Sunday, September 30, 2007

When I am knitting I think I should be drawing. When I am sewing I think I should be quilting. When I am reading I think I should be sewing. When I am doing the dishes I think I should be cooking. When I am folding laundry I think I should be menu planning. When I am looking up new recipes I think I should be paying bills. When I am cooking I am thinking I should have some new dishes to make to make life interesting. When I go to sleep I think I should be reading because what if I stop learning things and become an uninteresting person? When I am reading to my boys I think I should be teaching them math. When we are doing math I think we should be working on catechism. When I am doing catechism I think I should be checking the girls' math. When I check their math I think I should be washing the floors. When I am washing the floors I think I should be spending more time with the baby. When I sit with the baby I think I should be weeding. When I am weeding I think what I really need to do is look up gardening plans because by the way my garden looks I apparently don't have one...

Is it any wonder I get nothing done????

Friday, September 28, 2007

OK, I lied. I do have something political to say. Or at least, quote someone else with something political to say.

"As someone who lived under communism for most of his life, I feel obliged to say that I see the biggest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity now in ambitious environmentalism, not in communism. This ideology wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central (now global) planning."

Czech President, Vaclav Klaus

Read the whole article on Al Gore's refusal to answer his skeptics here.

The issue of global warming, and it's correlating fear tactics are enough to make me scream.

Also, do you wonder if the producers of Kid Nation ever read the book _Lord of the Flies_?

Do you really wonder what on earth their parents could be thinking? I wouldn't let my children spend one day unattended in that sort of setting. Let alone over night! And the youngest is 8?

Tisk Tisk.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Well..You know, sometimes my life just isn't all that interesting. Does that ever happen to you? Suddenly you realize that you are actually quite a boring person? Anyway, what's going on here? The children are all sprawled over the floor waiting to watch Darby O'Gill and the Little People. I'm glad they want to watch that because I can go to sleep and not feel like I've missed anything. I usually fall asleep for movies.

Babykins turned one. Can you believe it? The audacity of him. Did he even ask me permission? And not only that, he's walking. Naughty baby. But we haven't had a party yet. I haven't had a party for I. either.

Fall is here and the weather has been so beautiful. It's supposed to start raining tonight. I love rain.

I can't even think of anything political.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Which Disney Villain Are You?

You are Captain Hook. The crusher of dreams. You are Disney's one and only funny villain. But don't discredit the evilness that is Captain Hook. You do your part in scaring little children and teaching a generation of adults to yearn for childhood again. Cuz hey, you just want to fly too.
Find Your Character @
Both sexes have their weakness, but one thing about us women is we are just plain too bossy. I guess God gave us that in our nature because we do have to micro manage our children. I mean in what other relationship is there the need to make sure someone brushes their teeth, eats their vegetables, speaks nicely to a sister and uses the handrail on the stairs all in one day? Even fathers don't micro-manage the way we do, I don't think. So in someways I guess it is a strength that we can give so much attention to the details in other people's lives.

But when we start feeling like we have to micromanage other people-Oh, like say maybe the WHOLE COUNTRY then micro managing has run amuck.

Anyway, here is a link to an interview with Carl Rove who gives a summary of Hilary's just jolly wonderful health plan. And then you just tell me this woman isn't Just Plain Bossy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Oh, my. I guess I do have a bog! One wouldn't know it by how I've been posting lately...
Well, I have a bunch more books to list, but the list has gone somewhere..Hmm..

So, I guess I'll just update a bit. Last week I came downstairs thinking about what to do with the chicken I defrosted and the daily cleaning schedule and when I sat down with my coffee R. said "How about we all go up to Cougar for a few days." OK, well! So we threw clothes together and some food, hitched up a jet ski and headed up. A client of Rand's has a cabin in the Mt. St. Helens area that she lets us use whenever she isn't.

That picture doesn't do it justice. It is so pretty there. The water just goes on and on. And the mountains, and the trees...

Anyway, it had been hot all week but as soon as we got up there it turned cloudy and cool. The kids were still up for playing in the water.

But what they really wanted to do was jet ski.

But then R. unloaded the thing and zoomed out a bit and it died and would not be brought back to life. What a bummer. He and E. had to paddle back to shore. Ah, well. That's how it is with those silly things. They only work about half the time. But when they are up and running they are the bee's knees around here.

So this is all the riding the silly thing got.

So we just hung out at the cabin for the day. The kids played,


found critters.

All in all a pretty relaxing time. I wished we could have stayed longer but we had commitments in town. So, that's where I've been. What are y'all up to?

