Monday, February 28, 2011

One of my favorite things in the whole world to do is to poke around Portland with no real agenda. And some of my favorite company to do that with are my girls.

Last week my girls got invited to do some voice recognition recordings for a doll thats being developed. The ones doing the developing needed samples of girl's voices from the targeted age groups and my girls were invited to come do some samples. Always up for an easy $20 (well, mostly always) and an excuse to head into Portland we grabbed the chance.

This is a new sandwich stand in NW. Grilled P&J. Sound wierd? They were so good! Fiona got the Oregonian. Hazelnut butter, blue cheese and I think strawberry jelly. Me, the Thai, orange marmalade, hot pepper sauce, hmmm... can't remember the rest.. But it was really good. And Irene got one with peanut butter, bacon, and I can't remember what else. Hers was sooo messy. But they were all really good. I thought the whole idea of the stand was really fun and creative though. We'll definitely go back when out that a way.

The differences in my girls personalities was very marked when walking past the windows of this shop. Fiona (The youngest of the three middle girls) saw all the pink and bling and about had a heart attack. "Oh, mama can we go in there ohpleaseohpleaseohPLEEEEEAAASE!!!!!!"

But walking in Elisa says "PINK. Why? Why? Why?!"

This is what a telephone pole looks like after 50 years of concert posters are stuck to it. Kind of gross, really.

Red door on the Episcopal Church. 
William Temple House.

Portland provides metal rings along the sidewalk for folks to tie up their horses.

Elisa had to go into the Jaguar Dealership on Burnside. Here she shamelessly covets. :)

I'd rather something a little more sedate. 

It was a fun day. Elisa took the pictures, my camera being out of batteries. If I'd have taken them there would be ones of them reading the manga books at Powells. I love that I can go shopping with my girls and have a great day together. :)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fooling around with odosketch. Pretty fun little art site. Found via  How About Orange.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Etsy treasury

It's always fun to be featured in a treasury on Etsy. Treasuries are the way Etsy folks share what they like with others, give compliments or create a visual shopping wishlist. They are fun to make and people form whole groups around making treasuries. Shayleen is in one, because she loves making them so much.

Anyway, today I woke up to snow on the ground and the message that this item

Was featured in this treasury.

Looks like a pretty good day. :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Portland Weather Incident Alert

A friend of mine posted this on facebook and I thought it was pretty funny, mainly because it is all too true. :)
At the end of the video you may think he is exaggerating about the enormity of the danger, but the following video confirms that Oregonians driving in snow are indeed about the most dangerous creatures on earth.
(Yeah, I know, I can talk, I take Tri-Met everywhere.)

Truly terrifying, isn't it? We think the Portlandia show is making us look like idiots, but we do a pretty good job without their help.

Well, a little snow was falling as I walked up for milk but it has all gone away so I guess we are safe....for now....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Schooling Subjects

Margaret brought up a couple points in her comments that I thought I would comment on in a post. I think mainly there is this tension that all home school moms have of if we are doing enough, doing the right thing, focusing on the right things etc. There are a lot of voices clamoring for attention in the home school world and many of them have their own agendas too. From curriculum they want to sell, to just having the desire to want to be the "advice givers" to the homeschooling community. Or just really enthusiastic about what they are doing and want to share the enthusiasm. Sometimes even that can send one home examining what they are doing at home and whether or not they should change things around and do what so-and-so is doing.

Are there some core things all home schooling kids should cover?

Well, I have a short list of things I really want all my kids to know, so I will put them forward here and they can be taken or left as one sees fit.

Bible. Backward, forward, inside out, upside down. Grand scope of sweeping through the history of Israel to the little details of symbols and (in our church this comes naturally) chiastic structures.

Church History. Have you ever pondered why history is read through political eyes? The rise and fall of governments and kingdoms? But our children have citizenship in a kingdom that has been since the beginning of time and has a future that will never end. Thus I would put forth that church history is the most important history they can study. I feel it's more important that they know the stories of the saints, martyrs, theologians, reformers and missionaries than it is to know kings and presidents. We do all history, of course, but I do try to cover this one as a priority.

Work. Not my strongest because it is usually painful for both me and them, but I'm trying to do better.

Math facts. Math was miserable for me simply because I didn't know my facts by heart. I really try to make sure these are drilled in.

