Monday, July 28, 2008
My sister sat down with me in front of our American History bookshelves (since I've arranged all our books recently by topic) :-) and we started talking about the books. In about 5 minutes, she had gone from finding workable ways of supporting my initial pick of curriculums into latching onto a couple of books on the shelf, one of them being The World of Capt. John Smith. As she opened it, she started generating ideas of things to do, covering all subject areas. (Okay, so she didn't include science.) She started trying to think of math ideas when I stopped her. I've already covered that with the workbooks that I'm happy with. Of course, she has already taught that book and the George Washington book in a private school so that helped. Then she jotted down an outline of goals with a little input from me. I emphasize the little bit. We had already talked extensively about what I wanted to achieve with the curriculum I had selected previously.
Then I scrawled out a "schedule" that would work with all the other activities my children will be involved in like taekwondo, a Konos Orderliness co-op, gymnastics, and piano. This will actually work. I have the reading aloud and instructional time for The World of Captain John Smith happening during and after lunch. That's actually a natural time for us. The kids are more than ready to have me read aloud to them. Sister suggested getting each child a book because then we could do grammar, note taking, outlining, and even timelines right in the book. We can do dramatizations and narratives of what we had just read as well. Other days we can do related activities and science projects.
The best part is that this can work for me, in my home. It allows me to have moody days with no detriment to my children. I just choose different activities. If I'm short on patience, dramatizations would be fantastic. Otherwise, I can do the more mom-intensive work.
I'm excited about this, and I think it is effective without being draining so I can keep it up. Sister also helped me with my expectations (which was severely needed, and I knew it.) This is the first time my sister has ever come to see me, and it has been wonderful. I needed it. I did not know how much it would help to have someone come to my home to look at what I have on my shelves right now to help me understand what I can do with it. I feel like someone just gave me wings.
Thank heaven for the Lord's tender mercies. He has been answering so many prayers without me knowing he was even listening. (Most certainly, I didn't feel worthy for His answers because I've been complaining so much.) I feel very humbled.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
The study found that the conflict between work and home increased in proportion to the number of hours worked, but the study found that "work-family conflict remained the same for women working up to 60 hours a week, so long as work did not interfere with dinner time."
(from the Deseret News, Church News section, Week ending July 19, 2008)
I think if I worked, that would interfere with family dinner time . . . unless, of course, I could hire a cook! After paying for private school for 3 in lieu of homeschooling, I seriously doubt that would happen.
All kidding aside, I have a full-time, more than 60 hour a week job in homeschooling. I can attest to the relief a traditional dinner offers me. It's a chance for me to sit and enjoy a conversation with my husband and children with a minimum amount of demands.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Here is a copy of the challenge and the rules:
The challenge is for the rest of this month and the month of August, ending on August 30th, and here are the rules:
- The picture must be of a form of transportation.
- That form of transportation must have been made prior to 1975 and have “Character”.
- Extra credit will be given for creativity!
- Pictures will be judged by a panel of specially handpicked judges ( my kids )
- All pictures entered must be taken during the contest period.
- All pictures will be posted to www.aboutmoments.com/projects so everyone can see them.
- One picture will be selected each week will be posted on this blog.
- All pictures need to be emailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org along with a brief description of the picture.
Remember, be creative, enter as many times as you like and have fun! The prize will be a $20 gift card for BestBuy for the best picture submitted.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
I hate slime. I hate bugs.
I think I've had enough bugs (and Raid) for a lifetime.
P.S. Unrelated topic: Check out Life on the Planet's We Need to GO! post. Then google gas tax for some interesting articles. I'm with her. Lower fuel costs translate to lower costs overall and certainly a good way to put us back on the road again for field trips.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Is there a mother out there that doesn't teach her children at home? Maybe not "chemistry" per se, but maybe watching the steam coming out of a pot and explaining what made that happen? Do you read stories to your beginning reader? Post-beginning reader? Advanced reader?
Over the years, I've chewed on this and wondered why my mother didn't homeschool us because most of what I learned, I learned at home from my mother. I finally realized that she did. It just happened that I also went to public school.
My net benefit of public school?
My self-confidence was eroded by going to school and then built up again when I went home. It didn't begin to get solid until I moved to a school called North Cache in rural Utah. From there, it began to be fun because I was surrounded by other like-minded students. Fear was no longer part of my day.
