Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal

Beginning Writing : Summarizing, Annotating, Paraphrasing, Quoting and Plagiarism

What is the difference between summarizing, annotating, paraphrasing and quoting from a text and how can you help to prevent your student from plagiarizing?


A summary is the main idea of a text put into the student's own words. Begin by asking your student, "what is the text about?" My students sometimes found it helpful to circle the key words first before writing their summary. Book report writing is a good way of using summaries.


Annotating is a type of summary that also includes the student's own opinions about the text. To begin helping the student begin writing an annotated bibliography, have him include in his summaries of the texts he is going to use for a paper and the reasons why the each text would be good for his report or why support what he is saying in his report or whether the text is faulty in some way.


A paraphrase is a shorter, more condensed form of the entire section of a text put into the student's own words. Your student will want to paraphrase, as an alternative to a direct quotation, to support his claims or provide evidence for his writing. He must use different vocabulary but retain the same meaning of the original text. Make sure your student doesn't just use synonyms but also changes the order of the words and/or uses a different grammatical structure. Also, make sure he doesn't change the meaning of the text by adding his own views.

The easiest way to prepare a text for paraphrasing is to first number the paragraphs so that they can be referred to easily. Next teach your student to underline and circle portions of the text with purpose. Depending on what he is planning to use the paraphrase for, he can underline claims or points to support an argument he wants to make within a paper or he can underline imagery within a poem. He can circle key terms. He will then need to use his markings to write his own paraphrase of the text he has chosen to use.


A quotation is a word-for-word section of a text in which your student begins and ends with quotation marks. Teach your student the four ways to use a quotation : 1) introduce the quotation with a complete sentence followed by a colon. 2) introduce a quotation with a explanatory phrase followed by a comma, 3) write a sentence using only short quotes. 4) introduce a quote by paraphrasing it first. I usually begin by suggesting that the student introduce the quote, add the quote and then explain the v quote or why it is in the paper.


For all of these types of writing, your student needs to cite everything that is in his paper that is not common knowledge. For his first writings, he can just cite the book's name and author's name and the page of the text he is referring to. He can add to this as his papers become more complex until he is using a MLA or APA citation format.

Snapshot Summary: September 30-October 6, 2016

September 30-October 6, 2016

Compare the tree to last week's picture.

It is really beginning to look and feel like fall, with crisp mornings that mellow in the afternoon by the warmth of the sun.
photo by Quentin
These days I see a lot of this as I drive... 
my oldest two to college (three times a week)... 
and my youngest to fencing (twice a week), both an hour from my house. On Tuesdays I drive through four counties!
Katie's drapery painting;assignment from Painting I class.
Sam and Katie, after getting through a few bumps in the road, have adjusted to being college students.
Quentin's map of the Italian city-states in the Renaissance.
James and Quentin are doing their school work either at the college with me, or home on their own.
Katie had her 25th birthday, which we just celebrated at home with family and friends.

How was your week?

Beginning Writing : Making an Outline

This is the first draft of an outline my son James made. Later versions contained Roman numerals and letters to differentiate the levels of information. Using just Arabic numerals can make an outline confusing.
Making an outline is one of those skills that I  teach in several different ways before expecting them to create one on their own. They can then learn how making outlines can be used as supporting skills for larger projects such as a research paper.

I start teaching my students about outlines by writing them on the board as we go through a history or science lesson. They can easily learn the structure of going from the main topic to supporting topics and the use of numbers and letters. Start out simple with just a topic sentence or phrase which you number with a Roman numeral. Then add supporting sentences below, indenting and labeling each with a capital. Build as you go, including Arabic numerals and lowercase letters and further indenting, letting them know why you have added anything new as you do so. Learning this structure can begin at a very young age and it only takes a minute or less to explain.

Once you have shown the outline format for some time, have your student begin copying the outlines in his history and science notebooks as part of their copywork. Don't be surprised, especially if your student suffers from lack of executive functioning skills, that your student will suddenly and inextricably be unable to write it just like it is written on the board, even though they can apparently read them. Just remind them of the formula.

