Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 2


We had a busy day today.  I let Chloe sleep in because she's eating a ton, and I can only assume it's because she is growing.  Our day started at 9:30.

9:30 to 10:00 am  Breakfast.

10:00 to 10:30 am Chloe did an interactive online class via Elluminate.  She is taking a writing class with a teacher and about 100 + kids.

10:30 to 11:00 am Study island.  Please refer to yesterday's post about what this is.

11:00 to 11:30 am French.

11:30 to 12:30 pm Math.  We did more multiplication today using 2 digits.  She breezed right through it.  I didn't make her do two lessons because I was concerned about the amount of work we had to do.

12:30 to 1:00 pm Lunch.  Today we had some pasta with tomato sauce and some crusty bread.

1:00 to 1:30 pm Strategies for success.  This is actually another test prep thing.  She has to read and underline tips that will help become a better test taker.  Today's lesson was centered around reading the questions first before looking at the answers.

1:30 to 2:30 pm Science.  This is actually the course that I will be focusing on today.  Chloe's keywords for this lesson were fluid, pascal, and pressure; you guessed it we did  air pressure today.  It was a really fun lesson and Chloe really liked the experiment.  I tried to take pics of the can, but couldn't get a picture that showed the before and after very well.  Today's assessment was actually doing the experiment and having Chloe answer the following questions.  Her answers to these are also included.

1. Which has greater pressure- gas molecules or liquid molecules?  Liquid molecules have more pressure.
2. Which takes up more space - gas molecules or liquid molecules?  Gas molecules take up more space.
3. When you heated the can, into what state of matter did the water change?  The water changed into gas.
4. When you turned the can upside down in the water, could air get into the can?  Air could not get into the can.
5. When you place the can in the cold water, it cooled.  What state of matter did the water change into then?  The water changes into a liquid.

I like the lessons in Science because each has an experiment that helps make the lesson tangible.  

2:30 to 3:00 pm break.  Chloe wanted to take a shower so that she was ready for choir tonight.

3:00 to 3:30 pm composition.  Chloe focused on writing a summary of the book and evaluating plot, characters, and setting for a book report.  I will actually focus on composition once she has finished her book report.

3:30 to 3:45 spelling.

3:45 to 4:45 Literature.  More Robinson Crusoe today.  Will read the actual book tonight before bed.

Join us tomorrow for Math, spelling, Literature, vocabulary, composition, state history, history, art, study island, and French.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Day 1

Well today was a crazy as it started not so well.  Chloe spent the night with my folks and my dad didn't bring her back till around 10:30 am and we just finished school at 6:00 pm.  Needless to say, it was a grueling day.  I thought the best way to do this was to let you know what we accomplished and show examples of one subject a day, so it may take longer than a week.  I will do a better job documenting actual time spent on each subject beginning tomorrow.  I was so focused today and getting what we needed to get done, that I didn't log times.  I apologize.

Our morning started with Study Island which is a place where kids go to get ready for the state exams.  Today Chloe did a less in organizing writing in which she scored a 90.9 % and also a lesson in 3-dimensional solids in which she scored 76.9%.  As I have stated earlier, Math is not her strong suit, however, the beauty of study island is that they'll give her puzzles and lessons in the areas she needs help with in order to get her "up to speed" sort of speak.  Chloe is responsible of making sure that she does Study Island and that her efforts get progressively better as part of her student's responsibility.

Study Island was followed by her online French class.  Chloe wanted to do this on her own, and she will not pass to a new lesson unless she pronounces things correctly and passes a daily quiz.  She's doing well, but not sure what she's doing as she won't share.  I only know that she passes daily when I log her in and see that she has moved onto the next lesson.

Literature followed with a lesson in Robinson Crusoe, a kid friendly version not the actual book.  She had to read the sections and answer questions.  She has to use complete sentences, etc, and I will show an example on the Literature day.  As part of Literature she has to read out loud to me and I decided to have her read Robinson Crusoe, the actual book.  We read it together, so it makes it special and fun.

Math was next with 2 lessons in multiplication.  I like to double up on the easy Math lessons so that we can take as much time as needed on the harder lessons.  She passed her assessments with flying colors, although she needs to take more time to read directions.  At times Math takes twice as long as it should because she doesn't follow directions, and I make her erase her work and have her start from the beginning if needed.  Luckily, that didn't happen today.