Friday, September 7, 2007

I don't mean to make it sound like every book I hand the children is some great work of literary art. We do have a certain level of fluff. And I think it has lots to do with your child's temperament and reading appetite too. S. read all the American Girl books, Nancy Drew, most of the Mandie mysteries but she always read so fast and I had no money almost for books it was very hard to keep up with her. Plus I just hadn't thought about a lot of these things at the time. But she still went on and I wouldn't say she is greatly drawn to fluff books now. And Fi right now is on an Encyclopedia Brown kick and I don't mind her reading those as long as they aren't all she reads. I'm just saying these are some of the things I try to think about when I pick out books.

These are usually the first chapter books I hand them: (In no particular order except how they come to mind)

Milly Molly Mandy-Joyce Lankester

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-Ronald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach-"

Raggedy Anne and Andy-Johnny Gruelle

Encyclopedia Brown-Donald J. Sobol

Boxcar Children-Gertrude Chandler (I stick w/the lower #'s)

Yonie Wondernose-Marguerite de Angeli

Bears on Hemlock Mountain-Alice Dalgliesh

Courage of Sarah Noble-"

Thornton Burgess' animal storybooks (There are quite a few.)

My Father's Dragon Trilogy-Ruth Stiles Gannett

Rikki Tikki Tavi-Rudyard Kipling
Jungle Book-"

Sarah Witcher's Story-Elizabeth Yates

Winnie-the-Pooh-A.A. Milne

Trumpet of the Swan-E.B. White

The Ordinary Princess-M.M. Kaye (S. really liked this one.)

Betsy-Tacy-Maud Hart Lovelace

Betsy-Tacy and Tib-"

Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill-" (There are more Betsy-Tacy books, but I stick w/these three because of girl/boy themes and such.)

Railway Children-Edith Nesbit

Five Children and It-"

These Are My People-Mildred Howard (the story of Gladys Aylward)

Paddinton Bear books-Michael Bond

Ballet Shoes-Noel Streatfeild

Dancing Shoes-"

Theater Shoes-"

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin-Marguerite Henry

Brighty of Grand Canyon-"

King of the Wind-"

Misty of Chincoteague-"

Stormy, Misty's Foal-"

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH-Robert O'Brien

Lloyd Alexander books-I haven't read these, S. has. She really enjoyed them and recommends them. They are fantasy.

Redwall series-Brian Jacques-These were very important for about a year or two...I could never get into them enough to read out loud, but they are better than most stuff put out these days.

Strawberry Girl-Lois Lenski This author used to have a lot of historical fiction. If you can find her out of print stuff at yard sales or the library they are all worth picking up.

Indian Captive-"

Phantom Tollbooth-Norton Juster (Fi has had her nose in this one all week)

The Lost Princess-George MacDonald

Princess and the Goblin-"

Princess and Curdie-"

At the Back of the North Wind-"

Sir Gibbie-" (this comes under various names. My copy is called Wee Sir Gibbie of the Highlands.)

The Maiden's Bequest-"(aka Alec Forbes and His Fiend Annie or Alec Forbes of Howglen)

Bunnicula a Rabbit-Tale of Mystery-James Howe

Howliday Inn-"

Return to Howliday Inn-"

Bunnicula-The Celery Stalks at Midnight-"

Bunnicula Strikes Again-" (These are totally "fluff books" -A vampire Rabbit-but fun and different.)

Well, I think that's all the computer time I can take today. I will have to get back with the rest later. The boys are taking over.

I've been working on a list of books for early to middle skill chapter book readers. It's a little longer than I thought it would be and I imagine I'll be flipping back and forth to the Exodus website looking up authors and such and hopefully I'll be able to get it done soon. But because of a conversation I had recently with another mother about reading material, I thought I'd also post about some negatives with some books. I am pretty picky about what I give my kids to read. Early on I read the Barth family's book _Child Training and the Homeschool_ and a major point I got out of that was that just as I was careful about the friends my children played with I needed to be careful of the "companions" they spent time with in books. That made a lot of sense to me because I was a big reader as a child and I remember characters from books who were as real to me as real life. So I tried to choose books whose characters reflected the type of traits I would want to see in my children's lives.

So there are some books that though they are generally accepted even by the homeschool community I've decided to bypass.

One theme I see over and over in a lot of children's books is the idea that the children have to keep a secret for some reason from their parents. For example in _The Indian in the Cupboard_ books. The children in those books don't trust the adults with a major event in their lives and they are left on their own to make all the decisions. The children think they are enlightened with some sort of sensitivity that the adults cannot possess. It is a shame because the story line otherwise would be engaging, but with the secrecy being a major theme I cannot allow them.

