Sunday, January 28, 2007

Journey North

As part of their geography class, Tiffany and Alex are participating in the Journey North Mystery Class challenge. They must identify the exact loctions of 10 sites from around the globe using ony sunrise and sunset as the primary clue. This is an eleven week project that begins tomorrow. We will keep you posted.


I have virtually no artistic ability, but Alex likes art. So, we are learning together. These photos represent his first three lessons.

Plan de Ayala

Friends from the International Textile Group which choses each year 4 schools to refurbish invited us to participate. Our job was to paint the windows and doors. Not only did we lend a hand, but we also learned the miraculous power of paint thinner to remove spills.

We have celery!

The hold out has caved-in. The celery seeds have begun to grow. Alex is very proud of his light hut project. All we have to do now is find a place in the yard to plant the seedlings.

Friday, January 26, 2007


Alex is studying Hammurabi´s code of law in his ancient world history class. He solved 8 problems faced by Hammurabi and then compared his solutions to those of the king. Alex wasn't as harsh as Hammurabi, however, my son is definitely not a soft-liner.

What should be done to the carpenter who builds a house that falls and kills the owner?

Alex's initial solution:
He should be jailed and banned from being a carpenter.

Hammurabi's solution:
The builder should be put to death.

We talked about the different concepts of punishment and restitution; and Alex's amended his solution.

Alex's final solution:
The carpenter should pay for the man's funeral. He should study carpentry and build a new house for the man's widow for free. He should also take care of the widow for the rest of his life.

Asteroids and Craters

Alex is studying Mercury in his astronomy class. He learned that the many craters on its surface were formed by asteroids crashing into the planet. Alex dropped pebbles of different shapes and sizes into a bowl of flour to illustrate the formation of craters. This was an activity that he really enjoyed. It is too bad that the picture doesn't show his sound effects.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Enchiladas Verdes

Tiffany is gathering recipes from family and friends as part of her Home Economics class. She wanted to share some of the Mexican ones.

Enchiladas Verdes
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6
From: Irma Cervantes

Salsa Verde
· 8-10 tomatillos
· 1 white onion
· 3-5 serrano chiles
· 2-3 cloves of garlic
· water
· 3 cubes chicken bouillon
· 2 Tablespoons of oil

· 30 corn tortillas
· 2 whole skinless chicken breasts
· water
· oil

· Panela cheese, shredded
· sour cream
· 1 white onion

Salsa Verde:
1. Place tomatillos, chiles, garlic and onion in pot and cover with water.
2. Bring to a boil and cook until tender.
3. Place in blender with bouillon and 1 cup of water from pot.
4. Whip until smooth.
5. Heat oil in frying pan.
6. Add sauce to pan and cook until heated through.
7. Keep warm until ready to serve.

(Sauce may be refrigerated at this point for use at later time)

1. Place chicken breasts in pot and cover with water.
2. Bring pot to a boil and cook chicken until done.
3. Remove breasts from water and set aside to cool.
4. Shred chicken breasts.
5. Add just enough oil to a frying pan to cover the bottom*.
6. Heat oil over medium heat.
7. Place 2 tablespoons of chicken on each tortilla and roll tightly.
8. Place rolled tortillas seam down in pan.
9. Brown slightly turning occasionally.
10. Remove from pan onto paper towel.

To Serve:
1. Thinly slice onion and set aside.
2. Place 4 enchiladas on a plate and cover with salsa.
3. Place a few slices of onion on top.
4. Add a large dollop of sour cream on top.
5. Sprinkle 1-2 tablespoons of cheese on top.
6. Serve.

*Add more oil to pan as needed.

Note: Enchiladas Verdes may be served alone or with rice, beans, or guacamole.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Every little bit helps.

We just got back from tutoring at Juventud Y Vida. The boys were all smiles and told us about their gifts from the "Kings". It was the first time that most of them had ever gotten a gift. It made us feel great. They have a new boy who came just last week. He had been living on the streets by himself. His mother is dead and his father is in jail. He literally walked up and knocked on the home's door. He now has a home, "brothers" and is attending a private school. It is wonderful to be part of this.


WE HAVE PLANTS!!!! Alex was very disappointed with the original results of this project, but he is very pleased now. His adjustments worked and the new seeds have begun to grow. There are sunflowers, carrots and petunias. The celery is the only holdout. We will give it more time and see what happens.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Will in the World

Tiffany has chosen Will in the World by Stephen Greenblatt as her first supplemental reading book.

