Monday, October 29, 2007

Musical Masquerade

We were a little concerned when the Saturday piano recital did not start on time and the program was two pages long. James didn't want to miss seeing the Rockies getting defeated by the Red Socks! He clapped very enthusiastically, though, when the pieces didn't take very long. :)

Recital Finery

Sophie played Cleopatra's Lament. Matthew played Arabesque by Burgmuller. Evan played Toccatina by Kabalevsky. The video of their recital performances are linked in the sidebar (along with a video of Evan playing harmonica.)

Matthew's costume is open to interpretation. Some say "Soggy Bottom Boy" (a man of constant sorrow). Some say "ZZ Top" (a sharp-dressed man). Some say "Grandpa Bruce" (needing a trim). Matthew himself says "A Spy". Think what you like!

And Logan?

Note the feet. Logan was a Hobbit Baby. (Though someone asked if he belonged to Jonathan and Marty.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

October Update

This week is dominated by the Super Bowl World Series (like I care) and an upcoming church costume party and costume piano recital (to make it more complicated to make it more fun!)

Logan has added some new words to his repertoire: "go", "shoe", "ladder", "a-puw" (apple), "boy". Sometimes we find him standing in the corner behind the rocking chair. (The older children don't exactly think it is fun when they have to stand in the corner.) He likes to try to jump, but doesn't quite get airborne. Often after supper, Logan likes to walk a circuit waving his arms straight behind him. At times he nearly runs. He doesn't complain about getting wiped up after eating. In fact, he doesn't like being messy and presents his hand to get wiped if he gets food on it. The desire to be clean doesn't extend to his diaper, however. He cries pretty much every change.

I stumbled across this today...

Babies Don't Keep

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).

The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockabye, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

-- Author Unknown

...which choked me up for a minute. That poor moth.

Just kidding :)

Looking at recent pictures reminded me of the care that Evan and Matthew took to make Sophie's birthday special. They holed up in the basement weeks ahead of time, making special presents, cards and decorations for their little sister. To top it all off, they arranged a "treasure hunt" with clues hidden around the house leading her to the birthday bounty. I am so thankful to God for the love that our children have for each other.

Here is a slideshow of some October fun and take a look at some new video clips in the sidebar if you like.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I'm Awake Now

Just a little bit ago, I went to lie down on the couch for a short "power nap" before starting some school planning. I picked up a folder labeled "Princess Stories" lying on the couch, and curious as to its contents, I opened it, hoping to read a good nap-time story. The story caught me off guard, sleepiness dissipating as I laughed to the point of tears. I must share with you the story of...

"The Very Horrible Girl Fairy"
by Sophie

There was once a very bad fairy who was turned into a plain girl for her punishment. Some people took her into their house for a party, but they got black eyes, so they decided not to be her friends. (Now, this is a very short story, so it is about to end.) The people took her and threw her into a lake, and that was the end of her. They were put in jail for doing that, and they so-called lived happily ever after, but they were so miserable that they died later.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Worlds Apart

If I hear the word "Rockies", I picture "The Rockies". James, on the other hand, is thinking "The Rockies".

Kid Pic

I took this picture of the kids last week before church. Logan didn't get the memo to smile. Of course, the whole picture thang was cramping his style. Sophie was actually whimpering about being cold with a fake smile plastered to her face. Editing to add: My brilliantly observant sister, Jen, emailed me to point out that Logan's shoes are on backwards in this picture. Yes, they are... on purpose. One of Logan's feet curves inward, because it grew around his leg when he was cramped up in utero. He is also pigeon-toed. The pediatrician reassured us that Logan's foot would straighten out when he started walking. I see absolutely no evidence of that yet. I need to take him in to see the ped. again and put my foot down about correcting Logan's!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Thurs./Fri. Homeschool Samples

I won't go into detail about our daily routine work, but share some of the "frosting".

On Thursday, I read aloud to the kids about Hammurabi from Story of the World and A Picturesque Tale. Mainly for Evan's sake, I read from The World in Ancient Times: Primary Sources and Reference Volume which used Hammurabi's Stele to discuss primary versus secondary sources and which used some of the laws and the epilogue to demonstrate how to draw conclusions about Hammurabi and his times.

In preparation for discussing Hammurabi, I had Googled "Code of Hammurabi and laws of Moses" and found these articles: #1, #2, #3 which I used to discuss the two sets of laws with the kids. (Since then I have found this article which is more succinct.) We also rehashed the discussion with James over our supper.

