Sunday, November 29, 2009

Persian Wedding

Dh and I went to his cousin's wedding last night. This is the first Persian wedding that I have attended. I have seen photos and video of dh's sister's wedding, but I have never been to one. Dh said that it was a really wonderful wedding and reception. I thought so too, but I have no memories of other Persian weddings for comparison and so was glad for his confirmation of my assessment.

First Dance

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

Other than the read-alouds and poetry that I have already posted, Duncan also did Kumon and violin on Monday and Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday we drove to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. Today we drove home.

Perhaps playing hide-and-seek with relatives counts as PE!:-)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Berea Acceptance Letter!

This warrants a special posting. Christian's first acceptance letter arrived today!

He has been accepted at Berea College in Berea, KY. This acceptance comes with a 4-year, full tuition scholarship.

Yes, I am doing a happy dance!

The It's-Not-Yet-Thursday Read-Aloud

I do not believe that I will post tomorrow, so here is our Read-Aloud Thursday posted on Wednesday morning.

The Thankgiving Story by Alice Dalgliesh
The quintessential Thanksgiving picture book

Mean Soup
A lovely book demonstrating an appropriate way to channel a child's anger
(I used to take my big boys outside to howl at the moon.)

Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months by Maurice Sendak
While Chicken Soup is indeed full of fun Sendak pictures and poetry, this book and Mean Soup were chosen by one of my little Kumon students who is obviously wanting soup this week!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Mandy in TN

Wordless Wednesday- Big Man on Campus

Christian, just ahead in the black trench coat, walking his favorite (and may I also add very attractive) college campus.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry- Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year
by Thornton W. Burgess

Thanksgiving comes but once a year,
But when it comes it brings good cheer.
For in my storehouse on this day
Are piles of good things hid away.
Each day I’ve worked from early morn
To gather acorns, nuts, and corn,
Till now I’ve plenty and to spare
Without a worry or a care.
So light of heart the whole day long,
I’ll sing a glad Thanksgiving song.

This poem is good for discussing rhyming couplets!

Circle the last word in the first two lines in one color; circle the last word in the next two lines in a different color; so forth and so on. Ask your child to look at year and cheer and tell you what he notices about the two words. He should tell you that they rhyme. Then, look at day and away and discuss that they rhyme with each other but not with year and cheer. Explain that when a poem contains a rhyming pair of successive lines, two lines one after another that end with words that rhyme, they are called a rhyming couplet.

You can demonstrate rhyming patterns with legos, colored beads, or little pieces of construction paper. For example, in this poem you could use two white legos (year, cheer), two red legos (day, away), two green legos (morn, corn), two blue legos (spare, care), and two yellow legos (long, song).

If your child is older or you want to move past the simple explanation of a pair of successive rhyming lines, you can discuss how couplets usually form a syntactic unit (phrase, clause, or sentence) and share the same meter (pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables in lines of a set length).

Monday, November 23, 2009

Meditative Monday- In Which I Roll from One Quote to the Next!

Initially, I had thought that I would continue in the same vein as last week- discussing little snail’s journey from the point of view of direction. However, with it being Thanksgiving week, two quotes are walking around arm in arm in my mind grinning at me.

“If a fellow isn't thankful for what he's got, he isn't likely to be thankful for what he's going to get.” Frank A. Clark

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

Of course I have days that are just downright overemotional in truly negative ways- frustrating or infuriating, difficult or downright dreadful. If I didn’t, if I were detached from and unaffected by my surroundings and the people in them, then I would not be human. An emotionally healthy person does not live without feeling the impact of unpleasantness. In spite of this, to dwell on this unpleasantness would be like tending the thistle rather than the rose. As Frances Hodgson Burnett put it in The Secret Garden:

One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts--just mere thoughts--are as powerful as electric batteries--as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live…
Much more surprising things can happen to any one who, when a disagreeable or discouraged thought comes into his mind, just has the sense to remember in time and push it out by putting in an agreeable determinedly courageous one. Two things cannot be in one place.
Where, you tend a rose, my lad, A thistle cannot grow.

