Friday, November 21, 2014

Homeschool Weekly: Chilly Days Edition

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I just realized - I hardly took any pictures this week! How boring and negligent of me!

In our homeschool... Despite my best intentions, we didn't get nearly enough done this week. Depending on the definition of "enough", I suppose. With Landon being back to work this week, I was satisfied that he was putting in time on History and Algebra.  I had wanted him to get some work done on writing assignments, but we didn't get too far with that.

Kennady has been doing well with Literature and Science again this week, but spend less time than I would have expected on Geography. And I suspect she didn't do much math, but (shame on me!) I haven't checked her progress yet. Perhaps I'll do that after I finish this post! She did get back to doing artwork this week, which I was very glad for. I suppose she needed a break.
In other news... it was so cold this week! I hate to complain, because it's only mid-November and we haven't had any snow yet, but it sure seemed like it was much too cold for this early in the winter!

Kennady and I are still slightly under the weather with cold symptoms. Nothing serious or debilitating - more just annoying.

Even more annoying is the fact that we needed to shell out money for vehicle repairs again this week. The hubster and I have decided to start shopping around for a new/er vehicle and see if we want to replace that van before Christmas (provided we find something suitable at a good price) or spring for new tires and at least one more repair and see if we can hold onto the van for several months more. There's pros and cons either way, so it's hard to know what to do.

Things that made me smile... the testimonies of thankfulness shared by the youth and youth leaders at our Thanksgiving Unplugged night.


On the bookshelf...
Waiting for Summer's Return - KimVogel Sawyer
Look and Live - Matt Papa
Night of a Thousand Stars - Deanna Raybourn
Growing Up Social - Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane

I just finished The Counterfeit Heiress by Tasha Alexander. I posted reviews of the books I finished last week as well - Tears of the Sea by MaryLu Tyndall and Bonfire Night by Deanna Raybourn. You can read about those on my book blog, Just A Second.
    




A parting shot...



Weekly Wrap-Up  

For the Display of His Splendor
   
This post is linked at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, at Home to 4 Kiddos, and at For the Display of His Splendor-  see what other homeschoolers worked on this week.

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 ©2006-2014 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Virtual Refrigerator - Thanksgiving


Welcome to another edition of the Virtual Refrigerator! This weekly blog hop is co-hosted by A Glimpse of Our LifeAngels of HeartHomeschool Coffee Break, and Every Bed of Roses. We all cordially invite you to add your link sharing the art that's on your Virtual Refrigerator and then hop over to the other blogs and admire what's on their Fridges! 
   
November's Art Challenge: Thanksgiving
The hosts of the Virtual Refrigerator put our heads together and decided to give a themed challenge to each other and to our readers each month. For November, the theme is Thanksgiving, and we'd like to you to link up and pin your artwork related to that theme. We'll be featuring themed submissions to the Fridge as we go along. Please continue to share any art posts on our Virtual Fridge as well - we love seeing all of them! - and we hope the theme provides a little additional challenge and inspiration!

December's Art Challenge: Christmas
Bet you didn't see that coming at all, did you? LOL

So finally, I got Kennady to do some Thanksgiving themed art this week. She got our her ARTistic Pursuits book (Middle School Book Two, specifically) which she hasn't completed, and wanted to get going on the units using oil pastels. When looking for objects to draw for the still life, I suggested she look around the house for something that she could associate with Thanksgiving, because "find an object to draw" is just a bit too broad an instruction! But I might have to explain how this first picture is related to Thanksgiving. This is my scent-warmer and yes that is a Canadian maple leaf on the front of it. Why is it "Thanksgiving"? Because the scent in it is a spicy fall scent that reminds us all of hot apple cider and holiday baking; because it's a colorful fall leaf; because our family celebrates both Canadian and American Thanksgiving; and because we will be with Canadian family this year for Thanksgiving.


 This picture of pumpkins is probably more self-explanatory!


You can grab the button above and add it to your post. Add your link here to share your child's art or your arts and crafts how-to posts. Please visit the other blogs and admire what's on their Virtual Refrigerators!





You may also follow the Virtual Refrigerator's group Pinterest board. If you'd like to join us, just ask and one of the Fridge hosts can send you an invite. Continue to share your posts on the link-up each week, and on the Pinterest board!

Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2014 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Taste of Europe - Irish Soda Bread



There are so many recipes that we could have made in honor of Ireland, but we chose a very simple version of Irish Soda Bread. (Truth is, I have several similar recipes, and now I can't remember which one I used last - but I think it's this one!) With very little kneading, and no need to let the dough rise, this hearty bread is a good choice if you don't have much experience in baking your own bread. I think it's best eaten warm and fresh, or toasted.



Irish Soda Bread
4 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 tbsp cold butter or margarine
2 cups buttermilk

 Combine all dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in butter until crumbly. Add buttermilk, and stir just until moistened. Turn out  on a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times. Put in a greased 9x5x3 loaf pan. Bake at 350* for 1 hour until browned and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. You can also bake it in a round casserole dish or in a freeform loaf on a baking sheet.


 
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 ©2006-2014 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homeschool Weekly: Middle School Monday Edition - Again

Middle School Monday

Welcome to Middle School Monday!

Once again my weekend got away from me and I never did get my homeschool weekly post done. So here it is, with a slight emphasis on my middle school kid!

In our homeschool... Kennady and Landon were both fighting colds a bit last week, so I tried not to be too rough on them with schoolwork! We spent extra time playing games during the week too, partly because our last review of the year for the Schoolhouse Review Crew was due.

Kennady has been hard at work in Literature and Science. I had more or less left her to manage her own time with her schoolwork (see my Middle School Monday post from last week!) and was pleased to see that she was keeping pretty close to the deadlines for Science. There are a couple of projects that she was going to get started with, but did need my help, or something printed, or whatever. So we will get to those this week... or as soon as I buy printer ink...
Geography and Math took a bit of a back seat last week, but she isn't behind, so I'm not worried. We'll spend a bit more time on those subjects this week.

As for Landon, he did well with Algebra and History last week, and got himself into a pretty good place before the change to his schedule this week, due to his returning to his part-time job starting today. He will be working mornings for a couple of weeks.

In other news... it's starting to feel like winter is just around the corner. We even some brief snow flurries one day, although it's not cold enough for anything to stay on the ground. A couple of things I love about this kind of weather? Fog and frost - both of which I consider beautiful! (Well, fog isn't necessarily as beautiful when one must drive through it...) Sun dogs and spectacular sunrises and sunsets - like this sunset that Kennady photographed for me while we were driving home on Friday evening.
photo credit: Kennady
Kennady seemed to be teetering on the edge of being sick all week - no fever and only the vaguest of symptoms, but still not quite "right". She did go to her music lesson on Tuesday morning, and to gym on Tuesday afternoon, but that seemed to wear her out, so I made her stay home from choir in the evening. We had a few complaints of headache or sore throat, but nothing has really materialized beyond that, so hopefully she has fought off whatever it was.

It's been much too long since I was in the habit of baking bread, but I remedied that last week. I baked bread to take to a women's dinner fellowship at church, and baked more for us to eat at home!

One of my favorite things this week... was the nonsense poem Kennady wrote as a Lit assignment. If I get her permission, I think I will share it next week on Middle School Monday!


I recommend... visiting the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog to see all the winners of the Blue Ribbon Awards for 2014!
2014 Blue Ribbon Awards

On my blog this week...

On the bookshelf...
The Counterfeit Heiress - Tasha Alexander
Waiting for Summer's Return - Kim Vogel Sawyer
Look and Live - Matt Papa

I finished reading Bonfire Night by Deanna Raybourn, and Tears of the Sea by MaryLu Tyndall. Reviews of those are still to come on my book blog. I did get reviews posted for Song of Redemption by Lynn Austin and Robin: Lady of Legend by R.M. ArceJaeger. See them HERE and HERE.)

A parting shot... She wasn't satisfied with just taking sunset pictures.
photo credit: Kennady
What did you do in your homeschool this week? Leave a comment and let me know!

Each week I invite bloggers to share their posts about middle school here on Middle School Monday. The link is open through Friday, and I will do my best to visit, comment, and share your posts. Please grab the Middle School Monday button to add to your post or to your sidebar when you leave your link below, and please visit the other links and comment or share. I look forward to seeing what you and your middle schoolers are doing!
Middle School Monday at Homeschool Coffee Break

Please visit your neighbors, leave comments, and share!