Here is Sophie's oral narration about Hammurabi which I wrote down and she copied today:

Ham. narration

Speaking of Sophie, she drew this donkey (without a model) on a whiteboard while I read aloud:


She also drew this foal (looking at a calendar picture) on Friday morning:


But back to Hammurabi... I helped Evan to write down an outline for writing a narration about what we read and discussed and here is his summary:

Hammurabi and Moses

Hammurabi was the ruler of Babylon. He conquered southern Mesopotamia and called his empire Babylonia. He was known for being just. Sargon ruled with his army, but Hammurabi ruled with his army and with laws. He kept his power by saying that the gods appointed him, and would punish anyone who disobeyed him. He collected laws from all the city-states. His most famous law was “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” Some penalties for disobeying were death, mutilation, or exile.

Many laws in Hammurabi’s code are very similar to the laws of Moses. In the 1800’s, some scholars thought that the authors of the Bible made up the laws of Moses. Then a pillar with the Code of Hammurabi was found. They noticed that many of the laws were the same. Then the scholars thought that Moses had copied the laws from Hammurabi.

A different explanation can be found in Genesis 26:5 in the Bible which says that Abraham kept God’s commands and laws. Hammurabi might have lived at the same time that Abraham lived and knew some of God’s laws which ended up in his code. Moses didn’t copy from Hammurabi. He copied from God.


Matthew finished typing his letter today and told me that I could post part of it here:


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Continued Homeschool Highlights...

What is it with Latin? The littlest mister had another meltdown today as the boys and I attempted to continue on with the first chapter. We accomplished a little bit... Still liking the new book!

For the past couple of years, I have been avoiding The Well-Trained Mind Curriculum Discussion Board (online) for the most part to avoid discontent with our own program of study. However, this past summer I needed inspiration and ideas when forming my plan for this school year. My purchase of Latin Prep 1 was the fruit of many recommendations on the discussion board. The board grammar discussions also led me to go with Analytical Grammar for Evan this year ~ another good decision! I love that this grammar program is incremental in its approach, each lesson building on to the previous, and every exercise requiring continued practice of the former concepts as well as adding on the new. I was a little disappointed when Evan got a 75% on his first test, but we kept going. On the next test he scored 80% and for the past two test, he scored 90%. It is exciting to watch him grasp the concepts and improve each week! The program attacks grammar intensively for ten weeks and then slows down to a once-a-week review for the rest of the year. (This is the pattern for three years.) When the grammar lessons slow down to once-per-week, I intend to ramp up on writing. He has been doing some copywork and dictation as well as content-area writing each week so far. Today, I discussed the adverb lesson with Evan and he did the first of three exercises for the week. Since we went to the mountains on Monday, he will take his grammar test on Saturday.

Yesterday, I wrote down Sophie's narration about Sargon and today she copied it:


In the afternoon, Matthew and Sophie and I read from Introduction to Biology and Mysteries and Marvels of Nature, both books part of the Sonlight Science Intro. to Biology program that we are doing together. Evan finished his lab report on the Module 1 Experiment 3 in Apologia General Science:

Experiment 3
A Chemical Reaction

I boiled three cabbage leaves with two cups of water. While the cabbage was boiling, I poured two tablespoons of baking soda into a nine inch balloon. I then poured two thirds of a cup of vinegar into a two liter bottle. By then, since the water was boiling, I put in a few ice cubes to make it cool down. I poured two thirds of a cup of cabbage water into the bottle with the vinegar. The once purple cabbage water turned pink. I then tipped the balloon, letting the baking soda fall into the liquid. It suddenly foamed up and instantly blew up the balloon.

A chemical reaction is when one or more substances interact to form one or more new substances. This experiment actually had two chemical reactions. In the first chemical reaction, I poured the cabbage water in with the vinegar, causing a chemical called anthocyanin in the cabbage water to react with the vinegar. This made the cabbage water turn pink. The second reaction occurred when I tipped the balloon, letting the baking soda fall into the mixture, causing it to fizz and bubble. The reason is that when the baking soda and the vinegar mixed, the chemical reaction formed two different substances: water and carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide filled the balloon. Because the vinegar was used up, the anthocyanin no longer reacted with it, and therefore the color of the water turned blue instead of pink.

Matthew typed the first paragraph of a letter that he had previously handwritten to his Great Grandmothers. (The typing will help them to be able to read it!) I videotaped him practicing his piano piece so that he can see how he is doing with curving his fingers. Later, he accidentally cut his finger (Don't ask how!) and had to have three stitches. He may be allowed to play piano by the time of the piano recital in two weeks, but he won't be able to stay in practice in the meantime. Sigh. He was playing so well!

An aside: Earlier this week, my mom called, and in the course of the conversation, I found out that she did not realize that I have videos of the kids linked in my sidebar. The pictures in my sidebar under the title "Video Links" are indeed linked to dropshots videos. I really love the one of Sophie reading to Logan!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Back to the Books

The first day back to book work after a break always presents extra challenges on the attitude front in our household for the Mom and the kids. The older children needed some firm direction down the path of listening and quick and cheerful obedience. The Mom had to apologize and repent of a lost temper. The toddler needed the comfort of the Ergo and Mom's back to stop a meltdown (the first time this school year.)

