Sunday, September 14, 2008

Rifles For Watie Book Report

Written by the Science Guy, 14.

Book: Rifles for Watie, by Harold Keith

Published 1957 by Harper Collins, Newberry Award Winner

Rifles for Watie is the story about Jeff Bussey, a young man from Kansas and his life during the Civil War.  It tells how he joins the army and struggles against the enemy, hunger, fear, cruel officers, utter exhaustion, and his deep feelings for family, friends, and the people he has come to know throughout his journey, on both sides of the war.

After an attack on his house in which his father was almost killed, Jeff becomes determined to aid the war effort.  He quickly leaves and joins up with the Union Army, but is unfortunately put under the cruel and tyrannical command of Captain Asa Clardy.  After trekking hundreds of miles by day and night his regiment finally meets the enemy and gets their first taste of battle.  Much to Jeffs dissappoinment he is sent off to find an officer somewhere back in the ranks and misses out on his share of the battle.  Later, as he rushes to meet the returning soldiers, he finds that many of his friends have been shot to death and many others are horribly injured.

Over the next couple of years his regiment marches hundreds of miles more and fights battles.  Also Jeff gets to know what it is like to be a soldier in the infantry, a gunner in a battery of artillery, a trooper in the calvalry, and eventually a scout who is sent to spy behind enemy lines.

During his first mission he becomes lost and is accidentally drafted into the Rebel Army.  He is warmly cared for by the Rebels and finds that they are not monsters but loving people who are fighting for what they believe in.  Jeff makes many close friends in the Rebel Army and in the South.  He eventually discovers a secret plot against the Union Army.  Should he return to the Union?  Jeff is from the Union, the Union told him that these, his Rebel friends, are the enemy.  But the Rebels have loved him whereas the officers in the Union starved him and treated him harsh and unkindly.  Jeff struggles as his heart is torn between the two sides.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Corn Tortilla Chicken Lasagna

I’ve made this twice now, and while it is a bit time consuming to put together, it makes two 9×13 dishes and is so delicious it’s worth it.

For your consideration and enjoyment!

Corn Tortilla Chicken Lasagna
  • 36 corn tortillas
  • 6 cups cooked, cubed chicken breast (about 3 lbs.)
  • 4 cups pinto beans
  • Three 16 oz. jars of your favorite salsa (I use La Victoria: one mild red, one mild green, and one medium red — use what you like. )
  • 4 cups sour cream
  • 15 oz. can ripe olives, sliced
  • 3 cups shredded Monterey Jack or Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 3 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
Prepare two 9×13 in. baking dishes with non-stick spray and arrange 6 tortillas in each dish; then top tortillas with 1 cup chicken, 2/3 cup pinto beans, 1 cup salsa, about 9 evenly spaced dollops of sour cream, 1/2  cup Jack and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese.  Repeat layers two more times, adding the sliced olives to the third layer before adding the cheeses.
Cover dishes and bake at 350F for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake 10-15 minutes longer or until cheese is melted and sides are bubbly.  Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  Makes two, 12-15 serving casseroles.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Something New!

We have a few new things happening in our schooling this year –

The first is our schedule, which I was very fearful of last week (see HERE), but that fear has turned to rejoicing  in the LORD with a full heart!  We are out of the home every day of the week and so the children must have all of their schoolwork done before Noon on most days.  A week ago, I would have thought this was impossible — but nothing is impossible with Jesus Christ!

Our next new thing is that Science Guy started a Biology class this week, using the Apologia Biology text.  He finished Physical Science in the nick of time – doing tests 14, 15 and 16 near the end of last week.   (he had finished the text and experiments, just forgot to take the tests.  A minor detail, apparently.  ;-) The first class went well and he has completed all of his homework for the next one. 

While we’re on the subject of science and Apologia, I’ll mention that The Badger started General Science this week, too.   This is a small part of my praise ~~~  My younger son, who just turned 13 — I was debating whether to start him in this or not.  I even asked older son his opinion — he knows the text, he knows the work that is required — how do you think he will do if he starts this?  We were both of the same opinion, that he is capable of it, but it may be a bit much reading for him.  Well, I dropped it for the time being and thought maybe we’ll come back to it in a few months and see at that time.  Younger son, who didn’t know that any of this was going on, came to me not even 15 minutes later and asked if he could start General Science.  Can you picture the stunned look on my face?  Can you see the LORD smiling?    Yes, dear, of course you can do General Science if you’d like to.  :-)   ~~~

