Tuesday, September 30, 2008

TipTuesday #6

Today's tips are very simple...
1. Every once in a while when you feel like your head is going to bust because of all the other stuff that has piled up because you are homeschooling:


For now I can't take any time off of school though. I am going to be putting in some
"minimum days" though and I may have to lay off the blog a bit. Hopefully life will settle down soon and I can finally find a groove in my momentum. For now all the momentum is just serving to make me nauseous.

2. Every once in a while when you feel like your whole body is going to explode because you can no longer manage the accumulated amount of stuff in your house:


It is so hard for me to do this. I am an artist so I see value in so many things others see as junk. Add to that the teacher in me and it all adds up to PACKRAT.
I am currently in the midst of a purge though. We might be moving. Even if we don't though, the purge is necessary. Our house was pretty much too small when we moved in three years ago, and guess what? It hasn't gotten any bigger, but the kids have as has the amount of all our accumulated junk.
So if I am not on here for a while you'll know what I'm doing.

Something to look forward to though, November is "Write a novel month". I am setting a goal for myself right now to finish my Proverbs Devotions, turn them into a book, and publish it!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A contrary opinion...

Ah, what a blogger waits for. A contrary opinion. I appreciate this commentator so much. She was polite. logical, and unemotional. When I realized that my return comment was going to be too long, I thought I'd address it here.

From Tami...
He gets to have an opinion, based on his beliefs and research, just like you do. He is a celebrity, so he gets more face time. You just got to rant on about your beliefs, he gets to as well. That is what freedom is all about. If we make laws to keep people from expressing other beliefs than ours, as perhaps you want to and Palin wants to, then aren't we keeping people from free will, and discovering God's plan on their own?

I appreciate you taking time to read my blog and to comment on it as well. Most people do not do that.

I wholeheartedly agree that Mr. Damon should have an opinion and be free to express it just as I did. I do not believe in legislation that would limit the first amendment. I do however believe that individuals should display personal responsibility. Mr. Damon does get more face time by virtue of his celebrity status. Would it not have been of more value to his fans to encourage them in their own investigation of the candidates than to come out so biased. Granted my blog was biased, but I am not a celebrity. I also did encourage people to check things out for themselves and not to be influenced my Mr. Damon's opinion or even my own, but to make their own choices. There are a certain number of people who read my blog, most of whom are family or friends. There are others who read my blog because of the interests and opinions we share, and if we disagree we are able to debate it. I welcome that debate. The sound bytes proffered over and over again on tv and internet gave no opportunity for debate. Since I do not know Mr. Damon personally, I chose my blog as a forum to debate him. If he ever read it maybe he would leave me comments too. Oh, that would be fun!

The nature of my previous post was not so much aimed at Mr. Damon in particular, though it did come across that way. Who I was truly aiming at was Hollywood in general. I think it is dangerous to use your celebrity status to promote your own agenda in an incendiary way. Perhaps I should have posted a clip of the video. (I did look really hard for the commercial I talked about though). Mr. Damon was very emotional in his presentation as well as purposely insulting not only to Palin, but to anyone who holds a creationist theory of the universe.(A theory that despite what much of the world believes does have scientific credence.)

Instead of expounding on how little time this candidate has had in office, why not encourage people to look at what she has done during that time in office. Damon was not encouraging fans to do their own research. I think he probably has some idea as the weight of his opinion and chose to use it. What I intended to do with my post was to encourage people to think for themselves and do their own research and then maybe they can write about it in their own blogs, because the first amendment says they can.

Unlike the political climate in Hollywood. Any opinion that is not profoundly liberal and bordering on socialism is immediately attacked and career threatening. All Angela Jolie said was that she was examining both candidates(what we should all be doing) and she was subject to almost immediate backlash. I think the people of this country have given Hollywood too much influence over their lives and opinion formation. If after you have done some research and find that you hold the same opinion as Mr. Damon than at least you have come to that opinion on your own. My warning to my readers was not to accept that opinion at face value, but to question it. The bible itself encourages us to question things. Paul encouraged church members to test what they were being taught against what the scriptures had to say. Jesus encouraged people to question and test the motivation of the powers that be. Since Washington and Hollywood have become such close bedfellows we need to start questioning and testing both.

