Wednesday, April 30, 2008

DIY batteries


Litmus paper and toothpaste and wire and zinc and brass -- who needs batteries?

Maggie was not amused:


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sock monkey redux


More on my handmade Christmas can be found in this month's WNC Parent (page 33, I think). And if you are in South Carolina, my column does still run monthly in the other parent mags listed over to the right, but the magazines' web sites are now more forum-centric and rarely contain content from the print editions. Lowcountry Parent still does on occasion.

That sock monkey still makes me smile.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Tonight's dinner


We picked three gallons of organic strawberries this morning -- froze many, many cups of berries, made strawberry jam and then rounded out the day with a well balanced meal of shortcake, fresh berries and whipped cream. (Actually we all ended up having more than just this for dinner, but I did offer it as an option to the kids.)


Friday, April 25, 2008

Broken beauty


The remainder of a broken brooch that the previous owner relegated to her button stash. I love it, even in its current state.

Needs vs. Wants

I need this fabric. I'm pretty sure that this is not just a "want." Why do I need it?



I already have the vintage buttons to match.

And these will be a bracelet...


Friday, April 18, 2008

Every downtown should be like this

Greenville definitely lives up to its name today.







Nolan and I were downtown for a school performance of "Battledrum," a musical about drummer boys in the Civil War. As I typed that, I realized that it sounded peculiar at best,  but it really was well done. But what a tough act to follow: nothing could live up to the show nature put on for us as we walked to the theatre.

Edited to add: I had the pleasure of writing about the rebirth of Greenville's downtown in the Spring 2005 issue of Sandlapper. The river you see above was rescued from near disaster. The downtown was too, come to think of it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Behold, the nitrogen atom


...finely crafted from Rice Krispies treats. Here, the electrons (denoted by the candy sprinkles) wait to join the protons (with Reese's pieces) and the neutrons (without anything added, of course).


The finished model. Do you think Bohr did it this way?


And an addendum to the post below:

"Mom, can I eat the nitrogen now?"


Things I've heard my 9-year-old say recently:

"Mom, what's a cot?"


(While reading) "This is ironic."


Me: "It closes like a matchbox."

Him: "What's a matchbox?"

On my desk...


...Teaching Nolan about the Bill of Rights and somehow rationalizing the cost of my law degree in the process.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Making music


My husband's new guitar is here. I am looking forward to serenades.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Last week in a homeschool near you...


(Above: Visiting the Greenville County War Memorial, April 11)

I have benefited greatly this year from the ideas of others who are experienced homeschool teachers. In that spirit, I am going to try to do a better job of posting some of our ongoing projects and studies here, especially as we begin fifth grade in the fall. Consider this a test run. Feel free to skip these posts or hum with your fingers in your ears if homeschooling makes you squeamish. (That's what I used to do, too.)

So... Last week, in addition to co-op, which included Spanish, geography, music and science and an extra special field day, we had one other outing to the beekeeping class (see below). At home, we continued with decimals, finishing addition and subtraction and moving into multiplication. Nolan also does Math4Today, which is a short daily activity that reinforces concepts covered throughout the year. That is done everyday, so I will probably forget to include it in my list sometimes.

We have finished the study of the American Revolution, though we are still wrapping up Johnny Tremain (read together -- also includes a JT notebook activity) and Winter of Red Snow (read by Nolan). Nolan is also doing a lap book on the U.S. Constitution, which he is enjoying immensely. He also thinks he finished his compare and contrast essay on the Battles of Savannah and Kings Mountain, but we are going to revisit that for a bit more editing. We did a short study of political cartoons and will finish that up this week with analysis of two related cartoons. Don't tread on me, baby.

In science, Nolan finished the unit on light and the structure of the human eye and moved into energy, electricity and magnetism, which will take us a little while to complete. (Next up: bridges -- a unit to round out the year).

We do five stems (Greek or Latin roots) each week, with vocabulary. Nolan has a quiz each Friday. Quizzes are cumulative, meaning I can and do include stems from the entire school year.

I really felt Nolan needed a review of the parts of speech, so we have done nouns (common, proper, collective, possessive, plural possessive, etc.) and will start verbs this week. Soon, I will unpack my adjectives. Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, get your adverbs here. (You know you remember it.)

Also on this week's agenda -- a class on research skills taught by one of our beloved local librarians and an educational performance at our equally beloved local theatre (more to come on that).

I almost forgot that Nolan completed a poster about (of all things) the desert biome of Indiana Jones. He and his co-op classmates are covering all of Indy's biomes at the upcoming Spring Gala celebrating the end of the school year.

I really felt that last week wasn't terribly productive due to the extra events, but seeing it all in print makes me both tired and satisfied that we accomplished quite a bit.

Edited to add: Shoot! I forgot that we did school last Sunday after church (at Nolan's request). So that's how we got so much done...



We attended a homeschool science class yesterday taught by an expert beekeeper. It was great fun and I learned so much. I think Nolan did, too. Our beekeeper/teacher uses organic methods of controlling pests and he doesn't feed the bees with supplements, allowing them to "do what the good Lord has had them do for thousands of years without us getting involved," as he said. Sounds like a plan.


(I couldn't figure out how to get a shot of the bees without a reflection.)


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

On my desk?


Um, no, not my desk. I have been conspicuously absent today as my son's homeschool co-op celebrated the end of the year with field day and a picnic. See? Homeschooled kids do venture out into the real world. Sometimes moms do, too.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The writing blog that became a sewing blog that became a photography blog


Sorry. Still enjoying the camera though.


Oh, wait -- it's a craft blog now.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Makes me think all the world's a sunny day

(With apologies to Paul Simon)

The Nikon is here. So far, I have been through about 10 percent of the instructions, I think. There is much to learn and I have more bad pictures than good, in my opinion, but even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.



DSC_0063 DSC_0007




Wednesday, April 2, 2008

On my desk


Stodgy grown-up shoes housing feet that really want to be in flip-flips. Or strappy heels.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

If you find March, please let me know

In any event, April is here and I neglected to post several March stories.

This story gives some great information (from the experts, not me) about organizing kids' rooms. Black garbage bags are my own personal weapon in that ongoing battle.

If you are an imperfect parent, raise a glass with me and celebrate while you read about a few of my own imperfections. On a semi-related note, I read today that some woman was arrested for stalking John Cusack. For the record, I have been here (or in the dentist's chair) all day.

On page 41 of the March issue of WNC Parent (available in a super cool online viewer here), is my first column about homeschooling. It has generated a surprising number of emails and calls from moms who want to know how I made the leap. I have answered their questions as best I can. The second column -- a response to this one -- has been filed and will run in the next few months.

Now, I am off to seize April before it disappears, too.