Friday, September 19, 2014

American History Reading, September 2014

American Historical fiction is one of my favorite things to read with my kids. There are just so many options out there that I admit to being a bit paralyzed when I've been trying to come up with reading lists for this year. As of right now, I've just given up on the actual list (unheard of for my normal nature!) and am just picking books as we need them and as they tie in with our studies.

Of late:

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I've read Sam the Minuteman and Paul Revere's Ride with the littler girls. I am (slightly embarrassed) to say this might be the first time I have read the Paul Revere poem in it's entirety. I would have thought I had read it before as familiar as I was with the famous first lines
Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
And then there's a line about one if by land, two if by sea and my memories stop there. : ) We'll be giving this a re-read before shelving it for the year. I've also found a reading on YouTube I'll have the whole crew listen to as well. (See also: Andy Griffith telling the tale of Paul Revere. Definitely checking this one out as well). : )

Afternoon coffee with pumpkin spice creamer (oh, yes) and the current read-aloud. Trying to find our homeschool groove after the last couple of crazy weeks.

Pedro's Journal was our first back-to-school read-aloud, following our fun summer of sequels. This is the story of Columbus' journey as told through the journal of young Pedro, a young boy chosen for the journey because of his ability to read and write. With short chapters, this book gave a great feel for what it would have been like to travel with Columbus - the stressful sea voyage, first impressions of the natives they encounters (and Pedro's thoughts of Columbus' treatments of them), and a myriad of other details related to sea travel and exploration.

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I've also pulled this resource off my shelf and am planning to utilize it quite frequently this year. I bought this at a homeschool seminar well before N1 was even in kindergarten and we dog-eared the pages of this little guide most of her K through 2nd grade years. I was hunting for an age appropriate book for N1 for independent reading - one that neither of us had read - and just needed some inspiration and help with the decision making.

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We settled on Johnny Tremain and we'll be reading it together on our respective Kindles. N1 is a big fan of audiobooks as well so I splurged the extra $3+ and bought the accompanying Audible recording which she can listen to on my Kindle. I've never read this Newberry winner and am excited to read it with her. N2 is currently engrossed in all things Roald Dahl and is reading Matilda. Not exactly a tie-in with our American History studies, but I'm okay with that. : )

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Grace and Peace

When we pursue the path that Christ sets before us, even with our weaknesses, He works in and through us as he disciplines and trains us. Those weaknesses we started out with? They will not be further disabled - they will be healed! (Bible Knowledge Comme

We are slowly and surely moving into a new season in our family ... in a family of seven. We are now the parents of a 14yo girl and while things are settling in smoothly(-ish), it has just been busy on so many levels. (Busy isn't even the right word to use, I'm sure, but it's what I've got right now).

I've pared myself down to the bare minimum of outside responsibilities for me right now and I'm finding that is still stretching me to my limit daily with three to educate at home, one to keep busy, and one to get back and forth to public high school and help with 9th grade work. (Thank goodness for husbands that get - and enjoy! - algebra). I'm still working a little for our church and tutoring for our Classical Conversation group, but anything else beyond those two responsibilities (one of which I do with one of my own child in the class) is just not happening this year. I miss writing about the read alouds that we are discovering and writing "around here" type posts as a hodgepodge of notes about our days. For now, the daily pictures I manage to get to Instagram will have to do and as I can flesh out a detail or two about a photo there, I'll do so.

Like this one:

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My tried and true banana bread recipe, multiplied times four to feed all the eaters in this house.

Banana Bread

1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk (or 1 cup milk plus 1 T white vinegar)
3/4 t. baking soda
3/4 c. raisins (I almost always leave these out and sub chocolate chips)
2 t. unsweetened applesauce or vegetable oil
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
4 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

Beat the egg and the brown sugar together until foamy and the sugar is somewhat dissolved. Stir in the applesauce, bananas and buttermilk, mixing well between each addition. Sift the dry ingredients (I never do!) and stir into the liquids along with the raisins (or chocolate chips). Spray a 9" load pan with nonstick spray and spoon in the batter, smoothing the top out with a spatula. Bake at 350 on the middle rack of a preheated oven until deep golden, the center bounces back to your touch and a toothpick comes out clean. I check it at about 45 minutes but in my oven it takes 50-55 for it to be done all the way through.

Grace and peace.