Monthly Archives: February 2013

Last Week in Pictures


We did so much fun stuff last week!  I won’t bog you down with a giggledy-jillion pictures, but here are some of the highlights:

What We’ll Be Up To…


This past week turned out a bit strange for us.  Between having an Orienteering class cancelled due to rain and Grace having tummy trouble and me having a gazillion things going on, plans got turned a bit sideways.  As usual. 😉  So, here’s what we’ll be attempting to do in the week ahead:

Language Arts:  Grace finished reading Starters and began Doomed.  (Doomed also wasn’t in the original plan.  We were going to read The Alchemyst next, but Grace has been longing for Doomed, so I picked it up for her.)  After she finishes up with Doomed, we will, indeed, begin with The Alchemyst.  Other than that, we’ll continue working on how-to writing and grammar.

Math:  Grace is still plinking her way through algebra.  We’ll get there, we’ll get there. 😉  We’re almost finished with I Wish I Knew That Math, so I suspect we’ll be moving on from that this week.  I’ve picked up a copy of Math Doesn’t Suck to supplement our other math activities.  I’ve heard good things about it.  I’ll let you know more after we’ve worked with it a bit.

Science:  Grace finished up a Spectrum Science unit on “Science and Technology” last week, so this week we’ll be moving into “Science in Personal and Social Perspectives.”  This chapter seems to be a bit scattered and includes health, science careers, and disaster safety.  Strange.  We’ll also continue working with Middle School Chemistry.  We’re smack in the middle of the density chapter at the moment.

Social Studies:  We have completed our study of ancient India, so we’ll be getting into ancient Greece.  We  have some lovely reading from World Civilizations and Cultures.  We also have History Pockets and Hands on History to play with.  The Hands on History won’t come into play for a few weeks though…we always save that for last. 😉

Grace’s Choice:  Who can say?  Last week she chose math puzzles, a trip to the used book store, science videos, and writing.  She also tagged along with me for some volunteer hours at the Literacy Council.

Field Trips: Nothing on the horizon for next week.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t go anywhere. 😀

Have a fabulous week!

Weekly Braaaaiins: Zombie Parkour Runner Review


Grace chose to do a game review for Weekly Braaaaiins this week…check it out:

Zombie Parkour Runner, or ZP Runner, is a free game for your iPhone, iPad, or apple device. The best part is, it’s free! You can download the app by clicking here.

Oh, no! Zombies have taken all your stuff! Play as the mysterious character Kara through 36 incredibly challenging (and fun!) levels to get it back. As you run, you pick up coins and perform amazing stunts by swinging, sliding, and jumping. If you can spot one, you can pick up items the zombies have dropped and learn about Kara’s past.

This game has great, smooth graphics and a catchy, techno theme. The zombies have a unique look to them. I especially like the zombie themed billboards in the background. I could totally see Zombi-E instead of Wall-E.



If you want, you can purchase items that can get you farther in the game, like a trampoline that automatically bounces you to the next checkpoint if you get stuck. Warning, these items do cost actual money.

The only problems I could see were that it sucks up the battery and the reaction time is a little slow. I’d tap to jump, and Kara wouldn’t do it. Of course, that has only happened a few times, and it’s usually right after I double-tap. Another warning, if you don’t like to have to try a level ten times to finally get to the end, I suggest skipping this game.

Overall, I really enjoy it and recommend this game to any zombie lovers. Even if hard-headed Kara doesn’t jump once in a while, I think it’s anything but a waste of time. It’s the perfect game to occupy ourself during those long hours on a car trip!



Grownup edit:  Grace says this game is appropriate for all ages…no blood or gore or anything scary.  It might be frustrating for the younger crowd because of difficulty.  Some reading required.

