O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. Psalms 43:3

And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith. D&C 88:118

The kids

The kids

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Another Reason to Homeschool

This is normal- the 10 year old playing happily with the 2 year old.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When Creativity Runs Wild- or Using all the toys

The other day during free time, the children were very busy... They had Polly Pockets, wooden blocks, toilet paper, Mega Blocks, a toy train, board books, and probably all the baby toys. This was what they were doing:

Monday, May 28, 2012

Teaching Self Government Book Giveaway and Review!

Earlier I posted about the story of the Boy Wanted. A few years ago I would only hope that I could raise up and teach my children to be that boy, but now I can see how it is possible. I have a vision now because of the parenting methods we have been using. I have been using Teaching Self-Government for almost 2 1/2 years. It has transformed my family where other parenting tools (and trust me I have read just about every positive parenting discipline book on the market) failed. I love Teaching Self Government because it teaches children to follow instructions, disagree appropriately, accept no answers, and accept consequences and criticism (both positive and negative) in a loving and purposeful way.

Many parenting books, even positive parenting methods, rely on various methods of manipulation and power struggles. Nicholeen stresses the importance of avoiding power struggles. Eliminating the power struggles has improved our relationships and the feeling in our home as well as the cooperation of my children.

Nicholeen Peck goes through step by step how to create a home environment that is conducive to teaching children to govern themselves. I think the thing I have liked most about her book is that I always struggled walking the line of obedience vs. thinking. I believe 100% that my children need to be obedient. I was given the charge, by God, to raise these children properly. However, I also want thinking children who can reason and make informed decisions. I want children who do not blindly follow "because I say so!" This book is the only one I have ever found where children are taught to disagree appropriately and respectfully so that their feelings and opinions are heard but still retains the responsibility of the parent and requires obedience.

I could go on and on about the items I have purchased from Teaching Self Goverment. I highly recommend her picture book Londyn LaRae Says Okay as well. The pictures are adorable and the story is sweet, not preachy. I have also subscribed to the Implementation Course. Even after my subscription ended I renew my access so I can have access to the weekly conference calls. The weekly conference calls are the weekly boost I need to continue to deliberately parent with love, patience, and calmness. They help me to have a plan and to execute it. The best part is that I have a mentor who is able to answer my questions each week. 
Be sure to check out her website- she has lots of fabulous parenting advice available.

Nicholeen graciously has offered up a copy of her book Teaching Self Government to one of my lucky blog readers in the US. Entry is easy- use the Rafflecopter below to enter.    Rafflecopter giveaway.

Disclosure: I received no compensation either monetarily or otherwise for this blog post. My opinions and experiences are my own and may differ from yours. Lighthouse Classical Academy is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links because I believe so strongly in what Nicholeen has to offer. If you purchase through one of those links, I will receive a small amount in return to use towards my children's education. Your price remains the same. 

Thought of the Day: Boy Wanted

During our devotional, after our scripture memorization, prayers, and scripture study, I pulled out the Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett.  We are in the chapter on Self-Discipline. I read the following "Wanted-Ad." Even though it refers to a boy, it was just as applicable to the girls. We discussed how if a person had all these attributes he would be quite a person and how we wanted to cultivate these attributes in ourselves. The children were in awe and so inspired by what this person would be like, they wanted to be more like this boy. May we all be more like this boy!

Boy Wanted
Frank Crane

Wanted --
A boy that stands straight, sits straight, acts straight, and talks straight;
A boy whose fingernails are not in mourning, whose ears are clean, whose shoes are polished, whose clothes are brushed, whose hair is combed, and whose teeth are well cared for;
A boy who listens carefully when he is spoken to, who asks questions when he does not understand, and does not ask questions about things that are none of his business;
A boy that moves quickly and makes as little noise about it as possible;
A boy who whistles in the street, but does not whistle where he ought to keep still;
A boy who looks cheerful, has a ready smile for everybody, and never sulks;
A boy who is polite to every man and respectful to every woman and girl;
A boy who does not smoke cigarettes and has no desire to learn how;
A boy who is more eager to know how to speak good English than to talk slang;
A boy that never bullies other boys nor allows other boys to bully him;
A boy who, when he does not know a thing, says, "I don't know," and when he has made a mistake says, "I'm sorry," and when he is asked to do a thing says, "I'll try";
A boy who looks you right in the eye and tells the truth every time;
A boy who is eager to read good books;
A boy who would rather put in his spare time at the YMCA gymnasium than to gamble for pennies in a back room;
A boy who does not want to be "smart" nor in any wise to attract attention;
A boy who would rather lose his job or be expelled from school than to tell a lie or be a cad;
A boy whom other boys like;
A boy who is at ease in the company of girls;
A boy who is not sorry for himself, and not forever thinking and talking about himself;
A boy who is friendly with his mother, and more intimate with her than anyone else;
A boy who makes you feel good when he is around;
A boy who is not goody-goody, a prig, or a little pharisee, but just healthy, happy, and full of life.
This boy is wanted everywhere. The family wants him, the school wants him, the office wants him, the boys want him, the girls want him, all creation wants him.

