Golden Grasses

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Best Day Ever

This girl made Memory Master last spring (way back in April). 
It was hard work and her courage waned a bit mid-year. We told her she could pick a reward (within reason) if she made it. She chose a day at the Omaha Zoo (which rocks), stipulating that it had to include the Bros. Feeche gave up a day of first week of college week-end fun and Cub gave up Ballroom Dancing and DQ with his peeps to make sure Flower got her wish. Best big brothers, evah!
So yeah, 5 months later we finally all had a free week-end to go! 
Do you see the Monkey in the Middle? 
And the tall kid?!

We left sorta early to meet Lynn and Paul, friends from Seminary, for brunch. 1/4 century old friends are some of the best; love them! And they promised to make it up to our place for more Gun Fun before Thanksgiving. Which totally made Cub's day, but makes us all happy. They are readers and thinkers and love to travel, learn and eat good food, so we never run out of things to talk and laugh about. 
And then 5 hours at one of the best zoos in the country, with perfect weather. It was absolutely glorious out and we took turns at exhibits together, breaking up and going separate ways, some of us sauntering, while others speed walked to the last couple of places before we closed the zoo down. 
We tried a new place for dinner; Cheddars, which is always dicey, given food issues and a few unnamed people who like to stick to the tried and true. Phenomenal service, huge portions of yummy, healthy food and did I mention the great service?! (It's near the mall on 92, sit in Mark's section). 
Such a fun, fun day. I asked Flower if it was worth the hard work AND the wait. 
And now back to your regularly scheduled crazydays programming. 

@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!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Building Copiousness- Resources for Challenge, Week 1

A word that defined a thought I've had for years (search GG for "Lasagna Learning") is copiousness. I ran across this word at the CC Speaker Training in CO last spring with the lovely Lisa Bailey. Copiousness
I love that word. It's why we often do 2-5 history programs a year, or CC AND a co-op each year. It's why we do immersion with Rosetta Stone and a classical language acquisition program, like First Form or Henle. We are creating breadth of understanding and with that, depth. In the same way repetition builds mental muscles and eventually brings understanding, copiousness does the same thing.

Building copiousness when your schedule is jam packed.

We have been watching 1-3 Latin Tutorials on YouTube most mornings. History, language, grammar; it's all in there; and engaging to watch. Even if you aren't studying Latin this year, spend a few minutes with Latin Tutorials and build your language muscles.

Don't underestimate the power of chats. We are chanting our Declension charts daily, as well as in class. Along with this, don't underestimate the power of repetition and flashcards. Don't just make them, use them and review them.

Latin grammar wall charts from Memoria Press are great resources to have around. We've been using them at home and I take them to Challenge every week as well.

Circe Institute- want to love classical ed, even if you don't implement it? Not convinced you should? Check out this video of master teacher and historian Wes Callihan teaching on
The Golden Horn: Norse Saga, Saint Dracula, and the Defense of Christendom in the Middle Ages
(and then get yourself to a Circe conference so you can hear all of this wonderfulness in person!) or, purchase the Old Western Culture DVDs from Roman Roads Media for hours of history in your own home!

For the Debate strand in Challenge A there are plenty of good resources out there. We have enjoyed Drawing Canada this week, along with tracing and labeling.

And that's week 1. Pshew. It's been a great week. And it's Saturday and we are still going strong. Flower and Cub have worked most of the morning, we have chanted and I'm about to go outside to do flashcards. Good stuff. Now, where is the maid when I need her, cause my house is trashed!

@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!

Year 25/ Week 1

This week marks the beginning of our 25th year of Homeschooling. I've blogged for 8 of them. Pretty crazy how time flies. I've been blogging less, but it's not for lack of cool things to do and share, it's for lack of time. I am always And I do miss blogging. I will continue to muddle along, and hopefully, you will continue to check back every now and then and see what we are up to. 

25 years later. We are a far cry from where we started homeschooling: in L.A. with our 2 oldest daughters and 6 full time daycare kids. We did a zillion field trips, went to the beach and the many beautiful L.A. Parks as often as possible, swam in the pool, read so many  books and served so many meals and snacks they were coming out of my ears. All from the comfort of our little grad school back-house, while Dr.Dh and I earned grad degrees. 

