Child, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend

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I love the Lord as much as a broken person can; love and loved by my husband; blessed by 5 amazing little people who have helped me to learn much about me; grateful to serve even more as God gives them to me; blessed every day to be a home school teacher; college student; I hope to change the world by loving as many people as possible, because there is nothing greater than loving another.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tithing as Worship

Of all my years in believing in God, some were walked well, others not so much, and in that time, I've known many men of God. None (Save My Husband) have helped me grow so much in so little time as my pastor, Rev. Bernard Smith. He is a scribe first, in my honest opinion, then a teacher and pastor. He LOVES the word of God. He's a good match for me, because I LOVE the word of God, too. I'm a teacher; I just can't help but devour the richest meal ever written. He has taught me about tithing in a way I never understood: as worship, and helped me to understand deeply that, "Obedience is better than sacrifice." I admit, I have never understood tithing as worship. I just didn't get it. I thought, "Why on Earth would God give me money to handle my business, but then take it back as...worship? Huh?" So, this entry is in appreciation for the Pastor who loves like none I've ever known and to his wife who does the same. She is a remarkable women -- she has to be -- and wants to be. Her humble and meek spirit quietly bless me I am grateful for your example, First Lady, and I hope my rambling honor you well.
Anyone who knows me can attest that time and talent are no real sacrifice for me. I enjoy serving and I particularly like to serve where my strengths lie. Perhaps, this is why I now understand how tithing is worship and why, for me, it matters. I sacrifice time to serve in my strengths and while it requires obedience, it requires more sacrifice of little matters, than obedience. I gladly give my time and talent to the Lord -- in plain language, it's no big deal. That's how I know, "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." Matthew 11:30 is TRUTH. It's also being confirmed through tithing as worship.

I could hardly bring myself to sacrifice money. We have so little and my children benefit from electricity and water. They often have need of material things like socks and shoes. How could I sacrifice their needs and well being to tithe? Selfishly, the times there is an extra dollar or two, I'd rather enjoy a $1 movie and candy bar because it's a rare treat (my justification, not  a whole or honest truth) The answer to "how" is, I can't. If I don't have it to give, then I can't give it, but here's what I've learned. God provides ALL our needs. My kids have never gone without any of those things, despite my $0 checking account balance. Where cash does not flow, family and friends are tools of currency for the Lord; so why on Earth was I unwilling to offer a couple bucks to the offering? Why was I robbing God?
At first, I would not receive that I was robbing God because I gave so much to Him in other areas, then I really, truly HEARD...."All things come of thee, oh Lord. And OF THY OWN have we given unto thee." It's funny how you can recite something so many times, in vain, and not even realize your vanity. FINALLY, it came to life in my dense skull and I got's not like any of my strengths are mine to hold and it's not like any of the money I have is mine because I've earned or deserve it. It's all from Him. It's all for Him.  If I believe this, if I live this, if I offer this as truth to those who know me, then why was I coveting God's money?
Oh....robbing God. Yup, I said it. I had always been taught that verse in Malachi 3:10, ""Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse...." But somehow, I missed this part, "so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows. (emphasis added to bring out 3 distinct points)

