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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Classical Music Study Plan

I purchased Themes to Remember: Volume 1, Themes to Remember: Volume 2 and Classical Karaoke for Kids by Marjorie Kiel Persons, detailed at because I want to use their Six Year schedule. There are teacher's manuals for the books but I've been told that they are for classroom use which I don't need. This doesn't break my heart becaue the teacher's manuals are $23.95 each and that's pretty expensive when you may want to purchase enrichments on top of that.

Through the wonderful world of online book trading via Book Mooch, I have acquired Bach, Beethoven and the Boys by David Barber, The Encyclopedia of Music (which you could use any encyclopedia of music), and other various books for the K-3 reading level.

Stories of the Great Composers Book 1 by June Montgomery and Great Composers Book 2 by Hinson (these provides activities and additional readings).
Vox Music Masters cds which have narratives of the composers biography along with compositions they've written
Then library books as they are needed or desired.

You do not need to have the same items I have, you can make this schedule your own - use any encyclopedia, use any enrichments you have handy.

Our chosen starting place with the six year schedule


Vivaldi - Spring from The Four Seasons
Week 1: Read pg 6, vocabulary, learn song on pg. 7
Week 2: Review song, Read about Vivaldi in BBTB, Encyclopedia of Music, Vox

Bach - Toccata & Fugue in Dm (Theme 1)
Week 1: Read pg. 8, vocabulary p.10, GC1 Unit 1, Learn song
Week 2: Review, Read pg. 45 BBTB, Encyclopedia, Bach (home library), Vox

Haydn - Surprise Symphony
Week 1: pg. 24, vocabulary, learn song p.25, GC1 Unit 2
Week 2: Review song, BBTB pg. 65, Encyclopedia, Vox

Boccherini - Minuet
Week 1: Read pg. 26, vocabulary, song pg. 27
Week 2: Review, Encyclopedia

Mozart - Symphony No. 40
Week 1: Read pg. 28, song pg. 29
Week 2: Review, BBTB p70, Encyclopedia, Mozart (home library), Vox

Beethoven - Symphony No. 5, Mvt. 1
Week 1: Read pg. 30, vocabulary, song pg. 31, GC1 Unit 3
Week 2: Review, BBTB p79, Encyclopedia, Beethoven (home library)

Beethoven - Symphony No. 9
Week 1: Read pg. 30, review vocabulary, song p 32, Beethoven Lives Upstairs
Week 2: Review, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Vox

Schubert - Unfinished Symphony
Week 1: Read pg. 34, vocabulary, song p. 35, GC1 Unit 4
Week 2: Review, BBTB p. 97, Encyclopedia

Schubert - Trout Quintet
Week 1: Read pg. 34, review vocabulary, song p. 36, GC2 Unit 3
Week 2: Review, library book, Vox

Schumann - The Happy Farmer
Week 1: Read p. 36, vocabulary, song p. 47, GC2 Unit 6
Week 2: Review, BBTB p. 101, Encyclopedia, Vox

Brahms - Lullaby
Week 1: Read pg. 52, vocabulary, song pg. 53
Week 2: Review, BBTB p. 90, Encyclopedia, Vox, Venezia

Souza - Stars and Stripes Forever
Week 1: Read pg. 85, vocabulary, song p. 86
Week 2: Review, Encyclopedia, Vox, Venezia


Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker - Story and Music
Week 1: Read pg. 76-87, vocabulary, play full length song, GC2 Unit 8 Week 2: Review, play song again, BBTB p. 114

Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker - Overture
Week 1: Read pg. 74, vocabulary, song pg. 75
Week 2: Review, Encyclopedia, Venezia

Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker - March of the Toy Soldiers
Week 1: Tchaikovsky (home library), vocabulary, song pg. 79
Week 2: Review, Vox, rent The Nutcracker


In Lives of the Musicians by Kathleen Krull: Vivaldi* . Bach* . Mozart* . Beethoven* . Chopin . Verdi . Schumann* . Foster . Brahms* . Tchaikovsky* . Gilbert & Sullivan . Satie . Joplin . Ives . Stravinsky . Boulanger . Prokofiev . Gershwin . Guthrie

Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers Series; by Mike Venezia

* George Gershwin, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994.
* Peter Tchaikovsky, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1994. *
* George Handel, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.
* Aaron Copland, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.
* Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995. *
* Duke Ellington, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1995.
* Igor Stravinsky, Children's Press (Chicago, IL), 1996.
* Ludwig Van Beethoven, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1996. *
* The Beatles, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
* Leonard Bernstein, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1997.
* Johann Sebastian Bach, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1998. *
* John Philip Sousa, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1998. *
* Frédéric Chopin, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999.
* Johannes Brahms, Children's Press (New York, NY), 1999. *

Opal Wheeler composer biographical fiction:

Adventures of Richard Wagner by Wheeler
Curtain Calls for Franz Schubert by Wheeler and Deucher *
Curtain Calls for Joseph Haydn and Sebastian Bach by Wheeler and Deucher *
Curtain Calls for Wolfgang Mozart by Wheeler and Deucher *
Edvard Grieg, Boy of the Northland by Deucher
Edward MacDowell, and His Cabin in the Pines by Wheeler and Deucher
Franz Schubert and His Merry Friends by Wheeler and Deucher *
Frederic Chopin: Son of Poland - Early Years by Wheeler
Frederic Chopin, Son of Poland: Later Years by Wheeler
Handel at the Court of Kings by Wheeler
Joseph Haydn, the Merry Little Peasant by Wheeler and Deucher *
Ludwig Beethoven and the Chiming Tower Bells by Wheeler *
Mozart, the Wonder Boy by Wheeler and Deucher *
Paganini: Master of Strings by Wheeler
Peter Tschaikowsky and the Nutcracker Ballet by Wheeler
Robert Schumann and Mascot Ziff by Wheeler
Sebastian Bach, the Boy from Thuringia by Wheeler and Deucher *
Stephen Foster and His Little Dog Tray by Wheeler
Story of Peter Tchaikowsky, The (Part I) by Wheeler *
Young Brahms, The by Deucher *


Baroque Composers
Music & Music History
Classics for Kids
Dallas Symphony Orchestra Kids
Play Music Interactive site
Different Classical Music links
Classical Archives

You can also purchase a Composers coloring book if you wish at Lamp Post Publishing or any other vendor that carries Bellerophron Coloring books. You could also photocopy the pages in Themes to Remember and color those


Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Blessed by TeamNewman

I sent Crystal a copy of Science in the Creation Week because we weren't using it and I thought it would be perfect for her sons. It was and as a way of thanks she made these gorgeous new friends for my children. Danny has been making snake noises all day and Camille has named her new friend Milly-Molly-Mandy. Thank you Crystal for your blessings- this truly is God's work in action.


Monday, January 29, 2007

Toddler Patrol

Aquadoodle play mat: uses only water and it's a big surface for him to play and draw until his little heart is content. It's also perfect for introducing shapes and letters to him.

