Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Responsibilities of the 3 branches of government

It has been awhile since my last post. Let's just assume that means everything ran smoothly but there was nothing spectacular to report. Amazingly enough, some days are just normal with nothing extra. ;-) I know that is tough to believe. (haha)

However, we did a fun exercise yesterday about our federal government. We didn't get to complete it at the co-op so we are going to be doing it again later this afternoon.

Yesterday's co-op leader assigned the kids into 3 groups representing the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government. Then she read off individual responsibilities of each branch and had the kids (and moms) guess which group was responsible for them. Very visual and very effective.

I just printed off the labels, so I'll take pictures and post them when we're done.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Christmas already?

Worried about Christmas presents and trying to make it more meaningful? Check out Jen's blog and watch the You Tube video. Since we all know I am technologically challenged, I'll just let you go there. It will work better. (FYI In another lifetime, I wrote user manuals and most of these things have terrible user instructions--nonexistent.)

In the meantime, I'm grateful to know I'm not the only one already worrying about the whole Christmas thing. To be a kid again and assume it just happens . . . .

As for Halloween? We're checking out! The trunk or treat is this weekend after our church's Fall Festival and the boys will be on a campout. Great way to enforce the rule that 12-year-olds cannot trick or treat. Enforced by DAD who used to be one of those bullies who made little kids give up their candy. (It really stinks when DAD knows all the tricks of the trade.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joomla anyone?

Okay, I've been eating humble pie. My sister asked me to help with her website, and I'm finding out how truly stupid I am with things computer--at least with web design. The online documentation doesn't help me much, and I don't know HTML.

Does anyone else deal with feeling pretty worthless if you can't "fix it"? As I was working through some issues that became apparent when I saw the site on the i-Phone, I read some of the points she gives that relate to that very issue. I think I need her book!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A renewed goal

It has been an eventful week! I'm sorry for not being a little more regular in my posting. I have missed reading blogs and reporting in about some things we are doing.

The dog has adjusted to not having the boys around although I think he'll be delighted to have them back. We all know now whose dog he is!

The other day, my mother-in-law called to tell us to call anytime we wanted to. I guess the boys have been a little homesick. I've wanted to call, but my hubby kept saying that we need to give them space. We know they are safe so we need to let them go a little bit. It's nice to know they still need us though.

My daughter is playing dress up with her brothers' old clothes. She just came out wearing some pajamas they had when they were little. The long pants were shorts, and the shirt that hit their hips barely made it to her waist, but they were on. It was a surprise to turn around and see them on her---brought back many memories!

It has been nice to have time to just work with her on her school work though. We have cruised through her workbooks! Normally she drags her feet about doing them (okay, she wasn't thrilled to do her math!), but she did a bunch! My dream is to spend at couple of hour s a day one-on-one with each rather than always working with them as a group. Specifically on their workbooks. It doesn't sound that hard to accomplish, does it? Throw in all the other things we do though, and it gets well nigh impossible! Somehow I'm going to get closer to it next week though. That's my goal!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Football, boys' trip (revised for hs only content)

I moved the political commentary over to my Just Thinking blog. See the blog list for that reference if you're interested.

My boys are off with their grandparents having a wonderful time seeing the Flippin Church of God (for real in Flippin, Arkansas); Memphis, Tennessee; Pickwick Dam; NASA Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. We just got back with our daughter from watching the Missouri State Bears walk all over Youngstown State University. And here's Jewell enjoying Return of the Jedi. She had a major Star Wars night last night.

J-Dawg and S-man called and the phone line almost crackled with life from them. They carry a life-giving energy. It is incredible!

Political must reads

This blog is worth a read--right now Paula is talking about things political, specifically Proposition 8 in California about same sex marriage and how it affects every single family. I really believe this election needs to boil down to morals and morality. The predictions are ominous . . . especially when compared to prophecies.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Art class

I absolutely love it when someone else writes a post about my kids! Here's a link to a blog of a friend of ours that graciously offered to teach art to my children. Yup, we're the homeschooling family she refers to, and those are my children and their creations.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Paul Revere to Constitutional studies

Myth: Paul Revere waited for the message from the lanterns in the Old North Church before he began his ride.

