This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Aubergine, I'm Telling You!!

I am NOT purple!!

Well, apparently I am.

Who knew?




Your Blog Should Be Purple



You're an expressive, offbeat blogger who tends to write about anything and everything.

You tend to set blogging trends, and you're the most likely to write your own meme or survey.

You are a bit distant though. Your blog is all about you - not what anyone else has to say.

Notes From the Sofa

How cool is this sofa?! My boys would have fun doing school on a sofa like this. Well, it will have to be in our dreams.

So...school this week...Week 7. Boo met Henry Huggins. And just like his brother (and me for that matter), Henry is a favorite. Boo will be reading more about Henry as the year progresses. Henry's creator, Beverly Cleary is a favorite author at this house. Boo's been introduced to Ramona and Ralph S. Mouse. He will also be reading Dear Mr. Henshaw in the near future.

Another family favorite on Boo's reading list this week was Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol. After starting with Encyclopedia Brown, Roo went on a mystery reading kick. I'm anxious to see if the same happens with Boo.

Roo has finished The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau and really appreciated the story. I've assigned The Giver by Lois Lowry and Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix for this week. These books address some really relevant topics such as: futuristic projections, overpopulation, post-apocalyptic societies, dystopian/utopian societies.

From my limited experience, it seems these books tend to evoke a strong reaction. Discussing them with others, both parents and other students, it seems people either like them a lot or dislike them a lot. I've seen around the web that some parents have decided not to assign or allow these books. I do understand that the topics can be upsetting and sometimes create volitile conversation.

I am not suggesting these as appropriate reading material for every child, they just were books that addressed conversations and issues that are causing questions at our house. I read the books myself when questioning whether they would be appropriate for Roo, something I highly recommend doing. I find that the security of a fictional setting can allow for conversation that might be uncomfortable for a child or worse, not take place at all, otherwise and often prompts questions that I would prefer my children ask me versus their peers or even other adults whom I like but disagree with.

Reading choices are an extremely personal decision and the best thing I can tell a parent questioning the appropriateness of a book for their child is to read it themselves. In this busy life we all lead it is often too easy to rely on others to form our opinions. As the person with ultimate responsibility for the education of my children, I often have to put aside my personal reading list and read what is on the agenda for my boys or what they have requested. In doing so, I've been often rewarded with books that I've enjoyed and been glad I've read. Besides, unless the parent has read the book there can be little useful discussion of said book.

In the science department, Boo is learning about the human body, organs and systems and Roo is learning about habitats, environments and ecosystems. The plan in the weeks to come is to do some hands on study on light.

I found a full set of used Cuisinere Rods at the homeschool bookstore near my house for an incredible price and both boys have played around with them. Boo is more of a Kinesthetic learner and they've helped him make a couple of leaps in areas that were frustrating last year. Roo just enjoys anything to do with math and has used them for independent learning.

Learning went on the road Friday, as we packed a bag of books and drove up to Grandpa's house for a long weekend.

After homeschooling for so long, I sometimes forget that other people aren't familiar with it. When I first made the decision to homeschool my children over eleven years ago when Roo was just a baby, I met a lot of opposition from people, even family and friends who were sure this would be a recipe for disaster for my boys. These days I don't think too much about it. It is ingrained into our lives. We've been in the same neighborhood, activities and church for long enough now that people know who we are and are comfortable with us.

So while out and about on Friday, I must admit to being surprised at being made uncomfortable by some who obviously wondered why my children weren't in school; mostly by a high school teacher taking a group of high school students on a field trip to the grocery store we stopped at. It wasn't until after the fact, seated in my car, that I considered the behavior of her charges compared to the behavior of mine.

There's been some pride, the last few years especially, for helping parents who want to understand homeschooling and decide whether or not it will be a good choice for their family. I do try to be a good "ambassador" for homeschooling. I do try to have a good Christian attitude towards everyone; but must admit to failing more often than I would like when being challenged as to my ability to make good decisions for my children's well being. Most people are at least open or tolerant of our educational choices, but I've found over the last year especially a feeling of incredulity that homeschool is a viable choice for learning.

Homeschooling is an ongoing adventure and education for me and my boys. Even with a little awkwardness and uncomfortable situations, I would not trade it for anything in the world.

Next week is the last of the four-day weeks for a while. I'm looking forward to some five-day weeks to come!!

Whether you homeschool or not, what have you been up to?

Counting it all joy,

Julie



The cool sofa in the photo was found at this blog dedicated to chairs and furniture. Cool stuff!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Purple?




You Are a Confident Purple Car



You're definitely an unusual person. Some people may even call you "weird" or "freaky." Luckily for you, you don't care what others think. If anything, you enjoy it when people think you're strange!

You are offbeat and eccentric. You see the world a little differently than everyone else does. You are seen as mysterious. People are very curious about you... whether they know you well already or not.



