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25 April 2007

Connections & Classical Education

I looked for a quick little quote to sum up what she's saying about a Classical Education here at the Starry Sky Ranch, but found that she's done such a nice job of writing that each sentence is necesary, there are no extranious words, no unnecessary bits that could be cut to make a nice quote for my link. So all I can say is: "Yes! That's what I want!"

Earth Day: a little late

I loved this article about Earth Day observance & the environmental zero population garbage that often goes with it.

24 April 2007

Getting Athletic

So, diaper changes are getting more interesting. He's really getting squiggly now. Since I don't do naked butt pictures, these will have to do to give you the idea. These pictures were taken in a single minute:

However, there are at least a few moments still where he holds pretty still. I caught him at it here:

20 April 2007

She said it so nicely!

Just cruising around this afternoon, and I found this on another homeschool blog:

Wanderer in a Strange Land: Never give in.

She says it so nicely! I love the way she uses the Churchill quote at the end as a ray of hope in our dark political world.

19 April 2007

BBB: Lesson 2

Lesson 1 didn't go too badly - and it's already time for lesson 2. Amazing how time flies when you're having fun! We missed the trip to the library today: Monkey fell asleep just before we were supposed to go, so we'll have to do that another day. I might just leave it for next week if we don't make it tomorrow, since I've already got the book for this week. The nice thing is, when I was looking around for the nursery rhyme, it's not a grim one. Anyway, here's the plan for this next lesson:

Week One: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Week Two: Piggies by Audrey Wood

Nursery Rhyme:
I Had a Little Nut Tree

The Wind by Robert Louis Stevenson

Week 1: Who is my Neighbor(Sunday School lesson 14)
Week 2: I am the Light of the World(Sunday School lesson 15)

Book of Mormon:
2 Nephi 10 & 11

Classical Music:
Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring by Bach

Who's in the Mirror?

Baby Sign:

Sarah Jordan's Bilingual Songs Vol. 1

First 1000 Words book

14 April 2007

Cool Idea: Book of Centuries

I may still do the Monkey's education in "order," starting with Ancient History, as suggested in A Well-Trained Mind, but for myself I think this "Book of Centuries" could be a very cool idea. The idea is to create a notebook (3 ring binder) with a time line in it. Each 2 page spread has 100 years on it, and you keep track of things you read, composers, church history, Bible & Book of Mormon history, & whatever else you learn about that's got dates, all right there in one place. So each time you look at history you see how the current topic fits with previous topics. You never know, I might even figure out the whole Musical Periods thing, using one of these things! That would be useful for teaching my lessons, if I could get that stuff a bit more internalized than it is now.

As I think about this, even if we do go with a more structured walk through history, it's likely that some things won't always line up exactly, and a Book of Centuries would be a fun way to place things in their historical context.

Here's some links:

Clear explanation of what it is & direction for making one:

Another style, using a sketch pad:

An example, with some nice pictures & how it evolved as the kids grew:

13 April 2007

You Are Special & BBB1 feedback

I'm switching this week's book because this book is just so cheesy I can't stand it. I'll give Mr. Lucado full marks for trying, but I just don't like how it turned out. We're going to substitute "Where Are You Going , To See My Friend" by Eric Carl and Kazuo Iwamura. I need to practice reading that one before visiting Mom's class for Japan Day anyway.

Jamberry went well last week. We didn't read it every day, but we did read it several times. The nursery rhyme is kinda fun, although I can't help but think of Bloody Mary every time I tell it to him... guess these nursery rhymes all seem to have their origins in grim events. I've never felt the same about Ring Around the Rosy since I learned its history either.

10 April 2007

Why Do Family Scripture Study?

Here it is: the "why" that gives us the reason we should read the scriptures to our children. It's the shortest, most concise explination of what needs to be done and why that I can find. But there's a lot of other good stuff out there in addition to this, so a bunch of other quotes follow, each one with a link to the full text of the article it comes from.

President Hinckley has counseled parents: “Read to your children. Read the story of the Son of God. Read to them from the New Testament. Read to them from the Book of Mormon. It will take time, and you are very busy, but it will prove to be a great blessing in your lives as well as in their lives. And there will grow in their hearts a great love for the Savior of the world, the only perfect man who walked the earth. He will become to them a very real living being, and His great atoning sacrifice as they grow to manhood and womanhood, will take on a new and more glorious meaning in their lives” (quoted in Church News, 6 Dec. 1997, 2). Brothers and sisters, that glorious promise from our prophet can be ours if we read to our children from the scriptures.

