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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Dead and Live Languages

WARNING: The following a complete free write of what I'm thinking, the following information may not make much sense but is being worked out as I write. : )

Okay, we're going to start Prima Latina once we're done with reading lessons (very soon) and after thinking a lot about languages, I've decided I want to start Spanish or French now too. My loose plans/intentions for my children's lingual skills are: Latin, French, Spanish. My ex, dd's dad, is fluent in French and Italian and I know a very little Spanish and no other languages. I want to remedy this, whatever living language we chose, I'll be learning (hopefully ahead of dc).

I'm leaning towards French because it's harder to learn and is transferable to Spanish, based on what others have told me. This is what I'd like to start working on now, even without a curriculum *gasp*:
A. Greetings
1. Good day -
2. Good Bye
3. Thank You
4. Please
5. Until tomorrow

B. Parts of the body
C. How to count to 50
D. Colors
E. Alphabet
F. French folklore songs
G. Poems for end of year program


A. Days of the weeks
B. Months of the year
C. Numbers through 69
D. Date
E. Colors
F. Questions and Answers for How are you?, What is your name?, What is going on?

I saw this at Hillcrest Academy's website:

So I was thinking that we could start on these things very gently, possibly even go through the house and label things in French and then get into a curriculum or textbook. I don't want it to be a big deal, just something fun to do for dc. Danny is about to turn 3 and it would be great to start him another live language alongside English.

I'm open for suggestions and comments because I am a little intimidated by doing this. I need suggestions for my own learning of French, curriculum for dc or textbooks/workbooks. What I know of so far: Learnables French, The Easy French, Rosetta Stone French, PowerGlide French, and a few textbooks Hillcrest above uses Aventures book series from National Textbook- which I can't seem to find on my own, maybe because I am French-impaired. I don't know what to choose and what would be best for us. What about Muzzy?

Direction, help, bonk on the head...please!


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Why I Blog

I blog in order to talk about the things that would drive my dh crazy if he had to listen to me, I blog to work out the thoughts, ideas and otherwise craziness in my head. I blog to share our homeschooling journey, flaws and all. I like to share what I've found or what I've come up with in order to encourage others who may not feel like they are equipped to do the same or need a little help. It's more about sharing than it is about me, I'd be doing the planning and scheduling, researching resources even if I didn't share it.

I blog because it provides me a little accountability, if I put it out there what I'm doing then I feel more accountable to do what I say I'm doing. (Which is why I post pictures.) Blogging provides an outlet for the 30,000 words a day that women tend to speak. I blog because it provides an avenue to learn, through commenters or just re-reading my own posts. I blog because it is fun.

Why do you read my blog? De-lurk yourself and comment! Lol.


Monday, February 26, 2007

The Gift of Reading

I'm trying a little experiment in our house. I would like for Camille to start reading the books on our shelves, she's done a great job with the Nora Gaydos, Now I'm Reading books, the BOB books and other readers. I want a little diversity in her reading and she's not taking the initative. So...I'm giving her 10 books a week as a present. I require her to read at least 2 books a day but I often find that she doesn't like to choose the books. I have 40 books collected from our home library and I've made a checklist for her- maybe this will help my very structured daughter.

The books vary in reading level, some I feel will take a day to read such as Max Lucado's, Just the Way You Are and I may need to help her with some of her words, no big deal. Here's the checklist:

Week 1
c Little Loon and Papa
c Mouse Tales
c I can read with my eyes shut!
c The Cat in the Hat
c The Cat in the Hat Comes Back
c A Mud Pie for Mother
c Love You Forever
c I Took My Frog to the Library
c Max Cleans Up
c Spot Goes to the Park

Week 2
c Flossie & the Fox
c Marshmallow
c One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
c Maisy’s Bedtime
c Maisy Takes a Bath
c Maisy Dresses Up
c Just the Way You Are
c Jesus is my special friend
c The Ear Book
c The Foot Book

I have four weeks prepared as a test run. I have gathered the ten books and wrapped them in ribbon to keep them together and to present them to Camille as a present. I'm hoping that the sense of accomplishment with the checklist and being able to open another ribboned stack of books will be enough to motivate her into reading more. If this works, I'll recycle the ribbon as she unties a stack. We'll eventually have to move on to library books but we have a good size library to start with.

I'm also creating a reading log notebook for her, the list will be inside to check off after she reads the book. Here's the information she's recording about each book.

Date: _______________
Title: _______________
Author: _____________
Favorite Character: _____

She doesn't want to draw a picture about the book, which is fine. I think this is more than enough...she's so excited. The ribbon detail worked! I'm crossing my fingers this will catapult her into reading on her own in the long run!


Sunday, February 25, 2007

SOTWs & Church History Schedules

Using The Story of the World Volume 1 and Volume 2, I have created a reading schedules that correlates the History Lives Chronicles (Peril & Peace, Monks & Mystics, Courage & Conviction), The 100 Most Important Events in Christian History and Trial Triumph.

Download the free schedule here. It is also on the right sidebar underneath lesson plans for future use.

The Story of the World series tend to jump around the timeline in order to tell a fluid history but the History Lives Chronicles, The 100 Most Important and Trial and Triumph are strictly chronological and each chapter easily stand on their own which makes them perfect to use with SOTW.

There is a section in the schedule that can be read twice or chosen when to read. It is marked in orange. There are times where SOTW doesn't cover a particular person or time in history so the readings may have nothing to do with what is in SOTW but it is during the same time period. You can use these readings during your history lesson, as occasional supplemental readings, a separate Bible study or just as read-alouds. There is a 4th book in the History Lives Chronicles that will cover the First and Second Great Awakenings (it will be useful for SOTW 3), it will probably be available in late 2007/ early 2008.


Ideas for Narration & Book Reports

The following is not of my making, it is from the wise, experienced mothers that homeschool and visit The Well-Trained Mind message boards to share their fruits.

In Miss Mason's classroom I understand that every reading was narrated upon, but not every child narrated every time. However, the children never knew whether they would be called to narrate or not, so they had to be prepared. In homeschool classrooms we have a different dynamic- and if you have only one student, narrating every single time can grow tedious for both of you. You might try something we use called a narration jar. I have written a different type of narration on slips of paper. The child draws out a slip of paper after the reading and narrates in the manner indicated. I also don't have the same number of each- there are several 'narrate to Mama's' but only two play dough and skit suggestions. They draw the slip, and then return it to the jar, so the next narration has just as many choices.

