February 25, 2006

Welcome Home Serona

We welcome Serona back home after he spent the past two weeks in downtown London. A good friend sent me this card while he was away. On the front is the picture of a son answering the door and the caption reads:

"Welcome home dad. Mom's in the closet crying, the toilet overflowed and the dog threw up on the carpet."

Inside it reads "Hang in there, things will get better soon." She wrote me an encouraging note inside as well.

While I was not in the closet when he came home the toilet did break and the dog did poop all over the carpet several times! Good to keep my sense of humor during this long week trips.

Off for some family reunion time,

Love the 2 year old mind

Some recent favorite things said by Sirah, age 2 and a half:

"Why don't we know stuff?" - A very serious question as she wondered why she didn't know it all.

"Why do I poop every day?"

In response to telling her we were going to the airport to pick up daddy -
"Good I would take my big plane and fly up to see my fairies."

"The lions are going to come and eat my toes" - her reason for why she needs to sleep in my bed.

"When I grow up and have my nonnies then I can nurse you mommy"

and my personal favorite recently:

When I tell her she is done nursing, her response:
"Wait I need to get my germs back"
She then takes another sip to reclaim and take away her germs. Creativity to get her way at its best.

You just have to love the simplicity and complexity of the way a 2 year old thinks and expresses herself. It is fun every day, even with the temper tantrums.


February 23, 2006

Learning to Fly

"Flying is learning how to
throw yourself at the ground and miss"
Douglas Adams

Having moved so many times in my life (6 states and 18 different places I called home before I was 30), I have learned the need to jump in and start. I have learned to take that leap of faith and throw myself hurling toward the ground with the faith and hope that I will soar and fly before I fall and hit the ground.

I fall A LOT and hitting the ground at full speed is truthfully both embarrassing and quite painful. But oh in those moments I miss the ground and take off in flight! Now those moments make all the pain worthwhile and the embarrassment a long forgotten fairytale.

While the list of crashing into the ground is longer than my flights - these crashes are not the ones I recall now. Rather I remember that first moment I rode a bike, the first time I jumped off the high diving board, when I flew downhill on rollerblades without crashing, when I floated across the Hudson with my crew teammates, the first time I won a debate tournament, the moment I accepted Christ, when I was finally caught by my husband and we flew off into the sunset, as I watched my daughters first steps, saw her learn to read, found a place I can really call home, made my first true friends. These are the success stories, these moments of flight, however long or short lived they may be.

Every single one of these success stories has one thing in common. Each and every one required that I take a risk. The risk was simply that I jump, and hurl myself into the unknown without any absolute assurances, with no knowledge if I will crash and burn or if I will succeed. Yet the simple knowledge of that sheer joy and blessing that comes from those moments of flying inspires me to leap each time.

There's no sensation to compare with this
Suspended animation, A state of bliss.
-Pink Floyd "Learning to Fly"

Each move I have made required a jump. Each day we all face choices and have to make decisions about the way we approach those moments. To be sure walking is safe, standing still even easier, both give a false sense of security that is hard to argue with. Yet neither of these choices gives me the exhilaration of soaring on wings like the eagles of Isaiah 40:31. This exhilaration comes only when we are truly flying.

As we watch the Olympians this week - we watch them fly, we also watch them fall. As they fly and as they fall they are living and acting with purpose and intentionality. They allow themselves to be stretched and inspired to jump. I heard it described this way of some of the extreme ski-jumpers "They have to convince their bodies to do what their minds tell them is sure suicide". Isn't that how we often feel as we throw ourselves into the unknown. These athletes when they fall, they fall hard to be sure, but that fall is done with such passion and purpose. Then we watch these Olympic champions have the stamina to get up and start again because they know this very next time may be the moment they fly. These moments of flight, no matter how short-lived they may be, these moments are cherished, treasured and a reason we keep throwing ourselves at the ground with the hope and faith that this will be the moment we fly.

As homeschoolers don't we face the same struggle each and every day? It takes risk to homeschool your child. There certainly are moments we feel we come crashing into the cement with full speed and full force. In those moments we feel the pain and we feel a bit of embarrassment at some of our choices or abilities. Still we need to recall all those moments that we soar. All the moments we were rewarded and blessed for the sheer audacity it took to just do it. We need, like the Olympians, to get up, dust off, and finish the race, confident that this next moment is the moment we have to shine and experience the exhilaration of flight.

This is how I just jump in each day. The confidence I have is not in myself or in the perfection of the situation around me. My confidence, faith and hope lies in the wind I know that God has already put under my wings to ensure I fly to the places He wants me to be and I fall in the places He needs me to. All I can do is trust, jump, and throw myself hurling toward the ground at full speed with passion, purpose, intentionality and God confidence. Remember you will never fly without taking the risk so let yourself be inspired to jump!


Find the Sleeping Child

This could easily be a game to play in our home between the hours of midnight and 6am. The thing is the answers would keep changing. If you played right now you would find one asleep on a couch cushion on the living room floor, one asleep on a siblings floor and one in her own bed. If you played a few hours ago, one was downstairs asleep and two were in their own respective beds. If you play again in about three hours I would put my odds on all in MY bed with me sleeping on the couch to escape the knees in my ribs, foot on my face and fingerpokes in my back.

I love my family and I love that we are all close and that sleep is a fluid flexible thing that has to do with wanting to be near each other. Somedays though it is interesting where you can find a child. We used to often find baby Sirah curled up on the floor outside her bedroom door with the dogs! I think it would be easier to count the nights I have not had a child come into and sleep atleast part of the night in my room, rather than the nights this has happened.

"So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little"

Someday in the not too distant future I will want these days back so I am just storing it up for those moments I need to remember it and letting the kids feel loved now. Someday they will all want their own room instead of Ciaran who nows think it is supremely unfair that he has to sleep alone when everyone else has a roomate.


February 22, 2006

Going the Extra Mile

Every once in awhile one of my kids takes me by complete surprise. Today it was Rhiannon, my 6 year old sensitive daughter. She decided she was going to be very helpful with cleaning and chores today, truthfully not her strongest suit. She volunteered to clean the bathroom and at one point came out to where I was working and said "I think I went the extra mile". Thinking she meant by volunteering to clean the bathroom I agreed with her and thanked her. She said no mom I cleaned the toilet! I must admit I was surprised, I thanked her again and said how much it meant to me and then she went back into the bathroom and cleaned out the tub and wiped it down.

Those moments are very precious to me. To see how she chose to do something difficult and not enjoyable to her to serve me and show me love. It was a blessing and helped me regain some perspective and thankfulness. Also a reminder to me to go the extra mile for my own children.


February 20, 2006

Is My Head on Right?

Do you ever have one of those days when you wonder that very thing? Is my head really screwed on right? Am I out of my mind? Is something wrong with me? Well today may very well be one of those days for me.

I woke up and remembered how LOUD my life is. Ciaran has two volumes, loud and LOUDER. To his credit, when asked to bring it down a notch he does, only shortly to return to his normal volume within minutes. This is a very big deal before the sun comes up! He has taken to telling me that the birds are up so it is time for us to be up the first time he hears anything, usually around 5:30am. We have two dogs who believe it is their responsibility to bark at anyone who comes to close to our home. Sadly all the school buses stop in front of our home and therefore we have a steady stream of children passing by between 7am and 8:30am.

Trying my best to quiet down life I had some reading time. Which does work for an extended period of time until they grow tired of it. We had some snuggle time and got some good reading done before the chaos time hit.

