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Friday, March 12, 2010

Great day

Today was rather uneventful but great nonetheless. Now that I’m reflecting on the entire week…I love home schooling. (That’s no secret though.)

The devotion was about the Girls Scout’s promise “…to serve God and country…to help people and to live by the Girl Scout law.” In Matthew 5:16 it is written, “In the same way let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.”

JD was extremely sleep this morning and struggled to get out of bed. We got started late so he read “Hero’s don’t Run” independently this afternoon. I read the Purpose Driven Life this evening because I didn’t want to go two days without reading it. Today’s title was “How Real Servants Act.” (We all know Jesus set the bar high when he demonstrated that as the son of God he too was a servant. So What makes us any different?) Did you God may test your heart by asking us to serve in ways we’re not shaped for? Rick helps us understand this by defining six characteristics. 1. Real servants make themselves available to serve. Not only when it’s convenient. So every morning we all need to remind ourselves that we are God’s servant. That way when he throws a wrench in our plans we won’t freak out. 2. Real servants pay attention to needs. Seize the moment when there’s a need and don’t put off until tomorrow what we can do today. 3. Real servants do their best with what they have. The bible says, “If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” It doesn’t have to be perfect either; God uses it and blesses it. 4. Real servants do every task with equal dedication. I personally don’t have a problem doing jobs at the church which could be classified as “beneath me.” I have a problem being the 20% doing it all the time. I guess this characteristic hit me the hardest. I just need to do what needs to be done as though I’m doing it for God himself. 5. Real servants are faithful to their ministry. I know these people and am disappointed when my children’s ministries suffer because of lack of commitment. I try hard never to be this servant. 6. Real servants maintain a low profile. Meaning don’t do “eye service.” I really don’t know any of these servants in my church. I do however see it down Main Street when every other month there is a new church open. There are 8 churches on that street!

Math was fairly easy to do today. It was very similar to yesterday’s lesson. Only today they taught the area of parallelograms and triangles. A parallelogram is a four sided shape. When you cut it in half from corner to corner you have a triangles. We used the skills we learned from yesterday to solve all kinds of “area” questions. JD really mastered this quickly. (I’m going to need a tutor.)

JD got almost all the way through his keyboarding lesson when he got distracted at hit the “full screen” button. This made him lose all the work he had already accomplished and brought him all the way back to the start. He was working on Level 4, Stage 10. This lesson incorporated the letters “x” and “z.” They do “warm-up” first. Then, the left hand and right hand next. The last step was working with both hands while typing sentences. I re-typed the lesson and got him caught up to where he was prior to losing it all. I wanted him to get through the whole lesson.

We utilized the edit/rewrite time to finish typing the superhero story called “Bombhard.” (Yes, one word.) It’s of course a fictional story that incorporated characters, setting, plot, cause and effect. (Thank goodness that one’s done.)

The health lesson today was called “Have a safe and fun time.” I loved this lesson. It taught him safety about the following topics: car, biking, swimming, fire, and streets. There we’re points in this lesson that I as a parent have never had the opportunity to tell him. Things like: bicycle hand signals, don’t swim when you are tired or experience cramps, diving into unfamiliar water, escape routes from the house in case of a fire, chasing a ball or animal into the street, and boundaries for our neighborhood. Last year the bicycle boundary was into the next cul-de-sac. The world is just not the same as when I was a kid. I told him he is never to turn left towards the highway. That his boundary ends at so-in-so’s house. I worry so much for him when he’s on his bike. I worry that he’s so into “his world” that he will forget about everything else. And with all the distractions car drivers face today, they may be too distracted to see a wild boy on his bike.

The spelling test went well. He received a well earned 100% on 15 four letter words. I think 15 was a lot too, but it should decrease next week.

