Friday, August 31, 2007

Blessings of mothers

I just came across this blog entry devoted to mothers. It expresses my heart so please read it!

To the Tired Mama

Thursday, August 30, 2007

A book, a book!

I feel lost without a book! As I was putting away some of the 109 extra books sitting on the coffee table, I realized that it is time to do a general clean out. Surely we have some books that we don't need to keep!

I realized I am not currently reading a good story type of book and I'm feeling bereft. (How's that for a $10 word?) I am currently reading two heavier reads. One is the KJV Old Testament (in Proverbs), and the other is Making of America.

Speaking of the OT, I ran across an article in the Church News that talked about a scripture in 1 Chronicles 12:33. This chapter basically reviews David's military. In this verse, it says: "Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart."

I don't think I would have given this verse a second thought, but it's worth several. Am I one who can "keep rank" with the Lord's commands? Do I have a single-minded heart, devoted to following the Lord? Do I do what I'm supposed to and just what I'm required, or do I do the right things because my heart is with the Lord? I've had a complaining heart this morning, thinking what a thankless job Cub Committee Chairperson is and grousing about it to myself. This gave me pause to wonder what I would be thinking if I dedicated my service in Cub Scouts to the Lord and stopped getting ticked off at every little thing. It is easier to complain but not terribly productive and doesn't result in blessings to me or to anyone else!!! So onward to a new day and a happier attitude!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's 9:30 and I need to organize

It is 9:30 in the morning, and here I sit bleary-eyed in front of the computer. I have been up for at least 2 hours! I think I just need to start going (and start school!) Dragon has already completed his math and his book report (yahoo!) and Steven is telling stories. We have breakfasted as well. School should have formally started already, and it has not. We need to burn through that so I can figure out what I'm doing with the Wolves tonight. Dragon and Monkey are excited that the last of their Webelos friends is now in 11-year-old Scouts so they will see him tonight.

I think we will read Mathematicians Are People Too in school today. We will also read about the Cyclops in Greek Mythology. We are studying the early Greeks and Greek Mythology right now.

Need lots of math---drill, drill, drill. Perfectly boring stuff! I have always hated rote drill (never did it either but I still managed to get good grades---hated the math contests though 'cause I wasn't quick enough). The boys need drill more---not totally rote---doesn't connect as well. Monkey especially needs hands on so we keep using the manipulatives to bring the concepts home. Dragon grasps mathematical concepts a little faster, but I'm looking for speed in solving problems! Dog Lover understands it better and faster. I guess she is more attuned to math or else she listens as I teach Dragon and then Monkey the same concepts. At any rate, they're about at the point. Dragon and Monkey smoke her in History though. They spend their time with some sort of history/geography/atlas book in their hands.

Maybe today or tomorrow we'll go to Barnes and Noble. Both boys have gift cards to spend. Much as I would like them to buy some books online, I suspect they will need to look through the books. We have two more of the Tennis Shoes Among the Nephites coming (vol. 3 and 4), and they are excited about that! In a week or so, I'll be buying The Trumpet of the Swan for each of the boys for Language Arts. That's the next book they'll be studying. I eyed another bookcase yesterday---a whopping $15 at Staples, but I'm not sure where I'd put it. It's a how-shall-we-put-it?
inexpensive, frugal, never-say-cheap,
looking 2-shelfer so I don't want it in the front room! (For $15, the shelves will probably bow under the weight of the books in less than 6 months.) I'd love to take a wood-working class so I could build furniture! Along with that, I wish I had gone to beauty college and learned to cut hair before I was married. I thought about both of those, and did neither. I would hate being a beautician, but I can think of lots of things I'd rather do than spend $20 every month on one daughter's hair. The same $20 would probably cover my sons. My own? $50 or so. Do you know how many books I can buy for that?! (At least complete our Harry Potter collection (Vol. 5), and Prelude to Glory collection (vol. 1, 2, & 7) all hard bounds.

Now that I have digressed so far afield, I need to get going!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Thoughts on education

I have recently been thinking a great deal on the value of education, and the things I have gained because of my education. How's that for a general statement? Seriously, sometimes it is easy to equate "education" with "how much can I make" or "what kind of a job will it result in". Or sometimes it gets considered in light of the life that accompanies a college education, at least for those of us who attended when younger.

As I look back at my own formal schooling (notice I added "formal" because my education has only accelerated since leaving college), I can answer on all those levels. First, it allowed me to get a job paying triple the wages I had earned previously. Second, it gave me a great deal of confidence, both because I had done something many other young women did not do, and also because of the experiences I was blessed with.

Now that I am one of those "boring" (I hope not) stay-at-home wives and mothers, it is easy to say, "Gee, what good was that education, with all its bumps and bruises as well as high points?"

Hmmm . . . . let me see if I can list some benefits.
First, I know I need to drink deeply from some of the best books. Long ago, I realized I would probably never read every classic ever written and I'm okay with that. At least, I'm okay with that as long as I continue to read and to learn that which is most important or that which I seem prompted to study.

Second, I have a yardstick gained by experience, teachings of excellent teachers, teachings from those I lack respect for (they taught me what to avoid by their example of what I didn't want to become!)

Third, I have a clue of what kind of resources are out there for my children, and I'm not afraid of them. One of the biggest rewards for me is to turn to one of my children for the answer to a question because I know he knows more about that particular subject than I do.

Fourth, I constantly wonder why people don't "get it", and then I realize that they don't read. Amazing!

Fifth, I can echo the hymn, I Stand All Amazed, as I realize the wonders of the universe, or the eccentricities of government, or the complexity of the human psyche. But again, I have to read and I have to dare to wonder. My education taught me that.

Do I make any money from my education? Not directly, at least not in the last 11 years. Hopefully I will never need to again. Will I choose to? Who knows?! Not in the near future!!! But on the other hand, there are many things that I do not have to pay others to teach my children because I have the knowledge and abilities already developed. I have the knowledge that I can save and skimp for those things that are most important when necessary. I have the skills to do that in better style too. When not necessary, I can still use those skills learned through the years of college to better our lives without necessarily requiring a bigger purse (although that certainly is nice and I enjoy having a bigger one!)

The last benefit of my education, both formal and informal, is that I also somehow gained the wisdom of understanding the long view, and that, I think, has made all the difference throughout my life. That can affect money and money's flow, but it has nothing to do with money. It affects decisions, and I think it's what we spend our lives learning.

Maybe there is one more benefit to my pursuing a formal "degree" earlier in my life. I don't feel apologetic about what I do now. I dang proud of what I am doing and proud of my husband for providing for our family. I am pleased with what I can do to contribute to his ability to provide. I wonder if that is the element lacking for so many women. I do not feel one whit behind my husband. He is what he is in large measure because of his efforts and the Lord's help, but I am just as certain that one major factor in his success has been me. And that pleases the Lord, I believe. I think that is as He meant it to be. I cannot fully develop my talents and abilities without my husband, just as he was not able to do so until I came into his life as his wife. Maybe that is part of what being interdependent is about. (That link is to a great article about marriage!)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Review for Meet Addy

I just read the book Meet Addy, and all (I think) of the follow-on books about Addy, from the American Girl collection. If they were collected under one cover, it would make a good 5th grade size of book. Published separately, of course, they net the publisher more money!

Even though that sounds pretty cynical (it was), the story is a good one. It's a happily-ever-after style story where everything works out in the end, but it does a decent job of portraying life and its challenges in the Civil War and post-war era for former black slaves. I highly recommend getting it from the library! Because they are short books, they shouldn't be too daunting for even the most reluctant readers.