It is as if all at once they realized they wanted to be loud and crazy again. Too cold to send them outdoors I looked for other outlets. Ciaran found his own, he found a page with colored shapes and began cutting out all the shapes. Rhiannon worked on her Olympics school work and Sirah tried to discover how many things she climb on. I physically placed our stools outside on the deck so she could no longer move them and use them as ladders to continually get higher.

Then Ciaran and Sirah discovered the paints I had recently picked up. Not feeling right in the head I allowed my 4 and 2 year old to sit at the desks downstairs and paint as they wished, at times without my full attention. They had a lot of fun, they made a big mess and they were creative. The sacrifice, one pair of pants that were on their way out and one of Rhiannon's completed math worksheets which somehow became a canvas. I alternated between supervising them and helping Rhiannon type her first email, it was to Serona. Somehow we made it through without paint on the walls or in their hair, for that I am truly thankful.

Lunch was an interesting mix of requests. They had hash browns, boca patties (soyburgers), green beans and whole wheat bread with jam. Of course this was not all decided at once so I played the role of a short order cook. Along with lunch, schoolwork was still at one end of the table, a half finished spiderman puzzle at the other end and I had to remove spinning tops and bouncy balls from the table. Let's just say it was a rather relaxed lunch for us.

Realizing a need for the kids to get out of the house today I seriously considered taking them to see the new Curious George film but decided I was not that brave. I have agreed to eat dinner out at a restaurant if everyone naps this afternoon. The reason for the nap, so everyone is happy and in good spirits this evening. To take my three children ages 6,4, and 2 out to eat in public by myself is always an adventure. One I never quite know the result of until it happens. Somedays they are really like perfect little kids, obedient, quiet, content and thankful. They have received compliments on how nice it is to see well behaved children. Other days everything can break down over what color crayon their sibling got or round 105 of why they can't have soda. We can be running smoothly through the meal and a full scale tantrum comes out of nowhere. That is always pleasant for those around us! So really how you respond to our family depends more on the luck of the evening than any full representation of our parenting and children's behavior. I try to keep that in mind for the poor parents experiencing a child meltdown a few tables away. However, I am one for trying to stack the odds in our favor, thus the request of the nap.

As I type this Ciaran is "reading" on his top bunk, which is a play area, instead of a mattress we put plywood covered with a car track carpet and nearly all his star wars and car toys up there. Somehow he is fitting in there. Rhiannon and Sirah created a "tent" out of old curtains and tried to convince me they could sleep there. After 30 minutes of telling them to be quiet and the big rock collection jar spilling all over their heads they have been split up in hopes of a nap coming in the future atleast for Sirah.

It is mornings like this that involve a 2 year old painting, a 4 year old with scissors, an entire rock and pebble collection spilled and a perpetually messy kitchen that make me wonder at my choice of careers. Still I would not change it for anything. Yes my floors are sticky, my walls often covered with paint, there are papers, storybooks and toys everywhere, and we mess and clean our kitchen more than many other families. But I love it.

Still on these days when I want to examine my intentions, life choices and my mind I look at my kids. I think about the moments we shared today. I think about the cuddle times we shared, the storybook we read, the art creations I witnessed being produced, the math question I answered, the friend I helped on the phone, the fact that my kids have a rock and pebble collection in their room and we eat all our meals together and I realize, Yes my head is on right! Yes I am thankful we homeschool. Yes I am thankful my life is loud, busy, crazy and very full all day long. I am thankful I have children to hug and oowies to kiss, prayers and meals to share together and all the time we could ever want or need. It is good to remind myself of these things on days like this. Good to remember why we make the choices we do and why sometimes life is a bit more messy or loud than we might think we would choose it to be.

Hugs your kids today,

February 19, 2006

Enjoyable Weekend

We have had an enjoyable weekend, with ups and downs. Friday was very busy. We had our coop in the morning. The kids had a great time and came home talking about all the fun they had. The classes I taught went well and all of us really enjoyed ourselves.

Rhiannon headed to a birthday party for one of her little friends and the kids and I came home and played and read together. Ciaran wanted a little boy to come over but we did not find one for that day on such short notice. Instead he spent time with me and Sirah.

That evening I went out to a craft night at a friends house and the kids played with their babysitter. Board games, reading books and watching the olympics. As for me I had a very nice evening filled with coversation, good friends and a little bit of knitting. Again I left feeling my tank filled up from the fellowship of my Christian sisters.

At the end of the evening I felt a migraine coming on, by the time I arrived home it was full blown, pain, naseau, dizziness and feeling like I might faint. I took some meds, climbed into bed put all the lights and sounds out that I could and tried to fall asleep. I did and praise God when I woke up the next morning my headache was gone!

Yesterday the kids and I took it easy through the day. We had a late start to the morning and did some reading and they played in their imaginary world while I finished up the taxes. Ciaran and I played a board game while Rhiannon read and played with her dolls. We watched Ella Enchanted as a family. Rhiannon has been wanting to watch it and I would not let her until she read the book first - she diligently read it this week and then waited patiently for us to rent the film. It was fun to watch it with all of them. Rhiannon is our sensitive soul and at one point when the main charachter is hanging over a pot waiting to cook you could feel the tension I looked over at her and she said "It's ok mom I know how it is going to end" I think having read the book first really helped her be prepared for and to discuss things from the movie.

We cleaned some and the kids took quiet time. That evening I had another babysitter come so I could run errands that are easier done without three children in tow. Especially on a day when the temperatures stayed on the wrong side of zero! I ran in and out of four stores getting exciting things like dogfood, door hardware and my haircut. But it was wonderful to be able to do all those things alone. I headed over for dinner at Panera because I could get soup, salad and a wireless internet connection. I checked out the craft store and took time to read through the books and walk slowly down the aisles that I usually have to run through. I was home before 10 and caught the end of the evening olympics and then put in a movie to fold laundry to. I fell asleep somewhere near 1am.

I woke up around 2am to find two other warm bodies laying in bed with me (Ciaran and Sirah) and again at 3:30 to crying from Rhiannon. She had a bad dream and woke up in pain. We spent the next two hours alternating between the bathroom and her sister bed (lower bunk) as she could not decide if she needed to be sick or was just uncomfortable. Having had less than three hours of sleep I was fading in and out of our conversations. She finally threw up at around 5am and right as she was ready to sleep the other two woke up, in their minds for the day. It was a long night and morning to say the least.

Rhiannon seems to be doing better and everyone is in good spirits. We watched the olympic US hockey game today and played some pac man. Made lunch, played with clay, dress up and cars. No signs of illness in anyone else.

This evening we will watch the ice dancing as they enjoy that and have a family dinner. We are also going to play Disney's Magic Kingdom board game. Then jump back into our schoolweek starting tommorow.


Mama Do You Love Me Lesson Plan

This is a lesson which pulls together resources and ideas I have found throughout the web. I also printed out several sheets for the kids to use for coloring or identifying animals. One was a map of Alaska, another had pictures and descriptions for many of the animals in the book. I also printed out a letter M coloring sheet and a little inuit girl playing coloring sheet.

