Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Embracing Summer

It's been a long year, lots of change, lots of growth, lots of good. Its also been a year or many ups and downs.

Challenges to our faith from the politics of our local church. Politics that dropped the Word in favor of many words. That put individual agendas on top of God's agenda, but politics that forced us to dig deeper into God, learning growing and trusting.

Challenges at my husbands workplace with difficult co-workers, and seeing a world or options in the wider organization. Alongside it good busyness developing an out-door recreation program for PE, us teaching ballroom dancing, finishing off the second year of a creation based, hands on, web based learning science curriculum for his students all this and teaching a full courseload.

Overcoming the challenges and frustrations of the ways we don't work well together as a homeschool and working towards a more positive home-school attitude. Along the way working through the issues that leave us feeling stressed and doubtful.

A string of financial hiccups - not the painful problem of job loss, but a year of niggles, and unexpected bills that have left us stretched and unsure.

Yesterday was the day to call summer school. Optimistically to say that for the next month or two we'll work on some school, rest, play , love laugh. Hubby has another 7 days before he is free to join us.

I'm looking forward to changing gears, tidying up the garden from the rain of the last two weeks of early summer, enjoying nature and focusing on God. Hopefully along the way we can see a complete change in how we school from the structure we have needed on the past to a freer, more encouraging focus of enjoying what we do. If so our early end to the school year will be well rewarded.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Independance revisited.

For now hubby is encouraging me to try and split up the kids and let them work separately from each other. Since I have been going back and forward over the advantages and disadvantages all term - ie for the last 6-8 weeks its nice to have the stress of decision over-ruled. To him the meed to let her be extended exceeds the need for togetherness in studies and discussion. But as he states we can build the discussion into our day elsewhere.

So for now I'm hoping to get plans for each child's afternoon studies posted this evening so that we have some order next week.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Clearing Stickies and finding order or just MIA

This has been an eventful week - On Saturday my husband gave the kids a challenge to clear all their stickies (corrections) and get on top of school. No small feat when some of those corrections had been avoided for months.

OK not something I wanted to admit to but its nice to be on top of them. To be free of the battles - well almost. Having cleared the stickies we found ourselves with the classic tired day. One child stressing over birthday gifts and the other just not rested.

At the end of the year everyone is feeling the tiredness and exhaustion. for me having had my plan overturned by well life its been an interesting term.

My starting attempts at being more teaching oriented were interesting. Enough togetherness to blow school out of the water. Three weeks of crawling through new programs for Latin, and maybe Greek, struggles to get quiet. Big struggles. Eventually we pulled it all apart and are currently back to independent learning.

I'm not really happy. Can I do a better job of marrying the two. I would like to think so, but at the moment I'm to exhausted to try. So for now we stay apart. I miss the fun but I'm to exhausted to try and sort it out.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What a difference a day makes.

Today was one of the first days in weeks where school got happy again. I have no idea why our learning times turned upside down. Was it looking at what others were doing and trying to do thier thing. Maybe, was it change that just didn't quite bring the kids along with it. Maybe. Just a bad run of not quite knowing what I was ding, maybe. It could have been as simple as having changed enough that my homeschool planner couldn't cope. That could be it in a nutshell.

Through the process I have learned that my esteem is inexplicably tied into the quality of our learning times. Whether its respect issues, joy, laughter or unity it has a huge effect. A good friend has suggested that I address this ... food for thought.

But it was good to have us working together, to have the freedom to learn and enjoy, and to not have the pressure to rush. Even with one child needing to work in thier own space, one heading down with chickenpox and only one settling down to work it was good to enjoy doing what we do. It's been a long time. Hopefully we are in a better place and can enjoy going forward.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Snowed under

Figuratively that is.

Over the last few weeks life has become incredibly complex and busy. Yesterday is the first time I managed in months to clear my desk and feel ready and awake for the new week. The kids dutifully took the bait of extra computer time to help out and finish off their school work for Friday.

Yes a clean slate for the week ahead.

The week has also been one of blessings, good friendships and the ability to sort out the misunderstandings off life, and yes there were misunderstandings.

Deep feelings that reminded me of all the stuff you work at forgiving and move on from , which just maybe hasn't been completely forgiven.

And stirring up the depths - the looming possibility of a church split ... the stuff you hope isn't real, that you really don't want to deal with. That you hope you can cope with as message after message is more about how we can do what we feel is right than about seeking truth.

Right now my clean slate isn't all that clean. Home church sounds so good. Not having to wade through controversy after every Sunday, not feeling like each week you are being forced to take a position that you don't agree with. Not being manipulated.

God is good, he is in control, and we can trust him. Just now I wish that I knew where the next few weeks were leading.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Learning at the Dining Room Table

Sometime in the last few months, we seem to have made a transition. Somehow I'm less tossed by the fear of what we should be doing in our home-school. More sure about the choices that we have made, more content to let things take their right path.

We have made some interesting changes to the way we do school. Changes that wouldn't be standard opinion, but changes that work for my trio. The biggest change has come from running as one class in everything but Maths. This means we are all starting at the working at the same place in Latin, Greek, Writing, Grammar and on the same topic for History, Bible, Science and Literature. It wasn't an easy choice. Lots of prayer, some occasional panic, but a sure feeling that this is what we need to do for us.

At the heart of the change is the pull between actively teaching and independent learning.

Independent learning is great, its how my 10 yr old has taught himself to draw/design engines, planes, anything that challenges his engineering brain. Its how my daughter has learned to sew.

But when its a subject that they are told they need to learn it seems to be more of an issue of struggling through what they hope is right. For two of my kids, if not all three, independent learning is a case of trial and error that slowly has sapped their love of learning, their confidence and their achievements. Independent learning here seems to be a case of working through the book, hoping that we get it, panicking that we missed something, never really being sure of ourselves, and sadly not realizing that help is just a question away.

Slowly over the year subjects have been combined, often so that we are all in the same place, learning together, sometimes slowly, sometimes faster, but happier, stronger and with far fewer corrections and re-works. Sometimes it gives out some strange results - like my 9 yr old getting logic faster than the 7th grader, sometimes we learn to wait for someone, sometimes its way to loud, sometimes quiet and steady. Slowly each day our confidence is growing.

Eventually I will have to work on a balance between the two, but for now this is good, this is encouraging, and this is teaching us how to learn from each other.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Toolbox Logic Lesson 2 & 3

School Holidays are over and its time to get back into our studies, Some changes this term, mainly in bringing more subjects together than before. It should be fun.
  • Day 1 Read over chapter 2, Try to get an idea of what the whole chapter is about. Discuss section in general. Re read section on comprehension carefully. Answer Questions. Reread section on Notes answer questions. Finish with Chapter from Fallacy detective.

