Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mt. Vernon

We are studying George Washington now and this week's project was to build a dollhouse replica of Mt. Vernon. I don't think we got it exact, but we did a virtual tour of Mt. Vernon and I was suprised at what the boys put into the house. It wasn't too long of project, and we all enjoyed making it. When it was done I took my grandmother's dollhouse furniture she built and put it in there, just so we could see what it was like. Hannah loved it! I loved it! I didn't hardly notice it was made out of a shabby box. Yes, even at 35 I got joy out of playing in a dollhouse. My grandmother made a dollhouse 30 years ago for this furniture. Even my grandfather got in on helping her build some of the things. All of the rugs, the linens, and the furniture were made by her using a skill saw or her sewing machine, although the lace canopies and doilies were crocheted, and one of the quilts looks hand stiched. The dollhouse was a 1900 era house, so I realize it didn't exactly fit into George Washington's time, like the kitchen. My favorite room she made was the kitchen. I was surprised that some of it has lasted this long, but a lot of it is falling apart and breaking easily. The only reason I knew it was 30 years old was because I had a newspaper clipping of Grandma and her dollhouse.
Here's some pictures for you all. I added extras of just the furniture.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

December Update for Salisbury's

I'm ahead on our curriculum, so I'm trying to decide if we are going to go forward or just take an early, long break for Christmas. The problem for us taking long breaks is that it is hard for us to get back to work.

I'm still loving this curriculum. Last week we studied horses and I was impressed that Hannah actually took an interest in the subject. We had studied these a few months ago, but it was nice to have refresher. We have also been studying Colonial Christmases. Very different than what we have today and I was shocked to learn it was not a children's holiday. I had thought I would try to replicate the gifts for colonial children, if they may have received some, but it's been very difficult to find things and then I thought it wouldn't be as special because I doubt my kids would play with the items. I settled for a small train case and have put some hopefully special items in each one for the three older kids. I feel good about it, I hope they like it.

I have been thinking about how my style of teaching is fitting into the TJ Education mode. I talk about a curriculum, but honestly, if I didn't have one to follow, nothing would ever get done. I have noticed as the year progresses that I have been able to feel out how each kid learns and modify to fit their needs. I've also been able to not feel so guilty when we haven't had the most successful day, but on the way to an errand my kids will ask about a topic and we'll have some of the most fascinating conversations.

One day last week Jesse went with Curtis to work since he didn't feel good and I had another appointment to get to. Curtis had him doing pre-algebra and multiplication, a report on a current event and then had him read one section of the Federalist papers. Anyone know what those were? I didn't either. Maybe he should be doing the schooling? I felt like the pre-k arts and craft teacher after hearing that report. I get stuck between: are my kids old enough to comprehend this stuff (so we do too easy of work) to it says it's for ages 8-12, but I'm not understanding the material (so now the work is too easy). The days that work the best for us are when they have a good mix of activities. School is usually in the mornings or early afternoon for us and if I can keep it interesting, we all love it. I've had to get away from text books and workbooks, which used to be my favorites, and I still do find some work sheets to do, but it's usually more creative stuff they need to work with. It's so interesting how we've evolved.

Family Reading:
Me: Feng Shui Make this Your Lucky Day
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
Christmas stories for families (one a day)

Curtis: Prince Caspian to all the reading

The kids are not reading anything right now except what has been read to them. I just got done paying for 3 books that were lost or damaged to the library, so we've not returned until I could get those paid for. Sometimes the library is a blessing and a curse.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

An update

Today, my family finally received the blessing of finally knowing what to do in regards to managing the needs of our special needs son and our other children. I posted today on our blog, below and thought I would share our blessing with you. Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement. I really needed it and was thankful for a safe haven in which to seek help.
Heather (Kindredmamma)

Blessings of a School Bus
Yes, you read the title right. Yes, a homeschool mom is thankful for the school bus. Many of you know the struggle our family has been having this fall with managing J's Speech needs and those of my homeschooled children and nearly 2 year old. In fact, as I look back now, my last post to this blog was full of despair, despite my resolve to have a brighter week by making some changes. And today and yesterday have been very bright. The home, at least the parts that have been reclaimed are being maintained (I know, two days...but it is my victory for now). For many weeks now I have been pondering and praying about the needs of my kids. I just couldn't do it all. I was filled to the brim of tears and my life felt in chaos. Literal chaos. I felt my spiritual life being neglected, there was no time for "me, let alone them" (as it relates to our Thomas Jefferson Educational philosophy of "You, not them.") And my home...fell apart around me. Something just had to give. Like I said, after weeks of prayer and making one decision then changing our mind week after week. In my heart I just knew that taking J out was not the right choice and we couldn't feel that it was right to put A and C in public school either. I can not ever recall in my life where a prayer took so long to be answered. Ever! I felt alone and perhaps unworthy of an answer to prayer. I pleaded to HIM in my heart and finally I said if it isn't for me, then do it for my kids. PLEASE. And still, no answer.

The other day brought remembrance of this quote from Spencer W. Kimball:
“I find that when I get casual in my relationships with divinity and when it seems that no divine ear is listening and no divine voice is speaking, that I am far, far away. If I immerse myself in the scriptures the distance narrows and the spirituality returns. I find myself loving more intensely those whom I must love with all my heart and mind and strength, and loving them more, I find it easier to abide their counsel.” (“What I Hope You Will Teach My Grandchildren and All Others of the Youth of Zion,” address to Seminary and Institute personnel, Brigham Young University, 11 July 1966, p. 6.)
This has given me a new sense of where my You time should be spent.This was on Sunday and I began to ponder my relationship with my Heavenly Father and the whole "You, not them philosophy."
And then... another message from Him yesterday as I read in the car while waiting to pick up J from preschool from the book we are reading for our January Women's Colloquium (we are taking Dec off). It is from the book, In My Father's House, by Corrie ten Boom. She, on page 26 writes, "How often we think when a prayer is not answered that God has said no. Many times, He has simply said; wait."

How truly thankful I am that I spent weeks of torturous indecisiveness and waiting for the answer that came today. It was worth it, for today. It was worth it to feel the spirit so strong when a school bus drove up today (unannounced, no phone call of approval, it just showed up!) to relieve me of the distance, time, and preparation of 4 children in the car to take J to preschool and back, where I knew in my heart that even though he may not be getting the most optimal of help (and that help I know can be changed by may advocating for him), is help he needs. I could never shake that, despite my strong convictions regarding the benefits and blessings of homeschooling. It is what's right for him. It was worth it to feel that my family and I were so loved by Heavenly Father, that he would bless me with the ability to have the blessings of both worlds. I am thankful for a simple miracle today, that came in the form of a school bus.

Today is also my birthday. I don't think that I could have a better gift than an answer to prayer that was so desperately needed and wanted.
Be courageous enough to wait for your blessings....Lesson Learned.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Butikofer Family Reading

All of my kids are in Core, so we have two family reading books-- Black Beauty and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh.

My books-  Gone with the Wind and The Screwtape Letters

Hubby- CDCs  (his books for military promotion)