Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
We were all getting ready for church, and I was quite pleased that things were going fairly smoothly. No one was searching for lost shoes, and it looked like we'd even be leaving the house on time. Usually for morning church we take two cars because Marc has to be there early for prayer with the pastor and other elders, and we often give one or two other members a ride to church. Ryne and Anna are usually the first to get ready on Sunday mornings, so it is not uncommon for one or both of them to ride with Marc. Usually Marc will tell me if any of the kids are riding with him, although I have had to call a few times on the cell phone to find out who is in his car.
So yesterday morning before we headed out the door, I started calling for the kids. I wanted them to sign a Father's Day card for their uncle. Grace and Ryne both signed the card, and I called again for Anna. And called. And called. I turned to Ryne and Grace, asking, "Where's Anna?" They both simultaneously, without hesitation, replied, "She went with Daddy." In the back of my mind a little voice told me that didn't seem right because no one was ready when he left, but they were so convincing. So we left for church.
The next part of the story is unrelated to my bad mom award, but adds more drama. We've had trouble with our car the last couple of months, but after $1,800 in repairs everything was supposedly fine. Or not. On the way to church some mysterious vapor started coming out of the vents, making me and my passengers very nervous. But everything on the dash looked okay, so I continued driving. The vapor disappeared, but then I felt something burning my right heel. I had anti-freeze oozing out all around my feet (same thing that had happened a month ago). The heat gauge still was okay, so I just prayed we would make the last mile to church.
As we pulled up to the church, I told the kids to go find Daddy to come see the car. He came out to the parking lot, and with that calm expression he has when everything is going wrong (love that about him) he asked, "So do you know you left Anna at home?" Oops. With Octomom and John and Kate dominating headlines these days, keeping track of three kids seems like it should be a piece of cake. But I'm telling you, it was just a mater of time before something like this happened. It's amazing this was the first time we left a kid behind.
Thankfully, it was Anna I left. She could hold her own. We live 20 minutes from church, and it was my week to volunteer in nursery, so she was going to have to stay at home. With one operating vehicle we were going to have trouble getting everyone home as it was.
To Anna's credit she handled the situation very well. She even had her own mini church service, playing the hymns "Sweet Hour of Prayer" and "A Mighty Fortress" on the piano and having some quiet time for prayer. I'm going to give her the benefit of doubt that had we not taken her Bible to church with us she would not have neglected the reading of God's Word. : )
What I found most amusing was that once the church family heard what had happened everyone started sharing their own stories of children being left behind at various places. One lady even told how her son (now my age) was left behind at a service station in Wyoming and no one discovered he was missing until they were 30 miles down the road!
Despite the car troubles and my bad mom moment, we had a wonderful Father's Day. Not only were we able to show our love and appreciation to Daddy/Hubby, my own dad was in town. Double blessing!
So, I'm curious. Have you ever forgotten a kid? I'll share my Bad Mom Award with you!
The Fabric of Autism - completed!
The RDI Book - completed!
My Baby Can Dance - completed!
The RDI Program and Education - completed!
Charlotte Mason Books
School Education in Modern English, Volume 3 - on the summer reading list
Towards a Philospohy of Education in Modern English, Volume 6 - keeping my book basket nice and full
The autism reading was so profitable, but also required much dedication to get through them all. By the time I completed that part of my list I needed a mental break. I just wasn't ready to dive into Charlotte Mason, even if it was the Modern English version. My first detour was a book on housekeeping since that is an area in which I really need help and want to focus on this summer. I was also craving reading to strengthen my soul, so I completed two books from my Fall Reading Challenge list. And then there was the reading I did with the kids. I've been trying to keep a book ahead of Anna in her Reformation reading, so I finished several of those. And I read two volumes of the Narnia series out loud to Ryne and Grace. So here are the additional books I read during the time frame of the Spring Reading Thing:
So I may not have completed my list, but I was really blessed by everything I read and do not feel the least bit guilty about not getting to the Charlotte Mason books. I am still looking forward to spending time with Miss Mason this summer. I don't really have the time to review all the books I read, but feel free to ask me questions about any of the books. Thank you to Katrina at Callapidder Days for hosting Spring Reading Thing. Join me in the fall for her next challenge!
Monday, June 15, 2009
When I first read The Well-Trained Mind one of ideas I liked most was making a history time line. Growing up, I always was confused as to when events in history were in relation to one another, even though history was my favorite subject. And even in our homeschool, while we study history in pretty much chronological order, it can be confusing knowing what is going on in different parts of the world for any given century.
