No Harm Done

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Have We Been Up To Lately?

Last week M. got some fantastic tickets from someone at work, so we packed up all the boys, plus another that we recruited from the neighborhood, drove to the big city, and spent the afternoon watching college baseball.

The weather was gorgeous: 70 degrees, with a light breeze. Our tickets were split up, with two people sitting in one section, and four people sitting in another. They were all actual seats, though.

The last game we went to we sat in the General Admission section. The section was fine, and we had a great time, but we were unaware when we went to the stadium that those people with General Admission tickets don't actually get seats. There are large grassy areas for people to lay out blankets or chairs, and a large patio area filled with picnic tables. We ended up sitting on a picnic table on the third base line, near the bullpen.

M. knows how much I like baseball, so this weekend he graciously allowed me to have the lower seats, behind home plate.

This was my view:

I know. Right?! Great seats. Awesome seats. Brogan and Colson took turns sitting with me.

We saw everything up close, watched a third base coach get ejected from the game, and listened to the uber-fans surrounding us. The people in the seats around us knew everything about the home team: player names, stats for both players and coaches, season and team history. It was so much fun to listen to them!

M. had nice seats as well, but his were a little farther away:

I couldn't actually see him, but I knew he was there.

In the end, our home team lost. Painfully. But with such good seats and beautiful weather we didn't care. We all had a great time!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's Tax Day!

To find a Tax Day Tea Party in your area, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The littlest piano student in our home wanted to show off what he's been learning. Colson has been having lessons with me for a few weeks now, and loves being able to play like his older brothers.

This video was done at night, after baths and pajamas were put on. I tell you this because I didn't want you to think we all wear our pajamas all day. (We do. But I just don't want everyone to know that.)

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Tell Us About Washington, Son!"

OK. Today, I'm about optimism. (yes-again.)


Which is not related in any way to "head-in-the-sand-ism."

No sirree!

*They talk a bit at the beginning of the clip. It gets good about 50 seconds in.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

He is risen indeed!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Braden is in 7th grade this year. I’m so pleased to announce that he’s at the very top of his class. If he keeps this up I can definitely see him as valedictorian in 2014.

In all seriousness, this has been a tough year. The difference in workload between 6th and 7th grade took us both by surprise. I knew his subjects would get harder, but I was not prepared for how long they would take each day. Juggling Braden’s workload with Brogan’s and Colson’s took several weeks. Eventually we were able to find a groove and now we’re got a great routine.

Language Arts:

Vocabulary from Classical Roots A: In Braden’s Latin studies he’s been introduced to many of the Latin roots and English derivatives. This books series builds on that and introduces Greek root words and more Latin roots as well. I’m enjoying seeing our vocabulary words appear elsewhere in Braden’s writing.

Rod and Staff Grammar: We love this grammar curriculum. It’s thorough and methodical. If you want fun, flashy, or engaging – this curriculum ain’t it. But if you want solid, comprehensive grammar, it’d all here.

Institute for Excellence in Writing: I like this program, but I’m the first to admit I’m not using it to its full potential. Braden’s writing has improved this year, however, and he enjoys the student DVDs.


Henle Latin 1: This is Braden’s first year with Henle Latin. The course is meant to do over 4 years of high school, but we’re starting early. Book 1 is the longest, and I want to spread that out over more than one year. Much of the beginning of the book is a review from material over the past two years, so that helps keep him moving along.

Rosetta Stone/ SYRWTLS: For Spanish we started out using Rosetta Stone. There’s a lot to like about this program, but it is repetitious and there’s not much of an emphasis on speaking. That makes sense, though. It’s a computer program – not a teacher. It’s can’t hear what you’re saying and interact. Last year Braden told me he wanted a program with more of a grammar emphasis, so we purchased “So You Really Want To Learn Spanish.” The book is a lot like what most of us used for Spanish in jr. high or high school. We now alternate between Rosetta Stone and the textbook. It’s slower going, but I’ve noticed improvement. Braden understands more Spanish than he speaks, but he’s starting to be able to form short sentences and we can have brief conversations.

Saxon Algebra 1: We began the year with Saxon Algebra. Braden did well with the math concepts, but the sheer wordiness of Saxon was driving us crazy and making math a chore. After Christmas, we had a brief flirtation with New Elementary Mathematics. We both liked the short explanations, but could never seem to get the rhythm of the lessons. Finally, we switched back to Saxon and are both much happier.

Tapestry of Grace, Year 2 (Middle Ages/ Renaissance/ Reformation): This year we began using TOG for history. I wanted a program that could be used with all boys at once, but with work tailored to their age level. It’s challenging. The work for older students is deep! Each week there is a lot of material to read, and it’s been a good opportunity to practice budgeting his time.

Piano/guitar: Braden continues to play piano. He’s finishing Book 4 in the Faber piano series, but he also is working on additional pieces with his piano teacher. His playing has really improved this year, though I don’t know that he sees it. Last month he was able to play for residents of an area senior center during their monthly luncheon. He likes to play at care centers, but we haven’t met anyone yet who arranges that sort of thing.

Braden got a guitar for his birthday, and for Christmas his cousin passed along his guitar lesson books. Braden is nearly finished with the level 1 books, and then will start on level 2.

Exploring Creation With General Science: This is our first year of formal textbook science instruction. So far Braden loves it. He’s decided he may be interested in a career in science.

Thanks for attending our Open House! Next year we'll try to host one at the beginning of the school year.

(Hey, kid! Get out of my shot!)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I love musicals.

Over the years I've grown weary of people who tell me musicals are unrealistic. "Since when do you start singing or dancing and have everyone around you join in?"

Well, they're right. Musicals don't happen in real life. But this video gives me hope that maybe- just maybe- someday it could happen.