Saturday, September 29, 2012

Steampunk Has Arrived

Another busy week around here. I don't see that changing this semester.  I guess our new normal is the crazy, I've lost my head and look rather like a chicken, days.

This week Amber finally started using her Heritage Studies 5 book during history.  We've been working through other resources to catch up to the timeframe of Heritage Studies and Tuesday we finally reached it!  Too bad we only have 2 weeks before we dump all of our history curriculum in favor of a four week unit study on Elections.  Oh well.

It was a nice change though to switch over to Heritage Studies from the strictly factual history we had been using.  She started this week learning about inventions of the early 1900's and working on her timeline to put everything into perspective.  Oddly enough, the designs of the inventions go right along with our theme for the week after the Rush concert - Steampunk.  

Amber has become, in the space of a weekend, enamored with Steampunk.  The steam powered car was the coolest thing ever, in her mind.  No matter that it wasn't terribly practical.   We still had to spend a goodly amount of one day learning all she could about it.

For Reading lessons this week Amber was working with some Tolstoy folktales, Aesop's fables and other miscellaneous moral stories.  We are trying to be diligent in our work with reading comprehension, as well as critical and interpretive reading.  Amber is making some progress in these areas too.

Amber has also started reading King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table for literature. She can't put the book down.  She finished two different reading assignments in one day, begging to do the discussion so that she could continue reading. I guess this one was a good choice.

Thankfully, the Compare and Contrast essay was completed in Language and we can move on to another grammar chapter.  Amber loves creative writing, but expository writing assignments are going to be the end of us both. This is one difference between Amber and myself.  I excelled at expository writing, but found creative writing very difficult.  I'm not a terribly creative person though.

We've still not managed a single nature walk.  It's becoming ridiculous at this point.  In our defense it did rain nearly every day this week.  One particular day found Amber carefully watching me out the windows while she cowered from the thunder and lightning preceding the coming storm.  I was outside frantically overseeding our yard after the lawn service had kindly aerated that very morning.  That was about the closest we came to a nature walk. I wouldn't recommend it.

Amber and I decorated the house for Autumn this week during one of our "recess" breaks. It was raining and we needed something to lift our spirits.  This is my favorite time of year to decorate.  Everything smells so wonderful and looks so pretty.  Amber had picked out some new additions to our decorations last week, so this week she was anxious to use them.  If we could only keep the cat from eating things, we'd be in good shape.

The cat is another fun subject from this week.  It was time for Biscotti's yearly shots and he had an appointment on Wednesday.  He is only 17 months old, so this is just his second round of shots.  The last time he was in the car was a year ago.  He still hates the car.  Our vet is exactly 2 minutes from our house.  This is not an exaggeration.  Still, Biscotti howls and cries and makes the most pathetic sounds for the whole duration of the drive.  If the vet was 3 minutes away, I'd have to sedate the cat.

The vet weighed Biscotti and we all got quite a shock.  He is up to 13.75 pounds.  Now, you'll see in the pictures that he is not a fat cat.  Actually, he is very lean and can't stand to be much thinner.  We saw a different vet in the practice than we normally see, so this was her first experience with Biscotti.  She checked him over, asked some questions about his personality, looked up information they had about him since he was born in a rescue foster home that used the vet.

After a few minutes, the vet informed us that she strongly believes Biscotti is at least 1/4, if not 1/2 Maine Coon.  Seriously?  Gahh!  His mother was a pregnant rescue who still sees this vet. She is a tiny, little, domestic short hair cat.  The father is unknown as she was pregnant when rescued.  

Short of it (ha), is that our little kitty that wasn't supposed to get very big (ahem) is not done growing at nearly 14 pounds.  He should grow for another year, at least, if not 2 years.   My sister and mom find this entirely hilarious. Both have yet to stop laughing when they talk to me.  Fred always says that Biscotti acts like a dog-cat because he will heel when told, come when called, sit when commanded, and is the most affectionate and needy cat that Fred has ever seen.

As a continuation of the Steampunk theme, Amber is trying to find a way dress Biscotti up in steampunk for Halloween.  Good luck kid! That cat can't even stand a harness.

This week Amber also started an Autumn poster that we will continue to add fun fall activities pictures to over the rest of the season. Out of the blue, on Thursday, she asked if we could make the poster to hang in the school area.  Why not?  We don't have a lot of Fall decorations upstairs, it just isn't set up for decorating in that way.  Right now, the poster is simply decorated waiting for the pictures that need to come.  Amber spent a good hour working on it Thursday afternoon using left over Autumn project decorations we found in our basement.   Maybe with a little planning in the future this can become a regular project for the change of seasons.

Amber has really started to struggle with her Latin lessons.  I don't think it is the material, she just doesn't want to put forth the effort to memorize the words anymore.  She also needs to know more of the why, and how the words will be used in the future than her curriculum is providing.  I took some time to work through the lessons and do some research on my own. We then had a special lesson that I devised to work on some of Amber's problems and help her see where all the grammar rules are heading.  All I can say is thankfully I'm fluent in German, because otherwise I would be equally lost with the grammar as explained in her book.

We still like our Latin curriculum, but I did have to spend some time this week reassessing it.  I was tempted to switch to something less grammar intensive, but this curriculum uses the Classical method and I'd really like to stick with it.  In the end, I decided the main issues are mostly Amber's attitude and my reliance on the video lessons provided with the curriculum (ahem.. Mommy needs 15 minutes to herself sometimes).  I really need to be a little more hands on with the teaching and provide Amber a few more opportunities to practice the concepts from each chapter.  

Finally, to cement the Steampunk theme from this week, we are working hard on the Halloween costumes. Amber had previously chosen a Medieval dress for herself, that is looking really good so far.  She decided that I definitely need a costume this year and instead of the much easier to sew Renaissance costume originally intended, I am now the Victorian Steampunk costume pattern she saw.  Why she can't wear it, I don't know.   Hopefully, I can finish them both by Halloween.  We'll put up pictures when the projects are done. 

That was another one of our tremendously full weeks!  I hope you all enjoyed your week and are having a relaxing weekend.

Linking with:

Homegrown Learners


  1. Stopping over from Mary's link up. Just wanted to say that your reasons for coming to homeschool are very similar to mine. I am so grateful that I listened to my child and to my heart and made this decision almost 3 years ago. One of our favorite things is being able to learn with our animals!

  2. Another great week Christy! I just want to say that Keilee LOVES all things Steampunk. She is going to be Steampunk Alice for Halloween. Is Amber interested in fashion? You need to show her Keilee's Polyvore site. She has TONS of steampunk on there. :)

    That is an adorable cat. Looks like it is going to be a BIG adorable cat. :) Love the decorations. They are beautiful.

  3. Us too! In about 2 weeks, we'll be dropping our regular SOTW or CHOW history to do an election lapbook from Homeschool Share. I'll probably have to get some printer ink by then! ::wink:: Always!

    Love your fall decorating! We've only made paper bag Fall trees at this point, but I hope to get in some other stuff before the snow comes.

    Maine Coons are HUGE cats! My Mom had 2 around 20 pounds! And furry! They do act like dogs though! LOL Sounds like a fun cat! Now our rescued cat (from the side of the road as a tiny kitten) gets SICK in the van. Ugh! And the vet is 20 minutes away!

    Have a great week!