Friday, September 28, 2007

Glimpses of God

Before going to see Rebekah on Tuesday, I had this notion to ask her to join me in a practical exercise in "practicing the presence of God." She was all for it, and she termed it "Glimpses of God." I like that!

I saw a glimpse of God in Rebekah's lovely daughter's smile and giggle. We played peek-a-boo, and she warmed up to me. It was fun.

I saw a glimpse of God as I saw Rebekah respond so openly regarding making peace.

I saw a glimpse of God when the very thing that Rebekah and I talked about on Tuesday afternoon was discussed in a Peacemaker email the next morning!

I saw a glimpse of God in the turning of the leaves on the trees and the way the sun hit them just right.

I saw a glimpse of God as I got a "groove" in homeschool and was able to feel the peace and joy of His presence in the midst of the hours of investment in my children's lives.

I saw a glimpse of God in watching The War. I know one see much of man's inhumanity in a war, but one can also see much of man's humanity that is the image of God.


I saw a glimpse of God in the hike up to the top of Chip Ross Park. To look on the valley below and the mountains in the distance is to acknowledge that God exists.


I saw a glimpse of God as I led my small group in Peacemaker Wednesday night. The talk was deep and good with Belinda and Cheryl.

I saw a glimpse of God in the way that Belinda prays. I do believe she has a gift of intercession.

I saw a glimpse of God as Kim, Nancy, and I met around the doctrines in Romans. The discussion was deep and hopefully it is a portent of a wonderful year of studying with these women.

I saw a glimpse of God as Michael and Paul are finally "getting" it when it comes to writing.

I saw a glimpse of God in a kiss blown and an "I love you" from Nancy as I drove through her shop for celebration ice cream with the boys.

I saw a glimpse of God in the "Lake of Shining Water" at Adair. It was peaceful walk after a great day of work in school.

I saw a glimpse of God in the strength of a family facing a terminal illness.

I saw a glimpse of God in studying the resurrection with Sherry.

I saw a glimpse of God in studying Creation with Nourieh.

I saw a glimpse of God in hearing eight boys making movies, laughing, praying tonight.

I saw a glimpse of God in pictures that capture the joy of my day.

I saw a glimpse of God in hearing of our answer to prayer regarding Sherry's son.

I saw a glimpse of God in a telephone call from Beth in a personal invitation to her Thursday night Bible study.

I saw a glimpse of God in the sunshine and the rain of this week.

I saw a glimpse of God in answer to prayer for a person in which Rebekah can invest her life.

I saw a glimpse of God in knowing that C is praying for me.

I saw a glimpse of God in Kim's affirmation of me and my priorities.

I saw a glimpse of God in Teala's relaying the story of how her brother died on Tuesday morning.

I saw a glimpse of God in him giving me peace and the ability to "overlook the offense" of a snub earlier this week.

I saw a glimpse of God in how he has healed and restored and removed the pain of my affliction.

I saw a glimpse of God in listening to The Iliad this week.

I saw a glimpse of God in the insomnia I suffered last night due to Dr. Pepper at Mary Beth's house. I read in the quiet and loved His presence.

I saw a glimpse of God in my ability to finally "relax" about this Biology class. :)

I saw a glimpse of God in Him speaking to me through the book The Cross and the Switchblade. I am challenged to pray, pray, pray.

I saw a glimpse of God in the care for others that I see in the life of C. Her asking me to pray for her regarding some tought things is a privilege.

I saw a glimpse of God in my time with A over our break-out session. We are one in how we are going to do it, and the meeting went so well.

I saw a glimpse of God in a day where the wash is done, the house is clean (from top to bottom), and my shopping is all done!


Many glimpses. Too few here to count. I want to see Him in the ordinary.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Monday Morning

I woke up with a hot flash at about 5 a.m. this morning. So, I rolled out of bed and went to my first Group Power Class since I fainted and sprained my ankle. It was good. I worked out next to Lisa, and I enjoyed it immensely. I got snubbed by someone there, but I am chosing to "overlook the offense" according to Proverbs 19:11 and just let it go. :)

This is our third full week of schooling, and I think I am finally relaxing! This COOLSchool is not what we expected. I think I will go ahead and evaluate all the things that I wrote about for school when we first started. Let me find that post . . . .

Biology 1.1 - http://www.coolschool.k12.or.us/

This is an online COOLSchool class in which the school district pays.