Service for Memorial Day

What a better way to celebrate Memorial Day than to do some service for those who have served.

There is a cemetery near our home where many veterans were laid to rest. Our ward does an annual service project there cleaning the headstones. It started as a youth activity a few years ago and now is for all. After, we were invited to bring a picnic lunch to a nearby park.

Even Strawberry helped.

While we were there, at least one family who was visiting the cemetery came up and thanked some of the youth for cleaning the headstones.

The girls wanted a picture by the statue of Jesus in the cemetery.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stockholders Exploring America Game

Yesterday we played a fun game that I found in the Story of the World Activity Guide. In order for explorer ships to set sail there had to be money backing each ship. Sometimes a ship would run aground or sometimes it would find nothing of worth to return with. Other times it would find wealth and return for the benefit of the stockholders. To simulate this, I put out 4 "ships" and covered them with a cloth napkin so the contents couldn't be seen. I then hid almonds and chocolate chips inside the "ships." 2 children played at a time. They were each given an equal amount of money to spend on their ventures. I made comments about the ships like, "I hear that the captain takes many risks," or "That is a fast ship." They decided how much to spend per ship. Each ship had to have the minimum/maximum to sail and once all ships were funded we revealed which ships held the most treasures and divided the spoils  based on who put in more money into the ship. The kids had a blast. After we played a few times (sharing the some of the spoils with those who didn't play the round), the girls continued playing with play money. They got to do lots of math ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Annual Testing

This was the first year that Butterfly had to participate in annual testing. When I told her that she needed to do it, she panicked a little knowing that there was a timer, but she has done great! So far not too painful either. This is old hat for Tiger. While I was testing the two older kids, Pumpkin Pie played games with Strawberry.

Friday, May 18, 2012

5th Day of Science- 5 Books to use

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/Blog%20Stuff/5%20Days%20Blog%20Hop/handsonscience.jpg (To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas)
On the fifth day of Science my children came to me... with 5 science books.

For the fifth and final day of the Hands-on Science edition of the TOS blog hop, I have 5 books that have helped my family. I find that it becomes easier to create great hands-on science experiences. These are a few of my favorites on my shelf.

TIME For Kids Big Book of Science Experiments: A step-by-step guideI love this one. Not only does it give many experiments across all fields of science, but it also gives suggestions for modifying the experiment to learn other things. The pages are colorful and experiments are shown with step by step instructions

 Usborne 100 Science Experiments: Internet-Linked (100 Science Experiments Il)Another great book of experiment suggestions. Some of them I have covered in earlier posts like this one.

Product DetailsI love this book. This is the older edition, but newer ones are available. The Internet link feature is great for finding more resources related to the topic that the section is covering. The children have spent hours reading this book. I think that the newest edition is available through an Usborne consultant or possibly from sellers on amazon or look for used ones among other homeschoolers.

Explore Rocks and Minerals! published by Nomad Press is full of fabulous experiments and resources to teach about rocks and minerals. What could be better than learning about the composition of the earth than making earth models with chocolate, coconut, peanut butter and some jam! (There is a one activity that is evolutionist but other than that it is neither creationist nor evolutionist).

https://apologia.securesites.net/store/images/botany%20cover.jpg We are currently using this text to help us explore botany. I love the experiments and the nature journal. The children love the experiments and creating a notebook of their studies. One of Butterfly's favorite subjects is Botany and she will spend a lot of time writing in her notebook.

For more 5 days of... visit the TOS Crew page.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

4th Day of Science- Pinterest and Rain Clouds

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/Blog%20Stuff/5%20Days%20Blog%20Hop/handsonscience.jpg (To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas) 
On the 4th day of Science, my children came to me with an amazing board on pinterest!

