Monday, September 19, 2011

A "Can Do" Spirit

God has something to accomplish and I am part of His plan. So.......
If this is what I have to do right now, I'll do it with all I have;
If this is where I'm at, I'm going to do my best;
I'll see past the hardships that I go through and believe God for the bigger picture.

God encamps over me and says, "I am with you. Let's get this done!"
Great victory comes after a great pressure;
I can be content in all things.

I may want to say, "I can't".

I will choose to say, "I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength."

I have a CAN DO spirit alive in me! ♥

Thursday, September 15, 2011

An Off Day....or maybe not.

Well, the last couple of days I haven't felt the best (fighting a cold) so by yesterday afternoon, I decided that it was time to give my body some rest and let it heal as it needed. This is very difficult for me, as my family will all vouch for, but I did it today...:) The girls and I got comfy on the downstairs sofa and turned on Netflix to see what would keep us entertained (and maybe we could sneak in some learning too). Found an Egyptian Afterlife documentary that we enjoyed, watched our first episode of The Electric Company and found it catchy, watched our first Madeline (picked up some french vocabulary), and then finally the girl's experienced their first Abbot and Costello ( Meet the Mummy) which provided laughs and giggles. All in all it was a nice relaxing day and I got waited on whenever I rang my cowbell (the girl's idea).

Maybe it was an off day.........or maybe it wasn't. I'm beginning to love and embrace the idea that learning isn't contingent or only accomplished with paper and pen in hand or a book in front of us. We don't have to be sitting at a desk, or taking a test to prove ourselves. 

"It's a miracle that curiosity survives formal education."tAlbert Einstein 

When learning is recognized in the fabric of life and encouraged, when families make their decisions based on what leads to more interesting and educational ends, children learn without effort, often without even knowing it, and parents learn along with them. —Sandra Dodd All Kinds of Homeschooling

"A child does not have to be motivated to learn; in fact, learning cannot be stopped. A child will focus on the world around him and long to understand it. He will want to know why things are the way they are. He won’t have to be told to be curious; he will just be curious. He has no desire to be ignorant; rather he wants to know everything. " —Valerie Fitzenreiter, in The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School

"In the end, the secret to learning is so simple: Think only about whatever you love. Follow it, do it, dream about it...and it will hit you: learning was there all the time, happening by itself." -Grace Llewellyn

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday morning syndrome has struck the Denen house. Sleepy heads abound. The week-end does that to us..:) And the one child who needed "alone time" yesterday afternoon, pulled a Rip Van Wrinkle so when bedtime rolled around she wasn't sleepy and stayed up later coloring in her bed. Good thing it's a reading and library day. Every other Monday afternoon we trek to the library to bring home a boatload of books and sometimes a themed kit that we can check out for a whole month. Well, today our Egypt Kit is due so we are going to spend the morning, drinking coffee ( they get a little bit with flavored creamer - I get black straight up - and A LOT) gleaning all we can and making up question and answer cards from the books. Each girl will get to choose some interesting facts and write them down in question/answer for so we can play a game with them later, so....gotta go for coffee cup is empty.


8 hours later.....

Here's a recap of the day:

read the rest of our Magic School House Sandstorms in the Desert Book
I drew a picture of a camel from it...:)
all three girls took notes from Egypt library books for our question game we are making.....
Maddie and Hannah made a fairy land for her little fairies with flower petals and items around the house.....
read a couple chapters from our Pixie Hollow fairy book
Rick came home for lunch.....
read the first 2 chapters of Pippi Longstocking, despite complaints of my choice
because the girls thought it would be stupid and made them all laugh,
even Rick and everyone listened intently...:)
finished lunch and cleaned up.....
Maddie continued play with her little fairies.....
Grace took quiet time in her room.....
Hannah and I got some deals at Kroger and headed to the library for more books....
made dinner together...
everyone did assigned clean up duties.....
started to make choc chip cookies with caramel, but didn't have margarine or butter...
took a bike ride/walk with the neighbors,
went out to peek at newly born bunnies (mama had them covered though)......
time for bed.............
                                          girls are all in their own rooms reading before lights out...
                                                               which will be soon....
                                             so we don't have another slow going morning...

