Thursday, September 30, 2004


Our English books arrived last week, and we have finally had our first class with them. I think this brings us up to a full count of all of our books and classes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Air & Space Museum, Monuments

We visited Washinton DC several times this last weekend. Friday night we picked up William and Beth's Uncle J. from Reagan National Airport and then walked around the monuments. It was wonderful seeing them lit up. The architects of the various monuments have gone to a great deal of trouble to place the lights where they will have the most effect. It was a very neat experience, I highly recommend it.

Sunday we went back, this time to explore the Air & Space Museum. William and Beth had a lot of fun in the "How Things Fly" exhibit. There a a large number of hands on experiments in this area, and I think they eventually tried them all.

In this picture William was seeing how much the atmosphere weighs against you at sea level, Denver, CO, and Mt. Everest.

Beth enjoyed making a ball dance up and down by moving her hands over an air vent.

There was a model airplane making/flying contest that they both entered. They didn't win, but they have been making airplanes ever since, and have come up with some very good ones thanks to help from Uncle J.

On the way back to the car we visited the Monument to Japanese Americans. It is for those who were held in interment camps during World War II. It is a place our world leaders should visit on a regular basis. I know it certainly opened William and Beth's eyes.

The monument is dominated by this peaceful reflecting pool fountain.

We all took a moment to read about what happened.

This beautiful sculpture was, I felt, a very fitting depiction of their plight.

Saturday, September 25, 2004


We rode the Mt. Vernon trail today. It was a lovely day for this 31 mile trip.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Apprentice Wall Paper Strippers

William, Beth and I have finally finished stripping the kitchen, dining room, and two bathrooms of a home in Ellicott City.
Here a few pictures of their/our hard work.

Dining Room during:

Dining Room after:


So, what did we learn during our brief appenticeship?

1. Don't ever apply paper dircetly to bare drywall or plaster/mud! Always prime the wall before applying paper!!

2. Never paint over wall paper! There will come a day when your painted wall paper will begin to peel at the edges, and you will finally be forced to remove it. By painting it in the past you have made your job much harder. The paint makes it very difficult for chemical strippers to do their job, and it stiffens the paper, making it hard to get big strips of paper off at one time. (ie, The paper becomes more brittle and only comes off in little pieces.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Very Busy

The Social Studies books have finally arrived. I have planned out the first few days. It is being a bit of an adjustment because William and Beth are learning how to take notes in a lecture class for the first time. We have had lecture classes before, but this is the first time with note taking.

We spent today stripping wall paper off of kitchen walls in a home in Ellicott City. Pictures and more info to follow. We are going back tomorrow, and I am very sleepy.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pathfinder Honors

William and Beth are not officially enrolled in Pathfinders, but our church is working on starting a club. Until then, the church is making it possible for the kids to work on some honors. Some of the honors they have worked on have tied into things we have learned in school. For example, last year in science class we spent several weeks studying and classifying rocks and minerals.

Here is a picture of what they have achieved so far. {Bible Markings, Cultural Diversity, Rocks and Minerals}

Right now they are working on their Textile Painting and Quilting honors. We will be incorporating the quilting honor into art class. The kids just finished their first block each. The blue and white blocks pictured below are for their honor.

We had started a quilt several years ago, but began it very late in the school year. After we complete the requirements for the honor, we will continue working on the quilt we started earlier.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Another Opportunity to Play

We played strings at Elternhaus, a retirement home in Dayton, MD. As always they were very warm and appreciative. They are hoping that we can return soon and maybe bring one or two cats with us. If the weather holds we might bring our telescope as well. Their home is out in the country and so the night sky is not as dimmed by city lights.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

White Board

Our new white board arrived today! Previously we had used one that was only 2'x3', our new one is 4'x8'! This is what our classroom looked like this morning.

Our school day came to a screeching halt with its arrival, and we spent the rest of the afternoon, unpacking and hanging it. Fortunately it was not as heavy as we had feared it would be, but we did discover, after extensive measuring, remeasuring, and attempted mounting that our floor and ceiling have a 3/4 inch rise! We (read Danny) finally got the job done thanks to a level, and a kind neighbor who helped me hold it up while Danny finished the job.

We did manage to get in several more classes after all this. I mean, how can you not break in something like this right away?! :) William and Beth keep walking into the room room and staring at it with awed phrases like "Its so big!"

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Played for Special Music at Church

William and Beth joined the strings at our church to play the March from Flavious by Handel. We also played with one of the hymns, "Live out Thy Life Within Me" No. 316.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Back in the Swing of Things

Day four of school, and we are really feeling like we are settling in. Even Riker has taken up her time honored roll as classroom kitty.

William and Beth are hard at work making their writing outlines for a Tip the Monkey story. I still can't believe how much they both love this class. Not that I'm complaining! :)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Books are Arriving!

Here are some pictures and descriptions of the various books we will be using this year. (We are still missing Social Studies, and English.)

Having heard great things about the Singapore Math program, we decided to give it a try this year. Singapore students score very well on standardized math tests, and after a quick look at their program I can see why! When you go to order their products, they even offer you placements tests to see at what level you should place your students. I think that William and Beth would have done fine in Level 6, but the curriculum is quite different from what we have had, and Level 5 covers many things we have not yet seen. We decided to try their science program also. So far the kids are loving these books, and are doing great work.

This writing course is supported by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. They say that kids who hate to write, will learn to love it, and kids who love it already, will write all the time. This is already proving true. :)

We are using Houghton Mifflin's Spelling program again. Their spelling scores really improved last year when we switched to this program. It is very comprehensive and challenging. It stresses learning the spelling rules, proofreading, and vocabulary enrichment. We also got the sixth grade CD-ROM that accompanies the textbook.

These are the books we ordered from Home Study International, they are for Reading Handwriting, and Bible.

Here a few miscellaneous books we are using for PE, Art, and Music (history/theory).

This is part one of the Pimsleur German program which we are borrowing from the library.