Thursday, February 28, 2008

Homeschool Research/Reading

I really don't remember how we decided to homeschool. It seems like we just always planned on it. Regardless of how we got the idea, we were certain we wanted to do whatever it took to educate our children outside of government schools. When our oldest was just a baby I began to ask homeschooling mothers, "What is your favorite homeschooling book?" In this way I began to read about different methods and models. My goal was to read one book per year. I have found this to be very helpful and I continue this practice even today.

Here is the list that I was given before I began homeschooling (and I think this is the order I read them)-
  1. Better Late Than Early, by Raymond Moore
  2. The Christian Homeschool, by Gregg Harris
  3. The Well-Trained Mind, by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise
  4. Educating the WholeHearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson
  5. Homeschooling for Excellence, by David and Micki Colfax
    Books I have read since beginning to Homeschool:
  6. For the Children's Sake, by Susan Schaeffer MaCauley
  7. Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning, by Douglas Wilson
  8. Home Education, by Charlotte Mason

This has helped to both shape our homeschool and keep me inspired as a home educator.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Redeeming the Time

I would be surprised to find any shower that looks quite like ours. These are Mark's vocabulary words for Aramaic hanging on our shower walls.
This all began with one ziploc bag and one of those hooks with a suction cup. Originally we just had a really small ziploc with one memory verse inside, but that seemed to work so well that it has grown to giant ziplocs and a library of memory work!! So, if you are needing to find time to memorize Scripture- here is one way to use your time wisely.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Classical Music for Preschoolers

I am not a fan of television. Yet there are times that I am grateful to turn on a movie for the children. I am very particular about the content of a movie, and for young children I am pleased with the Baby Einstein movies. One of the best is, Meet the Orchestra.

As a result of using this movie the boys are pretty good at picking out different instruments when they hear them. Even while listening to music when riding in the car my 5 year old will say did you hear that violin? and even my 2 year old always informs me when he hears the guitar in a particular song. Baby Einstein not only uses classical music in all of their videos, but they have Baby Bach, Baby Beethoven, and Baby Mozart which focus on that particular composer.

Not only do we watch these movies, but we listen to their soundtracks. When my oldest son was a preschooler he called classical music, his music.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Composer Study

A performance of Handel's Messiah was a treat after studying him for 12 weeks.

Once a week we take time for Composer study/music appreciation. Our school year is divided up into three 12 week terms. The ideal is to study a new composer each term. This year we are only studying two composers because that is simply all we could manage. Our first half of the school year we studied Handel, and currently we are studying J.S. Bach.

Ambleside Online has compiled a huge list of composers and their works to be studied. They have plenty of helps to get you started. We use much of their information, but shape it to fit our family.

This is all new to me. In my college days, I took a music appreciation class and was quite overwhelmed. I had never before studied anything like it. I grew up on Seattle grunge and Rock music. Thankfully, I am not passing that legacy onto the children. Rather, I am attempting to train their taste from a young age. This, like Nature Study, is giving us wholesome pleasures to pursue.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Love through me, Love of God,
Make me like Thy clear air
Through which unhindered, colours pass
As though it were not there.

Powers of the love of God,
Depths of the heart Divine,
O Love that faileth not, break forth,
And flood this world of Thine.
by Amy Carmichael

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Nature Study

Step One: Observation
The vast majority of our Nature Study is delight-directed. If something grabs their attention we study it. There are times when I choose the subject; for instance, we learned the names of the trees in our neighborhood. Yet more often than not, they are the ones who coming running to tell me what they have found.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Nature Study

Nature Study is my favorite subject and the boys love it as well. There are many positive reasons for doing Nature study in your home. Here are just a few:

1) We see the amazing creation as the work of His hands and give thanks to our Almighty Creator.

2) The creation is good and good for us. The boys love to run and explore. They love to find something for me to look at. It refreshes all of us to be in the great outdoors contemplating all He has made.

3) It gives us all an opportunity to think about something other than ourselves.

4) Learning to identify plants, animals, birds, insects, etc. gives the child (and mother) the skill of observation and the powers of description that will bring them joy in life. It teaches the ability to amuse themselves with beautiful living objects; rather than, being dependent on multimedia entertainment. Learning to describe what they see increases their imagination and vocabulary which will aid in future writing.

5) One of my favorite aspects of Nature study is how it draws the generations together. I have watched grandparents and great-grandparents find something in common with their grandchildren when they too begin to observe nature all around and share what they have seen with the children. It is like a spark of joy ignites in all of us as we share the intrigue and beauty of God's good creation with one another.

Chair Repair

This is the third time I have recovered our chair that we use for our computer desk. It is rather easy now that I have a staple gun. The only difficult part was deciding on the fabric. First, my 5 year old and I picked out a wild retro fabric that really would have looked great, but my 7 year old thought the fabric so ugly that he would not be able to look at it. Secretly I thought he would get used to it, but when my husband said that he did not really like it either...Well, I decided to be diplomatic and settle for my second choice! What do you think?

P.S. I bought the other fabric too! and I think I will make an apron out of it!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

We Are Still Here

Well, graduation has come and gone and we are still here. Mark is busy working two jobs and he is also taking Aramaic. Many people don't realize that small portions of the Bible are written in Aramaic. Thus, the reason for his current study.

I am planning a post on what we are doing in homeschool, but until then...

Here is a recipe for some tasty Snowball cookies:

½ pound unsalted butter (2 sticks)
1/3 c granulated sugar
1tsp vanilla
2/3 c pecans finely grounded
1 2/3 c flour
pinch of salt
¼ c confectioner sugar

Preheat oven to 350

In large mixing bowl beat butter and sugar until creamy, about 3 min. Add vanilla. Set aside.

In a medium bowl mix pecans, flour, and salt.

Mix flour mixture into butter mixture.

Roll dough into ¾ inch balls and place on cookie sheet.

Bake until just brown 20-25 minutes.

Roll in powdered sugar.