Golden Grasses

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Full Swing Fall Schedule

Our weeks and week-ends are so full I literally fell asleep on the couch last night! But, it was a week FULL of learning, working, reading, laughing, friends and tons of fun! We have Classical Conversations Community Day on Tuesday. Tuesdays are FULL days meeting new friends,review games, presentations, memory work, papers, grammar and math games, Pshew!

One morning a week we have a small group of 30-ish meeting at our house for 
  The Grammar of Poetry (LOVE this program- you can read my review here),
 Biology Lab, which has included lots of being outside gathering, observing and considering pond scum with organ parts coming up and a study on the Middle East/ Turkey, taught by a missionary to the Muslim community- fascinating! 
We were going to try to fit in art as well, but 3 hours flies by, especially as the kids want to run, snack and play together. Art is going to have to wait until next semester. In the meantime, we have some cool field trips planned as well. We LOVE co-op, even if everyone gets up early to make sure the carpets are vacuumed! 

The fun doesn't end because, Feeche drops Flower off at Science Club, Cub to Philosophy Class and then makes his way to college classes -it's a full day of outsourced classes. 
Monday, Wednesday and Fridays we are busy writing, reading, doing grammar drills and Latin,  practicing memory work and not quite fitting everything in. 

On Friday, Ballroom Dancing occurred and Dr. Dh and I went to hear a presentation on One for Israel. If you are concerned about the conflict in the Middle East, consider supporting this organization where Arabs and Israelites are studying and worshiping together under the unity of Christ!

I led another Home-School High-School Mini-Camp on Saturday that went way over the allotted two hours, but it was full of fabulous discussion and real life experiences. Love talking to people who are creating choices and opportunities that work for them, and resourcing them to do so! 
We purchased an old-timey push mower, to get the creaky edges and odd areas of our property. It is good, clean fun. It is also hard work! Feeche motorized ours by running as he pushed. 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Classical Conversations Community Day

CC Family Opening. Introductions 
Community Day is what it's always been. 15 minutes of community opening- including Pledge of Allegiance, Prayer and a Family Presentation. Then, off to classes:

1/2 hour New Grammar (this week's Memory Work). We hit all 7 subjects 7 times. 1/2 hour barely allows enough time to cover it all, but we squeeze it in. We are using the Clave Beat to use our Multiplication Tables, "smart" glasses for Latin, Time-line cards, laminated maps for Geography, crazy voices and actions for the rest. It's non-stop movement for 30 fast minutes!
1/2 hour Presentation: Some kids shared their favorite Bible verse. Flower shared our 11 year farm-life Cat genealogy and favorite cat antics, which included watching the cats discover and devour Snapping Turtle eggs. Country life- gotta love it.
A puppet show on The Flood! Terrific! 
They all were!

1/2 hour Science Lab- the kids had a blast. We are slipping the lab sheets into page protectors and re-using them each week. 

The kids take it very seriously and spent the entire half hour laughing, changing things up and discovering! Check out how engaged these kids are! Most of them just met each other last week. 

1/2 hour Art (no pics this week- they were too busy eating snack, doing the art, and sharing ideas!)

1/2 hour Grammar Review (review all prior week's Memory Work). We only had 1 week to review so far; played a game, did the time line cards and song and worked on States and Capitals.

My Stick-in-Sand review game: write memory work on 3x5 cards, with a number on the back. Turn them over on the table. The kids roll a dice and have to answer whatever card they get, including putting Timeline cards in order, identifying states and capitols on a map and reciting Bible verses Simple, effective and fun!

Clean up, lunch together in the gym and then off to Essentials (Grammar, Writing and Math). A full day full of learning and laughs. Lots more pictures to follow of our wonderful CC Community Day.

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Where've Ya Been?

It's been over 2 months since I lasted posted. I vowed when I first started this blog that I would never be caught dead writing a post that began or included the words, "My poor neglected blog..." And so you wont be reading that now. This is the longest blog break I've taken in just over 5 years of blogging. It was intentional, and much needed.

My life has changed significantly in the past couple of years. As of last month, I've been working for over a year after a twenty-year hiatus from a professional job; getting one, given that we live 2 miles from the middle of nowhere and are still committed to homeschooling, was a challenge in its own right.  Last year I tried to keep up with doing reviews, blogging, homeschooling and working, but all of that coupled with some personal heart-ache was too much; too much pressure, too many demands.

This spring I finished up all of the reviews I had committed to; sadly (sniffle) resigned from the amazing TOS Review Crew (whom I love and miss!), quite one part time job, and buckled down for the busy season at aforementioned professional job that I love and have been greatly challenged by.

