Monday, August 29, 2011

Mt. Hope Academy ~ 2011-2012

I’ve updated my resource and planning list for the 2011-2012 school year, so I am reposting it today.

Oceans of Truth

The boys are all pre-registered for Classical Conversations 2011-2012. We are also currently registered with a distance learning program. They help pay for some of our non-faith-based materials and activities as well as administer standardized testing.

It has come to my attention that my boys need to be kept busy and quite structured if I wish to keep the house (and its inhabitants) from being destroyed. Now that I look at my list, however, I'm bemoaning my loss of Dr. Pepper. Will there be enough dark chocolate to keep me alive? (And, oh Lola, please be an angel toddler...)

Much of our work will be done together (with allowances for individual abilities and attention spans) unless otherwise noted.

Why homeschool? Because learning is a constant and essential component of a deep, rich life in God’s huge and fascinating world. Homeschooling is the best way for us to embrace that.

LEVI ~ 4th grade
LUKE ~ 2nd grade
LEIF ~ Kindergarten

Classical Conversations (Cycle 3) (One morning each week for 24 weeks; includes social time and public speaking.)

Bible Memory:
CC Memorize John 1:1-7 (in Latin and English)
A New Commandment (CD) (daily review) (Psalm 1, Psalm 23, Psalm 150, John 3:16, books of the New Testament, and more)
Daily Independent Bible reading:
Levi: The Adventure Bible 
Luke: The Action Bible
Leif: The Jesus Storybook Bible 
Telling God's Story (one lesson weekly with possible activity on another day)
Hymns For a Kid's Heart (Vol. 1, 2)
(one lesson weekly)
(Luke and Levi: weekly hymns on piano)
(weekly patriotic hymns/songs)
(Christmas: The Handel's Messiah Family Advent Reader)

Teaching Textbooks (Luke: finish 3, Levi: 4)
Singapore workbooks and CD-ROM math games
The Critical Thinking Co. math workbooks
Life of Fred
(I shared a little more about our math approach at this link.)
CC weekly memory work (skip counting/formulas/laws) (solidify memorization, practical application of formulas)

Christian Kids Explore Chemistry (finish)
Exploring the World of Chemistry by John Hudson Tiner
DK First Human Body Encyclopedia
The Visual Dictionary of the Human Body (Eyewitness)
My Body (human body project @ CC)
Bill Nye and Eyewitness DVDs (human body)
CC weekly science memory work (human body and chemistry)
CC weekly science projects and experiments
Christian Kids Explore Physics (after Chemistry and human body, if we get to it!)
The Kingfisher Science Encyclopedia
What’s Science All About? (Usborne) (covers Chemistry, Physics, and Biology)
The Story of Science series by Joy Hakim
Supplemental books and DVDs

Swim Team (3x week, plus swim meets and family swim nights)
(mini trampoline and outdoor play)

Fine Arts:
CC drawing, tin whistle/music theory, fine art/art projects, composers/instruments of the orchestra
Monthly Fine Arts Study (one composer/artist/poet each month)
Draw Write Now (books 2,3, and 5)
Piano lessons (Luke) (loving this piano book series!)
Piano review (Levi)

Language Arts:
IEW Writing (Luke: Primary Arts of Language Writing, Levi: TWSS/Student Writing Intensive A/Fables, Myths, and Fairy Tales Writing Lessons)
IEW Poetry Memorization
MCT Poetry, Grammar, Writing, Vocabulary (Town level)
Writing With Ease/ First Language Lessons 
(Online sentence diagramming)
CC grammar memory work (verbs, parts of sentences)
All About Spelling Level 2 and 3
Handwriting Without Tears workbooks
Copy work using custom handwriting worksheets
(I shared more details about our Language Arts line-up at this link.)
Typing (still haven’t purchased a program)

Prima Latina (review with DVDs)
Latina Christiana I (one lesson weekly with daily review when finished with Prima Latina review)
CC Latin memory work

El Espanol Facil Jr. (with Spanish-speaking Grandpa!) (probably won’t start until January)

Maps & Globes
CC U.S. geography (states, capitals, mountains, rivers, lakes, features, and more)
Postcards across America project (use with coloring pages to create our own U.S.A. notebook)
State coloring and fact pages (free printable)
Passport to America (free printable game)
Geography games (capitals, states, landscapes) (free online—site is wonky, have to scroll a lot to find game links) 
Place the State online game
States games and puzzles
Continue map drawing and 'blobbing' continents (CC)
(review CC cycle 2 geography)
(history related maps)