  • Draw a picture of a character in the book and label it.
  • Draw a picture of a place in the book and label it.
  • Write a FULL description of one of the characters in the book.
  • Tell whether a character s actions are Godly or ungodly and why.
  • Set up a scene from the book, and re-tell it with blocks, or action figures.
  • Model something from the story using Play-dough.
  • Give a telling about what you just read into the tape recorder.
  • Give a telling to Mama about what you just read.
  • Write down three sentences about what you read.
  • Write an e-mail to Grandma about what you read.
  • You have 10 minutes to plan a short skit from what you read.
  • If you were giving a test on this reading, what are three questions you would ask?
  • Skip the narration today.
  • Create a mini-comic book relating a chapter of the book.
  • Using proper form, write a letter to a character in the book.
  • Make a time line of the events in the book.
  • Make a Venn diagram on the ways you are like and unlike one of the characters in your story.
  • Make a travel brochure advertising the setting of the story.
  • Make a chart of five interesting words as parent/child activity. Categorize by parts of speech.
  • Do some online research on a topic brought up in your book.

More for narrations and also to use as book reports:

  • Interview a character from your book. Write at least five questions that will give the character the opportunity to discuss his/her thoughts and feelings about his/her role in the story. However you choose to present your interview is up to you.
  • Write a diary that one of the story's main characters might have kept before, during, or after the book's events. Remember that the character's thoughts and feelings are very important in a diary.
  • Give a sales talk, pretending your family members and friends are clerks in a bookstore and you want them to push this book.
  • Write a letter (10-sentence minimum) to the main character of your book asking questions, protesting a situation, and/or making a complaint and/or a suggestion. This must be done in the correct letter format.
  • Make an illustrated timeline showing events of the story
  • Draw a map showing the location(s) where the story took place.
  • Make a poster about the book using any of the following media: paint, crayons, chalk, ink, real materials.
  • Make paper dolls & outfits for characters in the book. Explain who these characters are & how they fit in the story.
  • Write and perform an original song that tells the story of the book.
  • Be a TV or radio reporter, and give a report of a scene from the book as if it is happening "live".
  • Construct puppets and present a show of one or more interesting parts of the book.
  • Practice and then read to your family at dinner a favorite part of what you have read.
  • Write a different beginning for your story.
  • Make a poster advertising your book so someone else will want to read it.
  • Choose a quote from a character. Write why it would or wouldn't be a good motto by which to live your life.
  • Research something about the environment in which the book takes place. Tell the family at dinner time what you have learned.
  • Write a letter from one of the characters to a beloved grandparent or friend.
  • Send a postcard from one of the characters. Draw a picture on one side, write the message on the other.
  • Make a Venn diagram comparing your environment to the setting in the book.
  • Choose birthday gifts for one of the characters involved. Tell why you chose them.
  • Pretend that you are going to join the characters in the story. What things will you need to pack? You can only bring 2 suitcases. Think carefully, for you will be there for a week, and there is no going back home to get something!
  • Write a multiple choice quiz of what you have just read with at least ten questions.
  • You must give up your favorite pet (whom you love very much) to one of the characters in the book. Which character would you choose? Why?
  • Invite one of the characters to dinner, and plan an imaginary conversation with the person who will fix the meal. What will you serve, and why?
  • Pretend that you can spend a day with one of the characters. Which character would you choose? Why? What would you do?
  • Paint a watercolor picture of the story or parts of it.
  • Make a list of at least five words and definitions important to the story.
  • Make a list of new and unusual words and expressions from the book you are reading.
  • Write a letter to a friend about the book.
  • Copy three sentences from your book which show traits or emotions of the main character.
  • Write a letter from one character to another character in your book.
  • Write a paragraph telling about the title. Is it appropriate? Why? Why not?
  • Decide on an alternate title for the book. Why is it appropriate? Is it better than the one the book has now? Why or Why not?
  • Make a travel brochure inviting tourists to visit the setting of the book. What types of activities would there be for them to attend?
  • Make an ID card which belongs to one of the characters. Be sure to make the card look like the cards for that particular state. Include a picture and all information found on and ID card. Don't forget the signature!!
  • Research and write a 1 page report on the geographical setting of your story. Include an explanation as to why this setting was important to the effect of the story.
  • Make a test for the book you read. Include 3 true-false, 3 multiple choice, and 3 short essay questions. After writing the test, provide the answers for your questions.
  • Select one character from the book who has the qualities of a heroine or hero. List these qualities and tell why you think they are heroic.
  • Design an invitation to a party that you are planning for the characters in the book. Tell what food you would serve and why. Tell what games or entertainment you will provide and why your choices are appropriate. What kind of a party is this? (birthday, housewarming, un-birthday, anniversary, etc.)
  • Obtain a job application from the internet or from an employer in our area. Fill out the application as one of the characters in the book.
  • Finish these sentences with material growing out of the book: This book made me wish that... This book made me hope that... I wonder why
  • Choose an interesting character from your book. Consider the character's personality, likes and dislikes. Decide on a gift for him or her... something he or she would really like and use. Design a greeting card to go along with your gift. In the greeting, explain to your friend from the book why you selected the gift.
Use a jar per child. This post is credited to Tami of the WTM Boards, who also collected this information from various posts and other websites.


Goals for the week

Goals for next week:

  1. Determine educational, spiritual and personal goals as a benchmark of our success as a family and homeschoolers.
  2. Finish two product reviews.
  3. Choose one book to read and read it! (Trying to decide between Margin by Richard A. Swenson or Cicero by Anthony Everitt) Reading Margin first then Cicero...
  4. Continue dog training, walk Chase nightly after supper.
  5. Finish SOTW & History Lives Chronicles schedule. DONE!
  6. Collect books from our bookshelves that are on level for Camille, type up a list and have her read 2 per day- one aloud and one silently with narration afterwards, 10 books a week. Not chapter books, the shorter picture books to build up her confidence and promote personal reading. DONE!
  7. One night with dh, no tv, no computer- just us.
  8. Listen to James MacDonald daily Monday-Friday with cup of coffee (clean bedroom/fold laundry or something else productive while doing this) instead of computer time. Read the scripture he highlights in his sermon and jot down a thought or two in journal. Pray for others. Monday, DONE! Tuesday, DONE!, Wednesday..., Thursday..., Friday....

