Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chemistry, It Matters

We are enjoying the American Chemical Society's Lessons. As well as the University of Nottingham's Periodic Table.

The kids' favorite video? Blowing up a Cadbury Creme egg :-)

Check em' out. Lots of fun!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Boy Wanted

Yesterday, we had a fabulous summer Olympiad in our city park. About 15 kids carried the torch, made their own medal, learned the history of the Olympics and played games. They participated in the 50 yard dash, standing long jump, archery toss, and an obstacle course. Unforunately, the boat races were a total no go due to the creek flowing soooooo slowly. We lost and had to retrieve many "boats" from the creek. A few remain unfound. Oh, the glory of the Olympics!

Brother is enjoying soccer. Pictures soon. So much for shy. I'm having to remind him to have manners, listen to his coach and be an attentive team mate. His energy is overtaking him. 

Frank Crane's, Boy Wanted, will be our copywork for the next week or so. Something for him to hang in his room. Words to hang on. Words to eat.

Boy Wanted
Frank Crane
This "want ad" appeared in the early part of this century. 

Wanted -- A boy that stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight; 
A boy whose fingernails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for; 

A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business; 

A boy that moves quickly and makes as little noise about it as possible; 

A boy who whistles in the street, but does not whistle where he ought to keep still; 
A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks; 

A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl; 

A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how; 

A boy who is more eager to know how to speak good English than to talk slang;

A boy that never bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him; 

A boy who, when he does not know a thing, says, "I don't know," and when he has made a mistake says, "I'm sorry," and when he is asked to do a thing says, "I'll try"; 

A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time; 

A boy who is eager to read good books; 

A boy who would rather put in his spare time at the YMCA gymnasium than to gamble for pennies in a back room; 

A boy who does not want to be "smart" nor in any wise to attract attention; 

A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than to tell a lie or be a cad; 

A boy whom other boys like; A boy who is at ease in the company of girls;

A boy who is not sorry for himself, and not forever thinking and talking about himself; 
A boy who is friendly with his mother, and more intimate with her than anyone else; 

A boy who makes you feel good when he is around; 

A boy who is not goody-goody, a prig, or a little pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life. 

This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him. 

 Building a Bird House

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Diamond Cutting

We look like ordinary rock. We who are formed of the dust and minerals of the earth. And some of us act like we are ordinary rock. C.S. Lewis reminds us, "You have never talked to a mere mortal."

Within each of us is a precious gem, waiting to be sculpted, shaped, and brought out. Brilliance beneath the surface. Yet, brilliance is only achieved by the grinding and refining of rock. Many diamonds today are cut poorly in order to enhance the carat size. Why do we so often choose quantity over quality? Oh, that we would choose to be cut small in order that our true brilliance would shine.

Be kind; for everyone you meet is engaged in a great struggle. 

~ Philo of Alexandria

Thursday, August 23, 2012

"Almost" Wordless Wednesday on Thursday

 Astoria, Oregon wharf
 Walking the Wharf

 Splash fountain fun and an ice cream mustache.

Today, we process peaches into pie and then there's always chemistry.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sharpen Thy Mind and Thy Pencil

September School Plans

Art Institute of Chicago - Chagall
 School is fast approaching. I'm posting our September plans here for quick access and review and so those interested can see what it is we do at home all day long! Each week, we will also be part of a Classical Conversations Community which has a stand alone curriculum that will compliment our studies at home. I do not teach at CC. A nice break for me and it allows the kids to study with other students and I have a school planning day.

Many of our extracurricular art, music and science field trips and programs will begin in October. I look forward to sharing those adventures.


Monday afternoon: Art Lab for Kids: 52 Creative Adventures in Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Paper, and Mixed Media-For Budding Artists of All Ages

First lessons will be: creating paint wheels and beginning contour drawing. 

