Monday, October 29, 2007

Bob Jones Biology to the Rescue!

Since we have said good bye to COOLSchool, we have said HELLO to Bob Jones Biology, and I couldn't be more pleased.

Michael is able to be more independent in his learning. We started in Chapter 5, and he will cover about a chapter a week. I had purchased this for $5 at a used book sale. I did order the Lab Manual, Teacher Edition (with answers to the review questions), and Tests and Answer keys for a total of about $40 more, but that is a small price to pay. (I could have bid for it all on eBay for about 16 dollar a month ago, but I didn't think I could drop the COOLSchool back then, OH WELL!).

He learned about genes and chromosomes today, and we went through the review questions. It is STRAIGHT biology and no POLITICALLY CORRECT articles about the evolutionary origin of life reaction papers. YEAH!

We made a good decision! I think he is going to get excited about biology again and not be dissolved in tears on a weekly basis and think he is dumb because he can't understand articles meant for scientist that have already learned the BASICS of Biology.

Oh happy day. Doing the happy dance. Loving homeschool again.

We have come back home, and THANK YOU BOB JONES!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Biology Closure

Yesterday, Michael put together his final assignment for Biology 1.1, and George and I mailed it off in front of Little Caesar's Pizza and documented it as the men working inside watched and wondered what we were doing!

We celebrated with Pizza and Sparkling Cider.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Well Update

Looking at my areas of growth, here is an update:

Well-watered Soul

It is well with my soul. I feel like I am a deeper season of prayer lately. I love that I pray with all the groups of people that I am involved with. I completed all the Bible studies that I am leading over the summer. So, I am having more time to go back over them in a prayerful, mediative way as I lead them this year.Relationships are good. I felt bad saying "no" to another relationship. I feel compassion for this woman, but "she who has too many friends comes to ruin." (Proverbs 18:4) I will never take for granted that I am blessed with many friends, but while I have room in my heart to love one more, I don't have room in my schedule. :(

The Well-Educated Mind

I feel like I have grown another one of my arms back! I took such a break from this. I read so many UNSATISFYING books last year, including some Christian self-help books and novels; but I am back on track in reading classics! I will probably finish reading The Iliad tonight and start The Odyssey tomorrow. Oh joy of joys! The "Book Dames" has become a highlight of my every other month activities. I love the smaller group and deeper setting. I "click" more with these women.

On a FANTASTIC note, well-educating my children has taken a delightful turn as Michael FINISHED the last activity and took the test for Module 2 of that dreaded Biology 1.1. He will go on to the Bob Jones textbook approach, and we couldn't be more pleased. He is coming out with a 97% (?) average in the class. Well-done Michael!

Wellness in Heart

It is well with my soul. I still stand amazed that the sting of 28 years in a very dysfuntional church has lifted from me since my 3 1/2 days of prayer in July. It is a true miracle.

I am also just in a place of real peace. I am praying daily that God leads me to the cross in humility and praise. This is where true peace really lies - at His nailed feet.

Wellness in Body

Thanks you Cheryl, Katrina, and Rachel for saving me and holding me accountable. I could not believe how my whole system mentally, emotionally, and physically shut down when I had to stop exercising when I sprained my ankle seven weeks ago. I am a FIRM believer that women in menopause NEED TO EXERCISE! I am almost back to full workouts now, and the hot flashes and night sweats and general CRUDY (is this how you spell it?) have gone away.

So, I am accountable again to these three ladies for my diet, exercise, communion, daily care of my family, and self-education. It is amazing how I curb my eating when I am at a buffet knowing that I am going to have to go home and email these people to tell them that I have overeaten. Oh, the blessings of accountability are wonderful.

So, there you have my short update. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Freewrite on a Sunny Sunday

I just installed this cool washer/dryer timer on my Google Toolbar. So, I will have a timer right here when I do my freewrites. :)

I have a sore throat. I feel great, but I am probably contagious, and I did not want to infect my fellow brothers and sisters at church and in the close quarters of the modular for mediation training today. George is there. The boys are home because NWH had a celebration service at 10 a.m., and we just couldn't drop them off and pick them up for that. So, they sit downstairs. It is just as well as Michael is still coughing, and Paul has a runny nose.

I sit upstairs enjoying the "sunshine on my shoulder" after much rain the last few days. It is supposed to be sunny the rest of the week. So, if my sore throat does not evolve into too heavy of a cold, I hope to go running a couple of days this week. Katrina, Cheryl, and maybe Rachel are going to be starting another FACED loop in the near future. Hopefully tomorrow. Katrina and I both hope to work off the 5-10 that has creeped up on both of us, min because of my sprained ankle and menopause causing me to increase my eating. :(

Paul just came up saying, "I think we are going for a walk today." I said, "Yes, it is supposed to be a beautiful day." He said, "YEAH!!!" I love that boy's enthusiasm.

