Saturday, December 2, 2017

Home School Happenings

It's been a busy year chock full of working, teaching, learning. This is our 4th consecutive year of Classical Conversations and our 3rd consecutive year of Challenge. Challenge is challenging. As we speak my Challenge 1 and 3 kids are working on a Power Point for a Shakespeare project and a 5 minute Philosophy Lecture. It's a full and amazing program. When they work, I work. Yeah, if you need help with sentence diagramming or Latin translations, or delivery a presentation, I'm your girl.

I was bumped from my cute little Jr. High kiddos up to Challenge 3 this year - our class consists of nine 11th and 12th graders. I started this year with no small amount of fear and trembling. Chemistry,  Trigonometry, Philosophy, and a boatload of presentations and projects -  14 total in all this semester and 19 next  includig essays, individual events, impromptu, Lincoln Douglas and policy debates, Shakespeare Recitations and more. It's been amazing.

Challenge 1 and III go along with each very well this year, including Shakespeare and American History. I am loving the fact that my Senior, who also went through Ch 1 is making amazing connections and integrations in History, Literature, Philosophy and Theology. I live with some true-blue nerds and honestly, I love it.

In other news, I quit the job I've had for the last 4 years. Almost to the day. It it was a great blessing to get the job and a great relief to let it go. I'm still Directing Challenge and I am also taking on another Academic position with a newly re-branded on-line homeschool titled True North Homeschool Academy. So, it's not like I'm not working, it's just like I'm working and it's fun again. You can keep abreast of all the good things happening there by liking, following and sharing at True North Homeschool Academy. Courses schedules and descriptions will be posted as soon as we launch our brand spanking new web-site, coming soon!

What's been keeping you busy?

@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, August 27, 2017

55 Things I've Learned in 55 Years

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I had a birthday. It was a crazy busy week full of work, homework, people, friends, responsibilities and blessings. Monday we traveled to see the totality of the solar eclipse; my science-loving husband's birthday present to me. It was so beautiful and awe-inspiring. We were humbled and amazed.

Saturday, we were able to attend another inspiring Bible Study with our friend, Rabbi Wolicki of CJCUC -you can soon purchase his terrific book, Cup of Salvation.  (listen to the pod-casts, buy the book- it is excellent!)

In the midst of it all,  I received lovely flowers, thoughtful cards and beautiful birthday wishes  and my dear friend Ruth even came and cleaned my house. I am blessed by the simple and profound things of this week. 

With that, I wrote a list ('cause I love doing that)- 55 Things I've learned in my 55 years in this world. Some things on this list are simple, some are profound. 