Ultimately it will also come down to trust and faith as well. We live in very scary times. I believe that God is in control though and regardless of which candidates I may like better, ultimately those who are in power are there because God allows them to be.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Premature Blogification

My last post announcing the book release was premature and I actually deleted it.
There is some question as to how we will distribute the book right now so we can't make any sales until that is established. It is sort of frustrating though because it is ready for release right now. I guess I just have to be patient and put it in God's hands. Ultimately that is who the project is about and meant to honor.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Birthday Blog #2

Seven years ago on a Wednesday evening, a family of four became five. He was loved more and more each day as he still is. We love his transformer drawings and lego creations almost as much as we love him. His laughter is as contagious as it is joyful. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Fine Art Fridays #5- Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci is arguably the world's most famous artist. His paintings and life have become the basis of much myth, legend, and speculation. He was born in the town of Vinci near Florence in 1452. He later took the name of his birthplace as his own. Though his father never married his mother, Leonardo was the son of an important man. It was this illegitimate relation that would deny him access to the universities and professions of his father's family which in turn caused him to be apprenticed to a famous artist , Andrea del Verrocchio. Leonardo was not satisfied to simply be a painter however and he helped to further the cause of science, invention, engineering, and architecture as well. His autopsies of cadavers could have caused him to be excommunicated from the church, but his detailed drawings and notes actually increased the knowledge of the workings of the human body well beyond the knowledge of the day. Deciphering his notes often required a mirror. Many believed he was trying to protect his discoveries. In truth, he was left handed and writing backwards was easier for him, though when he truly wanted to keep something secret he wrote in code. He is of course best known for his paintings of The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Though we know he painted many, many paintings, only 17 survive to this day. On May 2nd, 1514, Leonardo died, supposedly in the arms of the King of France.


Monna Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci

National Gallery of Art NGAkids Leonardo da Vinci, , Ginevra de' Benci

Leonardo's Mystery Machines

Museum of Science, Boston | Virtual Exhibits | Leonardo

The interactive Mona Lisa - Mona Lips-synch - Exhibition Images in Paris - Cité des Sciences, France
A Lifetime of Color - Leonardo's Workshop

Book Recommendations

Thankful Theology Thursdays #5- Who is really in control?

The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world and all who live in it;
Psalm 24:1

We are memorizing Psalm 24 as part of our homeschool curriculum. We are nearly there and each day as we read this aloud(my almost seven year old can read it himself now by the way) this verse stands out more and more to me.
We are living in very crazy and uncertain times, but it is not the first time the world has seen circumstances that were scary and confusing. Even in the short 232 years our country has been a country we have been through and triumphed over many adversities that could have destroyed us as a nation. But like the Israelites wondering in the desert, it is so easy to forget all the miracles God has already shown us.
We must understand who is really in control. God does not let leaders be put in power if He did not have a plan to use it to His own glory. Like in the days of Rome's occupation of Israel, people are expecting the Messiah to come in on a white horse ready to overthrow and set and everything right. What we have to remember though is God doesn't always work like that. Sometimes he lets people have what they think they want. Sometimes He lets them have it over and over again until they have come to the end of the road and realize they were on a path that led to sorrow and enslavement. He let Israel have their idols and then he let the Babylonians have their Hebrew slaves.
We must be careful not to jump to a dangerous opinion that God is cruel to let these things happen to his children. What parent does not try to save their young ones from at least some of the consequences of their inevitable mistakes? Why would our Father in heaven allow us to reap all that we sow?
We must remember Romans 8:28.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

It is this verse that always helps me to make sense of all the chaos and confusion.
If I had only one verse to claim as my life verse, it would be this one. They say hindsight is always 20/20. If you look deeper you'll see it is more than that. Events are interconnected. Paths are intertwined. The illustration I like to use is that of a giant three-dimensional puzzle that spans both time and space. Each piece fits into the other and is part of the whole thing. We are only allowed to see parts of the whole thing. If we look carefully we can see part of the past and how those pieces fit together. I doubt our finite minds could comprehend all of it. It is good thing that God's mind is infinite though. What we cannot see is the future parts of the puzzle and how they connect to the past ones, but God can. What's more is not only can God see the whole puzzle, he designed it and created each of the pieces!
Each of those pieces isn't finite either. The free will God endowed each of us brings a liquid fluidity to each piece and the puzzle as a whole and yet God knows how to keep it together. The quote that is on the bottom of all the emails I send from my art school address says it very well, in the context of a master weaver overseeing his workers. "Our master is such a great artist, that he uses our mistakes to improve the beauty of the pattern."
Let's return to Romans 8:28 for a second though because there is kind of a catch. Paul tells us that God works for the good of those who love God. Do you love God? He works good for those who are called according to his purpose. Are you called according to his purposes or your own? Those are the questions I must ask myself when I look at the world around me and begin to get afraid.
Why should I ever be afraid if I personally know the puzzlemaker and am loved and called according to his purpose?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Tip Tuesday- on Wednesday.

Sorry all. I am so busy right now. Please pray for me as I am really quite stressed out. I am having to do this blog at 6am after having gotten up at 5am, just so I'd have time to get a shower in. Oh well, I am thankful for the busy-ness though as it means my business is going well. The plaster project is still sitting in my draft folder, but it wants out very badly so please be a little more patient with that one.
On to today's matters...
Today I share with you the secret of my homeschooling success!


