Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We have been very loosey-goosey in our homeschooling days lately. We have not had any type of real schedule and have not been accomplishing much. I decided things had to change.

I instituted a much more rigid schedule last Monday. Basically, they have a list of assignments, with time limits set. Whatever they do not finish, becomes homework.

Ruthie loved it. She got everything done without a bit of homework all week. Robert fought me every. step. of. the. way. It was awful. It was miserable. What a terrible week. He did not finish math on time a single day. Most days he didn't finish grammar on time, either. One day he didn't even finish Bible! I knew we needed to stick with it, but it was rough.

Fast forward to today. He finished everything. All of it. Not a bit of homework. Hallelujah! He is so proud of himself, and I'm proud of him too. Woo-hoo!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Privileges

I found this very interesting. I did not grow up in what I would consider a privileged home. My dad was a school teacher and my mom was a secretary. There were plenty of things we could never afford (Gloria Vanderbilt jeans come to mind - remember those?). Yet I was able to say "yes" to more than half of these.

From What Privileges Do You Have?, based on an exercise about class and privilege developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. If you participate in this blog game, they ask that you PLEASE acknowledge their copyright.

Bold the true statements.

1. Father went to college
2. Father finished college
3. Mother went to college
4. Mother finished college
5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor.
6. Were the same or higher class than your high school teachers.
7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home.
8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home.
9. Were read children's books by a parent
10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively
13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
16. Went to a private high school
17. Went to summer camp
18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them
22. There was original art in your house when you were a child [kid's work is original!]
23. You and your family lived in a single-family house
24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
25. You had your own room as a child
26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18
27. Participated in a SAT/ACT prep course
28. Had your own TV in your room in high school
29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in high school or college
30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
31. Went on a cruise with your family
32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up
34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

HT: My Thoughtful Spot

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Prayer Request

Please pray for my sister and her family. I don't feel comfortable sharing the specifics, but they could really use prayers on their behalf. God knows all.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Books I'm Reading

I plan on making a sidebar on the blog listing what I'm reading, but I thought I'd start it out here first.

I've found a lot of book recommendations at various blogs I visit. I've made a list of them and carry it in my purse. For now, I'm just getting a few every time we go to the library. I really hit the jackpot yesterday. I checked out Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright. I started it yesterday afternoon and finished it this morning. I had a hard time putting it down, and that hasn't happened in years. I thought it was a good jumpstart to get me back to enjoying reading. While I wouldn't necessarily call it "Christian fiction", it does have a strong Christian undercurrent.

Other things I'm reading (I tend to have several books going at one time):

Breathing Lessons - Anne Tyler
The Art of Teaching - Gilbert Highet
Charlotte Mason Series - Vol. 6 (Modern English) - Charlotte Mason
The Hound of the Baskervilles - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Friday, January 11, 2008

Weekly Report - January 7-11

This was our first week back after a 3 week break and it was a struggle for all of us. I had a hard time enforcing a routine. Next week should be better, though.

Our biggest event this week was my decision to add in IEW. I found Teaching Writing: Structure & Style, with all the video tapes and notebook, at Half-Price Books last summer. It was only $25, so I decided to get it. I didn't watch the first tape until last week, though. I really like it. I know it is very structured, but Robert definitely needs that, so I think it's a good fit for him. Ruthie is already very creative in her writing, so I'm sure I will de-emphasize the dress-ups when we get that far. She doesn't need much help in that area.

I'm following the syllabus in the notebook, so we spent this week just doing key word outlines. We did the first one all together. The next day, I let them choose a paragraph and I did it one-on-one with them. The following day, they did it completely on their own, just re-telling it to me from their key word outline when they were done. Next week we will begin actually writing the paragraphs.

We are still studying Handel for our composer study. We spent a long time on Handel's Messiah. Ruthie was able to recognize a modified Hallelujah chorus in a kid's show a couple of days ago. "Hey, that's Handel!" We listened to Vox's The Story of Handel and really liked it. Our library has a lot of them, but I just realized they are only $2.98 each at Amazon, so I may just go ahead and order them. The Vox CD ends with "Water Music", which works out well since that's our next piece to study.

