Our week: April 3-7

Well I’m here at Homeschool Journal now. If you have thought about starting a blog, this is a great place. The people here are so helpful.

We had a good week. It was not an eventful one, but we got our lessons in. Art has been fun. We are discussing the elements of art, and line is the first element. We have not done any history this week because we are in trasition and I didn’t want to start the Pilgrims before a three-week break. Math (division) is going well. Spelling is easy for her. Too easy. I need to step it up. Her vocabulary skills are very advanced, so I feel like I’m jumping too far ahead sometimes.

When we return to our lessons in May I will do some things differently with our English/Reading. I’ll explain more about that in a later post.

Our schedule is year-round, with a month off in April, August, and December. It works well for us. So I will post about what I am planning and learning this month.

Also, if you haven’t gotten in on the SDS study, this is the first week, so there’s time. Visit SDS Support to sign up and get started with Bren.




This week’s lessons: March 27-31

This was an unusual week because of Princess G’s birthday and because we had to take her to the doctor. She has eczema from head to toe at this time in her young life. We try our best to keep on top of it but this time it really got away from us. She had infection from her hips to her little piggies. It was the worst it has been, and it’s been pretty bad. Ouch! So we had to get a round of oral steroids and antibiotics. Needless to say, she is on the mend, feeling great and looking much better. I hate to take this route, but sometimes I really have no choice.

So because we are able to educate at home, we were able to continue our lessons and that was not difficult, except that she had to stand up at the table to work a lot because the back of her upper thighs were so raw. Here’s what we did this week:

Principle: Christian Principle of Self-Government (1 Samuel 8)
We discussed the Children of Israel rejecting God and choosing a man to lead tham. We reasoned that this is the same as when we choose our own way instead of choosing Christian self-governemtn. We choose our own government rather than God’s. We made a chart that a mom at our bibleprinciples group shared with us. We will definitely use more of these charts. They really make the lesson come alive for us and help us to apply what we are studying.

spelling lists from McGuffey
Grammar: Harvey’s and Daily Grams
Penmanship: Spencerian book 1 (new last week)

Principle: Division reveals God’s nature (3 in 1)
Continuing in Ray’s with this

finishing Alice in Wonderland. She asked to read it so we just did so. We didn’t do much in the way of notebooking, we just enjoyed the silly happenings and discussed “character issues” as we saw them.

Botany (Dr. Hooker’s book)
Principle: nature teaches us about God
This is her favorite subject. She begs to do it every day. We studied about leaves. They have four main purposes: add moisture to the air, shade, beauty and to keep the plant alive (respiration and photosynthesis). We also read the chapter on the leaves in autumn. I really enjoy his manner of writing and his appreciation for God’s creativity.

Principle: God’s Principle of Individuality
We learned that a line is a moving point in space. We discussed how lines are defined: by position, thickness, shape and relation to other lines. She reasoned what we use lines for–communication, separation, inclusion, judgement–and how lines demonstrate the principle above. We did some simple projects that she really enjoyed and we looked for lines in art and around the house. (For art we are using this book and this book.)

The weather is so nice that we have been spending time out of doors, getting our “sunshine vitamins”. Happy spring!! (insert Snoopy dance here)

Click here to download a blank lesson plan worksheet to print to your heart’s content.

Last week’s lessons (and still more poetry) Nov. 21-25

I am surprised at the number of poems that have peppered my posts lately. Must be a “season” heehee. Well of course it was a short week in our celebration of Thanksgiving. Princess G asked to read Psalm 100 before dinner. I was very proud of her initiative and she read aloud beautifully. I wish she’d speak up more but she did a great job. While we are on the subject, I thought I’d share a poem she wrote last year (I was surprised at the result–she was only 6). It may inspire you to do something similar for Christmas.

Giving Thanks
Today I will go
Unto the house of the Lord,
Remembering what God has done:
Keeping me safe,
Everlasting love for me,
Years and years of life.