Things to think about:
- Switching to 4 day schedule
- Make to-do list for upcoming camping trip


Friday, February 23, 2007

Classical Music Study Plan Updated!

The classical music study plan has been updated and revised. Check it out here,

It utilizes Themes to Remember, from as its spine and the six year schedule.
I hope sharing this will help others and it would be a blessing for others to decide to add music to their homeschools!


Week in Review

HISTORY: Still reading about the Greeks, the Persian War, the Peloponnesian War
and next week will be Alexander the Great. We've been reading a lot of library books!

MATH: Breezing right along, Camille did 100% on her test today!
She's so proud of herself and I am too.

A nature journal entry, cardinals. Camille did this, isn't it great?

POETRY COPYWORK: Mr. Nobody by Anonymous, we learned about stanzas this week.

CLASSICALLY CURSIVE: I think she's doing very well,
she's excited but gets frustrated because she wants it to be perfect.

GRAMMAR: Introducing Pronouns

ARTISTIC PURSUITS: 1st- Project from earlier in the year. 2nd-Minoan Fresco, project this week.

SCIENCE: We studied butterflies this week, when the weather is consistent we'll order caterpillars.
We received 5 tadpoles from Carolina Biological, here's the remaining one and it's tank mates- six snails.
Somehow when we read about snails, I didn't catch on that they can reproduce by themselves. : )

CHARLOTTE MASON AFTERNOONS: I wish this happened every day but weather has not be ideal this week.
Here's Chase and Camille and Danny in the background.


Pastor's Wives Need A Pastor Too.

One of the missing elements of my life is that I don't really have a pastor, I had replaced this with listening to Christian radio while Camille was going to public school in our commute. I didn't realize how much I miss it! It's been a year without a pastor. Although some pastor's wives are fed through their husbands, I am not. I see a man standing up in the pulpit and even though his message reaches me, I can't help but also see the man who leaves his laundry on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink when they could easily be put in the dishwasher, etc.

I need pastoring too! I need someone to preach the word to me. To fix this, I'm going to listen Pastor James MacDonald at least once daily via podcast. He "reaches" me, preaches God's word in a way that I can relate, he's energetic and a strong speaker with a no-holds barr attitude. He interjects life with God's word and I LISTEN! Here's where you can listen too if you're interested:

iTunes Podcast: search for Walk in the Word or James MacDonald, free subscription
Pastor James McDonald website:

I'm using the iTunes podcast and I have archived broadcasts, right now I'm listening to: Replace a Complaining Attitude part A, which was broadcast 10/10/06. After I finish the Complaining broadcasts, I'll move on the to the current broadcast about Perservance. God is so good to give us what we need, when we need it at times.

Other iTunes podcast ministries: Focus on the Family (Dr. James Dobson), Joyce Meyer, Abounding Grace (Pastor Ed Taylor), Grace to You (Pastor John MacArthur), for about 20 minutes a day- you can listen too for free. You don't need an iPod, just a computer and iTunes software (also free).


A Closet Organized

I've tried a few different things with my two-year son to stop some of the chaos he causes around the house daily. I tried one of these open toy bin deals but they were dumped out completely daily, fun - fun - fun. So I sorted all his toys and sent a bunch of them to Goodwill. Then I divided all his toys into the six bins, with the plan for Danny to have one each day with a different assortment of toys in them, similar to preschool bags but on a larger scale.

This would have worked if I had been more consistent but dh had said he didn't want me to keep any of Danny's toys away from him and Danny realized this soon. If his fire truck was in the blue bin, he wanted it even though it was the yellow bin day. After weeks of this I became frustrated and gave him all his toys again. Do you know what happens when a two-year old has free reign of ALL his toys? They are all over the house! Daily! The puppy's arrival meant things had to be changed, because the puppy doesn't understand about not chewing Danny's toys yet.

I went and bought bigger bins, with lids and decided to put each type of toy in each bin instead of trying to divide them equally among the days/number of bins. All of his cars/trucks are in one, all of the emergency vehicles are in another, music instruments, construction & farm vehicles, plastic dinosaurs & other plastic toys for pretend play, and one for miscellaneous toys. This is working for us because Danny typically wants certain toys, usually his cars/trucks bin and I can work with him to clean those up before he can play with another toy. Splitting the toys up randomly among the bins was not a good idea for such a head-strong little boy. This last picture is the final result of organizing his closet, the picture top-left is actually a closeup of the left side, the green bin is from one of those toy bin sorters, too small to hold his toys.

I also started the kids on having a "pick up box", when I say "it's tidy time" they are to go around the house and put all their toys, shoes, etc. into the pick up box and take it to their room. I'm still working this out but they think it's a race right now. I really want them to put their toys away once they put them in their rooms but we've got to work on that. Oh, yes I put Danny's dresser (actually the parsonage's dresser) into the closet to free up more floor space in his room. It also saves me the stress of fearing the dresser will fall on him.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

Okay, now what do I do?

I have struggled since pulling Camille out of public school with self-discipline. While she was in school, I had to leave the house at 7:15 am every morning in order to drive her to her school (no bus system) on time. During the 30-40 minute drive, we'd chat or listen to the radio, on the way home I'd listen to Christian Talk Radio. The same routine in the afternoons, I'd leave at 2:30 pm every afternoon to pick up and have a chance again to listen to Christian Talk Radio before our "after-school chat". I don't have that daily feeding of God's word through an interesting speaker anymore, I don't even get to drive a car alone much anymore!

Now I have no where to be at any particular time, no restrictions on our time whatsoever. At first I was okay because I was so determined to have the "perfect homeschool" so I was determined to follow a schedule and pretty much have school at home. "Relax" others told me, so I did. Then I kept reading homeschooling book after homeschooling book about having a relaxed, unschooling type of atmosphere and how discipline should be in the home, how as Christians we should be raising our children. This is so daunting when you're first starting out, I didn't realize how much I was taking on when we make the decision to try homeschooling.

