Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Homeschooling has been the best learning experience of my life. Through teaching my children, I'm learning so much. I've heard it said that if you want to really learn something; teach it. It's proved to be a true saying.

This year we embarked on homeschooling via the Charlotte Mason method. Her method differs from the more classical method we had been using for the other 5 years. I'm still internalizing it all, but go check her out for yourself. Read her books, check out a few blogs.

What I'm finding to be so refreshing is utilizing living books, and the composer and artist studies. I'm a total newbie, so I'm following Ambleside online's schedule (but not to the T). We did composer and artist study before, but not like we are now. I'm being exposed to musical pieces like never before.

This term we are studying Bach (Johann Sebastian as opposed to one of his many other relations that were also composers). The first 4 weeks the listening selection was the "Magnificat." These next 2 weeks we'll listen to "Chaconne."

By simply looking for a recording of Chaconne, I've been introduced to the musical genius of Jascha Heiftetz. He is so moving to listen to. check out the youtube recording of the "Chaconne" then compare it to this recording by another artist. The same piece, yet they sound so different. (the heifetz version I linked to also has an organ accompaniment, but trust me, that's not what makes it so much better.) The second version is good (he's been playing the piece for 50 years) but IMHO can't touch the Heifetz version.

Really, even if you don't normally do classical music, you gotta take the time to listen to this one.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Scheduled Outage

Funny, I planned on posting something different, but when I clicked over to blogger and saw the message about a scheduled outage due I changed my plans.

Something about those words "scheduled outage" leaped out at me. My first thoughts were "Gee, wouldn't be nice to take a scheduled outage?"

Something about that thought sticks...lingers. Why? I thought for a moment, whilst 5yo complained that her tummy hurt(and thus she can't finish cleaning that messy room.) Something about scheduling an outage seems like fun. We moms deserve a break every now and again. We work, homeschool, do laundry, and clean up all manner of yucky stuff. A nice break from those things would be nice.

But no, that is not it. What is it...What makes those words, "scheduled outage" stick out?

Then the thought becomes clearer. I don't ever have to schedule the shut-downs, the tune-outs or the mindless tasks.

Quite the opposite. I have to schedule my plugged in moments: The moments that I'm aware, sensing and realizing and conscious of the little everydays that may otherwise pass me by.

Like the way 5yo's curl at the top of her forehead is growing, and her skirts have suddenly shrunk or, the way 10yo sees a need and jumps in to help. Tonight it was supper, earlier it was a sink full of dishes. I have to plug in to hear the little songs they sing as they go about their day, the telltale sign of what they are absorbing. Plug in to be present to the games they play.

So many times the days slide by without a thought. One menial mindless task melds into another. But those darling babies, they are ever changing right before my eyes.

And so this is my oft said prayer, "Lord let me be present to your presence, and the gifts that you've given me in my children."

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Cooling down....

...Breathing deeply. Allowing my muscles to relax. Typing a blogpost.

I just "lost it" with my children. I went into their room to retrieve something we needed for school today and I couldn't even get in the door. I wasn't completely surprised, because I had peeked in ( ever so slightly) at the door and knew some toys were out of place and needed attention. I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR THE MONSTROSITY THAT LIE WITHIN. 5yo had run amuck! (a muck a muck a muck...10 points if you recognize where that line came from.) I first just gingerly pushed things aside, but then the full impact hit me. ALL of 10yo's warmer weather clothes were on the floor. ALL OF THEM! 5yo's weren't far behind. Babies, books, paper, coloring books...They started to swallow me.

It was gruesome I tell you.

Then mommy snapped... just a little. I usually refrain, but this time I could not.

"WHY IS ALL OF THIS ON THE FLOOR?!" you know what I heard as a reply? Silence. Crickets chirping. The clock ticking. No answer.

So The Momma said, "I'm too angry to continue with school right now. Your going to have to clean up first." and left the room. 10yo promptly started on the clothes, 5yo on the toys, and I sat down to a cross-word puzzle.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Teach Your Child to Read

Please tell me someone has used the Teach your child to read in 100 Easy Lessons book. I've been looking at for a while, and have decided to give it a go. The beginning lessons look easy enough, but does it progress too quickly?