Michael completed the first module, and I just don't like the clunky software that makes you have to reenter your password everytime you enter things. He completed a table and submitted it only to find out that the software made you enter it all again. THANK THE LORD that we had printed off the copy of the web page so that he didn't have to do all the calculations over again. BTW, I found the exact same table and experiment on line, and the COOLSchool teacher did NOT attribute it to the teacher that she got it from.

Also, Michael was instructed to submit a 300-400 word essay, and the teacher specifically instructed the students to NOT go on and post it to the discussion board until she had turned it back with her suggestions. We waited nine days, and Michael politely asked if she had gotten around to correcting it. She curtly replied that she had done so and please put the Module number and activity on each inquiry. She never turned back the paper, but we got the impression that Michael was just supposed to go on anyway.

The activities for the first week were a ton. It also involved going back and forth among many different websites. All that to say is: we will do the second half of Biology using the Bob Jone Biology book I picked up at the homeschool used book sale. If it weren't too late, I would drop the class. I am impressed with most of her fun activities, but I am not impressed with her communication and the clunky software. I will use her activities for Biology 1.2 though when I used the Bob Jones book.

One a brighter note, A'Beka Science has been a blast for Paul! He really likes the colorful books. I do too! I am so enjoying having him read and relate to me what he is reading! It has been a joy. When we first started I was just letting him fend for himself while I helped and encouraged Michael in Biology, but we all three had a "heart felt" talk about homeschool this year and Paul confessed he was a little lonely while Michael did his work. We are all three so used to doing science together. So, I make the time for Paul to relate to me what he is learning. It is a "cozy up on the couch and let Paul blab" time!

Algebra I and Fundamentals of Math - Good Ol' Bob Jones!

These are both going very well. Again, my only caveat is that I may forget how to teach Algebra when the year progresses. It is nice to know that I have Teaching Textbooks as a backup though. I may order it anyway since I will probably switch Paul into them if he is still homeschooled in high school. http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/


Classical Literature - http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

Now, this is what I am talking about: a teacher who is PASSIONATE for her subject and her students. Thelma is a dream. I can't wait until her lectures and her class can go national so that other homeschoolers all over the country will be able to have her as their teacher! She sends out OODLES of emails that help with the study guide questions. She responds to emails super quickly, and we aren't even in her "official" classes! We only paid $115 dollars for her lectures, answers to questions, study guide, and a 350 page notebook PACKED with history, bible, and literature background. Such a deal!

The nice thing about this class is that George has pretty much taken over sole responsibility for it. I am reading along with them. I heard Thelma reading The Iliad last night, and all three of my men were down there listening and interacting on it. I love this. George reads the history portion during one of their read-aloud times each week too. He is also going to the classes. I have access to her lectures on the internet though, and I also have the VanDiver DVD's.(See the Link HERE ) So, I am getting an education right along with them.

Michael is new to the class though. It appears to George that all the other homeschoolers in the class know each other. They are mostly North Albany people. So, Michael is the new kids on the block there. So, I am praying for relationships to come out of it.


World History - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

I like it, and you can't beat the price. I am the teacher, and I am basically "borrowing" their books. The CD-roms that I got in the mail never work though. So, I am eliminating them from the curriculum. I like the software that they have to log hours of PE and extra-curricular stuff too. The history is sound, and the "free responses" that you submit are great writing practice for my kids. Overall, I like it. If they charged, I wouldn't pay for it though.

They are also getting an extra .5 credit in World History for the Classical Lit class. There is a ton of reading from the study guide that covers Greek culture to the nines!


In His Image Art and Joyful Sound Music for 9-12th Grade - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

I had said it was boring, but it has gotten better. I decided to just read when we covered that part of history. So, we will be going through it very slowly since it has very little information about Ancient Art. I won't sign up for it again, but I also realized that Sister Wendy can come along next year.

I did get a replica of Grecian Potter through Art in History. It was cheap, and it has a Greek lesson. Since we are really emphasizing Greek literature through the classical lit class, I thought this would be a nice and fun addition.

Writing

I am using this really fun book called Four Square: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9! It has thirteen different fun writing activities using the Four Square Method. I also have the Four Square Writing Method for Grades 7-9 (ISBN: 1573101907).

I still love this! It has really given me some structure for teaching the kids! I can't believe I just picked it up on a whim and it has made teaching writing very fun!


Grammar/English

Michael was doing College English and Communication by Stewart, Lanhan, and Zimmer for grammar review. I realized I don't have the answer key! So, in order to correct, I really have to sit down and go through each exercise, and this is too labor intensive for me. I have Easy Grammar purple book and Nitty Gritty Grammar. So, I am just going to cover grammar through Michael's writing and touch on points he needs to grow in. I will definitely use this as a reference, but I won't make him to all the exercises. He has enough with is writing and classical lit class to cover grammar as we go!

