Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Living for the Moment

A conversation came up at our most recent Sanity Session - that's a night out for the ladies to break from the insanity that is sometimes our daily lives and take a moment to destress and gain some more sanity although sometimes I admit the conversations we have are INsane.  We always have a great time.  Usually the evening starts with food and stimulating conversation in the kitchen whether we're passionately debating something political or just reviewing this hilarious thing we call life. You know, the every day stuff like menstruation, having babies, potty training or the boy factor in our homes.  I don't think I will ever understand boys (or men) but I will continue to love them anyway. 

As I was saying, a conversation came up.  This was in the latter part of our evening when some of the early to bedders have gone for the evening and the late nighters have moved to the living room to be more comfortable (and sometimes one or two will invariably doze for a few minutes).  The conversation tends more toward the serious, sentimental or philisophical during this phase of Sanity Session.  So it was during this time that my dear friend Paula announced that too many people are living for the future so much that they are missing the life.  She's right.  This is life.  We are in it, now.  It's time to enjoy the life we're living in and stop waiting for it to begin.  You know, you have a list of things you want or goals you'd like to reach and when that time comes, you'll be happy.  Not that having goals is a bad thing but when do we start focusing so much on our goals that we forget to notice the NOW?  We've heard it before but because of our discussion at sanity session I've been a little more observant of my own daily moments. 

Am I enjoying this moment?  Do my kids think I'm enjoying this moment?  Do they know that I enjoy every moment with them?  What kind of message are they receiving from me right now? 

They weren't cleaning up the lunch dishes like I had asked.  When I came up from switching the wash my 14yo was running around the house with a bird puppet on her hand, making crazy noises while her 8yo brother chased her with an alligator puppet.  So what do you do?  Do you chastise or cherish?  I decided to cherish and redirect.  There is just something wonderful about seeing your kids having a great time TOGETHER, no matter the age difference.  (Hey, now that I think of it, we talked about that too at sanity session...)  It's a fine line we mothers walk. 

I'm going to try a little experiment with this.  Whenever I can, I will post with a cherish moment.  Maybe I can do some kind of linky thing so we can all get together on this.  We'll see.  For now, I'm just living for the moment.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wisdom Week 3 of 4

Very few men are wise by their own counsel, or learned by their own teaching; for he that was only taught by himself had a fool for his master.
~ Ben Johnson

Here's a rundown of what we did at co-op this week:
  • Prayer and pledge of allegiance, share praise reports
  • Children recite the Bible verses they memorized this week
  • Homework - I talked to the kids about the verses their moms have chosen for them to memorize each week and how as individuals we are each responsible for our own behavior and choices but that their parents are responsible to God for what is taught to them.  After discussing this a little I asked the kids to each bring a verse back next week that they thought the parents should work to remember.  The other moms and I plan to hang them on our doorposts.
  • Essays on famous quotes read for group (Pg. 10-11 Act. # 34) 
  • Have kids bake a cake without using any instructions and then make another with instructions. (Pg. 10 Act. # 32)  While I expected the lesson learned to be that we all need to pay attention to instruction - the Bible is our instruction book for life, (that lesson was conveyed) I was surprised to find the children working together and listening to each other to gain wisdom in how to go about making this first cake.  A perfect reflection of one of the quotes chosen for an earlier essay shown above.
  • Discuss what is meant by "gray area."  Kids sort paint chips from darkest to lightest.  (Pg, 11 Act. # 38)  This was interesting.  Again, I was surprised.  What I expected to be a very short, rather boring project turned out to take a bit of time.  There are so many shades within the spectrum that it was often hard to decide if something was darker or lighter.  Sometimes a color didn't seem like it belonged at all.  And the kids did make some keen comparisons from this activity to true wisdom.
  • Plan an art contest.  Develop criteria for judging artwork.  Work out potential problems ahead of time.  Although the assignment in the book suggests having contestants, we chose to use several pieces of established artwork from the Picturing America packet of paintings.  (Pg. 12 Act. # 39)  We then went further with this idea and had the students come up with a list of criteria for a Student of the Week contest that we'll be using in future weeks.
All KONOS activities listed for our co-op are from Volume II - Wisdom. Please feel free to contact me if you have trouble finding one of the activities.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hands On Carnival is Up

Happy Valentine's Day Everybody!

The February edition of the Hands On Homeschool Blog Carnival is up and running.  Head on over to check it out at Cultivated Lives and be sure to leave Heather a comment while you're there.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Wisdom Week 2 of 4

We are halfway through our general unit on Wisdom now and we have moved from focusing on what wisdom is to what wisdom looks like and how it translates into everyday life for all of us at any age.  A portion of the discussion that I was particularly fond of was the time we spent on developing wisdom - it doesn't come all at once but little by little with age - and the reason we show respect to our elders, something not done nearly enough in our country.  We also read some old fables and let the kids make a mosaic of a "wise" animal out of construction paper.

