Review and Giveaway: Their Name Is Today

TheirNameIsTodayTheir Name Is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold is a remarkable book. I wish this book had been in my possession before I had children…before I even thought about having children. I wish every educator in America would read this book…especially those involved in renovating education.

The author’s reverence and understanding rings true and clear page after page. The overall message of the book is about making the world a better place by investing in our children. By investing I mean giving our time and love to raise them up to be good people who will do the same for the next generation until the world is beautiful in mercy. His message, like most of good merit is simple: If we do not make children the victims of our selfishness and violence then they will not victimize others. How do you go about teaching them to be good? The answer is time, give them your time. Turn off the electronic toys, go outside and play. Teach them what is right and do not depend on schools and cartoons to do the instructing for you.

My only mild disagreement with the author is in the area of technology. I do not see the use of television, video games and computers in moderation as anything to worry about. Technology is here to stay and learning to use it responsibly is necessary and needs to be modeled by the adults in childrens’ lives.

My favorite chapter is “In Praise of Difficult Children”. He reminds us in this chapter that children need unstructured play time instead of drugs to make them conform. Children should be praised for their hard work and improvement and not their natural abilities or gifts. How  many future Mozart’s, Tesla’s and Einstein’s are we losing in the education system to labels like Autism, Asperger’s, ADHD, or even nerdy and geeky?

Arnold says, “Instead of hushing up the children who embarrass us, instead of clamping down on the ones who don’t fit in, instead of analyzing the troubled ones and drawing conclusions about their delinquent futures, we need to welcome them all as they are. By helping us to discover the limitations of “goodness” and the boredom of conformity, they can teach us the necessity of genuineness, the wisdom of humility, and the reality that, in parenting and education as with anything else, nothing good is won without a struggle.”

All I can say to that is “Amen.”

If you would like to enter to win a copy of this book please leave a comment below or on my Facebook page by Saturday October 25th.

Legal stuff:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Weekly Wrap-up: Kinda Quiet

Sparkles first loaf of bread

Sparkles first loaf of bread

This was one of those quiet sort of weeks…life was fairly routine. We went to our first homeschool 4H club meeting. I had intended to take pictures at the meeting but Littlest was a handful. Every time I tried to keep him quiet he would tell me very loudly, “I don’t know how!” Unless I can find a way to keep him from being so disruptive we may not attend any more meetings for a while. During the formal part of the meeting the children had to vote on annual dues. I noticed Middle Boy did not vote on the matter and asked him about it after the meeting. He thought the voting should be left up to the parents who actually had a way to pay for the annual dues. He has a point there…

I’ve been making applesauce for weeks now. This week I decided to add some vanilla beans I had on hand to a pot of apples. The experiment turned out wonderful. I now have two quarts of vanilla infused applesauce. Yummy! These vanilla beans were placed in a bottle of vodka last year to make vanilla extract. When I bottles the extract this week I noticed the beans still had plenty of scent to them so I tossed them into the crockpot with the apples. I need to order more beans since that was my last bottle of extract.

vanilla applesauce

vanilla applesauce

The crew is settling into the routines of the new church. Wednesday night is their favorite. Littlest is very excited to be learning to play the handbells! They are all making friends. Several of their friends have come by to introduce themselves to me and have sat with us during meals. In a couple of Sundays the children of the church will lead and perform every part of the church service (except the sermon). Littlest will not be performing on handbells at this service…he is still a bit enthusiastic. I have no idea what to expect at a children’s led church service but am really looking forward with amused anticipation.

Oldest's name in hieroglyphics

Oldest’s name in hieroglyphics

Schooling was fairly short this week since it was a pre-test and exams week. Oldest had an art project to finish up his ancient Egypt studies. He made a cartouche with his name in hieroglyphics with watercolors. The other too thought that sounded like a lot of fun so they also joined in. I let them choose their own medium and only helped them with choosing the proper hieroglyphics. Middle Boy wrote his name in hieroglyphics on EVERY assignment this week! Oldest finished typing his paper and I taught him how to add images to his paper on the computer. He is very proud of his paper and worked very hard on it. He applied all of the techniques he learned from Writing With Skill Volume 1 so far. He worked hard on the paper but I honestly am not certain if it is grade level work for his age. Maybe some of you could tell me what you think? It is in the gallery below.

