Showing posts with label The Sun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Sun. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Homeschooling with The Hobbit

In case you don't know, we are (by we I mean the Sun and I) huge fans of good fantasy fiction.  That's why I was so excited to see The Hobbit as one of the language arts offering from Memoria Press. As this is our first year homeschooling, I wanted to have some fun while giving him quality curriculum and I needed to see where he was academically on things such as writing.

With our love of all things Tolkien, this was a 
great starting point for the 7th grade year.  

 Now we are coming to an end and this week Noah has been working on a final project to present the study to us.  The project is primarily artistic in nature, though there is more to it such as copywork, as the academic portion of this work was completed within The Hobbit Student Guide.

As we worked through The Hobbit, I found some really fantastic resources through a Google search as well as on Pinterest.  It's funny, my bright 13-year old has enjoyed the study guide and the art and all that we have done with this book, but he still loves to color (don't we all?), so I have found some great coloring pages suitable for any age that we included in his book.

One of the things I love about the Memoria Press work is it is a full language arts study.  Comprehension questions, independent writing, vocabulary words, artistic instructions - you get the idea.  If you are not familiar with Memoria Press, I highly encourage you to take a look at it.  It is a classical Christian curriculum - for us the emphasis is on classical.   And, you can purchase Memoria Press in pieces.  You do not have to order an entire curriculum.  The student guide for The Hobbit is approximately $9 and the teacher guide is similar, though if you are a fairly well read homeschool parent, I don't know that you neccessarily need the teacher guide.  You can always order it later if needed.  If you are lean toward purchasing study materials that are not from curriculum companies, there are several available including:

  • A guide from 7 Sisters Homeschool (geared toward high schoolers, though I definitely think some middle schoolers could tackle it)
  • Teachers Pay Teachers.  If you have not been to this website, it's a great resource.  There are some free items and many from $1.99 to $5.00 which are worth that and more.  When we first began homeschooling, I thought I would make most of my own curriculum and found that while I am suited to teaching, there are many others who have created some great resources that I can take advantage of.
  • This unit study is from a teacher that has been so kind as to put his/her own study guide online.  It's really a true literature study that not only studies the work itself but discusses literary terms such as foreshadowing.  Very well-rounded!  (This unit is far too in-depth for elementary school.  It is suitable for middle to high schoolers with great comprehension and writing skills.)

In addition to a study guide, we added self-directed art and copywork to our endeavor.  Why copywork?  There are many reasons that copywork is used in curriculums that rely heavily on Charlotte Mason or Rudolf Steiner's teachings.  For us,

copywork reinforces spelling and improves handwriting.   

I have found that with my son, he tends to get sloppy when free-handing his independent work but reigns it all back in when doing copywork.  We found this great series of Hobbit copy pages from Walking by the Way and my son has really enjoyed reading through the quotes and copying them!

So, we have academics and copywork.  What about the art?  We have approached this several ways.  One is an art project for my son's room.  We found a map of Middle Earth that he loved, printed it and it is now adorning the wall in his Hobbit hole.  (It really is a room fit for a Hobbit!)  I do a lot of decoupaging and art myself, but stumbled across this at Milk and Cookies and knew he would love it as well. 

Finally is the book.  Ah....the book.  We have taken different art pieces that created while working with the Memoria Press Student Guide, the copywork, his coloring pages and a beautiful cover that he created and bound them together in this book as his final project.

Noah is a VERY well read child and has fantastic comprehension.  Working with The Hobbit was really more of an exercise of an academic study of a work of fiction.  By adding in the other components we created a well-rounded lesson that was also quite enjoyable for him.  And with that, I'll leave you with this:

"'Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.'"

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

On Raising A Patriot

So, it seems I’m raising a patriot.  I’m a little a surprised, I don’t mind telling you, though honestly, it should not be a surprise.  As we grow older we often  revert to our roots and find comfort in the things that we were surrounded by in our youth – even if we rebelled against it.  For those who have known me for a while, you know that the dining room of my childhood home was filled with framed images of Ronald Reagan and a few of George H. Bush.  Despite my obvious liberal leanings in the eyes of my parents, I attended Young Republican rallies and was even selected to go with my hometown’s Republican leaders to attend a rally for Bush in the late 80′s in West Tennessee. As I matured and became even more liberal, the conservative ideals I had been exposed to seemed foreign and unfair in my youthful eyes.   Patriotism seemed like an old-fashioned idea to which my father and his generation clung to while the rest of the world moved on.   I believed that we should be embracing the larger ideas of tolerance and diversity which seemed to not leave room at the table for patriotism.