Wednesday afternoon: September is Gothic Art. We will explore:
  •  The Book of Kells (illuminated manuscripts) 
    • The Sailor Who Captured the Sea, A Story of the Book of Kells
    • Celtic Coloring
    • The Secret of Kells (DVD). We will have to preview this first. A "maybe" in our studies. 
    • Write their names in Latin on a vellum scroll. Enhance with a lion or peacock from Draw Right Now books then add more detail work.
    • The Story of the World Middle Ages Vikings 
    • Map Ireland, major towns, rivers, mountains.
    • Map Iona and Kells
  • The Good Shepherd Pio-Christian Museum, Vatican (sculpture)
    • Art Treasures in the Vatican 
    • 13 Sculptures Children Should Know Angela Wenzel
    • New clay for sculpting!
  • Stained glass activity?
  • Frescoes: Upside down drawing under a desk. Tape up a pencil sketching/coloring sheet from a famous fresco. They paint their fresco on their backs.
 Daily Bible

The Names of God by Kay Arthur and then Responsibility for Boys

English / Language Arts – M/W/Thursday

Brother: First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 2, English for the Thoughtful Child

Sister: Essentials of the English Language – IEW – Ancient History at Classical Conversations, “Write Night” at a local college once a month, First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind Level 3 to review and then begin Level 4.


English from the Roots Up. One root a day. Transparent Language Latin Word a Day Blog, Latin chanting and memory work at Classical Conversations. 

History and Geography - Mondays and Wednesdays after lunch.

Review (last year's Ancients) and map the continents and oceans and all other parts of a world map. Review the seven ancient civilizations and their rivers and local mountain ranges. Books:
  • Kingfisher Atlas of the Ancient World
  • The Story of ManKind by Henrik Willem Van Loon
  • Off to Class, Incredible and Unusual Schools Around the World
  • What the World Eats 
  • Where Children Sleep
  • Material World: A Global Family Portrait

Daily Math

Sister: Saxon 4/5 textbook and Horizons worksheets on busy days
Brother: Singapore 2a and 2b and Horizons worksheets.
Life of Fred – Free Reading


Piano once a week
Art Theory at Classical Conversations
Instruments of the Orchestra Book
September Musician: Henry Purcell

Penmanship – 10 minutes daily – M/W/F

Brother: Classically Cursive
Sister: Finish Cursive Book / Calligraphy various quotes

Poetry Fridays

Copywork with drawing time Tasha Tudor's Time to Keep? Mary Oliver's The Summer Day, Ode to Tomatoes by Pablo Neruda

Science -  Monday and Wednesday afternoons before art.

Weeks 1 and 2, finish Chemistry
  • Bill Nye Chemical Reactions
  • Science Whiz Chemistry Set 
  • Evan Moor Simple Chemistry Grades 4-6
Week 3 begin Christian Kids Explore Physics
September Scientists: Review Aristotle, Archimedes, Da Vinci and Copernicus


Every Thursday morning we head off to Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 with a friend who is a teacher. Homework a few days a week before lunch.

Spelling - Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and some Fridays.

Brother: Spelling Workout B
Sister: Spelling Workout finish C, begin D
Ideas for brother: Spelling, Banana Grams, Fridge Poetry, and the grocery list

Extra Curricular and Sports for Fall

Brother: Soccer
Both: Horse lessons at a local horse rescue program
Sister: 4H begins in October
Community Kitchen a few Thursday late afternoons a month
Wednesday Night Kids Club

Alas, it's time to sharpen those pencils! God give us endurance, grace and patience for another year of home schooling. I'm not sure how long this journey will continue, but it's the right one for this year.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

One Wild and Precious Life

 The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Available: Rocks and Precious Gems

In Pilgrims Progress, Christian is weighed down by a burden. He is broke. He is bent double under his load. You just know, he's about to crack.

Then, I picture my small rock collector, happily collecting rocks and gems as fast as he can. He too is carrying a lot and weighed down. He also bends under the weight, but with items of worth, and we can't find enough bags to haul them all home. They are not a burden to him. I need to live the message my rock hound is displaying.

In Christ, I can and want to collect rocks. I take the hard rocks of my life, the hard people, the hard places, the hard trials and not only am I willing to collect them, I start treating them like treasure.

