Monday, December 27, 2010

The Golden Girls

The children and I have been loving our new DVD set! I was surprised that my kids laugh along with me. Are we learning anything while enjoying the witty antics of Blanche, Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia? ;) Well ~ the Young Lady says it's funny to see how things were in the eighties. The Girls often make mention of people the kids never heard of, so questions get asked when the Mayor of Palm Springs is made fun of. ;P Hey ~ Dorothy's an English teacher! 8D Above all else, nothing beats a good family laugh. ♥

Sunday, December 12, 2010

SAHM - An Endangered Species?

It seems to me that being a "stay-at-home mom" is becoming quite the faux pas. More people are demonstrating prejudice against those of us who absorb ourselves in our families.
Homemaking could arguably be the most important volunteer occupation for the benefit of society. Yes, occupation.
The definition of "occupation" is that which takes up one's time. For those who do not agree that homemakers are occupied, I challenge the role reversal. Your boss is your family and they expect peak performance. Throw in the aspect of homeschooling and there's an even greater intolerance of error.
Some sign up for the assignment. Others find themselves thrown into it. Either way, the heart and soul that gets poured into the role of stay-at-home/homeschooling mom is unsurpassesd by anything else. A role that requires twenty-four/seven, three hundred sixty-five days per year committment. A role that is built on and dependant on love to sustain it.
The pride in homemaking is realized through the products created. A well-loved and cared for family who trusts the matriarch to deliver the best advice, provide the warmest comfort, and show the greatest understanding. A home the entire family can be proud of. Children who get complimented on their use of manners, outstanding behavior, love for God, and respect for others. A husband who doesn't have to worry about the well-oiled machine running at home while he labors at his full time job to provide monetarily for his family. The solice of knowing in your heart that your loved ones are receiving your very best.
Not to say that mothers who work outside the home don't love their families. I just want to point out that homemaking is a career, too. It's nothing to scoff at. It's an intense labor of love to keep things within the family operating. It's an immense responsibility to be in charge of molding your children's futures through their education and well-being. Its only pay is its many rewards, which are sometimes only recognized by the one who's working so hard toward their achievement. Like secular bosses, the family vocalizes the wrongs and often forgets to praise the rights.
Don't shy away from a career at home if it's in your heart to do so. Don't mock another's choice to be CEO of their family.
Thank a stay-at-home mom for volunteering to put her all into raising the next generation.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Paper Snowflakes ~ A Learning Experience! :)

Every December 1st, Suaemoc decorates for the winter season with snowflakes and snowmen in the windows and in the yard. One of our favorite activities to prepare for decorating is making paper snowflakes. :)
Is it possible to incorporate learning into this fun wintertime craft?
Absolutely! ;)
There are cool scientific things to know about snowflakes. There are factors which influence the shape and size of a snowflake. You can discuss geography by talking about the coldest places on earth. Explore why we should care about snow types through an investigation why avalanches happen. Discuss the 7 main classifications of snow crystals, then when it snows you can collect snowflakes on a sheet of paper. Before they melt, look at the crystals under a microscope or powerful magnifying glass to try to find all 7 basic snowflake shapes. Explore how plant and leaf development resembles snowflake formation and reflect on the magnificence of the One who created all these things. :) Research the chemistry of falling snow.
Enjoy fascinating high-resolution images of snowflakes while exploring the wonders of such beautiful precipitation. :)
For more creative snowflake making ideas and learning resources, visit http://www.papersnowflakes.com/. Happy learning! :D

*~MoVeMeNT~*

One of the five themes of geography is movement. The Little Boy is learning about moving from place to place and the movement of goods, sounds, and ideas.
To help him use grid coordinates in locating specific places or determine relative location, I created 'Suaemoc "Rows and Columns"' for him to play. This is a hands-on way for the Little Boy to understand how a grid is used to organize space.

I affixed a small baggie to hold the star markers I made for the game. An alternative to game place could be to use jelly beans, popcorn, or fruit snacks. You call out a set of coordinates and have the child put the edible marker in the appropriate space. Once the child has a full row or column, the grid markers get to be eaten. :)
You can also integrate mathematics to take the game further by listing correct answers with corresponding coordinates. Plan out the coordinates to make a shape. Ask the child what shape has been created by the correct answers on the grid. :) Really, the possiblities are endless as to how you can creatively use this game in your home classroom! ;)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Christian Education

The apostles Peter and John are described as "unlettered and ordinary" in Acts 4:13, yet they were able to understand and express deep spiritual concepts. Solomon was the wisest man on earth before Jesus. In the book of Ecclesiastes 12:13, Solomon was inspired to write that the "whole obligation of man" is to "fear the true God and keep his commandments." If we need to learn to fear God, we need to be taught how to do so.
Education is described, in part, as the process by which people acquire habits, values, and attitudes. Is secular schooling where we want our children to learn these things? If we believe that "all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight" (2 Tim. 3:16), then we should want to look to God's Word. Consider the example of Timothy. 2 Timothy 3:14, 15 brings out that Timothy's mother and grandmother educated him from infancy. As far back as Timothy could remember, his mother and grandmother were instilling spirituality into the heart of young Timothy, which yielded Timothy's enduring strong faith.
Since parents are the primary influence on children's eagerness to learn, we parents must be aware of the example being set for our children. Are we showing a genuine interest in their education? Are we displaying a positive attitude toward knowledge and learning? Quite importantly, do our children see us studying?
Jesus was the most educated person ever to walk the earth. (John 7:16-18) He understood the purpose of education and, while he could have sought prominence for himself in a secular career, Jesus only looked to glorify his Father. As Christians who recognize the commission to give glory to God, we seek balance in education so that our children's conduct and diligence brings praise to our Heavenly Father. (Matt. 5:16)
Learning to read well affects the ability to use God's Word. Since the Bible has the power to change lives, we would want to, not only know how to read the Bible effectively ourselves, but teach our children to read the Bible in a way that provides the full impact of its messages. However, mental, moral, and spiritual development has no comparison in level of importance. (Ps. 119:9-12) This practical training for daily life is something unattainable through secular education. Divine education has a guaranteed benefit, highlighted at Isaiah 54:13, that when divine education is applied, the resulting blessing is peace. This peace refers to the health, prosperity, and overall welfare of an individual.
Spiritual education teaches children how their character can make them stand out, and how to make good decisions as they plan their course in life. (Pr. 2:10, 11) It instills discernment, which enables children to look past what can be seen and identify potential hidden dangers. More importantly, Revelation 20:12 assures the future of divine education. The first and third scrolls opened during Christ's Millennial Reign will contain instructions for living during that Kingdom rule, for what will be the greatest educational endeavor.
As we hold true to the importance of spiritual upbringing, we should be sure to instill regular use of every available resource to complete our's and our children's Christian assignment of praising God.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NoVeMBeR

