Saturday, September 29, 2012

Are You Raising Kids?

I've been in the parenting business for awhile now - a quarter of century to be exact. While I do and have done a lot of child rearing (raising) I don't tell people that I'm raising children.

A friend of mine states that she's not raising children either, she's raising adults. I get her point. I'd hate to think that at the end of twenty years of investing into the lives of our offspring we still have kids on our hands.

But I've always taken the view that the people we are raising are spiritual beings. Therefore, our job is to raise them with the hope of heaven an eternity spent with the Master and Creator of the Universe. In other words, I'm not raising kids, or adults. I'm raising spiritual beings that will live for all eternity. It's a radical concept, my belief in eternity, but I'm committed to it. Furthermore, I believe that there is a heaven and a hell and people who choose a life devoid of God will live an eternity devoid of God.

Our house is pretty kid friendly. We've been deliberate in the types of toys we've chosen- open ended and imaginative play things, art supplies, the great outdoors, etc. Coupled with that we've thrown in lots of real work (because our life on the acreage- which all of our kids, at the time it was purchased, willingly agreed to participate in) demands it. We've added in a healthy dose of travel, opportunities, experiences and literature, while limiting electronics and screen-time.

In addition to that we've homeschooled, providing our kids with a personalized, private education, delivered by highly educated and engaged parents.

As they've entered adulthood, life has gotten more complicated. Higher education is obscenely expensive and not always a ticket to anywhere, like-minded travelers fewer, the siren sound of comfort and dissatisfaction louder; those who would disparage our efforts more deliberate. While we've never demanded that our kids move out at a certain age or get a college degree regardless of debt, our home is not exactly young-adult friendly. We can't answer all of the problems and questions and demands of the young adults we've raised from birth. We don't have superfluous amounts of money for extra cars or smart phones and we continue to watch movies as a family that are morally acceptable for the youngest member of the family.

And frankly, that's not my problem. I've been criticized both for being too controlling and enmeshed as well as not being generous, gentle, kind or responsible enough. The reality is that I am living out MY call. And once my kids hit adult-hood, it's their job to diligently seek out theirs. The task requires diligence and effort and prayer and tears. Because the gap between the sheltered child-hood that my husband and I have sacrificed and prayerfully provided for them and eternity contains a big wide world that would love to eat them alive, physically, mentally, familially and spiritually. "Almost Christian" is good enough in some circles, but I'm fundamentalist enough to believe that it won't be in heaven.

I continue to lay the firmest foundation I know to lay which includes prayer, training in the precepts of our faith, biographies of our spiritual fathers and mothers, apologetics training, political and world view discussions, activism, and more prayer. And it might not be enough. There are only first generation Christians in the Kingdom. Everyone's faith must be their own.

And I can only do what I'm called to do- raise and train. It's a front end load proposition and not outcome oriented. It requires faith to even attempt and more faith to try to live out.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


'Cause First Lego League is on our minds!
Need an ultimate unit or STEM study? FLL could be what you are looking for!
School this week.
 Flower is over her frustration with fractions, thanks to a Kumon book. Took a week's break from MME to get the concepts down. Cub is crusing in Saxon Alg 1/2 . Perplexors and Complete a Sketch continue to be the icing on every one's math cake. Feeche is diligently plodding  through pre calc and physics. Thank-you,  Lord, for Sarah! (patient math tutor extraordinaire!).
Xian Studies IV- reading through Genesis together. Love the enthusiasm and the discussions! .

Product Details
Ancient Men of Greece- another MP big win. Can't wait for the release of D'Aulaires Greek Myths on CD. Not that we haven't loved the book version into near dog-eared oblivion. I'm saving Amer Hx for Spring semester- we have too much this fall to do it justice.
State and World Geography, along with map work for Ancient Men -- Flower is in Map Heaven.
Writing With Skill- skipped to lesson 27 with the class (1/2 of whom were in the class last spring). We are sort of hitting a groove again. Love the program- so rich and sequential. It continues to test my wimpy grammar muscles.
The Divine Comedy. Total nerd lit love. Feeche and I are basking in Dante's brilliance.

