Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Extremely Late Homeschool Mother's Journal

I am incredibly late in getting a weekly update posted. I could skip, but this is kind of a reference for me so I wanted to make sure I had something down for the last week.  We have been extremely busy and life has turned a little topsy turvy. I don't know when it will settle down, but I am trying to keep my head above water while keeping school going, housework up, and dinners on the table, the last of which I'm failing miserably! So here is what happened last week in the Starr house.
1. Delani's new church dress.
2. We went to a friend's house on Friday. Ruth has helped us in the past with writing and we headed over there to get more input that was desperately needed.
4. Chantry started Rod & Staff's Sound and Structure 3rd grade book. We are taking a break from The Logic of English. So far this has been a wonderful, time freeing change for the both of us.
5. A lot of Uno and Rook being played around here.
6. Cooking ground beef in the crock-pot. I found this idea on Pinterest.

Monday, February 25, 2013

What's On Your Nightstand - February

What's On Your Nightstand
This last month I surprised myself on how many books I read. Several were book I had started a couple of months ago and read through slowly and it just so happened they all were finished in the last little bit. Looking at what I read I decided that this month I may need to read less and write more reviews since I am very much behind in that department. So here is my Nightstand for March:

From my January nightstand:
  • Peter Duck: A Treasure Hunt in the Caribbees (Godine Storyteller) by Arthur Ransome (review)
  • The Tutor's Daughter by Julie Klassen - Right before I picked this up to read I read an review that said it was predictable. That made me hesitant to read it, but since I didn't have much else to read I gave it a shot. When it first starts it has some very Jane Eyre-like qualities to it, but eventually the story does stand on it's own in a unique way. I didn't love it and I didn't hate it.
  • Holy Intimacy by Lori Wagner - A book about the Tabernacle and our relationship with Christ. I have heard the author speak and much preferred that to her writing.
  • Together: Growing Appetites for God by Carrie Ward - This was an encouraging read. I will be doing a more in depth review soon.

I also read:

I listened to:
  • Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery - After reading Anne of Green Gables last month I couldn't stop and had to continue on. This book has some great "Anne" moments--her friendship with Mr. Harrison due to selling Dolly the cow, Davy and all of his crazy antics, Miss Lavender finding true love, her friendship with Gilbert, and so much more!
  • Death in the Clouds: A Hercule Poirot Mystery by Agatha Christie - Poirot ends up solving a crime on an airplane. Unfortunately, I knew who the killer was right off the bat since I remembered this episode that the kids had watched when they brought home one of the Poirot films from the library.

I didn't read:

See what others have read over at 5 Minutes for Books.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Reading Journal: Six Ways to Keep the "Good" in Your Boy by Dannah Gresh

Book Description:
When bestselling author Dannah Gresh was body-slammed by her 12-year-old son, she was hit with reality: raising a boy is a whole new ballgame!  
A boy's relationship with his mom during the formative age between 8 and 12 is vital to his future well-being. So how can moms teach sons to be honest, confident, and respectful when the world and situations encourage them to make bad decisions and grow up too fast?  
Dannah's practical experience and research, along with advice from her husband, Bob Gresh, provide a mom with six proactive ways to help her son:  
  • honor his body in a healthy way  
  • get outside to play  
  • unplugged live out his faith
This accessible resource will empower moms with information and hope to raise sons of integrity and faith. Includes an insightful Connection IQ Inventory test, activity ideas, and Scriptures to pray over sons.
My thoughts:
Several years ago I read and reviewed Six Ways to Keep the "Little" in Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter from Her Tweens to Her Teens by Dannah Gresh (review) and when I saw she had written Six Ways to Keep the "Good" in Your Boy: Guiding Your Son from His Tweens to His Teens (also co-authored with her husband, Bob Gresh) I knew I had to read it.