  • Day 2 Read section on Porphyrian tree answer questions, Read Extension answer questions, read relationship between Comprehension and Extension Answer questions. Review Questions to finish. Finish with Chapter from Fallacy detective.

    If we only get this far in the week that’s ok! Ben and Josh are young. We will get there overall.
  • Day 3 Read over Chapter 3. Then read introduction and answer questions. Read Signification of Terms and answer questions. Finish with Chapter from Fallacy detective
  • Day 4 Read Supposition of Terms and answer questions. The n read the summary of Chapter 1 – 3 Answer Questions. Finish with Chapter from Fallacy detective.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We are pottering

Yesterday was a mix of trying to decide if we had energy to do something or not ...I was very in favour of enjoying a quiet day just pottering. After all three boys (hubby included) had asked several times what we were doing my daughter wrote this on the school whiteboard ....

So find a pot (in finding a pot do not pull out Mum's flowers) and start "ering" it for an hour. You must do it outside or you will have to clean up the mess.

Its still written there and still leaves me smiling.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Latin is the subject most due for tinkering. Three kids, three different levels, with a mix of success. I really do want to try and bring the three kids together. For the next week that is easier sad than done.

Thus far we have used Memoria Press- Latina Christiana, and Henle. Sounds Good, but in practice it hasn't been great. Perseverance describes our course more than delight or mastery. So where to. For my youngest its going to be business as usual next week. He's one week away from finishing and it would be good to have him do that.

So Latina Christiana 25 stands as an ongoing lesson.

For the rest of us. we will continue in our studies for this week and probably work through a combined review lesson next week. Then new things

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Ok this week is a bit of an experiment. We're going to try working together in Greek. This was always a together subject. Then we split tow children carried on an one went back a bit to catch up. Since then a couple of things have happened. We've all been moving forward, but mastery has been a bit of an issue. So I'll see where we are at.

Working from Elementary Greek Chapter 29,
  • Day 1 Work through the memory verse on the board and include in our books. Vocab new words and review words. work with drill cards. Listen to CD and copy out the words. Discuss where our words come from. Then review the fem. declension where we have an alpha and eta endings. Copy out the first declension masculine endings. Identify the differences. Do the same for the the word for young man. in the new vocab.

  • Day 2 Review words and saying using cards and then drill sheets. Complete the declension for the last noun on our vocab to review yesterday/s work. Then review verbs as per the Greek book. Include review or the words for I am and I was.

  • Day 3 Continue to review words and sayings. Review declensions we have learned - 1 st, second masc, 2nd neuter. Discuss agreement of adjectives given that we have some masculine 1 st dec nouns. Translation of phrases into Greek.

  • Day 4 Continue to review words and sayings. Review paradigm for I and you and the article. Then work through translation sentences for the week.

    For this week use Friday to review vocab in Greek. Next week it will be review in Latin.

Toolbox: Grammar

Last term we finished our diagramming review. So heading forward, my aim is to catch up to where we are in Homer, and use either Harvey's or Mother Tongue as a base. Either is possible. Mother Tongue is on my computer s a PDF so printing out worksheets is very very easy. Too easy. The exercises are nicer to, but its a much longer text. Much longer.

  • Monday: Introduction to the sentence and its parts. Aim is to record the definitions in our Tricks of the Trade book and move on. Since much of these chapters is review we should be able to get through most of Harvey's parts 1-6 during this session.

  • Tuesday: Record the rules for plural endings. Review Subject and Predicate. Exercises from mother Tongue II chapter II

  • Wednesday: Homer makes a diversion into phrases and clauses. Which I think we are starting to understand from our diagramming and Latin/Greek work. So work through Homer week 1 Day 3. Use our diagramming skills to work out what we are dealing with here.
    Finish with a fun review of abbreviations and conjunctions.

  • Thursday: Harvey's work on singular and plural.
    Introduction to parsing. Looking at nouns only. using exercises from Homer week 2 day 3.
We possibly wont get through this much but at least I have enough to keep us busy and we will see where we get to.

Friday, September 18, 2009


Latin is the subject most due for tinkering. Three kids, three different levels, with a mix of success. I really do want to try and bring the three kids together. For the next week that is easier sad than done.

Thus far we have used Memoria Press- Latina Christiana, and Henle. Sounds Good, but in practice it hasn't been great. Perseverance describes our course more than delight or mastery. So where to. For my youngest its going to be business as usual next week. He's one week away from finishing and it would be good to have him do that.

So Latina Christiana 25 stands as an ongoing lesson.

For the rest of us we will continue as per normal this week. Working through where we are at and then if all goes well in Greek we will merge our studies and work together. Using Wheelock's as a base and adding in a bit of Christian content from Henle ( because we can) Lingua Angelica and Lingua Biblica. It should be fun. That's the aim.


For this week I'm trying a more hands on approach to all the kids subjects: especially the ones that need support. Beth has been working through Jacobs algebra slowly. She can do the work but really the level of questions are leaving her more confused than confident. So ...
  • Mon & Tues: Beth to do Set 1 beside me: discuss each question before she does it.

    Then we're looking at equations in more than one variable. Chapter one is simply looking at the possibilities, can two numbers represent x and y in an equation. Slowly work Beth through each of these questions.

  • Tue: continue working through the questions.. look at set 4 and see how she goes. (In between work with the boys on Fractions.)

  • Wed: Review Exercises again discuss each group of questions before she does it.

  • Thurs: Chapter two is simply taking what we were doing in the previous chapter and formalizing it as a formula.
Josh and Ben, See how they go together again. If it goes well give Josh the chance to work on Keys when he finished early.

Up to now I've had the kids work through key's to Fractions in order to get up to speed. It works to a point. They have lots of practice, but I'm not sure if either boy has really gotten a good understanding of how fractions work. For Grade 5...
  • Mon & Tues: Looking at multiplying functions as per Singapore Maths. Go over this slowly and make sure he is confident before we head off on the exercises.

  • Tue: Word Problems: Remind him that these are all dealing with multiplication, since that's what we are studying. Diagrams and find the multiplication equation in the story.

  • Wed: Practice 3, should be simple enough if we take 5 min at the beginning. Practice 4 is like it but without the improper fraction. We might be able to get through both.

  • Thurs: Finish up from Wed, and if going well work on the word problems. Again these will all involve multiplication just like we were working on.
If that doesn't work for Josh then have him continue solo. I think it will though.

Facing the Giants

For a long time we have been trying to find the balance between our kids wills and trying to keep a tidy home and a regular homeschool program.

We all love homeschooling, its just that for Mum and Dad - learning featured much higher in that than for the kids.

Trying to find the balance has been a journey, one that has needed much prayer and thought. Its had some ups and some downs...ok lots of downs. Not because homeschooling is hard, just well three strong willed kids and a determined mum can give some interesting results. I've learned a lot about my kids, education, sibling rivalry and life along the way.