Even then, though, my best teacher remained my mother. The really excellent ones, in my mind, were the ones who best held a candle to my mother. The classes I most enjoyed were the ones that reinforced the values taught by my mother. The classes I did worse in were those my mother didn't understand either. Meaning geometry and chemistry.
My mother was the one who helped me figure out my assignments. My teacher gave the guidelines and "taught" the subject, but I didn't ask questions because I was rather shy. I went home to ask my mother. So in a big way, I was homeschooled. Weren't you?
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The kitchen was clear of flying insects first thing this morning. but I saw gnats a little later. Then I went into the small bathroom with the newly scrubbed shower drain and saw gnats flying near the ceiling.
A friend suggested Raid---said it cleared them out for her. (Gnats seem to be the curse in this area this year.) It worked, but I'm glad I got my shower drain scrubbed! Just in case the few flying around feel like multiplying, I have a spare can in my laundry closet. I hate using it in my house and then having to scrub everything again, but I hate having bugs in my house more.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
I stalled out on getting visual aids ready for the new year, so I launched into it this morning---unprepared (but knowing that so not overly ambitious.) We assigned out parts of key Americans, and J-Dawg started working on his costume. He will launch the new year with a presentation. It's a military captain from the Book of Mormon teaching about liberty. That's the overriding theme for the year. S-man will launch the second unit with a reenactment of George Washington, and then my daughter gets the third segment with Abigail Adams.
For the exercise portion of the morning, I picked up a couple of American Education Publishing workbooks for my sons. It's a lower grade than the rest of their work, but I specifically got it for the English Grammar. It is nice to just pull a page out of a book every morning for them to work. (Actually about 5 pages: one from each section.) I'm also tearing the pages out they have to do that day. Always before, I've handed them the book, but that seems to be discouraging them. We'll keep the completed worksheets in a section of their Almanacks this year. (We're doing Almanacks after the order of Poor Richard's Almanacks.)
We also went grocery shopping and picked up most of the needed groceries. Prices are up. I got 3 cartons of powdered milk for $15-something apiece. I used to get them at Aldi's for $9.
Then we dropped off a bunch of educational teacher's guides, texts, teaching aids, etc. at the local homeschool lending library. Hello, tax write offs!!! On to Goodwill for another delivery. We cleaned my daughter's room last night. I'd had it with clutter in there! Between the 2 stops, the donations are in the neighborhood of $900. I've been cleaning out shelves of about 5 years of homeschooling materials. (Hopefully, it will help some other homeschoolers.) I know I have appreciated everything others have given me!
Speaking of clutter, I polished my kitchen yesterday. I was given a plant for Mother's Day that had gnats, and I've fought them ever since. I read that I need to pour ammonia down the sink so I'm off to buy ammonia.
P.S. My daughter is thrilled that she is almost completely done with second grade. I tossed her an extra, thick workbook at the beginning of May, and she is almost done with it. She's a motivated girl.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
I don't have to worry about leaving my kids alone, I can get up and snack as I wish, and I don't have to dress up, but I can still get the learning that accompanies a homeschool conference. And since I missed the one held in my town, I don't have to pay for airfare, carfare, meals, and lodging either.
The speakers sound wonderful and varied, and I am so excited! Check out the conference link on the sidebar for the first ever virtual homeschool conference from July 31 through Aug. 3.
Friday, July 11, 2008
When was the last time you had your hair cut/trimmed? My husband trimmed it about a month ago. The last time I went to the hair salon was last August.
Name one thing you miss about being a child. I miss the carefree feeling of never worrying about mundane "adult" stuff.
Pick one: butter, margarine, olive oil. Olive Oil.
If you could learn another language, which one would you pick, and why? That one is hard. I should learn Spanish, but I've always wanted to learn Latin and Greek.
Finish this sentence: In 5 years I expect to be totally out of debt. We'll be looking at missions and college within the next 2-5 years so I hope we have a solid photography business going with our sons as 2nd and 3rd shooters. Maybe my daughter as a 4th.
Another article is The Civilization that had to Teach Itself with its own Books or How we developed a bad case of amnesia and what can be done about it. The basic idea of it is summed up toward the end of the article: it "is the simple lesson of how much can be learned when on the right road." They are talking about returning to classical education, but isn't that a truism anytime? Their summary says, "Not only do we need to look to our past to find out the best way to educate children, but, in looking to our past, we will find out that looking to our past is the bst way to educate children." Aren't we all children in the eternal scheme?
