Tuesday, November 27, 2007

World War 1 Homeschool Study

Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival

November 11th was once called Armistice Day, but after WWII it became known as Veteran's Day.

We covered World War I the past two weeks. What an intense, exciting at times, complicated, demoralizing decade to study. I never knew much about “The Great War”. Learning with our children is the best part of homeschooling.

 When you study WWI, you can’t help but be sobered by how much this war still affects and sometimes complicates our world today. Serbs, Croations, Bosnians, Turks, Kurds, Iraq (previously part of the Ottomon Empire), Russians...just to name a few....SOME of the same people are still fighting. Then the harsh Treaty of Versailles crippled the Germans so they could never rise again *cough*....

We have a small history group of 5 high school girls from our congregation and we have spent the last year and a half working through Notgrass American History. I cannot recommend this material highly enough. It’s one of the few curriculum choices I have made where we actually finished the book and I did not regret my expensive purchase half way through the year.

Basically to sum up WW1 in the words of my observant 16 year old daughter:

“It’s like the horrible slumber party every girl has experienced and has stored in her memory. One ambitious, sensitive girl is offended because she thinks another girl at the party looked at the guy she “likes” in the wrong way and is trying to steal him from her. Another friend takes her side. Then the one who offended is mad because that other girl just sided against her, so she then tries to get more girls on her side, then more girls join the other side. The dominoes start falling and there is a “take no prisoners” mentality which overcomes even the best of girls. The strongest personalities in the group are the “imperialists”. There are actual “aliances” drawn and if you cross the line, you are a traitor and the friendships will be “executed” (figuratively speaking) by the other side. There are actual spies who pretend to cross the line to collect information only to find out later about 2:00 a.m. in the morning, she stabbed you in the back. There is a strong spirit of “nationalism” among the girls and there is no turning back...you’ll stand by your “best friend” to the death. Then there are the neutral parties (such as my daughter) who could care less about getting involved in the latest melodrama and goes to sleep before midnight while the other “countries” engage in trench warfare until 5:00 a.m. when physical exhaustion and the high casualty rate consumes them.”

Beware of any harsh peace treaties or there will be an even bigger war at the next slumber party.

I bought Orange Crushes (invented in 1916) and made a Fruit Cocktail Cake (fruit cocktail invented in 1914) for our class.  Here is a link with food ideas if you want to try a lunch or dinner party. Eating the foods and listening to music from the era cements the history in their minds. I'm a firm believer in partying our way through home education.

I also think it is very helpful (imperative) for older students to map out pre World War 1 Europe/Asia and post World War 1 Europe/Asia. It will give them a clear, mental picture of the land and territories affected. We created a Time Line using a folding Dina Zike booklet idea. Here are pictures. It's nothing fancy, but it's a handy guide for quick reference.

If you have visual or hands on learners, I highly recommend Dina Zikes Big Book of Unites States History.  We used it again, and again. Adults and children alike all enjoyed making her fold outs and lap books.  

Here are some helpful links:

Simplified Timeline I found this uncomplicated timeline to be very usable. It also has a link for practical activities.

World War 1 Books for Kids

National World War 1 Museum in Kansas City I've heard several people mention this was the best museum they've ever visited. I see a homeschool field trip in our future. This site also has helpful information.

A helpful before and after map

another map

PBS Great War site...excellent

I loved this site because it gave an American cultural perspective of the decade

Best History Sites; World War 1

Brief explanation of effects of World War 1 which is imperative to understand

A good artist to study during this time period is Kathe Kollwitz who lost a son in World War 1. Study the rise of "Expressionism" in art.

FYI: For you Tolkien fans out there, he fought in World War 1 and used what he experienced in the trenches in his notorious books.

I recommend watching All Quiet on the Western Front with your older students and have a deep, philosophical discussion with them about this film.  There are other great films about this time period.  Do a Google search and find some appropriate ones for your children's age group.

Let me know if any of these links helped you, or if they are broken.  I would love feedback on your World War 1 study.  How did it go?  What did you do?