This year has seen a lot of change in how we home school and how we react to each other. I've had to work out what my motivation is - to prove that homeschooling works, to have really smart kids, or because we love God and each other and believe that this is the best option for our families education.

Last Monday we showed the kids a film that is having huge results in how we talk about school and how we respond to each other. The film "Facing the Giants" comes from the same people who produced "Fireproof" and while blatantly Christian it has an equally good message - Give God your Best and leave the rest - good or bad, win or loose up to him. He can do the impossible - or not... our job it to give him our best and give him glory. The kids watched the film with us and they are thinking. Thinking and acting on what we saw - and that's good.


Last night we were privileged to have one of the teams from Watoto in Uganda visit our church. Not only visit but host overnight two of the kids and their caregiver.

On stage they are great, full of energy and praise, and beautiful voices. The sound system lost them a bit loosing the voices to the backing tracks. When they sang grace unaccompanied they were amazing.

Neat to see my Artist in the thick of conversation with the older girls - trying to find out who was coming to stay that night. Learning and listening. We could see the conversation from the back of the room. The boys worked out that my son was ticklish .. and well.. he may never let on to that again. Fun, joy and praise. Polite kids. Polished, poised and hopeful.

It was good, challenging leaving me with much to think about as we go about our lives - could we simplify.

Here's their website they are well worth seeing and supporting. Valda

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Toolbox: Progym


This week we are onto longer narratives. From what I can see in the previous weeks writing projects we could also do with spending a little bit of time reviewing outlining proper.

  • Day 1: Read through the narrative and see how it fits together. Who wrote it, who did they write it too, what is its message.

    Discuss scenes and what makes a scene break. Outline the story showing the scene breaks. Then complete Theons 6 on each scene. (What is the authors emphasis on each scene.) If we get extra time look at the sentence work for "To the Sea" start to play with one sentence. Finish the day working on the sentence analysis for this lesson. Keep it fun.

  • Day 2: Repeat day 1 using the Parable of the Good Samaritan, if time allows work through synonym substitutions and diagramming exercise.

  • Day 3: Repeat day 1 using the Parable of the Workers in the vineyard. Complete the day with the six sentence shuffle exercise for this assignment.

  • Day 4: Select one of the three stories we have studied this week to imitate. Retell the story in a way that keeps the scenes separate from each other and shows the changes when moving from one scene to another.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Starting Shakespeare

Yesterday was our first settled reading of the Taming of the Shrew. We tried earlier in the week, read through the background notes of the first scene from "Brightest Heaven of Invention", and then floundered due to overly excited kids and trying to find individual versions.

Yesterday we tried again, handed out laptops and books, and assigned parts. Everyone read, wow. Even my reluctant reader managed ok, the boys added in their dramatic flair, and it was fun. Interestingly enough the humor left them a little abashed. They just couldn't laugh at what was obviously inappropriate. Well you have to love them for that.

They are in love. The main encouragement to change from our blocks to a more balanced week is to include these works and AI can see benefits on so many levels from doing so.

The Bard stays, Plutarch similarly was a hit although I'll keep that as a read aloud for a while. Between Shakespeare and our bible reading we might be able to include a daily reading out loud slot for each of the kids that doesn't threaten my Artist but gives her motivation to develop her skills.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Those other subjects

This journey into playing with an Ambleside format came from the realisation that some things are just easier that way. I want to re- establish our nature studies, and give a place to Poetry, Shakespeare and Plutarch. Inclusion of Artists and Composer studies would round our work areas out.

Nature Study

A Country Diary of An Edwardian Lady (transposed for the New Zealand Seasons),
Apologia Swimming Creatures. The Grand Canyon a Different View


Taming of the Shrew.




Eugene Field
If we finish early I'll fill in with Christine Rossetti until next year.


Grieg, Edgar



Musing on afternoon studies

In the last week I've been thinking a lot about what each subject contributes to our learning experience. In the process I've come to realize that some fine tuning is required. I'm happy with the toolbox and the omnibus studies. Despite the debate about whether we do eachsubject in a block or mix them through the day my aim for the next year is to work through the following resources:


The story of the World 1,
Famous Men of Greece, Famous Men of Rome,
D'Auldaires Myths,
Black ships before Troy,
The Adventures of Odysseus
and In search of a Homeland.
(This gives us all a grounding in Greece and Rome which somehow kept getting disrupted in earlier years.)


Reading through the OT from Genesis through Judges
A house for my name.


Apologia Exploring Creation with General Science.


The Horse and His Boy
Veritas Omnibus Notes

I must have been tired when I first wrote this post. Put like that is isn't as scary as it seemed this morning when I tried to work out if the blocks were better.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Toolbox - Art and Form

Day 1
Topic intro: Discuss the different ways artists show form and shape.
Warm up: Take a white piece of paper and create a three dimensional
shape with form, form them into a mobile over the week using ideas from
everyone. You can use scissors and sellotape only.
Exercise: To start our investigation of shape and form, and to work on an understanding of why we do art, select five objects within a category ie rocks, leaves, shells, seed pods, insects and draw them showing their differences in shape and size.
Day 2
Warm up: As per day one:
Topic intro: Discuss the brown Pelican by John James Audubon. How does he show form in the picture.
Exercise: Draw a picture of an item the way the sun shines on it. (Show light and dark and discuss at the end of the exercise.)
Day 3
Warm up: As per day one:

Topic intro: Talk about how the way we use line can also show form. If our lines reflect the curves of the object that will also you show form.
Exercise: Choose another simple object and show form using both shading and line.
Day 4
Warm up: Create another shape for the mobile and then put it together using string and a coat hanger.
We might want to work on this one during the morning and put out extra bread, or head down to the lake and draw their. The exercise for this lesson is to draw a picture of a bird showing form and shape . Encourage the kids to use either black and white for this exercise.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I didn't see that coming

Change hit our home-school this week. I didn't realize we were heading for change... or that we needed it. Or even that it is real. I've been settled with my weekly blocks of learning. Having just one or two things to think about and plan made life easy and comfortable.

Last weekend I looked over the subject list and while they were all good things to study none felt right for this week. Nothing made sense in terms of what we were studying although by Monday morning I had a plan of sorts.

Across the week hiccup after hiccup disrupted the plan. Along the way a new plan evolved. Firstly a recognition that nature study was important. Then a realization that those subjects that incorporate beauty (poetry, music and art works) were missing.

