Saturday, January 31, 2009

What we are reading and Mentors

I thought I would take a little moment and write on the importance of Mentors. Mentors are often overlooked or unrecognized. I was thinking about those who are mentors in my life. One that came to mind is my Scrapbooking Consultant. It is a relatively new hobby for me and I have enjoy my monthly scrapbook night. While it is a definite opportunity for a mom's night out, I have learned a great deal of techniques for paper crafting, preserving family memories and photography. These are also something that I share with my kids. While we have a digital camera, it isn't the best, so we bought a second one on ebay for cheap and we let our kids have at it. It has been fun watching them take pictures from their perspective and then desire to preserve them in their own way as well. So that is one, while it may not seem related to TJed, it is for me...because it is mine. Other mentors for me would have to be the mothers at the Women's Colloquium that I attend monthly. I can't count the times where they have broadened my horizons on what we are reading and helped me to see and understand things in a different light. They give me support and encouragement in ways that are priceless. Other mentors would be those from my church. They teach me, inspire me and I often carry that home to my children. Additionally, my husband is a mentor. It is astonishing how he can put things in perspective and add reason where my logic has failed. And I would be ungrateful if I didn't mention my mother. While I was certain at the age of 18 I would leave her behind with the scars of my childhood. I am thankful for my husbands logic and reason that encouraged me to give her a second chance. Now that she too is free from an abusive relationship, she is a totally different woman. One whose wisdom is necessary for my survival and sanity. She is remarkable and I pray and hope that I can be that for my children....before they grow up!

Anyhow....seems like a tribute. But I hope you get that Mentors can go beyond the academic. Speaking of which....I am going to need one when the time is right...still working on my Love of Learning and am practicing being a scholar. I think that a good resource is my Women's Colloquium.

What we are reading....

Robinson Carusoe
Walking Drum by Louis Lamour- from my Women's Colloquium (I need to go get it on Monday at the Library)
A Tale of Two Cities- I still haven't finished this and I need to find the motivation to finish it.

DS #1
Indiana Jones
The City of Ember

What we are reading as a family-
Little House on the Prairie

Friday, January 30, 2009

Kindredmamma's Bio

Hi, I am Heather. Here is my bio. I live in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. I have been married to Prince Charming, David, for over 13 years and we have four kids. DS1 is almost 8, DD is 6 1/2, DS#2 is 4, DS #3 is 2. I stay at home and homeschool them. About me personally, I am an avid scrapbooker. I also enjoy spending time with fiber arts and practically knit to save my sanity at times. In addition to knitting, I crochet and spin my own yarn, as time permits. I am an admitted fiber snob as I prefer only natural fibers to work with and wood needles, though plastic or metal will do in a pinch if I don't have the size I need. My favorite things to knit are toys for my kids. My latest was a mermaid for my daughter and now I am working on a cute horse for DS #2. My newest upcoming adventure is to make a Waldorf doll. I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of the kit from Magic Cabin, any day now. I have been moving towards less commercialized plastic toys and not only enjoy making them, but supporting those who continue the art of making handmade items.

So I guess I would consider my craft hobbies what is most mine for the time being. I also like to read and am enjoying how my exposure to TJed has helped me explore other genres and expanded me beyond historical fiction books. So essentially I am beginning a journey of getting the education I didn't get the first time around. My education philosophy is a mixture of TJed, Waldorf (Rudolph Steiner), the Well Trained Mind and "can't-shake-my-conveyor-belt-mentality" Syndrome. At least those are the philosophies I am most exposed to. So I guess in a week we may start off with some very TJed approach, with a infusion of Waldorf then by the end of the week we have periods of Conveyor belt insanity with a well-trained mind approach. My syndrome comes and goes but I think in the future I will be able to shake it and manage perhaps to only slightly damage my older two kids. =) Just kidding it isn't that bad, but it is hard to have faith in something when you haven't seen the end result But we are progressing and making lots of headway.

I attend the LDS Church where I serve as a Wolf Den Leader for Cub Scouts. This has been my favorite calling/duty so far and since I have three sons I hope to stay put there for awhile. I also lead a Daisy Troop (Girl Scouts) for my daughter's troop as well as volunteer with La Leche League International. So I am passionate about women having access to breastfeeding support for as long as they choose to breastfeed. A new endeavor will be helping to start a new Commonwealth School (the 3rd one in the Denver metro area) that will be closer to my home.

