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Weekly Wrap Up: Spring, Studies, and Books


Forsythia, almost ready to bloom. (April 27)

In my life this week

Finally, finally spring is here.  The grass is green, Miss 12 brought me the first dandelion, and our forsythia is almost blooming.  We started neatening up the gardens and the flower beds and spent as much time as possible outside.   It was so warm that we only lit the fire once, although we probably should have done it this morning as well.

We also put some effort into spring cleaning.  Most of that effort, however, went into organizing and digitizing our recipes, a project that had been on my to-do list for years.  Even so, we did a bit of scrubbing as well.

My husband took Miss 15 off to a choir camp and they have been gone for a few days.  When they left it was almost spring; now it is spring.

Although I rarely bake, this week I’ve been on a roll:  I made pumpkin slice, chocolate swirl cheesecake, and elderberry crumble.  Yum!  All gluten-free of course, and all except the cheesecake used very little sugar.

In our homeschool

Mr. 18 is still not allowed to do any Omnibus work, but now he is finally caught up in his Advanced Physics, Advanced Chemistry, Calculus, and Windows Programming.  Realizing that there are only two months of school left, I put some serious effort into determining exactly what we can drop and still meet the requirements of the Ontario curriculum guides.  There’s a lot we can do to tweak the Apologia Advanced Chemistry and Advanced Physics to be grade 12 level instead of AP level.  We’ve also been using the wonderful Math On DVD Calculus lectures to supplement Life of Fred Calculus, which is a disappointment to say the least.

Miss 15 spent the week resting up for choir camp, learning her songs, and reading Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie mysteries.  She also did a bit of chemistry and some logic.

The Little Misses were able to focus this week.  We did a lot of learning, and Miss 12 finally got over the hump in her Apologia General Physics.  For a while she was negotiating with me:  she would learn Latin if I would drop the science requirement.  Considering she’s starting Greek next month, and is currently also learning French and Dutch, I’ve been pretty hard to convince.  LOL

Miss 10 has been spending a lot of time overlearning her multiplication tables.  It is completely impossible to do fractions without knowing them, so we dropped Key To Fractions a few months ago and have been using Quarter Mile Math for two half-hour segments a day.  It’s a lot of work, but so necessary.  And I’ve already told her that we’ll be doing math all summer long.  After so much effort it would be so sad to forget all the facts because she wasn’t using them anymore.

Some of my favorite things were

  • Sunshine, fresh air, and working in the garden.
  • Baked potatoes with fresh chives.
  • Adjusting Mr. 18’s science goals.
  • Getting Pinterest Power to review.
  • Watching the tomato, leek, marigold, and petunia seedlings pop out of the dirt.  The peppers are not germinating yet, but since they are always slow and fussy we are not worried.

Questions/thoughts I have… I’ve been toying with the idea of unschooling for next year.  At least partly.  It’s a big decision, but it might work and the girls are excited about the idea.  We’d focus a lot more on home-making activities so it would be both fun and very useful for the girls’ future.  However, we’ll need to do some career testing for Miss 15 and Miss 12 to give us an idea of how academic their studies will need to be and how much math and science they will likely need.

Things I’ve been working on

  • Homeschooling.
  • Remembering to relax, eat well, and exercise a bit.
  • Reading. Reviewing. Thinking.
  • Pondering the next few years’ focus in schoolwork, blogging, and other opportunities.
  • Spring cleaning. While it’s not going according to plan, various corners of our home are getting organized and scrubbed. That’s what spring cleaning is all about.
  • Yard work.

We’re watchingNavigating History: Egypt, an enjoyable look at history from a Christian perspective.  We watched the third and fourth episodes this week and learned so much!

I’m reading… Nehemiah. I finished The Shared Wisdom of Mothers and Daughters and am still going through Decisive, Is College Worth It? and Les Miserables, an audiodrama.  And although I don’t really have time to read Grindhopping, I can’t resist skimming it. It’s a thought-provoking book for grade 12 students who are considering their future.