I think I have discovered the art of relaxation. I have been trying to put it into practice the last couple of days. I may have found a new hobby. I curl up on the couch and read. Jeff made mention that I haven’t read this much the entire time we’ve been married. I started reading JD's books to make sure what he was reading was age appropriate and for DETAILS for book report and that led to reading a book he started back in public school and never finished. (Whew...I finally found out the end of the story. Earlier today I started a book called “The Shack.” I'd heard a couple of things about it and was interested. I just finished the sadness chapter.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A compatible day

Today was a compatible day for JD and I. We really enjoyed each other’s company. When I asked JD how he liked today he said, “It was awesome.”

The devotion today was about “The great blizzard of 1888.” The Northeast was buried in 46.7 inches of snow. Can you imagine the loss and chaos? Then it transitioned to the storm that hit the lake all of a sudden. Jesus stopped the storm and asked the disciples, “Where’s your faith?” Remember, in the middle of life’s storms, Jesus is with us and he can calm whatever storms we are facing.

Today JD read his book “Heroes Don’t Run.” I started reading his last book yesterday. I finished it today. The story was pretty good. I like the way Harry Mazer writes. That Adam is an angry teenager. Some of JD’s details in his book report were sketchy so that’s why I read the book myself. I NEED details. About the only big detail he missed from the book report was a character named Nancy. She is only Adam’s friend but he likes her. They even (*kissed*) Oooh. Maybe that’s why JD left her out of the story. (Smile) I did not do the Purpose Driven Life today.

Math makes me dizzy too…Math was a bit more complicated today than yesterday. Yesterday if you’ll remember was perimeters. That’s easy for me. Today was "area." That means the square number of centimeters, feet, yards, etc, INSIDE the perimeter. We learned (Ok I learned) what the terms parallelogram and trapezoid were. JD already knew. But today was multiplying sides, or widths by lengths, or lengths by height divided by height. (Does it ever end? AND…why do I need to know this information?)

We finally graduated from the lemonade stand lessons in civics. Today we learned about “taxes.” That’s a HOT BUTTON issue with JD if you ever want to get into a debate with him. Now he’s armed with more information about our “contributions” to the government. The lesson referred to our MANDATORY giving’s as “contributions.” (HA!) Forget the census information that will be coming in the mail shortly. I want the form that I can check the block “I would like to stop my contribution at this time.” JD also learned about the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Social Security Administration. I showed JD my social security card and my W-2 for taxes. He was amazed at how much I “contributed.“ The lesson gave JD an two examples of taxes. If he was paid $1.00 for allowance a week and $0.10 of that went to taxes over five years he would pay $26.00. The it increased the amount from $1.00 to $5.00 and the taxes stayed the same. He would pay $130.00 over five years. Crazy contributions.

The email/snail mail lesson time was used to produce more results on that superhero comic book. Those elves must have snuck into our school room and nibbled the colored pencil lead out of the pencils because before he got started today he sharpened ALL the pencils again. Oh and let’s not forget the bathroom break too. (Head shaking - I wished I knew how to get over this writing issue.) He worked on the book for about 10 minutes total. I finally told him to forget about the book and that together we would type the story out. We’re still working on it.

I had JD do two language arts lessons independently. I listened while I did the dishes. In the first lesson he learned about the different story elements like: plot, setting, characters, cause, effect, and such. The second lesson was teaching him how to write his own story using all the elements. That made him think about the book he wrote in 4th grade called “Turkey Wanted for Free for Lunch.” So I went and found it and we read it together. Then we found another one he wrote about the Army. His mind is so creative. Now if I could just get him to write it down. (More work needed there though.)

