Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas to me! I just put the finishing touches on our rough draft for 2008 fall term. We have used some CM principles, some helpful ideas from Ambleside Online, and mixed them together with what works for OUR family. I still have to choose some Fine Arts components, but here is what I came up with so far.


Blank SCHEDULE that you can edit (Open Office)

6th Grade Curriculum
- Term 1

American History (1865-1890)

  • Reconstructing America by Joy Hakim – Ch 1-37
    (Pre-read 3 chapters per week as teacher background.
    Assign as independent reading or read together and

  • TruthQuest History AHYS III – use commentary as
    teacher background and discussion material.
    Use TQ book list to set up a Book Basket of free reading.

  • Keep a history notebook or timeline book.

  • Create a reading log of books read.




  • alternate 2 weeks of grammar instruction with 2 weeks of
    writing instruction


  • Integrate with American History using weekly
    blackline maps & Trail Guide to US History

  • Memorize States/Capitals using games, software, songs


  • Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

  • Old Yeller by Fred Gipson

Music (See Fine Arts-At-A-Glance schedule) Plutarch



  • Variety of inquiries and readings from TOPS Science, Bob Jones University Science, Janice VanCleave books, home library, public library, kits, local classes. Emphasize vocabulary and labs.

  • Keep a science notebook of vocabulary words, hand- drawn diagrams, reading lists, and labs.

  • Complete one major science project or participate in a
    nce fair.



Blank SCHEDULE that you can edit (Open Office)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Waiting for Christmas Highlights

Quick page "Christmas of Olde" by Christine Smith at Raspberry Road Designs

Miss M performing in a play called "The Reason for the Season" with other homeschool kids from our co-op. She is the angel, btw. : )

Playing the camera person in our church pagaent, "A King is Coming to Town."

She also sang in the choir. As you can tell, she was lovin' it!

Our American bulldog, Sally, taking time from her busy day to pose and wish you a Merry Christmas!

With our remodeling project is about 80% done, and our house is looking more like a home than a Home Depot now! : ) My wonderful husband did an awesome job with all the installing, putting things together, and putting up with my various demands, errrr, requests! Now, we are going to take it easy and enjoy our Christmas break. We fill put the finishing touches on in January.

What will I do on my Christmas break? Homeschool planning! I plan to do some planning for next year, and will be posting those as they are done. Our fall schedule will include American History from 1865-1910 and will have a definite Charlotte Mason feel (of course!). It would also be fun to get a few scrapbooking pages done and finish a couple of books.

May God bless you and your family, and may you draw near to Him this season! We wish you a very Merry Christmas.


Friday, December 14, 2007

Weeks 16 & 17 In Review

The Reason For the Season

For the past couple of weeks we have been doing Homeschool Light around here. We are ahead enough in our curriculum plans that we could take the month of December off (shhhh!), but since I have so much to do with our remodeling project it honestly works better to keep Miss M busy with school work and normal routine in the morning. We have been mostly doing Math or English, reading, reading, reading, a little music appreciation and TOPS/Time4Learning Science. Miss M has been devouring her reading books, acquired on a recent trip to Half Price Books. She has loved other books by Edward Eager, so what a delight that we found another called Time Garden. The other book we picked up is Bright Shadow by Avi. I recently heard about Book Adventure, so I'm going to encourage her to take the little book quizzes and work for prizes. It is a blessing to see her choosing reading as one of the favorite parts of her school day! When she was younger, I could not have imagined! On Tuesday, Miss M said simply, "I'm starting to like math now because I feel like I'm getting good at it." Indeed. She scored a 100% on her last math test, and has been doing her lessons almost eagerly. I truly believe it is due to working through 4 pages of CLE Math every day, complete with daily fact drill and systematic review. All the practice, which was NO FUN initially, is finally paying off. Math has always been somewhat of a struggle at our house, so I am enjoying the breather. A neighbor girl asked Miss M if she could tutor her in math. How exciting. They say that the best teachers teach subjects that they have struggled in. I am going to encourage this, because I have found from personal experience that teaching is the BEST way to learn.

TOPS # 32 "Electricity" is a HUGE hit here. Miss M likes to work through the task cards on her own, gathering supplies from around the house. When she is done with an experiment, she shows it to me, I correct and initial her task card, and we discuss. She is loving the independence! Time 4 Learning complements TOPS nicely, as Time 4 Learning teaches the vocabulary and concepts systematically. Easy for me and enjoyable for Miss M. I think we have a winner!