You see, I spent some time, as a young adult, in a church that heavily preached prosperity. You know the kind.....God will make you rich. YUP. I said that, too. The kind of church that basically promoted lots of materialism as a measure of your faithfulness. Yuck. While I appreciate the Lord would have His people prosper, I do defy that prosperity lies in financial and material wealth alone. I believe, out of that principle, and my personal stubborness and rebellion to such thought, I was turned off to tithing. I really wanted to be sure my relationship with Christ had nothing to do with money. It turns out, my end has had more to do with it than I understood. 
I studied tithing in the Old Testament. A different reality than our world, for certain. Much more communal, so I gave myself permission to be a receiver of tithes and offerings, in my impoverished state. I knew that the purpose of tithing, in a Joseph and grain sense, was a part of the body's provision to the people. The community of Christ. Since I was and am generally broke, I was content to let those with thicker wallets be the hands and feet of God's money. I was content to operate in my strengths, in all honestly not sacrificing money for the church...also not walking obediently for God, as I was not bringing any money to the storehouse.  Then, this comes to life through a tiny little church, with very little money, " that there may be food in My house..."
You see, for the first time in my life, I am a member of a church where I am not at or near the top of the poorest families list. In fact, I'm in a church that is almost the opposite of my long term church experience. There are fewer families in the Haves than the Have-Nots. For the first time in my life, I see people with greater spiritual prosperity than I, yet less financial resources.
I am humbled.
Remember me...I was content to let those with thicker wallets be the hands and feet of God's money.
I had accepted poverty. I had decided God would not make me financially prosperous because I had determined my place. Wow. My place was set in my 20's. How foolish I was. As if the Creator of the heavens and earth can be limited to two mere decades to establish a person's place in His kingdom. Wow. My youth and arrogance have gotten me in so much trouble, so many times!
Now I need to be those feet, even though my wallet is no thicker.
I went to my pastor and told him I wanted to tithe, but did not have any money to do so. His teachings in Acts 4:32-35 taught me about the Christian church and  
"All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. " 
Could I share what I had and reduce the need in my church body? Even while I sometimes had personal need? I found a resounding, yes! in my heart. 
My husband, in truth without malice, is the financial authority in our home. He makes decisions of how our money is spent. His determination is we can hardly manage our bills and sometimes need benevolence, therefore we have none to give. I appreciate his perspective. So,  I prayed and promised. Moreso, I changed.  You know, birthday money, a little typing or babysitting job where you get a couple bucks. Yes, I've tithed on less than $10 and was grateful there's a place to tithe "Pennies from Heaven" in my church. I tell you this, not to elevate myself, but instead to elevate Christ. Recognizing that even in my state of affairs, my affairs were prosperous beyond those of others. I have so.very.much.And if I'm honest, there is something, somewhere I can give.
Then I continually hear,  
"and test me now in this." 
Wait a minute. Who am I to test, God? Yet, in this instance, He says, ""and test me now in this." My pastor has helped me to learn what it means to test the Lord, without's more of what I would call, open your will to the promises of God.  How can God operate and fulfill his promises, the precious things he wants so desperately to give his people, if His people are not open to the promise? He is unable because of my disobedience. If I was not bringing anything to the storehouse, how could he, "open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows?" If I don't fulfill the first part of the verse, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse;" I can't expect Him to fulfill His part of the verse. That's why I needed to claim the promises of God --- not to receive the promise, but to be Obedient. Obedience is better than sacrifice because it opens the floodgates. Sacrifice drizzles out a few drops and allows a taste of the promise. Obedience IS BETTER than sacrifice -- it leaves God and man fulfilled.

So, how does worship  come into play here? Well, worship is no sacrifice for me. I LOVE, love, L.O.V.E. to worship. Honestly, I could spend all day in prayer and song. I would have made a descent nun :) I could worship and serve orphans happily! So, to incorporate tithing into worship was not in my radar, then it happened. Shortly after my pledge to the Lord and my commitment to obedience in this area, I am now able to tithe weekly with a little babysitting income. The first week I was able to pay all tithes and even share testimony of such at church. I cried like a baby. It strange how the Lord can give you strength to carry on and when the burden is lifted spiritually, it is also cleansed from your body and mind. I have rarely wanted to dance so much, to sing so much, to shout THANK YOU, LORD as I did while putting that little white envelope in the little white church. It turns out, my tithe is part of my witness to God's fulfillment of His word --- how about that! It turns out, that my little tiny bit of paycheck, and my littlier tiny bit of offering isn't about "how much" at all...except for how much He loves us.
It's worth repeating, Obedience IS BETTER than sacrifice -- it leaves God and man fulfilled. My obedience is tithing has opened His willingness to fulfill his promise. His loving kindness brings about worship, keeping me obedient there, too. Tithing also fulfills, the two great commandments as found in Mark, Chapter 12, 
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.e 30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’f 31The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’g There is no commandment greater than these.”
32“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
I am loving my neighbors and church family as I love myself: deeming them receivers of "my" money. I am serving the lost beyond personal contact, for the glory of Christ's church, which are more important than my sacrifice. I am pointing to God and announcing His greatness as I witness to the True Prosperity He brings. His faithfulness endures forever! 
Tithing is really not about money. I'm glad I learned only took me 23 years of walking with God :) I only hope that I remain faithful and in doing so, my obedience allows my pleasure in glorifying God through continued worship of all kinds, in word and deed and cash! Be blessed!
Be Blessed my brother,
Be blessed my sister,
Be blessed wherever this life leads you,
Let me encourage you,
Let me speak life to you,
You can depend on God to see you through,
You can depend on me to pray for you

You might be hurting,
You might be crying,
You might be worrying and frustrated to,
Let me encourage you let me speak life to you
You can can depend on God to see you through,
You can depend on me to pray for you
[ Lyrics from: ]
Pray I'm gonna keep on prayin,
Pray I'm gonna keep on prayin for you,
Pray I'm gonna keep on prayin,
Pray I'm gonna keep on prayin for you
You can depend on God to see you thru,
You can depend on me to pray for you

I see you in the future.
And you look better,
I see you walking in favor and prosperity too,
Let me encourage you,
Let me speak life to you,
You can depend on God to see you through,
You can depend on me to pray for you

I pray for you,
You pray for me,
And watch God change things,
Repeat 1x

I pray for you,
You pray for me and watch God change things
Repeat 6x

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week in Review 8/22---8/26, 2011

Sharing in history and science as below :)
Our reading lessons are coming along nicely. We're in Week 5 of The Phonics Road Level 1. AtG did a great job of spelling words correctly and is picking up speed in his reading endeavors. He is currently reading, My A Book, by Jane Belk Moncure. His handwriting is lovely. We'll be focusing on consonant teams during our flashcard practice since he has the general letters down.
In math, AtG can identify ways to make tens and is practicing making fives. He also completes 46 addition problems a day, via the Holey Card.

