Thursday, November 4, 2010


Our field trip yesterday was a tour of one of the largest landfills in Western New York.  It was organized by one of the homeschooling groups we belong to.  We had two knowledgeable tour guides who showed us two short videos and then took us over to the power station.  We did not even know that landfills produce electricity!  The electricity is generated by methane gas and is transported to Massachusetts.  We also took a look at the old landfill which dates from 1958 and is not in use anymore.  One of the guides told us a story of an old lady who accidentally had thrown away an heirloom quilt.  She called the landfill and was able to identify the garbage truck which had taken away her trash.  They took her to the truck and she took just one look among the hundreds of identical trash bags and pointed at one bag which she thought was hers.  They opened it and she had been right:  Her quilt was inside.  The tour lasted almost two hours.  Jonathan used my camera to take pictures of some of the sights.


Methane gas well/Methangasbrunnen

Listening to one of the guides - Can you find Jonathan and Charlotte?/Alle hören einem der Müllarbeiter zu. - Suchaufgabe: Wo sind Jonathan und Charlotte? 

Today Veronika is taking a grocery shopping trip with her daddy.  This was one of her birthday presents.  So it is a little bit quieter today.  Charlotte has been working on a design with triangles. 

We also read the wonderful little book Lines and Shapes, a short introduction to geometry.  Jonathan and I learned about star maps and the signs of the zodiac. 

We have consulted two really nice books lately for our astronomy studies: Anno's Sundial and The Wonderful World of Mathematics.

Miriam copied the 9 division table and worked on reviewing the tables.  She also helped me with oatmeal scones for dinner.

Unser Ausflug gestern war eine Führung durch eine der größten Müllkippen im westlichen New York.  Er war von einer der Hausunterrichtsgruppen, zu denen wir gehören, organisiert worden.  Wir haben einige informative Videos gesehen und anschließend das Elektrizitätswerk der Müllkippe besichtigt.  Wir haben gar nicht gewußt, daß eine Müllkippe Elektrizität aus Methangas machen kann.  Damit werden Häuser in Massachusetts versorgt.  Wir haben uns auch die alte Müllkippe, die noch aus dem Jahre 1958 stammt, angesehen.  Einer der Führer hat uns mehrere kuriose Müllgeschichten erzählt.  Eine davon handelte von einer alten Dame, die eine gesteppte Bettdecke, welche so etwas wie ein Museumsstück war, aus Versehen weggeworfen hatte.  Die Müllabfuhr konnte den Müllwagen identifizieren, welcher dann auf der Müllkippe durchsucht wurde.  Unter den hunderten gleich aussehenden Müllbeuteln zeigte die Dame ohne viel zu zögern auf einen, in welchem sich tatsächlich ihre Decke befand!  Die Führung dauerte zwei Stunden.  Jonathan hat einige Fotos mit meinem Fotoapparat gemacht.

Heute macht Veronika mit ihrem Vater einen Einkaufsausflug.  Sie kaufen die Lebensmittel für die Woche ein.  Dieser Ausflug war eines von ihren Geburtstagsgeschenken.  So  ist es heute ein wenig leiser hier.  Charlotte hat an einer Collage mit Dreiecken gearbeitet.  Wir haben auch eine kleine Einführung in die Geometrie in Lines and Shapes gelesen.  Jonathan hat etwas über Himmelskarten und Sternzeichen gelernt.  Wir haben in den letzten Tagen zwei interessante Bücher, nämlich Anno's Sundial (Anno's Sonnenuhren) und The Wonderful World of Mathematics (Wunderbare Zahlenwelt: Fünftausend Jahre Mathematik), zum Thema Astronomie benutzt.

Miriam hat die 9er Divisionstabelle aufgeschrieben und die Multiplikationstabellen wiederholt, die wir schon behandelt haben.  Fürs Mittagessen hat sie mir beim Brötchenbacken geholfen.      

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  1. Das war ein ereignisreicher Tag! Die Müllabfuhr scheint ja wirklich lehrreich gewesen zu sein. Und schön konntet ihr es zusammen mit anderen Homeschoolern geniessen. Musstet ihr dafür weit fahren?

  2. All three older girls have flown the nest! Emma left home at 18 to enter Religious life, first she lived in Spain, now she lives in Rome, ten minutes from the Vatican! Kathryn her twin is a deputy manager of a residential home for the elderly, she lives with my parents, an hours drive from here. Sara has just recently moved out, she lives in Norfolk, six hours from here and will be entering as a candidate with the Daughters of Divine Charity, so she too has chosen Religious life at this moment in time.

    I've abandoned all formal curriculum at the moment, we are keeping up with reading, spelling and some writing. The rest of the time is helping in the home/garden, field trips, visiting friends, playing. The whole "school type work" had become depressing and frustrating for both of us. Benedict learns by doing, watching and listening, there might not be much written work, but I know from questioning him that learning has taken place. I'm being taught a lesson in trusting God!!
    San x

  3. Wow, die Collage mit den Dreiecken ist total schööön!

  4. hello eva! that is so fascinating about the landfill producing electricity. it makes me feel a little better about landfills (!). and the quilt story is fun. i'm glad she found it!

    as always, the books you use for schooling look incredibly interesting. i look forward to investigating the two you used for astronomy.