This is the project I dug into (literally) thinking Feeche and I could throw it together in a couple of afternoons. Silly, silly me. The good news is that it's going to be done soon and it is going to rock brick the front yard. The brick we salvaged from an early 1900's building being demolished in town so the brick is actually around the same age as the house. Dr. Dh built the front walk with it about 7 years ago and it has stood up fairly well, with the exception of a couple of bricks that imploded.  Our house, which had no walk-ways when we first moved in, will be resplendent with them soon.

Memory work. We are doing bits here and there, but the main focus this year is poetry. Horatius at  the Bridge for the youngers and POL for Feeche. Flower and Cub are at stanza 7 and freaked this week when they realized there were 70 stanzas in total. Once I scrapped them off the porch ceiling, they went right from Horatius to memorizing FLL Core Values.

50#'s of tomatoes on our counter have been turned into ruby red gastronomical delight!
Reading The Single Shard as part of Ana's World Geo class at Tutoring Center.
One of my fellow Hive bibliophiles sent me Howatches's The Rich are Different (thanks, Diane!) and I still have recommends from sweet Shari. I haven't read much since school started except Made By Hand. Not nearly as compelling as Crunchy Con even though we are die-hard DIYer's.


As always, find more inspiration at
Conversion Diaries
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
The Daisy Head

What Do You Expect?

Image from The Conservative Papers

Momto8 wrote a great post on What do you Expect? New York's Nanny State is now offering birth control without parental consent to girls as young as 12. In related news, they have banned large soft drinks. Apparently, parents don't know what's best for their kids and consumers don't know what's best for their bodies.

The title is what caught my eye: What do you expect? I expect a lot. I've often been disappointed, as I'm sure, you have. It's not that people have to do what I want. It's that there is a standard of interaction and communication, civility  and respect that is often missing. People grab for what they want, with little concern that they could attend to their perceived need or want and still be mature, gracious.

The ends too often justify the means and the result is lost opportunity, thwarted ministries,  family relationships damaged and severed. At times beyond repair. We live in a narcissistic age of self and self gratification. I don't espouse the good old days, but I do miss a culture that believed in something bigger than itself. A culture that reveled in hard work and a job well done. A culture that sought God and was willing to be radical to follow Him. I miss it. I don't know if it ever existed on this earth, but I miss it.

Parental rights are fundamental. Actually, it's more basic than that. God has an established order. Grandparents, boyfriends, schools, the state, who want to thwart that order, bring destruction on their own head, and sadly, take others with them.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Made by Hand

Product Details
Read Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder, the founder of Boing Boing, one of the best hit blogs on the block. Frauenfelder has an easy, readable writing style and wants us to know that DIYing is worth the time and effort. He raises chickens, builds his own instruments from cigar boxes and upgrades his espresso machines. He's a talented and cool hipster who would like you to know that doing things yourself is satisfying, the fast paced life of heating up soy based organic frozen mac n cheese for your pre-ker gets old and we need to slow down and smell the coffee espresso.
His chapter on after schooling was especially interesting and highlights the limits of the entire book. Frauenfelder toys with the idea of thinking and living outside of the techno-paced postmodern world where he lives, but has no real motivation to do so. And, while I got some great ideas and enjoyed the writing, I found it totally humorous that he spent x amount of dollars for each and every project. Of course, DIY cost. But his philosophy of DIYing is so different than mine and Dr.Dh. We DIY, in part, to conserve and to steward and to invest.