Slowly its began to dawn that interspersing out days with reading and discussion doesn't need to be stressful. We can simply keep a pile of books and read the portions that we need to do throughout the day. With weekly writing projects we don't need written narrations, crafts or experiments on every subject. Where we do we can slot them in as required without having a big block for afternoon studies. I didn't have to be tied to a schedule. If we lose a day to skiing, the pools, sickness or just needed to get on top of life it was OK. My biggest challenge in homeschooling has always been dealing with the challenge of having an afternoon disrupted and wondering what to do about it. Many weeks have been lost simply on the realization that by Tuesday we weren't going to be able to finish the plan - and then what did I do.

The realization that we could use our existing program CM style without taking on board the whole plan of Ambleside is appealing. For some reason I've always felt I had to do all of Ambleside using all their selections. When we got to the stage of having alternative preferences it came apart.

Now I'm feeling content with our curriculum choices but seeing the option for a stress free implementation. No detailed plans. No schedules that we have to meet, no deadlines. No more subjects than we are happy learning from. It sounds refreshing and good, the kids are keen... and so we head forward.

I wonder where this journey leads.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


For the last week I've been once again pondering how we develop an atmosphere of learning. As I have done so I have pondered the inherent disciplines and characteristics that certain studies give to our days.

Latin and Greek to me seem to be very calming, focused activities that build order and routine into our days. I'm not sure I'm expressing that right but they seem to give us a peace from having to focus so carefully on our work.

Nature study not only opens our eyes to what is happening around us, but leads to a questioning and appreciative spirit. What is that? Isn't that amazing! Isn't that cool! There is an excitement at the never ending change that occurs around us as each season brings its own special surprises.

I love our in-depth bible times and the study that we do about people in other times and places. The growing understanding of why the world is like it is and how it is that way. These topics also bring an element of working together and thinking through. Talking and taking our questions just a little bit further. We never quite know where we are going to end up in our discussions. Whether we will learn about the topic in hand or a rabbit trail of to one side.

The thoughts that this have had me wondering if it was time to change direction and move from my weekly blocks to a more flexible mixed up week. My old decision of a Veritas style Omnibus or Ambleside type multi-book lessons. Umm.

I think that we will stick with what we're doing and simply make the add one, poetry, artist, composer and nature study.

At the heart to go either way is not a big deal. It is purely a question of flexibility rather than content or what we truly do with each day.

A Simple Daybook

Outside my window,

Lots of blossom buds just a day or two from opening

I am listening to...

The heater fan whirring, quiet pencil noises, peace.

I am thankful for...
A calm Friday, in the midst of ballet exam nerves and in-laws visiting

From the learning rooms...
Poetry and growth. I think that we took a huge step forward this week in terms of the kids settling into school work and the growing realization that its 100% about attitude and atmosphere.

From the kitchen...
Umm..taking the plunge and making a real carrot cake for the kids, comfort food or sfish pie, homemade hamburgers, and fun....

I am wearing...
Jeans and a soft cream jersey. finally finding an old pair of jeans that fit - how did i manage to buy two pairs of jeans last season that were simply a size to big...ugg!

I am reading...

Notes on Exodus... when I can my reading has fallen victum to trying to keep up with my kids Latin and Greek...slowly slowly

I am praying for...
Peace in this family, and our wider family, peace at my husbands work...

On of my favourite things...

Sitting with a cup of tea looking out over the garden and just enjoying the moment. (Why don't I do that more often. )

A few plans for the rest of the week:

Ballet exams, and soccer, a slower week, making use of the pool pass before it expires, and afternoons in... exodus or geology still praying still deciding, maybe we should finish of swimming creatures instead.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

In the tradition of the Simple Womans Daybook

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Toolbox - hijacked by the pool

It looks like we will be taking another week out of the toolbox studies to make the most of our winter pool pass. I brought the pass for swimming lessons - we tend to relax at the local hot pools rather than the leisure pool in town.

Next year I will sort out PE a bit better so we don't end up wiht everything happening in the 2nd and third term.

For now it means that we will take time out from our toolbox studies and continue our swimming lessons. It should be fun, and might just give us a welcome mid term break.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Toolbox: Poetry weeks 3 & 4

This weeks poems will be the Coming of Spring and the Fox and the Bunch of Grapes. the first seems timely. Hopefully we have had our last ski modified week and we can settle into a normal routine. I certainly hope so. So working from Classical Writing(CWP): Poetry for Beginners.

  • Day one: Read through the coming of spring carefully using the guidelines in (CWP). Discuss, look up any foreign words. Continue onto Rhyme schemes which for this week covers a review of using a Rhyming Dictionary and introduces the Thesaurus for writing poetry. (Is it going to be an issue that I only have one rhyming dictionary.) We then can work on building rhymes.

  • Day two, review meter, and identify the meter in the poem. Begin imitation using word substitution. Look at stanzas and write summary sentences for the poem.

  • Day Three: Read through the Fox and the Grapes. Discuss. Continue working with rhyme schemes. If possible extend the lesson to cover imitation of meter to allow time on day to work with couplets.

  • Day 4 Complete work from day three imitation of meter. Work on couplets. Aim to spend as much of the available time exploring and writing.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Homeschool Classical Education in a box

Over the weekend my favorite email group looked like having a renaissance. The idea excites me.

Many of the original group members are of the generation when Classical education was first being brought to light. The old text books had been reprinted but that was all they had. How often they wished for a boxed classical education.

Now as my kids approach the NZ college age (US High School) I find myself with a wealth of options - Classical homeschool in a box is a reality. OK I have to put it together from a couple of suppliers but its all there.

Along with it is a slowly dawning reality that Classical Education is not a one size fits all. Its not a simple case of taking a of living text books, a progym based writing program, grammar reinforced with Latin study, solid maths and logic texts and putting them together.

Classical Education, the trivium and the whole idea of mastery learning is something very different. At some point the aim is not just ticking the box and completing the exercise hoping that somewhere sometime it will all click together. It is a means of raising of a person to worship God, recognize what is truly good, true, and beautiful. To see God's footprints not just on a heart level but a full person. To honour God with our self control, ability to think, ability to hear and our growing knowledge about and of Him who we serve.

These beautiful new curriculum choices help heaps they really do. I have much more guidance than was available before, especially for my very unsteady writing skills. Sometimes though they leave me feeling unnecessarily stressed.

I am increasingly aware of how much I need to work through the issues of how to teach my trio, their strengths and weaknesses, their characters. I still need to nut through making the available resources fit us. I need to know when to use a text and when to write my own. Maybe I need to juggle three or four texts because some confuse us more than help us.

I hope the discussions, that I peeked at when my kids were small, that inspired me to walk down the classical path, can be revisited for a new generation of Mums. I also hope to enjoy the journey myself.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just one thing

I think its from my Charlotte Mason reading, the idea of correcting just one behavior issue in your children at a time. One focus, to remind them about. I think though that the idea has cropped up in other places. Each time I've either fought against it, or wanted to include everything in that one thing. Around here its time to revisit the concept - from a sane perspective.

