Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Storm

Last night as I brushed my teeth by candlelight, Bo asked me if I had flipped over the scripture verse for the day.

I hadn't because of the craziness.  We live in north Alabama and we have endured a life changing experience.
As I flipped over the calendar and read the verse I almost couldn't believe how appropriate it was...

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.  Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.
Psalms 46:1-3

I had awakened to heavy winds and rain.  Just in time to hear Chris tell the three big kiddos to run to the bathroom.  He yelled for me to grab the babies.  I grabbed our newest tiny one and Chris grabbed Little Bitty.  We took shelter in our bathroom.  As we emerged we saw trees snapped in the pasture and our two large pecan trees and dogwood tree down in our yard.  The jungle gym was toppled and shingles from our roof littered the yard.

The boys began to cry.  We had just completed our spring tree study on our pecan trees.  We were going to follow them through the seasons.  They understood that we couldn't just plant another tree and see it grow quickly.

We stopped and talked about God's protection.  We stopped as a family and thanked him for watching over us.  After our prayers we got dressed and headed out to check on the neighbors.  Everyone was fine, but lots of trees on houses.

Since our experience yesterday, many others in Alabama have suffered much more damage and there has been a tremendous loss of life.  

Gifts in the midst of the storm...
Chris was home...he was getting ready to leave for work
I had awakened just before the worst part...the littles were awake and able to run to the bathroom
Our home is standing...
We are safe...
I have been reminded again that I am not in control...not even a little bit...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011

See What We've Been Enjoying...

This new little one studies our faces and makes eye contact so much more than the others it seems...
and then we get grins and coos...
and everyone gathers around to see...


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Our LouLou At Three...

"I'm a pretend angel that fell from the sky"...LouLou at three
"Why is Marvin's teeth melted away?"  LouLou asks about our 13 year old dog.

Her favorite things to eat...peanut butter and honey on mommy's homemade bread, broccoli and dip
Her favorite stories...Nora's Castle, Hedgie's Surprise, and Snip, Snap and Snur and the Buttered Bread
Favorite Toys...her black baby
Her favorite things to do...swing...play with her sister...hold her new sister...pretend she's the mommy with her brothers.
She loves...telling me what she will/will not do when she is a wife and mommy.
She also loves helping me cook and painting with the watercolors.
She is very good at...folding towels
We are working on saying...Yes Mommy, Coming Mommy...and having a happy face as she obeys.
She always wants to do something for school when her brother works on his.
And she is also breathtaking...


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Some Scraps of Wood...Rock Pile...and Dirt...Lots of Fun

Some Scraps of Wood...
A Rock Pile...
And Some Dirt...
Has provided hours of fun for these kiddos...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shakspeare For First-Timers

Bo is almost finished with the first twelve week rotation in Ambleside Year 1.  Included in his schedule this twelve weeks were two readings from Shakespeare.  A Mid-Summer Nights Dream and The Tempest.  I had purchased Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare, but after previewing the two stories, I wasn't sure if we were ready to read them.  I had a hard time keeping the characters straight in my mind as I previewed the stories.  So after putting the stories off for a couple of weeks, I decided to read them to Bo.  We started with the The Tempest.

Before reading I made sure to have a large piece of paper and pencil handy.  I had read somewhere before to draw the characters along with the plot as the story is read.  I was so surprised at how much easier the story was to understand when we drew things as we read them.  We narrated paragraph by paragraph as we read by drawing on our paper.

Bo loved the story!  He even took the piece of paper and retold the story using the drawings to his dad and brother later that day.



Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Have You Been Cackling?

They must be let alone, left to themselves a great deal, to take in what they can of the beauty of earth and heaven;  for of the evils of modern education few are worse than this-that the perpetual cackle of his elders leaves the poor child not a moment of time, nor an inch of space, wherein to wonder-and grow.
-Home Education, pg.44

As I read this passage in Home Education, I couldn't help but reminisce about my three years as a Kindergarten teacher.  This passage rings so true to me because I have been the one cackling and feeling guilty about that cackling all at the same time.  As a new teacher under observation by the administration, I felt the pressure to check off of my list all the children were supposed to be learning.  The list of requirements for a five year old was quite long. I never truly understood how long it was until I had my own children.

Many a days as a teacher, I was rushing to get the lesson plans completed.  In the end, there was not any time left for a child's sense of wonder.  I was required to teach all of the five year olds in my care to read...and progress was monitored three times per year.  Reading is a very necessary part of education, but I wonder if it is so necessary to teach a young child to read at the expense of time alone in nature. Miss Mason thought that cultivating in a child a love and appreciation for nature prepares that child for more formal schooling as they grow older.  A child who has spent time outdoors examining flowers, insects, and animal life are learning the important skills of attending to detail, classifying, and observing.