In addition, we changed co-ops; which was a huge decision and not done lightly. We've been part of a wonderful, Godly,  homeschooling fellowship since the year after our house fire. We have taught and learned together, done parties and sleep-overs and family camp together. But there were some changes made, which, because of our faith affiliation, made it impossible for me to teach for them and difficult for us to get there. Instead we have joined the newly re-formed Classical Conversations Community in our area, where I can Tutor in the mornings and use their wifi in the afternoons while the kids are in Essentials. We also started a weekly co-op in our way out in the country home, with other country mice that  are as eager for classes and fellowship as we are. It's a totally new season. In many ways, it feels very God ordained, which, given the past two years, I am deeply grateful for. It's been a huge adjustment, to be sure, and not a week goes by that my kids don't mention SMF and how much they loved choir and the songs we learned and how they wish they could have Ana or Jannell for art, for just one more year. But they also mention every week how much they love our little co-op in the country, and the people who are coming and what they are learning. Good memories of what has been and good memories being made. Thank-you, Jesus!

I am still working and homeschooling. Working professionally, from home, presents its own set of challenges. Like when to leave work. Like how to sound professional on the phone, when the kids are putting away the dishes. Like how to get it all done. And I've really wondered if continuing this blog is even possible. I'm not a half-in kind of person. I am irritatingly all in, or all out. So, committing to continue this blog has been a huge decision to come to.

My sweet Cub, who is now taller than me and my most faithful blog reader and who probably won't want to be called sweet, especially publically, asks weekly, sometimes daily, when I am going to blog again. And I put him off with equal regularity. But today, randomly, I was asked by two different people, from two different towns if I was still blogging, and they both made comments about how encouraging my writing was. And then, someone whom I just meet asked me a pointed question, paused for a moment at my response and stated, "So, vocationally, you are an educator." Shamzam. Why, yes, yes I am.

Which was the point of this blog to begin with. To offer encouragement, ideas, and thoughts for others who might find themselves off the beaten path, ether educationally, or spiritually, or vocationally, or socially. That's where we live. And oy vey; it's a hard path to walk. So being a Ecclessiastes 4:9 follower, I offer encouragement to others on the narrow way.

I've gotten a bit crippled up the past couple of years on this dangerous journey. The outcomes that I was pretty darn sure of have taken a wrong turn and we have come to relinquish and release people and hopes and the longings of our hearts on way too many levels. My heart has been painfully broken. For awhile I thought it might just stay that way and my belief in prayer, and faith and Christian family,  my hope and joy in the One True Living God waned. But, by the grace of my Heavenly Father, and the ministry of His people, my broken heart has been bound up and begun to heal. Thank-you, Sweet Friends who have prayed, encouraged and believed for me when I could not.

And so, with that, I trust myself to write again; about education, about bringing up children in the fear and admonition of the Lord; about following the Ancient Paths, classical education, friends- the usual stuff I've written about for the past 5 years. But, being older, and hopefully, a bit wiser, I am crystal clear that no matter how faithful we are, the outcomes are up to each individual and to the Lord. In other words, we may be faithful parents, but our children must work out their own salvation with fear and trembling. We may be faithful educators, but our students must still take in and learn what we teach. I am not so sure of some things anymore, and more certain of others than ever before.

We only have 3 kids still at home, two of whom we are homeschooling. Feeche is a full time college student with the dual goal of a debt free degree made possible through a combination of hard work, CLEPs, scholarships and living at home.

Which leaves 2 kids still homeschooling, Cub, in 9th grade and Flower in 6th. Homeschooling this year includes the above mentioned co-op, CC, Science Club with Ms. Margy, Learning Labs with Bridgeway Academy, and a plethora of other resources, like Ballroom Dancing and a fledgling STOA Club that I am tremulously starting with some long-time friends. We make ready use of CC CD's and CC Connected and as many other resources as we can find, as usual.

I'm not sure how often I'll post. I'm not sure how many reviews, or pictures will be included, or how much time I'll really have to do this. But we'll just see how it goes as we go along.

As always, thank-you Dear Reader, for reading Golden Grasses

(I hope you are happy, Dear Cub. I love you forever). 

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pledge of Allegiance

Proud to be an America. Thank-you Red Skeleton, for the beautiful and patriotic history lesson.