This is a generic form that you can use for any subject. There are two here to choose from with the only difference being the amount of lines and line spacing.You can use it for big kids or little. They can write it themselves or dictate to you.
If they are dictating and you are writing, I would use the form with more lines as someone else doing doing the actual physical part of the writing tends to free up their tongue and imagination a bit and many, many words flow sometimes. The most important (and fun in my opinion) is the drawing section. My boys have a whole ancient history book they have made themselves using these forms and narrating from The Story of the World.
To print these, just click on the image. A bigger version will show on your screen. Click on file at the top of your screen. Make sure to click on print preview to make sure you will get what you really want. You may have to scale down the image to make it fit all on one paper.
Right now we are using these to do chapter summaries of The Golden Goblet. My ten year old actually types his on the computer in Word and then once it is printed out he draws a picture. Many times the best thing is to have the kids draw the picture first and then write about it. A picture is worth a thousand words after all!

For Website Wednesday these are my offerings for you today.

Drawing Now-
Here you will find little step by step videos of how to draw many, many things. This link will take you right to the knight tutorial, but at the top of the screen you will see the tabs for many more options. My only hesitation in recommending this site is that the advertising on the site may not be your cup of tea and you may not want your child clicking on some of the links provided. My suggestion is to sit next to your child while they do these drawings or remain quite near where you can always see the screen too. The drawings range from detailed and complicated to very simple and recognizable cartoon characters including many Anime and Mange styles.( Just to be clear though, I am not a fan of these styles though my daughter is.)

Wild Weather Adventure!
This is a fun game all about weather. Each child gets their own weather drone and they must navigate through all sorts of weather by answering questions correctly. You can adjust the difficultly levels of the questions.

And a shameless plug, my Chagall lesson is also up over at KinderArt. Of course the authors over there have added much more to it in the form of info about Marc Chagall and the painting the lesson is based on. It is actually one of the features lessons in the slide show on their homepage!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Monster Mommie Mondays #5 - A few of my not so favorite things about homeschooling...

A few of my not so favorite things about home school...

1. There is no substitute teacher to call when the home school teacher is sick.
2. There are no cafeteria ladies who make lunch. The teacher is the cafeteria lady.
3. There are no janitors to sweep, vacuum, or mop the classroom floor. The teacher is usually the janitor too.
4. There are no teacher assistants or parent volunteers to help grade papers or lead special projects.
5. The dining room wall once intended for a nice hutch or painting is now home to a bulletin board full of projects that I am not allowed to throw away(unless it under the cover of nightfall).
6. When the kids complain about the teacher being mean, I can no longer schedule a parent conference to deal with her bad temper.(Unless an hour at the day spa counts)
7. When my child burps or farts and celebrates it in public, I can no longer blame the poor peer influence.

On the other hand...

A few of my favorite things about home school...

1. Math in pj's.
2. My six year old shouting, "The lego tower is about to collapse."
3. My six year remarking on the "beautiful mosaics" he saw on the outside of the Petco building.
4. My ten year old correcting me on whether or not a jumping spider is venomous or not.
5. My ten year old and seven year old not learning anything new in a group class for other home schoolers because we've already covered it at home.
6.The girls at my art class being mad that my ten year old son was on the boys team when we played art tic tac toe because he always knew all the answers.
7. That my seven year old told me that when he is in high school my husband and I still have to give him hugs and kisses at night,but that we're not allowed to tell anyone about it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fine Art Fridays #4- Giotto

Giotto di Bondone was born near Florence in approximately 1266. He began his early life as a shepherd though ended his life as a celebrated and rich artist. Not many artists in his day could boast being able to support a wife and eight children through their artistic endeavors alone, but he could. The works of Giotto are an important road marker in the history of art because in them we see the breaking of traditions long held in painting style thereby creating an open door to the Renaissance. Indeed, Giotto is known as the "Father of European painting." The style of the day called for stiff, emotionless figures. Giotto's figure were caught in candid poses, full of joy or sadness, much like a photojournalists captures images of peoples all over the world in celebration, everyday life, or in the grips of war. He was even an architect though he is best known for his frescoes, a painting process where color is applied to wet plaster and in the drying process bonds with the plaster creating a permanent, vibrant, and very durable piece of art. In fact, Giotto's frescoes can still be seen today over 700 years later. He is best known for his fresco The Nativity in Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Northern Italy. His frescoes even helped inspire Diego Rivera, the famous Mexican muralist who also chose fresco as his medium.

Together with this post, this cloze activity and coloring page can make a whole lesson on Giotto.
Just click on the images to enlarge and then you can print them out. Be sure to check print preview to make sure your print comes out right. I had to set mine at 50 percent to get each of the whole images on one page.

Tomorrow I will add a plaster painting project for you to try at home.

To learn more about Giotto you can visit these links or check out these recommended books.

