Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sunday, January 28, 2007


We have a CD called "America the Musical" that gives a brief history story and relates it to a song. My boys LOVE it. One of the story/song combinations is called "Follow the Drinking Gourd" and explains how the slaves would give clues to the underground railroad through their songs. The *drinking gourd* is the big dipper and of course, taught the slaves to travel north by following the North Star.

Yesterday my sweet 5yo was sitting on the couch with me and out of the blue asked me which way was north. So we went over our directions and I explained that he can see the sunrise from his bedroom- so that direction is East and he figured it out from there. Once figured out north he exclaimed, "Then that's the way I need to head for freedom!"

Everything we do, every little opportunity - is such a gold mine! I have so many of these moments with my boys- listening to them sing along with the National Anthem, noticing pieces of classical music on commercials while sitting in a waiting room, catching them singing *mommy's music* (praise songs) while in the shower...by just taking the time to be very selective with what they are exposed to leads to such worthy rewards!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Thoughtful son..

The most precious part of my day today was hearing my oldest looking for me,
"mom, I hope you are near!" and he proceeds to excitely take me to the window to view a cluster of Cedar Waxwings on our bush.

Then he watched my face to see MOMMY'S JOY at the beautiful sight! My heart could about burst! That is love!

Out of our Element

We are a bit out of sorts around here this week! The boys are all sniffling, sneezing, coughing and generally under the weather and we have been couped up in the house since last Friday!

The boys are begging me to go out and play- but with the cold temps and the drizzling on and off rain, I don't dare let them. This has been so hard for them...usually we are out all or most of every afternoon. We miss our fresh air! My youngest isn't understanding why we have changed so drastically- he asked me in his snufalufugus voice: " Please drive me to the beach mommy, so I can dig!" aaawwww....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Back to Bed Day!

We had a 'back to bed' day today! My boys are ALL fighting colds and I thought it would be a lot of fun to get extra snuggles and cuddles. So after a light day of lessons with oldest (no table work) and a must needed run into the library, we came home with some lunch and then everyone piled into mom's big bed!

We gathered all the pillows around us and blankets up above us (brrr...cold day in Texas) and grabbed a pile of picture books from the library. And we read...and cuddled....and laughed at the drawings...and hugged...learned a thing or two...and read.

What more can we ask for? We ended the afternoon with a long call to our best friends which REALLY warmed the heart! I'd highly recommend it!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Nature on an Icy Day

WOW! Today has been incredible! We fill so blessed and so filled with God's wonder and control!

Here we are sitting home on an icy, cold Sunday, being especially lazy and cozy and a bit *stir crazy* since we haven't been outside all weekend... but God always has a plan, if you are listening and watching patiently...

We have seen the most wonderful birds today, brought right to our windows for us all to enjoy! It started with an Eastern Bluebird (see picture) that my son saw and urged us to all come see. Then the sparrows came up on the porch, followed by several little beauties that I haven't id'ed yet. Then we watched a woodpecker outside our living room... not soon after followed by my hubby nudging me and telling me to look out the kitchen window.

OH! ...I cannot describe the splendor there....a have a beautiful berry bush (? don't remember what it is) that was COVERED (!) with Cedar Waxwings...maybe 15 or more.... I just stood in wonder! They were just incredible!!! They stayed for only moments, but those were breathtaking moments to be sure. We won't be forgetting them anytime soon.

Thank you God for your Glorious World and Glorious Creatures!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Link to Homeschool Article on PBS


I hope this works! I am shocked and amazed at the arguments from Prof. Reich. I think the last thing we need to worry about is that home school children are not going to become well rounded citizens! Ridiculous!

There are just so many people upset about the lack of regulation for home schoolers. What they should be much more concerned about are the treacherous conditions of their public schools!

What else my Year 2 student does...

In addition to the reading, I also have my year 2 student work on the following:

*Vocabulary- he is working through Wordly Wise series, but reading is the BEST

*Handwriting- he is learning cursive (just started, mid-Year 2) HWT

*Math- working through the Miquon series, supplemented w/some extra practice when needed

*Copywork- one lengthy sentence each week from something he is reading/2 days to complete

*Bible Study- he takes a Bible Study class that is very indepth; I am studying the same book

*Narrations- he narrates from everything he reads; also narrates art work

*Poetry- I read one/two poems each day to enjoy

*Geography- he is keeping a very simple notebook; place pictures in & write captions

*Artist Study- one new picture each week; we also try to find a book to read from about the artist; post large picture on bullitan board; place small picture in Art Album

*Composer Study- we do a new composer every 16 weeks or so regardless of breaks; listen to works whenever we can; also read about composer if possible

*Nature Study- probably what we spend most time on...being outdoors in God's glory! Try for everyday!

*P.E.- both 8yo & 5yo are in a PE class for homeschoolers/1 hour per week; both also take Riding Lessons (horse) 1 hour/week

What We Are Reading...

In January-

(this is schooling and fun reads)

Read Alouds- mostly for my 8 & 5 yo, *sometimes 5 yo drifts in and out of books

Little Pilgrims Progress
Brighty of the Grand Canyon

Read Alouds- for lessons w/8yo ; these are done at the rate of 1-2 chapters/week

Storybook of Science
The Story of the World or CHOW
The Story of the Great Republic
CGOW (Geography-Hillyer)
Burgess Animal Book

8 YO Lessons Reading:

What Would Jesus Do? (for children)
Wisdom and the Millers
Nature Reader Vol 5 (aloud; 2Xs per week)
The Moore McGuffey Readers Vol 2 (aloud; 2Xs per week)
Among the Forest People
Farmer Boy

8 YO Free Reading (as fast as he wants):

Hello Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (finished)
Paddington Takes to the Air (finished)
Freddy Goes to Florida

5 YO Read Aloud:

The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
various Picture Books

Thursday, January 11, 2007

What a life!

