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Two Week Wrap Up: Winter and Learning


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We’ve had some real winter this year.  One girl has felt skin begin to stick to metal; another one does not have to be told to wear snow pants anymore.  In the middle of all that cold our fireplace, the house’s main source of heat, developed a quirk and at the same time the oil furnace stopped working.  I’m so glad the furnace works again, and my talented husband will be working on the fireplace today.

In our homeschool

Miss 16 is very, very busy with her math, physics, and amazing online English course.  When she has a few spare moments, she fits in her other schoolwork. On her own, she has started studying on Saturdays.  Obviously there is no time for volunteering this term, even though she really enjoyed her work at a small Christian school last fall.

Miss 14 is still using ALEKS for math, and that is going well.  Rather than studying French with a textbook we are reading a book (in French) about France.  I have never done this with French before (although we have used that method to learn Dutch), but it stands to reason that daily use of a language is a good way of learning it. Of course, that means my French needs to be quite good because I’m explaining things as we go rather than with the help of a textbook.  I’m so thankful for all the years I taught the older children from a textbook!

Miss 12 is dynamic as usual, busy with her schoolwork some of the time and with her music and other projects as often as she can be.  It is a daily challenge to make sure that the schoolwork does get done even though it is not as exciting as planning for a new flock of laying hens, or designing and sewing warm mats for the dogs, or taming a vicious rooster.

After some intense effort, Miss 16’s high school records are up to date.  Because we work only partly from textbooks, I often do not know how a course will turn out as we go through the high school years.  It’s important for us that our teens follow their own interests as well as learn the basics, but of course a university admissions office needs all that learning organized into recognizable courses.  So, a few months into grade 12 I look at all the work that has been done, group it into courses, gather all the marks and writing, set up course grading schemes, and write it all down.  That colossal job is now done.  The rest is just filling in the blanks in courses that have been properly outlined and determined…unless Miss 16 finds more exciting rabbit trails to follow.  (I’ve written about the record keeping method we use here and here.  And here’s my very popular post on the results of our record keeping for one teen.)

In our gluten free kitchen

Soups, lots of potatoes, eggs, squashes, simple meats, mandarins and apples, yoghurt, ham and beans, and even a baked oatmeal with peanut butter and chocolate.  It tastes like dessert rather than a real meal, so we went the whole way and served it with whipping cream.  I’m trying to incorporate greens into each day, but in the winter I obviously need to rethink my summer-time approach of just walking out to the garden for something.  That’s always an adjustment and sometimes I forgot about greens for a while.

Some of my favorite things were

  • Getting Miss 16’s high school records up to date.
  • Warmth.
  • Time with friends and family.
  • Learning.

Questions/thoughts I have…  I find I’m constantly tweaking the way we learn and the way I encourage the girls, even after almost two decades of homeschooling.  I suppose it’s just part of homeschooling.

Fitness… It has taken a lot of effort and patience, but I’m back to about 9000 steps a day after having a health setback during the holidays.  I have not yet added the other exercises I should be doing.  Because I am very busy with several projects and still need to sleep 9 hours a day (plus a nap), it’s also becoming more of an effort to fit exercise in.

Some of the things I’ve been working on

  • Homeschooling and record keeping.
  • Studying the history of science, specifically physics in the 19th century.
  • Anticipating and preparing for a visit from all five of my siblings!
  • Absorbing the books I’ve read which means, for me, writing reviews.
  • Pondering how to implement my 2015 goal to connect.

I’m reading (all links are to my reviews on this blog or on GoodReads)… Exodus.  Currently I’m in the middle quite a few other books:  Michael Faraday and the Royal Institution, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Fundamentals of Applied Electromagnetics, The Financially Confident Woman, The Great Physicists from Galileo to Einstein, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Read earlier and waiting to be reviewed—which is how I absorb what I read—are Geons, Black Holes and Quantum Foam, A Mathematician’s Lament, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, The Poetic Wonder of Isaac Watts, What the Most Successful People Do before Breakfast, The One Thing, You Shall be Free Indeed, and God’s Undertaker. Yes, I am behind in absorbing what I read and that is a problem.  My goal for today is to finish up some of the reviews either for this blog or GoodReads.

Reading aloud…We read Acts at mealtimes and have finished Tom Sawyer.  Now we’re enjoying Michael Faraday and the Dynamo.

When my husband is home for meals, we read Revelation.

I’m grateful for ….  My dear husband who copes competently with broken fireplaces, failed furnaces, spouting kitchen plumbing, freezing pipes, and chewed up electrical cords as well as all the demands of his intense daily work and of being a husband and father.

Quote or link to share…. “What higher goal can a man set than to reveal God’s creation?” which is a quotation from Michael Faraday and the Dynamo.

This post is linked to Kris’s Weekly Wrap Up , Week in Review, and Finishing Strong.


  1. Hi, Annie Kate,
    The Lord has placed you on my heart, and I’ve been praying for you a lot today. It is fun to read of what your family is up to. I suppose we will always be tweaking our routine and how we can encourage the love of learning and for the Lord as long as we live and have breathe. I find that even now that we aren’t home-educating, we still are imparting many things, ideas, and attitudes to those we are around, especially more friends of our children as we interact. It is such a nice season to be in.
    I hope you are healthy once again…I need to exercise more, myself. God bless you and your sweet family, dear mama!
    Love you in the Lord!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Thank you so much for your prayers! I had been feeling very scattered and ineffective today, and I really needed those prayers. Things are going much better now. Praise the Lord for that!

      Yes, I find, too, that grown children need our experience and guidance, but in a completely different way than young ones. It’s wonderful that you are able to interact positively with your children’s friends too. That is a great blessing!

      Thank you so very, very much for your encouragement and care!

  2. JoAnn says:

    Sorry about the furnace issues that is never easy, so glad you got them fixed and are warm again. It sounds like things are going well other than that.

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