Monday, December 18, 2006

Scarves




These are the four scarves I made for my kids, the blue and green scarves are the same stitch-crazy stitch. The little white scarf is a textured boucle stitch. The multi-colored one is staggered single crochet, I love the shell edging and think it adds so much.

First Baby Thing


This sweater was so fast. I made it in one week, during the time that I listen to the kids read to me.

Crochet-First pair of Socks

Here is my first pair of socks. I manipulated the pattern a lot, because I was using larger yarn, so they fit my three-year-old, who is very proud to wear them.


Friday, December 08, 2006

Quick Update

I have been so busy with my classes and Christmas coming. I have had a lot of fun crocheting lately though. I made all of the kids scarves, and I am almost done with a sweater for the new baby. It's blue! Yep, to all of our suprise we are having a boy. I gave most of the boy baby clothes away after Logan and am very excited about making most of the stuff that I need for this baby. The sweater is one of the first shaped things I have crocheted. I am also making a pair of socks, which came out way bigger then I intended and so I finished the first one to fit Brennen. I will post pictures of everything soon.

We just finished the thirteenth week of school for the year, and I am looking forward to two weeks off to get a few things done. I want to sew a flannel blanket, and crochet an edging on the fleece one, sew and embroider a baby outfit and a quilted jacket and hood and at least start on a little baby outfit in crochet. I may not get all of that done, because after all that is also the week of Christmas and there will be a whole lot of baking and cooking to do, but I don't have school and neither do the kids except for Aubrey's art class. Kamron's last violin class was today and to be honest I am glad to be done with it. He was starting to drag his feet and just asking for a book that he can learn from, from home, so I don't need to feel guilty about being so glad about getting three hours of my Friday afternoons back. We aren't going to take any classes next semester, but will probably do swimming and horseback riding in late spring and summer, just six weeks each. Kamron will of course continue cu scouts once a week, which I don't mind, because he really likes it and they do a lot of messy projects that I never seem to get to. Well, it is time for me to go to sleep. I am going to try to take the kids to see Santa tomorrow, Aubrey needs felt for gifts she's making, I need to wrap presents, finish most of an essay for class, vacuum, do some laundry, take a load to D.I., and ...

Ramblings on a Living Education

A Living Education

There are many definitions of education, and many subjects that can be included or discarded either in whole or in part from and education. Plato would have us discard poetry and literature in favor of physical education, music, astronomy, logic and a little math.

Others have proposed that the aim of education is the future vocation of the children. Some have said the main purpose is to instill character in the children. Others have said that education is the training up of the child in health, a capable cultivated mind, and a moral and spiritual strength.

This seems like a tall order and the parents in each case will have to decide exactly what they expect to accomplish. We, mothers are often the ones put most in charge of the raising and influencing of the children and this is a tall order. Modern psychology would have us believe that children are simply physical organisms that are programmed to do certain things and while the nurture they are given will influence them, this should mostly be left up to their peers and government institution. It is not the fault of the parents if the child does not turn out well and so the unsuccessful parent has a scapegoat, but the truth is parents can in large part help the child to be successful and develop health, a capable, cultivated mind and moral and spiritual strength, but it takes the best effort that parents have and often the results will not show up until the child is grown. But it can be done. But how?

We could sit down and write out objectives for each grade level and each week within that grade level, so that in the third week in second grade we may teach the concept of truthfulness and then check that off our list. But unfortunately if we have the child write I will be truthful 10,000 times we are only likely to bore the child and not make him one bit more truthful.

So how may we give to the child this enormous education, which we propose. I think a great deal of it can be accomplished by what Charlotte Mason calls a living education. A living education is an education based on ideas.

These living ideas come from thinking, cultivated minds. We want to put the children in direct contact with these ideas with as little interference as possible. The chief way to do this is through books. The books are carefully selected from the best that is written from a very broad group of subjects. The subjects themselves are much broader then what is typically found in educational curriculums, and the child is left to build the connections to the subjects himself. He is not told which are the important parts that must be remembered and regurgitated for a test. He is told which books to read, and then asked to tell what he got out of the book. In this way the answers will be very different and the child will be allowed his individuality while the parent is given a glimpse at his thought processes.

Sometimes a homeschool parent will feel bad or overwhelmed because she can’t explain a subject or the child starts to get ahead of her in knowledge. But we really don’t need predigested facts from the parent. The child needs the book by the enthusiastic expert even if the book is a bit hard, and so much the better if it is. The child should dig for the information and not be given it in simple language with simple ideas. When things are very simple they are rarely ever thought of again.

For instance, I am in a social psychology class and as I was reading about experiments done to show how people form opinions and beliefs, I was mulling over the material and thinking about how it could be applied in an educational setting and I was getting excited and thinking hard, trying to put my thoughts into words. I then went back to the text and found the next section dealt with how teachers use the ideas effectively and ineffectively in classrooms. Oh, I thought, they already put most of what I was thinking into words and then I promptly forgot the whole thing. If it had not all been spelled out and I was allowed to read between the lines I would have thought on it more and come away with more connections to the subject. This is a method of predigesting the material commonly found in text books, it does not leave room for original thought-without original thought there is a mere stuffing of facts, but it can hardly develop relationships to the subject being discussed.

The parents responsibility then is not to give predigested facts or to explain things, to the child. The parent can introduce a book with and enthusiastic word for it. The parent is also to train the child in attention to his work which is most often done by narration and short lessons. As the child gets older analytical essays and discussions can be used in place of some of the narrations. A parent may clear up an idea through discussions and careful questioning of the child. If every thought and word in a child’s narration is not perfectly correct the parent can take note of this a bring it around in another reading later.

This method lies so heavily on books, though not exclusively, that we must be very careful as to which books we give the children. The scriptures should be read and reread to the children, they should narrate the passages until they know them, and in this way much of their moral and spiritual training will be brought about. This does not need to be dull either. For instance, Monday the children and I were reading in Acts about how Paul was taken prisoner by the Jews, but when he said he was a Roman a Roman soldier took him to a Roman court where he was kept in prison for two years waiting for his accusers. During this time the judge Felix kept calling him in to talk and answer question about Christ and the gospel and then sending him away again. This so amused Aubrey that she wanted to act it out. So she was Paul and I was Felix and I would call her and ask her a question, like who was Christ? And when she answered I sent her away, she thought this was so funny that she kept laughing. Then I started asking her harder questions about heaven and hell to which she did not know the answer. I made the comment that maybe that was why missionaries had companions. Kamron jumped up, “oh, yes. Paul’s companion was James. I will be James and I will help, but Paul did most of the talking, so you will have to say most of the stuff.”

Do you see the connections the children are making to the subject? Do you see where the ideas are? Even in scripture we can turn reading into a boring exercise of memorization or we can give them the stories and let them show where they have connected to them.

The scriptures ought to be are basic educational book, but after that how do we select living books. Or do we select them? Some people would have children read whatever they want, but until the children have been carefully led to develop a discriminating taste in their reading, they should not be left to read whatever unless you want slipshod results. Each parents will have to decide for themselves the exact criteria they use, but I will give you some ideas. Almost all textbooks can be thrown out, for there is not many ideas left in them, they are often devoid of personality. One can’t imagine the author from the words often because there isn’t one. Committees made of sub-committees create compilations that rarely have an interesting snippet in them, and if they do these snippets aren’t enough to satisfy a child. It is much better to give a child a whole book. For instance, one can read two paragraphs about crabs or a book such as Pagoo that tells of the birth and life of an individual crab with details of his growth and search for shell.

But how will the child learn about everything if they read a whole book, can’t they get more things in from short snippets. The answer to this lies in the method. In the textbook method the same topics are covered again and again and very little of it is remembered by the child once he has finished his tests or left school. With living books, a book only needs to be read once and then narrated from and the child will remember and make his own connections to the material. But of course, there is still a limit to subjects that can be covered, as we cannot cover everything in twelve years, but as children are raised on good books, they are not likely to abandon them when they leave school and will be able to continue their studies through carefully selected books.

We want our children’s literature books to contain friends with character and varied interests. AA Milne, Kipling, Kingsley, Lewis Carroll, George MacDonald and Hawthorne should all be household names that are woven into a families fabric. These types of books can be read and reread by children and parents alike. It has been suggested that no book ever be given to a child that an adult only reads with some pain. If you read ahead in your child’s book to see how it will end that is the first step in knowing that the story may be worthy of your child’s education.

I book should also be clothed in literary language, full of deep language and thinking ideas. There is a story one of the women told at the Ambleside conference about her daughter who was sick in bed, and wanted a story. Her mother grabbed Wind in the Willow, because it was near at hand. She realized that this author had not been schooled in the style of talking down to children and she closed it and said, “these are awfully big words, maybe we should just wait to read it until you are older.” The little girl said, “I don’t care about the words I just want to hear the story.” A child does not need to know every word and will often think longer on the book if he does not.

Of course books are not the only thing involved in a living education. Indeed a bookish child who sits all day and reads is not what we are after. Other subjects lend themselves to being given ideas from enthusiastic masters much better then books. To learn about flowers and birds, one should get out and study birds and flowers and really learn to look at them. Music is best learned through listening to carefully selected pieces of the best quality. In my opinion much of this modern art of colored circles and squares or else just splotches on paper should be avoided as much as the insipid modern stories written nowadays for children. Instead a child should learn to look and really see careful paintings done by the masters. He should learn several paintings by the same artists.