Next, have your student begin making his own outlines. I usually use their history or science texts for this,  but you could use anything as long as it has clear topic sentences and supporting information. Have them make simple outlines at first, and don't move on to expecting more complicated outlines until Middle School. Sometimes students will transition to more complicated outlines on their own. For his first couple of outlines, he can copy the information word for word from the text, because he needs to be able to focus his attention on the format. For these outlines, have him cite where he obtained his information at the end of the outline with the words "taken from" and then citing the tile and author of the book, so that he begins to learn that using someone else's words without proper citation is plagiarism. Explain that in an actual report if he uses someone else's words he must use quotation marks. As soon as he can, have him begin writing the outline in his own words. He still needs to cite the source, by stating the title and author of the book used at the bottom.

Once he becomes comfortable with writing his own simple outline, he can begin writing his own short one page paper, which is really more a summary or paraphrasing of the text than a paper. These summaries/paraphrases will get larger as the outlining becomes more complicated.

Once he masters this type of outlining, you will want to help him learn the new skill of creating notes from a lecture. As you give a history or science lesson, pause after you have given them a bit of information and then ask them to tell you back what was the main topic and what were some supporting topics you have just told them. Help them through making an outline by writing his responses on a white board for him. Once he is able to do this, have him come up and outline the material himself. You can lengthen the amount of material and transition him to making the outline in his notebook instead of on the board.

Once he masters these steps, he will have some of the skills he needs in order to create an outline for a multi-sources research paper, but first let's focus a bit on summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting (what are the differences between them and how to avoid plagiarism) which is the topic of my next beginning writing post.

Our 21st Year of Homeschooling: September 2016

Quentin, 7th grade


This is the subject that is by far the most challenging for him. We are using Teaching Textbooks (Math 5). He is doing well with this program and I am hoping he can catch up to his grade level in the next couple of years. This month he covered: Angles, Types of angles, Perpendicular and Parallel lines, Types of Triangles (scalene, isosceles and equilateral; acute, right and obtuse), Polygons, Perimeter and Area and got a 100% on his test on these topics.


Our English is divided into three categories, grammar, writing and literature and these are often intertwined. For grammar, we worked on complete sentences: run-on and fragments, making subject and verb agree, making sentences parallel, using pronouns correctly, using verbs correctly, and using modifiers correctly. For literature, we are still looking at Shakespeare using How to Teach Your Children Shakespeare by Ken Ludwig. For his writing, we are working on answering short answer essays. I am using Pandia Press' high school level American history curriculum and picking out one of the questions in each section for him to answer. Here are a couple examples of his writing. They are by no means perfect, but he is on the road to mastering the short essay question, and I am sure he will improve as the year goes on and he has additional practice.

Explain the key differences between the Native American groups that lived south of the Rio Grande and the ones that lived north of the Rio Grande before contact with the Europeans.

The  people south of the Rio Grande were of a urban society. They had farms, and also towns and cities because of the fact that you can't move farms and so if you moved, you would have to remake the farms and grow the crops each time. Once people that are of an urban society make enough food so that not everyone has to farm, some people make tools to help the farming and items for decoration. Then they need more food, for not as many people farmed, and so trade and export opened. Other artisans appeared. This made a governmental system appear, which made an unequal society in terms of jobs and responsibility. Some had to work harder than others. 
On the other hand, the egalitarian people north of the Rio Grande gathered and hunted their food. They were equal in terms of the fact that everyone had to work, from the chief, down to the children in order to survive.

Detail five things a society needs in order to be ready for exploration and expansion.

The five things a society needs in order to be ready for exploration and expansion are the money to do it, the authority to do it, the knowledge to do it, the mindset to go for it and a reason to do it. All of these factors came together at the end of the Middle Ages, which led to the exploration of the Renaissance.

