Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Great Books

I just finished placing my book orders from Overstock.com

and Christian Light Education. (We use Christian Light for Math

and Language Arts and love it!) With most of the curriculum

details are finished, and I am excited for fall! So what was in my

book order? I mainly ordered good read-alouds, since I prefer to

have those on hand, and Christian-oriented biographies not

available at the library. Most of the selections are from

AmblesideOnline Years 5/6. We will get all of our additional

reading books at the library, using TruthQuest AHYS III for

suggestions. Let me know what you think!

Click for PDF


Cheaper by the Dozen

All-Of-A-Kind Family

Miracles on Maple Hill

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

Little Britches

Good-Bye, Mr. Chips

Biographies not available at my library:

George Washington Carver

Always Inventing (Alexander Graham Bell)

Carry a Big Stick The Uncommon Heroism of Roosevelt

Thomas A. Edison

Never Give In (Winston Churchill)

Ordinary Genius (Einstein)


Brahms - Greatest Hits

Whew! I am glad that we are basically ready for fall. I will get
to have a planning-free summer!

How is your fall planning and curriculum purchasing coming along?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Menu Planning

Here is what is on our family table this week, from Saving Dinner Low Carb, Summer Menu #3:

Monday - Turkey Pomodoro
Tuesday - Teriyaki Fish
Wednesday - Dijon-Tarragon Chicken
Thursday - Beef Stroganoff
Friday - night off - pizza & movie night
Saturday - Shrimp & Snow Peas
Sunday - Crockpot Summer Sausage

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Weekly Report April 14-18

It was a slow, relaxed week here at Ambleside Classical. Our schedule is slowing down and we are enjoying it. Our Official School Year is finished, and now we are just doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I have been allowing Miss M to sleep in a little later. School days have been light and 'unschoolish,' and we have been reading frivolous novels and spending as much time as possible outdoors. Here are a few highlights:

  • Field Trip to a local Science and Technology Center. Went home $165 poorer, since I couldn't resist signing Miss M up for a summer camp there!
  • Spring, spring, spring! Spring has finally sprung, and we have been able to get outside and enjoy several games of tennis with each other and friends. If it is warm enough, we will begin our day with a tennis game each morning.
  • Miss M designed and made a crocheted stuffed animal - a cute, black puppy with floppy ears!
  • Wrote and illustrated a comic strip story
  • Miss M came up with the idea of creating "Thank You" cards for all four of her co-op teachers and spent a morning making these with love and care.

We look forward to getting out and doing some nature hikes soon. In celebration of Spring, I'll close with some lines by Christina Rossetti:

What are heavy? sea-sand and sorrow:
What are brief? to-day and to-morrow:
What are frail? Spring blossoms and youth:
What are deep? the ocean and truth

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Humoresque or
Our First
Color the Classics Lesson

I have been wanting to get to more composer study this term, and began (as usual) by making plans. See below. I am the type of person who gets nothing accomplished without an action plan! Anyway, one of the resources that has been sitting on my shelf unused is Color the Classics. I think I picked it up las year at convention. It is also available at Rainbow Resources. Because of our Non-Western Cultures focus this year, the poor book just sat, unloved and unused, on my shelf all year.

We did our first lesson from Color the Classics, and it was soooooo easy. This is a definite hit, and I wish we had started these earlier. Since Miss M will be going into 6th grade, we are at the tail-end of this curriculum's age appropriateness. Here's how our lesson went.

Me: "It's time for music! You may get bring your colored pencils."

Miss M: "What kind of music?"

Me: "Classical."

Miss M: "Awwwww. (Despite a foundation of Classical, her preferences now lean toward Superchik and Miley Cyrus - gasp!) I can bring my colored pencils? Do I get to color?"

Me: "You get to color, AND you get to use my copy machine and make some copies!"

Miss M: "Yay!" (gets pencils, makes
Color the Classics copies)

There are 4 coloring pages on our composer. Each has corresponding page to read aloud while the child colors a picture related to the reading. This did not take more than 10 minutes, or so, including discussion.

Miss M: "Is music time over now? Can I keep coloring?"

Me: "How about if we listen to a song that Dvorak composed while you finish coloring your page?"

Miss M: "Yay!"

To finish our first lesson, I went to my blog post on Dvorak and played the first song, "Slavonic Dances." Miss M requested another song, so we ended by listening to "Humoresque."

