Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Some 'New' Books

I recently stopped into a Mennonite resale shop. I checked out their picture books and found some keepers for $.50 each. They were all hardbacks. Here's what I found....

' The Wentletrap Trap' by Jean Craighead George. This one is a nice story about a family and a boy trying to catch a Wentletrap. I have written about Jean Craighead George before.

'Where was Patrick Henry on the 29th of May?' by Jean Fritz. Jean Fritz has a whole series of books with questions in their titles. They are about different American founders and American history. They are written for 2-3 graders.

'Walter Raleigh' by Ronald Syme. Ronald Syme is an author who writes about explorers. I have never seen any other topic addressed by him. His books are also written for 2-3 graders as read-alones. They are early chapter books.

'Swimming' by Leo Lionni. This is a picture book about a bunch of little fish working together so they appear to be a big fish. This would be a good read aloud to a child as young as 2 and a four year old would still like it. I never ran across this author/illustrator before.

'Chipmunks on the Doorstep' by Edwin Tunis. This is a great 'twaddle free' book about chipmunks. It would be nice to use with any kind of nature study. I think a 2-3 grader could read this book independently. Edwin Tunis is the author/illustrator. He has written a number of books about different types of vehicles, weapons, and American history. The other books are written for 4+ graders. If you ever see a book by Edwin Tunis, pick it up. They are very well illustrated with detailed pencil drawings. He gives a lot of good information in story form. My boys really like his books.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Country Fair

I took the children to an old-fashioned county fair on Friday. We had a nice time. They had a traditional midway. We just looked, the carnival barkers, the food stands, and the rides. It was loud and exciting. We preferred to watch the animal judging.

The day we were there, they were doing the mini-horse competitions and judging. The presentations were fun to watch. The hand led trail exercises were interesting. The presenters led their minis to a chair and they sat down and the horses had to walk around them twice.

Next, they led the horses over a tarp....

then over to the pipes. They had to get their animals to back up between them without stepping outside the pipes.

The most challenging thing was next. The duo walked over to a hula hoop on the ground and the horse had to stand with just his two front legs in the hoop. Their presenter dropped the reins and then circled the mini two times at least five feet from the horse. Many of the horses were fine the first time, but the second time they would take off. Some ran off across the ring.
The final part of the exercise was to walk the horse between a pattern of pylons. The horses that completed the course were called in to walk sideways along two pipes without stepping over them.

They also had the minis in various driving rigs. Showing off their gaits and costumes.

This is the Grand Champion Beef Steer.

Elizabeth liked the big fans they had to keep the champion steers cooled.

We also watched the poultry obstacle course. What a hoot!!

The children enjoyed it, especially Michelle.

A lot of the poultry tried to escape. Chickens are real bird brains! The ducks were smarter. One took off and flew out the barn doors. They chased him down and caught him. The ducks were a lot faster than the chickens.

We had a lovely day at the fair. We were tired but happy.

Now That's Ridiculous!!

Yesterday, I was reading a book on household management. I need a lot of help in that regard. The book was well written, organized, and if I followed it's suggestions, helpful.
I was reading the section on the bedroom. They were talking about mattress care and eliminating dust mites. They suggested vacuuming your mattress biannually, which is probably a good idea. Then they talked about pillows and stuffed animals. They talked about how pillows and stuffed animals also are a place that dust mites like to live. They suggested that you switch from down pillows to polyester. (Not happening here.) Then they said to take away your child's stuffed animal at bedtime and replace it with a plastic one. "Yes, sweetheart, give Mommy your soft, cuddly, stuffed animal and snuggle up with this hard hunk of plastic to go to sleep." That's ridiculous. That's carrying the dust mite phobia just a bit too far! If you are really concerned why not just take the toy away? But that a hard piece of plastic would be an acceptable substitute to a child is ludicrous. What do you think? Would you ever do that? I am surprised that they didn't suggest plastic sheets and blankets for on the bed. I am all for cleanliness, but this is beyond my comprehension.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Greenwood Hills Bible Conference 2010

We had a wonderful vacation at Greenwood Hills (GWH) last week. It was restful, refreshing, and spiritually uplifting. The weather was pleasant and the fellowship was encouraging. What more could you want?

