Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weekly Wrap up: Where did the Week Go

In my life this week…

This week revolved around homeschooling and the bathroom with a lot of cleaning thrown in. Ian’s Birthday Party is on Saturday. His actual birthday was back in January but we are just getting around to the party. However that means at least 4 friends from preschool and their moms in my house. It is now presentable and the living room is almost looking like the photos that I see on the minimalist Babycenter board. I had giant Bouncer on the couch while we cleaned the homeschooling room.

Giant Bouncer
Giant Bouncer

The bathroom is coming along great and I should have a second working toilet by sometime on Monday. The tile work is done. We have painting and installing the toilet and vanity. The vanity is arriving in a week but the counter top isn’t for two weeks. As long as I have another toilet I will survive.

Bathroom Tiles
Bathroom Tiles

I’m Cleaning…

Kids' Bookshelf Before
Kids’ Bookshelf Before

This week’s challenge on the minimalist board was kid’s rooms. Given that all my kids share a room it is rather cluttered but most of that is clothing, books and stuffies. The stuffies are off limits at this time and I need my wife’s help with the clothing so I decided to organize and purge books. Most will go to the thrift store. So I got rid of one box of books.

Kids' Bookshelf After
Kids’ Bookshelf After

With the party coming up I need to get the upstairs clean as it was neglected last weekend with the downstairs mass cleaning. It wasn’t bad as we have been better at keeping it clean. It also meant that we went farther in our cleaning. That is good since two of the guests have infant siblings and we have not been baby proof in years.

Since I have talked to a number of the moms about our homeschooling I couldn’t just shut the door to the room so we did some heavy cleaning in there. My wife sorted the book shelf and although I didn’t take any photos she did to it what I did to the one in the kids room. She also eliminated some of our old used curriculum. So we eliminated two recycling bins worth of stuff.

In our homeschool this week…

The cool thing that we did this week was make a battery out of some pennies, lemon juice and paper towels. You have to use post 1982 American pennies and the pennies do not survive the experiment. There was some discussion on website as to whether this was legal. From what I read it was but also I’m in Canada. You do not get a lot of power out of this. The picture shows it lighting an LED. I hooked it up to a volt meter and got between .01 and .02 volts. The system is dependent on the amount of lemon juice so as it dries out it loses power.

Penny Battery
Penny Battery

Margaret spent a lot of time reading about the native residential schools that were here in Canada. It is some tough reading. The book she had touched on it lightly but it was a sanitized version of history. That led to us having a discussion of what sanitized meant in this case. We then read some web pages that showed the real horrors of some of these places. We got some good notes. Next we need to organize them in to an outline.

Margaret also got to start an eight week art class. The first day they spent learning some sketching skills. Later they will do some watercolor and some acrylic paintings. The ability to sketch something is so fundamental that I am glad that she is learning how to do.

Linking up at:

Summer-Edition photo newboardblogbutton_zps5c91eaf8.png

Pinterest Projects

With Margaret joining us this year for homeschooling we needed to move to a bigger room and that led me to searching Pinterest for ideas. The first that worked very well was a cool way to display my kids art. I kept mine a little more simple by buying the wood letter and I like the look of raw wood. I also used three clipboards straight across since I have three kids and I wanted to minimize the “Why does he/she get the top spot”

Homeschool Art Display

Original pin:

To attach the letters to the wall I used double sided foam tape. I will probably damage the paint when I take them down but since painting will probably be the reason for taking them down… The clipboards are just hung on hooks. The art in the center is a Canucks logo that I found from years ago as I was cleaning the old schoolroom. Since she had one on her pin I though it would be cool to include it on my picture.

