Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Hidden Art of Homemaking Bookclub - The First Artist

Cindy over at Ordo Amoris is hosting The Hidden Art of Homemaking Book club. I am jumping in a little late and hoping to find the time to fit it in.

I read The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer about 5 years ago. I had read great reviews about it, but when I finished I was at a loss of what was so great about it. Even then I still couldn't get rid of the book telling myself that I should re-read it one day and which is why I'm picking this up now. I am hoping to understand this book better this time since I have read a few other  Edith Schaeffer books (she does have a unique writing style) since then and reading the thoughts of others may help me. So let's dive into the first chapter.

Chapter 1 talks about The First Artist, God,  who is perfect in all forms of creativity. God's art is seen visibly and invisibly. His art communicates.
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Psalm 19:1
As I read this chapter, which is so beautifully written, it made me think about how creative God is. Look all around you at the variety of plants and animals He created. Then look at his ultimate creation, mankind, who was made in His image and because we are made in His image we are also creative.

What struck home with me the most in this chapter was that along with being creative, God has given us a choice in how to use our creativity. We as humans can think of so many ideas and plans that when we sit down and look at them all we realize there is no way we can do everything. Because we have limited time and talent we have to make a choice on how and in what ways we are going to use our creativity.

And this is where I struggle. Homemaking does not feel creative to me in the least. Oh, I have my moments every now and then, but usually I feel too pressed for time, I homeschool, I help my husband in the  church, I have to feed my family, and oh, have I mentioned the laundry? This brings up another point that as humans we are not on God's level and thus are limited, but this doesn't excuse us from having or being creative as Mrs. Schaeffer reminds us at the closing of the chapter.

...then what I call 'Hidden Art' should be more important to one who knows and admits that he is made in God's image, than to those who do not. p.29

Gerbera daisy's just make me happy!
My creativity in gardening extends only to my front porch.
I always have pots on my porch with fuchsias, impatiens, geraniums and a gerbera daisy.
More from this series:

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Homeschool Mother's Journal - Diligently Working

1. Destini working on her quilt.
2. Caleb & Destini working on making dinner.
3. Chantry making his NFL draft lists. 4. Everyone working on Spanish for You.
In my life this week…
I spent this week trying to get back into a normal (whatever that is) routine after my parents' visit. It didn't help that we had a full week with a dentist appointment for me, baseball, and piano lessons.

I realized on Wednesday that I wasn't doing a very good job when I noticed I hadn't gotten any laundry washed except for towels, and they were still stacked sky high in the basket. I am happy to say that tonight my laundry is finished, though I won't talk about my ironing pile.

Friday was a big day as it was the kids' first baseball game for the season. Delani played her first game of t-ball. I don't she has a clue what she is doing, but she sure looks cute. The boys of course were excited.
In our homeschool this week…
We went back to a "lite" schedule. The kids will be participating in the West Coast ACTS Student Convention, which is a competition sponsored by our church organization where kids can compete in many categories such as Art, Drama, Music, Academics, Photography, Home-making, and Athletics. The convention encourages young people to develop their capabilities for service in the Kingdom of God. With our participation in this it makes for a rearrangement of school work to fit in these extra activities.

Caleb and Destini are working on fine tuning their memorization for a puppet show and both Chantry and Caleb are memorizing a poem. Destini finished her cross-stitch project and now she has moved on to making a quilt. She spent quite a bit of time this week working on this project and she still has a ways to go. Thankfully, most of the other events the kids are doing are finished, except for a scrapbook page and a pastel drawing.

In our actual school work there are several books we are getting really close to finishing up. Caleb finished reading To Kill a Mockingbird this week. Chantry and Destini are closing in on the end of Minn of the Mississippi and Exploring Creation with Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day (Young Explorer Series).

We also were able to focus on getting back to our Bible time and the Spanish-for-You program we will be reviewing.

I caught Chantry doing some "writing". He was all excited about the NFL Draft so he wrote out each team and then each player he thought they should draft.
Places we’re going and people we’re seeing…
Baseball practice and game and piano lessons. I had an appointment at the dentist for my 6 month visit and happened to have my girls with me. Bless their hearts they had to sit and wait for 1 1/2 waiting for me to get out. I was not happy. It shouldn't take that long to clean my teeth!
Helpful homeschooling tips or advice to share…
Perseverance, perseverance, perseverance!
5. Playing chess. 6. All ready for baseball.
7 & 8 - Enjoying ice cream after baseball.

My favorite thing this week was…
I have found that when give a narration from a book it sometimes doesn't look like I expect it to. Last year Caleb read John Adams by David McCullough. It seemed at times that getting a narration from him was like pulling hen's teeth, but then I noticed that though he was sharing (or narrating) a lot to his Chantry and Destini about it.