Also daughter, Little Tipua, is almost finished with her science, so we looked and decided that she and the Badger will be doing Apologia Exploring Creation with Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day together.  I think we’ll do this Monday/Wednesday while Science Guy is in Biology, and Friday our fun day.  And since Tipua enjoys science, and namely Sonlight science, I will be getting Sonlight Science 2 for her to do herself.
That’s it.  Nothing else is new because we love what we’re doing and there’s no reason to change!  So here’s a quick run down of our curriculum:
  • Bible – we read the Bible, King James Version.  Daring, I know, but why read someone else’s thoughts on what the Bible says when you can go to the source, the author and finisher of our faith?  We also use Christian Manhood
  • Reading – we use Pathway and Christian Light Readers.  Sometimes with, sometimes without the accompanying workbooks.  They are nice, wholesome stories that the children will read and inevitably say "That was a good story, Mom."  Both are available for K-8th grade.
  • Math – Math-U-See has been our choice for the past three (or has it been four?) years and will continue to be.
  • Spelling – Spell to Write and Read.  We don’t use all of it, but it is a thorough program and easily adaptable to our needs.  I do more with one child and less with another, as is appropriate for the individual.
  •  English – Shurley English, Homeschool Edition.  We only do this three or four times a month, but it builds such a great, solid foundation that we refer to it frequently when doing other assignments.
  • History – This is our variety!  Some favorites that we go back and forth between – one year this and the next year that – are Sonlight, we’re doing Eastern Hemisphere (5) this year, daughter has done Intro to World Cultures (K).  Beautiful Feet is a favorite.  We’ve done Early Am. History, Elementary and Upper Elementary, the History of Science, US and World History, History of Classical Music and Science Guy will soon be starting Medeival History.  Then, a wonderful unit study that I HAVE to recommend is Prepare and Pray.  If I had discovered this when the boys were younger — Oh!  the fun we would have had!!  Now we do it in pieces, a unit here and a unit there as a break from regular school and for some summer fun.
I’m sure there’s more, but I have to go!

Click HERE to see what others are doing!

This post was originally published @ as an assignment from Homeschool Memoirs 2008-2009

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Our Homeschool Routine

I almost didn’t want to post on this one since we cannot follow a schedule – at least not a specific time slot schedule.  We’ve tried it before and the children didn’t like it, couldn’t understand why they had to stop in the middle of something and move on to the next thing, and it all reminded me a bit too much like the conditioning ring of the school bell.   I visited a few other HM members, though, and saw that they didn’t have schedules either.   So, okay, maybe I can do this.

Our Homeschooling Routine is as follows:  (Very Loosely!)
  • I try to get up an hour or two before the children do so that I can have my quiet time in the morning
  • Between 7 and 8 a.m. I wake up the children.  They usually have 30-45 minutes to wake up, shower/dress, and have breakfast before I call them to the table to get started on their work.
  • During the course of the day they work on Math, Handwriting, Science, Reading, & Bible.
  • At some point during the morning, we’ll all sit on the couch together and do our Bible reading, memorization, & singing followed by our History read-alouds.
  • Break for lunch and chores
  • In the afternoon, continue with their schooling
  • Sometimes we’ll have more reading in the afternoons, but not too often because I tend to fall asleep if I sit on the couch after lunch!!
  • One day a week I’ll do spelling with each child (2s+1d), and an English lesson with my sons
  • When they’ve done work in each area of their assignment sheet for the day, then they are free to do what they like, get started on afternoon pick-up (before Dad gets home), or work on something extra.
This is all how it has been.  Starting next week everything will be different and I’m not sure what we’re going to do about it. 

Can I take a moment to whine?  Just a little?  I’ll do it softly, I promise.   See, here’s how it all works out: 
  1. For the summer, friends and I started gathering for a P.E. day for our older sons.  Since we were meeting anyway, we decided to go ahead and do a Bible study together.   I thought it was only going to be for the summer, but now it isn’t and so that is one afternoon of my week not at home. Tuesday.
  2. Older son is taking a Biology class this year and for some reason it is meeting twice a week for an hour and half.  Can’t it meet once a week for three hours??  Two afternoons of my week not at home.  Monday/Wednesday.
  3. Because of Biology, we had to chage the day of our piano lessons.  I guess I was not clear with the teacher and when she was making up her fall schedule, she scheduled us for Thursday.  Now a fourth afternoon that I am not at home.
  4. I’ve been wanting to do something with daughter for some time now, even trying over a year ago to get a small needleworking group together for mothers and daughters.  Well, guess what?  Another mom is getting one together, and it looks like it is actually going to happen.   It IS only an hour, and it IS fairly close to home, but it IS on Friday – the last day of the week that I had free.
So, if this is what our year is actually going to look like, then we will be doing schoolwork only in the morning hours.   (just had a dramatic demonstration of this on the chalkboard – Monday after 12:00 – GONE.  Tuesday after 12:00 – GONE.  Wednesday after 12:00 – GONE.  Thursday after 12:00 – GONE.  Friday after 12:00 GONE.)

If anyone wants to offer some advice, hints, tips, suggestions, sanity savers, etc. please DO!!

Otherwise it looks like we’ll all be starting our day EARLY!

This post was originally published @ as an assignment from Homeschool Memoirs 2008-2009

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Much Did You Say?

We journeyed over the hill to our County Library’s Annual Book Giveaway today.

We missed last year due to our vacation, so the children wanted to be sure and go this time.

Well, it was worth the trip.  I found quite a few worthwhile books both for school and personal reading, as well as a few books for friends on particular subjects that I know they are studying or interested in.

The biggest prize of the day, for Science Guy, was a set of Science Encyclopedias.  A 20 volume set, brand new — they look like they’ve never been touched.  For Free

He wanted to impress Dad so we looked up how much the set was worth if we had purchased it.

Are you ready?

I wasn’t.

Here goes -

The McGraw Hill Science and Technology Encyclopedia
McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology by McGraw-Hill: Book Cover

can be purchased through Barnes & for $3,000.00!!!


Double Wow!

Okay — Triple WOW!

He’s enjoying them even more now, knowing how much they are worth -

And I’m feeling pleasantly frugal.

This post was originally published @