Monday, January 28, 2008

I've been tagged!

I've been Tagged! Patricia over at Classical Education Our Way tagged me with this book meme. Here is what I am suppose to do...

Book Meme

Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).
Open the book to page 123.
Find the fifth sentence.
Post the next three sentences.
Tag five people.

Well, I reached over to the end table and found The Book of Common Prayer. Here is what is listed on page 123 (and carried over to 124)

A Collect for Aid against Perils
Be our light in darkness, O Lord, and in your great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of your only Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

A Collect for Protection
O God, the life of all who live, the light of the faithful, the strength of those who labor, and the repose of the dead: We thank you for the blessings of the day that is past, and humbly ask for your protection through the coming night. Bring us into safety to the morning hours; through him who died and rose again for us, your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

I know I went over the "next 3 sentence" rule, but I couldn't leave the prayer open ended like that.

So, who are the lucky ones I am going to tag? Zelda at Aquitaine Academy, Lori at Carr Homeschool, Audrey at Home Learning Adventures, Amy at Allen Academy, and Kara at A Day in the Life. Please be sure to check in on them and see what they are reading. Until next time...

Friday, January 25, 2008

Where has the time gone?

My "big one" turns seven today. SEVEN!!! It's as if I blinked and *POOF* there is a big kid running around my house in his underwear! And what a kid he is. God has truly blessed me with an intelligent, silly, strong-willed, handsome, gifted, emotional, loving boy.

My boys' birthdays always bring to mind the events and emotions of their actual "birth" day and this one is no different. I went into pre-term labor with Magnus (and Thane as well) around 31 weeks and placed on bed rest. I was dilated to almost 3 and having contractions regularly. I was in and out of the hospital numerous times and placed on many different medications...oh the things I would do differently. January 25, 2001 (5 weeks later) was like any other day. Collin caught a ride to work since we only had one car and I needed it to go to my Dr.'s appointment. I grabbed McDonald's for lunch (Disclaimer: I know, I know. How could I feed that stuff to my unborn child. If only I had known then what I know now. Besides, it helped with the constipation! TMI!) So, I went in for my visit and I was almost at 7! Needless to say, I headed next door to be admitted. BUT, Collin wasn't there and he had no car! Being this was first time for me to experience anything like this, I was nervous and anxious and that took the form of comedy for me. Collin was able to hitch a ride with our good friend, Ted. Nurses were scrambling around, trying to get me prepared and in walks Collin. I still remember the look on his face and his hesitation since he, too, had no idea what to expect. Following close by was Ted. When I saw them both I said, "Oh, I am so glad you are both here because I don't know which one of you is the father!" The room was dead silent. The nurses all stopped working and the guys' faces dropped. I erupted with laughter! needless to say, I wasn't laughing soon after that, as it came time to push. After only an hour and 15 minutes, Baby Davey was finally with us (6:35 p.m.). The rush of emotion is indescribable and only mothers can relate. I am sure fathers experience something, too, in their own way.

So, here we are. Seven years later. Happy Birthday, Magnus!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

What I Did With My Husband Last Night

Tonight Collin took me on a very special date. Part of what made it so magical was that we weren't celebrating anything in particular - this date was "just because". No, we didn't dine at a five-star restaurant, nor was it a night at the opera. We gulped down Wendy's value meals in the car and then we were off for some quality time on the firin' range.

So how does a 35 year old, homeschool mom, who has never handled a gun, end up in a parking lot full of pickup trucks outside a TN indoor shooting range? It begins a couple years ago...

Collin approached me with the idea of buying a hand gun for home defense. I was horrified at the thought of having a gun in the house. A half a dozen objections jumped to mind. I was terrified at the idea of having to use it, for one. Also, four curious little hands have explored most of the nooks and crannies in our house already. Finally, I had a severe case of general anxiety of the unknown. I decided not to press the issue, however, figuring it was one of Collin's wild hares.

To my dismay, he continued to talk to me about it in the months that followed. I found that he had given a lot of thought to all of the same questions that I had. I also found that he was willing to listen to my concerns and not just minimize them. I finally came to see things differently. The first fact that I came to grips with was that guns do not make us safe, nor do they guarantee that you will not be the victim of a violent crime. You can still be killed wearing a seatbelt.