I will close with some pics of Miss M as an angel in one of the Christmas plays she is in. The play is called "The Reason for the Season." I pray that this joyous season finds you with peace in your home, peace in your teaching, and peace in your heart. : )

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Menu Planning

I found out that I love having a menu plan. It is freeing! Tasty, healthy meals really minister.

Our breakfast plan is still working well. It is nice to just get up in the morning and see what is for breakfast -- and it ain't Fruit Loops! LOL! I haven't gotten around to planning lunch, but am open to it. Just don't have the time at the moment. Here is what is our family is eating this week:

Breakfast Menu
Monday: Whole grain fruit muffins or fruit bread (I made a double batch last time, so this week I simply pulled them out and unthawed), cheese, fresh fruit

Tuesday: Fruit Smoothie, hard-boiled eggs, wheat toast

Wednesday: Oatmeal with a touch of natural maple syrup, Protein bar, fresh fruit

Thursday: Self-serve

Friday: Cheesy spinach egg scramble or fried eggs, wheat toast or bread, fresh fruit

Dinner Menu
( I am using Saving Dinner: Low Carb - Winter Menu #6):

Monday: Pan-Seared Fish with Lemon-Sage Butter

Tuesday: Carolina Crock Pork

Wednesday: Skillet Chicken Mediterranean

Thursday: Polka-Dot Meat Loaf

Friday: Thai Shrimp on Red and Green Cabbage

Week-end: Cube Steaks with Rich, Sweet Onion Gravy

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Weekly Report - Weeks 14 & 15

The past two weeks have been extra busy with celebrating dd's birthday and remodeling our main floor. I have not blogged in a while and I apologize for being such a slacker! We have been installing new laminate flooring, painting, wall papering, replacing trim, and trying to decide how to rearrange rooms. We are only about half of the way through the project, so my blogging is going to be short and hit-or-miss!

Miss M finished up all of her books on o
ur China study early. We decided to move on, rather than extend the study. She also finished up her literature book Wheel on the School, so it was a great time to move on! More on what we decided to do as our Main Lesson later.

Reading time has been going better and better. Reading comprehension and enjoyment have been so good since I scheduled reading first thing in the morning. While most moms recommend reading in the afternoon after the "3R's" are finished, I have found that beginning the day with reading is just the thing for a former reluctant reader. A good book is a pleasant way to ease into the day. Beginning today, her new "required" reading book is Rascal by Sterling North.

In music we are listening to Chopin's 'Étude No 3 in E major, Op. 10, No. 3.' Our folk song is 'Wild Colonial Boy,' and our hymn is 'Take My Life.' Music combined with a little free time and phy-ed has been really fun and we will continue this. I have a custom music CD and a schedule in our Fine Arts folder, so Miss M can take the lead on getting this done each day.

Christian Light Math and Language Arts are still working extremely well for us. I can't believe the difference in her confidence level since beginning CLE.

Now back to what we are doing in place of our Eastern Hemisphere study. Our newest Favorite Thing has been, and so we decided to spend some concentrated weeks on the "Electricity a
nd Matter" Time4Learning science unit. We are adding in TOPS "#32 Electricity" for experiments, and some United Streaming videos. Instead of daily plans, I arranged a weekly packet for her to complete. Her packet for the week consists of:

  • Time 4 Learning "Electricity" Lesson Plan printout - do 5 Lesson Codes
  • Complete 5 TOPS Task Cards
  • Watch 1 United Streaming Electricity-related video
  • Be able to answer the following:
  • What is electricity?
  • How do electrons flow?
  • What are differences between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC)? Give examples of and define AC and DC.
  • How is electricity measured?
  • Define volt, amp, ohm
  • What is Ohm's Law?
  • Generate an electricity-related question and design an experiment to try and answer it

The first week's science studies went extremely well. Miss M was able to complete her science packet independently, which is her preference. Since it's been crazy busy around here with all of our household projects, it has been the perfect thing for us right now.

I'll try to post again when I can. God Bless!

: )

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Composer Corner

ric Chopin (1810-1849)

Introducing this


NEW composer!!!

