Wednesday, December 01, 2010


One hundred-fifty years ago, the Civil War (War Between the States, War of Northern Aggression) began.

The New York Times is running a wonderful series in honor of the anniversary entitled Disunion. Every day, a this-day-in-history story will be posted outlining an event or figure and its impact on American history and the Civil War.

Today's entry: The Assassin's Debut - actor John Wilkes Booth takes the stage on Montgomery, Alabama.

Carnival of Homeschooling - The Tryptophan Edition

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We are less than a week from Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year in the States but every homeschool parent knows that, no matter how hard we try, it creeps into the Wednesday, Tuesday, and Monday previous... travelling, cooking, planning, cleaning... each of these invades the days leading up to Thanksgiving. On Friday, the tryptophan hangover lingers and the weekend is filled with more travelling, post-celebratory cleaning, and (for some of us) the beginning of another holiday - Advent.

Wisdom dictates that we call a holiday from schooling and just enjoy the celebration and all that goes with it. Fear and panic sometimes push us to attempt school work despite the hustle and bustle of holiday prep and recovery.

Here at Apollos Academy, we are usually on holiday from the Monday before Thanksgiving until the end of the first full-week of the new year. Because of The Virus, we'll be plugging along through the month of December instead... or at least trying to.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
As visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.

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Sugar plums, gingerbread men, twinkling lights, and perfectly picked, beautifully wrapped gifts don't remain only in the night-time dreams of children this time of year. They haunt the daydreams (and panic attacks) of adults and children alike as the weather turns colder and Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer infects the airwaves. The proper use of the apostrophe ("Every time you use an apostrophe to pluralize, a kitten dies." - I definitely did not read that in an official grammar book, but I love it just the same) and Euclidean geometry are definitely not clogging up our dream journals.

And we are not the only ones to be suffering from Tryptophan-Effected-Homeschooling. How do I know? Because the majority of the submissions to this week's carnival revolved around the holiday season ushered in this past Thursday! There are wonderful holiday-themed lesson plans, imaginative plans for common subjects, and just some wonderful families enjoying life and their homeschooling journeys by kicking up their heels and taking advantage of this sometimes chaotic time of year to try something new and different.

So prop up your slippered toes and grab a cup of hot cocoa... it's time for school!

Need some ideas for some holiday-themed school activities? Jen (Best Family Adventures) held a contest recently where she discovered some great holiday activities for those cold winter days. (The contest is over, but you can still win by utilizing some of these activities with your brood.)

'Tis the season over at Eclectic Education to discover some homeschooling-the-holidays links from Lynn.

As homeschoolers, we're around our kids 24/7. However, Linda (Parent at the Helm) reminds us to focus on and take joy in the family-centered days the holidays provide us with.

And while we're having a blast with our families, let's take a moment to sit down with them and write a family mission statement. MamaChi's family (A Pilgrim's Heart) shows us how this exercise can provide something utterly useful during hectic times... perspective.

Want a little more art in your school (life)? Jimmie (Jimmie's Collage) insists that picture books are a great way to not only teach young children about art, but teens and adults as well. She provides some great printables so you can do your own Da Vinci study.

Adrienne (Four Bad Apples) is the matriarch of probably the most artistic homeschooling family I know. In her post, Finally..., she thought she was simply catching people up on what's been happening around their home, but it is also a wonderful glimpse into a season-in-the-life of a creative, homeschooling (or should that be "creative homeschooling") family.

Like all moms (and dads), we need to take a moment in our busy lives to... um... answer nature's call. Dana (Roscommon Acres) shares a cautionary tale of what one may discover upon returning to our energetic, creative children. The moral of the story: it takes a brave woman with a great sense of humor to be a mom. (Or is it, "never pee"? *grin*)

In the mood to try something new? Join Michelle (Handmade and Homegrown) in trying one new thing a month for a year in the 12 New Things Challenge.

Now hop on over to A Computer Mom where Allie will show you how you and your students can create a "plastic" model of the earth's inner mantle using common pantry supplies.

Maybe your family is like mine and although you would like to focus on all holiday-oriented lessons, you really just need to take some time to focus on academics every day. Go ahead! That's the beauty of homeschooling, right? Flexibility.

Another benefit of homeschooling is meeting your child when and where he is at. Henry (Why Homeschool) shared a wonderful article that reminds us (oh, we homeschoolers do like to push our students to advance, don't we?) that delaying even one of the three R's - reading - may prove beneficial to our children in the long run.

Barbara Frank Online shares a wonderful interactive resource for adults and teens from the New York Times that lets users see how cutting certain programs or passing/ eliminating certain tax cuts will effect the federal budget deficit. Can you close the gap?

And if you like computer gadgets, Paula (PhD Online Degree) has a list of the top 100 iPhone apps for homeschoolers.

Frodo and I decided to take advantage of his relaxing schedule as semester break approaches to read through the Harry Potter series. This is my third or fourth read through (depending on the book) and Frodo's first.  I am a huge fan of the series and so was delighted to discover Pinon Knitter's (Knitted Thoughts) syllabus for a class covering the entire Harry Potter series in a semester and using the books as a springboard into topics as varied as chemistry and racism. I foresee a Harry Potter course in our school's future.

Aoide-Melete-Mneme (a la mode de les Muses) shares her thoughts on how strange it is that she has not come across more homeschooled students in PhD programs and encourages homeschoolers to look into pursuing higher degrees.

Do your kids need some encouragement to get their school work done (and with a good attitude)? Jill (Sweet Diva) shares a motivational trick... competitions where the winner gets to bake sweet creations with mom!

One sign that holiday season is upon us is the smell of baking... apples and cinnamon, pumpkins, stews. Jill isn't the only one thinking about food. Mrs. White and her girls (The Legacy of Home) are holding cooking classes and making delicious suppers together.

For most of us, December marks an ending for our school... either the end of a year or the end of a semester. Either way, a celebration is in order. Nak (Sage Parnassus) and their homeschool coop recently held a family night sharing what they have learned and having a lot of fun while doing it. Maybe you can find some ideas for your own family night!

If you have visited the Carnival of Homeschooling here before, you know that whenever I host it seems that a health or weather advisory should be issued... it is pretty much guaranteed that something is going to happen. I almost themed this carnival "Weather Advisories" since we were under several advisories and warnings when it was time to work on getting the carnival up. *grin* Fortunately, we only had enough thunderstorms here to block our satellite internet access and keep our weather-obsessed Quarto happy. South of here did not fare so well; happily there was no loss of life associated with the tornadoes that invaded those areas and your prayers for those suffering loss of home and security is appreciated. I was definitely in need of something lighthearted when I opened Witty Jester's contribution. Who knew floods could be so humorous?

Well, the fire is dwindling and the cocoa is all gone, so it's time to decorate the tree, put on some Christmas carols, then take a nap. Thank you for visiting and don't forget to visit the carnival next week at Our Curious Home.

Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!