Giotto Biography on Wikipedia

Another Giotto Biography

More of Giotto's Artwork

A Virtual Tour through Scrovegni Chapel

Books to Read on Giotto

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thankful Theology Thursdays #4- Why is the Old Testament Important?

This past Sunday our pastor made mention of how some people choose not to place the correct emphasis on the importance of the Old Testament in relation to our Christian walk. They either overemphasize it or under emphasize it. Well I came across a perfect explanation of why we need to balance our view of the Old Testament. This quote is actually taken out of the original context of which it was intended, but I believe it beautifully explains a truth we must carefully guard.

"Because only when we understand God's wrath toward sin can we realize that we need to be saved from it. Only when we hear the very bad news that we're deserving of judgment can we appreciate the very good news that God has provided salvation through His Son."- CJ Mahaney From "The Cross Centered Life".

The Old Testament shows us in vivid detail the consequences of sin and God's inevitable wrath regarding it. What a way to explain to all those unbelievers who point accusingly at the differences between the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the God of love and hope in the New Testament as a contradiction worthy of disproving our faith. God gave us the Old Testament and showed us those differences in part to show us some of what He was saving us from through His Son.

What an awesome God we serve!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Website Wednesdays #4

People often wonder how I know about so much cool stuff on the internet. My mom-in-law thinks I am somehow web-gifted. My secret however are blog and bunny trails. In fact, today while reading some other blogs I happened upon a few super awesome sites. Everyone should know about these and if you are in my email address book, you will probably get a little note from me about them.

Without any further ado, today's offerings are...

How to Draw with Jan Brett
Here you will find videos of the author of such beloved children's classics as The Mitten and Comet's Nine Lives teaching you step by step how to draw and paint her wonderful characters and more and it's free!!!

This is such a wonderful idea! Well known Screen Actors Guild Members such as Elijah Wood and Lou Diamond Phillips read classic children's stories out loud. There are close ups of the pictures and there are captions under the screen so that kids can read along. There are even extension activities available. Again this is free!!

I had heard of this site a while back from a friend but I hadn't really checked it out. It is pretty cool. Kids teach your kids how to cook via different recipe videos. The site boasts over 200 recipe videos. The videos are free to watch online but you can purchase their cookbooks and cooking accessories through the site

That is all for today, but rest assured, my bookmarks are many and I will share them all with you a little at a time!

If you know of a site you think I should know about, please let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tip Tuesday #4-Saving Time and Money

"Time is too expensive not to be spent on someone you love and regret costs more than anything."- Me

Two things I don't have enough of: time and money. One is a renewable resource and one is not, and yet the two seem to be inextricably entwined. Me giving advice on this subject is almost laughable. People visit my house or read my blog and make comments on how organized I must be. When I relay this to my husband, it makes him chuckle every time. I have managed to come up with a few tricks over the years that work for me though.
One of these is shopping only once a week armed with a meal plan and a list based on the plan. Afterward the plan can be posted on the fridge or other kitchen conspicuous area so the inevitable, "What's for breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc?" questions can be handled with a simple pointed finger reminder to check the meal plan. I like using forms so I made this one on my computer just for this purpose.

Feel free to print this out if you'd like. Click on the image, then click on file and click on print. At least that is how my computer does it. If you have a problem and want the form, leave me your email in my comments and I'll email you a PDF version.
You can save more money if you make this meal plan based on the weekly store specials. It can be hard to do this if you are cooking challenged as I am and blessed with picky eaters. There are websites to help with this and can really save a lot of money, though they do charge a fee for using their service.
Two good websites for this are

EZ Meals
This service plans your dinner meals for you based on the store you choose weekly sale ad.

The Grocery Game
This site will help you make the most of your coupons by telling you exactly when to use them. The website also has meal plan ideas based on the surplus you will build up when using the coupons.

There are lots of other sites out there as well, but if you just aren't motivated to use them or they seem cost ineffective to you, just shopping with a meal plan can save quite a bit of money and time by consolidating the "What should I make?" questions that pop up before each meal into a once a week planning session. If you're really froggy you can even learn about once a week or once a month cooking with a meal plan.
My daughter's stepmom Elizabeth has info about this over on her blog..

On a side note, there was a meeting of homeschoolers today that I got to teach the hummingbird lesson to. Things went really well and I think it all wet our appetite for an organized coop group. A group of us has been working on that since the end of last school year. Because we all use public school charters we are not allowed to be part of the local CHEA group because of church and state violations, or interpretations thereof. So here is another thing on my To-do list, along with the book I mentioned earlier which is what I have to go work on now.

PS This weeks Homeschool Blog Carnival is up at the Nerd Family!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Monster Mommie Mondays #4- A voice crying in the wilderness.