These skills are all but lost in modern education.  Miss Mason talks of what usually happens in the Kindergarten...

Indeed, I am inclined to question, whether, in the interest of carrying out a system, the charming Kindergartnerian is not in danger sometimes of greatly undervaluing the intelligence of her children.

Everything is directed, expected suggested.  No other personality out of book, picture or song, no, not even that of Nature herself, can get at the children without the mediation of the teacher.  No room is left for spontaneity or personal initiation on their part.

Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things, and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower pots.
I know all to well how easily these things can happen in the Kindergarten.  I well remember the little girl who could read on a fourth grade level being very intelligent.  But the little boy who could barely read a word was undervalued in his intelligence, although he could have told me anything I needed to know about farming and gardening.

These things Miss Mason warns against could very easily happen in a home if we let them.  As moms, we sometimes prefer to check off items on our to-do list for each child, rather than let them explore outside.  We look and see lots of cute ideas that we want to incorporate...letter of the week, unit studied, lapbooking, etc.
These are all tools that we can use,  but if we are not careful we will become that cackling woman.  Let's not plan activities to take up all of our children's time.  If we have to, we may have to write in a quiet growing time on our to-do list.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why I Love Miss Mason...

Never be within doors when you can rightly be without.
In this time of extraordinary pressure, educational and social, perhaps a mother's first duty to her children is to secure , for them a quiet growing time, a full six years of passive receptive life, the waking part of it spent for the most part out in the fresh air.
Children should be encouraged to watch, patiently and quietly, until they learn something of the habits and history of bee, ant, wasp, spider, hairy caterpillar, dragonfly and whatever of larger growth comes their way.
It is infinitely well worth the mother's while to take some pains every day to secure, in the first place, that her children spend hours daily amongst rural and natural objects; and, in the second place, to infuse into them, or rather, to cherish in them, the love of investigation.
...a love of nature implanted so early that it will seem to them hereafter to have been born in them, will enrich their lives with pure interests, absorbing pursuits, health and good humour.
...she will point to some lovely flower or gracious tree, not only as a beautiful work, but a beautiful thought of God, in which we may believe He finds continual pleasure, and which He is  pleased to see his human children rejoice in.
...there is no part of a child's education more important than that he should lay, by his own observation, a wide basis of facts toward scientific knowledge in the future.  He must live hours daily in the open air, and as far as possible in the country; must look and touch and listen; must be quick to note, consciously, every peculiarity of habit or structure, in beast, bird, or insect; the manner of growth and fructification of every plant.  He must be accustomed to ask Why?...Why does the wind blow?  Why does the river flow?  Why is a leaf-bud sticky?

Excerpts from Home Education, by Charlotte Mason

Sisters...

A sister is a forever friend.  ~Author Unknown
The best thing about having a sister was that I always had a friend.  ~Cali Rae Turner
Sisters are different flowers from the same garden.  ~Author Unknown
 There is no better friend than a sister.  And there is no better sister than you.  ~Author Unknown



Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When I Grow Up...

When I grow up I want to be an animal doctor that takes care of little animals.
I'll travel around and help people's little pets.
If it's a white face bumblebee, I'll charge 50.00...
but...if it is black faced, it'll be 100.00.
-Bo 7 years

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keepers

This year LouLou and I attended a girl's group called Keepers.  Each meeting focuses on a different aspect of homemaking.  We made and decorated cupcakes, made an apron from a dishtowel, practiced singing, and decorated cards to hand out at the nursing home.

We did not attend the knitting class since I do not own anything to knit with.  I'll have to put knitting on my to-do list.

Here's LouLou decorating the cupcakes.
Her favorite part was eating the cupcakes:-)
Here is the apron she made.  I didn't post a picture of her wearing it because she still thinks you have to take all your clothes off before you put it on.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fun Friday

Lately circle time has not worked out for us.  I have decided to start a Fun Friday to focus  more on art, artist study, music and nature study.  The littles look forward to a day of art and nature.  So, Friday I let the littles fingerpaint.

We examined this painting by Pierre-Auguste Renoir
 By The Water
Then I pulled out the fingerpaint.  I told them they could paint their very own version of the painting, but the paint on the fingers was much to exciting.  They quickly got distracted with paint all over their fingers. Mixing the paint to see what colors they could make was great fun.
Her first time to fingerpaint.
Boo painting a teepee and a canoe
Note to Self:  Next time we fingerpaint and the phone rings, let the machine get it.
I was gone for five minutes and when I came back, a little three year old with long hair, had started painting it green.