Thursday, January 31, 2013

Soups On

It was -11 with a wind-chill of -30 today. Schools were closed. It was cold even by Territory standards.
Best way to warm up?  
Today's fare was a hearty beef, quinoa and brussel sprout combo.

Crock-pot a roast, shred and use a cup or two, along with some of the broth as a soup starter. I used 2 cups of the broth and then added water to fill my stock pot, and then threw in another tablespoon of beef bouillon
Add in veggies- ours were carrots and brussel sprouts.  I cut them in half as I add them to the pot to keep everything bite sized.
I also threw in a cup or two of cooked quinoa, and of course, Spike.
Heat until veggies are tender and eat.
Feel the warmth?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Birthday Bash

Flower wanted friends and a clay class over presents, and that's what she got!
 Sleep-over with some cutie-patooties (and a friend for Cub, too!)
Best presents: All of them; stuffed animals, art supplies, a bagful of kisses, along with Nutella from Feeche and friends!
More blue nosed buddies. Flower is enamored with them!
Ice-cream cake, a flick, play-mobile all over the living room and girlies to play with,
waffles for breakfast and then off to the imitable Mz. Z's studio!
Clay Class! The girls made boxes and then turned them into animals, like this.
 There was a dragon, a giraffe, a hedgehog and a
Picking texturizing tools. So many fun things to look at and work with!
Miss. W, dragon creator!

Miss. A, giraffe maker.
Miss. E, tiger tamer,
and Flower created a hedge-hog!
Ice-cream bars, valentines cookies and more hugs before everyone heading home!
Good party!
On the topic of parties, check out my guest blog post at Jennifer A. Janes, You are so invited!
Be Fully Persuaded - You Are So Invited -

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Birthday Girl!

Today is Miss. Flower's 10th Birthday. We found her in our bed in the middle of the night. At 3 a.m. (approximate time of arrival) she woke us up and said,
"I'm 10 now!".
 She is a whiz at math and loves logic and deductive reasoning puzzles and workbooks (she asked for a math workbook for Christmas). As Crewman Gus on Galaxy Quest says, "that's just not right!"

She has a belly laugh that requires you to laugh with it and is FULL of energy and love.
She is a little ham, loves art, crafts, projects and the great outdoors, Lego's, her family, Pride and Prejudice and Beatrix Potter.
She and Cub are a matched set and play and bicker together like an old married couple. He's a whiz at things she's slower at and she's lightening at things he deliberates about. She has had painted nails since day one (Thanks to KB) and Star Wars action figures in her life since then too (Cub put them in her bassinet in case she wanted to play).
She remembers every barn cat we've ever had and wants a Momma cat for this birthday; along with another drawing pad, tons of friends and grilled cheese for dinner.
Happy Birthday to our Sweet Flower!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Cold Dystopian Fare

I just finished The Handmaid's Tale by Atwood. It's a dystopian novel set in what used to be America. Atwood's writing style is compelling enough to have kept my interest despite the serious creep factor. This book reminded me of both Little Bee (high creep factor) and Life and Death in Shanghai by Cheng, which I read about 2 decades ago. Life and Death is all about the Cultural Revolution in China and Little Bee is about multinationals and the little people who are crushed by them. Le Guins's power of Naming (The Wizard of Earthsea) plays a role here, too. As an aside, I find it fascinating that the second job Adam is assigned is naming and yet secular, read non-Biblically informed- authors understand the power of it.
The Handmaid's Tale was creepy because it has the feel of reality to it. Cultural revolutions do happen, precious people are used, abused and discarded- collateral damage, and evil has and does prevail.

Was this a good read? I'm not sure. It was compelling and seems to have made it to my on-line books clubs "must reads" for the season. Which is to say book club peer pressure works. The writing style is brilliant. Constant word play and double entendre- which is woven throughout the book as part of the conversation the protagonist has with herself- is actually a plot device subtly interwoven into the protagonists character. My inner lit nerd swoons at Atwood's cleverness and ability.

Supposedly this is a book about how the likes of  Schlafly and others, who stridently wave the banner of Return to Biblical Womanhood, have wrongly influenced a culture. In other words, it's about how Biblical Womanhood has failed women, a culture and a nation.  But I don't think it's really about that at all. I think it's a manifesto decrying the birth dearth and porn and abuses of power. It's about loss of freedom and choice and literacy. It's about tyranny and how men, and women, collude to exclude decency and love.