Biography from Classics for Kids

Frédéric Chopin was one of the greatest pianists of his day. Chopin was born in a town just outside of Warsaw, Poland. His mother introduced him to the piano; by the time he was six, Chopin played extremely well and was starting to compose. He gave his first concert at the age of eight.

When Chopin was 20, he left Poland to seek fame and fortune in other European cities. When Chopin got to Paris, he decided to stay.

There's a story that when Chopin left his native country, his friends gave him some Polish soil, which he carried around with him for the rest of his life. That's probably not true, but Chopin did continue to be passionatly patriotic about Poland, even though he never went back there.

Chopin was never healthy, and he was only thirty-nine when he died of tuberculosis. When he was buried -- in France -- a special box of earth was brought from Poland to sprinkle on his grave. But Chopin's heart is in Poland -- literally. His heart was put in an urn and taken to the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw.


"The Best of Chopin" Compact Disc

The Story of Chopin In Words and Music
(Vox Music Masters)

Frederic Chopin by Mike Venezia

Project Gutenberg's The World's Greatest Men
of Music by Harriet Brower
Chapter 12 - "Frederic Chopin"

Antiques Digest's Masters of Music:
Frederic Chopin

Stories of the Great Composers Unit 6: "Chopin"

Classics For Kids Website

Free Chopin Sheet Music

Term 2 Hymns

  • Take My Life
  • How Great Thou Art
  • What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Friday, November 16, 2007

Week 13 Week in Review

The big hit of the week wasn't a curriculum or a class. It was the BREAKFAST menu! Miss M loved the new menu. It was Miss M's Favorite Thing this week. I liked that she stayed fuller longer -- probably since she had a protein each morning. We will definitely continue the breakfast menu!

In Math, Miss M is working on adding fractions, finding common factors, simplifying fractions. This week was a smooth math week, complete with a couple error-free lessons! Woo hoo!

In our Eastern Hemisphere studies we continued reading Young Fu of the Upper Yangte and Enchantment of the World:
China. For movie time, we watched "The Inn of Sixth Happiness," a film about the missionary Gladys Aylward's ministry in China. We didn't do any craft projects this week, but Miss M did do lots of drawing in her free time. As a writing/history project, Miss M made a flip up accordion book of the 12 Chinese Dynasties. Each page pops up to reveal important events and inventions of the Dynasty - and she did the project entirely on her own. They Dynasty Timeline was definitely my Favorite Thing this week. It was hard to get the whole project in a picture -- there are 12 sections.

This week's science topic was Simple Machines - Inclined Plane, Screw, and Wedge. In our science co-op class, we did several experiments with simple machines at experiment stations, watched a Power Point presentation, and had a whole class discussion. It was a fun co-op class!

In other subjects, Miss M started The Wheel on the School for literature. She continues to read a poem-a-day from Favorite Poems Old and New, and improves her typing daily with our Disney Typing software. We finished up our term's composer, Schubert, this week, along with the folk songs and hymns of the term. I have to get busy and make a new music cd for Term 2. Making a custom cd is the only way that music consistently gets done - so it's worth it to make one.

Thanks for stopping by and taking a peek into our homeschool.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Breakfast Menu Planner

Cereal, cereal, cereal. We are eating WAY too much of it, and am ready for a change in our breakfast menu. Breakfast needs to be simple, nutritious and quick! After looking at various breakfast planners online, I reluctantly decided to take a stab at making my own. Most of the menus I saw were loaded with both sugar and white flour and were lacking in protein. We have been working really hard to improve our diet over the past couple of years and we want to continue to move forward!

Here is my breakfast menu (View as PDF):

Menu A
Whole grain fruit muffins or fruit bread (I substitute wheat flour for 1/2 of the white flour called for and also add a little wheat germ or flax)
Fresh fruit

Fruit Smoothie
Hard-boiled eggs
Wheat toast or bread

Oatmeal with a touch of natural maple syrup
Protein shake
Fresh fruit

Self-serve (choose bagels, cold cereal, instant oatmeal, toast, or whatever)
Fresh fruit, cheese or nuts

Cheesy spinach egg scramble or fried eggs
Wheat toast or bread
Fresh fruit

Sunday night prep
Make whole grain muffins or fruit bread
Boil eggs and refrigerate