So her latest poem has a little different flavor:
God has great powers
So He gave us flowers.
Girls are so sweet
When they meet.
I love God;
He’s sure not odd.

This poem made us laugh. The last line was originally “He’s not a pod” but I couldn’t let that stay, so she changed it a little. She worked hard on that little poem, on her bed with a note pad and pencil. This was the big English work we did last week.

We read more of the Pilgrim story, and we read through “An Old-Fashioned Thanksgiving,” by Louisa May Alcott. We laughed at the “bear” and the funny things that happened as they were cooking dinner. I think the story will become a tradition around here.

We also started our holiday notebooks and gathered materials for that. We had a good time listening to carols online and chatting and printing. I let her choose what she wanted in her notebook and we created pages for each topic. We printed pages for people to write what they were thankful for (she wanted it to read “Whatcha thankful for?”) and took around for the family to sign. We also printed some pages for recipes, journaling, traditions and the Advent study we are doing.

We reviewed some things we had discussed in JBC up to this point. That’s always good to do. We will break from that this month and do our Advent Bible study.

So I guess last week was mainly reading and writing and having a good time. She also worked on some math, including a multiplication table with half of the numbers missing, for her to fill in. She got them all right! YEA!!! We had a good time and I’m very happy with how last week came out. We spent time together around God’s word and some good writing–even if we aren’t quite up to Ms. Alcott’s caliber…just yet.

Last week’s lessons: Nov. 14-18

As I said a couple of posts back, I’m back to creating my own plans, which I really enjoy. Here’s what went on at our house in the way of lessons.

Principle: Law of Love
Leading idea: theme from JBC in Ex. 20:1-2
We read the account of giving the Ten Commandments. That was interesting, and we painted “word pictures” to really set the tone. We talked about how the Children of Israel must have felt, knowing God was physically coming to the mountain in three days. How would that make us feel? How are things different now that we have the Holy Spirit and Jesus living in our hearts? How does that affect our “law”? (law moved from the outward ten commandments to the inward Christian self-government). She did a great job reasoning these things and we talked quite informally over the week about it. Then we read the commandments and talked about what each of them meant. We will continue next week.

Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character
Leading idea: Pilgrims had a strong work ethic
We read from “Of Plimoth Plantation,” reading some and paraphrasing some. We talked about the leading idea and gave examples from the story. I love reading the account from William Bradford. I recommend using primary sources as much a possible. Don’t take a writer’s word that something happened the way they say. Find out for yourself. So the more we read from it each year the more familiar we will become. I highlight different things each year. We rehearse the basic account and then I focus on one particular trait of the Pilgrims. This year it is diligence and hard work. Nothing for the notebook, just reading and discussing. Notebook will be next week. Geography has been with history this week, looking at Holland, England and Cape Cod.

Principle: God’s creation communicates His Truth and love to man.
Leading idea: God made flowers for us to enjoy
I cannot believe how much I love our science text, The Child’s Book of Nature, by Dr. Worthington Hooker. If you are struggling with this subject and you have kids in the elementary ages, you should at least get a copy and see it for yourself. He’s a Christian scientist who wrote these books in the late 1800′s and they are gentle, godly and terribly educational. I will write more about this in another post. The chapter we read this week was the first chapter on why we love flowers. We created a botany cover page and we also made a violet with tissue paper for our notebooks. They had fun with the paper and glue. She reasoned several things: why nature can teach us about God, how flowers teach us and how she would feel about a plant that taught her things.

Principle: God uses the concept of measurement to express His plans for man. (Jer. 33:22, Gen 14:16)
Leading idea: measurement is an expression of the mathematics language
We are still working on her multiplication tables to 12. She’s doing great. Also we are talking about how math is a language and that we must express it precisely or we will communicate the wrong idea (answer).

