Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You Know Your Child Is Sick When...

My 12yo son's usual morning routine is to get up, come downstairs (usually in pyjamas) with a comic book (lately the For Better or for Worse comics), get himself cereal or some other breakfast and sit at the kitchen table, eating while he reads. With Lent, he decided to give up comic books during the day (evening is okay), so he's been coming to the table with different science-related books, which has been lovely to see because it has led him to doing more of the kind of research he used to do on his own.

Today, that didn't happen.

I came downstairs and he was curled up in a blanket on the sofa. That sometimes happens when he's feeling tired and he'll curl up and read a book. There wasn't a book this time. Uh oh. Not a good sign.

Upon being asked how he was, he told me he wasn't feeling well and his head hurt. I noticed then that he'd taken the frozen magic bag out and had been using it on his head. Poor kid. My husband, who hadn't yet left for work, joked that he (12yo) should stay home from school today. No smile showed up on my son's face. Yikes. Another sure sign he's not feeling well.

Absolute clincher that he wasn't just exaggerating things was, after having watched some TeletoonRetro for a while, that he asked if he could watch some videos on the laptop. This is something he can do, and has done, for hours at a time. He set himself up in front of the TV, but it didn't last long. Within half an hour, he was back on the other chair, wrapped in a blanket, laying down watching the TV. He hasn't gone back to the laptop. Wow. He's also not hungry and not very thirsty. He was even told he could have a Gatorade to make sure he's getting some good fluids an electrolytes; he's barely touched it.

How do you know when your child is truly sick?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bugs, bugs, bugs

My 12yo was sitting next to me on the sofa last night as I looked through my Facebook newsfeed. One of the posts had to do with an insect and one thing led to another and we ended up spending a good 30-45 minutes looking through the Bugs of Alberta site and further research on select bugs led us to where they put the full classification of the bugs (very useful for those of you studying zoological classification!)

One thing we wanted information on and had a hard time finding was the meaning of Chlorochroa (Say's stink bug). I kept looking for Latin but it seems the roots are Greek. Chloro = green; chroa = colour. I thought that Latin names were, well, Latin? Can anybody provide some insight?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Too cute :)

A small conversation I overheard while my nieces, a 5yo and an 8yo, are watching Evan Almighty:

"I don't think God is black." (5yo)


"But it's God. He can make himself into anything He wants!" (8yo)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Science Funny

From: Graham, CD. 1957. A glossary for research reports. Metal Progress 71: 75
Taken from Science Is Awesome on Facebook

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Math Funny!

The Herb Garden Report

I haven't had a look at my 12yo's binder to see which day we are on, but two new sprouts showed up today--one sharing a peat pellet with the very first sprout!

My son had put sticky notes on either side of the mini garden so we would know which seeds were planted where (parsley on one side, basil on the other), but I didn't think to tape it down, which meant they fell off. This isn't disastrous as it has allowed him to write in his prediction that the side with 3 (4 now; can't see the 4th) is basil since the package said they would germinate sooner than the parsley. There is one little parsley sprout on the right-hand side.

I don't know yet if we can just leave the herbs in the peat pellets, if we'll need to fill it with dirt at some point or what, but we're not there yet, so it's all good. ;)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

President's Day Sale

We don't have President's Day here in Canada, naturally ;), but I did receive an email about a President's Day sale with Discount School Supply.  This company has a lot of art and early learning materials that would be of interest to Montessorians. The sale is 15% off select language items between now and February 20. To be honest, my favourite items in their language materials listings are their mini chalk- and whiteboards! I've had a pack of double-sided boards (chalkboard on one side, whiteboard on the other) for years and years now and absolutely love them. So useful for any age, to be honest. I frequently use them even with my 15-year old. Just click on the link below to check out what they have. Don't forget to use the code to get your 15% off!

  President's Day Sale

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wednesday + herb garden update

It is Ash Wednesday today. As we are a Catholic family, the kids and I will be heading to Mass at 9 am to receive the ashes. If you have ever seen people walking around with ashes on their forehead, Ash Wednesday is likely the reason why. It's been a practice for centuries as a way to start off Lent. You can read more about that here.

Some links about Lent:

Living Lent

FREE Lenten Adventure - daily email with information and activities to guide your children through Lent

Message from the Pope for Lent 2013


A little update:

My son's little herb garden project is going well. We bought a mini greenhouse with peat pellets and some basil and parsley seeds. I can't remember which day we're on, but we so far have 2 sprouts! He has also been spending more time reading things other than comics, we're getting some math in here and there, Faith and Life in here and there... Still haven't figured out the social studies. But maybe that's okay at this point.