Themes – Mama Do You Love Me by Barbara M Joose

1. Letter and sound of M
2. Alaskan Animals
3. Alaska state
4. Parents love – loves us despite our failures
5. God’s love – loves us and forgives us no matter what

Start with letter M – have kids draw letter M

Ask kids to predict about the story

Read the story

Have kids rub their tummy when they hear the sound M

Play I spy with pictures on the page

M and M’s and the sound of M

Hand out animal sheets ---
Ask them if they have ever seen a musk Ox?
Ask them if they have ever seen a moose?
What kind of animals did the book also talk about?
Ermine and whales and some others. Does anyone remember what mukluks were?
They are the boots that Eskimos use
What type of Eskimo is talked about in the book?? Inuit’s.
What do you know about Eskimos – where do they live, how do they dress
Coloring sheet of Inuit

Where is Alaska? Is it a part of the United States?
Alaska is: 5 times larger than New Mexico.
2 times larger than Texas.
586,412 square miles and has 40,544 miles of shoreline (that’s 40% of the total shoreline in the United States).

Parents love us even when we make mistakes
Ask them if their mom or dad has ever gotten mad at them for anything?
But do their parents still love them? YES!!
Was the little girl good or bad?
What did you learn about how you can be?

God loves us even when we make mistakes even big ones
God forgives us and always loves us even if we make him angry
We can ask Jesus to forgive us and ask him into our hearts.

If time allows – play a game imitating animals of the book. We actually spent a good amount of time acting out the different animals - the puffin was a favorite as it does three actions (fly, swim and dig). We did this in our classroom around our little table and we did it our in the hallways.

Chronicles of Narnia Class Project

This is a project designed for a class of students ranging in age from 9-12. It could easily made longer and more stringent for an older range of students. I also asked students to have their topic to me by the next class period (for us classes are every other week) and offered a due date for an optional outline or rough draft if they wanted my feedback. My formatting is off but you get the main ideas.


Project Description
Each student may either write a 1-3 page paper defining and discussing a literary concept or term and illustrating how the book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis demonstrates the concept chosen.

OR student may opt to present this same information in another way than written paper format. For example a student may create a drawing, scrapbook page, well done poster, or give a short presentation, skit, speech or other creative presentation of the literary term and how Narnia demonstrates this concept.

Project Guidelines

1. Please limit your discussion of the Chronicles to only The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. While other books of Lewis’ may apply what you are to focus on is how this book in particular demonstrates the concept you are discussing.

2. You may either type or handwrite your essay. Please write clearly if handwriting. Please use double line spacing if printing.

3. Your topic description can be a single sentence

4. Length is not as important in this project, demonstrating your point and understanding is the focus, however concisely you can do that.

5. A sample format for a paper might include:
a. An introduction which includes the main point you are trying to show.
b. A paragraph or two defining and explaining the literary concept of your choice.
c. A few paragraphs demonstrating how the book shows this concept.
d. A conclusion summarizing both of your main points and tying it back together to your original point from your introduction.

6. A sample project might include:
a. A part that shows the literary concept (for example pictures and definitions of mythological creatures)
b. A part that shows Narnia demonstrating this concept (for example drawings of mythology creatures from Narnia)
c. Unity between the two concepts so the creation is a unified whole.

6. I am available if you have questions or concern via email or telephone.

Chronicles of Narnia Lesson Two

Week Two: Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
Assigned Reading: Chapters 5-8

Defending the truth despite disbelief and ridicule – Chapter 5

A. Edmund’s Betrayal of Lucy
1. Read first two pages until Peter talks
2. Allow kids to discuss and dissect these passages
3. Reasons and Consequences of Edmunds choice, personal parallels.

B. The Professor with Susan and Peter - Trillema

1. Read page 50-52 until professor says we need to assume it is true
2. Allow kid discussion
3. Point out the liar, lunatic or truth parallel with Mere Christianity
4. “This sentence is an abbreviated version of a famous argument C. S. Lewis makes in his classic work of apologetics where Lewis defends the Christian belief in the divinity of Christ. He notes that most people dismiss Jesus as a "good moral teacher," but ignore all the places in the Scripture where Jesus claims to be the Son of God. Lewis then posits that there are only three logical possibilities; Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic, or Lord. These three options, in summary are: 1. Jesus was telling falsehoods and knew it, and so he was a liar. 2. Jesus was telling falsehoods but believed he was telling the truth, and so he was insane. 3. Jesus was telling the truth and truly was the Son of God. “(trilemma)

C. Telling the Truth Despite the Consequences

1. Lucy chose to sticks to her story, and does not falter for a second. She knows the truth and will not back down no matter how much she is persecuted or teased by her siblings, even in the face of Edmunds betrayal.
2. Let kids share a time in their lives when they were right about something, and stuck to it even though others did not believe them? How did you feel? How did you finally convince the others to believe you?
3. Play movie clip from Contact and discuss the similarities
4. Parallels as Christians in a secular world Discuss the challenges and importance of standing firm in the truth even when others are in disbelief or tell you that you are wrong.
5. Scripture 1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
6. Suggest writing a journal entry on their own about what Lucy was feeling and did and a parallel in their own faith or personal experiences.

Repentance – Chapter 6

A. Peter’s Repentance
1. Read p60 – peter’s apology
2. read p62 – Edmund’s admittance of being in Narnia
3. contrast their response to Lucy
a. While Edmund is busy plotting his revenge, and sinking further into bitterness, Peter immediately recognizes his error and apologizes to Lucy. In doing so, Peter shows a good understanding of the biblical concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation.
b. Colossians 3:12-14:As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
c. Ephesians 4:32: and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.
d. Can you think of a time when you behaved like Peter? How about a time when you acted more like Edmund, staying angry and bitter instead of recognizing you were wrong? How easy it is to fall into stubbornness (especially when it comes to our own mistakes) instead of recognizing we were wrong and asking for forgiveness! We all have a lesson to learn from Peter.

Religious Parellels – Chapter 7

A. Aslan on the move
a. Read pg 74 description of Aslan on the move
b. Compare that to hearing the name of Christ
c. Bible description of awe at Christ and all knees bending
d. Personal reactions to Christ
B. Daughters of Eve and Sons of Adam
C. Hint of Something to come – prophecy
a. Read pg 78 – “so you’ve come at last , To think that I ever should see this day!”
b. Luke 2:21-40 story of Simeon, a righteous old man to whom the Holy Spirit revealed a telling prophecy: that he would not die before the coming of the Messiah. When Mary and Joseph brought Christ to the temple in Jerusalem, Simeon greeted them and praised God.

Prophecy – Chapter 8

A. Prophecy - in a broad sense, is the prediction of future events. But prophecy often implies the involvement of supernatural phenomena. It is also used as a general term for the revelation of divine will.
1. Kids brainstorm examples of prophecy from bible
2. Discuss the prophecies from the book
a. The end of winter prophecy p85:
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.
b. Children’s prophecy p87
When Adam's flesh and Adam's bone
Sits at Cair Paravel in throne,
The evil time will be over and done.
c. Witch’s prophecy p89
down at Cair Paravel there are four thrones and it's a saying in Narnia time out of mind that when two Sons of Adam and two Daughters of Eve sit in those four thrones, then it will be the end not only of the White Witch's reign but of her life
3. Compare and contrast that to biblical prophecy – how important is it?
4. Does this offer support for Narnia being an allegory or extended metaphor or is it just a coincidence?

Classical Mythology All Chapters

Read and discuss different mythology references.
Utilize glossary for more detail.

