Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Bookshelf

School Room Bookshelf (2)
A while back I posted a picture of my new bookcase (lovingly made by my dad).
I thought y'all might like to see it with books on it!

School Room Bookshelf

I'm so happy to have a tiny bit of white space and wiggle room. It won't be around for long.
My sister, Holly, and I share books, particularly for history.
She has many of my modern history books (which is why I have room for history encyclopedias on that shelf),
and I have quite a few of her Medieval history books.
In the next couple weeks, I might have to do some rearranging, as I borrow her huge collection of late Renaissance/early modern history books.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday Seven

Sunrise (2)

Daylight. It is a precious thing at 6 am.

2010 ~ Week 8
(Yes, I've missed a couple.)

{1} Days Walked/Ran: 4
I walked 4 on week 6, then had a week off when Russ was out of town.
We were back in the swing (sorta) this week.

{2} Dr. Peppers Consumed: I have no idea. Less than one a day, though. (Smile.)

{3} Blah, blah, blah....

{4} Daily Reading (Bible, A Year With C.S. Lewis, Intellectual Devotional): Still plugging along.
(Finished Matthew and Exodus.)

{5} Days of Math with Levi: 4?

{6} Intentional Reading: Finished Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson, meandered through Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, and Nurture by Nature by Teiger, and began The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma.

{7} No pool for a while. We were on vacation (with no pool at the!), Russ was gone, and the boys spent this Friday evening at Knights of the Realm (staged jousting tournament).

Though the circular round-and-round of routine be the bulk of life's affairs,
make an occasional jutting diversion - of fun, love, or something that will outlast you -
so the shape and motion of your life shall resemble the round lifegiving sun
with bright rays shining forth from all directions.

~Destin Figuier


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Giving Our Children the World: Education Through Geography

As a child, I would sit in a chair and look at my grandfather’s world globe for what seemed like hours at a time. Feeling the bumps of mountains. Reading the names of each country. Plotting a course across the ocean.

What is it like to live there? How does it feel to swim in those waters? Would the sky look the same if I lay on my back and looked up from another continent? How long would it take to get from here to there?

As soon as I had children of my own, I knew that I wanted to impart to them this same curiosity about the wide world around us. Architecture, food, folktales and stories, history, art, music, languages, and scenery–it is all fascinating to me.

I want my children to be world travelers, even when we don’t have the ability to go far from home.

There are many simple ways to incorporate geography into daily life and

I'm over at Simple Homeschool, today. Head on over to read the rest!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Field Trip #13

(Let's lump the Space Needle and two science museums into one weekend field trip, shall we?)


Pacific Science Center

Actually, I think that last guy is an Allosaurus, but dinosaurs aren't really my thing.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Weekend Get-Away


We managed to get away on a mini trip to Seattle this past weekend.
Russ had a class up there all week, so we went early and did a little bit of sight-seeing.

Things are always much more simple in the initial wave of inspiration.

We ended up having to drive two vehicles.
I thought there was a pool at the hotel. The boys were ecstatic. Then no pool.
Sunday was overcast, and then it rained.
Keeping 3 young, fearless boys reigned in in a major city took both parents and all hands. Hence very few pictures.
I hate driving in big cities. I really do.
A hotel switch the second night. Smaller room. Still no pool.
Russ headed to his class on Monday.
I took the boys to the hotel's restaurant breakfast buffet. Lamaze breathing necessary.
And then the 4 hour drive home without Dad. Sigh.

On a positive note:
I'm glad we went.
The boys enjoyed seeing the Space Needle.
They really enjoyed the short monorail ride.
We visited two science museums.
The boys are great car-riders, all things considered.

And we are really glad Dad is coming home tonight.

Good for the Soul

Oh, Beautiful Day

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.
The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.

~Henry Van Dyke

Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!

~L.H. Bailey

May I tell you just how much I needed a beautiful day? We got one today... and spent hours outside.
I feel like a new person. But the mud, oh, the mud.

Friday, February 12, 2010

To Love

Valentine's Lunch

Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.

~Robert Heinlein

Happy Valentine's Day
a little early, my friends.
I know I haven't been around much. It has been about all I can do to keep up with life.
And life is more important than a blog about life, no?

We are going on a little family holiday for the weekend.
I'll be back later next week.... hopefully with a refreshed spirit and new photos. Grin.

Monday, February 8, 2010

A New Adventure

Simple Mom has been a favorite cyber-stop of mine for a long time.
Her posts are encouraging, informative, helpful, and inspirational.
(Simple Kids has also been inspiring parents for over a year.)
Today, Simple Mom launches three new blogs:


This is the beginning of an exciting new adventure for me, also,
as a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool.
Click on one of the links above or the button on my side bar to head on over for a visit.

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds,

unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.

~Mortimer Adler

Always walk through life as if you have something new to learn and you will.

~Vernon Howard

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday Seven

Had Enough

My attempt at learning manual exposure means that the boys are spending more time as guinea pigs.
And at some point (usually sooner rather than later) the photo shoot abruptly ends....

2010 ~ Week 5

{1} Days Walked/Ran: 5
(Week 16. Two days were a little shorter than usual, but at least I got out there!)