Edible playdough: get the highchair out, put a garbage bag or towel underneath and let him play, eat, smash and otherwise keep himself occupied! (Keep him in the same room as you)

Play toddler tunes for 20 minutes of dancing, acting silly and tickling to get that one-on-one time in. Act out the songs. We then switch to kids' Christian songs for him and we play our classical music selection low in our learning room.

We got him a train table for Christmas, it's the one from Step2 Train and track table, he Loves it! I don't think this is what you're thinking of but truly, it keeps mine happy and occupied for at least 1-2 hours during lessons.

Utilize that nap time to do read-alouds, history, and reading!

His own coloring station complete with Crayola's Mess-Free markers and paper. I also have coloring books for him if he will sit nicely and color with crayons. (I, of course monitor this!)

He loves our dry-erase easel, it has a chalkboard on the other side but he doesn't like using the chalk, he'd rather eat it. This has be monitored closely too.

Last resort: Cars, Love Bug (old Herbie movie), Curious George, Baby Einstein, - whatever movie he likes.

To try before you get to Last Resort: Quiet time in his room with baby gates on the door. He may need time to "chill" - he has a very demanding life, you know! I have a toybox filled with nothing but wooden blocks for him, a few board books and some cars and trucks to play with.

That reminds me, I've taken away ALL his toys. I divided all of them into shoebox bins that I keep high in his closet- he gets ONE a day. I include cars, trucks, animal figurines, a few of his electronic toys. The big cars and trucks cannot fit so under the bed they go, he can play with those anytime, same with the wooden blocks and board books.

This has saved my sanity- our house would be toy-destroyed at all hours of the day no matter how many times I called out, "Time to Tidy!"

Mine loves to gibber-read while we read aloud and it's wonderful to see him sitting beside big sis pretending to read.

If you can, let him stand at the kitchen sink with a few plastic bowls, let him play, splash and get all wet. Of course, remove anything that he may harm or may harm him.

Make sure you spend special time with him during the day, the poor little guy just wants to be loved, chased, tickled, doted over and otherwise paid attention to. Mine opened a bag of flour and decorated the kitchen with it, 15 minutes before we left for church. I was unavailable in the bathroom and Pastor Daddy was on his way to pick us up. It was a sight! I didn't go to church this Sunday, what took him possibly 8 minutes to do took me 2.5 to clean up.


Even Such Is Time . . .

Even Such Is Time . . .
by Sir Walter Raleigh

Even such is Time, that takes in trust
Our youth, our joys, our all we have,
And pays us but with earth and dust;
Who, in the dark and silent grave,
When we have wandered all our ways,
Shuts up the story of our days;
But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.

The poem we read aloud today during our lessons. Dh and I were talking today about wishing there was a way to index all our books' contents. If we want to find a reading about trees, then we could type in 'trees' into our wonderful imaginary indexing software and book titles would appear with page numbers. Oh how wonderful that would be and efficient too. Does it exist? Surely, it must in this day and age. Amazon has a feature where you can spend a $1 or so more and be able to view a book you purchased online but this wouldn't work for all our books.

There is joy in flipping through a book and finding a new treasure while you're looking for a particular one. This is what happened today, I was looking for a poem to describe a toddler growing up. Danny's daybed crib has now been disassembled and stored away, he's sleeping in a full size bed now. Camille and I launched Danny into his next phase with a couple screws. I'm just a little remorseful about this. He's talking much better now, although not complete sentences but he's improving.

Our discipline efforts with Danny have found a comfortable place. He may not obey the first time but I've decided that between his stubborness and mine mixed with dh's impatience this wasn't a good combination. So I relaxed a little and it has made ALL the difference. Dh has been feeling a little left out lately because I've become Danny's favorite again. Who knew that he could be so rambunctious one minute and sweet as sugar the next? I did. I forgot because I was so wrapped up in trying to establish first-time obedience in our home. Camille obeys very well and she's very compliant which can be confusing when you're bouncing between two children all day long. I don't know how other parents do it with larger families. God bless them.

Anyways, if you know a good indexing system like the one we're dreaming about, will you tell me about it?


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Fun: What's your learning style?

You Are a Visual Learner

You tend to remember what you see, and you have a good eye for aesthetics.
You excel at art, design, and computer programming.
You would be an excellent film director - or the next Bill Gates!

What's Your Learning Style?

No wonder Camille is a visual learner! I am too. Who would have thought?

I keep waiting for the anvil to fall on my head...


Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Elementary Years Overview

UPDATE: This has changed, for the latest PreK-4 information, see Our PreK-4

Here's our overview plan for first through fourth grade. I haven't added in any sports, homemaking, other activities because curriculum is easy, life is hard.

Horizons Preschool
Tons of reading aloud, games and fun
D'Nealian pre-writing activites

Galloping the Globe
Sing, Spell, Read & Write K/1
Horizons K
D'Nealian Handwriting, Copywork

First Grade
Bible: Leading Little Ones to God, Beginnings I: And It Was Good
Phonics: Sing, Spell, Read & Write K/1
Grammar: Language Lessons for the Very Young
Memory/Copywork: The Harp and the Laurel Wreath, other memory work
Math: Horizons 1

Spelling: Spelling Workout A & B
Handwriting: If printing consistently neat, start Classically Cursive Book 1
History: TOG Redesigned Year 1 with SOTW, Lower Grammar focus
Science: Life science- Human, Animal & Plant
Art: Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 1

Unit Study Month: Dinosaurs

Second Grade

Bible: Beginnings II: Jesus, My Shepherd
French: French vocabulary and games
Memory/Copywork: The Harp and the Laurel Wreath, other memory work
Grammar: Primary Language Lessons by Lingua Mater
Math: Horizons 2

Spelling: Spelling Workout C only
Handwriting: finish Classically Cursive Book 1, do cursive in copywork
History: TOG Redesigned Year 2 with SOTW, Lower Grammar focus
Science: Earth Science & Astronomy
Art: TOG Year 2 & Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 2
Music: Private piano lessons
Geography: The Geography Book, use in science lessons

Unit Study Month: ?


Bible: Discovery: In The Beginning
French: more children's products smorgasboard
Memory/Copywork: The Harp and the Laurel Wreath, other memory work
Writing: Writing Tales 1
Grammar: Intermediate Language Lessons by Lingua Mater
Math: Horizons 3

Spelling: Spelling Workout C/D
Logic: Building Critical Thinking Skills, Book 1
History: Tapestry of Grace, ReDesign Year 3 with SOTW
Science: Living Learning Books Chemistry
Art: Drawing With Children
Music: Private piano lessons

Unit Study Month: Summer field trip based on U.S. history studies

Fourth Grade

Early History of Israel: Exodus through Joshua
French: First Start French (?)
Memory/Copywork: The Harp and the Laurel Wreath, other memory work
Grammar: Junior Analytical Grammar, finish Intermediate Language Lessons
Writing: Classical Composition Fable Narrative (1/2 yr)
Math: Horizons 4

Spelling: Spelling Workout D/E
Logic: ?
History: Tapestry of Grace ReDesign Year 4 with SOTW
Science: Noeo Physics or Bite-Size Physics?
Art: Artistic Pursuits K-3, Book 3
Music: Piano instruction (child's decision)

Unit Study Month: Read all The Story of the World Volumes in geographical order (?)

