Tuesday, November 22, 2005

literature and movies

What blessings both are in this thing we call homeschooling.

Josh and I are going out this morning to buy the DVD of Polar Express. He has seen it before and loved it. We are also in the middle of C.S. Lewis's, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. As much of a reader as I am, I can not believe that I have never read this book either as a child or adult until now. It is wonderful to be sharing it with Josh. We are really enjoying it and he begs for more. We saw the previews recently of the movie coming out in December and it looks very interesting. Upon viewing movies of books we have read, always after the fact, a rule that my older daughters still tease me about and yet still abide by themselves, we will compare and contrast and decide which we prefer more. If it is as usual, the book will win out. It always does. I say that's because in most cases no one can match each of our own unique interpretations.

Monday, November 21, 2005

being a mom, being somebody's hero

This morning as I drove one of my daughters to school, I heard Jamie O'Neal's song, Somebody's Hero, and I had to smile. Each of my 4 children make me feel like a hero, at least once a day, just for being their mom. My mom was and still is my hero even though she is now in heaven with her mother who was her hero. I came home to my youngest, who is 11 now, after hearing this song and who is the child who has been homeschooled all his life and felt blessed especially for that. He is the one who often gives me a kiss on the cheek while saying, "You're the best, Mom" to which I always have to reply back to him with a smile, "I know". It's our secret handshake if you will.

Here's a link to the song if you haven't heard it yet. If you're like me better have the tissues handy :)


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Birthday Wall and Classical music site

The other day Josh and I were learning a little about Aaron Copland for our Birthday Wall as it was his birthday (Nov.14). As I searched around the internet for some info and audio to listen to I came upon a wonderful site. I don't know why I was surprised to see it as I have known about it before and then lost it in the never ending longgggg list of favorites I have. Does that ever happen to you? lol We enjoyed listening to a few of the programs they had on Copland and his music.

Later I went back and searched around some to acquaint myself with the site again and was excited to find programs on Beethoven who is the composer we are studying this term as suggested by Ambleside Online. There are lesson plans for various ages, audio to listen to some of his music as well as activity sheets and even games. What a gold mine!

I had to smile as I enjoyed all I was encountering and couldn't help but be a little bit proud as this site is sponsored by a radio station from "back home", Cincinnati, OH.

Hope someone else finds this site as helpful as I do:


Thursday, November 10, 2005

those blessed moments of time

Every once in awhile I am given a moment or so in time that helps me to see that the beauty in this thing we do called "homeschooling". I am reminded it isn't schooling but really living.

Josh and I are studying in more detail The Lewis & Clark Expedition for American History. I say in more detail because we have read about it before but in a very general way. Along with our studies we are reading the book, The Journal of Augustus Pelletier The Lewis and Clark Expedition 1804 by Kathryn Lasky. This book is a part of the wonderful series My Name is America which is within the Dear America books published by Scholastic.

Yesterday being our Wild Wild History Wednesday we read some from our book. And then we had to read more after lunch because Josh didn't want me to stop. Then we had to read AGAIN after dinner because he just had to find out what happened next. THIS is why I love reading fiction books that tie in with what we are learning about. You find out MANY details in an interesting way that leaves you wanting to still find out even more. Josh was thrilled to hear that Sacajewa means "bird woman". Well hey he is a birder after all. :) He wants to read more about her now lol. He drew some of the birds that were talked about and then that we read about from the Captains actual journals. He has commandeered a journal that I had gotten for his dad but which has never been used because it looks just like one of the journals that the Captains used. Dad doesn't seem to mind in the least. :) Copywork will be the "big speech" that the Captains made to the Indian chiefs each time they were encountered. Gus, the main character of the book, has a hard time with this speech, doesn't like it at all. I had the same thinking the first time I read it and I have a feeling that Josh will find it more than a little uncomfortable. Good discussion will ensue I am sure.

Blessed moments.

latest birding news

Just wanted to share on this blog for those that don't read our birding blog.

Josh and I have been having a great time birding our area lately. We have been able to add to his life list with new birds of wood duck (both male and female), bufflehead, and american wigeon, ross's goose, and wild turkeys.

In our own neighborhood park we have new birds that have come in such as the white-crowned sparrow, brewers blackbird, ruby-crowned kinglets, and yellow-rumped warblers.
We have even had western meadowlarks there a few times. We still have our regulars such as the verdins, great-tailed grackles, rock and mourning doves, house finches and house sparrows as well as the anna's hummingbirds.

This morning we saw a female summer tanager which was very unusual for this late in the season.

Our best sighting has happened during this last week, a Northern Parula! We saw this on Nov. 7th and then again this morning during our walk. This is a bird that is listed as being a rare vagrant migrant for our area. Because of this I was a little skeptical of Josh's id the first time. This morning there is NO doubt in my mind that Josh NAILED this id. What an amazing bird! I have to also say what an amazing kid I have :) He seems to have a natural talent as well as a passion for this wonderful thing called "birding" and I am blessed to be able to share this with him.

Friday, November 04, 2005

wisdom from a children's book

Yesterday Josh and I finished the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. We had started this book two days earlier after I had read an entry on Melissa Wiley's blog, Here in the Bonny Glenn. She is author of The Martha Years and The Charlotte Years books about Laura Ingalls Wilder's great-grandmother and grandmother and is also a homeschooling mother of four children. Fantastic books if you haven't read them! The entry was about the art study they follow using Ambleside Online. Just as we do! She talked about their Michelangelo study and the connection to the book they were reading, The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I knew that this book was on our shelves and we hadn't read it so thought we'd give it a try. I am so glad Melissa posted about this book. Josh enjoyed it so much he begged for me to continue reading till yesterday we just read until we finished. We even went on-line today searching to see if there really is a statue of Angel. :)

At the end of the book Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler made a statement that still has me thinking:

Claudia said, "But, Mrs. Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing every day. We did even at the museum."

"No," I answered. " I don't agree with that. I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside of you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It's hollow."

With all the interruptions we have had to our studies I have gone back and forth in my comfort level. These words jumped out at me yesterday. Looking at "down time" as a chance to "absorb" what we have been learning about makes so much sense! And isn't it so true that if we never take the time to make what we learn truly ours it is all just hollow noise. Facts to spout off. Josh shows me this everyday in his passion for birding. This has become something that is so much a part of him now there is no separating his learning in this area from him as a person. He lets all of birding swell inside of him and it really does touch all that he does lately.

Even today. We were getting ready to do Friday Freewrite and he was being reluctant. I gave him things to look over, to choose from, including Julie's choice today of writing about your favorite book. No interest. Well then how about favorite movie, character in movie/book, line in movie/book? Nada. Nothing. OK then...how about your favorite bird on your life list? Bingo!! He was writing before I got the timer started and kept on writing. Now if I can just remeber to do this with the rest of our sudies :)