For a year now I've been reading, talking to other homeschoolers and praying for discernment. I still don't feel like I have it together! There is an insecurity that looms all the time: "Am I teaching enough?", "Is my attitude right?", "Is the behavior my child is showing something I need to correct or let go?", "Are they learning anything?" and so on and so on. I finally got over the fear of using the wrong curriculum, Camille is doing well with the products I've chosen and I am quite pleased. I am not a slave to the curriculum like I see so many of my homeschooling peers doing, I have no problem using creative solutions to utilize the curriculum we already have instead of buying/trying something new.

For example, we had serious problems with narration. She was not narrating at all, I referred to the homeschooling books and they offered suggestions but most said a child should be able to retell the story in their own words at age 6. Well, tell Camille that! So, I toyed with the idea of making a narration page for her until I saw History Scribe's product. I realized I could add it to the SOTW Student pages and it has been good (not perfect) ever since. We do the narrations together, if she stumbles or can't find her words, I tell her how I would narrate and have her retell my narration. Am I doing it right? Who knows. I feel it's a maturity issue, as well as a confidence issue with her. She desperately wants to get it right and doesn't understand that it's about her reaction to what was read, not the absorption of the facts. She actually prefers reading the narration questions and answers in the student pages but I've moved her away from that.

All the self-doubt, insecurity and other feelings of unworthiness wears on you and it can either make you determined to overcome them or shrivel up into a ball. I'm in the middle right now, intellectually I know what I need to do but emotionally and putting the "plan in my head" into action is feeling a little like trying to climb Mt. Everest without any gear. Danny soon to be 3 is a full-time job all by himself, the puppy can't be left alone at any time, Camille has picked up on my "relaxed state of mind" and needs a jolt too...urgh. I don't have the restrictions on my time, I don't have any pressing engagements and I don't have any repercussions for being "relaxed"!

How do I get from HERE: I know what I'm doing now is not working, I have an idea of how to improve it but don't have the confidence that I'll actually follow through! Procrastination, excuses, taking on other projects to avoid other ones, etc.
to . . .
HERE: Our day goes like clockwork, everyone knows that to expect and what to do at certain times and it is done with a joyful heart. Daily we are fulfilling our goals and reaping the rewards of our hard work. "I am" relaxed only when I know the work is done.


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Book List Meme

From Sylvia's Classical Bookworm

Look at the list of books below.

Bold the ones you’ve read
italicize the ones you want to read
cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole
+ put a cross infront of the ones on your book shelf
asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of
(put parenthesis around the book if undecided)

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)*
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)*
(11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling))
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
(13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling))
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)*
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
(16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling))
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)*
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
(19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling))
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)+
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
(25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel))
(26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams))
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)+
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)+
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)*
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)*
34. 1984 (Orwell)
(35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley))
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)*
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)*
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)*
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)+
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)+
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)+
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)+
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)*
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)+
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)*
(57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling))
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)*
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)*
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)*
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)+
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)+
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)*
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)+
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)*
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)*
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)+
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)*
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)+
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)+
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)*
85. Emma (Jane Austen)+
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)*
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)*
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)*
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)*
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)*
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)*
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
(100. Ulysses (James Joyce))


A New Day, The First Day

I'm not going to the WTM Boards. I'm not going to the WTM Boards. I'm not going to the WTM Boards. I picked up my copy of Help for the Harried Homeschooler by Christine Field this morning to see if there was something helpful in there to help with my little journey of finding balance and developing good habits. On page 97, Christine shared a poem that inspires her as a parent and homeschooler:

I Caught Your Faith
by Anonymous

I saw you stand
bravely for years
But saw no trace
of senseless tears

I saw you stand
calmly through stress
But caught no glimpse
of bitterness

I saw you stand
prayerful in grief
but saw no trace
of unbelief

Though you spoke well
of Jesus Christ
I caught your faith
watching your life.

What an amazing poem! I think anyone would love to have this poem be about them, especially with our children. I won't be blogging too much about what I'm trying to accomplish during this Lent season, just when it gets difficult for me. This is the first day of who knows how many days, hopefully and prayerfully it will be the first step in finding the elusive balance that I've lost in the last couple of months.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I've been holding back from posting because there's just so much that I want to accomplish in this week. It's the week of Lent and I am giving up the The Well-Trained Mind boards because frankly, I've become addicted. I've moved further away from where I should be because I've spent too much time on the computer. This past week has been one of confession to the Lord and to a new friend who has been going through the same. I've confessed my sins to my dh as well, why is it so hard to trust others in our lives with our failures?

Anyways, I've set myself up for failure in the past by making detailed plans and posting them here. I work the plan for a couple of days and then it all falls apart. This time I'm keeping mum about my plans- I'm breaking free from the WTM Boards for Lent and I'm going to work on my relationship with God, dh and my children by whatever means God intends. I'll still blog (what a word!) and visit the Classical Education Forum but you will NOT find me on the WTM Boards. Our homeschool just needs a little attention, we're happy with our curriculum and next year's curriculum is here and ready to be planned out. The planning takes time and I can't plan when I'm talking about curriculum and homeschooling choices with other homeschoolers constantly like on the WTM Boards. I also need to reconnect with the Lord, I've moved away bit by bit and now I don't like the distance.

Please pray for me, especially this week and next if you don't mind. I'm trying to formulate better habits during Lent that will honor God in both myself and my children. Thank you.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Transfiguration Sunday

Luke 9:28-36 (37-43). While Jesus was praying on a mountain, his face and clothing changed to dazzling white, Moses and Elijah appeared, and a voice from a cloud says, "This is my Son! My chosen. Listen to him!"

I know that I've had a hard time listening and doing what the Lord says. It's not so hard to read and realize that I need to listen, what I have a hard time doing is translating the word into action. I have been in a period of confession this week and I'm grateful for the Lord providing a friend that is in need as well.

I pray that this season of Lent will be a fruitful one for Lord, that I may surrender what keeps me from Him, what keeps me from following Him. I don't see the period of Lent as a time of suffering, I see it as a way to honor the Lord that gave His life for you and me. Whatever it is that I need to lay down at His feet is nothing compared to what He has done for me.

