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31 October 2010

Nature Study

A hawk I wasn't able to identify.

Monkey following "animal paths."

"Hey, Mom, it's milkweed!"

Queen Anne's Lace

More milkweed.

"Not today, Mama."

Classical Homeschooling Carnival #12

Happy Birthday Blog Carnival! I'm a bit amazed that it's already been a year that this carnival has been collecting great ideas for Classical Homeschooling! And even better, this edition is larger than many of the past editions have been; a big thank you goes to all our contributors!

Pamela presents Footing Across the Golden Gate Bridge over at Blah Blah Blog. She has some beautiful pictures of their walk across the bridge to share.

Amy presents 10 Ways to make School Fun for a 6-year old at Earnest Parenting. Her commentors also have some fun ideas!

Chelle in NZ presents some absolutely beautiful period paper dolls they are using in Paper Dolls... Again posted at Last in Line....

Tracy ponders the ever popular question, "Why Do You Homeschool?" posted at My Eternal Family.

Here on Baby Steps, I'm sharing Classical Education Musings.

And last, but certainly not least, we have Ellen of The Bluestocking Belle
presenting Of Syllogisms and Fallacies: Studying Logic

That's it for the first birthday edition of the Classical Homeschooling Carnival! Submit your blog article to the next edition using our carnival submission form. Like what you found here? Use my new buttons at the bottom of this post to share this post on your favorite social media. Thanks for stopping by!

29 October 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: The Updated Blog Edition

It started out so simply: I noticed that a friend had a social media gizmo on her posts, and I wanted one too. But it wasn't working. And pretty soon it was a full-fledged blog re-design. I haven't checked it on any other computers yet, so if you run into bugs, let me know! And while I like the header, I don't love the header, so it's probably not done yet. But the basic idea I'm pretty fond of. And Blogger makes things so simple that it didn't take a whole lot of time, and most of that was tweaking photos & graphics, which I really enjoy.

This week, probably the biggest excitement was the Trunk-or-Treat. Monkey set the theme, with an Anakin costume. We went with a Clone Wars version. I decided that Raven should obviously be Yoda, if Monkey is Anakin. And threw together a Luminara costume for myself. Sadly, Daddy was out of town and thus uncostumed. AND, in the last minute rush to get to the party, I forgot my camera, but blurry phone photos are a whole lot better than nothing!

Monkey as Anakin

Raven as Yoda

We also did some homeschool this week.

is going extremely well. Monkey is making some very good progress. We're mostly drilling with his Happy Phonics games, but checked in with the Bob Books late in the week, and he's getting much more fluent in his reading of books. It's very exciting! Monkey's loving the letters in the shower, but we had to banish them to the upstairs shower because they go down the drain and clog it downstairs.

We did really well on Nature Study this week too. I blogged the first trip to the park here, which was particularly notable for finding milkweed. It'd been there all along, but this week I recognized it. We'll have to try to figure out what it looks like in Spring and Summer now. When we went out again the 2nd time, Monkey remembered the milkweed & pointed them out no problem, which made me a happy Mama!

Kumon was fun this week too:

We skipped the Kumon writing book this week, because Math included so much Writing. Math Expressions actually has consumable workbooks we could buy, but so far I'm disinclined to get them. My teacher's book shows a picture - these two pages would have been a single page, with each drawing getting only 1/4 sheet of paper: pretty small for the point Monkey's fine motor skills are currently at. But the exercise was fun, and I just love Monkey's cats. (Bottom left) I helped with the second triangle to make the stars, but otherwise, he did all the writing. He wanted to. He's come so far in this in such a short time!

Under My Couch

2 pencils
1 hoho wrapper
corner off a package of peanut butter M&Ms
1 long red Kid K'nex post
Doc Hudson car
Chick Hicks car
1 felt cookie
1 yellow boom whacker (E)
1 shirt
1 sock
1 pair underwear
1 yellow mini frisbee thing
Snuggle Puppy book by Sandra Boynton
1 tangled pink plastic slinky
large bouncy ball

28 October 2010


When we arrived at the park it was windy and just starting to sprinkle a bit. I nearly tuned around and brought us home again, but remembered reading somewhere that you'll see different things in inclement weather nature study, and we were well bundled, so I decided to give it a go.