I woke up early this morning (4:45 a.m.) because of the painful sore throat. How good that it didn't come before the conference. I was totally healthy and well-rested for the breakout session that Anita and I led. It went well, and we had eighteen people altogether for the two classes. The people in the class were all lovely. Some of the great "encouragers" from Wednesday night Bible study like Lori R. and Ramona M. were there. I loved there smiling faces in both sessions. It went off precisely, but I wished we could have had time for more question and dialogue, but Anita ran over by about fifteen minutes in her section. I am just so THANKFUL that I had cut my time down by fifteen. It also worked out well to have her present the totality of her material after I was finished so as to cut down on transition time. It went much more smoothly the second time because I wrote everything up on the white board ahead of time. We already heard news that many ladies were going to go and actually spend days in prayer. That was our hope!!!

I don't think I can do this too often. As much as I love to speak and feel that it is within my gifting, it took me about twenty hours total to prepare for the whole thing. I carved out the time and fended off more requests for my time in other areas (registration and welcoming committee for Jubilee), but I really prefer to do something like this in the context of a discipling relationship or a small group Bible study so that we might follow through and develop relationships as a result of going and spending a day in prayer together. I know it is not all for naught (is that how you spell it?) though because I met some fabulous new people that I would not have normally met.

George and I talked about the college retreat and are looking at starting NOW to prepare for this since this is three (or four?) talks over a weekend. So, we need to plan accordingly. It will be fun to work with him though. He is so easy to partner with because we know each other SO WELL. (Well of course you do Carol, he's your husband!) It was good to partner with Anita, but of course, I don't know her very well, and I can't read her yet. So, that was a bit awkward. I think when I read "disapproval" from her, it was more fear on her part. She said this whole thing was way out of her comfort zone. I do appreciate her though because she was F.A.T. about the whole thing: Faithful, Wholehearted, Available. She was so responsible to get everything done on time. I really appreciate that about her. Great lady. I am going to pray for a mentor for her though even though I don't know if she knows that she really needs one! LOL! She is mentoring Melissa, but I think it would be good for her to have someone for her too, just like I have sweet Ginny and Lorraine!

Times up. :)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A Malaysian Experience

For the last week, we have been using the 4 Squares book, and it was all about when I was little. So, here is Michael's final story from this week.

A Malaysia Experience

I remember all those years ago when I was only five and Paul was only three, we went to Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia. We traveled by plane and when we finally arrived after a day of travel, got in a taxi and drove thru the city with the taxi driver jabbering something in Malay. The next thing I remember after that was waking up in a bedroom and it was still dark out. We lived in this one guest house for a while then moved to another guest house near the forest. While we were there we saw interesting Malay forest animals like bats, fireflies, and even monkey, and once I even saw a larg monitor lizard. I was fascinated by it and tried to sneek up on it, but it saw me coming and walked away (very . . .very . . .slowly).

Things got even more interesting when we moved to the big city. In our city house we saw geckos on the ceiling and sometimes even a bird would get in the house thru the screenless windows. One thing we did a lot was watch cartoons on Cartoon Newwork cartoons like Scooby--Doo, the Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Tom and Jerry . . .

(sadly, I didn't finish this, and I am posting it anyway) 

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Poetry Post: Adults on My Side

Michael's Poem:

My mom
A computer, a bible, and a book
Reading, walking, teaching
Nice, outgoing, friendly
Can be silly as a goose
Like a tornado when in a hurry
She is the perfect mom

Paul's Poem:
HP, computer, bicycle
Hunt, fish, solve
Tall, smart, joker
Like a cat that brings home the bacon
Like a setting sun
He's nice, for a dad.

P.S. I have no idea what it means to be a setting sun.

(Mom says: LOL!)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Freewrite on a Wednesday

I have had some email exchanges with the new regional representative area director for our agency today, and I am so impressed with his humility and gentleness. We got dropped from the email loops that have been going around. We didn't know that until I just happened to come across his most recent prayer letter and prayed for he and his family. I dropped him an email to say that I have prayed for them today. This started a series of letters about our involvement. Somehow, he had gotten in his mind that we weren't interested in being involved anymore. He had no idea how much we have done over the last year, and then he felt really bad for maybe communicating that he didn't value what we were doing. , It is true that our involvement is very limited because of our schedules. Anyway, George's comment was, "This is what I love about that people in our mission agency, they are so very humble." I think this is so true. I really like them for this reason.

