Sunday, September 30, 2007

Right Start Math

Right Start Mathematics is the math program we've chosen for Elizabeth this year. She's in Level B and doing very well with it. We use an abacus and several other manipulatives. A paragraph from the website explains what Level B covers:

"In this level, the child learns the addition facts and adds numbers in the thousands. He learns the addition facts with strategies and learns to add 4-digit numbers. Subtraction is delayed until addition is thoroughly understood. Geometry, money, unit fractions, and other math related topics are also introduced."

I researched several programs, and while many seemed great, I liked this one the best because of the author's research into how the Japanese do their math (Japanese students do better in math than US students). The link to the philosophy of Right Start Math is

The link to the home page for this program is Elizabeth is doing very well with the lessons; we're on lesson 13 and 14 this week. We do two lessons a week right now and play math games on one other day (Blokus, Logic Links, Mancala, etc). The lesson takes 10-20 minutes to complete and 10 minutes to prep the day before. I'm very pleased!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Like mother, like daughter!

We both enjoy talking to family on the phone! Phoebe especially loves to jabber away (we have two play phones for her to play with).

We are settling into school and weekly routines. I can only imagine what will happen when the holidays come. I do enjoy the get-togethers and fun of holidays, but it's a good thing January and February are so boring. You need some boring after November and December. But then I'm a melancholic, boring kind of person. I like it that way!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Afternoon Activity

All 3 joyously, quietly drawing in their separate chairs.

Jonathan will be left-handed, we think. (What does that mean for him, Dad?)

Elizabeth is trying to hide from getting her picture taken.

Phoebe is no longer content to stay in her seat.

She goes for the markers.

Afternoon activity, cont.

She scores.

Phoebe begins to take off the caps before Mom meanly intervenes.

She is taken down from the table, cries, and then finds another object with which to entertain herself.

Elizabeth and Jonathan's finished pictures. Elizabeth drew a country picture (she sang a made-up country song the whole time she drew). Jonathan's is something about grass. He said "St. Jonathan" grass, but I think he's getting the St. Augustine grass that we talked about the other day mixed up with his name.

Alligator Siting

We saw our first 'alive in nature' alligator yesterday. Elizabeth spotted it in a lake near our house while we were on our nature walk. It was maybe 18 inches long, but not very large around; a baby probably. It was near the edge of the lake, but when it saw us, it swam away. We were pretty excited!

Elizabeth and Jonathan now ride their bikes a lot farther. They ride several blocks to the park and then down a long sidewalk to the lake. I think it takes Elizabeth a while to actually decide she can do something; but Jonathan sees that sissy can do it, so he knows he can, he tries, and he indeed can do it.

I am looking into several areas of interest to get Elizabeth involved with more people. I think she's an extrovert unlike her father and I, and so she needs to be around more people. We are checking out tumbling class for one month this semester and then hopefully next semester the YMCA near us will have ballet class for her to do for a month. I'm also checking out 4-H and archeaology or history clubs. If those don't pan out, I will keep trying to find some kind of get-together with others, preferably where someone else is in charge so she has another authority to learn from/work with.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Starving Children

Elizabeth wanted Macaroni and Cheese for supper, so I warmed up the leftovers we had from yesterday (with extra milk and cheddar cheese so that it wouldn't be dry as has been her complaint before). She ate some and then didnt' want to finish it because they were leftovers, but I told her she had to finish that before she could have sandwich like she wanted. She said with a shocked expression on her face, "I'm going to be starving. Do you want your child to be starving at night?" I thought this was very funny, so I wanted to share it with you. She of course will not starve. She also had oranges, chips and milk.

Phoebe trying on Elizabeth's robe.

Elizabeth being "pregnant". She walked around with a baby under her clothes for three days, I think. Gave birth to at least 5 babies. I was going to title this "We're Grandparents!", but Phillip didn't think that was funny.

Jonathan being cute.

Phoebe being cute.

Monday, September 17, 2007

What's a snowball?

A funny thing about living in Florida ~ those kids who have grown up here have never seen snow. During the main lesson for the kids at church this last Sunday, the director was talking about the snowball effect and then had to ask, "How many of you have seen snow?". Most of the kids hadn't. So she had to explain what happens when a snowball rolls and how it gathers snow. I thought this was hilarious, so I wanted to share it will all you Northern folks.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Elizabeth being goofy and running in a circle while Jonathan watches Go, Diego, Go!

Jonathan has been feeling a little sick this week. He's got a bad cough, but today he's showing signs of improvement.

Phoebe getting into Jonathan's leftover bacon after a meal.

