Birthday Boy

blowing out candles

blowing out candles

Today Littlest is four years old. We celebrated his birthday over the weekend with family. He also participated in Children’s Sabbath at church where he played the handbells. He spent his time jumping instead of singing during choir. I am sure his teachers are thrilled to know that he sings the songs they taught him very well…at home. Littlest especially liked dressing up as Batman for the fall harvest celebration.

Happy Birthday Littlest!

Weekly Wrap-up: A Beautiful Life

crew at Homeplace

crew at Homeplace

Last Friday was a beautiful autumn day. So lovely that we decided to pack a picnic and head out to Land Between the Lakes for a “field trip”. First, we followed the slowest truck ever through Amish country. Eventually, (after forever) the truck turned off and we made our way to our favorite Amish country store and stocked up on bulk supplies of flour, popping corn, sugar and spices for the winter. Afterward, we travelled out to Hematite Lake and grilled hotdogs (my stomach was mad at me!) and watched the kids play. A few classes from one of the local schools

time to grill

time to grill

had the same idea for a field trip at Hematite Lake too. Our crew stopped for a moment to watch them all double file past us to the lake. Later, we headed out to the Homeplace. The kids got a lesson on the usefulness of dried corn stalks and watched the ladies carve pumpkins.

Over the weekend my awesome husband repurposed some old school desk we had been given into chairs for our school room. The fold up chairs we’ve been using the past few years are falling apart. He cut the metal bar off the chairs and disconnected the desk tops. I wanted to keep the desk tops for art and outdoor lap desks. Dismantling the school

at Hematite Lake

at Hematite Lake

desks saved us some cash and cleared up some storage space. Middle Boy spent a bit of time pulling chewing gum from under the chairs with a screwdriver on Monday morning.

For the most part school was uneventful this week. The crew worked hard and we are currently on schedule…except for science labs. We are still trying to get caught up from when we lost our lab books. Tuesday morning was a bit different. We spent about an hour and a half on Bible lessons because Middle Boy unloaded a ton of questions. He wanted to know about Baptism, if he wanted to be Baptized did it have to happen in front of the whole church, why don’t we all go to the river Jordan to get Baptized, does he have to go all

learning uses of corn stalks

learning uses of corn stalks

the way under the water, is Pontius Pilot in hell, would God forgive Satan if Satan repented, did everyone who lived before Jesus go to hell…and so on. I answered him as best I could but…I could really use a theologian on speed-dial some days. I started to get a bit upset because we really needed to get math done and I had hoped to finish our book on Sir Isaac Newton that day. Then I set all those thoughts aside. We have plenty of time. Isn’t his relationship with Jesus far more important than fractions and optics?

Sparkles made biscuits this week

Sparkles made biscuits this week

I lost sight of one of the privileges of homeschooling. Studying Scripture is important. It isn’t just a subject to be checked off a daily list…no subject should be treated that way…no. Somehow, recently I had slipped into a “get everything done on my checklist” mode of living. That’s no way to live a beautiful life…my purpose for being is not a checklist.

Today, we went out to the dam. We had hoped to see the eclipse this afternoon but clouds suddenly rushed in and obscured the sun. We ended up taking a walk and watched a crane do some fishing and saw a Bald Eagle fly ahead of us.

Linking up with: Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Midweek Moment: Newton’s Bubbles

bubble investigations

bubble investigations

This week we read Isaac Newton by John Hudson Tiner. Sir Newton liked to blow bubbles during his years at Trinity and wonder why all the color would disappear before they popped. Oldest got out the bubble blower and watched the phenomenon for himself.

After some research we learned the reason for the swirling colors on bubbles and why they disappear. The colors come from the interaction of two waves of light interacting with one another. The two rays are reflected to the observer from the inner and outer surface of the bubble. As the liquid in the bubble evaporated the two light rays move closer together until they “disappear” or we only see white light from the sun.

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