Pinterest often has many great ideas. I try not to get sucked in to searching because I have so many other things to do, but occasionally I will visit pinterest for ideas. This week I found a fabulous board with an array of activities for preschool-4th grade. The owner of the board is a homeschooling mom and amazingly her board is called Hands-on Science. Note: I did not steal her title!

So, without further adieu, the pinterest board is found here.

Some activities you might find hidden on it include a recipe for oobleck along with exploration suggestions,
nature study ideas for May, and a model of photosynthesis and a model of a rain cloud. Take a moment and browse. It might spark your science creativity!

Here are some pictures of the model raincloud my family did.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

3rd Day of Science- Science outside

http://i1202.photobucket.com/albums/bb374/TOSCrew2011/Blog%20Stuff/5%20Days%20Blog%20Hop/handsonscience.jpg (To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas) On the 3rd Day of Science, my children went outside to learn about botany.....
One of the best places for Hands on Science is right in your own backyard and neighborhood. I have mentioned before that we are studying Botany with Apologia. Recently we talked about the difference between a monocot and a dicot.  Pumpkin Pie and Daddy went on a walk for a date. He was asking her about what they saw on their walk and she began to proclaim which plants were monocots and which were dicots. 
This Azalea is a perfect flower to discuss pollination, flower parts, types of plants, and coloring!
How about the study of plant reproduction and seed dispersal? Pumpkin Pie, Strawberry, and Butterfly love to blow on dandelions and watch the seeds fly through the air.

Gardening is another great Hands on Science activity. Watching seeds sprout, grow, flourish, harvest, and eat is one of the best ways to learn about botany. Here we took some organic potatoes that were sprouting and dropped them in the dirt... a month later we have some potato plants.

Baby Potato plants
We let the kale from last winter go to flower and will watch it complete its life cycle until we have seed pods
Building a flower bed is another exercise in science (and math). In the case of this round planter that Tiger and Daddy (with a little help from Butterfly and Pumpkin Pie) built, they had explore the science of the earth. How did the dirt lay and compact? How could they stabilize the bricks? How about exploring levers, ramps, wheels, etc. Tiger used some levers to help himself lift some of the heavier bricks from their old location.
Circle Flowerbed with flowers sprouting as well as some weeds and garlic


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

2nd Day of Science- Dry Paper under Water


 (To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas) On the 2nd Day of Science my child came to me with a cup and a piece of paper...

For today's epidsode of 5 days of Hands on Science, Tiger will demonstrate a simple experiment and explain why it works. Have fun :) If the videos don't show up, check your filter settings because they are being run through YouTube.

If you still can't see what he is doing:
1. Take a glass (clear is better).
2.Fill a sink of water. (make sure that the water level will be close to as deep as the cup is tall)
3.Wad up a piece of paper and shove in the bottom of the glass.
4.Turn the cup over and carefully place the cup into the water. Place it  straight down making sure not to tip the glass. The air pressure and water pressure will prevent the paper from getting wet even though the cup is submerged.
5. Remove the cup by picking it straight up.  Is the paper wet?

For more 5 days of... visit the TOS Crew page.


Monday, May 14, 2012

1st Day of Hands On Science- Colored Carnations

The TOS Crew decided to tackle the task of 5 Days of...Blog Hop. We each picked a different topic and will be posting daily on our topic of choice. Mine is hands on science. Why science? Because my children love it. They love to experiment. They love to play with materials and discover how the earth works. I love science because it draws me closer to the Lord. Every time I study science, I am in awe at God's hand in all things and how divine and perfectly he created the earth. We are truly blessed to live in such a beautiful place with these amazing bodies and all that is around us.

 (To the tune of 12 Days of Christmas)
On the first day of science my children came to me... with some flowers and colored  water ...

Many people did the age-old white carnations (or celery) in colored water when they were children. While this might be an old science experiment, it is a good one. It demonstrates how water is taken up by the plant all the way up the stem into the petals.
I bought a bunch of white carnations for a few dollars at the grocery store and each child chose a different color to put in their water. Tiger decided on two colors.

Here is a picture of the flowers in water...

Here is a picture of the flowers after 2 days...

Sadly the purple that Strawberry chose didn't work. Purple is my favorite color and I wish it had worked!

Yellow worked pretty well and even the pale yellow (5 drops or so in the water) had a small amount of coloring of the petals.

Tiger chose to do green and blue.
Butterfly and Pumpkin Pie each wanted yellow and I did red.
A Little red starting to peak out on the edge of the petals

Sorry for the bad lighting, but this is the best one for seeing the little blue on the right side and green on the left
And a few more pictures after a few more days. I did have to cut all the stems shorter because it was taking a very long time for the color to get up the flower stems. Next time we will start with 8 inch stems or shorter!

