Friday, December 30, 2016

The Great War, Public Speaking, and Family Funtime

We started our week out with a friendly, yet unwanted visitor.  We have empty fields across from our house, and with the temps... a field mouse thought he could make his way and share our living room.  YUCK!!  He was gone.  Then we had a second visitor, so I discreetly hid traps where the dogs wouldn't find them.  No more furry creatures in our house!

Extra projects

Lydia finished up her bullying project.  We finished her study of bullying by watching American Girl - Chrissa.  She presented her report at the scout meeting.  Check one more requirement off on her safety award.

These are the zipper pulls she made.

Caty also presented what she learned on bicycle safety.  I didn't get a picture of her making her presentation.

They both each earned two more patches a piece.  I was behind on updating their badge tracker information.  Lydia earned her Public Speaking and Special Agent badge.  Caty earned her Detective and Artist badge now.

Bible Studies

This week we studied ways to help strangers feel welcome in new areas.  We also examined what true faith is and how we can show true faith.

Since we have been concentrating on the Civil War through World War 1 now for the past couple months, we also took time this week to learn more about the start of Jehovah's Witnesses.  We watched the video Jehovah's Witnesses - Faith in Action Part 1 & 2.


We started our study of World War 1 this week.  We'll spend the next couple weeks on this topic.  This one is a little more difficult since we have a wide age range.  But we'll make it through.

We covered the start of the war, weapons introduced, trench warfare and also major battles.   We colored maps to keep on their clipboards to visually see what countries were on each side.

Our big project this week was building a trench out of Model Magic.  Joey did this project a few years ago, so the girls did it also.


We received our first Little Passports Science box.  It's on Forensic Science this month.  I opted to try these out for a few months.  We have finished so much science the last few months.  We went through all of our Sassafrass science books.  I am making our new plan for the rest of our "school" year, but thought these might be a nice break.  I'm still on the fence though about our next curriculum.

This first month was cute.  The kids got a comic book, and experiment card.  Almost all the supplies were provided.  The girls had a lot of fun with it.

Learned about Splatter Patterns:

Working on fingerprinting.

Extracting DNA from grape tomatoes

Waiting on our mixture to separate.

You can see the white wisps...that's the tomatoes DNA

Splatter patterns


We visited Greenland this week.  The kids and I watched a Globe Trekker on Iceland/Greenland.  It really gave us quite a bit of views of both countries.

For our international meal we had Cod with mustard sauce and warm potato salad.  I also made the Chef's Dream cake.

Language Arts

This week we are still trudging through our Language Smarts - Book E.  We worked on words that have unique spellings.


I found some great puzzle sheets to practice their addition and subtraction to the thousands practice.  Caty really liked these, and so did Lydia.

Lego Robotics

The group has basically finished their expo project.  They worked really hard and have their board put together.

The girls also started Mod lessons from Learn to Mod.  Lydia is getting into early programming, so we thought we would encourage it a bit more.  She finished writing her first mod.  Caty is a little slower though.  But she earned several badges also.

In Other Happenings....

Our copier took a dive this week.  Deciding whether or not I want to replace the printhead or what we might do.  We have our main laser printer, which I have a love/hate relationship with.  On the days my computer decides to communicate with it, I love it.  On the days it decides to ignore my printing requests, I obviously do not like it.  It's all in the programming between it and my Mac.  Just frustrating some days.  I have copies to make, so Joe showed me how to take photos of the pages with my phone.  Send it to my laptop and then I can print them.  It's actually super easy to do.  So right now I am leaning toward not replacing the old copier/printer we have been using for copies.  The app I am using is called Genius Scan.  Worked out really well for me!!

Caty and I finally started our first avocado seed.  We're hoping to plant an avocado tree!  I always forget to start the tree.  We have been doing really well with keeping our plants alive that we brought inside.  Our orange tree and palm tree are also doing well.  So maybe an avocado tree may have a chance of survival!!

The chore chart is making progress.  Some days are better than others.  I have literally taken money away from the kids when I find they haven't completed what they told me they did.  Then we have  discussion about lying.  I am made slight adjustments each week now to work with the kids strengths (and even weaknesses).

On Friday we took the kids to a new place I heard of that has vintage video games.  We thought we would surprise them.  They had a blast.  The pizza was good and the games, even though a few were not working the best, were great.

The girls at riding

Working on digging kits they have collected at various museums

We made some candy this week.  Buckeyes and "Peanut butter" fudge.  All peanut free and yummy.