I always enjoy hearing more about women and what they did before kids. Well before my first I majored in Anthropology at BYU. Not long after, I got pregnant with him, so I never did anything too exciting. We were married almost 6 years before he came and we enjoyed traveling and being far more spontaneous. Now it involves too much preparation, but we like to camp and hike and in general spend time in nature. We are often only traveling to visit family. But we are saving for a trip to Disneyland in the next few years. We will go to Texas and visit my grandparents in April. But otherwise, it will mostly be camping in our fabulous Rocky Mountains.

As I was searching for a picture of my family.... I realized that we didn't have one with everyone in it. I will need to rememdy that. IT is alsmost always just a pictures of the kids or David as I am always taking the pictures! I did manage to find one that is from last winter. Note to self....Take more pictures of the WHOLE family. =)

Well that's it for me!


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A free tool for teaching the Declaration of Independence

Michael Greenspan of Bronx, NY wrote this and put it together with his family to help teach children the Declaration of Independence.


The video, simple sheet music and an mp3 of the song


This week:

I'm almost finished with The Chosen. I plan to finish up tonight or tomorrow.
I rearranged all of my book shelves (painted one) and found A Mid Summer Night's Dream so I'm working on that too.

Cailynn (Practice scholar)
Finished Anne of Green Gables

Chrisy (LOL)
Working on "All of a Kind Family"

Finished reading his Pinewood Derby book while building his with dad.

Working on her Fairy book (Chapter book) I'll find the name and type it up.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Reading System with Rewards and Small Miracles

BooksWe began a new system in our home this week. I felt like there was too much television watching and not enough reading. Sure, we read a lot, but when our family curriculum revolves around reading a lot of classic books it cannot be done well when there is too much movie watching. My husband and I discussed this and a light bulb went on in my brain and I came up with this new system.

For every book read they earn an hour and a half of movie watching.

The rules are:

1) They cannot be baby books or below their reading level. Mom approves the book after discussing their book suggestions and if the child has no suggestions then mom gives ideas.

2) They pick the books. Nothing is more boring that reading an assigned book.

3) An in depth oral exam will be issued after each book. If a child is found to have lied about reading a book, that child will lose an hour and a half of TV. It pays to be honest.

4) The television watching will be redeemed when mom or dad gives permission.

5) If all the children read their book(s) and can watch the movie and one child did not. That child will spend their time during the movie in another room reading their books.

We have already presented this to the family. I am so excited to see their enthusiasm for reading flourish. My daughters are requesting set aside uninterrupted times for reading throughout the day and an hour extra at night to read. They also have been having more impromptu book discussions with me and are excited to share with me their future reading lists. I am so excited to see this little fire lit within the children and the rewards for their hard work are motivating as well as appealing.

My husband is a non reader. I asked him if he would take the challenge and lead the family by his example. I am a voracious reader so I will keep up my reading and each year I make it a goal to read more. My husband agreed to try again. The only book he's read all the way through since I've known him (14 1/2 years) is In Loving Hands. We have been listening to Dave Ramsey and my husband really likes him and is interested in learning more of Dave's system. We went to Barnes and Noble and bought The Total Money Makeover. Tears come to my eyes as I see him reading during his spare time. We found something that interests him!

We have a large family library and I continue to add to it so that the children can always have something to read. My son learned that he loves the Magic Treehouse books. My son was a very late reader, but has recently discovered he is getting better at it. To excite and motivate him I bought him another book in the series yesterday- Viking Ships at Sunrise. He began reading it today. Before lunch he excitedly announced to me today that he finished the first chapter.

We also are doing the same thing with music.Violin The older children can earn computer time one for one for each hour of violin or viola practice. The younger children will learn hymns and receive voice lessons from mom for their music time. My older girls have already earned their computer time today and are excited to redeem it! They love getting on

We are thrilled over the excitement the children have in this program. I am excited because reading is happening more which means learning is increasing too. We have had to change television habits, but it has been worth it. We all know it is more fun to earn something and you enjoy it more.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January Reading

We're getting ready for a move in preparation for my mother to move in with us permanently. We're still working at our school despite the business.

Re-started the BOM in 1st Nephi
Mathematicians are People Too
Tom Sawyer- going to finish this up by jingo!


