Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chef Bishop Presents a Most Wonderful Treat!

Last night I was relieved of dinner duty.
Chef Bishop took over the kitchen and prepared a Korean feast.
The menu was comprised of these rice balls and a shrimp dish (the recipe also came from Asian at Home but I can't find the link at this moment, definitely check this lady out though, great recipes, fun personality).
Chef Bishop preparing the marinade for the shrimp.
Chef Bishop working hard preparing rice balls.
A delicious looking dinner is served!
Chef Bishop presenting his meal!
What an absolutely wonderful treat!
I enjoyed it very much, Chef Bishop,
 and look forward to the next culinary adventure!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning:Volume 8

Tidbits of learning for the week of March 17-23:
We checked in regularly on our eagles.  They have really grown.
They are exercising their wings and branching out.
They will be flying soon.
We will miss them when they leave.

Media is an essential part of our knowledge acquisition.
We try to routinely get out for walks.
The benefits are many - exercising our bodies, getting some Vitamin D, opportunities for great conversation, and staying attune to nature and all the delights that it has to offer.
Multitasking - lunch and reading and discussing...
...and building.
We kept up with NCAA basketball tournament scores while constructing fun math aids and while Bishop designed and began to implement a study related to the Stroop test.
A true education requires curiosity.
And, yes, even our cat is interested in learning more about the world around us!

Friday, March 22, 2013

More Thoughts on Education

In a previous post I expressed my educational philosophy and some questions that typically arise when pondering living out that philosophy.  What does this type of education look like?
What exactly is the parents role?
Without following a standardized scope and sequence how do you insure that there are no gaps in your children's knowledge acquisition?
These are questions that have been asked of me and that I have asked myself, revisiting them many times over.  In this post I would like to examine that first question - what does this type of education look like?
One day may look like listening to an audio dramatization of Les Miserable while driving to and from the food pantry where we work stocking food and serving patrons, spending four hours meeting and serving people of our community, dining out as a family with discussions of politics, current events and football flying over the table, spending the evening pursuing individual interests independently, and reading aloud from The Rangers Apprentice.
Another day may look like dropping Maceo off for two hours of choir and music theory, Bishop and I listening to a Spanish lesson while driving to a restaurant for breakfast together, reading about the Reformation while dining, going to a leather store and contemplating projects, going to pick up Maceo and visiting with friends for a while, Bishop watching ViHart and Vsauce while Maceo is researching different types of music, reading scripture while dining together at the family table, reading more of The Rangers Apprentice.
Yet another day may look like Bishop and I playing Deuce while waiting to be dismissed after getting his allergy shots, Bishop helping me run errands while Maceo is home creating characters and storylines for a comic book that he is collaborating with an artist on, Bishop watching the History channel, Maceo reading a logic book and discussing the exercises with me.
Another day might find Maceo researching films and their directors, discovering Hitchcock, watching Vertigo and finding a great deal to respect about the older films, and then writing a related review, and Bishop examining the construction of the ear, experimenting with sound and with the ideal construction of the "tin can" phone, going for a walk and creating in the kitchen, and Maceo and I identifying red herrings in news reports and in our discussions.
Or the day might look like me watching the NCAA men's basketball tournament, cleaning the house during commercial breaks while Maceo spends his time composing lists (lists of movies he wants to see this year, movies and actors he predicts will be nominated for Academy Awards next year, rankings of directors, and actors he would hire) and Bishop is periodically popping in with questions such as, :Do you know what the opposite of the seven deadly sins are?", followed by an exploration of those seven virtues, the Latin derivatives of those virtues and their counterparts, the correlating seven demons that rule levels of hell as expressed by Renaissance authors, and the definition of legion.
For us each day, month and year are different.
And there would be even greater variances between families.
This form of education will look different for each family and will look different for each individual within the family.  It will vary based on family culture, beliefs and values, individual personalities, interests, developmental stages and learning styles.  Familial relationships and situations and community resources will also impact the way that this form of education will present itself.
It is an adventure rich with possibilities!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Keegan!!!