The Story of the World: Early Modern Times (finish) (with Activity Guide)
The Story of the World: The Modern Age (with Activity Guide)
CC weekly history memory work (American history)
The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History (Luke)
The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia (Levi)
DK Children's Encyclopedia of American History
CC Veritas History Timeline Cards and U.S. Presidents (solidify memorization)
Mission US (free online American history role-playing game)
Liberty’s Kids (Netflix streaming), Schoolhouse Rock America, and This is America, Charlie Brown (YouTube)
Supplemental books and DVDs
Literature study (1800-present using lists from The Well-Trained Mind)|
Parent-child monthly book club focusing on literature analysis via Socratic dialogue (a la Deconstructing Penguins and Teaching the Classics)

Lots of free reading and library visits

Review CC memory work from cycle 2

"Grammy School" (one or two afternoons each week at Bambi's house)
(reading, phonogram cards, handwriting workbook, workbooks from The Critical Thinking Co., cooking/baking, crafts)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(Not) Back to School…

…And all that.

So many people are back in the school routine. We are not. For several reasons:

1. Our summer just began. Sad, but true. This past week we’ve had our *first* couple days of 90+ degrees. It probably wouldn’t be right for me to complain about how hot and crabby I’ve been, so I won’t. But it is really weird for me to think that there is less than a week left in August.

2. I’m getting very little sleep, and my days are full. full. full. just getting the basics done. I’m trying to keep these little people fed (I use that word loosely), clothed (I also use that word loosely), and safe (“). After that, there are about 2 minutes left in my day to clean house (and I probably shouldn’t use those words at all…).

3. We are still in the middle of a remodeling project. One that has to get finished before I can organize all our school things and get our routine in place. My self-imposed dead-line is September 15th (nothing like company to get me motivated), so we have three weekends of work left. I can. not. wait. to show you what we’ve done. Mostly because that will mean it’s done. I like done. I really hate the worse-than-when-we-started stage.

4. Our year of Classical Conversations doesn’t begin until September 12th. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I still have a little bit of breathing room.

For those of you who are eagerly awaiting the return of our weekly reports (anyone?)—you might be waiting a while longer. I’ve been keeping track of a few things over the summer (mostly Levi’s reading), and will post that before our new year begins.

For those of you who are wondering what happened to my monthly fine arts studies, we’ve still been following our schedule, but the posts haven’t made the priority list. I’ll try to resume those in September with our weekly reports. (Speaking of weekly reports, our fine arts resources have been posted there under, get this, fine arts. {grin})

For those of you who would love for me to post detailed lists of studies corresponding to our year of Classical Conversations—well, that isn’t going to happen. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I’ll just send you over to Half-a-Hundred Acre Wood. There, Brandy has posted links, resources, lists, and ideas. More than you could ever want, need, or use. And it’s all ready to go. Me? I’ll be posting what we did AFTER the fact, and behind most other CC schedules since we are starting so late. Impressive, I know.

Speaking of what we’re doing: This year we won’t be tailoring our lessons around the CC schedule quite as much as we did last year. We’re kind of doing our own thing and plugging in the memory work as we come to that information in our studies. I posted a list of what we’re working on this coming year, but I’ll be updating it and posting it again in the next week or two.

I am hoping to do bare-bones schooling the week of the 12th, getting our routines into place and hosting/facilitating our first parent-child literary analysis book club (a la Deconstructing Penguins and Teaching the Classics). Here’s *praying* we can get up to speed by the following week.

For those of you who have enjoyed my food for thought links in the past, I’ve got a great one to leave you with today:

Saint Paul and Christian Classical Education by Tucker Teague @ Satellite Saint. (I’m happy to say that I had the distinct pleasure of chatting with Tucker when I was visiting his wife a while back. They are two of the neatest people I’ve had the privilege of meeting.)

But a true dialogue can seem to be unfocused and wandering, which is also antithetical to teaching in the modern sense. Our modern education system is partially based on a sense of urgency–we cannot afford to waste time with thinking when we have so much knowledge to get into those little brains. It is a system that must swap dialogue with lecture. But this modern system denies the existence of the human soul. Is that what we want?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quick Hello

The Lola Channel

I’m checking in with a quick hello. And, of course, a ‘few’ pictures of Lola. Hey, it’s the Lola Channel. All Lola, all the time.

Speaking of Lola… she’s on the move. And teething. That is all.