In Pilgrim's Progess, Christian's heavy burden of sin is taken from him at the cross of Christ. Oh, the power of grace! In Christ, many of my rocks, struggles, and challenges have become a sweet victory of peace, joy and hope. I am healed. Yet, in Christ, I am not promised a life without trials. That same grace, that took Christian's burden, allows me to continue to shoulder burdens. For some burdens may never be removed. 

 The Apostle Paul struggled with a life long burden. As long as we are on earth, we will struggle with trials and burdens. The trail will contain rocks we trip over. Rocks that we and others add to our knapsack. We do however have the opportunity to be transformed by these rocks.

I can choose to see them not as rocks, but as precious gems. I can choose to stay on the trail. I want to live a story worth telling. I don't really want to collect rocks. But as they jostle in my knapsack, they become polished and precious gems. Treasure. I do want treasure. 

* Pictures from Wikipedia and Squidoo

Monday, August 13, 2012

Desert Seeing

 Near Warner Peak View Point, Hart Mountain, Oregon

There are some things we see and experience only in a desert.

Mice in your warm engine block after a cold desert night. Ironically, you are listening to Bless This Mouse. Mom screams. Kids crack up.

Then there are the rocks. They are everywhere. I am constantly trying to get around them, avoid them in my life. I want a story with no rocks. No conflict. Yet, the rocks of conflict may hold precious gems, if I will choose to mine them, instead of tossing them aside, dismissing them as quickly as possible.  

He sees beauty in rocks. Long before others see a precious gem, he sees the hidden treasure. He doesn't have to polish a rock to see it shine.

Long Lake Petroglyph Wall, Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, Oregon

The desert holds life. Wild bunnies and wild burros, cool swimming holes, and tad poles that nibble on you. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
There is treasure in the desert. In the dry and hot, we sweat out the profane, mundane, all that we disdain.

Protected under the Rock.
Long Lake, Oregon 

Virgin Valley Springs Campground, Nevada

In the desert, we thirst for what really matters. Living water.

Isaiah 54
 Spread Out, Think Big
1-6 "Sing, barren woman, who has never had a baby.
   Fill the air with song, you who've never experienced childbirth!
You're ending up with far more children
   than all those childbearing women." God says so!
"Clear lots of ground for your tents!
   Make your tents large. Spread out! Think big!
Use plenty of rope,
   drive the tent pegs deep.
You're going to need lots of elbow room
   for your growing family.
You're going to take over whole nations;
   you're going to resettle abandoned cities.
Don't be afraid—you're not going to be embarrassed.
   Don't hold back—you're not going to come up short.
You'll forget all about the humiliations of your youth,
   and the indignities of being a widow will fade from memory.
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
   his name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
   known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
   and God welcomed you back,
Like a woman married young
   and then left," says your God.

 7-8Your Redeemer God says:
   "I left you, but only for a moment.
   Now, with enormous compassion, I'm bringing you back.
In an outburst of anger I turned my back on you—
   but only for a moment.
It's with lasting love
   that I'm tenderly caring for you.
 9-10"This exile is just like the days of Noah for me:
   I promised then that the waters of Noah
   would never again flood the earth.
I'm promising now no more anger,
   no more dressing you down.
For even if the mountains walk away
   and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won't walk away from you,
   my covenant commitment of peace won't fall apart."
   The God who has compassion on you says so.
 11-17"Afflicted city, storm-battered, unpitied:
   I'm about to rebuild you with stones of turquoise,
Lay your foundations with sapphires,
   construct your towers with rubies,
Your gates with jewels,
   and all your walls with precious stones.
All your children will have God for their teacher—
   what a mentor for your children!
You'll be built solid, grounded in righteousness,
   far from any trouble—nothing to fear!
   far from terror—it won't even come close!
If anyone attacks you,
   don't for a moment suppose that I sent them,
And if any should attack,
   nothing will come of it.
I create the blacksmith
   who fires up his forge
   and makes a weapon designed to kill.
I also create the destroyer—
   but no weapon that can hurt you has ever been forged.
Any accuser who takes you to court
   will be dismissed as a liar.
This is what God's servants can expect.
   I'll see to it that everything works out for the best."
         God's Decree.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Bookends: Africa Trek 1

 Antelope in the Hart Mountain Refuge, Oregon

My head is spinning Africa. I've yearned to know more. Because I can? Because I should? Read Africa Trek 1 by Alexandre and Sonia Poussin. It will change everything you know and think about Africa. An amazing journey. An amazing story.