This sort of careful selection of the very best materials produced by masters in a very wide variety of subjects allowing the child to react and connect to each item in his own way is a living education. An education such as this will provide a great deal of knowledge for their own and other peoples enjoy, a wide vocabulary and ability of expression, a single-minded character will be formed with a broad outlook and a variety of interests in a variety of subjects.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My Mother's Handwork Plan

I have only one how to crochet book, as I am still a beginner and am trying to master it before I get another one, though I have made several patterns from online. Today though I remembered a binder my mother gave me one year for Christmas when I was about ten. She gave each of us girls one. Inside there five sections. My mom had copied some free leaflets and patterns that taught a few beginning skills. The first is crochet, then knitting, followed by cross stitch and plastic canvas. The last section she entitled Misc. and has a few pages on things like how to make friendship bracelets. I remember being so pleased with this binder. In a way it meant to me that my mom thought I was old enough to learn these things. I remember learning to knit from them and making dozens of the plastic canvas patterns. I did some friendship bracelets and one cross stitch. I did not attempt crochet until I was grown. As I plan Aubrey’s course of handwork it is fun to think my mother had planned these things for me too.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Downward Spiral of Horizon

Horizon is still working for me, in large part because my ES, that is now called an ST (supervising teacher) lets me do whatever I want and order whatever I want within reason. This is not the case for most everyone else. My sister-in-law has started getting assignments from her ST and detailed description of what he needs to know at his "grade level." She was told that she could not order Story of the World, because it was not a California approved item. She was also told she needs to cover folk dancing this year, to which she laughed. She just had a baby and missed her appointment with her ST who promptly marked her son absent for the whole month. Everyone in her co-op is dropping out of it and she thinks she will follow soot and I don't blame her. I have not had an issue with them yet, but it will probably not be long before my ST will have to start enforcing the new rules at which time I will leave.

Kid Projects

My daughter has just finished a latch hooking pillow and so Ithought I would teach her how to hand sew next. She has already doneseveral plastic canvas projects and pre-cut, pre-holed felt projects. So, anyway, I got the My First Sewing Book by Winky Cherry. When it came I was at first a little disappointed asit looked just like another felt stuffed animal, but as we haveworked on it, I have realized it is so much more than that. My daughter can now measure the correct length of thread, thread theneedle, even the threads, tie the knot, hide the knot and do an overcast stitch, lock her sewing when she is done all by herself. So I am pleased and she is making stuffed animals for her younger brothers.


Here they are finished:



We got an electronics kit through our charter that we homeschool through and so Kamron, is learning how to make different electronic things like speakers, microphone, lights, aflying gizmo that shoots off the motor. For anyone who is interestedin teaching boys skills it is this sethttp://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?sid=1163095114-1962478&id=029506 and he is going to learn to build a motor nextsemester with this set http://www.rainbowresource.com/proddtl.php?sid=1163095114-1962478&id=013413.

Sewing Space

I spent the day yesterday rearranging and creating a sewing nook for myself. My sewing desk was in my closet before, but it is not really very easy to work in there, so I moved my desk into the office and rearranged the closet to hole some of my supplies. It looks so much more inviting.

My current projects are;
An outfit for Aubrey
A jumper for Aubrey
A Baby dress and jacket, assuming it is a girl (we have an ultrasound next week)
Sewing backs onto Kamron and Aubrey's latch hooking tigers
Crochetting Kamron and Aubrey scarves, I just finished Logan's and Brennen's
Crochetting a Barbie outfit for Aubrey
Embroidering a pillow
Sewing a plastic canvas Barbie kitchen for Aubrey-I am almost done

I'll try to post pictures.

Psychology 101

I will be starting the last week of this class this week. I have learned more about neurons, and how spycholigists conduct experiments on mice, rats and pigeons. I have had some interesting conversations though. This last week we had to discuss how birth order effects intelligence-according to research the more children one has the lower the IQ of the younger children. I pointed out that if this were true it probably had little to do with intelligence and family size and more to do with the lack of attention children get, because both parents are working and/or there is a lack of funds for opportinities. But it seemed more likely that the findings could not be trust, because almost every study tested all of the children in a family at the same time, so at the point of the test the oldest might be 25, next 22, 19, 16. The conclusion that older siblings are more intelligent than younger in this case is very flawed, the real results show that older people are more intelligent on average than younger people.

The whole text has a slight anti-family flavor. This next week we are supposed to discuss gender roles. I read the chapter on that yesterday. The idea that maybe it is good for each of the sexes to have different roles was, of course, never mentioned, only that we should all try to become androgonous. It was interesting that all of the research revolved around the differences in the work place concluding that women are at a disadvantage. There was no research about the roles at home where more women excel. All studies, theories and recommendations were on how to allow the sexes to be equal in the work force. My question is, if everyone is so busy in the workforce who is going to take care of the home? Of course, since having too many children is bad for their intelligence maybe we should give up the home.

I think my teacher will be glad to get rid of me, as I am afriad I am not very quiet. She has told me I do not understand the topic, while not correcting my "faulty" thinking and still giving me an A. She also made the comment that I need to go do some research when I disagreed, but did not bother to point me in the direction I should go. I have asked her to explain herself on a couple of statements she made, and she has completely side stepped. I just can't buy the "All mighty educator" thing and it is disrupting her feeling of power I think. According to the text "power" is the primary motivator of teachers and in our modern system I can certainly believe it. Oh, that there was a certified home ec BA online. Actually, I think it is probably good for me to see some of these issues so that I can further understand why people believe some of the things that they do.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Kids are so Amusing

Aubrey was at a friends house while I went to an appointment. She said to her friends mother, “My mom said that I shouldn’t ask for food, but if you were to ask me I would say that I am starving.”

We were at my sister-in-laws and Aubrey looked at her and said, “Some day I want to be as fascinating as you.”

We were driving home late one night when it was very dark. Brennen said to me, “Mommy, you will be okay. Here hold my hand and I will protect you.” Then he took my fingers and stroked them and said in the most assuring tone, “I won’t let any monsters get you.”

I picked up the kids from a friends and Brennen was very tired. He started to whine, “I don’t want to go home.” I asked him if he wanted to stay to which he replied. “I don’t want to stay here.” I asked, “Then what do you want to do?” Eighteen month old Logan replied, “Eat.”

Kamron pushed Brennen in the stomach and he came in crying and holding his tummy, “Mommy, Kamron hurt my baby!” --He’s convinced he’s going to have a baby just like mom.

Kids Toys

While I was going through the kids rooms I decided to go through their toys and put most of them in the garage until they could pick things up a little more consistently. We sorted and got rid of several garbage bags full of things and then I put everything in plastic tubs and put it in the garage. I made a set of written routines for the children and told them that if they learned to follow them every Saturday they could get back one set of toys. The first week this worked well and Kamron asked for his bionicles back, while Aubrey wanted her stuffed animals. The second week went pretty well and so I asked what set the children would like back. Aubrey told me I think I have too many stuffed animals out and I don’t want any toys back, that way my room will be easier to clean up. Kamron also said he didn’t want anything back except for one stuffed animal so that he could play with Aubrey. They are content with only a few toys and I guess don’t really need the six large boxes full in the garage, though I am not going to get rid of anything else just yet.
It reminds me of a story I heard about a little boy who loved his one match box car and played with it every day. A friend of the family decided to get him fifty or so more cars and when she came to visit the little boy was just staring out of the window. She asked him why he didn’t play with his cars, to which he replied that their were too many to love.

Going Through Clothes

I was getting behind in school and housekeeping, the children’s school a little and housekeeping a lot, so I declared a catch up week. During the week I went through all of the kids’ clothes. I began by making a list of what I considered necessary clothing items and then added on a few extras. I then got rid of the extra clothes that we had and kept the best items, I also got rid of or handed down all the clothes that were too small. Because of the generosity from three families who hand clothes down, Brennen had 43 long sleeved shirts. What child needs 43 long sleeved shirts? Then I recorded on the list exactly what each child had and then I could more easily see what each child needs. The list ended up like this;

Clothing needs, October through April

Boys-
6 to 9 pairs of pants, L-10, B-8, K-10
10 pairs of underwear, B-10, K-10
6 pairs of socks, L-3, B-3
3 pairs of shorts, L-3, B-3, K-3
5 T-shirts, L-5, B-7, K-7
4 to 6 long sleeved shirts, L-6, B-7, K-6
2 pull over sweatshirts, L-3, B-1, K-2
2 button up sweatshirts or light jackets L-1, B-2,
1 Coat B-1
1 long-sleeved Sunday Shirt, L-2, B-3, K-2
1 short sleeved Sunday Shirt K-1
1-2 vests, L-2, B-3, K-1
1-3 ties, L-3, B-3, K-5
Hat, L-1 , B-1, K-1
scarf and mittens, B-1, K-1
3 Pajamas, L-4, B-4, K-2

Logan Needs-3 pairs of socks, scarf and mittens
Brennen Needs-6 pairs of socks,
Kamron Needs-6 pairs of socks, 2 button up sweatshirts or light jackets, a coat, 1 pajama

Girls-
5 to 8 pairs of pants, A-7
10 pairs of underwear, A-6
6 pairs of socks, A-3
2 Tights, A-2
3 pairs of shorts, A-3
5 T-shirts, A-5
4 to 6 long sleeved shirts, A-1
2 pull over sweatshirts, A-4
2 button up sweatshirts or light jackets, A-3
1 Coat
Capes-2
Vest-1
2 long skirts, A-2
3-5 dresses, A-3
Hat, scarf, and mittens, A-1 set
3 Pajamas, A-3
Aubrey needs- 4 pairs of underwear, 3 pairs of socks, 2 long sleeved shirts, 1 coat, 1 dress

Monday, October 23, 2006

Home school

I completed an assignment in my last class. The description of the assignment was to write a rough draft of our final essay, we would not be graded, if it was turned in on time we would get the full five points if not we would get zero. I recieved the paper back and to my suprise was given three points, because "You need to do spell check (you misspelled home school)." This confused me as the assignment said we would not be graded. I emailed the instructor and asked him to explain why he had docked any points when the assignment clearly stated he wouldn't. He wrote back that it was, because of spelling.

