Friday, February 23, 2018

Just a Week (Week 23 - 10th)

Unexpectedly, this week was a bit shorter than I had mentally planned. Monday was Presidents' Day or Washington's Birthday or whatever that day is called now. In the normal scheme of things, I would not have really noticed except for the lack of mail, and maybe not even then since we did not get mail every day. However, this year Fred's company added that day to their paid days off, which means Daddy had a three day weekend. Yay for Daddy... oh, right, no school for Amber either, because it's so hard to school with Daddy home.

Late last week I did realize that this past Monday was going to be a day off, but still I did not adjust my mental school plans until Sunday evening when there wasn't actually going to be school on Monday. Sometimes my brain is slow.

We also did not have co-op this week. I loved having the break, but with the day off on Monday the whole week felt weird and disjointed.

Biscotti silliness

Lesson count for the week: (drumroll...)

  • Flute: lots of practice and her normal weekly lesson. She has some performances coming in the spring that she is practicing, sorta. One is super easy and she was told to not practice it yet, since she would be over-practiced. We'll see how that one goes; it's for church and she's never played with the group. They have a group rehearsal session in early March, but don't perform until early April. Hrm, now that I think about it, she needs to start practicing for the rehearsal.
  • History: she finished off the Drive Thru History Ancient curriculum - these take her about 2 hours to complete the entire lesson. Four lessons. ( Look for a review coming next week.)
  • Government: three lessons
  • Creative Writing: two lessons (These also are longer lessons now and take a good two hours at least)
  • Literature: Reading Jane Eyre
  • Greek: three lessons
  • German: three lessons and a test.
  • Physical Therapy: it had been a month since her last session, and she really needed this. She becoming a bit unstable again in the hips and knees. Bummer.

When I write it out, doesn't look like much on paper, yet she spent a ton of time working on history and creative writing. She also has been helping me around the house quite a bit, since my spine is in an unhappy state again. Bending or lifting anything heavier than a feather hurts... which includes lifting the 20-pound needy cat (Biscotti). I might have to deal with this at some point soon.

The only school related picture this week. Drive Thru History - Ancient

Relaxation Projects:

So the projects are relaxing and keeping me busy without spending time thinking too much. Except for planning the dang projects.

I caught up to the Elements CAL group, well, in a way. The last week was to finish the rounds on the main square, and then begin smaller squares that will go around the main square. After seeing many, many pictures of the blanket with the small squares attached, I decided that I didn't like it. Not at all.

It's been a big debate in the CAL (crochet-a-long) group: should you finish the CAL as written even if you don't like it, in order to honor the pattern writer, or adjust it to how you like. In actuality when I decided to do this CAL, the samples the author provided of the colorway I chose did not include the squares. Yes, one of the other colorways did show the squares, but it was a lot of white and I was a bit baffled by the surrounding squares, honestly.

Long story to say, I'm not doing the squares and I'm waiting for the group to get to their final edging. I'll adjust it for my shorter sides and just edge it to match. Hopefully. The main portion is already 42" square, so I'll just work on edging to get it to a size I like. Although, right now it is very wet and blocking on my dining room table. That is assuming Biscotti will stay off of it, so that it will block in the shape I want.

My blocked Elements CAL through week 10. Sorta blocked - Biscotti keeps sitting on it even though it is very WET. Then I have to straighten it all back out.
Now, I'm deciding on my next project. I think I'm going to do some test squares of the Charlotte square in different yarns. The goal is to make a Charlotte's Dream blanket or bed spread, but I don't have a good handle on the colors I want. I do have enough yarn in four different colorways (of four colors each) to try out. I also want to do the Atlanticus, Lilliana, and Mandella Madness CALs, but I'm having trouble deciding the colors. I might have Atlanticus figured out... maybe.

This weekend Amber is a busy little girl. Saturday afternoon and evening she is helping out at a charity princess dance. No, she is not a princess, but several friends & acquaintances will be princesses. Her best friend's mom is in charge of the princesses and Amber is the mom's assistant to keep everyone going where they should be. Then, she has high school youth group (not Sunday school) on Sunday evening.  Oh.. and co-op homework that she didn't do last weekend, because she had so much extra time. She'll learn eventually.

Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up  Homeschool Coffee Break homeschool

Monday, February 19, 2018

{Review} Wulf the Saxon - Heirloom Audio Productions

The review year has started again, and we are back with another review from Heirloom Audio Productions. Although Amber is nearly halfway through high school, Heirloom Audio Productions remains one of her favorite vendors to review. This time in Wulf the Saxon we traveled to Anglo-Saxon England to witness the Norman conquest.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions

Heirloom Audio Productions:

Heirloom Audio Productions has transformed numerous G.A. Henty adventures into their active listening format. These are not simply audio books with a story being read, nor are they quite the same as audio dramas that you may have heard on the radio or as recordings. Instead, active listening audio adventures take quick paced adventures and bring you into the story through sound only. The effects encourage you to create images in your mind, to where you do not even realize there is not a video component. The experience is unlike any other listening format.

We received Wulf the Saxon as a two CD set, however Heirloom Audio Productions also publishes these adventures as MP3s on their website where you can download or listen online. In addition to digital files, Live the Adventure Club provides bonus content for each story in the form of study guides, e-book versions of the G.A. Henty novel, sound tracks, and more. We have been more than pleased in the past with our access to Live the Adventure Club.

G.A. Henty

G.A. Henty was a late 19th century English novelist who mostly wrote historical adventure novels for children. Being well traveled and having spent time in the British army gave Henty some of the perspective needed to write such detailed stories. He also was known to do extensive research prior to writing his historical novels and all use history to teach moral values. That research is the key which has allowed Henty's stories to remain relevant today as vivid, historically accurate (for the most part) tales for all ages.

Use in High School

Although Amber is sixteen years old and in tenth grade, we still love to use the Henty dramas from Heirloom Audio Productions as history supplements. The dramas are designed for ages 6 to 16, but are even enjoyable for adults, to which I can attest. They are a good way to change up the learning methods we use, and give Amber a little break from her regular studies.

Normally, Amber does not fare well without a tactile experience in her learning and has significant issues with auditory processing. Still, we have found the active listening experience that comes from Heirloom Audio Productions to be a great fit for Amber. She retains the information because she is able to create a picture in her mind of the story.  Lately, I've been having Amber also take notes while she listens, in order to practice her listening and note-taking skills.

Amber listened to Wulf the Saxon in one sitting of roughly two and a half hours, which was nearly too long for her to focus. Nevertheless, she managed to take notes on the entire story and hit most of the important points. Because of the way her mind turns these stories in to visuals, she often listens to a large section before pausing the CD to write down a summary of that portion. Ideally, she will get to the point where she takes constant notes.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions

Wulf the Saxon

(Based on Amber's notes)
The story revolves around a young Saxon thane named Wulf of Steyning serving Earl Harold, who later is to become King Harold Godwinson. Wulf and another of Harold's wards, Beorn, are sent on numerous adventures in the service of Harold where they learn about loyalty and courage.

Their first adventure is when the two along with Harold are shipwrecked in Normandy, which is unfriendly territory for Saxons. As things continue to decline the trio is captured and eventually the boys are taken as servants for Count Conrad of Ponthieu, while Earl Harold is imprisoned in the count's dungeon. The boys remain faithful to Harold and watch for a chance to escape, which they are able to do after a party. Then Wulf and Beorn find their way to Baron DeBurg who sends men to successfully rescue Harold.

After returning home to London the two thanes, Wulf and Beorn, along with Wulf's friend Osgod who serves under him, are dispatched to help with Welsh rebellions. However, the Welsh are vicious fighters who do not fight by rules of combat. Heroically, Wulf, Beorn, Osgod and the Saxons are able to take a Welsh castle owned by the Welsh leader, Llewelyn. This leads to the ending of the Welsh rebellion.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions

Harold eventually marries, but it is not to one of Duke William of Normandy's daughters as he originally swore when previously tricked by Duke William. Harold's defiance of the furious William begins to have effects and war between the two becomes inevitable. Wulf is wounded defending King Harold during one assassination attempt, but he slowly recovers.

News of an attacking Norwegian Army, which includes King Harold Godwinson's brother, Tostig Godwinson, reaches Harold who sends Wulf and company to join in the attack at the Battle of Stamford Bridge where Osgod is wounded. Even though the Saxons were able to repel the Norwegian forces and Tostig is killed, another battle looms with William of Normandy. Wulf, Beorn, and Osgod aid Harold in the Battle of Hastings where the Saxons are soundly defeated and Harold is killed. William the Conqueror is named King of England.