The crusaders of the Middle Ages brought home with them the knowledge of and the desire for things that were not available in Europe, such as spices. This led to increased trade which, in turn, provided Europeans with increased wealth to support exploration. The crusades also provided the king with increased wealth as they handed over their farms to the king in order to finance their pilgrimage. This wealth also gave the king the authority to support exploration because the people were no longer looking to the nobles, but to their king. When Europe defeated the Muslims, it gained the knowledge the Muslims had accumulated from reviving conquered nations information. This knowledge included advanced ship building, maps and other navigation tools. All of these factors came together to make exploration and expansion in the Renaissance possible.

History: Europe's late Middle Ages and early Renaissance

In addition to the history writing he is doing for English, we are also working through History Odyssey's Middle Ages, level two and will begin their Early Modern History, level two next. We are covering the topics: Europe in the Renaissance, Introduction to the Renaissance, The Spanish Inquisition, The Portuguese Empire, European Explorers, The Conquistadors and the Spanish Empire, The Powerful Hapsburgs, Dutch Independence, The Spanish Armada, Tudor England, France, The Reformation and Counter-Reformation, Italy, Renaissance Art, Writings, and Inventions, Shakespeare, From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and Timeline Analysis.

General Science

We are using Apologia's Exploring Creation with General Science. We have completed the lab work previously when I went through this material with Sam, so we are just completing the written work and tests. We worked through the section on the History of Science and he got a 100% on the first exam. However, we are considering using another science program as this is boring to him, and he seems to already know the concepts covered. I am uncertain as what to switch to, however, so for now we are sticking with this.


Quentin has expressed a desire to learn Spanish, so we dipped our foot into this last week. I am beginning with him working through 
SPANISH in 10 minutes a Day by Kristine K. Kershul, which is really a book for a tourist to learn the language before a trip. It does not have much grammar, so is not a full curriculum, but I had it on the bookshelf and it will give him a taste of learning a language to see if we need to invest in a curriculum.

Physical Education

Quentin loves his Intermediate Fencing class and happily goes from 7:00-9:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. He seems to be doing well at it from what his coaches and peers say and from the fact he wins or almost wins many of his bouts.

Fine Arts: Voice

This has been one of our more unsuccessful courses as it depends on an outside teacher who is having health problems and often needs to cancel his lessons with Quentin. For now, we are sticking with him, however, because he is an incredible teacher and Quentin has learned a lot and is progressing in skill despite the irregular lessons.

James, 9th grade

James has been my most difficult student of my five children. He is smart and clever. He is talented in many areas including art and is mechanically inclined. However, we have struggled for years just to learn the rudiments of reading and writing. We have managed to get through grade-level material by lots of repetition and using all sorts of learning styles including hands-on projects. Last year I sought testing and counseling for him because he was to enter high school this year and I just didn't know how to keep up with the demands of high school level work with the academic abilities he has. During the testing it was determined that he was reading at between a first and second grade level and that he had multiple learning disabilities. They could not really offer any advise on how to teach him since he had disabilities that didn't allow for learning by listening or by reading. I already knew this, of course, but I thought maybe I just would find out a magic way for him to learn better from the professionals. That just wasn't the case. In seeking counseling, however, I learned that there are several ways of counting high school credits and one of them is counting the hours spent on a subject, which is what we are doing. He still has to take tests and write papers, but we will take however much time he needs for each of them and are not going to speed through them to get something to put down. We are also struggling to find the right materials for him. With that in mind, here is what he has accomplished in September:

Algebra I

We are using Teaching Textbooks Algebra I. He did lessons on Advanced Mathematics, The Purpose of Algebra, Undoing and the Golden Rule of Algebra, and Undoing Multiplication and Division, and he had good grades in all of these.

English 9

James is working his way through Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream Edcon workbook, getting A's and B's. One chapter was particularly difficult for him to keep the names straight, so we made a quick sketch comic book page to help him straighten out who was doing what. He is working slowly on two papers, one on Wasps Nests and one which is a comparison/contrast paper on Incans, Aztecs and Mayans. He also was working on the same American History history essay questions as Quentin but was struggling too hard to accomplish them, so we dropped it.