  1. Spelling will be dependent on Camille's progress, we'll slow down/speed up when she needs to.
  2. Our Unit Study month is what we'd like to focus on for one month in-between ending and starting a new year.
  3. We will use Horizons Math through 6th grade.
  4. We will use Tapestry of Grace with SOTW as a spine for 1-4.
Now, instead of searching through my various notebooks to find this, I can just pull it up here.

Adding Logic/Dialectic stage (5th-8th) thoughts:

- History: TOG Dialectic level with Streams of Civilization as our spine, with timeline.
- French: First Start French Level 1 and 2, then ?
- Math: Horizons 5 & 6, then ?
- Bible: Explorer's Bible Study (on-going)
- Science: Prentice Hall Science Explorer books
- Logic: still being determined
- Grammar: 6th-8th Analytical Grammar
- Writing: Writing Aids too?
5th CC Fable/Narrative with Classical Writing's Poetry for Beginners (?)
6th CC Cheira/Maxim
7th CC Refutation-Common Topic
8th CC Encomium/Invective/Comparison


Books- The Must Haves

Glancing through catalogs at the book offerings, I wonder what is REALLY worth having or what is just a vanity buy. I consider a vanity buy things that you think you want, you think you'll use or a good buy just because everyone else is buying it. Honestly I considered these books just that- a vanity buy due to the fact everyone else has them. I found out that in the case of the books I'm about to mention, this is the furthest thing from the truth. These are the Must Haves for Christian, Classical and Charlotte Mason homeschoolers.

Christian Liberty Nature Readers
Why are they a must have?
The books are focused on nature stories that actually teach about life science and God's glory. Children are naturally curious about their world when they are young and these books give a wonderful foundation to build from. Why read Amelia Bedelia when your child can be reading about the inner workings of a beehive and love it just as much? These books can also be used as an elementary science but I have them for reading purposes. The price is right too, anywhere from $4.75 to $6.95 per book. I bought mine as a set but I can't remember from where.

The Millers Series by Mildred A. Martin
Why are they a must have?
These are the perfect read-alouds for budding Christians! I can't tell you how many times I read those very words on others' blogs and websites but it is TRUE! Character education, exposure to world missions, adventure, family and all for the glory of God. You've heard that it is best to teach Proverbs to your children, why not read Wisdom and the Millers? You want a little adventure in your read-alouds? Read Missionary Stories with the Millers. Want to give your children examples of what disobedience can lead to and provide a good example of how to behave? Read Storytime with the Millers. These books can be found for about $5.50 each. There are other titles as well.

The Burgess Books
Why are they a must have?
These wouldn't be a good purchase for children who dislike nature/animal stories. However, there is a reason that these are as old as they are and still touted! Wonderful read alouds, any of Thornton W. Burgess' books would be a great addition to your home library. The best way to teach a subject is to make it engaging, entertaining and full of information- in The Burgess Bird Book for Children, children are exposed to what birds look like, their behavior, habits and songs.

I wish I hadn't ignored these books when we first started out. I read all about them and still didn't buy them. These books are what I consider foundational books for children, just as fables and fairy tales are.


Guess Who?

This is Camille's drawing of Curious George. Didn't she do a great job?
We did so little school this week, I'm not doing a weekly report. We are doing lessons today however.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

Homeschool Resources Meme

I've been tagged by The Tutor to answer this meme...

The Well-Trained Mind

Rainbow Resource, fabulous views inside products and great customer service. I also love their wishlist option!

Some DVDs about Rome that are inappropriate for my children but didn't have a rating on them to determine this before watching them. We'll be able to use them when they are older (high school), but it would have been nice to use that money in other ways.

The Story of the World, Volume 1

Themes to Remember by, starting their six year schedule

One of those laser pointing things to help with astronomy.

A step-by-step guide to narrations with scripted instructions and varying degrees of progress. And the book I'm supposed to write, The Ultimate Homeschooling Resource Guide.

Memoria Press' Classical Teacher because of the articles.

The Well-Trained Mind Message Boards




A Froggy Sort of Day

In our life science studies, we're currently studying frogs. We have tadpoles growing and although we received 5 tadpoles in our shipment only two have survived. We also received a snail in our shipment that is doing well. I really hope the remaining two tadpoles survive!

We've taken Monday-Wednesday off because of various reasons. Monday, Camille was at her dad's. Tuesday, our 2nd grade curriculum came in and if you think I was going to homeschool with a box of goodies to look at, you're sadly mistaken. Wednesday, we had an opportunity to visit Sonya, a fellow classical homeschooler with six children. So here we are on Thursday and I had a dentist appointment. I assigned the independent work while I was gone- math, scripture memorization, poetry copywork, spelling, and cursive handwriting. Dh was there if she had questions. I came home and she was done.

So, Thursday is our science day. I decided to spend the remainder of the day on only science. Frogs were the animal of the day- we read from our First Encyclopedia of Animals, DK's Living Earth, Childcraft's All About Animals and then we read poems. We read 5-6 poems from An Arkful of Animals, It's Raining Pigs and Noodles, Childcraft's Poems & Rhymes, and we read fables and stories about frogs. Among these were Clever Frog, The Boys and Frogs, The Frog and the Ox, I tried finding Thumbelina in our collection of stories and didn't find it. I'll try again or check it out from the library. Camille also read from CL's Nature Reader. We have a few more books about frogs, like Ruth Heller's How to Hide A Meadow Frog that we will read tonight before bed.

We read Charlotte's Web last night and Camille asked me to read two chapters! This was a wonderful thing to hear from the girl who hasn't wanted to read aloud for the last two weeks! She even wanted to find out how long the book would take if we read two chapters a night. I told her it would take eleven days, she said "Good. Can we read Wind and the Willows next?"

Hallejuah! (The tadpoles came from, Carolina Biological something or other.)



I have nothing much to say other than I am grateful and thankful for the blessings God has sent my way recently. I want to get this out so that when the time comes that I want to pull my hair out and I can read this again. : )

1. Discipline has finally found it's balance in our home between guiding, playing and correction. Danny is not the easiest little boy nor is he the hardest but it has been a tumultous experience figuring out what works for him and us.

2. My babies are home with me, I am enjoying homeschooling very much. Yesterday, Camille remarked at how late the school buses were delivering the kids at home (4:00 pm) and how although she likes the bus, she's glad she's at home.