A fascinating, bleary dead of winter read.

No laughing, talking, ZIP!

Do you ever feel like life is saying this to you?
“Try not to have a good time...this is supposed to be educational.”
Charles M. Schulz
Hope you have a GREAT Monday!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Share It Saturday - Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter: The Complete TalesMiss Potter Poster
Flower asked and received for Christmas the complete works of Beatrix Potter (here is a fun site with tons of info about her). It is a lovely book, complete with slip-cover. She has spent many happy evenings propped up in bed with this book in her lap. Only 2 stories to go and she's finished the tome. We did a little Beatrix fest this week and read some of the stories together and then watched the movie. Have you seen it? It is a sweet little flick with some fine acting. I love some of the bonus features that talk about what an innovative, forward thinking woman Beatrix was. Not only was she an amazing artist and illustrator, but she was a true blue conservationist.
I love knowing and understanding the lives of authors. Who's your favorite?

Share It Saturdays!

It's another Share It Saturday. I love 'em. I'm a list maker/idea collector/project hacker and this meme so makes my week.
Link up, wontcha? And don't forget to stop by Karyn and the Sugar Aunts!

Last week's feature is this gorgeous Mosaic Heart Box and Racing Across the U.S.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hard Winter Homeschool

 I finally have a new blog button! It's from a pic at last year's county fair. What do you think? I'd love it if you grabbed it for your blog list, Pinterest board or whatever! It's right over there, on the upper left hand side-bar!
And I have a new Golden Grasses Facebook page. Would you stop by and "like" it for me?
Comfort zone? What is that?
School has been getting done in the most oblique fashion. Spelling (sequential spelling- thank-you Don McCabe), Math (Saxon), Perplexors (finally got more - Flower is in deductive reasoning heaven), Science (lots) reading and writing. We finished Famous Men of Greece from MP; next up, FMORome.
 Feeche has been reading The Economist almost daily and spending lots of time studying the wall map. He's my map nerd anyway, but even he has been challenged to find some little known places. In addition he has some interesting running ocmmentary on the issue of France. Love that.
Cub has been pouring over old library discarded Lee Ames Draw 50 books. He is mastering the human figure in action with an Action Figure Twist. A man going over a pommel has been transformed to Tarantula (Spider Mans' ds). Foreshortened everything. This is the kind of thing that makes my inner artist sing with joy.

Good Reads- Dr. Dh has gone through the Divine Conspiracy by Willard again and is now re-reading Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus. Me-LeGuin. Finished "Gifts" which I like very much- terrific YA discussion about family legacies, crafting ones own life, honor, respect and the power of words. Also The Wizard of Earthsea. You know that part in The Princess Bride where Humperdink is spitting at the Minister, "Skip to the end. Skip to the End!" That's how I felt for most of this book. I know this is heresy in the Sci-Fi world, but there it is. Cub: The Children's Homer. Flower finished the Complete works of Beatrix Potter. Read-aloud: The Bedouin's Gazelle.
It was cold in the Territories this week- often below 10 degrees, cold enough to take your breath away. In fact, Dr. Dh has been struggled with breathing since November- a couple rounds of flu and bronchitis, walking pneumonia, head cold, asthma, and more. We have gone through antibiotics, diet change, steroids, natural and home remedies, vaporizers, nebulizers, barley green, sleep studies, c-pap machines, more doctors visits and calls, and long chats with our pharmacist, nurse friends and health food store owners. He is slowly getting better, but any prayers for his good health would be greatly appreciated!
It's been a really, really challenging couple of months and we are deeply grateful for the love and support of some dear friends and family- Wayne and Mindy, Don and Ricci, Neil and Laura, Mom and Dad, Corinne, Ruth- good friends and family that have called, prayed, found equipment and offered help on every level. As Anne Lamott would write, "Thankyouthankyouthankyou. Thank-you. Thanks." Your love is healing.

I was hoping to have a brand spanking new paper bagged floor to show off, but it's a bit too crinkly- meaning it didn't seal properly. I've decided I'm a crabby DIYer. I only like projects that work (did you  hear that universe?!) as in they are inexpensive, professional looking on completion and don't trash my knees. This one was none of the above (well, it was initially cheap, but I think it's going to get more expensive).