I realize that George is not the greatest at keeping on top of things though, and the emails do come to the inbox that I dominate most of the time, but from what I can see, George has been responding to him when it requires a response. So, he hasn't dropped the ball that I can see.

Maybe this is a nudge to step back from our involvement though. I would love for it to just be limited to the Corvallis area. Maybe this is just too limited, but we can't be going up and down the I-5 corridor like they all do. They are full-time with the agency, and we are just part-time.

I am still dizzy, and I did a dumb thing and took some motion sickness medicine for the dizziness, and it has made me so very sleepy. Silly me.

The kids have been stellar in their work for school. Michael is really taking to heart my admonition to take more responsibility in setting some goals for gettting things done in school. Yesterday, he went to the downstairs computer and composed a great free response about the eight Greek words. He did it in Word Perfect and then he transferred to the webpage. I just had to look it over. Today, he read a whole article about cells for his biology class and wrote a 250 word summary of it without any of my help. YEAH! He also read all the study guide questions for the next book of the Iliad and underlined those parts so he could make sure that he was attentive to them while he was reading it. I have a transformed boy on my hands. I like that!

Paul did really well in his writing for history too. He required a little bit more help since he is still not up on typing, but he is doing really well in his writing the answers out. His spelling is even improving. (Something that I thought would never happen!).

All in all, it has been a very good day, but I feel LOUSY because of this drug in my system. I took it 24 hours ago, and I am STILL groggy! What is it about me and drugs in my system. I can't shake them out once they are there!

Oh well. This freewrite is ending NOW!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Schooling Update

Here is a quick update of what is working and what is not for the 2007-2008 school year:


I love her activities that synthesize the material. For example, he has had to create a web page of a "New Zoo" with all five kingdoms and a paper with a cell metaphor (He used a car as the metaphor and got 60/60). I love that! It utilizes his tremendous creative talent with art through computers and challenges him to write, but she requires him to have a knowledge base of the subject where she gives very little material to give him that knowledge base! So, I have a Bob Jone book that we use to look up things. So, why don't I just use the Bob Jones book and grab her activities for synthesis? There is a balance, and I think she tends too much toward the activities having had about fifteen "activities" in only five lessons of work. In addition, the time spent in navigating the out-of-date software and website links is time better spent in learning Biology!

Michael has about a 95% average and is doing very well, but it is stressing all of us out. So, we will not continue after Module II. Thankfully, it is a class you can take and get credit for the individual modules. So, he will just get the credit for the two. He has three more activities and a test before this is possible.

We will switch to Bob Jones or Apologia. Katrina is sending me the 1st edition book in the mail, and I will decide. I need to have some lab too and both BJ and Apologia have lab/dissection kits.

ABeka Science - Paul is TICKLED with this. He is still studying mammals and chatters about it constantly. :) World History and Art/Music

History: Fabulous. For instance, today they had to write free responses about eight words/phrases that are from Greek culture and are used in our culture today: Hippocratic Oath, Marathan, Democracy, Ostracize, Citizen, Olympics, Spartan, Tragedy. I love this! Michael works on his own downstairs, and I help Paul. It is 10th grade work for him. So, he needs more help. It has well-written chapters and reasonable synthesis. I am sold, and you can't beat the price!

Art/Music has grown on me. No more long and rambling chapters. We are going ultra-slow because I want to coordinate it with the history, and the Art is heavily slanted toward the Middle Ages and beyong. It will pick up soon. The ONLY complaint I have about this course is that there are few pictures and few LINKS to pictures which I think is quite odd. As a result, I am rounding this out with Sister Wendy video and book. I also ordered The Annotated Mona Lisa and Introduction to Drawing in the DK Art series.

Classical Literature with Thelma's Library

LOVE it! It is HARD for Michael. The study guide questions require a ton of time, but we are all learning so much about classical Greek culture and how it has affected our culture today. This is also a passionate teacher. I love that. In addition, it mirrors our studies in history, and my goals from The Well-Educated Mind reading list. All the way around, TWO THUMBS UP!

Bob Jones Math - So far so good

Four Squares - Still LOVE this!

Daily Grams - I love them! It is great for Paul. Michael's grammar has consisted of plenty of writing for history, classical lit, science, and Four Squares

So, Biology will be done in a couple of weeks, and I can go back to enjoying EVERYTHING about our homeschool!

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...