Here's the rundown of our day:
  • Open with prayer and pledge of allegiance.
  • Have kids recite their scripture verses for the week.
  • Discussion - Knowing what behavior to use when and in what situation.  List certain behaviors such as running, yelling, jumping and climbing.  Then discuss whether they are inappropriate or appropriate and when.  Sometimes discussing things that are never appropriate like getting drunk.  (pg 9 act # 25)
  • Discussion - Explain "Wisdom comes with age."  Do some countries demonstrate more respect for their elders than others?  Have kids show ways to demonstrate respect for an elder. (pg 9-10 act # 26)
  • Prayer challenge - Put kids' names in a hat and have each child pull out one name of a person they will pray for every day.  Encourage the children to seek out their prayer partner if they need prayer in a certain area.  All children praying for wisdom for themselves and their special person. (pg 10 act #30)
  • Using card stock and a simply drawn "wise" animal, create a mosaic using bits of construction paper and glue.  (pg 9 act # 22)
  • During the week each child was supposed to be writing down wise instruction received from a parent along with the reason or consequence of that instruction.  At the end of the week we asked them to make two discs with one bit of parental instruction on each and the reason on the bottom.  At co-op photocopy all the discs so that every child has his own discs as well as the discs of the other children.  After the kids share what they wrote and why, have them cut the discs out, hole punch one hole in the top and string them on yarn around their necks.  This is reflective of Proverbs 6:20-23 which was also studied at home during the week.  (pg 10 act # 27 and 31 combined) 

All KONOS activities listed for our co-op are from Volume II - Wisdom. Please feel free to contact me if you have trouble finding one of the activities.

Baking Day Beauty

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lego and Photo Challenges

Homeschool On Display, a new website created by a fellow homeschooling mom is the latest exciting webstop I want to share with you and your kids.  Here you will find a weekly photo challenge and a seperate weekly Lego challenge.  The photo challenge is arranged by Allison who is in 5th grade.  Her topic for this week is "colored pencils."  Her 7 year old brother Carson created the Lego challenge.  This week's challenge is "building, house or apartment."

So basically kids can get creative and have a place on the web to display their work.  And best of all, other kids (and parents) who are interested in the same thing will be looking at their creations as well and they will all have this really neat place to share and learn from each other about something they are all interested in.  I can't wait to tell my little guy about the Lego challenge and although I originally hoped my 14yo would be interested in the photo challenge, I think my 6yo dd will better appreciate.  In fact, I know she'll dive right into the photo thing because she is always stealing my camera and taking pictures of all kinds of things for me to find later when I download the pics.  

I know it wouldn't be right for me to wake them up and tell them about it now though.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

HOW I Co-op Hebrews Week 7 of 11 and Wisdom Week 1 of 4

Because I have been sick for the last several days, I have decided to combine my post about the HOW co-op and the regular KONOS co-op.  I'll be brief on the high school co-op and just share a picture. 

The girls are still working on Hebrews in their History of the World I curriculum.  For this week's co-op their focus was on the Phoenicians.  Among their activities they made beads and other creations out of modeling clay (Sculpey) to mimic the glass beads made by the Phoenicians.  Next week they'll paint them to make them look more realistic.  For now they are just little white balls so I included a photo of some of their more interesting pieces.  I think only the little pumpkin belongs to my own DD.  Her friend loves artsy stuff and so spent a bit more time crafting flowers bugs and food.

In the younger co-op group we started Wisdom last week.  The general portion of this unit is laid out for a two week span but we have stretched it to four weeks.  I like the general portion of most units because you can really dig into the character trait being studied.  Here is the rundown of our co-op time last week:
  • Prayer and Pledge of Allegiance
  • Recite memorized Bible verses for the week
  • Discuss Solomon and make a poster of his decisions and the consequences of those decisions (Pg 7 Act. # 10) 
  • Label two boxes "Wise Man" and "Foolish Man."  Have kids write adjectives on slips of paper and decide which box to place the words in.  (Pg. 8 Act. # 14)
  • Brainstorm stories with wise and foolish characters in them.  Choose one to dramatize.  Kids plan this out on their own and perform for moms.  (Pg. 8 Act. # 16 & 17)
  • Give the kids a pitcher only half filled with water and ask them how they would drink from it without pouring or picking up the container.  Follow up with reading of Aesop's The Pitcher and the Crow (Pg. 8 Act. # 20)
  • Build a house on a "rock" using quick drying cement and another house on sand.  Sprinkle water over the structures from a watering can and sing "A Wise man Built His House Upon a Rock" (Pg. 6 Act. # 2 & 3)  We were running a bit late starting so we are hoping to squeeze this in next week.  But I left it in these plans for you because it should fit into the 3 hour time slot we normally allow for co-op.
All KONOS activities listed for our co-op are from Volume II - Wisdom.  Please feel free to contact me if you have trouble finding one of the activities.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sick with a Silver Lining