Now I am firmly planted in my youthful 40′s (the new 30′s, right?) and have taken on the sometimes daunting task of raising two children.  It seems I am constantly thinking of what I want to pass on to them.  What will impact their lives and make them happy and successful adults?  What are the values I (we) want instilled in them that will ground them as they grow older and seek to navigate this ever-changing world? Tolerance?  Yes.  Diversity?  Yes.  A strong faith in something larger them themselves (get ready for it,  G-O-D)?  Yes.  Patriotism?  Patriotism?  Yes.  I admit it took me a while to get back to this place.  It took years of being a news junky and being overly frustrated with my own government, years of world travel and seeing what my life could look like if I were not in the greatest nation on Earth, years of seeing oppression and violence including the recent kidnapping by extremists in Nigeria for be me to come full circle to patriotism.

fabric-flag2 It is true.  We have our faults.  We interfere in disputes that would be better left alone.  We have injustices of our own in the US and frequently falter and fall.  We are two-faced and lie and remove leaders of other countries that no longer serve us in favor of those that serve us for the moment.  We favor big corporations at the expense of the people and the environment.  We preach intolerance of lifestyle choice and still struggle with hate and racism.  These are our faults and we have many more.  And, unfortunately, those faults sell.
But, we are so much more.  We are much more tolerant than not.  We lend hands in crisis. We live in a nation where we can affect change and see it in the states that have adopted policies and laws of tolerance and love.  We feed the hungry and clean the rivers.  We flock to the aid of helpless children.  We support those with disabilities.  Though often misguided, we aid those outside of our borders who have no control over what happens to them. Unfortunately, these stories do not sell as well, so we are left to stew over our faults and the things that make us seem less than we are and negatively impact our patriotism, our love of our country.

DDayToday, the Sun was able to attend a ceremony at a local senior center recognizing those who fought in the Invasion of Normandy, also known as D-Day.  When I asked him if he wanted to be part of this he responded, “you bet I do.”  He did not have to think twice.  There were even three D-Day veterans in attendance who live in the home and though I am not entirely sure of their age, they must be at least 88 years old to have been part of that operation.  The men and women who fought or took care of wounded on that day in France did so because they were patriots.  They believed in something greater than themselves.  If you are unsure if patriotism still lives and has importance in our lives, look across the pond to today’s celebrations in France of their liberation from German occupation.

I am choked up thinking about my son and his patriotism which sits firmly alongside his own liberal tendencies.  You see, I believe there is room at the table for liberalism and patriotism.  One does not exclude the other.

 “I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.” -Khalil Gibran

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tenderfoot and Camp

This week Noah was given his first rank advancement in the Boy Scouts.  I was a proud Mama when Noah "pinned" me during the ceremony.  This ceremony was perfectly timed as he left today for his first residential camp experience.  Nathan and Noah just drove away to meet the rest of the troop to caravan to Boxwell.  Nathan, Noah, several adult leaders and about 15 other boys will join boys from around the country for a week of scout activities.  I guess technically this is not his first time camping away from home.  He has camped several times with his class at Linden and he and Nathan have gone on several weekend camping trips with the scouts.  But, this is the first time he is going for a week.  And, Nathan will only be with him one night.  Of course, he is so confident and easy going that it is no big deal for him.  For me, though, it is different.  As I think about having a rising 6th grader leaving for camp I am both proud and wistful at the same time. 

Being down one kid gives me the week to focus on my girl and she has lots planned including beauty day (think cucumbers on the eyes), gardening and more.  Now, if only the rain would end.....

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Valetine's Love from Noah

Photo Card
View the entire collection of cards.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Autumn Moon Festival

Thanks to the wonderful folks with the FCC (Families with Children from China) for the great night at the Golden Coast restaurant in Nashville.  We are looking forward to many more events that celebrate Chinese culture!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

On Schedule

Well, the Sun started school last week and the Moon started on Monday.  To be honest, I was fully expecting tears and tantrums and the 'ole "I don't want to go Mommy" from the Moon, but she went with bells on!  And, the Sun did too.  Would it be so wrong to say that on Monday - and each day since - I've done  a little happy dance each morning when the hubby and kids have left for school?  I now have 4 hours of quiet where I can listen to whatever I want to on the stereo, get a cup of coffee, fold the laundry and do just about everything without any interruption?  

Each day since school has started both kids have come home exhausted but happy.  Noah's 4th year curriculum promises to be rich and challenging.  We have Norse mythology and Tennessee history, fractions, zoology and the human body and woodworking.  That's not all, of course, but it's all very new and exciting!  Arwyn is now the age when the early childhood teachers begin to separate the preschool children from the "crown" kindergartners in her mixed age class.  She is technically "crown" age and is showing all of the signs that she is ready to move on.  But, am I?  Am I ready to no longer have any preschoolers?  I just don't know.

What I do know is it is going to be a great year.  Life is grand and I am savoring those moments in the morning when life is serene and quiet.  I'm listening to my blog music and am off to start the washing machine.  Here's to a full and productive morning!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Welcome Back Noah

I cannot believe it is here.  The weather is cool (falsely cool) and the scent of football is in the air.  Or, in our case, soccer!  Today I will be gathering all of Noah's things that have to be taken to school, baking cookies for the teachers, putting together a muffin loaf to go in the oven in the morning as soon as we wake up, getting Noah's haircut, doing all of the normal things and finally, headed out for our first soccer game of the season!

Normally we start school flying by the seat of our pants, but this year I'm ready, willing and organized and most importantly, I have a plan!