God has blessed me with many talents. Singing is not one of them unless you count the joyful noise variety. Unfortunately I tainted my poor children as well. Singing around our house is not generally encouraged by my musician perfect pitched husband. I know the kids have musical talent though, it seems to flow through the Moses family tree veins, just not in our branches vocal cords.
I can however hear when someone is off key, even a little. All the years of living with my hubbie have made me very sensitive to it, so singing is not generally encouraged around our house by me either. But just because I can hear the difference doesn't mean I can reproduce the difference. In fact, if I am singing in a group, like at church, if there is an off key person anywhere near me, my voice goes right off in that wrong direction. I just do the best I can most Sunday's and hope the Lord has some sort of filter he hears me through like the one He sees me through.
This past Sunday though, it was about all I could do to just stay standing and not fall over laughing. There was one lady singing, that though not off key, was so loud and unblending when she should have been blending that it was downright obnoxious. I tried to focus on the music, to get into the heart of worship and honor the Lord with my own less than perfect offering. Just then, behind me came an old man warble so off it could have been a light switch. Focus, focus, I told myself in between chuckles.
Then I started thinking. Life is like this isn't it? We know what the true voice sounds like and we try to imitate it, but our own voice just can't measure up and then there are all these other voices and many times we know they are false but our voices just go right along with them.
Lord, I get it.
At that moment, very near there was a voice that was pure and true. I focused on that voice and got through the song. By the end I was crying.
Lord, I get it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What gives him the authority?

Does being a celebrity suddenly make someone an expert on everything?

You may have heard about Matt Damon's little hissy fit over Sarah Palin being on the Republican ticket. I am not posting it or a link to it here simply because he is getting enough press as it is and I am not giving him another platform for his ignorant soapbox.
He is concerned about her qualifications and experience. Well, what qualifications and experience does he bring to the table that should allow him to use his celebrity status to make political value judgments. Sure he's smart and has an academy award but last time I checked those weren't the best resume attributes to get you a job as a political analyst or commentator. Yet he goes right on ahead and steps into that role just like he does one of his Hollywood action thrillers. He writes and performs in roles about fictional events experienced by fictional characters in a fictional world.
Maybe he thinks he knows something because of the political convictions his college professor mother taught him. Of course, that must be it because there is so much of the real world happening behind the closed doors of university academia. Much of what is propagated on liberal university campuses is in essence socialism.
Socialism looks real good on paper or as a Utopian ideal, but in practice it always falls short. Many people mistakenly look to the early church in the book of Acts as an example of Christian socialism. All the Christians in the church sold all they had in order to share with those who were in need. These people did this of their own volition, not because they were required to do so.(Acts 2:44,45) If you know the rudiments of the story, you may be giving voice to a question about Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). If the early church members weren't required by God to sell all their possessions and share the proceeds with the church, then why did God bring about the deaths of this couple when they kept part of the proceeds from the sale of a parcel of land they owned? They brought about their own destruction not because of their unwillingness to share, but because of the deception they perpetrated in allowing the church to believe they had given everything. Deception is something Matt and Obama probably know alot about. Matt from writing and acting it and Obama from practicing it.
In real life socialism those people would have been forced by insanely high taxes to share all they had and then the government would have "redistributed" that wealth through expensive and inefficient programs after much of it was already spent or siphoned off by corrupt officials. (Welcome to the future of this country with Obama as president by the way.)
Another problem he seems to have with Palin is her faith. Why should her belief in a literal 6 day creation make her any less qualified to run a country? Scientific evidence for a young earth is piling up much faster than those missing links are.
Not to mention that some of the brightest minds in science today are Christians who promote a young earth theory, going against the grain of a well-established world system that does not like to be questioned. Ah, that sounds very much like the exact establishment Palin is ready to take on so maybe her faith has already helped prepare her for Washington. (By the way Matt, dinosaurs were probably here closer to 5 or 6 thousand years ago, you can check out ICR for better numbers.)
He speaks also of "not knowing who she is and not knowing who she is in eight weeks from now". Apparently he must know Obama pretty well. In fact maybe better than Obama himself since he can't seem to remember what religion he is without a reporters prompting.
Why shouldn't a hockey mom of five, one of whom has special needs, and another of who is a pregnant teenager be able to handle the ups and downs of global politics?
Think of the problem solving, time and crisis management she had to have just to get her through her life this far. A bunch of whiny little senators has got to be easier than that, and could probably use a few well placed words from a mom who'll give them a "what-for" when they need it.
The new Jack in the Box ad shouldn't be a JIB commercial, it should be the new McCain and Palin campaign promo. It shows two businessmen being pushed in an oversized stroller by an undersize woman. Both with laptops and cellphones trying to work when one realizes he is hungry and begins to cry causing the other to wail as well. The woman then magically makes it all better with the presentation of taco bell food. At the end of the ad, they are seen fighting over the food Instead of businessmen, think congressmen, senators, UN officials, and other world leaders and instead of JIB food, think borders, oil and nuclear arms.
(I tried to find the spot on Youtube but was unsuccessful- much like Damon's future career may be).