Fact: Instead, he was actually the one that came up with that system and the one that told the sexton how many lanterns to hold up. BTW, 2 men only held the lanterns up in the tower for a few moments, not long enough for the British regulars to notice, so colonists in Charlestown would get the word in case both Revere and Dawes were captured. Paul Revere knew which way the British would go before he ever left Boston since he was the one that delivered the message to the sexton.

Myth: There were only 2 riders carrying the message.

Fact: By the end of the night, there were probably 40 different riders taking the message to Lexington and Concord.

Myth: Paul Revere got through to John Hancock and Samuel Adams first.
Fact: Dr. Samuel Prescott was actually the one who reached John Hancock and Samuel Adams first. He was "a doctor who happened to be in Lexington 'returning from a lady friend's house at the awkward hour of 1 a.m.'" Made a good excuse for being out at such an unreasonable hour didn't it?

Myth: Paul Revere and William Dawes made it all the way to Concord.
Fact: All 3 of the "famous" riders, Prescott, Revere, and William Dawes were detained by the British in Lincoln but Prescott jumped his horse over a wall and escaped through woods. Dawes escaped also but fell off his horse shortly after, ending his ride. Revere was detained and questioned and escorted back toward Lexington. Upon hearing shots, they took his horse and left. Revere then helped Hancock and Adams escape with a trunk of Hancock's papers.

Myth: Paul Revere called, "The British are coming, the British are coming," as he rode through the countryside.
Fact: The colonists thought of themselves as British citizens so he would not have said that. Besides, there would have been British soldiers stationed all over. The message depended on secrecy from the British regulars so he would have quietly announced something like, "The regulars are coming out."
(Information from Wikipedia)

Okay, so this version is not quite as romantic as Longfellow's poem, Paul Revere's Ride, long memorialized and memorized by folks all over, but I think it might be more important.

First of all, Paul Revere was not particularly famous for the ride while he was alive. He didn't toot his own horn. Second, he wasn't concerned with whether he got the message through; he just wanted to be sure it got through.

How much can we, as average citizens learn from him? He did his duty and then some. He was very active in the Sons of Liberty, and it sounds like he spied for them. He followed his convictions, and he didn't pass off the hard work to someone else. What marvelous lessons!

So why am I posting this here on a homeschooling blog? Because today we attended an event on elections where I decided that I've postponed an in-depth study of the Constitution for too long. Tonight I pulled out a teacher's guide from the National Center for Constitutional Studies and discussed some of those ideas with the kids over dinner. (Learning seems to go better when the kids are eating. Why don't I remember that more?) The discussion around the dinner table, along with an assignment of writing a paper about key people led to questions of what role John Hancock played after signing the Declaration of Independence. Online searches on Hancock led us to Paul Revere. Don't ask. It's too convoluted. I think the boys will remember this though.

Oh, yeah. S-man will be researching George Washington; J-Dawg, Thomas Jefferson; and Jewell, John Adams. (I might have her research Abigail Adams instead since I think she would be more interested in her, and Abigail played a major role in those times.)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Boys really do grow up

We had our homeschool co-op today, and it was rough. We take turns teaching, and the mom that had today was very uptight with her son. She had wonderful activities but wanted everyone to be perfectly orderly--at least indoors. I was so glad her last activity was outside because she was able to relax.

I felt so bad for her. I know what it is like to feel like my children are the only ones who can't keep their seat, talk without raising their hands, etc., but on the other hand, I'm thrilled when my kids actually volunteer the answer. They usually stay quiet, at least as regards answering questions, etc. Her son is very quick and doesn't want to wait for the whole thing to be presented for everyone. He's ready to move on. It's hard, and I so wish I could help her be okay with him. Boys change; that is a constant. Next year, he'll be older and more able to be quiet but maybe not so eager to learn and participate.

