Friday, August 28, 2009

20 days completed? Are you serious?

Artistic pursuits instructed us to etch in oil pastels. So, that's what we did. G#1 etched a second picture of an apple with a worm in it.

G#3 etched a green tree with a bike and a doghouse.

G#2 drew a self portrait and she was pleased with that.

So, we have indeed finished 20 days of school. August has almost vanished. G#1 heads to Utah and Disneyland next week and he'll work on analog clocks in his math notebook as well as money exercises on the websites I found. The twins will also practice practical math and write the answers to Veritas Press's questions about Magician's Nephew. That's what G#1 did in 2nd grade, but now he is writing up the answers to The Horse and His Boy for 3rd grade. We'll keep schooling through the holiday weekend and get back together with the brother in a week.

Meanwhile, I'm going to practice some slow cooker recipes from Sound enticing, join me and tell me what you tried and if you liked it. Better yet, did your kids like it?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rainy Thursday

Vivaldi, Phil Collins Big Band in French, and now Bagdad Kemper on the mp3 player just to keep the morning filled with variety. We've all got new library books to read and our checklists to complete for the day, but music makes it go smoother. I'm reading Mr. Wiker's The Mystery of the Periodic Table. I need a good primer on chemistry to lead these three along in their science study too. I'm keeping the last 2 installments of the Roman Mysteries that I received from Amazon for the long Labor Day weekend drive.

Rain and the soccer practice for tonite is canceled. But, a comfy weekend of activity promises plenty of outside time and maybe another trip to the lake for sailing before the season ends and we rig the boat to the ceiling of the garage (somehow?).

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Almost, but not yet... salsa soon!

"You are loved with an everlasting love..."

I recently found a website & *.org that is called Homemakers by Choice. It is spearheaded by Donna Otto. I am familiar with her because of her interviews with Elisabeth Elliot (Gren) on Gateway to Joy several years ago. The title of this post is the phrase that Mrs. Gren (her legal name) would say each day as the radio show opened. I was able to see Mrs. Gren in Omaha at Westside Church in the days before children. Sadly, Gateway to Joy isn't available on radio anymore and only transcripts are found at the Back to the Bible website. However, I enjoy Donna Otto's podcast these days from her format at Homemakers by Choice.

And these messages I hear or read remind me of my quiet time each morning after I listen to Nancy Leigh DeMoss on Revive Our Hearts podcast. I try to do a Bible study each day while reading the verses she attaches to her lesson. However, I wasn't directing my children to a sincere Bible study for their school day though. So, I found a format somewhere in one of the note booking websites that fit the level of my children and made it work for them to read through a chapter of the Bible every morning since we started school. Now, I'm starting them in Proverbs, which for 2nd and 3rd graders is a stretch, but we will soon move to reading a chapter each day in a book of the Gospels and work through a crossword puzzle. That is, once G#1 returns from his expedition with the paternal grandparents and family to California and Utah..

The form I've tweeked a bit to use for my kids was titled "Prayer Organizer" and found on the notebooking pages at Homeschooling With Index Cards. It is clear and concise for these three children and their mommy. I've found many helpful guides from Molly at this site and the greatest of which is the tool we use to study world flags. Her materials are found by using the button to the side.

Monday, August 10, 2009

I will not unschool!

I understand that many people unschool their children, but I'm not one of them. It also is against all the professional training I received in teacher's college. Every fiber of my being demands that this world belongs to morning people. Why? Well, that's when the sun is rising and it has risen for those in the East and so the rest of the world is moving and grooving by the time I lift my head off the pillow - in the morning. That's when the Daddy goes to work and keeps the house paid for and the bills paid. Morning is when most people go to work as will those people I brought into this world in a very short time from now (everyone says that the kids always grow so fast and then they are gone- promises promises).

There are responsibilities that we face each day that we'd rather not, but in unschooling it would seem that children come to that reality on their own and are not forced into it. I am unable to abide by that reality, because as it is, I'm not backing down on what I expect from my 2nd and 3rd graders. Too bad if they get bored in a couple of years, start building or creating things that have never been thought of, or are just not that good until they fix them. I want them schooled according to my calendar and time schedule, not theirs.

So, as the children came to that reality this morning, I wasn't going to let the day just slip away and I made my sister's-in-law recipe for peanut butter cookies. I enjoyed two before anyone chose to inquire if they could have any. Then, I plainly said that we do school in our clothes and after we put away our pajamas. We will do the entire school day today as well as insert Chemistry and finish the art assignment that didn't get done last week. Each came and did what I asked for even though it took until the Daddy came home from work. We are not behind and we will keep on the schedule because, "I know the plans I have for you" says the mommy. And that's that. Ultimatums and requirements, you bet ya!

Friday, August 7, 2009

First week of 2009-10 complete!

Well, most of it. I need to finish the painting activity with the kids from Artistic Pursuits about Cimabue and Gothic art craftsman's guilds, but we can do that on the floor with water colors in the morning while Dad makes donuts. We actually got to art which is more than last year. I didn't get to include Chemistry study this past week though. I'm bummed about that. I loved high school Chemistry probably because of my teacher. My husband loved high school chemistry too. We'll get to it next week. And desert habitat and more information on Disneyland for G#1.