 @Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Experience "History Through Music- Review

 Diana Waring has been a leader in the homeschooling community for many years, producing history curriculum, encouraging homeschoolers to think outside the box and learn courageously alongside their kids, laughing out loud and singing!
I'm thrilled to introduce you to a set of music we had years and years ago, but through multiple cross country moves and a house fire, has been lost. Thankfully,  Diana Waring re-produced the wonderful Experience History Through Music! Series and we have them in our house, once more, only this time by a different name, and on CD!
There are 3 titles in this series
America 1750-1890: The Heart of a New Nation
Westward Ho!: The Heart of the Old West
Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder
It's common knowledge that if you want to really understand a culture, you consider the artwork of the time. That is exactly what  Diana Waring has done in Experience History Through Music! Series!
Each book/CD in the series is similar. There is a glossy covered book, complete with stories about the songs, tons of photographs and wonderful artwork, the sheet music and a professional recording of every song in the book! This is learning history at it's best- hands on and out-loud!
My Dad was a musician, and started out in college as a piano major. We all started to play the piano at age 5 under his tutelage, and singing was de riguer in our home. We sang in the car, for our grandparents and always at Great Aunt Dolly's, who always listened with such rapt attention, you would have thought we were the Mormon Tabernacle Choir come to call. My dad taught us parts, utilizing so many of the simple, fun and heart felt songs found in these books. Memories, baby, of long, hot car rides with no air conditioning, and my Dad's demanding perfection, with the wind blowing our words and the heat away.

We sang, "The Old Chariot" and "My Sweet Sabbath Home" at my Grandparents little Plimoth Brethren Church, the faithful gathered every Sunday to declare in song their belief and faith. Windows open, deep in Hoosier country, so that anyone driving by (in car or buggy- this was Amish country, y'all) could hear the sweet sounds of the souls gathered within. Listening to the Musical Memories of Laura Ingalls Wilder choked me up more than once. These songs brought back memories of my childhood and the songs that saturated it, sung with dear ones, many of whom have gone ahead.  It's amazing how much emotion a song can invoke- a time, a place, a season.

And that, my friends, is exactly the point of this 3 book/CD series. To capture times past. To give our children a taste of eras that demanded courage, strong will, hard work and a killer sense of humor. It's all in here. Songs to inspire, cause one to dig deeper -gooey duck, seriously?, laugh, cry and think deeply about what it took to carve a country out of wilderness.

Musical Memories; if you are old enough, these CD's will bring them back. And they will hearken to a simpler time when the simple act of song drew folks together, established community and brought joy to those who listened, regardless of the amateur quality of the singer. Theses are songs that tell of the rich history of this country, of families that valued hard work, faith and family.

Each book features 13-16 songs. This would be a fantastic unit study, a terrific way to incorporate music into your homeschool or in addition to studies you are already doing. We are continuing to read through Notgrass American History and will be doing Classical Conversations, Cycle 3 (American History) in the fall. This fits right in to both. My kids are not only reading about how this country was formed, memorizing history sentences, but singing about it all, too!
The books are every bit as much a visual feast as the songs are a treat for the ears. Each song  has commands 2 pages in the book, full of informative text and one or more photographs or pieces of  artwork. Fantastic! 

Experience History Through Music These book/CD sets are available for $18.99 each BUT for the month of July, you can get all 3 books, with CDs, for $50!
Experience History Through Music These book/CD sets are available for $18.99 each BUT for the month of July, you can get all 3 books, with CDs, for $50!

And don't forget about the HUGE $700 Give-away  going on NOW in conjunction with this launch. There is still time to enter to win! 

You can stay connected with Diana Waring and all her products through these social media outlets:
Newsletter Subscriber Link:

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Adoption Fund Raiser- Please Help Bring Dominic HOME!

My dear friends, Megan and Steve have a beautiful, faith-based, loving family, built through the gift of adoption. My own Mom and Uncle were adopted and I know first hand the power and long lasting love that occurs when a family is brought together in such a unique way. Please read Megan and Steve's story and prayerfully consider how you might be a part of bringing one more orphan HOME. 

We are Megan and Steve, an adoptive family with 3, almost 4, kiddos.  Our current adoption actually starts with our last adoption. In 2009 we were blessed to travel to Thailand to bring our then 8 year old son, Gabriel, home. 
Gabe had a best friend in the orphanage and the boys both had families in the USA waiting for them. Our agency had put us in contact and we looked forward to keeping the boys connected after they came home. The boys were both told in spring of 2008, they were being adopted!  As can happen though, the best friend's adoption fell through.

We had a difficult time processing this information and the knowledge that this sweet boy we had met, spent time playing with, taken pictures of, and that played a huge part of our son's first 8 years of life, would not have a forever family. Never know the unconditional love of parents and siblings. Many prayers were offered and tears shed.