Both of us are looking forward to our next Color the Classics lesson!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Frugal Living

One great way to save lots of money is to buy gently used clothing rather than new. It is amazing what clothing costs new at The Mall, and this is a fairly painless way to streeeeetch your monthly budget. We shop at Thrift stores for "finds," and it
is a blast. We usually go on Tuesdays, where all items are an extra 25% off. This week, Miss M scored a "brand x" top and jeans, plus one other cute no-brand shirt and one tank top. Total price: $11.22.

Woo hoo! There is still some money left in the budget for me to get those science kits I have been looking drooling over from Home Science Tools! And maybe a cute pair of spring sandals....

Here's what my $11.22 bought. (A gray go-under-everything tank top not pictured.)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Dry Ice

Monday, April 14, 2008

Composer Corner: Antonin Dvorak

I am putting together our summer composer study here at my blog. This way, I won't lose a cd or misplace a paper (!) and hopefully someone else can benefit from the resources as well. This term I wanted to choose a composer that our family is unfamiliar with. I would enjoy adding to this resource list, so feel free to let me know if you have something that I could post here to add to the study.

My plan is to simply listen to one song from my Project Playlist (below) over a couple weeks' time during free time, craft time, phy-ed time etc. Having a virtual You Tube! field trip (see below) to the orchestra looks like fun, too! We will also learn about the composer's life by reading a bit about him each week using "Stories of the Great Composers Book 1" and "Color the Classics II." Color the Classics has some nice coloring pages and a good composer's time line. Stories of the Great Composers has puzzle-type activities. Both resources have listening selections on CD. The only reason I am using a bit of both is that they happen to be on my shelf. : ) Perhaps we will do a little notebooking or lapbooking too. We'll see.

Resources for this study:

Dvorak's Life

Stories of the Great Composers Book 1 - Unit 8 - "Dvorak"

Color the Classics II
- page 32 - "Dvorak"

Alternative if you do not own either of these: The Story of Dvorak in Words and Music

Dvoraks' Music

Project Playlist selections below, or a "Best of" CD, about one song every two weeks

Ambleside Online
: 2004-2005 TERM 1 (This term's artist is Mary Cassatt) Antonin Dvorak (1888) (AN-toe-NEEN d-VOR-zhak) 1841-1904, Late Romantic

Listening selections for this term:
Symphony 9 From the New World
Slavonic Dances
Carnaval Overture (may also be spelled Karneval)
Humoresques for piano
Quartet in F maj ("American")
Trio in E min ("Dumky")

Website with a bit of biography AND music:
Classics for Kids

Friday, April 11, 2008

April 7th - 11th

After finishing our Sonlight 5 reading the other week, our days have been lighter and full of free reading. I had been planning on doing a Green Hour Challenge with our KEEPERS group today, but we had snow on the ground and a storm instead. Yes, I said SNOW! Oh well. There's always next week!

Here was this week's line-up:

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

This is a fantasy novel that Miss M has loved and devoured. If your kids enjoy
Lord of the Rings or other fantasy, this will be a sure pleaser. It is the first novel of a trilogy.

Meters and centimeters, Rounding to the nearest fourth-inch, Meters and decimals, Drawing congruent angles

Acts Chapters 13-15 with
Studying God's Word
Continue memorizing Romans 12

Elementary Spanish 5/6:
Unit 3: (parts of head, sports-related words)

Language Arts:
How to read a poem, Diagramming interrogative sentences
Copywork from Secrets of the Woods

Physical Science:

Chemistry Fundamentals: Bonding & Types of Compounds

Crocheting, Paper Quilling, Card-making

Family Read-Aloud:
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Monday Menu Planning

Do you like to try new foods? I enjoy adding new items to my menu on a regular basis. My new item is....drum roll.....hummus! I was severely addicted from my first bite last week, and am adding it into our meal rotation. Where has hummus been all my life - I can't believe I've never tried it. The two flavored kinds that I've tried so far, roasted pepper and roasted garlic, are sooooo good. Miss M and Iron Chef love it too, so it's a hit with the whole family.

I'd love more ideas on what to eat hummus with. So far, we have done hummus with wheat crackers, baby carrots, and sandwiches. Really any excuse to eat the stuff is good!

Here's our menu for this week.

Lunch - Greek Wraps or Burgers
Dinner - Broiled Greek Shrimp

Lunch - Strawberry Spinach Salad
Dinner - Bleu Cheese Steak

Lunch - Cucumber, Tomato and Hummus sandwiches on whole wheat
Dinner - Szechwan Chicken

Lunch -Black Bean Couscous Salad
Dinner - Herbed Roasted Flounder

Lunch - Egg Salad and Cucumber sandwiches on whole wheat
Dinner - Chicken Chili

What are you serving on your family table this week?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Weekly Report

Spring fever has hit our home and it has been a challenge getting lessons done. Thankfully, we are in the home stretch in both our Language Arts and Math books. The end of our Official Year is in sight! Our last unit of Sonlight 5, South Africa, has been pretty light because we spent too much time on our Africa unit and it is dragging. We watched a couple of United Streaming videos, discussed apartheid and Nelson Mandla. We made a South Africa vocabulary book and are calling it good. I feel a bit guilty because so much more could be done with this topic! Sigh.