Despite my eagerness from the beginning to make a timeline, this was the first year we actually did it. Last year when we were studying the Ancients, I let my perfectionism get in the way of actually going through with it. I saved every message from my yahoo groups on the topic and I searched the internet for pictures of other time lines. I agonized over whether we should have our time line in book form or on the wall. I did know that I wanted to use pictures in our time line, but then got bogged down trying to decide if I wanted to use a software (and which one) or if I wanted to order a hard copy, or just come up with the pictures on our own. Finally, we were several months into our school year, and it became clear that if we added in a time line at that point we'd just be stressed about getting caught up adding the stuff we had already missed. Ahhh...the problems we create by trying to do something perfect.
This year I abandoned perfectionism, and I am so glad I did because it really is worthwhile creating a history time line. I did decide on a wall version even though we have very limited wall space in our classroom. I just knew that we'd rarely look at it if it were in book form. The kids have a long bulletin board above their desks, which is the only place in the room it was going to fit, so having that limitation actually helped me make a few decisions. First, I bought this blank time line and then cut it up length-wise. Then I pasted the blank time line onto some white paper, using just the years we would be studying this year. I used a roll of white paper we already had found through our local Freecycle group. To fit the years 400 - 1600 A.D. on the paper, I had to make two rows. That's all there was to do to get started -- easy!
For pictures, I settled on using the software History Through the Ages: Creation to Present. It is
expensive an investment, but so worth it! It has just about every figure you could think of in two different sizes, and lots of other helpful information. Only once was I not able to find a figure we wanted (actually, it was Ryne who really wanted a picture of Ivan the Great, not just Ivan the Terrible!), but a quick internet search helped us find a suitable picture. But I can't imagine having to do that for every figure -- that's why it's so wonderful to have these CDs. So every week as we went through Story of the World, we would paste a new figure or two on our timeline and by the end of the year it looked like this!
I love that there are places on timeline that are relatively empty. As the authors of TWTM explain, "part of the time line's purpose is to give some sense of the quickening pace of recorded history." A perfect example of that is how crowded our time line became in the 1500's.
We had several other figures we would have liked to have added there but didn't have the room, so that is something we might have to change for next year. Perhaps we will have to create our own year divisions, but now that I have an idea of how this all works maybe it won't be so bad.
There is some question as to whether a time line is even needed for younger children. Some believe that young children in the Grammar Stage are not able to comprehend chronology yet, and TWTM does not introduce the time line until the Logic Stage. But in our experience, it was Ryne and Grace who were most fascinated by the time line. They loved finding previously studied figures or events on the time line, and now one of Ryne's favorite activities is to look at the time line in the back of his Bible. Probably the biggest beneficiary of the time line was me! What a helpful tool in getting the BIG PICTURE of history. I could not adequately teach history without it.
Our time line is not perfect, but I'm finally starting to learn that is okay! We learned the hard way that rubber cement was not the right choice in gluing our figures to the time line. But I'd much rather learn through mistakes and have a useful tool to aid us now rather than a perfect picture in my head. And that's not just a good lesson for making time lines, but for life in general. Strive for excellence, but to strive you must actually start!
Anna: It was a great feeling of accomplishment when she closed her Rod and Staff grammar book for the last time. She is on Lesson 22 for math, and will continue to work on math through the summer. She will also work on Latin through the summer, since she is about half-way through Primer B. She also made a little progress on her Reformation reading list, and completed Mind Benders B3, and practiced some writing skills by writing to her pen pal. I don't mention her "for-fun" reading very often, but for the last several months she has been reading the Lord of the Rings books aloud with her dad at nights. They are half-way through the last book, and she is hooked. Several times a day she makes some comment about how this or that relates to something she read in one of the books.
Ryne: As I type, Ryne is eagerly looking over his MUS Gamma workbook that he will soon be starting. He has one more lesson in Beta. I had a brief moment of panic when he got 6 answers wrong on his last Beta test. He's rarely missed more than one on a test the entire year, and now six?! But then I got a laugh when he explained he just wanted to try his column addition a different way -- the way aliens do. So it wasn't his math skills, it was the autism that got 6 answers wrong on the test! Ryne still struggles with determining when and where he can do things like this. To him a test seemed like a fine place to try out "alien math", whereas most children would realize the inappropriateness of such a choice. I am thankful for these moments, however, because we are able to pinpoint areas to work on. Ryne also finished The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from Bring the Classics to Life. Like the Swiss Family Robinson book I wrote about in the last review, this was a Level 1 book, but the comprehension questions seemed a little more challenging. He really enjoyed the book, and I still plan to blog about Ryne and reading comprehension sometime this summer.
