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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Nature Walk

Friday I got the rare chance to take Lillie and Jack on a picnic and a nature walk. With Chloe being so little, that's hard to do by myself, but my mother-in-law took Chloe for a couple of days so I bit the bullet and took the two oldest out. We had a great time! Nature walks have become kind of a tradition in our family, a tradition that I hope to continue as long as we can. It really teaches the kids appreciation for God's creation and the looks of wonder on their faces when they pick up a feather or an acorn (something so simple, us grown-ups don't even pay attention to most of the time)just brings a simple sense of joy to me. I packed us a picnic lunch and we headed off to the state park in hopes of seeing our duck and geese friends again. The lake was way down. So much so that there wasn't a whole lot of water for the ducks to swim around in. I have never seen it that low and it was a bit disturbing. I don't think I realized how scarce water is getting around here until I saw that. Well, we ate and meandered down to the shore. We didn't have to wait long until a big goose waddled up on shore. He scared us awful good, though. He had a hard time waddling up the incline close to the shore where we were sitting. All we could see was the top of its head over the shore line. Then, it flapped it's wings and flew up , right in front of us. I'm sure Jack was so scared he wet his diaper, I know I would've if I had been wearing one. I mean, it was close. I gave the kids some day old hot dog buns and showed them how to break little pieces and throw it to the goose. Jack broke his bun in half and threw both pieces to the bird at the same time. He has no patience. Here are the pictures I took.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rising Out of the Ashes

Today, we did some workbook pages and Lillie continued to practice reading her new memory verse. I also had her do a CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) worksheet for some letter sound practice. Jack worked on his number caterpillar
Okay, now I am totally convinced that DLTK-Kids has a craft project for every topic known to man. You think I'm kidding. I read the kids "The Firebird" by Jane Yolen and was having no luck finding an easy craft to go along. I finally, in a last ditch effort, checked DLTK and , guess what! Those guys can make a toilet paper roll into anything. They had a section devoted solely to the firebird (or phoenix). I highly recommend you check them out if you are not familiar with their site.
This is Lillie's TP Roll Firebird.

This is Jack's cut and paste firebird.

I was never quite sure of what a firebird actually was (aside from a car). For those of you who don't know, it is a mythilogical bird that , when ready to die, builds a nest (as legend goes)of cinnamon twigs and sets itself on fire. It burns to ashes and a new firebird is born out of the ashes. I learn something new everyday. I love school!
Here is a picture that shows what Jack did while we did workbook pages. I tell you, they'll ship anything these days!

Come Visit the Magic Doublewide!

Where toys fly off the shelf and onto the floor, where food and car keys dissappear...
Where baby quilts sprout arms and play the piano...
And little boys fall into deep sleeps standing up in chairs...
It's like a bad fairytale...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Lord , Help Me to Always be a Curly Tail...

Last night, while cruising the Rosetta Project website, I stumbled across a real gem. It was a story called "The Unselfish Pig" If you have never experienced the Rosetta Project Online Library, you are missing out. They have a massive collection of old and rare children's books for all ages, guaranteed to be void of "twaddle". They have scanned the actual pages in so you get all the original language plus some beautiful illustrations. Before I read the story, I read the kids the verses from Proverbs 3:27-28 that instructs us to not withold good from those that are in need. Anyhow, the story was about a pig called Curly Tail and his three brothers. They were all very rich and the three brothers were selfish pigs (giggle, snort, snort), but Curly Tail was well loved because he always helped those in need. His brothers got angry with him and kicked him out of the house leaving Curly Tail with no money , no home, and no clothing (because he gave it away to a poor guinea pig that society frowned down upon because she had too many kids. I can relate, moms, can't you?) But because Curly Tail had helped others, many helped him and he ended up richer than his brothers, started a kindergarten for underprivilaged animals, and threw wonderful tea parties. His brothers eventually had to come begging for his help and , of course, Curly Tail let them move in with him. What a great story to teach the very concept I have beat my brains out over trying to teach the kids. Kindness to others, selflessness, sharing... it was all embodied in this charming little story. And, you know what? Lillie got it and I never said a word. She said to me, "Momma, I want to be like Curly Tail!" Oh how the heart swells!!!! We also made a pig craft from DLTK and had a tea party (see post below). Here are the pictures of our craft.

I was amazed. I didn't plan on the tea party, but it put the lessons gleaned from the story into action. Lillie shared her birthday present and served others without whining. The Bible says in James 1:22 "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." And in James 1:17 "Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone." If my kids didn't master any academic benchmarks today, it's okay. They learned lessons of far more worth in my opinion.

Tea Time!