Sunday was a little rainy, but that brought cooler weather- down closer to 80 instead of in the 90s. It was lovely. The children enjoyed playing a lot of shuffleboard. We are truly pikers at it, but it was fun to watch people who knew what they were doing.
We did keep trying and mostly played each other as we would have been no competition to anyone else.

Monday we tried to go canoing, however, it started to thunder briefly as we got there. Frustration! It always seems to rain when we want to go canoing. We decided to reschedule for a time later in the week.

We got back rather quickly as we didn't get to go canoing. We found my DH and Elizabeth in the Chatterbox enjoying a treat. Of course we made them share. We didn't want them to eat all that sugar by themselves. We spread the 'poison' around. Each doing their part to take a little bit.

We went swimming every day. The water was lovely. Not too hot and not too cool, just right. Goldilocks would have been happy.

Three different evenings we played volleyball. It was a lot of fun. The first 45 minutes or so was ' family friendly' volleyball where anyone of any ability could play. I don't think they even kept score.

Later in the evening they did competitive volleyball. For the most part of it was for 16 and up. They allowed spiking and kept score. It was a good time.

The cabins were rustic, but we learned a few things from last year. This year we brought a little dorm refrigerator. It worked a lot better and kept the food colder than when we used ice. We also didn't come in and find the food floating, or worse yet, sunk in dirty water. Yuk!
We also rigged up a curtain in the bathroom to provide an area of privacy to change in. That made getting ready a lot quicker. My DH spent much of his time reading and resting. I think he got a much needed break. I just wish it was two weeks instead of one. He could have used it.

Michelle was happy as there were several babies for her to carry around and take care of. She enjoyed giving little Caleb his bottle. She just loves babies! Michelle also found the treasure in the camp treasure hunt. Joan was the first to recite Romans 5:1-10 on the scripture memory contest. It really wasn't fair, she already knew it.

Even my DH got into the baby act. He found one with hair that matched his. It was nice to see little Jaidyn growing so well. We met her paternal grandparents this week too.

We did finally make it canoing later in the week. It was a beautiful sunny day. T-Bob was in my canoe.

We canoed on a reservoir. It is where the camp gets their drinking water. We were pleased to see that the water was crystal clear. The scenery was beautiful also. The rolling hills of Pennsylvania.

Mr. Boots and Michelle argued their way along the reservoir. They changed positions several times. Each one sure that they would do a better job than the other. We stayed away from them. It was quieter.

Joan and Thomas worked together well. The only problem was that Joan did not know how to steer or do the J-stroke. The went farther than anyone else as they zig-zagged their way along. Needless to say, theirs was the last canoe back to shore. Mr. Stout tried hard to be patient with them (well, maybe not that hard).

As the week progressed my DH became more and more rested. It was good to see him start to recover from his long work weeks. I am just hoping that he will be able to adjust his schedule when he returns home so that he can stay a little rested.

The children all seemed to have a good time. It is nice when you find something the whole family enjoys doing and is a way to spend time together.

Friday afternoon was the USA v. Canada soccer match. It is very competitive. Mr. Boots, T-Bob, and Michelle all joined in the game. (Mr. Boots is wearing the light blue shorts in the above pic.)

Michelle played barefoot as she decided none of her footwear fit or would work. You can't run in crocs very well. I was the bad guy who made her quit playing. Too many players were serious and had cleats on. I didn't like the thought of a cleat landing on her tender toes.

One family brought along a snow cone machine to provide refreshment for the fans watching. It was a nice treat. No we didn't take the toppings. The children just enjoyed the chipped ice.

Joan was not much of a fan. She spent most of her time reading. T-Bob was anxious to get in the game! The game ended in a tie 1-1. Everybody ran off the field and went down to the pool to cool off.

I was having fun with the camera. The children were happy to perform for me. Here is Mr. Boots, barefoot, showing good form on his dive.

T-Bob tried to do a flip off the side of the pool. He still needs to work on his technique. That entry looked a little painful.

The speakers for the week were Alan Gamble from Scotland and Johnny Gorman from NC. They spoke on giving Christ pre-eminence. Maybe I will do a blog or two on the messages in the next couple weeks. It was excellent meaty teaching.

