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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Johnny Appleseed Geography

Today, we read Steven Kellogg's "Johnny Appleseed:A Tall Tale". After which, we pointed out all the places listed in the book using our US Map Placemat that I bought at Wal-Mart for $0.96 because you can use dry erase markers on it and it doesn't hurt it. We learned that John Chapman aka Johnny Appleseed was born in Leominster Massachusetts on September 26, 1774. He planted his first apple orchard in the state of Pennsylvania in 1798. He moved on to plant many apple orchards in Ohio and Indiana before dying of pneumonia March 18, 1845 after trying to rescue one of his orchards from a cow attack. That's no joke! It's recorded in history. Afterwards, Lillie Anna colored in the states mentioned in the lesson on a blank US Map and actually stayed in the lines. Here's the proud student displaying her map:

Father and Daughter Bonding: Ain't It A Beaut' !

Here are some nice pictures of Jody and Chloe that I sketched... well, okay, my Paint Shop Pro 8 program sketched them, but I pushed the buttons! Oh, by the way before you ooh and ahh about how sweet a moment has been captured here, I'd like to point out that they were both zoned out at the computer checking on how the FIBA basketball playoffs were going. Geez Louise! Lighten up you two!

That's Better!

Taking It Back

G.K. Chesterton once said, "The only people who seem to have nothing to do with the education of the children are the parents." Never was that more true than the day we live in. I think sometimes parents rely too much if not entirely on outside sources to teach their children. The public school teachers teach them reading, writing , arithmetic, and sometimes things that go against truths that parents hold to. The pastor and Sunday school teachers? Let them instruct them on the spiritual matters. This is where I think parents miss the mark.
Now, I know not every family can homeschool. Sometimes, situations don't allow for it, sometimes it's not a calling. It's a big decision to homeschool and not one that should be made lightly or without serious prayer. It's not for everyone, though I wish it were. However, it never ceases to astound me that when you say you homeschool , people start looking around for your flying saucer. The world sometimes forgets that public education is a relatively new concept when compared to homeschooling. Before public education it was the parent's responsibility to instruct the children from academics and life skills to spiritual guidance. And, it still is.
God gives us our children. We will answer for how we instruct them. Whether we homeschool or public school, we as parents are still held accountable as stewards over our kids and can take control of our children's education. We can take an active part in what our children are learning. C. Everet Koop said it best, "Life holds no greater respnsibility, no greater privilage, than the educating of the next generation. "

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What We've Been Up To

Once again, I've slacked and not posted anything till the last minute! I'm waiting on my ink cartridge which has stalled my plans for schoolwork. I had wanted to start our unit on Johnny Appleseed and apples this week. The kids have been listening to an audio reading of a Johnny Appleseed story and we carved our Granny Apples because they take about two weeks to completely dry. Here's a picture of what they look like now and I'll be posting pictures as they change. I had to carve Jackson's because he kept trying to eat it and helped Anna with hers. Pioneer children often made dolls from dried apples.

Here's the ladies together. Look closely and you can see their faces. The one on the left is Jack's, the right is Lillie's.

Onto Art Now. On Saturday we had a paint free for all that started out with the intention of being organized. We were going to straw paint which is where you blow paint around on the paper with a straw. But, Lillie wasn't able to blow really hard and Jack sucked up more paint than he put on the paper. So, I broke out the rubber stamps, brushes, and the... Nasal Aspirator. Yes, I said Nasal Aspirator. I have found a meaningful use for those aspirators that don't work like they ought to. Here's the pics of the carnage!

This is Anna's

This is Jack's

Here's Jody doing his impersonation of a pack mule. Doesn't he seem thrilled?

Here's a sweet picture of big and lil' sis. Anna has been feeding Chloe for me and has even rocked her to sleep several times. And today, Lillie scrubbed the kitchen floors with me... and actually liked it! How twisted is that?

Hot off the Presses!

Our cd project arrived today! I am so excited! I hope this cd is a blessing to everyone whose cd player it crosses! If you would be interested in purchasing one, they're $10. Here's a picture of us Davis' from the cover of the cd.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Get To The Pointillism!

Well, today was a light day, like everyday. With a three year old and a two year old who have the attention spans of one knat combined, you squeeze in what you can between sudden outbursts of energy. Lillie did Dominoe Math using my cheap index card oversized dominoes. She draws a dominoe, counts the dots on one side, then the other and enters those numbers onto a worksheet. She then adds the numbers using counters of some sort or a numberline. I adapt this so Jack can play too and just let him count the dots.
Then I tried a different approach with Lillie's reading lesson. After reading Karen Andreola the other day (she's so great!)I realized the perks of not only teaching Lillie phonics but also utilizing her amazing memory and combining phonics with sight reading. So, I took her memory verse for this week, wrote it on her dry erase board, then read it through and had her repeat each word as I pointed. Then I wrote each word of her memory verse on a separate post it note and had her arrange it in order to form the sentence, then read the sentence to me. It worked great and she seemed to like it better than the drudgery of a lesson. Well, then we decided that we hadn't painted in awhile so we looked at some paintings by Georges Seurat who was a master at the technique of pointillism.
Here's our paintings using Q-tips.