Upper Grammar
Pretty smooth week this week. We carried on in our WWI studies. We're just getting into the beginning. We're reading Where the Poppies Grow, DK WyewitnessBooks Presidents, Key Battles of World War I and An Age of Extremes for grammar kids. We found our lost SOTW :) but I'm still not sure how I'll use it, as the boys don't love or miss. it. We shall see.
Instead of a diarama, we decided to make a trench in a small section of the backyard. I ordered these fun soldiers and we got to work!  

AtG was master of the sandbags.

The Ant knows about tunnel digging now. Good thing since he's the Ant.

Ax Man creating a well rounded tunnel.

Toby likes to dig, be outside and get dirty --- just like the rest of the Little League.

Dogboards were used as walk-ways, ladders, and make-shift bridges.

Battle in the trenches.

Coiled barbed wire (before playtime was allowed).

Our sandbags were huge AND red, but they got the point across!

Brothers in every sort of battle and play. They spent the afternoon in the dirt.

AtG wanted to be sure we had a mound of barbed wire. He apparently remembered it from the book and thought it was crucial -- you should have seen his face. Priceless!

We are moving along nicely in our first expedition of "tests." Not that I care about the scores, it's just something to get them used to independent study with measurable accountability. They each did fine on vocabulary and map tests today. Speaking of maps, we started "The Great State Race." Think Holey Cards but with the states instead. The Ant is currently in the lead with 39 memorized. They also did fine on a 1914-European map, including all water bodies. Lookin' pretty good so far. They are doing a fine job of independent and computer practice.

Ax Man finished Albert Einstein.

We skipped science this week on purpose. We had a couple of outings and appointments and I started back to college this week, so I adjusted for some easier days. It was a nice, small break in week 4 of our studies. Instead, we did some simple Netlix science and watched a video on tornadoes and watched the Wizard of Oz. We enjoyed the book and the movie. We also watched the hurricane travel about. That was a nice, organic intro. to the topic, as we will focus on weather for our next unit in science.

We moved forward in the Phonics Road Level 3. We studied adverbs, homographs and antonyms; we reviewed 60 level 2 words; and in literature, we had a very light week of reading in Bob Fulton, enjoying a special focus on PA via an acrostic poem of "LANCASTER." We also did a lot of dictation this week and practiced our sentence parsing.

Middle School
In their usual flare, the girls got busy this week in TOG. They read a good bit from The Complete Idiot's Guide to 20th Century History, The Usborne introduction to the First World War, Stories for Young People: O. Henry, A Night to Remember, The Gift of Music and The Century for Young People. They began a display board on WWI and continued their President's Cards.

Anatomy this week brought about bones and the skeletal system.

Regular lessons move forward in math (decimals, conversions) (exponents and distributive/associate properties).

Loads of dictation for DyD, and some serious note-taking and summary practice for Lil' Mother.

DyD made pumpkin snacks with AtG.

Both girls ENJOYED the baby!

High School
Continued reading in America in teh 1900s and 1910s, World War I by HP Wilmott, Imperialism: A History in Documents, A Poetry handbook, Words of Deliht, The Story of Painting, The Story of Architecture, Pygmalion, and Modern Revivalism. Also much note taking and online lectures from a college class on Modern History. They are also doing WWI Display Board projects.

Math brought negative numbers for Bard, a new FLVS Geometry Class and continued Algebra 2 as graphs in quadratic functions for RoGD. He'll be accelerating through Geometry so he can be ready for the College Entrance exams at the local college, where we hope he'll test into College Algebra.

In science, we continue our Biology Honors as we get forward a good bit. Bard is particularly enjoying this. As we're in a DNA place, we'll be watching Jurassic Park for some DNA splicing entertainment.

The whole family has Veritas Cards 1-5 memorized. It's pretty effective when you actually do it everyday :P

We all watched The Wizard of Oz, The Call of the Wild (the girls finished the book), and IMAX Hawaii to go along with the annexation of HA during this time in history.

We did Art, lesson 3 on lines. We focused on shapes and did a still life. Here's a link to my Artistic Tuesday post.

Latin moves forward. No details to share b/c I need to have a meeting first  :)

American Government introduced types of government, with a focus on forms of Democracy and the American Political Culture.

Field Biology of FL introduced Earth's geology and the history of FL birth and settlement.

Soccer coaches' meeting on Mon.
West Point information meeting on Tues.
Church Wed.
Class and rest on a rainy Thursday
Special church service for my pastor Friday
Soccer registration on the way Sat.
Church on Sun.
YUP! A busy week.