I know that worship services have a way of becoming routine but there is one thing that always touches me deeply, the service of confession and pardon that we do during every communion.

Merciful God,
we confess that we have not loved you with our whole heart.
We have failed to be an obedient church.
We have not done your will,
we have broken your law,
we have rebelled against your love,
we have not loved our neighbors,
and we have not heard the cry of the needy.
Forgive us, we pray.
Free us for joyful obedience,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So as I prepared for Lent, I meditate on the word that I may turn my confessions into action and be fruitful for the Lord. May we all be fruitful for the Lord this Lent season.

How are you preparing for Lent?


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Look What's Missing!

My baby girl's FIRST TOOTH! She's only 6 years and 7 months old and we've been waiting patiently for her to have a loose tooth! I guess I can't call her my baby girl anymore...she's growing up. She's so proud that she will have "grown-up" teeth.

Another update: Our one and only tadpole is doing well, we had received five tadpoles in our shipment from Carolina Biological and after four died, we were worried. The new news is that the snail that came with the tadpoles has had babies! We now have one tadpole, one adult snail and 5 baby snails! Dh said we'd have to get more tadpoles in order to feed the snails. Lol.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Just for Fun

You Should Paint Your Room Green

Natural and balance, green can bring both calm and growth to your life.
Your green room will promote a more spiritual and peaceful outlook.
Green rooms are perfect for meditation, yoga, or just day dreaming.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Brainstorm Idea for Timelines

I don't want to forget this and it might be interesting to others so here's my brainstorm idea. I was looking through an arts catalog this morning and saw fabric banners and thought- hey, that would be great for a timeline! My next thought was that it could be rolled up and put away. Using one for each time period (WTM divided, of course): Ancients 5000BC-400AD, Middle Ages 400-1600, Late Renaissance 1600-1850, Modern Times 1850-now.

Using clipart or timeline figures would pasted on with fabric glue (Tacky Glue?) and the info could be typed up, cut out and pasted on as well. I just thought this was a great way to get the kids involved and provide another option for timelines. Okay, brainstorm over. I don't know how great this idea is, it's just an idea. And now, back to school...


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Weekly Report

Okay, so I missed a week or two in doing the weekly report. We got a puppy and I've been dealing with this face as well! Yes, this is my son in the middle of a temper tantrum. He wanted something that I told him no about. Poor baby.

This, ladies and gentleman will detour your homeschooling efforts faster than you can imagine. Try reading aloud with a screaming toddler. If he's about to be 3, is he still a toddler? Hmm. Anyways, on with the weekly report.

Bible is going well, nothing new there other than I have her read out of Proverbs every morning. Here's the books we're currently reading, we just finished Charlotte's Web and we're starting Wind in the Willows tonight. I'm aiming for a chapter a night, we'll see how long it takes. Charlotte's Web took almost three weeks because of bedtime distractions. Camille also read Madeline this week with an audiobook version of it. She did this 6x! She's currently reading aloud from the Doorways to Adventure (old school reader).

Here's a picture of her FLL work, I can barely see it but it might be better once it's on the blog, who knows. If not, I'm sorry. It says- I feel love for you. My mother feels love for me. It was intended to be copywork for her but I used it as dictation. We're on lesson 46 out of the 100 for first grade, time to step it up a notch.

I've been a bad teacher when it comes to math, she gets her workbook pages done sometimes when I'm wrangling her little brother and like today, she did perfect on it. I haven't taught her anything in a week, she's just cruising along. We've got to get back in the habit of talking about it, even if she thinks she knows it.

Evidence of her history notebook, lol. We talked about Greek myths today and I think we'll tackle another chapter this week in order to move on. We've read a lot of library books so I'm very comfortable just speeding up Greece. Here's a picture of the books we're reading or have read this week. These are only library books, we've actually read more from our home library.

The top picture is a ladybug that Camille wanted to create and the bottom picture is her version of cave art, an activity from Artistic Pursuits. I've slowed down on Artistic Pursuits so that I don't run out of art lessons, she looks forward to them.

Camille finished Spelling Workout B today. She surprised me when she said, this is the last lesson Mom. What? The dictionary in the back of the workbook is quite large so I thought we had more to go. Spelling is done for first grade, the B workbook is for second grade anyways.

Poem: Mr. Nobody by Anonymous and Hymn: Praise Him from All Blessings Flow. Scriptures as well.


A Homeschool Valentine

Yesterday was quite the day! I rode the emotional rollercoaster from thinking Chase had gotten out of our yard- we went searching for him for 1.5 hours on foot only to come home and find him underneath the house! Then our lessons were interrupted by Danny constantly wanting something or having a temper tantrum because something wasn't going his way. I realized that today was Valentine's Day and that we had done nothing for it, no cards, no cupcakes nothing. The insecurity sank in, the frustration got to me. I do miss the excitement Camille had coming home from school, "Mom look what I made you!" or the "Guess what we did in school today!" Please realize I don't want my children to go to public school, I just miss this element.

Last night the insecurities, the newbie homeschooling feeling, worrying and frustrating moments got to me. I prayed for peace and thanksgiving and shared my angst with some fellow homeschoolers. This morning we did our Bible lesson at 6:30 am and then Danny set off to play with his cars and Camille went to do an art project in the learning room. Next thing I know, Camille is coming to me saying, "Guess what Mom, I made this for you!" with little red construction paper hearts. Oh the joy and happiness! I hugged her and told her that it's the best Valentine I've ever received. God is SO GOOD!

I actually have a book about Saint Valentine, so we read that and we watched the United Streaming offerings about Valentine's Day. No cupcakes or store bought Valentines to give out but I feel better having done something!

I'll post a picture later when she's done creating!
Happy Valentine's Day!


Monday, February 12, 2007

Teachable Moments All Around

I recently had an issue with the fact I feel Camille is exposed to vast amounts of culture at her father's house when she visits him. We have a tv, we watch movies but I keep the tv watching to a minimum and the movies are carefully selected but when she's visiting, I have no say in what she watches or sees.

