Tuesday, March 30, 2010

It's Not About Your Kid's Education

In case you had any doubt, government attempts to ban homeschooling (in this case, in Brazil) have nothing to do with concerns over your child's academic smarts.

Brazilian Couple Receive Criminal Conviction for Homeschooling
Verdict given despite sons passing law school entrance exams -- at ages 13 and 14

Despite the fact that his children passed difficult government imposed tests, and even qualified for law school at the ages of 13 and 14, homeschooler Cleber Nunes and his wife Bernadeth have been slapped with fines equivalent to a total of $3,200 for refusing to submit their children to the Brazilian school system.

Although homeschooling is common in many countries, including the United States, and is associated with higher levels of academic achievement, it is completely prohibited in Brazil, the government of which has become increasingly intrusive in recent decades following the establishment of a socialist regime in the 1990s.

More here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A Liberian Attempt at English


Maya loves words! She wants desperately to have a great big fancy vocabulary, but she doesn't really know how to use the words she's learning or how to express herself with more than ordinary words. So, she frequently makes up words.
Last week, a friend gave me some very nice shoes. I told Maya they were very expensive shoes and it was a generous gift. She said: Oooooooh, those are so nice! They're . . . antique!
I told her what antique means.
She said: Oh, I just use that word when I want to say that something is really nice.
Well it doesn't quite work that way, dear.

Yesterday, I came downstairs to find the kids huddled around Kyle in the kitchen. He was making sandwiches. I asked: What's so interesting here?
Maya: Oh, we're just telling Dad what consonants we want.
Kyle: You mean condiments.
Maya: Right, I meant continents.
Kyle: ConDIments.
Maya tried two more times before pronouncing it correctly.

Meanwhile, we're saving our vacation money to go on a truce. Maya's never been on a big ship before. It's very exciting.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

What I've Been Up To

For once, I bought too much fabric instead of too little. So, after making the rocking chair cushions, I still had quite a bit of the floral fabric. I decided to make this:

After realizing that it's just a big rectangle, I felt really stupid for having spent money on a fancy-shmancy nursing cover that I ended up not liking. (Nevermind that I only paid shipping for it; homemade was still cheaper.)

Look at those precious little feet sticking out!
So, then I still some more fabric leftover (I must be really bad at estimating), so I made this grocery bag holder:

After a diaper change, I grab one of these bags and toss the little stinky thing in it before tossing it in the trash can. Diaper pails are so first-time-momish.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Good Friends

My very good friend, Gretchen, came over last week to hang out. We sat on the couch and visited while our kids played (or argued, whatever the case may have been at the time). Gretchen and I were due on the same day. Julia showed up early, her Amelia showed up late.

We had so much fun talking baby stuff. We both had home births. We both birthed in water. We both had girls. And we both want more. Something happened this time that made us both realize what a true blessing children are. Maybe we're older and wiser than we were when we had our first and thought we had it all figured out.

So while our girls were begging to hold the babies and bragging to each other about their new siblings; the boys were doing something entirely different and more productive. Ya know, boy stuff
like piling all the balls on top of the fort. Important stuff. Of course, that's not all they did. They also built squirrel traps and bird traps and argued with the girls.

Looking at this picture, I gotta say: Is it any wonder people think my little Isaac is older than he is. Look at those biceps (and triceps and pectorals)! Good grief, child! Lay off the one-armed push-ups for awhile! Sheesh.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Latest (& Most Challenging) Project

These rocking chair cushions have been in the works for almost a month. I bought the fabric, found some tutorials, stared at the fabric thinking-- that took about a week.

Then I cut out the pattern, called my dad to provide moral support as I did the piping, almost went postal while doing the piping, eventually asked my dad to do some of the piping-- this went on and on for who knows how long. (There were many days of just walking past the newly- designated sewing table growling in between all of this.)

But yesterday, I finally finished it and oh my it's a comfortable rocker now! No doubt, most of the comfort comes from knowing I completed a project that was almost the death of me.
Chloe does a very good satisfied pose, don't you think? I had collapsed on the floor after sewing on the last button, so I required a stand-in model.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Doing Cartwheels Here

All of my fellow Vision Forum fans know there are two weeks of the year we look forward to most: the Christmas sale and the Spring Sale. But the Spring Sale is bigger and it's HERE! Wahooo!
My friend, Lis, and I are going in together to save on shipping. And today's the day, since this book is now only $1. One buck! One dollar for J.C. Ryle! He's the author of the well-known and much-respected Duties of Parents.