Integrated Physics and Chemistry

He is using Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum's Integrated Physics and Chemistry by John Tiner. It has multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank pages and is written in simple language. He is doing fine with the quizzes and finds the work easy. Since it does not have a lab, we have been just doing experiments that we find and want to do.

American History

Since the science program was working so well for him, we decided to switch to Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum's People, Places and Principals of America, from pre-Columbus to the start of the Civil War for his history.

Intermediate Etiquette

For social skills work, we are completing a course in etiquette from the Etiquette Factory. We have worked on saying hello, standing up and introductions. He went to a Magic The Gathering club meeting to practice these skills.

How is your school year going so far?

High School Electronics with Lab

If you are looking for an electronics course for your high school student, there is one on the Internet for free! It is called Lessons in Electric Circuits by Tony R. Kupphaldt and was written to be suitable for high school or college credit. It is in six volumes:

Volume I covers basic DC electric circuit concepts and components
  • Chapter 2: OHM'S LAW
  • Chapter 13: CAPACITORS
  • Chapter 15: INDUCTORS

Volume II covers AC circuits, including filters, transformers and motors
  • Chapter 1: BASIC AC THEORY
  • Chapter 2: COMPLEX NUMBERS
  • Chapter 6: RESONANCE
  • Chapter 8: FILTERS
  • Chapter 9: TRANSFORMERS
  • Chapter 11: POWER FACTOR
  • Chapter 13: AC MOTORS

Volume III covers semiconductors and solid state devices
  • Chapter 7: THYRISTORS
  • Chapter 10: ACTIVE FILTERS ***PENDING***
  • Chapter 11: DC MOTOR DRIVES ***PENDING***
  • Chapter 13: ELECTRON TUBES

Volume IV covers digital computing- logic gates, switches and digital communication
  • Chapter 3: LOGIC GATES
  • Chapter 4: SWITCHES
  • Chapter 6: LADDER LOGIC
  • Chapter 7: BOOLEAN ALGEBRA
  • Chapter 10: MULTIVIBRATORS
  • Chapter 12: SHIFT REGISTERS

Volume V is the reference materials
  • Chapter 2: COLOR CODES

Volume VI is the Lab with all the experiments that are needed to complete the course
  • Chapter 1: INTRODUCTION
  • Chapter 3: DC CIRCUITS
  • Chapter 4: AC CIRCUITS
  • Chapter 8: 555 TIMER CIRCUITS

Beginning Writing : Writing Paragraphs

After your students can write a good sentence, it is time to introduce paragraph writing. This is something that can be taught in the elementary years, but should also be reviewed as they get older and the paragraphs get more complex.  Whether simple or complex, paragraph construction has a certain structure that can be taught.

Paragraph Structure. Every paragraph begins with a topic sentence, which relays the main idea of the sentence. The next sentences, which form the body of the paragraph, are the supporting sentences. For the beginning writer,  the sentences can all just be supporting details. As the student's paragraph writing gets more sophisticated, the supporting sentences can provide textural evidence or a detail and then examples or explanations of the detail. The paragraph then ends with a concluding sentence that wraps up the paragraph and refers back to the topic sentence.

Mentoring paragraphs.  Just as we worked with mentoring sentences to learn sentence writing, we work with mentoring paragraphs to learn how to write paragraphs.  Find good, solid paragraphs in literature, science or history texts to use. Have them get small post-it notes to label the parts of the paragraph. Alternatively, you can provide the student with a copy of a paragraph so that he can write directly on the page. He can identify the parts of the paragraph using differently colored highlighters. This is the beginning foundation of annotation, which we will discuss in detail in another post.

Paragraph Puzzles. Another way to have students work with paragraph construction is for them have the separate sentences of a paragraph before them and they have to order them into a cohesive paragraph. You can do this by typing out the sentences of a good paragraph and then cutting them out for him to reassemble.