The second realization I had was that the Bible does not call on us to be passive victims in every circumstance. When Jesus talks about "turning the other cheek", I don't believe He means I ought to let myself be raped or murdered. I don't know what to say to someone who would suggest that if a drugged-up felon breaks into my home and waves a knife around, and I'm not able to escape, that my Christian duty is just to let him have his way. Besides, you can own a gun and still choose not to use it, but you have given yourself the choice.

This issue takes on a whole new dimension for parents, because now I am not just making a choice whether to defend myself but whether to defend my children. Not owning a gun means severely limiting your ability to defend your family in a "home invasion" scenario. Collin, in particular, felt responsible to use any available means to ensure our safety. While it's conceivable that he might feel led not to defend himself in some situation, he can never imagine a situation where he would not be responsible to defend his family. And if he had to choose between the safety of his wife and sons and a criminal, he would choose the safety of his family.

I realized in the end that my ideas about guns had been shaped by mass media and that I hadn't come to my conclusions based on my own thought, experiences, and research. That's how I found myself on Wednesday night squeezing off shots from a .22 revolver (the .38 hurt all the way into my teeth!). I wasn't ready to fire at a man's silhouette, but I put those little .22 slugs as close to the center of the target as I could.

Epilogue...While we were at the range we ran into a member of our parish who herself had just purchased a handgun. She told us that a woman in our congregation had been murdered last month by her ex-boyfriend as a result of an ugly custody battle. It reminded me again of the need to be prepared to defend myself, particularly as a woman.

By: Collin and Brittney

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, January 21, 2008

Proximity to Others

Currently, we live in a very small, 2 bedroom apartment. We call it our "little, tiny, baby, pretend house". It's not ideal (ideal would be a single family house on a large wooded lot with trees, cows, chickens, and a school room), but has been a positive experience overall. It forced us (well, mainly me) to purge a lot of things we had been holding onto for one reason or another, we have had to be creative with storage solutions (the boy's shower is filled with bins and paper goods and the laundry room doubles as a pantry...which is working out rather well), and we seem to finally be organized (for the most part).

In the 5 months we have lived here, people have come and gone. The ones that are here now, at least in our building, are making it unpleasant to live here. I have to wade through cigarette butts, empty beer bottles, and discarded fast food bags in order to get to my car. It's disgusting! Why are people too lazy to walk 15 yards to the dumpster or reach for an ashtray? I have personally gone out and picked up THEIR trash only to have it littered up again within a few days.

Even as I write this (4:54 am), my neighbor is saving the world by blowing things up. The bass from his video game is annoying and unnecessary. On occasion, it has rattled the stuff on my wall. Now, I understand this is the sort of thing you have to deal with when living in an apartment, but this is extreme in my opinion. We have talked with him twice and the apartment managers 5 times. I have even kept a record of the times the noise had occurred, which was all hours of the day and night. I am pulling my hair out!

What have I learned from this? I need space. I can not live in close proximity to others. We only have 4-6 months left in this particular place and then we are moving to one of 9 states for grad. school. Hopefully I will be able to find my ideal living situation.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Weekly Report

We have finally found our groove. This week was filled with fun, learning, friends, projects, and great books. The boys love learning and make it pretty easy to teach them. Don't get me wrong, we have our issues, but they didn't surface this week too much. It was a great week.

Thane and I have been filling in a calendar everyday. He has d
ifficulty with the concept of time, which is usual for kids his age, but this has been helping him. He is learning the days of the week, the months, number sequencing, and patterns. For fun, he also inspects the weather each morning and points the arrow on our chart to the correct weather form. Still having to work on his coming out of the room after nap time declaring, "Good Morning, Mom."

We read chapter 16, The Return of Assyria. We learned about Ashurbanipal conquering Egypt, Mesopotamia, ect. and creating the first Library so that he would not be forgotten. The boys then created their own books to be included in the library. Magnus's was about Robin Hood and Thane's was about cowboys...