Grace: She finished up Bible Pictures to Read and Bible Pictures to Color by Rod and Staff. She loved these books! It was a great choice for her Kindergarten year, and I wish R & S had more of these books. Reading continues to go wonderfully. We will continue that and math over the summer. We never did start the phonics worksheets again because the order between her reading book and the phonics got so off that I was afraid she would get confused. So we will concentrate on finishing the reading book first and then decide when to start up the worksheets again.
Since I mentioned Anna's bedtime reading, I will also mention that while Marc has been reading with Anna I have been reading through the Narnia books with Ryne and Grace. We have finished The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Horse and the Boy, and this week we finished the Magician's Nephew. It is a great feeling to have both kids begging me to keep reading more when I close the book.
We celebrated the last day of school with a few small gifts: Anna received a tote bag she really liked, Grace a fuzzy bathrobe she's been requesting for almost a year, and Ryne got a Nerf gun. So another school year is done, and overall I feel like it went well. Every year is an improvement, and I feel so blessed to be able to spend my days learning with my kids. This week is Grace's ballet performance, so I will be busy preparing for visiting grandparents and driving to dress rehearsals and swim practices. Next week I will focus on our planning for the 2009-2010 school year.
Happy Homeschooling (or planning, for those of you on a break)!
Monday, June 8, 2009
One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the books. I love, love, love reading with my kids. Since our school room is also our guest room, we spend many of our afternoons snuggled on the bed reading. Since we started homeschooling I've kept a list of the books we've read, but this year I also started rating them on a five-star scale. I figured this might be helpful for when we cycle through history again, and maybe it will be helpful for some of you. This year we used Story of the World 2: The Middle Ages as our history spine. I use the SOTW Activity Guide and the Veritas Press catalog to pick out our additional reading. Our rating system is not perfect. Some books would have received a higher (or lower) rating if we had not been reading them as part of our history studies. But, in general, if a book received three stars I found it useful, and if it received four stars or higher I would use it again. If Anna read a book independently, I let her decide how many stars to award the book. I read probably 60% of the books she read independently, and I usually agreed with the ratings she gave. Please feel free to email me or leave a comment if you have any questions about our list. And if you have any five-stars reads that we missed, I would love to know about them!
Costume of Ancient Rome, David Symons (1987) – looked at pictures **
The Roman News, Andrew Langley (2000) ***
Beowulf, Robert Nye (1968) – IR Anna ****
Favorite Medieval Tales, Mary Pope Osborne (1998) ****
Patrick: Patron Saint of
The Last Snake in
The Holy Twins: Benedict and Scholastica, Kathleen Norris (2001) ****
Across A Dark and
What Were Castles For? Phil Roxbee Cox (2003) ***
Sir Gawain & the Green Knight, Michael Morpurgo (2004) ***** (mature themes in the middle were skipped or paraphrased)
I Am Eastern Orthodox, Philemon Sevastiades (1996) **
Saints: Lives & Illuminations, Ruth Sanderson (2003) ***
The Legend of Saint Nicholas, Demi (2003) **
The Legend of St. Nicholas, Dandi Daley Mackall (2007) ****
The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale, Aaron Shepard (1995) ****
Augustine Came to Kent, Barbara Willard (1963) – IR Anna ****
Augustine: The Farmer’s Boy of Tagaste, P. De Zeeuw (1998) **
Son of Charlemagne, Barbara Willard (1959) – IR Anna ****
Snake Charmer, Ann Whitehead Nagda (2002) ****