February 18, 2006

Feb 2006 Reading List

101 Facts About Horses and Ponies (101 Facts About Pets),Julia Barnes; Sarah Williams; Claire Horton-Bussey
A House Is a House for Me,Mary Ann Hoberman; Mary Hoberman; Betty Fraser
A Pocket Full of Kisses,Audrey Penn; Barbara Leonard Gibson
Abuela (Picture Puffins - English with Spanish Phrases),Arthur Dorros; Elisa Kleven
Alabama (Welcome to the U.S.a.),Ann Heinrichs
All Pigs Are Beautiful (Read and Wonder),Dick King-Smith; Anita Jeram
Alphabears,Kathleen Hague; Michael Hague
Angelina Ballerinas Storybook Treasury - Katharine Holabird - Hardcover,Katharine Holabird; Erin Falligant; Helen Craig
Bedtime for Frances,Russell Hoban; Garth Williams
Best of All,Max Lucado
Birds (Kingfisher Young Knowledge),Nicola Davies; Davies; Belinda Weber; Steve Weston; Joanne Brown
Bless the Lord: The 103rd Psalm (Illustrated Psalms),Johannah Bluedorn
Brown Bear; Brown Bear; What Do You See?,Bill Martin Jr.; Eric Carle; Bill; Jr. Martin; Delsohn; Bill Martin
Bunny's Bedtime - Helen Rossendale - Hardcover,Helen Rossendale; Jacqueline McQuade
Cactus (Naturebooks),Peter Murray
Cactuses (Rookie Read-About Science),Allan Fowler; Jan Jenner; Martha Walsh
Caterpillar Hides Away (Daisy Shaped Boards),
Chicka Chicka boom Boom,Jr. Bill Martin; John Archambault
Count Your Way Through Africa,Jim Haskins; Barbara Knutson; James S. Haskins; James Haskins
Days with Frog and Toad 25th Anniversary Edition (I Can Read Book 2),Arnold Lobel
Dr. Seuss's ABC (I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Books),Dr. Seuss; Dr Seuss
Eli's Night Light,Liz Rosenberg; Joanna Yardley
Ella enchanted,Gail Carson Levine
Eyes; Nose; Fingers; and Toes,Judy Hindley; Brita Granstrom
Felicity's Dancing Shoes (The American Girls Collection),Valerie Tripp
Florida (Welcome to the U.S.a.),Ann Heinrichs
Franklin and the Tooth Fairy (Franklin Series),Paulette Bourgeois; Brenda Clark
Froggy Bakes a Cake (Froggy),Jonathan London; Watty Piper; Frank Remkiewicz; Mateu
From Sheep to Sweater (Start to Finish),Robin Nelson; Shannon Zemlicka
George Washington's Cows,David Small
Georgia (Welcome to the U.S.a.),Ann Heinrichs
Get Well; Good Knight (Puffin Easy-to-Read),Shelley Moore Thomas; Shelley Thomas; Plecas Jennifer
Glitter Clay Activity Book (Hello Kitty),Deborah Schecter
Gymnastics,Cynthia Fitterer Klingel
Hello Kitty glitter clay activity book,Deborah Schecter
Here is the African Savanna,Madeline Dunphy; Madeleine Dunphy; Tom Leonard
Hooray for You! A Celebration of You-ness,Marianne Richmond
Hop on Pop (Beginner Books(R)),Dr Seuss; Dr. Seuss
How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?,Jane Yolen; Yolen & Teague; Mark Teague
I'm Gonna Like Me,Jamie Lee Curtis; Laura Cornell
I'm Kaitlyn!: I Have Important Jobs to Do (Little Blessings Picture Books.),Crystal Bowman; Elena Kucharik
It Could Still Be a Worm (Rookie Read-About Science),Allan Fowler
Kentucky (Welcome to the U.S.a.),Ann Heinrichs
Lion and Lamb (Bank Street Ready-T0-Read),Nina Jaffe; William H. Hooks; Barbara Brenner; Bruce Degen; Barbara A. Brenner
Lizards on the Wall,Ken Buchanan; Debby Buchanan; Betty Schweitzer-Johnson
Love You Forever,Robert N. Munsch; Sheila McGraw; Robert Munsch
Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! (Bright & Early Books(R)),Dr. Seuss; Dr Seuss; Seuss
Miss Rumphius,Barbara Cooney
Moses the Kitten,James Herriot; Peter Barrett
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners),Dr. Seuss; Dr Seuss; Seuss
Mustang (Stone; Lynn M. Animals in U.S. History.),Lynn M. Stone
My Dad's Great (Great Relatives),Gaby Goldsack; Sara Walker; Andrea Newton
My Mom's Great (Great Relatives),
My Nine Book,Jane Belk Moncure; Jane B. Moncure; Linda S. Hohag; Linda Hohag; Dan Spoden
My Thank-You Bible (Karyn Henley Playsongs),Karyn Henley; Jane Dippold
Nascar: The Need for Speed (Need for Speed),Michael Johnstone; Mike Johnstone
Neighborhood Knight (Greenwillow Read-Alone),Eleanor Schick
Noah's Ark,Jerry Pinkney
Noodle Man,April Pulley Sayre; Stephen Costanza
Paper Bag Princess (Munsch for Kids),Robert N. Munsch; Michael Martchenko; Robert Munsch
Play Ball; Amelia Bedelia,Peggy Parish; Wallace Tripp
Poetry For Young People-Robert Frost,Robert Frost
Rainbow Frogs (Circle Tabs),Melissa Tyrell; Becky Wallis
Sailor Moo,Lisa Wheeler; Ponder Goembel
Singing Robins (Pull Ahead Books),Fay Robinson; Jeff Savage
Snowy Day,Ezra Jack Keats
Storm in the Night,Mary Stolz; Pat Cummings
Tails,Matthew Van Fleet; Skip Skywarek
The Adventures of a Nose,Viviane Schwarz; Joel Stewart
The Adventures of a Nose,Viviane Schwarz; Joel Stewart
The Art Lesson,Tomie dePaola
The Cranky Day and Other Thomas the Tank Engine Stories (Pictureback(R)),W. Rev Awdry; Wilbert Vere Awdry
The Jet Alphabet Book,Jerry Pallotta; Robert C. Bolster; Rob Bolster
The Kissing Hand,Audrey Penn; Ruth E. Harper; Nancy M. Leak
The Library,Sarah Stewart; David Small
The Little Mouse; the Red Ripe Strawberry; and the Big Hungry Bear (Child's Plays Intl; Singapore),Don Wood; Audrey Wood; Don; Wood
The Magic Locket (Book With Locket),Elizabeth Koda-Callan; Elizabeth Koda-Callan (Author/Illustrator)
The Magic School Bus Gets Programmed (Magic School Bus),Joanna Cole; Nancy White; John Speirs
The Magic School Bus Hops Home,Pat Relf; Joanna Cole; Patricia Relf; Nancy Stevenson; Bruce Degen
The Magic School Bus In The Time Of The Dinosaurs (Magic School Bus),Joanna Cole; Bruce; Degan; Bruce Degen; Bruce Degen
The Magic School Bus Sees Stars (Magic School Bus),Nancy White; Tv Tie-In; Art Ruiz; Scholastic Books
The Napping House,Audrey Wood; Audrey; Wood; Don Wood; Don Wood
The Yellow House,Susan Goldman Rubin; Joseph A. Smith
Tuesday,David Wiesner
U.S. Presidents: Feats & Foul-Ups,Nell Fuqua
Valentine's Day,Gail Gibbons; Gibbons
Whales (All Aboard Reading),Graham Faiella; Turi Maccombie
What's Inside? A Pirate Ship - Backpack Books - Hardcover,
Where Do Frogs Come From? (Green Light Readers. All Levels),Alex Vern
You're All My Favorites,Sam Mcbratney; Anita Jeram

I am a geek

But you already knew that :) Seriously I am a technology geek. I did not used to be. I have always been comfortable with technology but Serona has turned me into an early adopter. We have tried many technologies earlier than most. My recent one, a personal home barcode scanner. I actually asked for this for Christmas and received it from my parents. Most people ask for normal things, I on the other hand do not.

