Tag Archives: planning

Chasing Skirt Steaks

26 Oct

OK.  So the first recipe in Alton Brown’s book calls for skirt steak.  I have spent the past week and a half checking practically every grocery store and butcher in this city only to get the same response, “Yeah, that’s a hard cut to find.  You should check at [insert name of some other store on the other side of town].”  Aargh.  Not only could I not find skirt steak, but I came up empty on the acceptable substitute of flank steak.  Needless to say, I gave up on skirt steak and the dream of following Alton’s recipes to a T.

So, in my fridge sits a nice thin sirloin tip steak.  Not quite what the recipe calls for, but we’re flexible here, right?  This afternoon (finally) we will tackle the first skill: searing.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Welcome to our Homeschool Room

25 Aug

Today is the third day of school and I wanted to share our homeschool space while it is still fairly organized.  In our current house, where we have lived for a little over two years now, we have the luxury of having a whole room dedicated only to homeschooling.  We have had several different set-ups over the years—we have done school at the dining room table, in the living room, on the road, and in a separate homeschool room.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each.

The advantages to doing school in main living areas (dining room, living room, etc.) is that school seems a little more integrated into everyday living.  Also, if you have babies and toddlers, they can be in an adjacent space and it is easier to keep an eye on them while doing school with older kids.  The disadvantage is that the wonderful mess of homeschooling is on display most of the time and that can be a source of stress for some.

The advantage to homeschooling in a separate space is you can leave projects out for days on end, the mess is (hypothetically) more contained, and if you need the mental closure to the end of a school day, you can just leave the room and shut the door.  The disadvantage is that school can feel separate from the rest of “life” and that can be contrary to some people’s philosophy of homeschooling.

I personally prefer having a separate room where most of our school stuff resides, but we do some activities elsewhere in the house.

Here is my desk, although I rarely sit at it.

My desk

Here are the kids’ spaces.  This is Alpha’s desk and the community computer.

Alpha's space

However, you will usually find Alpha tucked away in the Reading Nook when he is not on the computer.  This is the view I often have of him:

Alpha in the reading nook

This is Bravo at her desk, reading The Magna Charta for her history course:

This is Charlie’s desk:

Charlie's desk

And her collection of origami dragons she has been making:

Origami dragons

But today is one of the first pleasant days we’ve had in a long time, so she and her brother decided to do some of their school work on the flat roof outside of the schoolroom window:

Here is Delta working diligently at his desk:

Delta at his desk

Well, that’s our space.  You will probably see this as our backdrop in days to come, but it may not be so neat!

Annual Planning Session

20 Aug

So yesterday I was working on putting together my Master Planner and the kids’ Student Planners.  I loaded up my backpack, grabbed my Mac and headed to the Teachers’ Lounge (aka Starbucks).  There I  met with disappointment: my all-time favorite drink, the Dark Cherry Mocha, was no longer available.   So I had to substitute it with the Raspberry Mocha, which I discovered I like alot, but not quite as much as the cherry-cordial-in-a-cup that had been my go-to drink for the past six months.

Anyway, I found a table (near an outlet—essential for long planning sessions!) and started working on my planner for the year.  While looking for downloadable forms, I came across the http://www.DonnaYoung.org website…how can I be a veteran homeschooler and never have visited, let alone taken advantage of this treasure trove of sites?  Am I the only clueless one out there?  If you haven’t visited her site before, run, don’t walk, there now!  She makes available so many different forms, checklists, ideas, pieces of advice…all for free!  Needless to say, I had a good day at Starbucks and DonnaYoung.org, even without my beloved Dark Cherry Mocha!