3. Visiting Sonya always rejuvenates me and we were able to visit yesterday for a couple of hours. She made authentic fried rice and it was yummy!

4. I am so grateful to have our 2nd grade curriculum and be able to work on the teacher's end of the preparing whenever I'd like, without having to wait to order something. I'm grateful for the cash gifts we got for Christmas that allowed us to be able to place our order.

5. I'm grateful that I had a great dentist visit and I have no work that needs to be done.

6. I'm thankful to God for our recent struggles because it has made me stop and re-evaluate a lot of different things our lives and how best to move forward in a way that will be honoring and pleasing to Him.

7. I'm grateful for my Dh for working as hard as he does and surprising me every now and then with appreciation for what I do. Including sticking up for me when church members feel it's their duty to criticize me.

8. I am ever so thankful for the online homeschooling community that inspires me, uplifts me, bonks me on the head when I need it and pushes me in the right direction when I keep looking lost. There are so many wonderful homeschoolers out there that share their journeys complete with trials and triumphs.

9. We are blessed to be able to offer our children an education where patriotism, God and prayer play vital roles. We are blessed in that we don't have to rush our children through homework, baths, bedtimes and dinner in order to be in bed by a certain time deemed necessary for early morning rush-to-school.

10. I am grateful that our car that quit working on morning was fine and the mechanics could find nothing wrong with it and furthermore did not charge us for looking at the car. I hope to be grateful soon in finding a new owner for our truck, whose tranmission has gone.

What do you say when you're filled with thanksgiving?
Thank you Lord.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My M&M Version


It's Here!!!

And he asks...
"Is there any money left in our bank account?" Ol' ye of little faith! Our 2nd grade curriculum came in today and dh brought home the largest box from the post office.
Our 2nd grade art, we also have Lives of the Artists and will check out books from the library as we need them.

Music is our main fine arts focus for 2nd grade. We're starting the six year schedule at this year.
Camille will also be taking piano lessons.

Readers I should have bought last year but hindsight and all. We have the Christian Liberty Nature Readers.

A few of the books we already own and what we bought to use for Bible and Church history. Courage and Conviction, the 3rd book in the History Lives series is available at Westminster Bookstore.

Our 2nd grade science, not pictured are the spines we already have.

I didn't dare photograph what we got for history, I might later. I am so glad that I bought Educating the Whole-Hearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. After thumbing through it, I know I'll enjoy it.

Feeling very elated,


Monday, January 22, 2007

Developing Your Child's Faith

I have to say I've been at a loss of HOW develop my children into strong Christians. If you've read my blog for a while, then you already know that I was raised in a moral home but not necessarily Christian. We didn't go to church, but I was allowed to go to my friends' churches when they invited me. When I got older I was given permission to attend church as I wish but it was never with my family.

Life can be so ironic at times. I'm a pastor's wife now and I don't know how to develop my children's spiritual lives. I've read parenting books about discipline, I've read books about character development but nothing has been helpful in making me feel more confident about the road ahead for my children's personal faith. I guess this is where the insecurity about American history came from. TruthQuest History (I may say this wrong, so please check it out for yourself) offers a type of discussion guide to help you seek the Lord in your history studies. I have a homeschooling friend that leads her children so well in their faith, in a way she's my mentor. I don't want to be exactly like her but I want to be able to help my children the way she does hers. I want to feel and be equipped!

I stopped at a Lifeway Christian store today and decided to look at the selections available. In the family section I found Focus on the Family's Parents' Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children by John Trent, Ph.D., Rick Osborne, Kurt Bruner. This hefty volume felt like an answer to a prayer!
Here's a quick overview of the table of contents:

Part I: The Single Most Important Task for Christian Parents
with chapters on looking at the big picture, spiritual training 101, but what if?, making commitments

Part II: How to Pass on Your Spiritual Legacy
Section A: Your Family's Portrait
Section B: Ages and Stages 0-12
Section C: Ideas and Methods You Can Choose From
which includes church-related spiritual training; on-the-spot spiritual training; ideas, methods and tools for the family; special times and events; ideas, methods and tools for individual growth

Part III: The Content of your Spiritual Legacy
What your ____(fill in the blank with your child's age) can learn
Part IV: Practical Questions and Resources
Including memory verses! Plus there are so many books quoted and listed, you have a ton of resources in this book!

The format is very user-friendly and I compared this book to others in the store but I decided that I wanted this one. It seemed the most complete. If you can, get it through your library and preview it yourself, and has inside views as well. In his book, Shepherding A Child's Heart, Tedd Tripp talks about how important it is to reach our children's hearts while we discipline and outside of discipline but the examples just weren't enough for me. I feel this book will give me what I need to be the parent that I want to be, for God and for my children.


Obsessed with U.S. History

Our 2nd grade curriculum is in route and I can't seem to shake thoughts about U.S. History! At the end of SOTW 2, the explorers are finding America and there are chapters about the Aztecs and Mayans. No problem, I've got that period covered but when it comes to U.S. History there is just so much!

Participating in online homeschool communities can be hazardous to a simple approach, there are so many temptations to check out the curricula that others are using and praising! What has spurred this obsession of mine is thoughts about our logic stage years (grades 5-8) and what we will use. This is always a topic for Well-Trained Mind users that has very different opinions. So in an attempt to quell the curiosity beast within, I am going to list what I have collected from used bookstores, Goodwill, and others for U.S. History. Maybe then I won't feel like I don't have enough!

Abigail Adams : An American Woman (Weekend Biographies Series)
The Adventures of George Washington
Albert Einstein: Young Thinker (Childhood of Famous Americans)
Amelia Earhart
Daniel Boone : Frontier Adventures (Easy Biographies)
The Double Life of Pocahontas
Ferdinand Magellan (What Made Them Great Series)
Geronimo (History Maker Bios)
If You Grew Up with Abraham Lincoln
Legends of Paul Bunyan
Meet Benjamin Franklin (Step-up books)
Meet George Washington
Meet the North American Indians, (Step-up books)
Paul Bunyan
Paul Bunyan and Other Tall Tales
Paul Revere : Son of Liberty (Easy Biographies)
Phoebe and the General
Pilgrim Stories
Pocahontas: Girl of Jamestown
Pontiac, Chief of the Ottawas
Sacagawea and the Bravest Deed
Sam the Minuteman (I Can Read Book 3)
Sequoyah - Pbk
Squanto Friend of the Pilgrims
The Story of Thomas Jefferson
Tomo-Chi-Chi: Gentle Warrior
True Stories about Abraham Lincoln
What's The Big Idea, Ben Franklin? (Paperstar)
Why Don't You Get a Horse, Sam Adams?