I have been using it for two months now and I love it. What does one use a personal barcode scanner for you are wondering? To scan books of course, lots and lots of books, of which we have plenty here. I use my Flic Barcode Scanner in conjunction with my home library catloguing software, Book Collectorz to catalog both our home library and all its contents and our school and monthly reading.

Regular readers may have noticed a change in the format of my book lists. That is because I am no longer typing them all out by hand. Now I simply scan them and then export the data from my software to blogger. It is wonderful and easy, though the format is a little less nice I will admit.

I recommend both that scanner and the software I really think it makes my life easier and more organized. If of course you are a geek like me and read this post and found it interesting and not just bizarre!


Well It is Minnesota ...

Our local news:

"Two and a half months of wimpiness was rudely elbowed aside on February 17 as a bonafide Minnesota winter day wrapped itself around a shivering state. Temperatures were below zero all day, with a biting wind chill nearing the 30 below mark.

It's no secret that wind chills in the -30 range can cause frostbite in just a few minutes. What people may not know, is that when the body's core temperature dips into hypothermia range, humans lose their faculties. "Below 90 Fahrenheit, that's when shivering starts to subside, people's energy drops off, people start to get tired, their judgment is impaired, and that's when people don't do well if they don't seek attention at that point," says Dr. Alex Doerffler, a Fairview Southdale Hospital Emergency Physician.

So dress in layers, limit your time outside, and avoid alcohol when participating in outdoor activities, because alcohol acts a dehydrator.

This reminder that we really do live in Minnesota will be brief. Warmer temps return by mid-week."

Taken from Kare 11 News.


February 16, 2006

Week Without Daddy

Well I have been solo parenting for almost a week and thus the sparse blogging. Things have run relatively smooth for the most part though we certainly have had our share of moments. We will be happy to see Serona home to be sure.

Monday we spent the day with new friends it was nice the kids played for nearly 4 hours together ages ranged from 2 (sirah) to 10 with a total of 7 kids. I got to know a woman in our homeschool group I have not spent much time with before.

Tuesday, Valentine's Day, a tough day all around to be without daddy. The kids received a few gifts throughout the day and we spent some time reading, playing board games, watching olympics and a few video games, pac-man is the current favorite.

Wednesday, we headed to the gym to play some basketball or really bounce balls and run around the gym. The kids enjoyed following the lines on the gym floor taking turns what to do (skip, hop, walk backward, run, tiptoes, etc) - we walked the lines on the perimeter of the basketball court.

After the gym we headed to the zoo, so thankful for our membership there. We arrived at 2pm, a perfect time to visit as most school groups are already leaving, you get good parking and have the exhibits to yourself for the most part.

Our usual practice at the zoo is each child gets to pick one animal to see. They are pretty consistent: Rhiannon picked the birds, Sirah the monkeys (a variation from the fish) and Ciaran, the frogs of course. We make our way through the zoo seeing whatever else is along the way and enjoying each animal. The ones we spent the most time at this trip included: the sun bear, the frogs and toads, the big underground fish tank (where we saw shark eggs - very cool), and the dolphins.

On the way home we stopped to eat at a restuarant, unusual for us, but a splurge while daddy was out of town. We ate at a Ruby Tuesdays, a nice fit for us as vegetarians as they have an excellent salad bar. The kids were well behaved so I treated them to a huge desert of a strawberry tallcake, which all four of us shared and we did not finish!

Today Rhiannon had a playdate first thing this morning with another girl. They painted a ceramic knick knack container, played American girl dolls and horses, mancala, and took turns giving Sirah piggyback rides. To treat and console Ciaran (sore that no little boys were coming over) I allowed him to play almost 2 hours of gamecube - a huge treat for him. I stayed right with him the whole time, alternating playing with him (a stretch for me) and reading to Sirah.

This afternoon we ran errands including gift shopping for a birthday party. Rhiannon is interesting when she shops for gifts. Her love language is gifts and she has a hard time picking them out because she wants just the perfect gift. It is especially hard for her to pick out gifts for her friends as she truly wants them to be happy and she does not know exactly what they like. We spent over an hour at three stores trying to find just the right gift before she was satisfied and even now I can hear her insecurity with the gift.

Tonight was fun, after dinner we took baths and showers (Ciaran graduated to showers today) danced to irish music, played charades for awhile and read stories. The kids love tanks seemed filled before bed which is always encouraging. I allowed all three kids to fall asleep in my room as two girlfriends came over to spend the evening with me.

It was a nice evening, one that filled up my tank. After enough time alone I just crave adult conversation and interaction. These women are women I am blessed to have in my life. Both called ahead to see if I needed anything and were serious in their offer. One drove well out of her way to pick me up a book from the library that I need for the morning for the coop class I am teaching. The other promised to bring Ciaran gloves to our coop since he lost yet another one today in our errands and I did not realize until we got home!

I am blessed with good women friends in my life. What a difference it makes, how it fills and blesses me. Thank you to all the ladies in my life - you know who you are and I am so thankful for you :)

Living far from family makes one lean on and appreciate true friendships all the more. When Serona is away I am all the more thankful for having taken time to cultivate these relationships as I need friends so much during the distance and I am thankful the support is there and I truly feel surronded in love and friendship.

Tommorrow is a busy day for us with coop in the morning, a birthday party in the afternoon and other things to come throughout the day. Good to have much to do as the arctic has finally come to Minnesota this winter.

We have had a very mild winter here but now it feels more like Minnesota. With temperatures in the single digits for highs and negatives for lows this is the Minnesota we have grown used to. Still we have had little snow. My parents who live in New York and joke about our winters all the time are digging themselves out of 2+ feet of snow while we have a few inches of ice in our yard and driveway (this has been a no shovel year for me for the most part. Everytime the weatherman says it will snow I and to expect 6 inches I kind of roll my eyes and wait for a dusting if we see any snow at all, so far I have been right and the weatherman wrong each time.

Still tommorrow will be a cold one, a day whe you know you live in Minnesota. Still until it feels like your nose hairs are freezing it isn't really cold. Of course my poor friends currently in Mozambique are wishing for some of our arctic air to fight their africa hot and heavy rainfall.

We have been steadily working through school. We are doing a mini-unit study on the olympics with lots of "live" examples. We are also working on our states and keeping up with the usual math, grammar and handwriting. Rhiannon memorized the books of the New Testament in order this week for her AWANA program as well. Ciaran has been into math games and Sirah wants to try to do whatever he is doing.

I have been working on my knitting, lesson plans and spreasheets :) I had three lessons to plan that were not related directly to our homeschooling this week so that kept me busy. My Chronicles of Narnia class, Ciaran's Five in a Row type class on the book "Mama Do You Love Me" by Barbara M. Joose and a computers 101 for some homeschool moms. I also got to work on two spreadsheets this week, tallying the results from our scavenger hunt and updating our groups field trip spreadsheet. I have several books I am reading but seem to have had little time for them.

Sipping some white wine as I type, listening to my Celtic music mix and working on three things at once, that is my evening tonight. Off to finish packing for the morning.


February 12, 2006

Mapping the 50 States Lesson Plan

Rhiannon and I started working on a new project - mapping the 50 states. We started with an outline map of the United States such as this one from Enchanted Learning.