You may think that after my little rant that I would encourage you to boycott Matt Damon movies and ask you to throw out your Bourne DVD's. Nothing of the sort. The man is a great actor. Help him make money doing what he is great at. But he is an actor and that is all. But do not let him use his ignorant celebrity status to unduly influence your ideas and opinions. His opinion should have no effect on how you cast your vote. It will have no effect on how I cast mine. Neither will Pink's. Sarah Palin's integrity might however as will Obama's lack of it.

*Editor's note* My apologies to Matt. The Book of Job being about 2000 years old does put dinos here about 4000 years ago. This article over at ICR explains much better than I can.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thankful Theology Thursdays #2- Remembering September 11th

A while back I started a devotional series on Proverbs. For each day of the month I look at the corresponding chapter and verse in Proverbs and explore it. I tried doing that today, but I had already written about Proverbs 9:9 and for some reason I was drawn to the Psalms. This is what I found there in Psalm 9:11, 12.

Sing praises to the Lord,
enthroned in Zion;
proclaim among the nations
what he has done.
For he who avenges blood
He does not ignore the cry of
the afflicted.

This is a day to remember. We must also realize that God remembers. He remembers those who were killed, those who survived, and those who were responsible.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Website Wednesdays #3

Okay, this will have to be quick as I've spent the past thirty minutes looking for a bookmarked page to a blog that I left a comment on saying it would be a Wednesday pick.
Do you think I can find that bookmark among the multitude of other bookmarks right now.
I am pretty good at organizing these, but not today I guess. So I will have to be satisfied to offer you these today.

Here is a recent site I found for art lessons. It is called
Art Teacher on the Net

Something for language arts today. Ever had a word you just couldn't think of a rhyme for? Next time try going over to try Poetry & Prose's automatic rhymer.

Finally something cool that could easily be made educational. I won't spoil the surprise, but click here too see it.

Also a "Mummy-Kens" special report. The "Mummy-Kens" were laid to rest yesterday after being fitted with their burial masks and then laid into their golden sarcophagi.(These were made from the original Ken boxes and covered with gold metallic scrapbook paper) Their pyramid tomb was completed at the same time, so a funeral procession with a professional mourner(me pretending to wail) entombed the mummies.

Thousands of years later, the great explorers find the pyramid of the "Mummy-Kens"!

*Edit note*
I remembered the site! Yay! It is all about learning the everyday skills that as home schoolers we sometimes neglect in favor of academics. It is a great site.
Homeschooling for the Real World.

Also the 141st Carnival of Homeschooling Post is up. Check it out. You may end up back here!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tip Tuesday #3- Felt Board Games

In a previous post I had briefly mentioned felt board games.

"Oooh, flannelgraph."
-Larry the Cucumber- Veggietales- King George and the Duckie

Can you tell, I love games? I really do when it comes to using them for educational purposes. I grew up as an only child, though I do have two half-brothers who grew up two thousand miles away with their mom. I did have cousins though. Lots of wonderful cousins. My aunt and uncle had six kids and I was at their house a lot. One of the things we did was play games. These games almost always ended up in pants-wetting glorious uncontrollable laughing. Of course if I got tired of my cousins, I could always go home (eight blocks away) and do what Jan Brady always wished she could and enjoy being an only child. I digress, the point of today's offering is to tell you about the wonderful properties of flannel board games.

The Heart Game

Ten pretty hearts in a card shop
All covered with ribbons and lace on to
Along comes Sally(or whatever your childrens' names are)
With a dollar to pay.
Sally picks (red) and (flies) away.

I have used this game with two year olds all the way up to junior high kids with just a little variation here and there and like the previously posted about "tic tac toe spelling", the general idea is adaptable to almost anything you can think of.
First off, you of course need a flannel board. I made this one with remnant flannel purchased at WalMart, a piece of large cardboard from some box, and the ever reliable duct tape. You simply wrap the flannel around the board and fasten on the back with tape. The only trick is getting the flannel good and tight. I have also done this with a new pizza box(request an unused one next time you go out for pizza) or even a shoe box with a lid. The nice thing about using a flannel board with a lid is you have automatic storage for all the felt pieces and games.
In this game you will need 10 different colored pieces of felt. All you have to do is cut out a heart stencil and then use that as a guide to cut out all the other felt hearts. I went so far as to decorate mine with puffy paint lace edges, but you really don't have to.
What I then did was to write the color name on each heart front in black sharpie. On the back I used put on a piece of masking tape and wrote a silly action for the kids to do, like "fly like an airplane" or "wiggle". For kids with sensory issues who are in OT, this may be a perfect way to introduce certain exercises your therapist has suggested. Speech sounds could be worked on this way too. I also assigned each heart a point value too. I would put that on with tape too so you can change it periodically. Kids will learn really fast which has are worth what points. With the extra green felt make little felt dollars for the kids to purchase the heart cards with.