Weekly Wrap-Up  

 For the Display of His Splendor
  
This post is linked at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers, at Home to 4 Kiddos and at For the Display of His Splendor -  see what other homeschoolers were up to last week.

Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2014 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Friday, November 14, 2014

Blue Ribbon Awards Are Coming Soon!

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Another Schoolhouse Crew year has come to a close, which means a break from the reviews for the Crew members and leadership. It's a little bittersweet for me and other Crew members, because what are we going to do with ourselves for a couple of weeks without our Crew forum to chat on? And what are we going to do for a couple of months without any awesome homeschool products to review? However, one thing we're going to do is look forward to seeing the results of our voting for the Blue Ribbon Awards for 2014 - and we hope our readers will be excited too!

Each year the Review Crew gets to vote on the products that we reviewed over the year that we liked best. There are lots of categories and stiff competition, and sometimes it's VERY hard to choose only ONE product to vote for! 

Here are some of the highlights of the products our family reviewed here on our Homeschool Coffee Break. Our testers this year were me, the Mom/Teacher; Landon, the high school son; and Kennady, the middle school daughter.


Language Arts
Our Language Arts reviews included Analytical Grammar, Hewitt Homeschool's Lightning Lit & Comp, a literature study from Moving Beyond the Page, and an essay writing course from Fortuigence. All were outstanding! Analytical Grammar got our vote for high school because it was such a straight-forward, no-nonsense, and effective way to tackle the subject. We reviewed a high school level Lightning Lit book this year, but it was the middle school level of Lightning Lit that was our favorite for that age group. We had reviewed and used Lightning Lit for Grade 7 and Kennady loved it, so we've been using Lightning Lit Grade 8 this year.  Kennady continues to cast her vote in favor of Lightning Lit any chance she gets!
   

   

Science
The Science resources we reviewed included a Science unit from Moving Beyond the PageSupercharged Science, and a DVD package from Curiosity Quest. We have been fans of Supercharged Science (you can use this link to visit and try it out!) since the first time we reviewed their online science program, and we found the Curiosity Quest DVDs very entertaining and informative. But our vote went to the Weather and Climate unit from Moving Beyond the Page, because we are still using and reusing lessons in the book during Kennady's meteorology study in Science.


Supercharged Science review  

Fine Arts
ARTistic Pursuits and Homeschool Piano were the two fine arts programs we reviewed this year, and choosing between the two of them is all but impossible. ARTistic Pursuits is another curriculum that we have been using and loving for a few years now, and it was a huge treat to get one of the first looks at this new Sculpture Technique series. HomeSchool Piano was new to us, but a great addition to our music studies!
   

Christian Education 
Our reviews that fit into this category included "Captivated the Movie" from MediaTalk 101, iWitness books from Apologia, and Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls from New Liberty Videos. All three of these are still in use by our family and in our church! I am currently leading a small group at church that is discussing Captivated, and my husband is leading a small group study that had some questions come up about the Dead Sea Scrolls - the iWitness books (which are also being used by my kids, and have been loaned out to friends as well) and the Mysteries of the Dead Sea Scrolls were valuable in helping to answer the questions.
Captivated The Movie review

   New Liberty Videos review

Resources for Moms
Some of the resources we get to review are meant to encourage moms or help us out in a broader sense than just providing for our kids' education. In addition to the three Christian Education resources I mentioned above (which were all at least as much for moms/parents as they were for students), I got to review two other very helpful resources - Motivated Moms and a book from Apologia titled Flourish. Both were immensely helpful to me!
review by Homeschool Coffee Break    

In addition to casting votes for favorite products in different subject areas, we also got to vote for our favorites by age/grade. As you might imagine, that was even harder to narrow down! Our family's finalists for Middle School products were:ARTistic PursuitsMoving Beyond the PageHomeschool Piano, and My Student Logbook. Our finalists for High School Products were: ARTistic Pursuits, Micro Business For Teens, My Student Logbook, and Analytical Grammar.