Friday was also very special as our friend the Taters came to visit. T-Bob and Joe had a great day playing together. It's nice to have a buddy almost the same age as yourself. They get along well.

It was really great to see Lily up walking and getting around after all she has been through the last year. Thanks Carol for coming to visit.

We had a wonderful time and would love to have a few more friends come along with us next year. If you are interested let us know. Children 12 and under are free! Not having to cook or work in the kitchen for a whole week is a real treat! Christian fellowship and Bible teaching just can't be beat. Getting rested and refreshed is really sweet.
We love GWH!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary Darling!

Now Friends, Don't get jealous, but I believe that I am one of the most blessed women on the planet. I get to spend my life with this man.
He is tall and handsome.
Gentle and Generous
He enjoys reading and studying the Word of God.
He encourages me in my addiction of collecting books!

He enjoys children and is a good dad.
(That's not our baby)

I have known him since he was a boy of 18. I have watched him grow spiritually and in character. I remember his very first sermon. He preached at Lake Geneva Chapel. He was so nervous. He held on to the stand tightly. Now he is relaxed when he preaches. He does an excellent job.
He serves as an elder at our church and I have seen him grow into those qualifications.

As a young man he was VERY quiet. He is still young, but now he is much more outgoing and is 'Mr. Hospitality'.

He is a good friend. He works at his friendships and maintains them for years. He stays connected to friends from his past. He is very loyal.

He is a good sport. He doesn't have to win at a game to be happy. The hair may be red, but he rarely loses his temper.

I thank God for my husband. I am truly blessed to be his wife.
Love you darling!


Socialization and Homeschooling

(Another beautiful photo by our Michelle - I really like her work)
At a recent gathering, a person asked me the infamous homeschooling question, "What about socialization?" The person asking it was truly curious and not at all belligerent, so I answered his question in a friendly manner. A lot of people have read in the newspaper or other journalism formats that homeschoolers are not properly socialized. How could they be if they are not in a school classroom setting? Let me attempt to set your fears at ease.
Here is Thomas with our next door neighbor.
Homeschoolers live in neighborhoods, go to church, play on playgrounds, and even play on sports teams and join scout troops. They do not generally live in a cave. They are around people all the time. However, I will admit that homeschoolers are differently socialized. They are not around their age mates the majority of the time. Are you? Really, once you leave school has there been a time when most of your friends are the same age as you? I know that I have friends of a wide variety of ages and life situations. A homeschooler's peer group is vertical rather than horizontal. By that, I mean that they are exposed to people of many different ages and they compose their peer group. Schooled children have a horizontal peer group composed almost entirely of children their own age. In my office I can tell whether a child that comes in is schooled at home or not in about 90 seconds. The schooled children come in and ask my children how old they are or what grade they are in and if it matches they want to play with them, if it doesn't, they sit on the couch and look bored or read a book. Homeschooled children may ask my children how old they are, but then irregardless of the answer they start to play together. I have seen high school boys who are homeschooled come in and happily play with a baby or toddler. Homeschoolers are also very comfortable talking with adults. They enjoy talking with adults and learning from them.

Homeschoolers enjoy playing with other children irregardless of their age. One of the highest compliments my children can give to another family is that 'they know how to play as a family'. I also chuckle as I remember one of the boys, when they were about five, commenting on some older children who had visited. He said, "They are just not properly socialized. Do they go to public school, Mommy?" Yes, they did. Homeschooled children are generally the ones organizing games on the public playgrounds. They tend to be more socially outgoing, because they haven't felt the intimidation, teasing and rejection that occurs frequently in a school setting.
The homeschooled child's strongest peer group is their family. This is the group that they spend the most time with. They are forced to learn to get along with their siblings or experience a miserable existence. The children forge strong bonds with each other. Yes, they have disagreements, but they learn to help each other. The older ones learn to help the younger children and be compassionate. The younger ones are taught many skills by the older children and to keep foolishness to a minimum. These are all good things.

The bottom line is that I feel the 'socialization argument' is not something that homeschoolers worry about. I have met far more children that have been 'wounded' by the socialization of a classroom setting than received scars from inadequate social interaction at home.
I can't believe how much T-Bob looks like my Dad as a boy.