Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It Is Bedtime and...

After the children put on a Calapp Comedy show, it is time for bed. But Logan has one more joke. “Well, I was sitting next to this frog and… someone ate it.” And I laugh. He runs to hug me. We say prayers and I tuck him in. Then I tuck in Brennen and Sethie, who want hugs first, and that car, and this blanket just so. Then Aubrey wants to talk. “Why did her skit about the girl whose favorite animal was a seashell fall flat, when almost everything Kamron said was funny and made everyone laugh. He’s always so funny, and he’s handsome and everyone likes to watch him and be around him, including me, and I don’t have any talents at all.” She says her prayers and prays for talents. I remind her of her artwork and she brightens jumps up and says what should I draw? With Logan’s joke still in my head I say “a frog.” In no time she has a beautiful frog drawn on her page. She smiles, and then frowns, “but that talent isn’t on a stage and nobody is watching me and clapping. I want people to watch me and clap.” We talk more and I hug her and tuck her in. Kamron is in the bath, so I go to my room. Pretty soon he knocks. He doesn’t have much to say just a little more about Twilight Camp-he did CPR again today, and lots of archery, and well, good night. He’s not too old for a hug and then he goes off to bed. It is 10:30 and I stop to think and it occurs to me, I am that lady. I am Mom. This means little to some people but when I say Mom, I mean like my mom. The lady who sat for hours listening to my questions and concerns, stories and joys-feeling them, sharing them and making me feel all was right with the world. When I think of my mom, it seems almost sacrilegious to say that I am Mom, and, yet, I can look through the eyes of my children and I can see it. To them I am that lady. I am Mom.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nature and Habit

Truth be told, I am a rather lazy person, or at least I have a very strong natural inclination to be so. Many days I just want to sit and surf the internet, or sleep-or lay there if I can’t sleep. I often can not fall asleep at night, and falling back to sleep is a nightmare, if I am ever woken, and lets face it- how many young mothers are not woken up at night? So, I want to use this as my excuse, while knowing that being lazy exasperates my insomnia. Yet, even while I desire to be lazy, I love productivity. I love to make lists and get things done. I just have an inner struggle daily making myself get started or keep going. Charlotte Mason said that habit is ten times as strong as nature. And there is the key. I must build within myself contrary habits to my laziness.

I have been home with my children for a month. There were things I immediately began to address-new habits I desired to establish, because I felt I must. And there is another of Miss Mason’s gems of wisdom.

“The sense of must should be present with children; our mistake is to act in such a way that they, only, seem to be law-compelled while their elders do as they please. The parent or teacher who is pestered for 'leave' to do this or that, contrary to the discipline of the house or school, has only himself to thank; he has posed as a person in authority, not under authority, and therefore free to allow the breach of rules whose only raison d'ĂȘtre is that they minister to the well-being of the children. Two conditions are necessary to secure all proper docility and obedience and, given these two, there is seldom a conflict of wills between teacher and pupils. The conditions are,––the teacher, or other head may not be arbitrary but must act so evidently as one under authority that the children, quick to discern, see that he too must do the things he ought; and therefore that regulations are not made for his convenience. (I am assuming that everyone entrusted with the bringing up of children recognizes the supreme Authority to Whom we are subject; without this recognition I do not see how it is possible to establish the nice relation which should exist between teacher and taught.)” Volume 6, page 73.

And I do feel I am under authority. I must not let my children be quarrelsome, I must regularly instruct them in the scriptures, and I must provide wholesome foods to nourish their growing bodies. These are the three things which I have been endeavoring to work towards this month. Only in the second has habit won out over my nature already, probably, because that is where I feel the must most keenly. The other two are improving, but I still feel as if I have to concentrate and force myself to redirect the quarrelsome pair, and even more so, to plan and prepare large and varied, wholesome food. If I can be more diligent in these two things over the next month, I am confident habit will win out. And, to paraphrase Charlotte Mason, when habit has won over nature I will have secured easier days, at least in these things.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Montessori Language Cards