Friday morning the kids played at a daycare for a class of 3 year olds. A friend of mine works there through a special early-intervention program with the school district. (Does that make sense?) I saw her at church Wednesday night and she said they had been studying musical instruments and asked if Robert and Ruth could come play for them. They agreed, and decided that they would play "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" together, then each play one piece of their own.

This was a great plan until we got there. Even though Griff had tuned the instruments that morning, Ruth's A string was completely out of tune. I called Griff and he walked me through adjusting it. While tightening the peg, I went too far and broke the string. Whoops! Ruthie was (understandably) upset. We finally decided Robert would play "Twinkle..." on his own, and she picked a different song - one that she could play with just her 3 lower strings. So, it worked out okay, but I could tell she was still upset. Especially when they asked Robert to go to two other classes and play "Twinkle..." for them. I felt very bad for having broken the string. :(

My goal for next week is to get us on more of a structured schedule. I think we'll accomplish a lot more.

Never Give Up... Never Surrender

Okay, I know I said I never make a New Year's Resolution about being organized. That's not to say, though, that I'm not constantly trying to be organized.

That said, I ordered the 2008 Motivated Moms chore planner a couple of days ago. This is the 3rd year in a row that I've bought it. You might think that means it's been highly successful for me. Well... no. I found that I still have to do the work. It's not going to magically get done just because I bought the planner. Nope. You have to actually use it for it to work. I finally figured that out. (I'm smart that way.)

I had decided I was not going to order it this year. Then, it seems that everywhere I go, people are talking about it. I can't get away from it! So, I figured it was a sign, and ordered it again. Eh, it's only $8.00, and now that I've figured out the key to it, maybe it will work for me.

My kids are going to love it. I'm going to use it as a method for assigning chores. (Hee!)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Movie Recommendation

Have you seen the movie "Facing the Giants"? It's a wonderful, Christian movie that uplifts and inspires. We missed it at the movie theater, but Ruthie and I watched it a few months ago and we both loved it. After Christmas, I went and bought a copy of it. Griff then watched it and loved it as well.

After seeing the movie, Griff went online to do more research about it. In the process, he found out about a previous movie this same group (Sherwood Pictures) had done. It's called "Flywheel". I saw that Netflix had it, so I ordered it and we watched it this past Friday night. Wow! It has a very powerful message. It has made me think and desire, more than ever, to live for Christ.

From what Griff found out, "Facing the Giants" had a $100,000 budget. "Flywheel", on the other hand, only had a $20,000 budget, and that's definitely apparent at times. However, the message transcends all the technical problems and really shines through.

I have watched the movie a second time since Friday night and we will be purchasing it soon. I know it's one I'll watch over and over.

Note: I checked and Blockbuster Online also has "Flywheel". Also, the version I had from Netflix was not the Director's Cut shown here. I'm not sure what the differences are.

Monday, January 07, 2008

How I Spent My Weekend

When we moved into this house 5 years ago, Ruthie wanted a pink room. Now, as an almost-10 year old, she is rather tired of the pink. Since it was a glow-into-the-hallway pink, I can't say I blame her.

So, Griff and I spent this past weekend painting. On Saturday we primed over the original walls and I painted door trim. Sunday we painted with the finish paint. We still need to paint the baseboards before we can move the furniture back.

Saturday night I discovered that I am not as young as I used to be. My back and my painting arms were really aching. Sunday morning was even worse. I eventually worked out the kinks, but boy do I miss the days when I could paint all day and barely feel it.

There are other things we plan to do to her room.
  • white beadboard up to chair rail height
  • new furniture - bed, dresser, bedside table
  • new curtains
  • built-in desk and shelves (maybe)
I love the look of blue and white - it's so crisp and clean. I think it's going to look very nice when it's all done.