Monday, January 31, 2011

Another Week . . . Or Was It?

Our week began as regular as any. Monday was started in the usual way of working on core goals, breakfast, zones, etc. We got our binder work done and some reading in. A load of laundry and a nice job of the house being picked up. Everyone worked hard in anticipation of our family night activity. We were invited to go bowling with Grandma and Grandpa. JJ's comment was, " I will go bowling and I will like it and I will win!" He is a very confident almost 3 year old.

So, after an additional treat of dinner out ( this is so a treat for me, you know what I mean ladies) we made it to the bowling alley and everyone had a great time! All the kids were great and after an initial bit of help, the all wanted to independently take their turns. It was a lot of fun! There was some cheering, some sighs of disappointment and also a lot of laughs. Even a bit of wagering ( which was lost badly, no more wagers for you honey). Everyone had a fun time, thanks Grandma and Grandpa!!

We got home and got everyone snuggled in bed and then the real fun of our WEEK began. That sweet little almost 3 year old was suddenly sick and very sad. So, the rest of our week was taken over by a rotation of fevers, cool washcloths, fever reducing medicine, gatorade, soup, sleep, rest, movies, and this rotated nicely through 5 of the 6 people in our family. Finally today, we are down to just 1 semi-sick person and sadly it is the one that started all the fun.

We were not able to get a lot of our structured learning done, but we did read in our books and a lot of time was spent in tender embracing. I really dislike it when kids are sick. So, hopefully this week will be new and healthy and productive. Enjoy! ( and stay healthy)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Appreciation for the classics . . .

I have a weakness. I will be the first to admit it. My husband will be the second. When I am out running errands, if I have a few free minutes I will pop into one of the local thrift stores and peruse the books they have for sale. One particular store, seems to get a fresh lot of books every two weeks or so. Sometimes I come away with one or two great books or classics that I have been looking for, sometimes more.

This was my last trip. All for $8.

I went to our local library yesterday to find some books about seasons. They too have a few shelves that contain books for sale. I usually don't find much, but yesterday there were a couple of good picture books and then I found this beauty:

I was quite surprised to see it sitting on the "for sale" shelves. I thought maybe they had made a mistake. So I took my finds up to the counter and asked if they were sure they wanted to sell The Trumpet of the Swan. They concurred that it was for sale. They also said that the books were buy one get one free, so I paid a whopping 12 cents for each book. We already have a copy of this book in our collection, but I know someone that would want it, so I got it. I was a little sad. A great classic being discarded by the library and sold for 12 cents. There are a great many ( ok the vast majority) of the books on the shelves of the library that we don't even look at. The word twaddle comes to mind.

I was showing my new finds to the Mr. last night. He commented on a few and then said, " Your going to need more bookshelves." Hmmm . . . . someday, I hope. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

We had a great week last week! I feel like we got so much accomplished and spent some great time together. We spent a lot of time reading our Family read, Johnny Tremain, we really liked the story of Jesus' birth in the New Testament. ** we are now learning about the life of Christ, from the New Testament.**

Ky worked hard on finishing her first loom knitting project, a hat. Bugaloo spent time working on her typing skills with some fun games on the computer.

We made rolls and cookies. Ky and Bugaloo attended their second Choir rehearsal and they are still loving it! Our daily schedule worked out great! I am NOT a morning person. I prefer to stay up late, but I do get so much more done when I wake up early. Things like exercise and personal study are easy to skip past and use the excuse that "the kids needed me." Now, I do those things in the morning and it just makes a HUGE difference to my day. Enjoy!

The finished product! Well done Ky!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

2011 Thomas Jefferson Education Forum . . .

Registration for the 2011 Salt Lake City Thomas Jefferson Education Forum is now open! I am planning on going again this year, maybe I will see some of you there! Exciting!

Go here to find out more:

2011 Thomas Jefferson Forum SLC

Go here to read my experience from last year's forum. Now if only there was a Charlotte Mason convention close by . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . one could dream!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

History . . .

