Archive for August, 2013

Marital Mondays: We Have a Choice

This post is not the normal comedy you’re used to. It is a form of therapy, where I type everything that is on my mind verbatim, just to get it out. I promise I’ll be funny next week.  Probably. 

We’ve been really discussing a plan for Hannibal to leave his job. It won’t happen tomorrow, but I’d like for him to have even more time than he has now to write. I want to see him under less pressure, able to sleep more and worry less.

This type of shift (without winning a billion dollars), would require quite a few changes — changes all of us are not necessarily on board for. For starters, we would probably have to move inland, away from my beloved hometown. Downsizing to one car would be a great idea as well. I would need to get on the ball to get Hannibal a literary agent the way I hustled to get Mooch a commercial/theatrical agent. I’d have to keep my business going at the rate it is going right now, and increase it each year with some serious marketing (though Facebook has been good to me).

We would need to diversify our income streams. Hannibal could theoretically resume karaoke hosting and disk jockeying a couple of nights per week if he weren’t working a 9-5. He’d enjoy it much more. That’s for sure. Sleeping in during homeschool wouldn’t be a problem, since it’s in a separate room. I could teach a few dance classes per week — hopefully at a studio with no recitals (ugh). We could actually pay attention to our Ebay account for a change.

Life is flying by. While I want the best for my kids, I also want a happy, healthy husband. More importantly, I want him to have control of his time. We’re so thrilled when we’re all together. There is no place any of us would rather be than home working together, enjoying each other, and laughing our butts off. We have a choice …

… but what about health care? Savings? Retirement plans? Do we have a choice? I wanted to end this positively, but then reality set in, and I feel trapped, again. He has a heart condition now, so we can’t just be without medical insurance. I’ll have to drive twice as far to bring Mooch to auditions. We won’t be near any friends. *sigh* So much is going well right where we are. Why move and change that? Because we can?

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Marital Mondays: Appsolutely Not!

Hannibal sent one of his friends to me to schedule a date for our families to get together. Mind you, Hannibal and I have linked Google calendars, so he could have easily handled this. Anyway, the friend and I go back and forth. He asks his wife, I check our calendar, and we settle on September 1st. I figured we could hit baby Harlem’s first birthday party in Culver City, and then head over to this friend’s house and chill with his family.

His wife says yes, so we settle. Then I tell Hannibal, and he’s like, “Oh no! Not September 1st!! We have a baby shower and a get together to go to after Harlem’s party.” The irony of his sending this guy to me and saying, “Myshell controls the calendar,” and then vetoing the decided date, because he already made plans for us, is freaking hilarious.

Apparently, Hannibal hadn’t gotten around to putting these other two events on the calendar. He was busy. After a week of going back and forth to settle on a date, the friend and I will be going back to the drawing board. Even technology can’t save us from our own busy lives sometimes. *chuckle*

Apps we use currently in our marriage:

Google Calendar

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: The Fall Plan


Social Studies/History/Geography (This section was inspired by Mooch’s thirst for geography)

Culture: Starting with Los Angeles in great detail, we will explore each community and ethnic enclave, as well as take field trips to them and sample the food, culture, etc.  

By the second semester, we will branch out to studying California, it’s history, missions, and geography (which will tie in with the earth science curriculum)

Geography: We will cover the Los Angeles county geography, so they know their own town first, and make connections to the actual part of the world (i.e. studying China Town leads to studying China, etc). 

History: Prior to each field study, we’ll research the history of that area of Los Angeles County, and how the ethnic enclave developed.

  • China Town
  • Little Ethiopia
  • Little Tokyo
  • Hollywood
  • Little India (Artesia – I think)
  • Little Armenia
  • Little Vietnam
  • Thai Town
  • Leimert Park
  • etc.



The scientific method will be integrated into everyday circumstances.  When questions are posed by Mooch or Fuss, they’ll be asked to make an educated guess about the answer/outcome. We’ll then collect and compare data, and they’ll form conclusions.  Incorporating it into regular activities promotes lifelong learning.