Paul still flies with Daily Grams. Katrina, is there a Daily Grams for high schoolers? I might use it next year for Michael if they do.

Field Trips

These have been my "saving grace" in terms of my sanity. We went to homeschool days for Gilbert House Kids Museum in Salem and the Oregon Gardens. It is just nice to be around other homeschoolers for the day. We had a blast at both places, and there was much learning that took place. This Wednesday, our group takes a hike up to the top of Chip Ross park. Reminds me why I homeschool!

Bible

Pleasantly surprised at how great the devotionals are on the k12free site. I like them. Paul is reading 1 Cor and Michael is reading Job (for his classical lit class too). Paul is journaling, but Michael is not, and I am just fine with this.

Well, I have to go. It is time to start this thing I have been blogging about for the last half hour!

Continued because I have a short break from school:

Reading

There was a study between a group that was taught in-depth grammar and a group that was given that same time to pleasure read. In the end, the PLEASURE READING group had more grammatical writing in the end. So, I am still setting aside time for pleasure reading every day with these kids. Michael is reading Oz books and Paul is reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Fifteen Months Out

I visited with Michelle today, and I really and truly believe that I am out, out, out of the vortex. I think July and my days of prayer were such a turning point.

It is nice to really believe that I have moved on. :)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Reflections at 5:20 a.m. on a Sunday

Well, I came home from teaching the SHAPE class Spiritual Gifts and Personality Type sections up for the Suburban College Leader's Retreat, and I went to watch the introductory lecture for The Iliad with Vandiver, and I fell FAST asleep. George just came in and said, "Why don't you just go to bed?" I planned on waking up again. So, I attempted to watch it again. Well, I don't know what happened but I ended up in bed with the comforter over me. I slept from 7 p.m. on. and woke up bright-eyed and bushy tailed at about 3 a.m. I slept eight hours and felt ready to get up. (Not to mention I had terrible night sweats). So, here I sit.

It think it went well yesterday. It was hard to do two sections in one day. I like doing them one day at a time and let people stew on it for a while, but I guess it worked OK.

Well, we start another week of school. The Biology class is going well. I like the coursework, but we are at her mercy as far as being able to continue, and she has not returned Michael's essay to post on the discussion board. So, we can't really move on until she does that. So, it is hard to meet the deadlines when the teacher is the reason you can't meet the deadlines. This is harder for me. Michael also doesn't like the fact that he has more work this year, but he is doing really well at the work that he is doing. I am really proud of the writing that he is doing. The typing really slows him down, but he insists that he can do it.

In reflection though, I had to admit that the biology class would go so much more quickly if we didn't have to play "email" tag with her and post on the clunky software for the discussion boards. Also, there is nobody on the discussion boards. As far as I can see, Michael is the only current member taking the class. So ,there is no interaction with other students which is something in which we had hoped. So, I am reevaluating this being that I don't have any problem with anything related to biology in terms of the content of the course. So, I may glean the great activities that she has from the second semester of the class and do it on my own with him. I would still require the same amount of reading, writing, and projects, but I could also do some LIVE dissections, etc. As it is, this class relies on all virtual things. So, I am pondering this for next semester.

The k12freehomeschool is going much better this week. I like the World History class. We finally got the CD's, and it appears that they are internet-based linked CD's So, you put it in, and they hook up to websites that have videos that The Grace Academy is licensed to show. Many of them appear to be PBS videos, and we have been using these for education for a while. The only problem is that if there is a huge number of people watching the videos as the same time, you can't "log in." So, I am thinking we may have to have some "Sunday viewing" of the CD's in order to keep up. We didn't get the CD's until 7 days into the class, but we are only about two videos behind in the World History class.

The Art History course is getting better. There is not as much "rambling." So, I like that. :) I may stick with it since it is only three days of the week. Actually, I am waiting until we get to that part in World History before we view the things for that time period. So, it will be really slow going. I may do the music concurrently with the history too. So, that would mean skipping ahead to do the second half of the year. The Sister Wendy videos are also available, and I am going to have the kids watch these with me for art. It will add more hours to their transcript in the art area.

The Classical Literature class just gets more cool all the time. Michael listened to the introductory lecture at the class on Thursday night, and he liked it. He is such a good listener that he really did glean much. Thelma seems engaging and funny. Michael likes that so much. We have The Iliad to pick up from the library, and I really think it would be better for him (and George and me) to listen to it on CD. Homer was meant to be heard.

