Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Overheard through the bedroom door...

The setting...Thane is singing at the top of his lungs and Magnus is annoyed by this.

Magnus...Thane, if you stop singing now, when you are young, I will make you famous when you are older.


Magnus...Because I am going to be a Producer and you are gong to be a Songmaker.

Thane...What's a Songmaker?

Magnus...Someone who writes songs and then sings them. I will make you famous. You will have a corvette and someone will drive you around and you'll sit in the back like this (if only I could see what he was doing!). You'll live in a big house, have video games and servants.

Thane...But I will be shy.

Magnus...It's okay. The police will protect you from all of the people. People will be waiting for you when you walk into restraunts and when you walk back out but the police will be on either side of you doing this (again, I can only imagine!). People will try to touch you because they will think it's an honor because you will be so famous! So, stop singing now!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...a bit early...again...

99 things...

I saw this meme over at Harmony Art Mom's (Barb) blog and thought it looked like fun. So, grab a cup of coffee, get comfortable, and learn a bit more about me.

The items I have done/experienced are in green...

1. Started your own blog. (Duh!)
2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band (does elementary school count?)
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower (Amazing!)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity (Shared Hope International)
7. Been to Disneyland/world...don't care too, really.
8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a my car with no one around!
11. Bungee jumped...NO WAY!
12. Visited Paris (I wanna go back! My favorite city!)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child...want to!
16. Had food, thank God!
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables (Collin has and I have eaten them!)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (cut in line to do it...but not intentionally)
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice...want to!
29. Seen a total eclipse...I think so.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (many!)
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise (a small day cruise thingy)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied...wish I could say yes to this. I have had enough, just not satisfied.
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person..on my list of things to see!
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David...not yet!
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (twice)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person...will someday!
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (did I mention the Eiffel Tower is one of my favorite things?!)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
(many times!)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason (many times! I love you, Collin!)
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma

65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp...would like to gt up the courage to do that.
67. Bounced a check (only once!)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job (kind of...)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (regretted it!)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee that you know a bit more about me, I wanna know more about you! So, copy this and paste it on your blog, answer the questions, and then leave me a comment so I can read it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 12

We are a third of the way through the required 36 weeks of school! Not sure why I am doing the happy dance since we school year round...I guess it just feels good to have reached a milestone even if it is not one that was placed there by me, but by "big brother". Overall we are having a great year. We are staying on track and learning is taking place. As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am looking forward to evaluating some things over the break and changing a few things up when we resume.

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
Due to the changes that I have made, this week went smoother and I feel good about it. I still plan to take some time in the next few weeks to really look at it and make sure I am doing everything I can to prepare myself in teaching it each and every week.

History/Literature/Lapbook...we discussed the feudal system, knights, and castles. Seriously, what more could a boy want? The boys even had a jousting tournament on their bikes with handmade shields and lances. Not the safest thing, I admit, and thankfully no one was impaled! I learned a little something this week too. I learned that I kind of like cuddling on the couch and reading to my boys. This is huge for someone who does not like reading aloud. As long as I don't do it for too long, it's great! (No throwing tomatoes, please! I know it is hard to believe that a homeschooling mom doesn't like reading to her kids...BUT...I am learning to...and before it is too late!) We read The Making of a Knight. We took the things we learned from the book and filled in a couple booklets for our Middle Ages lapbook.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...plugging away in his Growing With Grammar book. He is working on alphabetizing. However, he has lost his privilege of working independently on this least for the time being. He wasn't reading the rules and instructions, but doing what he "thought" the directions said to do. Learning was not taking place. So, for now, I am walking him through each lesson and he is not liking that. Once he can show me that he is ready to take on the responsibility again, then maybe I'll think about it.

Spelling...we are on step 4 of All About Spelling Level Two. He worked on multi-syllable words by clapping the syllables and seeing that every syllable has at least one vowel. He missed 2 out of the 10 words, but he'll get 'um next week!

Phonics...this is one of the areas I am unsure of. Need to think about this over the break. It's hard to know what to do with a kid who is reading and comprehending at a 6th grade level. Do I not worry about it, or try to fill in the gaps even though I am not sure what they are?

Phonics (Thane)
His little face lights up as he reads and it makes me warm inside! I would be missing this if he was learning from someone else in a classroom. Praise God that He has blessed me with the opportunity to homeschool and with a husband who is supportive of it!

Magnus...learned and worked on the 8 facts by learning the "8 trick". For example...8+4=? Well, take 2 away from the 4 leaving you with 2, add it to the 8 giving you 10...10+2=12, so 8+4=12. Like I mentioned last week...I want to give the boys strategies for figuring the problems out and not have them rely on memorizing facts. So far so good!

Thane...learned the difference between a "copy" and a "reflection". We did some "mirroring" exercises and worked on the geo boards.