Monday, February 11, 2013

It's Moments Like These

My 12-year old son is sitting on the couch, his trusty side-kick, our 13-year old orange tabby, by his side on the arm rest (in the sun, of course), reading "Bugs Britannica," a hefty book that kids would be woe to get as homework, but he's chosen it, and so it's "good."

I think of his 12-year old cousin who is undoubtedly sitting at a desk right now, and everything being in school entails.

I hear my 15-year old daughter in the shower. It's nearly 9 am. She is not a morning person, never has been, and her alarm clock is what has prompted her to be up at this time. If she were in school, she would have had to get up between 7-7:30, not 8:30-9. School times definitely don't match her internal clock. (And really, do they match most teens' internal clocks?)

It's moments like these that I really appreciate, am grateful, for not only the right to homeschool, but that we made that choice.

My son has repositioned himself. He's now laying propped up on the sofa, the cat behind him. Every now and then, he reaches back and pets the cat, who seems to be just as grateful that we are home with him and can give him some loving. (Homeschooling is good for our pets, too, it seems. ;) )

Saturday, February 2, 2013

How to Make an Indoor Herb Garden--with Kids

I'm thinking a better, more accurate title for this post would be:

How to Make an Indoor Herb Garden with Your 12-Year Old Son in a Northern Climate During the Winter When You Hardly Get Any Sunlight

That seemed a little long. ;)

I am having a hard time figuring out what I need to actually get started, especially when every site I quickly look at has a thing about direct sunlight (um... people here get all excited in their FB statuses when we get actual sunlight "What's that bright light?" In response, someone comments, "I'm not sure. It seems familiar..." Or "The sun! The sun! I can't believe it!"). I have no idea what kind of container I need, soil, where to actually get herbs to plant, where I'm going to put it all (starting to think a corner somewhere with a grow light might be a good option; or clear off my son's desk? he doesn't use it anyhow, but maybe because it's so cluttered).

So, instead of finding random things, finding some that look kind of good and bookmarking or trying to find them later, I thought I would post what I've found that that has been helpful and if anybody else is seeking to start such an adventure, they can use what I've found, too!

  • HERBS: Suggests starting with basil, coriander, chives, parsley and sage. Since ds is going for pizza sauce (omg, that kid LOVES pizza!), I think will stick with just the basil and parsley. They seem to say to get baby plants. I've read that works best, but I think it would really be something to start from scratch.
  • LOCATION: Says to use the window sill. Um... That might be a problem with our house. A warm window. (Um, we had -40 with the wind chill the other day...) And south or facing southwest (another issue for us.)
  • BASIC SUPPLIES: Sounds like just about any kind of container will work--but does need drainage. Suggests using even recylables, like old yogourt (Canadian bilingual spelling, if you're wondering ;) ) containers. Soil. 
  • OTHER TIPS: Snip herbs often; encourages growth.
  • Ok, doesn't have tips, but at least gives me a visual so I have an idea of what it looks like, or different possibilities of what it can look like. (Glass jars are kind of appealing--you can really see what's going on!)
Indoor Herb Gardening -- tips Very cool--an entire site dedicated to indoor herb gardening! (Basil plant doesn't like the cold! Ach, (that's a German "ach"), we might have issues! Ironically, cultivated basil freezes well. lol)

Do It Yourself Some really great tips!

TLC's How to Grow Your Own Indoor Herb Garden Tips, as well as encouragement to get a kit. :P


I think I might just buy a kit, make life easier on myself. Here are some kits:

Chia Gourmet Herb Garden Yes, that's right, the Chia Pets ("Ch-ch-ch-chia!") that were all the rage and on TV commercials all the time when I was a kid also have this little herb garden kit. Comes with parsley and basil (and other herbs), which is just what we wanted.

Toysmith Italian Herb Trio Green Ceramic Window Set of 3 Stoneware This one's really pretty, but that would make it my project and not my son's.

DuneCraft Dome Terrariums - Herbs It doesn't say which herbs come with it (unless I'm skimming too much.) Nice compact pot that would help maintain humidity levels though.

Indoor Culinary Herb Garden Starter Kit- Start Growing Fresh Cooking Herbs & Spices- Great Gift Idea!- Seeds: Parsley, Thyme, Cilantro, Basil, Dill, Oregano, Sweet Marjoram, Chives, Savory, Garlic Chives, Mustard, Sage This one looks really good--and simple! lol. I've used that kind of thing before, back when we were part of some tomato plant experiment. Kind of bulky though, so might not be ideal for where we can actually put our herbs.

