Saturday, May 1, 2010

Weekly Wrap-Up: Terraria, Toilet Tissue, and a Bit of Perspective

Despite the myriad items on my calendar this week, such as the girls' check-ups and a vital (for me) meeting at church, we had a decent week.  Not stellar, but not too shabby, either.  We even managed to get in two days of Latin, which we'd been neglecting.

At my church meeting, the girls brought along their BrainQuest workbooks, which they find a nice change, and actually completed some assignments.  I had wondered how successful that venture would be, but it turned out okay.

In math, both girls have been plugging along in the BrainQuest workbook.  This week, Miss Priss met double-digit multiplication.  To aid me in teaching her, I reached for my handy Math to Know mathematics handbook and decided to use the partial products method.  I chose this strategy because it better separates the operations, i.e., first you do all the multiplicaton work, and then you add everything up at the end.  I thought this would be easier for her to follow.  I heartily recommend Math to Know and the other handbooks in the series, Math to Learn and Math at Hand.  The pages are bright and colorful; the explanations are thorough and clear.  I was fortunate to "inherit" these handbooks from my mother when she retired.  Thanks, Mama!

We all enjoyed our readings this week.  Turns out I only had a vague understanding of both Leonardo da Vinci and Marco Polo, so I've been fascinated with studying them.  Our chapter in Secrets of the Woods, "Meeko the Mischief-Maker" continues to be a favorite.  And the girls were delighted to reach Henry VIII in history.  We also learned about Martin Luther and the beginnings of the Reformation.  We also began The Twenty-One Balloons this week; we've read a few chapters and, thus far, not much is happening. There's enough humor to keep the girls attentive, but I'm waiting for the actual story to kick in.

In Great Inventors and Their Inventions, we began the section on spinning and read about the distaff and spindle.  Both girls have seen this method in use at a living history day we attended two years ago, and fortunately they recalled how it works.  I say "fortunately" because the written descriptions in this text are quite dificult to follow if you know nothing about the process.  (I searched for a video on YouTube, but the ones I found featured modrn-day fiber artists spinning their own yarn with new-fangled spindles.)

Yesterday was the last day of term for the Timothy Ministry homeschool enrichment program.  In their World of Living Things science class, the participants each constructed a soda bottle terrarium.  Tiny Girl opted for a small plant and five worms for her garden.  Miss Priss chose more vines to plant in hers and declined the worm offer.  The idea of touching the worms was "disgusting" to her.

Garden update: no tomatoes, cukes, watermelon, or strawberries have come up; in fact, none of the seeds we planted in the egg cartons even germinated.  It's a mystery as to why this occurred.  But, undaunted, we sowed some more seeds directly in the garden box.  Everything else is up and needing to be thinned.

In my Bible reading yesterday morning, I read this verse, "The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me" (Psalm 138:8a).  For my part, I now know what I need to do to simplify our lives and enable me to focus as I should on our home education lifestyle (thanks for your encouragement and prayers!).  Certainly I will complete the commitments I've made through the end of May.  But I still need to extricate myself from others for the coming year, and I don't look forward to that, for reasons I shared in an earlier post.  I don't want to belabor the point.

So this morning, when I read (verse three from the same psalm), "When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stouthearted," I knew that God was telling me to lean on Him for the courage and kindness I'll need for any difficult conversation (I deplore those!) I will face.  It is such a relief to know He is with us every step of the way, isn't it?

In case you're wondering what Jasper's been up to, I leave you with this:

I love his facial expression. Have you ever seen a better depiction of "Uh oh!" in your life?


  1. A good week. The math help book sounds good. I pray that you will have strength and gentleness for dealing with unpleasant conversations. Love the doggie picture too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ellen, I want my 'worse' weeks to be like this, ha ha ha
    I'm sorry about the seeds. We have some plants, but I'm always so hopeful on the tomatoes, and we'll see, I don't see it very well why tomatoes scape my hubby's great abilities to grow things.
    Your readings are soooo exciting. And I'm glad your changing gears in math is working at 'no cost'.
    That conversation...oh, yes, I dread those moments as much as I feel relief after I go through them. Think about how good you'll be without those many things to do next year, but to spend more time with that spoiled Jasper and your girls...
    And I fall for your posts with his pics, what can I say?
    Much love,

  3. Jasper's picture is priceless. LOL

    I've heard several good things about those Brain Quest books. One of these days I'm going to check them out.

  4. Great week! I love learning about inventors and inventions. Some are such obvious progressions and improvements while others are fall from the sky brilliance!! :)

  5. But it seemed like a good idea at the time!

  6. Thom is reading the 21 balloons as well. He really likes it so far. I wish he liked it enough to read 2x as much and play the game boy 1/2 as much. Oh well.


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