If I could have heard myself from now a year or so ago when I couldn't contain my own boys, I wouldn't have believed me! Or was that last week?

Here are some pictures. We learned about photosynthesis today.

All the kids had a cut-out of various elements a plant needs. For example, rain soaks through the stomata and the oxygen is released through the stomata, but the glucose is sent down to the roots. J-Dawg was Phyll in the Chloroplast that did all the work converting CO2, rain, and sunshine into glucose and oxygen.

Afterward, they dissected flowers and identified the parts of the blossom. Last, some of the kids pretended to be bees (outside) while others were parts of flowers with bowls holding the pollen or receiving the pollen (oatmeal). That was fun. The busy-boy ate about as much uncooked oatmeal as he could get away with. Maybe hunger was his challenge with keeping still?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Have hope

Today was the first day of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints semi-annual conference broadcasted from Salt Lake City. It was a very reassuring, comforting conference, full of messages of the power of faith, hope, charity, and prayer. You can listen to it at www.lds.org under General Conference or here. I want to share a single thought right now, probably paraphrased (since I can't remember for sure whether I got it word for word) from President Dieter F. Uchtdorf.

While talking about the relationship of hope to faith and charity, he said, "With hope, we can have patience."

Timely message for troubling times.

Timely message for daily challenges. I would never have thought about lack of hope being the cause of lack of patience, but as I have thought about that idea, it makes sense. Sometimes I lose patience with someone because I have a lack of hope that they will "get" it, other times I lose it because I lose faith in myself to explain something adequately, sometimes I despair and hope goes out the window, and other times . . . do I lose faith in my Savior being able to make up the difference? Or lose faith that I'm worth enough for Him to help me? But I know all of us, me included, are children of His, and He will help us. He will bring peace in our own homes if we will trust him.

I have found spending time in the scriptures with my family or just myself, brings His hope back to me. That's important right now. It's so easy to get caught up in the gloom of today's problems and lose perspective of the "easiness of His way." (paraphrased)

I love you all! I pray all of us hold onto hope. The world and our families need our hope.

Friday, October 3, 2008


After the vice presidential debates last night, I got on the 'net with some specific questions. I got some of those answered, but I also turned this up. Okay, somewhere along the way I missed it. Totally believable since I tend to get political overload and have to break away from it for a time. But this, filed by a Hilary Clinton supporter, is serious. Who is this man and what country is he a citizen of?

a/k/a BARRY SOETORO, a/k/a

Apparently, as of Oct 1, this is a live case. I spent about 2 hours searching out more information. Why isn't the DNC stepping forward to clear their man instead of just delaying action? If the RNC did this . . . hoo boy, what an outcry there would be! (as there should be)

After an almost 800 point drop

Good for my economy! I love living here!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Economic mess (added postscript)

I just got this information from a friend's email. I think it makes a lot of sense and has a better chance of working without passing off penalties and ugly ramifications to our children and grandchildren. It came from Dave Ramsey. If my link didn't work, you can find it at: http://www.daveramsey.com/media/pdf/the_common_sense_fix.pdf. I like this because there is accountability attached without an idiotic $700 billion debt to break American tax payer's backs over.

The final note regrets that this is not going to be an easy thing politically because certain individuals/party is going to say that it benefits the rich. As Ramsey points out, that is true, but (my words here) when was the last time most of us were able to do something of large magnitude for the country. I believe the best thing we can do as a people is to make it attractive for the "rich" to put their money in places where it can benefit the most number of people. They are, after all, taking a risk. To me, that is a duh! If I have a child that doesn't want to do his homework and I have something that he wants, would I be wiser to use that as an incentive or threaten a whipping? Which would be more effective to cause a better learning environment that would be more likely a positive emotion toward that subject?

Please read the link!

P.S. I forgot probably the most important part about the email. Point 1 was to pray for our leaders--whether we like them or not. Pray that they will resist the spirit of fear and act in wisdom. They need it, no matter who they are. I think praying for Americans everywhere for that same blessing would be a good idea too. Fear is powerful, but faith is more so. And faith reaches better results.