Supported Paragraph Writing. For the first paragraph I have my students write, I choose a topic that relates to a current or recent area of study, usually in their science or history studies (although I add literature as well.) I will write the topic sentence on a whiteboard that addresses the topic. I have my student then brainstorm on a piece of paper a list of information that would support the topic sentence. For the first time or even the first few times, I will conclude the lesson there. Once he feels confident in making these lists, he can then move on to writing supporting details for each of bits of information he has listed for a topic. Once he becomes proficient in this step, he can begin to write a paragraph on a topic, using the lists he can generate as a skeletal outline. (I will post more about making outlines later.) At this point, your student may need help by your illuminating irrelevant supporting details, but be gentle and helpful with this. Do not seem as if you are correcting the piece, but more like you are guiding. In other words, if he insists on keeping details that you feel are irrelevant, let it go. He will get better over time.

Writing the Topic Sentence. Give your student short answer questions taken from his history and science studies. Make sure he always starts by generating a list. Then, teach him how to restate part of the question and then how to add to it to form the topic sentence of the answer paragraph. He then can provide evidence for the answer, by the details he adds to the paragraph from his information lists. You can also begin teaching transition words or phrases such as first, next and finally.

Writing a Concluding Sentence.  I save the teaching of this until after the student has written some from brainstorming outlines because I have found that concluding sentences are the trickiest part of paragraphs for students to master. They have to learn how to refer to the topic sentence but at the same time making it a different and, hopefully, strong sentence. Be sure to look at pairs of topic and concluding sentences thoroughly before having him attempt to write one himself. You can look back at the paragraphs he has annotated for this.

Practicing. With this background, now your student just needs lots of practice. You can begin giving him daily opportunities to write across the various subjects he studies. As he does this, you can gently teach the areas in which he is weak, such as elaborating, improving word choice by using active verbs or synonyms or strengthening transitions. Once he has done this for some time, he will be ready for a multi-paragraph report.

Snapshot Summary : September 16-22, 2016

September 16-22
I am beginning to feel as if my weekly posts are identical, as our very busy weeks are not varying a whole lot. As long as week keep the activities that we now do, there isn't much wiggle room to do new or different things.
It is beginning to look and sometimes feel like fall. Many of the days, though, are still warm. Sometimes they are even hot.
Quentin, sitting on a bench at the college, once we completed school work.
Our college week was a little different this week as Katie came down with a bacterial infection which made the glands between her chin and throat to swell. She feel really awful for several days and was unable to attend classes or even keep up with her homework. 
Both Quentin and James did well with our days together doing their school work at the college. 
Quentin is loving his fencing classes still and even won all three of his bouts last Thursday night.
The boys are enjoying watching a pair of bats which sleep during the day outside under the protection of their window frame. At night they fly off, but return each morning.

I had a yearly check-up this week and the results came back stating that I was very low in Vitamins B-6, B-12 and D. I got a B-12 shot and prescriptions for over the counter doses of all three. Maybe that will keep me from feeling so sluggish?

How was your week?

Beginning Writing: Sentence Writing

While you are still getting your student to write lists, but when you feel that they are soon ready to move on, begin working on sentence writing. Again, this is for students of all ages, from elementary to high school level. The example sentences and your expectations for your student may be different according to their grade or age level, but the process is essentially the same. This process has to be done over and over again, revising it from time to time, incrementally more complex. The idea is to mentor your students, not either feeding them answers nor testing them to see if they understand with a sea of writing assignments that end up being filled with red marks. That is why this process is often called, "mentor sentences" but the process is not new as Charlotte Mason wrote about these concepts in the late 19th century. However you want to look at it, the essential steps are as follows:

1. You will need to find a sentence in a good book that you want to use as your example sentence. These sentences can be the beginnings of a commonplace book. Alternatively,  you can write your own sentences.

2. You and your student look at the sentence,  noting things that make it an exceptional sentence. You may have something you have been working on that you may bring to his attention, but you might also want to introduce other concepts that you are planning on working on later. In schools this step is sometimes left to the students to figure out because of the idea that a student will remember a concept better if he discovers it himself.  It is also used in group settings in order to assess the knowledge level of each of the students. I have never found that method to be good as either a learning or assessment tool in homeschooling,  so I  guide him through this step. Don't be afraid of giving him too much because you are giving him the tools right now, not testing him.