Six Ways to Keep the "Good" in Your Boy: Guiding Your Son from His Tweens to His Teens focuses on the importance of boys learning to grow up and to be "good" (useful or beneficial). Now I have to admit the use of the word good made me cringe, because in all honesty I want my sons to be more than good. One reason the authors used this word was to counteract the "bad" boy mentality which is so prevalent in our world today. Another reason is because God is good and cited Romans 12:21:
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. NIV
The book is divided into two sections--the first dealing with becoming a connecting mom and the second dealing the the six ways to keep the "good" in your boy. In the first part deals with biological facts and fundamental truths to help you understand how to connect with your son. This part deals with such topics as a mom's greatest fears, being a connecting mom, why connecting matters, how connecting forms values, and the biggie--the male brain on testosterone.

In the second part the "six" ways are discussed and cover such topics as the importance of playing outside, reading books, the importance of a mother backing off and letting dad be involved in his life, celebrating his entrance into manhood, unplugging him for our plugged in world, and teaching him to be a gentleman. All of these chapters also have special thoughts delivered by the author's husband and also sections written especially for the single mom by a single mom.

This book is stuffed full of pertinent information, encouragement, and suggestions all stuffed into 200 pages. If you have boy on the verge of "tweenhood"  or in "teenhood" this book belongs on your shelf and needs to be read by both mom and dad (and yes, I've given it to my non-reader husband and commanded him to read it!). Highly recommended!!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Read Aloud Thursday: Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome

Read-Aloud Thursday Pictures, Images and Photos

Winter Holiday - Exodus Books

Book Description:
The fourth book in Arthur Ransome's classic series for children, Winter Holiday, takes intrepid explorers John, Susan, Titty, and Roger Walker, and fearsome Amazon pirates Nancy and Peggy Blackett to the North Pole. Joined by budding novelist Dorothea Callum and her scientist brother Dick, the children plan an "Arctic" expedition. But unforeseen events separate the travelers and disaster nearly strikes in the exciting climax of their race to the Pole.
My thoughts:
We've been reading through the Swallows & Amazons Series and after three books of sailing adventures find the Swallows and Amazons enjoying their winter holiday. Of course, being winter it does make it difficult to sail, so what happens to this group of adventurous children?

In Winter Holiday by Arthur Ransome the Swallows are visiting Holly Howe and the Amazons are at Beckfoot for their winter holiday. While there they meet up with Dick and Dorothea, or the D's, who are visiting also. Dick and Dorothea soon join in the fun and soon they are sending messages, learning Morse code and semaphore, building an igloo, and planning an expedition to the North Pole. With their holiday soon to end things are looking bleak for a North Pole expedition due to the lack of cold weather when Captain Nancy comes down with the mumps.

Thus begins a whole new set of adventures for the Swallows and Amazons and the D's, since none of them can return to school until their quarantine is over. With the arrival of cold weather the lake and river freezes and the planning for a North Pole Expedition is in full force. Also, to add into the fun is the finding of the key to Captain Flint's houseboat which they soon command for their own purposes.

Right before the expedition is due to start there is a mix-up in signals and soon the  D's head out to the North Pole and right into a snow storm. The Swallows and Amazons start a relief expedition to search for the D's and soon they are experiencing another exciting adventure.

At first when we started Winter Holiday we were all a little unsure of what was going to happen since they couldn't do any sailing. Thankfully we didn't have anything to fear due to all the adventures that the Swallows and Amazons experience even in the middle of the winter. One of my favorite things I enjoy about these books is the awesome imaginations that these kids have. Again, this one was a big hit and highly recommended! We are now off to read new adventures in Coot Club.

