Saturday, February 19, 2011

Letter Work or Fun

Finger painting.
Letter practice.

All rolled into one.

It was fun.
Honestly, though, it was a bit difficult to persuade the boys to practice their letters rather than doodle only. And, yes, we did do plenty of doodling too! :)

Adventure Fridays!

We have decided that Fridays are, at least for now, Adventure Fridays!! (hear the da-da-ta-dum music)
Last week I stood at the top of our driveway watching the boys construct castles and forts and privateer ships - and enjoying every moment of it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

True Treasures - a foray into character building

As I thought and prayed about the coming year with the boys, the issue of character kept coming to my mind. That is one of the major reasons we are homeschooling - to instill (or sow seeds of ) godly character.
Where to begin stumped me for a while, but then Colossians 3:8-9, 12-14 kept cropping up.

"Now, you must rid yourselves of all such things as these anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to one another . . . Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with one another and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them together in perfect unity."

I decided to use this passage to guide our first foray into deliberate addressing of character issues. So we are beginning our days together with "True Treasures" - coming from Proverbs 22 and from Matthew 6. I introduced Colossians 3 with this activity - I wrote some notes afterwards with the boys, I've left them on the last page of this document.

We are touching on one character quality each week. I am trying to address the character quality from a variety of different angles: the Word of God, application in our lives, stories, activities - anything to try and plant a seed of understanding in their hearts.

Our first week we looked at Compassion - to "rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15). We read stories on being Tenderhearted from "A Child's Book of Character Building" by Ron & Rebekah Coriell.

Our second week we looked at Kindness - we listened to a story and song by Steve Green from "The Adventures of Sir Bernard"; we talked about how kindness is showing God's love to others; we read from the Bible and acted out a story of Robin Hood and a poor knight as read by StoryNory.

This coming week we'll be looking at Humility. No plans yet - I want to ask the Lord for some ideas.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The grace of a schedule

I wrote this earlier this week to a friend...

Here's a classic for you. We had one day on a schedule - then muffed it all up the second day. I was so tempted, as I have done in the past, to just give up again and throw it all out and focus on how I failed, etc. But then, God's grace caught me - and I remembered that with a schedule I now have something to return to - I don't have to give up. I can begin again! It might not sound monumental, but it was liberating for me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Vikings - Part 2

I just realized that I hadn't finished the posts about our Viking projects... (an earlier post)

"To the boats, lads! To the boats!"

Now we were on to the boats...

(Point by point might be easier to follow.)

We got our basic design from Technology in the Time of the Vikings by Peter Hicks. We borrowed it from our local library.

1. We drew a basic Viking longboat shape onto a piece of cardstock.

2. We cut it out - then traced it onto another piece of cardstock.

3. We stapled the ends together - gave it a little squeeze together to create a boat shape.

4. We used a piece of standard paper to trace the size and shape needed for the deck, and cut it out.

5. Then we cut that out and traced it to cardstock adding a 1 cm border (except at the bow and stern points, which needed to be kept to the pattern in order to fit back in the boat).

6. We cut out a small piece of cardstock to use as the mast support (see photo).

7. Then we painted the body of the boat and the deck.

8. To attach the deck cardstock to the body of the boat, we made small cuts in the outer edge of the deck cardstock and then stapled it in the body of the boat.

9. For a mast, we glued five popsicle / iceblock sticks together using a hot glue gun. We used one stick in the centre of the other other four to stabilise the mast and to create a slot at the top for the sail to attach. (see photo)

10. We attached the mast support to the deck with hot glue and cut a small slit in the deck for the mast to slide into. (nope, she's not seaworthy. :)

11. Then we slid the mast into the mast support and the hole in the deck. I turned the boat upside down and added a bit of hot glue for an extra solid mast. Those stormy northern seas can be rough on a ship, you know.

12. The boys spent time designing and decorating their own square sails. The we attached the sail to the mast by gluing a popsicle stick to the top of the sail - only at each end. That way we could slide the sail into the mast.

Now, that gave us the basics of the boat. We also added a top flag, shields around the outer edge (in true Viking flair), and a dragon masthead and tail.

This was a fun project with lots of designing and creative opportunities... for all of us.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

My attempts at getting organised...

I have been realizing that if I want our homeschool days to have a rhythm, then our home has to have some rhythm too. So I have begun to sketch out some ideas... feel free to print and use them if you find them helpful.

A 2-week dinner schedule - with room for to-do's and shopping needs. I got the quote from a story I read about Ruth Bell Graham who had this quote above her kitchen sink.

I really wanted the boys to be involved in helping, but all too often I would forget and be unprepared for their help. I find if I schedule it in, then it is there in black and white - it's a way of holding myself to it, too. A Helper Schedule.

Read-Aloud list - to keep a record of the books we read aloud together. I'll be putting together some form of reviews for each one too (any suggestions?).

Read-Aloud Ideas list - to keep a record of those books that other people mention to me and I write on random bits of paper which I am always meaning to compile.

I am working on our schedules, so when I nail down some forms for those I'll post them as well.