This year is going by so fast! The Young Lady has been working very hard on her freshman year assignments in both English and Earth Systems and has both subjects nearly completed. We are new to the high school homeschool scene, so we are unsure of when the next subjects will become available for her to begin, but she has definitely found her course to be a challenge thus far. It's good for her. I did choose the two most involved courses to start her off with, too, so the remainder of ninth grade should be a breeze for her.
The Little Boy's love of science is really flourishing. We recently added a sixty-nine piece microscope set to Suaemoc. He loves it!
I think Daddy's just as "into it" as the Little Boy is. :P They have been looking at slides of different animal fibers, textiles, and a fly wing. The camel fibers look really neat, and now the Little Boy's interested in finding out why they are the way they are. (Bubbled.) It is exciting to see him so interested in exploring his world. :)
Suaemoc is also experimenting with brewing our own root beer. The Little Boy is much more excited about this adventure than the Young Lady, but surely she will enjoy the end result just as much. ;) We are only in the beginning phase of the process - the very beginning, in fact. We have cleaned and sterilized our bottles and are letting them air dry. The entire brewing process should take about two weeks. In the interim, the children will brainstorm a name for our root beer and design the bottle labels for Suaemoc's creation. :)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mandala

The Young Lady has do complete three parts of an assignment on the novel, Homecoming, by Cynthia Voigt.
This is the third part of her assignment. I thought it was extremely creative. :)
(Though she was initially inclined to write about why she would not do an assignment involving something that's used in acts of worship. ;) )

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Unconventional Wisdom

It is a bit of a challenge, as a homeschooling mom, to desire the use of a more unconventional approach to educating my children when there is a lot of pressure to follow the institutionalized standard.
Understandably, the Young Lady must meet the criteria necessary in order to earn a high school diploma. I like The American Academy program we chose for her. She is required to complete some complex tasks and is being instructed at a more difficult level than the other courses we considered. As a mother, I feel good about this challenging program.
I am impressed with the Calvert School choice for the Little Boy, as well. There are wonderful supplemental activites online which are fun for him to work on. He enjoys the incorporation of experiments for each Science lesson, and applying his imagination to the writing assignments. He seems inspired, which makes me very happy.
My concern does not lie with the children's courses. It has to do with the freedom we should have, as a homeschooling family, to really utilize the world as our classroom and embrace every day experiences as the learning opportunities they are.
The idea that school must be done from 8:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in a structured way, using instruction by textbook, completing assignments, testing, and grading, goes against the value of home-based education. When the children are at the farm they're taking in a wealth of information that cannot be obtained in an institutionalized environment. The same is true for shopping, attending medical appointments, and other routine activities. Such exposures create backgrounds of real-world intelligence and practical applications, with natural opportunities to demonstrate the text-book information they've learned. It makes education fun, and when learning is enjoyable it leaves a better impression. Practical and personal application of information opens the mind to store the information more effectively. Having real-life chances to put education to use enables deeper understanding and appreciation of why it is necessary to have certain knowledge.
I am thrilled to be a homeschooling mom. The Young Lady and Little Boy are both well-rounded children with good morals and a foundation of spirituality. I would not want it any other way. :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Line Drawings

The Little Boy had a fun project to do today. I wanted to share the idea, because the results can be really cute. :)
We were studying culture and discussed hieroglyphics for Social Studies. An art lesson was incorporated into the idea. The Little Boy began by drawing three types of lines: straight, curvy, and zig-zag. He then was asked to fold a piece of drawing paper into three sections, one for each type of line, and then think of his favorite kind of animal. He chose a cat. In each section of the paper, his assignment was to draw his animal using only the type of line for the section. ;)
Try it! See what cute little pictures your child's imagination comes up with. :D

Monday, September 20, 2010

Attempting to Inculcate

Deuteronomy 6:5-7 admonishes us to "love Jehovah your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your vital force. And these words that I am commanding you today must prove to be on your heart; and you must inculcate them in your son and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up."
I try to impress upon the children how important it is to do all things out of love for God and with Him in mind. This includes taking to heart Ephesians 6:1-3, "Children, be obedient to your parents in union with the Lord, for this is righteous: 'Honor your father and your mother'; which is the first command with a promise: 'That it may go well with you and you may endure a long time on the earth.'"
I'm finding it a bit more of a challenge right now to have the children's cooperation. I haven't been pushing too much, since we have all been through quite an ordeal this summer. Things are 'strange' this year, for sure. However, our number one concern should always be our relationship with Jehovah.
Adding to the difficulty, is the barrage of negative influence in our neighborhood. I remind the children that they need to be leaders, rather than followers. To remember to do things that make God happy, and to keep close in mind the potential impact our decisions can have in our lives.
Learning, both theocratic and secular, is very important and must be taken seriously. It is my job, as the spiritual head of our family, to inculcate these things in my children. It is their responsibility to be obedient and hold within their hearts the promise God made as a result of doing so.
I hope I'm doing my part effectively and continue to pray for holy spirit to guide me. I know this year has certain complicating factors, but "with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Finally ~ a classroom!

The Little Boy and I were finally able to get Suaemoc set up today. :)
Since the Young Lady will be doing the bulk of her high school work on the computer, Suaemoc is now completely in the hands of the Little Boy. It's all decorated to his preferences and ready for learning and creativity.
This doesn't mean that he hasn't gotten started on his fourth grade studies. He's done quite well with his pretests and seems very excited about this year's curriculum. He said he loves his Social Studies book, Regions. He spent quite a bit of time looking through all the interesting historical information it contains.
The next endeavor for Suaemoc will be the purchase of a newer, more efficient computer. There are many extra online activities which correspond to the Little Boy's curriculum. The Young Lady will definitely benefit from a better system with which to work on her studies, as well.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm like a kid in a candy store!! :P

The Little Boy's Calvert School materials arrived today. My goodness!! It's overwhelmingly amazing! :P
The curriculum is so organized. I'm in love with the Lesson Manuals!
There was an awesome Science Kit included. It has all sorts of different rock samples, metal filings, insulated wire, and other cool items that aren't commonly available in order to do experiments and research. The Little Boy's going to love this so much! He really does have a natural enthusiasm for hands-on activities.
Also included was a handy checklist of materials we'll need to stock our classroom with. We have quite a bit of the things we need, but we'll have to take a field trip to Staples to get some additional supplies. ;)
I'm exited about the online activities that go along with the lessons, too. There are videos, games, and quizzes which were developed in accordance with national and state academic standards to improve learning and provide assessments.
Don't think I'm not thrilled about the experience the Young Lady's getting! She completed her first assignment, which she had to do twice because our computer's so ancient. :S I felt bad. I was hoping to have a new computer by the time she started her course.
The instruction she's receiving online is wonderful. I love the fact that it's challenging her to express herself. There's a lot of reading involved in her curriculum, too, which is fantastic. She has one big novel assignment due within a few months. It was a bit of a bummer for me because the book's such a good one, I had her read it last year! They mailed her a copy of her own for the course, though. It'll be a great addition to our classroom library. There is another book by the same author that she's required to read, though, so we'll have to get to the public library and try to pick that one up. The assignment for that book doesn't have as much weight in her assessment as the other book does. Good thing for her she already had to read it and do a report on it. ;) (I won't allow her to use what she already did, however. She may use it as an outline or a rough draft, but she will be completely redoing the assignment.)
I'm very pleased with the children's curriculum this year. It's going to be a terrific homeschool year at Suaemoc!! :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Little Boy's Ready To Go

September's on the doorstep, which means we're heading toward my favorite time of the year! :) AUTUMN!!
Of course, autumn traditionally means it's time to hit the books. The Young Lady's all set with her 9th grade course and now, the Little Boy's all signed up for his 4th grade course, as well.
I decided to go with The Calvert School this year. I enrolled the Little Boy in their fourth grade scholastic program and am pretty excited to have him begin the program. They offer a fully accredited homeschool program that meets very high educational standards. The Calvert School has been recognized as a premier provider of homeschool curriculum and support services for over one hundred years.
I chose the Calvert Scholastic Curriculum for the Little Boy because it's still challenging, but provides extra support in grammar, composition, and critical thinking. This is a different approach than the more 'freestyle' one we took last year, but our entire world has changed this year. The Young Lady will be pretty much on her own with her courses online, and this way, I'll have everything planned out for me with the Little Boy's studies through Calvert. It's a bit pricey, but I believe this will be a fantastic educational program for him. :)
Happy Back To School!!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Beginning!

