Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Excuse me. Have we met?

Okay, the wonders of internet technology never cease to amaze me, but this is blowing my mind these days...

Amazon.comRecommended for You has new recommendations for you based on items
you purchased or told us you own.

Following this announcement, which arrived unsolicited to my inbox, was a list of eight books (with lovely little photos of the books' covers)... all of which I would, in fact, LOVE to read!

I mean, it was accurate enough that it was almost creepy... This particular computer program knows me better than most of my friends. Hmmm...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

... to look deep into Your wonders...

"My Father, this moment, I push aside all sense of need... every request... each complaint... even words of praise or worship...
... just to stand silent... to turn the eyes of my soul to You... to look deep into Your wonders..."

- Amy Carmichael, I Come Quietly to Meet You, ed. David Hazard (Minnesota: Bethany House, 2005) 31-32. See it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

We the People... order to form a more perfect union...

Today is Constitution Day.

I have found a wonderful website for enhancing your knowledge of the Constitution.

There is even a test to ascertain your knowledge by taking a short ten-question quiz to see how much you know about both the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

It certainly seems to be an important time in the history of our great nation to be familiar with the Constitution, and to be well-versed in our understanding of - and ability to dialogue intelligently about - the Constitution.

For an in-depth study of the Constitution, I'm excited about Michael Farris's Constitutional Law for Enlightened Citizens. I hope to be able to study it one day soon with my homeschool highschoolers.

(Great reason for homeschooling #254: You actually get to learn the stuff you never did back when you went through your schooling experience!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun Learning Activites for Children

Check out the Fun Learning Activities for Children Blog I just found!

If you have little ones, you have a rich store of learning activities at your fingertips on this Blog... Math, Bible, Reading, History, Geography, Science, Nature, Language, Art, Music... you name it!

You can also check out this site for Singing Spelling Rules.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Oh what a blessing are lunch dates!

I've posted before about the weekly lunch dates I take with my children on Friday afternoons. They cycle through, one at a time, so they each get to go to lunch with me once a month; my father takes one of the others at the same time, so one of them has a lunch date with Mom and one of them has a lunch date with Grampa. The remaining two of them - randomly paired together depending on "who's left" in a given week - have a "lunch date" together at home. It is grand fun, and gives me a chance to interact on a totally different level with my kids... not necessarily wearing the "Mom hat" or the "teacher hat," but just the "friend hat." I don't often get to wear just the "friend hat," and I like it! But I digress from my point...

Two small but notable things from some recent lunch dates:

First, when with my son: We're sitting down across from each other at one of his favorite restaurants of choice, and suddenly he says, "So, Mom, what's been happening with you lately?" When I ask for clarification about what he means, he says, "Well, usually we talk about me, and how I'm doing and what I'm feeling, when we have these dates. I was just wondering how you're feeling about life, spiritually and otherwise, so I figured we could talk about you some this time."

I felt special and honored, and I felt happy and proud that my son is growing up to be a man who cares about others' thoughts and feelings. May that dimension that cares as much for the other person as for ourself grow in each of us more and more!

Secondly, when with my middle daughter: She chose the lunch special at the local Japanese Steak House for our lunch together, and though she loves to watch the man cooking the meal, she chose for us to sit in a booth and have the "kitchen hibachi" where they cook for you 'over there' and bring your food to you 'over here.' Why did she do this? Because the women we would be seated with were going to be distracting to her, and she didn't want to be paying attention to their conversation or having them pay attention to ours.

Again I felt special and honored. And I didn't eat all my fried rice before my meat was done, either!

Oh, how fleeting are these days. I'm so thankful for these sorts of special moments with my children!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mail Goggles

Okay, so this post could better be entitled, "The Homeschool Mother's Guide to Shamelessly Forcing Keep-Your-Brain-Alert Math Drill Opportunities on Your Older Child."

I have enabled the "Mail Goggles" lab feature within their Gmail accounts, and they have to leave them there. (Yes, yes, I put it on my account, too, set to level 2 difficulty. I'm trying to beat my own record of doing the five problems in 12 seconds, but I can't seem to do it yet. But I digress...)

This little gem of an application forces you to accurately (as in 100% accuracy) answer five simple math problems before you can send your letter. It was first created as a "protect yourself from sending stupid emails late at night on weekends when you might be a little bit drunk" sort of thing. But once it is downloaded, you can change the hours to anything you want... we set it to force us to keep our math brains sharp 24/7.

Sure it is irritating, but it really has helped my basic arithmetic skills to be faster and sharper. I'm sure it is time to move up to the next level, but, well, you know...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hilarity from Comedian Tim Hawkins

My father sent this Tim Hawkins video to my children, entitled "The Government Can." I think it is an hilarious musical satire regarding the state of government spending...