Kids will be learning colors and color words as well the idea that money buys things.
They will also be learning about counting and partners for ten if at the top of each round you count out the remaining hearts and how many have been taken.
I have used this game after a story to check comprehension. Every time they answer a question correctly they get to buy a heart. Kids often want to keep the hearts, so if you are doing this with a group of kids not your own, you may want to use paper hearts(like valentine doilies) or let kids trade in hearts at the end of the game for a small prize.
For older kids the points are the key. Forget the rhyme. Every time a question is answered right they get the amount of points on the back of the heart. Of course some of those hearts could be worth negative points. This has been fun to do with teams in a larger class. The winning team then get the prize. Again you can work on higher math concepts here by making each heart worth more than one(skip counting and multiplication) or part of one(fractions).
You also don't have to use hearts. I have done this in all sorts of shapes that correspond to whatever we're learning about. I have used arks, fish, birds,or whatever else could be pulled out of the lesson. Since we are in Ancient Egypt right now, maybe my next incarnation will be pyramids.


Taylor's response to his brother's concern about not having enough blocks while working on a megablock pyramid project to house the mummy-Kens.

"Don't worry, I have a master plan."

Monday, September 8, 2008

Monster Mommie Mondays #3- The Precious.

There are two incarnations of the precious. One can be hot or cold, the other must always be cold. One is for morning, the other for evening. There can never be enough and the precious must not be wasted or spilled, even just a few drops. Special pilgrimages must be made to obtain more when precious resources run low, and never, never can the precious be allowed to run out. It is not idolatry or addiction but plain and simple necessity. Our little corner of the world cannot run without the precious to fuel it. The precious is blessed!

What is this precious you ask?

Gasoline does not power the world. It is CAFFEINE!!!!!!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Breaking the Rules

I am going to do a format change just for today out of neccessity. I do this for two reasons, the first to congratulate my dad and his new bride Nan, who were married this past Sunday. I had meant to write about it on Thursday, but between a little case of writers block and a big case of busy schedule, I didn't. I was able to meet much of my new family at the wedding and they were all wonderful. I am looking forward to getting to know them all better.

I may write more later about the wedding later, but I also have a second reason to preempt myself. This coming Sunday is Taylor's 10th birthday. So I am posting a wish list of his for all to see. This is of course a parent approved wish list and may not include things he is really wishing for (like a Wii or a Playstation which are not approved by Mom and Dad).

On another note, I taught my first two after-school classes at the private school this week and it went really well. I must admit I was humbled by the Kindergarten through 2nd grade class in terms of class control and discipline though. The younger kids class is on Wednesdays so when Thursday's older kid class came, I had a strategy. I must thank my friend Joanna for this one, and Supernanny as well.
In my home school my boys earn glass pebbles everytime they finish a subject for the day or do a chore or work on a habit we're trying to develop. When all the pebbles are moved from one container to the other then we get to go somewhere special like Chuck E. Cheese or Pump It Up. This also gives me "Pebble Power" because if they don't finish they don't get pebbles or if there are attitudes or discipline issues I can have the power to take pebbles away. There is only one jar and also they are a team. Each kids good and bad affect the other. In this way they are learning how the world really works and about team effort to obtain a common goal. So in my classes at school the kids will start with a full jar. If there are issues, I will take away pebbles. If they still have a full jar at the end of class they all will either be able to pick a prize from my prize bag(for the younger kids) or get an entry for the art kit giveaway I will do at the end of the session. They also earn entries and prizes by doing the homework I give them. This worked well on Thursday so we'll see how it goes with the younger kids next week.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Website Wednesdays #2

My offerings for you today...

A free 36 week art lesson curriculum for kids at Little Acorns Tree House.

She has done a good job here. You will find a literature resource, biographical info, and a project idea. All 36 weeks are laid out at once so you can pick and choose at your leisure. The project ideas are made up mostly of links to others sites around the web. It looks like a lot of fun and I will probably be borrowing from it heavily this year!

Since this where we are at, I know others may be too, and if so this is for you.
Birmingham Museum and Art Galleries give you the opportunity to explore an Egyptian Tomb. You can also learn about Ancient Greece and Rome while you're there.