Rob  Dreher did it much better in Crunchy Con, (read my review here), asserting that our lives should affirm the sacred. It's about more than being satisfied or challenged.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Mother of Learning Q & A

If you've read Golden Grasses for any length of time, you know that we do copious amounts of memory work. I’ve recently had some questions about how we approach memory work. I hope you find my answers helpful!
I see on your blog that you have science, history, math, etc. How did you arrive at those lists?
We first started hitting the Memory Work hard 6 years ago after I meet Leigh Bortiens (the founder of Classical Conversations) and Kim Cromer (who at that time was the CC State Co for IL.) Because of that "interview" we invested time, money and energy into creating a CC community where we lived. The lists shown here reflect the Foundations program lists.

Are you in a CC community?
Not anymore- 6 years ago we developed a CC community that included Foundations, Essentials and Challenges and deliberately tanked it after one year.

I don't feel like we NEED to buy a program to do this, but at the same time, I don't know how I'd ever compile these lists myself (lit, Bible, history - not a problem). In your opinion, is it worth paying for someone else to make your lists and put them to music?
It depends on your own personal discipline and starting point. We continue to do a lot of memory work without a CC community. My issue with the CC lists are that they are based on a 24 week school year, somewhat arbitrary, and often decontextualized. On the positive side, the CC program provides written guides, CD's and computer graphics. For what it is, it is fairly comprehensive.
That being said, I appreciate the work that Andrew Campbell has done in Living Memory- comprehensive, logical, sequential lists, based on what a classically trained eled student would work through throughout elementary school.
And, Memoria Press groupie that I am, it is tres facile to create memory work lists from the MP guides. In fact, they do it for you, so it's just a matter of writing the info on a white baord, or creating posters or flash cards (though you can purchase these from MP), or whatever method you use to work with your student. 

Also, do you begin this level of work with children this young?
We started CC when my now 9yo was almost 4. She worked on memorizing the VP cards with her siblings that year, along with Foundations Cycle II  and because she was a pre-reader, had to go by auditory memory, along with picture recognition. Our CC tutor for her age group was terrific and simplified the Foundations guide so that the littles could get a hold of it.
Because of Flower’s early training, and Cubs,  who was 6 at the time, they both have a vast amount of memorized information available to them. For instance,  they have a fairly comprehensive understanding of history. We read The History of the Medieval World last year as a read-aloud (they were in 3rd and 6th grade) and were completely comfortable with the level of information they were digesting, could talk about it, make connections, understood the map work. All 3 of our younger kids have a great capacity to memorize.
If you are following the Trivium, seeing the memory work of the Grammar Stage utilized in the Dialectic and Rheotric Stage is a beauitful thing!

 The school we are looking at using includes grammar, Latin, etc even for k. My concern is that we aren't covering that right now, so he'd be memorizing in isolation. You addressed this, I believe. Would you recommend trying to lightly cover the context of this work, or put those subjects' memory off until we enter them into our schedule?
What we do now is to incorporate the information that we are memorizing within the context of the content that we are learning. For instance, we are using Memoria Press's Christian Studies IV. Each book of the Bible has a complete sheet of information/facts to learn. We are learning each fact sheet as we read along in the Bible.
Some info is learned, such as the Grammar Catechism from Living Memory, as call and response.
Some info is learned via music, such as Pater Nostra, via Lingua Angelica.
Latin Phrases are written on chalk-boards and posters and gone over.

Since our house fire, I no longer have a large white-board on the wall (or really much of anything else on the walls as we are still in the midst of the never ending house rebuild - see the Tear Down to Build Up posts for the whole story). I do still have 1 1/2' x 3' white-boards that we utilize, and I make posters of  information, that I pull out and we go over.

We also read voraciously, both read-alouds and private reading. Literature is a great medium for contextualizing information, as are movies, games, nature, politics, the weather, etc. Creating a home that is educationally rich will provide ample opportunities to contextualize information.

One of the holes that I saw with those utilizing CC, is the copious amounts of memory work required, with little else as part of the program. Many do CC, or a CC knock-off  and claim to be classical educators. Au contraire. While I believe that memory work is incredibly useful, one of my main fall backs, and the mother of learning, it is not all of the educational process and to act as if it is will limit your student.

Friday, September 21, 2012



By my talented friend Jannell- check out her blog here.