Fed Ed
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Working on:
Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank & Ernestine Gilbreth (Cute, cute book!)
The Chosen by Chaim Potok

Lynn: (LOL/Practice Scholar)

Cherry Aimes Student Nurse(She loves this book and wants to read the series) (Finished)
Anne of Green Gables (Almost done)

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year, Back to Work

Thought I would just give a quick update. We are moving on to learn about the Sons of Liberty and just finished up George Washington. I never realized how patriotic I am, but I feel even more so after learning about the founding of our country and sacrifices these men gave to build our country.

So far, this week has been pretty good as far as schooling goes. Curtis has been helping out a lot more with school lately, mostly because he's trying to give up computer gaming, but also, he's really interested in the stuff we are learning about. I have to say that there is something really refreshing about hearing him teach the kids. This week we learned about surveying land. Tomorrow the kids and Curtis are having me drop them off on a corner in town and they have to figure out how to get home by a map. Part of me wants to do it with them, but a bigger part of me doesn't like to get cold, even just a little bit. We've been discussing as a family how to build up our food storage, prepare for emergencies and learn some survival skills. Still not to keen on the hunting thing. I don't know if I could ever do that, but I suppose if I ever got hungry enough, I would.

As a family: Prince Caspian (only two more chapters to go!)
Me: Ginny, the dog who rescues cats. 2 Lewis and Clark books. Volcanoes and Earthquakes. George Washington biography.

Isaac: Huckleberry Finn

Jesse: Lion, the witch and the wardrobe

Hannah: Barbie

Simeon: 60th Anniversary of Thomas the Train collection. He's nuts about it.

Curtis: The Federalist papers part 1.

I should also mention we are getting back to our chore lists. I had the kids assigned to a 3 part rotation. We called them the ABC chores. Every day they switched, except for the kid they were partnered with. Each day had about 7 chores they needed to keep up with for the day. The nice thing is that it only took them about 30 minutes to do all their chores. It's so nice when one is in a habit, but why is it so hard to get back into the habit after one fall's out of it?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fed Ed

Allen Quist wrote the book Fed Ed: The New Federal Curriculum and How It's Enforced . He is a Fed Edcollege professor, business owner, former Minnesota stat legislator, and father of ten children.

"Virtually every state in the Union is scrambling to radically change its education system. Few people realized that these changes are largely being driven by the fine print in federal laws first passed in 1994. It's the new Federal Curriculum, and it's contrary to everything America stands for."

Take a couple of minutes to watch this video. You may be surprised by what you see.

Phyllis Schlafly says in reference to this book, "Many Americans are sensing that something is very much amiss with our system of education...This book is one of the most important works of our time."

I think many of us have an underlying suspicion that this sort of thing is going on, but nothing concrete to prove our theories, until now.

He breaks down the agenda of the new Federal Curriculum chapter by chapter explaining in detail what Multiculturalism, Totalitarianism, and Environmentalism is and then how they plan to teach this using their own words from The National Standards for Civics and Government, a textbook for High School students entitled We the People: the Citizen and the Constitution, as well as many addition resources.

Chapter by chapter I was all the more thankful for my decision to homeschool. There were two points that the author made mention that were the goals of the FedEd curriculum that seemed to bother me quite a bit and they were:

1) "By requiring 8th graders to have careers, society avoids "wasting resources" on their training. The idea is that someone going into truck driving or sales clerking doesn't need much math, biology or literature, so he or she won't study that much of it.

Our children are now being viewed the same way we view the stock market- any investment should produce a profit, and if it won't produce a profit, the investment won't be made. That is, our children are not to learn anything that will not make them a more valuable resource to business."


2) "...the new education system frequently refers to students as being human resources. Resources for what? ....for large corporations. (Just as businesses need electricity, steel, glass, plastics, and the like to make their products, they also need human resources.) "

I had always wondered what that term meant that is being used more and more.

He knows what he's talking about and it increased my knowledge of what REALLY is happening with the schools and what exactly their agenda is.

The Declaration of Independence states,

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Our rights are slowly being taken away. Homeschooling is always under attack. I thank Heavenly Father that we still have some freedoms left and the freedom to homeschool how we feel inspired to is still here. That doesn't leave us off the hook from preserving these freedoms. They are slowly being stolen away one law at a time. Keep informed and use your voice!

More Reading on this book and topic:

FedEd: Education for Global Government
The Abe Report: Fed Ed