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Weekly Wrap-up ~ Nothing Basic About It

You know how the last few weeks we have been home all the time and have really worked on the basics, those core subjects? Well, last week we were home pretty much all week, but nary a basic core subject was touched.

We took off for Thanksgiving Break starting last Friday. Since we were at a stopping point in several subjects and didn't want to start any new lessons with the upcoming break, we did more reading, lots more science, and delight-directed learning.

Plus, I have had some raging fall seasonal allergies going on and felt pretty cruddy all week. A constant sinus headache is so draining, so the kids doing lots of extra reading and primarily independent work was especially helpful last week.


One biggie was finishing Under the Blood Red Sun by Graham Salisbury and then watching the movie. This was an excellent book that fit in perfectly with our studies of WWII. The movie was just as outstanding, and I will have a review of it on the blog next week. Also be looking for a giveaway!

Eli and Brynne are each taking a self-paced online course through UniversalClass. We are blessed that by having a library card through the Tulsa City-County Library System, we are able to enroll for courses for free. Eli chose Astronomy 101 and Brynne chose Dog Psychology 101. They each worked on their lessons for their courses this week. So far Brynne has only missed two questions on one quiz so has a very high score in her course. Eli has a 100% so far, and is waiting for the results of his first quiz.

I love these courses for the kids. It is the first time they have taken a content based online course, and it's not easy. They are having to read and learn materials, take notes, answer questions, and then take comprehension quizzes. In our homeschooling, we don't do a lot of that. It has been a stretch for them, but they are taking it right in stride. They are real life science courses, designed for children and adults ages 13 and older. Very proud mom here.

They also worked more on their inventions courses. Brynne learned about Steve Jobs in her Minecraft course and had to build an Apple Store in game. Eli watched a video from Mr. Wizard (remember him?) about magnetized motors and then one by Bill Nye, The Science Guy about inventions.

Eli finished How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse from the How to Train Your Dragon series, and Brynne is only a few pages away from finishing the next-to-the-last book in the original Warrior Cats series by Erin Hunter. They did extra reading last week.

We did watch CNN Student News each day, especially in regard to the Paris terrorist attacks. We have been able to relate the attacks and the organization of ISIS to our studies of WWII. There are so many similarities, and I just have to wonder if the Obama Administration has ever studied any world history. Some eyes need to be opened, and in a hurry. That's all I'll say about that.

Another great science tool we use is the television show Brain Games. The kids watched a couple of episodes each day. The concepts are totally entertaining and teach a lot of interesting aspects of how our brains function. Crazy stuff, really.

The Victory Garden - Enrichment Class

In our enrichment class, we discussed the correlation between WWII and the current ISIS crisis just a tad bit in that American families and children were such a vital part of the war effort in WWII and we, as American families and children, still have the same responsibilities and power to help our country during unstable times. We discussed how helpless we can feel when things are going on outside our control, but there are things we can do, and that we should do them.

We watched the first half of the "We're All in this Together! How Students Like YOU Helped Win WWII", a virtual field trip sponsored by the WYES television station in conjunction with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

As a class we registered for the Museum's "Get in the Scrap" campaign, a service learning project. We will complete several different types of tasks and activities relating to recycling, energy, and the like, to earn points and prizes. As of now we are the only Missouri school, class, or other organization participating. We feel honored to represent Missouri in this campaign. My kids and their friends are really excited about it!

We also decided that we would participate in the Soldiers' Angels No-Sew Blanket Drive and make one blanket, as a group, to send to a serviceman/woman overseas. When I mentioned that they have an adopt-a-soldier program, where you commit to writing one letter per week to an active soldier and sending one care package per month, they jumped at the opportunity. They want us to adopt a soldier as a group and work together to make that soldier feel loved and remembered while on duty.

What a great group of kids! This little enrichment class started out as a chance for some of the kids' friends to come over once a week to read a couple of chapters out of "The Victory Garden" by Lee Kochenderfer and do some sort of activity, but has turned into so much more.

That's about all we accomplished this week, but it was all so good. The kids are really expanding their abilities to learn independently and about subjects of which they are interested. My goal for them was always that they have a desire to learn, and I can see that goal being reached. It's exciting!

Other Happenings

Kyndal turned 21 years old on Wednesday. All she wanted to do for her birthday was just go out to dinner as a family, so we went to Texas Roadhouse along with her in-laws, my parents, and her best friend and her boyfriend who is Collin's best friend. Of course she ordered a drink, just cause she could, but she's not a drinker so that was that. The restaurant made her climb on the saddle and do a little "Yee Haw!" She said the night was perfect. I agree. It was a lot of fun!

A Time of Giving

This week Cait at My Little Poppies posted about the recent cancer diagnosis of Carter, the little boy of one of her close friends. Cait is an Usborne Books and More representative and has graciously set up a party with all proceeds to go to Carter and his family. If you have plans to purchase books for anyone for Christmas gifts, or for any other reason, please consider going to THIS LINK and purchasing your books. Choose the party for "Victoria Parisi". I purchased books for my niece for Christmas and just had them shipped directly to her, letting my brother and sister-in-law know that the proceeds from my purchase were to help a child in need. Please consider helping their family. I know they would also appreciate your prayers.

The Weekend

We travelled to Oklahoma this past weekend for our annual Christmas trip. We usually stay at a hotel right next to Bass Pro Shops so that we have easy access to visiting the real Santa. We have given this Santa our Christmas lists for as long as I can remember. When we arrived, however, we learned that the hotel had all five of us booked in a single king-sized bed room. And they were out of others. So we had no hotel. We called around and around and around and ended up finding another hotel on the other side of town (that ended up costing us $100 more). It wasn't the greatest start to our weekend.

We did go immediately to see Santa. The lists have been delivered so we are now ready for Christmas!

The kids got to do some swimming in the hotel pool while Kyndal and I went to An Affair of the Heart where my niece was doing her first showing of her hand-made pottery. We did a little Christmas shopping there, went out to dinner with Rick and the little kids, and then Kyndal took off to spend some time with one of her friends from Oklahoma while Rick and I and the little kids went to see the Peanuts movie.

Here is where things went further downhill. We had a family member undergo a health crisis, and one of my kids was dealt the blow of cruelty and betrayal. We are still reeling from both of these things and undergoing sadness, fear, and exhaustion.

And so, now, it's Thanksgiving week. We are back home. I have a dirty house, laundry to do, and a grocery list and Thanksgiving preparations to make.

Sometimes life runs along swimmingly, and sometimes it is just yucky. These tough times put things into perspective for me. Family is all that matters. It is all that matters. I am thankful for my family. Hug yours tight today.

2015-2016 Hours Logged - 331 3/4 hours out of 1,000 required hours (90 hours outside home)
Plus 167 Summer Hours


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