Don't forget to hop back over tomorrow for Share It Saturday!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And the Winners are....

Dawn and Hillary are the winners of the CC Orchestra Lap book from Wisdom and Righteousness! Congratulations! ! IMG_9752
Shoot me an email and I'll send them straight to you.
And don't forget to stop by Wisdom and Righteousness and check out her other great resources!
Stay tuned for more give-aways. They are coming up!

Monday, January 21, 2013

VCF: Week 3 The Social Sciences

It's week 3 of the Virtual Curriculum Fair!
This week's topic is history, geography, world cultures, worldview, biology, botany, geology.
Do you hear/see me doing the happy dance?
These are topics that I L.O.V.E.
First of all, you do know that Dr. Dh and I are social scientists at heart and vocationally, right? Secondly,  let me re-iterate that I am a lasagna educator (you know, layer upon layer). I like having a plethora of rich (read diverse) resources.  We utilize CD's, DVD's, books, time lines, history cards, magazines, maps, globes, people, language and whatever else we can get our hands on to re-iterate the lessons and learning that we are doing about specific topics.
If you've read my blog for very long, you've probably realized that literature is the back-bone our educational life. We love Sonlight, Veritas Press, Bethlehem Books, TWTM  reading lists and are always for another great read.

By far, one of the simplest resources that we use is a large wall map. I've had a couple over the last couple of decades and there is usually one on our wall somewhere in the house. The one we have now is a laminated world map. We refer to the map regularly- when reading, when talking about the news or looking up stuff from a magazine. Get your kids in the habit of looking at the map and pretty soon they'll be going there first.

We also try to contextualize history for our kids. One of my pet peeves is how often folks judge history by today's values, economy or politics. I love doing forensic history. Years ago BAR (Biblical Archeology Review) looked forensically at why Herod (you know, the guy eaten by worms) died. It was disgusting and very fascinating. I love that kind of thinking and we try to keep in mind the context of what people's lives were like at the time they were living, rather than what their lives were like compared to ours (which is why I still like and use G.H.Henty's books- sure they are pedantic and formulaic and I guess Henty is a racist if you want to look at it that way. But the real thing is that Henty was a man of  his times and rather imperial, more than racist, if you ask me. If you want to learn the details of a historical time period, his books are a great place to start).

We try to have good, intellectually based magazines around the house; National Geographic, BAR, Science News. These magazines not only frequently offer a distinct world view from our own, but they examine issues scientifically and intellectually. We don't always (often) agree, but it's great discussion/thought fodder.

World View is current groupie talk for where are you coming from. Our world view is Biblical. It is decidedly Christian, but directed by principal, not doctrine. We do teach world view. We do this by talking with our kids about what we are reading and thinking, sharing our opinions, which they appreciate or not, and having a family life that is actively, vibrantly pursuing a walk with the Living God. This is worked out in our worship, study and prayer life. We pray with and for our kids. We pray about simple and profound things. We take time to pray and to listen. We study the Word, which informs our wold view. This includes language, history, archeology, and of course, great books like those written by C.S. Lewis, Tolkien, L'Engle and others.

Science is something that we love 'round here. We read/study a ton of science. We are great observers of nature. Our kids get the scientific method. The best curriculum I know for teaching your kids science is to have a science obsessed parent (read Dr. Dh, here). He is an astronomy, archeology, weather buff. So are his kids. They love the NASA and NOAA web-sites. They read BAR and science news. I wish I could take credit but by far my best contributions have been introducing the Magic School Bus books and teaching my kids to draw so that they can record their observations.

I'd also like to throw out language study as a great way to understand culture. We've played with learning Latin for way too long (that pesky first law of the Teacher haunts me) but have gotten some Spanish, Latin and German study under our belts, along with some ASL. We're not fluent, but we understand a bit, along with the important and relevant fact that culture defines and determines language. I love movies that reflect this, like the Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice.

And of course, don't forget travel to learn about history, world view and cultures. We have traveled (and lived) across the U.S. and we seek out living history re-enactments, plays, shows, museums, along with aquariums,  nature preserves, and national parks. 

