Fun quiz

August 31, 2005 Categories: Memes & Quizzes | Comments Off  

Found this Classic Dames Test at Sweetwater Homeschool:

Myrna Loy

You scored 16% grit, 28% wit, 28% flair, and 42% class!

You are class itself, the calm, confident “perfect woman.” Men turn and look at you admiringly as you walk down the street, and even your rivals have a grudging respect for you. You always know the right thing to say, do and, of course, wear. You can take charge of a situation when things get out of hand, and you’re a great help to your partner even if they don’t immediately see or know it. You are one classy dame. Your screen partners include William Powell and Cary Grant, you little simmerpot, you.

If you take it, be sure and post a comment and let me know how you scored!

Gearing up

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I’m not a year-round homeschooler. Well, I guess I am in the sense that the kids are always learning, but we don’t do any formal school during the summer. Lots of playing outside, reading, reading aloud, trips to the library, swimming, etc. Our summer was extremely busy, and now here it is the last day of August, and we’re starting back to “school” on Tuesday.

I promised that I would blog about the H.O.M.E. Program and let you all know how it goes. So here’s a quick list of the pros and cons I’ve run into so far:

Pros:

~ At orientation, the superintendent of the school district that supervises the program spoke to us. Here’s a paraphrase of what he said, “We believe that it is every parent’s right to educate their children in the way they see as best. We believe that you should have access to state funds to accomplish this goal — funds that are paid for by your taxes, whether your children are in school or not. We believe that it is your free speech right to use curriculum from the worldview that your family adheres to. We will do what we can to protect these rights. We are here to give you the resources you need to teach your children and will do so with only the minimum amount of oversight and reporting as required by law.” So many times public school faculty and staff are antagonistic toward homeschoolers. It was very refreshing to meet one who believes in the parent’s right to educate their children.

~ $1200 per student per year for 1st through 8th grades; $600 per student per year for kindergarten. This can be used for curriculum, as well as music lessons, sports lessons, dance, art, etc.

~ Being able to order all of the curriculum and games and multi-media and manipulatives and educational goodies that I wanted instead of having to pick and choose and “get by” due to finances.

~ A weekly group meeting led by a science “geek” who loves to do experiments, build things, and blow things up. Last year the group got together in the evening to look through a high-powered telescope with GPS and digital camera. They were able to see Saturn’s rings! Needless to say, my boys are very excited!

~ Less record keeping during the school year. Yes, you read that right — less! Last year, I kept my own records of the hours we “schooled”, including the subjects. So my records looked like this: date, science – 1 hour, math 1/2 hour, etc. From reading the law, I thought this was what I was required to do, though no one has ever asked to see my records. Well, with this program, all I have to do is go online once a week and log in and indicate that we did our required hours: 10 for kindergarten, 15 for 1st thru 3rd, 20 for 4th and up. I don’t have to say what subjects we studied, just that the kids learned. Not hard to make that many hours, considering I read aloud to the kids for at least an hour a day, and that counts, plus all electives, on top of our “regular” subjects like math and phonics.

Cons:

~ Having to wait for my curriculum. I sent in my requisition forms, which they then fax to the companies. The companies mail the order to them and I have to pick it up. Inconvenient.

~ Detailed Learning Plans for each student. For each subject we are studying, I had to write out what I expect the student to learn during the year. At least I get to decide what they’re learning. It’s just more detailed than anything I’ve done before. Usually I just keep those kinds of “records” in my head! The good thing is I can modify the learning plan during the year if one of the kids is going like gangbusters or wants to veer off to study something different or is going more slowly than I anticipated.

That’s all I can think of for now. We haven’t had our first meeting yet, though I’ve talked to the group teacher and he seems very nice. Our first class is next Thursday, so we’ll see how it goes. So far I am very pleased, and continue to see this program as a blessing.

I love to read about how other homeschooling families schedule their day — or how they don’t! There is such a huge variety of methods and styles, and I get a kick out of seeing how differently people handle this whole education thing. If you’re like me, the rest of this post (where I’ll post our schedule) is for you. If you find that kind of stuff incredibly boring, feel free to skip it!

Our Schedule for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
(Thursdays are HOME group, shopping, and errands. Natalie is in 3rd grade, Noah in 1st, Jonathan in kindergarten.)

