Saturday, June 15, 2013

Homeschool and Mother's Journal, June 14

In my life this week:
The week started with much angst over a medical problem my husband was having, but thank the Lord, the news was better for him today. My nerves have calmed considerably.

I'm generally a positive, level-headed person, but now that I'm 47 (yikes!) the monthly hormonal fluctuation is far more exaggerated, and may stay so for several years. Let me apologize now to regular readers for the literary sobbing. (What else can I call it)? I'll try harder to keep silent one week a month from now on.  

You're welcome.

Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19. Even perimenopausal women. God bless us all, this is not fun. Thank you, Eve?

My husband is a saint. Sometime he looks at me and can't figure out where his wife went, but always, he's gentle and full of grace.

In our homeschool this week:
I stayed plenty busy praying and worrying over husband's health concern. Thus, my part in school this week was light, including only reading aloud and doing writing with the boys. The girls, ages 4 and 6, enjoyed extra play time. When I'm off balance, I like the assurance that we won't miss a beat; that's why we school 10.5 months a year.

I'd like to share three historical-fiction picture books we enjoyed this week:

William's House, by Ginger Howard, set in 1637, is about an English family's new life in the New England colony. They come by ship armed with English ideas about homesteading, but as the seasons change they must quickly adapt their established ways to fit life in a new land. A land they learn to call home. Very engaging book with repetitive parts and rich detail. Ages 5-8 (Lovely illustrations by Larry Day)

Publisher's description: It is 1637 and William and his family are leaving England for the New World. William is determined to build a house just like the one he left in England. It will be a house with a gently sloped, thatched roof, surrounded by trees. As the days wear on and the seasons change, William and his wife Elizabeth realize that living in the New World means adopting new ideas. Filled with illustrations rich with historical detail, this is a book for both classroom read-alouds and for up-close study.

 Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt, by Deborah Hopkinson, tells the story of a young, industrious slave girl who sews her way to freedom. Students will learn about slavery, the Underground Railroad, and the glorious freedom sought in Canada. (Ages 5 - 11) Wonderful paintings by James Ransome

Publisher's descriptionAs a seamstress in the Big House, Clara dreams of a reunion with her Momma, who lives on another plantation--and even of running away to freedom. Then she overhears two slaves talking about the Underground Railroad. In a flash of inspiration, Clara sees how she can use the cloth in her scrap bag to make a map of the land--a freedom quilt--that no master will ever suspect.

The Rag Coat

The Rag Coat, by Lauren Mills, is a beautiful story about an impoverished Appalachia girl's desire to go to school. She needs a coat to attend school in the cold months, but there's no money. Her coal-miner father gets sick, making matters worse. For a few years she doesn't attend school at all, partly because her Momma needs her to help with quilt-making, their only source of income. Her father dies when she's eight and a coat remains a distant dream, until a love-your-neighbor project begins in earnest to bless this little girl. Her beautiful new coat, though, when it's finally done, is not received well by her classmates. Determined Minna remembers something her father told her about people, and she uses his wisdom to soften the school kids and bless them at the same time. The illustrations, done by the author herself, are as charming as the story.

Publisher description: With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl's special coat will touch readers with its affirming message of love and friendship.

In other school news: Paul, my 9-year-old, is learning "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the piano. He still doesn't attend lessons, but he's motivated enough to teach himself using good piano books and the music he prints off the Internet. He amazes me!

Peter stayed very busy in his (our) garden, fertilizing with Miracle Grow, picking strawberries, and planting the tomatoes and banana peppers Daddy picked up this week. He lives to be in his garden, but can be distracted for a time by his friends. He's trying to instill a love for gardening in them, too.

Both boys are reading and enjoying Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes, and both are still enamored with Writing With Ease, Level Four by Susan Wise Bauer. 

 The Complete Writer: Writing with Ease Workbook 4

We learned about a novel called The Book of Three, selections of which Susan Bauer chose for dictation and narration exercises this week. It's not uncommon for the boys to say about Susan Bauer's choices...."We really need to get that book. I want to read it!" We're all thoroughly hooked on this writing resource. 

Places we're going and people we're seeing:
I saw the Pastor for a meeting about children's ministry; we went to a library program on Tuesday; Speech on Wednesday, and also on Wednesday, to physical therapy for Beth's Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, at which I learned they're reducing her sessions to once a month. The methotrexate chemo drug (low dose) is really removing the sting of this disease. My little one is running and walking normally. You wouldn't even know she has this handicap--something I couldn't say last year. I remember being horribly distressed when they talked of giving her a chemo drug, but now, six months later, my little girl is thriving and I thank God for the wisdom of modern medicine.