For science JD charted his observations from the dessert survey. There were 41 people surveyed. Here’s the list showing the first choice first:
Ice cream - 14 people
Cake - 8 people
Pie - 7 people
Misc (Brownie, cobbler, cheese cake) - 5 people
Cookies - 3 people
Candy - 3 people
Fruit - 1 person

I have completed one of the two assignments that Lifeway tasked me to complete to secure the second phase of my application. It was a tough article to write. Though it would seem like it shouldn’t be. It had to be 400-500 words long. Mine is 498 words long. (Whew, close.) The article is titled “Understanding and relating to children.” Good thing they didn’t say “your” children. I would just have to say to Lifeway, “Hey thanks for the opportunity, but I’ll just bow out now.” The second assignment is to write a Sunday school lesson to include four other activities to accompany it or a VBS lesson and four activities. I think I will do mine for one day of VBS. Total story time and activities will be 1 hour and 15 minutes. It will be based on Mark 2:1-12 where Jesus healed the man that could not walk. One hour and 15 minutes seems like a long time but with all those birthday party activities under my belt I think I can handle it.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It's been a great day! I was enlightened during math and amazed during music. I am humbled to be in the presence of such a brilliant young man. Jeff and I used to say, "If one one teacher would just understand JD it could change his life." (Thank you God for having the confidence in me when you selected me as that "one teacher" that finally “gets” JD. I am certain this will make a difference in his life and for your Kingdom.)

The devotion was about the love of money. The first sightings of paper money was during the Revolutionary War. But it wasn’t until 1892 that the government issued “Legal Tender Notes.” People often put their trust of security in money. After all we understand and speak the language of money in our culture. But wise King Solomon recognized the money trap. The people were depending on money instead of God to meet their needs. (I know something about that. We became a one income family in January and God is taking care of our “needs.”) We have definitely added to our spiritual bank with the prayers of thanks to God for what he’s doing in our lives.

The Purpose Driven Life was about “Using What God Gives Us.” Mr. Warren warned us about doing something different from what God designed us to do. He compared it to trying to force a round peg into a square cutout. (Ouch.) Next, we are to discover of shapes. We can begin by assessing our abilities and gifts. Just because we think we’re good at something, wait until someone confirms that suspicion. Then, he talked about serving FIRST to discover if you’re good at it. How can you say you’re not a good teacher if you’ve never taught? (*Side note… Have you ever written a spiritual journal? I have and it is very enlightening. I can see where God was molding, shaping, and preparing my life. I just did the journal last year and oh the changes he’s made in just one year. Thanks God.) Unlike my body shape we are to enjoy and accept our specific “SHAPE’s” for God’s service. The book also warned about trying to be like someone else. Remember also, if we don’t exercise these gifts they will be lost.

I took 1 ½ pages of notes on the math lesson called “Perimeters of a Polygon” and JD took…you guessed it…zero notes. He EXCELLED at this topic. I think what amazed me most was the sheer number of numbers and steps he could keep in his head without writing a thing down. It wasn’t a hard lesson to do but the lines of numbers to add together, then multiply, then simplify…(My fingers are sore from all the writing I did.) A polygon can be a triangle, pentagon, octagon, or any shape with any number of sides. Most of the ones we looked at today were odd shaped and not symmetrical. I found out that when JD looks at a 3D picture of a rectangle or square that it upsets him and throws him for a loop. Why? Because the back keeps coming forward and the front keeps jumping to the back. Visual Spatial kids can see in 3D pictures in their heads. But JD let me know today that he did NOT like that picture. Here are two examples of what problems he kept in his head 1. There’s a shoebox that measures 6 1/5th” x 11 ½”. So what’s the perimeter of the box? He did EIGHT steps in his head: find a common denominator, times the top numbers to get them correct, add the whole numbers, add the fractions, get answer, times it by 2 for the other two side of the box for an answer of 33 and 14/10th, improper fraction - convert to proper fraction, final answer was 35 2/5ths. (Meanwhile I’m still trying to multiply my top part of the fraction so I can add the numbers…) 2. The shape was really odd looking but we knew the total perimeter was 40 feet. The dimensions went as follows: 3, 5, 5.4, 5, “x” (unknown) 5, 4.3, and 5. Before I could get that string of numbers written on my paper JD had them added and gave his answer for what “x” equaled.