I could go on and on about this topic but I'll wrap up by sharing some of our fav curriculum resources:
Rosetta Stone language (we currently have and use Hebrew and German- love it).
Powerglide languages
Classical Conversations memory work CD's and geography PowerPoint discs
Veritas Press history cards
Story of the World CD's and history books (my kids never tire of listening to the CD's)
Mystery of History CD's
Apologia eled Science CD's (brilliant idea, Apologia!)
Smithsonian Mag
Nat'l Geographic and Nat'l Geo for KidsMag
Ranger Rick
Biblical Archeology Review
Science News
National History Day (haven't done it yet but I've sure been tempted!)
NOAA and NASA web-sites
Memoria Press Geography
For more great curriculum finds:
Exploring Eastern Cultures with Sonlight by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Cell Unit Study - Mitochondria and Energy by Julie @ Highhill Education
Our Blended Social Studies by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair-Exploring Our World: Social Studies and more Science by Leah C @ As We Walk Along the Road
Exploring Canada by Annette @ A Net In Time
Project Passport: The Middle Ages by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings
Virtual Curriculum Fair- Exploring Our World by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me
Our Absolutely Positively Favorite History Curriculum Ever by Wendy @ Homeschooling Blessings
Science: learning to use what you are given by Piwi Mama @ Learning & Growing the Piwi Way
Historical Significance by Kristi @ The Potter’s Hand Academy
How We Are Exploring Our World as Homechoolers by Laura O in AK @ Day by Day in Our World
VCF:  Week 3 The Social Sciences by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
A Trip Around the World:  Homeschool-Style by Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun
Virtual Curriculum Fair ~ Exploring Our World:
Biology by Dawn @ Guiding Light Homeschool
Virtual Curriculum Fair: Learning about our World  by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Help, Thanks, Wow

"It's all hopeless. Even for a crabby optimist like me," writes Lamott in Help, Thanks, Wow.

I like Lamott's writing. She is witty, gritty, down to earth and real. She is also an ex-addict. I like ex-addicts. They generally don't bs you, unlike the general populous, who has made an art form of it, which I personally loathe. Call me simple that way, but duplicity makes my skin crawl; which probably explains why I don't get along with anybody. And while I'm not technically an ex-addict,  I am someone working the program (which my friend Jeanette so totally gets), trying to come tot terms with my own OCD, anxiety and people-phobia without appearing to be too much of a weirdy. Some days I do real well, and others, well... not so much.

Anne writes, "The 3 most terrible truths of our existence; that we are so ruined, and so loved and in charge of so little." Oh, I can relate. And I agree. And that is the problem I have with most of the church right now. It seems to have forgotten the general state of ruination among the party-goers and acts like if you wear a skirt and hose to church, despite your selfish,sinful heart, than it's all gonna be alright. Or it makes an art form of "You're ruined, I'm not." Or it forgets that part all together and jumps right to the "I am so loved." Either way, sad fact of reality, we're all ruined.

And then there is the part were we are all so loved. I didn't grow up in a decade of being so loved but I am related to and acquainted with people who have. The sense of entitlement and selfishness that goes along with this Truth not only shocks me but obscures the Truth of it, minimizing it to the point of falsehood. You're not so loved because you are so wonderful. You are so loved because of God's abundance. You can screw up and wound from your place of esteem. You are fallible. The reality is that we have to get our love from Truth, we have to realize our lovableness is from Truth, not ourselves, or we end up addicted to something False, and then Lies control us and we end up back at square 1, which states, "I am so ruined."

And the being in charge of so little. I love intentional living philosophy/books and systems. But the sad fact of reality is that we really aren't in charge of a whole lot; not things or people or outcomes. The past 3 years have been fairly demanding in our lives; a house fire, my Dad and Sister dying, adult children moving out and making choices despite, sometimes to spite, us, friends that are false,etc. You know- experiencing the gamut of human relationships. And I've had to come to terms with the fact that even though I really work at living my faith, at really living it, it doesn't assure anything, other than that I've been faithful. There are no guarantees. I really have very little control of much of anything. And when we try to make things go just right, have a specific outcome that is just so, we end up back at square 1, which states, "I am so ruined." Square 1 and I are, despite my desperate struggle to divorce myself from it, are good friends.

