One of the Well-Trained Mind reading recommendations for this year is the poetry of William Wordsworth.  For a fun Friday assignment I had Piper read Poetry for Young People’s Wordsworth edition, find her favorite poem, then copy and illustrate it.  I really sort of love the way it turned out so I’m sharing. 🙂



I’ve had a few questions recently about whether there is assigned reading in our home school.  The answer to that question is yes, absolutely.  Piper has a list of books she needs to read every year from the Well-Trained Mind that includes full and abridged versions of classics and poetry.  There are also generally recommended books as part of both her science and history curriculums. Piper is a pretty avid reader so unless she really dislikes a book we typically don’t have a problem.  I’m not a big believer in killing books by forcing over-analyzation, particularly at her age, so we typically talk about the books she reads-characters, plots, motivations-and occasionally I require her to write a one page summary.  The hope at this stage is that she is learning the beginnings of literary analysis, how to read more complex books than she might choose herself, gaining a certain amount of cultural literacy from exposure to classics, and of course for science and history getting a deeper understanding of the material being covered.

Since school is starting next week, we stopped by the library to pick up the first batch today.

Here’s to a year of happy reading!

Blacksmithing Class

Last week a class came across one of my homeschooling lists that caught my attention.  Instead of requesting older teens, this one was specifically requesting pre-teens.  It was also only one day for a couple of hours making it easy to slide into the schedule.  After consulting with Piper to make sure she was interested, I went ahead and signed her up and today she headed over to Prospect Hill Forge.

Tim and I got her settled and headed out for a few hours to do errands.  When we got back she and the three other students were hard at work.

Tim and I watched for a good hour and we were quite impressed.  While closely supervised, other than a little help here and there where extra hands or strength were needed, the kids did all the work themselves.  Piper was justifiably  proud of her finished piece, a decorative hook.

Ancient History Project

For Piper’s final project in history she put together a history fair type board on Ancient Greece.  I had hoped to have this finished before we went on vacation, but things happened–broken arm–and it ended up being more of a summer project.  Piper really seemed to embrace the project and did far more work than I expected which of course correspondingly increased the amount of time it took to put together.  Mind you I’m not complaining.  If she wants to obsess on Ancient Greece during summer break I’m pretty much good with that.  🙂  When it was completed she invited our neighbors, the Lekas’, over to take a look.  Mr. Lekas said he would give it a B+, but only because she wasn’t Greek!

Iditarod 2011

We’ve been having an awesome time watching the Iditarod again this year.  While we definitely missed Jeff King, old favorites and new have definitely made this another amazing race.  A few of the highlights…

  • Our musher for trail mail this year was Martin Buser.  Big huge excitement in the house when we got the news.  He even kept us on the edge of our seats for a few days by leading the pack.
  • Lance Mackey going for five in a row.  It wasn’t meant to be due to massive problems with his team this year, but you’ve got to love him.  We’ll be looking forward to seeing what he does next year.
  • Injuries, oh my… Let me tell you, not a sport for the faint of heart.  These are some very tough ladies and gents.  At not even halfway through the race, Rick Swenson took a major tumble, jumped back up to chase his dogs down, and headed on to the next checkpoint where we found out he had a broken collar bone.   He kept going and finished in a very respectable 20th place.  Mitch Seavey almost cut his finger off while cutting open a hay bale and was forced to withdraw, but was back after a two-hour surgery to help out with the commentary.
  • The small distance between the frontrunners this year kept everyone on their toes.  Instead of the normal two or three out ahead there were at least ten solid mushers switching up positions.
  • The ladies were out in full force this year with 15 mushers, four of whom finished in the top 20 at 10th, 11th, 12th, and 17th including one of our all-time favorites DeeDee Jonrowe.  Not bad out 62 mushers!  I also have to mention that DeeDee’s lead dog’s name was Dragon to Piper’s delight.
  • Despite the relative warmth causing havoc with the dogs who run best at below zero temperatures, this was a record breaking race by no less than three hours.
  • Watching John Baker stick to his plan despite Hugh Neff and others being right at his heels at times.  Huge congratulations on a well-earned win.

Thanks once again to all of the Iditarod mushers for helping us get through these last days of winter with our own version of “March Madness”.  We’ll be watching until the Red Lantern crosses the finish!