Saturday, August 28, 2010

This must decrease , so that That can increase

Build relationships over the phone or in person. Use the computer to transmit information. Spend more time outside. These are some of the nuggets I've been pondering due to at least two women: Rachelle Gardner's post about her vacation and Elizabeth Foss' post that answered a question about Time Spent Online over here.

These posts resonated deeply within me and also the Carole Joy Seid conference that I attended two weeks ago. They have helped me to consider what I really want to be about. I've been thinking about how much time I really want to spend blogging. I've aspired to post 4-5 times per week. But that has never even remotely happened.

I thought creating a blog would help me write more often. Perhaps it has on occasion. But I'm not truly focusing on writing, which is a desire. At times, the computer seems to be a greater distraction to writing (there are so many cool things to read & look at here on this world wide web!) than a help.

And so as I consider how to spend more time with these guys:

...and manage time at the computer, I'll be posting less than I was.

I know, I know it is hard to imagine even less postings from me OR spending more time with the children that I home school... . Nevertheless, I want to officially declare to the blog world that is is my plan to decrease my amount of entries. It is intentional to do less and yet not eliminate it entirely.

If you know me, call me and let's do coffee. Or come & over and we'll linger & laugh over a meal. And then just maybe, I'll post your picture here (as long as that's okay with you). Less time on the computer, more time face to face.


p. s. The flowers are all from our yard and are pictures taken by me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Carole Joy Seid Inspires Again

My new friend Hope, Carole Joy Seid & me

Last Saturday, hubby & I went to hear Carole Joy Seid speak for the 'many-nth' time. (I'm not sure just how many times we have heard her.) We brought along some friends who hadn't listened to her before. They went away as refreshed as we did. Hearing again, "Read, read, read to the children; take them outside; and bake cakes with them" resonated deeply within the heart of Kip & I. It is more than a way to home school; it is a way of living.

We have implemented many of her recommendations. We have decorated with books. The highlight of our day is Reading With Daddy. We have purchased real tools for the children. We have turned off the TV and most media (at least for them). We try to praise them for their work ethic and character. (I always need reminding to do lots more of this.)

We still have more things to work on especially spending more time outside and just being comfortable in nature. (Even though we all enjoy the outdoors, I find it difficult to go outside much. Part of it lately has been how hot it has been -- whew!) .

Even though hubby recently lost his job, we were able to purchase some new books. What a huge unexpected treat! Not only are we watching each and every dime that goes out the door (let's make those savings last as long as possible), this was also the first time in a few years where there have been any books left to purchase. Most of the time the books have been sold out before the seminar has started.

In addition to books, we also brought home two Seeds CDs. (The kids were so excited about this. If you haven't listened yet, go and listen HERE. You'll be blessed.) I must confess we were somewhat persuaded by the quote, "Wear the old coat. Buy the new book." We bought these books: The Keeper of the Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter, Stephen Foster And his Little Dog Tray by Opal Wheeler, and Keeping a Nature Journal by Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth.

I am hoping to do more nature walks and simply observe outdoors in our yard during this school year. We have already begun! Just today, we had a big snapping turtle in our creek. We verified it in our field guide. We tried to get it into a bucket. We watched it swim away and then speculated on where it's hiding. I'm thankful for our yard that has such outdoorsy, woodsy kind of atmosphere right here in the middle of the city. It is possible to go right outside our door & enjoy nature. That's good news! May we keep it up all year long -- actually, may we keep it up all of our lives long.


Click HERE for the link to Carole Joy Seid's website, but I will warn you there is not content from her seminars but mostly a schedule of where & when. You can get a little flavor of her speaking on the radio interview and hear her style.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our School Room

Our school room is the dining room, the same room in which we eat all of our meals. It is a simple approach. A college friend of mine (for those that knew us in college: it was Jinna) encouraged me that we didn't need a special school room to educate our children at home. I love the look of school rooms and having wall space to put up things we're learning about or projects we've done. But because it is a central room of the house, I don't put up much school stuff to look at (unless you count the wall of books in one corner that you can see HERE .) Even so, this space works for us.

A chair at our dining room table is the place our students spend most of their time at our school.

The big windows in the dining room provide lots of natural light and a view of the stray cats and dogs from the neighborhood, some birds and butterflies, the mail carrier putting mail in the mailbox, the changing weather, and other children walking home from school.

