Knights Wanted: In-Squire Within

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Oh happy day! Yes, we are indeed still alive. I'm so sorry to have left you all hanging for, I don't know, maybe a year?! A lot has happened around here, but we are still happily homeschooling. "A lot" includes a flood, a 2-week-notice-move, a health crisis, and a job change for my husband. I think it's safe to say that "life happened" this year. We survived while also homeschooling our first year of high school. Phew. Thankfully the first day of spring arrived with fresh hope for the rest of the year. O' blessed sunshine! We have around 7 weeks left on the yearly clock, but I wanted to finally get back around to blogging. 

You've probably heard me mention more than once how I love to listen to podcasts or videos that Julie Bogart from Brave Writer shares. I've never quite had a name for the book celebrations we have had through the years until she coined the phrase "Party School." I love the idea of breathing life into learning with fun and memorable celebrations, recipes, and trips! With all the upheaval this year we had little time (or shall I say I didn't have the energy) for the fun things we have normally done to bring books to life as we have in years past. I wanted to make up for it to put a stamp of fun somewhere along the way in our year. 

This year Silas and I have studied the Middle Ages and Renaissance period. We planned to have a medieval feast in the fall before my living room was transformed into an unexpected lake. It turns out that the end of the year was even better for a Medieval Feast. Our history reading last week said something about closing the door on the middle ages and renaissance and opening the door to the Age of Reason. A little celebration is the perfect end to our studies of this period. Silas told me he was sad I was taking fewer pictures and not sharing our memories this year. He wanted to make sure I preserve our fun times because he likes to look at them sometimes to remember. For the record, this year we have had a pretty simple year. We don't have Party School every week, for goodness sake! 

Silas serendipitously had a king's cape in his costume box which he proudly wore for the occasion.

OCD alert (BEEP, BEEP, BEEP.) See that exclamation mark? Now you can't un-see it. Bahaha! Or is that just funny to me? (Runs and hides.)

Ok, y'all - You can never outgrow Five in a Row books. I don't care how old my kids are. Sorry teenager, but you might have to endure this book one more time. Just sayin'. Please tell me, reader, that you have had the enjoyment of reading Duchess Bakes a Cake. Back when we read this book in FIAR, I, with all my ever lovin' little cake making heart, wanted to make a lovely, light, luscious, delectable cake. Somehow we never got around to it, but that guilt-producing Pinterest King's Cake pin has ever since burned a hole right through my soul, imploring me to finally make it. More on that later.

I obviously don't mind wasting printer ink on every possible cute printable item. I found these great editable Knight's Party printables here. 

This wasn't really mutton, but that sounds a little more medieval right? The Nuts for Knaves were really yummy and easy to make. If you like that sort of thing, here is thy recipe, M'lady!

One of our history projects last week was to make pears in honor of Shakespeare and the Globe theater. We made them sliced in half last time. They are really easy and quite delish. They would be lovely with a little ice cream. Brush sliced or halved pears with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes or longer if you like them more tender. 

Buuuut, the most exciting thing to make was King's Cake!  Ok, so somehow in my life I failed to experience this wonderful little O-shaped piece of heaven. According to Southern Living this is their most traditional King's Cake recipe. The lady who makes it on the video sounds like a true southerner, so I trusted her to not steer me wrong. It's basically a cinnamon roll doughnut. Hello! Yes, please! Instead of slicing the rolls, like you would with traditional cinnamon rolls, you make an O shape. This basically means that all of the pieces are like the center roll that everyone fights over. The inside is slathered with butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. You are supposed to bake a small plastic baby inside. The tradition (depending on who you ask) is that whoever finds the baby in their slice has to have the party and make the cake next year. This is what it looked like before it rose the second time.

 I mean....This looks like it's going to end well right?

Huzzah! Perfection!

 You drizzle the icing and sugar on top. The shape, color, and baby all represent something for Holy Week. I just loved that it was a king's cake for our feast and that it had yeast just like the lovely, light, luscious delectable cake that the Duchess made.

 A medieval party must have refreshments!

Silas said that of all the things, well water sounded the least appetizing. Ha! 

 Non-alcoholic mead for the babes of the crew - 2 quarts of cold water, 3/4 cup of honey, half a cup of OJ and orange slices.

I had crowns, tiaras, knights' helmets and tunics, swords and a jester's hat for our lords and ladies.

 One of the best things we have done for our homeschool happened this year. We decided to form a small tribe of friends that meets twice a month. We call ourselves The Quadfecta (for the four families.) Sometimes we just do simple things like meet at the park or a science museum. Sometimes we might have a little party or an art project we do together. It's been such a great thing for my boys. It's something that all the kids look forward to. It's far less pressure than an all day co-op, but it gives them a chance to really get to know one another in a comfortable setting. This is a win-win for parents and kids because we all love each other already. One of the families had to stay home sick this time, sadly. I'm going to have to have another party for her boys who are the most fun kids in the entire universe to feed! 