When I was student teaching the resource room was throwing out a bunch of curriculum and supplies. I saved a box of English Language Learner(ELL) cards. It has photographs on both sides and the word in english on one side. When I brought them home I didn't know what I would do with them, but I figured I would do something. Then I started thinking about the Montessori Language Cards. These would be perfect! My 5-year-old is studying insects and flowers, so I took out the insect and plant pictures, printed up labels, and then introduced him to the cards. He read the word and matched it to the picture. This was perfect for his level, but to make it harder later I will let him have all of the words and give him one picture at a time to match to the words. I may then print up spanish labels and then have the children label the objects in spanish, though it would not have the control of the english word that can be checked on the back, and would then be a paired activity rather than an independent one. Unless, I taped the spanish word to the back, too. Oh, and what if I give him loose letters to spell the words with and then he could turn over the card to check if he spelled them correctly. Hmm, I'm seeing possibilities here.


So I'm making baby clothes and am queesy-I must be pregnant, right? As a matter of fact, yes. I am about eight weeks along. Of course, I don't know if it a boy or girl, but I already have boys clothes and I have no girls clothes, plus girls clothes are just funner to make than boys, hence the girl stuff.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Multiplication Art Book

We finished our multiplication/skip counting books today. I did these with my oldest three children and my nephew and niece. The children bent a number line in a circle and then counted by multiples, drew either straight or curved lines to the number in the units place and then colored the resulting pattern with various mediums. They did ten pages and were required to use at least seven different art mediums. The three older children then wrote the accompanying multiplication problems, while the younger two wrote their skip counting numbers. The children were able to see various patterns and also how the skips of one number relate to another. Below are some that I liked from each of the kids collections.
Multiples of one in tempera paint.
Multiples of two in marker.
Multiples of three in colorix, which is a beeswax medium.
Multiples of four in crayon.
Another multiple of four in colored pencil.
Multiples of five in watercolor paintbrush pens. It is interesting that most of my nieces colorings were done in complementary colors. I don't think she even realized this.
I didn't end up with a six, but it comes out to be the same pattern as the four.
Multiples of seven in watercolored pencils, but not blended.
Multiples of eight in colored pencils.
Multiples of eight in broad pen.
Multiples of nine in chalk.
Multiples of ten in colored pencil.

Monday, June 08, 2009


As a daughter of God I have a desire to create. Even with little ones hugging and kissing and climbing all over me. As a daughter of my mother I saw how it was done. My mom was always making something. She had a sewing room that she worked in, a place perfectly organized to make her many projects and that also had spots for her children to come in and talk to her as she worked. I can also remember her sitting on our fuzzy brown couch with patterns of brown twigs and other things all over it with her feet pulled up to one side or resting on our very ugly brown foot stool. She had a light next to her and a bag of supplies and as we watched movies she would be making something out of plastic canvas, cross stitch, embroidery, crochet or knit.

I have enjoyed taking advantage of the little moments. I am blessed with a little boy who needs someone to listen to him read and to generally be near as he works which is a perfect time for handwork. I have also been queasy this last week and been doing a lot of sitting, so it has been the perfect opportunity to crochet. I have finished a little jacket, and am nearly done with a dress. I’ll post a picture of the latter when I have it done.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Wire Sculpting

My kids love to make things out of pipe cleaners, and have become quite adept at it. My son has an entire sweater box under his bed filled with all of his pipe cleaner creations-people, dragons, animals, the Cinderella characters etc. I thought it was time for them to take it to another level, so this week we began a study of wire sculpting. Kamron immediately began creating people, dragons, etc. out of wire, but I did get him to create a leaf for me today. Aubrey's scupltures are much more abstract. We're slowly going to broaden the scope of wire sculpture creation. Tomorrow we will do a project where we wrap an object in yarn, sketch just the yarn and then attempt to recreate it in wire. We'll see how that goes, but for today here are some of our creations. If you are interested in seeing any professional sculptures here is a neat page, http://www.wirelady.com/.

Logan and Seth wanted a picture of their tower too. Yes, Logan dresses himself-no I don't let him go out in public like that... most of the time.