Favorite excerpts...

Everything is simpler with all hands in the soil.

We are thinking of the thirst of an entire people.

We are all walking towards the light. When you reach the summit, keep climbing.

Sorcery, jealousies, acts of sabotage: the success of an individual is forbidden. He has no right to succeed. It's everyone or no one.

To be a missionary is not to disembark with a brand new catechism in your suitcase and hit people over the head to try and hammer it in forcibly. To be a missionary is to find the work of God in every man, in every culture, and to inhabit, inculturate that spirituality with the evangelical message of the Good News.

How many of these admirable women will we come across, these heavy lifters who bear loads, households, offspring, and Africa in their arms?

You are always in the middle of a landscape you are crossing! You think you see it? All you are doing is moving the center, and the landscape never ceases to change...

They aren't a thousand young people singing together, but a single body expressing itself with a thousand hearty vocal chords. A lesson in harmony and unity. No complexes, no individualism, no self-aggrandizement or self-obsession among the Basothos. The length of the mass depends on the enthusiasm of the young people; sometimes it last three hours and we can't manage to stop them singing....Then there are long discussions about life, faith, travel, the world, Christians around the world. And what surprises me most is that these girls have a shameless faith, free, without complexes, pure and simple, natural. And it becomes obvious to me how hard people are on the believers of Europe. Systematically derided. Constantly humiliated. To what extent they hide their faith and elicit sarcastic remarks. Who has not felt queasy getting into a conversation on this taboo subject, revealing one's candid thoughts? Who has not been ashamed to say there was maybe something rather than nothing? What fine man has not been sacrificed at least once, swearing to himself he will not be caught again on the altar of ambient cynicism and skepticism and that anti-clericalism and atheism fashionable ideas. Well, the glacial wind of the kingdom of sorrow and emptiness is swept away by the shining faces of these eager girls. Let them believe! And let me doubt! Who ever said that faith was certainty? And happiness, those who are born into it, well nourished, spoiled, they find that bourgeois, so they worry about their appearance and think themselves romantic when they are brooding, wise when they are sinister, happy when they are blasé.

Read this book. You may not be able to trek Africa from the Cape of Good Hope to Mount Kilimanjaro, but you can follow the footsteps of man, learn their story. Our story. Go with them on their trek. Above a certain altitude, man cannot conceive bad thoughts.

As for me, Africa Trek ll, the journey from Kilimanjaro to the Sea of Galilee is next up on my list.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Bookends: Bless This Mouse

I must share our latest listen out loud, laugh out loud. Lois Lowry's heart warming Bless This Mouse is a sure winner. Here's hoping to more books about Hildegarde and the mice of St. Bart's. Giggles galore.

From Amazon:

A church mouse is no ordinary mouse, and Hildegarde—the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew’s—is no ordinary mouse leader. It falls to her to keep all the church mice safe and out of sight.

But when a few parishioners report mouse sightings, Hildegarde and the rest of the church mice must face a most dreadful consequence: the Great X. To complicate things, a ceremony called the Blessing of the Animals is fast approaching. Saint Bartholemew’s will soon be filled with pets . . . including cats!

Oh, dear. Within the stately stone walls of the church, life is not as serene or safe as one might think. It will take the courage and patience of a—well, of a saint—to keep this scampering, squeaking tribe of Hildegarde’s intact.

Up, Over and Around

We've been seeing new things. More, very soon....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

And I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted. 

Isaiah 49:11

God's chosen path always feels like a detour to me, and the hardest way to summit the peak. Am I running circles around the base? Where is progress?

Are you in a direct ascent to the top and struggling for oxygen? Are you grasping for a foot hold? The mountain road to God is up. There are sites to behold, and they are only possible with ascent. Keep going. He's headed down the mountain to you, in the person of Jesus Christ. He descended that we might ascend.