1. Kindred souls are found in unlikely places.
2. Marriage is a messy sacrament.
3. Laughter is good and healing medicine.
4. In the end, all will be well. If it's not well, it's not the end.
5. Glitter is the herpes of the craft world.
6. Life is never what you expect.
7. You are not responsible for outcomes.
8. You are responsible to be faithful.
9. Do not despise the little things
10. Children are little things.
11. Children are a gift from God. Have many.
12. Growing old is a double edged sword. Honor the elderly.
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13. Enjoy your knees while you are young and they still work.
14. Run after wisdom.
15. Don't suffer fools.
16. Search out the Master of the Universe. Nothing else makes sense. He always does.
17. All things work together for good to those who love Him. If you love Him, it will all work together for good.
18. Travel. Talk to the natives.
19. People love to be invited to the party, into the ministry, alongside the work. Invite others in.
20. Don't waste time being timid.
21. Books.
22. All great writing is redemptive.
23. Repetitio mater memoria
24. Listen well.
25. Flowers are always appropriate.
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26. Children's laughter is the music of the Universe.
27. Jesus is alive and well, lives and reigns, loves and exhorts. You are His child. He loves you.
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28. Ora et Labora.
29. Staying married takes hard work and sacrifice and can bring great joy. Stay the course. Love as best you know how. Extend mercy and grace. Laugh together- be a friend to one another.
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30. Marriage vows are before God, not man.
30. Raising children is not for the faint of heart.
31. God loves your children more than you do.
32. There will always be those committed to misunderstanding you. Quit explaining and live your life.
33. Do hard things.
34. Finish well.
35. Be bold and courageous.
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36. Let others tell their story. Listen well. They are waiting for a ready audience.
37. Prayer changes things. Mainly those praying. Pray without ceasing. The world needs it, you need it. Don't lose hope.
38. Feeding people is a simple and profound ministry.
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39. Serve others out of their need, not your abundance.
40. Life sacrificially. It won't kill you. It might strengthen you.
41. Don't grow bitter. Choose life, not death.
42. Make your bed everyday.
43.Drink water.
44. White sugar is of the devil.
45. God has a perfect plan for your life. The Enemy of your soul has a perfect plan for your life. Choose the Master Strategist, not the master deceiver.
46. Sin makes you stupid.
47. G-rated living keeps you young. Cleanliness is a simple pleasure. Keep you heart, mind and kitchen clean.
48. Grow things- plants, people, blogs, ideas.
49. Find people who are smarter than you and learn from them.
50. Don't be afraid to look up and get in touch with people you don't know but want to. Call them up, email them, write them a letter- introduce yourself; make a friend!
51. Laugh at yourself. Laugh. A lot. Learn the art of humor. Practice it.
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52. Take the long view.
53. Time is fleeing, life goes fast. My Gram, who died last summer at 99 said, "Honey, if you think it goes by fast now, wait until you're my age. You go to bed and wake up and it's a decade later!"
54. Sleep is cheap medicine.
55. Live with no regrets
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@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, February 5, 2017

Beating the January Blahs

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January is cold, windy and dark around here as the sun sets early and rises late. The winter blahs are a  real thing around her and beating them is a yearly goal of mine.  Since we can't spend weeks at the beach, we manage by filling our time with productive pursuits.

This year, Challenge B and friends had a Science Fair to wrap up an entire unit on the Scientific Method.  Flower came away with First Place in the Jr. and Sr. High School group with her project on, "Salt Crystallization and Super Saturation."
The kids were judged on the project itself, Research, Lab Book, Project Board and verbal presentation. A lot of time, energy, heart and soul were put into each and every project. I was immensely proud of my Challenge B class. As always, they rose to a challenge and excelled, even when planned events happened to fall on days with ice storms. 
Cub missed the science fair because he spent the week at our State Capital, interning for Family Heritage Alliance.  He was thrilled to work alongside Dale and Norman and can't wait to go back. 

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Meanwhile, we were putting in about 6 hours a week dancing and practicing for Tantara, Festival of One Act Plays. Cub and Hannah both walked away with "Best Actor" and "Best Actress" Awards. the play was fun and funny and I was so proud of our Cast! We had 15 kids this year, 6 of whom had never been on stage before! 
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Kari and Julie were an amazing part of the team, too and helped with choreography, props, costumes, wigs and the zillion little details that went into 1/2 hour performance with 15 kids! 

In the midst of all of that, Flower has been doing TeenPact alumni homework for our upcoming State Class, doing tons of research on entitlement projects. We brought TP to SD 10 years ago and now our youngest is an alumni. A decade sure flies by when you are having fun, working hard, being slammed, busy living.
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Introducing TeenPact to the state of SD, with then Governor Rounds in 2006.
Our entire family, sans Flower is in the picture above. Cub is front and center, saluting! 

And here he is below~
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Having survived 5 hours of Karate testing for his next belt, including the Bull Ring with Instructor Mike just yesterday. Mike is an awesome teacher and runs a fun and rigorous program. 
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And because it's the season, we are also studying for the National Latin Exam. Cub didn't realize that the old tests had all 4 exams on them and flipped out, thinking he knew nothing! What a relief to just focus on LNE 1 and realize that he is, in fact, in great shape for the exam!  Cub is doing the LNE review with Memoria Press

In the middle of all of this the kids are reading great literature, studying Latin and Math, writing essays and creating 1 AC's for an upcoming debate, reading great apologetics books like Defeating Darwinism and Saving Leonardo, creating art, practicing Music and even hanging out with friends every now and then. 