Here's the finished products. Mine is on the left, Jack's is top right and Lillie is bottom right.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Time to Play Catch-up

I've been a slacker the last week. Now I'm paying for it. I have alot of great pictures to post and alot of things to get off my chest. So, here is a grab bag of pics from the last week.

Life Skills: Auto Mechanics 101: In which Jackson learns the result of leaving the door open on your mother-in-law's minivan. Sorry Pam!

Does this picture make anyone else uneasy, or is it just me????

Jackson in his "happy place"

Now onto Mimi and Papa's House where the children engaged in a game of "Let's Go Fish" which , by the way, is not as easy to play as it looks.

This is Chloe, who likes dolls...

Until they fall on top of her.

Some kids play video games or frolic in the yard. My kids watch the dough spin around in the bread machine.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Rekindling the Fire

When I was younger, I loved to read and to learn. But somewhere along the way, my desire to learn cooled. It became just something I had to do as opposed to something I wanted to do. What happened? I guess life intervened with all of it's distractions, much like it does today. But can I just muse for a moment... my sister has pretty much always homeschooled her girls and has always had this contagious energy and excitement for the process. Well, I can happily say I know that same energy and excitement on my own journey. My kids aren't old enough according to the standards of a public school to be "schooled" but they are still capable of learning. Like, Lillie is going to be 4 in September and she already knows her alphabet, numbers to 10, 1 to 1 correspondence, beginning letter sounds, computer skills like none I've ever seen for a 3 year old and does single digit addition. Jackson just turned two and knows his alphabet, how to count to ten and his colors and shapes.
I have a love and desire in my heart to teach my children and that has renewed a desire in my own heart to learn along with them. It's this love that finds me reading a children's picture book long after my kids have gotten bored with me reading it. It's this love that has renewed my awe of God and His creation. Every bird, tree, thunderstorm leaves me running to my bookshelves to find out all I can.
I find myself getting more excited about upcoming unit studies I've planned or science experiments than Lillie does. Some homeschooling mothers never catch the 'homeschool bug'. I don't know that I could do it if I didn't have that excitement and desire about me. I don't do it only because I feel it is the best thing for my children (though that is one of my reasons for schooling at home, certainly.) I do it because I LOVE to do it! And hopefully, by my children observing a love and excitement for learning in my life, they will also develop a lifelong desire to learn.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

How Thrift Stores Have Ruined My Life

When I was in high school, I had a love for any clothing from the sixties and seventies and anything made of polyester, especially those flowery polyester button up shirts with butterfly collars. During homecoming week, we had a sixties day, but for me everyday was sixties dress-up day. If it wasn't at least 50% polyester, it wasn't kosher. Anywho, nobody in their right mind wore that stuff at the time so needless to say you couldn't buy them at the mall. Well, one day I discovered that I could go to a thrift store and buy an entire wardrobe of polyester blend for under $10.00 and I was hooked. Twelve years later I'm still addicted. (Don't worry, I grew out of that polyester stage when I got to college.) However, now I can't even shop the clearance racks at Wal-Mart without muttering in disgust "They want $2.00 for this? Shaw! That's just highway robbery !" It's horrible really. I'm a spend thrift on everything! I buy generic at the grocery store,so much so that my husband asks "Are these real Oreos?" And of course, they aren't. I add more dumplins to my chicken and dumplins so that a bag of chicken lasts four meals as opposed to three,but there's still enough meat that Jody doesn't start to panic. I freak out if Jody wakes me up and says "Hey, hon, bought you something!" Such was the case at 4:00 in the morning this last Saturday when he woke me up to hand me the biggest bread machine I had ever laid eyes on. I had been wanting one for a long time and here it was. I did better than I usually do ,however, my first response being "Oh, hon,thanks", my second being "How much was it?" Even if we had had a million bucks in the bank (which we don't so don't ask for a loan)I'd still freak out from sheer habit. It makes me feel horrible that I couldn't just say thanks and panicked on the inside. And its all because , as a teenager, I embraced the thrift store culture that teaches us its wrong to pay more than $4.00 for anything. By the way, I found a copy of "Oh the Places You Will Go" by Dr. Seuss in mint condition for 50 cents and a copy of Paul Revere's Ride by Longfellow beautifully illustrated for $1.00 in great condition and it was buy one get one at the Good Samaritans today on Womens shirts! I walked away with 4 for me and 2 for Jody. But can you believe they wanted $2.00 for some of them! Shaw! Highway Robbery!