I don't know what I did to receive these, but whatever it was, I'm glad I did it. I'd love to get the Prima Latina program, but looking ahead at what's coming this year, it isn't in the budget. Which is a pity. So instead, I'm yanking out my college textbooks and reviewing grammar---transitive and intransitive verbs, to be exact.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Anyone else wondering about the idea many folks seem to have that we Americans have a democratic duty to spend, spend, spend to prop up our economy? What about saving and investing? Here's an article I just received that summed up what a few sane thinkers (including some in major newspapers) are saying instead. (Like we need to save and invest, not spend so much.)
And lastly, 9 Actions for Your Health that cost less than a dollar.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
I have a friend that mentioned her son likes light bread. Here's our family's favorite recipe, and I'm going to post it here so I can participate in Tammy's Kitchen Tip Tuesdays.
Wheat Montana Wheat Bread
(from Wheat Montana of Three Forks, Montana)---a to-die-for bakery out in the middle of wheat fields.
2 tablespoons yeast
2 1/2 cups warm water (105 degrees F)
3 1/2 cups Natural White flour (I use unbleached)
3 1/2 cups Bronze Chief whole wheat flour (this is a red wheat flour)
4 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon salt
3 tablespoons shortening
3 tablespoons powdered milk
Dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand 5 minutes. Add flour, honey, salt, shortening, and powdered milk. Mix until well developed. Dough should be able to be stretched into a thin, transparent window.
Place dought in oiled bowl and let double in size. Punch down and divide into 2 equal pieces. Flatten piece and roll into bread loaf. Place into bread pans and let rise until above sides of pan.
Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top. Bread should sound hollow when tapped.
Makes 2 (1 1/2-pound) loaves.
Note: I usually double this and freeze 2 loaves for our family, but it never lasts long.
I'm using my blog as my accountability checkpoint to make sure I really complete the tasks. So thank you, folks, for keeping me accountable. If you see something not getting checked off, please feel free to remind me of it. You can hassle me about it too! ;-)
- Organize all the books. My family room floor was literally covered by books, but the job is done. They are separated by subject (or sets) and the American colonial period books are in one area. Reference is in one area. Civil War and Westward Expansion have their own area. Encyclopedias and Story of the World books are out of my bedroom so the kids don't have to go in there for them.
- Make Shaundra's skirt. Already shared that.
- Created daily schedule which we aren't following yet.
- Finished mowing L's lawn. Raced to get it done this morning before the storm arrived.
- Directed other son to do our back lawn. It hasn't been mowed in two weeks. Started to rain, but I insisted that he finish it. (He didn't do it when S-man and I headed over to L's house like he was told to do so I wasn't sympathetic.) However, I stayed outside and weeded while he did the lawn.
- Talked to the roofer who came to investigate why we still have a small leak (that has only leaked once.) He is baffled. Said to call him when it did it again and he would come look at it. Terrific. It only did it when it rained torrentially for several hours and there were several tornadoes in the area. Like I'm going to call him out then! He's too nice a guy to make him take that kind of risk.
- Chopped down all the shoots coming from very healthy tree roots. We cut down the tree last year because of an ice storm but have not been able to get the stump ground.
- Saw flowers peeking through the shoots. Weeded and cut around them. Looking better although that garden is not weed free yet.
- Sent other son out to mow front lawn. Another stump out front is trying to duplicate itself in like manner, but it is surrounded by lawn, not flowers. That translates to highly mowable.
- Rebuilt the slate-like rock border around the front flower garden. Then weed the grass out of the flower garden the rocks encircle. (I hate, detest, despise weeding.) Maybe I'll break my own code and use Round-Up to get the grass to back off. (I also despise those slate-like rock borders because they tend to need to be rebuilt often.) Check. I didn't resort to Round-Up. I shrank the rock border so there's not much bare dirt anymore. I'm hot, dirty, and itchy. I think I ran into some poison ivy. The stuff is prolific hereabouts. Definitely put here to torment man (and woman).
- Finish weeding the area in back I already started so it looks really good. At least for a week. Rebuild its rock border and shrink the garden area (and the weeding area) while I'm at it.
- Tackle the other flower beds that I prefer to ignore because I don't know which ones are flowers and which are weeds. Vines tend to grow in there too, and I have a hard time identifying the poisonous ones, but my skin reacts regardless.