I hope you'll become a new follower.  Let me hear from you.  :)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mother~Daughter~Grandmother~Great Grandmother and our DNA

I can’t find good pictures looking straight at my daughter's face, but here are a few.  

This is girlchild with Daddy.
Here we are on a good day. Mother and daughter. I love this girl. She’s never given me a moments grief. Always been a very easy, loving child. What on earth did I do to deserve her???? God has blessed me.

I don’t think she’s enjoying this. She’s procrastinating concentration.

Awww…yes, it’s finally coming to her. Ah-ha! Latin really is easy if you think about it long enough.

Here is my sweet better half on my birthday. I’m sorry we’re always squinting, but we live in the Sunshine State, you know...the sun is always in our eyes. We smile with our eyes half open.

So here is my grandma (Thank you Melinda for posting it). I have her nose and lips. My daughter has the same nose, lips and chin as her. My daughter and I have grandma's high pitched sqeaky voice too.  DNA is funny AND fun.  I look a little like my mother too I guess, but I'm too lazy to dig those pictures out.

Dorothy Belle Seitter

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No time for Autumn Moments ~ How sad

Nature XXVII, Autumn
by Emily Dickinson
The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Autumn is my favorite season. I have always "highly esteemed" this time of year. There isn't much time to truly envelope yourself in it as we're so busy inside planning Halloween costumes, the Thanksgiving menu, decorating for Christmas and cleaning because family is coming. 

Autumn is my favorite season for the millions of pigments found throughout.  If I was a famous artist influenced by a movement, I would probably be a Fauvist. I'm married with color; it fills me.

I also love how the first cool fronts blow away the sour wetness from our humid, oppressive summers. In Florida, I'll joyfully take each and every one sent our way.  
Be blessed! 
Dream big and make your dreams come true!
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and make a comment below.

Stay awhile.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Poe in our Homeschool Co-op Literature class

I teach 2 high school literature classes at a homeschool co-op on Thursdays. One American and one Brit.

This week in our American Literature studies, we're covering Edgar Allan Poe. Appropriate for the season, I think. I enjoy read my literature by seasons. Some books are better during a particular time of year, wouldn't you agree?  Do you do this too?

Yesterday's class was the best class we've ever had. I cannot get my American Literature class to open up and enjoy it.  Yesterday, however, they went crazy for Poe.  No pun intended.  I was so pleased. I've decided we should discuss insanity, guilt, grief, murder, mystery, blood and gore every week, if it will get my students excited about American Literature. LOL

We're covering The Tell-Tale Heart right now, my favorite short story of his. I'm having my students write a newspaper article on the murder as a creative writing assignment. There are some great vocabulary words in this story. Don’t miss those. We will also have a mock trial. I'm dividing my small class up into prosecution and defense. They will use source material found in the story.

Notice in The Tell-Tale Heart how the prose beats like an adrenaline filled heart in places.   The more you read of it, the more you will hear it. I noticed a ton of 3 syllable words in close proximity, which personally made me imagine a heart beat. Read it again and again, and you'll start hearing the heart beat yourself. Also notice how the Narrator never tries to defend his innocence; he keeps defending his sanity. Who is the narrator speaking with and trying to convince? An officer? The judge? His attorney? Us? Apparently, during the 1840's when this was written, the insanity defense became a great debate (always remember your context).

Yesterday, we had a big discussion over the victim's blindness. The story almost seems to move in slow motion. The narrator opens the lantern and shines the light on the “vulture eye” and the man did not defend himself. Could he not? One of my students suggested he was blind. DUH!!! It didn't occur to me. He only "heard" something in the room, but when the light was shinning on his eye, he did nothing. Was he frozen in fear or did he not see it? So we had a big long discussion over how fast the event could have occurred, his possible blindness in both eyes, was the Narrator really insane, or just a little insane and had he done this before?