Downtown Abby. Enough said.
(except I have to add that it fits in great with our study of the 20th century this year! and why the heck wasn't Season II available at Sams when I went looking for it?!)

We are in the midst of a front yard make-over. It started because I thought Feeche and I could whip together the side path- a simple brick design that mimicked the front path, right? Silly me. The path goes to the north and west of the house has extended to a nice little bricked area for the park bench,. It will be lovely when it's done! Check back soon for pictures!


Tis the season of the tomato. Dried Red Tomatoes. Tart, tangy, delish.


Horatius at the Bridge. Lovely poem about loyalty and patriotism. Cub has gotten ahold of the "challenge bit" and told Dad this week that he was participating in the "Churchill Challenge."
When all else fails helping the kids memorize something gives me such an educational sense of satisfaction. Like we've really done something, you know? I've written tons on memory work- you can read more about it here, here and here.

Memoria Press rocks.  It is simple, systematic, and efficient. The kids love the projects and reading for FMOG as well as Christian Studies. The Divine Comedy is a bright spot in Feeche's day. Math, science, writing, memory work, for. language (our achilles heel the past 3 weeks). The days fly by and are full up.
Lego League continues to be challenging fun. There is so much to the program and the kids are learning so much about team-work, gracious professionalism, coopertition, flow charts, decision making, creativity and problem solving. The ultimate unit study!  I am loving the maturity I'm seeing in the team. The pressure is on, however, as the first round of competition occurs in December!

the last laugh....
Pinned Image
True Story.

Check out more inspiration
Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Conversion Diaries
The DaisyHead

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Sr. Pic Possibilities

A couple of hours at the falls and we came home with some decent possiblities.

Ended the photo shoot with Cub slipping on the rocks (many of the ones usually under water are exposed due to the drought and they are smooth as glass), and he fell HARD about 3 feet down on his left side. Thanking God he didn't drop 20' to the rocks below, break his arm or hit his head!

And one of KB for good measure!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Managing the Pressure of High School

Homeschooling High School Can be a daunting propsition. The courses get more difficult, the kids have more ideas of thier own and there are a ton of "extras" that can be added in. The kids are driving, working, texting and have a social life. It can be crazy busy. I've found the only way to keep track of the schedules and requirements (ours and the states) and the want-to's is to Plan our Work and Work our Plan.

Feeche is our 3rd homeschooled high schooler. His schedule and work load looks distinctly different than his two older sisters did. We have different resources, a different kid and different goals. He worked part time all last year and through the summer but recently quit in order to fit in some fo the extra's that he wants to do this year.
First off, I made a general "by the month" schedule- this included core classes: Pre-calc, Physics, For Language, Lit, History and misc stuff we're working on, along with how much work needed to be accomplished for each course each month.

Then I made a general daily schedule. Monday, Wednesday, Thursdays are the same schedule; and Tuesdays and Fridays are a different schedule.

You'll notice spelling on there- here's the deal. My son is incredibly bright. Spelling is his achilles heel. He wants to continue working on it, so we do. We are finishing up Sequential Spelling and using IEW's High School Vocab and Spelling program. It won't go on his transcript because details like spelling, vocab, grammar, et al are subsumed by general catagories such as Lit or English.

From there I make a weekly schedule, using one of Donna Young's scheduling pages.  As Feeche completes the work, he highlights it on the page. Then on Sunday, I go through and see where he's at for the next week. He schedules appointments with 2 outsourced tutors (math and PO- he's hoping to add art to that line-up) during times we are in town. Friday afternoons are open. He manages his own P.T. (Physcial Training, ballrom dancing on Fridays) and Devotions.  He  has 4 weeks out of pocket planned (2 weeks for Challenge staffing in October and Paging at the Capital in Jan. That means he's working ahead on things now, in order to finish classes in the spring and graduate.