Artisic Tuesday Shapes

Today we learned about geometric and symmetrical shapes. Then, we drew a still life from 5 objects we found around the house. Our drawings were then colored in with water colors.

Ax Man's Point of View

Ax  Man's artwork.
Momma's point of view.

AtG just worked on drawing shapes.

Brothers and their artwork.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Look What The Lord Has Done For Us...a baby!

STOP! Nope, I didn't birth another one! WHEW! Had you going there for a minute, huh?

This little one doesn't have a blog name yet because I need to get to know him, but for now, we'll call him B.J. for Bundle of Joy.

I am a baby lover...this explains why I have so many children, yup! I'll be enjoying this wee one while his parents work M-F. I'm so happy to have the renewal of a baby. It reminds me throughout the day of the merciful God I serve. I'm so happy!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Was in a Classroom Today, and It was Not My Own

I attended my first indoor classroom experience since 1995. (Did I just say that out loud?)
Walking on a college campus of a transient school (no dorms), is a unique experience for this home schooling mom of 12+ years. All shapes and sizes, young and old, colors and fashions walked the corridor. It really reminded me of times long ago, only this time, I will study the Art of American Dance much less and hit the books much more!
On a serious note the day was...Weird. What a different dynamic.  How strange and mostly OLD I felt. It brought me back to a class I had at Flagler College my freshmen year. I remembered these three "old ladies." These wise women were moms getting prepared for the working force, much like me now! I remember how organized, prepared, and zealous they were. Hurray! That is also me now! 
The class will be fun, as much of it is field biology. I enjoy hands on science mixed with a little mud and an interesting specimen. My prof. seems interesting and has a wonderful Portuguese accent. That reminds me of Flagler, too. I took a semester of Portuguese there. Not that I remember anything from that class (1993 -- wow.)
So, while I'm thrilled to be in school and work towards a degree (finally), it's also a bit strange for me. It will surely be an experience. I hope I get a good lab partner!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Artistic Tuesday: August 16, 2011 Lines Part 2

This week we continued our line study by talking about the size of lines.
Our project was to use our knowledge of lines and use watercolors to create a landscape of our favorite place. I'm so glad to see the children are truly showing their personalities in their artwork.

Tony likes basketball, too.
AtG's loves the zoo and is happy he can draw turtles.
Basketball? I thought she might like other places better.

Momma loves the library. It really is my favorite place.
Baseball fields. Not a surprise. This one lives baseball.

Shy Lil' Mother. Wouldn't come out for a nice picture :) Basketball is no surprise here either. Basketball and shy...yeah, that's her.

Monday, August 15, 2011

TOG DIscussions - Numero Uno of this year.

Well, we had our first discussion on Sunday afternoon b/c I never got there Friday (too much blogging and church stuff). We began with a cluster diagram for the 20th century to review. I was so happy to listen to my boys knock it out of the park. At least I know they learned a ton last year! Although we tend to use other graphic organizers b/c we find the cluster to be clutter, this was a pretty cool way to make connections across topics like: USA, Europe, Economics, Social, Immigration, and War information (we are a violent race). They did so well I was actually...surprised. Guess I should change my attitude!

Then we added the middle school girls in the game and discussed Teddy Roosevelt. They all came with guns loaded! So much information on Mr. President. I don't think they missed a nugget. There was probably too much reading and not enough discussing, but I was okay with that. It was our first discussion week of the school year. This one is always a little choked.

Overall, it went well and I was so pleased that they were all prepared. That was a HUGE relief. Students -- 4 older students--- all ready at the same time and place --- well that's amazing and priceless!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Block Scheduling

There comes a point when there seems to be too many of them and only one little you. This is when you have to make every second count! So far as home schooling, I do this via block scheduling. That means I do all of my teaching for one level at one time, without a break for them to finish the practice work.

Now, let me say, you can't really do this until the kiddos are independently working. In other words, you can't teach letters to a Ker then dismiss them to read their book. You really need to be side by side with a student in K-2. They simply need the constant reinforcement; however, once you get to a strong third grader, or a solid 4th grader, you should be able to teach them something and then let them finish their assignment independently, at a later time.  This won't work if Johnny can't do his math problems without your hand holding or sitting by his side. Don't be mad about that! They truly need you there initially. In our school, however, 4th grade is a serious cord cutting year, so I work toward independence heavily in 3rd.

In the morning, I sit with the K/3rd/4th group (The Little League) and we do our Science or History together as a group. These topics are mostly group activities. If there is an independent assignment (like summary writing or diagraming), they will finish that portion of their work later. I make sure they completely understand their lesson and their assignment first. Teaching to lesson mastery makes this work. You have to teach, folks. You have to teach. At the end of history/science, they take out their planning pages and write their homework down: finish diagram; summarize the layers of the earth (as an example). They'll come back to their page and work when they're finished with me, having a TO DO List.  We started using checklists instead of chore cards last year, midway. They have the skill of list checking now!