And here we are in the Territories, so many grad degrees behind us, having graduated our 3 oldest and back to Homeschooling Two again. It's a different climate, culture, and Homeschooling World. I started out Homeschooling working full time and going to Grad School and I am mostly back at it working 30+ hours a week at my job. Not another Grad degree, but Directing Challenge is, shall we say, challenging, and I spend my fair share of time doing homework every week. 

So what's up for school this year? Challenge A and 1. Our co-op will add in Spanish, Art and Music History and a class on Entreprenurialsm. Plus Ballroom dancing, TeenPact events, Drama, and other life happenings (as in, every week-end has been booked solid for the past month). The kids have begged NOT to add in on-line classes. The only one I am still waffling on is the Test Prep. 

We did finish the last brick walk/patio area/garden bed. The boys also took down more miles of barbed wire fencing, continued to clear the grove of dead wood, continued to take down chain link and old fence posts. It's looking park like around here. 

Flower's Garden didn't work out so great, but the zinnias,sunflowers and squash that she tucked in here and there thrived. We have a bumper crop of acorn squash and eggplant about to be harvested. She has big plans to make a straw bale garden next year, which we are going to tuck behind the white shed; another re-claimed odd corner with decrepit fencing gone. 

We started our Classical Conversations Challenge program this week; Challenge A and 1with a total of 17 kids- pretty amazing since as of the June Practicum we had 1 Challenge program and only 6 kids.  A rocking CC Practicum and several Windows into Challenge Meetings later and here we are. I'll be posting some great Challenge A helps later today, so stay tuned. 

 @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, August 24, 2015

Math, Science and History - Homeschooling High School

I've written a bit already on how we teach Math, Science, Biology and History in our home. Check out some previous posts:
Godly Patterns in Homeschooling
Discovering Patterns
Social and Physical Sciences 
Classical STEM
VCF-Globe Trotting

I've also talked about lasagna learning in our  homeschool. This is a very classical approach to learning. What I mean by lasagna learning is layer upon layer; overview, review, mastery. Going over material one time, in simple form, might be just enough to whet an appetite, but to really get a-hold of an area, to own it, love it and be able to play with it, requires familiarity, understanding it from multiple sides, from different depths and perspectives.

I am always a bit perplexed by people who talk about nailing down the one perfect curriculum for a specific subject area- especially those areas that are content rich, like Bible and History. We grab as many resources as we can find and do, what is probably best described, a yearly smash up in content areas. For instance, in Bible, my kids have their own reading/study; will be doing some serious Apologetics in CC, have spent the week-end immersed in presentations by a Rabbi from CJCUC, took part in a Middle East study last fall presented by former Missionaries to Turkey, etc. Their history reading delves into church history, as does Timeline memorization, along with much of the fiction that they read. Yes, we do actually intentionally purchase curriculum, but at this point, in High School, it's more pre-determined by who they are studying with, any outsourced classes they are taking and areas of interest.

The year, Cub will be delving deep into American History. We just finished Notgrass' 900+ page 2 volume series on "America the Beautiful." This year he'll be reading source documents and thinking and writing deeply on issues such as Free Market Economics and Liberty. Is redundancy wasted time? Hardly, if it is done with intentionality and purpose, and not as a time -filler- it takes the studetn from passive to active learner. Love that. 

In between, and for fun, he is reading The History of the Renaissance World and the Story of Science by SWB, so it's not like he'll be solely focusing on American History for the entirety of high school.

Skill specific subject areas like Math and the hard sciences require a different approach. For these classes, memory work has to happen. Laws, Rules, facts memorized make everything go so much more smoothly. Then, time on task. You can't get through much math if you don't actually sit down and do the math. I do have a math slug and for that student I set the timer. They work hard while the timer is going and when the hour is over, they are done with that subject; otherwise they'll spend all day in front of their math book, getting more and more discouraged, not getting anything done and feeling guilty about their lack of motivation.

Check out more on Math, Science and History. @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, August 23, 2015

It is Well With My Soul

we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 2 Cor 4:9

For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Cor 4:17-18

Do God's Commandments- Love One Another.