Language Arts-Magnus
Spelling...Magnus worked on alphabetizing and segmenting 2 & 3 syllable words. I love the way All About Spelling uses the letter tiles to reinforce the concepts. Perfect for visual learners.
Grammar...Still working on proper and common nouns, but now we have moved from people to places. Magnus also memorized the poem "Work". He has a great memory (like his Dad). I read it through twice and then he had it. Numerous times throughout the week I asked him to recite it and he did it without any prompting.
Reading Comprehension...He read "Nate the Great" and answered the q
uestions and did the projects suggested in Veritas Press First Favorites Vol. 2. His reading level is very high (around a 4th grade level), but I just want to make sure he is understanding what he is reading. So far so good. Periodically I will have him read me a couple pages of his "free" reading books and narrate back to me what he has read. I will ask him questions about it as well.
Dictionary Skills...He completed a page in his workbook.

Letter of the Week-Thane
This week we studied the letter "E". All throughout the week he pointed out different objects that started with "E" and the letter whenever he saw it on a sign, in a book, or on clothing. He practiced writing it and memorizing the vowel poem in OPGTR. He also created another page of magazine art and an "E" mini book.

Worked on partitioning "10" this week. He is learning the numbers that make up "10" so quickly not by using flashcards or worksheet drills, but by playing games. He played a memory game where he had two sets of the cards 1-9. He laid them out upside down and then turned one over. He then had to "look" for the number that when added to it makes 10. If he turned over a 3, he would need to then turn over a 7. We also played a card game like "Go Fish", but instead of making pairs, we had to ask our opponent for a card that when added to ours made 10. It is so much fun! Thane is even playing! I do plan on supplementing with some drill worksheets when I feel the need to.

We went over to our friend's house again. This week we learned the difference between alligators and crocodiles. We separated the kids into 2 different groups and they had to search for the answers in books. Great opportunity to teach them how to use the Table on contents and the Index. We came back together and presented our finds. We are also learning how to read a map. We worked on finding the directions (North, Northwest, West, ect.) and made our own compass rose.

Our activities included...

Monday...Homeschool Storytime and the park with our friends. We went to the Chiropractor to be well adjusted for the week and attempted to go to Chess Club. The person in charge was not there to unlock the building and set up. It is not the most organized club and I am not sure if we will continue. We have a conflict for the next three weeks though. The boys will be starting swim lessons.
Tuesday...Budding Biologist (biology club). They learned about Salamanders and the difference between reptiles and amphibians. We also met our friends at the park before hand.
Wednesday...AWANA for the boys and date night for mom and dad. When we picked the boys up, they were in for a surprise...SNOW!
The boys played outside when we got home.(Lucky for him, he missed!)

I know, pretty sad excuse for snow, but we will take whatever we get in TN! The night ended with Thane getting hit right in the face with a snowball from Magnus.
Thursday...Book club. We read Jan Brett's "The Mitten". We had such a great time acting out "The Hat" last week, we acted this one out this week. The kids really get into it.
Friday...Tonight, Collin is taking Magnus out on a "date" and I am taking Thane. We use to do this more often, but for whatever reason, had stopped doing it. No longer. It's important for all of us to have that one-on-one time with each other. Not sure what we are going to do yet.

I am looking forward to next week. It'll be bittersweet as my oldest son turns a year older. Where has the time gone...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Identity Crisis

My boys are going through an identity crisis. I didn't think this was suppose to happen until they hit Jr. High. They will be reading a book and Thane will say, "I'm that guy. Who are you, Magnus?" Magnus will reply, "I'm the guy in the red shirt. Are you the guy on the rock?" "No, I'm him.", pointing to the guy fishing off the bridge.

You have to understand, this goes on ALL day long. And it doesn't even have to be people. Just today they decided which cups they were in the sink. Oh, and yesterday Thane was the color red. What?!? It's driving me crazy! But then I think, "There are definitely stranger things they could be doing. Right?" (Looking for the head nods from other parents.) They certainly have creative imaginations. I do like that! :o)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Then there were 3...well, sort of.

Magnus decided he was going to run away today after I told him he could only have one piece of toast for breakfast. After an episode of talking back and disciplining, he started packing. I knew what was going on but acted like I didn't. He came out into the living room and said, "Mom, will you come into my room and look at the pile on my bed?"
Mom-"What is this, Buddy?"
Magnus-"I'm running away."
Mom-"Well, I hope you will change your mind."