I pull out math and teach them math. Although they are in different levels, I have them work on something independent while I teach one or the other -- something like their monthly book report book (easy to pull out and put away). Since math is a "do the next lesson" or they have a required amount of pages, they know what to do there, although they will more than likely write down the assignment number for their benefit.
Immediately following math instruction, we pull out grammar/literature/spelling and we do all the instruction for those topics. Some days we have to work through something together, others, it's review, exemplify, instruct on assignment, cut loose. They will then write in their planners their assignment (grammar: FC2B --- that makes sense to Phonics Road users)

Electives come together as a group class, so we work that out. Last week, for example, we went through our entire art lesson together, then I said, "During independent time, copy this chart into your notebook." We moved on in our day and they came back for their copywork.

When they've gone through everything with me, they are off to independent time. They'll come back and ask a question or two, but for the most part, they are finished with me and I with them. Then I move on to the next person: Darling yet Diva.

Diva and I come together for math and language arts. Same deal: I teach, she shows me she gets it, I move on. I go through all of her work with her. She pulls out completed work (she usually checks it), I follow through with her, ask a few questions, have her show me a problem, something as necessary to keep up with her work, encourage her, and let her know I'm watching!

I call Lil' Mother to join Darling and I. We go over our anatomy for the day (mini-discussion and follow up to make sure their on schedule).

Diva leaves; Lil' M and I go over anything we need to (maybe a ? about history or a math problem,). I make sure she is on track for the day and remind her of projects. I check off her planner. Bard and RoGD join us. We go over the day's writing assignment (they all use the same program). We go over Latin (they all use the same program, although Lil' M is ahead of the boys). She leaves.

I go over Rhetoric History with the Elder boys. We go over Rhetoric Science. They pull out any other work they need some help with, if any. One leaves (whomever is less ready) so I can follow up with the other, then they switch.  I go down their planner list to make sure they are on target. I note "homework" in my planner.

During the day, I may have long breaks for myself, which I fill with toddler time, teacher time, or Tina time. Depends on the day at hand.

Around 2:00 I call over the Little League and we sit at their desk and go over all the independent work to make sure it got finished and finished correctly. I prefer to do this one on one. I like daily meetings this way for little guys. They get embarrassed by mistakes still. If you don't follow up, block scheduling will not work.

That's block teaching. Finish my teacher time with one, so I can move on to the next with little interruption. It has worked best so far, at least since I had the chance to allow some independence in our home. This year will be WONDERFUL if I can keep the Little League in a nice, independent place!

Remember, the key to successful block scheduling is appropriate teaching before release. YOU have to TEACH so they have the skills to work independently. Skills before content!

We put a lot of hard work into writing last year so I can reap the benefits of a nicely written paragraph this year. I couldn't assign so much independence until this task was complete. Thank you Phonics Road for helping me have a more independent classroom this year!

If teaching is the key, then meetings are the keyhole. You have to follow through. This is where you find mistakes and sluggards :) It's also where you get to talk, discuss, and enjoy your teens (when they finish they're work)! 

Finally, I have my own "meeting" in the early morning. I work better at 4am than 11pm. So, when I get up in the morning, I pull out my schedule and make sure I'm ready to go. *I* have to be prepared to teach well. This is my J-O-B! The real preparations have been in place for some time, though...summer planning gets me ready for all the school year has to offer.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Week in Review 8/8/11--8/12/11 The Linked Version

Well, this week started off where last week left off. Remember the final meeting I was waiting for (son helping dad out of house for the week), yeah...bad meeting. I had to postpone Tapestry an entire week to get the eldest up to speed and b/c Lil' Mother was gone for this week in his stead. At first, that was bad....but the change worked out great. 

Grammar School
Phonics Road 3- continued with spelling review of PR2 words; designed extensive outlines and then transferred the "note taking" styled outline into three large paragraphs. This was their largest assignment ever, in terms of size. For grammar, we focused on possessive nouns and pronouns.

Science enjoyed an earthquake study to match out San Francisco Earthquake study in TOG. You can read all about it and see some pictures here.

Artistic Tuesday was a success. You can read about it here.

The "extra" week in TOG allowed us to finish The Wizard of Oz early. The Ant really enjoyed the read aloud. He's such a literature lover (my pleasure!). I had them write a paragraph about their favorite character and why; and also their favorite part in the story.

We also worked on our Giant Geography book. There are a ton of geo. words in week 1. Usually, we'd pick them up as we go, but this time, I'm shooting for memorization. We also reviewed mapwork of the continents, major bodies of water (to which I have added seas this year), major rivers, major deserts, major mountain ranges and reviewed the USA.

We still can't find Story of the World 4. I have been informed not to buy a new one because they like the other books better. Okay. Looks like SOTW4 is out of the line up. No worries, I prefer living books too. I will say, I LOVED Volumes 1&2, but did find 3&4's level of difficulty making them less pleasurable to read.

