Friday, September 26, 2014

The Thin Blue Line

The "Thin Blue Line"- the thin line between law and disorder. 

We haven't done a ton of field trips lately. For one, it's just harder to get everyones 
actualwork in while field tripping -our kids are getting older with more demanding schoolwork- and for two, it's just not easy finding engaging field trip for older kids. 

But we all had a blast at our local "Cop Shop" this week. We toured the garage, got briefed by the Sarge, sat in a cruiser, and a Swat Bear Cat, saw evidence rooms, gyms, interrogation rooms and got the low down on the local station. 

Our tour guide was a favorite of the kids! 

Good guy training grounds.
In addition to the fantastico field trip our week included
hanging at the park with friends and outside as much as possible! The weather was glorious!  

 Panera, provided wife for work while the kids played a Science Size game..

Science which involved lots of snitzles.

More learning games at Essentials...
Tons of memory work, done on the hammock, in the car, and on the couch. 
Throw in work and a Rosh Hashanna celebration. Full up. 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Classical Conversations Scientific Discovery

My Classical Conversations Master's Class is loving the time set set aside for science experiments. We have scientific experiment sheets that we put in page protectors each week and write on them with white-board markers. We go over the Scientific method each week, and take our lab sheets very seriously. Kids are free to draw pictures if the writing is too much. There are always extra parents on hand to help with spelling. My goal is for the kids to understand what a good experiment is, how to hypothesize, the importance of clear and legible notes and that clear instructions make things easier for the next person who comes along. 

Last week we took our fingerprints, compared them to the opposite hands, each other's hands and talked about how they might compare to our toe-prints. We had some great hypothesizing going on, lots of engaged chatter, and interesting facts from a student who had gone to Forensic Camp this summer. Everyone reveled in the joy of using a magnifying glass (it's the little things y'all!). Everyone had a sheet of prints to take home with them. along with good memories, the joy of discovery and the understanding that clear notes are important. 
 It's a full and fun half-hour. 
Love Science Class.

In related, serendipitous news, we are taking a field trip to the Police Station this week. 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Full Swing Fall Schedule

Our weeks and week-ends are so full I literally fell asleep on the couch last night! But, it was a week FULL of learning, working, reading, laughing, friends and tons of fun! We have Classical Conversations Community Day on Tuesday. Tuesdays are FULL days meeting new friends,review games, presentations, memory work, papers, grammar and math games, Pshew!

One morning a week we have a small group of 30-ish meeting at our house for 
  The Grammar of Poetry (LOVE this program- you can read my review here),
 Biology Lab, which has included lots of being outside gathering, observing and considering pond scum with organ parts coming up and a study on the Middle East/ Turkey, taught by a missionary to the Muslim community- fascinating! 
We were going to try to fit in art as well, but 3 hours flies by, especially as the kids want to run, snack and play together. Art is going to have to wait until next semester. In the meantime, we have some cool field trips planned as well. We LOVE co-op, even if everyone gets up early to make sure the carpets are vacuumed! 

The fun doesn't end because, Feeche drops Flower off at Science Club, Cub to Philosophy Class and then makes his way to college classes -it's a full day of outsourced classes. 
Monday, Wednesday and Fridays we are busy writing, reading, doing grammar drills and Latin,  practicing memory work and not quite fitting everything in. 

On Friday, Ballroom Dancing occurred and Dr. Dh and I went to hear a presentation on One for Israel. If you are concerned about the conflict in the Middle East, consider supporting this organization where Arabs and Israelites are studying and worshiping together under the unity of Christ!

I led another Home-School High-School Mini-Camp on Saturday that went way over the allotted two hours, but it was full of fabulous discussion and real life experiences. Love talking to people who are creating choices and opportunities that work for them, and resourcing them to do so! 
We purchased an old-timey push mower, to get the creaky edges and odd areas of our property. It is good, clean fun. It is also hard work! Feeche motorized ours by running as he pushed. 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Classical Conversations Community Day

CC Family Opening. Introductions 
Community Day is what it's always been. 15 minutes of community opening- including Pledge of Allegiance, Prayer and a Family Presentation. Then, off to classes:

1/2 hour New Grammar (this week's Memory Work). We hit all 7 subjects 7 times. 1/2 hour barely allows enough time to cover it all, but we squeeze it in. We are using the Clave Beat to use our Multiplication Tables, "smart" glasses for Latin, Time-line cards, laminated maps for Geography, crazy voices and actions for the rest. It's non-stop movement for 30 fast minutes!
1/2 hour Presentation: Some kids shared their favorite Bible verse. Flower shared our 11 year farm-life Cat genealogy and favorite cat antics, which included watching the cats discover and devour Snapping Turtle eggs. Country life- gotta love it.
A puppet show on The Flood! Terrific! 
They all were!

1/2 hour Science Lab- the kids had a blast. We are slipping the lab sheets into page protectors and re-using them each week. 

The kids take it very seriously and spent the entire half hour laughing, changing things up and discovering! Check out how engaged these kids are! Most of them just met each other last week. 

1/2 hour Art (no pics this week- they were too busy eating snack, doing the art, and sharing ideas!)

1/2 hour Grammar Review (review all prior week's Memory Work). We only had 1 week to review so far; played a game, did the time line cards and song and worked on States and Capitals.