So what is the one thing that would make the biggest difference. Currently its being nice when asked to do something. Having a good attitude whether being asked to do school, correct something, or do chores. OK its a very broad idea, and it could easily be undermined by other things, but at the heart of whether we have a good or a bad day around here is our attitudes, yes mum's included.

I've done a bit to work on mine in the last few months. Cutting out caffeine and getting some sleep has done heaps. So now its time to work on the children's responses to "Please can you...."

So for the next six weeks we'll be working on responding to requests with a smile.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Toolbox: Logic Chapter one

Last time we tackled this it went well - ok slowly lots of sidetracks and lots of needing to make it fun, but we got there in the end. I'm resisting the temptation to take this faster. Everyone enjoys finishing with the Fallacy detective, even if we do spend a lot of time trying to work through those cultural things that leave us scratching our heads.
  • Day 1 Simple Apprehension, read through the whole chapter as an introduction. Then re-read through the first two sections. Answer the Questions provided in a group session. Include definitions in "Tricks or the Trade" notebook. Finish with the next chapter of the Fallacy Detective book.

  • Day 2 Introduction, day 2 Answer the Questions provided in a group session. Include definitions in "Tricks or the Trade" notebook. Finish with the next chapter of the Fallacy Detective book.

  • Day 3 Introduction, day 3 Answer the Questions provided in a group session. Include definitions in "Tricks or the Trade" notebook. Finish with a chapter of the Fallacy Detective book.

  • Day 4 Introduction, day 4 Answer the Questions provided in a group session. Include definitions in "Tricks or the Trade" notebook. Finish with a of the Fallacy Detective book.

Monday, August 10, 2009


We are fortunate to live close enough to the ski-fields that we can enjoy the mountain without the cost of accommodation.Yet even more importantly the mountain we live by has a policy of encouraging the local schools with cheap passes and hire. (About the cost of an adult movie pass.) and so we are blessed by the place where God has planted us.

Our journey here wasn't an easy one, sometimes it felt like we were simply running from one situation to another, looking for an elusive job opportunity, but in the end we have found ourselves in a place where we can enjoy the outdoors, tramp, swim, be filled by the beauty of Gods creation, and enjoy being the people that we are. In winter the climax of this are the three trips to the mountain that we loosely classify as PE. We ski as a family only by God's grace, as hubby and I are often in different school groups for our days on the mountain, but at least one day a year we seem to end up on the mountain together.

Our first trip of the year threatened that. Our ski area is a volcano, a sleepy one normally, closely monitored, carefully watched, and it's been quiet for the last year or so, a good year. Unfortunately we hit a lahar drill, we never have before and it took all the confidence my daughter had away. For me I would have been happy not to go back, and we have changed which runs we ski. But the drill was on the easier ski run the one that was meant to give them confidence.

When we went up on Friday we had a great day. Blue skis, beautiful white snow, lovely scenery, and with some adjustment to skis we were able to have a great day skiing. My middle boy managed to convince me to take them down a run that was long and fun with some tricky bits in the middle and soon it was my daughters favorite run. Whats more is she was keeping up with her brothers. I even got to ski behind not just follow and make sure they were all OK.

It was a great day, and as we drove there and home the sunrise and sunset filled our souls with the wonder of God's creation. It made me very aware of God's grace, that while we don't have what some of our friends, or co-workers have, we have been blessed with what will fill our souls and encourage us in God.

It was a lovely day on the mountain. (Unfortunately I left the camera in the car ..so these are older photos)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Toolbox: Diagraming prepositions.

Finishing off Mary Daly's Elementary Diagramming Text,
  • Day 1 Review Using the diagrams on pg 50, covering subject, predicate, adverbs and adjectives. New work - prepositions. Cover the diagramming of prepositions using the sentences on pages 55 and 56. Then independently work on the diagrams on page 56 and 57 to put into practice what we have discussed.
  • Day 2 More prepositions. Working with Discuss using the notes on page 58 whether the preposition modifies the subject the verb of the direct object. Practice diagraming using text on pages 59 - 61

  • Day 3 Continue from previous day using work on pages 62-64.
    Extension if we get extra time look at doing the six sentence shuffle (from Classical Writing Homer, using one of the sentences we have just diagrammed.

  • Day 4 Work through the discussion on clauses and how to diagram sentences with more than one clause.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Notebook Studies: Scientific method, and applied science.

This week is about finishing off what we didn't get to last time we did science and then moving onto the next section. This should leave us with geology for the rest of the term. I'm still blending hubby's website with Apologia. I have no idea why I'm trying to put the two together except that its easier than just following hubby's. (Eitherthat or I sell my Apologia books and use the funds to buy lab equipment. )

  1. Finishing of the chapter on applied science. As an intro back into science well work through hubby's website on lab equipment.
    Then Following a method - Making a pumice-like rock. (effectively Hokey Pokey) what causes the mixture to foam up.

    Working through the experiment in Exploring Creation with General Science. The aim of this is to look at what we are trying to do when we do an experiment. Be careful with observations.

  2. Work through how to draw scientific equipment in order to document experiments.
    Work on recording observations.

    Designing an experiment to use only one variable - looking at testing whether coffee with milk in it cools faster than coffee without milk.

  3. Simple machines and Levers - read the section. complete the experiment with the leaver and 5 coins. Take notes on board as we go through the work to ensure that we have the right information. Have some fun working out mechanical advantages for different levers. We might want to get the How Things Work video out from the library for this one.

  4. The Wheel and Axle. the pulley, the inclined plane and the screw. Following the process in the previous day. Again have some fun with the maths part of this. (There are some huge advantages of getting the kids to see that math contributes to science.)

Writing and Art: This hopefully is the last of our ski weeks. So for that reason I haven't sorted out a plan for our Art and Writing projects.

Art would come in the form of a nature journal of the students choice.

For writing Take one of these simple machines and right a poem reflecting on there use or benefits.

Or similarly take one of the simple machines and write an encomium about it. Work through ideas on the board first so that they have an idea of how this form could be applied to an object rather than a person.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Toolbox Studies: Progym 2

It seems like ages since we have had a writing toolbox. And I have to admit that I was very tempted to change this one as well we are still waiting for the mountain to clear and the skis to come out for day two on the mountain.

But I don't want to keep juggling things back, so its a progym toolbox. Additional detail for adding in description could be found in Classical composition.

  • Day 1 Belling the Cat by Aesop. Review: basic questions, outline and Theon's six (person, place, action, time, cause, manner).

    In response to the writing exercise from week one of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe it would be fun to expand what we are doing by breaking a simple story into its Theon's categories and then work on describing in detail the person, place, action and time. For today outline the story and analyze for Theon's 6 then retell it emphasising the time.