Once a Mouse, Marcia Brown (1961) *****
The Very Hungry Lion, Gita Wolf (1996) ***
I Am Muslim, Jessica Chalfonte (1996) **
The Hundredth Name, Shulamith Levey Oppenheim (1995) ****
Ali, Child of the Desert, Jonathan London (1998) **
Sindbad, Ludmila Zeman (1999) ****
Sindbad In the
Sindbad’s Secrets, Ludmila Zeman (2003) ****
Count Your Way Through the Arab World, Jim Haskins (1991) ****
The Arab’s in the Golden Age, Makhtar Moktefi (1992) – IR Anna ***
Genies, Meanies, and Magic Rings, Stephen Mitchell (2007) – IR Anna ****
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from
Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from
Two of Everything, Lily Toy Hong (1993) ****
Science in Ancient
A Carp for
The Boy Who Drew Cats, Arthur Levine (1993) ***
The Crane Wife, Odds Bodkin (1998) ****
Little Oh, Laura Krauss Melmed (1997) ****
Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel (1968) *****
Mr. Pak Buys a Story, Carol Farley (1997) ***
In the Moonlight Mist, Daniel San Souci (1999) *****
The Warlord’s Puzzle, Virginia Walton Pilegard ****
Sword of the Samurai, Eric Kimmel (1999) *** Just read selected stories
The Pumpkin Runner, Marsha Diane Arnold (2000) **
Look What Came From
An Adventure in
1000 Years Ago on Planet Earth, Sneed Collard (1999) *****
Look What Came from
The Three Golden
The Beautiful Butterfly, Judy Sierra (2000) ***
France and French, Nicola Wright (1993) ***
Little Red Riding Hood, Harriet Ziefert (2000) **
Puss in Boots, Charles Perrault (1990) ***
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Viking Explorer! Andrew Langley *****
The Grandchildren of the Vikings, Matti Pitkanen (1996) ***
Yo, Vikings! Judith Byron Schachner (2002) ****
Beorn the Proud, Madeleine Polland (1961) -- IR Anna ****
East O’ the Sun and West O’ the Moon, P.J. Lynch (1991) *****
We Just Moved! Stephen Krensky (1998) *****
Adventures with the Vikings, Linda Bailey (2001) *****
Raiders from the Sea, Lois Walfrid Johnson (2003) – IR Anna *****
Mystery of the Silver Coins, Lois Walfrid Johnson (2003) – IR Anna *****
The Invisible Friend, Lois Walfrid Johnson (2004) – IR Anna *****
A Medieval Feast, Aliki (1983) *****
The Reluctant Dragon, Kenneth Grahame (2004) *****
Cathedral, David Macaulay (1973) ****
A Farm Through Time, Angela Wilks (2001) *****
The Making of a Kinght, Patrick O’Brien (1998) *****
Sir Cumference and the First Round Table, Cindy Neuschwander (1997) *****
Knight’s Castle, Edward Eager (1984) – IR Anna ****
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Medieval Knight, Fiona Macdonald ****
Coat of Arms, Catherine Daly-Weir (2000) *****
Castle Diary, Richard Platt (1999) ****
Knights of the Round Table, Gwen Gross (1985) *****
Chanticleer and the Fox, Barbara Cooney (1958) ****
Saint Francis, Brian Wildsmith (1995) **
Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam, Diane Stanley (2002) – IR Anna ***
You Wouldn’t Want to be a Crusader, Fiona Macdonald (2005) ****
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Roger Lancelyn Green (1956) – IR Anna ****1/2
Raisel’s Riddle, Erica Silverman (2001) *****
The Rabbi Who Flew, Renate Dollinger (2001) ****
China’s Bravest Girl, Charlie Chin (1993) ****
Fa Mulan, Robert San Souci (1998) ****
The Paper Dragon, Marguerite Davol (1997) *****
The Hunter, Mary Casanova (2001) ***
Bitter Dumplings, Jeanne Lee (2002) ***
The Emperor and the Kite, Jane Yolen (1967) ***
Kat and the Emperor’s Gift, Emma Bradford (1998) – IR Anna ***
Babousshka and the Three Kings, Ruth Robbins (1960) **
Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, Marianna Mayer (1994) ***
Russian Fairy Tales, Gillian Avery (1995) – IR Anna ***
The Clay Boy, Mirra Ginsburg (1997) ***
The Legend of the Persian Carpet, Tomie DePaola (1993)
Kids in the Middle Ages, Lisa Wroble (1997) ***
Little Johnny Buttermilk, Jan Wahl (1999) **
The Toy Brother, William Steig (1996) **
The Duchess Bakes a Cake, Virginia Kahl (1955) ***
Joan of Arc, Josephine Poole (1998) ****