I again wrote and said;
I was able to read the comments and I know you are referring to my spelling of the word homeschool, because in the current dictionaries it is spelled astwo words though you will find most of the homeschooling community spells itas one. It is occasionally spelled with a hyphen like this; home-school, but homeschool is the most predominant spelling. If you look it up with either spelling on Amazon you will see that almost all of the book titles relating to this topic are spelled as I have said.
My question, though, is why did you take off for spelling when the directions specifically say that a full five points will be awarded for submitting the rough draft. It further says nothing will be graded. The directions appear that partial credit is not an option, if you turn it in you get five if you don't turn it in you get zero. When asking for a rough draft somethings must be left rough or else it is really a final draft that you want.
I do not mean to be a nuisance, but if I may be so bold it appears that either the assignment was written wrong or you are grading more harshly then the assignment allows.

He replied with:
I do have to grade the assignment, despite what the site states. I am goingto change you grade to a 4, because I probably took off too much forspelling, in hindsight.

So, I am to take from this that the assignment descriptions are not always accurate and the instructors may freely follow them or not. We will be docked according to what is in the insturctors head and we will be told what it was after the due date is past and it is too late to change things. Furthermore, we are to rely on spellcheck to give us the correct spelling of things and not worry about what the correct spelling really is.

I could take that from the assignment or I could sit back and realize that I am falling into a trap. The trap of grades in lue of learning. I know all too well that an A does not make you smart, yet when I get in a graded situation the grade is what I strive for. Because I am not always interested in the material and do not feel it is completely relevant, it is even easier to fall into this. To get an A takes minimal effort usually, but to understand something takes a great deal more. For instance, two days after my third class started we were given the assignment to show from personal examples the difference of the central nervous system and the periphial nervous system. I did not have time to read the whole chapter and did not totally get it, so I just read what everyone else wrote (we post on a discussion forum) and thought of something similair from life to what it appeared they were talking about and wrote it down. I got an A, but I really don't get it.

I feel like I am playing a game and not getting an education, and I am thankful that my children don't have to deal with this yet.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Baptism

Kamron was baptized last month. He got sick and started throwing up the night before. We were supposed to go to the temple open house, for the second time, in the morning and then we were doing the baptism at my sisters building with her daughter and one other cousin. As we were driving to the temple Kamron threw up three times, each time we stopped to get him water and clean up. This made us late for meeting everyone else at the temple. He felt and looked so bad that we finally decided we would have to wait to do the baptism another day. We had to stop at the church, because I had some food and all of the paper goods which I knew they would need. When we got there we asked Kevin's Grandpa if he could give Kamron a blessing before we left. He did, then Kamron said he felt fine, so we decided to wait and see, but there was no reoccurance and he said his stomache was fine after that. When he started running around with his cousins we knew he really was okay. My sister and I both gave talks and it was the cutest thing to watch him take ine every word. I don't think I've ever seen him pay so much attention before. When he was baptized and confirmed you could just see his joy. After I talked to him and gave him his first set of scriptures and a case and told him how special he was. He told me he was so glad that I taught him all about God and the gospel and I was a very good mother. He was so sincere, I just wanted to cry. I love those little glimpses that show me with all my imperfections all my work is worth it.

University

I just started the second week of my second class at Ashford University. It is slightly different then I expected. I am so used to all of the homeschool elists with their helpful comments and polite debates and disagreements. The homeschooling mothers I find are well versed in picking apart books and analyzing them for strengths and weaknesses. I also find a great many connections and applications on the homeschool lists. I geuss I expected school to be somewhat like that.

In this last class we were required to read two textbooks, take weekly quizes, write an essay, turning in the outline and first draft, and post two original posts on certain topics each week and respong to at least four of our classmates. I began with an indepth discussion of one of the topics that was about a page long. The responses I got all amounted to "oh, I agree." The original posts by almost every classmate averaged about two sentences and usually said something like "in the book the authors said ... and I agree because that makes sense."

We were to read a book called Lifelaunch which was basically some guys philosphy of how life works and how we should take charge of our life etc. I disagreed with many things in the book. For one of our last posts we were supposed to respond to this book and how it helped us. I offered a critique of what I felt was wrong with the book and the few things that I did agree with. Noone responded until the last day when someone finally replied and said that the teacher knows more than us and chose this book and it is not our place to disagree with anything that is said. Now I don't know if that is common opinion among the other students, who all seemed to agree with everything that was written in the book, but it made me angry and sad. If that is the way people really think nowadays the schools have failed even worse than I could possibly have imagined. I just wanted to cry fo these people who could not seem to analyze, disagree or even think for themselves.

This second class I have just started offers me hope though. There are several older students in it and I find more analysis and more thorough discussion. But all in all I think it will be easier to get A's then it is to follow some the educational philosphy conversations on the Charlotte Mason lists. Any homeschool mom that has actively been homeschooling for four years at least diserves a BA. I know one mother who never finished high school, but she now knows latin is thorough in logic, can discuss Plato, the classics and compare and contrast it all while applying it to modern life. If you need a degree go to college, but it is certainly not neccessary if what you want is an education.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Large Family Response and Geographics

As a child in a family of nine children and various foster children it never occurred to me that we were odd. We lived in the country and in a ward were there were many, many families with six or more children. We went grocery shopping once a month, because we lived so far away and my mother would buy at least two grocery carts full of food. She was often asked if she ran a school or other such comments and she just delighted in telling the people that these were all of her children. I do not ever remember it effecting her negatively, but we were not in public very often all together.

When I got married and moved to town the largest family in our ward had five children and we were told we needed to wait to have children as we were too young-we moved out nine months later, one month before our first child was due. We have lived in various places since then and I think that the locality does have a lot to do with the reactions you get. My sister has four daughters under five and has never got a comment, but she lives in Utah. I live in a lower middle class area of California and I constantly get comments and looks, but I think most are along the lines of shock that I am doing something that others view as impossible. I think because of the break down of the family, ecspecially in many parts of California people just do not know how to put family first. All they know is their own wants and desires and have not been trained to rear children well or keep up with a home. For many of these people I can understand why they think this must be so hard or near impossible. And without training and sacrifice I think they are probably right. Some women would even like to have a large family, but do not know where to turn for the training.

Saying all of this I have found that when I am engaged with the children, laughing, talking or adoring them I get less comments or looks of irritation and more smiles of admiration. I get a lot of "you have your hands full." When my reply is simply yes with a smile at my children I have often gotten comments like, "but you seem to be so good at it," or "it must be fun to have a large family."

I do so feel sorry for those who do not understand the joy of it. My children told me last night that they wanted at least three more brothers and four sisters. I know that they love having so many siblings and they are thrilled and proud that I am pregnant now. They play so well and have such sweet comments for me. My 8 yo son told me the other day that he thought I had survived a childhood accident so that I could grow up and have him and his brothers and sister and teach them the gospel and he was so happy I had taught it to him and knew that we were supposed to have families and care more about families then money. He gets it and I would venture to say he is a lot happier than most single children simply because of so many siblings and parents who put the family first. Others miss this point and while they may have more vacations and days off, they won't have much of what we do have.
As the world leaves the family and selflessness for selfishness, the comments and looks will probably increase. We must just smile and focus on our families and not them.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Emotional Stories

I was reading from Charles Kingsleys Heroes to Kamron today. This is a book about early myths. Brennen was sitting next to us trying very hard to make bionicle pieces do what he wanted. I got to the part of the story where the father puts his daughter and her newborn baby in a chest and throws it out in the ocean (this apparently happens a lot in early stories). Suddenly Brennen burst into tears, "No he doesn't! The baby doesn't die!" Oh, how I had to hug him and assure him that the mother was there and would take the baby to land and they would be okay. He was fine then, but I was just amazed that he had actually caught anything from the book. I have been feeling guilty that I don't read as many picture books to the younger two as I did the older two, but apparently he is getting something out of the literature we read. I just need to try to make sure he hears fun and happy thoughts next time.

