Monday, March 29, 2010

Peregrina's Poem

I just happened to visit Peregrina.  I don't read her blog regularly but every time I go there I find myself lingering, soaking up her words of wisdom.  It looks to me like she has stopped posting for a while.  I'm not quite sure what that is about.  I sure wish she'd publish a book because I'd snap that up in a second.  Anyway, this little poem just struck me tonight.  I think we'll use this one for our next dictation exercise and even memorize.

Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me;
Let me praise a little more;
Let me be, when I am weary,
Just a little bit more cheery;
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.

Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver;
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be;
Let me be a little meeker
With the brother that is weaker;
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.
~ Author Unknown

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ellen McHenry - You're my Hero

Actually I think I have 2 heros this morning and no zero is not one of them.  Do you think I have been spending a little too much time around kids since the lyrics to Multiplication Rock have worked their way into a blog post?

The first hero is Sheri over at What's in the Box.  She is a workboxing maniac!  Man, she makes me tired just reading her posts.  But she really does have some great ideas.  I was reading some of her older posts and she mentioned a brain hat.  Well, I have recently fallen in love with a new writing program, Stack the Deck (I'm beginning to feel like one very underpaid - as in no pay - infomercial for all of these links).  Herb Hrebic talks about our brain saying he believes the brain is the best computer of all and he even puts a brain hat on to illustrate.  What kid wouldn't feel smarter and motivated to answer questions by just putting on a brain hat?  Maybe it is just me but I think it is nothing short of genius.  That's using your noggin (no pun intended...ok there was a very bad pun and it was intended).  Go to about the 4 minute mark of Mr. Hrebic's video if you don't want to watch it all (although I highly recommend watching it all) to see him talking about it. I have been rolling around in my brain, "where could I find a brain hat?" - and if you know anything about me at all, you know "I don't want to pay a lot for this muffler".  Aaaaannnnyyyyywaaaay... this all is going somewhere, trust me, and it leads to another one of of my new heros which is is Ellen McHenry (btw, Mr. Hrebic also needs mention on that "hero list").  Ellen's site is filled with free downloads and she also has curriculum for sale.  We are using Adventures in My Father's World this year and we have just briefly covered atoms and molecules, etc.   Even as an engineer, I always despised chemistry - as in hated, loathed, detested the subject.  When Ms. Priss was born I made up songs for her to learn to spell her name and put as many things to tunes as possible.  I have ALWAYS joked that we were going to have to sing and dance the periodic table of elements to help her and Lil' Bit learn them.  Guess what?  Ellen McHenry has already done that for me complete with a fairy tale about the periodic table.  Just go peruse her site.  You won't be disappointed.

Tata for now!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Have I mentioned I love math?

One of the members of our local homeschool group recently gave a presentation on learning styles at one of our Mom's meetings.  I was so interested in what she had to say I sought to find an online test for assessing children's learning styles.  Turns out both of my girls are visual learners just like their dear old Mom.  One is actually equally visual and kinesthetic which apparently a lot of younger children lean more heavily towards the kinesthetic (or hands on).  Which is something I think a lot of homeschoolers should know.  If I could stand up and shout out to all homeschoolers across America, I would shout this:  DO NOT MAKE YOUR CHILDREN SIT ALL DAY AND DO WRITTEN SEAT WORK!!!!!!

Anyway, I also did another online test by Scholastic and guess what?  Turns out my girls are also Analytical Learners. 

As an analytic learner, your child thinks logically and numerically, and tends to discern patterns easily. An analytic learner does well in math or science, and often gravitates to board games. She uses a methodical approach to problem-solving and prefers black-and-white solutions to more amorphous ones....

Well imagine that.  I love my sweet little analytical learners to pieces...every sorted (not sordid) and organized little piece of them.

So, I guess it goes without saying that we tend to really like Math.  I love Saxon but left just as they present, well, sometimes leaves a little to be desired.  So, I like to throw in some fun every now and then.  Recently we covered the (idiotic, imho) English system of volume measurement (gallons, quarts, pints, cups).

 Why, oh why can't the U.S. just convert to metric?  I digress...  If we MUST use the disgusting system it must be learned visually with a little kinesthetics thrown in.  Hence Gallon Man to the rescue....