American Revolution (Building a New Nation)
Breakout! Escape from Alcatraz (Step Into Reading , No 4)
Finding the Titanic Level 4
First Flight: The Story of Tom Tate and the Wright Brothers (I Can Read Book 4)
Fourth of July Raid
If You Lived at the Time of the Great San Francisco Earthquake
If You Sailed on the Mayflower
The Lewis and Clark Expedition
The Story of America: The First 500 Years
The Story of the Civil War
The Story of the Constitution (Cornerstones of Freedom (Paperback))
The Story of the Declaration of Independence (Book-of-the-Month Club)
The Story of the Declaration of Independence (Cornerstones of Freedom)
The Story of the Golden Spike (Cornerstones of freedom)
The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Cornerstones of freedom)
The Story of the Underground Railroad (Cornerstones of Freedom (Paperback))
The Story of the Women's Movement (Cornerstones of Freedom Series)

Children of the Wild West
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Cowboys: A Library of Congress Book (Library of Congress Classics)
Don't Know Much About American History (Don't Know Much About)
Hidden Pictures: Across America (Ultimate Hidden Pictures)
The Home Adventure Library : Volume 3 : People and Places and America's Story*
If You Lived in Colonial Times
If You Lived with the Sioux Indians
The Indian in the Cupboard
Little House on the Prairie (Little House)
Over the Mormon Trail (Frontiers of America Series)
The Red Badge of Courage (Dover Thrift Edition)
Sister Wendy's American Masterpieces
Stories of Early America (Through golden windows)*
Take Me Out to the Airfield!
The Wisdom of the Native Americans: Includes the Soul of an Indian and Other Writings by Ohiyesa, and the Great Speeches
Clamshell Boy- A Makah Legend
Famous Americans- Activity Book
A Child's Story of America by Christian Liberty Press*

America the Beautiful: The Stirring True Story Behind Our Nation's Favorite Song
Book of the Presidents
I Want to be President (Sesame Street)
Lives of the Presidents: Fame, Shame (and What the Neighbors Thought)
So You Want to Be President?
A Star-spangled Birthday: A Celebration in Song, Poetry, Facts, and Trivia
We the people; the story of the United States Capitol, its past and its promise
The White House; an historic guide

Abeka's My State Notebook
My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States
The Mysterious Tail of a Charleston Cat: A Tour Guide for Children of All Ages
Open dem cells: A pictorial history of the Albany movement
State Birds and Flowers Coloring Book (Dover Pictorial Archive Series)
Hold That Thought- U.S. Geography & History cd

I think I've got U.S. History covered for a while. The three with asterisks can be used as spines, of course A Child's Story of America is familiar to homeschoolers but the other two are gems I've found that are U.S. History narratives with stories by Genevieve Foster, D'Aulaire, Carl Sandburg, Stephen Foster, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Louisa May Alcott, and Elizabeth Coatsworth.
The People and Places, America's Story covers exploration to Martin Luther King Jr. in a narrative, illustrated way. I think I have U.S. History covered for our grammar years (1-4) and some of our logic years (5-8). I feel better now.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

First Sewing Project

The dresses are the same pattern with the exception of the sleeves but I'm going to attempt the one that is top left. I've got the fabric and everything else I'll need, including muslim to practice with. The lady at the fabric store said it was an ambitious project but when I asked if I should try something simpler to start she said no. Huh?

She made me get a Sewing How-To book, lol. I was frustrated with my new sewing machine because I couldn't find all the accessories that come with it, there's a secret compartment that I had a hard time finding. Lol. I thought that was funny. Here's the sewing maching I got for my birthday last April which only came out of it's box today.

It's a Brother XL3500T that dh said I could buy as my birthday gift, it was on sale. It'll allow me to do quilts on it as well, if I ever get that far. The lady at the fabric store said that sewing is as simple as driving a car. Yeah right. I don't have to run the seat belt through an obstacle course to get it on!


Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Weekly Report

This week has been interesting. The digital piano has gotten a lot of attention as Camille and I have been looking at the Piano Basics book we bought for beginning our lessons. I need to call the piano teachers in our area, get prices and arrange trial lessons. I don't know why I haven't done this. She's really excited to start piano lessons but not in the way that it seems that it has been hyped up.

I realized this week that I have been probably reading books that are too above her head, we were trying to finish up The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor and Camille had lost all interest. I have persevered in the past and just kept reading to her, just to expose her but I realized this isn't what I want. I want my children to love reading and at least like the books I'm reading to them. So I'm dropping all long chapter books that pertain to history unless Camille asks for them. If we can't read the books during our history time during the day, we're not reading them. I understand now that we should be reading children's literature, picture books and stories that she requests.

I'm still going to read fables, fairy tales and nature stories but other than that there will be no more longer historical fiction books until she can read them on her own and enjoy them. She has asked to read Charlotte's Web next so that is our new read-aloud. It is a chapter book but it's at her request. On a frustrating note this week, Camille has misplaced her Reading-Literature Primer that I had pictured in last week's review. I haven't torn the house apart looking for it yet because our Christian Liberty Nature Readers came in and I've had her read from Book One but I want the primer FOUND! Lol.

Oh, Danny (2yo) emptied a gallon of milk out on the kitchen floor this week. There is now a lock on the refrigerator door whenever I am not in view of the refridgerator. I just have to remember that the lock is on there, I've broken one already. So far in the last two weeks Danny has emptied a canister of flour and a gallon of milk- we're guessing eggs next. : )

We've started reading Egermeier's Bible Storybook alongside our Explorer's Bible Study and I like it better. We'll see how it goes. She also drew a picture for some of her memory verses this week and here's one about God resting. Yes, that is God laying down taking a nap.

Working on The Whole Duty of Children by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Camille is doing very well with adding -ing, -ed, -es, -ed, -er, -est to her words. She's doing a lesson a day in Spelling Workout B. This could become an independent thing she can do on her own and I can quiz the words with her. I'm not sure if I want to do that just yet.

Going very well, I feel as if we've stepped up to the plate with math. We're getting into new territory and it's exciting and interesting to see how Camille will process the new information. We're counting from 100-200, so far so good.

Camille read-aloud from the McGuffey's Eclectic First Reader this week and the Nature Reader book 1. We are still trying to locate our copy of the Reading Literature Primer that she was reading last week. Camille has decided she wants me to read-aloud Charlotte's Web.

Solidifying address information and working on The Days of the Week poem.

We studied the Olympic Games this week and had a version of our own in the backyard. Camille noticed that the men were unclothed in the Olympic Games, I was careful not to choose any books that showed detail but it is noticeable that they don't have any clothes on. She thought this was funny and decided to add it to her narration picture, much to my dismay. I did a poor job of writing down her narration, she talked so fast! I tried to get her to slow down but she lost her train of thought so I did what I could. (Sidenote: if she was in public school, I'd have no idea when or how she was exposed to these types of things, so I think this was pretty mild.)

We studied ants and termites. We read all about them and even a few poems. We're having a lot of fun with our Animal study. Camille tried to draw the three parts of an insect, I think she did a good job- the head, thorax and the abdomen.