In addition we printed out regional outline maps from Info Please Map Library. Right now we are working on the Southeast Region by Rhiannon's choice. She decided to start with Florida because Serona was in Florida the week we started. We do this about 3 times a week and each day we do it she picks a state from the region. She begins by reading about the state in our Time for Learning States book. In addition, when available from the library (so far each state has been she reads the corresponding state book from the series Welcome to the U.S.A. These books are filled with interesting, silly, fun and useful facts and pictures from the state. They are easy to read with good pictures and follow a relatively consistent format. She really enjoys them and looks forward to this part of our lessons.

She reads them and keeps pausing to share interesting facts like how many times you can make it to the moon and back with the oranges grown in Florida or carpet made in Georgia. Then she finds the state on her regional map (less states to choose from and more room for writing than a plain US map) and writes the state abbreviation on it. I have agreed to write the capitol for her but she needs to find it in the book and spell it for me (from the book) the words were just long for her to fit in the space. After the capitol and state are written she needs to draw or write several facts from the state. For example for Florida she drew a picture of an orange, mickey mouse ears, a rocket and manatees. In Georgia she drew peanuts, carpet and a mud hole (for the redneck games described in her book). In Kentucky she drew horses and mammoth cave. Now when she looks at her sheet she can jog her memory about what that state is known for as well as the state name and capitol.

After she finishes her regional map she needs to find the state on the US map and color it in. I said she could pick any color but she has tried to have them demonstrate something about the state. Florida was orange and Kentucky was brown for horses, etc. We also discuss if someone we know lives there or has lived there. She has several relatives who live in Florida and she was born in Georgia so that was fun for her. She wants to visit Kentucky to see the caves and the horses.

We are working through one region at a time. This allows us to focus on one regional map at a time and that area of the bigger US map. My plan is to discuss the region as a whole when she completes every state. She can compare and contrast the states from each other and from where we live and see if any of the interesting facts had similarities. Then after we complete two regions she can compare and contrast these regions.

In addition to the books sometimes we may look at other resources about states such as 50States.com and Enchanted Learning State Resources. We were at the library the other day when she saw a video on Kentucky and another on horses and wanted to get them out. She has started paying more attention in stories to what state they are talking about if a location is mentioned.

This is easy and fun and offers a real visual tool in the end to jog her memory. You could make it easier for other children by just picking something yourself to have them draw to remind them of the state. Though I do think if you have readers that making them read and discover it themselves has more impact.

I plan to do a similar type theme with the Presidents of the US when we finish this state study. When we study the presidents we will work through the Learning the Presidents book along with video and easy reader supplements about the presidents. There I will have her make a book with each page being a president including a picture, the years they were president and some interesting facts about them and/or their presidency.


My romantic husband

Serona wrote me a song this week. It is always a special treat when he plays guitar as time rarely permits it. An extra special treat when he writes a beautiful song about our lives. This was a fun song about where we are now, where we have been in the past and our music. I am so thankful I married a musician. I have no musical talent but boatloads of musical appreciation. I am blessed with a talented husband who enjoys using his gifts!

We even had a date night this week. The best part, I had to plan nothing and was surprised by it. Serona arranged a sitter and our evening. That was the best part to me, I did not worry about any details or have to make anything work out. We ordered pizza for the kids and headed out while one of his good friends came over to watch the kids with his little daughter and his wife came and met us later. For once time was not a big deal, nice.

We went to one of my favorite restuarants in the Twin Cities, a little place near uptown called French Meadows. Here is a sample menu. They have many great vegetarian and organic options. We used to live much closer to them and would go more often but it was nice to go again. We shared a great bottle of wine, a good vegetarian meal, and great conversations.

After dinner we drove around and talked for awhile and ended up at a place we could shoot pool, drink beer and we even bowled. It was a great time and evening of reconnecting with each other. We finally rolled in around 1am, our friends just spent the night.

All you husbands - plan a complete evening for your wife - it a blessing of a gift.

February 8, 2006

Digital Photo Mall Scavenger Hunt

We had a great homeschool event today! We joined 30 other kids from our group and several of their moms and had a big scavenger hunt in the mall. For us living in the Twin Cities we were able to conduct this event at the Mall of America which gave us many opportunities and fun things to find.

While we have done scavenger hunts in malls before this one was the most fun. We had two divisions based on age (we had participants from pk-8th grade!) within each division we had three teams. Each team received the same list and the same amount of time to complete it in. We chose 1 hour for a time limit and truthfully it was the perfect amount of time. The kids found nearly everything on their list and their attention (especially the younger ones) was starting to wander, plus everyone was getting hungry and tired from all the running around.

Our rules were simple. Each team received a digital camera and all members of the team (just the kids not the moms) must be in every picture for it to count. That also forced them to stay close to their group and be more manageable :) In one category (our 30 point group) they were in direct competition with the others in their division as each item would have only one winner. Lastly, time limits were to be strictly enforced (docking 10 points per minute late). No team was late I might add!

Below you can find the list - you can easily adapt it for your own group or mall. The kids loved this activity, especially the older kids but even the younger kids had a lot of fun, though they required more help.

One last comment. We had 32 kids and 10 moms. At lunch an elderly woman came up to one of our group leaders and asked what group we were? She commented that she had never in her life seen a group of kids so well behaved. We realized at that moment just how good our kids really had been through the day and at that moment there were around 30 kids sitting at a very long table with a few moms scattered and they were eating and talking quielty to one another and even when they finished eating were still well behaved. A good testimony to homeschoolers today!


Mall of America Scavenger Hunt List
10 points
___recycling can
___jango fett
___harry potter
___all on an escalator
___in front of a fountain
___a big fish tank
___an alligator
___all stuffed into a photo booth
___a bird

20 points
__up on a stage doing a funny pose
__some people you do not know waving with you
__wearing funny hats
__darth vader
__a janitor doing his/her job
__live animal
__Aslan (a poster counts)
__playing guitar (only one person needs to)
__a store clerk
__a big shark

30 points - only one winner each category per division
__Biggest choc chip cookie
__the biggest ice cream cone
__the biggest dinosaur you can find
__with the funniest sign you can find
__the biggest box of cereal (try to be creative here)
__the tallest lego tower you can build
__the tallest structure you see in the mall
__the largest stuffed animal you can find
__the biggest car you can find
__largest photo/painting of a movie star
__store with the longest name
__store with the shortest name
50 points
__each child touching the brass replica of Met Stadium's home plate

Extra Notes - to be used by judges only but you should read!
+2 points for every picture you are in height order.
+10 points for really special creativity (as determined by judges) - only 1 per team
-10 points every minute late!!!!!

February 7, 2006


Attention fellow bloggers. Anyone want to sign up with blogads? I have been given several invitations if you would like to join. One of the things I really like about blogads is you have editorial control so you can accept or reject ads as you see fit. You also charge for adspace not for clickthrough rate so you receive more of the profit to keep yourself.

So if you have a blog and are interested please email me or leave a comment and I will review your blog and sponsor you for blogads.


February 6, 2006

100% Party

Rhiannon has had a rough few weeks. Starting right after Christmas with yet another tonsillitis, then the stomach flu, a cold, her tonsillectomy, a viral infection, dehydration and finally pneumonia. She has not been able to play with friends or do much of anything. So as she started to recover she asked if she could have a little party when she was well.

So today she had that party, which she took to calling her 100% better party. We invited some families from our homeschool support group. She picked all the families and we ended up with a total of 19 kids in the house, majority of the moms stayed as well so we had some social time and the kids played together.