As a whole when looking at my existence, I can choose to be thankful and happy. But, oh my goodness (LOL), this has indeed led me back to little snail’s journey!

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.” Dr. Seuss

As I steer through this journey, rather than choose to wallow in the excrement, I make up my mind to tend with thankfulness and happiness the abundance of good fortune.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday- Homeschool Week in Review for Duncan

DUNCAN- 1st grade
Well, with Mr. Duncan I’ll just do a week in review and tell you what we managed to accomplish this week.

Language Arts
Duncan continued to work on some Emily Dickinson poems. He participated in Teatime Tuesday Poetry and talked about haiku. He made a copybook and sewed in the pages like the one we saw at the TN Ag Center that was used at the turn of the century. In his copybook he wrote out the first stanza of "Nobody" by Emily Dickinson. He did some Kumon reading packs and Thursday went to the Kumon center. We also read Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day together.

He actually does have more workbook type stuff that he didn't do this week. With Thanksgiving I doubt that we will get around to any more language arts next week.

On Tuesday afternoon he went to the math tutor and on Thursday afternoon he went to Kumon. He did some Kumon pages at home and some pages in Key to Fractions Book 2. He wrote some measurement conversions in his copybook. Due to the amount of driving that we have been doing, right now the number of feet in a mile is really interesting to him.

He actually does have a textbook that he didn't do this week. With Thanksgiving I doubt that we will get around to any more math next week.

We talked about rock classes- Igneous, Sedimentary, and Metamorphic. We used the list from Living Memory by Andrew A. Campbell. He looked at the different types of rock in Grayson’s rock collections and read about them in DK Eyewitness Earth and DK Eyewitness Rocks & Minerals. He watched a couple of Magic School Bus videos (Busasaurus and Taking Flight) from the library. This led to looking books and talking about dinosaurs, but sparked no interest in flight.

History and Geography
This year Duncan is using a book called The Seven Continents of the World Jigsaw Book. The goal is that by the end of the year he can locate the seven continents on a globe and a number of countries in them. This week we looked at the continent of Australia, because in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Alexander says repeatedly that he is going to move to Australia. This map also includes Oceania, so we talked about Tasmania and New Zealand. This led to us going down a rabbit trail following Tasmanian Devils.

Duncan also learned about Charlemagne this week. We read about Charlemagne in The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History and in my old, beat-up Kingfisher History Encyclopedia.

Foreign Language
Duncan is using Rosetta Stone Farsi and sat on it twice this week for 15 minutes. Thursday night he talked to his grandparents, Aziz and Baba Haji, in Iran.

He also watched Kids Love Spanish- Volume 3: Family a couple of times which led to him calling me ma-ma like the children in the video.

Duncan went to his violin lesson on Tuesday and practiced about 30 minutes a day except on Thursday when we ran out of time. At his lesson he learned Jingle Bells!

This week we began looking at Giotto. We looked at Getting to Know the World’s Great Artists- Giotto and began reading it. I plan to continue looking at Giotto until we break for Christmas.

Today we went to see a play based on Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Friday- Homeschool Overview of Grayson

GRAYSON- 10th grade

Grayson goes to a tutor for math, uses SOS for Spanish, and is continuing Conceptual Physics. Everything else is more Charlotte Mason inspired.

Personal Pursuits
Ourselves: Book 1- Self-Knowledge by Charlotte Mason, about 1 Chapter each week
Nature Walks

Language Arts
Literary Lessons from the Lord of the Rings

Ancient History
The Teaching Company Foundations of Western Civilization, lectures 16-48 about 1 Lecture each week
TRISMS Expansion of Civilization

Fine Arts
The Teaching Company Great Artists of the Italian Renaissance, about 1 Lecture each week
Sister Wendy's Story of Painting
Sister Wendy's- 1000 Masterpieces