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Telescopes and Binoculars, Oh my!

This week we realized dh's telescope that he has had in a box for five years does not work. What a surprise, but thankfully it's just an old Walmart model. 'What a surprise', meaning this box has not been stored properly and I gave up this fight about 4 years ago.

So, since we're studying astronomy in 2nd grade I felt it was necessary to research how much tax money we might end up spending on a telescope or pair of binoculars. I didn't know I had so many decisions to make! After looking at telescopes and discussing it at a message board, the SkyQuest 6" Dobsonian Telescope was the telescope choice. The price anywhere from $229-259. This is pretty steep but it would be it for buying a telescope. And really that isn't steep in comparison to other telescopes. The problem with this is that this telescope is a beginner's telescope. I don't think that would be the problem until someone expressed interest in doing more.

Next up was looking at binoculars. There is nothing else that will make you feel dumb as a brick as tech-talk. If you don't understand the specifications and what they mean, you don't have a clue as to what you are truly looking at. Therefore, I had to read 3 or 4 articles to understand what in the world 10x50 means and why I might want it.

I am not the only person on the web pricing binoculars thankfully! Also, when in doubt ask a friend or if online, a message board. Chances are SOMEONE has experience with these types of things. I had the help of two experienced buyers. Yay!!! For binoculars, the choices can be cheaper than the telescope but it depends on a few things. One-your selection of binoculars, Two- if your selection needs a tripod and Three- if you have a tripod already that would work! Here's the choice of binoculars for us. These are the Celestron SkyMaster 15x70 Center Focus, these weigh 4 pounds and tripod adaptable. The price is $84.00, although reg. retail price is $128.95. I'm still doing a little research to see if the Celestron SkyMaster 12x60 Center Focus would be just as sufficient for us or not. The 12x60 are $65.00. We don't think we have to buy a tripod because we have two that might work.

I have a little more research to do, in comparing the 12x60 to the 15x70 and possibly even smaller ones. Click on the links and see how big these are, there's a picture of a girl/woman holding them. I think I'll be sticking with the Celestron name because other brands charge more for the same thing.


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Predator Study

If I were to do a study on predators for four weeks, I would either pick four predators and focus on one a week or pick four different type of predators from the different classes of animals and study one each week.
For example:

Week One - Shark
Week Two - Lion
Week Three - Eagle
Week Four - Snake

If you wanted to make the study a little longer you could add others.
Or for big cat enthusiasts:
Week One: Tiger
Week Two: Lion
Week Three: Cheetah
Week Four: Mountain Lion/Cougar

National Geographic or Discovery has plenty of predator dvds to choose from. You may even be able to get them through Netflix or Blockbuster, most you can. As far as games go, there may be some food chain / predator educational games out there, including this online one about predator/prey. Or here where you can build a food chain, there's a board game called INTO THE FOREST, Nature's Food Chain Game. If you like the game monopoly, there's the Wild Animology game, which can be found at ToysRUs.

Activity kits that would be interesting depending on the animals chosen, including casting kits for ages 7 and up. Of course there won't be activity kits every animal unless you do some real searching. Reading, watching videos, play-acting and playing a game or two should keep the kids interested. You can fill out the study with coloring books and sticker books, I have an Animal Predator sticker book, ISBN 1-84510-626-1, or you might be able to find an activity book that contains several different activities.

Hope this gives you plenty of ideas! We homeschool year-round and I like to finish our products, I've assessed that we should be done with all our first grade curriculum in May/June. Camille's birthday is in July so I'd like to wait until after that to start 2nd grade. If our dinosaur study gets interrupted that's fine, we could do it in two weeks.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Quoted & Noted

We previewed the Prima Latina DVDs today and Camille was just following what Leigh Lowe was telling her to say, no fuss - no muss. She looked at me with a serious look on her face and said, "Mom, you and Mrs. Lowe can be my teachers. Okay?" Caught a little off guard, I said "Sure." She got upset when Danny made car noises over Mrs. Lowe's instructions. "Danny, I'm trying to speak Latin HERE!!"

Just to trackback a little, Camille and I have had some conversations about taking piano lessons and how she would need to practice everyday. She was all on-board about piano lessons until I told her we were looking for a teacher. Serious look again, "Mom, I don't want anyone to be my teacher other than you. Will you teach me piano?" I wanted to tell her yes but I couldn't- this is one area that I need someone else to be involved, to help her achieve some discipline and possibly a mentor. I told her, "Sweetie, I'll help you with your practice and we'll find a nice teacher for you to learn with. That doesn't sound bad, does it?" Camille paused and thought for a moment, "No, it doesn't sound bad but I won't like her because you're my favorite teacher."

And a mom in Georgia smiles to herself.


Monday, January 15, 2007

One Month of Dinosaurs

This is what I've collected (over a period of time) for our one-month Dinosaur study. I consider it a unit-study because Dinosaurs is ALL we're going to study for one month during our break in-between first and second grade. I have a coloring book on it's way but for the most part, this is all of it. I don't feel like I need a guide, we'll just read and see what develops. I want to leave this as unscheduled as possible. We might get other books from the library but here's what we have ready to use!

National Geographic's Dinosaurs and Fossils (very cool!)
assemble a dinosaur skeleton • build a pterosaur mobile
cast plaster fossils • play a dinosaur quiz game
create a time spiral • make a geologic time bookmark
The 32-page book guides your experiments and discoveries.

Dino-opoly Game, Danny and the Dinosaur, Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki, The Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark,
Dinosaur Songs (cassette tape), and Dinosaurs Forever by William Wise (poetry)
Really Wild Animals: Dinosaurs and other Creature Features DVD
Travel back to the days of raging raptors and the terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex, when dinosaurs ruled the earth! Plus, see some of the world's creepiest creatures such as spiders, ants, dung beetles, and more. Includes Bonus Program: I Love Dinos as well as Interactive Prehistoric Creature Feature with fun facts, quizzes, sounds clips, and maps.

Pictured: Rand McNally's Dinosaur Fold-Out Book, Golden Look Book- Dinosaurs, Digging Up Dinosaurs by Aliki, The Magic School Bus: In the Time of Dinosaurs, Raptors (Step into Reading), Living Fossils.

Pictured: The Nature Company Discoveries Library: Dinosaurs, Eyewitness Books: Dinosaur, DK Eyewitness: Living Earth and Discovering Dinosaurs Wierd and Wonderful.

Other videos will be watched via United Streaming. Here's some online sites we might explore.'s Interactive Dinosite
Kid's Turn Central - a list of sites to explore
Dinosaur Online Activites
Kaboose Dinosaur Site has a dinosaur shadow box (thanks Rhonda!)

There's plenty to do online, of course. We'll also try to visit a museum that has a dinosaur exhibit.
Camille's excited and she doesn't even know all this!