And so it went on our reading day....

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.  ~Charles W. Eliot

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I had wanted to get on here Thursday and Friday to give recaps of our days, but busyness took hold and we also had company over, so here I am on Sunday afternoon, finally getting some quiet time to think and write. The girls are all off doing something on their own. One is galavanting in the neighborhood playing with friends, one is watching a movie and one is in her room getting some "space"...:)

We did well last week with getting lessons done before lunch and the girls really liked it. Our goal is to have breakfast done, be dressed, beds made, kitchen cleaned up and a load of laundry started by 8:30 so we can get started. Some days, the girls get started on their own while I am still getting ready and that's OK with me...:) Our philosophy is that learning is all around us and that learning is always taking place. As I mentioned, we do have our mornings set aside for the academic subjects that needs to be covered, but don't want them to think that once we are done with our lessons that they can turn their brains off...:) I want them to discover the joy of learning and get excited about life around us. There are so many more things to learn in life besides the academic subjects. We want to raise kids with excellent character, a strong work ethic and sweet loving spirits. Having them at home gives me ample time to "guide" them in getting along and dealing with rivalry issues and selfish attitudes that seem to permeate the atmosphere some days...;) We have to find the right balance of together time to work and learn and alone time to pursue everyone's own interests and time to "breathe" and think during our set quiet time. 

Our curriculum choice is a Unit Study called A World of Adventure which covers everything but math, so it gives us something wonderful to bounce our learning off of. It is very history and literature rich, so I love it!

This is basically what we cover during the week:

Bible Reading and Memory - Sometimes our story to discuss for history is from the Bible, so we read that along with whatever I pick to read for the day. We are also going to be memorizing many scriptures, so our first one is Proverbs 1 ...the whole chapter. They each have a printout of the same version for them to study and we take turns reading it through so that they each get practice reading aloud and pronouncing the words, and also hearing it too. We go over the meaning of some of the words daily, so they are also learning vocabulary. In Proverbs 1, we have talked about the meanings of the words; blessed, council, ungodly, scornful, meditates, prospers, withers, and a few others. 

Math - all the girls need to get their multiplication facts down, so they are working on whatever facts they need with drill sheets, flash cards, oral drill, skip counting, card games and computer games. We also work on measurements as we cook and bake and they are all increasing their time telling ability, including adding time to determine "how much longer til?". A much asked question in our house...:)

Spelling - We use a book called Spelling Power and we also add words from their writing and copywork that they don't know. We have also incorporated some words given to us weekly by our neighbor girl, Alex, who asked if she could organize a spelling bee for our girls and her younger brothers sometime in October.

Writing/Copywork - we write all kinds of things...our Bible verses, poems, sayings, passages in good literature, etc. I believe a good writer develops from seeing, reading and writing from great literature examples. We also have a grammer book that teaches basic sentence structure, grammer and punctuation that they write the answers to daily. I also want them to be able to write a proper paragraph so we are working on retelling stories now.

History - right now it's Ancient Egypt so we are reading lots of books, coloring appropriate pictures for our folders and playing interactive computer games online that we find to make it fun, along with doing projects. Friday, we deviated from Egypt, and spent several hours in the morning watching clips and programs about the terrorist attack from Sept 11, and discussing what happened that day.

Science - Our main focus for now is deserts. Again, we read and look at books and do projects. We also learn  about whatever comes up, such as the rabbit who just finished digging her burrow deeper to prepare for her new litter. We look facts up on the internet and find out more about why they do what they do. Funny looking insects on the window or on the patio beg us to find out more about them. Wasp nests, mice, katydids, flowers...there are always things to learn when you just open your eyes and your mind. Today on the way to church, Rick noticed big black bird flying around in continuous circles, so now we have to check into what that was all about. Maddie wants to know why we have an "apple" in our throat too. 