  • Day 2 For a warm up discuss how we can describe people. Get each child to write a description of someone that we all know and then read it out to everyone.

    Continue with yesterdays story. This time in the retelling describe the characters in order to give emphasis.

  • Day 3 Warm up - have each cild describe the setting in front of them, or a setting within the house in as much detail as they can. Have the older ones ting about making it a warm friendly place, or a cold scary place. ( I porbably wont have any takers for the latter. )

    Then retell Mondays story this time describing the setting.

  • Day 4 Warm up - think of an action that you did this morning and describe it. Read it out loud and see if anyone can recognise the action.

    Imitate the model this time describing the action.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

For Encouragement

When I went to the heart conference the weekend was a mix of laughter and encouragement. Time to laugh at the funny side of homeschooling and a time to be lifted up and remember the point of it all. Rosie Boom, who has been listed on my sidebar ever since is a wonderful lady. Both her and her twin sister ministered to my heart all weekend encouraging and strengthening us with their very different but very Christ centered journeys.

Rosie posted three songs that she performed at the retreat on her blog yesterday - hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Homeschooling blues As the Twig is Bent and the Shepherds Call

Monday, July 27, 2009

Should I be worried....

Its started off as a fairly strange week...

Sunday morning at Church we had the 6 monthly fire drill...a bit of a nuisance but its a fire drill, we all presume they aren't real and obediently head outside.

This afternoon in a picture postcard day on the mountain. blue sky, lots of snow, no wind, great skiing, a mum, three kids one of which has just panicked at the new slope ... and a volcanic lahar warning, sirens, instructions, very helpful mountain medics... a lahar drill.

When we got home we had an answer phone message that we have an appointment at the kids dental clinic..for tomorrow... should I be worried at what she will find,

Or is their some other more serious drill for planned for tomorrow. After all this is some coincidence.

Maybe I should spend more time this week drilling the kids Latin, or math or spelling words.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Planning for sanity.

This topic came up on one of my email groups. I've been thinking that having found something that works for me it was time to post it... so here's another post on planning for the northern summer planning frenzy.

Up until the current year, OK the current five months, I've carefully planned out chapter and amount for every one of my kids school work on an excel spreadsheet, included an overview of activities etc, put in break weeks to allow catch up on the things that we would fall behind in or just life happening.

Unfortunately my kids have never appreciated the wisdom of keeping to the plan... NEVER! And after years of struggling with the multiple weeks of being behind, the grumpiness of re-hashing the plans fortnightly, and the weeks when it just doesn't work I've finally accepted that this isn't what its meant to look like for us. It simply isn't what God wants me or my family to do.

Fortunately there are a lot of ladies with blogs and in email groups that have encouraged me to trust God, listen to God and move forward. Slowly I am.

So for the last 5 months we have been moving to a far simpler plan. I still divide up the course work for Latin, Math and Greek into weekly chunks. Or rather I work out how many lessons, or how much a week we need to cover so I can let the kids know when we are done, or when we are crawling...or recognize when someone is staring at the same maths problem or Latin translation for over a week.

For Language Arts and Humanities. I prepared a list of 40 weeks of topics. Normally determined by whatever we are using as a spine. Then each week I grab the next topic - or the next appropriate topic and plan out what we are doing while curled up at my daughters ballet lesson. Simple. Because I've enjoyed the format, the big chunks get planned out on a blog and a copy pasted in my planning book. That way its flexible, it sits pretty on my computer inviting me to come, think, plan. The kids tend to like these all together subjects so there isn't normally a problem on doing them, and if we don;t get through the terms chunk we can roll it into the next session.

I plan in one week blocks - one week of Poetry, one week of grammar, one week of history ... week long blocks that might break all the conventional wisdom of how to educate, but which simplify out how much we have to think about. We nicknamed the language art topics as our toolbox, the humanities subjects notebook studies . I can see it being renamed in the next wee while. In that week we dig deep, review heaps, have fun. We have time to play games with grammar (diagramming counts as games doesn't it) practice skills, work together. The plans take into account how we are feeling, what worked last time, what we remembered, what we still need to work on.

We work on one area or skill for 4 days of 1 -2 hour blocks. We're fairly flexible with what we do, if the kids have an idea for an assignment, or something jumps out of the text as useful to do we follow that, otherwise we follow whatever spine or activity book I have on hand. On the last day of the week the kids have a simple but lengthy assignment to integrate what we have learned. They have to produce on piece of writing - essay, narration, description or poetry. One peice of Art work. The content comes from our humanities studies, the tools from our ongoing toolbox studies.

I don't always grab the next thing - like this week I've taken the softest options I can - after a day's skiing coming off the mountain and getting back into school is hard, the disruption of not getting back into school is probably worse - so we'll grab the next literature book and enjoy, pick up art and have fun. Hopefully by lunchtime feel ready to cope with something meatier. OK its not as easy as having ready made plans that you pull of the shelf. But I can plan around things that are happening at dad's school, tiredness, ballet exams, skiing..etc. When the standard week changes I'm not scrambling to pick up the pieces.

It lets us have a flexible schedule - we have always kept to the school terms .. hubby is a teacher so it seemed right. Now realizing that hubby as a teacher gets excluded from our days because of it, and well he spends most of the holidays planning, we're getting more flexible mainly not being held to ten weeks on two off gives me a chance to stop when life gets busy rather than press on and get stressed.

Each day I remember that God has a plan, a good plan, with just enough for each day, time for all the aspects of our life, time to be.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Notebook Studies: The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. Part 2

  • Day 1 The Spell begins to break, Aslan is nearer Chapters 10-11. Despite the fact that Christmas has no meaning in Narnia - shouldn't they be celebrating Aslan's birth? CS Lewis includes a reference to Father Christmas in the story. Why might he have done so.

  • Day 2 Chapters 12 - 13 The first battle & The deal,
    Look at the idea of atonement - use a dictionary to define the term and Substitutionary. What does substitutionary atonement mean. Discuss what it means for us as Christians. How is this seen in the story. What is the curse in the story, what is the curse in the world.

  • Day 3 Chapters 14 - 15 Deep magic and deeper magic.
    Read worldview section. Discuss the similarities and differences between the work of Christ on the cross and the death and resurrection of Aslan.

  • Day 4 Chapters 16-17 These last two chapters allow Narnia Game and Medieval Dinner. To finish the term. Use the medieval meal ideas from the Veritas Press Middle Ages CD, incorporating a cheese board, the beef stew and trenchers, Wassial (non-alcoholic version of spiced wine) Given that it is Narnia we can enjoy a more English fruit cake to finish the meal or an old fashioned plum pudding and custard. (It lets us have the quirks of post war Oxford meets middle ages)
Writing and Art: Write an Econium about Aslan and his sacrifice on the stone table. For the comparision portion consider how the sacrifice of Aslan is similar to and different than Christ’s sacrifice for his people.