Language Arts was next with lessons in spelling, grammar, and vocabulary.  I will share her spelling list and exercises on Friday because it takes all week to get through spelling.  In grammar we focused on apostrophes that show possession as well as contractions.  In vocabulary she is doing a review of units 1 - 4, and had to do some work showing that she understood their meanings and could use them correctly.

History's lesson today highlighted George Washington's Farewell Address.  We've been following the French Revolution up to and including the beheading of Louis XVI, the terror, and Napoleon Bonaparte.  Chloe learned how the Americans at the time wanted to help, but how Washington felt that staying out of European wars was more prudent.  I will be highlighting History on Wednesday as it has her doing some research in which she has to compare Napoleon to Julius Caesar, so it should be fun.

Lastly, we did Art.  The picture at the beginning of this post is Chloe's interpretation of a haystack.  She's studying impressionism starting with Monet.  I personally don't like this genre of art, but she seems to be enjoying the unit. Her assessment questions were T and F and are as follows:

Which of the following is true about Claude Monet's paintings?
1. Some are part of a series.
2. They never show the same subject.
3. Some show the same subject.
4. Claude Monet showed the same subject at different times of the day or during different seasons.
      Answers: T, F, T, T

Join us tomorrow for Math, spelling, Literature, composition, Science, strategies for success, study island, and French.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A week with a Home Schooler

I have been wanting to write this post but haven't really had the time.  My intent is both to inform about our family's commitment, and to dispel myths commonly associated with homeschooling.

Our decision to pursue this educational alternative was prompted by Chloe's underachievement in Math, at a private school.  We thought we were doing the best for our daughter, namely by throwing money towards what we believed was a good education.  We saw great progress in all subjects but Math.  When your child comes home saying that she "sucks" at it and just isn't smart enough to understand it, then it's time to intervene.  It became apparent that regardless of a school's reputation or a teacher's most genuine effort, no teacher has the time to sit one on one with each student to address individual obstacles.  It was equally apparent that as involved as we already were, we weren't involved enough.  

The homeschooling that we do is actually a state sanctioned and accredited virtual charter school.  The state provides us with customized lesson plans in core subjects as well as lessons in Art History and Music Theory or Foreign Language (our choice).  As parents we implement those lessons via books and the world wide web.  Chloe is thriving and we love the challenging curriculum.  Ryan mentioned that when people ask me about how it's going my tendency is to give unnecessary and very specific lesson examples we've done and it makes me sound insecure.  Leave it to Ryan, right?  Having heard what he has said I will be standardizing my answer to: Chloe is happy, we love the curriculum, and we feel we have a  responsibility to, as well as, fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be so involved in our daughter's education.  If anyone wants specifics they can read this and subsequent posts, and/ or join us for a day.

Contrary to a popular argument made against homeschooling, we could not, even if we wanted to, finish a year's worth of curriculum in a week.  Although this and other comments have never been made directly to us, they have been made about us.  I've personally heard this particular comment and have witnessed the roll of the eyes when our choice in schooling is discussed.  These passive aggressive jabs have been made by persons that are teachers, and therefore have a vested interest in perpetuating the status quo.  Perhaps they don't deal much with the rabble and are fortunate enough to teach the gifted AP kids (which by the way I am lucky enough to do).  Perhaps they just don't realized the general public's disgust and embarrassment of the current educational system.  When the system they defend produces High School graduates that are illiterate and/or incapable of writing in complete sentences, then what exactly are they proud of?

Enough of the ranting and back to the purpose of this post.  I will be blogging daily about our schooling for a week, beginning November 16, 2009 and ending November 20, 2009.  Our subjects include Math, Literature, Science, Language Skills, World History, State History, French, Spelling, Art History, and a supplemental course called Study Island, which helps her prep for the state exams.  I thought I would highlight 2 to 3 subjects a day with pictures, my observations, and examples of Chloe's work.  I will also be including a literal time line of our day so you get an idea of what my life really is like at Casa Clark.  Hope you'll join us.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Organic Pastures Tour

As those of you who know us know, we drink raw milk.  I had the opportunity to set up a tour this morning of the farm in Fresno and it was a blast.  The cows are out eating grass and enjoying the sunshine.  There were calves and bulls as well, but most importantly there was the milk.  Our CAVA teacher posted the outing so we had the opportunity to meet other families which made it extra special.

