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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush

These little beauties are Indian Paintbrushes, the state flower of Wyoming. There is an interesting indian story explaining how they came to be. Tuesday we read "The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush". There is a little indian boy named Little Gopher (if you ever disliked your name, just think of how poor Little Gopher would have made it in elementary school) who is too small and weak to go out with the Indian warriors of his tribe. But Little Gopher had a special gift...the gift of being able to paint pictures. Instead of fighting in great battles, he painted them so his people would always remember. He had a dream in which he discovers he is to try to paint the sunset and bring happiness to his tribe. He tries for years but can never make the right colors of paint to do the beauty of a sunset justice. But he doesn't give up and keeps on painting for his people. One evening he goes up on a hill and finds paintbrushes with the right color paint on them. He paints the sunset and takes it back to his village. The next day, the hills are covered with red, orange, yellow , and pink flowers. These were called Indian Paintbrushes.
For our bible time, we talked about gifts and talents and how we ought to seek out our God-given gifts and talents and use them for his glory. We talked about contentment as well. Lillie did a state collage page on Wyoming (See post below) and we then painted our own sunsets on wrinkled up lunch bags that I taped sticks to the ends to roll them up, much like the Indians used to do. We talked about how Indians used pictures to tell their stories. Here are their pictures...

Jackson has shown a real interest in drawing as of late. I bought him a little sketch book and have been letting him sit down and draw. I ask him to tell me what he's drawing and when he's done, I write the narration on the back. It has been very interesting.This is a picture of an airplane flying to an orange bus, running into a green car and a blue helicopter. What, you can't see it?
About two weeks ago, while the power was out again, I had the kids paint some terra cotta flower pots. We randomly dumped some wildflower seeds in and stuck them under our desk lamp. Jack's will have to be redone, his have not come up at all. But Lillie Anna's have shot up. She is so excited!

The Legend of the Bluebonnet

Monday we read "The Legend of the Bluebonnet" by Tomie DePaola. It was a retelling of an old Commanche Indian Legend explaining how the bluebonnet flower came to be. The Commanche's made their homes mostly in Texas and they were nomadic and not a good tribe to tick off. They were known for their fierceness. The legend goes that a little indian girl named She-Who-Is-Alone loses her whole family in a famine and drought brought on by the sins of the Commanche people. The Great Spirit required a sacrifice of the most precious thing they had. The little indian girl knows it is her buckskin doll her parents made for her. It is her most prized possession the one thing she loves over anything else. She throws the doll into the fire and scatters the ashes to the four winds. In the morning, every place the ashes of her most prized possession fell, bluebonnets sprung up. She-Who-Is-Alone saved her people by her sacrifice. This was a great story to bring up the ultimate sacrifice made by Jesus on the cross. Jesus sacrificed his life, gave it up in a brutal and painful way to save everyone from their sins and to reconcile all to God. His life given so that all who repent and believe can have eternal life.
We made a state collage page for our 50 states notebook. I printed an outline map of the United States, Lillie found Texas, marked the capital and colored it in. Then she glued on pics of the state flower, bird, and flag and wrote in the nicknames. We then made cut and paste buckskin dolls using cut outs from crumpled up lunch bags. Lillie Anna's ended up looking like an easter bunny...

Lillie practiced her sight words and for math we worked on skip counting. She uses an interactive hundreds chart which you can find here.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Not Exactly What I Had In Mind...

I have been helping Jody with a cleanup job this week so , once again, my brave (did I mention lovely, kind, brilliant) mother-in-law has stepped up to the plate and taken all 3 of my children for five days. Hopefully she'll read this post and it will stave off the scenario of her strangling me while screaming "Don't ever do this to me again!"
No kids...hmmmm. I planned on catching some sleep and an early jump on spring cleaning. But I was in town all day at the health department with the kids and then waiting for Jody to get out of work so we could go work some more on Tuesday. Yesterday, I had a dentist appointment and stayed in town most of the day until Jody got off work, then we went to work... again. When we got home he said he was taking me out to dinner which was code for "I didn't like the dinner options given to me". So we went to a great italian place and the bread was fabulous!! I don't know about the entrees. By the time my stromboli arrived, I had eaten so much of that bread and the cheesesticks I was sick. I definitely had too much sugar and starch yesterday. Jody so graciously ate some of my stomboli and said it was the best.
The last two nights I have been home only long enough to change clothes and fall into bed. There has been no time to clean and it doesn't look like I'll get that chance until Friday. The sleep has evaded me also. I'm so used to waking up with kids that my body is incapable of sleeping straight through a night. One of my wisdom teeth has come in and my mouth said "No room for you." I've been praying for wisdom. I thought I made myself clear. Surely I didn't confuse God, I don't think he would have misunderstood. But now I have to have an extraction and I have to endure this constant throbbing for another month. Why do they call them wisdom teeth, anyway. I've had two come in and I don't see any significant change in my smartness. However, I haven't turned on the coffee maker and then walked across the kitchen with the pot in my hand as of recently.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nature Walk

Winter Wonder "What Was I Thinking?!!!" Land

Today, my wonderful (and dare I say, brave) mother-in-law came over to watch the kids while Jody and I deducted them (we did our taxes). Still managed, however to fit in a little bit of schoolwork today. Days of the week review and several addition problems. For our history lesson on Native Americans, we practiced weaving.