There can be no greater joy than to know that our children love the Lord, no greater peace than that which comes when we feel of His love and understand the meaning of His atoning sacrifice. That spirit which comes when we share sacred things of the heart will bond us together as families. John expressed it well: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 Jn. 1:4).

-Gordon B. Hinckley, quoted by Anne G Worthlin, General Primary Presidency.



The principal purpose of scriptures is to testify of Christ and to guide the children of God so they can come unto Him and receive eternal life (see John 5:39; 20:31; 1 Nephi 6:4; Mosiah 13:33–35). The Book of Mormon prophet Mormon taught:

"Whosoever will may lay hold upon the word of God, which is quick and powerful, which shall divide asunder all the cunning and the snares and the wiles of the devil, and lead the man of Christ in a strait and narrow course across that everlasting gulf of misery which is prepared to engulf the wicked—

"And land their souls, yea, their immortal souls, at the right hand of God in the kingdom of heaven, to sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and with Jacob, and with all our holy fathers, to go no more out" (Helaman 3:29–30).

God, who is the same "yesterday, today, and forever" (2 Nephi 29:9), continues to reveal scripture in modern times as He did in ancient times. Latter-day prophets counsel people everywhere to study the scriptures daily, including the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. They encourage individual and family scripture study. They encourage us, as Nephi encouraged his brethren, to liken the scriptures to ourselves, finding ways that the sacred accounts of old apply in our lives today (see 1 Nephi 19:23–24). They exhort us to "search the scriptures" (John 5:39) and "feast upon the words of Christ" (2 Nephi 32:3). Daily, meaningful scripture study helps individuals be receptive to the guidance of the Holy Ghost. It builds faith, fortifies against temptation, enlightens, and helps individuals draw near to our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son.


How can parents help their children love the scriptures?
Elder Eyring: All of us have had various experiences and success with family scripture study, particularly as our children become teenagers. When they’re little, gathering them around and reading the scriptures together is easier. As they get a little older, it can sometimes be harder to do. I know many families are very successful in getting their family up at some very early hour and they read the scriptures and then they read at night. But there are many patterns.

For me at least, and I think my six children would agree, scripture study works well only if your children know you love the scriptures and they also know as individuals that you love them. Then whatever pattern you have will work. If scripture study is forced for either them or you, if your children feel pushed, or if you don’t really love the scriptures yourself, then scripture study doesn’t have as much power.

It’s important to read the scriptures together in a way that lets your children know you include them because you love them. However, reading together may break down during the teenage years. Teens may say, “I’d rather read on my own.” My encouragement to families in that situation is to see that as victory, not defeat. Your child may be saying, “I’m getting something when I’m alone that I don’t get when we’re all here together.” Take that as a wonderful sign that scripture study is beginning to take hold in your teen’s heart. The main purpose is to fall in love with the scriptures and feast upon them, whether we are alone or together.

You have to be realistic. Let teens know you love them. Make sure they know you love the scriptures. However, if they want to go to their rooms and read, let them. They’ll find their own pattern and fall in love with the scriptures.

I’m blessed with a wife who absolutely loves the scriptures. If I ask her, “What would you like to do?” she says, “Oh, read me the scriptures.” I think our children have sensed that it wasn’t a duty for us to read the scriptures—it was a pleasure.


Because we believe that scripture reading can help us receive revelation, we are encouraged to read the scriptures again and again. By this means, we obtain access to what our Heavenly Father would have us know and do in our personal lives today. That is one reason Latter-day Saints believe in daily scripture study.

Similarly, what a scripture in the Book of Mormon meant to me when I first read it at age sixteen is not conclusive upon me as I read it at age sixty. With the benefit of my life’s experiences and with my greater familiarity with revelation, I can learn things that were not available to me yesterday by reading the scriptures today.

Another reason for repeated reading of the scriptures is that many of the prophecies and doctrinal passages in the scriptures have multiple meanings. The Savior affirmed that fact when he told his disciples that the reason he taught the multitude in parables was that this permitted him to teach them “the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 13:11) while not revealing those mysteries to the multitude. His parables had multiple meanings or applications according to the spiritual maturity of the listener. They had a message for both children and gospel scholars.


The scriptures should be of the greatest importance in our lives. Our spiritual survival during the stresses of our society and the temptations of our time is greatly dependent upon the strength that we will receive from searching the scriptures and listening to the words of the prophets, seers, and revelators.