Handwork Handout

Handwork

How
The project chosen for your child should be something that he is capable of, but will stretch him. It should be something that takes several sessions to complete. We need to also emphasize the habit of best effort. It should be a real and useful project, not something that will be thrown away in a week, the children should not be emplyed in futilities such as Popsicle stick picture frames, or pipe cleaner butterflies. When we learn both mental and physical skills, it makes us more whole as people.

Why
To instill a respect for hard work, and appreciation of beauty and work that has gone into a project.
To develop the habit of attention and exactness, order.
To develop the sense of touch.
Self-confidence and humility, not the bogus inflated self-esteem but the confidence that with patience and practice they are capable of learning a new skill.
Perseverance
Provides a mental break from the labor involved in the other studies
Fine motor skills
Develops the sense of creative
Gives the children real skills that will be good for later life, can develop into greater self-reliance, independence and even job skills.
Provides something useful for the children to do while they are listening to you read aloud. Allows them to have skills to make other family members presents

What
Sewing puppets, stuffed animals, teaching different stitches on cards, latch hooking, braiding, weaving, origami, cooking, gardening, beading bracelets, polymer clay, woodworking, making quilts and pillows on a sewing machine for toys, cutwork with scissors-paperdolls, plastic canvas, knots, paper making, Mosaics, stamping, spool knitting, knitting, carving soap or wood, clay sculpting, appliqué, wire sculpting, mending, sewing on buttons, tin punch work, floral arranging, pressing flowers to frame, bread dough roses, origami dipped in melted wax to make tree ornaments, make miniature or dollhouse furniture (bonus points if they are historically accurate), doll making-sock doll, making doll clothes, napkin folding, making handkerchief dolls, making centerpieces, yard sculptures, greeting cards, stationary, electricity kit, PVC pipe plumbing, woodburning, leathercrafting, macramé, making simple candles, paper embossing, photography, scrapbooking, hairstyles, digging and planting, painting walls and fences and other items, clip making, sewing scrunchies, picture framing, spinning fibers, decopauge, painting ceramics

I Want to Grow Bigger

My two year old son Brennen is adorable. Okay, I admit I'm biased, but he is. He is in this phase lately that he just wants to be bigger. He wants to be as big as Kamron and Aubrey and do the things they do. They just finished swimming lessons and he went with me every day to watch them. He has been scared of the water for a long time, but when he saw all of the games they played he wanted so bad to go in too. I told him he had to wait until next year when he was bigger and he could do swimming lessons too. He stood on his tippy toes and said I am bigger now. He has been insisting that he is four for awhile now and gets pretty mad when people say he is only two. The other day he came in and said, "After I get bibbity-bobbity-boo then I will be bigger." Pretty soon, my dear little boy, all too soon.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Do You Really Want the Teacher's Unions Deciding What to Teach Your Kids

At a recent convention the teacher's union decided to adopt a few new policies. Below are some exeprts from an article you can find here http://www.eagleforum.org/cgi_bin/print/MasterPFP.cgi?doc=http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2006/july06/06-07-26.html&bottom=http://www.eagleforum.org/column/2006/july06/06-07-26.html, with my sacastic comments interspersed=).

"The Association also believes that these factors should not affect the legal rights and obligations of the partners in a legally recognized domestic partnership, civil union, or marriage in regard to matters involving the other partner, such as medical decisions, taxes, inheritance, adoption, and immigration." "Factors" refers to "race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, disability, ethnicity, immigration status, occupation, and religion."
Other NEA resolutions promote the gay rights agenda in public school curricula by demanding funds to alleviate "sexual orientation discrimination," to use multicultural education to reduce "homophobia," and even to put "diversity-based curricula" and "bias-free screening devices in early childhood education." Another resolution demands that schools hire "a diverse teaching staff." -Nice, we even get to be taxed so others can teach our children the ends and outs of accepting these wonderfully diverse lifestyles.

"The NEA passed resolutions against voucher plans, tuition tax credits, parental option or choice plans, sectarian schools, for-profit schools, distance learning, and homeschooling." Sounds like they really care about what is best for the kids, huh? Oh and they are demanding that homeschoolers not be allowed to participate in public school classes or events. The love and concern for the children is just oozing now.

"The NEA also supports "community-operated, school-based family planning clinics that will provide intensive counseling," which is a thinly veiled welcome to Planned Parenthood to put its clinics in the schools. " If anyone ever mentions Planned Parenthood, know that they are not on the side of families, their main thrust is to kill all babies who can be looked at in anyway as limiting the "parents." As they proudly state on their site "We are America's Future Abortionists!"

"The NEA is determined to get control of children at the earliest possible age. One resolution calls for public school programs for children "from birth through age eight," another calls for pre-kindergarten for "all three- and four-year-old children," and still another demands "mandatory kindergarten with compulsory attendance." " Gee isn't that nice they want to provide free daycare and indoctrinate the children even earlier-how kind they are.

"Claiming that every child has the right to "freely available information and knowledge about sexuality," the NEA demands the right to teach children about diversity of sexual orientation and gender identification, incest, and homophobia. " Sexual perversion? It's great! The TV doesn't do enough let's explicitly teach it in the classroom too.

"After reading the NEA resolutions and policies, parents should reflect on last year's decision of the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fields v. Palmdale School District. The court ruled that parents' fundamental right to control the upbringing of their children "does not extend beyond the threshold of the school door," and that a public school has the right to provide its students with "whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise." " --If your children are in public schools and being educated by such people, this stuff should seriously scare you if you have any desire in you to raise moral children. Yes, I will now make a fanatical statement--Do not let your children be educated by such people. The Teacher's Unions in most areas are not concerned about families or children, but about passing on their ideas to the future. And to put it bluntly, their ideas are usually evil.

We Started School

We started school this last Monday we are doing one weeks worth in two weeks to ease back into all of the subjects. I am already seeing many places I am going to have to adjust. I think I may need to move the starting time back until 9 so that I can get a few more things done in the morning. The younger two children always seem to need me more then too. I found I have one wrong history book and I am going to need to put more prep time into teaching math. I do find toddlers the hardest to school with, so I need to start seeking out tips for help in that direction. Here we go.

Baptism Interview for Kamron

Kamron had his baptism interview last night. Kevin was working overtime, so I took all of the kids with me. There was a funeral going on and noone was in the Bishop's office. I knew the Bishop was probably at the funeral so I sat the children on the bench to wait. That didn't last long. I put Kamron in charge of following Logan around and at one point Brennen disappeared for about five minutes which always makes me do that slight panic thing. Soon the secretary came and the children and I talked to him for awhile, but as I ran after one of the children for the umpteenth time, I certainly felt like I had not done a good job at teaching my children to sit still or even stay within a designated area. Finally the Bishop came and took Kamron in to talk to him. Brennen followed the secretary who my children all think is a treat to play with. So I held Logan and Aubrey and I had a chance to talk to another couple who were waiting their turn. When Kamron came out he saw the brother we were talking to and called him by name and said, "I remember you. You used to be my teacher for awhile." The brother replied, "Of course you remember me you are about the smartest kid I've ever taught in primary." That made me smile and then I was asked to come in to the Bishop. When I walked in I saw he had tears in his eyes and down his cheeks. He said, "Thank you so much. He is completely prepared. Thank you for teaching him." My eyes moistened and I thanked him as I shook his hand. I know Kamron has a testimony and has a special purpose on this earth. When I look at him I know that I am looking at someone who will be a partner to God in all the work He asks of him. I am grateful that he is my oldest son and I get to be his mother. Oh, he is not perfect-he argues, and does not always obey immediately-but he has a desire to do what is right and to go Home, and he is a very big help to me. I appreciate the kind comments about him, because it reaffirms to me the importance of what I am doing. I already feel I am doing right by creating a gospel centered home, education and life, but it is nice to sit back and look at the fruits sometimes-even if my kids do run in the church occasionally.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Bye-Bye Realtor, Hello School

I have been working as a Realtor from home for the last 2 and 1/2 years. It has worked well, because I have been able to do a lot of helping for sale by owners. Which only requires me leaving the house twice and the rest is done by fax and phone. This has helped to provide some needed money in the past, but as the real estate market has deadened owners are having an extremely difficult time selling their houses which means I do not make anything. But I still have to pay my many fees each month. So I, like many other Realtors in a slow market, have been thinking about what I should do. I can not put more time and money into it, because I really can't go full time which is what is needed to be successful. I also just don't have the heart for it at this time because regular real estate does not mesh as well with being a homemaker, homeschooling mother and wife, helping FSBO's did, but unfortunately there has been no income from that lately.

So after much thought, prayer and study I have decided to go back to school to get my BA and then my teaching credential with the goal of being an ES in a charter school and helping others homeschool. I already spend a lot of time teaching others how to homeschool and I imagine I will do so for the next 25 years at least. As an ES I can set my schedule somewhat around my family, I can work part time, even to the point of just being the ES to my own children and I can hopefully have a bigger say in the direction of the Charter school we are involved with. Of course it will also supplement my husbands income while providing some benifits and retirement. This has been a hard decision for me mostly as I have wondered if this would be okay with God.