Joan of Arc, Diane Stanley (1998) – IR Anna ****
Three Sacks of Truth, Eric A. Kimmel (1993) ***
The Red Balloon, Albert Lamorisse (1990) *
Adventures of Tom Thumb, David Cutts (1988) ***
Bravo, Mr. William Shakespeare! – Richard III, Marcia Williams (2000) **
Bernal & Florinda, Eric Kimmel (1994) ****
Sundiata: Lion King of
Count Your Way Through
Savitri: A Tale of Ancient
The Rumor: A Jataka Tale from
Premlata and the Festival of Lights, Ian Andrew (1996) – IR Anna
Three Swords for
Where Do You Think You’re Going, Christopher Columbus? (VHS) *****
Columbus, Ingri & Edgar Parin D’Aulaire (1955) – IR Anna ****
Follow the Dream, Peter Sis (1991) – Ryne and Grace ***
A Picture Book of Christopher Columbus, David Adler (1991) – Ryne & Grace ***
Three Ships for Columbus, Eve Spencer (1993) ***
The Discovery of the
Amerigo Vespucci, Jeff Donaldson-Forbes (2002) ****
Magellan, Michael Burgan (2002) ****
A Long and Uncertain Journey, Joan Elizabeth Goodman (2001) *****
To the Edge of the World, Michelle Torrey (2003) – IR Anna ***
Musicians of the Sun, Gerald McDermott (1997) ****
Rain Player, David Wisniewski (1991) *****
So Say the Little Monkeys, Nancy Van Laan (1998) *****
Cuckoo, Lois Ehlert (1996) ***
Moon Rope, Lois Ehlert (1993) ****
Koi & the Kola Nuts, Verna Aardema (1995) ***
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, John Steptoe (1987) *****
The Spirit of the Maasai Man, Laura Berkelely (2000) *
Jackal’s Flying Lesson, Verna Aardema (1995) **
Martin Luther: A Man Who Changed the World, Paul Maier (2004) *****
Luther the Leader, Virgil Robinson (1963) – IR Anna *****
King Henry VIII, Robert Green (1998) – IR Anna
Kings and Queens of
Ink on His Fingers, Louise Vernon (1972) – IR Anna *****
The Beggars’ Bible, Louise Vernon (1971) – IR Anna *****
The Man Who Laid the Egg, Louise Vernon ( ) – IR Anna *****
Katie and the Mona Lisa, James Mayhew (1998) **
Da Vinci, Mike Venezia (1989) ***
Michelangelo, Mike Venezia (1991) ***
Pieter Bruegel, Mike Venezia (1992) ***
Leonardo’s Horse, Jean Fritz (2001) *****
The Life and Work of Leonardo da Vinci, Sean Connolly (2006) ****
Leonardo Da Vinci, Diane Stanley (1996) – IR Anna ****
I Am Roman Catholic, Philemon Sevastiades (1996) **
I Am Lutheran, Erica Bradley (1999) **
Child’s Guide to the Mass, Sue Stanton (2000) ***
Cathedral Mouse, Kay Chorao (1988) ***
Medieval Cathedral, Fiona MacDonald (1991) – IR Anna ***
Uh-Oh, Leonardo, Robert Sabuda (2002) ***
The Genius of Leonardo, Guido Visconti (2000) ****
Starry Messenger, Peter Sis (1996) *****
Elizabeth I: Red Rose of the House of Tudor, Kathryn Lasky (2002) – IR Anna ****
Beware, Princess Elizabeth, Carolyn Meyer (2001) – IR Anna ****
William Shakespeare and the Globe, Aliki (1999) *****
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Leon Garfield (1992) – IR Anna *****
Romeo and Juliet for Kids, Lois Burdett (1998) *****
Maps and Mapping, Barbara Taylor (1993) ****
The Whole World in Your Hands, Melvin Berger (1993) ***
The Rough-Face Girl, Rafe Martin (1992) ****
The Huron Carol, Ian Wallace 2006) ****
Kayuktuk, Brian Heinz, (1996) ****
Jacques Cartier, Jeff Donaldson-Forbes (2002) ****
The Queen’s Progress, Celeste Davidson Mannis (2003) *****
Sir Francis Drake, Lynn Hoogenboom (2006) ****
Sir Francis Drake His Daring Deeds, Roy Gerrard (1988) *** check illustrations
Pirates, Dina Anastasio (1997) *****
See Inside a Galleon, R.J. Unstead (1978) *****
Do Pirates Take Baths? Kathy Tucker (1994) **
The Queen’s Pirate – Francis Drake, Sarah Courtauld (2007) **** one violent picture
The Lyon’s Roar, M.L. Stainer (1997) – IR Anna *****
The Lyon’s Cub, M.L. Stainer – IR Anna *****
My Escape from the Auto De Fe, WM. Timms (2005) – IR Anna *****
Three Men Came to
Updated 7/1/09: Reformation books are now in bold.
Anna is still working on some of her Reformation reading and she loved The Lyon's Roar so much that she wants to finish the five-book series, so check back later for more additions.