I also wanted to thank everyone who responded to my postcard request. You are fabulous. Yes, YOU!! Thank you! It looks like I still need the following states: DE, ME, MS, NH, ND, RI, VT, WV, and WY. Only nine states left! If you are interested in sending us a postcard from one of those states, please email me at heidi (at) poetsgarden (dot) com.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sami Sneak Peek and Random Life

Sami (1) Sami (2)

I just did my last senior photo shoot of the season last night. One more family photo session this evening and I’m hanging up my shingle for a little while. Just not enough hours in the day.

I had a blast with Sami. She really knows how to work the camera. The editing on that second picture was something of an accident… then I liked it so much I thought I’d post it.

After getting home from the beach last weekend, we had a busy week. Russ’s family from Washington was here visiting, and the boys got to spend a bunch of quality time with their Grandma.

Leif turned five (FIVE!!!) on Thursday. We went to the Cool Pool to swim and Cold Stone for ice cream treats, then partied at my parents’ house on Saturday.

Today is overcast and cool compared to the past two “hot'” days. Saturday it hit 90 for the FIRST TIME this YEAR. I think we’ll be cleaning house and reading books. How is that for a boat-load of fun?

And that is all the “excitement” I have to share for now…

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Checking Out

I’m going to be MIA for a little while. Just trying to get life done. I may not be able to respond to emails and comments in a timely manner.

Thank you so much for all the responses to our postcard project!! I am so excited. It makes me want to hop in our truck and go on a cross-country trip to see all of you! You wouldn’t mind if we showed up on your door step one day, would you? {grin}

If I kept track correctly (and that would be a miracle), some states still up for grabs. If you are interested in sending us a postcard from one of these states, shoot me an email and I will try to email you back shortly with our address. Let me know if you would like a postcard in return! Still needed: AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, HI?, IN, KY, ME, MS, NE, NH, NJ, NM, ND, OH, RI, SC, SD?, VT, WV, and WY. (If you’d like to send us a postcard from a state not listed, we’d love to hear from you. One can’t have too many postcards. And if you’d like to send us a postcard from somewhere out of the U.S., we’d LOVE to hear from you!!)

(ETA: AZ, AR, CT, IN, FL, KY, NJ, OH, and SC now spoken for!)

Thanks, everyone. ‘See’ you in a week (or two….).

Beach Babe

Lola Beach (1) Lola Beach (9) Lola Beach (6) Lola Beach (3) Lola Beach (8) Lola Beach (2) Lola Beach (6) Lola Beach (7) Lola Beach (5)Lola Beach (4)Smiles for Daddy

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oceans of Truth

Oceans of Truth

Last year, our 'school motto' was this photo, but I think we've found a new one for this year!

In Which We Go to the Beach

I could share the unedited, very un-beautiful version of our beach story. But—today—it is a very important thing that I give the glorious version. It is a gift to myself. A reminder that the (short) little moments are worth it. A reminder that I need an attitude adjustment.

Because life, right now, is so. much. work. Even for the fun stuff. Especially for the fun stuff. I find myself struggling to relax and enjoy myself. EVER. There is always a sense of being ‘on duty.’ A weight of things needing to be done. A frustration over things not going the way, being the way, they should. A fruitless yearning to be enough ME, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. And, more often than I’d like to admit, a feeling that things aren’t worth it (such as 48 hours of ‘work’ for 2 hours of ‘fun’).

Beach (1) Beach (2) Levi Beach Beach (4) Beach Luke Beach Luke (2) Beach Hubby Beach (6) Beach Lola Beach (3) Beach (5) (More pictures tomorrow, including Lola Love.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Swiftly Sails on By

Lola and the boys

I’m going with the ‘just do it’ posting method tonight. I’m tired and I want to go to bed, but if I don’t post now, it will be a while before I get a chance again!

Life, Unedited:

I’ve been thinking a little about school plans. So many people are already back to school. Not here. Our summer feels like it has barely begun! Our year of Classical Conversations doesn’t begin until September 12th. I missed out on the (Not) Back to School blog hop because I’ve got nothin’. Maybe I’ll do my own Back to School blog series in mid-September.

While I was thinking about school plans, Latin was on the docket. I was trying to decide whether to review Prima Latina or go straight on to Latina Christiana. My sister mentioned she had the DVDs for Prima Latina. I thought we’d start there and go through the lessons quickly. I popped in the 1st DVD one evening just to preview. Luke got so excited, you would have thought it was Transformers or something. I promised he could go to bed with the Latin book if only he would get ready for bed quickly and practice his piano cheerfully. He raced off. Halfway through his piano practice he was dragging. Then he started chanting, ‘Latin, Latin, Latin,’ with a smile on his face and finished strong. He then happily snuggled in his bed with both the Prima Latina book and Song School Latin. I think an alien lives here. Or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde at the very least.

