Saturday, February 28, 2009

We're BACK!

Our second South Dakota TeenPact class took place last week. I was out of pocket for 6 days (add in an extra at the end of the week due to hazardous weather conditions). If you want an awesome, affordable, blast of a class for your kids check it out:

More later.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Scientific Observations

"There is always an applied side to thinking deeply. In any society there are many complicated issues that unfortunately get simplified to the point where short-sightedness wins...Science teaches us to think more broadly than that. If we really had wise leaders, they would take the long-term perspective seriously precisely because we are so prone to ignore it. They should listen to scientists and philosophers much more than economists who tend to be interested in what happens in the next annual quartile.

Animal Ecologist Hanna Kokko of Finland's Universiy of Hesinki, Sept.9 Current Biology

7 Quick Takes Friday

Went shoe shopping last night. This no easy task as I wear a size 11's- not wides, mind you, making it even harder. I needed style, comfort and the price that was right. I found 2 pairs, both on sale, one pair which I LOVE and was 20% off the 50% sale. WOOHOO!! God is in the details.
Ready or not, we are headed to TeenPact! 42 students, tons of homework, Frisbees in hand, food, food, food. We are ready to rock the capitol!
I am re-reading the AG stories with Miss. Flower. She snuggles up with me in bed, looks up at me with her beautiful blue eyes, says, "I love you, Mommy," and begs for one more chapter. Sigh. I love having girls.
Cub's attitude was so much better. He has really matured this year. I think it's helped that Flower has school tasks and household jobs. His current fav toy is his light-saber. He goes few places without it and on every outside break can be found twirling and leaping across our raised garden beds fighting the enemy. This boy has the most award-winning smile. If he would just smile all of the time, he would be voted prez of the world.
College Woman is facing too many choices, the stress of making money for the future and not enough real rest. Long talk this week. Viking Man and I are so thankful that our adult kids talk with us, confide in us, seek our counsel and are truly our friends. We love you, girlfriend!!
We came home late last night and discovered smoke and a burning plastic smell in our 2nd floor bedroom. Investigation revealed that the furnace is caput. Not a good thing to have a dead furnace where the cold wind blows. We usually burn wood for heat but Viking Man has been getting trounced hour wise at work so hasn't been able to cut more. His list of things to do for the week-end got longer and another repair bill got added to the pile. I am trying to contain my guilt over purchasing much needed shoes.

KB and Feche-boy outdid themselves this week in helping the notsolittles with school, staying on task themselves and helping me get the details for TP nailed down. KB made me so many cups of coffee and tea, they all helped clean the 2nd floor, and KB even made brownies in a cup = ). They are delightful people.

It has been a taxing and tiring week, but there is fullness and peace in knowing that God is near and knows us and our needs.

For more quick takes, hop on over to Conversion Diaries. Brew some tea, read a bit and join in the fun yourself!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

WR: Lots Accomplished

This week we did school.
Flower only has 10 more lessons in AlphaPhonics. She is 1/2 way through ETC 4. It sounds so small but she'll be a bona-fide reader so soon and it's exciting to hear her daily progress. She has discovered Miss. R's old American Girl books and I've been reading the Molly series to her. I love this age. She wants a mini-AG doll in the worst way (actually she wants the real thing - both Miss R and KB have 2) but I think she thinks her chances of getting a mini are higher.

Cub is almost done with Horizons 2. He is doing MP's Copybook III and doing great. I told him as soon as he was done with it we'd start IEW's Fables book and he is in hot pursuit! His pictures that he draws to correspond to the copy work are a hoot. This is one book I will keep to the end of my days!!

Memory Work is always there and we did a lot this week: Bible, Grammar, Latin sayings. The Grammar Catechism is so beautiful in it's comprehensive simplicity. I'm a recovering grammar phobic thanks to Living Memory. Feche Boy has been keeping it by his side as he does Latin lessons.

We read quite a bit of Christian Studies II this week. We'll have 8 weeks to finish it and CS III before the end of April.

We are moving along in Latin- it is getting done! woohoo!

Feche-Boy spent the week working his tail off on TeenPact Alumni homework. There is actual research and writing involved and it took some thought and time.