When they left you would hardly know they were here. My house was basically clean with very little for me left to do. These kids were all good about helping clean up and taking care of things as they went along. They played in 6 different rooms of my house, played with 10 different board games and numerous toys and everything is put away. The got along despite age and gender differences and there were very few squabbles or difficulties. We went through 4 dozen cupcakes, a pan of rice krispy treats and other goodies.

It was a fun time and exactly what Rhiannon was hoping for. Many of the girls brought their 18 inch dolls, several of the American girls were represented and at one point my family room couch was completely covered with dolls watching the girls play a game. The boys were very into our star wars stuff and there were multiple lightsaber duels going on. One mom said our house is known as the "star wars house" by her son.

I love opening our home to families. I love seeing the kids do so well and having some time to socialize. Especially with this group of women, who are also homeschoolers with similar values and goals for their families. While we have our differences to be sure we are all accepting of each other and loving and open to each other. I learn so much from them and am thankful my children are spending time with their children.

So the 100% party was a hit. She is doing much better. Thank all of you who have prayed for her.


February 5, 2006

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Lesson One

Assigned Reading: Chapters 1-4
Topics Covered: Introduction to the course, Reading critically, C.S. Lewis and the main characters of the story. Introduction to different literary concepts: such as allegory, extended metaphor and parable.
In this course – we will study 2 main areas,
1. Introducing and becoming comfortable with literary terminology and concepts
2. Seeing how the story and land of Narnia illustrate those concepts
A. Some things to keep in mind (10 minutes)
1. Reading Critically
a. What is the difference between reading just to enjoy and reading to learn?
b. What are some strategies for reading critically
i. Note taking, highlighting, looking for ideas
2. Literary Concepts
a. Can be real tools and give deeper meaning
b. Can be contrived or seem natural
c. Can be intentional by author or implied by us.
3. These skills are transferable so learn them and apply them
a. Can be used when watching movies, reading or listening to conversations
b. Most often discovered not the first time through (reread, rewatch and you see more)
c. Can help you make connections and talk intelligently about the book and the world around you.
4. What are some things you discovered in your reading of the book this time around? How many have read it before? How many have seen the movie?

Character Introduction and Particulars from Chapters:
Peter, the eldest, seems wise and lively.
Susan is sweet-tempered and generally pleasant.
Edmund, who is described as being "bad-tempered," soon proves himself to be just that.
Lucy, the youngest, is curious and spirited.
White Witch

Tumnus struggle - realization, repentance
Edmund with the White Witch – Turkish Delight

Faun – Mythical – described in chapter one
Lucy – Daughter of Eve also mythical to them and biblical hint

Chapter 1
Air raids in London – sets time period WWII
Character development of the children
Chapter 2
Mentioning of mythical creatures on pg. 17

B. Background of CS Lewis (5 minutes)
a. .Born is 1898 in Ireland
a. Went to many different schools in England
b. Loved dressed animals like Beatrix Potter and nature all around
c. Loved to read and to illustrate books as a child
d. For most of his life was an anti-Christian aetheist
e. His friendship with JRR Tolkein, a fellow professor at Oxford and his brother were influential in Lewis’ coming to the Christian faith.
f. Began writing after becoming a Christian and became one of the most celebrated Christian authors before he died in 1963
g. The inspiration for Narnia was a painting of a faun with an umbrella and scarf carrying a package hanging in his office.
How does knowing this background help you understand more about the books? How might you read more critically after knowing this?

2. Literary Terms (20 minutes)
a. Metaphor - a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally mean in order to suggest a similarity. Often two objects are compared that are not alike. (kids give examples – (life is a stage – Shaksphere)
b. Extended Metaphor - is a long-drawn out comparison. It takes the basic comparison that makes a metaphor, and then it expands it adding even more comparisons.

Restore us, O God Almighty;
make your face shine upon us,
that we may be saved.
You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You cleared the ground for it,
and it took root and filled the land.
The mountains were covered with its shade,
the mighty cedars with its branches.
It sent out its boughs to the Sea,
its shoots as far as the River.
Why have you broken down its walls
so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
Boars from the forest ravage it
and the creatures of the field feed on it.
Return to us, O God Almighty!
Look down from heaven and see!
Watch over this vine,
the root your right hand has planted,
the son you have raised up for yourself.
Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
at your rebuke your people perish.
-- Psalm 80:7-16

c. Allegory - a narrative story with two meanings. The main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, that have both literal and figurative meanings. (Pilgrims Progress ex – literal – journey from City of Destruction to Celestial City despite many perils. Allegorical – progress of any Christian from Baptism through trials to heaven) Main characters name is also Christian.

d. Parable – a brief and often simple narrative (ex from bible)

Not an allegory but has many allegorical similaries.
1. CS Lewis – said Narnia was a supposition not an allegory.
2. Lewis supposed what it would be like if Christ were to come to another, entirely fictional world.

3. Also not every object, character and event in the book is an allegory for another one in the Christian gospel.

Class discussion: Do you believe The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe an Allegory for the Christian gospel? Why or why not?

Go over the syllabus (5-10 minutes)

February 4, 2006

Febraury 2006 Reading List

101 Facts About Horses and Ponies (101 Facts About Pets),Julia Barnes
A House Is a House for Me,Mary Ann Hoberman; Mary Hoberman
Bedtime for Frances,Russell Hoban; Garth Williams
Best of All,Max Lucado
Birds (Kingfisher Young Knowledge),Nicola Davies;
Bless the Lord: The 103rd Psalm (Illustrated Psalms),Johannah Bluedorn
Brown Bear; Brown Bear; What Do You See?,Bill Martin Jr.; Eric Carle
Bunny's Bedtime - Helen Rossendale
Cactus (Naturebooks),Peter Murray
Cactuses (Rookie Read-About Science),Allan Fowler;
Caterpillar Hides Away (Daisy Shaped Boards),
Dr. Seuss's ABC (I Can Read It All By Myself Beginner Books),Dr. Seuss;
Eyes; Nose; Fingers; and Toes,Judy Hindley; Brita Granstrom
Felicity's Dancing Shoes (The American Girls Collection),Valerie Tripp
George Washington's Cows,David Small
Hooray for You! A Celebration of You-ness,Marianne Richmond
Hop on Pop (Beginner Books(R)),Dr Seuss; Dr. Seuss
I'm Kaitlyn!: I Have Important Jobs to Do Crystal Bowman; Elena Kucharik
It Could Still Be a Worm (Rookie Read-About Science),Allan Fowler
Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now! Dr. Seuss;
Moses the Kitten,James Herriot; Peter Barrett
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? Dr Seuss
Nascar: The Need for Speed (Need for Speed),Michael Johnstone;
Noah's Ark,Jerry Pinkney
Noodle Man,April Pulley Sayre; Stephen Costanza
Poetry For Young People-Robert Frost,Robert Frost
Sailor Moo,Lisa Wheeler; Ponder Goembel
Snowy Day,Ezra Jack Keats
The Adventures of a Nose,Viviane Schwarz; Joel Stewart
The Art Lesson,Tomie dePaola
The library,Sarah Stewart
The Little Mouse; the Red Ripe Strawberry; and the Big Hungry Bear Don Wood; Audrey Wood;
The Magic School Bus Hops Home, Joanna Cole;
Tuesday,David Wiesner
U.S. Presidents: Feats & Foul-Ups,Nell Fuqua
Whales (All Aboard Reading),Graham Faiella; Turi Maccombie
Where Do Frogs Come From? Alex Vern

February 2, 2006

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe Syllabus

I will be teaching a junior high level class for our homeschool coop for the book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe from the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. In order to keep all the students on the same page and to help them I have created a syllabus with assigned reading, topics we will cover and some potential discussion questions for each week. It also includes a glossary of terms and some websites for future reference. This can be used as a The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe lesson plan.