You might also notice that Physics includes the text and study guide and then "GC." This refers to the Great Courses Physics that he and Cub are watching together. It's part of my lasagna learning approach- layer upon layer of information. And since Cub is doing Jr. High Phyics with the amazingly talented science guru Mrs. J, it works out for both.

You'll also notice that some of the stuff is elementary- music theory for instance. I love the quote on Master and Commander when Lucky Jack is leading the memorial service for Midshipman Hollam and declares, "the truth of the matter is that not all of us are the men we'd hoped to be." Same for educating our kids. There's ideal and reality. Reality is that my kid can do some serious home improvement projects (he's already hired out as a drywaller), get himself around the country with money he's earned and tickets he's purchased, understands and can quote serious chunks of Shakepspeare,etc. etc. There's only so much time to go around. So, he's still learning  basic music theory. Not my ideal, but it is what it is. And, btw, he is loving it.

I'll be adding Khan Academy programming to the list this week and once he's done with Latin he's probably switch to RS Hebrew (along with the German) based on his plans for next year. We're playing Powerglide Latin in the car during trips to town (lucky him) and watching stuff like "The Art of War" and DownTown Abby- which isn't officially school, but certainly counts towards History (20th century overview - loving Speilvogel ; ).

That's our system. Thoughts?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Full Up

Week 2 of school and our schedule is full up.

Math is working for everybody. JOY. Cub is working through Saxon Alg 1/2 and cruising along just fine. Feeche is doing pre-calc under the excellent tutelage of Mrs. I (who I thank God for at least daily) and Math Made Easy II really is explaining fractions in a fun and easy manner.
Perplexors and Complete a Sketch continue to be big wins.


I've long been under the delightful spell of Memoria Press. This year it is the backbone of much of what we are doing: Christian Studies IV; Famous Men of Greece, Latin poems and Songs Copybook, The Divine Comedy, American Studies, . World and State Geography. Good,  solid stuff. Famous Men is excellent- the study guides include map work, questions, a challenge project. The kids beg for more. Christian Studies same kind of thing. An excellent overview of the Bible before hitting high school apologetics hard. We're reading through the Children's Bible in order to read through the Bible together in a year. The pictures are lovely.

The Divine Comedy
The Divine Comedy deserves a spot all to itself. The study guide is great, the reading rich; it's like Pilgrim's Progress (Cub's favorite book for a couple of years- he read the abridged, the unabridged and Christiana); apologetics, literature, allegory, and myth all rolled in to one. Feeche and I are loving it. I promise to catch up to the Canto he's on before next week!!

Major crisis (mine) over Latin this week. It has been one of those things that just never seems to move forward. We keep plowing away at it. I decided this week that we're going to just inundate ourselves with Latin and see if any of it actually takes beyond the vocab. Played Lingua Angelica, worked on song memorization, played Powerglide Latin in the car, did LCI and FFI.. Had a break-through regarding declensions. I so seriously missed out on the grammar of language and it just seems so hard to me. I think the only reason I can write is because of the millions of words I've read. Reading is certainly a good way to get an education, but in my personal experience it's been an inadequate way to understand something in a particular fashion; in other words, good overview, but lacking in mastery.
The kids all jumped into Rosetta Stone's German this week and had a blast. Even Dr. dh (who in a previous decade was conversant in German) got in on the act. I might sucumb to pressure and join the fray. Otoh, I'm not sure where to fit it in.

Book of Latin Roots for Children
Horatius at the Bridge- memory work moving forward. We are on paragraph 5 and the kids have definitely caught the joy in memorizing a poem with such a delightful rhyme scheme. They are having fun with it already and going faster than I'm assigning.
Feeche has his poems picked for Poetry Outloud; Charge of the Light Brigade, which is one of our old favs, and a couple of newer ones including The End of Science Fiction, which I love.