This weekend I will have up a review and give-away of Their Name Is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold. This book has given me much to think about. I’ll share all of that in my review. I’ll also have an update for you on the Wibbly-Wobbly Weightloss adventure I’ve been on. I wanted to post last weekend about it but there was still a few things simmering in my mind and I wasn’t ready to sit and write. I’m ready to take things up a notch or two.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homoeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Apples and Bonding Moments

 

apple fritters

apple fritters

Last Friday we enjoyed a visit from my sweet friend and her two Littles (you can meet Yoga Mom and crew here.) We managed to swap a few tales and enjoy each other’s fellowship between all the children underfoot. Middle Boy was so overwhelmed by all the company her built himself a fort and threw stuffed animals at anyone who got too close. Which eventually turned into a “storm the castle” type game. I could be wrong but I’m fairly certain that boy is a bit of an introvert.

apples and more apples

apples and more apples

I am supposed to be Yoga Mom’s accountability partner for exercising and all things healthy…but I wasn’t in the mood for carrots and celery. So I made her some fresh apple fritters and a homemade batch of apple butter. That makes me more of a culpable partner this week…Another friend also stopped by to drop her daughter off for a sleepover. Sparkles had been counting down the days for hosting her first sleepover and was over the moon. The girls decided to paint my toe-nails that evening a lovely hot pink, topped with a layer of matching glitter and accented with black polka-dots. Lovely…

Middle Boy and Sparkles

Middle Boy and Sparkles

In the mail I received my newest review assignment, Their Name Is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold. I wish I had read this book years ago!!! This book resonates with my soul and the kind of mother and advocate for my children I want to be. I’ve already started to implement some of what I’ve learned in the book and am looking forward to giving you my review. I am also excited about another book by a friend and mentor of mine that will be published soon. I hope to share more about it with you soon!

Oldest and Mustang at classic car drive-in night

Oldest and Mustang at classic car drive-in night

My husband and Oldest enjoyed and evening out together at the local drive-in. They took the old Mustang for a classic car night at the movies and watched American Graffiti. The two of them have been listening to the soundtrack together this year while traveling to Sharp Shooters practice. Oldest liked the movie and sang along with several of the songs. I received several text updates about their evening out. My favorite: “This is about as good as it gets for me as a parent…” Happy tears! Sometimes I get the feeling these are the best years…right now.

Oldest and Littlest

Oldest and Littlest

I am beginning to notice positive changes in our children’s relationships with one another. Oldest is gentler with his siblings and often volunteers to help me with Littlest. Sometimes Sparkles will perform a small act of service for her brothers or even me. Middle Boy and Oldest are really bonding together…which is a vast improvement from when they just tolerated each other. They all still bicker with each other a bit but there isn’t nearly as much fighting as their used to be. I’ve read about this phenomenon in homeschooling books. Totally awesome to witness this transformation happen among my own children.

Middle boy asleep in his fort

Middle boy asleep in his fort

We are having a slow week in the homeschool…really slow. Some days even I couldn’t focus! I ended up sending everyone outside to play a few times. Even though I had a ton (slight exaggeration…just a few bushels) of apples to process I went outside too. I snapped a few pictures of the kids playing together. We happened to be outside as the monarchs passed through on their long journey south…the first hint of winter. Oldest finished up his paper on ancient Egypt today and several of his projects. He built Ranofer’s home with the Minecraft game from “The Golden Goblet” and made a cookie map of the Nile valley area. Tomorrow he will do an art project with his name in Hieroglyphics. Next week he will move on to ancient Greece. Middle Boy fell asleep in his fort this week while working on his math. He and Sparkles fell in the floor laughing while reading about the plague in 1600’s London (Okay, on the surface that sounds really bad). The text (The Story of the World Vol. 3) describes someone going through town with a cart saying, “Bring out your dead.” So, all we could think of was the opening scene of Monty Python’s Holy Grail movie. For the rest of the day they sang songs of Sir Robin and were the Knights who say “Nee”. Oh joy.

Another blessed week.

