To Tie a Tie

A couple weeks ago Fritz decided to wear the dice tie he got for Christmas to church.

It’s a regular tie that needs to be tied.

Fritz had never worn a tie like that before.

All his other ties have either been clip-ons or bow ties.

So Cameron walked him through tying a tie for the first time.

Cameron had to help quite a bit for some of the steps.

But in the end Fritz had his first ever properly tied tie.

Geography: Heartland States

This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Week seventeen of school we did unit 10. Our geography topic was the heartland states.

We did mapwork.

We learned about the Great Lakes.

We learned about Chicago’s Great Fire.

We learned some facts about Indiana.

Jamie told the story of how he had to go on a business trip to Indiana four days before Adrian’s due date and I wouldn’t let him stay overnight just in case so he went for about an 18 hour day. It turned out Adrian wasn’t born until 12 days past his due date so Jamie could’ve spent two weeks in Indiana and still made it home before the kid was born.

Adrian identified all of the Great Lakes on a blank map from memory.

We added the flags of Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio to our passports.

Graduating Early

Cameron turned 18 in October and he’s chomping at the bit to be done with his senior year. Funny how senioritis even hits homeschooled kids.

Cameron has completed almost all the requirements for graduation except eleven units of all together work. So we made a deal. He completes what’s left at an accelerated pace and he can graduate a semester early.

I typed up his plan last week and he’s been working on it. It’s twelve pages single spaced. He’s doing the tenth unit with his brothers this week. The requirements for graduation are:

  • Read 13 audiobooks and give a summary of each
  • Make and carry out a plan for covering all the major topics and subtopics provided to him in the plan for the final ten units for history, geography, science, and the arts
  • Plan and carry out science experiments or projects for each major topic
  • Create works of art for most of the major arts topics
  • Create a detailed higher education plan for at least the next six months and a basic one for beyond that point

So, once he’s completed all that (and it is a lot), Cameron will be graduating from high school just a little early and he’s super excited about it!


“And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.”
Luke 2:52

Starting, well, today, the Church’s program for kids 8-18 is totally changing. It doesn’t even remotely resemble how it was when I was that age. And that’s really cool.

The new program seems really open ended and involves coming up with personal goals to achieve. No more “this is what you must do.” It’s all designed to help kids improve themselves. What amazing training for success in life in general this program will be!

There are four areas based on the scripture above for kids to make goals in: Spiritual, Social, Physical, and Intellectual. So we’ve been talking a bit with the boys about setting goals in those areas. They’ve come up with a few ideas so far.

Intellectual: Figure out plan for continuing education (and possibly graduate from high school a semester early)
Not sure where this fits: Make twice as much as parents did at same age this year
Not sure where this fits either: Buy house?

Intellectual: Finish purple belt at Code Ninjas
Physical: Take Lola for a walk twice a week
Social: Start D&D sessions with friends (he already did one with two boys from church yesterday)
Spiritual: Read the Book of Mormon again

Intellectual: Learn how to shuffle cards
Physical: Go on a a walk twice a week with Fritz and Lola
Social: Play Yu-Gi-Oh with friends (one of the boys who came to play D&D also played Yu-Gi-Oh with Adrian while he was here)

The Arts: Abstract Art

This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Week sixteen of school we did unit 9. Our arts topic was abstract art.

We made some Kandinsky-style art using concentric circles.

We learned about Picasso.

We made some art in the style of Picasso’s Cubism.

We made art to music, drawing whatever we felt like the music was telling us to draw.

Abstract Music Art

We did scratch art.

And we made pieces of abstract art however we wanted to make it.

Science: Volcanoes

This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. Week sixteen of school we did unit 9. Our science topic was volcanoes.

We learned about how volcanoes erupt.

We erupted baking soda and vinegar.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Eruption

We learned about the parts of a volcano.

We squeezed toothpaste out of a tube like it was magma.

Magma Toothpaste

We labeled a volcano.

We watched some videos of volcanic eruptions.

We squeezed Jell-O out of a baggie like it was lava.

Jell-O Lava Squeeze

We learned about types of volcanoes.

We played with a non-Newtonian fluid, cornstarch and water.

Non-Newtonian Cornstarch and Water