Continued reading One Small Square: Cactus Desert this week. And yes, I enjoyed reading it aloud to them! :o) We discussed the temperature differences between the day time and night and how different they look as far as animal activity. We also started working on our desert animals lapbook.

Didn't get done this week. "Bad, Magistra! Bad, Mater!"

Thanks for checking in with us this week! We will be doing school next week, and I have planned to do a full week of all of our subjects, but that may change. Not sure I want to do that. Might have to plan some things just for the fun of it! Hope y'all have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas In Nashville

Remember these great people...

These are our dear friends we left behind in TN. I miss them terribly. Tonight they got together for a Christmas party and speaker phoned us in. It was great getting to hear all of their voices together in one place again. It was great they thought to do that. It is great to have friends like that. Did I mention that I miss them?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

31 things...

I saw this on Lisa's blog and thought I would do it too...

31 things about me...

1. Where is your cell phone? In my purse, but should be on the charger

2. Where is your significant other? Do you mean my husband? I am so sick of my HUSBAND being referred to as that or my "partner". Anyhow, he is on campus doing something top secret.

3. Your hair color? Glossy I am told.

4. Your mother? Love her!

5. Your father? Love him!

6. Your favorite thing? This is family, hamburgers, the color pink, sitting on the beach and watching the waves, song birds joyfully singing (but not in the morning by my window!), curriculum, justice, the smell of lavender, I could go on but won't.

7. Your dream last night? Don't remember but if you give me a minute I could come up with something really good...

8. Your dream/goal? To one day work for Shared Hope International and be the first to lovingly embrace a girl/woman who was just rescued from the bondages of the s*x slave industry.

9. The room you’re in? What is referred to as the living room/school room in the Little Tiny Baby Pretend House

10. Your hobby? Trying to figure that one out. I really like bird watching.

11. Your fear? BEARS!!!!

12. Where do you want to be in six years? Hmmm...Collin will have just received his PhD so I guess living in England while he works as a visiting professor at Oxford or Cambridge!

13. Where were you last night? At the school table planning the rest of the school week. I girl!

14. What you’re not? living in TN with all my friends

15. One of your wish list items? Only one? Can't do more debt, to find a church here that is as great as the one we left in TN, friends, Collin to be happy in his work...okay, I'll stop.

16. Where you grew up? Numerically...The Hawkeye State; Maturity...The Volunteer State

17. The last thing you did? Put the boys to bed

18. What are you wearing? my comfy clothes

19. Your T.V.? TV...what's that?

20. Your pet? Peeve? People who don't use turning signals when switching lanes or turning

21. Your computer? Used and not working too well

22. Your mood? Anxious...Collin and I are going to watch The Dark Knight when he gets home!

23. Missing someone? Everyone who is not here!

24. Your car? Duh...a Jeep!

25. Something you’re not wearing? a smile...sad, but true

26. Favorite store? Target

27. Your Summer? Past...packing, selling, moving. Upcoming...not sure

28. Love someone? Yep!

29. Your favorite color? Pink

30. When is the last time you laughed? Some time today

31. Last time you cried? about 20 minutes ago

So there you have it...31 things you may or may not have wanted to know about me, but now do. :o)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...a bit early...and little wordy!

(These were taken only a few days apart!)

Sketch Tuesday

It has been awhile since we have participated in Harmony Art Mom's Sketch Tuesday. The boys reminded me of it after we had lunch with Barb on Friday. This week's topic was right up our alley. It was...sketch something that lives in the desert. The boys and I just started a unit on the cactus desert last week!

This sketch was made by Magnus...

I like the way the sun is casting shadows on the cactus!

Here is Thane's...
He added some great mountains in the background!

If you are interested in participating, head on over to Barb's blog (linked at the top of the post) to find out what next week's topic is, sketch your image, and email it to her by dinner time on the Monday before! People of all ages are welcomed!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weekly Report...Week 11

This past week was a good one. We completed everything I had hoped, with the exception of a lapbook booklet, and every one's attitudes were pretty positive. It was good for me to have talked with Lisa and Tina and I had something on Friday that I was very much looking forward to'll see at the end of the post!

Tapestry of Grace (Both)
Yep, changes have already been made and will continue to be made as I read through my Charlotte Mason books again. This is a good thing. In a nutshell, I have decided to stop doing a TOG week in two weeks. It was dragging out too much, the boys were getting bored and I was just looking for busy work to fill up the time. So, from now on we will follow the schedule as they have laid it out, allowing for flexibility when needed.

History...we continued reading about the Viking Invasions and the Battle of Hastings. These subjects are of particular interest to us as Collin has done some independent research in this area...well, on the Bayeux Tapestry. We enjoyed reading about Eric the Read and his son, Leif.

Literature...Magnus read Viking Adventure by Clyde Robert Bulla and Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky by Barbara Schiller.