Joey and Caty looking good in their new clothes.  We were heading out to the Kingdom Hall.  You can't tell they are brother and

Linking up with other moms at:

Weekly Wrap-Up

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake 1906 Reading Comprehension Guide

I love this series that has been released by Scholastic.  Each story presents actual facts and events that occurred during that time.  They are eye openers about how people were feeling and the challenges that faced them during these tragedies.  We have been using them in our home and also with Homeschool with Minecraft classes.  I thought I would share the comprehension questions that I created for each story.

I Survived The San Francisco Earthquake, 1906 Reading Comprehension Guide

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Friday, December 23, 2016

Busy weekends....begging for relaxation.....and Rabbits

We got home from Tennessee and had such a busy weekend.

Saturday took me all over.  Brayden had set up for a show with his train club.  We couldn't stay the entire show this time because Lydia had a program at the library to attend.  We also had to pick up our new rabbits.  Yes I said rabbits!  I gave in on my strict 4H rule of no breathing, eating, or pooping  projects.  They are so cute though.  A fellow homeschool family was giving away a few Mini-rex.  The girls were excited, since we didn't tell them until we got there.

Meet Snowball and Oreo....

Lydia at her Teen Advisory Board meeting...

Then we had tickets to take the kids to a local university hockey game.  None of them have ever been to a hockey game.  They liked it for the most part, if we go again the boys will definitely want their sound headphones.  Joey tried to really enjoy it, but the crowd brought up his anxiety level.  I think the popcorn and hot chocolate helped Brayden

We had great seats!

Sunday we were rather snowed in.  We could have probably went out, but we knew ahead of time that the snow was coming.  So we had everything we needed and I had a to-do list to get accomplished!!  We needed to get the train and laundry room area cleaned up in the basement.  We did that!!  Now we can start re-doing the train table and get the HO gauge up and running again.  We are going to need to replace some of the equipment that we have set up now.  Shhhh....Brayden has no idea what is coming!

Our school week included:


This week we concentrated on that bad habit of lying.  Kids with autism create their own truths and really believing this alternate reality.  It's a fight we go up against daily.


Joey - Wrinkle in Time, Lydia - Socks, Brayden finished I Survived The Shark Attacks of 1906  and finished I Survived Hurricane Katrina.  Caty isn't working on questions yet.  She is reading her Magic Animal friends.  Next week we are going to finish listening to James and the Giant Peach so we can watch the movie.

Language Arts

They worked on contractions this week.  Some were review, while many were new for Caty.  She knew how to read them, but doesn't always remember what contractions stand for.  She and I played several rounds of contraction games on  All the kids played a Contraction memory game I printed from


In math they concentrated on larger digit addition with re-grouping.  Some were better at this than others, but MAJOR improvements have been made.

I did introduce the calculator to Caty.  Some people may be gasping.  But she had to show me that she understood the concept before she could use it on the rest of her problems.  Same with all of them.  I do allow them to use a calculator.  Most times people have a calculator on them at all times, and it was recommended since they all have delays due to their comprehension skills math can be a struggle.  Instead of keeping them frustrated, confidence has been built.


This was a big week.  We covered volcanoes and earthquakes.  We watched episodes of Bill Nye on both, plus Caty watched the Magic School Bus Blows its Top episode.  I also got two videos from the library on Volcanoes.  We did experiments on both subjects.

The one experiment from the Bill Nye volcano was to see products under pressure.  So they had to take two bottles of carbonated water.  One they put in a front of the heater to warm it up, and the other they put in a snow drift to get it cold.  They guessed which one would have more pressure and possibly explode.  Caty accidentally threw a bit of wrench in our experiment, but it worked out.  She had the cold bottle and knocked it over.  You would have thought that her bottle would have exploded, but it did not.  Lydia's that was in front of the heater was much worse!  The heat was the bottle that had the most and kept bubbling after she opened it.

Brayden built a seismograph.  All the kids had a lot of fun shaking the table.

Lydia and Caty did this experiment on earthquake structures.

We also followed this video and looked at different types of volcanic eruptions.

Our chemicals were not working for the cinder volcano, but the shield and stratovolcano were pretty cool.  The kids were amazed at the stratovolcano eruption.

We watched Dantes Peak together as a family.  Every time there was a scientific fact made that we had learned about, I made sure to point it out as it was happening.


We finished up our section on the Gilded Age.  We learned more about Theodore Roosevelt and the impact he made on business.  Also on our list this week was the Panama Canal and Immigration.  It was great that I was able to pull out materials from when we visited Ellis Island a couple years ago.  We talked about our trip there and to the Statue of Liberty.