6:15 – Mom up, quiet time
7:00 – kids up, dressed, beds made
7:15 – Daddy leaves for work
7:30 – breakfast, brush teeth, comb hair
8:00 – quick pick-up and chores, Mom does morning housework
9:00 – Prayer and Bible reading
9:30 – Mom & Noah – math, language, reading; Nan – starts seatwork; Jonathan – computer kindergarten game
10:00 – Noah – seatwork; Mom & Nan – math, dictation, writing assignment; Jonathan – “free” computer time
10:30 – snack and break
11:00 – Mom & Jonathan – math and phonics; Nan & Noah – finish seatwork; Josiah – computer time
12:00 – lunch and break
12:45 – Monday: in depth Bible study and History (1st semester) or Science (2nd semester); Tuesday: music and History or Science; Wednesday: poetry and History or Science; Friday: art and History or Science
2:00 – Mom – blogging time and housework; Nan – time on her computer (Spanish, typing, math drills, and blogging for language assignment)
3:45 – Mom – dinner prep; Noah – computer time; TV time for Jonathan and Josiah
4:45 – quick pick-up before dinner
5:00 – Dad home, dinner
5:45 – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – swimming at the pool; Wednesday – family night at church
6:45 – picture book read-aloud time
7:30 – Jonathan & Josiah to bed; chapter book read-aloud with Nan & Noah
8-ish – Nan & Noah to bed, Mom and Dad time

I’ve also got to figure out a time for Nan’s piano lesson. Maybe skip swimming on Tuesday evenings, or in place of history or science one day a week. I don’t worry about missing these occasionally, because our read-aloud time in the evenings often goes along with whatever we’re studying in these subjects.

Curriculum

Natalie – 3rd grade
Abeka Language 3, EZ Grammar 2/3, Wordly Wise 3000 Book B, Spelling Plus, Complete Writing Lessons for the Primary Grades, Italic Handwriting Book D, Bob Jones Math 3, Switched on Schoolhouse Elementary Spanish, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, John W. Schaum Piano Course Pre-A Book, Essentials of Music Theory Book 1

Noah – 1st grade
Abeka Letters and Sounds 1, Abeka Language 1, Spelling Plus, Italic Handwriting Book B, Bob Jones Math 1

Jonathan – Kindergarten
Abeka Letters and Sounds K5, Italic Handwriting Book A, Bob Jones Math K5

All
Bob Jones Heritage Studies 2 (history), Bob Jones Science 2, Stories of the Great Composers Book 1, Favorite Poems Old and New, Draw Write Now Book 6, Drawing With Children, Quarter Mile Math software for math drills

Noah and Natalie are excited to start and are counting the days. Jonathan is also excited to be a kindergartener. He’s my busy one, so I hope that excitement continues. I’m going to use lots of jumping, moving, wiggling games for his math and phonics to try and harness some of that energy. This one’s going to stretch me, I’m sure!

What I learned this weekend…

August 28, 2005 Categories: Kid Stuff | 1 Comment  

~ No matter what anyone says, having four children of your own does not in any way make adding two “no big deal”.

~ You cannot successfully feed a 15-month old without a booster seat or high chair that they can be strapped in to.

~ Six kids at the fair, even with three adults, is a crazy idea. Maybe if they were all mine, and therefore spaced out a little more, but I’m not sure. Maybe with one giant stroller — or leashes. (Just kidding; don’t call CPS.)

~ When your almost-six-year-old puts his hands over his ears upon entering the zoo barn, both three-year-olds will be convinced that something very loud and scary is about to happen.

~ One three-year-old will recover very quickly and proceed to stick his hands into every cage whether the animal is friendly or not.

~ The other three-year-old will be impossible to convince that everything is “okay, all the animals are tied up, none are going to do anything remotely scary” and jump at every squawk, bleat and cockle-doodle-do. He will then begin crying inconsolably and Daddy will have to take him outside.

~ There is no way to take children through the animal and arts & crafts barns after they have seen the big “jumpy house” and rock-climbing wall.

~ At least one child will say, “No, I don’t want to try climbing the wall” and then change his mind when the rest of the family is done climbing and bouncing and sliding and ready to move on.

~ At this point, the best idea is to leave this child with Daddy and let him climb the wall. It is also a good idea to leave the child who screams at the mention of visiting any more animals.