Elizabeth's drawing of Lightning McQueen and Mater. Phillip has some drawing's on here also, but I think you'll be able to tell whose is whose.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Elizabeth and Art

For school we do picture study and "Drawing with Children" by Mona Brooks. The way we do picture study (Charlotte Mason style) is we focus on one artist for 6 weeks. I find pictures by that artist on the internet and save it to our family computer desktop and screensaver so the kids see it everytime they pass by (which is often since our computer sits in our main living area). We read child-friendly books on the artist that I find at the library. Elizabeth describes the picture without looking after having seen it a couple of days. Another day I have her draw the picture as well as she can (just a another way of describing ~ not expecting her to do an exact replica of the artist's work). We do one picture per week, so that we get 6 works of art per artist. Jonathan even recognized one of the pictures we had studied ("Florida Jays") in the book we're reading on that artist (John James Audubon). So he's taking it all in.

"Drawing with Children" is something we work on once a week. Right now we're working with the five elements of drawing. So we'll be able to break down any object or picture into those 5 elements, see it in a simpler light and be able to draw better.

Elizabeth is constantly doing her own projects also. She took some sewing supplies and made her own princess costume with a heart pocket and stylishly done trim. Today she made some fairies to give away at her birthday party (do you think they'll make it the 2 1/2 months till her birthday?). She drew some pictures of Mater and Lightning McQueen last night without looking at any pictures of them. They have amazing detail and I recognized right away what they were. Lightning had the number 95 on the side and Rusteez on the top just like the actual car. Anyway, it is fun to see her progress in art. I'm constantly amazed at her creativity and know that it's a gift God has given her. I hope we can continue to help it grow!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Thoughts on Obedience

"Two conditions are necessary to secure all proper docility and obedience and, given these two, there is seldom a conflict of wills between teacher and pupils. The conditions are, --the teacher, or other head, may not be arbitrary but must act so evidently as one under authority that the children, quick to discern, see that he too must do the things he ought; and therefore regulations are not made for his convenience....

... The other condition is that children should have a fine sense of the freedom which comes of knowledge which they are allowed to appropriate as they choose, freely given with little intervention from the teacher." Charlotte Mason in "A Philosophy of Education"

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Websites by Phillip

Phillip has been working on the church website and has gotten it to a point to be published on the internet (there are still things he wants to do with it like get new pictures and information for parts of it ~ "great works are never completed, just abandoned").

The address is

And he also finished a website for me. I'm going to advertise to keep one child in my home. The web address for that one is: He did a great job on both of them.

Sorry I don't know how to link you to them directly, but you can copy and paste the links in your internet browser.

Hanging out at Home

Elizabeth sporting her new robe. It's funny how she still would rather run around in her underwear than wear her robe. So it's usually on her for a few minutes and then thrown on the floor until it's time to pick up and get dressed in day clothes.

Phoebe is continually getting into the computer desk and getting out pencil sharpner shavings, ink pens, CD's, stamps, anything that she shouldn't have. Then she'll laugh and smile and pretend it's all a game while I'm trying to correct her.

Jonathan and Daddy hanging out. Those two really like each other.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Now I know...

When Phillip and I first got married, I told him I wanted to have 8 kids. We even came up with 8 names: 4 boys' and 4
girls'. Well, another family and ours have been switching kids one night a week so the other couple can have a night out without having to pay for a babysitter. The other family has 5 children, and last Friday night was our night to have their children. So now I know (at least a few hours every once in a while) what it's like to have 8 kids! We do have a good ole' time though. The kids mostly wanted to play in the garage on this night as you can see in the pictures. I love their names: Scarlett, Ireland, Aiden, Kelvin, and Evalina.

Labor Day today! We planned to go to the beach, but it was cloudy and calling for storms this morning. So we went to a new mall we hadn't been to and had lunch and walked around. The kids shared a bright blue cotton candy ice cream with chocolate chips on top. Very disgusting if you ask me, but they liked it. You should see the color on the other end of the digestive system.

Then we went to O2B Kids to which a friend had given us free day passes (it's a place that has kids' toys, rock climbing wall, blocks, dress-up area, kitchen area, and they have lots of classes {art, dance, science, etc} if you are a member). The kids had a pretty good time, but were really tired by the end of it all and didn't enjoy it as much as they could have. It was fun to be together as a family!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sincere prayer

Elizabeth was tired and snuggly last night. She's normally not a snuggly person (even when she was a baby). She's been fairly narcissistic lately with a little bit of a rebellious attitude. So when she wanted to come sit on my lap while we prayed before she went to bed, I was happy to oblige. I sat in her little rocking chair and she snuggled up in her robe. She wanted to pray for Anna (a Christian girl in Egypt that we learned about through Kids of Courage magazine who is persecuted by Muslims: teachers will take away CHristians kids' tests before they are finished so that they don't get better grades than the Muslims kids and such); and she wanted to pray for all the poor kids. I prayed that the poor kids would have love from their family even if they didn't have much food or clothing and she said "What if they don't have parents?". So then I prayed that they would have someone to love them and show them God's love. It was very sweet. I've been praying that she will love others more than herself and that she will be compassionate toward others. This will be a dear memory for mother's heart.