The first thing we talked about was the wind. It was so strong! Monkey loved it. I did too. It was brisk and invigorating! I showed him how I like to spread my arms and lean into it, which he thought was pretty funny. Soon, we noticed seeds on the ground. Soft fluffy things that were whisked right away by all that wind. Monkey liked that, so he picked up several as we walked, then let them fly away into the wind. When we started going through the tall grass, I realized we'd been playing with milkweed seeds. We had a look at the plants; touched the seeds and checked out the texture on the pods. Wikipedia has some interesting tidbits on milkweed. I've added the plant to my herb-garden wishlist!

I was pleasantly surprised to find a few flowers are still blooming this late in our season.

We stopped for a while and played on some equipment. Monkey was loving that!

I left Raven in his carseat which I lugged along with us, and he slept through all the fun, snug as a bug in a rug.

I'm so glad that I didn't let the wind and a few sprinkles deter us from going! We had a wonderful time! And that was particularly nice, since it's been probably six months that we haven't been doing much if any nature study, and Monkey had forgotten that he likes it. But this trip was such a success!

24 October 2010

Sunday Scripture

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him: and with His stripes we are healed.
-Isaiah 53:4-5

23 October 2010

Weekly Wrap-up: Back in Our Groove

Well, it took a few days, after last week's (happy) chaos, but we're hitting our groove again. Everybody's had a cold, so we skipped the Nature Study outside in the cold this week, but otherwise things went really well!

In Phonics this week, we kept working on drilling cvc words. He's getting there. He can do it, it's just soooo S-L-O-W when you have to read every little letter! But, today he surprised me twice by knowing what stuff said, outside our lesson. I'm sure it's just a matter of practice & gaining confidence and experience.

Two weeks ago, Math Expressions called for hexagons and trapezoids. I wasn't paying much attention, and I made octagons for the flannel board, rather than hexagons... and then couldn't keep them straight when I was talking to him. This week when I asked during Math if he wanted to do a Math Monster or a shapes picture, he asked for hexagons. OK! So I made some hexagons and we did flannel board math that day. (We did the monster another day.)

We're well into our Mr. Popper's Penguins Read Aloud now, and Monkey likes it well enough to protest when our chapter is finished, and to ask for seconds at bedtime when we read it at naptime. I'm enjoying it too: this one is pretty funny!

Raven tried something new this week too: we got out the high chair and let him try sitting in there, well padded by blankets, since he's not at all stable yet. It seems to agree with him, and Monkey lost no time at all in showing him the fine art of cooking. Cooking cars into stew. Yum.

I learned some new tricks too. I took all those wedding pictures last week, and this week I discovered batch processing - that is, I set it up, and Photoshop does a whole batch of pictures the same way, without my needing to do more than wind it up and set it loose. Considering that on the day of the wedding I took around 400 pictures, I'm very happy about this discovery! It means that I spend my time doing the fun, artistic stuff, and not the whole rotate the picture so they're not sideways thing. Here's my favorite from this week:

21 October 2010

Passion for Purple

Purple is such a wonderful color! And there are so many beautiful, snuggly winter things in purple. This treasury has a sampling of my favorites.

16 October 2010

See You There!

Weekly Wrap-up: The One With No Pictures

After a week where I spent as much time camera in hand as this week, It's pretty ironic to realize that not only have I downloaded zero pictures from my camera all week, but there are so many of them and the weekend is so busy that if I try to download for this post I won't have enough time to make the post. So we have no pictures. But it's quite possible that the best part of the week was Raven's first laugh.

This was one of those weeks were we briefly greeted our usual routine on Monday, then left it behind for the rest of the week. We tried to keep up with the phonics practice because Monkey is doing so well in that area, and we don't want him to loose momentum on that.

Tuesday there were glass blowers demonstrating their craft, which was mighty interesting. We nearly didn't go because I was feeling stressed about getting ready to spend Wednesday & Thursday out of town for a wedding. I'm so glad we went. I can't wait to post a few pictures! Glass blowing is mighty interesting stuff! Tuesday I also agreed to take pictures at the wedding. So I spent some time researching what wedding photographers do, and trying to learn what I could about what the Nauvoo temple and grounds look like, since that's where the wedding was to be.