Purple?

I think not.

Aubergine, perhaps.

Maybe even amaranthine, amethyst, heliotrope, lavender, lilac, mulberry, orchid, periwinkle, perse, or plum.

But certainly not purple.

What does the car oracle say about you?

Reset Button

I don't know if I mentioned it, but I am a packrat crafter. I don't throw anything away. Even if it is outdated, almost empty, useless or worse...broken. I hang on to lots of stuff because, you know, you just never know, it might be useful. Okay, I guess I do throw some stuff away, like the science projects that find their way to my refrigerator, but if it isn't creepy, fuzzy or green, I hang on for dear life.

Anyway...there was this cheap calculator that I purchased for the boys before school started--big buttons, big readout, easy on my ever aging eyes. It was set on a shelf (because it was used so much) and when taken back out would not work. Since it was "solar powered" I thought little of it and let it sit on the table to charge. A few days later I checked it...still not working. And in ever the packrat crafter mode I shoved it into the shelf again...for that time I might need a non-working calculator. It happens...Right?

So last night in a moment of need I grabbed for the calculator, willing it to come on. Nope. Nothing. No matter how hard I punched those buttons. So of course I threw it away laid it on the table for one last chance.

This morning while doing school work with the boys, I fiddled with it absentmindedly, turning it over, seeing if I missed something. There was what looked like a battery cover, but not wanting to interrupt the flow of school, I didn't get up to find a screwdriver. I fiddled with it some more...wait...what was that teeney, tiny, eensey, weensey little black hole there in the back? What did the raised plastic letters say?

"Reset."

A pen was handy so I pushed it in and, voilĂ , the calculator resumed functioning!

Staples has a great commercial series offering an "easy" button. Don't we all wish that we had access to that throughout the day?

Even more so, I wish I had a "Reset" button. There are many things I would reset, redo and hopefully get right the second time. Although I would be willing to try a third or fourth to make things better. Hopefully I would not have a Bill Murray Groundhog's Day experience, although if that would be what it takes, I'd be willing.

What would you reset if you could?

We don't have a reset button, but our Mighty God gives us many chances and even better--forgiveness. I am so grateful. But I hope in this journey to learn to get things right the first time so I wouldn't have to have that wish for a reset button.

Peace,

Julie

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Frontiersman's Daughter

by Laura Frantz

Blond and young, energetic and bold, Lael Click is a girl growing up fast in Kentucke, the territory destined to become the state of Kentucky. What is the destiny of the daughter of Ezekial Click? Will she remain barefooted and free living outside the fort named for her father? Will she become the young wife of her best friend's brother, Simon--an albeit charming boy, but harboring some troubling qualities? Will Lael turn to teaching inside the walls of the fort, feeling the walls containing her? Limiting her freedom?

This beautiful story set in the late 1700s is more than just a piece of historical fiction, it is an intensely personal glimpse at frontier life, the beauty and the raw realities of limited water, limited food, challenging weather and always close by, Indians.

Laura Frantz offers characters with many faceted personalities, many secrets shut away that come back to haunt, not only the secret bearer, but their children. The gritty everyday work of just surviving speaks from every page, but Frantz writes in such a way that the reader can catch a glimpse of the call that challenged so many to leave civilized life and endure many trials in the quest for "a new life."

The Frontiersman's Daughter was hard to put down. I must admit to a couple of nights lost sleep because I just wanted to finish "one more chapter." There was a little housework undone also. It was the perfect summer read for out on the patio.

Love, Loss and Forgiveness on the Kentucky Frontier

Stunning debut novel will delight historical fiction fans of Lynn Austin
in this story of romance and adventure during one of America’s most exciting eras

In The Frontiersman’s Daughter, debut novelist Laura Frantz plants readers into the demanding realities of frontier life during the time in American history when Daniel Boone was settling Kentucky. This story has personal significance to Frantz, because her ancestors were among those settlers who journeyed with Boone—and many remain in those original areas of Kentucky.

Drawing from cherished family lore as well as in-depth research in her writing, Frantz is able to paint a story with a distinct, captivating authenticity.

Frantz introduces readers to Lael Click, who is lovely but tough as nails and coming of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement that her father—a celebrated frontiersman—founded. Life as a pioneer isn’t easy, and it’s more than just the hardships of living in the wilderness that Lael must contend with: The arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself—as well as the power of grace and redemption.

In the midst of this, Lael must also face the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, the affection of a Shawnee warrior and the secret sins of her family’s past. Rather than give up, this strong woman draws strength from the rugged land she calls home. This epic novel gives readers a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman.

Laura Frantz credits her 100-year-old grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz’s family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1792 and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. Frantz is a former schoolteacher and social worker who currently lives in Port Angeles, Washington, with her husband and two sons, whom she homeschools.