As I was contemplating this I read Mothers of the Prophets and learned that many of the mothers and wives of the prophets worked in fields that were compatible to their primary responsibilities. Some of them worked out of economic need and others simply to bless the lives of those around them. I read many quotes of the prophets about education and finances and the mothers need to stay focussed on the family, not because she couldn't do as well in a working environment, but because she is truly and deeply needed there. I read the scriptures of Proverbs 31, you know the one about Solomon's ideal woman. She is industrious, does earn income but she is still the guard of her home and her focus remains there even through all else she does. I reread my patriarchal blessing ecspecially the lines about my education and training which I had always wondered about. I compiled all of these verses and quotes and then I prayed. I felt immediately like this was right, and I would be able to find a way to keep my family and home as my priority while also pursuing this field of study. It was wonderful how clear the revelation was. I prayed about one school that was very cheap and felt very quickly like that it was not right, later I learned that it did not have the accredidation that I will need. I researched 14 online schools and kept going back to Ashford University. I prayed about that one and felt like it would be a very good choice. That was last week. I start the BA program in Psychology next tuesday. After a six year absence I will be returning to school. And I am looking forward to it.

As it is all online, I am actually thinking it will not be that hard to keep up with. I will work on it during quiet time and Kevin has said he will do the dishes and bathe and get the children ready for bed when I need to study in the evenings-that should give me more than enough time. I am just glad almost all of my school planning is already done for the year and my pre-fall cleaning and purging are half way done as well. I need to go work on my kitchen though. So I will say farewell for now.

Good-bye Scripts, and Personal Revelation

This topic was recently brought up again among some of the sisters and I find it exciting in a way. For those who have been watching you may have noticed a shift of responsibility somewhat in many of our functions. The detailed yearly family home evening manuals were dispensed with many years ago, and the current Family Home Evening Resource Manual hasn't been updated for a long time. The wards have been given back the charge of maintaining their own buildings. Enrichment nights have been changed and become much fewer, while individual members have been asked to use their talents to bless the sisters with classes and training specific to their wards. The missionary program has been changed from memorized discussions to spirit lead discussions. In all of these things the responsibilities are shifting more to the individual. It is as if the Brethren were slowly training us to be spiritual leaders in our families, wards and neighborhoods.

As I have been thinking about this, I have been thinking about how I can be better prepared. The foundation of it is having a personal testimony, knowing what has been asked of us to do and then being willing to do what He needs done to accomplish His purposes. Deep scripture study, along with thorough study of the words of our modern day leaders is where I start. I love to do this. I love taking a topic that applies to my life and searching for all the words of the brethren I can about it. I also like to pray, and receive the revelation that follows-though I admit I need to concentrate a lot more at prayer time. I have been contemplating staring a prayer journal, recorded all the things I would like to pray about, and then recording the ways that God answers those prayers. I did this inconsistantly for a couple of months last year and it was a real testimony builder to see how many prayers God had answered and the wonderful ways they came about.

I hope that I also will be willing to give my all when I am prompted to do so by the spirit. I think I can say that I try to do the things I am specifically asked to do, but I think there is something more that we need to do. We need to step forth to be of service when prompted by the Holy Ghost and without being specifically asked. This is harder. I am reading Fire of the Covenant and thinking about the commitment of these people. Many of them gave up everything to come to Zion, favorite treasures, money, warmth, comfort and even the lives of loved ones. They were encouraged along the way, but few were directly told when to go, they had to pray and receive their own direction from the spirit about what they should do. But when they had made the decision most were unflinching. Am I as prepared to give up everything to help God's plan progress? Am I willing to give up my privacy and risk rejection to tell my neighbors about the gospel? Am I willing to tell others that I am LDS when I am asked to described myself? Am I willing to walk out in public visible pregnant with four children in tow, what about five or six or seven? Am I willing to be that testimony, a visible commitment to those around me? Can I give up my right for me time to create family time and use it as His time? Am I willing to watch another sisters children even after a hard day fulfilling my commitments? Am I willing to grow, to become the woman He would have me be? I hope I am, I hope that when I die I can say I have lived by the spirit and I have truly followed His path.

Their are many women joining the church who did not grow up in it and many of the false beliefs of the world are carried with them. The idea of family planning, that teenage rebellion is to be expected, that we should be mass consumers, that we need a lot of time away from our children, that our spouses are not that important. A lot of active members believe these things. But from what I can tell none of them are part of God's plan. Not even family planning in the world's way which seems to be so openly embraced nowadays. If you would like to see an evil organization, go and visit the Planned Parenthood site and ecspecially read their mothers day post if it is still there, I guarantee the spirit will not stay with you for long while you search that site, except maybe to warn you of the evil of these things. The people who participate in this idea of controlling when and how many of God's children they will let in their families can hardly be condemned by any of us though, ecspecially those who are new to the church. The idea is so prevelant in the world that few think twice about it and those that have never been taught the words of the prophets on this matter can hardly be at fault. But I think and feel that more people ought to be gently taught the truth of this matter. Spiritually led mentors and examples are needed to help others know that gospel truths are often not found in the common practises of the world, but can be found through study and prayer and personal revelation.

So as the policies changed to train us in more individual and local revelation, I think the need for in depth study and prayer is only growing. We need constant help from above, because frankly we are different from the world and we ought to feel it, no matter how hard that is. Okay, the Utah people may not feel it as much as those of us plunked down in the other parts of the world. And I'm sure many feel it even more than I do, but I do feel it. But as long as I can still study and God continues to answer me when I pray I will embrace it and smile at those who look at me like I am nuts. After all many of the people that watched the pioneers cross the plains thought they were nuts too. God will be with us as we say good-bye to the comfort of the scripts and hello to a more intense relationship with him that includes a very good dose of personal revelation. He has a hand in this work people, can't you feel it?