Last weekend, we received our Latin Prep 1 books in the mail. Hurray! Today Evan, Matthew and I delved into the first chapter and right away found it more captivating than Latina Christiana. The book threw the students (including me) into translation on the first page, which on first impression, I found to be a refreshing way towards learning both vocabulary and grammar. Incidentally, Logan's meltdown occurred when we attempted to do Latin. We continued after I strapped him to my back, standing as I worked through the lesson with the boys, while allowing Logan to rattle the blinds behind me for entertainment.

In the afternoon, during Logan's nap, the kids sat at the kitchen table, each drawing a rendition of Sargon the Great while I read that chapter in Story of the World and a section about the Sumerians, the Semites and Sargon in A Picturesque Tale of Progress. Sophie then orally narrated the story of Sargon, while the boys each typed their own summary. I had the boys go ahead and make their corrections before concluding school.

100_3831 100_3832 100_3833
1. by Evan 2. by Matthew 3. by Sophie

Sargon the Great E
Evan's Summary

Sargon the Great
(by Matthew)

Sargon was raised in a city-state called Kish. When he grew up he convinced the army to follow him instead of the king. Then he convinced the army to kill the king. He made himself king and conquered the rest of Sumer which he ruled along with all the land of the Semites. This was the first empire. He called it Akkadia after his capital city Akkad. He kept his leadership by having the military enforce his laws.

(This is not all that we did today, school-wise, just the highlights with some "lowlights.")

Monday, October 08, 2007

Columbus Day Hike

Since James had the day off, we took a day trip to the mountains to soak in the gorgeous colors of autumn in the Rockies. James took the older children on a late afternoon horseback ride as a gift to Sophie to celebrate her upcoming eighth birthday. I'll let the pictures tell the story...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Homeschooling Week in Review

Every school morning, the kids get up and get going to the music of their morning routine tape, which this year is a cd. I finally figured out James showed me how to record sound clips on the computer and how to burn a cd. It took some time to put together the cd with instructions and music, but the end product is totally worth it. It puts the older kids on automatic pilot so that I can get myself and Logan ready. The cd talks the kids through getting ready, breakfast and clean up, wiping down the bathrooms, and devotions. When the cd is done, it is time for school.

In the morning, the children work on memory work, Latin, math, grammar, and piano practice. After lunch, we work on spelling and memory work together then work on writing (copy work or dictation presently), then history or science and reading.

Here are some highlights from our week:

In the past several weeks, Evan, Matthew and Sophie have all memorized the poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. (If anyone knows how to pronounce "Bysshe" feel free to let me know! :) The kids memorize easily, but it is like pulling teeth to get any dramatic recitation out of them. I did get a video of Matthew reciting. (Click on "video" to see it. I chose not to embed it so that my blog would load faster.) The children are also memorizing the first chapter of Philippians.

For history, we read this week in Story of the World about the Old Kingdom of Egypt, mummies and pyramids. The kids read independently from these library books:

Click on the picture to enlarge.

Sophie and Matthew wrote a rough draft narration about mummies. Sophie did an oral narration on pyramids, which I wrote down for her to copy, while Matthew wrote his own.

I used Evan-Moor's History Pockets: Ancient Egypt to make pyramid shape books. Using a copier, I changed the title on the template and whited out the pre-printed information. Sophie copied her narration on lined paper that I put in the pyramid booklet, labeled the "map" of the interior of the pyramid (back cover), and glued in the step-by-step building pictures included in the History Pockets book.





Because Matthew still struggles with handwriting and he is still learning typing, I typed his handwritten narration including all of his mistakes. He edited the typed copy which went into the shape booklet.

The mummy rough draft will have to wait until later to get put into a booklet. I'm tentatively planning on taking some time around Christmas to have the kids finish their booklets on Ancient Egypt and putting them into a lap book. We'll see how that pans out! Evan did not make a shape booklet, because I've been teaching him how to outline (from the book Early Times: The Story of Ancient Egypt by Suzanne Art Strauss) and there is only so much time to spend on history!

Matthew and Sophie are doing science together while Evan is using Apologia's General Science book. He composed and polished two paragraphs answering some thinking questions this week and enjoyed doing an experiment which he partially videotaped. He started the lab report on the experiment, but will finish it next week.

Monday, October 01, 2007

We Have a Winner!

Twelve year old Brandon, son of Sunshine, won the Crack the Code Contest! Click Here and scroll down a little to see some great drawings that Brandon is entering in an art contest. Thank you for solving the codes, Brandon. We are glad that you enjoyed it, and the Usborne Hotshot Lettering book is on its way to you!