The picture on the right, above, is of Lola and the boys watching the 1st Latin lesson on DVD. I guess we’ll start that early…

The boys finished their fourth week of VBS tonight! The evening VBS schedule is really tough on us. We have a hard time getting there at 6 pm without feeling rushed and throwing together something to eat at the last minute, and the boys have a VERY hard time getting ready for bed when they get home and falling asleep. So it has been very late nights for us all.

Lola is into EVERYTHING. And she’s getting very opinionated. And she doesn’t want to sleep much.

I LOVED this season of So You Think You Can Dance (the only season I’ve actually watched). Really amazing choreography and dancing. Phenomenal.

We are headed to the beach tomorrow. It will be Lola’s first time!

Grandpa and Grandma, I’m so sorry I don’t have any pictures of Boys’ Camp to post. I thought the camera battery was charged, but Russ said it went dead after one picture!! I never posted last year’s pictures, so maybe I’ll finally do that and pretend they were taken this year. {sheepish grin}

I’m reading two books at the moment. That it is even worth mentioning should say something, sadly. I’ve done very little reading this year. Thank goodness for book club keeping me accountable for at least one book each month!

I had an awesome visit with a friend today whom I hadn’t seen in twenty years!! She was a wonderful friend during our middle school years. She and her family were visiting from out of state and made the time to come hang out with us for a few hours. Thanks, Sonia!!

Have I mentioned that I love grammar? We’re going to be doing some sentence diagramming this next year. I took a crash course during the teaching conference last week. And then a couple facebook friends posted this link. It is so addicting. Just type in a sentence and the program will diagram it for you. I could play with that all day. Who needs dinner?

Another link for you. I loved Reason Enough to Homeschool by Sarah Small @ Simple Homeschool today:

We started homeschooling for a bunch of reasons, and the list has grown year after year.

But sometimes it is just one reason that stands out above all the others. Forget academics, test scores, long days, busy work, and tedium. What we give them now is this: an August day. A river to wade in. The feel of dry grass beneath our feet, and a sliver of silver moon at night.

Sometimes that whole stack of “reasons why” comes down to a knowing feeling—a conviction that this is the way life should be.

One more thing (if you’ve even read this far), and then I’m going straight to bed. I got the great idea from an online friend to work on a postcard project for our states and capitals study this next year. Would any of you be willing to help us out by sending us a postcard from your state? I think I have the following states already spoken for (though we certainly wouldn’t complain if we got more than one!): AL, CA, CO, DC, GA, IA, KS, LA, MD, MN, MO, MT, OR, TN, TX, VA, and WA (and possibly AK, HI, ID, SD, and UT). But that leaves quite a few that we are missing! Email me at heidi (at) poetsgarden (dot) com if you are interested, so that I can give you our address. And we would be more than happy to reciprocate if anyone would like an Oregon postcard! (I’ll probably post this request a couple more times to see how many states we can cover.)

Good night, all!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Formative Value

The education process is as much about mental and character formation as it is about information and subjects. The formative value of the subjects we teach in school is as important as—if not more important than—the actual content. Math teaches logical, accurate, precise thinking; history teaches judgment, discernment, prudence; literature teaches sensitivity to the human condition; penmanship teaches the beginning student the basic skills of concentration, accuracy, correct spelling, and the patience and persistence required to do quality work. These mental habits, work habits, and skills transfer to every area of life. They distinguish the educated person from the uneducated.

From The Real Hands-On Learning by Cheryl Lowe

Have you read the articles available at Memoria Press? Good stuff, those.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lola Colette ~ 10 Months

Lola 10 Months

Let me tell you a little bit about my little Lola Girl at ten months.

She’s a speed demon at bum-crawling. It looks hilarious. I desperately need to figure out how to get a video of that before she stops doing it. I wonder if she will ever crawl or just go straight to walking.

Pulls herself to standing on everything. Sometimes takes a step or two holding onto something. Stood on her own the other day for a couple seconds.

Lola 10 Months (4)

Growls. A lot. Has a snorty little happy giggle. Squeals. Wrinkles up her nose when she is happy. Smiles at people and holds one hand out to them (often in a fist), but rarely wants to GO to them. (Loves attention, but prefers to be held by Mom.)

Speaking of Mom, she’s a Mommy’s girl.

LOVES her brothers and Daddy. LOVES attention from them.

Lola 10 Months (10)

LOVES babies and wants to maul them or eat their faces. LOVES baby dolls and wants to maul them or eat their faces.

Her top teeth still haven’t come in. I think she’s been working on them for months now. But her two bottom teeth are very visible.

