Thursday, September 6, 2012

Carpentry and Testing Week

Ever have one of those weeks when it felt like you did a lot, but when you actually try to explain what you did nothing of note comes to mind?  That's how our week seems to have been. I certainly checked many things off my ever growing to-do list, and Amber was a busy bee all week long. Still, it really took some thinking to figure out what exactly we did this week.

We started off good over Labor Day weekend with a family building project.  My promised built-in bookshelves for the loft / office room finally came to the top of the list.  We were a bit hindered by rain and storms all day Saturday, then off and on rain over Sunday and Monday.  But ever the trooper, Fred sawed and hammered in the garage while his poor car sat in the driveway.  I did offer to move my car out of the garage, but his spot was the better location to work.

(Top, L-R) Empty wall for shelves, Fred starting on first one in the garage
(Bottom, L-R) One shelf assembled & 2nd started, All three pieces assembled.

After he had the shelves assembled, I sanded and primed them while Amber did many of my inside jobs for the weekend.  By Tuesday evening we had the shelves inside the house and finished their installation Wednesday evening.  They (and the whole room) still need to be painted the final color, what you see in the pictures is just primer.  However, they are in and almost ready for use! We finally have space for all the homeschool "stuff".

Installed & primed. Needs final paint.
After a lot of thought about school, I realized the reason I felt like we hadn't done a lot in school this week was that it was a testing week for Amber.  It was a very short school week since she had Monday as a holiday and Friday is our catchup day.  Still, she had a science quiz, math test, English test, and Latin test, along with her regular spelling words and sentence dictation tests.  She did fine on all of them, too.

Amber also finished reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.  She thoroughly enjoyed this story, as I had hoped. She was jittery anxious towards then end of the book.  You could see the anticipation and worry in her as she fidgeted in her chair while reading.  I almost stopped her from reading at one point, but she did manage to settle down.  I guess it is a good book when you become that involved.  Amber is now awaiting time to watch The Secret of Nimh, as promised.  I hope the movie is all that she expects it to be, because I remember being terribly disappointed in the movie when it came out.

Reading Mrs. Frisby!
(New hat from Grandma)
Lately, Amber has been getting a lot of use out of Netflix by watching Hercules, The Legendary JourneysYes, the one with Kevin Sorbo.   She saw it in one of Netflix's "you might like this list", and wanted to know what it was.  Sigh.  The list was right.  I always did like it, in a "this is so goofy and funny, but I just can't stop watching" way.  Amber seems to like it too and every night wants to watch one or two episodes.  She has given up all her other screen time to watch Hercules.  Seriously, it's not that great of a show.  Now that Xena has been introduced and "turned good", Amber wants to watch the Xena series too.  I'm not sure about that one.  I've seen all of those as well and there a few that she won't be watching anytime soon.  Oh well.  I'll just pretend there is some value to her watching these, as unrealistic as they are.

Over Labor Day weekend we also set aside time to try out our new art & music appreciation curriculum.  We are trying Harmony Fine Arts Medieval & Renaissance, but strictly for the appreciation portions.  I was very apprehensive about how this would work out, considering how poorly our original curriculum worked for us.  Thankfully, Amber had a positive attitude about trying again and we both enjoyed the study of the first artists and musician.  We are also adding in information from the original art appreciation curriculum and from my college art appreciation textbook.  Amber is creating an art and music appreciation notebook as suggested in the curriculum, but she really isn't terribly interested in notebooking and sees it mostly as busy work to be rushed through and completed.  I am trying to do only items that are less like homework, and more along the lines of a journal of where we have been artistically.  So far though, it seems to be a positive change for us.

We also ran out of time last week for creative writing, so had to complete that over the holiday weekend too.  Amber just loves the workbook that is available with the NaNoWriMO website.  She actually asks when it is time to work on this subject!  There is just enough whimsy and humor in the workbook to make it fun, but not too silly that nothing gets accomplished.  Amber is so excited that she is going to write a novel in a couple of months, that she happily completes all the tasks given so that she is more prepared for the novel writing.   This week she gets to start working on her own characters by completing a questionnaire for each and Amber is chomping at the bit to start.

NaNoWriMo has become my favorite resource for the past couple of weeks.  Amber's enthusiasm, all the great resources at the NaNoWriMo website, and the free downloadable workbook make this the perfect creative writing choice for us.  The workbook goes through the creative writing process very methodically, but it isn't a boring, dry textbook.  The workbook comes in either an elementary or middle school version too.  I downloaded both, but after looking them over decided we would try middle school, even though Amber is still in 5th grade. So far, this has been a good choice.  I think she would have also enjoyed and benefited from the elementary level, but the middle school is more at her skill level.