As the school year goes on I'll be writing more about this but it starts today with putting all of Noah's soccer gear in a bag with my folding chair and a snack bag (I'm ready for Arwyn!) and lots of water.  If you are looking for a great bag to carry your sports gear in...look no further than Thirty-One's Large Utility Tote - personalized, of course!  You can click on my Thirty-One link to find out more info on this great bag!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Reading

Me:  "How many books can I check out at a time?"  
Librarian:  After he appraises me....."25."
Me:  "Thank God.  My son will be finished with the Summer Reading requirements by the end of the first couple of days."
Librarian:  Silence.

Maybe I should have asked him if there is a prize for not only 10 hours of reading during the summer but for at least 10 hours per week during the summer. I walked out of the library with 8 for him today.   Thank goodness for the pool, Nashville Shores and all of the history sites around the area!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Noah the Hunter

For those of you who even REMOTELY are considering that you can avoid gender stereotypes and raise your child gender neutral, read this.

1.  You are an idiot and sorely mislead by reading ultra feminist rants by people who more than likely never had children in the first place.
2.  You CANNOT take out of a person what we are naturally designed to be like.

We sort of held this notion that we would let Noah be whomever he wanted to be.  We wanted it to be okay if he wanted to play with dolls.  We did dress him in traditional clothing and we fulfill traditional husband and wife stereotypes but we wanted him to see that anyone can be who they want to be.

When Noah's first word was "truck" and he had an obsession with trucks despite the fact that we are not big car people or really into our vehicles, I knew that all of the things I had read about gender stereotypes to be largely false or at least misguided to a degree.

We also did not want to raise our son around guns.  We (meaning I) have lots of family members who hunt and have guns and I grew up with guns in our home.  But, as I was pregnant with him when 9-11 occurred and we had entered a war we did not support, guns were not something we wanted modeled for him.

Fast forward 9 years.....we have a war obsessed gun lover who I would allow to go and hunt but to be honest, I don't think he has the heart or the stomach for it.  And, as I am not particularly fond of meat  and am really not fond of game, we are putting off the hunting lessons.  So, for now, he is content with shooting at cans with his grandparent's BB gun and saving his money to buy his own.

Here are a few photos from Pop!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What is the Beginning of Her Story?

Many nights before bed, my girl asks to hear the story of Mama Bear and Papa Bear and how they traveled to China to get their daughter. After a year I would have thought Arwyn would have grown tired of it. But, no, she still loves it as often as I'll tell it.

In a week and a half, our family will celebrate the one year anniversary of becoming a family of four. In celebration, I am creating photo books for the kids (one each) and one for Nathan and I which chronicles our 17 day trip through China.  I'll hand them out at dinner at a local Chinese restaurants where all of the Chinese nationals eat.

Noah's book was so simple to put together. I told the story and added pictures and cannot wait to see it come in the mail. Hmmm....

Then I began Arwyn's book. I guess the question is not so much where does her story begin. The answer to that is it began at the same place that everyone's story begins. Two people meet, join together and make a baby. Then what? Fill in the blank. Then they decide they cannot keep their daughter because she is a girl? Then they decide they cannot keep her because they have other children? Do they decide they cannot keep her because of the poverty level the live in? What about because of her special need and their knowledge that medical help is all but impossible in their city?

I believe they wanted to keep her. Call me optimistic, but our beloved was not abandoned right away. She was not a newborn when she was found which gives me hope that her parents struggled before letting her go. I don't know that to be true of course and would not put that in her anniversary book. But, as a mom, having given birth and having traveled to China and seen the women there, I cannot believe that her Mother gave her away without her own heart breaking.

My heart hurts now for her and for Arwyn. But, that still leaves me with the question of where to begin the story of her life with us. I'm sure I'll sort it out as I put the book together, skipping parts here and there until I have a clear picture of what this looks like.

We all want to know our own story. We yearn to find out about ourselves. We take self help classes and meditate and pray and ask for guidance. But, most of us have at least firm footing of our roots and our ancestry to begin. For those that do not, where do you go?

I am sure this will not be the first time that we are faced with such dilemmas as we help our little one navigate life. I just hope that we are wise enough to face these challenges and help her come through the other side.

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Lake

A beautiful day at the lake with dear friends Mike and Karisa and their little guy Ean. What a weekend. Life is good.

Monday, July 12, 2010

St. George and the Dragon

St. George and the Dragon was a big part of the school year.  They used it as part of the pedagogical study and this was the play that was performed.  I LOVE Noah's Dragon.

2nd Grade Math

The Crow and the Pitcher

Well, I have NO idea why these loaded like this.  I even tried rotating them before uploading them.  Oh well.  This was one of my favorite stories as a child.  The Crow and the Pitcher.  I love that Noah wrote it out and illustrated it himself instead of reading someone else's book and seeing that person's art.

The Peacock

This is Noah's peacock and one of his printed pages from the earlier part of the school year.  I love this picture.  Did I mention there are no lines on the page?  They use TOTALLY blank paper.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I just had to share this photo. This is one of Noah's favorite things to do! He brings out toys and boats and makes a river. Big fun in Mimi's front yard.

Should We Be Worried?

See Photo. Enough Said!