 

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: And the Beat Goes On…

 

Oldest and Littlest at the park

Oldest and Littlest at the park

The only reason I chose that title for the wrap-up is because the silly Sonny and Cher song adhered itself to my brain. I loathe getting a song stuck in my head…makes me a little nutters.

Last weekend we went to the park for some outdoor fun and a picnic before the autumn rains set in (supposedly in just a few hours from now). Several homeshooling families said they would play too…but only a couple of families ended up at the park with us. The kids still had a great time. Sparkles invited one of her friends over for a sleepover for this Friday night. We’ve never entertained the privilege of hosting a sleepover before…see how tomorrow night goes. Sparkles is so very excited and has been counting down the days. She’s also attending another sleepover next weekend. All wonderful things for a social butterfly!

Sparkles and Middle Boy

Sparkles and Middle Boy

Last week I joined a learning community called Future Learn. I am currently enrolled in a six-week course on Hadrian’s Wall and a ten week course called Shakespeare and His World. The first course is offered through Newcastle University and the second is through the University of Warwick.  So far I am really loving these classes. I’ve learned about identifying ancient landmarks through aerial photography, life on the Roman frontier, and tons about Shakespeare. Oldest will study Shakespeare next

bubble fun

bubble fun

year with the Lamb’s text primarily and then one of the easier plays if he is ready. He saw Macbeth earlier this year and loved it. I’m hoping another play will be available to see locally again. I’ve passed all of my quizzes perfectly so far. On the quiz I took earlier today I had to read Roman military headstone inscriptions and answer questions about the individuals the headstones described. I had to understand Roman military ranking, Roman numbers, and military positions. Fascinating! I think this would be a great resource for homeschoolers with highschoolers or topically very interested upper middleschoolers.

Oldest

Oldest

The crew and I also made a huge change in our life by visiting another church. Oldest would have nothing to do with the kids in his age group at the church we were attending. I want him to make friends but it just wasn’t happening. I’ve been praying over this for so long…leave or stay. I asked the crew about it Sunday morning and they all wanted to visit anywhere else…Nobody argued, nobody wanted to stay. So I picked a church nearby and we went. The kids loved it, even Oldest liked his age group (a near miracle!). I asked them about visiting somewhere else and was shut down. If they are happy then I am happy. Maybe we have finally found a place to be…or maybe my children have inherited their mother’s bothersome restlessness…

Middle Boy

Middle Boy

All things homeschool are going quite well…except we lost our science lab books. I’ve looked everywhere for these two books all week…nothing. Frustrating…hopefully I can get a replacement manual from Thames and Cosmos. Oldest is working very hard on his ancient Egypt paper. I gave him time off from his writing curriculum while he works on his first major writing assignment. Tomorrow he will also begin an art project and plan out his edible Nile River mapping project. I’ll share his work on the next wrap-up.

Littlest and his favorite book

Littlest and his favorite book

Littlest loves preschool and wants to share his upcoming birthday with his pre-school class. My little man is about to turn four before the end of the month. He loved his class but keeps asking me for “school work”. He wants to learn to write numbers now. I had originally planned to work with him after his first yearish of preschool was over…Littlest doesn’t agree. Why are little ones in such a hurry to grow up?

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

Weekly Wrap-up: Wishes in the Rain

family picture at Epcot

family picture at Epcot

We surprised the kids with a trip to Walt Disney World. I’ve been planning the trip since April and never expected to pull off the vacation without getting found out. We told the kids we were going with Daddy on a business trip to Florida. I told them we would check out some old Spanish and Civil War forts in the area while my husband worked. We told the kids if they were good during the long drive we would stop by one of the resort gift shops. While the crew and I looked around the shop my husband went and checked us into our room. I was sure the crew would see through our ruse but they really believed we were tagging just along on a business trip.  When my husband finally told them we were staying at Walt Disney World for vacation we received incredulous stares. They finally got excited once they actually believed we were not kidding them and the shock wore off.

