Our year began with a few surprises. One of them dramatically shifted our plans for the year, as some mistakes came to light — small mistakes hidden from my partner and I until they compounded into something big. My daughter has withdrawn from Running Start for now. Though she kept up with the academics and showed full comprehension of the subjects she studied on graded papers and tests, her social anxiety led to a series of events that reflected poorly on her GPA.
For now, we’ve returned to homeschooling, and are seeking a counselor to help give her tools to deal with her anxiety better. While her choices sadden me, it’s a valuable learning experience for us both. While it set an unexpected tone for the new year, it’s not all we’ve been up to.
WHAT WE’RE DOING
We bought a new subscription to the Pacific Science Center and went there for the final weekend of their Sherlock Holmes traveling exhibit, complete with historical documents and artifacts, film and TV props, and a mystery to solve as a family. My partner and I attended the Seattle Symphony‘s tribute to David Bowie on the 10th, and this past weekend, we saw Curious George and the Golden Meatball at Second Story Repertory Theater.
The Little Fox can now count to ten consistently, and engages us in counting whenever he finds something interesting enough to count. Much like the Count from Sesame Street, he’ll stop whatever we’re doing and have us count something. Most recently, it was the number of lamps in my room: three, and the number of fingers on his hands: ten. The Dragon wishes to one day work for the FBI as a forensic psychologist, so we’ve been checking out books related to her long-term goals, including Criminology, Psychology, and U.S. History. We’re also working on essay writing and pre-Calculus, as she’s considering doing AP testing as a way to earn some of her college credits. With the SATs coming up, we’re also considering my father’s advice to take the PSATs first.
I’ve taken on the Yoga Green Book‘s 21 Days of Yoga Challenge by Carla Christine, and have working harder on improving my strength and flexibility. Her instructions have been detailed and easy to follow, improving even the basics I already practice (I recommend her for future classes; also, check out my friend Starbird, who teaches one how to flow through yoga). As someone with an autoimmune issue and chronic pain, sometimes it’s easy to lose perspective on the hardest days, so I’m also working on tracking my overall daily outlook using the idea of a Year in Pixels, and a Jar of Happiness. I’ve also been working hard on my writing. Cress and the Medicine Show, a myth-based novelette, will be available mid-February, and my debut novel, Perdition, publishes in March. Also, there’s a new class I’m putting together to teach Creative Writing to middle schoolers.
On the whole, we’re finding a new routine all over again, and I’m hoping to incorporate some of these wonderful ideas about gameschooling from SimpleHomeschool.net. We’ll also be greeting the protesters from the Women’s March on Saturday, and we have some wonderful books checked out from the library to celebrate the memory and message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. all week long.
WHAT WE’RE READING
At the time of writing, I have 45 books checked out from the library and 2 curriculum boxes. Among them, the collection of Nurse Mathilda stories. Since beginning in December, we’ve completed the first book and are in the middle of the second. If you’re not familiar, these are the three odd little books, which inspired the Nanny McPhee movies, and all center around a family so large, they don’t know how many children they have. My son enjoys them, but wants to take breaks every second or third night, so we’re doing a few chapters each week.
My son’s favorite counting books right now are One Nighttime Sea (library copy) and The Wizard of Oz Counting (bought at Costco with the shapes book). When I checked out One Nighttime Sea, it was for his nocturnal animals unit, but it’s become such a beloved book, we keep renewing it. It not only counts different sea creatures from one to ten, it then counts even more from ten to one. We take time to touch each animal and say its number as we go and I ask him where the number itself is on the page. The Wizard of Oz Counting book is far more simplistic and quite jolly, and we’ve had it since he was a year old.
Along with some criminology books, my daughter is working her way through FBI 100 Years and The Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. There are other books awaiting her, but I don’t want to bog her down.
On top of books, we have magazine subscriptions coming in. We allowed our Ladybug and Click subscriptions to lapse. I was disappointed when they arrived, as I was expecting the better binding of Babybug, which keep well on shelves as sturdy little books. Standard sized magazines don’t hold up as well, and the content didn’t inspire as much interest in my son.
While at the library, we found out they have all of the Cricket Media publications available, so we can read them there when we wish each month. However, I also fell in love with Cricket itself, especially the hilarious stories in the January issue, so I’ve ordered a subscription for it, despite its recommended age range. Also, we’re receiving Zootles, a fun science magazine for kids given to us as a gift by our cousins.
WHAT WE’RE EATING
Recently, my daughter took my banana bread recipe and made a few dozen mini muffins for us in the toaster oven (because our oven still isn’t fixed; we’ve had a lot of trouble ordering the element we need for baking).
Mama Raven’s Banana Bread
1/2 c. butter (salted, because yum)
3/4 c. raw sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 aged bananas (mashed)
1 1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. oat flour
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
7 oz. of crushed or chopped pineapple
1 T. pineapple juice
1 T. soured milk (milk with a few drops of lemon juice; wait 20 minutes to sour) or buttermilk
1/2 c. crushed walnut pieces (not option in my house, but maybe in yours)
Mix dry ingredients and set aside. Mash bananas and stir in eggs and vanilla. Blend well and add pineapple juice and buttermilk. Fold wet ingredients into dry, and add pineapple (the pineapple helps keep the bread moist) and walnuts. Put in a greased bread pan and bake 45 minutes in a 350°F oven (or about 15 minutes in a mini muffin pan).
Alternatives: for dairy free recipes, substitute coconut milk for the buttermilk, and Earth Balance sticks for the butter. If you wish to add chocolate chips, ditch the pineapple and substitute about 1/4 c. of milk or coconut milk instead.
Enjoy warm and buttered or cold and dunked in chocolate milk. So good!