KB is working hard on IEW's Classical Rhetoric Through Structure and Style. She is on lesson 20 and it is really demanding that she think and write well. I LOVE this book. I hope to write a review on it soon, so stay tuned = ). Viking Man continues to tutor in Saxon and both older kids are moving along. I'm busy making up KB's transcript for the next thing. It always amazes me what we have done. Seems so often that we haven't done enough.

Traditional Logic II arrived, sans the TM. We're going to start it anyway. I want I & II to count under KB's writing classes on her transcript.

We started Shakespeare in co-op last week and KB had a blast doing the 2nd reading of The Tempest for everyone at home, complete with voices. It's going to be a fun program.

My trusty, dear TeenPact team, Barb, Jo and Monica, whom I am so thankful for I could just bawl, and I have the details nailed down and are ready for a rock-out week in Pierre next week. God is on the move and we'll be joining Him. Wish you could too, and I hope that a lot of you are = )!

Government Schools, the Real World and 2 Million Minutes

News flash: Government schools don't deliver.

The entitlement culture has made it's way into our colleges and universities. Universities are now conducting seminars that “are meant to help students think differently about their classes and connect them to real life,” Professor Brower said. Many students believe that if they work hard and show up for classes they deserve an "A". Read more about it here

I know I've mentioned the 2 Million Minutes Project before but I've been thinking about it a lot again as I'm planning school for next year. My educational goals for the kids are to pursue their passions and callings, be "globally competitive," and have vocational training. It's a lot to think about and attempt. I know we'll fail and fall behind but I also know that everything is created twice. So, I can dream and scheme and hope to God that He will guide our path and perhaps, out of our vision, our children will be prepared for what's to come.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Thar Be Beaver on our River!

Our property is bordered by a wonderful and winding river. We walk on it in the winter when it is frozen and unyielding, sit by it in the spring when it gurgles and plays, check it when it overflows its banks and creeps into our south pastures when the snow melts. It is a bonus and one we love. Tonight Feche boy was returning from a boy-dog romp and saw 2 beavers at the river. We knew they were there as the dam they built has been one we've watched change and grow and baby trees in our south field have been found missing.
We all ventured down to the river on tip-toe and watched a beaver at the edge of the river for several minutes. Viking Man and the kids walked along the river to within 10 feet of it. It spent a full minute contemplating them and showed off all 2 feet of himself and then dove it. His mate was swimming nearby and we watched the pair of them with noses up and diving down for a few minutes. The wind was cold, but nature, once again, warms us with its beauty.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Family Idols, Family Alters

This week in our Beit Midrash Bible Study (what is the Word of the Lord speaking to your life right now) we studied Genesis 12. Stand out points: put away family idols. The bitterness, disappointment, anger, rituals that we grew up with, have cultivated, hold dear are being called by God to be no more. Build an alter to the Lord, memorialize what He has done; the new work, the fresh wind, the cleansing fire; His love, He has called you by name, you are His.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

WR: good tired and visually rich

The 5th Annual Winter Warm-Up was last Saturday. Basically is a morning of food, good speakers and door prizes for homeschoolers. I figure if stay-at-home moms are the "lost" women of our society, homeschoool moms are even more so. This year, again, we had 2 awesome speakers, lots of laughs and good fellowship. But it was the week after the One Act Play and frankly, I got bone tired on Saturday afternoon. Not really great timing because our SD TeenPact State Class is in a week and a half, with a lot of little details still to get sorted.

We have an amazing team this year, as well as a decent sized class. 41 students from all over the state for the 4-day class and over 30 for the 1-day. It's all coming together and we are going to have an AWESOME state class this year. Tim Echols (see picture below), founder and prez of TeenPact is our camp dad and we have 6 staff and interns coming to spur the class on to growth in the areas of leadership, citizenship and spiritual maturity. If you don't know about all of the great TeenPact opportunities check them out at
Besides all of that we worked on math and phonics. Flower has 10 lessons left in AlphaPhonics and is recognizing more and more words everywhere. She is doing simple addition and subtraction and just loves to count any and everything. She continues to skip the number "15" just like College Woman always did- fortunately Miss R's grown out of that so I'm sure Flower will too.
KB and Feche Boy did Latin, IEW and Math. What a difference it makes to have the TM for Latin! Feche-boy and Cub worked on TP homework for alumni- great rhetoric questions this year comparing Hebrew, Roman and Greek cultures. Love it. It fits in great with the History of the World MegaConference that we have been watching. Watched 2 more of those DVD's this week on the Puritans and the Founders.
We also watched Biology 101: Biology According to the Days of Creation. Not sure that I would count it worth a full credit of high school bio without supplementing but it is engaging, informative and has beautiful pictures and graphics. The kids were going to watch a segment while I worked on TeenPact stuff and ended up watching a couple of hours worth, all four of them, from the 6 year old to the 18 year old. They producers plan to add Chemistry and other courses and we plan to add them to our collection.

