wall timeline

Here’s a few pictures of some timeline items.

Ha, ha! The fall of Rome (by Abby)


Mouse Guard! (by Faith)


This one is a personal favorite (by Faith)


It’s a long strip of masking tape, marked every five inches, from 4000 BC to AD 2100. The BC dates are by millennium and the AD dates are by century. When we get back around to the Ancients we’ll need to alter the BC scale, but that shouldn’t be a problem – there’s more wall left.

coming out from under a rock

The sickness is still here. I’m almost better. i was ableto clean the living room (big girls helped) and dining room today, which were so messy. It was crazy how messy. And then I made bread, which is on the second rise and aalmost done. I’ll probably be able to turn the oven on after I finish this post.

We, well, only me so far, made a timeline today. It consists of ten feet of wall with marks five inches apart. I’m going to label them from 4000 BC to AD 2100, then we’ll all put stuff on it. I think it will be fun. The BC portion gets five inches to the millenium and the AD portion gets five inches to the century. There’s room on the wall to give the BC portion a bit more room when we come back around to the Ancients.

Gilbert and Abby just gave me an impromptu recital, in part:

G: Pussycat pussycat where have you been?
A: I’ve been to London to look at the Queen.
G: Pussycat pussycat what did you there?
A: I frightened a mouse from under a chair!

And so it goes.

Waiting for Godot, or maybe Bede

Bede typed this, printed it out and gave it to me and my niece, Sophia. She read it aloud, which pleased him greatly.

The following is word for word, by Bede Gleeson, autist, age 7.

So, you have a best very quick you been everything you like that now think about.

With a reason for a different one get do at see us.

Just have like thought be so that. You would think so, oh.

I had so just ever got someone was me did as with us.

Bugger Wars Take Two

I just ordered some Tick Tubes. They’re cardboard tubes full of permethrin-infused cotton. Mice use the cotton for nesting material and it kills their ticks, which means it kills MY ticks.

Because we have scads of the little bloodsucking bastards.

Faith was wandering around outside, reading a Harry Potter book, and mentioned to me a few hours later that there were lots of little black bugs on her.

“What kind of bugs? How little?” I asked.

“Tiny,” she replied.

I pointed to a crumb from a sandwich. “Like that tiny?”

“Yeah, that’s about right.”

To make a long story short, fifteen minutes later I had removed 27 (TWENTY SEVEN!) deer ticks from the body of my oldest child. The poor kid! She was so brave.

So since then Sean has sprayed the yard and I’ve ordered Tick Tubes. I also got some permethrin spray for clothing and I’ll be using it on a few outfits, hereafter to be referred to as “The Trousers of Death.”

The enemy’s gate is down!

Mo-om! Abaigeal and Faith are writing fan fiction!

Abby’s fic, To Be Human, is in the Phineas and Ferb fandom, and answers these burning questions: What if Perry the Platypus was human? Does Ferb own any other clothing? And, most important of all, what are Phineas and Ferb going to do today?

Chapters 1-9 are [here](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/perry-the-platypus-fanfic-to-be-human-chapter-1/).

Faith’s Warriors fic, Stars of Gray, is also at their blog, but not neatly next-chapter-formatted yet. It features Graystripe, Faith’s favorite Warrior cat of that era. [Prologue](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/05/01/warriors-stars-of-gray-prologue/) [Chapter 1](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/06/01/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-1/) [2](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/06/08/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-2/) [3](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/07/09/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-3/) [4](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/07/19/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-4/) [5](http://ultrafab.wordpress.com/2010/07/26/warriors-stars-of-gray-chapter-5/)

it’s hot, have you noticed?

Another hot one. I hung four loads of laundry. Halfway through I soaked my head in the pool. Here’s what I looked like when I came in.


LOVELY! It made me think of


Bede took my picture. I then spent quite a long time flat on my stomach on the nice cool livingroom floor like a basset hound. They don’t call ’em the dog days for nothing.

Bede also wanted me to take *his* picture, so here it is.


He’s missing three teeth on top. Poor guy! All he wants for Labor Day is his two, er, three front teeth. And a cold front.

Homeschool: Theology, Math, Science and Lit

Goodness what a time. We put up the easy-set pool finally, and have been in it every day since. Except for one day when the actual air temperature was 105 and the pool was 97.

It gets quite hot here.

I am, I hope, ready for school this year. Tentatively. I think.