The Week in Pictures


We had a good week with lots of goofing off. 🙂  Enjoy some pictures of our (mostly) educational activities:

What We’ll Be Up To…


So, here’s a shocker: we didn’t finish up everything we planned on last week.  Imagine that! 😉  Next week promises to be all full of good stuff, so we might just stay “behind” for a while.  So be it. 🙂

Here’s what we’ll be doing:

Language Arts:  Grace finished reading City of Bones and Glitch last week.  She’s got a good start on Starters, and when she finishes that one, she’ll be reading The Alchemyst.  She’ll also be doing a little bit of work on How To Writing and a grammar/writing unit about vocabulary and word structure.

Math:  Grace is still working on algebra, algebra, algebra.  She finally made some breakthroughs on those two-step equations. (Yay!)  I think the rest of our topics in algebra will go much more smoothly. 🙂  We’ve also got some games and books to add to the mix.

Science:  Grace finished up her Spectrum Science unit on Earth and Space Science.  Now it’s time for Science and Technology.  We’ll also be moving into chapter three of Middle School Chemistry…it’s all about density. 🙂

Social Studies:  This is the subject where we really fell behind last week.  We still need to finish up the Ancient India Folder and Hands on History for India.  When we get those all completed, we’re moving on to ancient Greece.

Field Trips:  Grace has her last Orienteering class and a Nature Explorations class next week.  Other than that, I doubt we’ll leave the house. 🙂

Grace’s Choice:  Who knows what she’ll choose?  Last week she made homemade pudding (that’s where dinner conversation will get you!), extra reading, researching how to become an FBI agent, and writing.


Getting Into the FBI


Yesterday as Grace and I were driving to her science class, we discussed several careers she is interested in.  She expressed an interest in becoming an FBI agent, but we weren’t sure how to go about entering that field…and so today’s language arts assignment became a bit of research about how to join up with the FBI.  Here’s what Grace found out:

FBI Special Agent Job Requirements

Not very many people who apply for the job of FBI agent are accepted. But, given the right personality traits and experience, you could have a fair chance.

First, you must be a twenty-three year-old American citizen to apply, but people above thirty-seven are not accepted. You will need to have at least a four-year degree and three years or more of work experience. You will also need a valid driver’s license.

To have any chance of getting in, your degree will have to be in one of the following:

  • accounting

  • computer science

  • language

  • law/law enforcement

  • engineering

  • finance

  • physical science (chemistry, physics, biology, etc.)

When you apply, the FBI will look through your past in a background investigation. They will look for a trustworthy, reliable character with a good attitude. They will also look at your reputation, financial responsibility, and ability to preform well under pressure. The FBI will look at your drug and alcohol history and may take a full medical exam, including vision and hearing tests. You will need to pass a written test and attend many in-person interviews.

If you are accepted, you will agree to be sent anywhere in the world and be assigned to one of the five career paths: intelligence, counterterrorism, counterintelligence, cyber, or criminal investigation. Then, you are sent to a 20-week training course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia.

At the Academy, students will be taught how to deal with the basic rules and skills of an FBI Special Agent. This includes:

  • the intelligence cycle

  • counterterrorism
  • counterintelligence
  • how to handle weapons of mass destruction
  • cyber fraud and intrusions
  • human behavior
  • communications and interviews
  • information development
  • physical fitness and defensive tactics
  • how to collect and handle evidence
  • firearms
  • practical problems

Fresh out of the Academy, agents are usually sent to small offices, working their way up to the larger, more complex offices. They work with given cases and assignments based on their career path. Most agents retire around the age of fifty-seven while some stay an extra year or two.


Information sources:

The Week in Pictures


We’re a little late with this this week.  We’ve had a hectic (but good) couple of days, so I’m trying to get all caught up on stuff. 🙂  Here’s some of the awesome stuff we did last week:

What We’ll Be Up To Next Week:


We have had an awesome week with lots of quick and nifty science experiments, math games, and book reading among other things.  Next week looks pretty promising, too.  Here’s what we’ll be up to:

Language Arts:  Grace started reading City of Bones this past week, so she’ll continue with that.  She’s really enjoying it, so I suspect she’ll finish before the week is over…if so, she’ll get a start on Glitch.  Grace will also be finishing up a grammar unit (mechanics) and starting a unit on word choices.  She’ll also be continuing with her how-to writing.

