Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An Ordinary Tuesday

I braved the hair salon with three little boys and survived.

We celebrated with a trip to the mall.
And stopped at the photo booth like usual. This time I got to take the pictures.
Bob's Pizza has been a favorite since before I was married. The same lady has worked there since Levi was a baby. I've spent 5 or 6 years rolling up to her counter with the stroller. Now I have three little boys standing there doing their own ordering.
If this picture doesn't perfectly depict the majority of my shopping trips, I don't know what would:
I don't know how the boys got recess before we even started any school work...
Bambi came to pick up Leif for their routine afternoon together (sleeping on the couch).
And we got down to business for a couple hours. Reading. Grammar. Piano...
...and of course Math.
Daddy came home early and paid for admission into the park.
Where he finished his cell phone conversation...
...and then took Levi to Tae Kwon Do. He was nice enough to take the other two boys out of my (short) hair for a while before we met up for dinner at a local burger joint.
Now, if only Leif would realize that it is waaaaay past his bedtime.

A Week in the Life...

I very badly wanted to participate in Ali Edwards' A Week in the Life this week. It appears I'll be doing a pared down version as we are still not up to speed. Luke and Leif are still congested, wheezy, and coughing. It seems I'm getting a sinus infection to add to my list of annoying ills at the moment. (Do I sound whiny?)

Ali asks us to keep it low-pressure and not worry if our life isn't perfect at the moment. Sounds good to me. Here are a few pictures from yesterday:

The boys watching morning television. Leif asks for Cheerios and juice as soon as he wakes up and always sits on the ottoman to watch shows.
Eggs, OJ, and spinach smoothie for breakfast:
Leif rarely consents to sit in the highchair anymore. He is a big boy, don't you know. I'm gonna miss our red highchair when it is no longer in use.
Our school books and papers awaiting us:
(My boys do occasionally wear shirts, I promise.)

We do all our reading on the couch. I love snuggling. (Luke is a great photographer, no?)
When does laundry ever end? I could take this picture daily:
You could tell that I've been sick the second you walked into my house. I can't believe this arrangement was still up over my mantel. I couldn't stand it another moment.
I didn't have the energy for a big re-do, but this quick-change is much, much better.
I still couldn't stop fussing with it, so I added a couple other things. It will probably stay like this for a little while, though:
What did you do yesterday?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Poetry and Memorization

(Look at this! The post that went missing showed up again. You have no idea how glad I am not to re-think and re-type and re-post this thing!!)

Have you made time in your life and homeschool for poetry? There is something wonderful about filling your mind with beautiful language and thoughts.

Reading and memorizing poetry was on my list of important educational experiences, but recently it was bumped up to priority status by this article (go read it!) by Andrew Pudewa of the Institute for Excellence in Writing. He maintains that memorizing poetry is one of the two most important exercises your children can do to increase their writing and communication skills.

The Harp and the Laurel Wreath (above) is one of the first poetry investments I made. It is an excellent and extensive resource. It contains a large selection of poetry, Bible passages, speeches, Latin prayers, and writings for memorization. These are divided into four broad stages corresponding with the three stages of classical education (grammatical, dialectical, and rhetorical) with an additional category for the early years.

The first three stages conclude with passages for dictation. The rhetorical stage includes terms to know for the study of poetry and study questions (and answers!) for each poetry selection.

This collection is a generous value for the price, and a must-have for homeschool libraries or for those adults wanting to read or memorize poetry to enrich their lives.

My second recommendation for poetry memorization is Andrew Pudewa's Developing Linguistic Patterns Through Poetry Memorization (book and CD). As the author of the article linked above, Andrew Pudewa has developed a fascinating poetry memorization program utilizing the Suzuki Method for mastery learning.

It is much less expensive to purchase this program without the audio CDs, but I highly recommend them if they are in the budget. We listen to them endlessly in the car while heading to and from activities. I enjoy hearing the poetry with emotion and inflection, and the boys have the opportunity to cement the language in their minds without me reading the poems over and over and over. Even Leif can anticipate words and sounds as we drive along. I love watching his mouth move and hearing his mumbling sounds as he follows along.

This program has several levels, but at each level Pudewa alternates long and short poems for variety. Some are humorous, some are serious. Many of the poems are ones that are easily appreciated by boys (which is helpful in this house, of course).

If you are searching for a general book of poetry, with an audio CD no less, search no further. With poetry by William Blake, Lewis Carroll, Shakespeare, Homer, Robert Browning, and so many more, A Child's Introduction to Poetry: Listen While You Learn About the Magic Words That Have Moved Mountains, Won Battles, and Made Us Laugh and Cry will introduce kids to a wide variety of verse.

Nursery rhymes, nonsense verse, limericks, haiku, narrative verse, and ballads are a few of the styles of poetry explained along with numerous examples of each. The second half of the book contains samples of the famous works of poetry's greats (Homer, John Milton, Elizabeth Barrett Browning...).

The accompanying CD is another that plays often in our car. The poems are so varied and alternate between male and female voice, so that it never grows old.

While I'm on a roll, let me mention a similar resource featuring Shakespeare's incredible use of language.

The Young Person's Guide to Shakespeare is, I believe, not readily available new, but is worth purchasing used. Again, we listen to the audio CD often in the house or the car. The boys and I found the speech from Henry V fascinating (on the recording, particularly) and were motivated to memorize it. Leif even gets in a few words here and there.

Our language arts program, First Language Lessons, incorporates the memorization of poetry alongside the other language skills for those who would like an all-in-one language program for early elementary ages.

Interested in Bible memory? By far, my favorite resource would be the audio CDs from Sing the Word. The recordings have an excellent musical quality. Obviously the talent drips from this family! We memorized the verses from Sing the Word from A to Z last year and are currently working on the Biblical selections on A New Commandment.

All of the books, CDs, and programs I've listed here are useful and enjoyed by a wide range of ages. You will find yourself utilizing them for years to come!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Shannon and Ben

Yes, my little sister Shan and her hubby were much more cooperative than the munchkins. We'll have to do another photo shoot when the lighting is better for close-ups (and when the setting isn't so breathtaking that I am trying to make the most of it...).