The cows that they have are Holstein, french normande, jerseys, and most importantly mixes of these breeds.  The mixes usually produce the best milk which consists of 3/4 cream and 1/4 milk, so just imagine how amazing raw milk and raw milk products taste.  We learned about their cows and how they are raised which was incredible.

We also got to meet Boo a cow rescued by PETA.  Boo was about to be slaughtered because she had 3 teats instead of 4.  Dairy men are becoming ever more picky about their cows and only want to keep and feed the perfect ones; all others are sold for slaughter.  Boo has a bell around her neck so that PETA can pick her out of the crowd and take walks with her.  I love this story and the fact that all of the cows are distinct, and even the aesthetically challenged ones have a good life.  It only strengthens my resolve for raw milk.

Let us know if you want to head over for a tour.  We would love to visit again.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Our home gets a makeover

We FINALLY took the plunge and put in laminate flooring in the house. We are in love. The new flooring went into the kitchen, dining room, living room, and hallway. The house looks bigger and brighter with the new floors and new paint. We painted in teal and soft grey; we decided to keep the brown because we felt that it anchored the room. The kitchen cabinets got a new stain which blends into the brown very nicely. We've gotten lots of compliments from those of you that have come over so thank you. The hard work was all worth it.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Feta Update

Feta is officially edible. Will post again with recipe and raw milk vs. pasteurized milk comparison.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Homemade Feta

I'll have to try it to make sure that it doesn't kill anyone. Keep you posted. Not made with goat's milk which makes this REALLY cost effective. This first batch was made with raw milk, but I will make some feta with pasteurized milk to see which one has the better texture. I'll let you know, but I suspect the raw milk will win. Check back at casaclarkcooks.blogspot.com to see what happens.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Mid week box

Went to the garden this morning and was able to harvest some food. The tomatoes are finally turning and are quite delicious. It's like getting a CSA box mid week. You'll see the dragon tongue beans (which I plan to pickle; hopefully they retain their amazing color), yellow cherry tomatoes, currant tomatoes, Italian heirloom tomatoes, one tiny Martino roma tomato, eggplant and garlic. It's totally awesome and we are all really excited about planning our fall plantings.

Chloe is finally a big girl with pierced ears. It's going to fast.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Look at those beets

Went to the garden today because I didn't have room to pull some beets that were ready to go. Yesterday I came home with butternut squash, eggplants, spaghetti squash, zucchini, cucumbers (which I'm pickling), arugula, and some chard. Back to the beets; aren't they gorgeous? They are called chioggia and they are Italian heirlooms. You are able to keep the rings if they are cooked whole and cut right before serving. Just gorgeous!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I made homemade cornmeal!

In order to concentrate properly, and let's be honest, have my VERY OWN food blog, I've decided to launch casaclarkcooks.blogspot.com. Visit this blog to discover our culinary adventures.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grateful for....

Well it's been a bad week at Casaclark. My dad was hospitalized, a story a bit long to get into, and was released after 5 days. I am grateful to have him around. I am not ready to be fatherless. Hooray.

I'm also grateful for my mini pot garden at home. We have a ton of basil, sage, rosemary, and beans (the picture is of our dragon tongue beans) . The tomatoes were planted later than I wanted, so they are off to a slow start. I know that we'll have a ton of tomatoes from mom's garden though. It's exploding! We've been eating squash, zucchini (basically the same), eggplant, arugula, chard, and daikons. We are expecting tons of tomatoes, carrots, beets, and peppers. I'm excited to be there more now that Chloe is done with school.