Oldest and Sparkles

Oldest and Sparkles

Oldest and Sparkles both celebrated birthdays while vacationing. For his eleventh birthday Oldest enjoyed his favorite rides and shows at both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Sparkles birthday treat (as if being at WDW wasn’t enough!) was going to the boutique at Cinderella Castle and getting made up to look like a princess. We let her pick out a dress this time since it will most likely be the last time she goes to the boutique. She chose the princess Anna dress from Frozen. I was a bit surprised by her choice since she loves Sleeping Beauty but the green dress is very lovely on her.

Middle Boy

Middle Boy

Middle Boy enjoyed most of the trip but he wasn’t fond of the crowds or most roller coasters. He loved traveling by the monorail or train. Most of the time he lived up to his old toddler nick name of “Velcro boy”. He was always by Daddy’s side or holding my hand. Littlest was a handful the first couple of days (well…he’s always a handful but was particularly grumpy at first). Once he adjusted to all the activity he had a blast. He loved the rides and enjoyed meeting the princesses. I didn’t expect him to want to

Sleeping Beauty doesn't know what to say...

Sleeping Beauty doesn’t know what to say…

meet any of the Disney characters and thought he would hide from them. Wrong!!! He would sing and dance for them, taught a couple of them yoga poses, and pretended to be a little Dalek (from Doctor Who) and “exterminate” everything. On our last evening one of the Disney employees asked Littlest who was his favorite character. He answered, “I like myself.”

hangin' with Ramone

hangin’ with Ramone

Walt Disney World is a lot of fun and we all had a great time together. My husband and I could use another couple of days to just sleep and recover. Thankfully I didn’t have to worry about making dinner the day we arrived home. My awesome friend Mama Quilts made us a homemade pot of chicken and dumplings! I am blessed with a few great friends! The same day we also had to take Littlest to his preschool open house at the high school. The following day was his first day of preschool. He was very excited about his first day and couldn’t wait to learn all about letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. I explained that he would mostly likely learn about the routines and rules of the school. Littlest wasn’t impressed at all and told me, “They are going to teach me all about what I want to learn! Or I am going to fuss. And nobody wants that!!” He must be happy with their instruction. So far he hasn’t fussed. Today was show-and-tell day. He took his new book “Frozen” (from the movie) to show everyone.

One of my favorite experiences at Walt Disney World is the “Wishes” firework show. I always marvel at how well the music and dialogue match up with the fireworks. One part brought tears to my eyes this time…the voice of the genie. The voice belonged to the late Robin Williams. I prayed for his soul and for his family and forgot all about the rain (it was very rainy that evening), my dreadful cold, and the fireworks. I thanked God in that moment because I was surrounded by my family…the people I love the most. Honestly, what more could I ever wish for?

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Weekly Wrap-up: Monkeys and Monty Python

monopoly fun

monopoly fun

Over the weekend we had the brilliant notion to let he kids watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. They have been re-enacting scenes from the film all week. After six days or so I’m not much of a fan anymore. Well, that’s not quite true…knights with silly boy humor is far more preferable than most shows for children their age. They have also pretended to be Native American friends of Father Marquette and Minn the turtle from H.C. Hollings’ Minn of the Mississippi.  We’ve spent the week studying the history and geography of the Mississippi River. I rather enjoy

Littlest filling the empty spaces with letters

Littlest filling the empty spaces with letters

watching them when their play mixes with their studies. Usually these things end when Littlest decides to pretend to be a Dalek and attacks everyone. Then one of them will run off and build a sonic screwdriver out of Lego’s and blow-up the Dalek. Or Oldest will just declare that the Doctor no longer needs his sonic screwdriver to blow-up Daleks since he has attack eyebrows now. None of that makes any sense unless you watch Doctor Who.

the sad sunflowers

the sad sunflowers

Other than the imaginative play of the children the week has been rather quiet. Littlest has insisted on having some school papers of his own to work on. He is now an expert at the shape puzzles one of his aunts got for him and asked for something “more mathy” to work with during the school day. At what point did he realize that working with shapes is mathematics?! This week he started joining us for read aloud time on his own. I’ve always just let him play near us during school hours but he is wanting to join in now. Instead of trying to drag someone off to go play with him he is asking me for math and writing lessons. He also likes to dance and sing. This week his favorite is Five Little Monkey’s.  Littlest is also still concerned about the sunflowers in the yard. He pointed to the flowers this week and said they were still sad searching for their seeds and wished they would look at the sun again. I showed him where the seeds were growing but he didn’t believe me because the sunflowers were “not smiling at the sun.”