Happy Birthday sweet girl!
Or should I say,
"Happy Birthday lovely lady!"?
Because you have grown from this...
...to this!
I perused your baby book last night and I was remembering you entering my life.
Like all events in life some of the details fade or get fuzzy but others are indelibly etched upon my memory.  I remember the moment my water broke and those just before and after.  I could even map the apartment we were living in and outline my movements during that time.  I clearly remember the moment of your grand entrance and the look of alarm on the midwives faces as they realized that you were in fact entering the world NOW.  I vividly remember your father carrying you to me, him holding you tenderly and just drinking you in with his eyes.

Here are some excerpts from your baby book...

When I found out that I was pregnant the doctors said that the date of your arrival was March 23; however, I felt that you would arrive earlier.  I was scared and very nervous about having another baby.  But, of course, there was much joy and happiness for I was carrying a special life in me - a life I would love dearly.

Our biggest hope for you is that you would come into this world happy and healthy!  We also hope that you will continue your life in this world just as happy and healthy!  We hope that you will always know just how special you are to us and that we love you very much!  We hope that you will find something you enjoy doing and be good at it – make yourself happy!  Most of all we hope that you will always be able to love God, yourself and others – it is important to love!

The most memorable moments of the pregnancy:  I had a feeling that I was pregnant so I took a home pregnancy test.  I waited anxiously for the results – it was positive!  I called your Daddy and told him the results and that I was going to the doctor to get it confirmed.  At the doctors I took a blood test; it seemed like forever as I waited for the results.  Then they told me that I was definitely pregnant.  Of course, there had been no doubts in my mind – I had known for a while that I was carrying a life inside of me, the great miracle of life!  When we went to the hospital for an ultrasound we got to see you move around, we got to see your face, and one time we caught you sucking your thumb!  It was so amazing, so exciting, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes!!  There were other wonderful moments like feeling you move, hearing your heartbeat and hiccups.  The entire pregnancy was memorable and delightful – a special memory!!

On Monday March 19 at 5:00 pm my water broke while I was putting Christian to bed.  Within an hour or so I was in the hospital going through a preliminary examination.  They determined that my membrane definitely ruptured and they put me on a fetal monitor.  Your heart rate was good and strong and I was having slight contractions – “the uterus was irritable.”  Sometime in the middle of the night real contractions began.  I did time a few contractions at 2:32, 2:37, and 2:44 – they all lasted about one minute.  You were born at 7:39 am.  You were so beautiful and healthy.  Daddy immediately noticed your dimples (when you smiled at him) and your brown eyes.  I noticed your long fingers and toes and I fell in love with your beautiful dimples.  Christian laughed and said “baby” when he saw you.  Everyone thought you were beautiful, gorgeous.  In fact, at 2:30 a nurse brought you to me and said that you were beautiful and “did you see her dimples?”  Everyone noticed the dimples.  You were so alert – I have never seen a baby so aware.  You liked Christian; you smiled when he “stroked”/”petted” your head.

I love you sweet girl and I miss you.  It is difficult to have a piece of my heart so very far away.  But I am so proud of you, lovely lady.  You are an amazing young woman!
I hope that you have an amazing birthday!
I hope that you have an amazing life!
And, please know that it is my honor and privilege to be your mother.
I love you and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning: Volume 7 and a Little Educational Philosophy As Well