I thought I would include it here if anyone wanted to see what we will be studying and utilize it in their own groups. My formatting is a bit off here but all the information is here. I just ask that you keep the credit and copyright with it and link to this website if you post parts of it online. Our class is designed to meet just 6 times. This could be modified to be longer or shorter with ease. It can also easily be used at the high school level with slight modifications as well.


The Chronicles of Narnia Academy Class Syllabus

Students and/or parents please feel free to contact me via email at tenniel@gmail.com in between classes with questions or for clarification.

Course Objective:
This class will look at the book "The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe" by CS Lewis to examine literary concepts such as allegory, metaphor, mythology, fantasy archetypal, as well as concepts of good and evil. In addition we will examine parallels with the Christian faith demonstrated throughout the story and characters of the book covering topics such as repentance, faith, prophecy, self-sacrifice and the death and resurrection of Christ.

Student Responsibilities: All students are expected to have completed assigned reading and come prepared to participate in class discussions and projects. Use the course schedule below as you read to take notes and think about what we may discuss. Each student is expected to bring his or her own copy of the book to each class. You will also need to have a central location to keep all your notes, a binder or notebook for example. The bible will be referenced and required reading from time to time as well. Each student will turn in and present a final project no later than April 7th. Project details will follow in class.

Course Schedule:

This is the tentative schedule of topics we may cover; any changes will be announced in class or via email. Use this schedule while reading to help you prepare for possible class discussions. Of course particular points of interest to students may guide the class discussions sometimes as well. Please realize we will most likely not discuss all the topics listed each class but these are meant as a guideline to help you as you read. Please check the schedule for any additional weekly notes.

Week One
Assigned Reading
: Chapters 1-4
Topics Covered: Introduction to the course, Reading critically, C.S. Lewis and the main characters of the story. Introduction to different literary concepts: such as allegory, extended metaphor and parable.
Class discussion: Do you believe The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe an Allegory for the Christian gospel? Why or why not? How can we dig deeper into a story and find other meanings? How does understanding literary concepts help us to read more critically? What other literary terms could be used to describe Narnia?

Week Two
Assigned Reading:
Chapters 5-8
Topics Covered: Introduction to Literary Concepts of Mythology and Fantasy Themes.
Christian Concepts of the defense of the unknown (think of Lucy and defending the land of Narnia to her siblings), repentance, faith and the role of prophecy.
Class discussion: Discuss the challenges of defending the unknown based on faith and personal experience in both the book and our own faith walks. Discuss the different ways Peter and Edmund handle repentance. Are you more like Peter or Edmund in terms of repentance and admittance of wrong? Discuss some ways that C.S. Lewis uses classic mythology in the land of Narnia. How important is prophecy in Narnia and in the Bible?

Week Three
Assigned Reading:
Chapters 9-12, also read at least one human encounter with God from the bible. Some examples to choose from are Moses and Saul.
Topics Covered: Introduction to Literary Concepts of coming of age and the traditional fantasy archetypal of walking through the land of the dead.
Christian Concepts of encounters with God and repentance
Class Discussions: How does Peter’s confrontation with Fenrus change him? How does this demonstrate traditional literary concepts? How do the characters’ first encounters with Aslan compare and contrast with human encounters with God in the bible? Discuss Edmund’s repentance and how it is similar to challenges we face in our own struggles.

Week 4
Special Note:
Please bring your bible to class this week
Assigned Reading: Chapters 13-15, also Mark Chapters 14 -16 in your bible
Topics Covered: The Betrayal, Self-Sacrifice, Mockery, Death and Resurrection of Aslan and Christ
Class Discussion: What are the similarities and differences between the story of Christ and the story of Aslan? What literary concepts, if any, do these similarities and differences demonstrate. What other religious parallels can be seen through this part of the story?

Assigned Reading:
Chapters 16-17
Topic Covered: Literary and Christian concepts of the battle between good and evil. Transition between fantasy (Narnia) and real-world (England). Finishing where you started, coming full circle in the conclusion.
Class discussion: How does the final battle demonstrate classical literary concepts of good versus evil? What parallels can be drawn to the battle between good and evil in the bible?

Final Week
Assigned Reading:
Classmates Projects
Class discussion: Is Narnia an allegory for the Christian gospel? How can we implement the lessons we have learned in our own Christian walk?

Select Glossary of Terms

Allegory - (AL-eh-GOR-ee) An allegory is a narrative story with two meanings. The main purpose of an allegory is to tell a story that has characters, a setting, as well as other types of symbols, that have both literal and figurative meanings. It is also sometimes considered a narrative that serves as an extended metaphor.

Extended Metaphor - is a long-drawn out comparison. It takes the basic comparison that makes a metaphor, and then it expands it by adding even more comparisons.

Metaphor - a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally mean in order to suggest a similarity. Often two objects are compared that are not alike.

Parable - a brief and often simple narrative that illustrates a moral or religious lesson.

Myths - stories that a particular culture believes to be true and that use supernatural events or characters to explain the nature of the universe and humanity.

Fantasy - is a genre of literature that uses magic and other supernatural forms as a primary element of either plot, theme, setting, or all three.

Archetype - is an idealized model of a person, object, or concept from which similar instances are derived, copied, patterned, or emulated.

Dryad - a female tree spirit in Greek mythology. They are also known as tree nymphs.

Nymph - In Greek mythology, a nymph is any member of a large class of female nature entities, sometimes bound to a particular location or landform.

Dwarf - is a short humanoid creature in Norse mythology, fairy tales, fantasy fiction

Naiad - In Greek mythology, the Naiads were a type of nymph who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks, as river gods embodied rivers, and some very ancient spirits inhabited the still waters of marshes, ponds and lagoon-lakes.

Note to students and parents

These definitions are compiled and summarized from various sources. They are not meant to be used as official definitions for anything. Rather they have been written for your use in trying to understand these concepts.

For more precise and accurate definitions I encourage you to look up the words in dictionaries and other reliable resources. These are not meant as a substitute but rather as clarification.

Other Resources for your enjoyment only

Note to Parents - Please note, I have not read through all the material on these sites. I encourage you to preview all and any site you let your child read. I am only offering locations for further information and can not be responsible for all the content found on the sites. Thanks for your understanding and enjoy your journey through Narnia.

http://cslewis.drzeus.net/ - Into the Wardrobe, a C.S. Lewis website
http://books.narnia.com/ - Chronicles of Narnia Book website with many features and information, including chronological book order.
http://narniaresources.com - Free Downloads
http://www.narniaweb.com/content.asp?id=8&cat=2 - Character Ages

If you have not already read them I encourage you to continue reading the Chronicles of Narnia if you enjoyed this book! I would recommend the Magicians Nephew next (it happens in Narnia time prior to this story and all the rest occur after this one).

Lastly, I encourage you to contact me if you have questions. I come across resources all the time about the land of Narnia and C.S. Lewis. If you would like me to email you these websites from time to time as I find them please email me and I will include you on a list that I will email resources to. Thanks for taking this adventure through Narnia with us!

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February 1, 2006

Ciaran ABC

this is an audio post - click to play