Karen cough] thought it would be a good idea to toss a penny on the barge for the trip. Chandler thought Flat Stanley would be better but we had to make do with what we had.

The Traveling Penny

After the barge went past they raised the bridge and let us all walk over it.

Crossing the Bridge

”]”]After the dam we all went to Krispy Kreme.† I am not a huge fan of doughnuts and neither is Kei but it was cool to see them being made.† After eating a doughnut we felt a little yucky.† Too much sugar for us.† Several of our group felt the same way.

Doughnuts and more Doughnuts
Kei's first Doughnut Hole...we don't eat stuff like this much.
Got Milk?

Saturday was Free Museum Day.† We are so lucky to live near The Space and Rocket Center and haven’t been in a few years so us and everyone else in a 100 mile radius set off to enjoy the day.† I just put our pictures in a slide show because I took so many!† We learned some very cool things.† We felt the way it felt on the day they tested the 5 rocket boosters, we saw the food the astronauts eat, saw the trailer where they decompress and are checked for infections, saw space suits, tried out a pair of moon gloves and so much more!† Kei is taking a class here in October and she and I are both so EXCITED about it.†

Sunday at church we began having FIVE services!† Kei and I went to the 9:00 am and back to the 6:00 and watched another one online! Epic’s growth is unbelievable.† It is something few people experience in their lifetime.† I am constantly blown away by it.† We had Baptism Sunday and during all 5 services 111 people were baptized, including our dear friends, Brit, Bobby and Cody. It was an amazing day.† We believe in throwing a party to rival the angels in Heaven and it was definitely that! † I know most people really love their church but our church is truly life changing.† You can watch any of our online services on Sunday here.† We have people watching from all over the world! †

Blessings abound in our life.† I am so thankful for all the wonderful things happening.† I pray all of you have an amazing Autumn [or Spring as the case may be ;)].

†We are also going to be able to go on an amazing trip this weekend.† More to come!

Homeschooling Rocks!


Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes of which all men have some.† ~Charles Dickens

Readin’, Writin’ and ‘Rithmetic

We had another crazy, awesome week last week.† We did SOTW Chapter 6, The “The Rise of Islam”. † We learned about Muhammad and watched Muhammad- The Last Prophet from Netflix.† Kei is very anxious to get to the knights and castles.† She also wants to learn about jousting because as she put it, ‘You never know when you may need to know the useful skill of jousting.”

She is LOVING Teaching Textbooks [thank you again Theresa] and has gone from doing Math last, to doing it first!

She wrote “InkBlot Poetry” where you take a piece of construction paper and fold it in half.† Then you squirt 5 or so drops of different color paint on it, close it and gently rub.† Then you write a poem about it.† She wrote 2 and the first one was about how she couldn’t think of anything to write!!† I love her imagination.† If you want to read her ‘creations’ just click on the picture for a bigger copy.

InkBlot Poetry

†In Science we have been learning about Reptiles.† Kei really, really wants a reptile of some sort.† Last week she began researching.† For 2 days she read, listed questions, called every pet store and vet in a 40 mile radius and decided on a “Crested Gecko”.† She found out the total cost, she called bait shops for cricket prices, priced tanks and food and all the extras.† I am not very excited about this, but I will probably let her get one soon.† I am sure Nomad will eat it!† This is the one she has found that she wanted.

The Crested Gecko Kei wants

One of the best ideas I have stolen borrowed lately is from Jessica at Teachable Moments.† She blogged about her girls working on their Girl Scout badges and how she was using the Girl Scout Badge book for writing.† I bought this book off of Ebay even though Kei is not a girl scout and she loves it!!† She has already done the requirements for 3 badges!† She worked this week on “Wildlife” badge.† She found out about endangered species in Alabama and called the Governor’s office and several other departments to ask what they were doing about it.† The 2 species she focused on was the “Alabama Red Bellied Turtle” and “Alabama Beach Mouse.” Both are in South Alabama.† She found a man who explained to her all they were doing, from making ‘turtle fences’ to donating land just for the Mice.† I was really proud of her how she talked to everyone.

Friday night the Princess Theatre in our town was showing “Gone With The Wind”.† The Princess is no longer a movie theater but they set up a huge screen for this special showing.† We went with Kathy and Sophie and had a blast.† What made this even cooler was that I went to see this movie when I was in the 6th grade!† It was a great time even though Kei had seen the movie several times.†

Kei at Gone With The Wind

Saturday we went to a local festival called “Hartselle Depot Days”.† We have a great day looking at all the booths, listening to music and seeing friends.† Kei got some awesome crocheted hats and a cool scarf.

Kei and her new hat

“To Kill a Mockingbird” practice is going really well.† Kei has bonded with the other kids in the play.† The boys playing Jem and Dill have both never done plays before.† Kei has 218 lines and knows them all!† I am so proud of her.† She has worked really hard on her role as Scout.

Sunday after church we took pictures outside, went over to my brothers to borrow “Catching Fire” and “Mockingjay”.† We are almost finished with “Hunger Games” and we both love it like we haven’t loved anything in a long time.

Swinging from the Tree

Kei has known this “1 Minute Sermon” for about 1 1/2 years.† I have been meaning to video her doing it but keep forgetting.† We finally did it yesterday.† She kept laughing because I was making faces at her.† I guess I could have moved the garbage cans but I guess they add ambiance.

My Mother’s birthday was Thursday and she was on my mind so much.† I still miss her everyday but I know she would be so happy that Kei and I are living here and so proud of us both.

Isn’t Fall the best?

Homeschooling Rocks!


A daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend.† ~Author Unknown

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” ― A.A. Milne