To bring the Guilded Age to life, I had the kids watch the American Girl Samantha movie.  I thought the boys would balk more, but they didn't.  In fact, Brayden actually enjoyed the movie a lot!  We also watched a documentary I found on YouTube about this time period.  We are ready to move on to World War I.  I am scrambling to finish collecting our materials for this study.

We also watch the American Experience PBS show on Henry Ford.  He was a very interesting man.  If we can, we may visit the Greenfield Village sometime in the next couple weeks, depending on the weather.  It's a couple hour drive from here and winter has definitely arrived.


We visited Ireland this week.  Such a beautiful place.  Maybe someday I will get to visit there.  Joe got to go to Ireland when I was pregnant with Joey.  I couldn't go with him due to funds.  He said it was crazy there if you were on the roads, but he visited a couple cool places.  I made an Irish apple cake dessert for the kids.  But Caty is allergic to apples, so I changed up the recipe and made it with pears and also made it gluten free.  It's almost like pineapple upside down cake.  It was pretty yummy.

We also visited Iceland.  It worked into our study of volcanoes this week also.  For our Icelandic cuisine, I made a pancake recipe I found.  It was really like a crepe.  The kids were not fond of it because it was so thin.  I put cream cheese and blueberry syrup in Joe's for him.  The kids had some grape jam and a couple had maple syrup and ate them that way.

To go with our Visit to Iceland, we watched a video about the Northern Lights and I combined techniques from these two project ideas to have the kids create their own Northern Lights.  The girls loved this, the boys didn't like the mess on their hands.  Northern Lights and Northern Lights.  I thought they turned out very pretty.  We did learn a new fact that the Aurora Borealis actually exist on other planets also!

Caty and I discovered the fact that Iceland does not have McDonald's she gasped so managed to get a bit of her gasp on film.

Badge work

I included the boys in this discussion as well.  Lydia worked on a report on bullying for her Safety badge.  We watched a couple short films I found at the library, and read this really good book on bullying from American Girl.

She also made these great little zipper pulls for her fellow scouts to be a reminder to be strong against bullying.  This was a very tedious couple hour long event.  Lots of tying help from mom.  She had to sort all the letters

Caty was working on her safety badge also.  She was working on her bike safety portion of the badge.

Art Class 

The girls finished their art session this week.  They worked on symmetry.  This was a fun project.

In other parts of life....

For fun we played a new game to us.  I had totally forgot about the old game Pay Day.  It was fun, and we will be definitely play it again and add it into our schedule.  It challenged Lydia's math skills by adding those extra place values to her figuring.

I spent time Sunday working on a chore chart.  I have such a Type A personality that sometimes trying to teach them to do things drives me crazy.  I struggle with the line of fighting with them to finish their work and me just doing it because I am so exhausted from battling with other issues.  I dread the idea of fighting with them to do chores.  I printed up a daily list of things that needed to be finished.  I separated it out by which child was to do what.

With more animals in the house though, I really needed to remind them of what needs to be done everyday.  This first week did not go to bad.  I didn't tell them when I first showed them that they would start earning an allowance.  They get a small amount each day if they finish all their chores and all their schoolwork without a fight.  If I need to continue to fight with them, and they choose to not finish their work (and the key words are "they choose" - not mommy error), they do not earn that money.  This week, I did need to pull money from a couple of them.  Refusal to finish their school work, at their choice.  I was right that it was more work for me this week.  I had to over see the chores being finished, but it was mainly things like cleaning the rabbit cage and reminding them how to make their beds.  I just had to figure it into my day.  I know this week what to adjust for next chore list, so I can make those adjustments and hang the chart up on Sunday again.

In my health, I have been on a restricted low-histamine diet for a while now.  I am also dairy, gluten, egg, soy, corn, pork, seafood, nut-free...I'm sure I'm forgetting something.  I tried a bite of dairy cheese a couple weeks ago, and did not have a reaction.   I was able to add cheese back to my diet.  So when we got home from Tennessee I tried yogurt.  No reaction!!  I was so excited!!  I was able to add a little back into my diet.  I'm hoping to periodically add some higher histamine foods back in also.  I may even make some yogurt homemade with my pressure cooker now.  I still have to watch the ingredients, but having another option when we are having those on the run days is great.  I can grab a yogurt and head out the door, instead of completely starving.  That has been harder lately.  My blood sugar has been wrecking havoc on me.

Hope everyone had a great week!!

Linking up with other moms at Weird Unsocialized Homeschooler....

Weekly Wrap-Up