Playing and loving this new game -Bishop won again!
Bishop swimming and having fun with friends!
The week of March 10-16 has been an interesting and busy one.  There was a visit to the dentist on Monday, allergy shots on Tuesday, outpatient surgery for me on Wednesday (nothing to be alarmed about), travel immunizations for Christian on Thursday, a birthday party and two sleepovers for Bishop to attend, and then, of course, youth group, Boy Scouts and homeschool choir.  On weeks like this there is little to nothing that you would recognize as "school".  Maceo did read some history and logic but, otherwise, all learning was that which simply comes from living and pursuing one's personal interests.  It usually involves some reading, some game playing, some media viewing and a lot of conversation.  This is the learning we love most.  This is the learning that is most effective, it is often imbibed to our very core transforming who we are and how we view the world.  I believe that humans are by nature learners, that we actively seek to figure out who we are, what is this world that we are in and what is our place in this world.  Although human beings learn in every sort of environment and all situations it is ideal if the learning takes place in a rich environment surrounded by love and encouragement and with recognition that, although there are many commonalities throughout all of humanity, each individual is different and has their own unique, God-given mission.  A 'schoolish' approach is not necessarily the best approach.  Consider our infants  acquisition of language, we didn't contemplate some contrived way of teaching them to speak we simply spoke to them, engaged them, loved them.  When they were learning to walk we did not give them didactic lessons on putting one foot in front of the other we, just in the simple act of living, modeled the act for them and then supported and encouraged them.  We also didn't assume that they would all learn these skills at precisely the same age, we offered them a safe space to explore who they are, what the world is about and their place in it, we offered opportunities and encouragement and then allowed them to develop at their own pace.  I believe that these are examples of learning at its optimum and is applicable to all learning, including reading and math. This is my philosophy of education.
From this many questions may arise...
What does this type of education look like?
What exactly is the parents role?
Without following a standardized scope and sequence how do you insure that there are no gaps in your children's knowledge acquisition?
I will give further consideration to these in future posts and in the meantime
the adventure continues!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

A Saint Patrick's Day feast to recognize and remember the love that Patrick had for his Father and the commitment that he had for sharing that love with the people of Ireland.
He sets a truly worthy example for us to follow.
Legend has it that there are no snakes in Ireland because St. Patrick drove them into the sea by beating on a drum.  These snakes disappeared rather quickly from our home - no beating of drums though, just eating.  Bishop loved them!

Legend also has it that St. Patrick used the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.  Just as there is one stem with three leaves on each shamrock there is one God with three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Typically I would have a pot of shamrocks on the table but this year I made edible ones instead. Yum!

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Spring Intentions

Ahhhhh.....it feels like spring today!
It looks like spring!
A warm breeze is blowing and the sun is shining with just the prettiest smattering of fluffy clouds in the sky.  The birds and squirrels seem giddy with excitement.  I think I even heard a tree frog croaking this morning.  I love it and I am hoping that all these signs of spring will infuse me with some energy.  In anticipation of that and in order to focus that energy I am making a list of things I intend to do between now and the end of spring.
*force forsythia
*harvest mulberries
*enjoy those mulberries
*make starter pots from newspapers
*start my seeds from Bakers Creek
*take flowers to Winnie
*celebrate Nanny's 90th birthday
*tell Ian Happy 22nd Birthday
*send Christian to Korea
*fill out March Madness brackets
*make a basketball cake
*make saurkraut
*pray the Stations of the Cross
*have a woodland dinner party for Keegan's birthday
*celebrate Saint Patrick's day
*wish Herb a Happy Birthday!
*do Lenten readings
*make a Jesus tree
*make pretzels
*recognize Passover
*make nests from newspaper
*play Exodus
*watch The Bible
*fix the garage door
*dye Easter eggs
*have hot cross buns for breakfast on Good Friday
*silence at 3pm on Good Friday
*paint the garage
*make a family altar
*make pretzel 'crown of thorns'
*have a Lenten tea on Good Friday
*have another Lenten tea on Holy Saturday
*make a cross for the front yard out of branches
*make the ladies happy by building a better chook house
*make a nest out of grape vines and moss
*take a nature walk
*make a basketball cake
*visit the xeriscape garden

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning:Volume 6

Another great week, learning as life offers opportunities.
And there are so many opportunities.
There are always opportunities.
A look at March 3 - 9.
Playing -ectomy at the allergists.
Taking a walk.
Studying military history.
More in-depth research on weaponry.
Bishop's fun photography.
Bishop still examining the human body.
Bishop experimenting with the tin can telephone - what materials work best?
A field trip to a gymnastics center.
Having fun with friends.
And hamming it up for the camera.
A new and great opportunity...
...a robotics workshop.
Building a charging station and...
...a solar powered car.
Charge and go!
Bishop powered energy source.
Pulleys are cool.
Exploring international currency and...
international toys and games.
Exploring mutations and...
exploring cells, including the egg.
This really reinforced other explorations we recently did.