I know a child that was taught through his kindie class via the DISTAR method. He is an awesome reader and has been ever since I first met him as a 1st grader homeschooler. (His mother was fortunate enough to not have to muddle through trying to teach him to read..He already knew how!) Knowing the Teach your child to read book.. was based on DISTAR is a major plus to giving it a go with 5yo.
10yo was taught using a more traditional phonics program, but sadly neither of us enjoyed it. It was blood, sweat, and tears getting her to become a strong confident reader AND she was even a child that enjoyed learning. She just did not like the phonics program, but being a novice, enrolled in a charter, I didn't know what else to do. We tried the HOP program, but it was boring too. Now that I'm at the learn to read stage with another child, I want to make it more fun, and painless.

What are your thoughts on the phonics programs you have used or encountered?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

There's nothing like waking up...

-to find that you and your children have slept hours past your ideal wake up time.
-scurrying to get dressed and caught up with the day.
-"fighting" to be first in line in the bathroom.
-stopping off at the washer and dryer, halfdressed, to reboot the laundry so I can finally get caught up.
-walking out into your kitchen and finding a gleaming kitchen sink. ahhhhhh....

Thank you flylady. There really is something to it. As soon as I saw that gleaming shiny sink, my day got that much brighter. I looked around a minute. Bowls of peaches and apples on the CLEAN kitchen table. Countertops wiped down, with nothing, NOTHING sitting on them.

My day isn't so bad after all.

There's nothing like perspective. I may have started off sleeping too late, but what a present to find the kitchen so neat and orderly. I love that kind of stuff!

So with renewed spirit I walk over to my trusty computer to turn on some music to keep my light mood going. I need to hear something. I'm going through music withdrawal. I start to look through my lists of favorite music sites-then a thought occurs to me. Why not try out that Pandora Music thingy? Of all people to hear about it from, it was my MOTHER. My non-techy, non-hip-to-the-times mother. Am I really the last person on earth to know about this? I guess in my defense, she found it by accident after she got her new comp and was looking for the station I listen to.

Pandora's Box is not a title I enjoy, although I get it. It's a clever name. My first search was for David Ruis... it set me up with a station that they thought I would enjoy. It was playing Agnus Dei from Passion. It's a good song, and I listened for a minute, but...kinda mainstreamy. So I did another quick search for Misty Edwards and lo and behold...Misty came on singing a song I wasn't singing along to. Much better. I'm only on song number 3, which is a Rita Springer song that we love...I think I'll keep this on a while and see where it goes.

If you haven't heard of Pandora Radio, you could check it out too. Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I am that girl....???

You Are Jasmine!

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Independent and adventurous. You don't want much; just to break out of the guilded cage society has put you in and experience life to the fullest. Following orders isn't really one of your strong points, and you would rather live a life of poverty than being forced into something that you hate.

Which Disney Princess Are You?

Edited to add:
I just ran across the quiz at a blog. I took it and posted the results. It wasn't until after that I looked at some of the other content. Beware. I wouldn't waste my time looking. Luckily, the quizzes had descriptions and parental warnings.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Galveston, Oh, Galveston...

My childhood home...My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Cleverness Eludes Me

If you've read my "About Me" section of the blog you'll know that cleverness often eludes me. I'm not the kind of girl that's quick witted in an argument, funny with the puns, or very wordy in crowds. Ask me to tell you something about something and I'll often draw a blank. ( I know, you are shocked!)

Yes, cleverness does elude me. So please forgive the bloggy blandness of late. With the new school year having started, and having been working on the house directly followed by vacation, and then back to school, I've just been too busy to be clever.

Stay tuned though. You never know when inspiration will hit me.

On another note (a quick one I promise): I have totally forgotten how to do anything over at myspace. A friend of mine recently joined and so I popped over. I had a few pics I wanted to upload and then change my profile image, but..surprise surprise..I completely have forgotten how. I messed around for a bit, but still couldn't figure it out.

Told ya cleverness eludes me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

What do ya call it when....

...the days are sunny, warm and crisp, the children are getting along and keeping their room clean, your spouse isn't grouchy, everything is right between you and the Lord, there's a spring in your step and a twinkle in your eye and despite the fact that things are not perfect, when you close your eyes gloom or strife doesn't smack you over the head?