Stickman doing his lessons in the warm Texas sunshine! How I wish I could have done that as a child...

My boys are truly blessed and I am thrilled to be doing exactly what I feel I am called to do.

After this picture, I grabbed my current book and sat to soak in the sun myself. What a beautiful, God given afternoon.

Masterly Inactivity

This is a term of Charlotte Mason's that encompasses an entire complex theory on child rearing- but this is what she has to say about play:

Organised Games are not Play––But organised games are not play in the sense we have in view. Boys and girls must have time to invent episodes, carry on adventures, live heroic lives, lay sieges and carry forts, even if the fortress be an old armchair; and in these affairs the elders must neither meddle nor make. They must be content to know that they do not understand, and, what is more, that they carry with them a chill breath of reality which sweeps away illusions. Think what it must mean to a general in command of his forces to be told by some intruder into the play-world to tie his shoe-strings! There is an idea afloat that children require to be taught to play––to play at being little fishes and lambs and butterflies. No doubt they enjoy these games which are made for them, but there is a serious danger. In this matter the child who goes too much on crutches never learns to walk; he who is most played with by his elders has little power of inventing plays for himself; and so he misses that education which comes to him when allowed to go his own way and act,"As if his whole vocation Were endless imitation." - from Home Education, Volume 3

She recommended that young children (until late elementary or so) had most of the afternoon hours to PLAY! To use their own ideas, to come up with plans, reenact history, take off with all ideas that were their own! I try to give the boys as much of this time as possible. I really step back and let them at their plans. Sometimes they wind up REALLY dirty! Oh, well! I have a washing machine that does all the work. Sometimes I have to redirect them a bit- for instance when little Bean was going to break open rocks on my kitchen table, well, (!) ahem...that would be great to break open the rock....but not INSIDE! So, no it's not a free for all!!! I don't let them just do anything...but I *do* strive to give them situations where they can experiment doing all kinds of things without interference. It really is amazing to watch them!!! Yesterday little Bean and Echo collected rocks, painted them, and put them on display in their *museum* and then decided that they also needed to take measurements for the display and therefore went on a measuring spree! So precious!

Monday, January 8, 2007

A Hard Lesson Learned...

Today was a hard day for my oldest! (OK- and myself, too)

For whatever number of reasons- he was tired, frustrated, etc.- Stickman, as he will be known here, was not giving his lesson any effort! It became a show down! I don't know any mom's that enjoy do the battle of the wills and I am no exception. It was not a pretty site- or sound- in my home this morning!

After a crying fit (he's just 8) and timeout time in his room we were finally able to continue with a bit of a healed spirit. This set us back almost an hour, however, and we already had plans for the rest of the day. Following Charlotte Mason's theories, I always try to give the boys the afternoon outdoors, but after much consideration I decided the most important thing today was to not have a repeat of today in the future...so while I forgave my son his immature ways...I did require him to cut his afternoon short and come inside on a beautiful day to give mom an hour of his time since he had wasted mine.

I believe this made a grand impact on him, especially since he had to give up digging up rocks with his buddy and his baby brothers were able to still play with neighbor friends. To make it a bit more impactful, I didn't give him my one on one time like we would normally have for his lessons. I just didn't feel that was fair to my younger boys who wanted their mom to play and push them on the swings. He ended up getting a lot done in that hour...thank you notes, bible study, vocabulary workbook...and even better he knows that our time is our responsibility and should not be wasted!

Great Week Back!

After a long, much needed break (from Thanksgiving week until this Monday) we are back at it! We were all ready to get into our lessons and schedules again. The vacation really energized us and instead of feeling the mid-year burnout- we are feeling spirited and excited about this next jaunt.

My oldest son is doing year 2 of Ambleside Online for the most part. I have altered it in some aspects to better fit our style, interests, etc. Then my middle son, at 5 1/2, has a very easy going schedule and is ready to learn to read! He is right there on the cusp of understanding it all - that's so exciting! And son #3, at 3 years old, mostly keeps us hopping and is a constant reminder that we need to keep the lessons short!!

To really top off the week, we were able to see the Van Gogh "Sheaves of Wheat" exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art! That was really awesome and afterward the boys (and friends) worked on their artist abilities!!! So precious!
My boys are on the left and friends are on the right. Notice they are "copying" their style from the Van Gogh paintings in the book!! This was really one of those *darling* moments

Starting Again!

I'm trying the whole Blog thing all over- since my last one became too hard to keep up with and the changing passwords getting lost...oh, not good!

So here I go again! It's going to be a New Year- time for changes and reorganization, right??? We've cleaned out the kid's toys and LOCKED their toy closet, so that will help with the mess until they figure out how to pick the lock.... I give it til about next Wednesday.... I've given away some extra furniture, some twaddley books, some noisy toys, a few bags of 'skinny' clothes that aren't ever going back on this momma's body...oh, yeah, and I am getting the boys' assignments onto Homeschool Tracker! Wow! I guess I really am kicking off the new year with a bang!