Archive for the ‘Learning’ Category

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…October 6, 2010

Outside my Window…the leaves are beginning to change color, while the ferns are especially lush and green. I notice lots of wild mushrooms springing up in the lawn, and the late blackberries along the roadside are still edible.

I am thinking…of the blessings of sufficient food and clothing, and adequate shelter. I am also sad to think of those who do not have these blessings.

From the learning rooms…I’m very much looking forward to reading a book by Barbara Coloroso entitled The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander. This book is of special interest to me because I work in a middle school setting, and want the best for all the students.

I am thankful for…a happy home.

From the kitchen…I want to make Apple Dumplings again soon.

I am wearing…cozy clothing. It’s sweater weather here.

I am reading…(just finished reading) another excellent book by Georgette Heyer: The Nonesuch.

I am hoping…friends and family who are ill will feel better soon.

I am creating…this blog post.

I am hearing…my youngest son and his friend doing their homework at the dining room table.

Around the house…is green, green grass. Our recent rains have really contributed to this lush, fresh look.

One of my favorite things…is connecting with friends and family on Facebook. The result? A neglected blog.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…I plan to bake sweet rolls on Saturday for a friend’s belated birthday gift. I’m also trying to stay more on-track with preparing nutritious meals for the family. So, I plan to spend more time in the kitchen.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…

Our youngest son, Seth

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

Simple Woman’s Daybook

Sunday, March 15th, 2009


Hosted by Peggy

For Today…March 15, 2009

Outside my Window…It will soon be dark on this breezy, chill Sunday. We experienced some slushy rain or wet snow early in the day that didn’t stay, but the foothills did keep their fresh coating of snow. Since I am feeling a bit chilled myself, I’m not venturing out for a walk this late in the day, but will continue to appreciate the warmth emanating from our woodstove.

I am thinking…of the sermon we heard this morning on James 1:2-4,

‘My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.’

The world thinks that joy comes from avoiding trials, which makes sense if the goal of one’s life is to be comfortable, healthy and wealthy.

For the Christian, trials are part of one’s sanctification. Though trials are not ‘good’, in and of themselves, they are used of God to:

  1. Deepen our trust in God
  2. Build our character
  3. Teach us discipline, and
  4. Make us more like Christ

From the learning rooms…We para educators at the Middle School are going to receive some training on the 16 ‘Habits of Mind’ of successful learners. At this point, I will simply list the ‘Habits of Mind’ for you:

  1. Persisting
  2. Managing Impulsivity
  3. Listening with understanding and empathy
  4. Thinking flexibly
  5. Metacognition (Thinking About Thinking)
  6. Striving for Accuracy
  7. Questioning and Posing Problems
  8. Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
  9. Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
  10. Gathering Data Through All Senses
  11. Creating, Imagining, Innovating
  12. Responding with Wonderment and Awe
  13. Taking Responsible Risks
  14. Finding Humor
  15. Thinking Interdependently
  16. Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

(This list is from an article by Arthur L. Costa.)

I am thankful for…time to think and reflect, a quiet evening, our dog lying companionably at my feet, and so many more things. The rest of the family are at church this evening, while the two daughters just recovering from flu and I remain at home. I think I’m still well. Every so often I get really chilled, so am trying not to get to close to others, and am washing everything on ‘hot.’

From the kitchen…Today was a ‘day off’ for me, thanks to daughter Laura who showed hospitality to all the members of the family who are well, plus some out-of-town friends who are here for a visit. (Hi, Shawn and Tammy! I enjoyed seeing you this morning at church, and visiting with you both a bit there.)

I am wearing…typical attire for Sunday and this time of year. My clothing themes are COMFORTABLE and MODEST. OK. Here you have it: I’m wearing a deep red stretchy Tee with a black/red/white low-waisted over-blouse, dressy black long-ish skirt, and black leggings.

