Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Flexibility of AOP Monarch

Monarch Monarch teacher dashboard

As most of you already know, we have been using the online curriculum Monarch, by Alpha Omega Publications, for our teens' homeschool curriculum for almost four years now. Independent online learning works really well for our family.

We have tried various other online programs for an occasional subject, and really appreciate the way Monarch works. The gears behind Monarch are well oiled.

Monarch Unassigning a project

February is a good month to evaluate what has been accomplished in the school year, and a time to make adjustments, as needed. So we have done this year, also.

We had a four day school week most of the fall semester, as we attended a homeschool co-op at our church. This was a wonderful experience, but it did put us behind on Monarch work. We have spent December, January and February catching up.

Monarch is set up with a calendar for the student to follow, showing what school work to do that day. They don't have to do it that way, they can ignore the calendar and work on what they want to work on, when they want it. As my students like to do.

The calendar is a great tool for the teacher as well, allowing you to take days off, extend the school year, make adjustments as needed, then reschedule all remaining lessons for the rest of the school year. You can do this as many times as you need to. I use the rescheduling lessons and calendar as a way to see how much work we still have.

As I sat to take a look at our school work last week, I was happy to see we weren't as behind as I had thought. In fact, Missy in Finland has been ferociously going through her 9th grade work, and will likely finish ahead of schedule.

Yet, there is still a ton of work to do. I went through the various assignments Monarch has for the five, six subjects each of my students have. There were a few I thought we didn't need to do, and some review we likely won't get to. Monarch has an easy way to unassign a lesson or project so the work not done won't count against their grade.

When I had gone through each students' each subject, unassigning projects, and rescheduling their remaining lessons, the last item to do was checking their grades. I do check over everyone's work at the end of the school day (a very quick process thanks to Monarch's automated grading), so I shouldn't find any surprises in their grades. But nevertheless, I generated report cards (another simple process with Monarch), and with renewed vigor we are ready to keep trucking on our school year.

Making today a Non-School Day

As I have been writing this, today turned out to be an unexpected PE day for my boys. They are skiing with our guests, so as I hit publish with this post I will go to Monarch's calendar to take the day off. Love the flexibility of Monarch!

For these last two days of February Alpha Omega Publications has a sale going on. Check out the details here how to get up to 15% off of your purchase.

PS. Monarch is Mac/Windows compatible, but does not work on the iPad. For the sake of getting images for this blog post I brought up the teacher version of Monarch and took screenshots with my iPad.

Alpha Omega Publications is a sponsor of Our Mothership Adventures. We have been given free curriculum in exchange of our honest reviews. You can read our disclosure here.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


It snowed some more yesterday. Little Miss, Mr D and I went snowshoeing for a little while.

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First time this winter, and it took just about longer to adjust and strap on snowshoes than our walk in the snow. Bigger feet, bigger boots. Again.

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Such an adventure to head to the woods, walking in untouched snow, and finding animal tracks and markings.

Even with snowshoes we kept sinking in the snow. Fluffy at times, heavier here and there. It was hard work!

Going downhill was interesting on snowshoes! Maybe we'll strap sleds to our backs next time.

Walking on ice was a bit easier than in the woods.

Next time we'll have to bring some treats along so we can take a little picnic break.

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On our way back snow started falling faster and heavier, creating a wonderful white world.

We sure are enjoying our winter adventures.

PS. Nancy at Ordinary Miracles is offering another Manual'N More Photography class for beginners. Same class I took last year - and I highly recommend it! Nancy is a wonderful teacher, and I got so much out of the class. If you are interested, sign up soon - Nancy's classes fill up quick!


Eilen kävin lumikenkäilemässä Mr D:n ja Pikkuneidin kanssa ensimmäistä kertaa tänä talvena. Ihana harrastus, tänään uudestaan:)

Ja laitoin tuohon englanniksi linkin valokuvakurssille, sinne voi ilmoittautua, vaikkei Usassa asuisikaan. Suosittelen!

Friday, February 14, 2014

If You Mustache...

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We have had a fun Valentine's Day!

PS. Some great ways to show teen boys love: new hockey pucks, candy & good food!


Hyvää ystävänpäivää (vähän myöhässä) jokaiselle lukijallemme! Meillä oli kiva ystävänpäivä, teinipojat etenkin tykkäsivät hurjasti uusista jääkiekoista, hyvästä ruoasta ja karkeista:)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Little Miss Learns to Ride/Pikkuneiti oppii ajamaan

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We took a family snowmobile ride yesterday, and had a really fun time. It was cold out, but we were bundled up in our Michelin Man layers. I was probably the coldest, but only after I had to use the snow bank facilities, and just could not get warm again after that point. Of course it didn't help we were on top of a mountain where the wind was blowing insanely it was quite breezy. Hot chocolate had never tasted so good as after that ride!