 One of the teens graciously humored me and read the book whilst having a hard time not laughing often at the mishaps of the Duchess.

I planned to have a few outdoor activities for the little kids who couldn't make it, but it ended up raining anyway. We still got to slay the dragon!

We put a tack in the end of the sword.

Here is 3/4 of our crew.!

Of course I am the queen of this castle, so I had to have a crown. The next time we plan to have an around-the-world party since Aedan has studied world geography and cultures all year. Each kid is going to learn about a country and bring a food item from that place, also sharing what they learned.  

The end result of all that fun was a very tired Silas. Our cat Genevieve (how aptly named for a Lord) is always happy to snuggle with him.

Thank you for sharing your memories with us! What have been your favorite memories this school year?

Curricula - 2017-2018 - 6th Grade - Silas

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

It happens every year. We feel completely unprepared to go give up the work-free days of summer, but all of a sudden we all are ready to go back to school. We had a very quiet June which gave us plenty of time to recover from our school days, but July came in and all of a sudden our days were full of activity, trips, and time with friends with family. It has been a great summer, but it will be nice to return to the rhythm of our school days.

Curricula 2017-2018 - 9th Grade - Aedan

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

It's time for a new school year! Things have been quiet around here because I really tried to put school to rest as much as I could during the summer. We have enjoyed lots of time with friends and family as well as a great family trip and lots of little road trips. I think we are almost ready to put aside rest and get back to work. There's something about getting back into a routine that is a welcome rest from summer activities.

Artistic Pursuits - High School Book 1 {Review}

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

My eldest son has been drawing for almost as long as I can remember. He was one of those wild and adorable toddlers that never.slowed.down. I vividly remember the first day I realized this kid might take on art as his second nature. I was visiting a friend, both of us worn tired and surviving on much coffee. We had made it our habit of meeting up regularly just to get the kids together in hopes of a few moments of peace for us and fun for the kids. In her collection of toys strewn around her living room floor was the magical thing that would finally catch the attention of my inquisitive and incredibly energetic two year old. He had found the Doodle Pro: You know the thing, the plastic magnetic and mess free drawing tablet for kids. He dropped what he was doing, and he quietly drew, erased, and drew again that whole afternoon, blissfully ignoring the other fun to be had and his pudgy-cheeked little friends. Eureka!

A lot of time has passed since that afternoon so long ago. Since then I have invested in reams and reams of printer paper, miles of butcher paper, a thousand crayons boxes and markers, and now we have graduated to Prismacolors, micron pens, and art shows. I don't remember the last day that Aedan didn't give me a picture he had drawn that day. He has been mostly self taught, but I am always trying to add to his bag of art tricks where I can. As we enter high school I want to be even more intentional about helping him develop his skills as an artist.

Biology 101 {Review}

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

As we head into the high school years I am so thankful for homeschool companies who have gone to great lengths to provide tools for a quality education. I first happened upon the 101 Series a few years ago when I was looking into chemistry programs for my son. I was playing with an idea to make our 8th grade year high school credit worthy, and again and again Chemistry 101 came up as a recommendation. I bought the program and I could immediately see why people enjoy this program so much. We used Chemistry 101 last year and enjoyed it so much that as we head into high school biology I absolutely wanted to also check out Biology 101.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 35

Friday, May 19, 2017

We have come to the end of the end here at Monarch Room. My first born school completed his final year of middle school this week. I will have more to say about our year as a whole later, but for now I will update our final week.

Since we finished our work we have taken every opportunity to spend time with friends. Our sweet friends drove up from the country to come and see Aedan's artwork at the Kemper Museum. I still haven't shared about this, but I took lots of pictures. More to come soon!

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 35

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This was our final week in HOD Creation to Christ. Tears. We had a beautiful year reading from the creation account all the way to the final chapters of Acts and about how the apostles spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. It was fun returning to this guide and seeing it through Silas's eyes this time. We have already packed up our box of books to ship off to another family to enjoy. Ending the year is always a little bittersweet. It means we accomplished oh so much, but it also means my boys are growing up.

We dug out all of Silas's Robert Frost poetry paintings to admire. I am glad we made it through to the end with both boys on these. They are such a treasure of learning.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 34

Saturday, May 13, 2017

This was our almost last week of school. Yay! As I shared in Silas's post, it was also our last week of co-op. Both boys enjoyed each of their classes. Aedan took a pottery wheel class and a digital art class.