First of all I showed them a real skeleton so that they would understand our bone structure.  I then showed them the picture of Mr. Gallon Man.

Then we made our own.  For each gallon man you will need 4 pieces of construction paper in colors of your childs choice.  (Hey I am listening to Love & Logic and I'm all about letting THEM have as much control as possible, these days.)  We used a whole sheet of construction paper for the Gallon.  Cut one whole piece into 4 strips for the Quarts.  Cut another piece into the same 4 strips then cut them in half the long way for 8 pints.  Cut another piece as for the pints except one making one more cup making 16 cups.  Have them label each and voila.

Notice Lil' Bit called hers Mrs. Gallon.  Not that there's anything wrong with that!  I hung them on my math wall.  This is my happy place.  I know.  I'm weird like that.  I embrace it.

What can I say?  We're visual, people!!!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I just happened upon this blog with some lovely and meaningful ways to celebrate Easter.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


I recently received an email notifying me of a MSNBC (or MSLSD as Mark Levin refers to them) poll.  The title of the email read, "Should Homeschoolers be Allowed to be Taught Truth: Vote!".  I find the word "truth" here to be ironic.
Homeschoolers (in our state and many other states) are free to use any curriculum they choose - and that even includes "unschooling".  Which, in my humble opinion, is as it should be.  Our society has slowly and scarily drifted from "parent knows best" to "big brother knows best".  It is funny that this poll refers to "homeschool textbooks", too.  I am of the belief that "textbooks" are a big part of our societal ills, anyway.  I am a huge fan of Charlotte Mason.  She was a turn of the century teacher and advocate of early homeschoolers in England when, politically, much the same thing was happening there as is now in the US.  Her philosophy was that the mind is a living entity that needs to be fed, not a container to be filled.  She advocated the use of "living books" - books that inspire the reader, feed the mind, and spark the imagination. Rather than a textbook feeding "information" that came from some arbitrary source, the information in these books is presented by the character (or the author) as a person that is personally attached to the information.  Information presented in this manner, she contends, will leave one wanting more information, being personally connected to it.  Therefore, we tend to use many living books - not textbooks - in our homeschool and the Bible is the mack Daddy of living books.  

Now as for Creationism vs. Evolution....I don't apologize for being a young earth believer.  I believe that the Bible was written as a historical narrative.  A science text?  No.  An accurate historical account?  Yes - that is corroborated by many other secular historical records.  I believe when we start doubting the validity or accurateness of the Bible we get into some murky water.  Some people may call me a dumb Christian.  I look at it as, "Why should I reinvent the wheel?".  We have learned and studied a lot (not so much recently though, for whatever reason) on Creationism vs. Evolution.  There is a series of children's adventure audios, Jonathon Park, that my girls literally eat up.  Another book I would urge you to read is Ruth Beechick's, Genesis:  Finding Our Roots.  This book answered MANY questions I had and she has such a depth of knowledge and research on this subject matter.  For instance, in the book she talks about dinosaurs.  Genesis mentions the word "dragon" which many believe was synonymous to dinosaur.   However many people have never seen this reference, because they read the English translation and the word "dragon" is only in the Hebrew text.   When the Bible was translated into English (by King James) the word dragon was translated to "large beast".  Well, the largest beast the English knew of at the time was a whale.  Hence "And God created great whales, and every living creature that moves which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind; and God saw that it was good." (Gen. 1:21).  And there are many more references to dragons throughout the OT.  Anyway, it is things like that throughout that book that convinced me and my simple little mind that I don't need to go there.  I think evolutionists have cleverly crafted and packaged their little "bit".  I am saddened that there are so many people out there that have turned their backs to the Biblical truths, though.  The thing that frightens me though is that this is a societal change (as evidenced by the poll results when I voted were about 2/3 voting "No").  I can try to teach my children truth but the fact is they ARE going to be influenced some by societal thinking.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Simple 6 Week plan

I think I have mentioned Sandra Felton, the Organizer Lady, in a previous post.  I just love her Flight Plan for Fledglilngs daily emails.  Today, in her email she included a link to a simple 6 week plan that I thought I'd share.