More door plates and knobs were polished this week. Brass is beautiful, brass is divine but I would not be unhappy if I never polished any ever again. Ever. Again. Ever. Seriously. The walk is slowly getting done. Dr. Dh has set a goal of having it finished by the end of this week-end.
A friend commented recently about how she has always been very eager for outcomes but has come to realize that the process is every bit as important. Clinging to that. Yes I am. Even as the clothes fall down in the "closet" yet again. I think I could do with a little less process and a little more outcome in my life. Just saying.


The drought toasted the garden and killed some of the many trees that we have planted, babied and nurtured. The tomatoes, however, seemed to like the heat and we have 10's of pounds of ruby red, ripe tomatoes on the counter. We're drying them. Tomorrow some of them will turn in to sauce. They've been a lovely addition to the salads this week.

What's going on in your corner of the world?

Linking up with 7 Quick Takes

Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be Kind

Image from Pen and Palette

The longer I live the more I think this sums it up.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


It's week 2 of school and honestly, I feel burned out. Or maybe like between what I want and what I have. Caught between a rock and a hard place.
A friend commented to me this summer about her high achieving kids. She wasn't bragging- they really are. They excel academically, athletically, socially. The kids are in school, doing well,  their family takes frequent and amazing vacations and they both have  satisfying careers. They have the resources to send their kids to private colleges and equip them with cars and stuff.

My kids are just really decent, good, kind, people who have such skewed skill sets it can make my head swim some days. We make too much money to get great scholarships but are financially limited due to a situtaion that I won't go in to.. Suffice it to say that if I dwell on it for any length of time at all, my Bitter-O-Meter hits the red mark fast.

Otoh, my husband has enough horror stories about bullying and physical attacks (to the point of suicidal ideation) drugs, sex and rock-n-roll to make your head curl. So do my older kids. And it's not that there weren't those things going around when I was in school. But the reality is that folks didn't shoot each other in school when we went. Chewing gum was a detentionable offense.

So, maybe, like so many others, we are just homeschooling to avoid societal horrors. Maybe we aren't doing anything spectacular with the edcuation we are sacrificing to give our kids. Maybe it's all just self delusion. Because once they hit a certain age, if they are not really motivated on their own I can't help them out.  That in itself is not so bad. Being on your own, figuring it out, having to sacrifice for yourself can be very motivating. Especially with God on your side. We've seen Him show up more than once, in unexpected and spectacular ways. But we live in a society that demands that kids get what they want. Not having stuff is a sign of deficiency. Entitlement, rather than self-sufficiency is the expectation. Stuff is more valued than good common decency and kindness.

My older kids had piano and horseback riding lessons, participated in Awanas and soccer, and thanks to Grandparents N spent time every summer flying to Florida. Not to mention 12 years of homeschool- private education provided by 2 parents with multiple graduate degrees. Yet, they have been told that they grew up poor. By more than one person. What exactly am I missing here?!

The house is demanding. KB and I are so sick of brasso- literally.  My head has been ready to explode for a couple of days. We've tried various other products but it doesn't do the trick.
The bills are demanding and there are always new ones, no matter how faithfully we pay, no matter how sacricially we live. There is always one more thing and it is always, unfailingly expensive.
.Homeschooling is demanding. And trying to homeschool classically- I just wonder. Why spend so much time, working so hard, when I could just hang out and let the kids hang out and call it good?
The pay-off is slow in coming. Honestly, the pay-off sometimes doesn't come.

My friend Carol wrote that she is, after years of wandering, is back home. This, in itself, is enough to bring me to tears. What is that longing for "home" anyway?  But she listed these scriptures and they gave me hope during a time when I feel tired and weary and old and worn-out and am having a hard time holding unswervingly to the hope that  I profess.

·         •Psalm 34:6 – This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.
•Psalm 27:13-14 – I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
•Psalm 34:17-20 – The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all; he protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.
•Heb. 10:23 – Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
•Col. 2:7 – …strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Monday, September 10, 2012

High Flying Physics

You know it's going to be a great class when the first assignment is to make a paper airplane...

And create a chart about how it flew....

and then make another one and do it again.