There were more times today that I had to stop and ask how he got the answer but I couldn’t translate it well. I did ask how he kept all the numbers of the perimeter in his head and all the steps in the right order. He said, “The perimeter is an Army base.” (Ok makes sense to me.) The numbers are kept in files in my mind and one guy calls from inside a box for another guy to pull and slide the numbers into a thing like church signs. They slide all the numbers and “+“, “-“, “x” and division signs too. The guy in the box tells JD the answer. If there are more steps the files keep coming. The files are numbered like this: 1.1, 1.2, 1.3. Whole numbers are kept in one, fractions in another and so on. (All I can saw is astonishing. What an imagination.) He moves the numbers in his head sort of like pointing and clicking in the computer with the mouse. It’s kind of cool to FINALLY get to see inside his mind. At the start of home school he was unable to tell me ANY of this. It was as though I had to earn his trust or something. All I do now is sit back and let him moves his eyes and before you know it he has an answer. I have NEVER caught him looking at my paper to cheat either.

The word bank lesson was fairly easy for him to do but he found everything he could to do before doing the writing. This gave me time to do stuff around the house. The words today were ritzy, stupendous, and Utopian.

I had JD start his superhero comic book again. There was about 20 minutes before lunch. He must have sharpened every colored pencil in the cup before he started coloring with only black. (Ugh.) He only completed a little bit today and I told him it was now homework.

We took our usual lunch break. I say the morning prayer where I ask God into our school day and for strength, wisdom, and patience and such. JD says the lunch blessing. It’s usually only, “Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for this food , and let it be used for the good of our bodies, and our bodies for the good of your Kingdom, Amen.” But today there was a pause before Amen, and he said, “…And…thanks for letting math be fun today, Amen.”

Before the music lesson I went online and found “free piano lesson” sites. I showed JD the song “Brother John” and “London Bridge.” They both taught him how to use both hands for playing. He said, "That's not London Bridge. That's Mary had a Little Lamb." It took him all of a minute to figure out “London Bridge.” I wrote it down for JD so he could play it for Jeff when he gets home. I asked that he try to figure out "Amazing Grace." Within a minute or so he did part of it for Lyndell and me. I was on the phone with her telling her about the previous song. WOW! is all I can say.

We were suppose to do a social studies yesterday, but I accidentally did history instead. So today we will back track and do the social studies lesson. We looked at major cities across the USA and taped them to the map in our classroom. Then we did the flash cards on the state capitals. We did not score well. (By we I mean JD. If I had to give him a hint then I marked them down to be memorized. But there were still quite a few that I didn‘t know.) He missed 36 out of 50. So I wrote ten down on an index card and posted it near the computer. We’ll study and memorize them and work on another ten later.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lazy but good day

Apparently I overslept through that obnoxious alarm clock of mine for nearly one hour. JD was awake when it first went off at 7:15 am when I hit snooze. I find it weird that JD didn‘t come in later as it blared for 1 HOUR! Jeff said, “If I was him I wouldn‘t wake you up either.” (I’m not a morning person. Hence the picture I have posted on the blog which represents me.)

Devotion was about today being “Panic Day.” It was first named as a joke by a guy named Tom Roy. Some people asked him did he name panic day because of all the stuff that’s going on in the world right now. Then it transitioned into when things get out of control for people today. Just try to keep in the back of your mind (huh, like I have anymore room THERE) who is in control. Nothing happens to us that God is not aware of. Trust him to guide and care for you whenever panic hits.

Today JD chose to read his own book called “Hero's Don't Run.” I read The Purpose Driven Life by myself. I have to get through that book soon because I was asked to facilitate the Experiencing God class. The Purpose Driven Life reading today focused on the three remaining letters of the acrostic “S.H.A.P.E.” Mr. Warren told us about “A.P. and E.” It was titled Understanding Your Shape. ABILITIES - We all have abilities or natural talents that come from God. These are of course different from our “spiritual gifts.” Did you know the average person possesses from 500-700 different skills and abilities? (I think I am using ALL of them to teach.) God had a special place in his church where your specialties can shine and you can make a difference. PERSONALITY - When God made you he broke the mold. God loves variety and God uses all different types of personalities to accomplish His specific missions. EXPERIENCES - We should look to those experiences that have shaped our lives. Look to family, educational, vocational, spiritual, ministry, and those painful experiences to see where they fit into God’s plan.