Aslan is not a tame lion, but he is good. Explain this statement using examples from the book. How does this relate to our experience of God.

Or Creative writing exercise. Write your own story based on the idea of stepping through a wardrobe into another world. Imagine what that world would look like. What people or creatures would you come across. What problem would you encounter and solve, or what purpose would your time there have. Use Theons 6 to plan your story.

For Art I would equally like to center on the stone table or on an impression of what the atonement was about. We should see an inclusion ofthe ideas of value and line in our work.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Toolbox Studies: Value in Art

Josh - this is a hugh improvement on his art Josh has always opted for stick figures so its been fun seeing him grow in this.

  • Monday:
    Artist: Durer : Praying Hands

    Discuss value, prepare a value scale help us understand the concept. Apply the idea by looking at a scene using value as a means of providing contrast and communicating the nature of the object being drawn.

    "Greek Ship" - by Josh

  • Tuesday:
    Artist: Durer : The Knight, Death and the Devil
    Look at the pictures we drew in the previous lesson. Did we manage to use value in our drawing. Find a picture to copy and using our value scale try to reproduce the drawing in pencil, using value to portray the various changes in color.

    "The Woodbasket" by Beth

  • Wednesday:
    Artist: Durer : Self Portrait
    Looking at value between colors in relation to other colors. Discuss. Draw a picture to give to someone special. Choose a subject that they are fond of. Remember to continue to work on value as you draw.

  • Thursday Artist: Durer : The Hare. for the end of this art lesson choose one of the pictures that we have studied and imitate it. See if you can spot any of the elements of art that we have previously discussed.

    "Paint Brush" by Beth Taken off the cover of Dutch Colour.

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Patchwork of Days

Outside my window,

Lovely snow covered mountains waiting to call us to find ski gear and enjoy.

I am listening to...
The voices of my children discussing the meter of Ben Franklin at the kitchen table behind me.

I am thankful for...

Christian writers and blogs that provide support and encouragement in God's word to counter the effects of the ideas of the emergent church.

From the learning rooms...
A fun week, looking at the cultures of Ancient India, China and Africa...

From the kitchen...

Excuses to experiment with different foods in the kitchen. Our Sat cleebration dinner this week will have African flavours...should be fun.

I am wearing...

Jeans and a lilac jersey, comfy and casual.

I am reading...

Seed Catalogs and gardening books...looking forward to planting our vege garden.

I am praying for...

A renewed sense of the Gospel in our local church and christian community.

On of my favourite things...

Watching a fantail play among the trees of our garden.

A few plans for the rest of the week:

A slow relaxed re-entry back into school routines for everyone.

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

In the tradition of the
Simple Womans Daybook

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A week off

Last weeks plans roll over into this week. We ended up crashing out after one day of school and instead did the autumn pruning, cleared the marking pile, and prepared the section for spring.

So instead of maths, Latin, Greek, history and poetry...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Toolbox studies: Poetry 2

I'm planning for a short week, hopefully fun, as its still public school holidays and the kids know it. We also have a trip to the family farm something the kids always look forward to. Its a balance between keeping it moving so we don't get bored and well scratchy and having fun.

I'm hoping we can cover another lesson in poetry. This includes a bit of a catch up for my engineer he missed the first poetry toolbox, after being required to keep up in his other work.

Our model poem, keeping with Classical Writing poetry is Ben Franklin.

  • Monday - Day one careful reading, work analysis, oral narration, stanzas. I need to decide if we will use the poem for copy-work or choose something from history.

  • Tuesday - Review rhyme and look at the rhyme scheme for the model. Look at a Rhyming dictionary and play slug in the jug, or the rhyme game.

  • Wednesday - Review Poetic Meter add Iambic meter to definitions, look at our current poems meter, Imitate meter using the Swarm of bees. (If we have to cut down to 3 days this isn't the one to shorten.)
  • Thursday - Review stanza, look for the central thought for the stanza, write summary sentences.

Where is the Joy?

I found this quote from J I Packer,

"If anyone asks us how men may know God, we can at once produce the right formula - that we come to know God through Jesus Christ the Lord, in virtue of His cross and mediation, on the basis of His word of promise, but the power of the Holy Spirit, via a personal exercise of faith. Yet the gaiety, goodness, and unfetteredness of spirit which are the marks of those who know God are rare among us - rarer perhaps than they are in some other Christian circles where, by comparison evangelical truth is less clearly and fully known."

Yes - to drink of the joy of celebrating our salvation, of celebrating His love for us, of knowing that the God of the Universe is concerned with my daily life.

From Psalm 42:5 NRSV

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God.

With Grace to guide us and the evidence of his handiwork around us I haven't got any excuse to not delight in the work of God's hands.

Knowing God - Packer

In the last few weeks I've given up on hearing a biblical sermon at our local church. I'd love to move churches, but so far we haven't had much success in finding the right place.

The emergent church philosophy seems to have taken most of our churches by storm, or well the old liberalism is still got enough of a grip that we're picking up the pieces after the sermon... at least where we are the kids ministry is solid, encouraging and the kids and I have friends there.

So until God says move, we'll be hanging in the background, and strengthening our devotional life at home.

My Bible reading is becoming more encouraging and we've a settled pattern of devotions which I am enjoying.. But I need to re ground myself in what is true..It has been a long time since solid teaching has made its way to my ears. So its time to raid the bookshelves and spend Sunday's curled up with a good book. The first one - "Knowing God" by J I Packer....

Small Successes

Its been a great week for achieving those things I normally brush aside. With hubby home for the mid-winter school break, and the kids in light school, we've spent the last two weeks semi crashed out studying swimming creatures, I've managed the following....


  1. My marking pile is cleared, off my desk and apart from some tardy corrections...we are up to date...YES!

  2. We used the lighter week to sort out my artists room. She loves people, keeps every gift, and hates tidying up. The last couple of clean ups have been find a box and store it to sort later - well latter came this week. We now have several semi-sorted boxes, but at least she can find the things she is looking for.

  3. We planted the last of our fruit trees, a nectarine and grapes. Sorted the space for the vegetable garden - or rather hubby did and planted strawberries. I'm looking forward to spring.
More importantly the changes in the last few weeks have given me a feeling of being back in control, able to chill when needed with the kids and now a feeling like I'm not snowed under with good things people are waiting for me to do.