We also watched a short movie produced by 40 homeschool students in conjunction with Patrick Henry college called Come What May. Well done. Someone gave Viking Man a copy of Fireproof and we watched that as well. I have to say, knowing what we do about the church that produced it, we are impressed. So, while we didn't get a lot of reading or history done, and it felt like a slog-through week, we were "visually rich."

Co-op tomorrow and we've made some changes. We are including time for math games for the youngers, phonics games for the pre-readers. IEW, the new Shakespeare program and we are going to fit in Francis Shaeffer's How Shall We Then Live for the upper grades.
My big win this week is getting the vacum cleaner fixed. Our Akita (80 lbs of beauty and fur) is shedding and my house has a fine film of fur over ALL of it. Looking forward to applying suction power to every surface on Saturday! It's the simple things, isn't it?
How was your week? Are you surviving mid-winter blahs?

Andrew Campbell

Andrew Campbell, author of Latin Centered Curriculum and Living Memory, responds to Matthew Dallman on Latin, memory work, cottage schools and classical studies. Check it out here:

Monday, February 9, 2009

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is BAD NEWS!

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child is taking action to supersede your parental rights and freedoms that you hold dear as a United States Citizen!
Under the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the U.S. Constitution, ratified treaties preempt state law. Since virtually all laws in the U.S. regarding children are state laws, this treaty would negate nearly 100% of existing American family law. Moreover, it would grant the government authority to override parental decisions by applying even to good parents a standard now only used against those convicted of abuse or neglect.

For more information go to:

Call White house Switchboard @ 202-224-3121

Go to and for information on how to communicate with your state representatives, to get updates on issues, etc.

This affects EVERY RELIGION and belief in America.

Please refer your Pastors to this website: This affects our churches at their foundation- the family. Call NOW to let you Senator and Legislator know that you OPPOSE this treaty!

Counting the Cost

It's been a theme.
Promises broken,
Contracts unfulfilled.
Messages not receive. Problems ignored.
Friends who turn their backs, shun, don't see.
And then return to say that they've been praying.
It's been hard to get over it.
Financial, social, vocational, emotional costs have been high.
And gone deep.
In church I had an epiphany.
Betrayal is what Christ suffered.
Lives and dies through.
I've counted myself, willingly so, into His Way
but I naively thought,
that "things", people, circumstances might change,
be different,
not so tough or so painful,
not so long-term, sting-so-bad, cry out loud type of hurt.
That I'd get the memo:
go here, serve there.
Be diligent, faithful, minster.
Walk in the Way.
Light would shine, faith would spread.
The Living Word would sever Truth from despair,
Evil and Wrongdoing would dissipate.
Lefts would be righted.
I lost count of the cost.
Which was high.
Is high.
Hurts. Loss. Betrayal.
I'm in good company. I remembered that in church this week.
It lessened the burden.
Soothed the sting.
Named the unnamed.
Freed some ache.
Brought peace.
Still walking True North.
Still listening for His voice.
Still looking for His vision.
Still hearing the call, "Come follow Me."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Tantara: Festival of One Act Plays

A week late, but finally pictures from the play that I directed for "Tantara," Festival of One Act Plays. It was a fun day. Five plays, all very different but all performed by homeschoolers. We performed, "Can You Hear Them Crying" produced by Contemporary Drama Services. It was about the children of Theresenstadt, a ghetto created for the elite Jews that Hitler couldn't just make disappear. The play had many poems in it written by the children of Teresenstadt and was a fitting end to our poetry study this past fall. I am so proud of our cast of 8-they did a terrific job, grew as performers and learned a ton about WWII and what it meant for the children who lived and died because of it.