My favorite thing this week:
Some of you know we don't have any money for entertainment, or a lot of extra gas to waste; we rarely go anywhere but nature parks and the library. Checking out a library movie to watch as a family on Friday or Saturday nights is one of our entertainment and bonding mainstays. This week we watched Because of Winn Dixie, based upon the book of the same title. So excellent, engaging, and heartwarming! My favorite thing this week, besides read-aloud time, was holding my girls while we watched this as a family.

My kiddos favorite thing this week:
Tomorrow we're going to a town party put on by our church. There will be bounce houses, free food, and games, and I daresay it will be my children's favorite thing this week, if not the pick-up baseball games they played in the backyard with neighborhood kids. My Mary though, age 6, votes this day as her favorite. Remember her four hours frolicking in the muggy Ohio rain?

Things I'm working on:
Baking cookies and preparing fresh fruit for the town party, and winding down emotionally after a stressful health week. And as always, I've kept up with the washing but not the folding. We'll need to have a folding party tomorrow sometime, in between preparing the house for our Children's Bible Study, and scooting away to the town party.

I'm cooking:
For dinner so far this week: gingerbread pancakes and fruit, crockpot whole chicken, spaghetti, grilled chicken, black-bean and corn chili

I'm grateful for:
my husband, my children, my prayer team, better health news, grace, being present to disciple my children, flexible homeschooling, beautiful picture books, the Lord's provision, a yard my children love, my son's passion for gardening, that our air conditioner still works, beautiful sunshine two days this week, and a strong, solid marriage 

I'm praying for:
Kristin Welsh and her Mercy House Kenya ministry, friends who have lost babies, my husband and children, neighborhood children, our Compassion children, online friends, salvation for extended family

Quote or Link to share:

How about a beautiful poem for Father's Day?

Only A Dad
Edgar Guest 

Only a dad with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame
To show how well he has played the game;
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come and to hear his voice.

Only a dad with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd,
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad but he gives his all,
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing with courage stern and grim
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen:
Only a dad, but the best of men.
Have a blessed Father's Day with your family! Love to you, friends.
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Linda Sears said...

Stopping by from the Homeschool Mother's Journal.
I enjoy reading what others are doing in their schooling and families. Thank you for sharing!
We have enjoyed several of your book recommendations here in our home over the years, but it's fun to get new recommendations as well.
I can relate to your references to hormonal fluxuations. It does make life interesting, and challenging.
Have a blessed weekend.

Christine said...

Thank you, Linda, for stopping by. There are so many wonderful books aren't there? What a treasure!

Beth said...

I enjoyed your account of the week. Thanks for the comment on my blog -- As we are moving overseas, I am losing all the therapy so I am going back doing it myself. Handwriting for my daughter is slow -- her letters need sizing help and spacing. I am going to keep at it and hopefully we will see improvements.

Yes, we are headed to England but our focus is Chinese students and scholars.

PlainJane said...

Thank you for visiting my blog Christine and for your kind words. I replied there, but it sure was a blessing to read your post too! You have a lovely family and I'm certainly happy that your husband's medical issue is lessening & there is good results for your daughter's therapy.

The best things in life are free, aren't they? No matter how much we may have (or not have) at any given season in our lives, it's always the time invested and old-fashioned family fun that matter most. ♥ I loved the poem too. Very touching. Have a wonderful day/week!

Christine said...

Dear Jane,

Oh, yes, the best things are free! When you discover this it's wisdom you want to hang on to forever. Simple equals blessed. We feel so blessed. Thank you for visiting and I am glad you liked the poem. Precious words from a wise man. I love Edgar Guest's work.

Sarah said...

quick to listen ... slow to speak. Exactly.

I would love to see other moms splashed as well. We could use your ideas. Your tips. Your stories. Your photos. Your anything mom.

I compose some notes on Monday. I get the momma schedules. So hop over any day of the week (think link up whenever it works best for you) and join us. Real moms. Sharing our notes. Creating a momma melody.

Splashin' Momma,

Lisa said...

My children had a Father's Day concert yesterday, and Mimi's part was the recitation of this poem. Love Mr. Guest's work. :) And by all means..."literary sob" all you want, my friend. So many times I have wanted to pour out my heart on my blog, but I am not one to express my feelings easily. I tend to keep everything bottled up inside, which, I know, is not healthy. So thanks for your honesty. I'm praying for you and your family.
Much love to you.

Christine said...

Oh, Lisa. I bet he was so blessed by the children's work. What a precious idea!@