August 31, 2011

This Years Curriculum: Stories of Faith

I am so excited about our curriculum this year and I just can not wait to get started. We have been gifted with a lot of good things from various sources and it is going to make this year fabulous! Because I am so excited about it, I wanted to share it with you all.

We begin our time of lessons by reading stories of faith for about 20 minutes or so. We have already done Bible with Dad over breakfast so I did not want to read from the Bible again, so we have been choosing other books that show us who God is, or books that inspire noble ideas. Last year we began reading the short stories of faith from Hero Tales Vol. 1. It was a big hit! We saw how God did some amazing things when people trusted him. Then we read Hinds Feet in High Places and learned about how God turns jelly fish into mountain goats and how He loves impossible challenges. Lastly we read through Millie Molly Mandy. MMM wasn’t so much about faith and God, but it was a good read about good character and that works in our house too.

This year we plan to read:

These are stories of around the world of people living overseas with God. The title really explains it all.

Stories from an Indonesian revival told by a Indonesian Christian.
Short Stories from long ago to inspire and give hope.

We all know this one...the illustrations in this volume are priceless.

After we read stories of faith we begin a 20 minute lesson on one of the over 200 decoder rules from Harvey Bluedorns book entitled Handy English Encoder Decoder. But that is for the next post.

Christ In Me the Hope of Glory

I just read an article by Ellyn Davis entitled "Blame it on the Cupcake!" It reminded me of the hope I have in Christ and why I love walking with Jesus. In the article Ellyn describes the kind of day that unravels as it goes, and by afternoon we are done in. here is a quick glimpse of what she wrote,
"Say you are trying to diet. You get up in the morning and you're determined that you are going to eat only what you should, go to the gym and work out, and take a two mile walk with your friend. This is not an impossible goal for you because you've done it many times before. But this particular day the kids are fighting, the dog has had a run-in with a skunk, the washing machine gets stuck on the fill cycle, and you didn't sleep well, plus the day is peppered with interruptions and myriads of little decisions you have to make. 
But you know you can handle this. No problem. You are still able to move into your day and get things done. You eat a healthy breakfast, take a walk with your friend while the kids are doing their chores, call the washing machine repairman, quarantine the dog until your husband gets home, and get the kids sorted out and started on their school for the day. So far so good.
Then a neighbor brings over a plate of cupcakes and wants to talk about her latest drama. Mmmm. Carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Your favorite. But this neighbor always outstays her welcome and you find yourself forcing a smile as you greet her, knowing her visit is going to eat into a large part of your morning.
However, the cupcakes were a nice gesture, so you thank her profusely and try to cut the conversation as short as possible.
She finally leaves and all day long those cupcakes sit on the kitchen counter. You pass them each time you come into the kitchen for something. The kids have most of them with lunch, but there is one left.

The day goes on and now it's 4 in the afternoon. You are tired. So far you've dealt with homeschooling three children, a washer that doesn't work, a dog that stinks, and multiple phone calls and interruptions. As you pass that last remaining cupcake for the 15th time, you decide to sample a little lick of the icing. Oh my gosh! That is the best cream cheese icing you've ever tasted!

You know what happens next. You decide to take a tiny bite. Then another bite. It's the Marshmallow Tests all over again. Then your rationalizing mind kicks in and tells you, "Just go ahead and eat the whole thing and the cupcakes will all be gone and you won't be tempted anymore."

You do. And then you are angry at yourself. A few minutes later your husband walks in the door and you snap at him. He asks, "What's wrong?" But you don't even know how to answer his question. You're mad at yourself, you're mad at the washing machine, you're mad at the kids, you're mad at the neighbor who dropped off the cupcakes, and now you're mad at him."
Days like this remind of why Jesus said to his disciples, "I will go away but I am sending you a comforter." He knew we would have days that overwhelm us. In fact He often leads us into endeavors that are beyond us because He knows He is there in the yoke beside us taking the brunt of the load on His big shoulders. Incarnation, it is a brilliant plan! On days like this I know what went wrong, I have forgotten my comforter, my yoke mate. I have some where along the way left Him and begun to live life on my own. Before I was a believer, me was all I had. If I did not step in to solve my own character issues who could? But now I have Christ the risen king who lives in me. His strength, His wisdom, His love is now mine. He is my hope of glory in days like this.

Instead of handling it on my own, I stop. I remind myself I am not alone. I hand over the troubles, the decisions and the work to my comforter and I rest. I listen for His instructions. It may be wisdom about how to structure the day or handle a conflict, or it may be remembering how much I am loved. It may be just my own frenzied self being set aside so others do not have to feel the repercussions of my unrest. But whatever the comforter brings it does replenish, it does give me rest. Mostly He brings life and life more abundant to me and my family.

We don’t have to live life on our own, and we don’t have to bear the weight of our own sinful self. When we believe in Christ’s blood which covers us from our sin we have a comforter. You will know Him by His fruit. He will bring into our lives the following: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control.