It was a lazy kind of day today. Maybe it had something to do with the beautiful weather we had. Language arts was after lunch and done independently. It was about “The main idea and supporting details” on non-fiction stories. He did this independently today while I showered. He read one story about lions killing more people than black bears and second story has since been forgotten. (I guess I’ll never know.) However, he did score a perfect 100% without my assistance. Yeah!

The science lesson was about recording observations in three different formats. They are: journal entries, tables, and graphs. Then it had an experiment to conduct and chart. We sent an email to an audience of 11 people. (About half have responded.) If you did not get that email just call or email us and tell us what your favorite dessert is. The choices are: cookies, candy, cake, pie, ice cream, fruit, or miscellaneous (If misc. what is it?) Please pick only one. We’ll certainly let you know what the results are when JD’s graphs them.

Social studies was titled “Western Travel.” It was about the people that moved from the East coast to the West coast. It taught him about how hard it was to travel in the prairie schooners and the troubles they faced. So I designed a fun and creative letter that he was to write to a family member on the East coast. It was designed to be as though he was traveling with many other families making the long journey into the wild west frontier to claim a stake of land. This would then cover the email/snail mail lesson. (I learned what was fun for me to do is NOT fun for JD.) I had to walk him through every detail of the letter prompting him with questions I already had typed out. It was very frustrating to keep getting the answer, “I don’t know” to every question I asked. (What's the name of your guide? Was it hot or cold?) In the letter I wrote statements or questions like: Write about a specific danger you faced. Was is weather related or people related? What does your Mountain Man guide looks like? What’s it’s like at night? Did you take a night watch time? What did you see? What’s your oxen or mule’s name? How is your prairie schooner holding up? I told Jeff about the awful experience of this writing assignment and he suggested having JD write informational assignments verses creative writing. Then Jeff talked with JD and they concluded that the both of them struggle when it comes to “creative” writing verses informational. (Hey I’ll try it. If it gets him to writing we might just have to celebrate. It happens every time I say I need you to write…(up goes the wall, and down goes his enthusiasm.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Easy day

I think I'm a little tired from our visit to Tennessee this weekend. (Between the headache and allergy head.) There has been snow on the roads for weeks. Every weekend we planned to visit our newest grand daughter…fresh snow would cover the roads over the mountain. Well, 5-7 March finally cleared up and we were off to the races. Isabella is a beautiful little angel. Her parents did a good job.

I slept in a bit today so we got started later than usual. And I’m a little foggy in my head. Maybe I have allergies or something. So today started out with the normal topics and we scraped keyboarding, journal, and art...so it was an easy day.

We did devotion first. Today was International Women’s day. It talked about ordinary women who made history. One of those women was Ruth from the bible. Had Ruth not stayed with her mother-in-law history would have been different. Ruth met Boaz and married. They had a son named Obed and he had a son named Jessie. Jessie’s son’s name was David, King of Israel. And of course out of David’s line came the most important person of all - Jesus. **Side note - This should encourage all of my female followers. Keep doing your ordinary things and I’ll keep doing my “mundane” things and we’ll sit back and watch where God uses us. Because He does use all of His children to do his will.