Now the next two are ones that I wish I had done better when my older ones were younger but I want to make sure it gets into my younger ones. One is a positive attitude. I have been known to be a bit of an Eeyore. But when I started hearing it echoed by my children I decided that wasn't such a good thing. I am seeing how limiting the negative attitude and negative self image are and I'm really working on how I self talk and how I talk to them.  After all, it really doesn't matter what a wonder kid you may have if they don't believe they can do anything they won't try. I want to work on instilling in my kids that they can do anything God is calling them to do and they can learn anything they need to learn. I wish I had done better at this for my older ones.

The other is Speech. Elisa has been attending a speech group connected with this national group. I can't tell you how impressive these kids are. They know what they believe, but not only that, they know how to say it. This is where tomorrows leaders are being made.We put Forrest off graduating for another year just so he can at least take one year of it, and I plan to make all my kids go through it. We are using the Jeff Meyers book "Secrets of Great Communicators" as our home study and Elisa is working on a speech for a competition on Sadhu Sundar Singh. Next year Irene will start.

Jeff Meyers makes the point that if you will over come your fear of public speaking and will learn to do it well, you are already ahead of 90% of the people because most people won't speak. It's exciting that there is one subject that can put your kid that far ahead in the game.

Of course we do do science, math, literature, art, but all my kids have varied experiences in these areas. For example my son hates to read fiction so the only lit he's really had is what I've read aloud. Shayleen on the other hand reads everything. Forrest does a lot of music. Elisa won't touch an instrument, but she does more science... I just figure we all have our place in God's world....

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

College, languages....

Kerri, I have a couple quick questions on which I hope to get your input (and your readers' input, too!).
1) How important is college education for you for your kids? What part do you see college playing in their education?
2) When and how do you introduce foreign languages in your home-school program? I'm interested in both ancient and modern languages.
              Thanks, Tim


There's two ways of looking at college. There's the "It isn't about training for vocation, it's about getting my child the best, biggest education possible" view, and in that case I see college more as a luxury than necessity. Not that it's a bad one, it's a really good one, but I would have to weigh the cost of sending a kid to say a school like New Saint Andrews against what sacrifices would have to be made to send them there. Right now, as our finances are, the things we would have to give up at home are just far to great to even think about it. But if I had a more liberal income and the child was a motivated scholar and looked to me with imploring eyes "Oh, PLEASE I just really want to study under Peter Leithart," I would really do my best to try to give them the opportunity to go. After all, *I* would love to go too, so maybe they could pass me their books when they were done...

But I also really want my kids to realize that learning is something we ALWAYS do. I love to learn new things. Learning makes life interesting. It makes you more interesting (unless you start getting a big head about it, then it makes you a colossal bore.) My kids accuse me of not being able to have fun because I don't like fiction, and if they let me pick out a movie solely based on what I'm interested in it will probably be a documentary (which is why I almost never get to pick out the movies. :) I think college can be a great, GREAT asset to an education, but I don't want them to get that helpless mindset that it seems like most Americans have that says if you want to learn something you have to take a class. 

Also, just because I think some colleges are worthwhile, it doesn't mean they all are. Unless you have a real clear vocational reason to go to something like a state school it could be a big waste of time and money. 

Which comes to the other reason for college-vocational training. In which case it would depend on what the kid wants to do. My son is training in landscaping with his uncle and general contracting with his father. Either one of those vocations could give him a living that he could support a family with if he chooses to do so. But he is also very interested in art and he is going to a small, private art school for that. I think it will be better for him to do that and build a portfolio and experience because in the art world people judge you more on what you can do than where you went to school. I think getting his education done and getting an early start on gaining experience will be better for him than poking around for four years in a proper art college and spending a whole lot more money. 

But then, that same kid also entertained ideas about becoming an economist and really wanted to go to Hillsdale for while. It that case I would get praying and really drive him to get the best transcript possible because college would be an absolute necessity. 

So, in short, it depends on the kid, what they want to do, how studious they've shown themselves to be, what they need to equip themselves for their calling, etc. 

Foreign languages....

Mostly, I just have to prioritize my time and money. We've dabbled in languages but I think the modern languages are really hard to learn on your own at home. My son tried to teach himself Japanese and got a little ways with it, but that is one thing that I think it's easier just to go ahead and take the class. I haven't had time to try Latin. I have a lot just trying to teach my older girls algebra and speech (and learn it along with them) and drag my boys through their school work. But if I had a bright kid and started with it young I think it would be fun to do the "Cat in the Hat" in Latin books with them. 

Our church has a private school and they teach the kids Greek and Hebrew. I have had one daughter express interest in going, so we'll see.

I guess that isn't much help. But I did think the ideas for teaching the Classical Languages in the Bluedorns book Teaching the Trivium seemed really workable though. That might be worth reading for you. 

So, I guess my all around answer is.... It just depends....