The Mine

By on May 26, 2015 in Writing | 0 comments

I had to crack up when I read my son’s homework assignment. He is obsessed with turning over all our belongings to find the “Made in” stamp. He spends a lot of time groaning, “Not China again!”

The assignment: Write a five (or more) sentence story or poem using at least six stem words from Michael Clay Thompson’s Building Language p. 84-85. The following is a first draft written by an (almost) eleven year old.

From August 21, 2013: our trip to the Soudan State Park Underground Mine in Soudan, Minnesota.

From August 21, 2013: our trip to the Soudan State Park Underground Mine in Soudan, Minnesota.


The Mine

by Nate R.

Descend into the mine where you will mine in subterranean tunnels. Then you export it to other countries for buildings and toys. Respect the Chinese, they make most of it. Inspect the iron, make sure it is pure. Then the turquoise with its aquamarine blue: make sure it is right and true!

The Marauding Dragon: A Story by Sammi

By on Jan 16, 2015 in Writing | 0 comments

Sammi came up with their story from her memories of the tale of Bellerophon, Pegasus, and the Chimera.

Once there was a civilized village which was unexpectedly attacked by an angry dragon because it was hungry. All the villagers fled except for an unknown woman named Selena Robinson, who surprisingly stayed behind. She ran into the woods around the village to think it over. “If only I had…” Selena murmured, then fell into a deep slumber under a weeping willow.

When Selena woke from her slumber, she had a fantastic idea, which made her whoop because she was excited. The idea was to, wait for it, catch Pegasus, the flying horse! “Then I’ll drop a piece of lead down the dragon’s throat,” Selena quietly whispered to herself. She crawled home as to not be seen by the fierce dragon. When she was there, she gathered all the stuff she’d need. Then, Selena crept back into the woods to find Pegasus. When it was dark as a black sheep’s wool, Selena searched and searched and searched. She finally found Pegasus! Selena roped the air-born horse, her hand flailing until it sank into the depths of Pegasus’s mane. Selena swung herself on Pegasus’s white back. His ears flattened and then he reared!!

“AAAAAAAAAAHhhhhhh!” Selena screamed. The sound of her scream reflected and reeled back to her ears. It chilled her to her bones. Pegasus quieted. As for sweaty Selena, she swung herself off Pegasus’s smoothish back and went off in search for a piece of lead. When she found a piece, she thrust it on a spear.

At the next sighting of the blood-thirsty dragon, who was very ravenous, Selena leaped on Pegasus’s gleaming back and soared up to let the piece of lead descend toward the dragon’s throat. Then, Selena quickly flew away as to not be seared to death.

“Too much for you?!?” Selena yelled. “Haaa!”

As the dragon writhed in excruciating pain, it plummeted toward the mountainside they were near. As the filthy dragon hit the mountainside, its head hit a ragged sided rock, which cracked its skull open, killing the dragon! The villagers reconstructed their village, thanked Selena with gratitude in their voices, and lived happily ever after, all because of her (Selena).

Don’t attack others or you will be attacked.

The End.


The Marauding Dragon

How is the word NOT spelled?

By on Oct 27, 2014 in Herd Around The Home, Spelling | 0 comments

Me: “Hey, kiddo, you keep making a mistake on this spelling word!” I pointed at the word dosn’t on his sheet and then handed it back to him, “Let’s have a learning moment.”

Nate: “Ugggggh!”

Me: “How do you spell the word does?”

Nate: “D-O-E-S.” Then a massive heaving sigh.

Me: “How is the word not spelled?”

He starts cracking up, “D-O-S.”

Me: “No, how is the word not spelled?”

Him, getting frustrated now, “D-O-S! I know!”

Light Bulb


Me: “OH! How do you spell the word not?”

Both he and his sister are now laughing, clutching their sides, chortling. “OH! I thought you meant how not to spell does, Mom!” It’s N-O-T!”

Then I showed him how you take does and not and smush them together with an apostrophe replacing the “o.” We’d gone over it before, but he had forgotten.

“I got it now,” he grins.

We’ll find out tomorrow. :)

Pee-Soaked Pants and Persistence by Nate

By on Sep 18, 2014 in Ancients, Greece, Writing | 1 comment

When they got there they immediately saw a black stallion, who was whinnying and bucking. Alexander loved the black color so he asked Philip, “Father can we get him?”

Read the full story by clicking on the post title…

The Rising Tub by Sammi

By on Sep 18, 2014 in Ancients, Greece, Writing | 2 comments

Whenever the pals climbed into Mr. Archimedes’ ordinary bathtub, it overflowed making a watery mess, which they hated because they had to clean it up. Wombat was blamed…

Read the full story by clicking on the post title…

Gory Be to the Father

By on Aug 26, 2014 in Latin | 0 comments

The Background

I’m giving some explanation in this initial aside before I launch into my story. We’ve been using Prima Latina as our latin program in 2014* so that all of us had a gentle introduction to Latin. While I am a secular home educator, my children are also being raised in the Catholic Church by their father, so I have been understanding of the religious overtones of the Prima Latina program, while still educating the children to understand its religious context in the larger world.

The Bigs love the review game I’ve created to practice translation and to help remember derivatives. I give a phrase or vocabulary word in either English or Latin and they are expected to give the corresponding translation in either Latin or English. I count down from ten (decem, novem, octo, septem, sex, quinque, quattuor, tres, duo, unus) and they flip their white boards around to show me the word(s) they’ve written. For each correctly spelled translation they get, they receive one point. If they’ve gotten the translation correct, they also have the opportunity to earn bonus points for each correctly spelled derivative they write. For each correct phrase, depending on its difficulty, they can each earn two or four points.

Instead of the game being competitive, which I discourage in general, it’s cooperative. I add up all the points they’ve earned together and for every 25 points, they each earn one house point. House points can be traded in for video game time, TV time, and other fun goodies that are otherwise restricted. (Other ways to earn house points are by doing their chores correctly and on time, helping Mom without complaining, reading stories to the Littles, and any other behavior that we want to encourage in our house.)

The Hilariousness

We’re doing some review this week, so I gave the Bigs the following phrase in Latin: Sicut erat in principio. I announced it would be worth four points each. Nate groaned and immediately said he had no idea what it meant, but he’d guess. He screwed up his face, thought really hard, and wiggled a bit as he wrestled through all the Latin he knows. Once I started counting backwards from ten in Latin, Nate suddenly appeared very anxious and furiously scribbled his guess.

Decem, novem, octo, septem, sex, quinque, quattuor, tres, duo, unus,” I droned. They flipped their boards. Sammi’s was empty. Here was Nate’s:

Nate's "Gory Be" during his Latin review quiz

Nate’s “Gory Be” during his Latin review quiz

“Gory be to the father,”** it read. Gory be. I couldn’t contain my laughter. He looked puzzled and then flipped the board around and read it again. By this point, Sammi had joined in the chortling. Nate snickered. I begged him to let me take a picture and post it (not that I ever actually have to beg; he loves to share).

Gory be to the father.

The next time I hear the “Glory Be” while in the church, I’m probably going to inappropriately bust out laughing.

* Our school year runs the first Monday after New Years Day until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

**Sicut erat in principio is translated as “As it was in the beginning” in our program, so it wasn’t only spelled hilariously incorrectly, but also translated incorrectly.