Author Archives: Amy

Circle Time: 2nd Six Weeks Term

DSC_0081Memory work for second six weeks:

Bible:  Romans 8.  My goal is for us to eventually memorize the entire chapter, but this term my realistic goal is the first six verses:

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

We review a passage of scripture approximately twice a week.  I also try to remember to work on the memory verses for CBS when we have them.

Poem:  We will learn the last few stanzas of “A Psalm of Life” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and after that we’ll probably start work on a Christmas poem which is to be determined.

Declaration of Independence, intro.:  We trudge on.  :-)  Actually, I’m learning that taking it slow and easy with this one is the way to go.  As of the this past week (which is–eek!–three weeks into this new six week), we’re down to the phrase “long train of abuses,” which is pretty good, I think.  I think there is such value in memorizing large swaths of material!

History timeline:  we’re memorizing the “Explorers to 1815″ song from Veritas Press.  We’re taking it in chunks.  To date we’re working on the first ten cards or events, which gets us up through the American colonial period.

We’re reviewing our hymns this term, and we review poems approximately two days a week.

Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright

It was with a happy and satisfied, though wistful, sigh that we finished Spiderweb for Two:  A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright as our bedtime read-aloud last week.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  I don’t know when we’ve enjoyed a series as much as this one.  The saying is trite but true:  all good things must come to an end; after all, it’s much better to end a series a bit too soon than too late (because we can all think of a series or two that went on a tad bit longer than it should’ve, right?) I guess you could say that Enright pushed this one a bit past that point by taking the older kids–Mona, Rush, and newcomer Mark–out of their home, the Four-Story Mistake, for their schooling.  However, while absent in body, they were somewhat present in spirit thanks to the “maze” that some anonymous person has left the younger Melendys, Randy and Oliver, to complete in the other kids’ absence.  It’s a long-running scavenger hunt, and the clues take Randy and Oliver to various locales, from a cemetery to their father’s home office to a neighbor’s home.  Randy and Oliver puzzle over the maze’s author(s), naturally assuming it to be Mona, Rush, Mark, or all three.  Beyond the fun of reading the clues and trying to deciper them along with the younger Melendys, there are the entertaining and engrossing vignettes that the Melendy’s meanderings bring them to.  For example, Father relates a story from his childhood as it relates to one of the clues.  There is an interlude in the middle of the book in which all of the Melendys are at home under the Four-Story Mistake’s sheltering roof at Christmas time, and it is the high point in the story as far as I’m concerned.  (Not that the story is bad at all, mind you, but it just reminded me of how much I love all the other books because the children are all together.  I’m so glad Enright brought them all back together for Christmas!) The story ends happily, with the mystery solved and all the Melendys once again together for the summer.

So, we’re officially through with the Melendys. . .except. . . my girls have made off with the books for their own private enjoyment!  In fact, I had some quotes (of course!) from this book that I really, really want to share, but I cannot find the book to save my life.  (I already shared one quote here.)  Ah, well.  It will turn up eventually.

We give The Melendy Quartet a Highly, Highly Recommended.  If you haven’t read them, what are you waiting for?

Related links:

WWW: Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from the 1991 Newbery Medal winning Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli.  In this portion, Maniac is teaching an old, washed-up baseball player how to read.  I love the extended metaphors Spinelli uses.  This is my favorite part of the book.

The old man showed an early knack for consonants.  Sometimes he got m and n mixed up, but the only one that gave him trouble day in and day out was c.  It reminded him of a bronc some cowboy dared him to ride in Texas League days.  He would saddle up that c, climb aboard and grip the pommel for dear life, and ol’ c, more often than not, it would throw him.  Whenever that happened, he’d just climb right back on and ride ‘er some more.  Pretty soon c saw who was boss and gave up the fight.  But even at their orneriest, consonants were fun.

Vowels were something else.  He didn’t like them, and they didn’t like him.  There were only five of them, but they seemed to be everywhere.  Why, you could go through twenty words without bumping into some of the shyer consonants, but it seemed as if you couldn’t tiptoe past a syllable without waking up a vowel.  Consonants, you knew pretty much where they stood, but you could never trust a vowel.  To the old pitcher, they were like his own best knuckleball come back to haunt him.  In, out, up, down–not even the pitcher, much less the batter, knew which way it would break.  He kept swinging and missing.

But the kid was a good manager, and tough.  He would never let him slink back to the showers, but kept sending him back up to the plate.  The kid used different words, but in his ears the old Minor Leaguer heard:  “Keep your eye on it. . . Hold you swing. . . Watch it all the day in. . .Don’t be anxious. . . Just make contact.”

And soon enough, that’s what he was doing, nailing those vowels on the button, riding them from consonant to consonant, syllable to syllable, word to word.

One day the kid wrote on the blackboard:

I see the ball.

And the old man studied awhile and said, slowly, gingerly:  “I. . .see. . .the. . .ball.”

Maniac whooped, “You’re reading!”

“I’m reading!”  yipped the old man.  His smile was so wide he’d have had to break it into sections to fit it through a doorway.  (101-102)

One of the greatest joys in my life has been teaching my girls to read, and I look forward to completing that same joyous journey with the DLM in the next year or so.  I can’t imagine the excitement and satisfaction I would experience from teaching an adult to read!  I sometimes imagine what my “retirement” from homeschooling will look like, and one of the things I envision doing some day is working with a local literacy agency in teaching adult reading classes.  Maybe one day I’ll get to experience this.

Menu Plan Monday

ThanksgivingThis coming week is going to be a busy one, so I attempted this weekend to do a bunch of cooking in anticipation of the busy-ness.  Here’s the menu:

Monday–oven tacos with the fixings, canned black beans (I love these!)–ETA:  share this with my family as we celebrate my nephew’s sixteenth birthday!

Tuesday–supper with Nana; moms’ night out at Panera for me

Wednesday–breakfast for supper–pancakes, eggs, and bacon–unless I’m too tired to cook; then we’ll eat out.  I discovered that pancake recipe last week, and these pancakes met with rave reviews.  It’s a keeper!

Thursday–knockoff Panera broccoli cheese soup or knockoff Wendy’s chili.  I made both of these this past weekend, so they’ll be leftover.  All of this is really iffy because this week is my nephew’s sixteenth birthday (!!!), and his family and friends will be celebrating with dinner out that night.  It’s further complicated by the fact that I’ll be preparing for a medical test on Friday, so I won’t be eating at all.  :-(

Friday–leftovers, eat out, or take out–depending on how I feel, I’m sure :-)

Yummy broccoli cheese soup

Yummy broccoli cheese soup

I don’t really make a plan for our other meals, but I did want to share a couple of things we do each week.  On Mondays we’re busy right up until lunchtime, so we usually have baked potatoes from the crockpot for lunch.  We just pop them into the crockpot early Monday morning, and they’re ready in time for lunch.  I can’t tell you how much it helps me to have that done each Monday; lunchtime is one of the several times during the day when things can get pretty hairy around here, and I find having lunch ready (and girls who are plenty big enough to fix the potatoes themselves!) a moral victory at a low ebb in the day.  :-)

I eat oatmeal (the old fashioned kind) almost every day of the week.  I eat it with natural peanut butter and and jelly stirred in.  Sometimes, though, for a  change, I’ll bake up a pan of oatmeal.  One of my IRL friends shared Lynn’s Kitchen Adventures blog on FB, and I’ve been baking her oatmeal ever since.  My favorite is the peanut butter and jelly oatmeal.  Really, this stuff is good enough to be a dessert.  I eat it for a bedtime snack, too, so it’s good at any hour.

What’s cookin’ at your house this week?