Wednesday we traveled to Nauvoo. The boys did remarkably well with the travel. We even had a few minutes to see some of the sights: the Browning gun shop & the blacksmith shop. Raven kept us on our toes by pooping to his toes. I did more photo research at the hotel.

Thursday was the wedding, and while everyone else was inside the temple I was watching the boys & we looked for photo locations. I think the pictures are going to be great, as soon as I download them I'll know for sure. I feel like the Lord blessed me to be able to do my very best work on such short notice: everything went smoothly down to Raven sleeping through the whole thing while in my sling. Then we came home.

Friday we did pumpkin carving at my parents' house. It was lovely. More pictures. Hopefully I can blog some of this stuff this week.

Today is the reception: more pictures. And I need to bake a cake for an open house I agreed to bring food to before I knew this was going to be such a zoo. Fortunately, it's pretty simple.

11 October 2010

Commonplace Book Meme

Commonplace Book Meme

This is an excerpt from this talk, given by Boyd K. Packer. It's actually such a long quote that I haven't finished copying the whole thing into my notebook yet, but I'm working on it.

Elder Graham W. Doxey, who once served in the Second Quorum of the Seventy, told me of an experience. His mother, who was later a counselor in the Primary general presidency, also told me of this experience.

During World War II, he was in the navy posted to China. He and several others went by train to the city of Tientsin to look around.

Later they boarded a train to return to their base, but after more than an hour, the train turned north. They were on the wrong train! They spoke no Chinese. They pulled the emergency cord and stopped the train. They were put off somewhere in the countryside with nothing to do but walk back to the city.

After walking for some time, they found a small pump-handle car, the kind that the railroad workers use. They set it in the rails and began to pump their way along the tracks. It would coast downhill, but it had to be pushed uphill.

As they came to one steep downhill slope, they scrambled aboard the car and began to coast. Graham was the last to get aboard. The only place left for him was in the front of the car. He ran alongside and finally climbed aboard. As he did so, he slipped and fell. He was bouncing on his back with his feet against the car to keep from being run over. As the car quickly gained speed, he heard his mother’s voice say, “Bud, you be careful!”

He wore heavy military boots. His foot slipped, and the thick sole of his boot caught in a gear of a wheel and stopped the car just one foot (30 cm) from his hand.

His parents, who were presiding over the East Central States Mission at the time, were sleeping in a hotel room. His mother sat up at about 2:00 in the morning and awakened her husband: “Bud’s in trouble!” They knelt by the bed and prayed for the safety of their boy.

The next letter he received said, “Bud, what’s wrong? What happened to you?”

He then wrote to tell them what had happened. When they compared times, at the very time he was bouncing along that track, his parents were on their knees in the hotel room half a world away, praying for his safety.

These experiences of prompting and prayer are not uncommon in the Church. They are part of the revelation our Heavenly Father has provided for us.

What's in your notebook this week?
Learn about Commonplace Books here.

I've Been Treasured!

Latress on the Menjay included one of my photos in her lovely orange and brown themed treasury! My photo is on the bottom row, second from the right.

10 October 2010

Fall Into Reading: Question 2

What do you think about e-books? Do you engage in e-reading or do you prefer to stick to good ol’ physical books?

I'm not convinced by e-books. What if the battery dies? Or the hard drive? Keeping my photos backed up the way they ought to be is challenge enough; I don't want to mess with book backups too. Kindles are expensive. I'd rather spend that money on actual books. That I can touch. That don't require a screen to read them. That don't become obsolete and unusable when technology advances, requiring me to buy them again. And again a few years after that. Plus, I enjoy browsing. Both through a shelf, and also flipping through the pages, browsing through the book. I don't think that's going to be terrible satisfying on a Kindle. So, no, I'm not convinced by e-books.

09 October 2010

08 October 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

Michelle, of The Holistic Homeschooler, was kind enough to present me with the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you, Michelle!

The difficult part is that I'm supposed to pass it on, and there are so many lovely blogs to choose from!