After a few more minutes of packing he went into the pantry.
Mom-"What are you doing?"
Magnus-"Packing some food?"
Mom-"No. That food is for our Team. (We refer to our family as a "team" a lot) And if you are running away, you aren't part of the Team anymore."
Magnus-"Well, can I have a garbage bag? I don't want to litter when I am out."
Mom-"No. You can use a Kroger bag when you stop and buy groceries. How are you going to pay for your food?"
Magnus-"I don't know."
Mom-"Looks like you are packing a lot of stuff. How are you going to carry it all?"
Magnus-"I don't know."
Mom-"Where are you gong to sleep?"
Magnus-"Can you get my tent and sleeping bag out of the attic?"
Mom-"You'll have to ask Dad."

Then, after all of this, he actually sat down and did his school work. Later he told me he decided he wasn't going to leave until the day after tomorrow. Not sure why though. Then he decided he wasn't going to be gone but for only a few days.

Thankfully he came to me later and said, "I don't think I am going to leave. I will miss you."

Weekly Report

We are back and having a great time! School was fun, relaxed, and productive. What a winning combination! I think I may have finally found our groove. Here's what we accomplished...

Monday...Alright, so this was kind of a bad day and n
ot the way I wanted to start off the week, but it ended up alright. We met our friends at HS Storytime then headed to the park. When it hits 70 in the winter, you HAVE to spend the day outside. Well, 3 hours in our case. The water pump on our Cherokee decided it was going to go bad. I had a pool of anti-freeze under the car. Now, Collin just replaced the water pump on HIS Wrangler last week. This was also the 2nd time in 4 weeks the boys and I were left "stranded" due to something going wrong with the car. They are such a necessary evil. Anyhow, I was able to get it home without a hitch. (pun intended!)

Tuesday...What a great day! We got everything done we
set out to do.

We are on chapter 15 of SOTW vol. 1, the Phoenicians. We listened to the story and did the coloring page. The boys asked me to make extra copies of the page, it's of the Phoenician ship, so they could draw "battle" pictures. It looks exactly like the Playmobil Roman ship they got for Christmas. And Magnus is having a heckuva time saying Phoenicians. It keeps coming out Phoehicans. It's pretty cute.

Language Arts-Magnus
Spelling-We started our new program All About Spelling today and let me tell you, I am "All about spelling"! This is going to be a great fit for the boys. It is phonetically based and follows the rules to a "T". This was our missing link.

Grammar-We are still going over common/proper nouns in First Language Lessons. He gets it. I think I may move on.

Letter of the Week-Thane
Today was the first day I had "formal" lessons with Thane and he was loving it! One on one time with mommy doing school was good. We are going to be doing the vowels first so this week was "A". We practiced writing it and memorizing the vowel poem in OPGTR.

Loving Right Start! We worked on money values and word problems using the whole and part method. He catches on quickly.

The best part of the day was driving home in my new, well new for us, 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee!!!! Yes, we got another Jeep. This is our 5th. Collin knows them inside and out. I feel spoiled as our other Jeeps are at least 15 years old. I HAVE ELECTRIC WINDOWS AND LOCKS NOW! That is a complete luxury! We would not have been able to do this without the generosity of my grandmother. Here is what it looks like (this is a pic off the internet, but ours is that color)...

Wednesday...Collin is still home on Christmas break so we decided to take advantage of that and the unseasonably warm weather we are having and go hiking. We climbed into our new car and drove to one of our favorite places, Radnor Lake in Nashville. The trails are fairly easy and it is beautiful there. We saw 6 different kinds of wildlife too...deer

birds, otters, turtles, dogs, and ducks (guess those count as birds, huh?). Here are some more great pictures...

Thursday...We hit the books again.
We read about the founding of Carthage. I must say, I am so happy I purchased the SOTW on cd for the boys to listen to. I don't like to read out loud if I don't have to, although I do because I believe it is important to, so it's great to be able to have someone else read for a change. One of the things the Phoenicians were known for was making and blowing colored glass. The boys and I made our own using wax paper and crayon shavings.

Language Arts-Magnus
Spelling-Learned their method of using the letter tiles and phonetics. Also hit on alphabetizing which was great because I got him a Dictionary Skills workbook.
Completed a page in his new Dictionary Skills workbook.
Grammar-yep, common/proper nouns again.