And, best news of all, the days are getting longer, it's actually light out after 6 p.m. (o.k., just barely, but still) and spring is just around the corner! 
What are you doing to make it till spring? 
 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, January 29, 2017

Washing Dust Off Our Souls

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls. - Pablo Picasso

We are artist types around here. Creating is what we do. This takes many different forms, depending on seasons, location and who lives here. 

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Drama is a huge part of the art we do in any given year. Yesterday, the kids performed in a fun smash-up, "Dancing with the Greek Olympians," (published by Brooklyn Publishers) in a One Act Play Festival and both came away with "Best Actor/ress" Awards for the parts of Hera/Euterpe.
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and Hermes
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Sculpey creations happen so regularly around here that tools are a huge part of any gift list and clay is always welcome! Flower finds inspiration on Pinterest, our Animal Encylopedia and through Literature.
Art History Live Course or You Teach Kit
This year we are also doing Veritas Press' Art History program, including art cards; the kids are memorizing the periods and specific art pieces as we go. It's a sweeping overview of all of the major art periods, with beautiful color reproductions.

Currently E is doing a Fine Arts Course through Challenge II as part of History of Western Civilization. It's a Humanities Course, complete with Museum and Gallery viewings, Art Evaluations and and Art Grant Proposals, which he created a Power Point for. All good things! Last year, he did a Music Appreciation Course, titled, "Math in Motion," that inspired him so much he started taking piano lessons.

Piano and violin happen weekly; local homeschooling neighbors who have taken music for years are our sweet instructors- friends and teachers all at once-twofer! 

Writing is something most of my kids have always done. We have used Writing With Ease, Writing With Skill, IEW, Lost Tools of Writing and The Grammar of Poetry. My "boys" (22 and 17) spend time talking character and plot development with regularity.

One of my favorite movie lines is from Kate and Leopold , It's said without the culinary arts, the crudeness of reality would be unbearable. 
Just broaden this statement out to include all arts, and you sum up our beliefs. With art, we learn to express beauty, goodness and Truth.

What are you using for Art this year?

Now I invite you to visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are talking about seeking beauty in their homeschools:

Links will all be live by Monday at 12 noon EST.
Living & Loving Art by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Putting the Fun in School by Michele @ Family, Faith and Fridays
Art Fun In Our Homeschool by Amanda @Hopkins Homeschool
Fine Arts Is The Fun Part by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
Washing Dust Off Our Souls by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
Seeking out the beauty… by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Joy in Home Education by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Drawing (When You Can’t Draw) by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Jesus, Peace, Freedom & Our Homeshool by Meghan W @ Quiet In The Chaos
Fine Arts Options in High School by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
Reluctant Artist? What do you do? by Annette @ A Net in Time
Making Fine Arts a Priority by Lisa @ McClanahan 7
Creative Pursuits by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
Arts and Crafts in Our Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Where Do You Find Beauty? by Lori H @ At Home: where life happens
Looping our Beauty Topics Saved our Homeschool by HillaryM @ Walking Fruitfully
 08-2013. 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!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Act Your Part Well -VCF Word Play

This year, like every year at this time, we are deep in the midst of play practice. An area homeschool group hosts a Festival of One Act Plays at a local College Theater each end-of-January. It is a great way to fill long, dark winter days, and a fantastic way to engage in Word Play.