We found 10 simple paper airplanes to make here.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Things I'll Regret If They Don't Get Done

Goals : Shooting at goal Stock Photo
Nora Ephron wrote the funny book "I Remember Nothing" just shortly before she died (June of 2012). I like her list of "Things I won't miss" so much, I wrote my own. But this morning I was talking to a friend about the things I want to get done, or rather the things I don't want to leave un-done, before I die. I'm not planning on dying soon, but it's usually inevitable, so I know it's out there.

Here's my incomplete list at 0'dark:30 on a Saturday morning.
1. See this house finished. Complete and picture worthy.
2. Publish the book. See it on a bookshelf. For sale. It is a work in progress. We are making progress. I think it's like gestating. When you are pregnant, you are pregnant forevah. When someone else is pregnant, they give birth minutes after they tell you about the little pink line.
3. Give my kids a happy childhood. Prepare them to be competent adults. Launch them successfully. I have kids making their way through each of the last 3 sentences. I need an 6 letter word to describe parents of many whose challenges outstrip resources. I could settle for non-miserable kids, non-incarcerated adults and kids who don't bounce back. Maybe I dream too big? Large family, stay-at-home- homeschooling Mom, one income. Yep. I'm sure I dream too big. If the water doesn't kill me, my own idealism will.
4. Make it to the end married and with my faith intact. This sounds drastic but admit it; marriage and faith are difficult assignments.  I love my husband and God. Walking out the reality of relationship with people up close and personal cooks my grits.

It's a simple little list. What's yours?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Week One, Done.


School is underway.  A full and busy week.
We left the wonderful world of Family Camp and spent Monday polyurethaning doors and working on hardware. Came out pretty good, I think.

Tuesday was the first day of Tutoring Center. Cub is taking World Geography, Writing, Pre-Physics. Flower is sitting in on Geography. Wednesday saw us at Awanas and Friday is the first day of co-op.

Wednesday and Thursday we hit the books: Math. Cub is trying out Saxon Alg 1/2. So far so good. As long as I hang out with him. If I don't everything and it's uncle is far more interesting than what's on the page, extending math into an hours long living torture exercise for us both. Solution- he gets up earlier and works on math before Dad leaves.

Started on Greek history, the kids made charts of the Greek gods, complete with Roman names. Who knew Cub had D'Aulaire's Greek Myths almost memorized? American History with Grueber. Nice, short chapers. I can get behind that.

Book of Latin Roots for Children
Started memorizing Horatius at the Bridge. Both kids flipped out a little, but I told them if they completed the Churchill Challenge they could pick a reward on completion and I'd videotape it and post it on my blog. They are all about earning stuff and getting videotaped!  Legos for Cub and a party for Flower. Started with the first page- lovely rhyme meter. It's going to be fun!
Copywork, MP's latin saying and songs- great stuff! Love their copywork books!

Big win for the youngers was Complete a Sketch. Who knew? They wanted to do more and more and more. And Perplexors. GREAT little math workbook! Flower wanted to finish her book yesterday. Um, no. Writing, science, and Latin. A little rusty on Latin.

Divine Comedy Teacher Guide
Feeche started on The Divine Comedy using MP's study guide. We picked up Sayers translation only because B and N had it in stock. Good stuff. He is also cruising through the Music theory book and loving it. Physics went well and he watched the first couple of experiments on line, begging on doing them himself (dropping a ball). He started the 20th century by the decade, reading Spielvogel.

First week, almost complete. Today is co-op in the morning, then Lego League in the afternoon.

Evenings walks, the weather has been delightful, even if it's windy during the day. Wildlife sittings included the sick deer the game warden took out and a beauitful little Martin our cats deposited in the front yard. I hope that means that all of the smaller, mouse-like rodents are making a wide-berth around the house. The guinea fowl continue to be entertaining.

Coming up with lunches for everybody on Tuesdays and Fridays is one of my biggest challenges. Any great ideas for stuff that is filling and not terribly expensive?