Principle: God is the source of all good work
Leading idea: work is good and we need to do it
Now my 7dd is interested in money and how the economy works, so each Wednesday we take time in math to discuss economic principles. This week was work. If you have Mr. Rose’s Guide, I took it straight from there. We discussed the importance or work, defined it, and discussed “producing”. We are all producers, even if we don’t work outside the home. We also read the poem “Work” by Angela Morgan(we printed the first and last stanzas and she drew pictures of tools around it). I include a paragraph about John Smith and Jamestown because it ties in so beautifully (from this web page).

When Captain John Smith was made the leader of the colonialists at
Jamestown, Virginia, he discouraged the get rich quick seekers of gold by
announcing flatly “He who will not work shall not eat”. This rule made Jamestown
the first permanent English settlement in the new world, but work does more than
lead to success; it gives an outlet from sorrow, restrains wild desires, ripens
and refines character, enables human beings to cooperate with God, and when well
done, brings to life it’s consummate satisfaction. Every man is a prince of
possibilities, but by work alone can he become into his kingship.

Work!Thank God for the might of it,
The ardor, the urge, the delight of it.
Work that springs from the heart’s desire,
Setting the brain and the soul on fire,
Oh what is so good as the heat of it,
And what is so glad as the beat of it!
And what is so kind as the stern command,
Challenging brain and heart and hand.

Work!Thank God for the pride of it,
For the beautiful conquering tide of it,
Sweeping the life in it’s furious flood,
Thrilling the arteries, cleansing the blood,
Mastering stupor and dull despair,
Moving the dreamer to do and dare,
Oh, what is so good as the urge of it,
And what is so glad as the surge of it,
And what is so strong as the summons deep,
Rousing the torpid soul from sleep!

Work!Thank God for the pace of it,
For the terrible, keen, swift race of it;
Fiery steeds in full control,
Nostrils a-quiver to greet the goal.
Work, the power that drives behind,
Guiding the purposes, taming the mind,
Holding the runaway wishes back,
Reining the will to one steady track.
Speeding the energies faster, faster,
Triumphing over disaster.
Oh, what is so good as the pain of it,
And what is so great as the gain of it?
And what is so kind as the cruel goad,
Forcing us on through the rugged road?

Work!Thank God for the swing of it,
For the clamoring, hammering ring of it,
Passion and labor daily hurled,
On the mighty anvils of the world.
Oh, what is so fierce as the flame of it?
And what is so huge as the aim of it?
Thundering on through dearth and doubt,
Calling the plan of the maker out.
Work, the Titan; work, the friend,
Shaping the earth to a glorious end,
Draining the swamps and blasting the hills,
Doing whatever the spirit wills-
Rending a continent apart,
To answer the dream of the master heart.
Thank God for a world where none may shirk.
Thank God for the splendor of work!

Princess G enjoyed the poem and drawing the tools. She reasoned that the tool is dictated by the job. And that the right tool makes the work easier. That’s a good thing to know!

Principle: America’s Heritage of Christian Character
Leading idea: God prepared people in America to help the settlers
We read the D’Aulaire’s Pocahontas. Their illustrations are great and the story is nice. (They don’t tell the kids that she dies in England.) We were impressed by her story and how she conducted herself in England, being a girl raised in America in the woods and not in a palace. In England they were all very impressed by her. We were too. Princess G reasoned the leading idea and we discussed the priniple from that.

English was thrown in among the other lessons, with definitions, Daily Grams, and review of the basic parts of speech using text we were reading.

If you are still reading this, I’m impressed. I can’t believe how I’ve gone on and on and on… God is good and we are learning so much. I cannot wait to tell you about Dr. Hooker’s book…and the importance of original sources…and more Thanksgiving fun stuff…so much to blog, so little time!

Last week’s lessons

Last week was fun but not terribly eventful. We worked on our books in art class (aren’t my girls cute?). I love making books so this was really fun. (see the principle in the lesson).