He will definitely be reading it as he goes through the study guide questions (30 this week of short answers and definitions). So, he will get both. I think I will have us listen to the Fagles translation and read in the Lattimore since this is the translation the teach uses. This will reinforce it.

Math is going swimmingly, but I am willing to switch to Teaching Textbooks next year for Geometry. It might be the best thing for us to do since I will probably have more difficulty helping him with problems he doesn't know about. I think I will do OK in Algebra, but I would switch to Teaching Textbooks for this course too. It would just be more difficult mid-year to do so.

Writing. I LOVE this book. The kids LOVE it. I am so excited that I found this as the store going out of business. It was a good purchase at only 5.00 per book. :)

Michael is also in the Intermediate level of his typing course. I may just start Paul on it now so that he isn't struggling when he gets to high school when he has to type more.

Battery low gotta go!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Poetry Post: When I Was Little

This is the poetry the kids wrote today from Four Squares: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9 (ISBN:1573104485)

Paul

How happy I must have been
Swinging, pretending, and talking
My stuffed animals by my side
In California or Malaysia
Or safe in my big room
Those were the days

Michael

How happy I must have been
Drawing quietly, playing, and pretending
My sketchbook by my side
At Grandma Weaver's house or in Malaysia
Or safe in my cozy, bright room
Those were the days

Week 2

It is going well at The Well. Hey, maybe that should be our school's name! "The Well" Homeschool.

Today was awesome. The boys did some poetry in their 4 Squares Book today, and the frame that 4 Square used didn't rhyme. They said, "How can it be poetry if it doesn't rhyme"? I assured them that much of modern poetry does not rhyme, but they were not convinced. So, I pulled out my secret weapon . . . .

SUSANNE!

I knew they would listen to an expert. So, we had a very nice email exchange back and forth with her about poetry, and she sent us some very nice poetry that she just happened to be copying for her class that she will be teaching! So, we read them during school. It was awesome to have an EXPERT to send an SOS to in the middle of the homeschool day. Thanks Susanne!

Today was more DELIGHTFUL. I think I was just a bit stressed out about all the extra work because of the classes that Michael is taking, but we made it delight-directed, and we even stopped and had a tea time out on the deck in our new table and chairs. It was no "fantasy tea time," but it was just Paul and I talking about many things under the September sun.

It is starting off as a great week!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The New Academic Year

WHEW! Last week was a whirlwind of academics and getting off the ground for the new school year.

I found my previous blog: http://www.tallcarolhomeschool.blogspot.com/

I had lost it when there was a big glitch with blospot in 2004. So, I started this one, but somehow, I accidently found it in August; and as I have been reading it, I realize how I miss those days when the kids were younger and the exploration was so fun.

This week it has been as fun, but I want to regain that even though the academics are a bit more rigorous. I still want to have that "delight-directed" heart of a homeschooler while also challenging and pressing forward in things that will prepare my kids for the real world.

Lord, I don't want them to lose that love of learning! Please give me that balance!

With all that said, I am sure loving learning these days. :) Michael hit high school, and we are ALL involved with a Classical Literature class directed by http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

Here is what we are learning about right now:

Biology 1.1 - http://www.coolschool.k12.or.us/

This is an online COOLSchool class in which the school district pays. I like it. It is a challenge for Michael in that is requires more writing, and I am not really good at challenging him in that area. So, I like the accountability. He also has to type a ton to his teacher. This is also challenging as he started lessons in June using Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing. If he could hunt and peck, he would be much faster. Also, the software for posting answers on the discussion boards and communicating with your teacher is REALLY antiquated, and it is clunky. You have to reenter you password each time you post something. It really wastes a ton of time.

Paul is doing some of this Biology, and I am supplementing with some Life Science reading from Abeka. There are also comprehension checks; and since ABEKA books seems impossible to resale, I am letting him write the answers directly in the book. He seems to enjoy that. He is just a cute bug when he is over there reading. He got to excited about making a flower pot sill today!

Algebra I and Fundamentals of Math - Good Ol' Bob Jones!

They have been around for a LOOONG time, and they know what they are doing. I am so impressed with their organization, scope and sequence, simple explanations, etc. It is a good course for both the kids.