Anyway, half way our ride the Captain asked Little Miss how she was enjoying our snowmobile trip. Her response was "so-so". It really isn't as much fun to be riding behind someone, you want to be riding your own sled. So for the rest of the ride, Little Miss rode in front of the Captain, steering his sled! The Captain kept his finger on the throttle, and helped when needed (his machine is big and heavy), and finally Little Miss was starting to really enjoy her trip.

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So today, the Captain had a big announcement:

He and Mr D were taking Little Miss out on the smaller Sabercat to teach her how to ride a snowmobile by herself!

She didn't waste any time in getting her gear on.

The Captain and Mr D were perfect teachers! Encouraging, firm, and clear in their instructions.

Someone is getting soooo excited!!!

Instructions were given.

At first she was to ride with Mr D, having him control the throttle, and Little Miss steering her sled as they followed Daddy.

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They did a few loops like that.

Then the Captain showed her how to work the throttle, and how to be very careful not to bump it while idling, so the machine wouldn't rocket off when you aren't ready for it.

She started the engine, and took off with Mr D sitting right behind her, ready to help if needed. And Daddy following in his own sled.

She did GREAT!!!

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After a few loops like that, Little Miss was ready to try alone!

With Daddy following her.

Oh my, she thought it was the funnest thing ever!!!

So she pulled her visor down, started her engine again, and took off!

That's my baby! My seven year old!!

She must have been out there for at least a couple of hours, following the loopy 'trail'. And at bedtime tonight she was planning on going out there again tomorrow, before school (yeah, right!).

Here are two short video clips of Little Miss riding. Both were taken from inside the house, so the quality isn't great, but you can see her on ice and navigating coming back from lake to the house. Well done, sweetie!

I think we have another snowmobiler in the family!!

See also: Ten Snowmobiling Tips for Girlfriends
               Why I Love My Snowmobile

               Snowmobiling Laws in Maine


Kävimme eilen moottorikelkkailemassa poikien ja Pikkuneidin kanssa. Oli todella kivaa, teimme noin kolmen tunnin reissun, mikä oli juuri sopiva aika. Meillä kaikilla muilla oli omat kelkat, paitsi Pikkuneiti istui Kapteenin kelkan kyydissä, Kapteenin takana. Puolessa välissä isä oli kysynyt kuinka tyttö nautti reissustaan, ja kävi ilmi, ettei Pikkuneidillä ollut kovin hauskaa. Isä siirsi tytön eteensä, ja lopun reissusta antoi Pikkuneidin ohjata moottorikelkkaansa! Hänen kelkkansa on iso ja painava, joten Kapteeni kaasutti, ja auttoi tarvittaessa ohjaamistakin. Jo alkoi neiti nauttimaan reissusta!

Niinpä tänään Kapteeni ja Mr D opettivat neidille kuinka ajaa itse moottorikelkkaa. Talon edessä jäällä oli paljon tilaa tehdä rata neidille, ja käytössä oli pienin moottorikelkka mikä meillä on. Ensin Mr D kaasutti ja Pikkuneiti ohjasi, sitten Pikkuneiti teki molemmat itse Mr D:n istuessa hänen takanaan, valmiina auttamaan.

Ja lopuksi Pikkuneiti lähti yksin ajamaan! Ja nautti! Kuvista varmaan näkeekin:)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sugar on Snow {II}

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It snowed all day today. All day.

Local school was cancelled, and we ended up cancelling ours when we had internet hick-ups.

Besides, the snow was just too beautiful to ignore!

One by one we all headed outside. For sledding, for snow shoveling, for playing.

The glorious new snow was so pure and so white we decided to have one of winter's most special treats - sugar on snow.

It truly is an incredible experience to taste the sweet snow, mixed with maple syrup. Heaven in a spoon!

We were still (read about our first time here) too impatient to try hardening it like Laura and cousins in Little House in the Big Wood, but maybe one of these days?

Have you ever tried it? What did you think?


Ihana, ihana talven herkku: vaahterasiirappia lumen kanssa - oletko koskaan kokeillut? Tänään satoi lunta ihan koko päivän, joten saimme herkutella puhtaalla lumella. Emme saaneet edes koulua tehtyä surkean internetin takia, mutta sitä hauskempaa olikin leikkiä ulkona.