Then November of 2011 we received a call letting us know the best friend's paperwork had just shown up and he was available for adoption. They remembered our distress over his situation and our desire to be kept abreast of any news regarding him. So before they started advocating for him to find a family, would we be interested in adopting him. WOW!

Another adoption was not on our radar.  We are a home school family with one income. Don't misunderstand us, we would adopt more if the financial cost wasn't so great. But there were many reasons to not proceed with his adoption. 

But God called.

We answered. Best friends WILL become brothers!!

All along the way we have stepped out in faith He would provide. And He has. We had a rummage sale last fall that provided the funds for a bill with just weeks left to pay it before an increase in the fees.

Now we prayerfully need to ask others to continue to join us on this journey. We are in the final stages and will be receiving the call we have waited over 2 1/2 years to receive. The invitation to travel. However, along with that call comes the final bills and travel costs.  The stress of where the money is going to come from takes some joy out of the anticipation.  Our son also turns 13 in August and we don't want to make him wait any longer just because of money reasons. 

Here are the ways you can help us......

1)  Pray, pray, and pray some more. For us to be fully funded. For our children's hearts to be ready for the challenges we face in travel and the adjustments. For our new son's safety in Thailand as he waits for us and his heart as he prepares for huge changes to the world as he knows it. For us as parents that we may trust in God's provisions and seek His wisdom in all our plans.

2)  By sharing our story. Please feel free to pass along our story, our needs.

3)  By making a donation to help us meet our goal to fully fund the rest of our adoption.  We need to raise a minimum of another $15,000, a huge number.  Yet we know nothing is too big for our God.  He can multiply a few fish and loaves of bread to feed hundreds. He can take donations of any amount and multiply it. 

We would be so grateful if you took this journey with us!       

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Roman Road Media- The Greeks- Review

I have the wonderful privilege of introducing you to the best curriculum finds of the year-
Video Curriculum/ Classical Education/ Christian Perspective

 Roman Roads Media is a company recently created by brothers Daniel and David Foucachon, classically educated homeschool graduates who have the desire to bring quality classical education home. They have re-released some old favorites (see my review of the recently updated Grammar of Poetry here) and have been busy producing curriculum what will, undoubtedly, be our, and your, new favorites.

My kids and I had the recent pleasure of reviewing Old Western Culture Year One: The Greeks. This was, hands down, our favorite curriculum of the year, in a year of stellar curriculum.
The Greeks - Old Western Culture

Unit : The Epics- The Poems of Homer
Unit 2: Drama and Lyric- The Tragedies, Comedies and Minor Poems
Unit 3: The Histories: Herodotus, Thucydides, and Xenophon
Unit 4: The Philosophers- Aristotle and Plato

We received all four DVD's for Year 1 and the accompanying workbooks and answer keys. Each DVD contains 12 lectures, totaling 4-6 hours of teaching time each with additional assigned reading, and Study Guide assignments and recommendations, including a Term Paper, down loadable exams and additional resources available on-line. The DVD's are professional quality. The study guides are comb bound with glossy covers. The web-site is user friendly and easy to navigate. 

The recommended age range is high school and the material covers 2 full high school credits: both Literature and Social Studies. In addition, there are over 100 works of art noted in each unit, which could be easily worked into 1/4 or 1/2 credit of Humanities or Art History. 

My kids were both younger than the recommended age range when they watched these- (5th and 8th graders, respectively). They, however, LOVED the material and couldn't get enough of it. They did read some of the literature, but not all, as some of the content is quite mature. They have been exposed to quite a bit of the literature and history in these lessons so had some basic familiarity. They were fascinated by the maps, often paused the DVD's to discuss new information and were occasionally appalled by the art. That being said, some mornings they would wake up and beg to watch these DVD's while eating breakfast. Wes Callihan is a master story teller and if you think Ancient History is dry and boring, then you haven't heard him teach it yet!

What's to love about this course and these products? Everything!
Quality video production.
World class teaching by classical educator Wesley Callihan of Schola Classical Tutorials and Hill Abbey
Demanding, challenging, mesmerizing content that will leave your student, no matter how steeped in history and classical studies, begging for more.