Of course Aedan couldn't just make a plate in pottery. He made this "french pilot guy" Pierre. It got cracked in the firing, but I still thought it was quite clever. I'm my boys' biggest fans of course!

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 34

We are almost to the very end of the end here at Monarch Room! This week we wrapped up our classes at co-op. Silas took a pottery wheel class. Additionally, he took a class called Money Town. We have a local program in town called Exchange City that I remember doing when I was in 5th grade. It is basically a day where kids get the opportunity to have grown up jobs. There was a bank, many different kinds of shops, restaurants, etc. I was a jewelry designer way back when on that day. Our co-op decided to base an 8 week class on that model. Silas had so much fun!

Our co-op was a neat experience because they got to create their own business from the ground up. He decided to open a restaurant called Charred Meat N' Stuff.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 33

Friday, May 5, 2017

This week our history was especially fun because we were reading about my childhood. It's strange when you realize that you are the history tale bearer for kids who didn't live during a period. I very much remember many of these events. My husband loved Reagan, so it was fun for him to discuss with Aedan more about his life.

A child of the 80's most memorable event was the Challenger explosion. I remember sitting in my classroom watching this happen in 5th grade. Aedan drew the Challenger out of one of his Draw and Write Through History assignments.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 33

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I already mentioned how we were trying not to rush through these last few weeks. Silas got the idea that he wanted to work ahead, and then he changed his mind. He was used to trying to get done soon, but he also decided that there's no need to rush. Our days have been pretty short anyway because we have been getting done with all the side subjects here and there. Last year we were done before May 1, and it was cold anyway. This month has been no different, so it has totally worked out.

We completed our final Robert Frost poem and painting. Our poem this week was "A Time to Talk." We are both happy to put away our paint brushes for a while although I am very happy we made it all the way through.

The End Is Not The Goal

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but it always has me more in a contemplative mood. We have 2 weeks more left on the clock of this school year, and while part of me longs for the break, the other part wants to finish in a way that's meaningful. This year I took a different approach to getting through the year. In years' past we have always rushed to the finish line, packing in extra work just to get a few extra weeks of summer. Silly me. This year I purposefully chose more breaks for me and the boys in favor of more trips and time together during the school year. Here we are later into the spring, and I'm ok with that.

For any of you limping across the finish line, take a deep breath with me. There's no need to cram in extra lessons, check off one more box, fit in just one more math lesson to get to the end sooner. Take it from me, a former end goal recover-er. You'll get there I promise. You may as well enjoy each of these final school days. I promise that there are plenty of lazy days of summer to come. But, there are only a few more days left of kindergarten, 3rd, 5th, 8th, or maybe 12th grade, only a few more days left of sitting alongside your kids at this very stage.

Don't worry, there will be plenty of time to clean the house, make appointments, or to catch up with that friend you haven't seen in a while. We moms know that the to-do list is never really all checked off anyway right? Each time I've rushed to the finish line that list was just as long as it ever was. When my kids were little, a friend passed along that well known poem about quieting down cobwebs and housework left undone, so that you could have just a little more time to rock that baby because of course "babies don't keep." It's no different with toothless first graders, and growing tweenagers, and teens that are even taller than you are. They don't keep either do they? 

For some of you, this is your last year of homeschool. Maybe you're graduating your last student, or maybe you have decided that public or private school is the option that will work better for your family next year or maybe forever. (Hugs.) Being a mom is a long series of goodbyes don't ya think? These are very precious days indeed.

 So, just remember (with me) that the end really isn't the goal. The goal is to soak in each of these remaining days in whichever way you choose to spend them fully. I'm cheering myself on just as much as I am you. Maybe we can slow down enough together to enjoy our stroll to the end.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 32

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

One of my favorite things about HOD is the many, many biographies we have gotten to read throughout the years. It's one thing to read a little snippet about someone's life, but another to see how they grew up from childhood into the person they ultimately became who they became to be. This week we read about the life of Mother Teresa, but also began a biography of her life.

I have always wanted to read a biography about Mother Teresa. What compels a person to leave the familiarity of home to live in complete want of comfort and safety? Obviously in her case she felt a very clear call of God, and he provided for her in every way. Her life was the furthest from easy, but she inspired us in so many ways.

Week in Review - HOD CtC Unit 32

Monday, May 1, 2017

This week we reached the most important event in history: The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It has been really cool reading from creation all the way to this moment in history and to see why God chose to bring Christ into the world at this exact moment in time. This age old story never gets old.

Week in Review - HOD MtMM Unit 31

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

We are nearing the finish line of our school year. I have loved working toward modern day history with Aedan. I feel like we have both learned so much. The one thing I have loved most about this year is that we have focused not only on the events of modern history, but of how God's people rose to the occasion often facing death with a bravery that only He can give.

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