Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Keep Looking Up

As I posted on my other blog, we'll be out of town this week (starting today!) camping for Thanksgiving. Over there I mentioned some of what we'll be doing to celebrate the holiday. The above picture is one that we took last year on our trip. It was the view when I looked straight up from my favorite spot... my chair by the campfire! Every morning my sweet husband starts me a fire, and there I sit. Oh, I venture out and hike around a little bit, but then I always get back to my "home base" by the fire. Ahhhh, heaven!

When I came across this picture today, I was reminded of something my brother-in-law said to me last summer. We were in a boat on a lake in east Texas that is just thick with trees. We were cutting through this skinny area through some trees in their "mud boat" and he said "You know, at night, there's just no way to see at night when you're in these trees. The only way to know where you're going is to just look up. You just have to keep looking up." Apparently the night sky is enough of a contrast to the darkness of the tree cover to help you keep your bearings. I've thought of that a lot since then. "The only way to know where to go is to keep looking up."

Don't you know that's how it was for the Pilgrims? As the ship's crew navigated that tiny ship over such vast waters, they had to "keep looking up" at the night sky, using the position of the stars to keep their bearings. And of course the Pilgrims are a perfect example of those who really kept looking up-- up beyond the seen, to the unseen. From beyond their cramped quarters below the deck of the ship where they spent day after day dealing with limited food, inadequate space and debilitating illnesses. They had to place their faith completely in God for safety, guidance, direction and provision.

And isn't that how it is for us as we homeschool? We spend our days looking down- literally! Looking down at planbooks, school books and papers, our faces bent over little hands working to form their letters correctly or read new words, overseeing projects... or scraping the remnants of projects off of the kitchen table! But, as we navigate these waters, how important it is that we "keep looking up!" That's the only way to know where we're going!

I am so thankful that you stopped by. I hope your family has a wonderful, blessed Thanksgiving week. What a great week to spend some extra time "looking up!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Raising Future Leaders

Every summer my husband and I are privileged to attend a leadership summit at our church. The first couple of times I went, I felt like I was in the presence of great leaders but I didn't feel like a leader myself. Sure, I help my husband coordinate a ministry, but he's the leader... not me! About two years ago I was sitting there at the summit, having those thoughts, and it was as if the Lord broke in on my thoughts and said to me, "You are a leader. You lead not only in a small group in your church, but more importantly you lead the little souls living in your home everyday." Since that day, I have seen myself more as a leader and have even begun to apply some of the leadership principles I've learned to our homeschool.

Today I came across this article at the HSLDA website. I had never really considered that I was running a "leadership academy" at my home, but in many ways I am! And chances are, you are too!

In your homeschool, do you...

... foster "independent thinking," encouraging them not to follow the crowd doing something simply because it is popular?

...do your part to help them cultivate a strong faith in God, and to act according to their beliefs?

...nurture your child's creative thinking by giving him situations where he must "think outside the box?"

...teach your child not to be ashamed to go against popular thought and to act in accordance with a strong code of ethics?

If so, you are raising future leaders! Whatever your name for your homeschool (if you have one), you could put the words "Leadership Academy" in the name, and it would be an accurate description.

I believe God is raising up a generation of godly men and women who will lead His people into a key period on heaven's timeline, and some of the leaders He will utilize are in enrolled in our "leadership academies" at this very moment. Isn't that an exciting thought?

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Fun Thanksgiving Song

I learned this song when my kids were preschoolers, and I pulled it out of my files this week at our little "music co-op," not just for the little ones, but for the big ones who couldn't remember the date of the first Thankgiving!

The Pilgrims Sailed Over The Ocean
(sung to the tune of "My Bonny Lies Over The Ocean")

The Pilgrims sailed over the ocean;
The Pilgrims sailed over the sea.
The Pilgrims sailed over the ocean
So they could praise God and be free.

Pilgrims, Pilgrims
They had the first Thanksgiving Day
They all wanted
To sing and to feast and to pray.

Their Indians friends were invited;
They brought some wild turkey and deer,
They ate and they sang with the Pilgrims;
Sixteen twenty-one was the year.

Pilgrims, Pilgrims
They had the first Thanksgiving Day
They all wanted
To sing and to feast and to pray.

*Somewhat Tongue-In-Cheek Disclaimer: I do not wish to debate or discuss the historical accuracy of the song's stated reasons for the Pilgrims "sailing over the ocean," the use of the term "Indians" rather than "Native Americans" or any perceived references to whiskey. You are, of course, free to change any of above lyrics to accomodate your personal convictions. Thank you. ;)


Taken from the Official Book of Homeschooling Cartoons www.familymanweb.com

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Bi-Weekly Report

I hope you had a great week last week, and that your school year is just "falling" into place! Last weekend we were out of town, then we jumped right into school when we got back, so I haven't gotten a chance to sit down and write up what we've done (which is SO helpful for me, I'm finding!) I've missed my homeschool blog for the past week and a half, but sometimes doing something makes you too busy to post about it, which is how it should be I guess.

Here's what we've managed to accomplish the past two weeks:

Grade 8:

Literature- I think this is the longest we've ever spent on one book! She is reading Chosen By God (for Omnibus), but this is one book that I decided we would read s-l-o-w-l-y and discuss thoroughly. She has also been copying the chapter summaries and charts, as well as completing the discussion questions and writing assignments in Omnibus I.

English- Two weeks ago when I printed out her weekly assignment sheet, for some reason I didn't have English assignments on it! As the week progressed, she was so busy with her other work, I simply didn't add it. SO, she basically had a week off! She seemed to make it through, though... LOL. We went out of town last weekend and she carted her big ole English test with her for the road trip and finished it on Monday, just in time to jump into the chapter on verbs. It's been an action-packed week in English!