Amber dug out her building toys this past week so she could be just like Daddy.
One exciting thing this week for me was the iHomeschool Network Homeschool-a-Palooza on Facebook.  I rushed through mowing the front yard Tuesday evening and made it in the house to "attend" for a little while.  I stayed a quiet wallflower during the party because I was sweaty from mowing ;-)  Actually, I also entered into a couple of the drawings for things I had been considering buying but was on the fence about.   Do you know, I actually won one!  It was one of the things I've really been thinking about buying for a history supplement this year (like we need more) and for a larger portion of history next year when Amber studies the Ancient Greek and Roman times.  I won what I would use this year too, how fortuitous!  I never win things.  Never.  So, I'm hoping this is a good sign that I've found something we will really like.

Something that has been on my mind this week, besides my ever growing list of things that need to be done this fall (or immediately), is how I am truly managing to get everything done around here.  Since Fred was sick this summer and has recovered.. sorta, I've had to do pretty much everything.  His energy level has really dropped the last month and we are grateful he has another surgical checkup today to discuss this ongoing problem.  He basically just goes to work, comes home and crashes.  He tries his best to stay awake until Amber's bedtime and then goes to sleep as well.  This leaves all the house maintenance, and all of Fred's little jobs (like trash and recycle) to me. 

Fred, his parents and even my mom have been mentioning frequently how much I have to do and stressing how I need to take breaks and rest.   This weekend reminded me that I'm not really doing everything myself.  There is another person here that seems to have been forgotten.  Amber is doing more chores around the house than is asked of her.  On top of that, when I come in from mowing the yard in the mid-day sun between rain showers, dripping in sweat, she is there with a glass of ice water and a towel.  When I'm mowing the yard until dark and still trying to trim the landscaping, she is there picking up my trimmings using only the landscaping lights so we can avoid as many bugs as possible.

No more pictures now, I mean it.
Anybody want a peanut? :-)

I'm especially thankful for my little girl this week.  Without her, I can't imagine how I would have made it through this past summer, emotionally or physically.  Next week starts her dance classes for the fall and she has earned every last one of those classes.  Normally, we consider those types of things a privilege that can be taken away based on behavior choices.  I say she has earned this semester already and her new voice lessons too.

I hope you all had a good week too and maybe it was just a little more exciting than our week.

Linking with:

Favorite Resource This Week Homegrown Learners


  1. I'm so glad you won something at the iHomeschool Network party! Yay! I was there moderating and helping in the background... it was quite a busy and fun party, wasn't it?

    Your words about Amber are so sweet -- and I can see that you two are very close. It's great when they get to that age where they are helpful and a comfort to us as moms, too. I'm seeing this in my daughter, and it is such a joy.

    Have a great weekend, and I hope you get a chance to relax!

  2. I enjoyed your journal very much. Especially your reference to Princess Bride, my all time favorite! I hope you do get the rest and breaks that you need so you can be all that you need to be:) Isn't winning fun?! Congratulations!! I'm going to check out that NaNoWriMo Young Writer's site. Have a great weekend!

    1. The Princess Bride is one of my very favorites too. Amber likes it as well, but she can't quite quote it yet. She tends to paraphrase the lines, and they lose something then. But it is fun to guess what line she is trying to quote.

  3. The shelves look wonderful. I'm glad she found one of those books that she LOVES. I still remember a few of those from my childhood.

    It is amazing when you realize how much you depend on the "little" ones. Mine are teenagers now & I don't know how I would get along without them.


  4. I just downloaded NaNoWriMo Workbook for my son(10). He isn't awake yet but he is going to love it. He has wanted to write a novel since he was about 6. I have an e-book I want to write. This may be my 'Favorite thing of the week" for next weeks journal.


    1. I hope you both love it as much as we do. I'm glad I could share our find with you.

  5. Seriously awesome bookshelves! They look beautiful (even without final paint) and very functional!

    Great resource! I downloaded the workbooks for all 3 levels. I'm not sure when or if we'll use them, but I'll have them for "the right time".

    Congratulations on the win! Exciting!

  6. The shelves look great! Mrs. Frisby was one of my favorite books in elementary school. You have the same white cover book I had - old school!

  7. Yep, that's my old copy that she is reading. I've had it since the early 80's... maybe actually 1980 even. I guarded it closely while Amber read it. The binding isn't all that it once was ;-)

  8. Love the book case Christy! What a great job. I know what you mean about Amber being a help. Keilee is a huge help around here. Especially since it is just her and I. Keilee has been working on the NaNoWriMo too. We actually have done this for a couple of years. Keilee has watched Xena and Hercules. We both love cheesy shows like that. :) Congrats on winning at the FB party. I wanted to 'attend' but had something else going on. Have a great Sunday and a great week!!

  9. It is wonderful that your daughter is so helpful--what a great life skill she is learning. I think that is one of the many benefits of homeschooling. They are there to see all that needs to be done and pitch in, not return after school to a clean house, errands done, and laundry folded on their bed!

  10. You say your week wasn't very exciting, but it sounds pretty good to me! The new bookcases look awesome! I really liked Mrs. Frisby as a kid, too...and I didn't like the movie, either.
    I've known about NaNoWriMo for quite a while, but I haven't really utilized the resources there. I need to investigate that workbook!
    Thanks for linking up at Favorite Resources :) Congrats on winning something through Homeschool-a-Palooza!