Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Scripture In Pictures

 (Psalm 100: 1-3)

This week we've been experimenting with how we learn scripture. I'm sure we've tried memorizing things before but with this year being our first year using Charlotte Mason methods, we're memorizing scripture. We started our homeschool year memorizing the Lord's Prayer. I thought that was an easy one to start with since the little one had heard it and probably tried saying it  a few times in church. So memorizing that one went pretty well.

Then we moved on to Psalm 23. What a soothing, comforting passage! The little one took right to it and we had no problems memorizing it. I think because its kind of like a story. I used this scripture passage to teach inflection in speech. The little one has a habit of just running through the sentences as fast as she can remember them but I had her learn it like she was giving a speech. So others could understand what she was saying. I've also told her how excited her grandma is going to be when she tells the learned scriptures to her. This added incentive creates more pride in the learning and speaking.

After that we tried memorizing Psalm 100. Something about that scripture was hard! A lot of praising, gladness, joy and faithfulness. Don't get me wrong, wonderful words of wisdom. But words that don't  conjure up immediate pictures in your head. So, after several frustrating days of not getting anywhere, we turned to picture-grams. This took the fun of learning up a notch and made us forget the drudgery of repetition (that my children seem to hate with a passion.)

(Psalm 100: 4-5)

We took liberties with some of the words (one of my favs is dd's interpretation  of 'good' as a thumbs up! lol) We used a face to indicate 'his, him or he' and an up arrow to mean 'Lord'. I think my daughter got more out of the experience than trying to memorize a scripture by rote.

We have some ambitious scriptures passages coming up I'm hoping we are able to get through:
Deuteronomy 5: 6-21  (Ten Commandments)
Matthew 5: 1-12 (The Beatitudes)
Luke 2: 1-20 (birth of Jesus)

How do you learn scripture? What passages do you learn?

(Sorry about the picture quality, taken with the cell phone and written on a white board.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


So today I'm blogging my frustration. I'm at the end of my rope. My wits are fried. The devil has ahold of my day and I don't know how to take it back. All of my frustrations are bubbling to the surface and I feel like crying. How do I go on from here? 

The child is a walking contradiction today. Everything is making her upset, every subject is the one she hates 'the most'. I'll explain what to do and she'll say 'what? I don't know what you mean?' or 'I didn't hear you." when I clearly know she did. She is trying to make me insane. It is definitely a test of wills.

It's at these moments I don't know what to do. My tendency is to talk to her about her attitude, which she resists. I then assign a punishment for the continued problem (ie: extra chores, grounding) and I try to move on. I finally gave up today and said school was done until she got up and did all her chores. And maybe the chores would work the attitude right out of her. Then she is like 'okay, I'll do them.' I don't know how to respond to that. She is talking in a manner of 'no problem, I don't care what you say, you're not upsetting me with chores.' You know the attitude. UGH. She wasn't saying 'okay' because she was happy.

Every time she has a problem with her schooling and attitude I'm at a loss. I feel like stopping the subject she doesn't want to work on is like affirming her attitude as a good thing. Like I'm approving of it. Yet pushing on through the subject is torture at its best. And before someone tells me its the subject and maybe i need to change up what we do in it; It's not. She is having attitude about every thing.

I'm going to go ball up in a corner to cry and pray. Where is my chocolate?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Make Your Own Grammar Bingo

Under the guise of trying to make grammar 'fun', I  created a grammar bingo this past Monday. I'm sure there is something already out there that I could buy but I wanted something now. I thought I'd share what I did in case anyone could use the same.

I first went here to 5x5 Bingo Card Maker to make my own card. You can put in 25 words. I put in the 8 parts of speech over and over until all 25 where full. (Noun, Pronoun, Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Conjunction, Interjection, Preposition). It will randomly make you a card. I changed the 'free space' into another part of speech spot. I then randomly generated several cards, printing in between on cardstock. Yes, it prints all those words at the bottom. Doesn't matter, I just cut out my cards. I personally left an 1" on the left so I could punch holes and keep the cards in my 3-ring binder.