Grocery shopping
muffin or sweet bread ingredients
favorite cheeses
lots of various fresh fruits, including bananas and berries
yogurt – plain or whatever you like
flavored protein powder
almonds, cashews or other favorite nuts
wheat bread
spinach (optional)

Menu B
Breakfast casserole or bacon and eggs
Fresh fruit


Fresh fruit salad
Wheat toast
Protein shake


Broiled Tomato and Cheese English Muffin
(top a whole-grain English muffin with 2 ounces Cheddar cheese and 2 tomato slices. Broil until cheese melts)
Fruit yogurt


Self-serve (choose bagels, cold cereal, instant oatmeal or toast)
Fruit, cheese, or nuts


English Muffin
Fresh fruit

Sunday night prep
Make breakfast casserole and refrigerate until morning

Grocery shopping
Ingredients for breakfast casserole (bread, breakfast meat, cheese, favorite fillings such as green onion or red peppers)
lots of varied fresh fruit
English muffins
flavored protein powder
almonds, cashews or other favorite nuts
fruit flavored yogurt
omelet toppings

Thursday, November 08, 2007

It's Operation Christmas Child time again - National Collection Week is November 12-19. Have you made plans to get your shoe box packed and dropped off? This year, Miss M took the responsibility for doing much of the shopping and packing. She chose a girl in her age range, aged 10-14, to send our gift to. We pray that our little package will reach just the right little girl and make her smile. : )


How to pack a shoebox

Find a drop off site near you

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Week 12 - A Time of Reflection

November 10th, 2007.
Here are some highlights from the end of the 1st term at Ambleside Classical!

Eyewitness Books: Ancient China, finished God's Adventurer: Hudson Taylor began and finished Flight of the Fugitives (Trailblazer Books)

Videos: "China: From Past to Present: The Silk Road, the Great Wall, Changes in Government" (United Streaming), Kung Fu: Season 2: Disc 1 (Netflix), First Emperor of China: IMAX (Netflix)

Writing: Mini-report on Chinese paper making. Here is what the original mini-report looks like:

Here is the same report with a few minutes with Creating Keepsakes software and the "Always Asia" digital kit from Raspberry Road:

Science: attended "Animal Communications" class at Nature Center and presented November homework assignment. Learned about Chinese inventions.

Nature Class Slide Show

Productive Free time: Crafted a pony puppet, Christmas play practice, Operation Christmas Child shopping and packing, book basket reading,, typing practice, imitative drawings from our Asian Art book

All in all, a pretty typical week here at Ambleside Classical. I can't believe we are 1/3 of the way through our school year! Our family is assessing our goals for character and academics. What goals have we met and what goals need lots more work? We are mapping out new goals and action plans for the next 6-12 weeks. Each end-of-term is my time to reflect on where we are and where we want to be. I have much to be thankful for and also many things to work on.

Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Week 11 In Review

This week was a celebration
of fall and God's Providence at harvest time! Our church puts on a Harvest Party and Miss M went as Hannah Montana. She is such a girlie girl, and loved the make-up, wig, sparkly shirt and high heels. I can't believe I let her wear high heels -- but hey--she really DID look like Hannah Montana! Now several members at church greet her simply with a "Hi, Hannah!" : )

Created with digital mini-kit "Happy" by SweetMade.Net -- a FREEBIE -- and Creating Keepsakes Scrapbook Designer software and fonts.

Continuing our
Sonlight 5 study, we began our study of China. We went to the library and brought home a boat load of books on China - our Book Basket overflow-eth. This week we concentrated on the Great Wall. Miss M read Book Basket books and Netflix videos, and also read the first chapter of Enchantment of the World: China. Beginning this week, our read-aloud is Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze. The first chapters were a hit -- I think it is going to be a very engaging book for our whole family.

Here are some fun Book Basket and Netfliix titles Miss M chose this week:

In her free time, Miss M cut out and painted models of Ancient Chinese coins...

made some Chinese calligraphy character flashcards...

and colored several Chinese Fashion coloring book pages.

Geography, Miss M learned the Important Cities of China , and we watched an excellent video showing the land of China, "Globe Trekker: China" from Netflix.

This week Miss M did a very quick page on the Great Wall. Her handwriting is very sloppy and she will need some extra practice on her handwriting next week.
It was a rich week. Next week, we continue our China study and will attempt some Chinese recipes. Thanks for visiting, and have a great week of learning!