I am reading…The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook. Think: Lose the 3 Ps:

  1. Processed foods
  2. Packaged foods
  3. Prepared foods

There’s a lot more to the book, but that’s how far I am into it, and must say I feel like I’m learning some valuable information. I have always thought of us as eating a healthful diet, but there’s room for improvement!

I am hoping…to stay well. Each of the children has been sick with this terrible flu. I don’t want it! This is a trial I do not wish to welcome!

I am creating…lots of vegetarian dishes lately (though The Life Force Diet is not a vegetarian book). I personally am cutting back on all animal products, but especially dairy products, to seek to gain control of my slightly ‘over’ blood cholesterol level.

I am hearing…the quiet hum of my husband’s computer, and a daughter coughing upstairs. Did I mention that this flu ends up with a body-wracking, headache-inducing cough? Poor kids.

Around the house…things are looking neat. We’ve been doing some extra cleaning to try to make this a healthier environment. Outside, my husband has the fruit trees pruned. I’ve asked the children to think about what they want planted in our garden this year. My favorite fresh garden veggies are broccoli, zucchini, and leeks. I think we’re also planning on Romaine lettuce and tomatoes. Tomatoes take a lot of TLC to prosper in our cool, short, damp growing season, but we’re going to give it a try!

One of my favorite things…is playing Lexulous on Facebook. This is a spelling game like Scrabble. If you notice that posts have been scarce lately, well…I’ve been relaxing playing Lexulous at the end of a busy day rather than blogging.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week…Tomorrow I’ll try to schedule a doctor visit for our 13-year old son to see how badly he injured his nose while (unsuccessfully) doing a flip on a friend’s trampoline late Friday. I was told there was lots and lots of blood, yet he sounded fairly calm when he called home to tell us about the mishap. It didn’t seem like an emergency room issue at the time, but his nose is swollen, and he assures me that it still hurts. So…We’ll see what the doctor has to say.

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you…


This is an old family photo taken at Rick’s parents’ place many summers ago. Five of the children are grown now. Only the youngest four are still at home, and the youngest is 13 years old, and taller than me now.

Hostess Peggy says this about The Simple Woman’s Daybook:

Are you content to linger on the simple things of life…then join me in taking a little look into the day plans and thoughts of those of us who are focusing on simplicity…the beauty of the everyday moments around us. That is my vision for this idea!

A Quick Post From School

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

This is our last full day of school for the school year. Tomorrow will be a half-day Field Day with outside games for the students. Everyone is so excited, despite the too-cool-for-June weather we continue to experience. (One of the other paraeducators is calling this month “Junuary”, with good cause.)

I’m generally pleased with the progress and learning of the students with whom I work. I think I’ve learned a lot this year, too, about asking the right questions and giving the correct prompts to maximize student learning. I’m looking forward to assisting students during the short summer session. After that, I’m curious what my responsibilities will be next school year. My first choice (if I have a choice in the matter) would be to move up to 7th grade with the students whom I currently know. However, I may be told to work with the incoming 6th graders, which would be just fine, too. There would be the interesting challenge of getting to know new students, and trying to figure out what works best for them, learning-wise. Additionally, I’m now familiar with the 6th grade math curriculum. Guess I’ll just have to wait and be surprised. 🙂

I’ll try to post some more once I get home (This is a lunch time post.), but that may not happen. I’m chaperoning this evening at a barbeque/ice cream social which the parents are hosting for the graduating 8th graders.

See you later, and thanks for checking back. I’ve been too tired/too busy to be very creative lately. I’ll try to do better this summer!

One Single Impression – Reflection

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

The prompt this week at One Single Impression is REFLECTION. This prompt was suggested by Gautami Tripathy. For me, the word REFLECTION brought to mind “thinking about thinking”:



Thinking about thinking

Equipped with the tools to learn

Learning becomes a joy; true progress is made.

Fueled by hunger for knowledge, and

Curiosity about miracles small and great.

The mind becomes a willing servant

To the dedicated student,

To the one who is willing to work, to understand

That there is no quick fix.