Oldest walking on his own this week

Oldest walking on his own this week

Oldest is just about to wrap-up his studies of ancient Egypt. We have nearly completed The Golden Goblet by E.J. McGraw and are nearly finished with the book. Even though the middle two are not studying ancient history they have stuck around to listen to the story. In the next few weeks Oldest will be working on his first proper essay on ancient Egypt. He is a little nervous and really wants to do a good job. I told him he could take a week off from his writing lessons so long as he applied the techniques from his writing curriculum toward his history paper. I plan to help him with his first essay but I doubt he’ll need me all that much.

I will not be writing a wrap-up next week. We’ll be on break for a week and I might fit in a field trip. The following week Littlest will begin preschool and that will be a major change for us…we’ll have to follow an actual schedule…horrors!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

 

 

Wibbly-Wobbly Weightloss: Improvement and Stalemate

I’ve maintained my current weight for the past week or so. Though not entirely thrilled with my lack of loss I’m glad not to have gained. My goal for the next few weeks is to maintain the good habits that I have begun and to slowly add new ones.

Right now I am trying to learn all I can about an Anti-inflammatory diet…really lifestyle. I am grudgingly learning that chronic inflammation is nothing to ignore. It leads to the wearing down of cartilage and tissues which further increase the bodies inflammatory triggers. I can see this is already happening in my body because I’m not always able to wear my wedding band (which really ticks me off!). If the condition continues I may possibly succumb to heart disease, diabetes, arthritis (I can check this one off already), cancer (I’ve had that one too), Alzheimer’s, digestive issues (oh another one!), emotional (not balanced at all there!) and mental (lack of clear grasp on reality runs in the family anyway) imbalances. Isn’t that a fun future to consider…

No, not at all.

I’m over the emotional impact now and am ready to put together a plan of attack. I already know that the only lifestyle changes that stick are the one that are made slowly and deliberately. I’ve already increased my water intake and started exercising. I simply need to increase my exercise over time. Right now I walk with my husband and kids two to three nights a week and ride the exercise cycle maybe another couple of times a week. I would like to increase those numbers to three or four times a week. I’ve also started doing a little weight training with my husband after we put the kids down for the night. I like doing this with him much more than mindlessly munching on snacks and watching the telly. I like that we are exercising as a family.

Changing my diet is going to be a bit harder. I was completely confused by the terminology for an anti-inflammatory diet. My friend Ellie wrote a blog post (just for me)  explaining all I needed to get started. You can find her post here! Thank you very much my friend!!! Ellie’s post made me think about changing my diet and I plan to start making changes slowly. Many of the foods I am accustomed to are on the “no-no” list. Doesn’t mean I have to give them up forever but I need to enjoy them in moderation. I’ve already moved my family away from overly processed and boxed foods. I’m not going to try to change everything at once but I am going to work on one meal at a time. Right now I am changing my breakfast foods. Sometimes I skip breakfast or have leftovers. This week I’ve changed to having a smoothie for breakfast. I’m working on an anti-inflammatory smoothie recipe. For now I add a piece of ginger root to my pineapple-banana green smoothie. This week I plan to add a fish oil capsule once I figure out the whole supplement market. I’ve never taken any except for iron during pregnancy. Once I get a few breakfast recipes that I like and are good for my body then I’ll work on lunch recipes.

One of the problems Ellie mentioned with inflammation is that it is a response to stress. Constant stress can really break a body down and over the years I have become very sensitive to stressful situations. I’ve made no secret that my childhood was less than ideal. Calling my early years stressful would be an understatement. My life now is wonderful but my body is paying the price for the previous years of emotional and occasional physical abuse. Prayer is a healthy way to alleviate stress. I pray every day but not the way I used to. I used to get up early and meditate over scripture and really spend time with God. I’ve lost that precious time over the years occupied with little babies and sleep deprivation. I think it is past time to restart. I’ve lost my sense of the sacred and I really miss that connection.