A Friday Flashback to get you ready for Trick-or-Treating! Have fun and be safe this weekend!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

According to our schedule we are in the fourth week of our second quarter, I divide the year up into four quarters schooling year round with short breaks throughout the year. Ideally, I would evaluate after each quarter, but I couldn’t with all of our traveling. Now, though, is the perfect time for a reevaluation and revamp!

So far our Math and Language Arts lessons are moving along fairly well, General Disarray usually sits down to do those subjects on his own and we go over anything that may be new or cause him problems. Generally, though, he can read and learn on his own. Professor Chaos has done pretty well with his Teach A Child To Read lessons, though they are very repetitive to the point that they bore him, so we have changed up the lessons to fit our needs.

While Math and Language Arts are doing well, we still have History and Science to contend with, and that is where a lot of the revamping is taking place. We are lacking a level of structure in History and Science, we do a lot of reading, but I want to bring all of that full circle with other activities to ensure the knowledge is retained. To help with this I’m utilizing Lesson Pathways, Spectrum Science workbooks that I found while stateside, a larger reading list, and Story of the World on audio disc. I, personally, had no desire to purchase the Story of the World books, but I found the audio for book two at our library and the kids really enjoy it. It will play during our hands on activities, after I’ve given directions, to help reiterate what we have been doing.

These few add-ons should help make the learning experience more enjoyable. I want to lean heavily on hands-on activities while T.B.M. are young, since that will not only allow for them to learn the material, but to have tons of fun while doing it. I have also changed our schedule so Science lessons on Thursdays are strictly for experiments. Instead of moving on to another lesson, we will focus on experiments and activities that further support the lesson(s) learned on Tuesday.

Other than that change, our schedule will stay the same. We are easing back into our routine and should be back to “normal” by mid-November. We will only be taking the weekend of Thanksgiving off, November 24th-27th, and then working until the week before Christmas.

Oh my goodness, it’s almost Christmas time already! I swear the older these kids get the faster the year seems to go.

With the end of the year quickly approaching, what changes, if any, have you made to your homeschooling curriculum/schedule?

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

The other night The Spouse and I were clicking around Youtube when we came across the video below by Jefferson Lab. About twenty minutes into checking out their channel I had marked them on our favorites and we were wondering about all the other cool things we could do with liquid nitrogen. Their videos don’t just focus on liquid nitrogen, although those are hands down probably the coolest ones, they also have videos on thunder & lighting, lunar eclipses, and butterflies! Jefferson Lab puts together short,informative, and most importantly FUN videos that would be a great addition to any science lesson(we’ve added them to our list of favorite science videos on Youtube!).

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

Well I have to get back into blogging mode! So to help get me going I'll start with a fun Friday Flashback!

I think I'll even watch some Back 2 the Future while I work through some blogging ideas. Forgive me if I get lost in Michael J. Fox's dreamy eyes though...the 80's were soooo good! Don't you agree?

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

Our first issue of Bright Parenting Magazine is online! WOOHOO! It's an amazing feeling to see something you have poured your heart into actually come to life! Check it out below!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

We are still chugging along in our vegetarian/vegan eating. Over the past few months I’ve collected a number of vegan cookbooks and also had the pleasure of dinner with some dear friends at a vegetarian/vegan restaurant while we were stateside. It was YUMMY and gave me hope that with time I too could produce food that taste way better than any meat-filled meal I’ve ever made.

This evening while looking at the list of recipes I put on the menu for this week I realized I didn’t feel like making them…I wanted something else more “comfort” foodie. I just wasn’t sure what to make, then I remembered those yummy Salisbury Steaks that you get in your frozen food aisle that requires no real work to get from freeze to table. Since I don’t have access to vegan oven ready Salisbury Steaks I decided to try my hand at making my own, but what to use…I figured black beans would be good. So I flipped through Veganomicon located their Black Bean Burger recipe and tweaked it a bit.

The following is my steak patty recipe:
1 can of black beans *drained and rinsed*
½ cup power flour *my personal take on power flour in which I use Whole Wheat Flour, Quinoa Flour, Buckwheat Flour, and Organic All-Purpose Flour*
½ cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon McCormick Grill Mates Hamburger seasoning
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic salt
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 ½-2 tablespoons bar-b-q sauce *I’ll try steak sauce next time to see if it gives it a more meaty flavor*
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed + 6 tablespoons water *my go to egg replacer*
¼ cup water

Mash the beans so that all the beans are broken up *no whole beans left*

Mix together the 2 tablespoons flaxseed with the 6 tablespoons water and set aside

Add all the ingredients including the flaxseed mixture to the mashed black beans, stir together

Once through mixed form into balls, pressing them flat with the palm of your hand, set aside patties

In a skillet heat up some oil (I used extra light olive oil),once hot add in the patties (about 3 at a time depending on the size of your skillet and the size of the patties)

These cook relatively fast so keep an eye on the skillet they should cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, you can cook them a bit longer if you want crispier steaks

While they are cooking chop up one white onion, about ten small mushrooms (or two large Portobello mushrooms) you can use canned mushrooms if you’d like , and two cloves of garlic (I press the cloves with a knife before mincing them)

One all the steaks are finished place them on a lined plate to drain off any excess oil and add the onions, mushrooms, and garlic to the leftover hot oil, sauté on low/medium heat

While the skillet is going prep in a small pot about a 1/4 cup of vegetable broth with garlic and onion powder, you can add a bit cornstarch to thicken the broth a bit.

Once the onions mixture in the skillet is ready turn off the heat, add the patties back to the skillet and pour the broth over the patties, cover the skillet and prep the rest of your meal.

I served ours with garlic and parsley potatoes, organic corn, and mushroom gravy (just regular jar gravy I had, still in search of a yummy gravy recipe so if you have one please share!)

The meal came out great! The Spouse who is very much a “meat and potatoes” kind of guy actually got seconds!! He usually grumbles when I’m prepping our non-meat meals, but while I was cooking he walked into our kitchen area and said “hmmm…what you cooking it smells GOOD!”. So if you are trying to win over a meat-lover I highly recommend this recipe!

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes

I could make this a long drawn out post about the benefits of homeschooling when it comes to traveling, especially traveling that involves flexibility. I won’t though, because I would be preaching to the choir on that one. I could compare and contrast the stress and frustrations of traveling with children to the stress and frustrations experienced in homeschooling, because let’s be honest it isn’t always easy. Frankly though I don’t want to do that either.

Instead, I think I shall tell what I’ve learned. Yes, I learned. Schooling didn’t always take place when I wanted, yes we are technically behind, but in homeschooling can you really ever say you are behind? That is one thing I’ve learned and will continue to expand on. The thought that we are never behind if we are continuing to move forward. Some of our best schooling took place when we didn’t crack open a book. Now, am I suddenly a non-book user who relies solely on field trips or other experiences to teach? No. I don’t have it in my controlling nature to not plan out our schooling to some degree, but learning happens every day, everywhere. When life plops you down somewhere unexpected or even somewhere you expected to be, you should seize that moment because you never know what it may teach you.

On our travels we have explored a list of amazing places that I plan to share once I’m completely settled, they all offer something unique and we would have never had an opportunity to take in these sights and sounds if we didn’t strive to seize the day.
Seizing the day…the only real way to sum up traveling with homeschoolers in my humble opinion, but you don’t need to be traveling to do this.
Live, Explore, Do! Life is too short not to. This is a lesson I am happy to learn while I'm still young enough to put it to use.

Copyright(c)2011 Rayven Holmes