WANTED: New Hairstyle

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Once the weather gets just a bit warmer, I’ll be wearing my hair up all the time. For some reason I get very annoyed by all the hair around my face when “sweaty” weather arrives. My husband suggested that perhaps I might like a different, shorter hairstyle instead.

What do you think? Do any of you have some suggestions for a new hairdo that you think might be pretty and practical? Here you see the current ‘do:

The hair is naturally wavy, not curly. I’m kinda tired of a perm, anyhow. So, send me links to good ideas, or describe what you have in mind for a change of pace over here. Thanks. 🙂

Thirteen ways to foster creativity in your children

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

This has been an extra busy week in my real world, AND I have been trying to do the responsible thing and get more sleep. These are my excuses for posting a bit less than usual. If you are interested in my unsubstantiated opinions, I forthwith present you with this week’s THURSDAY THIRTEEN,

Thirteen ways to foster creativity in your children:

  • First of all, make sure that your children’s basic needs for body and soul are consistently well-met. This lays a foundation of security and health. This will require a lot of love, self-discipline and self-sacrifice on your part.
  • Expose your children to real life people, places and things. Go to the park, to the zoo, to the concerts, to church, to stores, to the library, and to as many other places as you can think of. Prepare your children ahead of time for what they will see and what behavior will be expected of them.
  • Involve your children in the real work of the home, so that they may learn real skills and discover what valuable, competent people they are. Children (at an appropriate age, with instruction) can do animal chores, bake bread, clean bathrooms, mow lawns, wash vehicles, paint rooms, organize seasonal clothing, etc. DON’T DO FOR YOUR CHILDREN WHAT THEY CAN DO FOR THEMSELVES! Do you want them to learn that they are helpless and needy, or that they are strong and competent?
  • READ, READ, READ to your children! And, let them see you enjoying reading, too. Read a variety of literary genres to them, and non-fiction, too. Other times and places will come alive to them. Wise and good men and women from ages past (and the present) can become your children’s friends through good books.
  • Pay attention to your children, and particularly try to notice their aptitudes, talents and special interests. Nurture these talents, with appropriate lessons, supplies, field trips, mentors, etc. In schooling language, this is called Interest Based Education. This is the type of homeschooling that I tried to do. What’s good for one child’s development may not be the right fit for another child, as you most likely realize.
  • Provide a rich learning environment in your home. This would include: books, art supplies, Legos or similar 3-D building toys, clothing for dress-up, a safe outdoor play area with sand box, a dirt heap, trees to climb, places to bike and skate, room to run and dance.
  • Make sure your children have unstructured time every day to play and dream. How can they be creative if you are deciding what they will do every minute of every day?
  • Provide opportunities for your children to interact lovingly with people of as many ages and ethnicities as possible. Emphasize the duty we have to love and serve others. Let them know that they are no better and no worse than anyone else because of being black, white, brown, or any other shade or nationality. Let them think of ways to love and serve.
  • Limit TV viewing time. I would like to say, do without TV altogether, but there are valuable programs you can enjoy together, I know. I have read that the type of stimulation provided by TV does not foster neurological development in young children, nor does it develop their creativity. You can research this yourself, if you so desire. Jane M. Healy, Ph.D. has quite a bit to say on this subject in her book Your Child’s Growing Mind. This would include computer time as well.
  • Just because you are a busy momma, don’t stop altogether doing the creative things for which you have a passion. Please, continue dancing, playing musical instruments, writing, and painting, or working to further a cause for which you are passionate.
  • Make sure your children have strong basic skills in reading and math. Can a child be creative with math when he doesn’t know the language or rules of mathematics? Can a child appreciate the worlds hidden within books when he cannot read with ease?
  • Converse with your children about everyday events, newspaper articles, and books you are reading, and truly try to listen to them when they converse with you.
  • Play games with your children. Following the rules, planning one’s strategy, interacting with one another during the game, and keeping score foster emotional and mental growth and creativity.

