Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Weekend . . . To Remember . . .Maybe

For the last two years, we have planned to camp over Memorial Day weekend.  For those of you familiar with Idaho, this may seem a foolish thought, but never-the-less, we have prepared, traveled, and attempted.  So far, we are 0 for 2.  

Last year, we packed up early for low temperatures and snow.  This year, it was a mixture of rain, rain, rain and oh yes, rain.  It all began lovely.  The temperatures were inviting and we were able to set-up camp in a timely manner to enjoy hot dogs over the fire, followed by popcorn and treats.  We called it a night at dark after some fire side chatting and a bit of exploration by the littles.

Saturday morning began early.  The Mighty Dad set out to help some of our family with some improvements on the area (this is family land and we love having the blessing of enjoying it) and it started to rain at about 8 am.  Sprinkles and mist, at first, then quickly followed by a steady downpour.  The workers persisted and decided to stop at about 11:30.  So we retreated to the trailer, the kiddos had been there for a while already, and had some lunch, a bit of a rest, and played some games; waiting for the clear weather the "weather man" predicted.

We finally had a break at about 4:30 pm.  We quickly got out to the sun and tried to enjoy it . . . not knowing when it would end.  The kiddos explored and explored, we did a little skeet shooting, four-wheeler riding, and had some dinner.  We finally sat down to enjoy the sun and it began to get dark and cloudy.  We gathered under the canopy just in time to avoid a 20 minute hail storm, followed by a 30 minute rain and then a clear, blue sky.  

This lasted long enough for smores on the fire and then back to rain.  By this time it was about 9 pm and we were all so tired of the rain and tired from the work, so we went to bed.  At about 2 am, Darling Helper and Peaches became sick to their stomachs.  So for the next few hours of in and out sleep, throwing up, and cleaning up, the rain remained steady, like a bit of rhythmic music for our nights escapades.  

At about 9 am, we all drowsily woke to the pitter-patter that we had hoped would subside; not so.  So, unanimously, we decided to pack it up and head home.  All night we worried about the affect the rain was having on the dirt roads that led us back to civilization.   So, we threw the kids in the truck, broke camp and threw everything in the trailer and headed home.  We made it out amid mud puddles grasping at every surface.  So, another failure with camping over Memorial day.  I don't like to fail . . .

. . . but did we?  A lot of fun was had, yummy food was eaten, time was spent with family, and even in the rain, we loved every minute of it.  Looking forward to next year!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Homeschool Convention . . .

Hey Idahoans!!
(and anyone else)

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State Homeschool Convention
~~  Walking in Joy  ~~

This is coming up this weekend June 1st & 2nd.  I have my registration done, hotel reserved, and plans made to attend.  Are any of you going to be there?  It is my first time attending this particular convention, so I am looking forward to each speaker and workshop.  I am especially excited to hear from one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Mike Farris. I have followed some of his work and read some things by him and am very impressed.  You can read a bit more about him and the other speakers here.

See you there, Enjoy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Little Interruptions . . .

It seems to inevitably happen no matter what we do to foresee or prevent it.  Little disruptions here and there to our perfect routine and schedule.  This never happens to any of your home educating families, I am sure.  But what do I do when this happens? In the past it was a myriad of different things; dropping everything, trying to still fit it all in, pulling my hair out, ignoring it all and hiding in the pages of my most recent book, calling it a day and putting on a movie.  One really has to go through it all to find what works for you.  

Most recently, I have found that for us the best course of action is one of two things; a complete rearranging of the day or picking and choosing.  By picking a choosing, I mean that I might take out some of the tasks or things to do that can just wait.  Sometimes it is a chore, sometimes a particular subject, sometimes I get rid of all of it and we just read and read and read.  Interestingly enough, it seems to be that those are the days that the kiddos sit and just want to be read to.  I might throw in a board game or two and I have seen that if this happens every once in a while, the other days move along smoothly.

We have received an offer on our home and so in a few weeks will be in a transitional phase.  There will need to be a lot of flexibility with everyone and so I am sure that a lot of these tactics will be utilized.  What do you do with a day like this?


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eclipse . . .

I know that everyone and their dog blog are going to do a post about the eclipse, but I wanted to share our bit.  We got out early to enjoy the entire event.  We made a shrewd pinhole camera and it worked well, but watching a reflected version is just not the same, so we took turns with a welding helmet. 