KB performing "Longing for Home."
The children performing a scene together. They really nailed the timing.

Mr. L, Miss. R and Feche-boy did a complicated scene together, with syncopated moves, poetry and choral recitation.
The award winners from all 5 plays.

Even though we didn't win best play we did make several in the audience cry. As one of the dad's told the kids at the cast party, "Drama isn't about winning or losing, it's about touching the heart's and mind's of the audience." And in that regard, we won big time. KB, Feche-boy and Mr. L (bottom left in the above picture) also won individual "Best Actor/ess" awards- KB's 3rd year in row. I am so proud of our cast. They really grew in their understanding of performance and in their undestanding of the World Wars.

Friday, February 6, 2009


Loose ends.
Friendships that did not end well.
Projects that did not finish well.
Endings that came too soon, abruptly.
Expectations not fulfilled, hopes thwarted.
Responsibilities that weigh down.
Words that sink instead of lift.
Winter exacerbates, drags on, seeps in,
creates the sense that what's to come might be stark and barren like the landscape.
Choosing new colors,
moving on but still unsure.
Tying on new threads with the hope that they are strong enough.
Hearing a different song
but one that still carries the same sweet melody as of old.
Pulling out what doesn't fit, an ache at torn places.
Heart hurts.
Longing for first things, knowing they are past.
Resolved, once again, to walk on.
Visions seen float by, created only once, not twice.
Sorrowful longing for what wasn't, hoping tentatively for what's to come.
Weaving; warp and woof, the hope of what's to come.
Ever onward.
Ever faithful.
Weary winter gives way to hope and verdant spring.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

WR: Busy and Productive

It's been busy and hectic. The kids did an awesome job on the play last Saturday. Unfortunately the camera went haywire and I still don't have pics to post yet! Everyone promptly came down with a flu/cold that we'd been fighting- I practically soaked Cub in cough syrup to get him through the play day but we made it through and then people collapsed.

This week we did Latin 3 days. Woohoo. We started at the beginning of LC II just to get it down. I am getting it. I feel like the Grammar Catechism is giving me the definitions that I need to really understand a foreign language. It's such a relief to understand when for years and years and through foreign languages, one after another, I just felt like a dolt, inadequate and stupid. I am getting it. I am learning it. I can teach it. It's really so simple. I am amazed.

We continue with Memory work though I just didn't have much umph this week. We went through the Grammar Catechism several times and are almost through Pronouns. Did I mention that you should get Living Memory, that the Grammar Catechism is brilliant and worth the price of the book?

We listened to SOTW Modern Ages for hours. I love S.W. Bauer's books. Jim Weiss' reading of it gets on my nerves but Cub loves it and made all sorts of connections again this week. He breathes history.

Math and phonics continue on. I'm going to have KB and Feche-boy watch Videotext along with Saxon. Math...our nemesis. Well, that and Grammar.

We finished Francis Shaeffer's How Shall We Then Live and watched another 3 sessions of Story of the World Megaconference. Volume 8 on the Mayan Civilization is sobering at best.

The weather was 49 degrees today- a wonderful break from the sub-zero temps we've had so far this winter. The kids spent 3 hours tramping all over our 10 acres today, soaking up sun and fresh air, the dogs romping along with them and everyone came in muddy and full of freshness. We walked to the river again at dusk, Cub with a kitten on his neck both there and back, and checked out Mr. Beaver's handywork, the water still with a thin layer of ice on it.

We read stories every night and Flower is writing stories and reading simple words everywhere and delighted when she can make sense of things. She and Feche-boy spent hours today creating maps and KB and Cub are drawing a lot as well. We continue to read chapters a week in the Bible and are moving steadily along in CS II. Cub begs for it daily and is having a blast relating ancient history to the Bible. KB is going to start with a co-op tomorrow taking Molecules and Art. Our little co-op is going to have a mom's meeting tomorrow to get focused and tighten up our spring.

The Winter Warm-Up is Saturday and we have 50 gals registered. TeenPact is at the end of the month and we have 36 students for the 4-day class and 26 for the 1-day. Another full and busy week. How was yours?