There was another History adjustment. Axel is not enjoying 5 Children and It (???) so instead is going to finish up Einstein on his own while The Ant finished 5 Children and It.

I have really amped up their independent work. I am teaching them in a full-on block form, then releasing them. I was actually finished with all my teaching time (considering PR students in grades K, 3, 4, 6) by 11:30 twice this week! Then it's off to spend some time with the Elders and on lesson planning.
 We also added Logic in this week. Each Friday we will complete a lesson or two together of a variety of Thinking Company materials. They enjoyed the riddle about the lady, colleagues, formula, and the creation with no beginning, no end, or no middle. Can you guess what it was? 
Middle School
The girls are moving forward in their Anatomy study with Fullbright and Company.
Both are doing well in TOG. DyD is surprising me and really moving forward in TOG. She is moving in week 2, despite our delay. Our first discussion of the year will come today, and I'm excited to see how it works out. Diva is working on a project board of how we might dress in the early 1900s. I have to buy colored ink so I can print for her.
Lil' Mother moves forward in Chalkdust Alg. 2 and DyD is laboring through decimals and conversions of decimals. She doesn't love math, but does fine :)
DyD is working steadily in Art of Argument. Finally, someone doing Logic in Middle School like I want them to! Start slowly in 6th, then jump in for 7th and 8th. Lil' M. is almost finished w/ AoA.
The girls are easy. I assign them work --- they get it done. I heart my girls.

High School
Moving forward this week, Bard is SO on time! This is new for him, so I hope it lasts! He even did an some extra credit of his own design. An essay on the Cambrian Explosion. I'm proud of him. If you'd like to see his essay, I'd be happy to email it to you; however b/c of the content, I don't want to blog it. I'm worried I'll have ugly people jump in the discussion.
Both boys are doing math consistently, as well as, Latin, Biology, and of course the big dog-TOG. Really busy with that!
It is turning into a prosperous week. We'll have our first discussion. I'm feeling confident based on their attitudes and comments this week.

Teacher Corner
Lesson planning carries on. I'm finished with the next unit of science now: Weather.
I'm continuously adding to our Quizlet line up. I'm way behind there. Looks like it will be my weekends priority.
I need to get started on the next unit of TOG. I'd like to be finished w/ U2 now, U3 by Thanksgiving, and U4 over Christmas break -- lesson planning finished, not the actual teaching.'s all clean, but surely not in drawers. That is happening today!
4 weeks of Art is finished (all copied on the presentation tablet), only 12 more to go!
Veritas Cards came in this week!
Glad to be finishing up early. Now I know I'll have time for the bible studies I want to do with the boys and also for my own study. This will be a good year if I am diligent....if I am diligent....if I am diligent.
So, while this Review has little specifics, I can say it was a great week....and I finished each day a little earlier. This is GREAT news for me since I start back to college in two weeks. Hopefully, the new baby I'm keeping will start next week so we have a full 5 days to adjust before school starts.

Artistic Tuesdays: Lines and What They Express

For a mere $0.25, I came across this gem in our local Friends of the Library book store: Art Connections
This level 3 text is just what I need to mold the art ball into something usable, consistent, and worthy of time spent. I own a very nice program, but never take the time to do it. I may have the confidence to come back to more time consuming materials like Visual Manna or Drawing with Children after completing this basic course. Currently, though, Art Connections makes this EASY. I need that button for something about right now since I'm planning my very own science (again).
We started out by introducing, Art, this week. We talked about the language that is, Art. We talked about line, shape, color, value, texture, form, rhythm, balance, emphasis, variety, harmony and unity. After introducing lines via a chart I copied directly from the text, we did  a quick study of lines in art.
Then we followed the lesson plan via the text and drew weather scenes (6 total).  After choosing our favorites, we did our final drawings on large, drawing paper. Can you tell it was a rainy day when we did this? Lots of windy, rainy pictures! (which I'll add difficulties)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Science: an insert week on Earthquakes