In our other subjects it went like this:

Principle: Moses was a servant leader.
continued our Moses as leader discussion. We talked about the diagrams from JBC showing the difference betweeen leaders and rulers. This was funny to me because I planned the lessonbefore I read the text in JBC about this subject. When I read what they said and it was the same as what I said I got very excited. I was on the right track! (see last week’s post on “simon says”). So we talked about the difference between “leaders” and “servant leaders”. That was interesting. Miiko’s blog is also a terrific resource for JBC help week to week. She’s really inspiring!

Principle: Multiplication came out of God.
We have a Menu Math from Scholastic and she really likes those exercises. We are also continuing our lessons on multipication. We discussed again the principle that multiplication came out of God, not just from Him. He is mathematical in mature and He is a God of multiplication (see one of the many verses describing Him as a multiplier). We are working through a multiplication table. We also did a fun outdoor activity. I wrote lots of nubers out on the patio with chalk. I called out a multiplication equation and she had to work the answer in her head and then jump on the answer. We play this game for different math facts and she really likes the physical activity of it.

We also started economics each Wednesday. Just gentle learning about rudiments of economics. The first week we defined “economics”, “Christian economics” and “American Christian economics.” Last week we talked about needs vs. wants. (Matt. 6:31-34) She wrote: My needs come from God. They are food, clothes and shelter. He also provides my wants through prayer and hard work. She reasoned this from the scripture passage and some passages in Proverbs about work.

I am loosely following the section on economics in Mr. Rose’s A Guide to American Christian Education. She has her own business (her newsletter) and she is very interested in economics so we added a small component each week to answer her questions.

History: We combined it with Bible last week.

Principle: Geography is the stage for His Story.
We talked about lakes. There are three types: mountain lakes, lakes in plains and salt lakes (from Guyot’s Physical Geography). She reasoned that they get water three ways (my own part of the lesson): rain, springs and rivers. She drew examples of these for her notebook. We looked at examples of lakes in the Bible (like the lakes Jesus sailed and calmed and Peter walked on.

Principle: God gave us whole language from the beginning.
She is defining five subheadings of English: orthography, etymology, prosody, syntax and composition. We will try to get to at least three of these each week, putting prosody more on the back burner for now (more passive activities) and focusing more on orthography,etymology and composition. She is adding these to her little definitions flap book.

Principle: God’s Principle of Individuality
The Brothers Grimm and their fairy tales are on tap. Their lives are interesting (but who isn’t, really?) and I found some fun things related to them and their tales. I’ll list them in another post so you can visit them if you are interested.

Along with preparing lessons I am also listening to Katherine Dang’s seminar on “The First Things to Learn and Teach” about the BPA and how to apply it to home education. It has been amazing. I’m also slowly working through Ruth Smith’s Rudiments Course. That has also been wonderful. My brain is so full! I still have so much work to do to renew my mind to the Christian idea of man and government. But I have come a long way and can’t imagine looking at life any other way.

Simon the ruler

Continuing along our theme this week of dictatorships, we discussed the difference between leaders and rulers. According to Webster’s 1828 dictionary, they are defined as follows:

  • Ruler–any one that exercises supreme power over others.
  • Leader–One who goes first; a guide. (I rearranged these a bit.)

There is a marked difference between the two. One seems benevolent and one does not. We discussed the differences and the type of government these two would look like. We also talked about the responsibility of the people under these types of civil government. Here is what she reasoned:

  • The people have no need for self-government under a ruler. They are told everything.
  • The people have some need for self-government with a leader because it is up to them to follow.

We created a page with flaps that fold up to see what’s underneath. We defined them both (above), listed the responsibility of the people and gave an example of both from real 7 year-old life.

The Holy Spirit gave me an idea as we were talking about what these two types look like to a kid. Here’s what we discovered:

  • Simon Says: ruler. You are told what to do. You can govern from anywhere. There is no mercy (one miss and you’re out)
  • Follow the Leader: leader. You are shown what to do. The leader must be in front to set the example. There is mercy because even if you miss something you can still start again.