We found irony in the fact that the man with the "evil vulture eye" was not "the evil" one. Also, there is irony in the senses. The poor old man couldn't see evil, but the narrator could. Both of them could "hear" evil and "death". Very interesting. I'm going to be thinking about this and the universal themes throughout the week. I tend to obsess over literature like that. LOL

Poe's writing style and literary techniques really pull me in, which is what a great author wants, right? I think we'll have a mysterious dinner, candlelit with ominous Bach playing in the background, and sit around the dinner table reading his poems and short stories. Especially right now with the wind blowing so hard in Florida as our natural special effect, a Poe night would be perfect. A chill blew in last night too so maybe we’ll open the windows and all literally and figuratively shiver.

Are you a Poe fan?  Do you have anything to add?  Thoughts? Ideas?

Here are some helpful links:

Study Guide for the Tell Tale Heart

Web English Teacher Poe site

Poe Museum

The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore

10 Weird Things You Don't Know About Poe

Friday, October 12, 2007

Dumpster Diving IKEA Curtains

Some neighbors moved and threw a ton of stuff away. I couldn't bring myself to dig through their trash last night in the dark.  Eew.   

Today, I wondered over to their trash can under the pretence of walking my dog. I covertly let my dog smell around while I took a quick "nosey" peek at their lives in a can.  It's really sad actually.  With the housing market collapse in Florida, people are abandoning their homes, possessions, pets, etc.     

I found IKEA curtains and a rod.  Since we just moved, I have a dozen new windows and I need curtains pretty badly. 

The set is a sheer, soft cream with a large brown flower and a touch of lavender. They are a discontinued IKEA pattern.  I've already washed and hung them in my daughter's room because her room is brown and pink.  If she's happy with them, I'm happy.  Yay for free!

Here is a darker picture without the flash.  They are sheer so with the sun shining through, it gives the room a breezy, light feeling.  (The quilt is a Cinnamon Pink and Brown "Turning 20 Again")

I'm fairly confident, when God talks about virtuous women, He did include providing for our families, via the neighbors trash can, although, Lord willing, on rare occasion.  Thankfully, we don't have to do this on a regular basis.  BUT, finding "free" on the side of the road for our home and family, is awfully exciting at times.  And I am grateful.

What have you found free lately?  I hope you'll share and continue the conversation in the comments below.  Please follow our blog and get to know us better.  I'm anxious to meet you!  :)  

Be blessed and Be a blessing! 

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Vintage Fire-King Polka Dot Mug

Am I the only one who loses her coffee cup everyday? 
Several times a day? 

There it is!
Am I the only one who daily drinks cold coffee because the cup is set down some where and 30 minutes (or hours) later, it is found. 
I can't remember the last time I had hot coffee. 

This is my favorite mug, a thrifted and much treasured 
aqua polka dot Fire King mug. 
Wish I could find more of it. I think aqua is my favorite color.
Coffee tastes best in cups we love the most, right?  :)  Yum!

Do you have a favorite coffee cup?

I thought it looked so pretty here, found, in front of the Bougainvillea.  Beauty is all around us, if we just stop, take a deep breath and soak it all in. 

Be kind.
Be a blessing.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Homeschool Science and Insect Collecting

My Grandpa, George Woodruff, was a Biology professor at Harding for decades.  All of his children and grandchildren were blessed with a love for science. 

I have a very hard time killing healthy insects.  Most of my butterflies have been found on their death bed, or they were dead already.  A good place to find flying insects is the grill of your vehicle.  I try to capture only the weak and dying and let the healthy finish their given work in the environment.  Any where there are big outside lights, a parking lot, a little league sports game or your front porch, is another good place to hunt.

I put my live insects in a zip lock bag and place it in the freezer. A biologist friend of mine said it was a painless death. I hope she’s right. :(  I started keeping zip lock bags with me at all times.  I go prepared as you never know when you'll find an awesome bug. :)  I started coating our foam board with diatomaceous earth because a few of my most beautiful moths were eaten by microscopic somethings.  Why couldn’t they eat one of my ugly bugs? Grrrrrrrr.... 