I've always loved the song, Amazing Grace, and Lamott writes about wonder and revelation. "God has smiled on me. He has set me free. For us to acknowledge that we have been set free from toxic dependency, crippling obsession or guilt, that we have been graced with the ability finally to forgive someone is just plain astonishing. To have been so lost that you felt abducted, to feel loved, returned and set back on your feet. Oh my God, thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Thank-you. Thanks."

And that about sums it up. If we can get beyond our own ruination, or our own self-absorption with being so loved, we can get to a place of wonder and awe. "Revelation is not for the faint of heart;" that much is certain. I know I struggle often with lack of courage, discouragement, fear, my own hurt and disappointment. But when I get stuck there, I shut off the True things. And the True things- the God revealed spiritual loveliness of life, and people and situations are really, for me anyway, what keeps me going. "At such moments i would kneel and press my forehead to the ground if my right knee would not begin to sob."

 Yeah, I can so relate to Anne.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Share It Saturday!

It's another Share It Saturday Link-up! Karyn at Teach Beside Me is host extraordinairre and the Sugar Aunts and I are happy co-hosts! If you need some educational inspiration, you've come to the right place!

Check out these fantastic party-goer ideas from last week!  

Letter Stones from Buggy and Buddy
The Winter Game from Cook. Teach. Grow.
Bear Math from Fantastic Fun and Learning
Apple Cinnamon Yogurt Muffins from Full Hands, Full Hearts

Now, it's time to begin the blog party.
  • You may share any educational ideas, crafts, projects, recipes, etc. (please no giveaways)

  • Link up a few things if you would like (but please stick to new posts & no more than 3)
  • Have a link back to this post if you are participating (on your blog or in your post)
  • If you link up, click on at least one other link for each one that you share.
  • You don't have to comment or follow, but I really do love both of those things! (A Lot!)
  • Visit the host and co-host and say hello (follow along, too!)
    Link up your posts with educational ideas, crafts, and teaching tips. Please include a link back to this blog if participating. Stop by & visit the co-hosts as well

  • Friday, January 18, 2013

    House Fire Recovery Hack

    Like so many things,  our mancala board didn't make it through the fire.
    However, when you are in need of a game that is fast, fun and not age or skill dependent, Mancala is just the ticket.
    Dr. Dh and Flower put a new board together with Lego's, duct tape and beads.
     (you can barely see them- they are the little white things in each well.)
    An egg carton and stones works well, too. 
    There are a number of ways to play Mancala. You can check here and here for rules and ways to get started.

    Head Cold Homeschool

    What will the next 28 years of homeschooling bring? -  An interesting article at what's ahead by someone who has homeschooled for a couple of decades already. I agree that the lines between homeschool, public school and "other" are going to continue to grow blurrier.
    Go here to see an amazing pic of a 1930 homeschooler. 
    Perspective, eh?

    My mil sent this link this morning, and we all enjoyed seeing how the U.S. developed- especially as we've just recently finished watching HBO's John Adams.
    History Map of the U.S.- a great graphic of how the United States developed.  
    The evolution of growth from the 13 colonies up to the present day -- with dates, wars, purchases, etc. all included.
    When it opens , don't click on the "go"at the bottom, but rather click on PLAY at the top.
    We've had the worst cold ick thang here this week. Between head achy kids and a sore throat myself I spent way too much time perusing blogs: 2 of my favs are Penelope Trunk, who is way too opinionated but a whole lotta fun (stuff like Fix Public School by Homescooling Your Kids) If you want to think harder about educational options for the 21rst century, she'll get you doing it.
    And my friend, Lydia, over at LydiaLark, a real homeschool grad, who is also an artist and a Mom. She writes about art, creativity, compost, natural birth, potty training, faith and more. If you want to get your inner artist inspired, go check out some of her gorgeous creations.
    Lots of great homeschool reading this week: The Carnival of Homeschooling - Season edition; The How To _____ Blog Cruise - chock full of great "how-to's" from baking pretzels, to making lip balm and everything in between,
    Share It Saturday (posting every Saturday right here! Don't forget to stop by this coming week and link-up!), and the Virtual Curriculum Fair.(posting here every Monday this month). And check out my review of W and R CC inspired Orchestra lap -book, complete with give-away here.