    [as for the halloween candy . . i think the fairies may distribute leftover candy to people in nyc's office buildings . . not that they need it! maybe they also send some to landfills :)]

  5. hello eva, i also have a question today about grammar books. i think i remember being interested in one that you referred to on your blog. however, i haven't been able to find it again. could you mention the one/s you use? thanks for your help!

  6. Hello Dorina,

    I choose some of my textbooks for the main subjects according to the results from a learning style test by Mercy Acedemy, a very well spent investment for your child's learning style and suitable materials for that particular style (you get several pages back, including at least one page with book suggestions). Although it is offered by a Catholic lady the results are neutral for everyone, the book recommendations are a mix of secular and Christian/Catholic materials.

    We like the old Voyages in English republished by Lepanto Press. Miriam and Jonathan are using those. I also use God Gave Me the Gift of Language for grade 2 this year.

    For my global learner Charlotte we're using Essentials of English, an old textbook from New York State, which I found in an antique store. We tried Intermediate Language Lessons by Emma Serl. You can get an older edition here.

    Charlotte prefers "Essentials of English" to that one.

    A series she really liked is the series from Queen Homeschool and is called Language Lessons.

    To practice diagramming I've used Elementary Diagramming Worktext. Another interesting one is Analytical Grammar.

    The last grammar book I can think of is Easy Grammar.

    I hope that the one you are interested in is among these.

    (Some of these grammar books also incorporate composition).

    Are you using any book right now?

  7. Hallo CCETSI,

    es war ein sehr interessanter Ausflug, wir mußten "nur" ca. 40 Minuten fahren. Leider sind die meisten interessanten Ausflüge weiter als das, so daß wir es uns immer genau überlegen, ob eine Teilnahme eine wirkliche Bereicherung sein würde.

  8. Hello San,

    That is really amazing that two of your daughters have chosen religious life. Is this a very common choice in England? I know of one girl from all the Catholic homeschoolers around here who has done the same.

    I do hope that you will find your way in the homeschooling jungle. I've had my share of planned activities and materials that turned out to be wrong. It's a journey and things might change any day. I'll keep you and your family in our prayers.

  9. Danke, für das Kompliment, liebe Sybille. Charlotte hat sich sehr gefreut, auch wenn sie es sich nicht anmerken läßt.

  10. Dorina, thank you for the explanation about the Halloween candy. My husband has left unwanted sweets for other professors on campus, I guess that is a similar idea.

    New York landfills have really improved since 1977. This tour was a real eye opener. Our area is also very strong in recycling. I think I once read that there is no recycling in New York City. Is this still true?

  11. I would like to go on a trip such as this!! how neat!

  12. hello eva, thanks so much for the grammar references. we have been using zaner bloser GUM, but it has become a little tiresome lately. i'm hoping to find a way of making it a bit more interesting for all of us.

    there IS recycling in nyc. thank goodness. we can also compost on our own . . or take our scraps to the farm stand to have it composted with others. my friends do this and it's something i'm beginning to think i must do . . we can also have our trees mulched after christmas. we did this last year and it felt so much better than leaving the poor tree lying by the curb. though, supposedly, many of the trees out on the curb are also mulched if placed during a certain time period. the girls liked seeing the tree go into the mulching truck at washington square, however, so we made a special trip.

    have a good weekend, and thanks again for your help.

  13. Emma had to travel to Spain to be accepted at the age of eighteen, the orders in Britain would not take her until she was twenty one!

    The order that Sara is joining has not had anyone enter in the UK for forty years!! So I guess you could say that, Religious life is not on the job list for most people here in the UK!!

    Interestingly both Em and Sara were the two kids we home educated for a period of time.
    I think the time away from peer pressure gave them the confidence to stand their ground and not be swayed by the crowd.

    Thanks for your prayers. When I ordered the Oak Meadow I was having reservations but felt panicky about not having any clear direction at the start of a school year. If I'd sat and prayed and re-read the learning profile of Benedict I would have realised that, practical activities are the only way forward at this stage in his learning, and that is OK. Another learning curve for me as his mum!

    The meeting with the specialist teacher went well and we'll be working with her on Friday mornings so I feel positive about the choices we have made on this part of our journey.

    Have a blessed weekend
    San xx

  14. Hello, Bending Birches! The trip was very informative. I took a look at your blog. Lovely pictures! Do you live close to the Kimberton Waldorf School? I always wanted to go there.

  15. Hello Dorina,

    I'm not familiar with GUM, but I just took a look. I guess "Voyages in English" would be similar to it (although it's more charming and old-fashioned and many exercises can be done orally). Most of the other books I listed should be more interesting and lively.

  16. Hello Dorina,

    I'm glad that you can recycle in New York City. I remember my parents telling me once that they saw a garbage truck there (they were visiting the city before coming out here) and were shocked about what people threw away. (Germany has had a national recycling program for more than 20 years by now).

    About composting: One thing the tour guide at our landfill said was that the landfill was actually glad when people did not compost so much. They would like to see the things people put into composts in their landfill to improve it.

    You can't do anything with Christmas trees out here. We keep ours until St. John's Tide and make a St. John's fire from it. That way December 24 is linked to June 24 in a very tangible way.

  17. San, your daughters are truly amazing! I have a friend in Germany who was always interested in religious life and joined an order in France for a year. She then went to Africa to work with AIDS orphans. After her return she decided to get married, though. I was always impressed by her.

    I'm glad the meeting with the specialist went well. Sometimes some other people are needed to help with our children.


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