There you have my list, compiled by an opinionated momma who homeschooled for many years. I am very pleased with my kind, creative, competent children. I didn’t say PERFECT, mind you. But, I enjoyed all the time spent with my children. Those were some of the best years of my life, and I am passionate about helping children to develop their particular talents.

13 Things I Loved About Home Schooling – Edition X of Thursday 13

Thursday, February 14th, 2008
Thirteen Things I loved about Home schooling

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Back when we were beginning our family, about 25 years ago, home schooling was not the popular, cool thing to do that it is today. We became friends with some pioneering families who were really dedicated to the concept, however, and became convinced that home schooling was the only option for us.

As things have worked out, our oldest child was the only one who was exclusively home schooled (until he went to college). The next four children were home schooled plus Christian schooled. Now, the youngest four children have been home schooled, Christian schooled, and are currently public schooled. There are many reasons for this change from exclusive home schooling. One of the main reasons, I guess, is that we view home schooling as a TOOL, not as an end in itself. When the home schooling “tool” worked to the best advantage of our family and our children, we employed it.

For this Thursday Thirteen, I would like to tell you 13 things that I LOVED about homeschooling, not home schooling in general, but OUR home schooling (There are lots of different versions out there, ya know.).

  • We were able to provide a warm, nurturing environment for our young children.

  • We were able to be the main influence on our children’s developing characters when they were very young.
  • The children were not rushed into academics too soon, but had lots of opportunities to play and explore, and to learn to help with the work of the home. You have probably guessed that I agree with Raymond and Dorothy Moore’s approach to homeschooling, explained in their books such as School Can Wait and Home Grown Kids.

  • The children learned how to handle themselves confidently in varied settings because they went everywhere that we did, and were prepared beforehand on what to expect at the library, the store, the church, etc.
  • We were on the lookout for the children’s special talents and interests and were able to facilitate their development. An interest in art, for example, led to us hiring an artist one summer to teach the youngsters watercolor techniques. We made sure to have plenty of art supplies on hand as well.

  • I love interest-based education, something which is ideally suited to the home school. For example, when our first child became interested in WWII, American Indian chiefs, or astronomy, he had the opportunity to explore those subjects in depth, WHEN he was interested in them. When one of the girls became interested in breeding gerbils to obtain as many coat colors as possible, she did that.
  • We went to the library A LOT. They have a limit of 100 books maximum which may be checked out at once, and we sometimes reached that maximum. Our rule with the children was, “You have to check out as much non-fiction as fiction.” All of our children continue to love books.

  • I loved reading aloud to the children. If the children were interested, I would sometimes end up reading to them up to three hours a day.
  • The children had time and energy for music lessons and practicing their instruments (3 violins, 1 viola, 1 cello). They still play occasionally, but I miss the “all-the-time” music.

  • The children learned to take a lot of responsibility for their own learning, helping to research and select the curriculum, and helping to decide the time-table of completing their work.
  • Life was more relaxed. The children got enough sleep. I got enough sleep.
  • We could pretty much go where we wanted, when we wanted, without worrying about missing school.
  • I enjoy my children. I love being with them. They have learned to be thoughtful and pleasant people. We had (and continue to have) such a good time together throughout those home school years.

Jr. Solo and Ensemble Contest

Saturday, February 9th, 2008

Rick, my husband, and Seth, our youngest son, left a few minutes ago for Anacortes, WA where the Jr. Solo and Ensemble Contest is being held this year. Some students, like Seth, will be singing. Others will be playing musical instruments, solo or in small groups.

This past Thursday evening I attended the dress rehearsal for the students from our school district who will be performing in this year’s contest. Without exception, the students did beautifully! Participation in this event is voluntary. In fact, a small fee is charged to enter the competition. It was evident from the quality of the musical performances that these students love music, and have really worked to prepare for the event.

Originally, Seth planned only to sing Hey There, Delilah by the Plain White Ts, but the school’s piano accompanist couldn’t locate piano music for the song. Seth has been learning to play guitar in an enrichment class that is offered three mornings a week at the middle school, so he asked his choir teacher if he could accompany himself. She agreed that he could try, so Seth searched online for the guitar tablature to this song, learned how to play it, memorized it, and now plays it fluently while singing.