When I say this word, I get many different reactions. Some wrinkle their nose, some give a blank stare, and some smile politely. Very rarely does one find another person that gets excited about History. I was always interested in history. When I was little, I loved to sit and listen to my grandparents talk about their past and those of their ancestors.

When we began studying history in school, I was very interested but felt that the information in our text books was either too dry or incomplete. Because of this, my interest in history fell by the way side. As I have gotten older, I have chosen to read more historical novels or books and this has peaked my interest in history once again.

I believe that a strong knowledge of one's history can shape that person into a productive and strong person. Through reading and studying history, one can not only learn about an event in time, but can learn about the emotions and effects that all those involved experienced because of that event. Why does our country believe what it does? Why did our Founding Father's include this or that in our Constitution? When we take time to learn about those individuals and not just the event, then we can more closely come to understand the dream of our ancestors for us.

Aristotle once said,

"If you would understand anything, observe its beginning and its development."

When children are learning, in their early stages, what is a common occurrence? When my children were toddlers, my day was often filled with the "twenty questions". "Mommy, what is that?" " What color is that?" "What is that's name?". But the questioning did not end there, " Why is it called that?", "Why is it that color?"

The word HISTORY is defined as the study of the human past. The word HISTORY comes from the Greek word historia, meaning "inquiry, knowledge acquired by investigation."

So, when we think our children a just going through their toddler learning stage. What they are truly doing is inquiring or investigating more about something. That is how they learn, by finding out the history of something. So, is that not one of the many ways that we should learn, is through history?

I've tried to convey upon my children the importance of history. We display pictures of our nations history, family history, and religious history around our home.

We just recently made a World History Time-line and hung it in our learning space. It is just a general time line that begins at the Creation of the Earth and ends at the Present time. We made this so that our children can use it as a reference of time when they are learning about different things in history, math, science, religion, etc.

We chose to divide the time line up into time periods, pre-history, ancient civilization, etc., and then we chose a few pictures of specific historical events as reference points. We are planning on making more specific and detailed time lines of the things we read about, possibly in notebook or binder style. I will share that when we get that going.

Our studies of history will not only focus on World History or United States History, but will also include Math history, Science history, Art history, Music history, and Family history. We will also learn about local and state histories.

Right now, the books we are currently reading and learning from are:

-The Bible (King James Version)
-Mathematicians Are People Too
-American History Stories, Volumes 1-4

I think Rudyard Kipling expresses my feelings exactly,

"If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten."

The reason I like the books we use, is because they take REAL, HISTORICAL people and events and tells them in story form. My kids love them and they get very excited when it is time to read them. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Year . . . New Changes . . .

Hello all! We had a wonderful, inspiring, and rewarding holiday & Christmas. I hope you did too. We spent A LOT of time working in our basement. The "Head Contractor" had a break from his 9 to 5 job for two weeks, so we took advantage of that time and dug in. We got carpet on the 20th of December, so the rest of the time was spent on the finish work; trim, touch-up paint, doors, lights, etc.

Everyone did an amazing job of helping, including the kids. They were helpful when needed and gone playing with one another when needed. The result is amazing! The walls are painted a lovely, warm yellow that helps make the room feel inviting and cheerful. ** The Head Contractor was not particularly happy about the color choice. His last comment was, " I like it the more we cover it up." He is so wonderful to let me have it the color I want. Don't you think? ** We quickly went to work getting the space ready to use as our family room, learning space, and play area.

It really is nice to have a space for learning. All of our books came out of boxes and little hiding places around the house and now cohesively reside in one place. We can leave all our learning materials out and easy to access.

Some of the walls are still bare, but I have some wonderful pictures from American history that I am going to frame and hang. I can't tell you what a big relief it is to have this done and how much our family has been enjoying the space. I never thought we would spend so much time in the basement.

I have also spent some time this last month evaluating how well our learning has been going. There are some things that we are changing and/or improving. I have been busy looking at all the children have been doing and their goals and making plans.

One of the biggest downfalls to learning, I believe, is getting in a rut. I want their minds to be excited about what they are learning and I want them to love doing it, so it is nice to revamp things from time to time.