It's been a majorly eventful summer. One our family won't ever forget, but sadly, not because it was full of fun family adventures.
If you aren't aware of what happened, you may refer to my other blog: http://robsprogress.blogspot.com.
The process of getting the 2010-2011 school year off and running has been very slow. I barely have our new classroom put together. All the plans for curriculum, a computer, and field trips have been scratched for the time being. It'll happen eventually, but we're definitely off to a slower-than-I'd-like start.
However, the Young Lady's 9th grade high school enrollment through the American Academy has been completed. She's enrolled in the career-focus high school diploma with Horse Management. :) It'll be a breeze for her!
I chose the materials for the Little Boy's 4th grade curriculum a while ago, but I didn't have the money to order. I will have to go through the materials again, but I know it'll be Spectrum, mixed with a lot of theocratic lessons. ;)
Is anyone else getting off to a late start this year? I usually start at the beginning of August because, once spring rolls around, it's hard to contain the children ~ especially the Young Lady. Spring means horse show season!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Wrapping Up

Workbooks have been completed and final tests have been taken. Unbelieveably, Suaemoc is wrapping up the homeschool year for the summer. Learning, of course, never ends. Little Boy and Little Miss don't need to know that. ;)
It's pretty safe to say that Little Miss has graduated middle school and is, dare it be said, a high schooler. She'll be starting high school through American Academy with a career focus on Horse Management in the fall.
The Little Boy will be a 4th grader this autumn. It will be easier to focus on his curriculum with Little Miss's instruction being mostly provided through the American Academy. He's going to need to work on creative writing and developing ideas. The Little Boy is so intelligent and really demonstrates a love for mathematics. As everyone has one subject which proves to be their bump in the road, writing is not his forte. Hopefully, including more theocratic assignments will help him develop his abilities in this area in the coming year.
Suaemoc will be busy over the next couple of months. There'll be a rearranging of the classroom, including a change of location, yet to be determined, a lot of preparation for the 2010-2011 homeschool year, and the non-formal summer homeschooling that will be taking place. Of course, we're looking forward to our first-annual hosting of the Homeschool Summer Pool Party in July. :D We will also be sorting through our materials and gathering things together for the traditional homeschoolers' book swap in August.
So, while blog updates will be less frequent throughout the coming months, Suaemoc will be keeping busy. Have a happy and safe summer, Suaemoc followers! :)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thinking SUMMER ;)

It's right around the corner. The warmest season of the year. A time of blossoming and having fun. Enjoying lazy days. Catching fireflies at night. Cookouts. Camping. Splashing in pools. Running through sprinklers.
*Summertime.*
The homeschool summer pool party evites were sent, so it must be true that it's already that time of the year. There's cooped-up restlessness to be released! Fun in the sun to be had!
Learning doesn't stop for the homeschooled, by any means.
Summer adventures pose many opportunites to enhance young minds, as well as reflect on what our Creator has blessed us with. Each and every summer day contains magnificent gems for building up our spirituality and increasing in knowledge. The more time spent out of doors, the more the children can discover, collect, and learn about the array of unique items the world contains.
Even rainy days present fun opportunities. Acting out Bible dramas. A day of playing Homeschoolopoly. ;) Suit up with boots, raincoats, and warm socks and get outside — you won't melt. Splash in the puddles. Do impressions of ducks, frogs, and fish. Search for worms for a day of fishing. And if the sun comes out, hunt for rainbows.
Play with sand-free sandboxes. Use a large plastic bin or aluminum roasting pan filled with rice or oatmeal. Give the kids some scoops, funnels, spoons, toy cars, or whatever suits their interests. :)
While the homeschool summer pool party is coming up, so is the annual homeschool picnic and book swap. Yes, in just a couple of months it'll be time to get serious about planning next year's curriculum. Yikes! For now, let's just think swinging-in-the-hammock-in-the-shade thoughts, shall we? :P

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

You Know You're a Homeschooler When...

Homeschooling moms (and dads) have probably seen some of these lists before. Anyone homeschooling can come up with all kinds of witty reasons to identify themselves as homeschoolers. Every day there are little reminders that, when we stop to think about it, cause a little chuckle and make us smile to ourselves as we reflect on this wonderful group we belong to. ;)
For example, those weekday mornings at the grocery store when the children happily exclaim, "We're homeschooled!" when they sense people are looking at them and wondering why they're not "in school." The ecstatic feeling you get when UPS has left boxes on the porch...and the utter disappointment when you see the UPS truck drive by without stopping. When you're counting watching Planet Earth or Life on the Discovery Channel and bringing the pets to the vet as Science, doing Bible reading together as History, and playing on the Wii as Physical Education. There's a room in your house with a computer, copy machine, many book shelves, and educational posters and maps all over the walls. Or, you have boxes full of empty jars, soda bottles, egg cartons, toilet paper tubes, Styrofoam containers, and other ‘trash’ stored for future use. (I just picked up two boxes of empty jars from a Freecycler ~ LOL!)
Come on ~ you know it's all true. :P
I'm sure you have some humorous realities of homeschooling to add. Please feel free to do so!
Happy Unschooling Adventures! ;)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Children Are Natural Gardeners

Our seeds have been sewn and the children made little markers for the crops. Every day, we make sure Suaemoc's 'Home's Cool' Farm is watered and free of anything unwanted. We are really looking forward to our herbs and vegetables! :)
Children are curious and learn best with hands-on experiences. Children also love to play in the dirt, which makes them natural gardeners. ;)
By incorporating our 'Home's Cool' Farm into our homeschool curriculum, the children can gain satisfaction that comes from caring for our herbs and vegetables over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. :) Learning the life skill of environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature is something overlooked in standard school curriculums. We are so happy to have the opportunity to experience it in our homeschool curriculum! ;)
It's important to encourage a sense of responsibility and acknowledge the importance of the work the children are doing. Sharing our 'Home's Cool' Farm with you brings attention to their hard work and will hopefully keep them motivated.
As the children begin to see their hard work producing good results, their interests and self-esteem will grow right along with their crops. They are learning that gardening is a lot of fun and they're gaining a sense of pride that they're helping to contribute to our family's well-being by growing a variety of delicious, healthy herbs and vegetables. :)

Monday, April 5, 2010

Suaemoc's 'Home's Cool' Farm Profile

Check us out on the home farming site! :)

Suaemoc's 'Home's Cool' Farm is underway!