SIDENOTE: If you're wondering why we're using products that promote the evolution theory, it is because my children will learn that that is exactly what it is. A theory. Just as what Young Earth Creationists, Old Earth Creationists, Progressive Creationist and all the other -ists that have "theories" about how the earth came to be about and the hows & whys we are here. There is only ONE fact and truth for us—God created. Meanwhile, my children will be taught to respect other's opinions but to realize always that we are merely human and God is the only one who knows all. : )


Sharing Website Resources

I've wanted to post this since I found some of these websites. I'll be adding them to the sidebar on the left but I want to 'highlight' them now. Don't forget to get your own Peculiar Aristocratic Name that is two posts down, and if you have an Junior Deluxe Editions on your shelf, I'm collecting them (read about it four posts down). So without further ado...

If you're new to homeschooling or you like reading articles, this is the best compliation of information I've seen. This is a page I wish I would have found when I first started.

If you're interested in finding out more about United Streaming, Paula has placed an info page at her archives site: United Streaming, Paula's Archives

I posted this before but it's worth mentioning again, check out especially if you have any of the books on your shelves that they use. I use The Book of Virtues.

A great article about memorization.

A page I found interesting about scripture memorization.

Cool Vikings Game!

Interesting about Spelling.

Great game for learning the location and names of the states! It's timed too. Believe it or not, I found this on a hockey forum!

This is a DVD that I cannot decide to get or not. If you've seen it will you let me know what you think?

An online friend shared about this website and store for American History.

U.S. Geography Quizzes.

Celtic Game and Interactive site!

The History of Religion in 90 seconds!

Geology Online Labs

Coins, Currency and the Presidents

That's all I have time for today. I have more and I'll post them soon. Most of these have been shared by other homeschoolers at message boards or I have found them googling for a particular subject. A homeschooler requested some links so I thought I would post them here. Most of these will find a home in my left sidebar.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Lady Jessica the Excited of Bumpstead under Carpet


Saturday, January 13, 2007

An Antiquer's Daughter

My mother is an avid collector of antiques, of course they have to suit her fancy but she has a few collections. She almost has every piece of the Ballerina Cameo, Green Depression glass. She knows the reproductions from the originals. She also loves lamps, candle holders and matchboxes. My grandmother collects Royal Doulton dolls and teacups with saucers. My mother-in-law collects Gone with the Wind memorabilia and cookbooks.

What do I collect? I tried the Willow Tree Angels, I love them! They are simple, elegant and have a primitive feel to them. However, how many angels does one person need? Also, where in the world do you PUT them? I tried a shelf, my fil bumped the shelf during a visit and the fall (laugh if you want) beheaded 6 of my angels. He offered to replace them but I told him it was okay. I didn't have the heart to say that it really wasn't a loss. My mil and fil had bought a good many of them.

I'd really like to say I collect something, at least to make it easier on those who want to give gifts that will have meaning to me. I was reminded at Christmas just how hard I tend to make gift-giving on others. I don't collect anything. A ha! Yes, I do. I realized this morning that I do collect something and I hold them in very high-esteem. I collect books. I don't just value the modern books, no my real passion is the books of old that are in good condition to be used today. Alas, I'm still difficult. I want certain books, a certain quality to them and I prefer that they don't smell.

I found these at an antique store and I have decided to "collect" them. They are called Junior Deluxe Editions, most were published by Doubleday in the 1950's. The ones I have pictured are in great condition, the pages are crisp and white, they do not smell and the spines are tight. Pictured is: Five Little Peppers, Myths Every Child Should Know, Gulliver's Travels, Bambi, Captain Courageous, Toby Tyler and Black Beauty. Do you know how many of these were published? I don't know either, but it's a lot more.

Here's a look at the inside of Five Little Peppers.

I love the illustrations. I also love that I don't have to worry about content due to modern updating. I can use these as read-alouds now and when my children are old enough, they will be reading them on their own. Another set that is probably even more lovely than these is the Everyman's Library Children's Classics. But I found these first and these are what I'm going to collect. (So, there!)

I know a lot of people don't wish to take the time to go to thrift stores, antique stores and used bookstores in search of great homeschooling books. Or they feel better buying new. All I can say is thank you! Thank you for leaving these treasures for me to find! While you like D'Aulaire, James Baldwin, Kipling, Burgess, and other authors that write "living" books in your shopping cart of the brand new bookstore or online homeschool store- I'm giving these treasures a home. In fact, if you have one or two on your shelf in good condition- email me. I'm interested!

See what an influence my mother is! It's all her fault. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Friday, January 12, 2007

The Week in Review

I'm fulfilling my New Year's resolution to document Camille's work each week. We finally got back into the groove this week and there was no tv during the day until the lessons were done. I've been touch and go with this but I've maintained this week. It's made a huge difference in Camille attention and Danny's demeanor.

We're just following along in Beginnings I, we did Week 16 and talked about 1 Samuel, including Hannah, Samuel and Saul. We've had some wonderful discussions about what God wants from us and how we can joyfully serve Him.
I'm creating a notebook for her from History Scribes' biographies so that she can document what she's learned about each person in the Bible. I also typed out all the scriptures she will be memorizing from now until we're finished and this makes it simpler for her and me to have in one place. We're still reading Leading Little Ones to God because we took a break from it for a while.

This week I've started using The Harp and Laurel Wreath with Camille, the first couple of poems she already has memorized but I'm having her redo them anyway. I created a copybook for her where the first page is the poem and a place to draw a picture about the poem. After that she focuses on doing copywork of two lines of the poem for a week. Although she memorizes wonderfully, I think taking a little more time will help with retention. The picture below that Camille drew is supposed to be a little girl bringing something to her grandmother, I don't know why she chose to draw this but she did.

In Spelling Workout this week we talked about contractions, this took some time for her to understand and I don't think she has it down yet but the work she did was good. We're already on Lesson 20 and there's 36 total. I'm more than confident that she will be using the C workbook for 2nd grade.

We love FLL, we're memorizing the poem Days of the Week, we've discussed the calendar and Camille did wonderful on a narration for The Hen and the Golden Eggs. The moral portion is still a little hard for her to understand but she's 6. We're doing a lesson a day and this has helped us tremendously.

Camille is doing well with OPG, we're strengthening her decoding skills with lots of reading, including The Primer by Free and Treadwell that I got from Yesterday's Classics. She's really enjoying reading the folktales. She is also reading Math Madness, Nora Gaydos' independent readers. As our current read-aloud, we're enjoying The Seven Voyages of Sinbad the Sailor. This is a history read-aloud.

We've had to play catch up this week since we've been hit/miss with history. We studied the Myceaneans, barbarians and early Greeks. We need to finish our narration pages today. We combined chapters 18-20 in SOTW and just read, narrated and did our coloring pages. We have 22 more weeks to go and I want to be finished before 22 weeks so I need to figure out where we can combine and/or skip. We've been light on the projects but we're going to do one every other week.