My Student Logbook review

Micro Business for Teens Review

 The Kid's Choice and Teen's Choice categories are the ones where the students get to vote their opinion on their favorites - Landon's Teen Choice vote went to My Student Logbook which was also a finalist for Kennady, but her Teen Choice vote went to Hewitt Homeschool's Lightning Lit & Comp. I think it is high praise for a simply designed, easy-to-use student record system that my high school son considers it his favorite product reviewed. And I've already mentioned Kennady's love for Lightning Lit & Comp - I think it's in the running for her all-time favorite curriculum!

Best Resource I didn't know I needed? For me it was a toss-up between Motivated Moms and My Student Logbook. I continue to be impressed with how helpful the Motivated Moms checklists are in keeping my on track in our home, and My Student Logbook has been a fantastic addition to help all of us keep our assignments and records straight. That was one of those products that I initially looked at and thought it would be far better suited to younger kids, but we loved the one we received to review so much that I immediately bought another so that both kids had one.

I think our family's clear winner in the Just For Fun category was the final review of the year, Snake Oil from Out of the Box Games!
 

But the final category I voted in - Overall Crew Favorite - was a super tough decision! Everything we reviewed was high quality and wonderful, and even though not everything winds up as a great fit for our family or situation, I have to say that we did enjoy every review and greatly appreciated the generosity of all the vendors in allowing us to use the products that represented their labors and passions and commitment to serving the homeschooling community. So once I voted on my Overall Crew Favorite, I didn't even write down for my own records what I chose! I decided not to remember, so I have extra reason to look forward to the revealing of all the winners on Monday!

Visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog starting Monday morning at 8am to see the winners!
2014 Blue Ribbon Awards
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 ©2006-2014 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Virtual Refrigerator - Russian Folk Painting


Welcome to another edition of the Virtual Refrigerator! This weekly blog hop is co-hosted by A Glimpse of Our LifeAngels of HeartHomeschool Coffee Break, and Every Bed of Roses. We all cordially invite you to add your link sharing the art that's on your Virtual Refrigerator and then hop over to the other blogs and admire what's on their Fridges! 
   
November's Art Challenge: Thanksgiving
The hosts of the Virtual Refrigerator put our heads together and decided to give a themed challenge to each other and to our readers each month. For November, the theme is Thanksgiving, and we'd like to you to link up and pin your artwork related to that theme. We'll be featuring themed submissions to the Fridge as we go along. Please continue to share any art posts on our Virtual Fridge as well - we love seeing all of them! - and we hope the theme provides a little additional challenge and inspiration!

 I guess I have to turn to my archives for an art post this week - between the busy schedule we've had lately and Kennady not feeling well during this past week, we haven't got any new artwork right now. So, I dug something out that she did about a year and a half ago that I don't think I've shared previously. A similar project might show up later this school year, because this is inspired by traditional Russian and Ukrainian folk painting, and of course we'll be studying both of those countries as we make our way through our Cultural Geography study of Europe.

The original project idea in Geography Through Art was a Russian Pin. These beautiful miniatures were traditionally hand-painted on paper mache, a black background with a small still-life such as flowers or fruit. At that time, we didn't want to hunt down blank pin buttons at a craft store, but the description of the project reminded me of larger decorative trays that my grandparents and other older family members had displayed in their homes. In particular, my grandfather had a beautiful Russian clock. I wish I had a picture of it to show rather than having to describe it. It had a grandfather clock shaped face, white background with red roses painted around the clock face. It hung on the wall with the weights and pendulum hanging free rather than being in a grandfather clock cabinet. Anyway, I found this book, Russian Decorative Painting, at the library, and we used it as a starting point for a couple of water color pencil projects.


The painting technique for these projects would be very similar to the miniature pins - just larger! The book provided outline templates for the projects, and Kennady used water color pencils to recreate a couple of examples, rather than using paints.






You can grab the button above and add it to your post. Add your link here to share your child's art or your arts and crafts how-to posts. Please visit the other blogs and admire what's on their Virtual Refrigerators!





You may also follow the Virtual Refrigerator's group Pinterest board. If you'd like to join us, just ask and one of the Fridge hosts can send you an invite. Continue to share your posts on the link-up each week, and on the Pinterest board!

Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

 ©2006-2014 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author. http://kympossibleblog.blogspot.com/