- Cut down the volunteer tree growing right by the foundation of the house. I'll save that for my hubby. While he's at it, maybe he'll cut down the Japanese-style one that got nailed by the late frost. After a year, it still doesn't look too healthy.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
The only thing I did differently was to cut 3 strips for the third tier as the original directions stated instead of 2. My daughter is somewhat older and taller so making 2 longer strips wasn't practical yardage-wise. I bought 2 yards of fabric, but 1 3/4 yards would have been enough. She is 8 years old, and the skirt falls below her knee.
I knew my daughter really liked the skirt when she changed her blouse into a t-shirt after church but kept the skirt on for most of the day rather than wear pants. Score!
Friday, July 4, 2008
My husband also took the opportunity of a day off work to repair our electrical line so we now have a working light in the front entry, the front room lamps work, and the yard and front porch lights work as well. It's amazing what happens when some houses in the area get robbed! Of course, last night we left the shed door wide open!
Sometimes, though, I think we don't think enough about what freedom means. I remember some months ago reading an article about how the French people were about fed up with Americans and their seemingly better-than-you attitude. That saddened me a great deal. I hope it isn't really true.
Before anyone thinks I'm not a true-blue, dyed in the wool American, let me explain further. I believe we live in the greatest country on earth, but I do not believe that gives us bragging rights. (For the record, I think every single person should be able to believe that no matter what country they live in. It's sad when they don't feel that is true.) What I believe that gives us is the greatest responsibility to be examples.
Too many times when people talk about our responsibilities, they talk about our responsibility to vote. While that is one thing, there are others. Maybe those other responsibilities are more important because those others can affect our voting choices.
I believe one of our overriding responsibilities is to be a good citizen. That includes acting in a way that is conducive to our own and others' betterment. That does not mean I am responsible for another's choices, but only that my choices should not determine theirs. That might mean that I keep my dog contained in our house and yard so he doesn't become a nuisance to another. That means doing simple things like finding a garbage can instead of just setting my cup of soda on the pavement before driving away.
That means looking at the long-term results of choices I make now. For example, if I buy a car on credit, I agree to live up to that obligation and make my payments on time. We have friends that routinely repossess cars because many people do not have that value. Interestingly, some of those people also have warrants out for their arrest so they will team up with the police. They find the person, notify the police, let the police get in first and arrest the people while they swoop in for the car.
Many of these people blame the repossessor and say it is the repossessor's fault that they lost the car or maybe the financier's fault, or some other entity's fault, but they don't admit their own blame. The blame should be on their own shoulders. Most of these vehicles are not purchased at a "regular" new/used dealership. They are bought at the buy here/pay here places. Those dealers are perfectly legitimate, and they offer an opportunity for people with lousy credit to purchase a car on credit. For the serious minded, it is an opportunity to rebuild their credit rating, but they have to be careful to only buy what they need and what they can afford. If they are having a hard time holding a job, maybe they need to check out the bus service for awhile.
Likewise, there are life decisions each one of us must make. Some make wise decisions, some make foolish. Maybe most of us do both with hopefully more wise ones than otherwise. :-)
As a homeschooler, I am constantly aware of future ramifications of our choices. Almost everything we involve our children in doing is evaluated for the value to them in their personal (and sometimes professional) development. I think that is common for parents across the board, not just homeschoolers. I believe that all thinking, caring parents want our children to be successful.
Therefore, I was intrigued by this post and the one she referenced. I, too, think that not all people should go to college. In fact, this world would be poorer if everyone did; I loved her example of her air conditioning repairman. He made a choice, and we are better for all those who make a "different" choice.
The original post made the point that high school diplomas don't mean much today. In a world where everyone has a college degree, that degree will hold less meaning too. As I waited for an electrician to have time to fix some things damaged by an ice storm, I wished there were more electricians, not more college graduates!
Last week, my husband, daughter and I went to lunch in time to hear the "Unity" speeches by Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama. One of Hilary's comments absolutely chilled me. She said something to this effect, "No woman should have to hold onto a dead-end job just to keep insurance."
Folks, to my knowledge there is nothing and nobody chaining any woman to a dead end job for insurance benefits except herself. You got it in one. Only that woman had the ability to tie herself down to an unrewarding career. We live in a country of unlimited opportunities. You don't have to have money to make something of yourself. But here is the caveat: Each individual has the responsibility to make something of themselves.