This has not been one of my better weekends.  The weather reports were rather erratic on Friday so a baby shower I was planning to attend was postponed until March.  And then two of my kids and I got sick with some kind of flu bug which also prevented our attending a friend's birthday party.  By Saturday night I thought I was going to die or cry.  How could my son with 100 degree fever be bouncing around the house like nothing was wrong while I groaned miserably with no energy on the couch at only 99.6? 
Sunday was even worse with my fever up to 102 and my kids needing constant fever and medicine checks throughout the night.  By 3am I was totally confused as to who I gave what and when.  DS mostly stayed on Children's Tylenol to keep the fever down although occassionally I gave him something for cough and fever.  Fortunately DD's fever never rose above 99 in the night so I just gave her something for her cough which seemed to never give her any rest until she finally managed to fall asleep.  Alka Selzer Plus with a constant bag of cough drops by my side was my preferred combo and still is today, although thank the good Lord, my fever is gone and now I can at least make sense of things.    It all would have been easier if we had just taken our meds at the same time then we'd all have been on the same 4 hour rotation.  But somehow I got us on a schedule that required me to set my alarm to go off every two hours through the night.  OY! 
But there is always a silver lining.  Snowed in and sick with the flu, my family finally agreed to a game of Australian Rails Saturday. 

Dreaming of Summer - Living in Winter

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Music Lessons

Our newest musician takes a lesson from her sister...

Starting a New Unit

This week we begin a new unit - Wisdom.  We've been doing inquisitiveness for so long it is a thrill to start something new.  I kind of felt we weren't getting enough Bible study in with inquisitiveness so this is a perfect next unit as most of our study material will come directly from the Bible.  This week we have been reading about David and Saul and Solomon.  Normally we start each morning with Bible and prayer but this week our afternoon KONOS time has also been filled with reading from the Word and I have enjoyed seeing my younger kids really think about the lives of these men in a deeper way than I have ever seen them before. 

Somehow our studies have also fallen into line with my eldest dd's studies of the Hebrews in HOW I and she is reading about this same time period in history.  She's been interested in our readings because they are so familiar to her right now and she can't help adding in little bits of information and background stories now and then.  Actually it has been rather illuminating having her input!

I look forward to sharing with you on this excitng new unit.  Although I'm not sure how many resources I will have to share, I'll be updating the sidebar with anything I come across as a useful resource for Wisdom.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Africa Week 3 of 3

This week the kids were supposed to read something about Africa and put together a diorama. Whether it was factual, historical or a folk tale was up to the individual families. One family read about David Livingstone and presented dioramas based on his travels in Africa.

My two kids used African folk tales.  DD read and illustrated "Traveling to Tondo" and DS chose "Unanana and the Elephant."
The Rundown of our co-op this week:
  •  Map David Livingstone's travels through Africa (Pg 110 Act. # 388)
  • Discussion and Mapping - The Great Rift Valley, Oldavai Gorge, Soda Lakes (Pg 100 Act.# 311, 312 & 314)
  • Perform acid/base experiments using vinegar, baking soda, orange juice, grapes, milk, hydrogen peroxide and tea.  First we discussed what the difference is between an acid and a base and then we polled the kids to see what they thought each would be.  Once all the tests were complete they were able to compare the results to their original guesses.  We found they had very few items that were bases and asked them to make suggestions for new items to test that they thought show neutral to base results on the ph scale.  (Mom's note:  Can I say how cool it is to see your kids get excited over school stuff?  They were really excited at this point and wanted to check everything in the kitchen almost!)  They settled on testing flour, and raw egg (divided - one child tested the white, another the yolk and yet another tested a mixture of both). (Pg 100 Act. # 313)
  • Sing "Marching to Prestoria" while marching around the house and then find Prestoria on the map of Africa (Pg 108 Act. # 371)
  • Discovery learning - figure out how to store water in an egg and test it.  (Pg 110 Act. # 382)
All references are from KONOS Volume II Inquisitiveness. This is planned from an older edition so my page and activity #'s may not match up with yours but you should be able to find them based on the descriptions. Please leave me a comment if you have trouble finding them and I will be happy to help out.