Next I looked for a concise list of words for each part of speech. Difficult to do for some since there can be upwards of 800 words on a part of speech. I randomly chose words and put them together on a paper. You can print it from the PDF document below:

I plan to highlight the words I call on the list, making sure to call from each part randomly.  I can always print out a new list for when we've crossed off all the words but I imagine by then, she'll know them perfectly!

We used our set yesterday. It was a bit harder to describe what conjunction and prepositions were so we watched the Schoolhouse Rock Conjunction video and Grammar Rock's Preposition video. Be forewarned though, the catchy little tunes will get stuck in your head.

If this works out to be a fun way to learn, I may be doing a Types of Sentences one next!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Household Cleanliness

I think it is time to make a household cleanliness chart (aka: chores to be done, but I hate the word 'chores' so household cleanliness it is!) Or should it be called responsibilities? That word, even though it shouldn't, has bad connotations as well. Chores, responsibilities, duties, jobs... all these words put a frown on even the most stalwart of countenances. I've tried to talk with the family about what a joy it can be to keep the house clean, to honor each other as being important enough to keep it clean for. But its hard when I have trouble finding joy in the jobs myself.

Colossians 3:23  - Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men. (NIV)

We're sporadic cleaners. No, the health police can't be called in but we don't always get to the dishes TODAY and the laundry is usually in piles to rival the Rocky Mountains. Having too many clothes is a known side effect of shopping at thrift stores most of the time. Our sporadic cleaning changes into organized spring/fall cleaning when we plan to have someone come over. I really don't mind these behemoth cleaning efforts because everything gets done. Then when its over I'm always lamenting, 'Why are we comfortable living with cobwebs, or never seeing the light of day on the children's floors, and oh how nice it is to have clothes in our DRAWERS instead of living out of baskets."


I can't complain about overstuffed schedules and responsibilities and never being home to get anything done. We're always home. I don't over schedule us. Evenings are spent on the computers/TV, reading books, art time or playing games. It's laziness pure and simple. It's about time to work in regular cleanliness.

Proverbs 12:24 - The diligent find freedom in their work; the lazy are oppressed by work. (The Message)

The girls and I had a nice talk the other night about being responsible. I had them both make lists of things they could/need to be responsible for without being asked. I've grown tired of telling the little one: brush your teeth, change the fish tank, take a shower, pick up the living room. Or telling the teen: do laundry, take your medicine/vitamins, shouldn't you be studying, time to find a job... So far I have only seen a glimpse of them taking on their responsibilities. So far I have not figured out how to instill in them the WANT to do these things for the good of the family. Working on it...

The little one and I are reading Everyday Graces.  It really is a nice gentle way to discuss not only manners but responsibilities. We've been reading the chapter on Helping Out At Home. The poem called  'Why Do I Have To Clean My Room?' by Jack Prelutsky is funny and very pertinent. I'm hoping this book will help us, especially with the attitude about cleaning, manners and cleanliness in general.

Okay, so here goes. I don't know what is best to put on what days and I don't know if I should be including the responsibilities the kids have on their lists but I'm just gonna wing it. I've kept Sunday clear because its Sunday and I've left minimal things for Wednesday since the little one and dh have to be at church by 515 pm.

Sunday: Day of rest, just keep up with the day's dishes/kitchen

Monday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, clean living room, fold/put away clothes

Tuesday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, clean bathrooms, clean dining room

Wednesday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, sweep all floors, dust all electronics

Thursday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, clean living room, mop tiles/floors, clean bedrooms

Friday: Dishes/kitchen, 1 load laundry/wash dry, change kitty litter, change sheets, fold/put away clothes

Saturday: Dishes/kitchen, 2 loads laundry/wash dry. Sweep all floors if necessary. Cook the majority of the week's meat. Get DH's clothes ready for the week.

Now... anyone want to be my cleaning accountability partner?!

(This post is included in the Homemaking Link Up over on Raising Homemakers.)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Week 2: Car Schoolers, Questions & Manners

 (Books picked up at Half-Price Bks over the weekend.)

Wow! I've always heard about those superhuman people who end up doing 'carschooling' (basically they have so many activities, they're doing all their sit down work in the car!!!) but never thought we'd really experience it for ourselves.