Timeline...added more figures.

Lapbook...completed some booklets on Leif and Eric the Red. We are excited to see the whole lapbook put together at the end of the unit. Completing the Thanksgiving lapbook last week gave us some motivation. It's difficult to be working little by little on something and not seeing the end results for a couple of months. Good training in patience though.

Language Arts (Magnus)
Grammar...continued working on adjectives and now, alphabetical order. He has been working in a dictionary skills workbook since last year so this new topic should be pretty easy.

Spelling...worked on step 3 this week. He use to hate doing spelling until I let him "play" games on the computer using Now he looks forward to it! The site lets me type in our spelling words for the week and then it generates different games for him to play for reinforcement. He also takes his spelling "test" on the site.

Phonics...he only has a few more pages left in level 4 of his ETC workbook. I am not quite sure how much he actually learned. This has been something I have let him do on his own as I am working with Thane. I'm thinking he needs a bit more attention from me on this subject.

Phonics (Thane)
It has brought me great joy to see the excitement on his face as he reads. I never had that with Magnus as he just picked up a book and never looked back! Thane has to sound out every sound of every letter and then take his time to blend the sounds together. It is a long process, but it is working and he is doing great. I am pleased with our choice of using SSRW.

Magnus...we introduced "two fives strategy" of addition and he caught on fast. With a little more practice he will have it mastered. The strategy is this: 7+6=? Well, 7=5+2 and 6=5+1...add the 5's (10) and 2+1 (3)...then add 10+3 to get 13! I know it seems like a lot of work to get the answer, but I want to give the boys strategies to figure the problems out and not have to rely on memorizing math facts. By the end of the week he was easily doing problems like 89+7.

Thane...we played some games and continued working on simple addition. At the rate he is going, he should be starting Level B sometime around April.

Yep...he is in his pajamas, sitting on top of the table doing his math. Gotta love homeschooling!

We started a unit on the desert habitat. If you are not familiar with Donald Silver's "One Small Square" series, I highly recommend you checking them out! The book walks you though a day/night of an 8 square foot area of the desert (he also has books on the seashore, backyard, woods, ect.). It's so interesting to see the different types of plants, animals, and even weather. I found a free desert animal lapbook on and we will start that next week. Magnus also read an Indian Tale to Thane about how the jack rabbit got his ears.

"Salve, Mater!" was heard through out this apartment this week. We worked on words that described family relationships. I can not say enough about this program! Song School Latin is so gentle in it's approach to introducing Latin. We will not be intimidated when we start Latin for Children next year.

Alright...ready to hear what I did Friday? I had the pleasure of meeting an online friend, Harmony Art Mom...Barb! (Attention...I am not pregnant! My vest was pooching out funny and made me look like it!)

I had arranged for her to come talk to my classical homeschool group about doing nature study. She gave a fantastic talk about how her family does nature study and invited the group to participate in her Outdoor Challenges. She inspired us all! Then she and I and our boys had lunch at none other than In N Out Burger. Unfortunately, conversation was cut short due to a stomach issue with Magnus. BUT...we have made tentative plans to go on some hikes! I'm counting on her to get me over my irrational fear of bears!

So there you have it...our week in review. Be sure to check back next week!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Keep It Simple, Sweetie"

I am adopting a new phrase..."Keep It Simple Sweetie". I have been in contact with some dear ladies, Lisa and Tina, about my struggles with TOG and other things having to do with school. Tina gently introduced me to the phrase that Lisa coined and I am going to have it tattooed on my it is the first thing I see in the morning when I look in the mirror.

I am trying to do too much. The boys are still young. I need to slow down and allow more time for discussion (not lecture) and exploration. I need to learn how to relax and allow the boys' interests on the topic to lead our discussion. I need to allow them to tell me what they thought was interesting or how they would have handled a situation. I need to not be so concerned with coloring pages, scripted questions, or the clock. This is the age of exploration and discovering. I am real good about letting them explore, but only on their time and not during school. I need to allow them do explore and discover all. the. time....with guidance of course.

So, where does that leave me? With a lot of reading. I need to blow the dust off my Charlotte Mason books and reacquaint myself with her and her teachings. Her philosophy of education warms my heart. She "Kept It Simple" and her students developed a life long love of learning. They received an academically challenged, well rounded education. That is what I want for my boys and that is what I am going to strive to give them.

There are going to be some changes after the break. Changes I know I have talked about before on this blog, but never got around to implementing. I need to figure out a way to make them happen. So, stay tuned and remember to "Keep It Simple Sweetie"!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Our Thanksgiving Camping Trip

The beautiful California coast...

The ocean was wild! I have never seen waves so big!

We are up on a 20-30 foot cliff...

It was warm enough for the boys to play in the water...

This Brown Pelican let me get real close to him...