homeschooling, homemaking, homesteading...home.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Journal Entry/Homeschool Snapshot, 4/22/11

The Homeschool Mother's Journal

How's it going with the learning? Let's see...

In my life this week...

Since my last update, I've been growing and making. Growing a baby belly and making, well...scroll back through recent posts. Lots of stuff. The funk of winter cabin-fever is starting to lift, and although the boys and I haven't been doing as much outdoors as is typical for us in nicer weather (between rain-rain-rain and sleepy pregnant Momma, those impromptu trips to the duck pond, etc. are easily procrastinated), we have been more active in general...both together and individually.

In our homeschool this week...

The "school" aspect of "homeschool" continues to be laid-back...in fact, I've even backed off a little on my own recent commitment to do more structured things. T broke his arm a few weeks ago,

Fell out of a tree. He was very brave at the ER.
so I put math and handwriting on hold. The only thing we're still doing consistently as far as planned activities go is reading.

I read a good book not long ago, See Johnny Read! by Tracey Wood. It seemed to be addressed to the reading problems of a slightly older student rather than kick-starting a young and reluctant reader, but the exercises gave me a framework to use. We're working at a slow pace--one new concept per week--but our lessons are short, comprehensive, cooperative, and for the most part, fun. Right now we're working through the short vowel sounds using CVC words. I'll typically have T do an interactive game on either PBS Kids or Starfall to familiarize himself with the sound, and then we use letter cards to build his word list. Most of his list for the week is generated by him, but I do throw in suggestions. When we started this, I'd incorporate handwriting practice by having him make the flashcards. Given his injury to his dominant arm, I've taken over that duty. We then spend several days reviewing that week's flashcards


and making sentences using them and a small but growing pile of "extra" words (the, and, you, a, is...).


By the end of a week he is usually ready for review, which is sentences that also incorporate vocabulary from previous weeks. When he's in charge of making the sentences, we get a lot of "The pig has gas." "Mom has gas." "Ted has gas." Ah well...at least I have his attention. LOL

At any rate, it's working for him right now. Mostly. We still have days where his attitude stinks and he fights me and acts helpless, but I have the benefit of 30 extra years of experience in being stubborn. ;)

Places we're going and people we're seeing...

With the exception of our regular errands, lunches out (we LOVE us some Eat-n-Park!), and trips to the playground and library, really the only visiting we've done lately is with family. But that's quite a lot these past two weeks...including a few birthdays. The most notable, for us at least, was C's fifth birthday, last weekend.

He had a terrific time. This child has a capacity for joy that humbles and delights me. He spent seven weeks counting down to his birthday and planning for his party. He wrapped small gifts from his toy stash and hid them around the house, to be given to his guests. He told every waitress, librarian, checkout clerk, and random passerby exactly how many days were left until he'd be celebrating. When the big day arrived, he smiled the entire day. He greeted each guest at the door with such enthusiasm that it was as though they were the One person in the entire world that he wanted most to be with. He was cheerful and funny and...I risk getting just too sappy, but it's been nearly a week and I still can't think about it without smiling. That kid does "happy" really, really well.

My favorite things this week were...
  • C's birthday
  • Watching the kids wade in the creek at a neighborhood park
  • Coloring Easter eggs
  • Fistfuls of daffodils from my boys. ♥
What's working/not working for us...

Hm. See above...I think I covered that pretty well in "our homeschool this week".

Homeschool questions/thoughts I have...

Actually, I think I'm good for the moment. Imagine that!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share...

Here's our current favorite webcam: the Decorah Eagles. T is really into birds of prey right now (grown from his interest in vultures a month or so back). Prior to his injury, he'd been energetically filling his journal with drawings of hawks, ospreys, falcons, and eagles.


Daddy found us this webcam of a nesting bald eagle. Most mornings, while we eat breakfast, we watch the chicks eat theirs as well. Supercool.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Parade of Finished Objects

It seems that lately, this is more of a crafting showcase than a homeschooling journal. Ah well, it *is* my little catch-all for enjoying our lives. Right now I'm enjoying crafting. So bear with me while I "ta-da!" once more.

I finished a few more things this week.

Here is a maternity shirt I just finished. I'm very happy with it. It's roomy but not boxy or tent-like. I adore the color. The jersey is thick and soft. And the best part? It's totally self-designed and drafted. I feel very good about this.

Naturally, there's one thing that I regret...a poorly-chosen moment during construction when I suddenly forgot everything I know about sewing and make a newbie mistake. Sigh. I'm still kicking myself for it. But it's a small and barely visible detail. so I'm trying to forgive myself.

I also made the jeans. Okay, not true. I altered them.

See? Fully belly panel. That low-rise thing isn't going to work for too much longer. 22 weeks down! These are tres sexy, no?