{2} Dr. Peppers Consumed: 3, I think.
(Need to drink more water and tea!)

{3} Fruit/Veggie Smoothies: 4
(Made a really tasty one yesterday that had red cabbage, yellow squash, and spinach in it along with lots of fruit and a little agave nectar.)

{4} Daily Reading (Bible, A Year With C.S. Lewis, Intellectual Devotional): Still plugging along.

{5} Days of Math with Levi: 3 or 4.
(We had an off week due to some sickness going around...)

{6} Intentional Reading: Finished the last little book in the 26 Fairmount Avenue series by Tomie DePaola. Reading Shakespeare: Life as Stage by Bill Bryson,
Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson, Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis, and Nurture by Nature by Teiger.

{7} Made it to the pool again!

Sorry about the lack of blog posts lately. I've been feeling a little blah (what is it about January and February?), and we had a stomach flu bug around here this week.
I have a few things to share this next week, which I hope will include book reviews.
Oh, and I totally spaced Living. Lovely. on Thursday. Guess we'll have two weeks to make a phone call. Grin.

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall.

Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day.

Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down.

And this is all life really means.

~Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Textures: I'm In Love

Ocean Textures

Thanks to Jodi at MCP, I've jumped on the Texture Bandwagon. And I don't ever want to get off.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Shakespeare for Children (And Their Parents, Too)

Twelfth Night

If music be the food of love, play on;

Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting,

The appetite may sicken, and so die.

That strain again! it had a dying fall:

O, it came o'er my ear like the sweet sound

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odour!

~Twelfth Night, 1. 1

Those of us who had the misfortune to miss out on Shakespeare during our own childhood education may be just a bit intimidated at the thought of diving in during our adulthood, but I think some of the joy is in sharing the learning experience with our children.

Three years ago, I had no Shakespeare under my belt. None. Nada. Since then, Levi and I have read or listened to many retellings, watched a handful of movies, memorized a monologue or two, and attended 11 live plays! (Six of those plays were thoughtfully abridged and presented as double features.) Though I am nowhere near an expert on the subject, I thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the simple steps my family has taken to make Shakespeare an exciting part of our education and enjoyment.

1. Meet William Shakespeare.

We enjoyed Bard of Avon: The Story of William Shakespeare by Diane Stanley, which contains a generous amount of biographical information paired with beautiful illustrations.

2. Hear the sounds of Shakespeare's language.

The Young Person's Guide to Shakespeare contains a biographical sketch, information about the Globe, and brief introductions to his major works and most famous characters, but the real gem is the accompanying CD. It includes recordings of actors performing a few of Shakespeare's most famous speeches. We have listened to this CD over and over again in the car and even memorized King Harry's speech from Henry V, Act III, sc. 1. It is very rewarding (for child and parent) to speak it along with the actor! (More about memorizing later.)

Then imitate the action of the tiger,

Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,

Disguise fair nature with hard-favours rage.

Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;

Let it pry through the portage of the head

Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it

As fearfully as doth a galled rock

O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,

Swilled with the wild and wasteful ocean.

3. Read or listen to retellings of Shakespeare's plays.

There are many picture books and story collections available. Bruce Coville has authored several retellings in picture book format. We've used Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare by E. Nesbit to prepare us for each live performance we've attended. With twenty plays, this is a handy book to have on hand. Charles and Mary Lamb's Shakespeare for Children on audio CD has been played often in the car along with Shakespeare for Children by master storyteller, Jim Weiss. Shakespeare Stories by Leon Garfield is just one of many other options. Check your library to see what is available!

4. Watch recorded versions of the plays.

Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, and As You Like It are a few of our favorites.

Parental previewing is recommended, as most of the plays have some scenes or innuendo that might not be appropriate for all ages. I've found, however, that fast-forwarding occasionally works well for us.

Twelfth Night 2

5. Attend live performances.

Again, you may need to check ahead of time to find out of specific performances are family-friendly. We've been to both kinds. My personal favorites have been the performances put on by a local homeschooling group. The plays are classically interpreted, appropriate for all ages, and slightly abridged (with narrations to help keep the flow) which makes them easier to sit through for younger children. Each year, they perform one tragedy or history and one comedy.

The local college also puts on spectacular performances with interesting interpretations, fabulous costuming and choreography, excellent actors, and a beautiful setting. The downside is that the content tends to be less appropriate for kids.

6. Memorize speeches and quotes.

Start small, and let Shakespeare roll off your tongue! Be thoughtful or witty. (Need ideas? Browse here.) Then move on to slightly longer speeches, such as the one above.

I feel within me a peace above all earthly dignities,

a still and quiet conscience.

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players.

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts...

7. Read the original plays.

This one is fairly self-explanatory. Try reading the plays aloud, taking turns with other family members. The plays are also available online.

8. Imagine being there!

The Shakespeare Stealer is an entertaining historical fiction series for children. I must not be entirely grown up, as I was also entertained.

9. Learn more!

Shakespeare: The World as Stage by Bill Bryson has lately been calling my name from its home on my nightstand. I finally unearthed it from the towering stack and started in.

The boys and I have only scratched the surface in the past 3 years. I'm so glad I have the rest of my life to discover, learn, see, read, watch, participate in, explore, memorize, and enjoy new things.