AeroGarden 3 with Gourmet Herb Seed Kit, Black This seems rather un-Montessori with the fact it has to be plugged in, BUT it would solve some of my problems. Of course, this brings up the question: What's the goal? Just to grow herbs? This could always be a fall-back: try something else and if it flops, get this. ;)


I've done a bit of store searching now that I have a better idea. I'm not sure if stores would have things that aren't in their online catalogue? Because I'm not finding anything in local stores! :( Our growing project may have to wait a bit because I might just end up having to purchase one of the kits above! :D I may still go putter around a couple of stores and see what they have for growing plants indoors. With our winter temperatures and lack of sunlight, I'm thinking some sort of lamp system may be required. And maybe some growing things will be coming in and talking to a sales rep can give us even more info.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Second Semester Officially Begins! + Week In Review

My 15yo did her math exam today. Got an A! Woot! She wasn't feeling good about the exam after she'd finished, but I decided to check her emails tonight to see if the teacher had marked everything and sure enough, she had. Final mark in the course is also an A. :) She's a happy girl. Not sure what she's happier about: the break she'll have from math or the mark. ;)

Now that the intense math is out of the way, it's time for us to get back into a better swing of things. She was supposed to actually start her second semester courses (science and social studies) today, but with the exam and then an outing and then her dance class after supper, it didn't happen. She does know I'm going to keep her to the schedule this time, which means she will have to catch up on the weekend. I do still need to kind of figure out where she's supposed to be in her German, phys. ed. and religion (mildly behind in religion, I think). We know she's behind in English and rather than switch to the 2nd semester schedule given by the teacher, she will be working on catching up and then will be able to ease off on the work load once she is caught up in it. Her German course isn't a huge deal if she's not quite on target because she has until the end of September to finish it, which means she can spend an hour or so every day during the summer, if need be. I'm pretty sure her 2nd semester exams need to be done by early June, so she even has the last half of June to just work on that course. (School officially runs until the end of June here!)

My son wasn't required to do much this past week due to his sister's math intensive. He knows I'll be doing more with him next week. He has decided on a pizza herb garden for our growing project. Now to actually find a resource that will guide us easily in what to do! And I think I ought to work out a basic plan for second semester, some goals to reach (like finishing the Life of Fred book he started; depending on how many lessons are left, possibly get going on the next book, too), things like that.

All right, an official week in review, inspired by and

In my life this week...
I'm not sure. Life has just felt very busy. There were the French classes and the daily driving of kids and taking my son to his first week of a sort of youth group... I had a couple of expected items fall away, which was greatly appreciated by my body and psyche. However, I was so exhausted last night, I fell asleep around 8:10! I started feeling myself be very ready to sleep at the dance studio tonight. Got myself busy with stuff at home and have managed to keep myself awake. I was awake before 5 am this morning due to my early sleep (well, I slept from 8:10 pm until about 9 pm, then awake until about 10 pm). I can't keep this schedule. I also made a birthday card for a friend--and then forgot to take a picture. I'll just have to make another one like it. ;)

In our homeschool this week...
As mentioned above, the main focus was on my 15yo getting her math all done. This meant working on the required project Monday morning (can't remember if I did something with my 12yo then or not), then she spent all day on it Tuesday, reviewed Wednesday, Thursday's always the same  (French class in the morning, take 15yo to co-op, I teach another French class in the afternoon) and then today, the math final. Yay! Math is done!

Helpful homeschooling tips or advice...
Hm. Prayer is good. Planning is good. Deciding just what you will insist on or let slide is very good.

Places we went and people we saw...
Dd went to her co-op and saw her classmates and went to her dance classes. I saw almost all of my French class students. Saw my friend briefly to give her her card. Saw a few other homeschooling moms. Ds went to a fun night with a youth group and met a bunch of kids. (He loved it!)

My favourite thing this week...
That math is done. lol. That was so intense. We need the break.

Things I'm working on...
Usual French class planning. Been doing a lot of work on one of my other sites . Trying to find the right theme and having one issue after another. :( I need to get working on some birthday cards needed for next weekend.) I also started working on an adolescent resources section for this site.

Things I cooked...
Made a chicken cacciatore recipe in the crockpot on Thursday. I'm going to have to do some more crockpot recipes because that was absolutely fantastic, getting back close to 5 pm and not wanting to start supper at that point, all I had to do

What's working/not working...
Working: Being very clear with my 15yo about expectations, but also being flexible when it's the end of a very long, long day and maybe it's fine to let work go in such a situation.

What I'm reading...
The Power by Rhonda Byrne, The Answer by John Assaraf and Murray Smith, two Bible daily devotionals through YouVersion, various things online about Wordpress and online marketing, various blogs.