Monday, July 31, 2006

An Article Well Worth The Most Thorough Study You Can Give

"Elder Ezra Taft Benson," in Conference Report, October 1970, 21-25. Elder Ezra Taft Benson Of the Council of the Twelve
As a people, we have three great loyalties: loyalty to God, loyalty tofamily, loyalty to country.I come to you today with a plea to strengthen our families.The family unit It has been truly stated that "salvation is a family affair ... and that the family unit is the most important organization in time or in eternity."
The Church was created in large measure to help the family, and long afterthe church has performed its mission, the celestial patriarchal order willstill be functioning. This is why President Joseph F. Smith said: "To be asuccessful father or a successful mother is greater than to be a successfulgeneral or a successful statesman ..., " and President McKay added: "Whenone puts business or pleasure above his home, he, that moment, starts on thedowngrade to soul weakness."And this is why President Harold B. Lee said only yesterday, "The Churchmust do more to help the home carry out its divine mission."Temptations and pitfallsPresident Joseph Fielding Smith has stated that never "in the history of theChurch have there been so many temptations, so many pitfalls, so manydangers, to lure away the members of the Church from the path of duty andfrom righteousness as we find today." (Take Heed to Yourselves, p. 127.) Andhe has also said: "This world is not growing better ... wickedness isincreasing." (Ibid., p. 207.)
Never has the devil been so well organized, and never in our day has he hadso many powerful emissaries working for him. We must do everything in ourpower to strengthen and safeguard the home and family.The adversary knows "that the home is the first and most effective place forchildren to learn the lessons of life: truth, honor, virtue, self-control;the value of education, honest work, and the purpose and privilege of life.Nothing can take the place of home in rearing and teaching children, and noother success can compensate for failure in the home." (President David O.McKay, in Family Home Evening Manual, 1968-69, p. iii.)Undermining the homeAnd so today, the undermining of the home and family is on the increase,with the devil anxiously working to displace the father as the head of the home and create rebellion among the children. The Book of Mormon describesthis condition when it states, "And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them." And then these words follow-and consider these words seriously when you think of those political leaders who are promoting birth control and abortion: "O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths." (2 Ne. 13:12.)
And let me warn the sisters in all seriousness that you who submit yourselves to an abortion or to an operation that precludes you from safely having additional healthy children are jeopardizing your exaltation and your future membership in the kingdom of God.
Responsibility of parents
Parents are directly responsible for the righteous rearing of theirchildren, and this responsibility cannot be safely delegated to relatives,friends, neighbors, the school, the church, or the state."I appeal to you parents, take nothing for granted about your children,"said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. "The great bulk of them, of course, are good, but some of us do not know when they begin to go away from the path oftruth and righteousness. Be watchful every day and hour. Never relax yourcare, your solicitude. Rule kindly in the spirit of the Gospel and thespirit of the priesthood, but rule, if you wish your children to follow theright path." Permissive parents are part of the problem.
False educational ideas
As a watchman on the tower, I feel to warn you that one of the chief meansof misleading our youth and destroying the family unit is our educationalinstitutions. President Joseph F. Smith referred to false educational ideasas one of the three threatening dangers among our Church members. There ismore than one reason why the Church is advising our youth to attend collegesclose to their homes where institutes of religion are available. It givesthe parents the opportunity to stay close to their children; and if theyhave become alert and informed as President McKay admonished us last year,these parents can help expose some of the deceptions of men like SigmundFreud, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Karl Marx, John Keynes, and others.Today there are much worse things that can happen to a child than notgetting a full college education. In fact, some of the worst things havehappened to our children while attending colleges led by administrators whowink at subversion and amorality.Said Karl G. Maeser, "I would rather have my child exposed to smallpox,typhus fever, cholera, or other malignant and deadly diseases than to thedegrading influence of a corrupt teacher. It is infinitely better to takechances with an ignorant, but pure-minded teacher than with the greatestphilosopher who is impure."Vocational education, correspondence courses, establishment in a familybusiness are being considered for their children by an increasing number ofparents.Propagation of atheism
The tenth plank in Karl Marx's Manifesto for destroying our kind ofcivilization advocated the establishment of "free education for all childrenin public schools." There were several reasons why Marx wanted government torun the schools. Dr. A. A. Hodge pointed out one of them when he said, "Itis capable of exact demonstration that if every party in the State has theright of excluding from public schools whatever he does not believe to betrue, then he that believes most must give way to him that believes least,and then he that believes least must give way to him that believesabsolutely nothing, no matter in how small a minority the atheists oragnostics may be. It is self-evident that on this scheme, if it isconsistently and persistently carried out in all parts of the country, theUnited States system of national popular education will be the mostefficient and widespread instrument for the propagation of atheism which theworld has ever seen.After the tragic prayer decision was made by the Court, President David O.McKay stated, "The Supreme Court of the United States severs the connectingcord between the public schools of the United States and the source ofdivine intelligence, the Creator, himself." (Relief Society Magazine,December 1962, p. 878.)Does that make any difference to you? Can't you see why the demand ofconscientious parents is increasing the number of private Christian andAmericanist oriented schools?
Today, Brigham Young University is the largest private school in the UnitedStates. Parents from far and near are looking to Brigham Young University asnever before.Supervision by parents. Now, whether your child attends this type of school or not, it is importantthat you stay close to your children, daily review, if possible, what theyhave learned in school, and go over their textbooks.President Joseph Fielding Smith has stated that in public schools you cannotget a textbook, anywhere that he knows of, on the "ologies" that doesn'tcontain nonsense. (Take Heed to Yourselves, p. 32.)I know one noble father who reviews with his children regularly what theyhave been taught; and if they have been taught any falsehoods, then thechildren and the father together research out the truth. If your children are required to put down on exams the falsehoods that have been taught, then perhaps they can follow President Joseph Fielding Smith's counsel ofprefacing their answer with the words "teacher says," or they might say "youtaught" or "the textbook states."If your children are taught untruths on evolution in the public schools oreven in our Church schools, provide them with a copy of President JosephFielding Smith's excellent rebuttal in his book Man, His Origin and Destiny.
Open letter to school principalRecently some parents paid for space in a newspaper to run an open letter tothe school principal of their son. The letter in part stated:"You are hereby notified that our son, _________ is not allowed by hisundersigned parents to participate in, or be subject to instruction in, anytraining or education in sex, human biological development, attitudedevelopment, self-understanding, personal and family life, or group therapy,or sensitivity training, or self-criticism, or any combination or degreethereof, without the consent of the undersigned by express writtenpermission. ..."We intend to retain and exercise our parental rights to guide our child inthe areas of morality and sexual behavior without any interference orcontradiction imposed by school personnel."[Our son] has been taught to recognize the format of sensitivity training,group therapy, self-criticism, etc., as it is being broadly applied,lowering the standards of morality and replacing American individualresponsibility with the dependency on, and conformity to, the `herdconsensus' concept of collectivism."He has been instructed to promptly remove himself from any class in whichhe is exposed to the aforementioned indoctrination and to report to us anysuch disregard of this letter."
Home evening program
The Lord knew that in the last days Satan would try to destroy the familyunit. He knew that by court edict, pornography would be allowed to prosper.How grateful we should be that God inspired his prophet over half a centuryago to institute the weekly home evening program. This is the vanguard forgetting parents to assume the responsibility of instructing their children.An increasing number of faithful Saints are holding more than one homeevening a week and are adding to or deleting from the home evening manual asthe Spirit dictates.Designed to strengthen and safeguard the family, the Church home eveningprogram (one night each week) is to be set apart for fathers and mothers togather their sons and daughters around them in the home. Prayer is offered,hymns and other songs are sung, scripture is read, family topics arediscussed, talent is displayed, principles of the gospel are taught, andoften games are played and homemade refreshments served.Now here are the promised blessings for those who will hold a weekly homeevening:"If the Saints obey this counsel, we promise that great blessings willresult. Love at home and obedience to parents will increase. Faith will bedeveloped in the hearts of the youth of Israel, and they will gain power tocombat the evil influences and temptations which beset them." (FirstPresidency, April 27, 1915, Improvement Era, vol. 18, p. 734.)
Demoralizing entertainment
Now what of the entertainment that is available to our young people today?Are you being undermined right in your home through your TV, radio, slickmagazines, rock records? Much of the rock music is purposely designed topush immorality, narcotics, revolution, atheism, and nihilism, throughlanguage that often has a double meaning and with which many parents are notfamiliar.Parents who are informed can warn their children of the demoralizing, loud,raucous beat of rock music, which deadens the senses and dulls thesensibilities-the jungle rhythm which inflames the savagery within.Said President J. Reuben Clark, Jr.:"I would have you reflect for a moment upon the fact that a tremendousamount of the modern art, of the modern literature and music, and the dramathat we have today is utterly demoralizing-utterly. ... Your music-well, I do not know how far above the tom-tom of the jungle it is, but it is not toofar."These things you must watch. They all have their effects on the children.Make your home-life as near heavenlike as you can." (Relief SocietyMagazine, December 1952, p. 798.)
Holding aloft of standards
Youth leaders, are you holding aloft our standards or have you compromisedthem for the lowest common denominator in order to appease the deceived orvile within the Church? Are the dances and music in your cultural hallsvirtuous, lovely, praiseworthy, and of good report, or do they represent amodern Sodom with short skirts, loud beat, strobe lights, and darkness?Will our youth leaders accept the standards set for young John Wesley by hismother? Hear her sound counsel:"Would you judge of the lawfulness or unlawfulness of pleasure? Take thisrule: Now note whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of yourconscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritualthings, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, thatthing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself."Have we, as Moroni warned, "polluted the holy church of God?" (Morm. 8:38.)The auxiliaries of the Church are to be a help, not a hindrance, to parentsand the priesthood as they strive to lead their families back to God. Do anyof us wear or display the broken cross, anti-Christ sign, that is theadversary's symbol of the so-called "peace movement"?
Lack of knowledge"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge," lamented Hosea. (Hos. 4:6.)Today, because some parents have refused to become informed and then standup and inform their children, they are witnessing the gradual physical andspiritual destruction of their posterity. If we would become like God,knowing good and evil, then we had best find out what is undermining us, how to avoid it, and what we can do about it.It is time that the hearts of us fathers be turned to our children and thehearts of the children be turned to us fathers, or we shall both be cursed.The seeds of divorce are often sown and the blessings of children delayed by wives working outside the home. Working mothers should remember that their children usually need more of mother than of money.
Family solidarity
As conditions in the world get progressively worse, it is crucial that thefamily draw closer together in righteousness and that family solidarity beestablished. As one has said, "There are too many pulls away from the hometoday. We should seriously consider whether or not too many activities andother interests take too much time and attention from our families, from ourchildren, from those whom the Lord God gave us to love, to nourish, toteach, and to help through life."The stick-together families are happier by farThan the brothers and the sisters who take separate highways are.The gladdest people living are the wholesome folks who makeA circle at the fireside that no power on earth can break.And the finest of conventions ever held beneath the sunAre the little family gatherings when the busy day is done.There are rich folk, there are poor folk, who imagine they are wise.And they're very quick to shatter all the little family ties.Each goes searching after pleasure in his own selected way.Each with strangers likes to wander and with strangers likes to play.But it's bitterness they harvest, and it's empty joy they find,For the children that are wisest are the stick-together kind.There are some who seem to fancy that for gladness they must roam,That for smiles that are the brightest they must wander far from home.That the strange friend is the true friend, and they travel far astrayAnd they waste their lives in striving for a joy that's far away,But the gladdest sort of people, when the busy day is done,Are the brothers and the sisters, who together share their fun. [page 51]It's the stick-together family that wins the joys of earth,That hears the sweetest music and that finds the finest mirth;It's the old home roof that shelters all the charm that life can give;There you find the gladdest playground, there the happiest spot to live.And, O weary, wandering brother, if contentment you would win,Come you back unto the fireside and be comrade with your kin.(Adapted from a poem by Edgar A. Guest.)
Strengthening the family
And so let's strengthen the family. Family and individual prayer, morningand evening, can invite the blessings of the Lord on your household.Mealtime provides a wonderful time to review the activities of the day andto not only feed the body, but to feed the spirit as well with members ofthe family taking turns reading the scriptures, particularly, the Book ofMormon. Nighttime is a great time for the busy father to go to each child'sbedside, to talk with him, answer his questions and tell him how much he is loved. In such homes there is no "generation gap." This deceptive phrase is another tool of the devil to weaken the home and family. Children who honor their parents and parents who love their children can make a home a haven ofsafety and a little bit of heaven.Does this poem describe your family gatherings?We are all here:Father, mother,Sister, brother,All who hold each other dear.Each chair is filled, we are all at home.Tonight, let no cold stranger come;It must be often thus aroundOur old familiar hearth we're found.Bless, then, the meeting and the spot,For once be every care forgot;Let gentle peace assert her power,And kind affection rule the hour.We're all-all here.(Adapted from a poem by Charles Sprague.)God bless us to strengthen our families by avoiding the crafty designs ofthe adversary and following the noble ways of the Lord, so that in due timewe can report to our Heavenly Father in his celestial home that we are allthere, father, mother, sister, brother, all who hold each other dear. Each chair is filled, we are all back home.In the name, of Jesus Christ. Amen.
C 2004 Deseret Book. Printed from GospeLink.com