3. Di-sect the sentence, looking at the grammar and/or punctuation. Review the concepts he already knows. Introduce a concept that the sentence uses. Think about this step when you pick your sentence to use.

4. Once you have thoroughly gone through the sentence, word by word, you can give the sentence for dictation. For younger students, you can print out the sentence, cut the words out separately, and have your student rebuild the sentence instead.

5. Now that he is very familiar with the model sentence,  he can play with the words in the sentence. What are some synonyms for some of the words used? Getting out a thesaurus can be fun. How about rearranging the words in the sentence? How about starting the sentence off with a dependent clause? How do the manipulations change the sentence? Do they make the sentence more exciting or more clear or does it change the meaning of the sentence? Take as much time with this step as you can for much can be learned by sentence manipulating.

6. Can your student now write a different but similar sentence? Change the subject of the sentence, or perhaps the predicate, or both. This is the step where you can really begin to see the rewards for all the efforts you both have put into this.

7. Armed with what your student has learned,  can he now go back and rewrite some of the lackluster sentences he has written in the past? Help him by picking out a sentence or two from his previous work that you feel lends itself to this editing. Encourage him to approach this step not as fixing something that is broken, but as an exciting application of what he has learned - a "now we can do this" attitude.  Do not use any red pens or anything that strikes one as correction. This should be fun.

8. Now it is time to start the process with another concept and another sentence.


Snapshot Summary: September 9-15, 2016

September 9-15, 2016
Katie had a little problem with her back due to the weight of all her books in her backpack. She has always had problems with her muscles in her shoulders due to hyperflexibility (or hypermobility), which causes her arm to pop out of the shoulder socket from time to time. The added weight of the texts in her backpack has not helped the problem. I looked on Amazon and found this rolling crate and she used it this week and loves it.

Alex and James have suffered the most from our super busy, out-of-the-house schedule as of late. He likes to watch The Magic School Bus, look at books, plays on his iPad. I hope to fit in some art and science projects for him next week.

Sam is thriving as a college student, despite struggles with organization due to Executive Functioning issues. He is making friends and studying a lot. He is particularly enjoying his Political Science and Macroeconomics courses.

James, working on some physical science experiments.
James is struggling with his transition to high school work, particularly with writing and reading comprehension. We work on both of these in all of his subjects, so he is progressing. It is just a very slow progress. We will be adding in a course (with lab) in electronics soon, which is his current passion, which will make things better for him. He is also pursuing joining a Magic the Gathering club.

Quentin is in the very center of this picture, towards the back. He is mostly blocked, but you can see him in his gray t-shirt.
Quentin is our most active and social child, and he is in a very happy place right now. He is taking Fencing two to three times a week, Voice lessons once a week and will be auditioning for a role in a play at the end of this month. He is meeting new people at Fencing and enjoying the social opportunities it affords. His school work is going well, and is working on longer, more thoughtful entries in his notebooks.

How was your week? 

Beginning Writing: Start by Making Lists

Whether your child is struggling with writing because he is young and new at it or its because he is older and had bad experiences that have made him reluctant to write, you can begin at a simple starting point and work slowly, step-by-step until he is writing reports, papers and essays.

It all begins by making a list.

It can be a list of any sort. Have him make lots of them. About anything that interests him. Perhaps you can give him a topic once in awhile. Make lists from the other subjects he is taking such as science or history. Then it can count for two subjects and make your student very happy. Slowly begin to ask him to add in some organization to his list making. He could list his ten favorite cars in order from the best down to his tenth favorite. He could list the colors in a rainbow in order and then list a flower that is of each of the colors. He could list how he plays a particular game in likes to play in the order it is played (what do you do first, and so on). Have the ordering be in as many different ways as you can think of. Help him through any that are difficult for him, by asking questions to guide him.

Once you think he is ready, have him pick one of the lists to use for the next type of writing project, the paragraph, but first let's look at sentence writing.