There are women who work for benefits only. That is true. They want the benefits and work so they can have them for a lesser cost than having to buy insurance individually. It's the dead-end part I take issue with. If they are in a "dead-end" job, that is by their decision. Perhaps circumstances forced the issue causing them to work---maybe they are widowed or divorced from an unfaithful husband. Maybe their husband does not make enough (another decision made earlier in their lives perhaps). The cause may not be in their control, but what they do from that point is totally in their control. Any woman today who does not prepare for possibilities is ignoring current events. Perhaps a woman will initially take a "dead-end" job but only as a means to an end---and that end is not to retire there.
That, I believe, is the beauty of the American system. There is great potential for those who will actively take control of their lives and make the decisions they must to reach the potential they desire. But for that power to be real, they must have the potential to fail! If I had decided to take a job as a janitor after I graduated from high school and ignore chances to further my education in whatever venue I chose (technical and university in my case), I would have worked as a janitor for the rest of my life. Some people do that and have full lives, at least less stressful lives. I did that for a time in order to fund the rest of my education. (I'm using the word education purposely here because some technical education costs more than a university education.)
If I knew I would be taken care of no matter what I chose, would I have been concerned with the long view? Totally hypothetical because that wasn't the case. I knew I did not want to depend on my parents for my support or anyone else either.
Others take a longer road, and they fail. The successful people eventually succeed because they don't like failure, and they take responsibility for it when it occurs.
So what Hilary was saying as I understand it, is that she wants to take away the possibility of failure. I don't think she realizes that she has been successful in many of her pursuits because she has the possibility of failing.
There is a scripture that says, "For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility."
What I am trying to say, and what I believe this scripture says, is that we cannot become the people we need to be if we have the right to fail removed. They are two sides of the same coin. We are not victims; how we respond to events is entirely up to us. If we choose to further our education in whatever venue, that is our choice and we will benefit by it. If we do not, we will also receive the consequences.
It's the same with children. If I tell my son that he has to finish certain tasks before he can go to taekwondo but then allow him to go anyway, I haven't taught him anything worthwhile. If he isn't ready to test for his next belt because he didn't "get" to go to enough sessions, that's okay. Disappointing, but that disappointment might help him make sure his assignments are completed next time.
And it's the same for us. Each of us.
P.S. A good post here--not long!
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
My sister brought up an important point. She has older boys and more boys and girls around my children's ages, and she found it was much easier to put them into school at the beginning middle school mark than later, especially if orchestra is an option. She found one of her sons could not participate in orchestra because he wasn't enrolled in 6th grade.
My boys would be entering middle school this year. The orchestra, etc. options are appealing to me. I do not want to hand over history, language, etc., and I'll even do math. But not have to pay tuition for orchestra and choir? I don't really like knowing that what we do this year basically charts our course for the next 7 years!
- Set up a memory book for the year to fill in with pictures and journaling as we go.
- Make time line and circles to post events on the time line.
- Make sure each child has a private journal to write in (and they know where to find it.)
- Plot the year's events on a calendar. Anyone know where I can buy a blank calendar? The kind where you fill in the dates yourself?
- Set up a trading post with things like needles, thread, fabric, tops, small colonial-type toys, etc. that they can buy with points they earn through the Inquiries.
- Figure out a station where the kids can select which Inquiries they want to study. I think I'll require 8 individual Inquiries for each unit. We'll do 3 or 4 together per unit. These Inquiries are in all subject areas from Science to Art.
- Buy a box to hold items for the History Museum.
- Rearrange books so the pertinent books are all together.
- Make costumes. Delegate this one to the kids. We'll be studying American History, pre-European through colonial times so Indian costumes and armor are things they can make. The boys might be able to do breeches too. I'll have to make dd a dress for the colonial period though.
- Set up a daily schedule and ramp up to follow it. (That means getting up before 7:30-8:00 in the morning.)
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
The World of Captain John Smith
The Secret of Roanoke Island
The New World: The first pictures of America
Book of Americans
I'm thinking about making a pocket organizer to hang on a rod with a pocket for each subject. Then the kids can choose what they want to do next in each unit. I need to go through my fabric stash and see if I have something that will work.
For the record, I want to go to this homeschool conference, but since we have a mandatory trip to Dalton, Georgia for a brother-in-law's wedding this fall, I don't think I'm going to make it there this year again. Does anyone want to sponsor me there? I'll even drive my hubby's easy-on-gas car. ;-)