So, like any daughter close to her mother I called Mom. I'm not very strict but there are certain movies I feel are geared more towards adults than children and I prefer she not watch them. Barnyard would be a good example. When she's at her dad's, there a DVD player in the car, they rent movies, they go see movies, etc. I complained about this to my mom and she point blank told me, "Wake up Jess, he's spending time with her. He's trying to please her and if nothing else this is a teachable moment!" After I realized that my mom had said "teachable moment", I understood a few things.

1. My mom does listen to me when I start talking homeschool.
2. I was allowing teachable moments to pass me by every time Camille came home talking about the latest movie she'd seen.
3. I was IN a teachable moment with my MOTHER!

My mom said that it would be best to find out what movies she is watching, try to watch them while she's gone and be prepared to discuss it with her when she got home. But, but, but...I want to tell C's dad to not let her watch these movies! - Wise mom of mine said, "at what expense? Do you want C's dad to resent you for trying to tell him how to parent? He only has limited time with her and he's doing what he thinks is best." But, but, but... "No buts, Jess- teach her what bad examples are and good examples, discuss them. Teach her to be able to deal with these things and process them. Equip her."

There are moments that a parent can just give you exactly what you need when you least expect it. I called her wanting to rant and rave and get a little sympathy. Instead, I got some sense knocked into me. I'm sure she wishes it would have been this easy when I was younger!

So, are you letting teachable moments pass you by? Is there something your children are exposed to and you haven't addressed it? Maybe you were embarrassed when you let that curse word slip out of your mouth and felt it was best to ignore it? Or maybe you raised your voice today and didn't discuss it with your children after the fact? God gives us these moments where we are weak, and we can turn almost any negative into a positive if we just look at it a little differently. That's what my mamma taught me.


Books We Have Read in First Grade

This is an on-going post to document what books we have read in Camille's first grade year. This list includes history and literature selections. It does not include any science, poetry and independent readers that have been used for building reading skills.

The independent readers we have used are Nora Gaydos' Now I'm Reading series, Dick and Jane books, old basal readers, BOB books sets A-C, Dr. Seuss' books and various other books from our home library.

These books are listed in the order we read them, or at least most of them are!

  1. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
  2. Pilgrim's Progress by H.T.
  3. A Child's Garden of Verses
  4. Me and My Family Tree
  5. Archaeologists dig for clues
  6. Magic School Bus: Archaeology
  7. Mom Can't See Me
  8. The first dog
  9. It's disgusting-- and we ate it!
  10. The Wanderings of Odysseus
  11. The Nile River
  12. Egyptian gods and goddesses
  13. MTH: Mummies in the Morning
  14. MTH: Mummies and Pyramids
  15. Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile
  16. Hieroglyphs from A to Z
  17. Egyptian Craftsman
  18. Who built the pyramids?
  19. An Egyptian tomb
  20. The Great Pyramid of Cheops
  21. Tutankhamun
  22. Arabian Nights
  23. Three Princes
  24. DK Revealed Ancient Egypt
  25. Old Testament Days
  26. Dance, Sing, Remember
  27. Joseph & His Brothers
  28. Abraham and Issac
  29. The Friends of Abu Ali
  30. The Little Brown Jay
  31. Abu Ali, Three Tales
  32. Once A Mouse
  33. Gilgamesh, The King
  34. The Revenge of Ishtar
  35. The Last Quest of Gilgamesh
  36. A Bear Called Paddington
  37. Exploration into India
  38. One grain of rice
  39. Growing Up in Ancient China
  40. Rikki-tikki-tavi
  41. Maples in the Mist
  42. Ancient China
  43. Play Me A Story
  44. Identical Dolls
  45. Mimoso
  46. Too Much Talk
  47. Rimonah Of The Flashing Sword
  48. Tikki Tikki Tembo
  49. A Child's Calendar
  50. A Child's Introduction to Poetry
  51. The Story of Jonah
  52. Hatshepsut, His Majesty Herself
  53. Growing Up in Ancient Egypt
  54. Forty Fortunes
  55. Moses The Long Road to Freedom
  56. Exodus from Egypt
  57. Guide to Israel
  58. Wynken, Blynken and Nod
  59. Oh No! Where Are My Pants?
  60. Waiting for Christmas
  61. Illustrated Jewish Bible for Children
  62. The magic horse of Han Gan
  63. Great Wonders of the World
  64. Ancient Israelites & their neighbors
  65. Seven Wonders of the Ancient World
  66. Fire into ice : adventures in glass making
  67. Writing in ancient Phoenicia
  68. The king in the garden
  69. Milly-Molly-Mandy
  70. The Story of Jonah
  71. In Search of Knossos
  72. Atlantis
  73. Theseus and the Minotaur
  74. Growing Up in Ancient Greece
  75. D'Aulaires Greek Myths
  76. The Trojan Horse
  77. The Librarian Who Measured the Earth
  78. The Persians
  79. The Persian Empire
  80. The King & Three Thieves
  81. The Red Lion
  82. King Midas
  83. How would you survive as an ancient Greek?
  84. Reading-Literature Primer by Treadwell
  85. The Flying Horse: The Story of Pegasus
  86. Paper Through the Ages
  87. A Greek Temple
  88. The Red Lion
  89. Hercules
  90. Time Traveller: Children Through Time
  91. Max & Ruby's First Greek Myth
  92. Lugalbanda: the boy who got caught up in a war
  93. The XRay Picture Book of Big Buildings of the Ancient World
  94. What's Their Story: Alexander the Great
  95. Medusa
  96. Cupid and Psyche
  97. The Greeks
  98. Count your way through Greece
  99. Dan's Angel: A detective's guide to the language of painting
  100. Discoveries, Inventions and Ideas
  101. The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus
  102. You wouldn't want to be an Aztec sacrifrice!
  103. The Incas
  104. Thirteen Moons on a Turtle's Back
  105. Jabutí the tortoise
  106. Romulus and Remus
  107. Gladiator
  108. So you want to be a Roman Soldier?
  109. Hannibal and his 37 Elephants
  110. Buddha
  111. The ocean of story
  112. The Great Wall of China
  113. The magic tapestry
  114. Confucius and ancient China
  115. The Chinese book of animal powers
  116. A pirate's life for me!
  117. Cleopatra
  118. Augustus Caesar and Ancient Rome
  119. Sun-day, Moon-day: How the week was made
  120. The Very First Christians
  121. Behold the Trees
  122. Miriam's Cup: A Passover Story
  123. Pompeii, buried alive!
  124. One hundred and one read aloud Celtic Myths and Legends
  125. Attila the Hun
That's it for first grade, not included are literature readings independent and read-aloud. We did NOT read these books in their entirety! We may have with some but others were sections as Camille's attention held.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Don't Be Alarmed

Nothing is wrong with your computer. I got a glance today of my blog through the eyes of the Internet Explorer browser and I didn't like what I saw. I have a gorgeous blog through Safari, Firefox and Opera but boy oh boy the white boxes on IE!