Here are the rules for the awards presentation:
1. Post a thank you from the person who awarded you and include their blog link.
2. Pay it forward to several other bloggers.
3. Comment the blog owners and award them.

These are my nominees, in no particular order:

Practical Pages
The Bluestocking Belle
The CoffeeShop Blog

Weekly Wrap-up: The Appley One

I love autumn! The colors, the smells, the trips to the orchard, the FOOD. Autumn is good eatin'! We went to the apple orchard near here, and they've got apples, which are yummy. We also got several pie pumpkins, which I am in process of cooking down, pureeing, and putting in the freezer. Not only is it cheaper than grocery store pumpkin, it's easy, and I keep hearing about how there's shortages... don't want to be without the pumpkin! Pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin scones: YUM. Plus, the orchard makes for good pictures.

I think my favorite part of school this week was that we added Narration to the mix. I ran across such good ideas on the Charlotte Mason Carnival that I decided to go ahead and try it.

One thing I loved about the ideas on Practical Pages was that in every case it made the story touchable. I decided to go with something familiar: our flannel board. I made color copies of a couple of the illustrations, covered them with contact paper & sewed felt on the back. I'm not sure that I'll do this again, cuz that was a lot of work for what we got out of it! But, if it was a favorite book, and I though that he'd tell the story a couple of times & enjoy playing with them, then I'd absolutely do it again, cuz it's not that much work.

Clearly, this is going to take some practice. The actual narrating part was surprisingly tricky. Monkey wasn't sure what I wanted... I wasn't sure what I wanted. I'm not sure that I'm any better at summarizing a story than he is! But we did it. And we'll do another story next week. And practice makes everything better.

Math went well. Math is probably Monkey's favorite, right now. We did more flannel board stuff.

Same stuff, different day: mostly. Math Expressions had us do trapezoids & octagons (OK, they were supposed to hexagons, but I made 'em before I realized that. I oughta read the instructions better, I think!). Last time we did the "mat" activities they had a different focus.

The book also suggested singing math songs, so we did a couple of those this week too. "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" and the like.

We also did patterns on the flannel board because it's fun. Monkey brought me his dot-to-dot book one evening and asked could we please do some? Why, YES!

We did a little Nature Study on a trip to the park for a playdate (though I also count the orchard for nature study).

Phonics is going really well: I decided to focus on just drilling with the games, rather than trying to do much reading in the Bob Books yet, because it was so frustrating to Monkey, and I want him to enjoy reading. So we got the Reading House (practicing rhyming cvc words, from Happy Phonics) back out, and he loves it now. Used to hate it. But it seems to make more sense to him this time. And I'm working on making cards of the words that are in those Bob Books to practice in our games. We'll probably start using them this next week. But it's so nice to have him asking for more of his phonics games again!

We finished Charlotte's Web, so we're just starting a new Read-Aloud. We read the first few pages of Stuart Little, but a friend loaned us Mr. Poppin's Penguins, so I think we'll switch and read that next instead.

06 October 2010

Earth Laughs

"Earth laughs in flowers to see her boastful boys
Earth-proud, proud of the earth which is not theirs;"

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Although there were some attributions of this quote to E.E. Cummings, rather than Ralph Waldo Emerson, I was able to find it in a larger context as an Emerson poem, so that's who I'm giving credit. Either way, the artists at Etsy have done a beautiful job!

04 October 2010

Commonplace Book Meme

Commonplace Book Meme

It's been a busy week for my commonplace book, since I took notes from General Conference in it. For whatever reason, I also browsed across several outstanding quotes on various blogs as well. Here's a selection from this week:

"The battle for Man's agency is still on."
-M. Russell Ballard

"To express gratitude is gracious and honorable.
To enact gratitude is generous and noble.
But to live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven."
-Thomas S. Monson

"Power comes by doing and not by resolving."
-Charlotte Mason

"If the Devil says you cannot pray when you are angry, tell him it is none of his business, and pray until that species of insanity is dispelled and serenity is restored to the mind."
-Brigham Young

"Our doubts are traitors,
And make us loose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt."

What's in your notebook this week?


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