Earlier in the unit, dh read a book aloud related to South Africa called "Journey to Jo'burg." He says that if he reads one more Sonlight book about a child separated from her parents and trying to find the way back, he will resign his read-aloud job. : ) I DO have to admit that SL 5 has too many of that same story line over and over in different settings. There must have been about 10 of these at least. You know what they say about "too much of a good thing."

We branched out quite a bit from SL in the read-aloud department. We branched out in the independent reading. We branched out in the geography and craft areas. We branched out in the spine reading. Ok, WE JUST PLAIN BRANCHED OUT! : ) I think that without heavy modification, SL 5 could get a bit dull. WE added lots of hands-on projects, substituted geography from Trail Guide, edited the reading list, used Enchantment of the World series (love this series!) instead of World Book encyclopedia, used Netflix videos weekly for family movie night, and read lots of library books.

It is very important to dh that family read-aloud time is fun and not overly 'schoolish." Instead of reading all of the SL 5, we read some of the Ambleside selections, and others of our choosing. This week,
Iron Chef (dh) is reading The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall aloud. (If you like The Saturdays by Enright, you'll also love Penderwicks). For independent reading, Miss M is reading The Secret of Nimh by Robert O'Brian.

I didn't get a report up last week, and dd made a really cool "Indigenous Animals" 3-D mobile. It is hanging in our dining room where we can watch it spin. Each animal has several interesting facts listed. I've learned quite a bit just by reading over it every day!

For reading last week, dd finished
BFG by Ronald Dahl and a book from the Winnie the Horse Gentler series. I think she has read 5 or 6 of the Winnie books and loved them since she is a total horse fanatic. As of last week, we are going to move toward more fun books of dd's choice from now through summer. Dh finished reading Plain Girl aloud, and it was a thought-provoking, interesting book. Spanish is going fine. We also visited the Homeschool Open Gym time with a couple of friends.

In science, our co-op class studied light reflection. We did experiments and made a flip-up book of what we learned. At home, Miss M learned about The Periodic Table, Mass, and Matter. She is using Plato's Cyber Ed science from Homeschool Buyer's Co-op. She enjoys working on the computer and says she gets more out of the lessons on computer than reading a book straight. In art class, dd learned graph (grid?) drawings. This is where you copy a picture by making a grid and drawing each grid separately. She admits she didn't really like it, as she prefers creative art projects. I pointed out that it is important to develop new skills as a budding artist. : )

I don't know if I consider this Official Health Curriculum, but I taught Miss M about skin care this week. We went out and bought her some skin care products. Her facial skin is just getting to the point she has to watch for break-outs. It is important that girls keep their skin clean without over-drying with harsh products. My picks for girls just starting skin care routines are a mild soap, such as Neutrogena or castille soap, witch hazel for toner, and a mild acne lotion to dab on break-outs. I like the mild acne lotions with salicylic acid only. Yes, this is the same ingredient that is in aspirin, so it's non-toxic. It is also nice to add some essential oil to the witch hazel -- such as mint, tea tree, sweet orange or rosemary. The essential oil smells heavenly and it's good for the skin! I choose sweet orange and peppermint for Miss M's witch hazel. It smells so good, and motivates her to tone!

That's a rap for our week at Ambleside Classical. I am still praying about our summer plans and discussing our summer goals with Iron Chef. When we decide what our summer focuses will be, I'll post. Right now, we are thinking we will do lots of composer study, nature study and science, but nothing is set in stone.

We will close with some pics by Miss M, this week's photographer.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Recipe Idea - Curried Brown Rice Salad

This is a great healthy lunch or light dinner idea. We had this today, and yum! It's kinda sweet and pretty spicy. Next time I think I will try adding a bit of shredded coconut to switch it up a bit. Here's the recipe:


  • 4 cups cooked brown rice, cooled (I used brown/wild rice blend)
  • 1 cup chopped unpeeled tart apple
  • 1/2 cup raisins (I used Craisins)
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (I used cashews)
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, combine the rice, apple, raisins, onion and almonds. In another bowl, combine the remaining ingredients. Pour over rice mixture and stir to combine. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

From allrecipes.com.