Once upon a Time Saints
More Once upon a Time Saints
Around the Year Once upon a Time Saints (Illustrated by Ben Hatke yay!)
A Life of Our Lord for Children (Illustrated by Ted Schluenderfritz yay!)
My Catholic Faith

Whew. That seems like a lot. But what all of these theology books have in common is utter charm. They are delightful books. I know many Catholic homeschoolers who use the Faith and Life series from Ignatius. I have the second grade catechism, Jesus Our Life, and I was unimpressed with the layout and writing. They are very much textbooks, which are a distant fourth choice on my list of educational materials. The above books are nothing like that. The saint stories are amazing, written like once-upon-a-time, just as the title says. Life of Our Lord is a biography of Jesus, which I hope will segue quite nicely into reading the Gospels after we finish it. My Catholic Faith is the best teaching catechism I have ever read – it was the book I read as a catechumen. It’s like an expanded Baltimore Catechism. (The Baltimore Catechism is written like an FAQ for Catholics, for those among my readers who are unfamilliar with the work.)


Kickin’ it old school here. We’re going to use the Ray’s Arithmetic series. You can get them for free from Google Books or purchase a bound box set (Ray’s Arithmetic Series 8 Volume Set) if you’d rather. That’s first through eighth grade there, too. Hot diggity! Ray’s books are unlike modern math programs in that the focus is on mental math and story problems from the get-go. I’m quite excited about this one too.


The Everything Kids’ Science Experiments Book: Boil Ice, Float Water, Measure Gravity-Challenge the World Around You! (Everything Kids Series) – an experiment a week.
Nature Study every Friday afternoon


The Random House Book of Poetry for Children – reading poetry several times a week, and illustrating poems the kids especially enjoy.
A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys – this is the hardcover, and worth it!

I think I’ve overposted again. Best be off to bed. I’ll stop being Johnny-One-Note on the schoolbooks soon, I think!

Our friends:
[Ben Hatke](http://letflythecannons.blogspot.com/) and
[Ted Schluenderfritz](http://www.5sparrows.com/).

A boy and his logo

Bede loves the PBS logo. He draws endless comics of the PBS P-head on adventures with his fellow television and film logo pals, Viacom and Screen Gems. The DiC logo is usually the villain in the stories. I don’t know why. I myself find the Viacom V of Doom very creepy.

I have some of these to scan in. His volume is incredible. He produces about fifty drawings a day and it’s difficult for me to select the ones to show you. But that’s not why I’m blogging.

Last week, I ordered this for him from the PBS shop.


It came today.

I opened the box and peeked in. It was what I thought it was. I took it out of the packing materials. Bede was sitting next to me on the sofa, mildly interested in the boxes in my lap, but also watching Alice in Wonderland, backwards, in French.

“Hey, Bede. Look what I have!” I said.

He glanced my way, then did a double-take. His eyes widened and an enormous grin split his face. “Ho ho ho!” he chortled. He stood up and hopped in place.

“It’s for you. I got it for *you*, Bede.” I held it out towards him.

He moaned and ran across the room, hopped, then ran back. He was still smiling hugely. He whispered, so softly I could just hear him, “It’s PBS. On your *shirt*.”

“Do you want to put it on, Bede?” I asked.


So he did. I guided his head and arms to the correct spots and he looked down at his chest blissfully. He was near exploding from joy at this point. He ran to a window to see his reflection, then ran back to me.

“Do you like the shirt, Bede?” I asked, redundantly.

He flung himself into my lap and hugged me, smiling that incredible smile.

I’ll take that as a yes. I love you too, little boy.

still here, still plotting – er, PLANNING

Still gently planning the homeschool year. In fact, I nodded to Luke Holtzmann on Twitter about it: I can see why buying a year’s worth of scheduled readings, with open-ended discussion questions included, all for great, REAL books that are a joy to read… is a heck of a lot easier than doing it all yourself, from scratch.

I didn’t go with Sonlight again for several reasons.

1. *Sonlight is Christian but not Catholic*. Sonlight’s religious materials are Evangelical Protestant in tone and mission, which can be fine – or intolerable. This year, I am focusing on teaching Roman Catholicism to our kids, and I need the materials to support that. In our last Core I used Sonlight’s books and stressed the commonalities that all Trinitarian Christians share. This year, I need more than that. I could have gotten a Core but not the Bible, but the EP overtones are present in many of the other subjects too, notably History, Literature and Science.

2. *Sonlight doesn’t have a Middle Ages Core*. The Middle Ages are covered in Sonlight’s World History Cores, but we wanted more detail. Winter Promise makes a full-year Middle Ages program but they also have the same trouble as reason 1 above.

3. *Sonlight is 36 weeks, and we wanted 45*. We’ll be doing four days a week for 45 weeks. Sonlight has a great four-day option that’s included with every Core but it’s still only 36 weeks.