If you are not familiar with Wes Callihan, take a minute and watch the video above. He knows this stuff, forward and backward, makes fantastic connections, explains in a way that is simple, but never simplistic, makes difficult books and concepts accessible and is a world class story-teller. Seriously, my kids loved listening to Mr. Callihan and I actually had to put time limits on how long they could watch a DVD at a time. If it had been up to them, they would have watched the entire program in one long marathon session! This is not just for those who are interested in classical education. This is for anyone interested in great history, literature or why we are who we are today.
Old Western Culture | 4 year overview

The Greeks are Year 1 in a Four Year program which will include

If you are not sure if Old Western Culture is for year, take it for a test drive here. Preview full lessons, the workbooks, exams and much more.
There are many ways to purchase this course: as individual DVD's, with on-line streaming, or as a packaged set. The set that we reviewed includes all 4 DVD's and student guides for $224, however there are web-specials. 

In addition, Roman Roads Media is producing quality curriculum in the areas of Logic, Latin, Economics, American History, Music and More. This program is excellent for home use, would be a wonderful co-op or Academic class day course, for use in private schools, or simply to ramp up your own education. This will be a company that we do business with for a long time to come.

From video quality to content, this program was of the highest quality. Highly recommended! 

Find  Roman Roads Media:
Roman Roads on Facebook
Roman Roads on Pinterest
Roman Roads on Twitter
Roman Roads on Google+
Roman Roads on YouTube

Disclaimer: I received these books in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expresses are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing in accordance with the FTC regulations.  

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Kayaking Field Trip!

We have a terrific Outdoor Campus in our fair city. They run classes all year long on everything from Outdoor Cooking, Skiing, Geo caching, Archery, and more. When I am on top of it I try to schedule one or two classes each season. This last week we and and 30+ other adventurous souls took to the water, in the midst of a gentle summer rain. Thankfully, it stayed gentle as forecasts were threatening lightening and more flooding! Most of the kids, homeschool grads and even parents took to the Kayaks, though there were a few canoers in the bunch and we had only one spill! Brett is an excellent sport and went right back out on the water, and even rescued a stranded canoe, after being towed to shore.
After a quick 15 minutes of safety and instruction, we were ready to hit the water! Cub paddled for the entire hour and 15 minutes, declaring that he'd earned his P.E. credits for the week when he was done. The kids were soaked from the rain AND from being low to the water, tired from paddling and happy to be together. 
Canoeing, then to the park, and then friends for the afternoon. A great way to end the week!

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!

If You Were Me and Lived in Australia or Russia- Review

Away We Go Media presents more books by author Carol P. Roman in the series, If You Were Me and Lived in....

These terrific books are written by Carol P. Roman, former teacher, successful business woman, Mom, Gramma and award winning author. We've had the privilege to review 2 of her books in the "If You Were Me and Lived in..." series in the past  here.. When we were offered the chance to review two more, Russia and Australia, we were delighted. In addition to the books, Flower was happy to receive a globe key-ring, flags and pencils.
The recommended age for these books are pre-K- 8. Flower loves these books. Is she 11? Yes. Has she done extension geography studies? Yes. Are these seemingly simple books too young for her? NO!

Which leads me to what I absolutely love about this series. It is simple. It is straightforward. It is fun. It is chock-full of great learning! This series takes the complexity of a foreign culture and makes it accessible to even very young children in a delightful way. Each book has a sturdy glossy cover,with unpretentious but engaging pictures. The pictures are in full color; again, simple, but winsome. The first page features a map, with the title of the country and a big star denoting the capital. This is followed by a picture of children pointing out where that country would be on a globe. Each book follows the same format of information delivery; it describes what life might be like for you if you were a boy or a girl living in this country, beginning with common names, common foods, clothing, major landmarks, games, celebrations and schooling. There is an extensive pronunciation guide at the back of each book. Each book is around 30 pages long.

These books are a terrific addition to any home library, would be great to build a geography or cultural understanding unit study around, a good introduction to anyone visiting any of these countries or simply for the geographically curious. Highly recommended as a resource to make learning fun.
Titles in the series so far: India, Turkey, Mexico, Norway , South Korea, France, Portugal, Russia, Australia,Kenya

The list price for each title in the series is $9.99, and it is currently available on Kindle for $0.99.

My previous review of Carole P. Romans books can be found here.
Find Carol P. Roman and Away We Go Media in the following places:
Carol P. Roman on Amazon!
Carol P. Roman web-site
Carole P. Roman blog
Carol P.Roman on FaceBook
Carol P. Roman on Twitter
Away We Go Media

Disclaimer: I received these books in exchange for my honest review. It was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. All opinions I have expresses are my own or those of my family. I am disclosing in accordance with the FTC regulations.  

@Golden Grasses 2008-2013. All photographs, artwork and text are the property of the owner unless otherwise stated. Don't miss a thing! Subscribe to Golden Grasses and get our articles right to your inbox!