Another theme is when the child is disobedient but the outcome is somehow blessed. When S. was little she started reading the Mandy Mysteries, but after a while we noticed that she disobeyed quite a lot, but somehow it all came "right in the end." This too gives the impression to children that somehow they have the power to make their own decisions and don't really need the counsel of the adults in their lives. Mandy is also very independent which is a character trait the world likes to see in girls but isn't one I want in my daughters.

Another is when the children are just plain bratty. I like some of Beverly Cleary's books. Usually Ellen Tibbets is the first chapter book I hand my daughters. But I don't care for Ramona because she is kind of a brat. And Ralph in Ralph and the Motorcycle is awful to his brothers and sisters. I just don't feel like my children need that type of example. Also, Elsie Dinsmore. I'm sorry but that girl is a crybaby. She has this "poor suffering thing" persona that especially a couple of my girls just don't need to emulate because they can be prone to "tragic countenances" themselves.

I also avoid what I call "garbage books". They are the ones that neither the writing style nor the information are very important and reading them is something akin to watching television or something. These would be like _The Baby sitter's Club_ _American Girl Books_ _Saddle Club_, stuff like that. I just fell like the vocabulary is to controlled, the writing styles are to shallow and the story lines aren't all that creative and they are a waste of time. Also I'm afraid if they get into the habit of reading these types of books they will be content with that and not try for anything more challenging.

Sometimes in a book there may be a little of one of these things, but since it isn't a major portion of the book we can just talk about it and move on. Caddie Woodlawn does have the one chapter where she rides off in secret to talk to the Indians, but since it isn't the major theme of the book I feel like we can maneuver it.

So these are some of the things I try to avoid. Sometimes I have to backtrack or get rid of some things and it isn't a tragedy if one of these gets read, but I do try to talk about the problems they have, and especially my older ones are getting pretty good at identifying these themes as well. So sometimes I can have them screen for the younger ones if I haven't read something.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

I went and got S. her last math book today. She's in her last science book, last spelling, last history...

And just last week she was my little piggy tailed girl and we had all the time in the world.


Monday, September 3, 2007

Well, we haven't had a party for I. yet. Around our house everything has to go through a sort of baptism of procrastination in order to be done properly, including birthdays. Last week my two oldest girls went to spend a week with friends and now oldest boy has gone to camp. I am looking forward to the cool quiet autumn days when we can all be settled under one roof and be quiet and relatively routine for a while.

I know Deputy Headmistress @ The Common Room posts a hymn on Sundays, but since I try to keep the computer off on Sundays I've never done it. I always thought it was pretty appropriate though, and since we sang one of my very favorites last Sunday, I thought I'd share it. I tried to find the tune on the net somewhere, but even the CyberHymnal doesn't have it. The tinny computer music couldn't have done it justice though, because it is a sort of hymn that part of it is sung in a certain "round like" way with each voice part coming in at different times. (Which has a technical name, which S. knows but I can't remember right now and she is downstairs reading. Maybe I'll ask her later.)

Oh Let My Name Engraven Stand

Oh let my name engraven stand
Both on thy heart and on thy hand
Seal Me upon thine arm and wear
That pledge of love forever there

Stronger than death thy love is known
Which floods of wrath could never drown
And hell and earth in vain combine
To quench a fire so much Divine

Come my beloved haste away
Cut short the hours of thy delay
Fly like a youthful hart or row
Over the hills where spices grow

I especially like the second verse. The idea that floods of wrath could never drown God's love for His saints. Even when I am feeling like I really do deserve His wrath still His love is bigger and stronger than His wrath. I won't be drowned or lost in a flood of wrath because His care of me is even greater than His own wrath. And the idea of a divine fire. God's fire burns away all our smucky icky self stuff. All that at the end of the day I feel like crying "Woe is me! For I am undone!" about. But He is never surprised or shocked or thrown off track by what I do like an earthly lover may be. It isn't like someone who you might think, "Well, they like me now, but if they knew how I really was.." He just consistently works away until He is pleased with the results. How glad I am of that! My parents gave up on me when I was about 15, but God never did! I could blow them over by my strong will and leave them shaking their heads. I always won. But not with God. Then when He has cleansed all that dross I can be like the young deer and run to meet Him with no guilt on my conscience because He has said He has forgiven and it is done.

S. says that is a fuging hymn. There you are. Don't you love it when your kids are smarter than you?