Lastly, I am grateful for my wonderful bosom of friends. I love you guys. Thank you for being such a good support system.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Garden is in Progress

The boxes are made and the veges are planted. We have 8 boxes with beets, greens, tomatoes, herbs, squash, melons, peppers and beans to name a few. We have 45 tomato plants so we should have some to share. All that's left to do is keep the plants alive and place the mulch in the walking paths. We'll keep you posted.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Garden Time

Well Ryan tilled my mother in law's entire back yard so that we can start a family garden. I am super excited about this enormous undertaking and anticipating some delicious food. I started our heirloom tomato seeds and so far the jaune flamme and green zebras are the first to break through. Both basils are also coming in strong and we'll have sweet and amethyst to use. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Chloe went on a field trip with CAVA and attended a workshop at Young Chefs Academy. I wish they had that franchise here. She learned to make pizza from scratch, including sauce and loved it. Although her pizza looks funny Chloe thought it was the best pizza ever, with the exception of Ethan's of course :( . Mom never wins.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Abundant living

As you all know we are part of the csa Abundant Harvest Organics. We really have enjoyed our shipments and have been eating better than ever since early February. I just wanted to post because I wanted to brag about what we get to eat (take a look at the lettuce and rainbow chard). We also got some rapini and green garlic which I've never tried, but am excited to eat.

I also wanted to blog this week because I wanted to share my personal love of Raw Milk. We started getting it with our vege deliveries and we all agreed right off the bat that it is wonderful. I found this article about Raw Milk and wanted to share.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chloe turned 9 and mom turned, well, we won't talk about that.

Where has the time gone? I swear it feels like yesterday the day she was born. I want her to stay a kid forever, but I'm eager to see how she turns out. I had a lot of mixed feelings this birthday. Chloe is growing up way too fast.

She had a good birthday party at CCGI, which meant that I didn't have to clean up afterwards at home. She had 22 children join her, and she got a ton of awesome gifts. Among her favorites are Dad's MP3 player gift, Mom's custom made jewelry, and Harper's awesome T-shirt and bows. I was glad to see that all of the kids had a good time and that it was a stress free day for me too. I actually got to enjoy myself. Thanks to all of our friends and family for making this such a wonderful day for Chloe.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Guest Starring Chloe Clark

I periodically log into Chloe's email to dump some of the spam she gets and came across this. It made me wonder what the 1st email must have been like. I thought it was too cute not to share. Disney Channel better get on the ball!

dear disney channel.com
you still havent ansewred my question about me being a guest star.
my house number is 802-3842
my mom's cell phone number is 302-9120
my dad's cell phone number is 308-2201
colette clark

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Just wanted to post Chloe's poem about Wilbur from Charolette's Web before we submit it for a work sample.

some pig
loves fern, charolette's daughters, templeton
jumping, flipping, trembling
happy, loyal

I love her poem. It makes me happy.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We love home schooling.

I just can't state enough how much we love to home school. It's such a wonderful thing that we are able to do. Chloe is much more confident in math skills (she even corrects her friends and tells people that she is great at math), she knows about the line of demarcation, atoms, and what Aristotle and Plato thought of the world.

I just wanted to make this post because for science today we made a model of an atom. I thought it was an ingenious way of showing a complex idea. Our atom's nucleus is made up of the protons (green grapes) and the neutrons (purple grapes) and is surrounded by the cloud (toothpicks) in which the electrons (peas) swim in. I loved our lesson today. She really got into it. For fun we modeled a water molecule out of modeling clay. It's such an exciting adventure we are on. I feel so fortunate that Ryan provides us with the stability to be able to invest so much into our daughter.

Gaetano went into surgery today. I feel sad that he'll be out of it for a while, but glad that now he will be officially ours. I get to call the A KC tomorrow and get all of his paperwork and register his microchip with our information. YEAH! He truly is such a sweetie and Ryan allows him to break all of the rules.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For Christmas We got a Gaetano (aka Guy)

The Spears found this adorable goofball at their house during Christmas. He was so matted that our groomer had to shave him so that he could be comfortable. Little did we know.....

The Spears put an ad in the paper and posted him on Craig's list, and I took the liberty of reporting him with the SPCA. I took him to the SPCA clinic today because he is going to get neutered on the 13th and found out that he is an A KC certified miniature schnauzer. He was microchip ed but had not been registered. As far as the A KC is concerned he is an abandoned pet. Basically the owners have until the 13th to "claim" him before we are allowed, with the county's and AK C's consent, to keep him as our own. He is the sweetest thing ever. He sleeps with Ryan when he takes a siesta. We just love him and have named him Gaetano. He is seriously the BEST gift ever. He has his own kennel which he loves and has been using the doggie door since day one.