So this is a test to see if I can stand a little less color. I'm not sure I like it, I can plug in the old code at any time to change it back. I like having color in the background because it makes the white seem less cold. Plus the designer in me likes to create, too bad I can't create something that will be viewed the same in all browsers. Hopefully the designer I have in mind to spruce me up will be able to accomplish that. Until then, what do you think?


Friday, February 9, 2007

Why we like Spelling Workout

It's simple, it's easy and we can do it together or Camille can do it independently. Now we breezed through Spelling Workout A in about 4 months and we're currently using Spelling Workout B.

Ruth Beechick recently had an article in Home School Enrichment magazine about spelling and this article on Jim Trelease's website is about the same information she wrote about. Spelling Article

There is review built into the workbook, complete five or so lessons and then the review of the words from the past lessons. It's a great indicator of retention. I suspect Camille is a natural speller because she does very well with this. I don't have her memorize spelling rules at 6 years of age. If she has problems in the next 3 years, we'll address them. I don't feel it is crucial at this stage.

Here's how we tackle the lessons:

Monday write each word 3, oral test (if pass do activities and do next lesson the next day)
Tuesday Oral test, 1/2 the activities
Wednesday Oral test, finish activities
Thursday Write words in alphabetical order
OR write word and definition using dictionary in back of workbook
OR write a sentence using the word
Friday Written test. Every now and then I'll have her narrate to me the writing activity.

We haven't had to do all this in quite a while, she's breezing through the words, I still have her write the words 3x, the activities and then test, we're currently doing one lesson a day. Spelling is one subject I don't stress about or wonder if another program would be better. By the way, we use the Sports Edition, published in 1994- I like the format better. We'll use the teacher's edition when we reach Spelling Workout E, at this time I have A, B, C and D and don't feel I need the teacher's edition.

You can see Spelling Workout at, they even have inside views of the teacher's editions so you can determine for yourself if you'd like to purchase them.

UPDATE 2/2008:
We are no longer using Spelling Workout, in the end this type of spelling program does not help a child learn to spell. I have learned that spelling is learned within context and should really wait until a child is done with phonics and reading fluently- which also means they are ready to write. Memorizing lists of words will not help a child spell in context, not even writing a sentence for each word will help. Please find out why you are using the products you are and compare them to what is out there. Read articles about spelling, learn about it so you can make an informed decision past other's recommendations.

We are using Simply Spelling by Laurie Hicks, which starts in 3rd grade. It teaches spelling rules through copywork and other areas of punctuation and grammar and the test at the end of the week is a dictation exercise. Short and to the point to get the job done.


Thursday, February 8, 2007

Cherished Moments

Danny reading some books, making car and truck noises at 2 years and 9 months old.
Chase going into Danny's room while he's napping just to be beside his buddy.
This dog is completely devoted to him, meanwhile my dog is laying beside me as I type. Next thing I know, Camille will want a dog of her own! Yikes.

Tonight, Chase was at the food dish and Danny noticed it was empty. It is Camille's job to fill the food bowl but Danny decided HE wanted to do it. He grabbed the dish and said, "Doggie food, mine- outside." When dh consented Danny went outside, lifted the lid of the container that we keep the dog food in, scooped out the food multiple times, placed the lid back on (snapped it shut) and then opened the door and brought the food dish in. He put it down and called Chase over. DH and I had tears welling in our eyes, amazed at our little man. I guess Chase and Danny have decided to take care of each other.

Precious moments.


Hanging Upside Down

I feel as if I'm hanging upside down right now. I've completed the first draft of the earth science portion of our lessons which is 17 lessons in length. I still have to add the activities and games to the schedule and the books I had sitting on the shelf that I didn't reference to be read! No biggie, that stuff is easy to add in.

I still have the astronomy portion to do and I'm trying to decide whether to use A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky as the spine or Usborne's First Encyclopedia of Space. I'm leaning towards using A Child's Intro but I don't want to get too bogged down in our studies and I feel this book is for a little older audience- who knows, it might be perfect! (Eartha Kitt comes to mind when I type perrrrfect, lol)

I have puppy training with a dog that I feel might be a blessing but nonetheless is more responsibility. I'm praying for God to take away the resentment from my thoughts and believe me, it's not just about the new dog. My heart is heavy as I referee between my dog and the new dog. Of course a puppy is more lively and commands more attention, the attention that our older companion would still have if he wanted it. I'm just feeling guilty...

I have a women's retreat in March that I'm being forced to go to- how would you like the church's admin team, your dh's boss' wife and others to gain up on you- of course I could say "no" but not without a lot of discussion and coercion. I want to go, just to get away for a couple of days but I'd rather not go because I won't be able to truly relax. I want to go somewhere, life with only one car is not very enjoyable when you think of all the places you "could" go. I leave the house with our car for a couple of reasons- to go monthly grocery shopping, like I did yesterday; to take Camille to her Dad to visit (4.5 hr roundtrip) and if I "need" it for a particular reason that has to be cleared with my dh's schedule. . . . hanging by my toes . . .

I'm just feeling the stress right now and everything seems magnified. Sylvia's right- like I need another project! All I can do is take it to God and leave it there. Why is that so hard to do at times? I guess I should have put a warning of some type at the beginning of this, sorry if I've ruined anyone's happy thoughts or joyful attitude.


Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Look What The Hubby Brought Home

What kind of dog is this?

We think he's either a Bernese Mountain Dog or St. Bernhard mixed with German Shepherd.