People as well as nations perish without scriptures. The scriptures are spiritual food for our spirit, which is just as important as physical food for our body. It was so important for Lehi to have the scriptures and records which were engraven on the brass plates that the Lord commanded Nephi to slay Laban in order to obtain them. The Lord knew of their importance for the spiritual nourishment of Lehi and his descendants. He explained: “It is better that one man should perish than that a nation should dwindle and perish in unbelief.” (1 Ne. 4:13.)


I, of course, do not write scriptures as did Nephi, but when I read the scriptures and live the principles learned, those scriptures become written in my life. They govern my actions and are written there for my children to see and follow. I can build a legacy, a tradition of righteous living, based on the principles I learn in the scriptures.

Doctrine and Covenants 93:39–40 [D&C 93:39–40] teaches: “And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

“But I have commanded you to bring up your children in light and truth.”

By reading the scriptures, I can be assured that I will know the “light and truth” that will bless me and my family. As I know what to do, I can work to bring my actions—my “traditions”—into line with what I know. Then my example will not lead my children astray but rather will lead them to the scriptures and to the truth that is found there.


And what of our children? How blessed is the child whose parents base their lives on the teachings in the scriptures! There is absolutely nothing more important we can do for our families than to strengthen them in the scriptures. Parents, call your families together to read the scriptures, and work to make it possible in your busy family schedules. Children, respond quickly and happily when you are called to scripture study.


If we treat the scriptures lightly, letting them gather dust on the shelves, unopened and unread, they are unable to bless our lives as planned. We will be denied the sweet whisperings of the Spirit in guiding our lives and the lives of our families unless we pay the price of studying, pondering, and praying about the scriptures.

If we immerse ourselves daily in the scriptures, particularly the Book of Mormon, we will have increased discernment. We will have power to do good and to resist evil, and our ability to solve problems will be expanded. Messages to help us in our day were foreseen by the Lord and were divinely placed on the pages of the scriptures to assist us and our families.

King Benjamin in the Book of Mormon set a wonderful example of how parents should teach their children from the scriptures, as found in Mosiah 1, beginning with verse 3. Note how many times he uses the word remember.

“My sons, I would that ye should remember that were it not for these plates [meaning the scriptures], which contain these records and these commandments, we must have suffered in ignorance, even at this present time, not knowing the mysteries of God.

“For it were not possible that our father, Lehi, could have remembered all these things, to have taught them to his children, … that thereby they could teach them to their children, and so fulfilling the commandments of God, even down to this present time.

“I say unto you, my sons, were it not for these things, which have been kept and preserved by the hand of God, that we might read and understand of his mysteries, and have his commandments always before our eyes, … even our fathers would have dwindled in unbelief. …

“O my sons, I would that ye should remember that these sayings are true, and also these records are true. …

“And now, my sons, I would that ye should remember to search them diligently, that ye may profit thereby; and I would that ye should keep the commandments of God.” (Mosiah 1:3–7; italics added.)

I bear testimony that keeping the scriptures “always before our eyes” works! We have found the sweet influence of the Spirit in our home as we have learned from the scriptures daily with our children—beginning while the children were very young. Some mornings it meant putting “mind over mattress” as we got out of bed early to gather as a family for scripture study, but “sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven.” (“Praise to the Man,” Hymns, 1985, no. 27.)


Recent research on the development of a child’s brain has revealed new insights into how and when a child learns. I quote from a recent study: “From birth, a baby’s brain cells proliferate wildly, making connections that may shape a lifetime of experience. The first three years are critical” (J. Madeleine Nash, “Fertile Minds,” Time, 3 Feb. 1997, 49).

Is it surprising that our Father in Heaven fashioned the minds of very young children to be so capable of learning at a time when they need to be taught who they are and what they must do? The years from birth to age 10 are the peak years for acquiring the language that will become the foundation for understanding future knowledge and truth. That foundation is formed by the words they hear and the impressions that come to them from the world around them. It is an ideal time for parents to read to their children from the scriptures. They will begin to learn the language of the scriptures.

You may have noticed children on their way to Primary with their scriptures in hand. Primary children this year are being taught from the scriptures, and they are learning to use them. Our theme for sharing time is “I Know the Scriptures Are True.” One Sunday morning I visited a Primary sharing time, and I noticed the children had their scriptures open on their laps. The Primary presidency and the teachers were helping them find stories of the prophets in their scriptures. I was asked to share a favorite scripture with the children. When I finished, a little four-year-old girl on the front row held up her scriptures and said, “That scripture is in my scriptures too.” Through the guidance of loving parents and dedicated teachers, small children can become familiar with the scriptures and the spirit that accompanies them.