Seth has loved to sing since he was a wee little dude. Music is one of the loves of his life. His worry last night was that he has a couple blisters on his fingers. I hope he will be able to relax and do his best. It would be neat if he can go further in the competition, perhaps to the state level.

Here are the lyrics to the song that Seth will be performing:

Plain White Ts
Hey There Delilah
(These lyrics are from

hey there delilah
what’s it like in new york city
I’m a thousand miles away
but girl tonight you look so pretty
yes you do
time square cant shine as bright as you
i swear its true

hey there delilah
don’t you worry about the distance
I’m right there if you get lonely
give this song another listen
close your eyes
listen to my voice it’s my disguise
I’m by your side

oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
what you do to me

hey there delilah
i know times are gettin’ hard
but just believe me girl
someday I’ll pay the bills with this guitar
we’ll have it good
we’ll have the life we knew we would
my word is good

hey there delilah
I’ve got so much left to say
if every simple song I wrote to you
would take your breath away
I’d write it all
even more in love with me you’d fall
we’d have it all

oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me

a thousand miles seems pretty far
but they’ve got planes and trains and cars
I’d walk to you if I had no other way
our friends would all make fun of us
and we’ll just laugh along because we know
that none of them have felt this way
delilah I can promise you
that by the time that we get through
the world will never ever be the same
and you’re to blame

hey there delilah
you be good and don’t you miss me
two more years and you’ll be done with school
and I’ll be makin’ history like I do
you know it’s all because of you
we can do whatever we want to
hey there delilah here’s to you
this one’s for you

oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
oh it’s what you do to me
what you do to me

Multiplication of fractions – a cool visual

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

As some of you know, I work part-time as a math paraeducator (a.k.a. “teacher’s helper”). In 6th grade, we have been studying multiplication of fractions. If your schooling was like mine, you probably were told, “This is how you multiply fractions,” then you were given a bunch of problems to do to get you used to the formula, and you never really UNDERSTOOD what multiplying a fraction times a fraction means, or why you end up with a smaller number as the answer.

I also know that some of you are home educators, so perhaps the following drawings will be useful to you in explaining this concept to your pupils.

This method, called the “brownie pan” method, uses visual aids, or manipulatives, drawn by the students. Here is how the student could illustrate the fraction 3/4:


Here is how the student could illustrate the fraction 2/3:


And, finally, this is how the student could illustrate the multiplication problem 2/3 of 3/4 OR 3/4 of 2/3 (Remember that the word “of” indicates the mathematical operation of multiplication.):


The sections of the brownie pan that are double-shaded show the numerator of the fraction product (How many pieces of the whole are we talking about?) and the total number of sections in the “brownie pan” shows the denominator of the fraction product (How many pieces total is the whole divided into?).

This is cool, is it not?

Do you have any questions, students?

Thursday Thirteen – Edition VII

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

Thirteen Books I Would Like to Read

I’m always on the look-out for a good book. Here, in no particular order, are thirteen books that I would like to read:

  • Wise Words – Family Stories That Bring the Proverbs to Life –Peter Leithart
  • The Morning Gift – Eva Ibbotson
  • Discerning the Spirits – A Guide to Thinking About Christian Worship Today – Cornelius Plantiga
  • Great Exchange- My Sin for His Righteousness – Robert Bevington and Jerry Bridges
  • 1491 – New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus – Charles Mann
  • Inkheart
    – Cornelia Funke

  • A Secular Faith – Why Christianity Favors the Separation of Church and State
    – D.G. Hart

  • The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
  • Amazing Grace – Megan Shull
  • Peter and the Starcatchers – Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  • The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate
    – Gary Chapman

  • Memories of Childhood: The Classic Stories – Michael Foreman
  • Great Authors of Children’s Literature
    – Wendy Mass

Thirteen Books I Want to Read

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!