Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The 2nd Mission Trip to Africa post

Priscilla's second Africa post is up on her blog here.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Today's Dictation for the Boys

"Son, if you are going to live a genuine Christian life, you will spend much time feeling alone. That will be particularly true if you read your Bible and do what it says. You will not fit in with this world."

From Boyhood and Beyond

Watch and Pray

I've seen this being discussed all over the internet. The lastest I've seen with some specific details is this post at Life in a Shoe. Go read it, look into it, consider and pray. Not only our children, but the future of our country is at stake.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Our Dim Eyes Seek a Beacon

Our dim eyes seek a beacon,
And our weary feet a guide,
And our hearts of all life's mystery
Seek a meaning and a key;
But a cross shines on our pathway,
On it hangs the Crucified,
And he answers all our longings
With the whisper, "Follow Me."

Life is a duty - dare it;
Life is a burden - bear it;
Life is a thorn-crown - wear it;
Though it break thy heart in twain.
Though the burden bear thee down.
Close thy lips and stand the pain,
First the Cross, and then the Crown.

Author Unknown

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Everybody Dies Famous in a Small Town

Priscilla just played me a country song that was something like the title of this post. We laughed over it because it sounds like our small town. We have a segment of the population of our area who seem to thrive on rumors. I guess it gets old cruising around the new Wal-Mart Supercenter. And the older crowd must get bored with their lives too. Might I suggest more great literature? A hobby of some kind?

With Michael and Candace's elopement we thought we would keep a list of rumors - just for kicks. They get so wild around here that it makes for something to laugh about. We have to laugh, or we might cry. It's scary what some people will believe without verification. Are we surprised that our country's media has so much influence? No. We see how easily the blind follow the blind all the time. Others have trouble repeating a story accurately. Maybe they should take to heart Charlotte Mason's way of learning to tell the truth - narration. (I just knew I could tie homeschooling in here somehow.)

Recently, someone we met told us they were talking to someone whom we had never heard of before, and this stranger to our family asked if we were the ones with the daughter who was excommunicated. Excommunicated from what, we were not sure. Our family? A church? Don't know. Have no idea how that one came about. Candace called the other night and asked if I knew where the rumor that Michael scared her into marrying him came from. Again, I have no idea. Who knows what will come next. It's never dull for long around here. We try to be thankful that we can keep people so entertained. Maybe talking about us keeps them from wasting brain cells on time with the television. We can always hope.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Candace and Michael Eloped

Candace and Michael decided not to go through with the counseling and the big wedding. Instead they eloped with a private ceremony Wednesday night.

I apologize to those who were looking forward to celebrating this special time with them. All prayers for blessings in their life are greatly appreciated.

More Media that Impacts for the Good

I read about the new film, Bella, on the Rebulution blog and found that it is showing in a city near us.

Here's a story of the lead actors amazing experience doing research for the film at abortion clinics.

I'm planning on trying to make it out this weekend to see this film. I'll be back later with a review.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lifehouse 'Everything' Skit

My sister sent me this link to a powerful skit on God Tube. It brought me to tears thinking of everything that young people have to fight in order to serve God and enjoy His presence. It also served as a reminder to pray for those who are in the midst of listening to all of those other voices and are separated from Him because of it. Especially one young person who, though circumstances separated us, we still love very much and grieve over his current state. We pray, that like the girl in this skit, he finds his way back to Him who loves him more than anyone on earth.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Our Monthly Women's Meeting

I know I always write about our monthly women's meetings at church, but I can't help it because they are so good! This was our second meeting of the season and I can't believe how much pleasure I find in being a table hostess and serving the other women and girls. This month the topic was about Bible study and the woman who did the speaking did a fabulous job. One thing I love about so many people at our church is that they are REAL. They might even be a little afraid to be open about who they are but they press through anyway.

The speaker last night shared her story, how she came to a living faith in God after 34 years of searching. She grew up in church and was surrounded by believers but it wasn't until later in life that it all really became hers. And now she has a passion for studying the Bible because it was from realizing that God wanted her to KNOW Him that she found what triggered her ability to accept Him.

Kezzi had the pleasure of sitting next to her at dinner and talking with her more afterwards. On the way home, there were such animated conversations and enthusiasm about Bible study. Kezzi, Hope and I decided to start getting up an hour before everyone else and dive into some in-depth Bible studies. This morning we started our study of Daniel using Kay Arthur's God's Blueprint for Bible Prophecy. I am generally not a fan of prepackaged Bible studies but I do like Kay Arthur's materials and have enjoyed my International Inductive Study Bible for years. When last night's speaker started describing her Bible study methods, I knew it sounded like Kay Arthur's materials -- and I was right. I was happy to hear this because I already owned quite a few of those studies and knew we could jump right in without waiting on something to be shipped to us.

Another thing we share in common with last night's speaker is a passion for interrelationships between the older and younger women - younger women meaning teenagers. And a passsion for NOT dumbing things down for the younger ones. I was pleased last night to see a handful of younger girls attending with their mothers. Priscilla saw another woman's young daughter come in and ask what we did in that room so Pris told her a little about it. When she saw another young girl there she said, "You come in here? I want to come!" To see fires like that lit is very exciting! It seems like every month Kezzi is expounding on how much the youth need to hear the messages, even more than the women do. To me it is nice to see things being shared that can minister to everyone, regardless of age.

Another woman and I were asked to meet with the speaker privately before the meeting and pray with her. When we came back into the main room, I was excited to see that my table was already full of women enjoying fellowship with each other. I think I heard that there was 57 women there last night. I'm so excited to get to meet more of them and to get to know more about the ones with whom I have already begun to form relationships.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Hits and Misses for this School Year So Far

Math is going well. Luke is plowing through Teaching Textbooks 7, Abel is in the Delta Math U See book, Hope is working through Teaching Textbooks' Algebra. Annalise is about half way through Miquon's orange book and I've been using a lot of other resources with her. A favorite is the Noble Knights of Knowledge progam. Most of the time we take Friday's off of the regular math work and play math games.

