Saturday, October 18, 2008

Name that School!

The time of year has come and gone in which I must register as a private school in the state of California in order to homeschool my kiddos. Going through this process spurred me to consider a new school name. I am required to have a name for my school, and am driven by my inner perfectionist to consider and reconsider until the last moment.

Last year I'd settled on SageCrest Academy. A sage is a wise person, and combined with the word crest, I felt it to represent the pinnacle of wisdom. This was all very good until I received a random advertisement in the mail for a Sage Crest School for gifted learners in Reno. Zap! My name was no longer creative. Drat! That led into me feeling like Sagecrest was really a name more suitable for a subdivision than a school. Thus, the desire for a new name quickly surfaced.

We had a couple of amazing contenders this year. This one is great, but showed up on the scene a tad too late:

Scholastic Spantastic

Isn't that fabulous? The next is probably my favorite, although it lost the winning spot because I was unable to say it without giggling. It still may become our school slogan, though. It's that good.

Academia Mesopotamia

Tee-hee! Isn't that wonderful? That's was from the brilliant mind of my hunny. In the end, I decided on Vita et Veritas (meaning Life and Truth) because I figure that anything in Latin sounds intelligent. And if my darling children need to transfer to another school someday, I'd at least like them to sound intelligent. (where are my emoticons when I need them?)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I'm Cool!

Today while driving Audrey made a comment that made my day. She said:

"Mommy! You're driving with one hand! That's COOL!"

What can I say? It comes naturally. Never mind that the comment came from the girl with the monkey hanging on her neck.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An Observation from Melinda

Melinda was talking to me yesterday about why she likes the neighborhood we live in. This is what she said:

"I like that everything is green. All the trees and bushes are all so green that if you dressed in green you could be completely hidden. Especially if you climbed a tree"

My thoughts exactly. Especially the part about climbing trees.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Meet-Up at the Zoo

I took the kids to the San Diego Zoo on Monday. We met up with some homeschooling moms that I'd met in May. We had fun, everyone enjoyed seeing all the animals and taking a day off of the normal routine. They especially seemed to enjoy the birds, which is good since that is what we are studying in science right now!

Here everyone is enjoying looking at some of the small exhibits: snakes, turtles etc.
Following are poses that are most necessary upon encountering gorilla statues:
What a hot day! Icees were most definitely called for.All in all, it was a very fun field trip. Where should we go next?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Give me the megaphone!

Although it most definitely will not come as a surprise to those who know me, I must confess that I sincerely, decisively, passionately do not enjoy getting dressed up. I can not stand it. The thought of it makes me want to eat a quart of ice cream. I'd rather drive for 8 hours with 4 kids in the car. If I could live the rest of my life without ever dressing fancier than jeans, a black t-shirt, and some jewelry, I'd be perfectly content.

There. You can have the megaphone back.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Day in Temecula

We went to Temecula this weekend to visit family: Nana and Grandpa Jack. We had a nice relaxing time, and enjoyed the great weather. While we were there, everyone got to do a little horseback riding. Fred and Jake (the horses) were obliging, as usual.

Audrey was the first one to go for a ride, since she's the biggest horse lover in the family. This picture is of Audrey with Nana on Jake.Audrey got to ride Jake by herself a little too. Here she is showing some of that horsey-love.

The other kiddos got to ride too, as did Chris. Melinda was a little afraid to be on by herself at first, but warmed up quickly. Andrew was very glad to have a brother to hang onto! They were all riding bareback, so it was a new experience.
This has to be the best picture of Audrey and her daddy around...I love it!It was a lot of fun to be able to visit just for a day or so. The kids definitely did not want to leave, although that may have something to do with the fact that there are enough computers there for everyone, and there are desserts aplenty. Fun inside as well as outside!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Trying a new Blog Template

The other one was bugging me. I sure wish there was more selection in the premade templates. I really don't need to spend time designing a custom blog!

edited to add: I've found more premade templates, and I've also spent too much time trying to customize my blog...hmmm...

Book Review: Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning

“An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education”

This book has a lot of interesting information, still applicable to schooling today even though it was written in 1991. The book discusses education in general, with a focus on what Christian Education should be, in the framework of the Classical Education model.

I really appreciated the depth of the discussion about what Christian Education should be. Much of the book was spent comparing a Christian Education to a Humanistic Education, exploring exactly why they are different. Basically, one must realize that a complete Christian Education is not accomplished by adding prayer and bible study to a Humanistic course of study. Christian Education is built on the framework of knowing that all study is connected to the Creator—they are not individual disconnected areas of study.

As much as I enjoyed and agreed with most of this book, I have to say that I remain unconvinced that a complete Christian Education is the only way to reform education in America simply because this is not the method employed by other countries whose educational systems far exceed that of the United States. It is probably true that countries whose students perform better academically do so in part because of societal expectations. Therefore, in a broader sense I suppose the argument could be applied that Christianity is (or was, or should be) America’s framework for such expectations. In that case the breakdown of the Christian faith in America would account for a degeneration of academic and moral expectations. I tend to think, however, that the problem is more likely to lie in the fact that we are a nation of immigrants tied together by the idea of freedom. Without any other unifying moral framework this ideal has evolved into a sense of entitlement which has had a detrimental affect on many different aspects of our country and government.

I don’t think that the answer to education, or any other government program, is to attempt to make it distinctively Christian. I do think, however, that it would benefit Christian families to put more thought into the issues that Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning raises. Overall, I have to say that it was an enjoyable, well written book. If you are in the mood to refine your educational philosophy, I suggest you pick up a copy and see where it takes you!

Hi ho, Hi ho...

It’s off to work they go. Fridays have become work experience days for Timothy this year. This has been one of the great benefits of living so close to Chris’ office. He does take some schoolwork with him (always math, plus today he gets grammar and science) since I’m not willing to completely let it go by the wayside.

At work he does inventory, he sorts and alphabetizes paperwork, he is a courier, and he is beginning some data entry. Chris says that it’s “high time”. He is 12 years old after all, time to get his rear in gear!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Nothing like the last minute

Oops. I think that I just changed Andrew's writing program without meaning to! This would be the 3rd program so far this the whole 5 weeks of schooling we've done so far. This wasn't my plan, far from it. I had researched all my curriculum extensively before purchasing for the year, really hoping to find the right fit on the first try.

I bought Writing With Ease by Susan Wise Bauer, and read through it last night. Ms. Bauer is the co-author (with her mother) of The Well Trained Mind. Many of her opinions are ones that I agree with, so this book really made sense to me. It is a longer term gradual approach to good writing, although she includes instructions on starting older children in it as well.

I purchased it with my girls in mind, but as I was working with Andrew today on his writing I realized that this approach very well may make more sense to him than what we were doing before. We'll see how it goes. In the meantime, I'll be typing up a short review of WWE, as well as a comparison to IEW. (And to all you non-homeschooling types with the glazed over eyes, feel free to skip over those posts! There will more fun stuff coming as well.)