Thanks to the ladies who thought up this neat post idea - the original idea is here . To participate, just write up a list of 3 of your recent Small Successes and post it on your blog along with the Small Successes button (go here to get the code). You are not required to use the button, but please do link back to the main post here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Relaxed Week: Swimming Creatures

After the Heart Retreat I really didn't have the energy or feel the need to rush back into our daily plan. We also had a homeschool ski trip booked, which God had other plans for - no snow, no sunshine. So at the start of the week I picked up the Swimming Creatures book we put aside at the start of the year and we have meandered through the chapters.

  • Monday: We started with Chapter one looking at the types of swimming creatures, the currents in the oceans, tides. After lunch we started on Whales, using several of the lapbook templates from Homeschool Share lapbooking. Lots of paper and fun.

  • Tuesday we finished off Whales and moved onto Seals and Sea Cows. Again the Homeschool share lapbook has a unit on Manatees and we used several of their materials.

  • Wednesday we moved onto the aquatic reptiles and amphibians, again expanding our time with a lapbook project on Sea Turtles.

  • Thursday we looked at prehistoric sea creatures, I had thought this would be a quick session that we worked through quickly and moved on from, it wasn't. There was an interesting exercise at the end of the study using Venn diagrams to consider what the Leviathan of the bible might be. It seemed like a useful project in getting them to use this tool to evaluate ideas and options.

  • Originally our ski day this will give us a chance to look at fish. I would like to finish sharks are well, but I don't think we will make it that far.
As a gap week it's been more refreshing than our usual non school weeks. I've caught up on some rest and am back up to my daughter in Latin. I'm glad we took it off. Now to manage what we do next week.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back From Heart

Heart was good - very good.

To be surrounded by christian women.

To see the beauty of women that were happy to be themselves not conformed to the latest fashion magazine.

To enjoy company that can laugh at the chaos that homeschooling brings to our daily life and see the good that we are achieving in our hidden insignificant corners.

To realize that I am not alone, not one of a crazy few, but one of many, loving, beautiful women.

To rest in a consistent message "Trust God".

To realize the cost of trying to live up to others expectations, rather than to simply do what God has given to do. I cannot achieve what God has given, Jane and Jenny and Martha and... to do I can only do what he has given me to do. And I can rejoice in the things that we are doing well rather than take them for granted to push on and do even better.

To realize it is not too late to undo the damage of striving to be accepted, successful, good enough.

I've come home to the peace of being able to take time to clear my desk, relax in a unit study, a very off the cuff, meandering study that will give us focus not chaos, connection not argument, but give me time to catch my breath.

I'm looking forward to rebuilding our confidence, and I'm enjoying being alive, being mum, learning and living.

I'm looking forward to seeing God as in control, real, involved rather than something lost in a maze of good ideas, self help books and being sucessful.

I'm looking forward to a journey that probably won't end up where i intended but will end up somewhere good.

Lots to process lots to write about... sots of need to rest and think and sleep and love.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
by the Artist age 12
Hi! I am a country mouse called Matilda. You see I live in the country. I have always believed that the best saying or motto is, “It is better to be poor and eat Beans, Bacon, Cheese, and Bread, than live in luxury and eat cakes and ale in danger.” One night at dinner my cousin Georgina and I were chased by two massive mastiffs or watch-dogs. They were big and scary.
We had been enjoying the remains of a great feast with roast duck and pork, ale, and wines, cakes and all other things nice to mice, even rare fruits. It was such a nice feast I began to enjoy myself. The big rows of houses had scared me. I heard my warning bells ringing when the barks of the dogs filled my ears, but when I questioned Georgina, she was not worried. This was her house so she was not scared, she was hungry, and besides, this was her house.
You see Georgina had invited me to dinner after she had visited me in the country. She said to me in an angry tone, “Matilda! I can never understand you! You have only beans, bacon, cheese, and bread, to offer me! Nothing better! But if you came with me, I could show you what luxury is.” She pulled out a grape from her pack which she had brought for the journey. Then she continued comparing her grape with one of my beans. For it was true, all I had to offer was beans, bacon, cheese, and bread. “Matilda, please come with me. We will also see the rest of the family in Madrid, Spain. Our family in town could come with us, and we could have a great big family reunion.” She was still examining my bean in disgust. So with a sigh, I consented, for I was the only one out of the family who lived in the country.
I had tried welcome her very much when she had arrived, but it had been no use. I had offered my food freely, all I could find, but she only turned up her nose at the food, even my bacon. Now I will never leave the country. I don’t want to get hurt. Not even Georgina can take me to town.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
by the Naturalist age 8
Now there was once a country mouse that had his cousin, a town mouse, over for lunch. The town mouse did not like the country. As to the bread, corn and bacon the country mouse served him, he only ate bacon.
He said “You live a very poor life. Come to town, and live with me and the family.”
The country mouse conceded.
So said! So done! They headed off for the city.
They got to the grand house, where the town mouse lived that evening. They went to the dinning room and were enjoying a hearty meal with all the big family. Then they heard barking. The country mouse said “What is that?” The town mice said “It is only the dogs of the house.” “Only!” said the scared country mouse. Then in walked two big Mastiffs.
The mice ran away and the country mouse said “Good-bye I am going back to the country.”
“What the!” said the town mice.
Then the country mouse said, “Better poor with peace the luxury in great fear.”

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Notebook Studies: People of the Fertile Crescent.

The individual chapters for this unit are fairly small, with little to add in in terms of additional reading or new projects. I'll add in readings from Science in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Veritas press map project in order to fill out the week.

  • Day 1 Chapter 5 The First Sumerian Dictator Sargon, Reading through both stories in Story of the world. Narrate. Include map work in summary. Allow discussion based on what we have been considering.

  • Day 2 Chapter 6 The Jewish People Read through stories, provide a summary of the lives of the patriarchs in one to two paragraphs. How do they compare to the other nations of that time? Catch up on time line for these bible characters and the rest of the patriarchs.

  • Day 3 Chapter 7 Hammurabi and the Babylonians. Read and discuss. Read through excerpts from the Code of Hammurabi as included in the Veritas Press cards. Compare some of these to the Laws of Moses. Narration from the reading and the discussion of the Code.
  • Day 4 Chapter 8 The Assyrians Shamshi-Adad, King of the Whole World - The Story of Gilgamesh. (From Story of the World.) Read through the picture book version of Ishtar. Narration.

Writing and Art Projects.
  • Retell portions of the story of Gilgamesh (either in prose or poetry.)
  • Creative Writing: Describe what it would be like to live in one of these cultures.
  • Select one of the rulers from this period (Excluding the Jewish Patriarchs) and write an Encomium as we did last week. This can also be done in the negative.
  • Using Clay recreate one of the panels from the palaces of the fertile crescent.
  • Draw a depiction of Gilgamesh and Ekindu.
  • Draw one of the palaces or temples from this area - Consider Jansons History of Art for inspiration.