We don't know if we're keeping him, we have a 10-yr. old dog already but dh brought home this stray. He is very sweet so far.
We've named him Chase.


Monday, February 5, 2007

In the process of creating earth science lessons

I'm around, I'm just busy creating earth science lessons for 2nd grade. Here's what I'm using.
The Usborne Internet-linked First Encyclopedia of Our World by F. Brooks, World and Space volume 4 of the Childcraft How and Why Library, The Usborne Internet-linked First Encyclopedia of Space by F. Brooks, Caron-Dellosa Publishing's Hands-On Earth Science by Phil Parratore, The Geography Book by Caroline Arnold and A Child's Introduction to the Night Sky by Michael Driscoll. I have other books as supplements but these are my main books that I couldn't do these lessons without. I also have My Calendar Book to be used as a year-long nature study about the weather which is published by Christian Light Publications; I bought it at for $2.95.

I'm also utilizing United Streaming this year. Just to give you an idea of what I'm doing, here's the first


4 First Encyclopedia of Our World: Read pages 4-5
4 My First Science Encyclopedia p. 7, Air and Atmosphere; p.21, Earth
4 World and Space (Childcraft): p.131 What’s Inside the Earth
4 Hands-On Earth Science: Cupcake Geology, p.14; Current Affairs, p.15
4 Science words: Earth, atmosphere, planet, mantle, inner core, outer core, crust

The Geography Book

4Read p41-45, The Land, The Continents
4 Activity: The Global Puzzle or Map Puzzle pg. 45

Books to Read
4 The Magic School Bus Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole*
4 What Your First Grader Needs to Know p.307-*
4 Air Is All Around You*
4 Journey to the Center of the Earth by Harris, Hincks, Gave
4 Planet Earth/Inside Out by Gail Gibbons
4 The Seven Continents (Rookie Read-About Geography) by Wil Mara
4 The Best Book of Fossils, Rocks, and Minerals by Chris Pellant
4 Rocks in His Head by Carol Otis Hurst (fiction)
4 The Pebble in my Pocket: A history of Our Earth by Meredith Hooper
4 I Can Be A Geologist by Paul Sipiera

Interactive Activities
Go to
4 Take a Peek Inside Planet Earth
4 Try an Earth words quiz

United Steaming Videos
4 Junior Geologist: Our Planet Earth
4 This is Our World (15:00)
4 Air: A First Look (15:36)
4 Digging Through Earth (10:00)

The asterisk (*) notates books we have in our home library. I also plan to add Professor Noggins's Earth Science card game when I finish and possibly a few poems about the subject of each lesson. I've already got books stacked up in front of me so it will be easier to add them in once the bulk of the work is done. I've finished Lessons 1-10 out of 18 for earth science, and I plan on creating 15-17 lessons for space. It'll be finished soon, my goal is the end of this month. BUT, I have other commitments to attend to including some product reviews to finalize. (Tick, tick, tick goes the clock. Lol.)

Okay...the books extend further than the text so I guess I'll tell you that you can purchase the World and Space book at Amazon used very cheaply. Buying the Childcraft How and Why Library is one of the best investments I've made since we decided to homeschool. I picked them up at antique stores and thrift stores for $1.00-$2.00 each.

Yes, I will make all the lessons available. I just wanted to share HOW I do this because it's pretty simple once you collect the spines you want to use.


Sunday, February 4, 2007

Deliberate and Disciplined

The winds of change are blowing again. I don't know if it's this time of year where the rush of Christmas finally subsides and the Lent season draws near encouraging all Christians to discipline themselves. I'm feeling it. It may seem like I have it all together but I don't and it's nobody's fault but mine. As my dh gets busier and busier with church, school and civic commitments, I tend to feel left out, lonely and sometimes trapped. I'm at a standstill right now. I know what I could be doing and I know the benefits of doing it, I just don't have the discipline to do it. It being everything I should be doing. : )

Balance for me seems to be unattainable goal. If I try to achieve balance I seem to tip the scale in either direction. This is my goal for this year, achieve balance. Thankfully, I'm not talking about balancing work and home, my home is my work. I just have SO many projects I'd like to do, plus the daily housework, time spent homeschooling and playing with the kids. There are some nights that I feel like I'm the only one doing it all. Dh comes home and just wants to decompress. This isn't something that reading a book can help, I've read them. This can only change through prayer and a commitment to change. I want to be very deliberate about how I spend my time, how I manage our home but I've found being deliberate also means being disciplined.

I'm dropping all my projects right now until I can find a way to deliberately do them without it being the at the expense of something more important. I'm still praying and thinking about all this.


Saturday, February 3, 2007

Customizer or Curriculum User?

I have my 2nd grade curriculum ready to be scheduled out and while visiting a few homeschooling boards, I realized that there is a number of "customizers" and "curriculum users". Look at my blog, you can tell I'm a customizer. But what I don't know is when to customize and when to follow a curriculum.

When I first started researching homeschooling, I requested all the catalogs I could find. As I looked at the options I realized a few things, I needed to figure out WHAT to use and WHEN and HOW. What is the determining factor? Other than the amount of children you have to homeschool, where does the comfort zone of the what, when and how begin and end?

I've thought about my goals, to use good literature in both spines and readers, to expose my children to a variety of viewpoints, to use engaging and fun products to facilitate learning as much as possible...but I could do this with curricula and piecing something together.

I would love to hear your feedback!


Internet Explorer Can See Me Again!

It has been a little stressful finding email upon email saying, "I can't see your blog or I can't read your posts. What's wrong?" But truly on the other hand, it was wonderful to know that others read my blog. I'm still on a waiting list for a designer but now I'm not sure I need the services anymore. I contacted the wonderful person who created this template and asked a few questions, knowing he probably wouldn't respond.

I don't know if it was the usage of words like begging and pleading but he wrote me back and helped. BIG TIME. So I wish him a very fun and delightful weekend because now I don't have to stress about who can see my blog and who can't. I haven't blogged much this week because of the viewing issues and now Blogger is going to have maintenance today at 11 am. I'm just glad that Internet Explorer can see me again, but don't you know that Firefox is the better browser? To each his own. Lol.