Reading Aloud… We’re reading 2 Samuel and finished both I, Juan de Pareja and Twenty-One Balloons.  Next week we plan to begin Madame Curie.  We’re still reading In de Zoete Suikerbol and the Illustrated Family Bible (Miss 10 and Miss 12), Pioneers in het Wilde Westen (Mr. 17), and the Kijk Bijbel (Miss 15).

When my husband is home for meals we’re still reading Zechariah.

We’re memorizing… Lots of review work.

I’m grateful for …Spring.

Quote or link to share…. According to Laura Vanderkam, those discouraging statistics about the huge numbers of small businesses that fail are mostly about businesses run by men.  Mompreneurs are more content to be patient, start small, grow slowly, and watch their budgets carefully, and they seem to survive crashes and bubbles quite well.  (Grindhopping , p. 69 ff.)

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up and to HomeSchool High.


  1. Diane says:

    I am very interested to hear your ideas about unschooling next year. Please write a post about your thoughts and the way you might go about it. I have a 14 year old daughter and we are thinking about something like unschooling too.

  2. Laraba says:

    So you didn’t like Life of Fred Calculus at all? I just sprang for the first 10 books (the elementary series) and I think it’ll be a great summer curricula for our kids. I LOVE that the author introduces the concept from a different angle. Our 8 year old, who has struggled the most with school thus far, is loving the early Life of Fred books. But certainly later ones may not be as useful.

    What career tests are you going to do? Our eldest is 13 and I’m looking for ways to figure out where she ought to head, career wise. I have no problem with all the girls being stay at home moms, but that may not be God’s plan for them all.

  3. Annie Kate says:

    Diane, I’m not sure yet what we’ll do and how we’ll do it. It’s going to be a big decision. Most likely I’ll set up a few lists of academic things we need to do no matter what, allow the girls significant input in how they do them, and focus a lot more on home-making, service opportunities, and delight directed learning.

    No, Laraba, it’s just the Life of Fred Calculus that we don’t like at all. Apparently the elementary levels are wonderful, and we just finished Life of Fred Trigonometry which was OK. The Calculus book needs more instruction, more exercises, and better explanations. Math On DVD Calculus has been giving my son those ‘aha’ moments that he needed to understand Life of Fred Calculus.

    I wrote a post about career resources: http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2012/07/thinking-about-college-and-career-choices/

    The one product that we’ll be using soon with the girls is reviewed here:

    Even if they are stay at home moms, women can benefit from extensive educations. Especially if they homeschool. You and I with our PhD’s know all about that! 🙂

    1. Laraba says:

      My big thing with college is I don’t want the girls graduating with a load of debt that will make it hard for them to BE a stay at home mom. Thanks for reviewing curricula and talking about all this stuff. I have a few years, but not that many. Arggh, shriek, moan, groan. Time is flying by and I feel at a loss sometimes, but I know God has a great plan for all our kids and I can trust Him with that :-).

      But yes, having a PhD has been nice in that it gives me confidence I can help them over the humps in most areas as needed.

      1. Annie Kate says:

        You’re welcome, Laraba!

        Here’s my review of a great book on avoiding student debt, Debt-Free U: http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2011/09/review-debt-free-u-by-zac-bissonnette/

        I’m also working on a review of Is College Worth It by Bennet and Wilezol which focuses on the same topic. While it isn’t a practical how-to-avoid-debt book like Debt-Free U, it approaches the same topic from a different angle.

        If you’re worried about college debt, you should invest in both these books…and perhaps also in Leanne Seel’s Emerging Entrepreneurs ecourse, if your children seem at all interested in setting up their own microbusinesses: http://anniekateshomeschoolreviews.com/2013/04/review-the-emerging-entrepreneur-by-leanne-seel/

  4. JoAnn says:

    Sounds like a good week. We thought spring had finally come, then we had snow flurries today. So far nothing has stuck, but we’ll see where we are at tomorrow morning. 🙂

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