This was really fun. We played both games so she could follow and see which one she would rather follow. Of course she chose the leader. But for a moment she thought she might like to be the ruler. I see we still have some work to do! :)


daughters and dictatorships

For our Bible lessons we use the Judah Bible Curriculum, which I can’t rave about enough. It looks at the Bible governmentally, that is, who or what is directing, regulating, controlling or restraining men and nations. (JBC doeas a lot for Christian scholarship and learning to study the Bible for yourself too.) It has been such a wonderful time together.

This week were are discussing Egypt and their government–Pharoah (dictator), man over man type of government. Now my Princess G is only 7 but she was able to reason some profound reasons why she does not want to be under a dicatorship. Keep in mind that she really did get this on her own. I did not tell her what to think.

We discussed what a dictator was and what that type of government looks like in chart form.

Then we discussed the passage in Exodus 1 about Egypt and what that society was like. Not a great length, just the basics. We discussed why Egypt was unhappy that the Hebrew numbers were growing and what that meant to Egypt.

Then I asked her, looking at the chart, why she would not like a man over man type of government. These are the reasons she listed:

  • I would worship him instead of God.
  • I wouldn’t get my prayers answered becasue he is only a man.
  • He would be controlling and tell me what to do all the time.
  • He would be unknown and I wouldn’t know what he was thinking (she was saying he was highly undpredictable).

This was really exciting to me. She really understood what we were saying and was able to reason why it wasn’t a good thing to have a dictator. God bless her! We made it into a paragraph for her notebook:

When she came up with the reasons I was quick to praise her and give her ownership of her own thoughts. “I am so proud of you! You came up with those reasons yourself; I didn’t tell them to you. What a smart girl you are! God has blessed you with such a bright and wonderful mind.” This really encourages her to keep going. The more I encourage her to think the more she does. I can’t wait to see how this reasoning looks in 5 years. This BPA philosophy of education is awesome!

What we did last week

Well last week was a challenge. But how is that different from any other week? It takes such a commitment to make sure you have school consistently because there are so many things trying to get your attention. They all seem urgent and they all need to be done NOW!!! So we still got our lesons in so I thought I’d share.

Principle: God uses individuals to further His Story.
Leading idea: Moses was in the right place at the right time.
We are talking about Moses and his link on the Chain of Christianity. We talked about Moses being in the right place at the right time and made a page with a “basket” in the Nile that is really a flap you can lift to see little Moses inside. Then we talked about Moses in Pharoah’s house and how he was prepared and preserved for God’s plan. We created a T-chart to compare and contrast Pharoah’s House and Slavery.
Pharoah: education, leader, favored
Slavery: toil, servant, torture
We compared and contrasted these two environments and she reasoned how these things brought us to the leading idea (right place, right time) which she then reasoned to the principle (stated above). This took a little while but she got it herself, with a little mild encouragement. We are still working on the reasoning part but I think she’s doing a great job!

We discussed Abraham from JBC lesson 6 and the fact that his faith made him righteous. That was an interesting conversation. She drew a picture of Abraham with lots of stars and a scripture reference and title. We also discussed why we are called the Seed of Abraham.

Principle: It is the Stage for His Story
We discussed continents, peninsulas and islands and she reasoned that this is where the people live so this is the stage for His Story. We drew examples and she used the Map Standard to color them.

Principle: Measurement shows me that God is orderly and unchanging. (Mal. 3:6)
Leading idea: Measurement is always the same.
We looked up examples of measurement in the Bible (Noah’s ark, the angel in Revelation) and we discussed how that is like God. We talked about how it can build our faith because since math is unchanging and math came out of God, He is also unchanging. (You can also use Rom. 1:20 here.) We can use what we can see to help us understand a God that we cannot see. Then we discussed inches, feet and yards and did some math problems with them. We are also working on our times tables in Ray’s Mathematics lesson 44.