Suaemoc's 'Home's Cool' Farm was born today. :)

We worked hard, burying the frame, gathering buckets of soil, and making our sign.
We haven't officially planted any of our herbs and vegetables yet because we need to get a few more buckets of soil. Our Cherry and Better Boy tomatoes seedlings are in biodegradable containers, so they're sitting in the farm. :)

The children are working on making markers for all the herbs and vegetables that will be planted.

We're really excited to have been able to recycle an old sandbox frame to use for our raised farm bed, as well as using recycled horse feed for soil! :P Our farm sign is the stake from another sign that fell apart, and wood from a piece of furniture that broke apart. It's encouraging to know we're giving new life to old things! :)

Keep checking in for more updates on Suaemoc's 'Home's Cool' Farm. :D

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Shout Out! ;)

A fellow homeschooling mom filled me in on a site I am having WAY TOO MUCH fun with. :P
It's DiscoveryEducation.com. They have a fantasic puzzle maker that allows you to create your own word search puzzles!
I second her recommendation. ;)
Here are two I created, based on the books of the Bible:
The children are having a lot of fun with these puzzles. :)
These are reinforcing which books are in the "front" of the Bible, and which are in the "back." The children are being strengthened in the correct spelling of the Bible books.
Patience, determination, and confidence are beneficial elements of incorporating word search puzzles into school curriculum. Also, allowing the children to make their own puzzles will allow independent learning and creativity, which makes this site even more fantastic! By being able to invent their own word puzzles, the children gain a sense of responsibility for contributing to a part of their learning activity. ;)

"Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for." - Heb. 11:1

In celebration of the Memorial of Jesus' Death, the children found ways to show their appreciation for the hope Jesus' ransom sacrifice provided to all mankind.
Isaiah 65:21-25: "And they will certainly build houses and have occupancy; and they will certainly plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. They will not build and someone else have occupancy; they will not plant and someone else do the eating. For like the days of a tree will the days of my people be; and the work of their own hands my chosen ones will use to the full. They will not toil for nothing, nor will they bring to birth for disturbance; because they are the offspring made up of the blessed ones of Jehovah, and their decendants with them. And it will actually occur that before they call out I myself shall answer; while they are yet speaking, I myself shall hear. The wolf and the lamb themselves will feed as one, and the lion will eat straw just like the bull; and as for the serpent, his food will be dust. They will do no harm nor cause any ruin in all my holy mountain, Jehovah has said."


This is the theme for the Little Boy's picture, "A Day In Paradise." He spent an entire day, meticulously coloring this attractive scene. His hard work and attention to detail demonstrated how much he appreciates the hope of everlasting life on a Paradise earth. While coloring, he talked about what was happening in the picture, who the people are, and what he looks forward to. The picture came to life so beautifully and is now adorning a wall in the Little Boy's bedroom. :)

Little Miss wrote a poem about Paradise.

"I put my trust in Jehovah God,
That this wicked system will soon be gone.
Times now are critical,
But paradise will be beautiful.
We will enjoy the animals,
As they will pose no threat to us.
The birds will sing,
And bees won't sting.
Predators will lie with prey,
And humans will not sin.
No more sickness,
No more death,
All that stuff will be put to rest.
I look forward to that time,
That perfect time of paradise."

Little Miss really showed from her heart how deep her hope for the future is. It's heartwarming to read her expression of faith in the promise. This, too, is on display for all to enjoy. :)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Little Boy's Going to be a Junior Engineer in July

Mad Science (www.madscience.org) offers tons of programs from after-school activities, preschool groups, summer and vacation programs, workshops, to hosting special events and parties.
Sparking imaginitive learning, the Mad Science summer program "Junior Engineers" offers Kindergarteners through 5th Graders the opportunity to join in discovering how things move with science. For 5 days during the summer, the Little Boy will be taking apart pellets to see what an owl is not able to digest, making a camera obscura, building bridges, domes, cubes, and pyramids, assembling pulleys, levers, catapults, simple machines, and megapinchers, and making his own sidewalk chalk, crystal gardens, and chromatography-dyed T-shirt! :)
How cool is that?!?! :D
What's a camera obscura, you ask?
It is an optical device that projects an image of its surroundings on a screen, used in drawing and for entertainment. The camera obscura consists of a box with a hole in one side. Light from an external scene passes through the hole and reproduces the image upside-down on a surface while preserving color and perspective. The image can be projected onto paper and traced. :)
I think the Little Boy is going to have a lot of fun being a Junior Engineer this summer! ;)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Different Kind of Lesson on Farming

On March 27, 2007, I received a call while I was at work more than 60 miles from home. Little Miss, then 11 years old, was in a panic because her beloved pony was showing signs of labor.

A year earlier, Little Miss witnessed the mating of a handsome Arabian stallion with the Hackney-Arabian-Shetland pony she rode and loved so dearly. She had been told the foal to be born would be her very own horse.

The entire time the pony was in foal, Little Miss was a proud little mommy. She took such good care of her pregnant pony and found herself spending hours in her bedroom compiling a list of baby names.

How could I not go rushing home once that frantic call came in?

I arrived home an hour-and-a-half later, gathered the important things we would need to have with us while at the barn (like the camera), and off we went to help the pony through the birth of Little Miss's baby.

The experience was amazing. Some don't like to see the story in pictures, as the entire event is documented. We, however, love reliving the moment as many times as possible. Especially the one that happened at 9:42 p.m. ~ when Little Miss saw her colt for the very first time.

Though not the first time Little Miss witnessed the birthing of a foal, this was special in more ways than one. The only other time she watched a foal born, the foal was not alive. It was heartbreaking for her. Surely, that traumatic experience contributed to her nervousness this time around. Also, this was the pony she loved so dearly who was giving birth to a horse that would be her first horse. Her horse to name, her horse to train, her horse to ride whenever she wanted, her horse to love and grow up with.

Tonight, Little Miss and the Little Boy are at the barn to once again watch the birth of a foal. This foal is not becoming part of our family, although it is related to Little Miss's horse because the sire is the same handsome Arabian stallion. Still, to watch a foal enter into the world is an amazing learning experience that very few actually get to see.

As I type, the text messages are coming in from the excited Little Miss. The mare's gone down and she's pushing! No, sadly, I am not able to be there with the children to share the thrilling moment with them. We're a one-car family and daddy needs it tonight. There's no way Little Miss will allow anyone to miss out on the action, though! The latest message was, "she didn't break yet ohh..here she goes." It won't be long now...
The Little Boy was only 5 years old for the birth of the colt. This is the second time he gets to see the miracle of horse birth. Being that he's now an 8-year-old, this lesson in farming is sure to make a more lasting impression. ;) I wonder how he's doing?