Our three heroes survive the Battle of Hastings thanks to Baron De Burg who is charged by William the Conqueror to keep them in safe custody. He takes them back to his home in Normandy, where they are all happily greeted by the baron's family. The loyalty and courage of the boys (now men) to Harold is rewarded by William, who understands the importance of these traits.

Unexpected Homeschool: Review of Wulf the Saxon from Heirloom Audio Productions


Even though English history is not a favorite of Amber's, she thoroughly enjoyed Wulf the Saxon. She does still hold another of the Heirloom Audio Productions audio dramas as her favorite, while I prefer English history and Wulf the Saxon. Nevertheless, we have yet to be displeased with any of the Henty Adventures from Heirloom Audio Productions.

Take a look at the other Heirloom Audio Productions adventures we have reviewed:

We can't wait to see what Heirloom Audio Productions has in store for their next adventure!



Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also reviewed Wulf the Saxon. Please follow the link in the graphic below to read their thoughts.

Wulf the Saxon {Heirloom Audio Productions Reviews}

Friday, February 16, 2018

Teenage Driving (Week 22 - 10th)

Hallelujah, Amber and I are both almost healthy! She still is sniffling some and I still have an occasional raspy sounding cough. Our energy level has been a little lower than normal, but so much better than the past two weeks.

We were still recovering for a good part of this week, so school work was limited to the easier subjects and lower energy lessons. Thankfully, I believe next week we will manage a goodly amount of our regular schedule! We don't have co-op next week either, so we'll have that day at home. I can't wait. As much as we love co-op, I really need those break weeks.

My Valentine's Day flowers
We missed another field trip this week too. We have wanted to do the maple sugaring at our local conservation area / state forest for years, and this year our new homeschool group scheduled an event for us at a time that Amber and I could actually make. It has been freakishly warm this past week in Missouri, but the temperature dropped drastically for today. Still, it wasn't too cold and we could have gone, except I did something wrong when unloading the car from co-op earlier in the week. I have barely been able to move since, because of shooting pain where I have all damage in my spine. Amber was disappointed, but there was no way I could do all the walking or help her through all the walking.

However, Amber has been doing a lot of driving this week because of my back. Actually, she was doing most of the driving before I triggered the new inflammation, but since then she has done all of the driving. It's still a little unnerving and she is clearly a young driver, although she's actually getting us everywhere we need to go. I just have to help a little with parking in crowded lots. I guess next week, if we are up for it, I should take her out to practice parking a little more.

School accomplished:

  • Co-op homework: Writing and astronomy.
  • Co-op classes: astronomy, Elegant Essay, drama, nature drawing
  • Literature: Jane Eyre (3 lessons)
  • History: Ancient History, using Drive Thru History Adventures  (another 2 complete lessons)
  • Math (2 lessons): Using the MathArt to study Greek Math & Platonic Solids, and Pythagoras & the Music of the Spheres. Includes additional research and documentation. (This is a review item, and also a trial for the math independent study.)
  • Western Civilization - 1 lesson
  • Flute practice and lesson - 

Other Activities:

  • Driving - Besides driving us almost everywhere this week, we also went out early in the week to just practice driving with no particular location in mind. 
  • Valentine's Day party at co-op
  • February Amber and Mom day (we take one day a month to have fun together. It helps our relationship be more than teaching parent and student child).
  • Video games - Amber has been really busy designing an area on Lego Worlds. She's been spending time planning and then developing her own area. It's been her creative outlet for the week.

(left) Milori is doing much better. We're so happy to have him healthy
(right) Biscotti loves to burrow into blankets
We've been watching some of the Olympics in the evenings, but we did not use it as a learning experience. I'm not terribly interested or dedicated to logging school hours outside of our planned lessons, which means I miss a lot of opportunities like the Olympics.

I've been crocheting during my TV watching time in the evenings, instead of always working on my to-do lists. I feel a little behind, but perhaps not as exhausted for it. I am really finding it rewarding to work on difficult crochet projects. Right now I'm doing the Moogly CAL (crochet along) in two different colors, and I've almost caught up with the Elements CAL. I think I might work on a few smaller projects when I finish the Elements CAL before starting an older CAL that still has the instructions available. I'm trying to decide if I want to do Atlanticus, Lilliana, or a Charlotte. I still need to figure out what pattern I want to use to make a king size bedspread too.

(left) The Elements CAL, week 9.  (unblocked)
(right)) A test of the Charlotte inner square in my Moogly CAL colors. 
Linking With:

Weekly Wrap-Up  Homeschool Coffee Break homeschool
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