Letter of the Week-Thane
Worked on writing "A" and memorizing the vowel poem, which he has down. Then we looked for pictures in my magazines that were objects that begin with the letter "A". He really liked that...

More money problems. He even got out his bank and counted his money today.

We had Book Club and I am kicking myself for not bringing the camera! We read Jan Brett's The Hat, and then put on a play of the story. Everyone got involved and had a great time.

Friday...We worked some more on Language Arts and the Letter of the Week. Then we headed over to our friend's house and did science and geography. I'll let you know more about that at another time as this post is getting too lengthy.

Scheduled this weekend...take down Christmas decorations!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

6 going on 13

Magnus is in a transition stage right now. Therefore, we, as parents, are also in a transition stage. Since he is our oldest, we are in new territory. Thankfully (praise God!) I have a husband who is very much in tune with our family and provides the leadership needed in such cases as this. He is very intuitive and discerning when it comes to our boys and I value his insights greatly. We work very well together at figuring things out. We, Collin and I, are very different in our approaches and it balances the family nicely.

Magnus has been challenging our authority and talking back a bit the last few weeks. Let me just say that he is a GREAT kid and we rarely have issues with him aside from the "norm". However, this was pretty consistent and weighing heavily on me. It took a significant episode to figure out what the real issue was. My son is growing up and I don't know how to deal with it.

After listening to Magnus explain how he was feeling, we figured out that one of his issues is having to work around the house. To be more specific, he didn't like having to stop what he was doing or put off his plans in order to help out right when he was asked. Understandable. I don't like to be interrupted either. He understands that our family functions as a team and that everyone has their own jobs to do in order for the family to function well. So, we came up with a chore chart for the boys.

It is my responsibility to get their jobs posted by 9:30am and it is their responsibility to have them completed by the time I have posted. That way they have a bit of a choice as to when they do them as long as they are done by the time I stated. If they are not completed by the time stated, then they have to stop whatever they are doing and do their job. This is teaching them time management skills and giving them a sense of responsibility and accomplishment. I also reserve the right to ask for help (and to receive it) for little tasks like setting the table or helping with dinner. I think this is going to work well. The boys are excited about it too.

We have also decided to give Magnus a bit more independence. Just with little things like pouring his own milk, making his own toast, playing chess on the computer, ect.

He may be ready, but I don't know if I am.

Weekly Report

Ever have one of those weeks when you have every intention to begin something and it just doesn't work out that way? Me too. In fact, I took the week off from everything having to do with homeschooling, except for posting my Wordless Wednesday post. I needed the break. I was stressing out about it. Now it is Saturday and I hope I have a new perspective on things. Had a pretty decent week though...

Monday...New Year's Eve...I had a girl's day out! My friend, Kara, and I spent the entire day doing things that needed to get done, and some that didn't ;o), WITHOUT kids! It was fantastic! I got so much accomplished and it felt great! Wanna know something else? I was in bed, asleep, by 10:30 pm. Pretty pathetic, huh.

Tuesday...Happy New Year!...We scoured the boy's room and made room for all of the Christmas gifts. Well, we tried. That Playmobil Roman Coliseum and I are going to have "words". Holy Cow, that thing is huge and we have no place for it. We have to store it in pieces and the boys have to put it together when they want to play with it. I showed them how to fold their clothes and put them away in their dresser and how to hang up their shirts and place them in the closet. The laundry has gotten out of hand and I hope this will help.

Wednesday...AWANA started up again so Collin and I were able to have a date. We went to dinner and had some great, uninterrupted conversation. Oh, and I was FINALLY able to get The Office Season 3 at Blockbuster. We don't watch t.v. so we are always a year behind the times.

Thursday...We had Book Club, but no one else showed up at our friend's house. So they kids were able to play while Kara and I did some planning.

Friday...We spent the afternoon at Kara's again playing and planning. For dinner we met our friend, Laura Beth and her boyfriend (LBJ, can I call him that?). Then they came over and we talked some more. Great conversation and laughs. We had a nice time.

This weekend, well today, I hope to...
1. Get my Christmas stuff put away
2. Do a little bit of planning for school
3. Check out and prepare our new spelling program, All About Spelling, that came in the mail during my break from homeschooling.
4. Clean my room
5. Organize our c.d.'s (should there be an ' there? I never know?)

Next week, back to work! And I am ready!