My Stick-in-Sand review game: write memory work on 3x5 cards, with a number on the back. Turn them over on the table. The kids roll a dice and have to answer whatever card they get, including putting Timeline cards in order, identifying states and capitols on a map and reciting Bible verses Simple, effective and fun!

Clean up, lunch together in the gym and then off to Essentials (Grammar, Writing and Math). A full day full of learning and laughs. Lots more pictures to follow of our wonderful CC Community Day.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Where've Ya Been?

It's been over 2 months since I lasted posted. I vowed when I first started this blog that I would never be caught dead writing a post that began or included the words, "My poor neglected blog..." And so you wont be reading that now. This is the longest blog break I've taken in just over 5 years of blogging. It was intentional, and much needed.

My life has changed significantly in the past couple of years. As of last month, I've been working for over a year after a twenty-year hiatus from a professional job; getting one, given that we live 2 miles from the middle of nowhere and are still committed to homeschooling, was a challenge in its own right.  Last year I tried to keep up with doing reviews, blogging, homeschooling and working, but all of that coupled with some personal heart-ache was too much; too much pressure, too many demands.

This spring I finished up all of the reviews I had committed to; sadly (sniffle) resigned from the amazing TOS Review Crew (whom I love and miss!), quite one part time job, and buckled down for the busy season at aforementioned professional job that I love and have been greatly challenged by.

In addition, we changed co-ops; which was a huge decision and not done lightly. We've been part of a wonderful, Godly,  homeschooling fellowship since the year after our house fire. We have taught and learned together, done parties and sleep-overs and family camp together. But there were some changes made, which, because of our faith affiliation, made it impossible for me to teach for them and difficult for us to get there. Instead we have joined the newly re-formed Classical Conversations Community in our area, where I can Tutor in the mornings and use their wifi in the afternoons while the kids are in Essentials. We also started a weekly co-op in our way out in the country home, with other country mice that  are as eager for classes and fellowship as we are. It's a totally new season. In many ways, it feels very God ordained, which, given the past two years, I am deeply grateful for. It's been a huge adjustment, to be sure, and not a week goes by that my kids don't mention SMF and how much they loved choir and the songs we learned and how they wish they could have Ana or Jannell for art, for just one more year. But they also mention every week how much they love our little co-op in the country, and the people who are coming and what they are learning. Good memories of what has been and good memories being made. Thank-you, Jesus!

I am still working and homeschooling. Working professionally, from home, presents its own set of challenges. Like when to leave work. Like how to sound professional on the phone, when the kids are putting away the dishes. Like how to get it all done. And I've really wondered if continuing this blog is even possible. I'm not a half-in kind of person. I am irritatingly all in, or all out. So, committing to continue this blog has been a huge decision to come to.

My sweet Cub, who is now taller than me and my most faithful blog reader and who probably won't want to be called sweet, especially publically, asks weekly, sometimes daily, when I am going to blog again. And I put him off with equal regularity. But today, randomly, I was asked by two different people, from two different towns if I was still blogging, and they both made comments about how encouraging my writing was. And then, someone whom I just meet asked me a pointed question, paused for a moment at my response and stated, "So, vocationally, you are an educator." Shamzam. Why, yes, yes I am.

Which was the point of this blog to begin with. To offer encouragement, ideas, and thoughts for others who might find themselves off the beaten path, ether educationally, or spiritually, or vocationally, or socially. That's where we live. And oy vey; it's a hard path to walk. So being a Ecclessiastes 4:9 follower, I offer encouragement to others on the narrow way.

I've gotten a bit crippled up the past couple of years on this dangerous journey. The outcomes that I was pretty darn sure of have taken a wrong turn and we have come to relinquish and release people and hopes and the longings of our hearts on way too many levels. My heart has been painfully broken. For awhile I thought it might just stay that way and my belief in prayer, and faith and Christian family,  my hope and joy in the One True Living God waned. But, by the grace of my Heavenly Father, and the ministry of His people, my broken heart has been bound up and begun to heal. Thank-you, Sweet Friends who have prayed, encouraged and believed for me when I could not.

And so, with that, I trust myself to write again; about education, about bringing up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord; about following the Ancient Paths, classical education, friends- the usual stuff I've written about for the past 5 years. But, being older, and hopefully, a bit wiser, I am crystal clear that no matter how faithful we are, the outcomes are up to each individual and to the Lord. In other words, we may be faithful parents, but our children must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. We may be faithful educators, but our students must still take in and learn what we teach. I am not so sure of some things anymore, and more certain of others than ever before.

We only have 3 kids still at home, two of whom we are homeschooling. Feeche is a full time college student with the dual goal of a debt free degree made possible through a combination of hard work, CLEPs, scholarships and living at home.

Which leaves 2 kids still homeschooling, Cub, in 9th grade and Flower in 6th. Homeschooling this year includes the above mentioned co-op, CC, Science Club with Ms. Margy, Learning Labs with Bridgeway Academy, and a plethora of other resources, like Ballroom Dancing and a fledgling STOA Club that I am tremulously starting with some long-time friends. We make ready use of CC CD's and CC Connected and as many other resources as we can find, as usual.

I'm not sure how often I'll post. I'm not sure how many reviews, or pictures will be included, or how much time I'll really have to do this. But we'll just see how it goes as we go along.

As always, thank-you Dear Reader, for reading Golden Grasses

(I hope you are happy, Dear Cub. I love you forever). 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!