Saturday, February 11, 2017

Back to Homeschooling- Snow Day





We ended up taking a very long break for Christmas and haven't done hardly any school in months.  I don't feel guilty about it.  Taking unexpected, unscheduled, and unauthorized breaks is why we homeschool.  Ironically, we started back at school just when a big dumping brought a week of snow days to the public schools.


Skimmer recently took scissors to his own head, reminding me that I haven't given him (and all of them) enough cutting practice.  I set up "stations" on the table that the kids took turns using.  One station was a piece of cardboard, colored paper, and a giant push pin for poking.  They're obsessed with poking right now so this was a hit.  Dragonfly worked on her name.  I was busy making sure that all the activities were painless and didn't get a picture of it.  Bummer.


Another station was a bowl of yarn for snipping.  Skimmer thought cutting all that yarn from big strands to tiny half-inch pieces was the best.  He worked really hard on maintaining the correct hand posture while cutting.



The second cutting station was just scrap paper and scissor.  Tadpole was using trainer scissors and just focusing on snipping.  He loved the destruction part of cutting and kept laughing.


Skimmer also begged me to "do math" with him this week.  I wasn't exactly sure where to start, so I made a counting game for him.  We started with a pile of counters in the middle, and then gave each of us bowls.  We took turns rolling a 1-3 sided dice and counting out how many we got.  I had him put the counters on the table before adding them to his bank to check his counting.  There were too many steps for him to follow so he struggled with the sequence.  It also revealed that he didn't know what numbers meant or what they looked like.  I now have a good idea of where to go next.  And, like I said, he is motivated right now.

I also noticed that he had trouble using picking up the small counters that we used, so I know we need to work more on his fine motor stills (he's completely gross motor skills driven).  This was good too because it helped me focus on what things he needs to work on there, too.  More pinching, transferring, and poking!

Dragonfly and I planned the "gone game" as well, but I gave her a regular 6-sided dice with numbers written on it (printable).  She loved the game; however, it was way too easy for her!  I'd like to switch to a 10-sided dice and have her count pennies next time.  Her math workbook has introduced her to pennies and dimes so I'd like to have her count pennies and then grab dimes when we roll a 10.  The best part is at the end of the game, when we have to count all the change.

I broke the blogger rule and didn't get good pictures of our math game, but here's another picture of snow:


So, I guess you can say that this week was sort of an assessment week for us.  My goal for next week is to have our activities set up in the work box drawers, so that I can school them all together.

One more snow picture:



And next week is Valentine's Day so we'll be having our special "Family Date Night!"


d is for dinosaur





Blog Posts About Dinosaurs
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Printables
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Ideas
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Videos

Thursday, February 9, 2017

NYC Gilded Age Book Recommendations


This is perhaps a sort of shameful confession from a mother in her thirties, but I'm quite obsessed right now with Broadway's Newsies.  Last spring, I got to see the musical off-broadway with my siblings.  Ever since, I have been listening to the music.  It always makes me smile to hear the perky beats and defiant lyrics.  I'm very excited this month to see the show in the movie theater, and I'm really hoping that Disney will release it on DVD this summer.


The Newsies have reawakened my interest in the Gilded Age.  The time period is fascinating because of how quickly the world was changing and what those changes meant for the next century.  Horses were being replaced by automobiles, factory workers were demanding their rights, and reformers were working for change.  This is the era of the telephone, the railway, and the lightbulb.  Immigrants were pouring into our country by the thousands, bringing with them urban problems, disease, cheap labor, and innovations.  This was the time of industrial and political giants like Boss Tammany, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, and Joseph Pulitzer.  And, through all the changes and turmoil, the voices of the Newsies could be heard, peddling the banner.

Most books set in the late 1800's feature either the Wild West or Southern reconstruction.  I've read plenty of books set in those places, but it's harder to find books set in NYC at that time.  If you're slightly interested in the Gilded Age and/or you like to read about history, here's my recommendations of books.  Enjoy!


Read and Recommended

Children of the City: At Work and At Play
This book was written in the 1980's and is now known as the inspiration for the Newsies.  As a fan, it's fun to read the stories and antidotes in the book and then connect them to the script of the musical.  As a historical non-fiction book, it's well written and interesting, covering the span from roughly the 1870's to WWI.

How the Other Half Lives
An actual book about life in the Gilded Age written in the 1890's.  This historical muckraking book has lots of pictures and stories from the era, making it a complete treasure for history buffs.  And you can read it for free off the computer by clicking the title above!

City of Promise
The fourth of four historical fiction books by Beverly Swerling covering NYC history, this novel starts at the grimy end of the Civil War and sweeps into the glamour of the Gilded Age.  I have read three of her four books, and I love that she writes about unusual parts of history, not the ones that everyone else has already covered.  They are medically focused, so don't read them if you have a weak stomach.