Other Swallows and Amazons books we've read so far:
See what others are reading aloud over at Hope is the Word.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is hosted by Should be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page

•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Murder in Mesopotamia: A Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) by Agatha Christie

I felt that the murderer was in the room.  Sitting with us--listening. One of us. p.81

The Homeschool Mother's Journal: The Short & Sweet Picture Edition

I am late in getting this posted, but I want to quickly record our week.
1. Delani working on Touchmath.
2. Caleb watching his Essentials in Writing lesson.
3. New waffle maker!!! (Why are waffles so much better than pancakes? I think my family will be a lot happier when I announce it is breakfast for dinner.)
4. Valentine's cards all ready for our homeschool Valentine's Day Party.
5. Delani at the party.
6. Valentine's Day gifts for the kids. (Books and a bag of M&M's). See the card I made here.
7. Roses from my husband.
8. My husband and I went to The Cheesecake Factory for our Valentine's Day dinner on Saturday.

I'm linking up:

Homegrown Learners

Flowering Baby Review


Flowering Baby, LLC is a curriculum with a whole development approach for birth to five. Martha Saunders and Carolyn Schulte wrote this to develop a solid and full foundation of cognitive, language, gross motor, fine motor, social and self-help skills in your child.  Flowering Baby is split into two curriculum guides: the monthly curriculum guide and the theme curriculum guide.

The monthly curriculum guide has daily activities and can be started at any time and work through the next twelve months. There is a focus on the alphabet, numbers, shapes, physical activity, reading books, music and a special Learning Through Stories section which focuses on a Charlotte Mason narration for young preschoolers by slowly reading a book several times through and then asking simple questions about the book and recording your child's answers.

The theme curriculum guide has theme selections such as Aquarium and Arctic life, bugs, farm animals, and more.  Every month has suggested themes, but you can pick the themes that best fit for your life. It is suggested that two themes be done during the month. Each theme has a list of book suggestions and suggested activities to do.

While planning  and printing out the schedules for the Four to Five level, I also looked through the Three to Four level to see if there was anything I could add or use. I was greatly surprised by the similarities. They do use the same themes and books and many of the same activities. The biggest difference was the Three to Four level had activities more on the level of the three to four year old, while the Four to Five level had added more book titles, more writing activities, and a Spanish language book. To some this may seem redundant, but I think since these two levels are used over the course of two years it makes for a great opportunity of repetition and familiarity, plus it is always fun to revisit favorite books and activities that your child has previously enjoyed. 

I have been using the Four to Five level with Delani. Every week we focused on a different letter and number to learn to write, we counted objects and aloud, we read books about colors, senses, healthy foods, nursery rhymes, snow and cold days. We listened to different types of music--country, folk music, and classical. Also, we read such books as Blueberries for Sal and The Snowy Day for the Learning Through Stories activity. We added in the themed activities and read about bugs, aquarium life, and farm animals. She made a fish water globe (bottle) and when we read about bugs we found a picture of a butterfly which she colored.

Aquarium water "globe"
With three children doing school work, I have found that doing things with Delani just seems to never happen. Here are some things I especially liked:
  • The choices were easy to do 
  • Not very time consuming
  • Didn't require extra things that I didn't have in the house already
  • If I couldn't find the exact book suggested in the curriculum guide I could easily find another listed in my library's catalog since the topic and themes were very common ones.
 I also appreciated the advice of the authors to enjoy doing the activities with your child and if they are getting frustrated to just stop. Also, to not be afraid to focus on a theme longer than suggested if your child is really enjoying it. There were some days I couldn't get in everything listed and I didn't feel pressured to get it done, but rather to just pick up where I had left off and keep going. The best part was Delani's reaction. She absolutely loved it and would open her binder and point to the pages and tell me, "Let's do school, Mommy."

If you are looking to do activities with your preschool children and need something simple and easy to implement I highly recommend Flowering Baby, LLC  which is available in a PDF and CD format. You can see a whole month sample for Four to Five here.  Flowering Baby is available in Birth to One, One to Two Years, Two to Three Years, all for the cost of $30.  Three to Four Years, and Four to Five Years are available for cost of $38.  All five years are available for $132. Receive a 10% discount by entering "Blog10" when ordering.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product through the Schoolhouse Review Crew in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expressed are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.


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