Another sad thing I noticed was beautiful, gorgeous dragonflies do not keep their color after drying.  Oh, how I love dragonflies.  

One thing I haven’t figured out yet is how to preserve a big fat juicy bug.  They are going to smell as they decompose. I’ve learned to leave 5 inch grasshoppers alone because it wasn’t worth it. Ick! I wonder if we can put them in salt and make mummies out of them.  Hmmmmm....more research 

I have some pictures of some other things we’ve collected. The little white stone things were actual kidney stones out of a dog. Gross!!! Those are sharks teeth we found on the beach.  We have tons of fossils too. 

I just want to encourage you to collect gross things.  Many parents can be creeped out, but your kids.....especially your boys....will love it.  Speaking of gross, we LOVED this game, The Totally Gross Game.  And this was a yucky, gross, and thoroughly interesting book too: Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty.  I can't say they are pleasant, but they were fun and educational.  I like things which make my son laugh, where he can learn without knowing he is learning.  
What kinds of flora, fauna or "gross" things do your children collect?  Do you have any ideas or comments?
I hope you'll follow our blogging journey.  We look forward to sharing with you. 
Be blessed. 
Be kind.
Choose Joy. 

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Economics Lesson and a Bake Sale

We had our own little family bake sale at our homeschool co-op.  My kids made a killin'.  They learned about running a small business, hard work, profit, expenses, etc.     

Notice in the first picture, there is a muffin missing? My son stole a muffin and I made him pay me .5o cents.  haha. Not really, but I did explain to him, we can't eat too much more profit. 

Grandma Johnson's Scones, from All Recipes were one of the best sellers.  Oh my gosh, so good!!!  I linked the recipe we used.  Really! Try it. So perfectly, perfect. Not too dry. Not too wet. A perfect scone.
RISE babies RISE!!!  These Cinnamon Rolls III were the BOMB!!! I loved this recipe because it was so easy to make the dough in the bread maker.  Very easy to prepare homemade and so delicious.  

Below is my 12 year old son Jonah with the finished product, trying his best not to breathe pathogens onto the product.  He sold one pan for $5.00 then the rest of the rolls, he sold for $1.00 a piece.

They ended up profiting over $20.00. We could have made more, but my son kept dipping into our earnings to buy a piece of pizza and a drink from our competition. I was mad, because he had a tuna fish sandwich in the car. I guess Tuna isn't as marketable as pizza.

 Supply and demand, I guess. *sigh*

Which would you make? The scones? The cinnamon rolls?  Both?
I hope you'll leave a comment and share.

Please follow along on our blogging adventure too.  We love new (and old) friends. :)

Be a Blessing!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Do you save your half square triangles ~ HST?

Whenever I sew half-square triangles, my frugal, obsessive compulsive nature can't bear to throw the tiny little pieces of triangle way.  There are a 1,001 things you can do with them; here are a few HST ideas on Pinterest.  Fabric is too expensive to throw away. 

It is time consuming to mark and sew both sides of your half square triangle.  I tried eye-balling them as I was sewing, but it was too difficult to sew in a straight line.  I finally drew a soft pencil line with a mechanical pencil.  It made sewing much easier.

If you're speed quilting, you probably won't want to mess with it (I'LL TAKE YOUR SCRAPS!!!) but if you have the time, go ahead and stitch the other side of your square, and you'll have a sweet little "saw-tooth" ready for a border or other scrappy blocks

These are my sewn, saved, tiny half square triangles on the left.  The triangles on the right are often garbage, tossed away.  What??  Look at all that expensive batik!  No way.  I'll use that up, thank you very much. 

Do you throw away the triangles or do you try to keep them and use them?
What other things can we do with our scraps.
Looking forward to hearing your scrap wisdom.

I hope you'll follow my blog.
Quilting is more fun when done with friends.