Fast forward to this year--Chantry and I are reading John Adams: Independence Forever (Heroes of History) by Janet & Geoff Benge. Yesterday Chantry was narrating and he finished his narration with "This comes from what Caleb told me about the John Adam's book he read" and then proceeded to narrate from his brother's narration.

This is not how I picture narration, but as you can see it works!

Things I’m working on…
A lot of time this week has been overseeing Destini doing her quilt. Let me tell you there is never a dull moment. It is drama all the way!
I'm reading...
I’m cooking…
Tator-tot casserole and grilled chicken (first time grilling this year!) and then the rest of the week just kind of fell apart.
I’m grateful for…
My daughter Destini. God knew I needed her to challenge me to be a better person. She is so very honest and can be so sweet and she makes me laugh.
I’m praying for…
Peace in the midst of getting ready for the kids' participation in this convention. This truly builds character in the kids and Shade and I as parents.
A photo, video, link, or quote to share…
Baseball season is here!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

MathRider (TOS Review)

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I am a firm believer in kids knowing (read memorize) their math facts. The easiest way that I've been able to do this with my kids has been a free online math drill. I was given the opportunity to review MathRider: The Intelligent Math Fact Game that allows practice for practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division from 1-12.

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Practicing retrieval is the basic principle behind MathRider, but what makes MathRider unique is that the game adapts to the area that the student needs it the most. It also recognizes and rewards improvement in their math facts. The best part is MathRider is just plain fun!

So how does it work? MathRider is a program that can be instantly downloaded to your Windows or Mac OSX computer. The nice part about this is that once it is loaded on your computer you don't need internet access to play it. When you open the game you immediately set up a Rider name along with a password for each student (up to eight) you have.
In the game the child is taken into the Land of  Ray,which is a land of fantasy and quests, where they also ride their horse, Shadow. Once signed in they pick a new quest. At that point they pick which operation they want to work on along with the difficulty level: easy, medium, advanced, and master. Once they have done that they begin their quest.
Each difficulty level has a story that goes along with it. Each story line is the same except and only changes for whichever operation being worked on, though the rewards are different. When the story is finished then the student can begin their quest. As they answer the math facts that show up on the screen their horse, Shadow, moves across the screen and jumps the hurdles. If they miss a problem everything stops and the math fact is shown along with the correct answer.

At the end of each run the student can then check out their progress on the map that is available to look at. They then can choose to continue the quest until they have received the number of points needed to continue on to the the next diffuculty level. When that level is complete another story appears to conclude that level. From that point the journey continues either by continuing to the next level or starting a new operation.

Chantry used this game to replace the math drills he was currently using. He usually played the MathRider game everyday we had school. I could tell he really liked it since he was willing to keep playing it over and over. He quickly worked through addition and then headed through subtraction. He had started multiplication, but I had him go back and work through the subtraction to bring his overall percentage up. He has just started working through multiplication and his subtraction score is coming up. The game was enticing enough that Destini decided she wanted to try it out!

I decided to try it out myself and see exactly how it worked and let me tell you it was not a breeze to do. I worked on addition and subtraction and I did fine for the first two difficulty levels, easy and medium, but when I got to the advanced level I was challenged. Here's why: as long as I had problems such as 9+7 or 16-9 I was fine, but then it started throwing problems such as 12+9 or 22-9 at me and it threw me a curve ball. Since I normally add and subtract in this manner:

12    or    22
+9            -9

I found adding and subtracting in this manner: 12+9 or 22-9 to be challenging to say the least!

MathRider is a great way to master those math facts by being colorful, having a story to follow, and receiving rewards when completing a level. My kids really enjoyed using this program and there wasn't any complaints when it came time to do math drills. And that is what I call success!

MathRider is recommended for ages 6-12 and is available for instant download for $47. This price includes free updates for life. You can also try it out free for 7 days. For more information watch the video that can be seen here.


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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's On Your Nightstand - April

What's On Your Nightstand

Wow! Where has the month gone? I felt like I just wrote out last month's nightstand post. Overall, my reading this last month wasn't too bad considering that my parent's came and visited. I got a little side-tracked and didn't get everything read from my April Nightstand. That's okay, though.

We will see what this month brings. Again, it is another busy month for our family. I have my own personal goals of what I want to read, but I keep coming across other books that pop up unexpectedly that I get a real urge to read right now. I know that I'm not the only one who struggles with "too many books, not enough time" syndrome!

Nightstand for May:
From my March Nightstand:
I am currently reading:
I also read:
I listened to:
  • Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates - I got a little convicted that I assign my kids books that I've never read.  This is a book on their free read list so I decided to listen to it so I am "in the know." This was an excellent story about an African man who was taken from Africa when he was a young man, sold into slavery in the United States, and then worked hard and eventually bought his freedom the freedom of several other people. He also set up his own business, married, and bought land.  
Let me know what you think and stop over at 5 Minutes for Books and see what others are reading.


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