Math-NOW it's getting good! Order of operations, multiple operations, longer equations... THIS is the Algebra I remember! We've been having some fun (okay, I've been having fun) sitting together on the couch solving problems on the whiteboard together. God is so faithful. It's all coming back to me!!

Science- As I posted earlier, she enjoyed a bit of a break from her book work to construct a small lapbook on the planets. She worked on that on her Science days the past couple of weeks. I think it turned out great!

Geography-The chapter she just completed was so interesting! It was all about "society"; populations, demographics, different types of governments and culture regions. I am loving this course for her... it's very thorough and interesting.

History- I think she has enjoyed the transition to Story of the World 4. She reads or listens to the chapter and completes the outline. While her brother and I have been camped out in the Civil War, it's been a great chance for her to catch up to where we were so beginning this week we'll be back in history together. It'll be like old times! We're continuing our History of US readings together, so we're getting a good dose of American history, but SOTW is helping us keep it in world history perspective. I think it's a good balance for now.

Chinese- Chinese is going great. She really sticks to it, and I'm proud of her for that. She is retaining the scripture she's memorized and is adding to her vocabulary each week. She is also faithfully reviewing her workbook pages after she completes her computer and audio work. I am seeing fruit from combining the curriculum the way we have.

Grade 6:

Literature- After he finished Powder Keg, he went on to read Mr. Lincoln's Drummer, which he really enjoyed.

Geography- There always seems to be one subject in which we stay behind. This would be that subject, for now. For some reason we stalled out in Delaware! But, we're picking up there this week and then moving on to the southern states. I'm sure I'll feel more at home, LOL. Besides, down south, it's okay to move more slowly... ;)

Math- This curriculum (Teaching Textbooks Pre Algebra) is chock full of review, especially here at the beginning. So, he is enjoying the "familiar"- factoring and cancelling, prime numbers, and all the FUN that is fractions. :)

Science- We finished up the chapter on "Natural Resources" and he took his chapter test Thursday. Now we move on to cells and classification. As much as he enjoys a good oil spill, the prospect of using a microscope is even more exciting! This should be a fun chapter.

History- He finished his Civil War lapbook, which I posted about here. This week he made "Hardtack", a type of cracker or biscuit eaten by the Civil War soldiers.

It tastes pretty good, but take it from me, don't eat it if you have any loose fillings! :)

Spanish- He has about two more weeks left of his Level 2 review, so he's still practicing animal names, ordinal numbers, and restaurant words. Last week one day I just had to get some chips and salsa during a Spanish lesson. Ah, the power of suggestion!

Language- This week for his copywork he copied his Latin lesson and he also has continued on with his Switched on Schoolhouse lessons which are a nice diversion from textbooks, and I'm enjoying the fact that it combines Language and Spelling.

Combined Subjects:

We've been enjoying our small music co-op that meets at our house every other week. My mom is teaching the kids some wonderful sight-singing and the kids are singing some beautiful harmonies. The last time we met she had the kids stand on our stairway with the wood floor and the tall ceilings, and the acoustics were so great! We sounded just like the Von Trapps! We meet again this week, and the kids can't wait. We are also continuing on in our Latin exercises, and although it's definitely NOT my kids' favorite subject, they do well in it. (Plus, I think they like it more than they admit...;) I decided to count our pumpkin carving for art this week. Yes, "vegetable sculpture," that's it! In our mission study we finished our Mary Slessor biography and began Trial by Poison, a Trailblazer Book by Dave and Neta Jackson.

Well, that's the long and short of it. If you don't have a blog, or don't do "updates," I encourage you to keep a journal or somehow write it out... it makes you realize you've accomplished more than you thought!

Planets Lapbook

My daughter has been enjoying BJU's Space and Earth Science this year. I have liked it, too... it is very thorough! However, for a break from the book and activity manual, I decided to have her do a lapbook using the information in the chapter on the planets. This is what she worked on last week. I think it turned out cute!

(You can click on the pictures to make them larger.)

She used two file folders, folding one toward the center and stapling another one on the side flap.

On the left flap underneath the diagram of the sun there is a flap that says, "Pull Me Up." When you pull it up there is an accordian book of information about our sun, a chart she made using Excel. (Photo below on right.)

The middle of the main folder has some facts and definitions distinguishing planets, dwarf planets, and small solar system bodies. She also included information about how we classify planets and a wheel book with information about each of the planets in our solar system. There is also a 3D "pop up" section explaining why Pluto is no longer considered a planet.

In the second folder she included photos of each planet typed up information about each one.

She enjoyed this week and a half long break from her science book. It was a fun assignment!

Civil War Lapbook

This was a fun one! I downloaded it from Knowledge Box Central. My sixth grader and I have spent the past 3 weeks camped out in the Civil War, and he's had plenty of time to complete it. (Like I say every time I post a picture of one of our lapbooks, it's not elaborate at all compared to others you see around blogland.!)

The first folder has the map of the states, color coded according to Union, Confederate or "neutral." We also studied Civil War food and made some Hard Tack (pictured beside the "Civil War Foods" booklet. He also made mini-books of the causes of the Civil War and the uniforms (left.) On the right is the list of medical supplies and a medical chest.

(You can click on a picture to make it larger.)

In the second folder, he copied part of the Gettysburg Address, made cards with Civil War trivia on them, made a flip book of each battle in chronological order, and wrote about amputations (fun!) In the yellow booklet on the left, he illustrated each type of weapon.

The third folder contains a Grant and Lee Tic Tac Toe game (there are little cards with Grant's and Lee's faces on them for the game pieces- I thought that was cute!) The folded white paper is a Civil War wordsearch, and on the right are the major leaders.
This picture shows how they are attached.

It's been a nice "hands on" way to learn more about the Civil War. We both learned some new things!


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