Elizabeth Street
Ok, so I'm reading this one now.  I'll update after I read it.

Calling Extra
This fan-fiction novel covers the newsboys strike of 1899.  It's not my favorite book, but if you're specifically looking for a book featuring Newsies then this is a good place to start.

Newsies Fan Fiction
Most of this for-internet-consumption isn't very well written or well researched, but it can still be interesting if you're looking for stories featuring your favorite characters.

Recommended But Not Read

New York
A sweeping (and long) historical fiction novel covering 400 years of NYC history.

Band of Sisters
A mystery novel about immigrants, shop girls (my other interest- thanks to Mr. Selfridge), and women's rights.

Orphan #8
Set in 1919, this one is a bit outside of the Gilded Age.  It's the story of a Jewish orphan who must chose between revenge or mercy toward a doctor who experimented on her.

The Gilded Hour
A novel of two female doctors set in 1883.  Sounds fascinating.

As you can see, I have a big wish list.


Youth/Homeschooling

City of Orphans
Set in 1883, this is the story of a newsie and his sister, set against the poverty and glamour of the Gilded Age.

The Journal of Finn Reardon
This is a "My Name is America" series book about the Newsboys Strike of 1899.

Kids on Strike
A collection of different child-led strikes from around the 1900's.

Learning Activities Inspired by Newsies
One of my favorite bloggers did a homeschool unit on the Newsies.
Click on the link to see her ideas.

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Thursday, February 2, 2017

Lady and the Tramp Valentine's Day Party

"He's a tramp, but I love him."

Last year, we did the Lady and the Tramp family date night for Valentine's Day, but I lamely didn't have the movie for us to watch.  Yesterday, I ordered the DVD off of Ebay, so we'll be ready for this year.  I am the only one in my family who has seen it, so I'm excited to hear what the rest of the family thinks of it.

There's still lots of time to put together this Italian dog-themed movie night.  It can be as simple or as elaborate as you chose.  And, of course, it doesn't have to be just a "family" date night, the movie and ideas will work for a regular date as well.  So, pick up a box of graham dog bones and settle in for this classic Disney flick.


Ideas
- Lady and the Tramp (Ebay)
- printable chalkboard signs (In Our Pond)
- red and white checked table cloth (Amazon)
- candles in wine bottles (Pinterest)
- coloring pages (Coloring Book)
- felt dog ears (Project Caitlins Life)
- official Tony's restaurant menu (Dad's Guide to WDW)
- how an accordion is made (Youtube)
- dog bone shaped food (Pinterest)
- printable Disney L&T valentine's cards (Family Disney)




Pinterest
Menu
- spaghetti with meatballs
- cracker/breadsticks
- dog bone graham crackers
- grape juice/wine

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Cabled Afghans


This is a the tale of a process knitter and this blog post was written during the process.  Hopefully, it makes a good story of woe:

First Pattern

Original cable pattern (chart) was found on a Russian website.  I translated it into English and wrote the chart out in long form.  The English pattern can be found here.

My afghan was knit with Simple Soft (off white) on size 11 circular needles.  The cable pattern was set on a bed of 25 stitches, and I placed panels of 25 stitch moss stitch between the cabling.  The blanket had 7 stitches of moss stitch for border stitches (14 total) plus five panels of cabling (125 stitches) plus four panels of moss stitch (100 stitches).  There were 239 stitches.  I don't know why I didn't notice there were way too many stitches.

Here's what I've learned-

Statistics
AKA- why this afghan is priceless

Yarn- 30 oz (6 oz to a skein)
Time Per Row- 25 minutes per row
Number of Rows- (264)
Total Time- 110 hours!

And then I completely abandoned it when I realized that I had accidentally made it 10 feet wide!  If I ever want to make a bedspread, now I know how to do it.


Looking back over the numbers, I should have figured it out from the beginning, but I've been a bit distracted lately.  Oh well, knitting a blanket twice is the best way to stretch your yarn dollars.

Second Pattern

Violet's Cable

This pattern was much simpler to work and very satisfying to finish.  I did nine cabled ropes over six stitches each, with six stitches of reverse stocking stitch in between.  The borders are seven stitches of seed stitch.  I knit the yarn from the failed blanket, unraveling as I worked.  It is the same amount of yarn minus a bit (so about 5 skeins worth).  Very simple, soft and elegant.


Third Pattern

I had a second request for a cabled afghan, so I made another one.  This one has 3 sections with 5-strand braids and a simple rope cable in between.  When I make another afghan (cause I'm sure I will), I'm going to try putting cables on both sides of the blanket.  The 5-strand braid makes a nice ribbed pattern on the reverse side, which I think will work nicely as the divider between cables.  I think the reverse stocking stitch boarders are a tad large and boring on this one.  No more blankets for a while, though.