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Math Manipulatives

Like most homeschooling families who have been at this awhile, we have a collection of math manipualtives. We have teddy bear counters, cuisenaire rods, geo boards, clocks, a balance, tangrams and pattern blocks. I have always allowed the younger children to play with the manipulatives. They like to make patterns, sort, stack, build and tell stories with them. They are all over the house a lot of times. I intend to tackle my school cupboard this week and hopeful at least partially control that.

We have recently had a revival of interest by all of the children in the pattern blocks, which are plastic shapes that can be used to make designs. Brennen has taken the rombuses for his babies and has started carrying them around. They sometimes become cars and race around the furniture and room. The other day we were going to run some errands and as he was climbing in the car and I was trying to hurry him into his seat so that I could buckle him he began screaming, "I need to see Daniel! Where is Daniel? Is he all right? I need to check on him." I knew that it would be easier if I stopped rushing him and let him do what he felt was urgent. As we don't know anyone named Daniel I asked him who and where Daniel was. Brennen just ignored me and went to the ashtray on the door and opened it. He pulled out a rombus, began to stroke it and said, "Hi, Daniel, are you okay? Okay." Then he put it back in and climbed into his seat completely satisfied.

Oh the versatility of math manipulatives.

My Order

Money is allotted t0 the families at either the beginning of the year of at the beginning of each semester, depending on the charter school. The parent chooses what they will purchase and from where and submits the order to their ES, who turns it in, it is tagged when it comes in and then given to the families. Somethings are marked consumable, such as workbooks, art supplies, manipulatives, games and anything with many parts that could easily be lost. The rest of the items, which are mostly books, teacher resources, videos, CD's and audios are marked as nonconsumable and must be returned when the family leaves the school or whenever they are done with them.

I order some of the items on my own, ecspecially Christian things as these can't be purchased with school funds. I already have much of what I need for this year, so the list below is only part of what we will be using this year, but I thought I would share it to show the types of things that may be ordered. In addition to these things Aubrey will be taking drama, and Kamron violin with the school funds.

> Rainbow Resource> Blue Math Book 001186 $5> Flower Press 018080 $5.50> Understanding Time and Money, 024975 $11> Hermits Haven 026722 $21.95> Story of The World 3 031188 $43.50,> Good Queen Bess 026688 $13.25> Squanto 018371 $3.25> Linguafun 025460 $10.50> Rummy Roots 007729 $11.95> Latin’s Not So Tough 000736 $12.95,> Answer Key 000732 $3,> Flashcards 003265 $4,> CD 012662 $8> Wagner 002975 $3.50> Mozart’s Magnificent Voyage 005405 $6.95,> Mozarts Magic Flute 014096 $6.95,> Song of the Unicorn 005411 $6.95> LogicLinks 024188, $10.50> quoridor 000703,$25.50> Chanticleer and the Fox, 011784 $4.25> American Tall Tales Audio 026517, $7.50> Tell Me a Story, 010817 $7.50> Hank the Cowdog#1 020218, $3.95,> Children’s Spanish 034847, $48.50> Story of the World 1 025449, $39> Alice in Wonderland 013906 $14.95> Winnie the Pooh 014340 $24At the Back of the North Woods 034244 $13.95> Apples to Apples Junior 008837, $12.75> Dinosaur Mazes 020358. $6.50> Child Sized Masterpieces Level 3 003980, $11.95> Color your own art Masterpieces 023515, $6.75> Natureprint Paper 008774 $8.25> My First Sewing Book 020199 $12.25> Choo Choo Puzzle 012501 $6.95> Betsy-Tacy 026610 $4.75> $519.15

These from Recorded Books
1 - Caddie Woodlawn
Written By: Carol Ryrie Brink No one would accuse eleven-year-old Caddie Woodlawn of being dainty and ladylike. In spite of her mother’s best efforts, Caddie is as wild as the wind...
Unabridged Cassette (94215 - 5 Cassettes)
$49.75
1 - King of the Wind
Written By: Marguerite Henry Generations of young readers continue to fall in love with Marguerite Henry’s “horse stories.” In one of her most famous, King of the Wind, the author...
Unabridged Cassette $29.75(93445 - 3 Cassettes)
1- Heidi
Written By: Johanna Spyri Orphaned at an early age, the young girl Heidi finds a home high in the Swiss Alps with her reclusive grandfather. There, each glorious day is filled ...
Unabridged Cassette (94710 - 8 Cassettes) $49.95

Horizon Charter School again

So Horizon wrote everyone this week and has reinstated the Rainbow Resource catalog. I don't know if my letters had anything to do with it, but they may have had a small part as I know the main one has been through three departments over there. I am happy with their decision, and my husband and I have discussed it and have decided to leave the children in Horizon. I do really like the classes that are offered to the children, and the resource center is wonderful. I also like my ES. Perhaps also if I stay and continue to be very vocal I can help keep the school on the parent choice track. This must be the feeling that many of the public school parents have when they are doing what they can to improve the schools.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Sample Monday Schedule

Monday
7:30
Friend at breakfast
Clean up and morning chores
8:30
School prayer, singing time, recite poem and scripture, read a poem
Music study
9:15
Spanish
Copywork
9:45
Math
10:15
Snack and picture books for younger children
10:30
Geography
Phonics
11:15
Phonics little books
11:30
Literature
12:00
Lunch and clean up
12:45
Piano
1:00
Quiet time
7:30
Scriptures and picture books before bed

Sample Weekly Assignments

Here is a Sample weekly set of assignments for my suggested first grade for the first week.

Week 1

Copy 1 letter each day perfectly 6 times lowercase, then do the letters already learned this week 1 time. Do a,b,c,d this week
Work in Phonics Pathways for 15 minutes 4 days a week
Read 4 Little Books until the can be read perfectly
The Bible or Book of MormonListen to Introduction and Chapter 1 in Story of the World, have the child narrate Fifty Famous Stories Retold: "The Sword of Damocles" (Greek)Parables from Nature: "A Lesson of Faith"Aesop's Fables: "The Wolf and the Kid" (pg. 7 in the version illustrated by Milo Winter) and "Tortoise and the Ducks" (pg. 8 in the version illustrated by Milo Winter)Just So Stories: "Whale"A Child's Garden of Verses: a poem every dayPaddle to the Sea: chapters 1 and 2 On map Label and color Lake Nipigon, draw a tiny log cabin on the east side, draw the mountains around the lake. Label and color Canada
Do Math each day
Go on a nature walk and bring home something to draw into your nature journal
Draw in nature journal
Read 4 chapters from Peter Pan
Begin to learn hymn, sing songs the children know
Recite poem and scripture you are learning
Jumpstart Spanish or Spanish video for 15 minutes each day
Daily piano practice. I suggest about 7 minutes of focused time and the rest just playing around on the piano, creating songs and such.
Close your eyes and listen to Piano Concerto 20 by Mozart or get up and dance to it
Begin sewing a swamp creature puppet
Play a critical thinking game
Do 2 pages from either Lollipop Logic or Dr. DoRiddle
Have child look at a painting until they think they know it and then hide the painting and ask them to describe it, keep asking for more details until the child can give no more and then show them the painting and see how much the got, you can look at schoolofabraham.com/olsen.htm if you want to extend this study
Read from the Friend
Do something physically active each day
Watch 1 episode from Calvert Melody Lane

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Truthfulness and Exaggerations

I was talking to Kamron last night as I was putting him to bed and he asked me if there were any more miracles today. We had a good discussion and I told him of a few I knew of and then I told him that sometimes miracles are not so obvious. I told him about when my older brother was 19, after he had received his mission call, he and the bishop's son where out riding motorcycles and my brother got shot. The bullet had gone in and bounced back out off a rib and I think it was a type of miracle. I told Kamron that if ever his uncle was swimming he could look at his back and see the scar of two holes. Kamron replied, "Oh, I don't need to see it I know you are telling me the truth. You never lie to me, so I know I can believe everything you say. " Then after a minute he replied, "Mom, how can I be like that, where other people can always believe me?" We discussed the importance of never lying.