Congratulations Christian!

See what arrived in the mail for Christian?
He is making plans - 
plans to complete his undergraduate
and move on to a graduate program.

And this is the next step in the plan.
Congratulations, Christian!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning: Volume 5

Being engaged in our community and the activities it has to offer has always been an essential part of our lifestyle of learning.  Until recently, we have gone to the library at least weekly where we have participated in everything from preschool programs to those intended for adults, we have accessed books, movies and computer games and have forged relationships with librarians who have shared their own interests and knowledge with us.  We have visited local, state and national parks sometimes just to play or move our bodies and sometimes to take advantage of a historically-related opportunity.  We have had memberships to and frequently visited zoos and museums.  We have enjoyed, either as a performer or a spectator, our community theatre.  We have created art with our local arts council and learned tae kwon do with our park board.  We have plugged in to our homeschool community by participating in a homeschool boy scout troop, participating in a homeschool physical education group, singing in a homeschool choir and going on field trips together.  We have taken advantage of the expertise of private shop owners learning, among other things, to ride horses, do ceramics, and fuse glass.   Also, I have included the boys, from a very young age, in doing my familial shopping and errands where they have learned what it takes to provide for the needs of a family and have learned many practical skills (i.e. comparison shopping).  I also never hesitated to take them in to art galleries and antique stores where they learned proper etiquette for such places and self-control, where they were exposed to historical artifacts that accessible and relatable, and where they were able to talk to small business owners about their entrepreneurial efforts.  Sometimes 'community as classroom' takes on a more literal interpretation and we find ourselves taking our more conventional learning resources (i.e. books) in to the community for a change of scenery.  All of these have given us the opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.  
Desiring to be introduced to new people and ideas and seeking to expand the borders of our comfort zones, I am always looking for new ways to be engaged in our community.  This week we had the opportunity to do just that.
Here is a glimpse of our lifestyle of learning for the week of February 27-March 2.
 Maceo and I went to a small movie theater that offers independent, foreign and local films.  We viewed "Amour" the Austrian movie performed in French that was nominated for an Academy Award for best film.  Maceo worked to analyze it from a cinematographical  perspective and was exposed to conversational French.  And we learned that we need to take advantage of this theater and its offerings more frequently.

Although we live within walking distance of a university and have at least three other colleges in our little city we have never taken advantage of the opportunities they offer...until this week.  Bishop and I went to our neighboring university to hear a holocaust survivor speak.  Eva Kor, who was forced to be a part of Mengele's twin studies at Auschwitz, spoke of her experiences and her road to forgiveness.  It was a cool experience and we most definitely need to be routinely checking the schedules of these colleges and universities.
And, of course, our adventures in learning continued at home.
Maceo's reading.
Lenten scripture readings and our Jesus tree.
Bishop is still studying the CNS.

Bishop making an edible spine.

Our life-size anatomy poster has found a home on our dining room door.
In true 'lifestyle of learning' form we had a little serendipitous learning this week in the form of natural observation.  First I have a confession to make: the pumpkins that decorated my porch for Halloween and Thanksgiving were never properly disposed of, they were moved to a discreet corner of the porch where they have remained throughout the winter, decaying slowly.  As winter stretches on the squirrels have turned to the pumpkins for their meals.  Although we have not caught them in the act of munching on the pumpkins we have enjoyed looking for evidence that they have indeed been feasting.  We have seen teeth marks on the skin of the pumpkins as they attempt to get to the interior of the pumpkin.  We have seen the shells of the pumpkin seeds after they have cracked them open and eaten the meat of the seed.  We have seen squirrel scat and many a footprint left by our furry neighbors.

It has been a delightful week of learning!