Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Student and The Troublemaker

We Have a Birthday Boy!

Ds turns one this next week.
Big sister (11yo) crocheted him a blanket. I'm super proud of her!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Our Everyday View

Munchkin at Play

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Family walks have commenced

Daddy and his crew

Our friendly neighborhood companion

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

God Healed Our Camera!

Okay, so maybe that isn't exactly what happened, but it is a testimony of how much God cares about even the little details of our lives! We took the camera in today to the repair shop to get an estimate. It was going to be almost the price of a new camera (no surprise there). But while the repair man was closing the camera, he inadvertently bumped the lens and it retracted. It is working just fine now. So however it happened, I am very grateful since it was my stupidity that broke it in the first place.

Here are a couple scenes from our balcony on this beautiful, sunny Alaska day. It is 57 degrees and gorgeous weather!

Ds is officially walking. He will one year old on the 30th. But he has also discovered other fun things to do.

What do you mean I can't have the stuff up here?

Daddy's Stash!!!!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

First Spelling Test

Here is the first spelling test for dd4. She is using All About Spelling, and we are on Step 6. Her spelling is getting ahead of her penmanship as you will be able to tell from her test. The words that have boxes around them she said were two sound words. The words she underlined were three sound words. She only got those marked part way through though. She started marking them all on her own. I had nothing to do with it.

I'm not sure why my scans are coming out so light, but they are better than before so I'll keep trying to figure out the correct settings.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Fun Finds

I was drooling over the Queen Homeschool catalog this weekend. I love the resources available for making learning come alive.

I also found some reading series that look really neat:

The American Adventure which unfortunately is no longer in print (from what I can tell).

Liberty Letters which is scheduled to be re-released this spring.

Sisters in Time

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This chart blew me away. What Food Plan are you on?

What Would I Do Differently?

Now that our older girls have been in school a few years, it is becoming clearer what educational methods provide deeper learning for us. So as I plan for the new school year, I want to tweak a few things.

One thing I want to use on a more limited basis is fill-in-the-blank material. This quote from Karen Andreola in "Narration Beats Tests" sums up my reasoning.

Today's children are exposed to much information and come away with little knowledge. Why? Because they have never thought the writer's ideas through and made them their own. Charlotte Mason observed that what the child digs for becomes his own possession. Narration develops the power of self-expression and forces the child to use his own mind and form his own judgment.

Another thing I want to change is how we handle spelling. In early elementary, I want to have a strong focus on phonics instruction and reinforcement. Starting in upper elementary, I want to heavily intertwine our spelling instruction with dictionary studies. In junior and senior high, I want to move to vocabulary study through word roots. They will also continue to maintain their Growing Dictionary, which is intertwined with all their studies.

I've also figured out why I don't like all-in-one language arts programs. When they are all together, each component is not covered as comprehensively as when separated out.

I am realizing more and more how important communication skills are. We can only express ourselves well if we have learned the tools of good oral and written communication. If we can give our children those tools, we are giving them a gift that will last their entire lives.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Showers of Blessings

I just have to say this morning that God is good all the time and all the time God is good (even when we don't see it).

For over three years, our family has been holding onto God by faith. We didn't know if we would ever see the end of the desert. We felt very little hope that things would start looking up. But we kept doing what we felt God had us to do. Our family grew spiritually which we wouldn't trade, but it was still difficult.

In October we moved back to Alaska which was a huge blessing in itself as we had been wanting to move back for several years. We moved in faith and that was the start of things coming together. We're six months down the road and we can feel life starting to flow in our bones again.

We've found a church we feel God has us at. We have found a homeschool group that we are enjoying. (The neat thing about this group is that the dads are involved too.) We have neighbors who are also a Christian homeschooling family. But we also are making connections in our neighborhood with those who need to know God's love. My husband loves his job. And financial needs are slowly falling into place. We've had two large financial blessings in the last month, and the latest blessing is a crock pot off Freecycle.

Two times in the past week, a man we don't know rang our doorbell and asked if we wanted some milk and vegetables. He had excess and so he gave us some milk, cucumber, avocados, and egg plant. Then he went on to tell me that he gets things sometimes and isn't able to use it all. So he delivers it to different people (our neighbors being one of them but they weren't home). I was pretty blown away.

We received a nice Lazy-Boy recliner off Freecycle. We also received a CD/Cassette/Radio stereo.

Dd11 woke up Saturday with the stomach flu. She is doing better but wanted banana popsicles. So while dh was out getting the recliner, he stopped by the store to get them. He got to the checkout and realized he had forgotten his wallet. So he went and put the popsicles back. When he turned around, the man who had been standing behind him in line was there and told dh that he would buy those for him. So dd got her popsicles. I almost cried when dh was telling me about it.
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