Vocabulary - much of this comes from whatever we come across during the day or the words Rick uses and they ask about. Maddie fell for Daddy's "scheme" again today and has the assignment of looking up and learning to spell, "discernment"....:) The girls also want to start learning Latin vocabulary again, as they remember doing with Isaac years ago.

So, there's an overview. Every day is an adventure and a new opportunity, so remember.....

When you rise in the morning, form the resolution to make the day a happy one to a fellow

creature. It is easily done. (The Independent Fourth Reader, 1880)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So, in case you don't know, we have.....

....we have begun the adventure of home educating again after a 3 year stint in public school for the girls, and a one year break for me after Isaac "graduated" from his home education. Yes. home educating. I like to call it that to remind us that we are not a school, we are a home. I am not a teacher, although part of my responsibility is to teach; I am a mother. Rick is not the principal, although he certainly gets to be in charge and they may get sent to his "office" if need be...:) He is the dad (who is more authority than the principal anyway.) We started a few weeks ago and are figuring out our "schedule" and tweeting our methods already, but the girls seem to really enjoy it. One will tell you otherwise if you ask her, but, that's another story, for another time. If you don't care to hear more about our experience, you can quit reading now. But, if you are interested, I am going to share more about how and what we learn on this journey called life and learning.


Oh, are still reading. Well, then, this was today. So far.

This morning the girls woke me at 6:15 wanted to know if they could have breakfast, and "Could we make you coffee?" They have a plan of getting an early start to their lessons so they can get outside to their newly discovered play area in the empty lot next to our house. With their breakfast complete, Grace worked on her math, and Maddie her spelling. Somehow one of them asked if all flowers close up at night and open again in the morning, so they donned their shoes and went out to check the roses. We now have 2 white roses in paper cups sitting in colored water trying to turn into pink and blue roses. That all happened before 7:15AM and then they parked themselves in the front bedroom window to " the other kids get on the bus." Too excited to wait, so they missed it, but did see it turn the corner and drive away without them and they were pleased....:) 

Once Hannah woke up and got going, and Daddy left for work, they gathered their folders, after getting a "no" answer to "Can we watch a little TV?", and dug in. Our folders should be considered a subject in themselves as we are learning to compile and  organize our papers along with me keep track of who's working on what. This is a definitely a work in progress.

A little recap from the last 3 weeks: We are beginning our studies based on a chronological study of the history of the world, so we are studying Ancient Egypt and since it is a desert area, are using deserts and all things related to deserts, as our science topic. We also read, studied, discussed and wrote about the story in Genesis of Joseph's life after he was sold into Egypt and God's big plan for his life. Yesterday, we finally got to our Nile River project and loved working on it together and collecting all the props we needed to make it look just the way we liked, including a small reed boat, placing some "mountains" on the east side of the river and adding a couple canals for the farmers. 

The rest of the morning we did math,spelling words, copywork/grammer lessons, and spent time memorizing Psalm 1. Read 2 more chapters from The Magic Tree House book, Season of the Sandstorm; added more vocabulary words and facts to discuss about caravans, deserts and camels, along with names of places to find on globe or map for geography. 
Vocabulary: when Rick is home, he finds immense pleasure in using unfamiliar vocabulary and then when the girls ask, "What's that mean?" he tells them, "Look it up and get back to me." Maddie now know the meanings of slothful and precursor...:) 

By the time we finished all this, it was 10:45 AM and we called it a morning well done and after a snack, Hannah and Maddie gathered their tools and rushed out to play in the field which is now their "fort". Grace and I took a trip to Walmart to purchase a few groceries and analog watches for the three of them (their money) to assist in our learning about telling time and time lapse the "real way" instead of all the digital clocks surrounding us around our home. 

Lunch time.

More outside play time for them. Breathing time for me...:)

We'll read more later and I'm sure Daddy will interject some new vocabulary into their lives...:)

That's all for now. I need to go make our chicken dumpling soup for dinner and clean some things up.