But Monday, we were carschoolers. A favorite aunt died and her funeral was 1 1/2 hours away. I was determined not to make our Monday our Friday free day so off we went with car school to do. It was actually quite fun. We were able to recite our scripture we were learning (Psalm 23), work on math, read the bible, listen to Haydn for music. I was able to download a typing program to my laptop so she had fun practicing with that. We listen to a book on tape for literature (Farmer Boy) and read when we got home for a bit. All in all, we still got in 5 hours of work! See, who said you can't get anything done on the road?

Enthusiasm Level:
This week went by in a a whirlwind. We got most of our schooling done Mon-Thurs, swapping out some of my reading to her, with her listening to some Cds on tape (Farmer Boy, Just So Stories, Arabian Nights, ) Friday was supposed to be our art day but hubby and my planned evening out turned into a mini getaway so Friday was spent straightening the house and packing everyone up for overnights. We'll get to the art this week. I think the week was enjoyable, just hectic. I enjoy slower days.

This Week's Questions:
What happens if you're cremated?
Can I get paid for each load of laundry I do? (NO.)
Why didn't you tell me Nancy Drew was cool?
Did you know beavers build their house with mud and save up air inside like a bubble? 
Did you know there are fish that can fly? They do it when they're scared.
Rhode Island is so small. Do I have to memorize its capital?
Did you know Christopher Columbus was not the first to cross the Atlantic? Why didn't you tell me?
What does gaff-ee (gaffe) mean?
Isn't a bar code cool? I bet there are millions of them.
Do you know that magic trick where the girl is sawed in half? That's fake. She scrunches up in one side and wiggles feet attached to sticks out the other end. No one gets sawed in half really.
What is a Fibonacci?   (Let me tell you, the new Do Not Open book I got her is cause for lots of questions...)

What's Working:
The Charlotte Mason style of smaller concentrated time frames are working still. We love them. I'm also learning to be flexible in when we do things even though I have everything written next to 'certain' hours on my chart. Flexibility is key to keeping things enjoyable. 
Learning is becoming more self lead, more independent when she is working on a subject. I used to have to stand over her or be sitting nearby for her to continue working. I think this had more to do with inattention than disobedience, because of the long times for each subject we used to follow.

What's Not:
Attitude still. We had a nice intense talk yesterday about attitude. I let her know that every time she huffs and 'OH NO!' a subject or selection of book I've made that she doesn't agree with, it doesn't help the situation. Especially when she hasn't even looked at the books yet. And every time she says she hates school, one, it hurts my feelings because I work hard to make it more enjoyable and two, she's lying. We discussed all the things we've been working on and she enjoys quite a bit of them. We also talked about the fact that responsibility has a place in homeschooling. There are some subjects we just have to do so she doesn't grow to be 20 and still be at a 5th grade level. She doesn't want that. We talked about the things that do interest her and incorporating them in more. It was actually a very good talk. She wasn't pouting or crying afterward. I thank the Lord for directing how I explained things to her.
Down time. I really need to make some 'set in stone' electronics rules. I've told her she has to read an hour to get a 1/2 hour of TV time. On Monday I kept finding her watching TV or playing computer with no hours earned yet the rest of the family was doing the same thing. It's hard to have a child stick to rules the rest are not following. I need to rethink how we do things in this house.

For the upcoming week, its a 4 day-er since we took Monday (Labor Day) off to laze around.  The above books are some we will be using in our studies. The little one's assigned reading right now is Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. We're jumping off into a study of fish/sea, mainly because a friend gave the little one some fish a couple weeks ago and amazingly they're still alive! So unusual for our household.

We're talking about getting a frog or turtle or something but it has to be earned and it won't be until October sometime, if at all. I expect to see responsibilities being done, attitude changing, schoolwork being completed, etc... She seemed eager to earn this and we plan to look for a small tank at a garage sale.

Everyday Graces: Child's Book Of Good Manners (Foundations)Everyday Graces - I picked up a book at the library on manners and graces. I plan to read a bit of it each morning during breakfast, and use some of the quotes and verses inside for our copywork/dictation. Has anyone used this book before? Is it a keeper? It looks wonderful. It has sections aptly named: Helping Out at Home, Taming the Tongue, Telling the Truth, Washing, Dressing, Working Hard, Caring for the Sick, and a whole section on Table Manners as well as other great topics.
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