Elementary Chemistry: GEE Long Beach (hands on)


  • (building simple series, parallel circuits using wires, batteries, and bulbs)
  • Electromagnets
  • Motors
  • Attract/repel

Life Science

  • Food chain

Earth science

Mostly using Montessori – 3 part cards, activities, etc. during mat time

If further interest is sparked, of course we’ll delve deeper. Otherwise, cursory knowledge is sufficient.

Earthquakes: crust, pressure, continental drift, fault line. oceanic crust, seismograph, shock waves, subduction zone, compression, earthquake, earthquake focus, epicenter, fault, plate, plate tectonics, transverse wave, tsunami

Formation: deposition, erosion, glacier, sediment, storm surge, tide, weathering, gravity, sedimentary rock, soil composition

History of the Earth: active volcano, compression, continental crust, continental drift, convection, earthquake, fossil, glacier, magma, plate tectonics

Inside the Earth: volcano, continental crust, convection, igneous rock, magma chamber, rock cycle, vent, oceanic crust, axis, core, crust, equator, inner core, mantle, outer core

Landforms: boundary, cave, crater, dome volcano, ridge, topography, volcano, map

Processes: atmosphere, climate, convection, drought, flood, front, greenhouse effect, humidity, lithosphere, water cycle

Minerals: deposition, hardness, luster, metamorphic rock, mineral, rift, sedimentary rock, stalactite, stalagmite, streak

Ecosystems and Resources: endangered species, population, classification, heredity, inherited traits, photosynthesis, community, migration, mimicry, oxygen, nonrenewable, nutrient, shelter, natural resource, pollution, succession, renewable resource, recycling, habitat, ecosystem

Living Things: fertilization, life cycle, offspring, organism, parent, sexual reproduction, spore, variation, cell

Organs: cell, organ, tissue, esophagus, large intestine, stomach, brain, lungs, small intestine

Plants: germinate, germination, nonvascular plant, pollen, pollination, transpiration, vascular plant, chlorophyll

The Energy Pyramid: herbivore, prey, food chain, energy transfer, consumer, carnivore, energy pyramid, decomposer, producer, predator

The Environment: adaptation, ecosystem, species, environment, migration, biotic, abiotic, niche, resources, camouflage


She’ll continue learning html code via myself and the website: Skillcrush. She’s completely engrossed in it!



Learning to program and develop software online, create video games, stories, music, characters.  It’s awesome!!


I plan to use real world math, of course — cooking (fractions – doubling or halving recipes), using multiplication to calculate the number of chairs in a restaurant while we’re dining, telling time, counting money, calculating change, etc. My teacher brain is never off.

To supplement concepts, I’ll purchase the following:

Singapore Math

You can assess your kids’ levels here (if math is their thing):

Then buy the correct books (not expensive – 1 text + 1 workbook) 

 Hands on Equations :

I will also get the iTunes app:

Hands on Equations: 



They pick the books. They read the books. 

Silent reading

Read aloud

Library time

Basic research skills

Comprehension activities for Fuss

Maintain a vocabulary journal (Mooch) – When reading jot down and look up unknown words.


Mooch keeps her own diary, which will allow her the freedom to develop her voice, vent, and write when she feels like it (not on a set schedule).

She will, however, write one piece per week (usually tying in with a field study or other area of study/interest) and take it through the revision process, which will reinforce editing, spelling, and proofreading skills. She’s interested in starting her own cooking blog when she’s a teenager, so she wants to continue to hone her writing skills.

Fuss currently journals through pictures. She draws her feelings, she paints about her day, and she designs small towns for her dolls. 

I will do dictation with her. Allowing her to tell me her stories, while I write them down.  She also has a tape recorder, which she loves.


Fluid and automatic handwriting has been proven to improve concentration and allow kids to focus on the content rather than the mechanics of writing.  Mooch will get this while journaling. Doing it separately is unnecessary. 