Our tadpole is on its' way to our home so we can raise it to be frog, Camille is very excited! She's counting down the days, meanwhile we've studied worms this week. She watched videos online at United Streaming about soil and worms, did her worksheet about the characteristics of a worm (that I created) and we read a poem about Worm Puree. Green Thumbs had supplementary information about worms. We placed it in all the habitats it would live, and determined what type of eater it is- omnivore, herbivore, carnivore.

Camille has finished her first workbook in Horizons! There's another one to do but she is so excited that she finished one! She's a whiz at subtraction but still has a little trouble with addition, especially taking a horizontal addition problem to a vertical one. Other than that she's doing great with the calendar work we've been doing. I love how Horizons and FLL line up with concepts at times!


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Homeschooling Without Influence

I've been wondering what our homeschool would look like without the influence of fellow homeschoolers that I've met/read online. I definitely wouldn't be as confident as I am or half as knowledgeable. The Rainbow Resource catalog is very nice but I appreciate their online catalog when I want immediate answers (and possible inside views).

I receive a good many magazines/catalogs that offer homeschooling advice and how-tos, but it doesn't equal the satisfaction of one-to-one conversations with someone who has been there. I really enjoy Memoria Press' Classical Teacher, which I tend to read more than once, but I could do that without online influence.

Online influence can hurt as well as inform, equip and enthuse. I've doubted myself, I've been envious and I've felt like a failure when I compare our homeschool to others across the great wide web. Part of this is inexperience and a little immaturity but it's also unavoidable. As I've sought God's counsel for our lives, I've become more confident, and I've enjoyed our journey a little more. I've been hurt by others wanting to condemn, judge and otherwise convince others that they are doing wrong by using a product, a homeschooling methodology or parenting methods.

It has caused great insecurity and stress within to read how if I read certain things to my children I would cause them a life of strife and great sin. It has been degrading to have to defend classical methodology to those who don't wish to use it but wish to bring others' down because their own insecurities. I cannot believe that those that attack classical education actually believe that homeschoolers want to harm their children in anyway! I also cannot believe that their thinking is so narrow that they ignore how many Christian leaders, professors, authors, evangelists have been schooled in the Western Civilization. I digress.

Now you may say, you shouldn't allow that to influence you. It does, a little seed is planted and then reinforced by another article or another's blog. Then it grows into this looming insecurity and renders you feeling useless to make any good decisions for your family. Just take a look at the Old Earth/Young Earth controversy. I was going to read every book I could get my hands on to get down to the truth of the matter. Then I realized, everything is just a theory, nothing is fact except that God created. Does it truly matter if the earth is 6,000 years old or 100 million years old? No. What matters is that God created. The scientific evidence we have, we have no idea if it's accurate- we are merely humans. This is a prime example of how harmful we can be online.

Narrations, oh my goodness! If I didn't read about how other children are doing wonderful at narrations or to what degree others do narrations, I wouldn't have a second thought about ours! In comparison, I feel that we are slacking. Which is wrong, we're not slacking it's just my perceived expectations have been skewed by online influences. I try my best to inform, equip, support, encourage in a positive and meaningful way while I spend time online. Faith is something I don't tend to share online, we are all different, unique in God's eyes and what works for God and me, may not work for you and God. I'm not good at being gushy about God either, He knows that and accepts it. He is a great God! : )

Share something positive today online.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

One way to get out of church

Sunday morning as I was trying to get ready for church, Danny went into the learning room and brought one of the chairs up to the counter. I'm sure he was trying to get into the cookie jar that is filled with animal crackers but he found that the flour cannister was more fun. We have two churches that my dh preaches at every Sunday, due to sanity perservation the children and I only attend one each Sunday. Dh was on his way to pick us up to take us to the second church, and Danny was covered in flour, as well as our kitchen. What took him possibly 8 minutes to do took me 2.5 hours to clean up- do you know what flour does as it is moves? It spreads, we even had flour footprints throughout the house.

Dh came home, I had already tried to clean up as much as possible so that the flour wouldn't spread anymore. He looked, he laughed and said he'd see us after church. Now I should have taken MORE photos because these are not truly representative of the mess- there is flour in the cupboards, there is flour all over the sink, the stove (not pictured), all of the cupboards have a layer of flour dust on them. Instead of being angry, I took it in stride. If I were 2, I'd love to make it "snow"!


Sunday, January 7, 2007

Movies & Books

Charlotte's Web is in theatres and Camille wants to go see it. We haven't read the book yet so I've been contemplating whether to see it in the theatre before we read the book or read the book and catch it on video. Who am I kidding? We'll probably own this movie.

My indecision comes from wanting to enhance her imagination as much as possible. TV/Movies doesn't utilize the imagination, the work is all done- here it is on the screen. Of course we all know that when we read a book before seeing the movie adaptation we can formulate in our minds (imagination) how the character looks based on the author's description. Movies/TV take that away, an actor's face is in our minds as we read. Can you read Gone With The Wind without picturing Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is another example, when we read this will there be doubt that the book is wrong? Since the movie was seen first, will the book be deemed as boring? This is something I have struggled with as a reader, I prefer to read the book before the movie because I cannot get the actors out of my head! : ) In fact there are very few movies that I've watched that when I read the book first I was satisfied with. For example, An Unfinished Life by Mark Spragg was a good book and the tone was important to the story. The movie satisfied my reading experience with the exception of Jennifer Lopez. Although she acted the part wonderfully, I didn't picture HER as Jean. However, movies like Message in the Bottle have me talking to the screen, "You left this and this out!"

I'm currently reading The Iliad and while I have seen the movie Troy before, I didn't fully understand what was happening the whys behind it. I'm within the last chapters of The Iliad and I decided to watch Troy. I haven't pictured Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom as Achilles or Paris, my imaginary versions are much more grander. I found myself again saying to the screen, "Not only did you leave this and this out, but you changed the plot! This war was 10 years! Helen loved her countrymen! Where is Zeus? Hera? Athena?" The book is so much BETTER! Of course, how could a movie compete with Homer?

The main reason I wanted to watch Troy was to understand a little better the fighting techniques that I'm reading about. I wanted to have a clearer understanding of the armor and the chariots. Now I do have to say that Eric Bana as Hector fits very well how I envision Hector but his character in the movie is a lot different than the book. I can say that this is one movie and book that the characters I envision are stronger than those of the movie, therefore the movie doesn't ruin my reading experience. Movies have politics, the screenwriters and directors manipulate the scenes to evoke feelings, attitudes and prejudices. Books are you and the author- you get to be the screenwriter, the author the director.

Read then screen. Talk about the differences. In fact, there is a book called Talking Pictures- A Parents' Guide to Using Movies to Discuss Ethics, Values, and Everyday Problems with Children. by Ronald Madison, Ed.D. and Corey Schmidt. Read the book, watch the movie adaptation and discuss!