Human Anatomy
The Teaching Company Understanding the Human Body, about 1 Lecture each week
DK’s The Human Body Book
Body by Design
START EXPLORING Gray's Anatomy - A Fact-Filled Coloring Book

Church History
Christian History Made Easy
100 Most Important Events in Christian History

Friday- Homeschool Overview of Christian

CHRISTIAN- 12 grade

Christian is studying the New Testament with the lectures from The Teaching Company, College Algebra at the community college, Spanish 2 with ABeka and a tutor, Southern History through his umbrella, a senior research project through this umbrella, and Language Arts. Southern History is 1 semester. Next semester he will do SOS Economics. He is almost entirely outsourced and has one foot out the door.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Read-Aloud Thursday

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Today Duncan and I read this old favorite, because tomorrow we are going to see the play at the children's theater!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Not So Wordless Wednesday Photo

From left to right, this is Duncan, Grayson, Maple the Dog, and Christian walking into the wooded common area of our neighborhood.

Wordless Wednesday- Autumn Scarlet

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday Teatime Poetry- Haiku

Currently, Duncan is memorizing some Emily Dickinson poems. But, I have haiku on the brain. After all, last week I named this blog after a haiku. Also, when we were out looking at the college this past weekend, we stayed overnight with a dear friend who I have known since childhood. Her daughter Moe, not her real name, is currently doing a poetry unit at school and we talked about favorite poems and haiku.

So, I wanted to talk about haiku and share some websites.
I really like this haiku explanation. It is thorough and clear.
This page gives you a good idea of what isn’t a haiku.
This is a nice how-to if you are interested in writing a haiku, but don’t know where to start.

I enjoy writing haiku. It is calming to think of an entertaining juxtaposition in nature that also says something about the human condition and then attempting to boil it down to a few syllables devoid of the emotional analysis so common in Western poetry.

Here is one of mine that sticks to a 5-7-5 syllable structure.

Turtle’s jaws snap closed
On water and nothing else.
The fish speeds away.

Have you ever watched a snapping turtle miss its meal? It reminds me of wanting something so badly that I can taste it. I just know I am going to have whatever it is that I am wanting, so much so that I am counting on it. Then, the opportunity slips right past me. oops

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meditative Monday- College Selection Process Take 2

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
Henry David Thoreau

Christian has always wanted to work with animals. When he was little, we kept a pass to the zoo and went frequently. In the summer we often went more than once a week. Christian loved the zoo so much. He would say that when he grew up he was going to work at the zoo so that he could go everyday. (To which at one point his little brother Grayson replied that he was going to grow up and be a hippo so that he could see Christian everyday.)

This weekend we found a new number one college choice. It offers a biology major with a concentration in wildlife rehabilitation. The initial presentations about the college had Christian thrilled. Then, the prospective students were able to sit in on three discussions given by the different departments. After hearing the spiel from the biology department wildlife group, he was smiling from ear to ear. He reluctantly went to the humanities department second and chose to go to the cafeteria instead of attending a third department discussion.

After lunch we went and visited the wildlife rehabilitation center. At this point, he developed perma-grin. We walked around looking at turtles, squirrels, red-tailed hawks, etc. Christian knew the animals and the literary references behind the names that the students had given them. He fit right in with the group of people working there. I could have told him that he was going to complete his senior year living in the rehab center sleeping on the floor in the room with the opossum and he would have thanked me as he waved dismissively while walking away.

As we drove away, Christian declared that his safety school was okay and that his reach school was very nice, but that he loved this college. While the other two schools offer biology degrees that with some tailoring could create a somewhat similar experience, neither would offer the support and camaraderie of a group of like-minded people. I know that right now this college is front and center. However, no matter what institution he attends, now is the time to pour his energies into making this life he imagines into a reality.

Friday, November 13, 2009

College Selection Process

Well, today the boys and I are packing up and heading out of town to look at a college for the big guy. It is a certainly a one-day drive, but it is not a short one. So, I want to head out the door soon.