The hard part about schooling at the dining room table is that this is also where we eat. At times it is a hassle to clear the table to eat and then start again. But to compensate I often read at lunch time before we've cleaned up the lunch mess.

When the kids are working independently, one or two will scoot off to their rooms or another area of the house so that "they can concentrate." And this is the evidence that is often left behind that readers have been here. We also read in the living room. And the highlight of the day is the evening book that Daddy reads in the living room. In the winter, everyone gets nice and cozy to listen up.

Do you have a special place that you school? Want to see how others do it? Jump on over to the Not Back to School Blog Hop to be inspired.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Books, Books and More Books

McGooger Academy will launch its 2010-2011 school year on August 23rd with the theme of Books, Books, and More Books. I loosely follow the 'Carole Joy Seid' method which combines the best of Charlotte Mason, Dorothy & Raymond Moore, and a little bit of classical methodology. This translates into math, nature exploration, chores, time to create, some writing and MUCH reading (i.e. on their own, read-alouds by mom, read-alouds by dad, and some group reading out loud to each other and to their youngest brother).

My main plan is to use already purchased curriculum but not yet finished. Some of the books I hope to dent heavily:
* Considering God's Creation
* English From the Roots Up, Vol. I
by Lundquist
* A Child's History of the World by Virgil M. Hillyer
* Five In a Row Vol. 1
(for the pre-K student but all will enjoy, I'm sure),
* Emma Serl's Language Lessons (Both Primary & Intermediate depending on which student)
* Catherine Vos' The Child's Story Bible,
* Life of Fred: Fractions

* Making Math Meaningful
by David Quine (three different levels),
* Drawing with Children
by Mona Brooks
* Creating Books with Children
by Valerie Bendt (oh.. to finish this project! it is up first!)

Additional items:
** nature & field trip notebooks (they draw a picture & write a bit (varies based on age of the child) about our nature walk or field trip)
** global puzzle, Rummy Roots, math games (Yahtzee, cribbage, muggins)
** AWANA handbooks
** sign language class
**Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie Bendt (for further ideas, just in case (gasp!) I finish all this and need more to do!!)

And we'll read, read and read some more some great books. I'm sure there are more books that I want us to cover for there are many on our shelves and those of the library that we would like to read. But this looks like a good place to start.

May we be encouraged to walk out the path before us.

With joy & peace,

p.s. For more curriculum choices look at Heart of the Matter Online's Not Back to School Blog Hop and with Angie at Bring the Rain. I found these links through Edie's blog at lifeingrace.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Camp, Change, Loss and Being in the Moment

I didn't mean to stay away so long. The kids & I went away to camp for a week. We loved it. And I thought I would return to blogging right away. Wrong! My husband stayed home to job hunt. After 17 1/2 years at the same company, he was laid off the week before we went to camp. (Yes, it was a surprise! But not so much as he looked back.) So we've been doing a lot of reassessing, thinking, talking and reminding ourselves that it is not Saturday.

After camp, we attended two funerals (older women-- one from our new church and one from our old church) and mourned the loss of Grandma and Grandpa's dog who also died while we were away at camp. Our hearts have endured much loss in the past year: this was the fourth and fifth funeral we have attended in eight months, plus two pets (our cat & our grandparent's dog) and daddy's job loss.

All of our losses reminded me of this verse, "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things, I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that comes from God and is by faith." Philippians 3:8-9. Now it is a little out of context, but it helped me gain perspective on all that God is doing in our lives and the character formation that I am seeing in all of us. And that we still have so much to be thankful for.

In other news, I have been pondering this post at Rachelle Gardner's blog about her vacation and unplugging and being there in the moment. While I was away at camp, I did not miss for one second the lack of a computer. I was there in the moment working hard, playing hard & sleeping hard. But when I got home, I've been drawn to the computer (although I am having to share it more with a job-seeking hubby). I want all of life to be more in the moment. Being there with these four kids in the here & the now while they are still here under my roof.

So in addition to life changes and lots of activity, I'm pondering how much I want to be blogging. Haven't decided, yet. But the slower activity on my blog (not that I have ever posted at a rate that I'm aiming for.. .sigh...) is due to all these things. And I thought someone out there might like to know.


p.s. We've been experiencing much peace in the job loss/hunt and much love & encouragement & support from friends and family.
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