IF I begin to have problems with the Algebra I in terms of understanding how they got to what they got to, I will turn to George to solve problems with Michael. I don't anticipate this will really be an issue until Geometry. If it becomes too inconvenient to "wait until your father gets home." I will go to Teaching Textbooks. I am ULTRA impressed. It would be dream for someone who isn't math-oriented, but since I have a mathematician on call, I think we will stick with Bob for now. It is nice to know that they are waiting in the wings though.

http://www.teachingtextbooks.com/

They are spendier, but the personal tutoring is SO amazing!


Classical Literature - http://www.thelmaslibrary.com/

He will read Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Aeschylus, Plato, Virgil, Shakespeare, and Augustine. We are getting the audio versions and reading with him. This Sherwood instructor (Thelma) has a study guide with questions and she also reads much through an online MP3. So, it isn't as hard core as it sounds. It is also a 1/2 credit of World History. He meets with the class on Thursday nights. There are study guide questions, short quizzes and exams. I also splurged and ordered The Teaching Company's DVD instuctions with a great instructor from Whitman College in Walla Walla, WA teaching 24 lessons on Homer. See the Link HERE . Some day, I woud love to teach this to a group of homeschool high schoolers or even to Santiam Christian High School.

World History - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

Here we go again through the history of the world. The class is small change compared to our previous times through world history in 2000-2001 (Child's History of the World Interactive CD-Rom), 2001-2006 (Story of the World Volumes 1-4 and Usborne Internet-Linke Encyclopedia of World History), and 2006-2007 (Kingfisher World Encyclopedia, Story of the World Volumes 1-2), but it is good to have a "sweeping" overview, and it is also good to be light with literature having much history in it! Most of this class is review. There are quizzes and tests, but I am supplementing by vocabulary reviews and answering questions when we go through a lesson. They are taking notes. I really need to teach them this skill. :)

In His Image Art and Joyful Sound Music for 9-12th Grade - http://www.k12freehomeschool.org/

BORING! I thought this would supplement the World History as we get to periods in history we can study the different art, but they are, sadly, not coordinated even though it is the same online school. This Art/Music course is random, unorganized, and pretty NON VISUAL for an art class! The author went ON and ON about Opera in the Fine Art chapter, and I have no idea why? He also had an introduction about "Plagiarism," and while it was a very interesting internet link (we all learned a TON), I have no idea how it is even related to this course. We write no papers (only quizes and a bit of drawing). So, we didn't need to learn about citing references and not copying word for word out of books. It was bizarre.

I should also add that there are many spelling/typing errors, and it goes into these bizarre bunny trails and doesn't seem to stay focused. It sounds like a person who has ADD wrote it. I have to admit that I have not received the CD's that go with it. I would hope they have pictures and such because the text has no pictures to go along with it.

I miss the Usborne Introduction to Art!

If, when I receive the CD's, it doesn't seem to be any better, I will switch to Sister Wendy's: The Story of Painting book (we own) and her excellent PBS video series. In addition, we hope to make it to the Portland Art Gallery and down to the LA County Museum of Art in June. I also might have Michael take the drawing class offered through COOLSchool next semester and bag the biology course since I can basically take the whole course without getting the credit since it is all online anyway. This way, I can benefit from the accountability for writing and course. The drawing is so much more up Michael's ally another option is to have him take a drawing class right at the high school.

Writing

I am using this really fun book called Four Square: The Personal Writing Coach for Grades 7-9! It has thirteen different fun writing activities using the Four Square Method. I also have the Four Square Writing Method for Grades 7-9 (ISBN: 1573101907). It is a great approach for organizing their thoughts by drawing and even writing poetry. I like it! Last week they wrote about their earliest memories. I am hoping to coach them through writing expository, narrative, persuasive, and descriptive styles using this book. Next week, we will write about their dad, and they already have talked about some fun things! I found it at the education store that was going out of business. It was 55% off of $13, but it is really fantastic.

Of course, Michael also has writing through his Biology (posting on discussion boards, emailing his teacher, writing papers, designing experiments, making a brochure or webpage for a Zoo, etc) and in his Classical Lit class.

Grammar

Michael is doing College English and Communication by Stewart, Lanhan, and Zimmer for grammar review. The exercises are simple. I may switch him back to Easy Grammar Red Book if this doesn't pan out or maybe I'll just have him to the Easy Grammar Purple Book.

Paul is continuing to do Daily Grams.

Bible

They are continuing to read through the New Testament, reading the devotional on the k12freehomeschool site, and journaling their thoughts. We will also have readings in several books of the Bible for the Classical Literature class.

Well that is enough for now!

Old Herbaceous

This was a sweet story about a gardener in England from the time he was a boy to an old man. It made me cry it was so short and sweet.  Here...