But while I was watching that video on YouTube, I found the following, which are equally funny, in my opinion....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Need a Rosie the Robot

I remember watching The Jetsons when I was little. I loved it.

I also remember how far-fetched the idea seemed... you know, talking on the phone while watching video of a person very far away. I vaguely remember watching Mrs. Jetson pop out her fake made-up-cardboard self to put in front of her real sloppy-at-home self when answering the phone. This was not something the rest of us had to worry about when we answered the phone. I mused that it would be a problem - having to think about your appearance before you answered the phone - if that sort of video phone thing were ever really to become possible.

Which, of course, it wouldn't.

It all seemed so ridiculous... so impossible... kind of like the idea of "beaming up" to a new place when I watched Star Trek.

(Will we really be able to do that one day, too?!)

Well, this morning I just logged onto the video chat on my new laptop... in Google chat and with Skype. The fact that I can call - talk to - and SEE a friend of mine living across the ocean - for FREE - is astonishing to me.

"The only surprising thing is that you're still surprised," as my husband often says to me...


Our sweet dog Pippin swiped a little purple teddy bear from the girls' room during last month's rearrangement of the furniture. By the time we found it, he had eaten off the nose, chewed out the eyes, and managed to gnaw off both ears. (All this before he ever went for the enticing little ribbon tied around its neck.) Eventually we had to throw it away because he managed to make it through the left arm to the little plastic beads inside. (Yes, they were all over the floor!)

Last week - again unbeknownst to us - he returned to the room for a second challenge... the little pink twin to the purple conquest he had made last month.

PT made me laugh first thing this morning by picking it up from the middle of the floor and asking, "Look, Mom, doesn't this look like Demon Teddy Bear?"

And, while we're discussing the canine member of our family and his new naughty habits:

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good Questions

How do you approach the Bible?

How can we make time for the Bible?

How do you keep from growing indifferent to the Bible when you're so familiar with it?

How do you memorize Scripture?

What would you say to someone who hasn't read their Bible in a long time?

Read John Piper's answers, in an article from an interview with Bible Study Magazine.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Never again will Alltel (now Verizon) charge me for my directory assistance needs!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

He said some pretty great stuff...

President Obama addressed the nation's school children today. All the indignation and hoopla and protest were undeserved. He said some pretty inspirational things to the youth of America.

(You can read a transcript of the entire speech here.)

"I’m here because I want to talk with you about your education and what’s expected of all of you in this new school year. Now I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.

"I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility for inspiring you, and pushing you to learn. I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility for making sure you stay on track, and get your homework done, and don’t spend every waking hour in front of the TV or with that Xbox.

"But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world - and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities.

"Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed. And that’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education.

"Every single one of you has something you’re good at. Every single one of you has something to offer. And you have a responsibility to yourself to discover what that is. That’s the opportunity an education can provide.

"That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as...
"Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
"But the truth is, being successful is hard. You won’t love every subject you study. You won’t click with every teacher. Not every homework assignment will seem completely relevant to your life right this minute. And you won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try.

"That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures. JK Rowling’s first Harry Potter book was rejected twelve times before it was finally published. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, 'I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.' These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time.

"If you get in trouble, that doesn’t mean you’re a troublemaker, it means you need to try harder to behave. If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.

"No one’s born being good at things; you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.

"Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. I do that every day. Asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. It shows you have the courage to admit when you don’t know something, and to learn something new.

"So find an adult you trust - a parent, grandparent or teacher; a coach or counselor - and ask them to help you stay on track to meet your goals.

"So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?

"Your families, your teachers, and I are doing everything we can to make sure you have the education you need to answer these questions.... But you’ve got to do your part, too.

"So I expect you to get serious this year. I expect you to put your best effort into everything you do. I expect great things from each of you.

"So don’t let us down – don’t let your family or your country or yourself down. Make us all proud. I know you can do it.
"Thank you, God bless you, and God bless America."

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Point of It All

As we begin to clear the fog that descended during the summer haze... rub our sleepy eyes and ask why we're up when it is still so dark... settle out the kinks of our new school schedule... open crisp new textbooks and pull out colorful highlighters... watch the mailbox for those last bits of curriculum to arrive...

In the midst of it all, I pause to remember the chief point of it all...

23 "This is what the LORD says:
'Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom
or the strong man boast of his strength
or the rich man boast of his riches,

24 but let him who boasts boast about this:
that he understands and knows me,
that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness,
justice and righteousness on earth,
for in these I delight,' declares the LORD." - Jer. 9:23-24

Here's to a new homeschool year. And here's to knowing Him above anything else.