Jody and I bought Lillie a tea set for her birthday. I love tea parties (unless it means dressing up and talking in a bad British accent). See, my idea of a "tea party" was crafted throughout childhood. My dad would take us to a graveyard on summer days and we'd sit in the back of his truck (in the graveyard)and eat candy bars and drink cokes(well, he and Leila drank, I backwashed). How's that for tea time manners, Emily Post? When Leila and I (see, mom, I do listen to your grammar advice.)would go to Georgia to spend a week with our grandparents, we'd always have "10:00 Tea" which always consisted of fig newtons and coke. So, you see, I know a little something about tea parties. Lillie was chomping at the bit to get to use the set. So, I filled the teapot up with Hawaiian Punch and busted out the Snicker's Miniatures. We had a wonderful tea party. And Lillie, who usually is not the best sharer in the world, actually served her brother and I tea very graciously.
She learned a valuable lesson today and didn't even know it! Now, Jackson, on the other hand, has the tea manners of his momma. A picture speaks a thousand words...
Here's the little gentleman not raising his pinky but (gasp!) using both hands to slurp (double gasp)his tea.

Here, in typical boy fashion, he dumps his tea into his plate...

And then proceeds to dump it onto the table and promptly exit the kitchen. Party over.

I guess you can't much blame him, it's hard being the only boy. Not enough testosterone in this house!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Partying All Weekend

Birthday partying with kids , that is. It's been a great weekend. Good food, good fun, lots of family to share the good fun with. A BIG thanks to my big sis Leila for loaning us her house to mess up for my daughter's birthday party! She's such a good sport, you know! Makes good spaghetti too. Anyway, Saturday we doubled up birthday parties for Lillie and Taylor. Taylor turned 1. Lillie turned 4. Thanks to Uncle Jim and Aunt Dona for bringing Grandmother up so we could all enjoy the time together. Here's some pics...
Walkin' some more...
Still walkin'!

Chalkin' Up the Place
Safety first!
Doesn't she remind you of the little guy that always gets stuck setting off the dynamite???

Okay! Now, today after church the Davis Bunch crammed into my house for a little party. Here's some pics...

This is the flip-flop cake I decorated at 2 am Sunday morning before I scrubbed my bathroom... again. All because I drank too much coffee Saturday night at Leila's.

Notice how the '4' candle seems slightly deformed. I didn't have anything to light the candle with, so Jody's sister's fiance' , Paul lit it out in his truck and ran in with it. Half the four was melted away by the time he got to the cake. I have to give him an A+ for effort, though.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

And You Thought Your Last Roadtrip Was a Nightmare...

Yeah, I'm a blogging maniac tonite. Here's what we did today. I read "Apples To Oregon" by Deborah Hopkinson which is loosely based on the true story of Henderson Luelling, the man that brought edible fruit to Oregon. You thought five hours in a car with no airconditioning, kids with penny sized bladders on your way to a family reunion was bad... This man took his wife and all eight of his children with a covered wagon for them and one filled with fruit trees to blaze the Oregon Trail. That's like, 5 states with no MP3 player or IPods(Oh how spoiled we are). Well, so I let the kids watch a video of a Prarie Schooner (or covered wagon). Jackson was uninterested until he noticed the thing had wheels. Then, while Jackson took a nap, me and Lillie set out to make the flashiest prairie schooner eva'! It was pink, as usual. Here's the pictures of Lillie painting her schooner (can you tell I love to say that word?)

Painting the Wheels

Painting the Top

Painting the wagon...

1 empty Velveeta Box, Four Juicy Juice bottle caps, construction paper, and lots of paint later... TADA!!!!

This was my little contribution.

Lillie has become obsessed with watching people play the piano on YOU TUBE. She is especially curious of anything by Chopin. Here's a link to her favorite Chopin song
Lillie says "that girl can play!!!" This is what Jackson thinks of Chopin... yes, he is sitting up!

And for those of you who think Chloe doesn't exist anymore, here's the latest picture.

In Closing, Thanks to my good friend Teresa Cavender. The kids love their "new" stools!

It's Time to Resurrect the Living Books!

Okay, I know I already blogged about Charlotte today, but I may not have time tommorrow to post, so I'm doing it early. Here are links to some great articles explaining Charlotte's idea of using "living books" in place of textbooks as well as some other informative articles.
Another Overview by Catherine Levinson
Booklist by Grades of "Twaddle-Free" Literature by Catherine Levinson
A Charlotte Mason Education in Our Home
Teaching Toolbox:Living Books
Education is...: Free E-book from Ready for you to Download!
Remember, Great Literature is the key to a great education!

CMer' and Proud of It!

I, unashamedly use the Charlotte Mason Method. I've read and read about it and it just makes so much sense for my family. So, I've decided to regularly post links that I deem helpful to the understanding of Ms. Mason's Methods. For this first post, I'm going to link some articles summing up some of the aspects and concepts of a Charlotte Mason Education written by Karen Andreola, who I love , love, love. For those of you not familiar with this method, I believe the following articles will give you a good sampling of it, maybe wet your appetite to find out more. If you're burnt out on school or feel like what you're doing now is just not working, check out these articles and see if this might be the refreshing drink of water in a dry, dry land for you. You could study Charlotte Mason's writings for years and not get all of it, but I've found by implementing the ideas laid forth in her works such as nature journaling , living books and narration, a dimension can be added that might transform your homeschool experience! Enjoy!
Homeschool without Homework
The Charlotte Mason Method
What Drew Me to The Charlotte Mason Method