The reason this conversation hit me was because I did used to lie occasionally and I used to exaggerate quite a bit. In my family growing up exaggerations were part of our speech. I never thought anything about it really. When I said a million, people knew it wasn't really a million, it was just a lot. Then I got married and Kevin's family had different unspoken rules. I remember once telling my sister-in-law that there was a thousand somethings and her eyes got big and she said, "Wow, a thousand." She had taken me literally. I had to quickly correct myself and say, okay not really a thousand, but a lot. But I couldn't tell her how many. I had no idea really and I began to suspect that I was really bad at visually calculating amounts as I had never done it, I had always just made up a number without concern to accuracy.

Later when I read in volume one of Charlotte Mason's Homeschooling series http://mywebpages.comcast.net/leslienoelani/1_2_01to08.html where she discusses the mother taking the children out doors for the day. After awhile the children begin to get bored and the mother gives them something to go investigate, and then come tell her all about it. The children run and come back with a description of a tree, but can not tell if the bark is rough or smooth or what shape the leaves are. So they are sent again to find out. By this method Miss Mason would have us teach our children to be exact in their descriptions. I have often thought that training would be very good for me too. I have been trying to make myself be more exact in my descriptions and for me it can be hard, but it is a very worthy skill to have. As I get better at this I have found that there is a certain small joy in knowing the exactness of something and what you are able to put into words is really what it is. For those of you who have never been in the habit of exagerration, be thankful as it is not easy to break. I have had to correct myself many times, but slowly I have become more exact in my descriptions and I am thankful that this weak area is becoming more strong. And as Kamron discovered one of the fruits is that people can believe you when you speak, which is a nice feeling.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Matching Summer Dresses




I made this dress for Aubrey and Bitty. Bitty's turned out okay except I used a pattern for an 18" doll not realizing that she was wider and so I had to add a piece of material in the back for the snaps. On Aubrey's it was the first time I had put in a zipper and I kind of got it accept it was not perfectly straight on one side so it bubbled. Also the bias tape around the top is standing up and I couldn't figure out how to get it to lay down. I learned how to do the Peter Pan collar and the sleeves, so I figure even with the mistakes I came out with a few things that I now know how to do that I didn't before.

Monday, July 17, 2006

A Sample First Grade Plan

A friend of mine asked me to help her plan a good first grade year for her son. This is my daughters first grade year, but slightly tweaked for a child who is coming in from the public school system. All the prices and order numbers are from www.rainbowresource.com unless otherwise noted.

English
Begin formation of letters every day, copying 1 letter 6 times perfectly four days a week. After all letters can be written start copying a meaningful sentence from one of the books we are reading. Using Phonics Pathways, study phonics ten minutes a day, also read 1st grade readers. Have a free reading time to read easy books. My suggested first grade reading sequence is Fabulous Phonics Little Books, $10.75 014953, Bob Books sets 1-3 $55.95 BOBSET, Pathway Reader Preprimer, $5.75 001951, Bob Books sets 4-5, Pathway Reader Days Go By, 001952 $5.75, Pathway Reader More Days Go By, 005107 $5.75. I would also intersperse any picture books you have that are on the child’s level.

Literature
I read aloud to her Aesop’s Fables illustrated by Milo Winters read two a week and have the child narrate, Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare Audio version can be found here http://www.alcazaraudioworks.com/schooling.html for $19.95, listen to 3 during the year or read three from Tales from Shakespeare by Mary and Charles Lamb. Blue Fairy Book $8.25 005755, read two a week, Just So Stories listen to audio during tape time 014183 $23.95, King of the Golden River, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, Red fairy Book, St. George and the Dragon, The Velveteen Rabbit, Little House in the Big Woods, Brighty of the Grand Canyon most of these can be found at the library or most book stores. Always look for the unabridged versions.

Math
Begin Math-U-See or Miquon Math 001184 Orange Book $5, 001185 Red book $5. Annotations $11.50 001191, Notes to teachers 001190 $5 and First Grade Diary $5 001192. Cuisenaire Rods $14.25 006380.

Science
Work on the beetle collection. Raise and observe butterflies Live Butterfly Garden $17.25 003539 or hermit crabs Hermits Haven 026722 $21.95. Identify during or after nature walks, draw and write names in nature journal ($6.75 001270), of 5 bugs, birds, flowers, rocks, and trees-perhaps pressing (Flower Press 018080 $5.50) and gluing some things. Read The Burgess Bird Book $5.95 024241. If you don’t have field guides you may want the Audobon ones for insects, birds, flowers, rocks and trees. Also a good rock identification kit such as the Rocks and Minerals Basic Collection $14.00 002277 helps a lot in identification.

History
Story of the World 1 CD, $30.75 025448 this book starts out with the earliest peoples as wanderers/hunters, where we know that Adam and Eve farmed and had flocks other peoples did wander/hunt, also it does get into the belief of gods and idols you may want to introduce this or skip these chapters until later. Fifty Famous Stories Retold text is free and for purchase here http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?author=baldwin&book=fifty&story=_contents, or you can purchase the audio version here http://www.alcazaraudioworks.com/schooling.html for $19.95 Viking Tales is free and here http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/hall/viking/viking.html. Benjamin Franklin by Ingri D'Aulaire $13.95 003451, George Washington by Ingri D'Aulaire $13.95 003439, Buffalo Bill by Ingri D'Aulaire $12.95 000193. You will also want a large wall map one option is $11.75 031952, also get a globe.

Poetry
Read When We Were Six, When We Were Very Young, Children’s Garden of Verse and Falling Up all of which can be found in the library or at most book stores. Read 1 to 4 a day.

Memory Work
Memorize 15 poems, 10 scriptures and 15 songs onto memory tape.

Spanish
Use Jumpstart Spanish, watch Spanish movies once a week (Lyric Language $10.50 027266, Bilingual Baby $13.95 015212, Hola Amigos Set $48.50 034847) and use Spanish phrases (Kids Stuff Spanish $18.95 from here http://www.bilingualkids.com/) in every day conversation. Know 200 nouns in Spanish by the end of the year.

Music
Continue or begin piano. Play with instruments once a week with a little direction on how to do it. Watch 32 lessons from Calvert Melody Lane found here https://store.calvertschool.org/pc-160-9-discoveries-in-music.aspx this kit includes the above DVD’s, a lap harp and music, recorder and music and a triangle. Learn 12 new songs from Wee Sing Sing-alongs and Wee Sing Fun and Folk, sing in primary program. Attend Strauss festival or some other music festival or child friendly concert, study 6 compositions each by Mozart $8.50 016309, Schumann $8.50 016316 and Wagner $8.50 016322.

Handwork
Sewing felt shapes Lace a Swamp creature puppets $10.50 001212, Sew a stuffed animal kit Puppy $11 030387 or Dolphin and Baby $11 030384, Weaving potholders and other loopy projects $12.50 001729, Leather coin holder $2.15 003435.

Logic
Use Dr. DoRiddle $10.99 016244, read riddles books, do Lollipop Logic $9.50 000419. Play strategy games like checkers, Rush Hour Junior, $12.25 005257, Four in a Row or Toot and Otto $6.75 015310 and Set $9.75 008706.

Geography
Paddle-to-the-Sea $9.25 012450, Tree in the Trail $9.25 007001 and Seabird $9.25 007003. Have the child color in the area on the map ($16.95 007006) as each place is discussed make a little canoe, tree and seagull respectively to move across the maps as each place is discussed. Occasionally look at the locations on the wall map and globe. Also build a world map puzzle $7.75 017359, and US map puzzle $11.50 029604 sometimes.

Scriptures
Read stories from the real scriptures episodes broken down here http://www.schoolofabraham.com/storiedscriptures.htm. Have one on one study time with Mom or Dad studying topics of his choosing or just him reading the Book of Mormon once a week. Listen to Scripture Stories on tape from the distribution center.

Art
Continue with art plan. Study John Waterhouse, Peter Breugal, and Glenn
Olsen by looking at 6 paintings from each, visually memorizing one painting at a time for two weeks each. Purchase a Glenn Olsen calendar the other can be purchased from Angela Zimmermon for $16 a set paypal to thousandpraises@gmail.com or you may print out your own at http://cgfa.dotsrc.org/fineart.htm.

Church History
Read children’s biography of Brigham Young, John Taylor, pioneer stories with pictures from Friend.

Physical Education
Swim, bike, trampoline, hike and walk. Take 3 classes through the parks and rec at $35 each.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Feeding the Birds




The bird bit Kevin.
This butterfly was not actually from Marine World, but those there reminded me of this one we had raised one year for science. Kevin did a really neat photographic study of them.

Marine World Trip




Two of my brothers came in from Utah a week and a half a go. The oldest with his wife and four children and the youngest with his wife. We all got together and went to Marine World, which not only had fun rides, but it was a good learning experience too. For the first hour and a half Kevin and I and some of my siblings and a few other relatives went on the roller coasters while the other adults watched all the kids. Then we took our kids on the childrens rides and to see some of the animal shows.


Brennen was very nervous with the butterflies. We went out to eat afterward with most of the family and Aubrey got sick in the restaurant--that was not fun. =). All the rest of us were sick shortly thereafter with some kind of 12 hour flu. But other than that the day was really fun. I do still enjoy roller coasters and must admit that that was my favorite part-how uneducational.