 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 4- 7 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, August 19, 2015

Circe Institute 2015 Annual Conference

Circe Institute 2015 Annual Conference in Charleston, SC. The break-out sessions were good  but it was the plenary sessions that I loved. Holy Buckets, these guys can make it all come together. The crowd consisted of Classical Educators from private, public, university model and homeschools. In other words people from all over the country (and some from beyond) with the common purpose of using the vehicle of classical education to bring the Gospel to the hearts and minds of others. Super love. 

Not many vendors- but the ones that were there were amazing- IEW, Lost tools, Roman Roads Media, 8th Day books. What made it so good, so refreshing, so fulfilling? The great food, great conversations, great teaching  had something to do with it. But also, the common vision of Goodness, Truth and Beauty, the fellowship of the Saints who believe that God reigns in the midst of crazy educational philosophies, political foolishness and a world gone a little skewed. 

If you haven't had the chance to get to a Circe conference yet, make it so. Worth it on so many levels! 

@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, August 18, 2015

Mid-August Alert

Mid-August. I am not sure what happened to the last 2 weeks, other than super busy at work getting all of my students re-enrolled and curriculum purchased, getting ramped-up for CC Challenge and marinating in all of the fantastic Tutorials and learning opportunities CC provides (Wowza. If you want to get yourself some amazing Ed training, get involved in Classical Conversations), getting TM's spiral bound, and kids notebooks organized,  gathering resources and getting engulfed in a laminating frenzy, taking down barbed wire fencing, hauling gravel, working on the brick walk, landscaping, and doing my summer purge from the recesses of the basement and attic. With all of that, I have not done any super cool large crafty projects, or read a novel, and the attic floor isn't done, meaning neither is the attic. And kittens. Seriously, they are way too super cute.

So, yeah. Blogging. I've had a lot to blog about but no time to do it in. I did resign, again, from the TOS Crew. I am super bummed about this, because I L.O.V.E. the Crewbies and all of the amazing behind the scenes opportunities, not to mention the obvious, but I spent the spring/summer behind on every.single,darn.thing I was involved in and I am too much of a control freak to live there long. Sanity and all that, is a wonderful thing.

So, our yard. Booyah, baby, is totally beautiful. The front looks like a yard, complete with bushes and wildly colorful flowers. We even have a few eggplant tucked in- though we would have had more if Cub hadn't gone into over-zealous-weed-the-garden-mad-man-frenzy at one point. The east side, where the fire-trucks went through, is grassy and park-like, after 4 years of dirt hauling, leveling, grass seeding, weeding and mulching. The west side now has a bricked in landing spot by the back-door, and defined garden beds. A zillion miles of barbed wire is down and rolled in the farther-out pastures, along with tens of yards of chain link, rolled and gone and dry-rotted fence posts out. It's a bizarre feeling de-constructing pens and fields as the craftsmanship from 90 years ago is a bit different than today; i.e. built to last, and it feels like we are vandalizing history. And yet, barbed wire. 'Nuff said.

Birthday season is upon us and we kicked it off by taking Feeche and friend and kids to see Tim Hawkins live and then out to Hu Hot (which, as much as everyone else loves, I don't; the things we do for love). Tomorrow is the actual day of, then mine, then KB's, then Dr. Dh's. Had a blast sitting next to each other at Tim Hawkins laughing so hard our faces and stomachs hurt and looking at each other, saying, yeah- you do that, watching Cub and Flower and Feeche laughing with abandon, after a long and heart wrenching season. Laughter is medicine for the soul.

In other news my brain is crammed full of of 5 Common Topics, ANI charts, Declensions and more. And this week is the county fair- longest running county fair in the Territories, y'all. Good, clean fun. This week-end will be crammed full of a project Dr. Dh has spent every single free (and some of them not) moment on. It's good, good stuff, in a world gone a bit crazy. Dr.Dh is a visionary, which is a combo of memorizingly cool and a wild ride down Mosquito Coast.

School- not starting till September 1, so summer is still happening. Sleep overs, swimming, books and lots of drawing going on around here. History of the Renaissance World, Pride and Prejudice in print, and Agents of Shield and Indiana Jones on the queue. Yeah, I live with a teen-aged boy. He goes to the gym with me, takes out the trash and weeds my garden, so can't complain too much. Flower continues to nurture her Dick Van Dyke obssession; we like Dick but Morey's the Man.
How's your summer going?
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!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

July Wrap-Up

July went by in a technically disastrous blur resulting in this monthly smash up versus weekly wrap-up. It was a crazy and wonderful month- full-up with friends, travel, work.