Math:  We are slooooowly making our way through some algebra topics, and we’ll keep plodding along with that.  We’re still reading I Wish I Knew That Math, and I think we’ll finish up with that this week.  We’re having a lot of fun testing out math games that I’m creating, too…next week promises some exciting rounds of “Crazy Halves.”

Science:  Grace will finish up her science unit on Earth and Space Science.  We’ll also be completing a Middle School Chemistry chapter on changing states of matter.

Social Studies: We’ll be finishing our Ancient India folder and cooking a little Indian food.  We had planned to do part of that last week, but the best laid plans and all that. 😉

Field Trips:  Class at the Science Center is in store.  That’s our only planned outing for the week.

Grace’s Choice:  Who knows what she’ll choose???  Last week she went with watching a documentary, practicing guitar, and writing.

A full week, indeed!  Have a fabulous week!

A New Thing We’re Doing…


Nerd in the Brain!  I’ve finally decided to take all of my experiences as a teacher (public school, community college, and home school), a math nerd, and a reading nut and squish them together into something awesome (I hope!).

We won’t be posting about Nerd in the Brain too terribly much here…it is a separate thing, after all.  I did feel like it was worth a mention for a few reasons though:

  • Grace is actually taking a pretty big part in this whole thing.  She’s helping with ideas, proofreading materials, and testing activities and games.  She’s a helper and a guinea pig. 🙂
  • I’ve decided to add some free resources to Nerd in the Brain.  I’m hoping the other home schoolin’ families out there will get some use out of them.  (Other teachers, too, of course!)  Right now, there is only one game available, but I’m hoping to add something new to the free resources each week.
  • I like to share resources here…Nerd in the Brain is just one more of ’em. 🙂
  • We’ll be adding new literature guides and lesson plans (of the non-free variety) every couple of weeks.  You may get some use out of those, too. Again, we’re just getting started, but we’ll be adding materials to help with fantasy, science fiction, and dystopian literature.  There will also be math and science lessons in the near future.
  • Nerd in the Brain will do giveaways from time to time.  I’ll announce them here so all of you teaching lovelies will have a chance at winning some free loot. 😀

Now I’ll leave you with some pictures of Grace enjoying some Operation War.  (That’s the free resource that went up today.)operationwar2


Weekly Braaaaiins: How To Survive the Zombie Apocalypse


Grace is practicing her how-to writing, so she came up with this little step-by-step for how to deal with a zombie invasion.  Enjoy and be safe!  (By the way – Grace is planning to write a little about zombies each week to keep you safe and educated.  Look for her Weekly Braaaaiins features in the future.)

Surviving the zombie apocalypse is a key skill for all readers of Weekly Braaaaiins, so here are a few steps to help you stay alive.

First, you need to gather some supplies. You will need canned food, bottled water, blankets, flashlights, batteries (we suggest a lot), and a weapon. You can find all this at your local abandoned Wal-Mart®.

Next, you will need to find a safe place. Perhaps your basement or a warehouse? You want to find someplace sturdy with as few windows a possible, just in case the zombies get frisky.

Make sure to keep your weapon on you at all times. If you have children, keep them within reach. If a single zombie is coming to you, don’t panic. Zombies are slow and fall apart easily, but remember to aim at the head. Of course, chopping them into bite-sized pieces would work, too, but that may be a little too morbid. You should only panic if a large group of corpses start to come after you. If so, run for your life.

You might want to take this time spent cowering in the corner to devise a plan for the next time the world ends. What will you do? Where will you go? Just remember, if you follow these steps, your brains should be safe.

-Weekly Braaaaiins