Be blessed and Be a blessing.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Read Aloud Tips for Busy Boys

For those of you who are homeschooling a free spirted, auditory learning boy
who can't sit still and loves art...
I highly recommend collecting Dover coloring books
We bought the good, expensive and WONDERFUL Prisma Colored Pencils.  He colors the beautiful illustrations in Dovers coloring books while I read.  Often, I'll have him color something appropriate for the subject matter we are studying. 
This has worked really well for us. 
He's a boy!  While we are reading aloud, I think it helps him to keep his hands busy
 with legos, crayons, cars, etc.  
Our rule is he can play with his things while I read,
but no sound effects.  :) 
I stop and let him narrate what I just read to make sure he is paying attention and he always is. 

He can sit and listen to me read for 6 hours straight (longer if my voice didn’t give out). I'm choosing my battles.  He will love reading again.  We cherish our sweet time on our down sofa with our two cats accompanying us as we read the world's great literature. He's only going to let me read to him for so long, so I'm soaking up all the time he'll give me right now.

The Read Aloud Handbook  is a helpful resource for families who read a loud. 

Does your night stand look like this, stacked high with books?
This photo always makes me laugh at myself.

What's your favorite read aloud book?

Looking forward to hearing from you?
Oh, and please follow our blog.
We want to grow.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Texas, where even the cows are friendly

I sure do get to missin' Texas a lot. Both my sisters are there along with my little niece and nephew. My brother is there. My mama is there and my sweet mother-in-law is there. Our mothers are getting older and I don't like being away from them. Seems like we don't get home as much as we wanted. 

See, how can you not love a state where even the cows leave a friendly little sign
for all the nice people who drive by?
Is that a piece of litter I see in the right hand corner of the picture?  

This was taken around Tioga, TX a few miles from "home". 
You know who is from Tioga, don't ya? 
Gene Autry, of course.  :)   

I'm excited to hear your thoughts. The comment section is a friendly place. Really.  :)  
OH! And please follow our blog.  We want to grow!  

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Cats Love Homeschooling

Over the years, I've seen many photos of homeschoolers 
with their animals. 
We had a meaningful, hands-on Biology lesson 
when our cat Cassidy gave birth to 5 kittens. 
All the kittens like school.
Here is Katy meeting Mr. Darcy for the first time. 
 She's in love, like the rest of us.
(You can get Pride and Prejudice free for your Kindle)

Here is Moo, the narcoleptic, resting in the safe arms of a Math student.

Katy likes to help Daddy work.

What animals homeschool with you?
Cats make the most comfortable reading buddies.
It's like peas and carrots.  The two just belong together, right?

Share your story of homeschooling with your pets in the "amiable" comments section below.
We love to throw around amiable a lot.
It's such a pretty Jane Austen sort of word.  LOL

I would love for you to follow my blog.  We hope to grow.

Be blessed and Be a blessing. 

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Moved to a New House

We just moved two weeks ago. This is our school room. School starts next Thursday. Guess I better hurry, huh? I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I tried to make it my sewing room, but got busted by my family. I'll have to stash my stash some where else. One thing I was really excited to find, after being packed away for a year, was our insect collection. Nothing was damaged and I never thought I would be so happy to see bugs! Now....where to put it????

You envy my mess, don't you?

I'm excited to hear your thoughts. The comment section is a friendly place. Really.  :)  
OH! And please follow our blog.  We want to grow!  

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Cutting out a quilt

Pooh the Narcissist, won't allow me to cut out my new quilt. I push (gently remove) him off the table and he jumps right back up there to attack the ruler, fabric and rotary cutter. I think he wants to be a helper? It's driving me nuts, but he's so funny.  (quietly screams under breath)

Pooh loves Moda and I love Black Bird Designs. Together, Pooh and I make a great quilting team.  I love this sampler fabric.  I wish I had bought tons of it over the years.  It's an all time favorite, a classic. Something you can go back and visit again and again and know you'll feel the cotton between your fingers with a smile on your face.  

Do you sew with an animal partner?  Which animal makes the best pet for a sewing room? 
A cat or a dog?  

I'm excited to hear your thoughts. The comment section is a friendly place. Really.  :)  
OH! And please follow our blog.  We want to grow!  

Be Blessed. 

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