Well, in science, I had planned a two lesson study on Earthquakes to go along with our San Francisco Earthquake studies from Tapestry of Grace. I'm coordinating history and science a bit this year, so we're actually inside of a unit study on, Flight, but I dropped this week in so we could study earthquakes . I already owned one simple book, Earthquakes, and thought a Bill Nye video would do the trick along with some simple notebooking. It was gonna be totally basic, but you know me and basic. I like simple, yet thorough,  better than basic. Well...since I have some extra time, I decided to beef up the earthquake study with a quick insert on the parts of the earth. This made for a great opportunity to throw in some geography/science/history all in one. I doo love to tie things in; I can't help it. Interdisciplinary is the way to go!
"Step-son" - 6th grade --- my neighbor who does a lot of summer school with us. He's in the group photo. lying in the sand. 
Ax Man - 4th grade
The Ant - 3rd grade
Alexander the Great - K
Earthquakes (one copy of the glossary page for each student)
Look Inside the Earth, 
Bill Nye video 3 "parts" available free online
construction paper or card stock or notecards to make cards for your student (16 total pieces)
drawing paper
coloring device (map pencils, crayons, markers, paint -- you decide)
paper and pencil
Lesson Plan:
Follow this order in however many days you need. We did this in 2 long science sessions of about 2 hours each.
Read Aloud Earthquakes pg. 1-22
Give children materials to draw diagram of earth on pg. 10.
While they draw, read from, Look Inside the Earth, 
I have owned, Look Inside the Earth, since my eldest (the 10th grader) was in first grade.  This book is a wonderful visual aid. Check out the book! Christian users may want to skip the first page, especially Young Earth Creationists. It talks about the earth's origin in a way that may be inconsistent with your faith. I have censored the book and since I read it aloud, it poses no problem. (I also find such things easy to explain away). I read, "...The Earth Begin?" through "...Fall off the Earth?"
You will read about natural resources from the earth and the different layers.

Dictate the a summary of what your read directly from, Earthquakes and  Look Inside the Earth. Here's what they added to their drawing as caption boxes:
An earthquake is when teutonic plates push together and the force breaks the earth.
Ax Man's Layers of the Earth diagram with dictated captions.
Snap Your Fingers! Push your fingers together. PUSH! PUSH! The snap is like a slipping rock, sending shockwaves.
The crust is the outside layer and is five to thirty miles thick. We see the crust as trees, rocks, and land. 
Underneath, the mantle is about 1,800 miles thick. The mantle gives us natural resources like coal, oil, and natural gas. 
The inner core may be solid, but scientists think the outer core is melted metal. The whole core is 4,300 miles across.
We watched the Bill Nye videos and discussed anything new. Nothing more necessary for this lesson. We'll build on the disaster side of earthquakes in our history studies.

AtG making vocabulary game cards.
I photocopied the glossary and we cut and pasted the terms from, Earthquakes pg. 46, so we could play go fish, memory, abc order, match up, etc. with the vocabulary from time to time. It's an easy, cheap, and useful way to review about earthquakes throughout the years.  Cut up the photocopy (or print on card stock) and glue to construction paper or note cards. 

I think we're going to make a "puzzle" of the earth's layers later today. I haven't made up my mind!

They walked around acting like they were in earthquakes all day!  

Simple. Fun. Effective. Hope you get around to some elementary school science this week!  

"Step-son's" Layers of the Earth diagram

Forcing Flexibility and Being Alright with It.

I recently read, "I home school because I want a little control with my responsibility." Boy, oh boy! whomever wrote that must have been thinking of me! One of the pluses of home schooling is having control over your schedule. You get to be as flexible as you need to be. Well...let's just say that scheduling and flexibility are not my favorite combination. You see, I like to make my own schedule, that control; so when someone throws a shoe in the wheel, I'm kinda...not happy about it. I have, however, learned that when you're scheduling for eleven (11) people, stuff happens and daily you must adjust. I might not like the big changes, but I do alright with the little ones.

My dear husband, Oman, scheduled a long overdue surgery for the same week we started back to school. I was not thrilled. Kinda irritated at first, but some things just.are, so I had to operate in a little flexibility. To top that off, he's house sitting at the same time. Double whammy! He needs a helper with him at the house. It turns out, flexibility isn't so bad.

Since RoGD was Oman's helper last week, in a comfy place, he did not accomplish much school work. I admit, he's earned a rest after a prosperous summer, but still, I wasn't so happy with him. I *need* him to be on task. His extended vacation, along with his sisters shift helping dad this week, led me to restart our history studies. We haven't begun our writing because of this separation. The beauty came when it allowed more time for some fun projects with the Little League. I enjoyed my little guys because I knew we had an extra five days! So, we got our normal stuff done, but we also made a Giant Geography book; read aloud more; and even kept the house clean.

So, although this is not the way I planned to start our school year....a week behind by week 2, at least we're moving along elsewhere. There is more to life than history and with a little flexibility, we might be able to enjoy it. SHHHHH don't tell my WTM friends about there being more to life than history. We classical educators would Never hear of such a thing!

School House Refurbishing Continues

Well, after my brief whining last week, I thought I had better redeem myself with some humble posts about my school house. Here are some images of a few blasts from the past. Doing kindy this year with Alexander the Great is fun. I keep bringing out the precious things I haven't used in years. I'm also recycling so many things I find in the garage, as we convert the space from 3/4 garage---1/4 school to the other side of the circle :) Here are a few things I have reused. Funny....I'm incorporating a lot more technology into our studies this year, but all these photos are of old school, non-techy creations that really help out our classroom. Go figure!