How to Host an End of Summer Brazilian Churrasco Party

Even though the calendar says "September" and schools are in session, the weather still says "Summer!" to me. With all the recent attention to Brazil due to the Summer Olympics, what better way to wrap up the end of summer than with a Brazilian Churrasco Party?

Churrasco is a Spanish and Portuguese word that is similar to our barbecue, in which a variety of meats are served that have been cooked on a barbecue grill, often with skewers. Although we used the churrasco sauce and dry spices from our Try the World Brazil box, you can also find wonderful churrasco sauce recipes on the web.
After marinating our chicken and beef, we put it on skewers and grilled them directly on the table with a portable electric grill. This added to the enjoyment of the dinner and the smell of the spices while cooking was incredible. 

We also grilled red onions, zucchini and okra, which had been marinated with the same spices, on skewers. We served Pao de Queijo, or cheese bread...
and Romeu and Julieta, which is a combination of slices of goiabada, or guava paste and soft cow's milk cheese. The combination of the salty cheese and the sweet, fruity taste of the guava paste was delicious.
Everyone helped out in some way to make the meal, so the party atmosphere began even before the meal began. Everyone was laughing and talking as they did their tasks.
We also made a virgin Jabuticaba Caipirinha. We used a regular virgin Caipirnha recipe and added some Jabuticaba jam to it. It was sweet and tangy, like a limeade with grape-like notes. So refreshing!
 photo BrazilianChocolateTruffles02_zpsd2c856fe.jpg
For desert we had Brazil nut cookies, Brigadeiro and, of course, Brazilian coffee! Here is a simple recipe for this sweet treat.

Recipe for Brigadeiro

In a heavy saucepan, over medium-high heat, combine one 14 oz. can of sweetened condensed milk, 3 Tab. cocoa powder and 1 Tab. butter. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens. This should take 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool about 30 minutes. Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out the mixture (about 1 Tab. each) and shape into balls. Roll in chocolate sprinkles or pacoquita (traditional Brazilian peanut candy).

I hope that you are inspired to learn more about the culture of Brazil and celebrate the end of summer with a Churrasco Party. 

Snapshot Summary: September 2-8, 2016

 September 2-8

This was our first official week back to school for our little homeschool. Since Labor Day was also in this week, we started back on Tuesday. 
Traditions are big around here, so I made them up school cones again even though they are in 7th and 9th grades. Steven picked out the items for them, and added in packs of Magic the Gathering cards, but they seemed to like the school supplies as much as the cards!
This is a few pages of James' Midsummer Night's Dream comic book, which helped him through a confusing part of the play, where there are lots of different characters on stage.

I am going to talk about the school work we do in more detail in separate posts and sum it all up in a monthly post. I will talk mostly about our other activities in these weekly posts.

Can you pick out which one is Quentin? Hint...look for the shortest one in class.
Quentin is really enjoying his Intermediate Fencing class, and is going between 2 to 3 times a week. After fencing for two hours, he is quite tired and drenched with sweat, but he is learning lots.
Quentin is also working on writing his own survival role-playing game.
We all enjoy walks down to the beach from time to time. James has become interested in the butterflies that are attracted to the water in our driveway.
Midas is sad that everyone is out of the house more lately, He tries to prevent us from going by putting his head on the backpacks as we ready to go.
My college kids have been doing really well so far. Sam has had to learn quickly to follow an intense schedule, and organization has always been a weak point for him. 
Katie is loving her biology class. She took this shot of one of the labs.
Katie was thrilled to get a 100% on her English essay since English has always been a weak point for her (as she was diagnosed with Global Language Disorder and Aphasia in second grade.) I was really reaffirmed by the fact that their college work seems to neatly seam with where I left off teaching them. We had actually done many of the experiments in Katie's college biology book already!
We had a Brazilian End of Summer Churrasco Party using the items from my Try the World Brazil box.
Almost everyone participated in the cooking. I grilled the Churrascos (beef, chicken and vegetable kabobs marinated in a Brazilian barbecue sauce) directly on the table and everything was delicious! The coffee was the best I had ever had. It was our favorite box so far. I think we will dip into the Sweden box next week.

How was your week?