I read the next chapter of Red Feather and it was, from a parenting view point, strange. It was telling about a game Native American boys played called War. They would get on their war paint and find a hornets nest. Then they would jump on it, thus causing an angry reaction from the hornets inside who then stung at will. If you got stung and cried, you didn't get to do the victory dance at the end. My first question was "Where are their mothers?" Turns out that the parents didn't seem to mind this game. This was before epi-pens, emergency rooms, and venom extractors. This story showed me that although attitudes of parenting have changed, little boys have not. They still do dangerous and, well, dumb things for amusement. I'm just glad there aren't many hornets nests here in the burbs. The only thing Jack would jump on right now is a 1 pound bag of M&M's.
I can't really dog the parents of those Indian boys. In my close to five years of parenting I have made some good decisions (no, really, I have! Don't ask me to recall any right now though, okay!) I've made alot of bad decisons. Thus was the case yesterday when at my dad's house I decided the kids needed to be one with nature. It was snowing and cold and a bit windy. So, I bundled the kids up and dad and I took them for a short forray down the logging road. One word repeated half a dozen times... dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb! Did I mention DUMB!!!! Lillie was good for about 2 minutes and then her whine generator kicked in. Poor girl's alot like her mom...doesn't care too much for roughing it in the cold. Jack was oblivious to the dangers of frostbite on his nose, a few times declaring that he didn't need his jacket...
It ended with me packing Lillie back to the house because she complained that she could no longer walk and my poor aged father having to carry Jackson after he took a nosedive over a limb, and rose from the frozen ground with a mouthful of dirt. I fear I have disgraced Charlotte Mason! Something tells me she might laugh with me...or at least at me! Well, at least I didn't let them jump up and down on a hornets nest...that must count for something.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Lights Out!

Our power was out for about 3 hours today. This is becoming a habit. In warm weather,I kinda like a power outtage (as long as it is not pitch dark outside). But this is the fourth time we've been without power this winter and no power means no heat means wearing socks (which I hate). No power also means no computer. It got pretty nasty this morning. Here's how it went down. The kids were playing a game this morning, having a jolly good time and NOT bickering. All of a sudden, the juice is gone. The screen goes black...mass panic ensues. Questions of "Why is this happening to us" start pouring forth. A brief second where mom ponders "Did I pay the electric bill" and a frantic run to the checkbook. Well, we went ahead and started our schoolwork with our days of the weeks puppets and started our series of lessons on the fruits of the Spirit. Today we talked of love. How there is God's love for us, our love for God, and our love for others. We read and highlighted alot of verses in our bibles and worked on a new memory verse.This is a picture of Lillie literally "cleaning out her ears" before our lesson.

I printed some fruit clipart off and wrote the names of each fruit of the spirit on it, made a construction paper tree and as we finish studying each fruit we will paste the corresponding fruit on it. I like to do little projects like that because it enforces the lessons alot better and gives them something that triggers their minds.
We finished our creation book Saturday and I'm a day late posting it...

Well, the power did come back on and the kids just got logged onto the internet when it went off again. You thought there was panic add frustration on top of that and it was not pretty. The power teased and taunted us coming on and then going off again and everytime was just gasoline on the fire. The only way I can really convey how the kids were feeling was this...
We have power now and all is well...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Early Bird Might Get the Worm, But I'd Rather Take A Nap...

Lillie and I started schoolwork at 5:30 this morning. Lillie Anna is NEVER awake that early. She did an addition worksheet, read her Starfall reader and practiced writing her name. We laid back down on the couch around 6:30 after we ate breakfast. Then Jack came and squeezed in, then Chloe woke up, so no nap for me. With the basics over and done with, we got started on our creation book. We did day three today. I will post a slideshow of the finished book, hopefully Monday. With time telling to the hour conquered, we moved onto the Days of the Week. I had Lillie order them using some pocket chart printouts I got from
I printed out some days of the weeks puppets and glued on popsicle sticks. We used a catchy little song to learn what came before (yesterday) and after (tommorrow) a given day. The kids liked the song and Lillie did well recognizing the days in print and ordering them.

Jackson practiced his letter sounds and then we did a fun activity that gave him some practice with his colors, sorting and classifying, and simple graphing. Lillie Anna joined in to help us. We sorted his entire collection of Hot Wheels into colors and then graphed them to see which color he had the most of and which color you'd find the least in his collection.