Shakespeare Camp got the month rolling. Feeche ended up there several days, coaching the younger boys, while Cub and Flower spent the week with Enak and Co.

Week 2 found us traveling to SC, visiting family on the way to and fro. Dr Dh and the kids spent time doing touristy things like  Ft. Sumter, the Yorktown, the Laffey, Ft. Moltrey, the H.L. Hunley and the Aquarium. Oh, and the beach, which was the biggest hit of all. Our prairie loving kids L,O.V.E.D the ocean, no surprise. Because if there is the great outdoors, water or wildlife around, they are happy , happy people.
Andrew Kern, Founder and Prez of Circe Institute
Meanwhile I was at the 2015 Circe Conference, soaking up great conversations, meeting amazing people from all over the country and listening to Tracey Lee Simmons, Wes Callihan, Ken Meyers, Martin Cothran and Andrew Kern and so many other Godly, amazing thinkers. After a June that oozed with Classical Conversations, July was pretty lean on CC- other than meeting Heather Shirley, Matt Bianco and a host of other CC peeps at Circe. Love that. 
(check out the Circe Blog for more on cultivating wisdom and truth)

Wes Callihan, flanked by David and Daniel Foucachon, founders of Roman Roads Media,
Circe found me hanging out with the talented and terrific team from Roman Roads Media.  If you haven't check out RRM yet, do yourself a favor and DO IT!  Their products are GREAT, the company is founded and run by bi-lingual, smart, funny, kind and generous homeschooling grads and their Master Teacher's are names you already know and trust- Wes Callihan, Jim Nance, Matt Whitling. Still need convincing? Check out my reviews: The Greeks, The Grammar of Poetry.

In between all of the fun and inspiration I worked my day job and wrote reviews 
With Lee in Virginia
Shape Whiz
Project Passport- Homeschool in the Woods 

as well as wrote the next installation in the Homeschool High Shool Blog Hop
Frosting on the Cake- Electives, Work and College Prep
Don't Panic! -Homeschooling High School

And in between all of that the kids and I have taken down more decrepit chain and barbed wire fence, tons of fence posts (no small feet as they are usually buried posts, cemented in),reclaimed a few more "lost" areas behind sheds, built another brick sitting area, put up and painted the wooden picket fence and gardened. Dr. Dh has been incognito because of a new position at work and a major event he is planning.
Read much? Not as much as I'd like but I did make it through  "In My Father's House" by Corrie Ten Boom on the way to SC- delightful testimony of how God weaves even the most innocuous threads of our lives together. I also started "A Carless Rage for Life" - a bio about Dorothy Sayers. Love her.
Flower is still reading Pride and Prejudice. Cub is desperately waiting for the next SWB installment (History of the Ren World and Science) and the Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. He'll have to fight me for it. I've read it several times but Lewis is always a good idea, right?!

How was your month?

@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!

Beach, Baby!

It's the beach, right?! Of course we're happy! 
Sand, waves, the salty sea air!

Pictures taken over a few days...

 Dr.Dh and the kids went to plenty of other site- seeing spots as well. 
Getting pictures, however, was not on the list of things to do. 
This is the boy (granted, he got home from Shakespeare Camp at 10 p.m, we put his clothes in the wash and we left the next morning straightaway) who made comments the entire trip such as,  "I hate the car." 
At the beach, "Yeah, totally worth it!"

They take off running. Shark attacks? No problem. 
(actually they were farther north than we were). 

  One of Flower's goals this year was to make it to the ocean. 
(I'm still not sure how this goal came to be?) 
The Chesapeake did in a pinch, but barely compared to the real thing. 
She was happy, happy, happy to find her little self ocean-side!  
Dr. Dh and I honeymooned on the Outer Banks 30 years ago. 
Not quite the Outer Banks, but it was great to get close enough with some of our favorite people in the world! 
Of course there's wild-life. Feeche dug until he had a crab in hand. 

'Cause even though it's pitch black out, there is still sand and water.... 

...which is always cool to float in!

A working light-house on the beach we frequented.

@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!