Then we did the Purpose Driven life. We are ¾ of the way through the book. Today’s title was “Shaped for Serving God.” We were all made to serve God. God crafted us for a specific ministry. He gave us the abilities, interests, talents, gifts, personalities, and life experiences for his glory. Rick Warren used an acrostic for the word shape. S = Spiritual gifts, H = heart, A = Abilities, P = Personality, E = Experience. SPIRITUAL GIFTS are gifts that are given to only believers and they cannot be earned. We don’t get to choose them and not everyone has the same gifts. How boring and unproductive would that be? They are to benefit others. Imagine if someone you know sits on their gift. The church body gets cheated and it hurts God’s plan. It’s easy to become dissatisfied with our gifts so try to remember who gave you that gift. There must be some reason he gave it to you. HEART is what you love or are passionate about. Basically what motivates you or what you have interests in. (**Who knew I would be a teacher? I know I am serving God. Not with my “gift of intelligence “rather, my gift of patience with God’s child.)

Then we did a math lesson called “Time Flies.” Yes it does; when you try to do THAT math lesson. It wasn’t a lesson about telling time. It was MUCH MORE COMPLEX. I think I disliked that more than fractions. There was a table showing 60 seconds = 1 min, 60 minutes = 1 hour, and so on. Then there was a question saying Sue ran for 12 min 13 seconds, Bob ran 5 min 31, what’s the time difference? Ok now subtract 31 from 13. You can’t. You have to take one from the minute’s column and add 60 seconds to 13 for a total of 73 seconds. Okay, easy enough. The difference is 6 min 42 seconds. Then we had to convert 96 minutes 1 hour 36 minutes. Then it started asking about work times. Phil worked from 6:15 am to 5:45, how many hours did he work? (Back in my military days, I would say a normal day, but that answer wasn’t available.) It took us through so many steps to finally reach 11 hours and 30 minutes. (Room spinning.) Then it taught JD a cute tip to remember what months have 31 days in them. Make a fist. See the knuckles and the valleys between the knuckles? Start with the index knuckle: Jan (index), Feb is the valley, Mar (middle), Apr is the valley, May (ring), June is the valley, July (pinkie), Aug (back to the index knuckle), Sept is the valley, Oct (middle), Nov is the valley, and finally Dec (ring knuckle). This helped with the questions like: A project starting 30 Oct and ending 5 days later. What day would that be? (It was quite a site to see both of us doing knuckle, valley, knuckle, valley. The answer is 3 Nov. JD did something amazing today. I asked him how he knew the answer but it was sort of foggy. I’ll try to explain the word problem. “The conference began at 8:30 am. It lasted 5 hours and 45 minutes. What time did the conference end?” JD added the start time to the total conference time, 8:30 + 5:45 = 13:75 When you convert that it’s 14:15. Then he said the answer was 2:15 pm. (Now for those non-military folks out there 2:15 is said 1415 (14, 15) hours. This amazed me that he figured out military time.) I said how did you know 14:15 was 2:15? He said, “Its past 1200.” (Confused about the explanation but amazed nonetheless.) So I told him some other common times he should know. 0745 hours is school start time. We eat lunch at 1115 hours. School ends between 1300 hours and 1400 hours. Dinner is 1800 hours. Bedtime is 2130 hours. It was a long lesson but ended successfully when I told him he cracked the secret military time code. (He was proud of himself and said, “Do you think daddy will be proud?” I said, “Of course he will.”

After a five minute break I gave JD his comic book to complete for both the journal lesson and art combined. He is extremely dependant on my opinions and suggestions when it comes to creativity. He stalled out with the comic book and I didn’t want to argue with him. The beginning stages of another migraine headache were growing in my head after lunch so told JD he might have writers block and that we would work on it later in the week. Then I called school closed for the day and went and lay down. I made a deal with him though. That after I lay down he would get his spelling words. I took the 5th grade spelling list and picked out 15 four letter words. (None of the ones I was thinking about during the “Time Flies” math lesson were in there…just joking.) I did a spelling pretest on him and he knows how to spell 10 of the 15 already. So JD and Jeff worked on sentences together. After they finish JD said, “That was fun.” Jeff overheard this and suggested JD and Jeff do spelling word sentences every Monday.

So that was our easy day…now I will go rest my mind.