I'm getting:

Thoughts for Young Men $1
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes hardbound $4.50
Treasure Island hardbound $4.50

And Lis is getting:

Thought for Young Men $1
Jungle Book $4.50
Swiss Family Robinson $4.50

I can't wait! I can't wait! I live for this sale!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Reason to Homeschool the Charlotte Mason Way #42

Reading all that classic literature develops one's grammar, vocabulary, spelling skills,

and in this case, a love of words! Maya has been asking for a thesaurus every since we told her what it was a couple weeks ago. When I brought this home for her, she poured over it for almost an hour, looking up everything she could think of and then impressing us with her new words.
As I said.
Maya wants to know why "thesaurus" isn't in the thesaurus, since it's such a hard word for her to say. Any ideas?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Reason to Homeschool #38

Homeschoolers are easily entertained. As a result of so little electronic stimulation (tv-watching, psp-playing, etc etc), they have active imaginations. Case in point:

Saturday evening, the kids spent several hours making paper masks for themselves. It all started when Elena showed up at the dinner table wearing her self-fashioned paper mask seen top left. She had a straight face as she ate her meal through her mask, while Kyle and I just giggled every time she said something. We couldn't take her seriously.
The other kids got a big kick out of this, so of course, they all wanted to follow suit as soon as they were excused from the table. After they all had their masks completed, then they had to make up a play for all the characters they'd just created. I'm so glad they've given up on charging admission to their plays. We were going broke paying all the budding thespians!
I was fascinated by just how much time they dedicated to their project. You just don't develop that kind of tenacity playing electronics and watching the tube in all your spare time. The difference was really striking.

Can you tell who's missing? One child in particular was too busy cooing at a cute baby to be bothered with art projects. ;)

Friday, March 12, 2010

She Smiles!

Why did we wait so long to add this little bit of heaven to our family? This is bliss.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

She Graduated!

It took 3 classes just to learn how to make these roses. We were all very impressed.
So impressed, in fact, that we didn't eat even eat them. The roses, that is. We cut into that cake just moments after taking these pictures. hehe
Aren't they beautiful?? Way to go, Maya!
Now she just needs lots of practice to perfect the skills she learned from Class 1. Then we told her we'd let her take Class 2.
Any orders?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I've Become a Tute Addict

I brake for blog tutorials. I've become quite the tute nut lately. It started with this changing pad. I found a cute diaper bag on clearance at Target for $4. When I got home, I found out why it was so cheap. It was missing the matching changing pad. So I found this nursery rhyme fabric I fell in love with and whipped this up:

Then I happened upon a pattern for this reading pillow in Etsy. I didn't buy the pattern. (And can I just say, the way they have it pictured makes no sense. It's upside-down!) I just made it up based on what I saw and using a pillow I already had. So for $2 worth of ribbon, I made this pillow to hold my book open for me while I'm nursing or just too lazy to hold the book myself. I love it:

Here is is sans Sense & Sensibility:

Then, while just wandering around sites with tutorials, I found this adorable pin cushion and I needed a pin cushion. This bitty thing makes me smile:
See how small it is:
And t h e n, I was hunting for a burp cloth tutorial (and there's no shortage, let me tell you). This was the only one that wasn't just an embellished cloth diaper. These make me so happy when I'm wiping up spit. I found this material and am working on making some more.
Next in line are these adorable little creatures. I can hardly wait!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Quiet Reading Time

Right after chores and seatwork, we have quiet reading time for 30 minutes. (I started with 20 minutes and worked up to 30 in a couple weeks.) Maya sets the timer and everyone plops on the couch with their book of choice. Elena is reading a biography of George Mueller, Chloe is reading her third consecutive Christian Liberty Nature Reader (book 5 now), Isaac is listening to Men of Iron on audio, and Maya is reading Mrs. Piggle Wiggle.
This particular day, I came downstairs with Julia while they were in the middle of their reading time. I set Julia amongst them and went to get my breakfast. This is the scene I found 2 minutes later.
Julia will never be lonely.