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Read Aloud Thursday

 It has been a crazily busy week here at the House of Hope, with a couple of doctor appointments and a day trip for Steady Eddie and me on my birthday.  (Bless him, he worked hard to rearrange his schedule so he wouldn’t have to spend the night out of town on my big day.  It was still a work trip for him, but I got to putter around and spend an inordinate amount of time browsing in a huge bookstore, so it was a good day, at least for me.  What a guy!)  I said all that to say that although we have lots of books from the library, we’ve had a hard time getting to them this week.  I’m pulling a couple of books that we enjoyed several weeks ago, instead, and sharing them this week.  Hopefully next week I’ll have more current read-alouds to share!

Easy Work!  An Old Tale is an adaptation by Eric A. Kimmel of an American folktale, and my girls thought it was hilarious.  I’m not sure, but I think it might be because Mr. McTeague dons his wife’s dress, bonnet, and apron, as you can see here on the book’s cover.  Andrew Glass did a marvelous job of visually translating this very funny story.  The story, in a nutshell, is this:  Mr. McTeague thinks his wife, in all her housewifely duties, has it made.  She sees a golden opportunity (and he thinks he does), so they agree to trade jobs for a day.  Well, predictably, things don’t go very well for Mr. McTeague.  His homekeeping catastrophes are really funny, especially as he devises ways to make the work easier for himself.  In the end, though, he learns his lesson:  he’d rather leave the homekeeping to his wife and return to his work with the oxen in the woods.  I see from Eric A. Kimmel’s website that he is a very prolific writer, especially when it comes to folktales from around the world.  I’ll definitely keep him in mind as I plan for next year’s schooling!

The other book I’m sharing today is one that I’ve wanted to share for a long time, but I’ve been waiting for the time to give it its own post.  I’ve since decided that that’s probably never going to happen (and the library is finally going to just give me the book since I’ve had it out for so long 😉 ) and that I might as well just give it a spot on today’s Read Aloud Thursday.  The book? Harold’s ABC  by Crockett Johnson.  I’ve mentioned my love and appreciation for Harold and the Purple Crayon before , and it turns out that there’s a whole series of Harold books.  This one is obviously an ABC book; the story takes Harold through the alphabet from A to Z, with him drawing with his ever-present crayon all the way.  Harold’s ABC is every bit as clever as the first Harold book, and it even inspired me to encourage my girls in a little bit of bookmaking of their own.   I suggested to the girls that they use this book as a model; Harold’s illustrations are based on each letter of the alphabet (i.e. “C is for cake” and voila, the letter C is a layer cake with a triangular slice cut out).  I realize now that this might be too abstract a concept for a five year old and a four year old, but they had fun working on their little books.  We used the “Book on a Stick” concept for our creations.  Lulu’s book is entitled “Lulu’s World of Adventures with ABCs.”

This is her G page.  This is a gorilla, and if you look closely (and think backwards 😉 ), you’ll see that the gorilla’s claws (nails?  what do gorillas have?) are shaped like g‘s. 

One more:  this is her J page, and naturally, these are “jumping j‘s” on a trampoline. 

Of course, Louise was included in this activity, too.  I’ve already mentioned that she loves making books, but as it turns out, she prefers a more open-ended exercise.  Her first page is of a lovely green caterpillar. 🙂

Now we just need to go back and add the text to our books, and we’ll be done.  Oh, and I need to have a  manicure ASAP.  😉

Now it’s your turn!  What have you been reading with your family this week?  Leave a link below to your blog post in which you discuss your read aloud selections, or simply leave a comment.

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Have a fantastic Read Aloud Thursday!

ETA:  I am linking up this Read Aloud Thursday post to a fun meme called stART over at A Mommy’s Adventures.  This meme is for posts which combine stories and art.  Check it out!

Friday Felicities

I started not to write a Friday Felicities post this week, but I missed it last week, and I really like to do these.  I think I’ll like to look back in the future and have a record of some of the good things that happened these dark, cold weeks of winter. 

So, onto the list:

  • We had a great trip last weekend to Atlanta, on which we visited the Georgia Aquarium, IKEA, the Wren’s Nest (link to my post about our visit), the original Chic-Fil-A Dwarf House (and lots of other restaurants, of course), and more bathrooms than I care to count.
  • It only took us one day, really, to recuperate from the trip.  Monday was a pretty hairy day for me, but by Tuesday I felt mostly back to normal.  🙂
  • Monday’s surprise snowstorm made the day a little more tolerable–it was exciting for the girls to go outside and try to build a snowman.    They DID manage to make a couple of snowangels, and even though the snow barely covered the asphalt on the street, I think the girls were bundled up well enough to avoid getting any scrapes.  😉  Within a couple of hours, all the snow was gone, but it was pretty while it lasted.
  • Lulu’s reading has really taken off this week.  She selected Madeline in London as her daily reading selection one day, and although we’re taking it slowly, I can see that she has a real interest in reading for herself now. 
  • Louise has had a grand time playing on an empty box that once held an IKEA bookcase (unassembled).  It’s usually a boat, but sometimes it’s other things (a slide?  something else?  I lose track.). 
  • Chic-Fil-A is once again including “Between the Lions” CDs as the prize in their kids’ meals.  (Looking at the website, I think this must be because they had leftovers or something.  I don’t think it’s the scheduled prize right now.)  Although they’re not different than the ones we got a couple of years ago, most of those have been worn out or lost.  I do have a couple of duplicates, though, so stay tuned–there might be a tiny little giveaway in the future.
  • Have I ever mentioned how much we like Chic-Fil-A?  Maybe I should’ve just called this post “Chic-Fil-A Felicities.”  🙂

I just want to stop and thank God for all the good things in my life.  They’re really too numerous to count.

