Monday, November 23, 2009

Advent, Christmas, etc.

Our Grace Journey has the 2009 Inductive Advent study up on the website! Print it now so you are ready for Sunday!

While we have a usable Jesse Tree from HERE (I have blogged about it in the past), I found something that I think Young M and I will work together on for next year (perhaps a set for us and then a set to be made and put away for each child - for when they have their own households). It is a cross-stitched set - what a wonderful heirloom idea (or hope chest!).

We have Bartholomew's Passage ready to go. I just have to go buy our candles for our Advent wreath.

We will also continue our deviation from our regularly scheduled language arts and "reading" curriculum (but keeping up with our history/lit readings from AO) and work on the Christmas Unit Study I bought a couple of years ago from I also have a freebie lapbook from Hands of a Child that are purely "fun" and not any kind of "educational", lol, Free Here! Young M wants to also do the Symbols of Christmas lapbook from HOAC as well. I suspect she is loading herself up, but, as long as she gets her other work done, she can go for it.

Here are a couple of freebies that are also available:
Free Nativity Lapbook for younger children
Free Christmas Symbols lapbook
Free Christmas Lapbook - older children
Free TOS Digital Holiday Supplement - lots of great stuff here for Thanksgiving & Christmas!

That and along with making a few Christmas presents for some people, cookies (fun, free e-book from last week) and hopefully, some caroling, we should have a fun, Christ-centered month leading up to Christmas.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thanksgiving Resources

I wanted to share a couple of my favorite resources for Thanksgiving:

This is from Homeword:  30 Days of Thanksgiving - Cultivating a Thankful Heart

This is from Revive Our Hearts: A Week of Thanksgiving

This one from Resources for Christian Teachers: Audrey's Thanksgiving Page

And this is my favorite resource that I think we should all watch each year: Bill Federer - "The Real Story Behind Thanksgiving"

VCY Rally: Bill Federer - "The Real Story behind Thanksgiving" from Crosstalk America on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A challenging question

More often than not, we homeschoolers are asked why we homeschool and get the comment "I could never homeschool my children." after you tell them why.

I want to reverse the question.  If you send your child to a government (public) school, why do YOU do so?  A simple enough question, but I doubt the answer is as simple as you like to think.

Then, after you answer the question, have a good look at your answer.  How good are those answers?  Are they solid, well supported answers or are the generic fluff.  And if you were to tell me that your school is different/better than all the others, I would solidly challenge you on it to show me how/why.

You don't really have to tell me, but seriously - turn off your television, turn off your phone and put away your magazine and turn on your brain and really think about your decision to trust the government with educating your children (after all, there are a whole lot of us who do not necessarily care to trust the government with our healthcare...and this is the care and training of your children's minds & hearts).

Friday, May 1, 2009


Other children around the country save up for things like video games or American Girl dolls and such. 

Not my children.  My children have saved up birthday monies for their own set of Jonathan Park Communicator Watches (and yes, they really work, lol!).  I have kindly offered to pay for part of the shipping for them.  I was able to find them elsewhere, but the difference in price/shipping was around a dollar or so and I would rather Vision Forum have the profits for their ministry instead (especially since it was their catalog and their radio show that inspired the children). 

Currently, my son wants to be a Creation scientist with vertebrate paleontology as a specialty.  This courtesy of listening to Jonathan Park, lol!  They listen to it every Saturday morning (or Sunday afternoon if they miss it on Saturday) and we started buying them the various seasons cd's for birthday's.  They already own the first 2 seasons right now.  To me, it is amazing that my children love to listen to radio shows in this day and age.  But, I suppose that is way better than watching TV.   We are thankful that VCY has these great radio shows for the children each week.

I think my favorite part of their listening to the radio shows (and reading) is how it translates into their play (and their imagination).  I have also seen a change in how the neighbor children play.  They attend PS and when we moved here a year ago, the only thing they knew how to play was "Hannah Montana", "High School Musical" and the "Penguins of Madagascar" (???) and some "star" type show.  Now, they play "Narnia", explorers, spy's, being animals, etc.  Lots of imagination instead of copying TV (well, Narnia is pushing it, but I would rather them play that than the other stuff).  I have seen many a sword battle out in the yard and many a prisoner being held, lol!

I think the other difference is the kind of books that they read or have read to them.  Rather than being twaddly worthless books, they are well written books and inspire the child to "live" them while they read them.  Then, they take that story, and add it into their imaginary play.  I suspect that most children, now, at the ripe old age of 10 no longer do much imaginary play.  I am thankful that our homeschooling has allowed that kind of fun to develope in my children.  I am thankful, too, that my parents were readers.  It encouraged me to read.  And I know a lot of what I read translated into play outside with the neighborhood children when we lived in Indiana (okay, I admit it - we also played Elvis and Fabian - my brother being Elvis and one of the other girls brothers was Fabian - we girls were the fans chasing them, lol! - and yet, Elvis was dead by then, LOL - {shrug}).