These kinds of things are true privileges of being homeschooled. It's a Tuesday night - a school night - and the children are able to be at the barn at 10:00 p.m. to watch a horse come into the world. Really, how many children get to do that? Children can read about foaling, watch movies, or see stuff online, but nothing compares to actually being present for such a miraculous event. Not only seeing the first seconds of a horse's life, but enjoying the interraction of a mare with her new foal and watching the foal stand and take its first steps just moments after it's born. I didn't get to take part in such a momentous ocassion until March 27, 2007. I was 29 years old. I loved sharing the joy with my children and will never forget that night. I love that my children are able to see it for the second (or third, in Little Miss's case) time in their young lives and hope that it's something they will never forget having the privilege of being a part of.

...The text has come in ~ the new COLT is here! :D
At 10:10 p.m., Little Miss's horse's half-brother was born. He's a bay colt with a star and a left hind sock, she tells me. Other than the left hind sock, he looks just like his big half-brother. :)

I can't wait until the children get home to tell me all about what happened at the barn tonight.

"Why do you homeschool?"

Hundreds of thousands of parents in the United States are teaching their children at home rather than sending them to school. Homeschooling is gaining popularity among parents who are concerned about drugs and crime in public schools and about a decline in the quality of teachers. What is my reason? Mary and Joseph had six other children after Mary gave birth to Jesus, and Mary was a spiritually minded woman. I endeavor to imitate Mary’s fine example of working hard and selflessly to fulfill Scriptural obligations. I strive to be a devoted wife and mother who displays patience and endurance, keeping spiritual matters ahead of my own desire for comfort and pleasure. I know, as Mary did, that worshipping God together with my children strengthens and unifies the family. Proverbs 22:6 tells parents to "train up a boy according to the way for him; even when he grows old he will not turn aside from it." God requires parents to train their children. He wants children to be happy, as Ecclesiastes 11:9 brings out: "Rejoice...in your youth, and let your heart do you good in the days of your [youth]." In the world today, young ones are often marred by painful mistakes and bad judgment that can leave deep emotional scars. Children tend to imitate their parents, either for good or for bad. So, as a parent, I want to be setting a good example by centering my life and decisions on true worship. God’s law must first be our family's priority so that our children become God-fearing children. By striving to apply Bible principles in everyday matters, Little Miss and the Little Boy should be able to conclude that Bible principles are really important and practical. As a Christian parent, I realize that my children require more than material things. I don't want my children taught to pursue goals that would serve only for their material advantage, in harmony with the counsel found in Ecclesiastes 7:12, which states, "wisdom is for a protection the same as money is for a protection; but the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom itself preserves alive its owners." Jesus taught his disciples to make spiritual values and pursuits their priority. (Matthew 6:33) Therefore, in imitation of Jesus, I also strive to cultivate in my children a desire to pursue spiritual goals. I want my children to have wholesome associations and to become acquainted with those who share enthusiasm about the joys of serving Jehovah. As my blog profile lists, I believe homeschooling means having a pro-active lifestyle based on our Christian beliefs and values. The children gain positive social skills, such as leadership, humor, empathy, reasonableness, reverence for life, selflessness, joy, and good work ethic. They learn to be discerning and use good judgment based on their Bible-based training. Children are a gift from God and I want Little Miss and the Little Boy to want to please God by learning his ways, and to make it their goal to live in harmony with his purpose. My children know they can trust me to do what's best for them even if it's hard for me, and I won't turn my back on them. When love and skill work together, you can expect a masterpiece. I seek to help my children develop a mind that knows Jehovah and a heart that loves him. Jesus spent time with children and was interested in their thoughts and feelings. Jesus also provided children with a fine example of interest in spiritual things. There is too much pressure to succeed in today’s world. I want to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses of my children. I want to help them set reasonable goals and help them reach those goals. If children’s emotional needs are not met at home, they will go elsewhere for the affection and recognition they crave. I want to foster a spiritual environment for my children. “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need,” said Jesus Christ.—Matthew 5:3. I want the best for my children because I love them and I love Jehovah. I want to be their example, companion, communicator, and teacher, helping my children form close personal relationships with Jehovah God. Their relationships with God will encourage them to be happy as Christians, striving to live up to their faith even when faced with temptations. I want to help them appreciate this precious relationship. No school is going to do that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fewer than 50 days left already?!?!

It is hard to believe that there are less than 50 school days left to the year already. Time flies when you're having fun, so the saying goes. And no ~ I'm not saying it humorously as if I am not enjoying myself. :P
Interestingly, we still have new things happening at Suaemoc. Gearing up for the Suaemoc 'Home's Cool' Farm is exciting. We decided to add a few crops to it. Onions, parsley, and basil seeds are anxiously waiting to be planted in our farm, along with the beets, carrots, and beans seeds. Yes ~ you look at the adorable little packages of seeds on our table and you can tell they can't wait to grow and thrive in Suaemoc 'Home's Cool' Farm. :D We don't have our tomato seedlings yet, but we're sure they'll be equally as anxious to make their way into our farm. ;)
We got a new game, which the Little Boy and I played together for the first time yesterday. To quote LB, "This is fun!" It's Homeschoolopoly. The first thing I noticed and loved about this game is the disclaimer: “2 to 6 Players—Ages *8 to Adult *Homeschoolers tend to be advanced, so ages may vary.” Awesome...
You choose your game piece (either a little girl, little boy, rocking chair, bicycle, globe, or a dog) and being at “Home Sweet Homeschool.” You work your way around the board, landing on fun squares such as “Field Trip”, where you get to collect all the money from the middle of the board paid to “Public School Tax” or the “Family Vacation Fund.” There are opportunities to buy things like a “Family Bus.” Landing on “Grace” and “Mercy” cards gives you the chance to get to participate in a Homeschool Talent Show, Win the Spelling Bee, get a Park Day Card and more. The game revolves around homeschooling and the companies specializing in homeschool materials, publications, and support, as well as homeschool events, the worries that keep us up at night, and the truancy officer that sends you straight to court – do not pass home sweet homeschool, do not collect $200. :P I was able to find new homeschooling resources while playing the game with the Little Boy because the deed cards contain information about the companies. The houses and hotels are stacks of books and Keys to Knowledge ~ how fun! We were playing for almost three hours, though, and did not finish. While there is a "quick play" version in the directions, the game might best be played over the course of several days. (Or with more than two players ~ just a thought.)
The Little Boy finished the Place Values portion of States by the Numbers. He really likes learning the information about Connecticut while doing the math problems. The math is an easy review of skills for him, but we love the twist of adding in social studies. The Little Boy thinks it's neat. :)
Little Miss is completely finished with almost half of her 8th grade books. While planning for the Little Boy's 4th grade year has begun, it's sad to think Little Miss's schooling will be out of my hands next year. In a small way, I'm anxious to be able to focus on the Little Boy's education. I will not say it's easy to be teaching two children who are so far apart in age. However, there is a bittersweet feeling with Little Miss graduating from middle to high school. I have chosen a high school program which will be fantastic for her and I can't wait for her to begin. The program is the Career Prep Diploma Program through The American Academy. http://www.theamericanacademy.com/homeschool/diploma-programs One of the career and technical education electives they offer is Horse Management ~ right up her alley! It is divided into units, each with several assignments and a quiz. There is also a midterm test, and a final. The units are: Introduction to the World of Horses, Safety, Equipment and Trailering, Overview of Equine Body Systems, Nutrition and Feeding, Routine Health Care, Conformation and Lameness, Health Problems and First Aid, Life Cycle, Breeding, and Genetics, and Breeds of Horses. I'm sure she will do very well. :) I just hope there's something she will end up 'needing me' to help her with. ;)
Encouraged by our recent Assembly, we also did some brainstorming and comprised lists of our spiritual goals. There are goals LB and LM hope to reach before the last of the remaining 50 or so school days is behind us, as well as goals they hope to reach by the time we begin the 2010-2011 school year. I'm looking forward to the accomplishment of their spiritual goals and discussing a new set of goals with them soon.
So, while some things are wrapping up, some other things are just beginning. After all, does homeschooling really ever see a "last day of school?" ;) Onward to the final weeks of Suaemoc's debut year!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Home Farming