Even the sepals are changing colors.

For more 5 days of... visit the TOS Crew page.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Time for Service

Getting there...
For Webelos Tiger was working on Forester. The town we are in was having an Arbor day celebration and community tree planting, so we went. The kids had a lot of fun planting trees and plants along the river.
Hard at Work!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Thomas Jefferson Education Forum 2012

I was blessed to be able to fly to Salt Lake City with a friend to attend the Thomas Jefferson Education forum this past weekend. It was probably the best homeschool conference I have been to in all my years of attending conferences. I left each class and each day excited and with new ideas. The purpose of each speaker was not to sell me a product but to share their experiences from the trenches. Some of them did have books to share, but many did not. I loved the rich family environment, the many people with an eye to the missions of each of their children, and the amazing intellectual conversations. I was awed by the youth that I met and interacted with. At one point, there was a young woman about 16 who was practicing in the hallway for a speech she was going to give. She literally stopped me in my tracks with her enthusiasm and delivery! I met an 11 yr old boy who calmly taught a room full of adults about his ebay business with some help from his father. When I met him before the conferences in the hotel lobby, this same young man had looked me in the eye, stood tall with confidence and shook my hand.

The conference was truly geared to the family. The provided childcare was more like daycamp than daycare. The teens had specific classes for them, and the adults were not only taught about homeschooling but also about finances, business management, parenting, organization, etc. There was something for everyone.

Although my family was not there with me, I attended the family ball anyway. I have been to family dances before, but they paled in comparison to the energy and joy that was in that room. All the youth were modestly dressed in dresses that reflected their own styles. Every couple of songs a couple would teach a ballroom dance step and then they would play a song so all could practice the ballroom dancing. There was a floor show performed by a ballroom dance team from nearby. A pair that performed was national champions and they performed an incredible routine. The little girls and fathers were presented like Cinderella at the ball and the moms danced with their sons. I had the opportunity to talk to other homeschooling parents and had one youth approach me and pull up a chair to talk. The night ended with a few beautiful musical numbers by a couple of the Jeppson girls who are part of The Wildflowers.

I can't wait to download all the recordings of all the classes I missed this weekend. I just might have spring for another collection of lectures from a previous year too to keep me going this next year until I can take my WHOLE family out to Utah for the forum next year.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Glimpses of the future in the present

Once upon a time there was a little girl about 8 years old. This little girl had a little sister. Her little sister was 2 and looked forward to the little girl's visits each summer since the little girl lived far away. As soon as the little girl walked in the door, her little sister would wrap herself around her big sister's legs and proclaim, "My Misi! Only my Misi. No one else's Misi!" The girl loved her little sister and played with her and sang her songs and lullabies at nap time. She read her stories and made up dances to perform. She loved to play with her friend whom she didn't get to play with except when she came to visit her little sister. Because her little sister was so possessive of her big sister, the little girl felt bad leaving the house to play with her friend. She didn't want her little sister to cry. One time she remembers waiting until her little sister was asleep before going to visit her friend. She felt bad that her sister might wake up and find her missing but she didn't know how else to handle the situation. Too bad she hadn't learned what her eventual sweet daughter would one day say to another little sister!

Sometimes in life we get small glimpses of the amazing people our children will become amidst the chaos, rankling, learning, playing, and messes. Sometimes a special moment confirms that we are on the right path of teaching righteousness, courtesy, respect, self sufficiency, compassion, healthy relationships, and love.
The other day I was leaving the house to go run some errands. I needed to focus and I offered to take one of the big girls with me but I didn't want to take Strawberry. Pumpkin pie was determined to go. Strawberry begged her, "No want you to go! What you to stay with me." Pumpkin Pie almost always does what Strawberry wants. She reads her stories, sings her songs, lets her climb in bed at bed time and cuddle, plays with her, crawls around the floor pretending to be a dog, etc. Finally, with a sweet, calm, loving voice, Pumpkin Pie disagreed appropriately with Strawberry. She said, "Strawberry, sometimes Pumpkin Pie needs to get her way too." I was so proud of my Pumpkin Pie for her love and patience as well as for establishing her own boundaries! She was so mature in that instant. I look backward with fondness at her last nearly 6 years and I look forward with anticipation to see the beautiful and amazing woman she will become. I felt blessed to be near in that moment.