4. *Sonlight is slightly more expensive*. Honestly, this isn’t much of a reason. I doubt I’ve saved much money. I’ve been able to buy a few things used, and I don’t have the expense of the Instructor’s Guide. Sonlight isn’t raking in the dough. Their Cores are expensive but you get real value for your money.

That’s about it. We will likely return to Sonlight in the future. Their High School Cores are very intriguing, and having everything just In A Box and DONE is worth a lot, let me tell you.

I’ll publish our schedule and booklist when I finish. I’m doing the first 15 weeks, so if we just hate it I won’t have wasted as much time.

he’s done it!

Just a quick note to say…

Bede brushed his own teeth tonight, the whole shebang!

We’ll slowly work toward putting the paste on by himself, but for now I say skill attained: CHECK! Woohoo Bede!

My previous posts on this:

[Introducing the process](http://www.feebeeglee.com/2010/04/autism-awareness-month-teeth.html)

[An update](http://www.feebeeglee.com/2010/05/toothbrushing-update.html)

getting medieval

I’m trying to plan the year for our homeschool. We school pretty much year round, which lends us great flexibility. Legally I am required to have 180 days of attendance for all of my children between the ages of five and 18 years, equivalent to about 1000 attended hours in a year. Going all year means we do four hours a day, five days a week. These are not like hour-hours, but are attendance hours, and are better thought of as “lessons.” (In other words, I don’t teach them all for four hours every day. That counts the time they read to themselves or work alone and the time they discuss what they have read or worked on with me.)

It is MUCH easier for me to take attendance with Charlotte Mason than it was when we were unschooling. It always felt like unschooling took so much explaining, especially to the governmental types. For such a simple concept it can be remarkably difficult to understand, if you think children only learn when they are taught.. When we were investigated by DHS, Faith was the only child of school age, and she was five – it’s not difficult to demonstrate unschooled learning in a five-year old. But with older kids, it’s trickier, or it can be.

Since we’re studying the Middle Ages, we’ll be covering about a thousand years, approximately 500 to 1500 AD. Conveniently, Our Island Story and A Child’s History of the World both finish up the Middle Ages at chapter 61! This would be even more convenient if they both started at the same chapter. But… no. A Child’s History of the World starts the Dark Ages at chapter 40, and Our Island Story starts them around chapter 8.

(That’s if you consider the Dark Ages to have started at a different time on the continent than in Britain, which I do. If you don’t think that, then OIS starts it at chapter 12. But I digress.)

259 pages for OIS, 93 for CHOW. So what we’ll do is read two or three chapters of OIS for every one of CHOW. There’s several read-alouds in there too. I think they’ll be for another post, as will our math plan…

Tomorrow, bring a spatula

That’s what Faith just misheard me say. The poor child must be addle-pated.

I’ve been reading The Shallows: What the internet is doing to our brains. It’s not good. I mean, the book is good – quick read, informative, engaging – but the Internet is not good. Reading it has cemented my feelings that we are changing from mostly-unschoolers to mostly-not. I knew we were moving that way but I was filled with self-doubt because I didn’t want to take away any choices from the children as far as how they wished to spend time. Now that I’m convinced that the Internet is rewiring their brains to suit it I’m convinced that I need to give them a better framework. I’d say we’ve moved fully into Charlotte Mason territory where we had heretofore been only dipping our toes, to mix a metaphor.

Just now, Bede said “Look. Mom. Come and See! Tell it to me on your computer!” and dragged me to his computer, where I was to read what he had typed. (it was a SpongeBob script) and then say “Oooh, cool.” The language was Dalek stilted but, some appropriate pronouns! Shared attention! He’s so awesome.

i have a post planned with the full list of medieval books we’re going to use. But now Gloria is crying! Dearie me.

Homeschool: Trixie and Starfall

Trixie, age four, has a hard time using a computer mouse and becomes upset by her own lack of dexterity. This sets her up to miss again, because the more upset she is, the less skill she has at her disposal. Feedback loop, you see.

As a result, she doesn’t use the computer, and doesn’t get any better. She doesn’t care a bit, as she is content to watch the older children. I don’t care either because she’s four. So what if she can’t use the computer. Except… she kinda wants to, now and again

I guess this is all my roundabout way of saying I had the obvious idea to hold Trixie on my lap and be her mouse, clicking where she told me to on the Starfall ABC page. (Duh. See, six kids and I still miss the soft questions.) We had fun! I’ll try to set aside time for this more often, but I want it to be entirely fun for her, with no sense of work or unease, for several reasons:

1. She’s four.
2. She loses 50% of her ability after one failure, and 100% of it after two.
3. More than fifteen or twenty minutes and she loses focus, and I don’t want to say “Trixie, look here..”