Anyway, if you are stuck in the rut of just doing "workbook" style homeschooling, please relook at what your children are reading - it makes all the difference in the world!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Geography Fair preparation

One of the beauties about homeschooling is the ability to stop all normal activities and focus on a project.  The children are participating in a geography fair this Sunday afternoon.

M has picked out Belize for her country.  We were able to get some neat information from a family at church.  They were missionaries in Guatemala for several years, but spent time in Belize as well.

Mid. G & I decided together that rather than an entire country, we would focus on one state.  He decided to do Oklahoma (for obvious reasons).  It is kind of fun to help him out since I have so many pictures from various areas of the state.  By the way, did you know it is illegal to hunt whales in the OK waterways??  I could be in trouble for all the time my friend Kathy & I spent looking for that whale in Catoosa.... Hmmm - maybe I will scan the picture of me and that whale!!  In doubt about that whale??  Check it out HERE, lol!

Anyway, Mid. G is on the Encarta thing on the laptop.  He loved picking out books about OK and getting out Grampie's encyclopedia's to look things up in it, too!  M has taken the project on as her own, with only limited help from me!  I will post pictures of the finished projects.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ambleside at work

Tonight, I was asked dd M to tell me if she thought I should read "The Children of the New Forest".  She has been reading it the last few weeks as she finishes up Year 3 (note that is not Grade 3) in AO.  We have taken our time on Year 3 as I know that when we start Year 4, we make a huge jump in things she will be reading - we will be adding in a reading from Plutarch's lives for each term and the books will be that much more involved.  I have heard from many other mom's out there that this is a big jump academically.  And while I do not think she would have been ready for it 6 mos. ago, I think she is now.  Here I go rambling again.

Back to the book.   She stated an emphatic "Yes!" to my question. She then gave me a nice narration about it, told me that it was during the time of King Charles I (1600's) and went on to tell me what she remembered about him from AIS.  I am impressed that she remembers so much.  Whenever I am in doubt of what she is or isn't learning, asking for an impromptu narration almost always makes me feel much better. 

Then, later on this evening, we had allowed her some time on the computer.  She has "horses" on and she has horses/plays games on  Apparently, one of the horses on Howrse had a foal (?!) and she needed a name for it.  M asked for our help and gave us a list of choices.  Interestingly, they were all names of characters from Shakespeare!  Always the homeschooling mom, I asked her about the characters and which were most funny or respectable rather than ones with serious character flaws.  And she told me which ones were who from which story, lol!  

We will be getting more in depth in Shakespeare as we start Year 4 in a week or so and this knowledge will certainly be helpful to her!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Baby G's first MSO concert!

Homeschooling begins very early in our home. 

We are very blessed here in Milwaukee to have a great Symphony Orchestra.  Even moreso, they offer live performances/classes for school children (including homeschoolers).  And they are at a price that I can afford!  I am able to take the children to a 45 min performance 3 times a year.  The conductor has a great time telling the children about each movement of a particular work(s) and sometimes has the children do something to participate.  All this for a whole $5.40 a ticket.  I cannot beat it!

Baby G, technically, had his first performance the day before he was born (right T!?!  You were there - you and your car that you so bravely took us in, lol!).  I know he jumped a few times during that performance.  Today, he had his first one out.  I know the ushers were not sure about us, but I promised that at the slightest peep, we were out of there.  Given that we have box seats, this is an easy exit.  But, I will say, there is not much he could do, short of crying/screaming, that would be louder than the group of children down on the main floor (those of you who have been know what I am talking about!).

The orchestra started playing and Baby G became a bit figity (volume??).  So, just to be safe, he and I went up and stood behind the box seats in case I needed to exit while M & G sat with Daddy.  There was no need to worry, lol!  He went to sleep.  I did not think about this until after he was asleep, but during the day, when he takes a nap, I will take him up to our room to lay him down.  Mind you, Milwaukee lost their classical radio station about 18 mos ago (silly people - now I have to stream online to the radio station from my home town in OK, lol!).  Anyway, we have on our digital stations (with the converter box) from PBS a station that plays classical music 24/7.  I turn on that channel so as to have some buffer noise.  Not loudly - just above a whisper.  But apparently, it is enough.

Today's performance was a bit from Night on Bald Mountain (Mussorgsky) and then Pictures in an Exhibition (Mussorgsky).  This is music he certainly heard in utero...we studied this composer Fall 2007 and we have listened to it several times since then.

So, Baby G napped through most of his first performance (impressive - some of the music can be loud - but I did cover his little ears, worried momma that I am sometimes).