Lola 10 Months (5)

She LOVES being in the swimming pool or bathtub.

She has a very long tongue.

Lola 10 Months (14)

She is getting very opinionated. Throwing her body around when she doesn’t want to be held. REFUSING to be put in the exersaucer (it is almost impossible to put her legs in when she doesn’t want to). Will let you know that she is NOT happy when you take something out of her hands that she wants to play with.

It is like wrestling an octopus to get her diaper changed or her clothes on. Or trying to get her in her highchair.

Lola 10 Months (9)

Her head is still fairly bald, though I think her hair is growing some in the back. It is driving me CRAZY because I can’t wait to see her in pony tails. But she hates to have ANYTHING on her head, so maybe she’ll be one of those who pulls out any hair accessories anyway.

Lola 10 Months (13)

She’s very serious when we are somewhere new or she meets new people or experiencing something new, but she’s just seriously checking everything out. She seems to love to be new places. She does really well riding in the car.

Lola 10 Months (7)

If she picks up a pen or pencil and it is near some paper, she ‘writes.’ She loves to thumb through paper books, but not so much board books.

She loves to watch So You Think You Can Dance with me. It is the only show she’ll sit still for.

Lola 10 Months (2)

She loves yogurt, but is fairly unenthusiastic about most other foods. She’ll eat Cheerios and saltines reliably. If she isn’t sure what I’m feeding her, she’ll lean her head forward slightly and touch her lips to the food. Then she’ll decide whether or not she wants to open her mouth. She won’t open her mouth for something she doesn’t like. Or she spits out every bite.

Lola 10 Months (8)

We’re still breastfeeding, but I’m not sure how much longer that will last. She feeds with her head pulling and her arms pushing away from me. Sometimes she even gets her feet in on the action. She is distracted by EVERYTHING and WILL NOT be covered up. Definitely not the sweet snuggle time…. unless it is the middle of the night, of course.

Speaking of the middle of the night, her sleeping is still all over the place. Occasionally she’ll sleep 9 hours straight. Most of the time she wakes 2 or more times during the night. Some nights are really bad.

Lola 10 Months (12)

She loves to clap.

She’s wearing a few 12 month sizes and lots of 18 months. Six weeks ago she weighed 20 pounds and 4 ounces. I need to schedule another well child visit for her. Maybe this next week.

Lola 10 Months (6)

She doesn’t like to be on the grass. Which is why there are no smiling pictures here. She was NOT HAPPY about her feet touching the grass or being stranded on that chair…

Lola 10 Months (11)

And that’s my Lola Colette at 10 Months.

Lola 10 Months (3)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

Love of Books

Yeah, I've been slacking. Well, here on the blog, at least. Life still happens…

We’ve been working on a ‘little’ remodeling project. It is going to take several more weekends to complete (and I’m using that term loosely…). But when we are done, we are going to have an awesome new multi-purpose room.

The boys have been to 3 different VBS’s and are attending another this next week. They love them. I love them. It is a win-win.

We went to a couple evening concerts in the park. We played a glorious sunset game of softball with the family. We met friends at the park to play. Dentist appointments. Fun stuff.

Swim team practice, a meet coming up this next weekend. Piano lessons. Book club in the garden.

The boys spent the afternoon at my mom’s house playing while Russ and I worked on our project (and my awesome sister cleaned my house and helped!!). Mom got awesome photos of the boys. Check them out on her blog!

The boys have been at their annual Boys’ Camp this week and return tomorrow.

It just happened (well, it was a God thing) that I had the opportunity to attend a phenomenal two-day teaching conference at a classical Christian school while the boys were gone. My sister and I headed up to Newberg (about an hour away) where we took in so much information and inspiration that we are positively bursting. My cousin generously offered her home and also arranged on-site care for Lola! We enjoyed 6 sessions each day, choosing from a wonderful variety of offerings. The conference blessed us immensely.

Lola. Oh, Lola. My friend, Susan, called this the mover-shaker-world-maker-toddler days, and wowsa is that the truth. She is a new little person these days. One who is energized by new things, new surroundings, new people. She wants down, and she wants to explore. She still bum-scoots rather than crawling, but she’s a speedy, determined little thing. I’m starting to get just a tad bit, uh, apprehensive about this coming school year. This could get interesting. I have her 10 month pictures to share tomorrow, and I’ll tell you a little more about her.


My blog posting is going to be very sporadic this month. Between activities, projects, a couple more photo sessions, and just trying to soak up the last month of summer before school starts with a vengeance hurrah, my priorities will be elsewhere. You’ll forgive me, won’t you?