Oh, yeah. That's right...happy. It's good to feel normal again. Sometimes I wonder how I lived through that deep dark season. That kind of funk is just so unlike me.

Thank God for His loving kindness and tender mercies! Thank God that He's with me, even in the darkest hour! And thank God that He's so steadfast and true and will see me through again...and again...and again!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Okay! I believe You!

...Jump in de line, Rock your body in time.

"Me said day, me said day, me said...7 I think. "-Fozzy Bear

Popping in

or otherwise known as "Popping Out: the story of my overworked eyes."

I thought I'd pop in for a bit. I spent the majority of my day prepping for home school lessons.

Warning: complaining may commence shortly.

10yo and I started the day off with a bang. This is our first full week in the official school year. A great opportunity to get into the real routine of how our days should look. To top it off, Hubs has been having more Sundays off (rather than his usual Monday) and this week was no exception. That means it's an actual full week. If he's home, not much school ever gets done. He keeps us too busy or else he's just too entertaining to focus on anything boring like book work.

We've finally started that morning Bible reading (I have had it on our to-do for ...ever.. but have never implemented it) and are working our way through the book of Esther. As the morning literature reading was being done, I started my weekly plan which went rather quickly. Then I began to think about the real course of study we'd like to take in History. A real chronological type study starting with Native Peoples and working our way forward. We started with the founding of Virginia last week and the book we've been reading then introduces us to Pocahontas. I've been thinking we'll pick up with Native tribes at that point.

I began to search for material to use. I searched, and searched and searched. If you'd look at my page history today, you'd find it incredibly full. What I've found is this: There is nothing that I've found yet, that goes into the study of our nation in the manner in which we'd like to cover it. NOTHING. The Hakim books come close, but they are abundant in skimming and glossing some areas, and sticking on others. I found various unit studies, books that cost a bundle, and adult geared websites, but nothing that gives me the "facts, ma'am, just the facts."

GrrrrrRRRRR!!! A four hour search ensued. Yeah. you read that correctly. 4 hours.

Now, I'm not saying I was zoned in only on the computer, and neglected my children. Not at all. We had lunch, did math lessons, oral narrations and all, but the Momma was working the whole time. Can someone say "multi-task?"

I finally ran across a good state website that lists some of the Indian tribes that lived in our area...wouldn't ya like to know where?...and bookmarked it after reading through a large portion.

Then I moved on to our book of centuries. This is another one of those things that I've been wanting to implement, but was for some reason saving for when we went independent of k12. The time is right.

So, here is a valuable tip for all you other HS'ers out there. Go to www.simplycharlottemason.com and click on Book of centuries. They've done most of the work for you. All you have to do is print, punch the holes, and insert into a binder.

I printed odd pages, reinserted the pages, and then printed even pages on the other side. I also took the extra time to put on all those page reinforcement stickers.

So that, my friends, is the why my eyeballs feel as though they are popping right out. I've spent too much time at the computer (which is pretty typical when I'm trying to find something). I can't just stop without completing what I've started.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I know, I know

I've been pretty quiet this week. The factory has me working overtime.

Vacation is over, and there has been a week's worth of dirty laundry to wash, fold and put away, the final days of hot weather to be enjoyed, summer harvest to be put up, and the first days of school to be started.

We're just busy that's all. I started a post the other day, but didn't even have time to finish it. Things should settle down soon and we'll get back into a work routine.

This year is new all around. Not only have we switched schooling methods, and added 5yo to the official mix, but I've been trying to get the house spiffed up too. Busy is good. Busy makes me happy. Busy makes me even more thankful for those quiet days curled up with the kids and a good movie, or rainy days and a good book.

I'll be back around sometime...probably next week. That laundry pile was ENORMOUS y'all. No joke.

Monday, September 1, 2008

It's that time of the month again

Yup! Time for Global Bridegroom Fast at IHOP,KC.

Watch the prayer room live and for free Monday-Wednesday. You won't be sorry. Matt Gilman is leading a set right now that is simple and beautiful.

Like oil upon your feet
Like wine for you to drink
water from my heart
I pour my love on you

If praise is like perfume
I'll lavish mine on you
Till every drop is gone
I'll pour my love on you
-Gary Sadler, Dan Dean