This is an awesome thing that we certainly intend to do. :)







Having a home garden is easy and fun! And when the kids get involved, it gives them a real sense of pride in taking responsibility for their crops. ♥ Of course, they also get a horticulture lesson, in addition to gaining more appreciation for what our Creator has provided us with. "How many your works are, O Jehovah! All of them in wisdom you have made." (Ps. 104:24)
Triscuit and Urban Farming have joined together for the Triscuit Home Farming Movement. Urban Farming, a non-profit organization, and Triscuit have common goals to create an abundance of deliciously fresh and healthier food for people in need by planting farms on unused land and space while increasing diversity, educating people, and providing an environmentally sustainable system to uplift communities. Their funding of community-based home farms is core to the continued growth of The Home Farming Movement in urban areas and everyone is welcome to get involved. :)
Suaemoc is getting involved! Last season, the Little Boy had a small crop of string beans. He truly enjoyed taking care of his little plants and most truly loved eating the fruits of his labor. ;) This season, we're looking forward to creating a bigger, better "Suaemoc 'Home's Cool' Farm!" The Triscuit Home Farming Movement website has fantastic tips, encouragement, and even a map you can add your own home farm to! :D (Suaemoc's 'Home's Cool' Farm is on there!)
We also learned from the website, that we can have a 4' X 8' raised bed garden in our sunniest spot, where we will be cultivating the recommended beets, carrots, beans, and tomatoes. We will be planting our beet and carrot seeds at the end of March, then our bean seeds and tomato seedlings can be planted the first full week in April. We're really looking forward to it!
Home farming grows joy. ♥ The kids and I really hope to hear about your home farm, too! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

States by the Numbers

Fellow homeschoolers ~ this is a great product!! :)
Make It Real Learning Company's (www.MakeItRealLearning.com) workbook series, "States by the Numbers," is a real-data math adventure across the United States. For $3, I bought the Connecticut e-book through The Old Schoolhouse Store (www.theoldschoolhousestore.com) and printed it out for the Little Boy.
The workbooks focus on place values, rounding, estimation, fractions, and percentages. There are 80 practice problems and a "What's the big idea?" pages after each section for the student to reflect on the things they've learned. :)
The coolest thing is that the data for each problem is taken directly from the Census Bureau's 2008 Statistical Abstract of the United States, with State-specific facts! So, it's Math practice/learning and Social Studies all in one! :D
*For example, the first question under "Place Value Practice" is: The population of Connecticut is projected to be 3,577,490 in 2010. What is the digit in the thousands place?
It's just so neat! :)
The Connecticut e-book I purchased has 38 pages (4 are answer key pages at the end of the booklet). These workbooks address the content and process standards of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The activities are designed specifically for the independent learner. :)
If you have an early elementary homeschooler either learning these math concepts, or needing some reinforcement in these concepts, I would recommend adding one of these workbooks for your State (or your favorite State) to your curriculum.
Happy Homeschooling!! ;)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Fun drinks to enjoy with the kids :)

The kids and I found some interesting and yummy drink recipes ~ perfect for taking outside and enjoying a little sunshine for a fun afternoon snack. ;)

The first is called the "Dr. Pepper Cherry Blaster."
*ice cold Dr. Pepper
*sugar-free cherry-flavored gelatin
*light whipped topping
*Maraschino cherries
Prepare gelatin according to package; chill for four hours.
When the gelatin is set, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
Place 16 cubes into a tall glass and add Dr. Pepper. Top with light whipped topping and a Maraschino cherry. :) (If you use diet Dr. Pepper in a 12-oz. glass, this is 1 Weight Watcher point!)

Next, a "Ginger Strawberry Frappe."
*ice cold Ginger Ale (using diet makes one serving 0 Weight Watchers points!)
*quartered fresh strawberries
*ice cubes
In a blender, combine 8-oz. Ginger Ale, 1/2-cup strawberries, and 3 ice cubes per serving. Pour into a tall glass and garnish with a fresh strawberry. :)

Finally, we like the "Sunkist Sungria."
*diced fruit (kiwi, pineapple, raspberries, strawberries)
*ice cold Sunkist Orange Soda (diet makes one serving of this drink 1 Weight Watcher point!)
*white grape juice
*Canada Dry Seltzer
*orange slices
In a tall glass, add 1/2-cup diced fruit, 6-oz. orange soda, 1-oz. white grape juice, and 2-oz. seltzer. Top with an orange slice for garnish and add crushed ice, if desired. :) Yummy!

If you try any of these, comment to let us know what you think and which was your favorite! :)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Meteorologically speaking...

Always striving to focus on things which are most appealing to the children, Suaemoc now includes weather reporting.
The Little Boy has exhibited profound interest in science; particularly weather. He loves to be hands-on, so the integration of Suaemoc’s Weather Chart is a fun opportunity for him to individually contribute to the classroom.
As our “meteorologist,” he will need to be attentive to the evening newscast and/or research online to obtain the weather outlook. We all know how changeable the forecast can be, so it will be important that he makes sure our classroom’s weather chart is accurate each day and that changes to the weather images are made accordingly.The Little Boy has Suaemoc’s Weather Chart all set up for the current week as forecasted at present. He’s looking forward to fulfilling his weather responsibilities for our classroom, and we are certainly looking forward to his valuable assistance. :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

'Homeschool Prizes--Three Customers Will Win All'

'Homeschool Prizes--Three Customers Will Win All'

The Old Schoolhouse is a wonderful resource for Christian homeschooling families. :)
Wonderful products are offered for purchase, as well as weekly emailed newsletters, TOS Magazine, and even fabulous freebies! AND ~ an order during their promotion period could be your chance to win a package of goodies worth over $345! :)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Farmer's Cow's Winter Farm Tour