    School this week consisted of listening to Apologia's Discovering Anatomy and Phys on Mp3, doing some of the experiments (review coming mid-Feb), Sequential Spelling, Saxon math, and listening to our friend Howard Morgan on CD. Howard is a challenging teacher/preacher and Jew from Brooklyn. Think memorable accent and killer sense of humor. You can find out more about his teaching/ministry at Howard Morgan Ministries.

    Read Leo Baotou's the Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential. In it, he outlines the 6 principals of productivity:
     1. Set limitations
    2. Choose the essential
    3. Simplify
    4. Focus
    5. Create habits
    6. Start small
    He basically distills GTD down to the bare bones. Good stuff.
    How was your week?

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    Mint-Chip Walls

    "Not mint-chip walls!"
    This is what happens when you send 2 males to take a picture- Oy vey.
    We finally painted Feeche's bedroom walls- his room is in the basement under the dining room so he has the 2nd 6-sided room in the house. We painted the west wall green- it is more Irish green than mint-chip (phone pic), a HUGE chalk-board/ magnet board for brainstorms on one of the short walls and a medium sand color for the rest.
    The room is actually really light for a basement- we have 9' ceilings throughout, and he has 2 windows, including an egress. It is such a great space- and now even better that we've moved beyond the non-personality bland white of kilz.
    Feeche has a whole lotta life skills under his belt these days. It's all part of school, right?
    Of course right!

    Linking up at Pea of Sweetness
    and Virtual Refrigerator.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    Carnival of Homeschooling -Seasons Edition

    Our family recently watched the 1900's House. A 1990's family is transported back to the 1900's, required to use 1900 equipment, clothing, etc. You know the schtick, the producers try to re-create a time period, transplant a modern day family in to it and watch the ensuing culture clash. My younger kids were mesmerized by the discussion, work load, and clothing. We're a fairly history oriented family and often talk about times and seasons. We currently live in an areas where the seasons are clearly defined by temperature,  vegetation and activity. This wasn't always the case; Southern California and New Mexico clearly didn't have the low temps, the snow, the ice, the blowing wind (o.k. they both had their fair share of wind). Sometimes seasons are more clearly recognizable than at other times. A second semester often heralds a new homeschooling season- what's new and what's the same at your house?
    Learning takes place even on Christmas Vacation!

    Henry's daughter writes about her many learning activities while on Christmas "vacation." at Why Homeschool.

    Christmas is over and it's time to start the New Year and a New Season!

    Barbara shares some fun and challenging Your New Year's Resolutions (Just Thought I'd Help!) at Barbara Frank

    Tawnee writes about 52 Homeschool Tips for Every Homeschooler - #1 Start the Year Out Right!! at Adventures in Homeschooling

    Monique shares some ideas to get over the January blues in your homeschool at Living Life and Learning

    Are Homeshcooled Kids Genius’s? Jennifer doesn’t think so, but the parent’s prove pretty terrific!

    Every season could use a good Field Trip or two!
    Meg, author of Adventures with Jude shares how Jude's little brother Damien often sits with them while Jude does his schoolwork, but Damien is now an official homeschooler. Damien's First Day of School

     Leah shares about their latest sweet and satisfying Field Trip at As We Walk Along the Road

    Natalie at Fill Your Bookshelf describes their trip to the North East Conservation Park for their latest gathering of Outdoor Adventure Group, and an attempt to provide an opportunity for learning from Nature.
     Most of us are constantly looking at educational helps, ideas and resources regardless of the Season!

     Karyn at Teach Beside Me shares lots of great hands on activities at Playing With Words.

     Mindy at DenSchool shares free resources to help plan fun,educational activities to honor Martin Luther King, Jr.

     Nadene shares their 2013 famous artist and art timeline at Practical Pages. Some links to good art study posts are included.

     Susan looks at Delight Directed Middle School Science? at Homeschooling Hearts and Minds. This is the main post of the 2nd edition of the 2013 Virtual Curriculum Fair for homeschoolers. This week's topic is: Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science

    Learning for Mastery: Some Practical Issues at Tea Time with Annie Kate.

     Gary shares How to Become an Uncshooler at Homeschool Buzz and includes a great list of books to peruse if you are interested in unschooling!

    Of course, NO discussion about homeschooling would be complete without mentioning books!