Christ IN me IS my HOPE and my GLORY!

August 30, 2011

Setting Up Shop

One thing I really enjoy is creating atmosphere. Before I married my dh I dreamed of owning my own coffee shop. It wasn't that I loved coffee or that I enjoyed being with interesting people all day, no, it was creating atmosphere that drew people in which excited and intrigued me. So to begin this new school year we have made some changes in our atmosphere, and of course I am loving it!

Several things pushed for the dh wanted to make his office into a work room so he and the boys could make more projects in there. Where would he put his office then??? hmmm If we built loft beds the boys could put their school desks under their beds and my dh could have the school room for his office. We decided this made alot of sense, so the school is being disembodied so to speak, which I am all for, and office space is being created. I like the organization the school room gave us last year but also I simply love doing school all over the house. It is a real expression of a learning life style which we all love. It is great to have a work room for the boys, who have lots of projects in their heads they will love working on after school with dad. And loft beds that is too cool! (my dh is designing and making these himself) No more desk inspection for us, now it will be "SPACE INSPECTION. I hope this means their room will be a bit more tidy. ;) LOL right.

Since my dh was moving, he graciously invited me to move my office into the school room as well. Previously I have been working out of a small corner in our bedroom. Cool, but not if you want to work late at night or early in the morning and your dh is trying to sleep. I am thrilled to be sharing a space with him. Our desks are back to back and I still ended up with a small area in the office were we can do part of our schooling. Check out the new arrangement. Our school has become an office/school room.

The first thing I did was to change out the red and white striped curtains that hung in the school room and put them into the boys bedroom and snag their blue curtains for the new office. Then I covered the work table in a fun orange colored fabric a friend of mine gave me. I spent $2 on the plastic to cover it. I love orange and blue together it reminds me of Vincent Van Gogh. We use the work table for group lessons and art projects.

At Office Depot I found some strips of cork board for $5 and glued them to an old 2x2 board from our backyard. My dh husband drilled holes in the wall and mounted it for me. This is our hall of fame wall where the "best of the best" work is hung for all to see and admire. (Mostly me)

Next I created a schedule chart to help the boys know they where in the day. I used some 3x5 cards and an old white board I ruined last year with permanent markers. The board cost $10 and the 3x5 cards next to nothing. I spent a little time making them pictorial as well as including words so they can read them. Now the boys can navigate through the day with less questions to me.

At Ross's Dress For Less I found a simple table easel for $2 to display art work of the artist we are studying or a related book.

The map of Egypt T.J. and I water colored a few months ago. It is a blank map we plan to add info to as we do map drills this year.

I spent less than $20 and we have a new office space for us both, a work room in the making, school happening everywhere and potentially cool loft beds! 

August 14, 2011

The "9 plus trick"

The "9 plus trick" is the last of the lessons presented by Professor Pig. All though Ellen has provided a few other activities to help learn this concept we primarily spent time playing the tricks and treats game.

Each player has his own game board. On each of the circles I placed a treat which they earn as they roll the dodecahedron and find a solution that makes nine on the game board. So each player takes a turn rolling the dodecahedron, they read the addition problem on the bottom side, say the problem is 7 + __ =12? The answer is 5, the player then finds a loose 5 card in the middle of the table and looks to see if when he adds that five to any of the white spaces that when the outer nmber suntracts that 5 from itself it will equal 9. On this card 5 will not work. The outer numbers are icked at random by each player.

We have had so much fun with Professor Pig. If you have not tried these fun, FREE lessons consider what Ellen says on her website:

Professor Pig's Magic Math is all about thinking like a mathematician. People who are good at math don't just memorize facts! They understand numbers and they see number patterns everywhere. Professor Pig begins by teaching his students the "magic numbers": the numbers that add up to 10. Using these five facts as a base, student are taught to see patterns that will allow them to easily add facts like 8+3 and 7+5, without any memorization. Stacks of many numbers are easily added using these number patterns.

Professor Pig uses oodles of games and activities to review and practice. No boring worksheets! When there is a worksheet, specific instructions are given as how to attack it.

If your student balks at traditional workbooks, I HIGHLY recommend trying Professor Pig's Magic Math.

Now we are moving onto learning how to use a Japanese abacus and double digit addition.
Ta ta for now!

Snapshot Sunday

August 10, 2011

Butterfly Lapbook

Our butterfly lapbooks wrapped up our study of botany this year. The butterfly is intricately involved in pollination which is where we left off in our investiagation of flowers.

View of the insides. This lapbook is made by TJ

 Camoflage! by TJ

Butterfly life cycle montessori cards by Max

Copywork of The Caterpiller and the 1 Corintinas 5:17 by Max

We put together this mural of a butterfly.
We read The Tale of Besty the Butterfly by Arthur Scott Bailey
We also read From Caterpiller to Butterfly

Lastly we spent hours with our nets capturing butterflies and letting them go.

August 6, 2011

Snapshot Sunday