Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogging Break

As our school year gets under way along with the activities and commitments that brings with it, time for blogging is seriously lacking. So to all (three) of my faithful readers, please attempt to find something else as interesting, informative and entertaining as "Tending the Home Fires" to fill your blog-reading time until I'm back from my hiatus. I know that will be difficult, but try. :)

Before I go, here's some of what we'll be doing for school (4th grade) this year:

Our core is Middle Ages History (and hopefully getting to the Renaissance/Reformation) through Winter's Promise Publishing. It is a literature-based curriculum which follows the Charlotte Mason educational philosophy. In other words we reads LOTS of great books about the Middle Ages, do lots of hands-on activities like making an illuminated book and a coat of arms, use timelines extensively, learn a lot about geography, and tie it all together through Notebooking. Fun! And educational! So although it's "history", this also covers literature, geography, art & art history.

For Math we are using Math-U-See for the second year, after switching from Saxon. Nothing wrong with Saxon, per-se (in fact, I loved Saxon Math when I was being homeschooled), but it just didn't work for Grace. So we switched curriculum, which I love about homeschooling. If something isn't working, change it! Anyway, Math-U-See is outstanding, especially if you have a child who needs to see a concept (like place value) in order to grasp it. They have an outstanding free demo DVD, if you are interested in checking it out.

Our Language Arts program is called The Phonics Road to Spelling and Reading. This curriculum is incredible, but it is beyond me to review it here and now. Here are two great reviews: The Old Schoolhouse and HomeSchoolReviews. If you are homeschooling or thinking about it, I would give this comprehensive program my highest endorsement.

The only part of The Phonics Road that we are deviating on is Handwriting. They use traditional manuscript handwriting and I am a big fan of teaching Italic Handwriting. I love the Getty-Dubay Italic Handwriting curriculum and I truly believe it is the easiest and prettiest way to write! For an example, go here and check out their comparison of 5 handwriting styles. It's really cool. Grace just had two people compliment her on her beautiful handwriting at church the other day, so I know it works. :)

We are switching things up with our Bible curriculum this year, so I'm not sure what that is going to look like yet.

Science, Art and Phy Ed are all being taught by "real" teachers at our homeschool co-op this year.

That's about it, besides tons of fun and educational field trips throughout the year. I'm looking forward to another year of learning at home with my kids.

Let me leave you with a few of my favorite homeschoolers and homeschool blogs:

Our Homeschool
by a mom I don't know personally but who has a great post on Schooling in Chaos to which I can seriously relate.

I love In The Heart of My Home. If you just take the time to read her sidebars it will be worth your while, to say nothing of reading her posts! She's great.

I use the Handbook of Nature Study blog to incorporate fun science learning into our days. Really fun, whether or not you're homeschooling! "Our family's online nature journal using Anna Comstock's book Handbook of Nature Study as our textbook and the great outdoors as our classroom. Home of the Outdoor Hour Challenges."

Home Schoolin' Mamas. Very good, especially for younger elementary learners or those just starting out.

Preschoolers and Peace. Need I say more?

I have lots more that I enjoy, I'm out of time. Leave me a comment if you have a favorite homeschooling site or blog! Have a blessed autumn!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Knowing Your Basic First Aid Techniques Comes In Handy

Last night as we were sitting at the table eating dinner (turkey burgers and fruit), Richard choked on his food. Choked as in couldn't breathe or cough.

So I performed the Heimlich Maneuver on him. Successfully. No panicking, no screaming, just a couple swift abdominal thrusts and some hard smacks on the back, and he was free of that pesky piece of food lodged in his throat.

That's right. I just saved my husband's life.

Grace, of course, was traumatized and laying with her head in her arms sobbing at the table. We reassured her that everything was fine, yes it was scary but God had protected us, and isn't it a good thing we've watched "What About Bob" so many times? I told her if my initial methods had failed, I would have had Papa lay on the couch so she could jump on his back. That got a weak smile.

Moses' only comment was "Loud," in reference to Richard's subsequent hacking and coughing.

Judah, who had been sitting on Richards lap when the choking began and then had been set on the floor, took the opportunity to head straight to the dog dishes, which he loves but never gets to play with. Well last night he got to splash around in the dog water to his heart's content, totally oblivious to the serious nature of the events happening around him.

We finished our meal in a mostly composed manner, except that Richard and I both had somewhat shaky hands. It was quite an adrenaline rush. We just looked at each other from across the table and said, wow. That was crazy.

So now I'm thinking, how many Starbuck's lattes do you think I earned, saving Richard's life last night? Seems at least a year's worth is reasonable. Of course, saving Richard from choking is really in my own best interest, so maybe one could argue that the reward is having my husband here with me for (hopefully) many more years to come. But I'll still see if I can get a latte out of the deal.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Also On The Subject of First Aid

Last week as Moses was running through the kitchen, he tripped on nothing and fell right onto the open baby gate's bottom latch. It's this little, thin, round piece of metal and it sliced him right under the lip. Anyone who's had or seen a face/head wound knows the bleed like the dickens, so it took me a while to find out where exactly he was injured in all the gushing blood and screaming.

The cut was not wide but looked pretty deep, and I thought perhaps it had gone all the way through his lip. I called my mom. Called Richard, asked him if he could leave work. He said he'd meet me at Urgent Care. So then I had to get the kids packed up and ready to sit at urgent care for who knows how long, and Moses was still screaming and howling and Grace was out riding her bike around the block and Judah was, well he was just lying quietly on the floor, so that was all right.

I went to the door, screamed as loud as I could for Grace, went back inside, turned on some cartoons and set Moses in front of the TV with a cold washcloth on his lip. He immediately stopped crying (I think he was so shocked at the TV being on in the middle of the day that all else paled in comparison.) Judah was still on his tummy on the floor where he had been before, so I packed a diaper bag and Grace came home and I got her to help me get Mo in the car, get a bottle of water, some snacks, Moses' shoes, some ice for his lip, etc. She also packed five story books, some colored pencils, a notebook, some stickers, a coloring book and a doll catalog.

Finally we were ready to go, so I scooped up Judah and saw why he had been so quiet this whole time. When Moses had fallen, he had dropped a half-eaten plum on the floor. Judah had crawled over and was going to town on it. It was only a little gross. So I figured, what the heck, washed it off and put it in one of those fruit holder mesh-bag-with-a-handle thingies for him to keep eating.

At the clinic, we were told that Moses could get a couple stitches or we could just let it heal on its own. With stitches the scar would be a tiny bit smaller, but that would also include going to Children's where Mo would be sedated and put in a straightjacket thing to get his face stitched. Hmmm. We'll go with the scar and skip the trauma.

So all in all, it turned out fine. We got frozen fruit bars for Moses to suck on to keep the swelling down and his lip has healed just fine. Actually, what looks worse in the huge bruise on his forehead from where he ran into the swing earlier that same morning.

Is this what I have to look forward to with boys??