~ Patient Papas are worth their weight in gold.

~ So are fair workers who warn you that the piglets are getting their ears “tagged” and the pig barn may be a bit traumatic for the kiddies right now.

~ “Let’s go look at the giant vegetables!” in the Gardening/Cooking/Arts & Crafts barn only works to get them through the door. As soon as they figure out that no one here is named Bob and Larry, they lose interest rapidly.

~ If you get six free helium-filled balloons which you tie to six child-sized wrists, you are lucky to make it home with two of them. The rest “went up to heaven for God”, according to Noah.

~ Six children will sleep very well after spending a few hours at the fair.

I could keep going, but I’m tired. Actually, kidding aside, we had a really good weekend. It was exhausting, yes, but good. And I will now remember to pray for my sister more diligently until her kids are in the “easier” phase mine are in. Easier physically, anyway. My 15-month-old nephew is a live-wire, and the only time he’s not moving is if he’s re-fueling in the high chair or sleeping.

Josiah and Peter, my three-year-old and her three-year-old, had a blast playing together and got along perfectly until this morning, when signs of fatigue and too much togetherness began to set in. Just in time for Mommy and Daddy to come at noon to pick them up.

Review of Mock ‘n’ Roll

August 25, 2005 Categories: Faith , Movies , Reviews | Comments Off  

(Mock ‘n’ Roll was provided to me free of charge by Mind and Media, who received it from the artist for the purpose of being reviewed.)

I love to laugh. I suppose most people would say that, as opposed to “I love to cry”. But I really love to laugh. When I come across a movie or TV show or book that makes me laugh out loud, it’s like I’ve hit the jackpot. And I definitely hit it with Mock ‘n’ Roll.

My husband and I made the mistake of listening to it one night while eating dinner. (The kids had eaten earlier and were playing outside, except for Natalie who listened with us.) I don’t know how many times I almost spewed my food because I was laughing so hard.

Here are a couple examples:

From The Mouse from Disneyland: Parody of The House of the Rising Sun:

We needed a vacation desperately
So we crossed the USA
Then paid that Mouse 200 bucks
To stand in line all day

My sister puked on the teacups
My brother on the Matterhorn
While I got stuck in a Small Small World
Wish that Mouse had never been born

and:

From A Dyslexic Love Song

What a wonderful name
Kathy, Y-H-T-A-K
And as I spoke her name one last time
Kathy died and went to heaven
But then without warning she became gravely ill…

And you have to hear his list of castaways on Gilligan’s PC Island. And the theme from “The Brady Bunch” sung a la Bono from U2. And the piece de resistance, his rendition of Kum Ba Yah. (You can listen to a sample of this on his web site.)

Head on over to Paul Aldrich’s site — just click the graphic on my side bar. You can listen to some samples of his music and buy his CDs and DVDs.

One small disclaimer: this particular CD is probably age-appropriate for middle-school aged kids and up. The list of castaways included “A lesbian…and her wife.” Fortunately, Natalie missed that part and I didn’t have any awkward explaining to do.

I’ve lost count…

Categories: Homeschooling | Comments Off  

Here’s a snippet of a recent article at DesMoinesRegister.com:

Ten-year-old Elisabeth Hunziker trained diligently this past year to show her horse, High Points Primavera, at the Iowa State Fair.

But the young equestrian was disappointed when she learned she had to cancel three of her four shows to return to Council Bluffs in time to begin school on Wednesday .

‘It kind of makes me upset because I don’t get to participate,’ Elisabeth said. ‘I like to celebrate Iowa, and it’s fun.’

Iowa law stipulates that public schools begin classes no earlier than the week in which Sept. 1 falls. But all but 10 of Iowa’s 365 school districts received waivers this year to begin classes earlier than state law allows.

Reason number one-thousand four-hundred …. or is it one-thousand six-hundred? I’ve lost count. Just suffice it to say no one will ever convince me that homeschooling is not the best possible choice for my children. Hat-tip to Mr. O’Donnell for the link.

Mind and Media

August 24, 2005 Categories: Books | Comments Off  

Stacy at Mind and Media is looking for more reviewers. If you’re interested, scroll down my sidebar and click on the Mind and Media graphic. So far I’ve received three free books and a free CD to review. It’s a great way to feed a book addiction. Her client list is growing, too, with more opportunities to review things like Music CDs, magazine subscriptions, etc.