For the first time we have accomplished some regularity in the subject of Current Events. This year I purchased God's World newspapers for Annalise, Abel and Luke. Hope reads from World magazine. All I do is call them to the livingroom, hand out their papers and set the timer for them to read. At the end of 30 -45 minutes, I ask everyone to take turns telling about interesting things they have read. This method has two ingredients that are important to me: it's simple and it works.

We just started using Mark Kistler's Draw Squad and we are loving that. I make sure this is the last thing of the day so I don't have to hurry anyone away from the table when they want to keep drawing.

The Thinking Toolbox is something that everyone is enjoying once a week. I read this aloud and we do the exercises orally. I can't believe I'm teaching my kids how to argue. Like they really need any help in this area! Annalise always asks about when we are going to do this. She already acts and thinks like the older kids already so I hope I'm not creating a future monster. :)

We are still coming along in our Apologia science books but I put them aside when we have real life nature studies. We'll probably make more headway with these when it's too cold and nasty to go outside. I'm also planning on finishing up our Kamana One this winter. All we have left are some lessons in the Resource Trailhead, which mostly entails making nature journal pages for different topics. By Spring, I'd like to be ready to order Kamana Two.

As is usual with me and foreign languages, I haven't been making the time for our Latin study. We did one lesson and then haven't picked it back up. I'm planning on trying again when we begin Term 2 because the wedding will be past. Planning the wedding is my excuse and I'm sticking too it.

Somehow we've been interrupted on some of the days when we are supposed to do our US Geography with the book It Happened in America. We're still working through this book from last year. We have done a few this year. The last state we did was Minnesota and that evening we even made the Minnesota dinner from the recipe book Eat Your Way Through the USA. The dish was a tater tot casserole but we can't use tater tots because Ford is allergic to the preservatives in them. I just used our own home grown potatoes after I fried them up. The cookbook has been a great addition and I hope we will be successful in making time to use it with each state study. These two resources along with a state map coloring book have been rounding out that study nicely.

Kezzi is really enjoying Sonlight's Civics/American Government course . So far, it seems to be the perfect amount for her senior year since she's working part time down at Ford's shop learning how to do the office work.

Once again, I've been in the old debate with myself of whether to study history all together or separate. Separate is currently winning out. I'm planning on letting Hope begin Sonlight's Church History course as soon as we finish our Ancient Rome studies. I like that the planning is all done, the booklist looks good and the writing assignments are tied in with the reading. I was going to continue studying history together with Hope, the boys and Annalise but I don't think Hope is getting challenged enough and I like the look of the things she'll be diving into regarding Church History. And if we had continued on chronologically from Ancient Rome that would mean going into the Middle Ages. When it came down to it, I couldn't bear to do that again to the boys. They've spent years in their elementary grades in the Middle Ages. They really need to learn more American History now so I'm going to take them through the 1700's (they went up through the 1600's last year) and the American Revolution with a combination of Ambleside Year 4 and Sonlight's World History Part 2. Hope needs a review of the Middle Ages and I think she'll get that with the Church History course.

Nothing that we have used this year has turned out to be a dud yet. It's too early to tell about the Latin program but ask me later and we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

A Winner

I was discouraged with the boys' apathy towards our morning read aloud, especially Luke's, so I told him he could pick the next book. After consulting Kezzi, he brought The Perilous Gard to me. It was a hit with everyone. I love it when we are reading a book that everyone is excited about. I couldn't wait to get to it each day and I didn't have to coax anyone to agree to some extra readings in the afternoons. We don't celebrate Halloween but the climax of the story took place on All Hallows Eve so it was a good time to read it.

I really don't want to do a book review here. Amazon always has plenty of those. Luke said he "loved" it and that should be enough of a recommendation for anyone. Or at least anyone who knows Luke.

Enjoying October's Bright Blue Weather

This morning after our Bible time, Fiction Read Aloud and Math, we took off to a local river spot for a Wild Day of nature exploration and journaling. I forgot to take my camera (as usual) but I found this picture of the river we went to and the other pictures in the post by searching google images.

Within minutes of arriving we had seen many things to draw. I found a small snake in the little inlet that flowed into the bigger river. When Luke tried to catch it another one swam under his foot, so he ended up getting that one. We also saw cardinal flowers along the bank...

along with these asiatic dayflowers, which Luke identified immediately.

Luke also caught a frog and announced that he had a leopard frog. He always amazes me with his knowledge of the natural world. I guess he learns all of these things by browsing through the field guides. The frog was returned to the river, but the snake was brought home as a pet and now resides in the aquarium in the screenroom.

We lugged out all of our backpacks with nature journals, paints, pencils, poetry books and a field guide and took over two picnic tables near a little river-side fast food place. The river was down considerably from our summer of drought but the boys had fun hiking across and even managed to squeeze in a few swings off of the swimg that goes into the river before I called them back to get started on their journals.
I read a poem, October's Bright Blue Weather by Helen Hunt Jackson, aloud and copied this last stanza into my journal:
"O sun and skies and flowers of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather."
While they were finishing up, I ordered cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes and read to everyone from our historical fiction book (that I had smuggled into my backpack ) while they ate.
My plan is to take many such days as these this fall before the weather turns too cold. I've been inspired recently by reading these two blogs: Handbook of Nature Study and The Heart of Harmony. These are the kinds of days I will remember and be glad that I took the time to enjoy.