As you may be aware, we have been discussing agriculture, particularly the goods that are produced locally. There are six Connecticut dairy farms that make up The Farmer's Cow: Fairvue Farms in Woodstock, Fort Hill Farms in Thompson, Hytone Farm in Coventry, Cushman Farms in Franklin, Mapleleaf Farm in Hebron, and Graywall Farms, in Lebanon. The locally fresh milk, dairy products, seasonal beverages, and eggs produced by The Farmer's Cow are favorites at our house, and we enjoy supporting our local dairy farms. :)
The Farmer's Cow held a Winter Farm Tour at Graywall Farms in Lebanon on February 15th. This, of course, fit in perfectly with our lesson! Graywall Farms was gracious enough to open its doors for this free event to show all who attended how The Farmer’s Cow milk is produced, visit the with the cows who make the milk, learn about dairy farming, and experience all that Connecticut agriculture is about. :)
Upon arrival, guests were greeted by The Farmer's Cow's transit vans which were set up with displays of free pamphlets about The Farmer's Cow and the farms that make up The Farmer's Cow, free coloring books and stickers, and a bucket of free chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies. Two very friendly young ladies offered visitors a sample of either apple cider, or any of the milks produced by The Farmer's Cow. I can tell you that I really enjoyed the sample of Fat Free Farmer's Cow milk and the oatmeal raisin cookie I had. ;)
A representative from the farms that make up The Farmer's Cow were standing by to guide groups on a tour of the farm. Once we joined our tour guide, we were given an overview of how The Farmer's Cow came about and taught the theme song ~ “We are the farmers who work the land and grow the crops to feed the cows that give the milk for you to enjoy. We're The Farmer's Cow!”
The first stop on the farm tour was the birthing barn. We were delighted to find a baby cow, just born that morning! We were told that mothers and babies are separated after the mother cow licks the baby clean because the babies need to get a gallon of mother's milk in the first six hours of it's life! A mother cow doesn't take well to nursing a baby cow, so the farmers keep new mothers' cows' milk separate from milk that goes to market. This milk is stored and fed to the baby cows by the farmers. This way, the baby cow gets all the nutrients and antibodies necessary to keep it healthy. :) We were assured that separating the baby from the mother is not 'mean.' Everything The Farmer's Cow farmers do for their cows is for the benefit of their cows. They believe that, in order for the cows to produce well for them, the cows need to be treated well. :)
Next, we were brought to the milking room. Our farmer tour guide talked to us about how the cows come into the room onto the platforms, get lined up into the milking stations, their udders are cleaned, and how they get hooked up to the milking machines. We were shown the cooling tank and the large storage tank, too. There is a flow of well water that runs with the freshly pumped milk. A cow's temperature is 101.6 degrees (F), so the milk gets cooled down instantly to 68 degrees (F), then gets cooled down in the storage tank to 38 degrees (F). By the way ~ the farmers are very resourceful! They are able to recycle and reuse the water that becomes heated up, which helps their farms to be a little bit more energy efficient, as it takes quite a lot of energy to have these large dairy farms in operation. The cows are milked three times each day. It takes about two-t0-three minutes for each cow to give its milk, which means by the time one cow is hooked up to the milker, another cow is finished. The udders are cleaned again after the cow gives its milk so no bacteria will infect the cow. This makes milking time a very hectic time around the farm!
These are the cows that make the milk! :) We were enlightened with the fact that cows do not lay down because it's going to rain. They lay down to digest their food!
The cows' bedding is also a product of recycling. It's manure! :P We were shown how the manure is scraped out and put through a process to separate the solids from the liquids. The dry solids are used for the cows' bedding (and some of the farms sell it to the public for use in gardens), and the liquids are stored in a large tank for use as fertilizer on the farm. Interesting! :D
Cows apparently need to have things stay as routine as possible. They don't
do well with change. When the cows are stressed, they don't let their milk down, so the farmers do their best to keep the cows as comfortable and happy as possible.
Cows drink about a bathtub full of water and eat about 40 pounds of food every day! Cows have 32 teeth and do not have front teeth on the top of their mouths. Instead, they have a tough pad of skin to help them grind their cud. Also, cows do not have four stomachs, rather they have four digestive compartments in their stomach. One compartment holds partially digested food, where good bacteria aids digestion and provides protein for the cow; One compartment lodges things the cow probably shouldn't have eaten, like hardware or pieces of fencing, so these things don't travel further through the cow's digestive system and cause damage to the cow; One compartment acts as a filter; The fourth compartment is similar to a human's stomach.
The children really enjoyed interacting with the cows. :) I think the cows were equally as happy to have the company! :P It was funny to see the different personalities of the cows.
At one point, one of these cute and curious cows began reaching its tongue out as far as it could to have a taste of my purse! I don't know what she liked so much about it, but she took a good four or five licks. :P I ended up with cud remnants as a souvenir.
Part of the plan for the visitors to the farm was a horse-drawn sleigh ride. Connecticut was forecasted to receive about a foot of snow just a few days prior to the event, so a sleigh ride would have been a fantastic touch. However, the storm stayed off to Connecticut's south and not a flake fell from the sky. It didn't matter, though. The horses were decked out in their jingling bells, pulling a large red sleigh around the perimeter of the field. Visitors to the farm waited in line for their turn to snuggle under the faux fur blanket and enjoy the farm's scenery to the sound of the horses' bells. Of course, the horses were Little Miss's favorite attraction.
Our final stop, and probably the most popular item at Graywall Farms that day, was the giant farm tractor. This thing was TRACTOR-ZILLA! :P Daddy waited at the back of the line with the Little Boy for quite a while until they were finally able to get their turn to jump inside and check it out. Yes, I said 'they!' I'm not sure who was more excited about getting inside "tractor-zilla." :P
It's amazing to see the kind of equipment needed to keep a dairy farm operating. Not only that, but the dedication required by the farmers. The Winter Farm Tour helped us to appreciate what goes into producing our Farmer's Cow favorites and how important supporting local agriculture really is. :)
www.thefarmerscow.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Interesting day of lessons ahead. ;)