Two Stories by Natalie

Categories: Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Spiders

Natalie and Noah walked into a room. It was dark and spooky.
“Spooky, “said Noah.
“Aaah”, Natalie yelled.
“It is just a spider, “ Noah said.
“Yeah, but I don’t like spiders,” she said.
Then Noah saw a shadow. “Ahh,” he yelled.
“It is just a spider,” Natalie said.
“I know that,” he said.
“Boo!” Natalie said.
Noah jumped. “Hey, don’t do that.”
“Boo!” Noah said.
“I knew you were going to do that.”
And then Natalie and Noah said “Ahh!” It was not a spider, it was a snake! When the snake heard the “ahh,” it rushed away.
Natalie said, “Wow, I saw a snake before and didn’t say “ahh.””
“I have seen a snake before, too. That’s funny.”
And everyday they came up to that room and had fun.

The End
By Natalie K.

Missing

Peter loved his bear. He loved it as much as his mom and dad. One day he didn’t know where it was! He had lost it.
“Oh,” he said, “why did I have to lose it?”
He told his mom and dad. They said they saw it when he went to bed and he had it when they left the room.
“But I looked everywhere,” said Peter.
“I’m sorry,” said his mom, “we just don’t know where it is.”
“Let’s go look again,” said his dad. They looked and looked, but they couldn’t find the bear.
Then Peter said, “I think I know where it is.” He looked under his bed.
“There it is!” Peter yelled.
“It must have fallen off your bed when you were sleeping,” his mom said.
“Yeah, but I’m glad I have my bear back!” And he was.
He said, “Thank you, Dad, for helping me find my bear.”

The End
By Natalie K.

Taylor, the Latte Boy

August 22, 2005 Categories: Music | Comments Off  

For those of you who prefer to go through life slightly (or highly) caffeinated, I found this wonderful video on Cindy Swanson’s site, Notes in the Key of Life. It’s a song called “Taylor, the Latte Boy” by Kristin Chenoweth and it’s hilarious. Ms. Chenoweth is a musical performing artist — she’s currently getting rave review for her performance in Wicked. Her latest CD is a Christian production and this song is found on that album. Funny stuff. And how awesome to see someone with a vibrant Christian faith in the entertainment field!

Good news

Categories: This and That | Comments Off  

The nurse called and gave me the “all-clear” on the CAT scan. I didn’t realize how worried I was until I started crying when she told me. I thought I was being all “just trust God” and “be at peace” — guess I was wrong.

We had a great weekend. Well, actually it didn’t start out great — Natalie was throwing up Friday night. I think she ate too much junk food at the VBS end-of-week carnival, and then she informed me that she hardly drank any water at all that day — and it was hot. So I think it was just a combo of being slightly dehydrated and too much sugar. Unfortunately, she had consumed most of it before I got there, so I couldn’t limit her like I normally would. We had a talk about her being old enough to limit herself, but I think the puking episode did more to reinforce that than Mommy’s talk did. She’s a tiny little thing — always in the 25th percentile for her age — so a little sugar goes a long way!

Saturday I went to the stamping party at church. Not many ladies there, lots of people away on end-of-summer vacations. We had thought about going to the lake, but Kevin, God bless him, told me I needed to go have fun with my friends. So I did — not going to argue with that one! It was so much fun, and I saved a ton of money. Everyone brought their stamp collections and a couple of ladies contributed paper and card stock. We all put a buck or two in the pot and then could make as many cards as we could in the time we had. I made eleven — covered all the fall birthdays and anniversaries and three thank-you cards. Can’t beat that price.

Sunday I led the song service at church and then came home, ate lunch, and napped for two hours. I’m always so worn out when it’s my week to lead. Part of it is getting up at 5:30 am to be there at 7 for early practice. I enjoy it, but I’m definitely ready for a break for a few months.

This week is busy — it seems like I’m always saying that! Two appointments today, one tomorrow, one Wednesday. Then throw in grocery shopping, laundry, housework, getting ready to start our homeschool year next week, and the fact that my nephews are coming Friday to stay for the weekend (ages 3 1/2 and 1) and I’m tired already. One day at a time, right?

Good day

August 21, 2005 Categories: Faith , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Jonathan prayed to ask Jesus to be his Savior today!