President Hinckley has counseled parents: “Read to your children. Read the story of the Son of God. Read to them from the New Testament. Read to them from the Book of Mormon. It will take time, and you are very busy, but it will prove to be a great blessing in your lives as well as in their lives. And there will grow in their hearts a great love for the Savior of the world, the only perfect man who walked the earth. He will become to them a very real living being, and His great atoning sacrifice as they grow to manhood and womanhood, will take on a new and more glorious meaning in their lives” (quoted in Church News, 6 Dec. 1997, 2). Brothers and sisters, that glorious promise from our prophet can be ours if we read to our children from the scriptures.


There can be no greater joy than to know that our children love the Lord, no greater peace than that which comes when we feel of His love and understand the meaning of His atoning sacrifice. That spirit which comes when we share sacred things of the heart will bond us together as families. John expressed it well: “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 Jn. 1:4).


Latter-day Saint parents recognize the tremendous importance of scripture study in the family. Not only does learning the gospel together stimulate feelings of family harmony and appreciation, but it establishes a foundation of truth upon which children can build throughout their lives.

Unfortunately, most children do not generate the same enthusiasm for studying the scriptures as they do for watching a first-rate movie. But that can be changed. With some commitment and creative preparation, parents can excite the entire family about scripture study and help each make gospel study a habit.

Part of that preparation involves studying the scriptures ourselves. The best teacher has always been example, and parents who study the gospel regularly have the power of example to strengthen their words of counsel. Of course, finding time for regular gospel study can be a challenge. It may require a change in choice of activities, such as how much television we watch or how many outside activities we can comfortably handle. It might even mean an overhaul of family schedules, including arising earlier.

Whatever we must do to fit gospel study into our lives, the rewards will be well worth the effort. The light we allow into our own lives will reflect upon the lives of our children.


The tradition of reading aloud as a family diminished with the advent of radio, then almost disappeared after television was invented. Today, too few families participate in a tradition that for centuries bonded hearts and fostered learning. Arthur Henry King, a retired professor of English at Brigham Young University and currently president of the London Temple, stresses that children can learn to love the scriptures by listening to their parents read them: “The most important thing we can read to our children is the scriptures. … The voices we hear as little children remain with us, so parents must read the scriptures to their children as early as possible. The child who hears the scriptures in the loved voices of his father and mother will come, through that love, to understand the scriptures and appreciate them in the best way. … Through the voice of their parents, children can … become familiar with the voice of the Lord.” (The Abundance of the Heart, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1986, pp. 221–22.)

We may choose to read topically or consecutively through the scriptures. Or, while children are still young, we may read and reread the same favorites, thus giving that “loved voice” to the language of the scriptures. The more this kind of sharing can occur, the more familiar the language of the scriptures becomes to our children, and the more approachable the scriptures will be.


04 April 2007

BBB: Lesson 1

So, here's my plan for lesson 1. I'm not starting out planning to do everything she suggests, but it's a great starting place. Because we do a storytime on Thursdays at the library, our "weeks" will run from Thursday to Thursday so that I can pick up anything I need while we're there anyway. Bible Readings will come from my study for the Sunday School class preparation for now. For the Book of Mormon we'll just continue with the reading we've been doing.

Literature: (week 1)Jamberry by Bruce Degen(substituted)
(week 2)You Are Special by Max Lucado

Nursery Rhyme: Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

Poetry: Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson

Bible: Keys of the Kingdom (Sunday School lesson 13)

Book of Mormon: 2 Nephi (I forget exactly where we are, somewhere near the beginning of the book)

Classical Music: George Gershwin, A Foggy Day (substituted to match my piano lessons' listening piece)

Game: This Little Piggy

Baby Sign: more

Spanish: Parts of the face - pelo, cabeza, ojo, mejilla, oreja

Japanese: Jamberry words - くま(bear), 果実(berry), 男の子(boy)

Excitement: Letter of the Week

I discovered a couple of new resources this evening. One of them is the School of Abraham, which looks like it's got some fun ideas for specifically LDS elements in classical homeschooling. I sort of looked around that one, but they need to re-work their navigation. However, I did follow some of their links & one of them was this Letter of the Week site. This is pretty exciting! I've been struggling with what to do, as much to develop for myself the habit of "doing school" consistently with my son as to get him started on the road to education. Both are important, but I'm considerably more worried about me than I am him. He's so smart!

So, the site suggests starting with a 3 month old child, and the Monkey's already 6(!) months old, but I'm thinking that I'll start at the beginning anyway. It seems more logical to me, and doing things "on time" is hardly a concern at this point.


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