Monday, August 13, 2007

That's Your Idea of a Good Time?

Me and the kids have a once a week tradition going on. First, I let them stare into the microwave soaking up as much radiation as possible as they watch a bag of popcorn pop. Then we grab a huge stack of books and I read them...all of them...sometimes more than once. Now, I don't know about anybody else's kids, but mine are like third world dictators when it comes to being read to. They don't let me have any popcorn or skip words. They throw popcorn in my drink and will not accept anything short of me using different voices for different characters and making sound effects. It goes without saying that taking a breath after a sentence or pausing to swallow is out of the question and a big "no,no". But they love it and I love doing it.
Some may snicker at the simplicity of our "fun" but I've learned it doesn't take much to be happy. When I was growing up, we didn't have a whole lot, nothing like alot of kids have today. But I had an imagination and parents who had the knack for making ordinary, everyday things extra ordinary. And when I look back on growing up, it's the simple things that I remember. I thank God for the way I grew up and the childhood he allowed me to have. As I raise my own kids I don't want to wait for "good times" to find us, I want to make them everyday.

It's My Party and I'll Stomp a Spider If I Want To!

Back from the weekend. My birthday was Saturday and I'm the big 2-7. Thanks to my wonderful parents for throwing me the shindig. Dad took the kids and I on a tractor ride which is a custom for us to do whenever we are up there. There in the woods was a funnel weaver spider web. I got a picture of the web and it was totally cool looking. I had never seen a web that looks like it defied gravity.

Then, it hit me. Where there is a web, there is usually a spider and the only spiders that I like are dead ones and even those give me the creeps. However, funnel weaver spiders in North America are low risk to humans, so that redeems them a bit. This is what they look like.

And here are some pictures from our visit.

This is my grandmother with all 7 of her great grandchildren. Now that is a brave woman!

Chloe's a real party animal, isn't she!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Boy Vs. Sprinkler

The struggle between boy and sprinkler is as old as, well , our sprinkler. Jackson luvs a sprinkler. In fact, second only to breakfast, lunch, dinner , and snacktime, is his passion for anything that will get him soaking wet. You don't believe me? I'll let you guess who won this round, eh?

"Bring it on!"

"Hey, I was just kidding!" Run Jack, Run!


He lost this one, folks. But he lives to fight another day!

Mini Me

"But I don't want to wear these!" my 3 year old whines as she tries to kick off her "new" yard sale Baby Gap sandals.
"Well, " I answer back, "You're not wearing those!" I point in disdain to the dirty pink "outside" flip flops that are dangling from her fingers.
"But I want to wear my pink ones!" she negotiates.
"No" I say. End of negotiations.
What happens next? My little blessing begins to wail like she just found out our DSL was disconnected (those that know Lillie Anna's love for the computer will understand how that could be a crisis for her.) She chucks her flip flops across the room and screams ,"I'm sick of this!" I can't help it. I start laughing...hysterically, which only makes her more angry. Then she shrieks "I can't stand the way you act sometimes!", turns on her heels and storms off. I pause for a moment and say to myself "where did that come from?" To find the answer, I would have to look no further than a mirror. She sounds just like me after I've been to Wal-Mart with all three of the kids.
This was a sobering thought. What else has she gotten from me that will embed itself into her character. Maybe more important is , what hasn't she gotten?
I say Jesus is the best thing that has ever happened to me (and he is), but when I pray half heartily, fail to read His Word, grumble and complain, will she believe it?
I say its a privilage to be a wife and homemaker (and it is) but when Jody makes me mad and I fail to show him the respect he deserves as my husband, when I lose my temper, when I complain about the laundry and having to take out the trash, will she believe it?
I say children are a blessing (and they are). But when her and Jack are bickering because one another exists and Chloe's screaming because she doesn't understand that bottles don't make themselves the second she asks for one, and in my frustration I fail to be kind and gentle or say something too harshly, will she believe it?
Will Lillie, and Chloe for that matter, from seeing my actions and hearing my words, desire to be a wife, a mother, and most importantly, a Christian?
Ephesians 6:4 says,"And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the fear and admonition of the LORD." I think I'd be safe in saying that goes for mothers as well.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Some Pretty Shady Characters

Well, we took a break from our study on shadows today because it is too hot to breathe outside. But we played a rolicking game of Dominoes , which I made out of index cards because I'm too cheap to buy a real set. And besides, Jack would just throw them all around the room and lose them. Lillie really liked it and she got some really good counting practice from it. We also added the dots on each domino and used them as counting cards to practice one-to one correspondence with Jack. But here are the pictures from yesterday's activity, where we learned that our shadows would change their length as the sun rose higher in the sky and that it is, in fact, true that the sun is at its highest point at noon. The findings of our investigation conclude that.

This is Chloe, who could care less about her shadow since she can't drink it out of a bottle.

And these are our "official" results.