    The Homeschool Buzz looks at Books for dealing with learning challenges that might be particularly helpful to homeschoolers

     Mystie shares a book review at Book Review: Uncovering the Logic of English by Denise Eide that looks at Phonics and spelling instruction for intuitive and logical thinkers and teachers

    And lastly, Phylliss and Mara offer some spiritual insight.
    Phyllis talks about Keeping Your Vents Open at and Mara encourages us to Meditate Day and Night      

    What's next?
    The Cates have kept the Carnival of Homeschooling going through many seasons! Stop by their blog and say, "Hi!" And don't forget to join next week's Carnival, hosted by Alessandra's Blog.
    Thanks for stopping by! Wishing you the best homeschooling season ever!

    Monday, January 14, 2013

    W & R Orchestra Lap Book Review and Give-Away!

    What seems like a zillion years ago we started a Classical Conversations community in our area. And while we decided to break-off from CC, I continue to appreciate what they are doing.
    Karen, over at the Wisdom and Rightesousness blog takes the good of CC and makes it great. Why? Because Karen takes  creates lap books for the memory work. This does a couple of things for the student- it allows them to utilize more than one or two neural pathways as they memorize. It engages the wiggles. It adds dimension to sheer memory work. It other words, it contextualizes, affording better understanding to the learner. And isn't that a large part of what education is about?
    Karen has just created a new Lapbook about the Orchestra. Of course, it will go very well with the CC music portion. But it is also an excellent stand alone for anyone NOT involved in a CC community, co-op leaders who are looking for a music unit, music teachers or anyone else looking to round out their music/orchestra/composer education.

    Each section of the lapbook is divided by weeks consisting of Scope, Preparation and Materials, Instruction and Digging Deeper. The Digging Deeper section includes games, links and interactive tools, worksheets, crafts, information and activities.
    We are definitely adding this to our curriculum this spring! And, total bonus for busy educators- this resource is open and go- it's all here. You add some card-stock,paper and a brad and you are ready to make a keep-sake lap-book.
    Even better?  ...beginning on Monday January 14th you can enter to win a FREE Orchestra Lapbook The giveaway will end on Monday the 21st and the winner(s) will be given the download for this great new resource for CC families. I have 2 lapbooks to give away! So begin sharing and entering!!

    For some reason I am rafflecopter challenged! Here's how to enter to win!
    1) "Follow" Golden Grasses by email, google or Networked blogs. Leave a comment and lmk about it!
    2) Enter to win again by sharing the contest on your FB, Twitter or Blog! Leave a comment and lmk about it!
    3) As always, if you are already a follower of GG- THANK-YOU! - leave a comment that you'd like to enter the contest!
    4) Chekc back on Monday, January 21. Winners have 5 days to contact me and collect their lap-books!

    Saturday, January 12, 2013

    Share It Saturday Link-Up

    It's another Share It Saturday Link-up! Karyn at Teach Beside Me is host extraordinairre and the Sugar Aunts and I are happy co-hosts!  If you need some educational inspiration, you've come to the right place!
    Featured Share It Saturday party-goers from last week are:
    Switching Classrooms-Group Work and Christmas Trees
    No Doubt Learning-Polar Animals Unit
    Growing Book by Book -January Table Topics
    Life With More Babies-Fireworks in a Jar
    Check out their fantastic ideas!
    Now, it's time to begin the blog party. Before we begin, let's review the rules, shall we?

  • You may share any educational ideas, crafts, projects, recipes, etc. (please no giveaways)
  • Link up a few things if you would like (but please stick to new posts & no more than 3)
  • Have a link back to this post if you are participating (on your blog or in your post)
  • If you link up, click on at least one other link for each one that you share.
  • You don't have to comment or follow, but I really do love both of those things! (A Lot!)
  • Visit the host and co-host and say hello (follow along, too!)
  • Discovering Patterns- How to Teach Math, Logic and Science

    Discovering Patterns: Mathematics, Logic, and Science

    Math - I am a rocking arithmetician. Seriously, the basic 4 and I are good friends. I love the mental acuity of arithmetic and I find speed a fun challenge (percentages in the grocery store- bring 'em on).  Mathematics, however, kinda cooks my grits, I have to start working reel hard and the pay-off gets dimmer, imho. You know that pesky first Law of the Teacher which states the Teacher must know that which they teach? All that to say, upper level math has been our achilles heel- we've used Video-text (not enough practice), Saxon (not enough explanation), Life of Fred (not enough of either once you hit Trig). Our best success has been with a paid, personal tutor.
    That being said, we've used the following:

     Right Start- I loved it, the kids learned an amazing amount but if you have much else going on, the teacher intensity of it can start bogging you down fast (at least it did me).
    Saxon - love it or hate it, it gets the job done. This is what we are currently using- Alg 1/2 and 6/5. Both Flower and Cub are moving along at a lesson a day.
    Life of Fred -a linguistic approach to a symbolic subject. Saved the day for Feeche after the fire. Alg I & II.
    Perplexors -serious fun and hard work.
    Mazes- what's not to love. Pre-school round here requires mazes.
    Dot-to-Dot - see "mazes."
    Critical Thinking Press - great products for all ages.
    Usborne  Puzzle books. mazes, dot-to-dots. I used to be a consultant about a hundred years ago and collected the catalog. The Puzzle books are well worn and still gotten out on occasion. Great for long car rides.

    Logic - Whether you consider yourself a classical educator or not, here's the deal. Kids love to argue. Kids in the dialectic stage (Jr. High) make it an art form. Instead of fighting them, give them some skills. If they're gonna argue anyway, you might as well give them some tools to do it well. Right?
    Memoria Press' Traditional Logic and Logos's Intro and Intermediate Logic (with DVD- dry but gets the job done). I love the article Cothran wrote on the difference between teaching logic and critical thinking . (How to teach Logic by Martin Cothran). Cothran gives an excellent apologetic for Logic before Fallacies.
    For older high school kids The Economist is a great overview of what is happening in the world financially and politically from a global perspective. Feeche is loving the Xmas gift subscription from G'pa & G'ma N!
    Of course, public speaking, debate, forensics and writing all entail the ability to use logic well. If you are lucky enough to have any of these options in your area, go for it! If you don't have a homeschool Debate team close by, check out Toastmasters!

    Science-We don't use much in the way of  formal science curriculum for eled. We do read a LOT of science books, involve our selves in nature study and think through the scientific method. In addition Dr. Dh has involved the kids in his love affair with weather and astronomy by getting them addicted to NOAA and NASA web-sites. We have spent countless hours in the great outdoors viewing astronomical wonders, walking lava beds, visiting Tar Pits and Aquariums and observing nature on both coasts and almost everywhere in between.

    Along with all of that we've enjoyed the following:
    Biology 101 and Chemistry 101
    Magic School Bus books and videos.
    Moody Science Videos
    Great Courses - we've used Chemistry and Physics so far
    Pinterest- one of my fav STEM pinners is Beth- she is taking a STEM approach and she finds the most amazing resources!
    First Lego League
    Apologia Science- for high school we've used General, Physical, Biology, Chemistry, Anatomy and Phy, Physics.
    Reasons to Believe - they now offer a science apologetics course for high schoolers.
    We're currently using Apologia's eled Anatomy and Physiology (check back around Feb 8 for my review)
    My kids have had some great opportunities to take science courses from actual scientist at Tutoring Center and co-op. There fav teacher hands down is our friend Mary Daly who weaves in philosophy, theology and science, asks piercing questions.

    Magazines we've enjoyed Ranger Rick, National Geographic and Natl Geographic for Kids, Science News, Biblical Archeology Review, Kids Discover.

    And here's a whole lotta more inspiration for you!
    The Hardest Part of Math by Kristi @ The Potter's Hand Academy

    A Tour Through Our Math and Science Life by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool What Works for Us…Math by Piwi Mum @ Learning & Growing the Piwi Way Math Art – Geometry by Julie @ Highhill Education It's Math-magical by Missouri Mama @ Ozark Ramblings Virtual Curriculum Fair: Fun and Games with Math by Tonia @ The Sunny Patch Math for the Natural by Erin @ Delighting in His Richness Virtual Curriculum Fair~ Discovering Patterns by Karyn @ Teach Beside Me Too Many Math Programs or Not by Linda B @ Homeschooling6 Virtual Curriculum Fair: Math and More! by April @ Coffee, Cobwebs, and Curriculum The post where I admit I was wrong by Kristen H. @ Sunrise to Sunset