The kids were amazed at how quickly it all happened.  We also did some reading and explaining about the whole event during the changes.  It was a fun evening.  At the very end, as the clouds were moving in, I was able to get a good picture of the eclipse.  Hope you all enjoyed it from your different parts of the world.  Enjoy!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

Music to My Ears . . .

*** Before watching the videos in this post, you will want to scroll down to the bottom of the blog and pause or mute the music player***

Our two oldest, darling daughters, have been part of a wonderful Children's Chorus the last year and a half.  They practice, during the school semesters, once a week for an hour and a half.  They perform a few times at schools and nursing homes and also have a final concert each semester.  For their Spring concert, they sang a lot of beautiful and fun songs.  Below is a sampling of some of their songs:

During their concert, they were able to do a duet as a special number.

 My camera ran out of space before they were finished, so I recorded them at home, hopefully it turned out alright.  I know Grandparents would like to see it.

Finally, their choir participated in a multi-choir festival and was able to perform some of their songs there. This video is the song the kids most enjoyed doing, Don Gato.  

They also got to spend the day with their cousin and perform with her in the mass choir. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

More La'Mour Wisdom . . .

"It is constantly reiterated that education begins in the home, as indeed it does, but what is often forgotten is that morality begins in the home also."   

Louis La'Mour, Education of a Wandering Man, pg. 4

~ ~ ~

I know that the vast majority of questions that we as home educating families get are first, about socialization and then normally about the curriculum.  I wonder, has anyone asked you about the type of moral education you give your children?  I have never been asked.  I believe that most people, if they did wonder, see this a taboo topic.  Is this a religious question?  I don't think so.  

Morality is defined as principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong, good and bad behavior.  This is not necessarily a religious term, although I believe a lot of people think it is.  Do you have to be a religious person to not harm another human?  No, you just need to have a general respect for all other people.  Respect is not solely a religious term either.  I think that as a whole, religious peoples tend to strive for a moral code.  I know that if you were to ask us what we deem as important topics for our kiddos to learn, we would probably say that first a love of God and our fellow people, respect and kindness towards one another and everyone, an inner drive to improve and expand oneself, the list could go on.

For us, one of the reasons for home educating is the apparent lack of moral conduct in the public school system.  I say this with regard to the student peers as well as the adults.  It is completely within the rights of a kindergarten teacher to be of the opinion that alcohol and occasional drug use is alright? Sure, but should she morally share this with her 5 and 6 year old students?  Absolutely not.

As far as moral lessons in the home, Mr. La'Mour gave a perfect example of this in his book.  He tells of a parent that has been pulled over for speeding.  The parent knows he was speeding, but as the officer speaks to him about it, the parent becomes defensive and in fact tries to convince the officer he was not speeding.  So, as the children sit in the back seat, they witness their parent first breaking the law and second not admitting to it.

As parents, we are the FIRST and GREATEST example to our children of moral and educational behaviors. Charlotte Mason, a great educator of her time, expresses many times in her book, Home Education, that parents must first be the example in all we want our children to excel and improve in. Do we want our children to be tidy?  Then we must be tidy.  Do we want our children to love reading?  Then we must show them our love of reading.  Do we want our children to be respectful and congenial to others?  Then we must be respectful and congenial.  This is true whether your children are home educated or attend public or private school.  

Wow, I didn't mean to get into this topic quite this far, but as I kept typing, I kept thinking and hopefully this opens a bit of thought in each of you.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 7, 2012

I have been reading a memoir by Louis La'Mour called Education Of A Wandering Man.  This book is amazing.  It gives an insight into Mr. La'Mour's education.  It is full of thought provoking information and very inspiring.  I have been filling my reading journal with so many quotes that I hope to reread and share.

I decided to start sharing some of those quotes, even though I am not finished with the book yet, because there are so many and I would like you all to get a feel for this great read.  I am not going to elaborate on my thoughts to these bits of wisdom, just share them and hope that it ignites some thoughts and feelings in you. Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

" The idea of education has been so tied to schools, universities, and professors that many assume there is no other way, but education is available to anyone within reach of a library, a  post office, or even a newsstand. . . .

Often I hear people say they do not have time to read. That's absolute nonsense.  In a year . . . I read 25 books while waiting for people.  In offices, applying for jobs, waiting to see a dentist, waiting in a restaurant . . .  I read on buses, trains, and planes.  If anyone really wants to learn, one has to decide what is important. Spending an evening on the town? 
Attending a ball game? Or learning something that can be with you your life long?"

Louis La'Mour, Education of a Wandering Man, Pg. 2