A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Friday, January 1, 2021

Our Happy New Year Week

We did it!  We survived what has been, for most of us, a difficult year, full of the unexpected.  

It felt good to get back to our school routine, and I'm looking forward to getting even more into the swing of things next week, when we start learning about India.  

Hannah and Katie painted nutcrackers this week.  

As we wrapped up our time learning about Saudi Arabia, we did a simple experiment to explain why camels have big feet.  As Katie demonstrates, it's very easy for a pencil to sink into the sand.  

And Hannah is showing that when you tape a quarter to the bottom of the pencil, thereby increasing the surface area, the pencil is much more difficult to sink into the sand.  (There's also a glimpse of one of our custom designed library bags.  I'm hoping the girls' artwork brings a smile to the staff.)

We had rainy weather, so the girls drew umbrella pictures on black art paper.  We used our acrylic paint markers for these.  

I think I'm going to write a separate post about books again this year.  Spoiler alert:  I didn't read as much in 2020 as I did in 2019.  

But here's something I did more of!  I sewed a grand total of 707 masks this year, which is crazy in so many ways.  

One of our projects from Global Art involved sprouting seeds.  

I'm not sure how successful we'll be, as I keep the house warm enough to dry out the paper towels fairly quickly, and Grumman either licks the towels (and seeds) when they're wet, or knocks them off the table to scatter on the floor when they're dry.  

City perspective pictures.  These started from pre-drawn (printed) guidelines, and they turned out great.  

I talked to the girls about how they've really come along in their drawing by using these guided prompts, and how it's okay to deviate from them a bit and make the drawing more their own.  "For example," I said, holding the prompt for an orange kitten, "since we have a gray kitty, you might choose to make your kitten gray like Grumman."  Nope.  Katie's idea of different was to claim her cat is sitting in the snow, so she doesn't have to color the background.  Sigh.  

Since we pulled the Christmas napkins out of circulation this week, I decided it was time for a few new napkins.  I originally bought the veggie print for napkins, but most of it got used for masks.  I only had enough left for one double sided napkin.  That's okay.  I used up some purple and yellow calico for the rest.  I generally make our napkins from one layer of print and one layer of flannel, for maximum cleaning power, but we'll give these a try and see how they work out for us.  Sometimes I forget that everyone's growing up, and I probably don't need certain "little kid mom" habits any more.  

I taught the girls a trick to remembering the names for one hump and two hump camels.  Imagine a capital "D" laying on it's back.  One hump=Dromedary.  Now imagine a capital "B" laying on it's back.  Two humps=Bactrian.  

One of my Christmas gifts was new blinds for the master bedroom & sewing room, and Paul installed them this week.  

They block more light than the old ones, and they're so much easier to open and close.  

You might be a library addict when having the library closed on New Year's Day makes you impatient.  Most weeks, it's literally the only place I go any more.  

We did something different this week!  Katie's math asked had a word problem involving money and making change.  It asked her what bills and coins the shopper would receive.  She got the math part right, but couldn't do the bills & coins, so I got out the play money set.  

We used store fliers for the next few days.  One day, I asked the girls to make a list of 10 items with their prices.  Then we totaled those up, and practiced making change from a larger amount of money.  One day, Paul drew upon his experience working a food concession stand at the fair and explained making change in that context.  One day, I asked the girls to plan a meal, and list the prices for the groceries they'd need.  

In this crazy time, when they are not going to the store (and people are using less cash, anyway), it was good to do some work on real world life skills.  


  1. That final math idea with the store fliers is a really, really good one! I don't take my kids shopping with me (when I even go) for a multitude of reasons, and I've worried about their lack of experience with money. Thank you for this idea!

    As always, you have done a wealth of marvelous activities and projects. The cat in the snow is my favorite! :)

    I'm quite happy that our library is open today. For Christmas, it was closed for 4 full days in a row, and I was somewhat frustrated. This weekend, it was only closed for New Year's Day, so I'm breathing a little easier.

    Happy New Year to you and yours!!!!

    1. I'm hoping to do more "real world math" with ads. I know my girls have no idea what things cost, or how much money is worth. I'll be on the lookout for some furniture store fliers and such.

      Closed 4 days! I mean, yeah for the librarians, but boo for you. I get twitchy when I know we have books waiting. I always want to go pick them up so I can put more on hold.

  2. I love your wonderful activities. You are a natural born teacher. Love the real world math.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. I do enjoy teaching. It's too bad I'm not educated. I think I'd teach as a job if I could find the right fit.