Fuss enjoys practicing letters in a grid on actual paper.  She doesn’t really care for chalk unless it’s outdoors.  I may try a dry erase board. As long as she doesn’t try this again:

 Critical Thinking

Mooch has an interest in argument structure, rhetorical devices,  and critical thinking, so I will use my old college text book to teach her: 

  • Smokescreen/Red Herring
  • The Subjectivist Fallacy
  • Appeal to Popularity
  • Scare Tactics
  • Wishful Thinking
  • Appeal to Pity
  • Apple Polishing
  • Appeal to Anger
  • Straw Man
  • False Dilemma
  • Slippery Slope
  • Etc.
  • She’ll also learn to diagram an argument.


Materials will be made available — pencils, paper, clay, paint, etc. There will be plenty of free time to explore. If a specific interest arises, I can delve deeper to offer technique (i.e drawing faces, cartoon eyeballs, graffiti, etc.)

There will also be art workshops provided by Brianna Rhodes for a fee.

Foreign Language

Mooch says she wants to try French.  GEE offers it on Mondays at 2:45pm in Long Beach.  They also offer Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, and Italian. FYI.  

Fuss is really progressing in Spanish.  I will continue to do circle time in Spanish, read books, play songs in the car, and find more opportunities for immersion. She is also part of a Spanish Meetup group.


  • Poetry (Writing and Reciting): Curriculum designed by Hannibal but Implemented by Myshell
  • Children’s Book Club: Facilitated by Mrs. Wheeler and myself
  • Public Speaking – Guest Teacher or take the Friday “Speakers League” @ GEE in Long Beach
  • Mental Math – Guest Teacher
  • Hands-on Science – California Science Center – Once per month (Ages 10-12) and (5-6) Nothing there for Fuss yet (she’s 3, so science at home)


  • African Dance for Homeschoolers (Mooch)
  • Capoeira for Homeschoolers (Mooch)
  • Art for Homeschoolers (Both)
  • Ballet (Ballet)
  • Gymnastics (Fuss)


  • LaBrea Tar Pits (For Mooch)
  • Aquarium of the Pacific (For Fuss)
  • China Town  
  • Little Ethiopia 
  • Little Tokyo
  • Hollywood
  • Little India (Artesia – I think)
  • Little Armenia 
  • Little Vietnam 
  • Thai Town
  • Leimert Park 
  • San Juan Capistrano (For Mooch) 


  • We will choose the best park between L.A. and LBC (we’re co-homeschooling with another family in Long Beach)


  • Visit hospice centers in hospitals
  • Visit nursing homes – play board games and speak to/listen to the elders
  • Trash pick up LA
  • Trash pick up LBC


Engrade: attendance, curriculum, notes, grades (if that’s your thing) 


Internet Public Library


Fun Brain

Kinder Site

Make a Dollar

News & Current Events for Kids 

Biz Kids (Economics)



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Marital Mondays: Why Hannibal Should Always Do The Shopping

My lustful eyes wander amidst a sea of blue corn tortilla chips and chocolate covered Almond Dream. Avocados and lettuce are on my list, but I’m licking my lips at kamut pancake mix. Fuss reaches for something. I throw it in. Mooch wants three fruit options for lunch this week instead of two, so I up the ante. Aisle after aisle is filled with delicious dinner delicacies. By the time we reach the cashier, a landfill high pile in my cart makes my $100 limit laughable at best. I never just stick to the list.

Hannibal went shopping last night at three different stores, including Whole Foods AKA “Whole Pay Check.” He spent less than $100, and the refrigerator is fully stocked! There are also plenty of fruit options, six dinner plans for the week, AND he squeezed in the vegan bonbons. The receipts are hanging on the refrigerator door now, but I want to frame them. How does one go into Trader Joe’s without buying at least one of their cute new little treats?

We use an app called Wunderlist, which allows us to sync “shared” lists, and check off the purchased items on our phone or iPad while shopping. It only works if you STICK TO THE LIST, though. That’s why Hannibal should always do the shopping.

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