This last one is one of my favorite places and you may already know about it. If you don't you should. It may become your go to source for all things social study oriented for kids.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Tip Tuesday #2-Making the most of teachable moments

The plan today was to go to the park first. We would take our nature journals and kill time until the church office opened because I needed to pick up paperwork. After that we would go to Walmart for groceries. What we didn't plan was how well the opportunity lined up with what we have already been studying and some of what we haven't. In history we are in Ancient Egypt as I discussed before which carried over beautifully to the study of deserts. Since we happen to live in one it just makes it all that much better.
It was my intention to have the boys take some soil samples to compare and write or draw about what they saw. I didn't anticipate that they would see an illustration of a desert food chain in action when we witnessed ants devouring a dead cockroach(gross, I know but fascinating none the less).
We were also treated to a flock of gray pigeons who in their midst had one single reddish brown friend. This led us to thinking that it was either a different type of pigeon or perhaps a male, which led to discussing now male birds are almost always flashier that their female counterparts, and then about why that is and how God designed it to be that way. We also saw lots of lizards scurrying away as we walked past and we noticed how many different types of cars were parked in the parking lot.
We also found two distinct soil types and some wild mushrooms.
Next week we will go again and this time we will be armed with tables to make data graphs on. We will figure out how many different animals we see and how many different makes of vehicles there are and how many of each. We may even make a data graph on what different types of people we see there.
Did you notice how many "ands" I used in this post? It is amazing what can happen when you are open to the teachable moments around you and all the rabbit trails that spring up from them. Everyday life can be a great curriculum when you let it.

On a side note, one of the purchases made from Walmart today was two Ken dolls. It was so funny because the boys fussed so much about getting "Barbies" for this. Of course they had the packages open by the time we got in the car and by the time we got home were making plans to borrow their sister's girl Barbies to complete the Kens' budding families. The Kens also fought several battles both with each other and with other action figures before succumbing to their injuries. They were then utilized in our mummy making process. This website over here has great instructions on how to do it yourself. These are a few pictures of our process. We will finish up tomorrow with a mummy mask, sarcophagus, and pyramid tomb. Who knows, we may even hire ourselves as professional mourners. (Pharaoh funeral processions had those you know.)

The first one is of Ryan tearing his linen strips. (we used an old pillowcase)
Taylor did this too but I only managed to get the pic of Ryan.

The second is our wrapped up mummy-Kens complete with mummy-Ken sunglasses!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Weekend Bonus

I couldn't wait for Wednesday for this one. I had been thinking how FIAR lent itself beautifully to the whole lapbooking idea but that you would have to come up with your own mini books and layouts.
I was wrong!!!!
At the FIAR website they have their own version of lapbooks called fold and learn and are designed to go with each of the FIAR books and all the books in each. How awesome.
I wish I had known about that last year. Oh well.
Here is the link if you want to check it out.
FIAR Fold and Learn

Monster Mommie Mondays #2

If you asked my husband he would tell you I am just this side of OCD when it comes to cleaning. If you asked someone with OCD or somebody, say like Joan Crawford, they would tell you I was a pig. I think of myself as the latter who would like to live in Joan's house.
I can't help it. I like it when things are clean. I don't always enjoy the process of getting it that way though. Especially if two seconds before, it was that way and one of my precious beloveds is at fault for changing the pristine status. I also don't have time to get everything the way I'd really like it to be and when I decide to make that time I easily get distracted by something way more important. For instance, cuddling up with hubby in the bed and watching Law and Order reruns.
"Oh look. Law and Order is on." (Isn't it always on?)
My favorite of course is when I have to redo something. A disturbing thing to think about is how many teenage employees there are in eating establishments. My daughter is a teenager. The health department would be appalled to know how much dirt I got off my floor five minutes after she was "done" cleaning it.
Like many others, I am also very keenly aware of how unclean my house is when I have guests in it. I have people in my house quite frequently because of art classes. So I do my best and firmly believe in a cleaning process known as "stash and dash". There are few of us, I am convinced, that don't have a room or space somewhere, where guests are not allowed simply because that is where all the junk went five minutes before said guests arrival.
You are probably wondering how I can stand teaching childrens art classes in my house. In all honesty it doesn't bother me. It just needs to be clean when we start and when we are all done. In fact the reason I have many students is because other moms would rather my dining room be the one to suffer the art abuse as opposed to theirs and I am okay with this. I try to use washable materials and so far have been very blessed to only have one green finger paint print on the white dining room walls.
Yes the walls are white and so are the floors. This is not my choice as we are renting, but it does make me acutely aware of every speck of dirt landing on them.
I seem to be obsessed with the floor for some reason. I will have been married eleven years this coming November and for all of those years, through four different residences, the floors have either been very light or white. Someday I will have dark floors with dark grout!!!!!!!!

As I write this I can see some perfect theological opportunities, but I will save those for Thursday. Make sure to join me then since you've gotten a sneak peek.

I must also add, perhaps to honor him, and perhaps to make other wives jealous, my hubbie does do dishes, cook, and vacuum at least a few times a week. In fact he just finished cleaning out the fridge. A job I had started but abandoned to come and write this. And because I love him so much, I am not going to recheck his work and try to do it over.