Bed-Knob and Broomstick

We have added a new element this semester. Alex and Tiffany are required to read additional books apart from their regular studies. Alex has chosen to begin with Bed-Knob and Broomstick by Mary Norton.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The boys of Juventud Y Vida

Before they came to Juventud Y Vida the boys were living in the streets. They were some of the many homeless children in Mexico often seen juggling or selling gum on street corners to make a living. Now, they have a home! In fact, three more boys joined the home in November. Each boy has a scholarship to one of the private schools in Cuautla. Although the boys range in age from 8 to 14 years old, it is the first time that they have gone to school and it is very difficult for them. Most of the private schools are bilingual which just complicates matters. Imagine learning two languages at the same time with no educational background. We will be visiting them once a week to help them with their English homework.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Hoping for a green thumb.

Alex built a light hut and planted four kinds of seeds for his Botony class. Unfortunately, only one plant of 16 he planted grew. However, he is taking the "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." approach. He has made some adjustments and is hoping for better results this time.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Where in the world is . . .

As part of our Geography class this year, we are trying to collect a postcard or stamp from every country in the world. We have really been enjoying this project. The mailman likes it a lot too because I tip him every time he comes to ensure that he keeps coming back. So far we have have postcards and/or stamps from:

New Zealand
South Africa
United States

If you have any family or friends in a country that we are missing, please have them send us a postcard.

When will that smell go away?!

Tiffany's Biology course requires her to do many experiments. One of them involved river water and hard-boiled eggs left in the sun for 2 weeks. We may never recover.

Where I´m From

Tffany is doing a family history project for her American History class. She had to write a poem about where she is from and here it is:

Where I’m From

I am from everywhere and from nowhere
From south to north, east to west
From Texas to Michigan, Tennessee to Mexico
I am from change

I am from being proud of who I am
Being different, yet in many ways the same
Dealing with ignorance and intolerance
But, knowing, I have the best of both worlds

I am from funny accents
Southern and Mexican
Hearing them brings a smile to my face
making me feel at home
Wherever I am

I am from a loving family
Long conversations with my grandparents
Giving me strength and wisdom
I wish to one day be like them

I am from beautiful blue eyes
That I wish I had
Those eyes calming and comforting me
With their motherly gaze

I am from brotherly bonds
My older brother’s heart
Beating in unison with mine
And my younger brother’s face
Restoring my faith
Reminding me of the good things in life

I am from careful guidance
Of my father
Making me know my roots
But letting me test my wings
To fly one day on my own

I am from heartbreak
Wrongs and failures clouding my vision
But only this, really teaching me
Making success so much sweeter

I am from old friends
And from new friends
Living without them would be impossible
These bonds will last a lifetime

I am from red, white, and blue
And red, white, and green
Don’t ask me to choose
They are both in my heart

I am from here
And from there
I am myself
My journey has only just begun

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bubba in Tennessee

Of course we always miss Josh!

Rock Climbing

Alex did some rock climbing during Christmas break. He did very well, but as the old saying goes, "What goes up must come down".

Soup's On!

Tiffany's has been learning her way around the kitchen for her Home Economics class. She made a very good cream of broccoli soup for Thanksgiving.

Return of the Mummy

In his Ancient World History class, Alex did a long-term project where he made a mummy. First he carved a face into an apple and emptied the "guts" from an orange. Connecting the two gave him his "body". Then Alex treated it with spices and dried it with natron. Next, he wrapped his mummy and made its coffin.

Bartering is better than money!

In his Ancient World History class, Alex learned that the Egyptians didn't have or use money. Instead, they used the barter system. He really enjoyed haggling with Dad to get what he wanted. Dad really drives a hard bargain.

Cave Painting

Alex took an internet tour of the cave paintings in Lascaux, France as part of his Ancient History class. Then we "made" a cave with a table and blankets. He entered the dark space with a flashlight and two pastels and created his own painting on the ceiling of his cave. I think that he did a fantastic job.

Christmas Tree

The men were proud to display their prowess as we hunted for the perfect Christmas tree. The new tree stand was another matter.

Clone Trooper

As part of his art class, Alex made his own Halloween costume this year out of paper-mache.


Another advantage of homeschooling is the freedom to explore one's creative side. Here, Alex is experimenting with the flying paintbrush method.


Tiffany has discovered a wonderful grace and confidence in dance.


Tiffany loves to dance and has been taking classes here for the last 3 years. I love to watch her dance. It is beautiful. The director has even invited her to teach some beginning Hawaiian classes.

Our trip to the veterinarian.

Jack was Alex's Birthday present this year. So, Alex chose to study dogs as his first Unit Study. As part of this study we went to the Vet's office to ask some questions and take care of Jack. At first, Alex wasn't sure that Jack was enjoying the visit, but it all ended well.

Bodies, The Exhibition

We were so happy when when this exhibit came to Mexico City. We just couldn't miss it.