Up Till Now

Finished Bill Shatner's Up Till Now, well written, tongue in cheek overview of his career and family life. The humor made the book.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

First Day of School Wrap-Up

School has started. Tutoring Center on Tuesday, going through everything to get through yesterday. We are all in the various stages of the grief process over the end of summer. Can I just say a big
about the fact that it is ovah?
There, I think I'm better now. My inner WAAAAA is still emitting, but I won't torment you with it.

Feeche walked to the river yesterday, in a bout of school-work induced brain fog, and discovered a very sick deer. Very sick.
Game warden called. Came warden came. Game warden shot the deer.
Part of schooling in the country is an up-close and personal encounter with the Circle of Life.

We found an Awana's program close by and Flower went to her first meeting yesterday. Take-aways: Game time was a blast. No one talked to her. The other kids can't memorize very quickly. The leaders were super nice. The girls her age were hipsters and rude. And she wants to go back.

Flooded by memories of the the older girls in Awanas and homeschooling way back then and  friends in NM.
Time goes so very fast.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Buried Treasure

Doors. Not the singing kind.

While considering what color to spray paint the hardware, Dr. Dh noticed some slight green discoloration on one of the handles. Speculation about brass underneath led to some polishing. Look what we found...

(Right side is what we took off the doors, left side is what we ended up wtih after adding some elbow grease)

Solid brass plates, knobs, and fixtures; the hinges are brass plated. To get them from the point of 80 years of grim to the gleaming gold on the left took thumb breaking polishing, lots of brasso, steel wool and actually scrapping off polyurethane (which explains why they weren't further oxidated).

Looks pretty good against the doors KB has been staining and polyurethaning, dontcha' think?
If my thumb and elbow didn't hurt so bad from taking on 6 sets of these bad boys (plates, knobs, hardware, hinges), I might be in love.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Memory is the Mother of Learning

Memory work is not always a ride in the park but something we do every year.
I've written before about what we are memorizing and how and figured it was time for an update.

This year the kids will be memorizing:
States and countires for Geography (doing MP's World at TC and MP's States with me)
Latin- vocab/declensions/conjugations
Poetry- Horatio at the Bridge for Cub and Flower. Selections for Poetry Outloud for Feeche
VP Cards (yellow- Age of Explorers to Modern Times)
Famous Men of Greece info (LOVE the cards, MP!)
Science Info
Math Facts

Why Memory Work?
"Memory is the Mother of Learning."
What about you? Is memory work a subject that you focus on?

More classical inspiration at Living and Learning

Monday, September 3, 2012

Family Camp

This was the 5th year our homeschool group has hosted a Family Camp and the first that we've gone. What a blast! A whole slew of families, one awesome retreat center, a rock-out aquatic facility, a great fire pit, terrific cabins (complete with air conditioning- totally suitable for a week-end that sported 98 degree weather), a lake, friends, food, fun, tons of laughs, late nights around the fire (charcoal briquettes due to the burn ban) and just relaxing together before fall schedule really hits.
Jannell was not kidding when she said once you go, you are committed for life.
Gladly so.

Girl party (one of many!)

Some parents shore-side (others on or in the lake)

Water fun- boats, floats and friends.

Our very cool friends, Don and Ricki, lent us the use of their canoe. Dr. Dh spent many happy hours on the lake.

Snake Alert! Small rattlin', diamond headed snake found in a cabin! Eek! Thanks to IPad Technology it was determined that it was a bull snake. Whew.

Awesome play-ground, which allowed playground kids to look over in to the pool!

Amanda and cutie Anna Marie, snuggling after swimming.

Lots of dog walking and talking.

And laughing.

And visiting.
and porch sitting. And sunning.
A great week-end.
A relaxing, vacationing, fun week-end.
Have I mentioned before how much we love our homeschool group?!
Home again and in honor of Labor Day we are polyurethaning doors and cleaning door hardware. We discovered buried treasure but you'll have to check back Wednesday to see what it is!!