I was gifted a bunch of newspaper pads, so instead of letting them collect dust, they are collecting school materials. On the Left we are creating a giant geography book to go along with TOG. I simply used to find pictures, then ala Quizlet,+ MSWord printed out the terms in a jumbo font. Viola! Giant Geography is born. I will use the cardboard backs of two tablets to make a book cover.

This easel was gifted to me. What a perfect spot for the tablet I'm using strictly for art.Each lesson will have some copy work, which I will have done in advance (on the tablet). Then I can use the easel for presentation. It's lightweight and super easy to move around the schoolhouse. What a great "old time" edition to my tool box.

I also have a few old corkboards; the small size that might be a little bulletin board. I don't generally use them, so what I did was pin a few things I repeatedly use to the corkboards. THEN, I can place maps and other visual materials on top of the easel. This also allows for fast moving of flimsy tools. The map you see on the right is the same one I used with Rockin' Out Guitar Dude waaaay back when he was in K. Now, he's in 10th. I also used that map to teach a co-op class. Any old Brain Day friends read my blog?

These are those gifted curtains I mentioned last week. Look below (and turn your head counterclockwise) to see what they are hiding.
I can't see the ladder, bookshelves of camping and hurricane supplies, back up school materials, and mailing materials. Out of sight, out of mind!

 Here are some mix-matched pillows that now serve as chair cushions in the schoolhouse. Who would've thought I could find something to do with these old things. Oh, and the paper towel holder, now holds our timeline. This might be my favorite new use. How fun to unroll the timeline like it's a scroll. I feel so classical now.
 Be on the lookout for a serious Tapestry of Grace Organizational Project. It may take me all year, but I'm getting the below shelves, materials, and additions all pretty. They Will Be in order and Color Coded. Even if it takes me all year to get it done!
TOG Years 1-4, Anyone. Lots of books. Lots of paper. Soon to be: little chaos!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wordless Wednesday 8/10/2011 The Best Thing I Didn't Buy for School

This beloved box has taken AtG and the A-bomb on many adventures these last 10 day!

This Edition: Some Unexpected Additions Really Adding to our Week

Sometimes, you get the pleasure of remembering what you own and grabbing something you know will fit right into your lessons. That happened thrice this week! First with this friendly addition to our history studies. Since we've read a good bit on President Theodore Roosevelt, it was nice to change up the perspective of our reading. The One Bad Thing About Father by F.N. Monjo did just that. Read about the president from the fictional perspective of his two little boys. A perfect fit in our schoolhouse of 4 young boys, but surely enjoyable for any elementary aged child. It was a quick read aloud of 50isg pages. I read fast! This goes great with TOG Year 4, weeks 1&2.

Since the timing of our history schedule has already been adjusted, I have an extra week to focus on geography with the boys because TOG really has a ton of terms to learn. Normally, we'd learn as we go, but since there's time...why not focus?  So, our fly by the seat of our pants extra was a giant vocabulary book. This was inspired from a friend at the WTM board who made lovely, weekly, photo references for TOG's vocab. I loved the idea. We're making a mega-book that we'll regularly use as a reference material. When it's finished, I'll post the entire project in photography, but here is the beginning. Pretty simple. I used and Swagbucks Images, then a little MS Word to blow up the definitions after using my Quizlet page to pull from. It took me about 10 min. to get everything together. It will be so worth it in the end. I do plan on printing larger sized pictures for the rest of the book. I'd like for the boys to really get visual images of the water based words.

Well, in science, I had planned a two lesson study on Earthquakes to go along with our San Francisco Earthquake studies. I dropped it in the middle of the Flight Unit Study. I already owned one simple book and thought a Bill Nye video would do the trick along with some simple notebooking. Since I have some extra time, I decided to beef up the earthquake study with a quick insert on the parts of the earth. I have owned, Look Inside the Earth, since my eldest (the 10th grader) was in first grade. This made for a great opportunity to throw in some geography/science/history all in one. We drew a diagram of the earth and some dictation from the text to appropriately summarize what we had learned about the layers of the earth, their functions, and components. This is a wonderful visual aid. Check out the book! Christian users may want to skip the first page, especially Young Earth Creationists. It talks about the earth's origin in a way that may be inconsistent with your faith. I have censored the book and since I read it aloud, it poses no problem. (I also find such things easy to explain away).

Now, I want to add, I could not have handled an "on the fly" kind of day many years ago. This was possible because of my extensive personal library and from years of experience. There are some who are born with the ability, confidence, even guts to grab and go daily -- not me. It's taken some real work to get here! I am so glad I'm here, though, because it was a great lesson. The other thing that I have now is confidence to let flexibility operate. Sometimes, we classical home schoolers pack our years with so much work that we lose the ability to be flexible so we can stay on schedule. STAAAAY on Schedule! That's me yelling at myself! We'll be fine with our additions. They made this week exciting, new, enjoyable and just plain educational.

Have you made adjustments in your new year already? Remember, home schoolers, be flexible. It's great advice!


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