For more Friday Felicities, head over to Becky’s blog!

Reading Over My Shoulder: Education Is an Atmosphere

Lately there’s been a lot of that going on.  While I try to be attentive to my children at most meals, especially, I will confess to reading the local newspaper over breakfast.  However, I’m once again realizing that almost everything can (and likely will) become a “learning moment” (whether I want it to or not 😉 ).  I refer to Lulu as a blossoming reader, and while I’m sure there’s a more appropriate educational term, I like mine.  I see her mind opening up to the possibilities inherent in the ability to read.  While she sometimes balks at our short phonics lessons (‘though she does extremely well and even likes it when it’s said and done), she is forever going about the house reading whatever she sees–shampoo bottles, book titles, canned goods labels, newspaper headlines.  This brings us up to day, breakfast time.  I was eating my bagel and peanut butter and skimming an editorial when Lulu announced, “There’s an s and a z together in that word!”  The article entitled “Chavez’s socialist project hobbled” on the page next to the one I was reading had caught her eye, especially the strange-looking arrangement of letters.  This led to a quick little discussion of possession and the use of apostrophes. 

I think this is the part of homeschooling that I find most rewarding and most confounding.  It’s rewarding because I think this is where much of real learning takes place–in the incidentals, the times when there’s a need to know something, or simply an interest in knowing something.  Will my kindergartener remember everything I told her about possession?  No.  But will she at least be a little more familiar with it than she was before?  Yes. 

It’s confounding because my brief experience as a public school teacher makes me want (need?) to quantify our learning.  Should I make a note that we talked about this?  Can I somehow work this into our lesson plans for the day?  If you have that same voice in your head, you know what I’m talking about.  If you don’t, lucky you.  😉

I’ve been reading up on the Charlotte Mason method lately, especially by perusing Simply Charlotte Mason and slowly going through When Children Love to Learn: A Practical Application of Charlotte Mason’s Philosophy for Today.  Up until the past few weeks, I was fairly certain that I wanted to put into practice the methods of a classical (neoclassical?) education a la The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home .  I still love the idea, but I’m wondering if what I think of as a more gentle approach might be better for us in the beginning.  I’m still mulling it all over in my brain, trying to figure it out myself.  The reason I bring this up now is because I’ve been thinking about one of the pillars of a Charlotte Mason education:  learning is an atmosphere.  I understand that there’s probably a lot more to this little statement than meets the eye as far as an education method is concerned, but I think it must have something to do with the whole incidental learning situation.  I want to be free in my mind for this to be the way our days go.  I think in reality they already go pretty much this way, but in the back of my mind there’s always the little record keeper, checking things off her list. 

I’m still thinking.  I’ll keep you posted.

Friday Felicities

 
To be honest, I haven’t had the best week. Among other things, we are still combatting illness, and now I’m counted among the sick.  I’ll be glad when the winter coughs and sniffles are done! 

What better time, then, to focus on the positives?!?

  • A return to our normal “load” of scheduled activities.  While this does make life more hectic, we all thrive on routine. 
  • Lulu’s declaration that her favorite time of the day is school time.
  • An apparent disappearance of morning sickness.  I’m always hesitant to declare anything (especially this!) completely finished, but I almost never feel sick anymore.  Praise the Lord!
  • A return to lots of reading aloud
  • Renewing my acquaintance with old friends
  • A school room that is slowly being organized and  decluttered (and which I hope to share photos of soon!)
  • Scrapbooking tonight with friends, if I’m up to it
  • A wonderful husband who stayed home from work yesterday to play nursemaid/homeschool tutor/chauffer/chief cook and bottle washer during my time of feelin’ poorly
  • A new electric pencil sharpener (or, as one of my girls has been wont to say, “pencinil sharpener”) for the schoolroom, thanks to my dear mother
  • A little bit of artistic fun this week, mama included!

Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. --Pablo Picasso

Friday Felicities

It has been a long while since I’ve participated in the Friday Felicities meme, and I thought this would be a good week to jump back in. 

Some happies from this week:

  • A great start to our homeschooling week.  I was energetic and enthusiastic to get started again, which was a relief after slogging through homeschooling with morning sickness.
  • The blessing of homeschooling realized when Lulu came down the a viral infection late Tuesday night.  We tabled our lessons for a couple of days, and the girls have enjoyed hours of audiobooks and some DVDs.  We worked when she felt like it and felt good about that.
  • A funny from our brief reading lesson on Thursday:  I asked Lulu to use the word slung in a sentence after she read the word (we’re working on the ng digraph right now).  Her sentence:  “I slung the dead camel around my neck and took it to town to sell it.”  What?  🙂
  • Exciting news on Tuesday at the obstetrician’s office:  we’re having a BOY!
  • A return to scrapbooking for me.  It feels good to have almost completed a layout this week!
  • A fresh haircut for me.  Just my normal ‘do (a slightly angled bob), but it feels nice and looks better. 
  • Snow on Thursday, which permitted Steady Eddie to stay home with us, too.  Not much snow, but enough by Alabama standards to cancel school for a couple of days and wipe the grocery shelves clear of milk and bread.  😉 (Yet another blessing of homeschooling, especially with young children:  they don’t know it’s a snow day!)

 

See the blue stuff sticking out from under Louise's hat? That's a nightcap, confiscated for the dress up bin after Steady Eddie and I used it in a Sunday School skit. Louise wears it to bed sometimes, a la Laura Ingalls. She felt it a necessary addition to her winter weather wear. This girl really keeps life interesting.

 If you want to read more Friday Felicities, visit Becky’s blog!