I tried to get a three-fer of FOs in a single picture, but the missing piece is a prayer shawl that I completed for my sister-in-law. First of all, one sure way to make a pregnant woman look even larger is to wrap her in knitwear. ;) Secondly,there was a pretty brisk wind blowing and it just didn't look graceful at all. So I did what I hope is a Ravelry-worthy drape-over-a-bench to try to showcase the lace.


I used this pattern from Crystal Palace Yarns, and just under two skeins of Lion Brand Sock-Ease. I love the pattern; I'm not crazy about the yarn. The nylon content gives too much elasticity for a project which I hope *stays* blocked open (I'm convinced that it's going to shrink and curl). Furthermore, the colorway (Lemon Drop) looks nothing like how it appeared on my computer screen when I placed my order (FWIW, it looks more accurate from my netbook, so I blame my old desktop monitor). What I'd thought would be a pale buttery yellow is neon. NEON, people! Luckily, my SIL's favorite color is yellow and I'd shown this yarn to her before I packaged it back up for a return. What I found garish, she found delightful. So while this would never be my first choice, I am hopeful that it will be loved by my recipient. ;)


Speaking of love...let me show you just the cutest little booties in the whole wide world.

I made these to celebrate the arrival of my best friend's infant daughter. What a wonderful pattern; I made this project in one day--the day the baby was born. The glass buttons are antique, and feature roses to honor the baby's middle name, Rose. The pattern is Saartje's Booties. And the yarn? It's leftover Malabrigo from my "Love Hat".


Love Booties. :) *happysigh*

And finally, I almost forgot to mention this little guy, who I just adore. I made this fabric storage cube (denim exterior, quilter's cotton interior, plastic canvas frame, all stash & scrap--woot for frugality!) for C's birthday. He's five now! Gee, guess I should blog that. Maybe tomorrow...


Anyway, I stole was inspired by this graphic somewhere online and recreated it in fabric paint and embroidery floss. Yes, the eyes are uneven but I kind of think that adds to the charm. :)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Productive

I've been rather busy making things lately. Today I'll share some more recent completed projects...or FOs, if you are hip to the lingo. ;)

First up, a sweet little newborn hat for my best friend's new daughter. Who seems to have missed the memo concerning her due date (Monday)...but we're confident she'll be joining the world of the breathing soon!

This was knit top-down, in the round, using the Pi method. I made it using Cascade 220, which has the distinction of being not only a sturdy, affordable workhorse yarn available in more colors than Crayola (no I did not verify that) but also soft, soft, soft and lovely to work with.

Next up, another small surprise baby gift, for the same baby.
Duckie washcloths!
I suspect that this set will be split between her and her big sister, who loves ducks. I'm cool with that. I made these using Elaine Fitzpatrick's "Quacking Up" pattern, and Lion Brand Cotton-Ease...a cotton/acrylic blend that launders beautifully and stays soft.

These little knitting projects were a good "palate cleanser", as I'm working through a pattern for a prayer shawl. OMG my heart is in a good place but after a while the same 4 rows can get very tedious and I start to get "are we there yet" -itis. 
My recipient, a friend recently diagnosed with breast cancer, loves yellow.
Here it is all balled up...you'll get to see it pretty when I block it. Hopefully within a few days. This has already taken *weeks* longer than I'd forecast when I cast on. Sigh.

I've also been sewing...see recent post about maternity shirts. I've been working on another the past two days that's going surprisingly well, but I have not photographed it because it's my fitting muslin. Turns out it isn't going to require much in the way of alteration. I cannot stress how pleasantly surprised I am by this.

I also made this patchwork table runner for a friend's birthday:

The patchwork design is improvised based on a table runner my best friend made for my birthday in 2010, and altered to compensate for the amount of fabrics available. I am thrilled to report that everything in this project was found in my scrap bin...which justifies my packrat tendencies. I'm sure a few of you out there know what I'm talking about!

This was my first experience with free-motion machine quilting, which I found to be fun but I'm going to need a lot more practice. For example, I adjusted my tension based on a test piece and then realized AFTER I'd quilted the entire piece that the tension was too tight. So the back looks sloppy and amateur, but it's too late to do anything other than shrug and chalk it up to learning. I also believe I made my "random curlicue" design far too tight, but that's just a matter of visual preference.


And finally, trying to get the self-binding corners mitered neatly nearly made me cry. Why I can't just half-ass it and do straight corners is testament to my perfectionist nature. I do love mitered corners. Sometimes I do them very, VERY well (my SIL has the most awesome set of linen napkins and I almost wish I hadn't gifted them, but then again I'm glad I did gift some of my best work, kwim?) but other times it's just an exercise in frustration. Ah well. All told I'm still happy with the general results of the table runner, so yay me.

I've also been making up some of these little darlings.

If you have to ask, you probably don't want to know. ;)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What the world needs...

...is a stethoscope which allows you to listen to two things at once.

You're welcome.