I am proud to report that Jack is 100% boy and his die cast car collection reflects that. He had more blue cars than any other color and NO PINK CARS.
I made an executive decision to switch my history text to "Red Feather" off the Rosetta Project. It has easier language, short chapters, and pictures, unlike the Stories of Indian Children. I couldn't get the kids to sit still long enough to read the chapters and the lack of visuals bored them. Today, we were introduced to Red Feather, a little indian boy who goes hunting with his bow and arrow. I let the kids paint some limbs blown off the trees from the other day when it was very windy and tied some elastic to them to make them play bows minus the arrows because I couldn't think of anything I had that was safe to make them. I believe cotton balls wouldn't even be safe with these two. I just told them to exercise their imaginations. Lillie painted hers pink, of course. She had the flashiest most stylin' bow in the wigwam. Jack's was very earthy.
Pretty vicious looking savages...don't you agree?

Why Are We So Happy...

That is natural flash needed. See that in the background...that's grass and trees. Yes, we went outside Tuesday. It was 66 degrees and glorious! Today, it was rainy again. It was as if God was giving us just a taste and saying "Just a little longer..."
I have slacked and this post should have been up yesterday. Today is Wednesday, but I'm playing catch-up, so pretend it's Tuesday.
We made page two of our creation book this morning and reviewed what we had learned so far about the story of creation. Anna played her tell time flashcards and I am now satisfied that she can tell time to the hour. So, that got checked off my list of goals. We went outside, like I said. I am having the kids observe the Bradford Pear Tree beside the front porch. It is starting to bud out a little and I want them to see how a bare twig ends up a full, green tree. I had Lillie do a bark rubbing for her tree book and we will be posting the pictures of our changing limb as major transformations occur.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away...

I am amazed how much we accomplished this morning! The kids slept till 9:00 this morning. Usually I wouldn't let this occur, but I figure they're flat worn out from being sick. I was hoping to get in a few minutes of outdoor time today, just to give them some fresh air, but it is cold and rainy. After our late breakfast, we read the story of Creation and made the first page of our Creation Book. We will make a page for each day of Creation showing what was made and it will have the corresponding scripture on it as well. When finished, it will go into sheet protectors and a 3-prong folder. This is the page for Day One: God Made Light
Next, Lillie did speed drills with her clock flashcards. I am not completely satisfied that she's got it yet, so I'll work with her again tommorrow and re-evaluate. Lillie then took a break and Jack was on the hot seat with speed drills of his letter sounds using his letter flashcards. He did well, except he gets "j" and "g" and "m" and "n" confused. Lillie read through the #2 Starfall Reader, will need a couple more days to get her short "e" blends down though. She practiced writing her a's freehand and did pretty well. Next came our animal study. We read "The Lamb with the Longest Tail" from Among the Farmyard People. It was a story about a Lamb that had a longer tail than the other lambs and was very prideful and mean about it. His mother tells him that he was given his tail and the others were given there's and that doesn't make him better than the others. The little Lamb soon realizes that he has the longest tail, because his has not been clipped yet by the farmers. Great little story to teach about how God makes everyone different, that he is no respector of persons, and that pride can get you in trouble.
Lillie did her story page for her animal notebook.

Our craft was to make handprint lambs

In spite of the fact that we got a late start, we were done in 2 hours and had a good time (aside from the occasional whine "I don't want to.")
Chloe still has no voice. She cries almost silently. She feels alot better, though.

Friday, February 1, 2008

The Road to Recovery

At this moment I am surrounded by the sound of congested snoring and the occasional cough. Naptime has come, so I'm taking the time to update. We have not done any school this week, laundry has barely been touched, and cooking non existent.
Every year a bug of some sort rips through the house, leaving no one untouched! Mostly it's a stomach virus or a sinus infection. This year...the flu! Jackson was the first hit with a high temperature on Sunday. By Monday, he was a little better although I still took him to the doctor. But then Lillie Anna's body temperature shot up and I didn't have to beg her to take a nap.(That's when you know something is bad wrong with her.)By Tuesday night, she was better, then Chloe got slapped with it. Her temperature stayed steady at 103 even with Tylenol. Wednesday, I took her to the doctor and because she had such a high temperature, her doctor tested her for RSV and the flu. Negative on the RSV (thankfully) but a postive on the flu. Luckily for us, this was a mild flu. Last night was the first good night's sleep I've had since Sunday.
This leads me to thinking. Runners train in advance for marathons, right? Shouldn't moms train for cold and flu season? A week or so in a sleep depravation chamber, a personal trainer to show us how to properly load and accurately dishcharge a medicine dropper. I really stink at that part! I mean, you usually only have one good go at it and if you mess it up...well it's bad. I have actually had mine to turn their heads and wind up with Benadryll running out of their eyes. I felt like I needed some weight training to buff me up so I could hold Jackson down when they took his temperature at the doctor's office. I was grossly unprepared and totally out of shape for sickness of this magnitude.
Well, the worst seems to be over with , though I don't plan to emerge from my house for at least three or four more days. Here is a great picture of Chloe from earlier today that shows how I feel about everyone being on the road to recovery.

Chloe Meets The Colonel

What's this? HMMMM...a little assistance please? No one is paying attention to me. It is so hard to get good help these days! Oh, for heaven's sake! Give it to me! Don't send an adult to do a baby's job!
Closer, closer... just a little closer...Sometimes you just gotta grab life by a chicken leg and go for it!