For the most part, I would say that I am a relaxed parent. However, graduating and going to college have me wound up and anxious. There is this overwhelming feeling that these are the last and most important decisions in my child's life for which I will contribute a deciding or major vote. I don't want to vote wrong!

There is no path to follow. I did not graduate from college; his father did not graduate from college; none of his grandparents graduated from college. I try to be informed and give appropriate guidance, but there is a ton of information and what if I miss something. It makes my chest feel heavy if I ponder it for too long.

Last month we looked at a college that is the bee’s knees. If he is accepted, it is where he will go. However, keeping in mind that his odds at his reach school are only 20% at best, we are excited about the college we are touring tomorrow. I hope that in Christian’s eyes it measures up or at least comes close to college number one.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More About Me- Kumon

Three half days a week I work in the junior room at the Kumon Center. I am privileged to sit for several hours with kids who are just beginning reading and arithmetic. I read phonics charts, flip through flashcards, go over common words, count by 5’s and 10’s, write numbers, and explain simple addition. I have worked in the junior room for just a little over one year. In that time I have been fortunate to witness numerous little people move from pre-reading activities to really reading and graduating to the “big” room at the center.

What a joyful way to spend the afternoon! And, although it is not much, I do actually get PAID to do this.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

More Introductions

Today, while I continue playing with my blog's layout and deciding what direction I want to take with this endeavor, I will share a fun post from a message board I frequent. Someone asked, "If you came with instructions, what would your instructions say?"

Me- Requires very little sleep and when asleep only does so lightly thus is available at any time to meet the needs of the other products in the home. Silences loud noises. Melts in heat. Must be prompted to enter the kitchen. Also, any sort of gentle touching or tickling agitates, but appreciates genuine hugs. Capable of super-whistle power in order to confirm the position or attention of the other products in the home.

DH- Be aware that you have chosen a product with selective hearing and/ or selective mutism. To improve hearing and speech quality remove TV remotes and make sure product is in the upright position. Also, be aware that this product is capable of superhuman endurance and will work without food until collapse. To end work mode return TV remote.

Christian- Product is sensitive to heat and light. For happiest results keep product in cool, dimly lit, teenage boy cave and only remove for short periods of time. When outside the cave, this product is equipped with empathy software and may intuitively seek to do things to better the home environment. However, being within an undetermined radius of the two smaller products in the home may short out the empathy software.

Grayson- Sensitive speech software. Expect to speak clearly and patiently in order to achieve maximum output. This product can typically be expected to handle smallest product with great tolerance. Also does dishes!

Duncan- Danger. High Voltage. Do not expose to any measurable amount of sugar as this increases the likelihood of output overload. Be aware that this product is self-teaching and adorable while sleeping.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Which I Begin Introductions!

I will start with the boys, because it seems easier to describe them than my husband and myself. I have two sons from a previous marriage who for internet purposes I will call Christian and Grayson. Then, together we had a third son who henceforth shall be referred to as Duncan.

Christian is a senior in high school; Grayson is a sophomore in high school; Duncan is in first grade. I home-educate all three. However, although technically I am still responsible for his transcript, this year Christian is reporting to someone other than me for all of his classes, so I am really more of a guidance counselor than a teacher.

Christian, my mirror- born an old soul, moves when necessary
Grayson, my heart- my sunshine, moves to the tune in his head
Duncan, my angel- the child I never thought that I would have, moves with tenacity

They are 3 huggy, kissy lovebugs. Why bother having a loveseat and a recliner when they all sit right next to me on the couch?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Beginning with the Snail-ku

To begin, I suppose I should explain the blog title. It is a nod to Issa's famous snail-ku. My favorite translations leave the surprise for the end.

Snail slowly--
Slowly climb Mt. Fuji.

Oh, my little snail,
Slowly, ah, very slowly-
Climb up Mt. Fuji!

Like the Tortoise and the Hare, this haiku expresses that slow and steady wins the race, but I love that in this version there is no race, no competition, but instead just the self and the ultimate attainment through moving steadily in the correct direction.