I don’t care a bit when she starts reading. She may be six or she may be ten (although I doubt that) but she will read, and effortlessly. In the meantime we will continue with our vigorous program of lazily reading whatever books she demands I read to her throughout the day.

[Learn to Read at Starfall](http://starfall.com)

[Farenga and Holt on late reading ages in homeschooled children](http://books.google.com/books?id=WjCqjXsvVyoC&pg=PA234&lpg=PA234&dq=john+holt+late+readers&source=bl&ots=ijZrL5430Y&sig=O_J-Ft34HV-jag7buE-xN_3ysso&hl=en&ei=sXUaTKr9FIzYMIXCnNEF&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=john%20holt%20late%20readers&f=false)

better with two, or even three

Faith and I went on a walk in the early evening. We retraced a route that Gilbert and I took yesterday. It’s amazing what you notice, walking. Gilbert and I discovered a small creek, hidden from the road. He was very excited, but told me we shouldn’t get in it because if we followed it we would get lost. He was gobsmacked by the realization that we could just follow it back to where we started. On TV they never do that, see. Dora gets to where she’s been yelling at everyone to hurry up to, roll credits, nick jr is just for me. He also liked finding a prickly pear patch and looking up into the Eiffel Tower-esque power tower.

Faith, having heard all about this from Gilbert, was dead set on making the same walk. She noticed a mimosa tree in full flower, some Queen Anne’s lace, and a large white flower, twisted shut, with a beautiful fragrance. On that flower we saw a spider with a white body and pale green legs. “I love nature! This is the best neighborhood.” saith she.

Bede wanted to go too. His turn tomorrow!

long tall Gleesons

I’m tall for a woman (I’m 5’10”, or 178 cm) and Sean is 5’9″ (175 cm). Our kids are all normal to tall, but some of them are very tall. Among the girls, Gloria is the 99th percentile for height and is predicted to be 5’10”-5’11”. Faith is very tall right now but will likely end up about 5’8″. Trixie is slated for 5’9″. Abby is supposed to be the shortest, at around 5’6″ (168 cm).

The boys. Bede is predicted to be 6’1″ (185 cm), and Gilbert is the beanpole, likely to be 6’2″-6’3″ (190 cm).

It was fun to predict these!

[Kid’s Height Predictor](http://children.webmd.com/healthtool-kids-height-predictor)
[Child Height Predictor](http://www.babycenter.com/child-height-predictor)


We went to Half Price Books yesterday and got some good ones. Everyone else made me leave before I was ready because I can outlast almost anyone in a bookstore. I worked in one for years for a reason, after all.

Today I have baked bread, put away clean clothes, washed dishes. Also listened to the children tell me things of interest: Faith kept having me read from her new Calvin and Hobbes, Abby and I discussed what sort of book she likes, Bede read to me from Flight: Explorers (an excellent graphic novel), Gilbert played with the Cuisenaire rods and taught me about multiplication and division, Trixie showed me the elaborate foods she was feeding to her toys, and Gloria showed me how her toys can dance.

Now we’re off to my folks’ house!

read books -> get free books -> read more books

The summer reading program at Half Price Books is underway! Kids 14 and under can get a $3 card for Half Price Books EVERY WEEK from June 1st through July 31! That’s nine weeks, guys, or $27 bucks!

Your kid (or you, if you have a non-writing kid) have to fill out a log showing at least 15 minutes of reading time each day, but it’s not an annoying log like in fourth grade.

We’ll get $162 in free books chez Glee, and since it’s Half Price Books, it’s actually $324. *Ohhhhh yeah*!

[Feed Your Brain at Half Price Books](http://www.halfpricebooks.com/feed_your_brain.html)

medieval historical fiction

Here’s my preliminary list of Middle Ages or so historical fiction for middle grades. We’ll start a high-tide period with some or all of these in the next month or so.

(This is just novels. We’ll also have nonfiction and some other books. When I get the final list compiled, I’ll post it too. All links go to the books’ pages on Amazon.)

400s Between the Forest and the Hills
597 Augustine Came to Kent
781 Son of Charlemagne
800s Beorn the Proud
1100s Red Falcons Of Tremoine
1167 The Red Keep
1170 If All the Swords in England
1171 The Hidden Treasure of Glaston
1200s The Magna Charta
1200s Adam of the Road
1200s Catherine, Called Birdy
1381 Crispin: The Cross of Lead
1400s The Door in the Wall