The kids did their Bible study on their own and prayed through the entire thing individually both Thursday and Friday. They are doing more tasks on their checklists on their own. I was able to have the web pages ready for them to use in finding the African country of the day and the information about Ontario this week. But with 3 computers, and each one ready with one page that is used on some task, each child is able to accomplish what they are "willing" from their checklist. My goal is to have independent learners by the time they are in 4th and 5th grades. While they worked independently, I made wheat bread with freshly ground rosemary. Everyone appreciated it :-)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

All for want of the wine

Maybe you've heard the poem "For want of a nail." If not it goes like this:
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost:
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a nail. (Ferriers are quite important, you know)

Well, once upon a time, I traveled to Texas to learn Arabic and I flunked that language because I'd no clue how to learn another language especially one with another alphabet. I got a C, but that's the same as flunking in grad school. So, I wondered along one day in search of another language to learn and passed by the Arabic class as I'd already lost touch with that crowd. I scurried past the Hebrew class because I'd no business going to war-torn Palestine. I slowly considered Farsi for a nano-second and barring the different alphabet problem again, I knew I had no absolutely NO Business in Iran. SO, the only room left was the Turkish classroom with less than 10 students for a comfy small learning environment of normal looking characters AND the Latin alphabet.

I studied Turkish for many years along side an Air Force pilot on his master's degree assignment who happened later to visit me while I took classes in Istanbul at Bogazici Universitesi. He found many bottles of Turkish wine in my icebox there and decided that was a good habit to have after sampling the wine. As years went by and his program ended and mine led me back up north to Omaha, he suggested I meet up with his college roommate who was taking shore leave from an Atlantic Ocean fleet submarine. So, I agreed only to meeting this sailor on the grounds that the guy bring along a bottle of Turkish wine. Well, I'd met some of this pilot's other friends and had some reason to be weary.

That meeting led to other meetings which turned into dates and that turned into a wedding and marriage and now, 3 kids later, a need for even more Turkish wine. AND I've found the origin of the wine I seek. While in Ankara, that same Air Force pilot, now on assignment in the American Embassy, arranged for a tour of the winery for our family. I was overjoyed and thrilled to be in the place where my wine was made and the same wine that brought us together in the first place. Kavaklidere is a wonderful stop while visiting in Ankara or the Anatolian Region when you get there some day. But it was all for want of the wine on my travel this time and nothing was lost - yippeee!
Baseball gameBold, breezy cool August evening & fireworks with the daddy

Efes or Ephesus for the world outside Turkey

Our overnight train ride from Ankara to Izmir/Basmane went well except for the lack of bunks that I'd expected. Yep, we got tickets on the train that didn't provide sleeping bunks. So, I didn't sleep much as one of the kids slept in my lap. But they enjoyed the dining car. And slept well. I got to see how many people just visited and carried on all through the night. I don't imagine that any train conductor was going to wake them at their stop, so practically speaking, they stayed up to catch their stop when we arrived upon it.

The trip to Selcuk went much better. We transferred well right from the long ride to the short hop of a train down to the Aegean Sea coast. We were found by Mehmet who talked me into staying the night in Selcuk at a very comfy pensiyon run by an Australian dude, who gave me quite a good price. Mehmet's brother, Alibaba, proceeded to drive us to Efes for the tour of the ancient city. He dropped us at the top end of the hill and we spent 2.5 hours reviewing with the kids what was taught during history over the past year.

They did well to remember many things about the Romans and things from the Bible. It was overwhelming to see things that I'd not seen on my trip through here during 1997. We saw the library and discussed what kinds of books were there; we discussed earthquakes and building materials; we saw mosaics and discussed the time and detail as well as cultural significance of that work. The amphitheatre was awesome and left my kids amazed that they could hear me whisper from the stage as they stood as high up in the rows as possible without a microphone. Mehmet picked us up from the bottom side of Efes and took us to a beach nearby called Pamucak and it was on the Aegean. This was the first time my kids had played in the sea water. It was my first visit to the Aegean Sea (I'd only visited the Black Sea and Sea of Marmara before when in Turkey).
G#1 said that he enjoyed making the castle on the sandy beach with his brother, but not the salty sea water of the Aegean. G#3 said that he enjoyed seeing a sarcophagus at Efes and the library there, but didn't enjoy climbing "1000 step up to 100 feet in the amphitheater" where he could see for miles. "Dad was an ant, no kidding Mom." A direct quote. When he got to the beach he also enjoyed the castle building and the water, but not the floaty things in the water. (the beach was made up of gorgeous sand and there had been a storm before to bring up many green weeds). G#2 was overjoyed to be feeling better because we found the Turkish equivalent to Ritz crackers that stayed in her stomach and filled her up. She got messy in the sand and definitely, she assures me, enjoyed Efes. All enjoyed seeing snails on the rocks outside Saint John's castle in Selcuk.