Principle: God’s Principle of Individuality
leading idea: writing demonstrates the author’s individuality
We are reading some of Emerson’s work. We checked “Father, We Thank You” from the library. It has beautiful illustrations and a wonderful poem of Emerson’s about God’s creation. We discussed how we can see what the author is thinking and feeling through his writing. We can also tell about his background and worldview (my word, not hers!) by the conent of his work.

I don’t have time to go into every subject here but these are the main subjects we try to always get to. We try to get to art, science and music, but at his time they are mainly informal lessons. (I am taching an online book arts class and we use that, along with another yahoo group art class.) She has had three years of piano and loves to sit and learn songs on her own. I am working on getting some science materials from Ms. Dang and have won the book (The Child’s Book of Nature) on eBay. When I get the book I will make more formal lessons for botany, per her suggestion.

this week in school: August 25-29

This week was our last for the school year. Here’s what we have been up to.

Bible: Judah Bible Curriculum (which I can’t say enough good things about)–lesson three is Noah and the covenant God made with mankind. We looked at the promise of Providence and then made a page for her notebook highlighting Genesis 8:8 and a drawing of Noah and the animals getting off the ark. We cut it up into a puzzle and made a pocket page to hold it. She wrote the word “Providence” in the rainbow to remind her what the rainbow stood for.

In history we are talking about how God created us for His purposes, that we have a place in the Chain of Christianity. One thing she did was this page that has a poem from T&L at the top. We then made a T chart and listed qualities that make her unique, both inside and out. She then drew herself with her American Girl doll. They are spinning around and dancing.
Inward: image of God, preferences, character, memories
Outward: fingerprint, name, profile, voice

Geography has us learning about the physical geography of the Earth. This week was a fun topic for kids–volcanoes. Usborne has a great geographic encyclopedia she likes to look through and it has a concise explanation of volcanoes. I also read up on them in Guyot’s Physical Geography (another terrific book). We discussed how God uses geography to effect men and their movements. Then we created a great little tab book. You pull the tab and fold the flap down and the volcano “explodes.”

We used the scripture in Nahum 1:5,6 to show volcanoes in the Bible.

In literature we have been studying David, setting the stage for the Psalms when we get back to school. We are studying the author, because as we understand him we will understand how, when and why he wrote what he did.

Luk 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth
that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart
bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his

As I read aloud about his life through the week, we kept a list of his internal and external qualities on this little man with lines in his tummy. After we were done I wished I would have thought to list the internal qualities in the inside and the external ones around him on the outside. Oh well. I still think it turned out well.

In math we discussed the principle for solving problems (from A Guide to American Christian Education). I used this cute recipe page and we looked up the scriptural basis for the three steps, Isaiah 33:22.

We made a heart book on the seven loves of literature from last week’s work.

This is a pretty good representation of what we did. We also do Spanish, English and science. McGuffey readers are great.

We are taking off the month of August. I will be busy preparing and posting the things I uncover.

* A book I really recommend is Alternatives to Worksheets from Creative Teaching Press. They have a lot of good ideas and fun stuff for notebooks. I use the templates and ideas in the way that fits us. It’s very easy to use.

last week’s work

Last week was short due to an out of town ministry trip. Some of the things we worked on:

  • place value (see the last post)
  • being internally governed. In our Judah Bible Curriculum we are in Genesis, dealing with man’s rejection of self-government. We did several pages for our notebook on this idea, contrasting what it looks like to be internally and externally governed. She mentioned this idea many times this week, especially when she saw things that were an obvious lack of internal (Christ) government, such as smoking, disobedience and selfishness. I’m so proud of her!
  • More stories in McGuffey’s reader.
  • We completed their “me” books and they had a great time with those.
  • We made a mini book with the four types of literature unique to the Bible. She always enjoys those types of projects.
  • In Spanish we are reviewing colors. I am also looking over an article from FACE on the Latin American perspective of BPA. It’s about Latin America’s Christian history and it will help me teach Spanish to know the Latin contributions to the Chain of Christianity. This article is written by a Latino and it is very interesting.

I may not get to scan the work in from last week. I will get back on track with this current week.