The second project was to turn the closet into a reading nook. The pin is much fancier than my result but I was aiming for cheap and functional and theirs is beautiful and probably expensive. At first this was a pie in the sky dream. Then we realized that a pair of our existing bookshelves would fit in the closet perfectly. That didn’t actually work out but by that time I was committed and I followed the rule: “You can fit the square peg in the round hole if you use a large enough hammer” The drywall in the back wasn’t really attached and had warped. I did ask my wife first but the simplest solution was to cut the drywall to let the shelves fit. We also put some molding around to hide the cuts and make it look a little more finished. We already had the beanbag chair. The kids love it and my wife has asked me to get electricity to it so she can use her laptop in it.

Reading Nook Already in Use

Reading Nook

Original Pin

Overall both projects came out the way I wanted them and I am happy with the result.

Linking Up at:

See Jamie Blog


Grade 6 Curriculum

Last year I started out with a recommended package for curriculum. It was put together by out local homeschooling store and it is quite good. I made changes to it last year after a lot of research. This year with a year under our belts and a better understanding I will be even more particular about what I buy.

Grade 6 Curriculum


Last year we had a workbook that simply was boring for him. Fill in the blanks is not his learning style. This year we are going more the living books, Charlotte Mason style. I have two Christian Heroes , Then and Now Books. One was in the Recommended Package. I liked the looks of that one and they had one for C.S. Lewis that I had to buy it as well. Since Philip read and loved all the Narnia Series last year he will love this.

I also bought Mother Teresa’s biography. It is going to be some heavy reading but he is up to it. It will certainly bring up some questions and thoughts for him.

He will also continue to attend Catechism. We will also be reading a Children’s Missal for the weekly readings and commentary.


We are going to continue with Student Writing Intensive. It made a huge difference in his writing last year and we didn’t finish the course. Writing is not his strong suit so the changes we saw with the bit of the course he did do was amazing. The best direct use was when he took notes for an essay. He copied whole sentence and the essay was sounding to much like the source. I had him go back to the notes and apply the three word exercise to each sentence and then rewrite based only on those words.

We also have two books for the reading part of English. These will by no means be the only thing he reads but they are the ones where he will have to complete some sort of project on.


We use IXL. It is really designed for practice but I have a heavy science and math background. He works through it until he hits something he can’t figure out then he asks and we go over it. Math is also one of his best subjects.


We have three area to cover. The first is extreme environment for life. I plan on using this one to examine the possibility of life on other worlds. What is the minimum they would require. This will mostly be online resources including some of the podcast from Astronomy 141 by Prof. Richard Pogge. Philip has listened to some of these before. My expectations for the knowledge gained has to be lower than what the course would require but he still gets loads out of them.

The second is the diversity of life from single cell and up. We also have to cover the kingdoms. This will likely be largely rolled in with the first and mostly online resources.

The third is electricity and electronics. We have cover a lot of this area before. One of the recommended items is a Snap Circuits Kit. These are wonderful and I highly recommended them but we have had one for years and he has already done all the experiments. We will start there to reinforce and make sure we have all terms worked out. I also have an Arduino micro-controller board that we are planning on using over the summer. I just need to make sure that I keep track of our summer projects for portfolio purposes.

Social Studies:

The majority of Grade 6 is comparing countries in a number of ways, from culture, laws, government, demographics, rights, economy, quality of life and society. We are going to be doing three countries. The first is our own (Canada) of course. The second will be China. That one was picked by Philip. He has long had a fascination with China. The third, picked by me, is Pakistan. I plan on having him read Malala’s story. She has a book coming out in October that should be very informative. The Canadian stuff we will probably look up online and discuss. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is available online and is only 2 pages long. The Chinese will probably be mostly online as well although I am looking for a book for him to read, preferably a living book.

Foreign Language:

I will be enrolling him in the Rosetta Stone Mandarin course provided by our Distance Learning provider. It worked well last year so we will continue with level 2. I also found that the local Chinese Association has language lessons. I am planning to give those a try over the summer. I want to see how well he is doing in a more real world application.


This is always the one that is most up in the air. We covered the requirements last year with Irish Dance and a little bit of drawing. I would like to add more drawing to the schedule and some music. My wife has the musical talent in our family. It looks like she will do something with the kids in the morning before going to work.