Tantara grew up out of a homeschool group that put on a play one spring. This became a yearly Drama Camp, which takes place at a local church and often involves 60-80 kids, scores of parents and older, graduated siblings. This, in turn, has become a bi-annual Musical, where dance coaches and musicians are employed, and costumes, staging etc is phenomenal. And, of course, Tantara, Festival of One Act Plays, is the mid-year production that has sprung from the humble back-yard beginnings of performing simple myths and fairy tales, dressed up in sheets.
yep, also i am not at all clumsy till i step off the stage then i trip and fall all the time over thin air...:
This year, our kids are performing a smash-up of Dancing with the Stars and the Greek Parthenon. It's good writing, we have some seasoned performers and props and costumes are detailed and perfect.
Well, we're supposed to anyway lol @Aubrie Robinson Robinson DeMarco✔️ @Christina Childress & Shults:
So, back to words. With drama, kids learn the 5 Cannons of Rhetoric: Invention, Arrangement, Style, Memory, Delivery. I mean, they really learn them, because if they don't, they fail on-stage. Theater gives pretty immediate feed-back. And while they are not necessarily writing the scripts themselves, they are taking in and memorizing good words and interesting interactions and learning what makes them engaging. They are developing a critical ear and eye for good (and bad) writing.

In addition, kids must learn, in order to be effective in a performance Projection, Enunciation, Tonality, Speech Skills of Expression (in other words, how to NOT speak in a monotone). They also learn Body Language, Gesture, Control, Team-work, how to take direction, choreography and movement- all while interacting with the audience and other stage members.
Meryl Streep on the real secret of great acting:
Good performance is not limited to simple entertainment. Good performance is a professional skill that will benefit our kids, not matter what they do in life.

Last year, for our end of year CC parents night, Cub, after years of Drama performance, recited Patrick Henry's, "Give Me Liberty" Speech. It was profound, beautiful, heart-warming, inspiring. Cub got to the heart of these stirring words and conveyed them to an audience that included pre-schoolers through Grand-parents and spell-bound them all.

The pen is truly mightier than the sword, because it has the power to change the heart of a soul. Through the ages, good words stand. Cub took the words of Patrick Henry, words meant to spark a revolution and call men to conviction, breathed life into them and inspired an audience, young and old alike, brought tears to eyes and fire to heart. When we act our part well, we too, can change hearts.

Find more articles VCF posts on Word Play: 
2013 VCF Word Play
2014 VCF Word Nerd Love
2015 VCF Words are Loaded Pistols
2016 VCF Classical Word Study 

Please visit my fellow homeschool bloggers who are writing about Playing with Words this week:

All posts will be live by Monday, January 9th at noon EST.
Delight Directed High School English by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds
Act Your Part Well- 2017 VCF by Lisa @ Golden Grasses
The Search For Language by Michele@Family, Faith and Fridays
Our Top Picks for Language Arts by Amanda H @ Hopkins Homeschool
Multiple Approaches to Language Arts in 2017 by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World
How We Cover the Language Arts in Our Homeschool by Joelle @ Homeschooling for His Glory

Use Your Words by Laura @ Four Little Penguins
The Art of Perfecting Macarons by Jennifer @ A Glimpse of Our Life
Loving Languages Every Day by Jen K @ A Peace of Mind
Speech Therapy & Elementary Latin by Yvie @ Gypsy Road
The Readin' and Writin' Part of Homeschool by Shecki @ Greatly Blessed
Children Who Love Books by Lizzy @ Peaches At Home
Customizing High School Language Credits by Christy @ Unexpected Homeschool
A Poetry Feast by Sarah @ Delivering Grace
Teaching Language Arts without Curriculum by Brittney @ Mom's Heart
I know your pain and it is worth it! by Kim @ Good Sweet Love
Language Arts: Our Style by Annette @ A Net in Time
Words! Words! Words! by Lisa M @McClanahan 7
10 Wonderful Word Games (+1) by Lori @ At Home: where life happens
Finding the Right Words by Kym @ Homeschool Coffee Break
What About Reading Comprehension? by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset
Teaching Grammar and Writing Through Discussion by Chelli @ The Planted Trees

 @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!