I just finished planning Suaemoc's lessons for tomorrow. What we'll be learning about is quite interesting, so I thought I'd share a little bit with you. :)
Little Miss will be continuing to learn about the job of the Senate. Additionally, I have created a 20-question quiz on the first ten presidents of the United States. Did you know that two of the first ten presidents were homeschooled? ;) They are George Washington and James Madison. Another factoid about the first ten is that six of them were born in Virginia. William Henry Harrison had the shortest presidency on record. After 31 days as president, he died of pneumonia on April 4, 1841.
Little Miss will be required to do some "less exciting" work, too, such as word problems involving percentages, ten grammar questions where she will have to identify if the sentences contain a compound subject or a compound predicate, and a Reading Comprehension activity on the infrasonic communication of elephants. I also prepared a review of multiplying fractions, and finding the surface area and volume of cylinders. She should be able to breeze right through these assignments.
One of her more complex assignments will be a lesson on making responsible choices, titled: "The Missing Money." The objectives of the lesson will be to distinguish between facts and suspicions, practice brainstorming to determine a course of action, and explore personal feelings about when it is right to "inform" on an offender. This addresses the code of behavior that abhors "tattling" or "squealing," and the circumstances when it would be right to tell when you know someone has done something wrong.
Little Miss is also working on her development of a fictional story. Writing is her forte and I always enjoy reading her works. For her fictional story, she has already sketched out story ideas and now she needs to develop her story. She will be prewriting a story map, outlining her setting, characters, the plot, or conflict, of her story, and the solution. I'm looking forward to seeing how her story unfolds! :)
In eighth grade, I felt it was important for Little Miss to be learning about the human body. We've already gone through some of the basic labeling of body structures, learned about bones, the muscular system, and the circulatory system. We're now learning about the digestive system. Tomorrow's lesson will be focusing on the small intestine. She will be required to label the parts of the small intestine, as well as fill in the blanks of ten statements regarding this 20-foot long hollow tube which runs from the stomach to the beginning of the large intestine. ;)
The most interesting topic of discussion, I feel, will be a geological perspective on The Mediterranean Sea. Part of the lesson will focus on the saltiest sea on earth, the Dead Sea. On researching the Dead Sea as part of the lesson on buoyancy and density, I was able to find some fascinating facts. I put them together to create a little poster for our classroom. ;) Some Dead Sea factoids include:
  • The Dead Sea gets its name because nothing lives in it
  • It is nearly six times as salty as the ocean and also contains magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, and potassium chloride in large quantities, making plant or animal life impossible
  • The Dead Sea is actually a lake, but unlike other seas or lakes, no river originates from it - the water depletes only be evaporation
  • You can never drown in the Dead Sea, since the amount of dissolved minerals is very high, making the density of the water very high
Other than a Reading Comprehension lesson on farming in the 1860's, a quick review page on short and long vowel sounds, a grammar lesson on using commas when writing a letter, and nine word problems reviewing multiplying, the Little Boy will be doing a few things that will challenge him a bit.
His current math lesson focuses on money and time. While it is somewhat of a review, he has struggled a little with the concept of counting money and making change. We have been taking this particular lesson slowly, and his assignment planned for tomorrow is a simple activity involving making change.
The Little Boy always chooses to complete his Spelling assignments first. He says they're the "easiest." This time, that may not be the case! He will be starting a new lesson on easily misspelled words ~ words that aren't spelled the way they sound. Once he familiarizes himself with the ten spelling words of the lesson, his assignment will be to put those words into context by filling them into the appropriate blanks in a short story.
A General Health Review quiz is planned for the Little Boy, as well. I don't think he'll have a problem completing the quiz. He's very aware of things he needs to do to keep himself free of germs and illnesses, as well as the importance of hand washing.
The Little Boy is the exact opposite of Little Miss when it comes to writing. I have been trying to take a different approach with him, so that he might be able to become more creative in his writing. We've been working on writing for "him." Basically, trying to get him to explore his own feelings about any topic he wants, then recording his thoughts and ideas as if writing in a journal. His first journal entry simply reads: "Yesterday was an ordinary day, just doing school, going on the couch and watching t.v., but it was fun playing the Wii." As you can see, this process drains me because I feel like I'm pulling teeth to try to get the Little Boy to dig deeper. I'm planning to have him write about something he has learned and wants to remember. We'll see how THAT goes. :P
Perhaps he will be inspired to write about his Science lesson. ;) We are going to be learning about our solar system and the role the sun plays in our lives. This is a little bit of a review, but, being "old school," I had to brush up on the fact that Pluto is no longer considered a planet in our solar system. I created a poster for our classroom on the planets and stars, and what I found about Pluto is:
  • In August 2006, scientists defined what a planet is and gave three criteria an object must meet in order to be classified as a planet: it must orbit the sun, it must be big enough for gravity to squash it into a round ball, and it must have cleared other objects out of the way in its orbital neighborhood
  • Pluto is not big enough to pull neighboring objects into itself or sling-shot them around itself, so Pluto is in a new class of objects called "dwarf planets"
Scientists believe that out of the 200 billion, billion stars in the universe, many are likely to have planets orbiting them, just as our solar system orbits the sun. We will be discussing that, as well as Alpha Centauri, the next closest star to earth. Do you know how far away Alpha Centauri is? It's 25 million, million miles away!
The final assignment for the Little Boy will be a Geography lesson on Precipitation Maps. He learned about the need for clean water and the natural process of the water cycle. We discussed precipitation, evaporation, and how clouds are formed from the condensation of water vapor. We also touched on the ways people pollute water, what that means, and why wetlands are an important natural resource. Now, the Little Boy will be looking at a map of the average annual precipitation in the United States to find out which states get the most precipitation, and which states would be in desert regions.
Overall, it will be an interesting day of learning at Suaemoc. I'm really looking forward to it! :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Would you PLEASE just cooperate!

I certainly can not say that every day is fun and games as a homeschooling mother. There are moments of utter frustration, especially when the Little Boy just will not focus on his work. Oftentimes, I find myself reciting the Scripture from Colossians 3:20: "You children, be obedient to your parents in everything, for this is well-pleasing in the Lord." Then I wonder, "Do they care?"
I pray that I am pleasing God in fulfilling my duty to "keep on speaking what things are fitting for healthful teaching", being a "[teacher] of what is good." (Titus 2:1, 3) On the days when the MonSter is particularly challenging my endurance, the children sense my struggle and seem to take advantage of my dwindling 'last nerve'. Of course, in my heart I don't want to believe they're purposely beating me down, sensing I'm being taunted in my resolve to "let anger alone and leave rage." (Psalm 37:8)
I question whether I'm doing good by my children. Are the Bible principles I'm trying to inculcate in their hearts getting through? Why doesn't it seem like they understand their commission to "be obedient to [their] parents", to “honor their...mother?” (Ephesians 6:1, 2) Am I doing something wrong? Perhaps, just as "when I wish to do what is right, what is bad is present with me", the children also really do "delight in the law of God", but find themselves "warring against the law of [their] minds... leading [them] captive to sin’s law." (Romans 7:22, 23) Again, I keep trying to convince myself that this is the case. That my children aren't intentionally trying to provoke me. Still, there are moments when I want to yell from the rooftops ~ "WOULD YOU PLEASE JUST COOPERATE!"
And then I retreat to somewhere private, even if that means locking myself in the bathroom for a few moments, to pour out my heart to God in prayer through the merits of his beloved Son, Jesus Christ. In my heart, I know I'm doing what is right by my children and I know they are benefitting tremendously. In my heart, I know I can not give up my commission to be "bringing them up in the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah." (Ephesians 6:4) In my heart, I know that God "supplies endurance and comfort" (Romans 15:5), so I beg him for "the power beyond what is normal" (2 Corinthians 4:7) to endure.
Yes, from time to time homeschooling can be a test of a mother's patience, integrity, and willpower. Matthew 19:26 provides the assurance that "with God all things are possible." Therefore, reliance on God is essential to get through the times of a frayed 'last nerve', when all I want is children who are behaving like perfect, God-fearing angels. But, I am reminded that "we all stumble many times" (James 3:2) due to our inherited imperfection, and I can not "look at the straw in [my childrens' eyes]," without considering "the rafter in [my] own eye." (Matthew 7:3) God teaches me a lesson in humility and allows me to realize that, YES ~ the children are feeding off my impatience.
On these occasions it's perfectly okay to take a breather. It's healthy for me, as well as the children, to just get out of "school mode". Whether it's for an hour, or for the whole day. It's not a mark of failure, but an act of LOVE ~ the basis of my desire to homeschool Little Miss and the Little Boy in the first place. And guess what ~ my prayers get answered.